Stand Tries: The (gr)Ad Scheme Interview

Today I undertook my first real-proper-job interview. I didn’t know it was happening when I woke up this morning, I didn’t wear a suit and I didn’t even see my interviewer.

BMB are a top London ad agency, who you may recognize by their quintessentially English Yorkshire Tea campaign or maybe their Big Bold Grolsch adverts. They are the genii behind a ton of awesome campaigns and websites, and they’re shaking up recruitment with an ‘interviews for all’ policy. For one day only, all you have to do is go to their website and spin the Skype roulette to be in with the chance of landing a 7 minute interview, and subsequently a role as an Account Executive.

I did some minimal research on the company and what an Account Exec actually is (still not sure), and just went for it. I spun the roulette and within thirty seconds, my laptop was ringing. Not expecting it to be quite so speedy, I realize I’m decked out in the ultimate in casual lecture-wear, a black t-shirt with ‘CHILL’ boldly emblazoned across my chest. Clearly someone who wears clothing this ill-mannered does not deserve a job anywhere, ever, so in my panic I whip it over my head and turn it backwards. So, instead of the interviewer seeing a slogan slave adolescent, he saw an idiot who clearly cannot dress herself correctly.

I finally answer the call, trying to smile and hide my nervousness. A surprisingly pleasant voice comes through the laptop: John, my interviewer, is extremely non-threatening and actually rather friendly, not quite the booming, disapproving tone I was expecting. In fact, I hope every subsequent interview I have in my graduate life is hosted by John, and although I couldn’t see him through Skype (very positive as it felt like I was just talking to myself) I’m sure I would recognize his cheery tones IRL.

He goes on to ask me some questions, which I babbled my way through trying to be funny and ultimately failing miserably. I think I peaked when he told me his surname – Brock – and I felt it appropriate to exclaim ‘OMG like pokemon!’ Not only can I not dress myself, my primary inspiration seems to draw itself from a cartoon phenomenon. A prime candidate for the job indeed.

As for Skype interviews, they’re not so bad. He couldn’t see my anxious knee jiggling or my pajama trousers, and although we did for one awful second have a sound issue – the Skyper’s worst nightmare – it resolved itself quickly and without really interfering.

My main piece of wisdom I took away from the experience today was this: turns out – gasp – agencies and their staff actually want you to feel comfortable, show your best side and feel welcomed by their company, so you don’t run away in a frenzy after your horrible interview experience screaming ‘I AM NOT WORTHY’. Grads, don’t be scared – they are interviewing you because they want people like you, and if you can just not be an idiot for seven minutes or so the job might be yours. Relax. Breathe. You are a strong, independent, desirable (wo)man.

BMB, kudos. This is a truly innovative plan which sets a fantastic tone for your agency as an employer, and a great equal-opportunity move. If you’re wondering what to do with your life and graduation is fast approaching, get yourself onto BMB’s website before 11pm tonight and give an interview a go – even if you’re terrible like me, it’s an awesome experience and a great bit of practice for the future.


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