As a CD or higher, what is your most important meeting of the day? Creative review? Brainstorm? Client Presentation? Figuring our what's for lunch? None of them are if you also have an interview that day. That interview? That will be your most important meeting of the day. And you need to treat it as importantly as you do all the aforementioned responsibilities.
It's simple, give interviews the same effort you gave to the work that got you propelled to your current position.
Talent is critical is an oft repeated phrase. But in my experience both being interviewed by creatives and watching other CDs, and yes myself too, interview candidates we don't act like talent is critical. And it's not the candidate's loss. It's yours. And your agency's.
Every culture, position and client is different and those things will drive a lot of the questions you will ask. But what will never change is how you should approach an interview. Follow these 6 tips and you'll ace your next interview by giving it the attention it deserves. And remember, you're being interviewed too.
50% Time Prep Rule. Have a 60-minute interview, set aside 30 minutes for prep time in the days or hours before. Have a 30-minute interview, set aside 15 minutes. And so on. You set aside time for your big presentations. You should set aside time to make sure you know this candidate well before you walk in the room with your breezy charm and say, "Thanks for coming in."
Get book smart or work smart. Really look at their book or resume. For portfolios, don't just a scroll down the main page, man can a thumbnail fool you. Look at it. I could crop a picture of gum on my shoe and make it look interesting and clickable. But what is the story beyond the gum? For resumes, really read what they wrote, put yourself in their role for a moment. And give the book a final review right before heading into the interview. You didn't see their stuff before the meeting? Would you send work to a client you never saw before?
Arrive excited. Stay excited. I went to one interview where the CD aloofly sat down, leaned back and said, "What you got that will amuse me?" You're not there to be entertained. Even though most good interviews are entertaining. You're there to represent your agency. To find the next great talent who will, this is the kicker, make you look great just by hiring them. You find the right people. The work gets better. That's exciting. Follow up with the best candidates, don't just wait for a thank you email. Send them an email with something you know they will find interesting. Woo them. Be empathetic.
Be curious. Ask questions about their process? Ask about versions that didn't make the book? Ask where they eat lunch? Ask what's their favorite app? Just ask, then listen. And have a decent conversation. And for all the dim sum in Chinatown don't ask near the end of the interview if they have any questions. Foster the two-way conversation the whole time.
Bring a friend. You've hired some awesome people already. A great bit of mentoring is to bring them along to show how to act when interviewing. Lead by example. Plus, the dynamic with three or more people is more conducive to how we collaborate in this industry anyways.
Be genuine. With the role. With the culture. With the in-house coffee review. With praise for their work if praise is warranted - and of course it is warranted or why would you even be interviewing them. Be truthful and honest. Be a decent person.
In the end, if you don't feel more excited about your own job after hosting an interview, you are doing it wrong. So next time you have to fill a position, don't look at it like it's a hassle. Look at like your creative career depends on it. Because it does.
Kevin Gosselin is VP, Group Creative Director at Momentum New York