So, your cover letter and resume impressed enough to get you an interview. That’s fantastic, because the interview is your chance to really separate yourself from the rest. Here’s how to go about it so you stand out in the employer’s mind for all the right reasons.
- Find out who you’ll be interviewing with.
Is it just the hiring manager? Will there be others? Do your due diligence. Look them up on both the company website and LinkedIn. Anything you know about your interviewers in advance will prove helpful.
- Do your research. Again.
Yes, you had to do some preliminary research on the company to write your cover letter. But now’s the time to really dive deep and show the company you know your stuff about their stuff. Visit their social sites, comb through the website, search for any recent news concerning the company.
- Bring copies.
Always bring extra copies of your resume. You never know who might join at the last minute or if the hiring manager will bring copies of their own. Sometimes we’ll ask interviewees for a copy of their resume even if we’ve printed copies of our own, just to see if you’re prepared. Preparedness is big in our industry, after all.
- When in doubt, over-dress.
You’d rather be business professional if everyone else is business casual than vice versa. The same is certainly true of business casual and casual. If nothing else, it’s a safe bet that jeans are a no-go for the interview, even if it’s a laid-back company. Just as in social settings, you’ll feel much better over-dressed than under-dressed. Not to mention, we won’t be sitting there thinking, “Interesting choice.”
- Come with questions.
Think about what questions you have about the company, culture and position ahead of time. Even write them down if you need to. It can also be helpful to bring a description of the position you’re interviewing for to the actual interview. Having the description in front of you can help you ask the right questions and seek any additional clarification you might be looking for. This is the time to ask! Because this is also your chance to interview them.
- Act like you want it.
This specific job, and not any other job. A common misconception is that an employer will be open to hearing about how you’re not really sure what you want to do with your career. Save those monologues for another place and another time – a job interview is not the time to voice those uncertainties. Another route to avoid is saying, “I just want to get my foot in the door of an advertising agency, and I think this position is a great way to do it.” To us, that sounds like you’re not sure about the actual position you’re applying for. Therefore, we might spend months training you only to have you jump ship at the first new opportunity that arises. This is a big red flag for employers. Think about it from their perspective – they’re trying to fill a particular position and don’t want to feel they’ll be in the same boat again in the near future. Trust us, the hiring process is not an easy one. Bottom line – express earnest interest and commitment for the position you’re applying for right here, right now.
So that’s the interview itself. Now, here’s some advice on what to do AFTER the interview:
Send everyone in the interview a personalized follow-up email within 24 hours. Thank them for their time (again) and re-iterate your interest in the position. Collect business cards from everyone in the room so you can easily send said follow-up emails without having to spend a ton of time tracking down contact info. It’s also a good idea to send a hand-written note. Drop it off at the front desk or send it snail-mail, just as long as they receive it within 2-3 days after the interview. It’s an extra touch that goes a long way in showing the company you’re serious about them and the position.
We hope this helps you in your quest for the perfect agency job! For more info, check out the final part in our Landing an Agency Job series: Interview Pro Tips. And if you are ready to test out your interveiw skills, feel free to browse our latest job openings.