7 Interviewing Tips That Will Help You Land an Agency Job

Landing your dream job at a communications agency isn’t impossible, but it can be difficult. We see a lot of hopeful candidates come through our lobby, and many of them make the same mistakes. So, as you prepare for your next interview, take a moment to read some advice from our senior team. Who knows? Our tips may be just what you need to help get your foot in the door.

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1. Come prepared. Preparing for an interview at an agency like Merlot Marketing should be a multi-step process. There’s what we call the ‘low-hanging fruit’ which means you should spend some time making sure your resume and letter are updated and error-free. Attention to detail is absolutely crucial in our line of work, and we do take the time to look for errors. Yes, we are trying to catch mistakes so keep that in mind and make sure your documents are flawless.

The best candidate, though, makes the effort to go further. We are always far more impressed by candidates who can name a few of our clients, are familiar with recent campaigns or who can show that they have spent some time researching ways to elevate the agency. Our digital director brought a full social media audit to her interview and was not afraid to point out ways we could improve. She got the job.

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2. Dress the part. An agency is a highly professional work environment. A communications professional should always be prepared to be on camera, meet with the media or step in at the last-minute to assist a client with an emergency. That’s why our philosophy is that you should present your best self by looking your best. Every day. Prove this matters to you by showing up to your interview dressed like a professional. We can tell you right now, if you arrive in jeans it’s unlikely you’ll hear from us again.

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3. Don’t oversell your skills. We understand that many candidates really want to get agency experience. They are hungry and willing to work very hard. We recognize those qualities, and we look for them — when we are hiring interns. When we are hiring salaried employees, at a minimum, we expect the candidates to come in with the skills outlined in the job description. Like social media marketing queen Pam Moore recently said, “If you tell me you are a social rock star yet you are not on Twitter, well…Well, indeed. The job description is literally the bare minimum of what we will expect from you, straight out the chute. So, if there is something on that job description you can’t do, then you aren’t the right fit.

PamMoore

4. Be ready to answer the tough questions. We get it – some questions are harder than others. Yet, we are an agency that sells strategic communications. So, you need to prove that you can communicate well, even when you are unsure of the right answer. We intentionally throw difficult questions at you, not because we believe there’s a right or wrong answer, but because we want to see how you work through it and then communicate your responses. Clients throw us tough questions every day and we need to be able to answer them with confidence.

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5. Have a conversation. Interviews are nerve wracking, and we get that. Still, you should be able to have a conversation with us that proves that you will be someone we want to see every day. We spend a lot of time here, and we need to know that you are a human being. Yes, your professionalism and skills matter, but so does your ability to handle stress and be a real member of a team.

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6. Answer the question. Succinctly, please. If we ask you for three words to describe yourself, give us three words to describe yourself. Period. Try to avoid the trap of a long-winded explanation. Answer the question and move on.

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7.  Always, always, always follow-up. Send a follow-up email after you interview, and be ready to respond quickly if we ask for supplementary information. Remember that agencies are deadline-driven work environments so we do expect quick turnaround time.

Business team enjoying victory

That’s it! Well, one last tip – always maintain your sense of humor. If you think you can rock an interview with us, please check out our open positions and apply today. Who knows? You may soon be a member of a killer team.

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