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Ask Digiday Careers: How to ace your agency interview

Welcome to Ask Digiday Careers, where we answer your most pressing questions about working in digital media today, from applying to positions to fielding offers to etiquette on the job. Have a question? Email Caleb Li and we might answer it in future columns.

Q: When interviewing at an agency, what is the most impressive quality to demonstrate? 

Xavier Joven, talent acquisition manager, Essence
At Essence, we are usually impressed with candidates that display the ability to tell a compelling story about themselves and their past experiences, who show passion for all things related to digital and future trends, and lastly the ability and confidence to formulate articulate answers. Confidence is key when interviewing with an agency, and being able to provide examples of solutions to complex situations demonstrate personal skill-set and perspective on solutions.

Diana Blancone, senior partner, talent acquisition, Mindshare
We’re all about culture, imagination and creativity and love meeting with people who have a sense of curiosity and confidence. It’s important to be yourself, ask questions that pertain to our organization specifically to show that you’ve done your research and want to know more about us and what sets us apart from the others. There’s an infinite amount of information that can be found on a company website or through social media. It’s also smart to research the individual you’ll be interviewing with so that you can use this as a talking point during your meeting.

Leah Gilligan, people operations, PMG
I look for a few things: drive, passion and resilience. Drive to constantly be learning, to think outside of the box and to continue improving daily. Passion for the industry and the agency: keeping up to date on trends in the digital space, what brands intrigue you and what trends you think are to come. Passion for the agency: why do you want to work for us specifically vs. any other agency? Resilience: Our industry is changing constantly so you have to be willing to try new things, fail and continue on.

Molly Barber, assistant recruiter, Martin Agency
Authenticity. Winning people over by being genuine and not sales-y. Interviewing is a two-way street and though it may sound cliché, being yourself is key to finding the right fit for both you and the agency. Passion and initiative are other key attributes we find impressive. This is especially true for entry-level candidates: have passion for the industry, not just the agency interviewing you. And this goes without saying, but always do your homework and always ask questions.

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