Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Some of my best stories were job interviews.


I try not to unload Old War Stories.  Try to keep posts short.  But I’ve been throwing some pretty heavy interview stuff at you.  Here are a few hard-learned lessons we’ll call “Fun with Interviews.”

Most of these stories started with some foreknowledge.  I knew the person/people/someone who’d be included in the process.  Someone in my network knew someone.  Some worked for them.  Some interviewed with them.  Some merely knew someone who know someone. 

Foreknowledge is a double-edged sword.  If you’re smart, you arrange your presentation to the Prospect.  More easily done one-on-one, but in group shows, you must (a) learn who the REAL decision maker is (maybe not the ECD, maybe the GCD, CD, ACD, AD, AE – could be anyone; your job to find out).  If it’s a committee, well, presenting to committee’s an entire subject.

File everything you hear – true, untrue, rumors – in the back of your mind.  Mix with what you’ve learned during the live process.  Call for reserves if you need them.

Once you’ve tailored your presentation for your Prospect, hold back some work for Just in Case moments when things go South. When you need a Hail Mary.  Keep them not easily accessible (locked files, for example). 

Important cliché here:  Less is More.  I could show work for hours and still not run out of stuff I consider “bookable.”  Could - but don’t.  I show as little as possible.  When I get the big “aha!” response, start tapering off, being sure the last thing they see is just as strong as whatever wowed them most.  Even if I just show the Prospect’s favorite again, this time with more in-depth narrative.

While the following interviews (unless noted) were grounded in foreknowledge of some kind, how I used/reacted to that foreknowledge varied according to Prospect, my (shameless, I know) mood, personal needs/wants (not the same thing), even how hot it was that day and/or if they bought me lunch.

Load up on all the background you can.  You have but one reason to interact with a hiring Prospect:  Get The Offer.  Whether you’re looking, whether you want to work there - or not.*

Some of these past interviews lacked Prospect Centricity.  Some were in search of it.  Some had Prospect Centricity up the yin yang. One or two possibly lacked sanity, as well.

They were all fun.

This is important.  No matter how badly I needed the job, I ALWAYS HAD FUN WITH THE INTERVIEW.  Heresy, you say?   Not al all. 

If you’re having fun, your attitude‘s great.  You can control the interview, get into your groove.  You can hide how desperate for a job you really are. 

Every project – no matter how awful it was to produce – has a funny story in it.  

Every project, a moment where you shined, even if it was to break the ice with that funny story everyone else is too uptight to see.  Just make sure those stories have a point.  One that’s headed brilliantly in your direction.

What else have you done?

I hate focus groups.  But if I have to show work I did for a helicopter battery manufacturer, I love adding how the focus group helicopter pilots picked their teeth at the one-way mirror.  Love telling how the pilots loved the brand’s wet tee shirt calendars, hated the cheap-o batteries. (Female models in wet tees were standard until Gloria Steinem burned her bunny tail.)

Love even more, showing the camped up wet-battery (they upped their water proofing)-tee-shirt calendar everyone loved, but wouldn’t risk producing.  

Oh the fun - and freedom - of the desperado move!  The interviewing tanked on produced work, so I dug up parody calendar comps for a wet tee shirt wearing batteries and got the offer.  Which I did not take. (Creative Differences – I thought my produced work was much smarter than wet-tee batteries, even if the calendar parody was 100% on both interview and battery Prospects.)

The interviewer and I both walked away looking forward to working together sometime.

My unwritten law, if it’s not fun, I don’t want to do it. 

No matter how badly I need the job - if the interview’s not fun for me, it’s not fun for my Prospect.  Remember Marshall Pengra from the previous post?  “I hire people I like.”

All the following war stories were fun. Some obviously happened on a bad day for someone.

All make me laugh.  Some -- I still cringe. 

Can you tell which is which?

Never be ashamed of what you have – and haven’t – done.

Interviewing with the ECD and CEO of a worldwide agency’s most profitable franchise.  The market is depressed, shops are closing, an entire city - desperate for a job.  Myself included.

CEO:  This work is highly unusual.  And you don’t have a college degree?  (Foreknowledge:  Maybe I can intimidate her with the degree thing, get her for less $ - so much fun making job supplicants uncomfortable!)

