So, it’s January 3rd, 2017. You work for a digital agency, design company or web design company and you’re planning your next move. Or maybe you’ve recently completed your higher education study, you’ve been looking for that lucky break and you’ve sent out an application. Well, the next few hundred words will help you prepare for the all-important interview with a digital agency.
Present yourself well
Well, it’s the digital industry and we’re particularly relaxed about a lot of corporate stuff when it comes to dress code, tattoos and piercings. But, there’s no excuse for not smartening up at the interview. I’m not saying put on a 3-piece suit – there’s a balance between being yourself and portraying yourself in a way that’s not you. What I’m saying is: be yourself, but make an effort to present yourself in a way that will work to your advantage. It’s appreciated when an interviewee clearly makes an effort.
Do your research
Having interviewed maybe 300 to 400 people over the last twenty years, you’d be surprised to discover how many never even looked at our website. When you write it down like that it sounds horrendous doesn’t it? It literally takes half an hour to do your research on the company you’re visiting. I can tell you that, having sat on the opposite side of the table, it’s thoroughly appreciated when someone does. In fact to put it bluntly, it’s expected of candidates.
Know your stuff
If you’re applying for a designer position, you’re expected to know your field, the latest trends and styles. If you’re applying for a web developer position, then you’re expected to know your code, techniques and best practices. And also the things in your peripheral. For example, if you’re a PHP developer, whilst you wont be expected to know .NET, you should be aware of it and the Content Management Systems that that it lends itself to.
If you’re a digital marketing executive looking for an SEO role, then whilst you clearly have your specialism you should be aware of the other practices that surround your field. You’ll probably be asked what you know about pay-per-click, affiliate marketing, remarketing as well. As employers, we’re looking for diverse people that are in tune with the industry. Look at it this way: an SEO executive who’s good at SEO, and who has an awareness of the other digital marketing practices, is much more desirable than an SEO exec who only knows SEO. It shows a willingness to learn and adapt. Those are the kind of people that employers are looking for.
Bring some stuff
If you’re looking for a designer role, we don’t want to see that sculpture you did on your art foundation course 3 years ago. (Yes, someone actually brought in a sculpture.) We’re looking for the most relevant work to the role. So bring in your latest designs of websites, bring in your designs for successful remarketing banners, or bring in your exciting brand literature designs. If you’re a web developer, bring in a list of your most recent websites. Talk about the challenges that you faced when developing them, and how you overcame them.
If you’re a digital marketing executive, then bring in some statistics for results that you’ve achieved in your previous role. For example, I took this particular client from 2 top-3 keyword terms to 19 top-3 keyword terms in 11 months. Or, I took this client’s conversion rate from X to Y, or I saved a client X pounds on their cost-per-click whilst still improving their conversion rate. Explain how you did it, what you learned along the way and what your next moves might be.
If you get to the end of an interview and it’s gone well, both you and the interviewer will know that. There’ll be a good vibe, probably even some laughs here and there. Now you’re at the point where the potential employer will say: do you have any questions?
Let play a little quiz. Which do you think is the best option here?
- No I think you’ve answered them all
- How many holidays do I get? (Or…)
- Yes I wrote a few things down
Now please, please, please don’t say “No I think you’ve answered them all”. That single line can kill it for you. Trust me, I’ve heard it a hundred times. And certainly don’t ask how many holidays you get, what time you finish, do you pay overtime or any questions like that. A potential employer is not looking for someone whose main consideration is one of these questions. We’re looking for people who care, who genuinely have an interest, and for people who go that extra mile. The best thing you can do here is to pull out a few brief questions and keep them interesting.
If you follow these simple steps then this will make a significant change to your success rate of being asked back for a second interview.
Oh, and on a final note, if you’re based in the Nottingham or Derby area and are either a Designer, Web Developer, SEO Exec, PPC Expert, Account Manager or Project Manager looking to work for a growing and fast-paced digital agency – then get in touch. We’re always looking to hear from energetic people.