Landing a Job in the Creative Industry Requires Stellar Interview Skills
By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group
The competition is fierce for those pursuing work in the creative field. According to a new survey by The Creative Group, advertising and marketing executives interviewed said they meet with seven candidates, on average, before filling an open position in their department.
If you’ve been called in for an interview, you must be prepared to pull out all the stops. It’s your big chance to really stand out from the crowd and show why you’re the best choice for the position. Consider the following tips:
- Do some digging. Uncovering beyond-the-basics knowledge about the job and company will help you communicate specific ways you can contribute to the organization’s success. Visit the firm’s website, Facebook page or Twitter feed; search online for recent news articles; and ask people in your trusted inner circle if they have any insight about the company.
- Understand when the interview truly begins. Most job candidates believe that the interview starts when they shake the hiring manager’s hand. The evaluation actually begins when you approach the interviewer’s assistant or receptionist. (Some interviewers may even observe you parking and entering the building from their corner office.) Be on your best behavior from the moment you arrive, and treat everyone you encounter with courtesy and respect.
- Take conversational cues from the interviewer. Some employers like to chitchat before delving into the discussion. In these instances, engaging in some casual small talk will help you identify points of common ground. Other interviewers, however, simply want to cut to the chase and get down to business. Be yourself, but always take the hiring manager’s lead.
- Have a good story to tell. Be prepared to provide memorable anecdotes about how you have helped solve business problems. An acronym I use to remember this is GRR – discuss the Goal, your Role and the Results of the project.
- Query carefully. The questions you ask should be focused on the company, not on you and your needs (e.g., salary, paid vacation). Ask the hiring manager to describe an aspect of the job that might surprise you or what the team’s process is for collaborating on projects. This will reinforce your interest in the position and company, while providing you with useful information that can help determine if the job is a good fit.
- Remain positive. If you don’t get the job but have developed good rapport with the interviewer, request feedback on what you might have done better; you’ll pick up tips that may help in your next interview. If you accept rejection graciously, you may even put yourself first in line for the company’s next opening.
Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at www.creativegroup.com.