How to ace an ad agency job interview

With increasing competition, it’s important to present yourself as best as possible when applying for a new position. Whether this will be your first job in the industry, or you have a wealth of experience, each interview can differ and it’s essential that you are prepared. In order to help, we’ve put together an interview guide, including extra tips from Team Accord to help you prepare for an ad agency interview.

Prior to interview

Firstly, you have to secure yourself an interview and it’s more than likely that you will have to provide a CV. The days of having a multi-purpose CV are now long gone, and it’s essential that you revise yours to make sure it is relevant to the position you are applying for.

Kara Bennett, our Digital Analyst Manager, has some great CV advice:

“Tailor your CV to the exact job you are going for, making sure to include all relevant skills and experience.”

Adrian Wilson, our Digital Studio Project Manager also added:

“Make sure your LinkedIn profile does not contradict your CV!”

With internet checks being conducted by more and more employers, it’s important to make sure that your online profile is up to date. This may include making social networks private and deleting unprofessional content, if this is not something you wish your potential employer to see.

First impressions

Once you’ve been successful and have an interview date and time, it’s time to get prepared for the interview itself.

It almost goes without saying, but Tom Whitting, our PPC Manager, emphasises:

“Be on time!”

If this means that you need to find the interview venue beforehand, then make sure to do so. Also, leave plenty of time to travel to your interview, allowing extra time for potential delays such as traffic.

Dressing appropriately is another factor, which can immediately give a good first impression. This does not necessarily mean that you need to wear your most formal attire, with many cutting edge digital marketing agencies preferring a smart casual approach.

Conduct research

Knowing about the company and position you are applying for is of upmost importance; it shows that you are both interested and engaged with the potential job role. Another top tip from our PPC Manager is,

“Research the job role beforehand, so if it’s for a specialised SEO agency have a basic understanding of what SEO is, even if you’ve not done it before.”

Expand your knowledge by reading guides such as the Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO, and take a look at the latest news in the industry.

Simon Gear, Agency Director of Accord West said:

“Don’t fall at the first hurdle when asked what you know about the company you are applying for. The interviewer is interested in how much effort you have put into this basic question. Too many people show themselves to have not bothered…fatal.”

Similarly, Michael White, our Trading Desk Manager, said,

“Research the agency, for example what makes them different from their competitors, how do they stand out?”

It’s a good idea to take a look at the agency’s key clients and competitors, as well as finding out what the agency has achieved and if they have made any recent changes. Their website is the best place to start and any interviewer will expect you to have done this at the very least.

Be prepared

Regardless of whether you have previous experience in the role, it can be helpful to go over your current skills and examine why these are relevant to the new position and how they will benefit your potential employer. ‘Why would you like to work for us?’ is a common question that you are likely to be asked, and is one that we would advise you have a readily prepared answer for.

Ashley Gilmour, our SEO Manager said:

“You will no doubt be asked if you have any questions at the end of the interview. Try and prepare some potential questions beforehand so you do not have to think of them on the spot.”

Whether you wish to ask questions related to the agency, job role, or employment contract, any question is better than a shrug of the shoulders response. Don’t be afraid to ask what the salary will be if this hasn’t been advertised.

Be positive and honest

It is likely that your interviewer will ask your reasons for wanting to leave your current employer. For example, you may have been in your current position for a number of years and would like a change of scenery. Rather than telling your employer this, ensure to give your answer a positive spin, suggesting that you’re seeking new objectives, would like to learn a new skill or want to work for a more innovative agency.

As the old saying goes, honesty is the best policy and our Agency Director agrees. He said:

“Be honest…the interviewer is buying you. If you don’t know something, be clear and say so.”

Our Digital Studio Project Manager also concurred with this statement and added:

“When in an interview, it’s far better to admit your short comings than to guess and get it wrong.”

Your potential employer is more than likely looking for someone that is keen to learn, or expand on their current skills, so don’t be afraid to show gaps in your knowledge.

Update your portfolio

If you’re looking to join a top creative agency, taking along a portfolio will be a deal breaker. Showcasing the work you are most proud of can show the interviewer a taste of what you will be able to bring to the agency, and if this is up to date, it will be even more influential. For those in other roles, feel free to bring along previous work, or at the very least be prepared to talk about a project that you have recently worked on.

If you would like the chance to #JoinTeamAccord, make sure to take a look at our current vacancies.

Image Credit: Flazingo Photos ( This image has been edited from the original.

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