We interview a lot of entry-level marketing people at Hot Dog Marketing. Because the agency is young, we benefit greatly from the energy and enthusiasm a younger person provides in high production environment. This most recent round of interviews was pretty eye-opening, and I feel compelled to lend some much-needed advice to those young people out there looking for serious work.
Follow the application instructions
Not following the instructions to include a cover letter, portfolio link or writing samples is the same as not applying for the job at all. The first screening process for us is to just delete the applications that just threw us a resumé. You’d be surprised – that eliminates 80% of the candidates immediately.
Proofread your application
It doesn’t matter if you’re applying for an art-related job or a writing job. Your application for employment should be perfect. If you can’t put care or thought into your application, then we won’t be able to trust you with client work. Plain and simple.
I had writing samples and resumés from fantastic candidates, but when they switched their “there” with “their” or “they’re” and used “to” instead of “too” . . . it left us wondering how much time we’d have to spend proofreading their work. It also makes you look kind of dumb. Sorry.
Give us your best audition
We sometimes ask applicants to do a quick assignment so we can get a better idea of what they’re going to deliver to us as an employee. It should be presented to us in a way you can be proud of. Don’t slap something together. We know if you’ve put thought and care into your test assignment.
We had candidates spend 15 minutes on an assignment that should have required at least an hour to produce something of quality. Even if you interview well, we’re going to put your work next to the work from someone else who maybe even dropped it off in a binder for our review. Whatever you turn in, we’re going to assume that’s your best work. If your best work looks like crap, we’ll wish you the best of luck on your job search.
Don’t be afraid to tell me about your passion
I have interviewed a lot of young professionals that make their dream sound like the entry job they’re applying for. I doubt that’s true. Your lifelong dream isn’t to write copy or design infographics. I can smell the bullshit. I’m more inspired by people who have shown a history of hard work that are taking risks to pursue a career, and they know that working for me is a step in the right direction.
My best hires have been people who are making a conscious career change and are hoping Hot Dog Marketing is a step in the right direction. These hires have grown with the company and their goals have, over time, have become more aligned with the company and the company more aligned with them.
To me, someone who is clear on what they want to learn and gain from a position is more likely to stick around. If you’re honest with me on what you want, it’ll help me know from the start if it’s a good fit, and we won’t waste each other’s time.
Dress for success
Hot Dog Marketing is a casual work environment. That said, we still don’t want you to come to an interview dressed casually. You still need to show respect for the employer and job you’re applying for by dressing well. You should never ever assume it’s OK to be casually dressed for the interview. A couple of quick tips to make a good impression:
- Do your hair so you look like you care.
- Iron your shirt (even it’s a flannel).
- I don’t want to see your boobs, belly button or butt crack.
- You should wear a skirt that you can bend over in.
- Let’s not wear jeans to the interview (even if we do at the office).
- Let’s not wear sneakers either (even if we do at the office).
- Make sure you smell nice, but not like you’re slapping me in the face with perfume.
Learn about the company, please
I can admit that I want my ego stroked a little by having applicants speak intelligently about the company. Nothing will make you look less prepared for an interview by not being able to answer questions about our company. It should be a no-brainer. Learn what we do, who we are. Read our blogs and follow us on social media. It makes a difference. Easy tips:
- Who are we
- What do we do
- How are we different
- Why do you want to work here (tie it back to us)
If you really want the job, you’d read my blog too and follow the advice above. Good luck job seekers!