KC:  If you can find someone with a college degree who can do this, hire them. (Stupid?  Maybe.  Scared?  Maybe – I was desperate for a job, like everyone else in the market.  But standing up to him was more fun, more confidence building than I imagined,)

Result:  KC gigged em another $5Gs.

Prospect Centric?  Absolutely.  The guy was a known bully.  I already had a soft offer from the shop’s other ECD.  Was senior enough to know if I flinched, I’d lose any equal footing I had.  (Note:  This was the only time my college degree (or lack thereof) was ever mentioned in an interview.  It’s about you and your book. Not you and your degree.)

Should you react the same way?  Not until you’re senior enough - or they’re desperate enough - to push back.  It sure was fun seeing the look on his face when he thought he might have blown it – I knew I had specific category experience they were desperate for.  Always pays to do your homework.  Always fun to make them pay for dissing you.  Once you have The Offer.

Let no number cross your lips.

Desperate for a job in a national recession.  Interviewing for a CD/GCD position I was not qualified for.  After making the interview rounds, was offered a different job.

ECD:  What would it take to move you up here?  But not as CD/GCD? (Translation: This isn’t the right spot for you, but I’d like to hire you anyway.  You’re good to let go and you’d be fun to work with.)

KC:  The recruiter said you pay GCDs $125K+.  What do you pay ACDs?  (Wrong wrong wrong.  If you’ve read any of my interviewing/salary negotiation pieces, you know to never introduce a number first. Even if you think you know it. Even if, as in this case, you’re using it as a non-number.)

What ECD heard:  $125k+.  (Never give up the first number.  Even if it’s not one you’re shooting for.)

Prospect Centricity:  Blew that one.

Result:  End of interview.

Should have responded with something like “What’d you have in mind,” then had fun ratcheting it up by emphasizing position’s importance and my strengths.

Bite or Cut Bait.

Stranded in a smaller market when regional gig closes doors.  Interviewing with ECD of different franchise of CEO with penchant for college degrees (above). Cut of same cloth.   In days of paper portfolios, he throws my samples onto couch, finding fault (small and large) in each piece. Stops watching my reel mid-way through.  Then makes an offer.

KC:  If my work’s so bad, why are you offering me a job?  (Better than telling him off, but not as much fun.  Foreknowledge – he’s an a$$hole.  Personal foresight – I have category experience he needs.  He’ll call for freelance (he did).

Prospect Centricity?  Up to your point of view.

Result:  KC thanks him for his time, leaves before he can answer.  Builds freelance business into award-winning creative boutique.

When you know better than to say less.

Interviewing name-on-door society CD of highly regarded small local/regional shop in new city.  Great personal rapport, but clouds of creative difference on the horizon.  An offer sensed as forthcoming.

KC (cutting offer off at the pass):  I have a rule not to work for anyone better looking than I am.  Otherwise I’d walk through fire to work with you.

Result:  Twenty-year friendship, with short period of award-winning freelance.  Name on Door gives elderly aunt and uncle royal tour of city, with exclusive private club lunch.

Prospect Centric?  Absolutely.  Played right to his ego, without insulting/hurting his feelings by turning down his job offer. 

Fun?  Interviewing with this guy was fun from the get-go.  We had such a great rapport – but that rapport was what let me see his egocentricity, which I turned into Prospect Centricity.  Although I knew better than to work for him myself, I sent him several juniors in my big international agency group who had a great time, built great books. 

One to grow on.

This is way too long, but this one included for all those who read my 8/21/18 post, That recruiter isn’t looking for a new BFF.

Interviewing for a great job for a great agency.  The Recruiter and I got on famously. Everything from shoes to Jack Russell Terriers in common.  So supportive, so certain I was perfect for the spot, so comforting in a huge shop full of people I didn’t know. 

As I worked my way through all the other interviews, I started noticing the questions seemed to all point to one I didn’t want to answer.  Something I had let slip to my new BFF, the Recruiter.  Deflected the issue as best I could.  Everyone loved my work.  Loved my background.

And kept asking about the one thing I did not want to discuss.

Prospect Centric?  Well, the Recruiter seemed to love me.  My research never indicated the Not Answered question was relevant. 

