August 4, 2016
The Ultimate Guide to Interviewing for an Ad Sales Job
Here are his top tips for what to do in an ad sales interview.
1. Dress for the company you’re interviewing for
“In any interview situation and especially in ad sales, it can be nerve-wracking to figure out what to wear,” Sam explains. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. “It’s totally normal to email the recruiter and ask them what the dress code for the office is and then get a feel from there,” he assures us. One key thing to note is that ad sales is a casual environment so wearing a suit will automatically make you stand out (and not in a good way). Instead, focus on wearing something that fits into the business casual category such as slacks and a button-down shirt for men or nice pants and a blouse for women.
2. Keep your resume to one page
The second key thing Sam suggests is keeping your resume to one page. “I recommend optimizing the experience you have towards the interview you’re going in for and keeping it within a page maximum,” he says. This is especially important for recent grads who don’t often have significant professional experience. By keeping your resume short and focused, you’ll be helping hiring managers see both your skills and your potential.
3. Keep your “About Me” to under 60 seconds
Being able to give a concise description of your background is a great way to engage the interviewer and give them a sense of who you are both personally and professionally. In addition to telling the hiring manager where you’re from and what you’re studying in school, be sure to offer solid examples and to focus on facts that relate to the industry or to your previous academic and internship experiences.
4. Relate your experiences back to the role you’re interviewing for
Few things are as important during an interview as being able to relate your experiences back to the position you’re interviewing for. This important for two reasons: 1) It lets hiring managers know that you understand the role and have a good sense of how your skills will match the company’s needs 2) It shows that you’re engaged in the interview process and able to talk about your experience in a relevant, articulate way.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions
Asking clarifying questions is another key factor of a successful interview. These types of questions will help you understand exactly what the interviewer is asking and to give answers that will resonate with them. Although asking clarifying questions might seem a bit intimidating, you shouldn’t be afraid to do it. In fact, hiring managers really appreciate it when you clarify the question because it shows that you care about answering the question well.
6. Give examples of how you can manage big personalities
Whether you’re working for an agency or a publisher, one of the main day-to-day challenges of ad sales is being able to manage lots of competing needs and personalities. This is something that Sam asks about when interviewing candidates at Snapchat and a skill he emphasizes as being key to any ad sales job.
7. Make sure your passion shines through
Passion is important for any position, especially a client-facing one where you’ll be serving as the face of the brand. A great way to show this passion is by giving specific examples of things you’ve done to turn one of your visions into a reality. For example, have you developed a specific program at your school to benefit students or led your sorority in fundraising for a charity? This is the time to mention that.
8. If you need more time, repeat the question before answering
Repeating the question back is a great way to buy yourself some time during an interview, particularly if you encounter a question you weren’t prepared to answer. Added bonus: Framing the question clearly in your mind will help you come up with a more targeted, focused answer.
9. Be honest when talking about your passion and excitement for the company
Showing sincere excitement about a company is a great way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for a position and to show that you’re a cultural fit for the role. “Whether you’re interviewing at a brand, an agency or at a publisher, make sure you understand how it works so that you can speak confidently,” Sam advises. This will ensure that your passion shines through and that the interviewer knows how excited you are about the role.
10. Do your research and find examples to reference
Doing your research is key when interviewing for any position but it’s especially important for something like ad sales where you’ll likely be asked about specific ads that you think are working well. “If you’re interviewing for an advertising role at any company, you should really be doing a lot of research on the app to take note of advertising,” Sam explains. Another key piece of advice: “You should make note of going into each part of the app and trying to identify advertisements that you can speak to as examples.”
11. Pick a relevant brand and give specific examples of what they do well
If you’re asked to give an example of a company that is doing great things in the digital space, focus on one that is developing innovative campaigns while also building a strong community around their brand.
Pro Tip: Although you may be tempted to offer the brand you’re interviewing with as an example, don’t. This will come across as insincere and also show that you’re not fully up to speed on what’s going on in the digital landscape.
12. Be yourself and show your personality
Being yourself is key in any interaction with a potential co-worker or manager, but it’s especially important during your interview where you’re trying to assess whether the role will be a good fit for you. On the interviewer side, Sam emphasizes that when he interviews candidates for Snapchat, he wants to make sure that he looks for people who will be a good fit for the company culture as well as for the role. “You want to check that this person is going to fit well on your team, that they’re going to meld into the culture nicely,” he explains.
13. Ask questions! Have a few prepared so you don’t get stuck
“Anytime you go into any interview, and especially in advertising, it’s super important to come prepared with a few questions,” Sam says. “Whether it’s about what the daily role will look like or what the interviewer thinks of his or her current role, you need to have a few questions to prompt further conversation and to show that you’re engaged.” When preparing your questions, think about what you’d most like to know about the position or the company and lead with that.
Pro Tip: If you really want to end the interview on a high note, ask the hiring manager about their best moment at the company. This is a great way to get them to reflect on what they love about their job and a perfect way to wrap up the interview.
14. Ask for contact information and send a thank you email
“Thank you notes are probably one of the most key pieces of follow-up to any interview,” Sam says. In fact, thank you notes are a great way to remind hiring managers about your good qualities and to let them know that you appreciate their time. Best of all, thank you notes will make you stand out. “A lot of interviewers and a lot of hiring managers especially focus a lot on the thank you note,” Sam emphasizes. So be sure to send one as soon as possible, preferably the same day.
Interviewing for a position in ad sales is a great way to test out the waters and see whether a career in advertising would be a good fit for you. Although it may seem a bit intimidating at first, by doing your research, knowing what other brands are doing and being confident in your answers, you’ll be sure to nail your interview and maybe even land a job at a great company like Snapchat. One final piece of advice from Sam: Be yourself. “Because that’s who you are and that’s what sets you apart in any interview.”
Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 6 Things to Do in Your First Week at a New Job and find answers to common interview questions such as Why Do you Want to Leave Your Current Job Or Internship?