Ok, so you've got shortlisted for an interview and the date and time is confirmed - now's the time to really prepare. Having done the usual "looked at the company website" what else must you do to make sure you stand out over and above the competition?
Here at The Book we put loads of effort in to getting candidates interviews - it's one of our key drivers, so we want to make doubly sure that when you get in front of one of our client, you are fully up to speed and represent both us and yourself perfectly. Whilst we can provide you with plenty of information, it's the candidates that go the extra mile who tend to get the jobs, so what's going to help you to stand out?
As a bare minimum you need to prepare your portfolio to represent some of your best work. If you haven’t already take a look at our advice on presenting your portfolio. There's some great advice in there from industry stalwarts that every creative should read.
Once the portfolio is in place you need to know who you are meeting at first stage interview. No, not just their name and job title, but in depth. Now we're not encouraging stalking here but get on online and check out their professional networks. See who you know that they know - talk to friends, colleagues, ex colleagues. Do you know anyone who works at the business? Give them a quick call (if you think it's appropriate...). Linkedin is used by most professionals and is usually a great source of relevant business information prior to an interview - whilst you will use it, be aware that the interviewer will also use it so make sure your profile is up to date.
In addition, if you have a Twitter account or are on any other social networks you need to make sure the content is appropriate and not unprofessional.Take a look at this article if you're not sure how much of an impact dubious tweets can have on your career.
Once you know who you aere meeting inside out, try to get under the skin of what the company does and specialises in. We'll have talked to you about this at some length however, again, you must do your own work to stand out. As a minimum you need to be completely on top of the agency's specialism, their client list, the specific types of work they've done for those clients and who their main competitors are.
Do your research on at least a couple of their clients and maybe do a SWOT analysis on one of them. Go instore, online, anywhere you can find your clients' clients products or services. What works well, what could be better? Be constructive in your views - you will no doubt be asked.
Following a first interview you may be asked to do a task or respond to a creative brief. This is where you really need to go that extra mile. Don’t leave it until the day before the deadline…make time! Research, plan and then get down to it. If it's the job you want it's not just going to fall in to your lap - you have to produce your best work. For example, as a designer you may be asked to come up with a brand for a soft drink. So you come up with the logo and have a few variations. Great… But you could do more!
Here at The Book we'll do our utmost to support every one of our candidates but we cannot go to the interviews for you - that bit is firmly down to you.