Friday, June 24, 2011

Job Interviews: A Side By Side Comparison…

Last Friday, I ended my week with a phone interview with a woman from a placement agency I’ve worked with in the past. Though I hadn’t worked with the woman, I figured from my experience with the placement agency that it would go well.

Boy, was I wrong.

The call began with questions about my experience, which is typical, but when I told her what I’d done, she refused to believe me. I said I’d written for the web and she said, “That’s just writing things that went on the web that’s not writing FOR the web.” I said I’d written advertisements and she said, “You just wrote text that was used in advertisements. That’s not the same thing.”


I couldn’t get her to understand that they were both the same and, after a torturous half hour, she called me a liar and said she refused to work with me.

… nice. Welcome to the world of the unemployed.

Now, cut to yesterday. Someone at an ad agency had seen my profile on Linkedin and, through a circuitous and confusing path, contacted me through another placement agency I use. This agency needed a writer who understood tech and wanted to bring me on. When I spoke with the contact, he didn’t wait a minute and asked me to meet with him right away.

“I’m not exactly ready,” I tapped danced. “I just need time to shave and –”

“Don’t worry about shaving. I know it’s last minute. I just want to meet to get the ball rolling.”

So, I met him. I think he was trying to see how I handled change and stress because, when we met, he said, “It means a lot to me that you were able to meet with me on such short notice.”

Working for an ad agency is a big step for any marketing copywriter. It’s really where you want to be. But to do it, you often already need experience – one of those wonderful Catch 22s… But he was fine with my lack of agency experience because, he said, I had so much good experience and talent that could be put to use.

When I told him about my background, he didn’t call me a liar or just assume I was trying to trick him.

I don’t know if I’ll get the job but you put those two interviews side by side and you see two very different styles. I really hope I get this ad agency job; it could mean a big step for me. If not, I hope I never get another interview where the person I meet with assumes I’m a liar.

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