Stupid?  Absolutely.  The issue wouldn’t have even come up if I hadn’t “bonded” with my new BFF, the Recruiter.

Result:  No offer.  The Recruiter and I still talk, but never became best friends.  I am careful what I say to her.  And every other recruiter I talk to, even those I’ve known for years.  I do not lie.  I simply do not disclose. 

Don’t cry over spilled pop.

One last Quickie:  On my way to an interview, I spilled pop down the front of my top.  I tried to rinse it out, but the wetness grew and so did the spot.  With every new introduction, I said something like, “sorry, I’m usually not a mess but I hit bump drinking a can of soda on the way over.”

What they said:  Oh yeah!  Didn’t notice until you showed me!”

The reality:  Nine out of ten people never notice things like that – until you point it out.  Do your best to clean up.  Smile.  If they ask, make a joke of it.  If someone stares at the spot but says nothing, either make a joke (if you have a good one) or say nothing. 

If there’s time, there’s always a store nearby.  Sometimes it takes is a scarf.  Usually all it takes is Attitude.

Now get out there and have some fun.info

*A lot more to it, possibly another post, but your job is first to get the phone/Skype interview.  Then to get the in-person interview.  Then to get The Offer.  You may not want the offer, may not decide to take it even it’s great – up to you.  But until you learn how to control who gives you offers and who doesn’t, Job #1 is ALWAYS GET THE OFFER.

This blog post, as with everything else published in KamikazeCreative.blogpsot.com, ©2018, Doreen Dvorin/KamikazeCreative



Friday, September 21, 2018

Why I teach 2.0


Sean Riley, (ECD McCann Health/Singapore) swapping Doreen stories (former Portfolio Center Student), with Huu Anh Nguyen, Iris/Singapore (former Creative Circus student).

A small world, my friends.  Way too big to live it on a screen.
Family is everywhere.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Someone stop me - that darn Experience thing is keeping me up nights.

Not going to bore your with all, but here are some more directions a writer could take to avoid the Kamikaze Copy Sin "Experience, noun or verb."

Not saying they're great. Just staying if the operational word is "amazing" (and it should be), these came last night when the dog woke me to go out.

beyond
beyond amazing

define amazing

invoke amazing
evoke amazing

amaze
amazing

evolution
Charles Darwin Amazing
Darwin Amazing
No one believed in the Galapagos, either

amazing by the seat of your pants
seat of your pants amazing
seat of her pants amazing
seat of his pants amazing

do not do this with children

amazing evolved

The point - these are not great lines.

The point - they're all jumping off word thoughts worth a page or two, especially as from each version/page or two, you're find to find at least a half dozen more worth spinning.  Possibly the one that'll once and for all eliminate "Experience."

And replace it with whatever genius solution you came up with.  (Read blog posts on Advertising as Fashion.)

Got milk?  Be a Kamikaze Creative Copywriter.  Find me the equivalent for Experience.

This post, along with everything else contained in Kamikazecreative.blogspot.com, is (c) 2018, Doreen Dvorin/Kamikaze Creative

Friday, September 7, 2018

Kamikaze Copy Sin Quickie - What happens when a lazy writer sins badly.




It’s right there, in the last five or six editions of the Kamikaze Copy Sins.

Experience as both noun and verb.  Overused to the point of invisibility.  Passive, weak verb.  But mostly -

Lazy. 

Caught a new Lexus spot.  I’m a soft-core gear head.  Just brought home the latest Car and Driver.  Car spots should catch my eye – and ear.

This one, for a luxury sport model, put me to sleep.  Until I caught this, buried in the middle of monotone VO: experience amazing.

That’s not a line.  It’s a lost opportunity.  

It's close to being a line everyone else will wish they wrote.  The Kamikaze Copy Sin Experience kills it.

Prospect Centric copy does more than talk about the product.  Prospect Centric copy is haiku.  Visual.  Active.  Evocative. Memorable if not visceral.   With a twist.  Without losing the life centric vernacular of your prospect.

What is visual active evocative memorable if not visceral about the word (verb or noun) Experience?  Swear to all I believe, thought that word went out with poke-your-eye-out shoulder pads, Who shot JR and the 1980s.

