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Preparing yourself for an interview

17th December 2013 by Adam Toctan

Preparing yourself for an interview

So you have managed to secure an interview at an agency you have only dreamt about working in. The last thing you now want to do is screw it up and leave the impression that you a dithering idiot...

What can you do to not only convince the interviewer that you are right for the job but that you are the best candidate that they have seen... or likely to see? Well, if you follow these simple steps you shouldn’t go too far wrong. If this still fails then perhaps it wasn’t the right job anyway! Or at least that’s what you can tell yourself. Ahem.

Start with research. This is KEY! Look into the agency website, LinkedIn for the contact who you will be meeting, who else works in the agency that you should know about, the agencies history, and then the usual sources of great information... Brand Republic, Design Week, Marketing Week etc. to see if the agency have suddenly won something that you should know about. Plan your route there and if you have time make a dummy run. You need to know you can get there on a daily basis. Try it at rush hour too when you are most likely to make the commute.

Get smart! Imagine you are dressing to meet your key client or are about to go on a pitch. You need to look polished. Smart. Slick but without looking corporate. Remember you aren’t going for an interview to work as a butler or at a bank. Think creatively smart... This might sound strange or condescending but this is feedback from a real life interview; ‘Lovely girl but it was a shame she had chipped nail varnish. Looked shabby’. Oh dear.

So you have nailed the research and the look. Now make a great first impression. Always greet the receptionist with a smile; be chatty and confident. It’s amazing how many decision makers then ask the receptionist ‘what was he/she like?’  A good firm handshake is SO important. I know it annoys me when I greet someone with a weak / floppy / non-existent hand shake. It makes you look like you are weak and unsure of yourself. Be confident; you are great! Throughout the interview make sure you keep eye contact and engage the interviewer.

Preparation. As you have prepared you should have at least 10 good questions that you want to cover off throughout the meeting. As these get ticked off write notes; it shows that you are listening and allows you to refer to these answers after the meeting. Be prepared to have some tough questions asked of you. ‘Strengths and weaknesses / give me an example of when... / what would you do if... / how would you deal with this situation’ etc.

It is imperative that you know budgets. Time scales and processes. Answers that cover these points show you know what you are talking about and make you seem more ’real’. If you can describe how you grew an account from 50k to 500k I want to know about it! If you can do that for your current business then think what you can do for me! That’s the idea anyway... Remember to use the word ‘I’ as opposed to ‘we’.  This shows what your specific involvement is. Everyone wants a team player but it’s important for an agency to know what they can expect from you.

End the interview on a positive. Talk about the next steps, if you were successful who would you be invited back to see; see if they have any ‘reservations / concerns’... If you are keen (regardless of what they say) tell them. Say you want the job. You have nothing to lose.

Follow up with feedback to your recruiter or drop the agency an email of thanks if you have applied direct.

This is not an exhaustive list and should you go for an interview through Twist all of our consultants pride themselves on providing all candidates with detailed preparation prior to any meeting. This way all you have to do is be good to get the job!

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