Being on the agency side of the Pitch team, I speak to a number of candidates and clients on a daily basis so I’ve experienced what agencies look for in candidates. For a designer, a strong portfolio is obviously a must but it isn’t the be all and end all. It’s just as important to understand the agency you have applied with and the requirements they have.
Your starting point is researching the agency. Find out how other roles, including the one that you have applied for fit within the agency. If you’re applying through a recruitment agency like Pitch, the consultant assigned to the role will already have an in-depth understanding of the agency, from its culture to the clients they work with. That is what the consultant is there for so make sure you pick our brains with any questions you may have.
As you may already know, creative opportunities with agencies are highly competitive. At Pitch, applications often exceed the 25 candidate mark so being a standout candidate is paramount to your success. A tip I always give to candidates is to tailor your CV to each job that you apply for. Some of the information you provide in a generic CV may not be relevant to the specific job. The same applies to your portfolio. Make sure the work showcased in your portfolio is relevant to the job you’ve applied for and the agency you’re looking to join.
One candidate that springs to mind in the standout category is Jade Delaney AKA the ‘Fearless Girl.’ She dressed up as a gold statue which was used in an advertising campaign by McCann Bristol and stood outside their HQ. She successfully stood out from the rest and grabbed their attention and landed herself a role. Now I’m not saying to bronze up and head off to your desired agency but these are the lengths some candidates are going to get noticed.
If you’re triumphant in your first stage application, you’ll be given the chance to further impress at an interview. By now, you should already have a good understanding of the role and the agency. Your next task is to convince the hiring manager(s) why you are the best candidate for the job. I suggest researching their profiles on LinkedIn beforehand. The hiring manager will receive a notification to say you’ve viewed their profile but being notified that someone is doing their research can’t be a bad thing. It’s so tough for an interviewer to assess your ‘on the job’ skills in an interview situation, but it’s easy to assess personality and this is what they will buy into. You will have roughly 1 hour at first stage interview, so this is the crunch time.
If you successfully execute all of the above then you’ll have a better chance at landing yourself a role at an esteemed agency. Think you could? Send your CV over to me today.