Kamikaze Copy is a constant act of translating the thought.  Experience is the thought.  Not a haiku quality translation capable of putting seats in seats.

Work this – and every – line/s like a headline.

Experience amazing (Like amazing as something other than a modifier):
Live amazing (active)
Ride amazing (Ehhhh expected)
Drive amazing (overused)
immerse yourself in amazing (sounds nice but lacks performance, maybe a bit clunky)
slip into amazing (luxury/skews female)
sink into amazing (luxury)
surround yourself in amazing (sounds like interior, not what's under hood)
be amazing (getting to driver’s ego/want/sex center, but lazy verb)
live amazing (sounding better)
amaze yourself (hmmm)
amazing live (interesting)
amazing lives (better)
four wheels of amazing (not loving it, but maybe something to play with)
transform amazing (interesting, not quite but maybe a new track to work)
amazing transformed (much better – this stuff is addictive once you get going. Notice what flopping the words did.  Play some more.   If you're not having fun, go back to law school).*

Experience amazing.

Just because a word is easy, says it and is understood doesn’t mean it’ll motivate your Prospect.  The whole point of Prospect Centricity – why it’s so powerful – is injecting your concept/copy/content into the fabric of that Prospect’s life. 

Take another look at my very quick list of line runs.  (Superstar creative and Kamikaze Mentor Nick brought me five-eleven single spaced pages of a single line/idea every week.  nickcade.com – he came out well.)

Yes, it’s only body copy – but don’t you want that body copy to resonate?  With the client’s/product’s prospect – and yours (award show judges, anyone looking at your book).

Which line would you rather your Prospect sees?  A line that says it, structured to mimic someone’s ignorantly perceived language of the luxury sports Prospect?  

Or one that speaks in a magical, ego/dream reaching tongue they cannot ignore?

Experience is a major Kamikaze Copy Sin. 
To avoid these kinds of KC Sins, translate the thought.  Concept very line – headline, subhead, body copy and close - as memorable visual evocative motivational and well structured as your headline.  

Write every line for your client’s inner Prospect.  You’re writing every line for that dream shop CD, too. 

Now look at you book.  How many lost opportunities do you see?**


*No, I never got to “fantastic!  That's it!”  But that was less than five minutes of lines.  If it was my job, I’d still be playing with it.

**You may want to check my posts on ad haiku before you run your next line(s).  Should make a big difference.


This post, along with everything else, ©2018, Doreen Dvorin/Kamikaze Creative




Friday, August 31, 2018

More Interviewing Insights: It’s a big deal to you. For the agency who paid to fly you in, you may be the least important thing happening that day.




You have been planning for days.  Set aside an entire day – or two.

They squeezed you in between client meetings, creative confabs, production, billing, personnel hiccups, phone, looming deadline creative and new business pitches. 

That CD who was twenty minutes late to meet with you?  Then only stayed seven?  Probably had three other meetings run late, was backed up for a day, still looking to make the kids’ bedtime, dinner with clients, late new business pitch and/or date night with her partner - who she hasn’t seen all week.

In small shop/small market paradise, where things mostly move slower and everyone mostly goes home at five, days get jammed, too.  The three four five people you’re supposed to meet?  Things may be as busy as in a big shop.  Albeit on a smaller scale. 

A big chunk of how Interview Madness affects you, for good or bad?  How much you enjoy staring at walls, last minute punts, roll tide and agency reality.

Too much self-focus, you’ll miss even easy questions.  Lose confidence. 
Maybe even Blow It.

That job interview may be the most important thing you do all year.  Until there’s a CD/ECD/Partner after your name – it’s not likely the same for whatever agency’s paying for the trip. 

If you’re interviewing at a big shop, with several openings and several CDs/ACDs/ECDs to talk to, consider their workday context in which your presence exists.  If you’re also scheduled with HR, ADs, Account Services - pray Mercury isn’t Retrograde.

The agency is always in a better position to punt.  In your world, If ADs don’t show, you miss a big part in your decision making.  The ADs may have zip influence on the hiring shop’s.

Why am I scaring you like this?

