|Don't Get That Job and Be Happy About It: The Application Process
By: Brian Keller
Occasionally our columns are about getting a job in advertising. We do this as a service for our millions of readers. Most of what we write can cross over into other industries as well, so we guess that we’re helping billions. This is the first of two pieces on how to not get a job anywhere and be happy about it.
The way not to get a job in advertising, or anywhere else, is to not put up with the endless array of idiocies that populate job applications. Job seeking has always been a frustrating and humbling experience, and now with the burgeoning of robot readers and unanswerable questions it has become, in many cases, degrading as well. When you find an incomprehensible application, turn the table. If the application is bad, just imagine actually getting the job.
We searched a number of job boards that called for us to upload a resume, which is a valid method of collecting information. During the application process, many asked us to fill in our employment, school history, honors and awards, address, links, etc. We guessed that this information would be different than a resume, so we submitted different information to show we were sensitive to our future employer's needs.
Our resume upload states that our current position is: Creative Director.
Our answer to the query on the application about our current position was: Thoracic Surgeon.
Under education, our resume states that we went to grad school at NYU (Tisch School of the Arts) with a concentration in Cinema Studies.
Under the education query on the application, our answer is: Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (Veterinary School) in the Philippines.
We did that for the entire process. It seemed to go well as our “resume” on the application was pretty impressive. We also think that, on the application, using Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, and Charlie Sheen as references helped.
Upon finishing this task, we got to the questions below. Our answers are in italics.
All of our positions are full-time and on-site (here in our office in ______ in the state of ___). Does that line up with what you are looking for?
“This is not what I’m looking for. That’s why I answered your ad. I thought you were in a city and state other than the one listed in your ad. I also thought it was a part-time job where I would be paid as full time.”
Tell us about your creative strengths and weaknesses.
“Creatively, my strengths are different and varied and the variation of my different strengths coalesced into one cohesive whole as my main strength. My weaknesses are few and varied and by consolidating my few weaknesses into one I have turned weakness into strength. Look into my strength pile section of your questions and try to find weakness.”
What most excites you about this opportunity?
“I've worn out my welcome where I am (as I have tried to do the job I was hired to do when I was hired and that has not worked out with the people who hired me) and a new job, soon, would be good. Leaving the area may appease state officials as well."
What’s driving you to look for a different opportunity?
"Drive is a key element in my search. I find that I have either zero or little drive. Your place looks perfect for my ennui.”
Please briefly describe you experience in leading a creative team.
"For over 16 years I’ve found that being a creative director is a job where I can always blame someone who is not me. I have mastered the terms: “End of the day,” “Circle back,” “team,’ “We’re all grown-ups,” “I’ll ream out account services as soon as I’m done,” “It’s about the work,” “This has to go vertical,” “UX and UI,” “It’s big data, that’s the problem” (to other creatives), “I’m all about data but the staff can’t seem to parse” (to anyone not in the creative department while I explain off-target work), and more. I use these tools (plus a touch of real paranoia) to lead my team."
Tell us about your familiarity with (our company).
"I love your company. Your work is amazing. At the end of the day, it’s about the work. I see how you use data go vertical with almost everything. When we meet, I’d love to circle back to this question. I assume we will meet and no one has poisoned the well in regards to me as there are a few who are scared of my talent and may try to sabotage my team-building.”
How are you pushing yourself to grow?
“BuzzFeed comes to my Facebook page and I answer a quiz almost every day. As a rock star, I got Jim Morrison and am proud to be associated with someone who was portrayed in a movie by Val Kilmer.”
What are you most passionate about?
“I have a 22-year-old girlfriend in cosmetology school and I’m passionate about making money to support her education. But, at the end of the day, it’s really all about the work."
Please provide URLs to show examples of your work.
"URLs are good. I’ll gather them and circle back with links. I’m sending some great stuff I’ve done recently for Polaroid.”
Please add links to your social media pages.
“I’d be happy to and will as soon as I’m reinstated.”
What questions do you have for us?
“Thanks for giving me space to ask questions. It’s much appreciated.
Why do you make me upload a resume and then, in effect, make me create another resume?"
Why do you make myself and countless others answer ridiculous questions and then top it off by asking for a cover letter?
How would you feel if you were on the receiving end of the redundant soul-erasing minutiae that populates your application page? I would suppose you would feel affronted like the way you feel now after receiving this application sent to you by someone who is wasting your valuable time.
My time during my job search is valuable as well. Think about it.”
Yes, we did actually send a version of this to an employer and are readying ourselves for a Skype interview with 12 people from our future "not employer."
So, what makes you happy and how can you apply that happiness to make everyone involved in Beyond Madison Avenue richer than Warren Buffett? In installment two, we cover the cover letter.
Brian Keller is the Creative Director at teeny agency in Baltimore. He graduated from the University of Maryland (English), went to grad school at NYU (Cinema Studies), & attends University of Baltimore School of Law.
Brian's been working primarily in the digital space for years but enjoys all communications avenues.
He has built the creative departments at two agencies.
He likes skateboarding with his son. He also falls off his skateboard and amuses his son. When not amusing his son or riding bikes or playing basketball or working he writes for Beyond Madison Avenue & that's why Beyond Madison Avenue appears twice in this sentence.
Find him online here and at www.teenyagency.com.