Like everything else in life, your interview is Prospect Centric.  To a huge extent every person you do and don’t see on interview day is your Prospect.  In varying degrees, you are theirs.

If you accept this, you won’t wonder so much why your meeting with the CD was cut short.  The paranoia it could be they didn’t like you no longer has the power of your worst nightmare.  Yes, there may be some personal glitch.  Mercury could be Retrograde.

Maybe it’s just one of those days.

You’d best know how to roll with it.

The better you know your Prospect – the agency and all its players – the easier it’ll be.  It’ll unload one s***load of paranoid stress.  You’ll be able to mold the interview – no matter what does or doesn’t happen – in your favor.  The more you’ll learn.  The more fun you’ll have with it.

The more you know about what goes on in AgencyLand, the more you’ll be able to discern if it’s always like that.  Or if the agency’s having a day.  If the CD/ECD who couldn’t do more than stick her head in the door is rude.  Or if she was dealing with the madness, doing her best to keep the machine which could be paying your salary - earning it. 

Cut her the same slack you’d cut anyone you’d like to play with.  

If you’re there, they’re interested.  Seeing their needs first – in practical terms - tells you which campaigns to highlight, which part of job life to keep to yourself.

Prospect Centricity exposes an offer – accounts, money, start dates.  You will fulfill your needs/wants/dreams/realities best by seeing them through the lense of theirs.  Even if it tells you to Just Say No.

Example: 

Their need:  A talented just-above-a-Junior Junior Copywriter willing to work with X Art Director on Y account, no matter how many hours it takes.

Your need:   A salaried job with an Art Director good enough to do great work on a great account, propelling the great book you build to your next tasty gig.

Usual Junior Approach:  I want to work on your showcase account and work with an award winning/wildly talented AD and do great work for my book, win awards for my resume.

Prospect Centric Approach:  I want to be part of a great team, contributing my absolute best to an agency’s success while I grow by working within a smart, talented group so I can raise to their level.

Which do you want to hire?

You’re much more your best self when the mirror reflects your strengths through someone else’s needs.   Even if it’s only in their eyes.

Prospect Centricity.  It's not just for clients.


This entry, along with everything else published in this blog, (c)2018, Doreen Dvorin/KamikazeCreative.






Saturday, August 25, 2018

Lies my interviewer told me. Three warnings from a jaded old dame. Three posts in one!



Not to add stress, but there can be untruths in what people who want to hire you say.  

They know you want a job.  You know you’re competing with classmates, other portfolio school and college grads, interns, even people who’ve been working for a while.  

Unless you’re dealing with a top tier (one w/principled management and a sincere interest in employee growth and success), top culture (ditto, + fair salaries, honest opportunities and great work) shop, you’re likely to encounter at least one of these scenarios during your career. 

Heed my cautions.

There are great agencies who play fair.  Finding them and getting hired is the rub. 

Lie #1:  “The work hasn’t been up to creative snuff, but we’re retooling and hiring people to change that (+/- starting with YOU).”

Change starts at the top.  Of ALL departments.  Has the CEO signed on?  Everyone on the Account and Tech side?  What’s happening to the creatives who’ve been there all along?  Are established and new clients on board?

Ask to see current work.  Talk to new hires and old hands.  Ask to see what they’re working on now.  How the approval cycle works (if they gripe about how hard it is to get things approved, has new Creative direction made a difference?). 

If they’re starting the new creative push with YOU – a Junior – who’ll mentor you?  Good people take lesser jobs for many reasons.  Health insurance, location, money.  Hold judgement for jury duty.  If it’s the same creatives who’ve been there all along, they may not – or surprisingly may – be the mentors you want.  

Do your homework, find out.

Lie #2:  “We can only pay X now but raises and bonuses come fast and generous.” “People work here for less because we do such great work.”**

The national average raise is 2%.  Wages are historically depressed.  Pay varies with city, agency, accounts, perceived abilities (remember, it’s all subjective) and what you let them get you for.

LA shops pay less because everyone wants to live there.  SF, Boston, NYC shops pay more, but have you tried to find – and pay for – an apartment there? 

If a great creative shop expects you to work for less - up to you.  The one time I took a pay cut for creative reasons I got burned.  

If they’re small, have small accounts and nobody’s getting rich, it’s one thing.  If all the money rises to the top, something else.  (One former student tells tales of a Chicago shop customarily ripping off employees with a When we get rich, everyone gets rich lie.)

Everything is negotiable, but you have to appear to be trying to figure out how you’ll survive on that salary, then make them want to bump it up.  Unless you negotiate it beforehand and get it in writing, review dates are too often the least important thing HR and CDs remember. 

How much of a raise?  Remember that 2%.  Negotiate a minimum or range up front.  Get it in writing.  You may also want to negotiate a new title with that.  Salary ranges often tie to titles.

Bonuses?  Sound good, but they’re a better deal for the agency.  Everything is based upon salary.  Benefits (profit sharing, 401K, etc.), future raises, the salary at your next job.  A bonus may be a quick shot in the financial arm, but when you negotiate your real raise, you’ll be working from your original, lower salary, without the bonus.

Lie #3:  “We’ll start you out in the social media pool/worst account/your worst media nightmare, but you’ll move up soon.”

Suspend belief.  Once you prove you’re good at something no one else wants to do, the likelihood of quick change is slim.  I’ve worked in shops where there was an account hierarchy – start on the worst account, move on when someone else was hired.  But that required a vacancy or new business win.  

Former students – writer’s writers, good creatives, smart strategists – became so valuable in the social media pool they hated, they were stuck.  When they interviewed elsewhere, they had nothing else to show. No surprise, they decided advertising wasn't for them.

If the agency starts Juniors off on junk copy, but competes teams on the good stuff, you’ll get a chance to shine.  But will you have time to work on it?  Or will you be so busy with the stuff no one else wants to do, you’ll have to work nights, weekends if you want to be in the running?

I don’t want to scare you. 

I want you to be aware – but don’t want you to think that’s the way it works at all agencies.  It’s not big agencies or small agencies.  It can be any shop, any candidate, any time.

There are as many honest, fair dealing shops as those taking advantage.  Between an agency with good personnel policies and those selling ice to your Eskimo are many versions, both good and bad.

How do you know which is which?

Ask.  Ask your network of Circus grads.  Check the apps and sites populated by present/past employee critiques (with a jaundiced eye – some are strictly sour grapes). 

Want to ask someone who works there, but don’t know anyone?  Check for work you like, note the creatives responsible, email them.  Don’t start with questions about whether they’re working at an offending shop.  Start talking about their work, how much you like it, what did it take to get it produced, can you show them some work for critique? 

Don't like anything anyone's done?  Shoot for the Juniors.  They're closer to what you'll deal with. 

Build a relationship BEFORE you need one.  You’ll get all the dope you need.

I know the pressure of student loans.  The pressure of actually doing the work you trained for, have come to love.  The pressure of finally getting your foot in the door and being able to afford craft beer.

I understand the fear of blowing an interview.  

My job is to open your eyes, arm you for what may – or may not – lie ahead.

The key to interviewing, negotiating, developing almost second sight into anyone you deal with?  Prospect Centricity.*   The same Prospect Centricity that’s key to great creative.  Know who you’re talking to.  Who/what you’re dealing with. 

Above all, don’t be afraid to ask.  Don’t be afraid to negotiate.  

It’s their job.

But it’s your future.


*See That Recruiter isn’t looking for another BFF, 8/21/18.

**I’ve written extensively about salary negotiations.  My thoughts – and methods – have been published in CMYK and How to put your book together and get a job in Advertising, 10th edition.

This post, as with everything posted on kamikazecreative.blogspot.com, is ©2018, Doreen Dvorin/Kamikaze Creative.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

That Recruiter isn’t looking for another BFF.




Here’s a bit of Doreen Heresy.  Recruiters are not your friends. 

They're your Prospects.

Recruiters work for Ad Agencies.  On staff or independent, no matter how much they (seem to?) like you, your work.  No matter how much you have in common.  Their job depends upon your wanting their job.  Whether they want you - or not.  

I know recruiters who champion candidates they believe in up the agency creative food chain. Some are personal friends.  Some professional friends.  Some, respected colleagues I’ve developed open channels with over the years. 

They’ll go to bat for a candidate they think a really good fit.  But no matter how friendly, how encouraging, their first loyalty is to the agency, their “client.”  Not to you.

Hopefully, you know the questions they can’t ask – and you shouldn’t answer.  Marital status.  Romance.  Religion.  Sexual orientation.  Gender Identity.  Ethnic revelations.  Children or no?  

Your medical history?  They're thinking how it can potentially affect the working of the Creative Department or the cost of agency health insurance. 

That rotten – or golden – childhood?  Unless you can discuss it in terms of why it makes you their best option, what about it you’ve parlayed into understanding Prospects, concepting, being a writer’s writer, etc., don't waste valuable interview time on it?

Ego Centricity vs. Prospect Centricity

I’m not saying turn into ME ME ME I’M SO GREAT Ego Incarnate.  No one likes that.  As my friend and very smart ex-ad guy Marshall Pengra once told my class, “People hire people they like.”  Not people who pontificate, talking only about themselves and how great they are.

Sell your abilities and what makes you different – ergo better – than others.  Just do it through the mirror your Prospect – the Recruiter, CD and everyone else you talk to – uses to reflect qualities they like and need.

I’m not saying turn into a sycophant.  I’m saying talk from their needs and how something about you makes you the best qualified to fulfill them.

Prospect Centricity, from the Job Candidate POV

Creative Strategy and Prospect Centric Thinking gives you all the tools you need.  

Research agency work, personalities, awards and portfolios  (especially of anyone you’ll be interviewing with), accounts, account changes – recent and historically.

Find out what they’re looking for, for which clients, CDs, ECDs, Group CDs, ADs, ACDs, account teams.  What’s the work like, both agency wide and on the specific account with openings.  What’s the culture?

Mine the web, trade magazines and most importantly, your amazing network of Circus grads who work there now, interviewed there before you, passed through on the way to their next job/promotion.  

Mine instructors – we may have friends and freelance clients you may conceivably be interviewing with.  Or who can put in a good word, put your book in front of the right people when the time comes.

Once you have a handle on the shop, who works there, what they’re looking for, you can see – and interact with – the Recruiter and agency as Prospects.

Like all Prospects, you want to establish honest relationships between people who like, understand and respect each other. 

When you’re asked “What do you want in your first job,” filter the question through your Prospect Centric training (not trained that way?  Be sure to catch my next Circus Kamikaze Creative Strategy workshop.).  Do it right, you won’t answer your new “friend” with what YOU want.  You’ll answer from your Prospect’s point of view.

Instead of “Great work that’ll get me my next award/job/etc.,” you want to work for an agency whose work and people you can contribute to.  The team you want to help build.  The new creative spice you hope to bring to their already well seasoned table.  How your Circus training made you ready to think on your feet, hit the ground running.

Instead of “A place with good mentors I can learn from,” discuss bringing fresh, strategic creative skills for the good of agency and client.  How your unique creative point of view meshes w/theirs and can sweeten the strategic and creative pot.  How you want to get better - by making the work better.

That year you took off between college and Circus/job search?  Not the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to see Europe.  A chance to study the global market as individual and collective Prospects.  To understand what drives and motivates people with different experiences and cultures than you.

Those dogs/cats/kids/horses/parrots you and the Recruiter love in common?  Not an invitation to go off about the dog who’s so smart, so loving, so amazing….blah blah blah blah Time’s Up.  An opportunity to relate to that Recruiter where he/she lives. Making the brief but unmistakable point you’ll more than fit in.

Your job is to establish a benefit for your Prospect.  

That bubbly, personable (and often sincere, if somewhat skewed) Recruiter is just that.  Your Prospect.  As is everyone else you talk to.

I’m not suggesting you stay closed and defensive, hiding yourself in an effort to be Exactly What Is Needed.  You’re not All Things to All People – try to be, you become nothing.

I’m telling you to present yourself through the needs, wants and insights of whoever is interviewing. 

If you don’t, someone else will get the job you want.  

All you’ll be left with is hindsight.  

Or a whole lot of confusion – We got along so well, I thought we’d hang out after I moved up there – what went wrong? if you’re not.


This post, as with everything else published in this blog, (c)2018, Doreen Dvorin/Kamikaze Creative.