On my way to work this morning, I drove by a nondescript office park that I’ve passed a thousand times. Dentists, lawyers, and one company of particular interest: a small advertising agency.
This agency was one of dozens that I contacted not just once, but twice after being laid off. With my experience at smaller agencies, my solid (not going to lie and say it’s awesome) portfolio, and the fact that I lived 10 minutes up the road, I thought I’d at least land an interview.
Their response? Nothing. Not a rejection letter, no “thanks but no thanks” email, no “get lost, sillypants” phone call.
Were they so busy they couldn’t respond?
Was I such a lousy candidate that they were disgusted by the very thought of me?
My conclusion: They’re jerks.
This business is full of them. I’ve worked with all kinds of them — from the philandering, vulgar president/CEO to the egomaniacal and hacky creative director. From the art director who hates copy to the account executive who hates art and copy.
But seriously, how much effort does it take to write and send a quick email?
“Dear So-And-So: Thanks for sending us your stuff. We don’t have any openings for you right now, but we’ll keep you on file.”
Wow, that was hard.
A Few Good Eggs
Of the more well known shops that I’ve applied to over the years, there are two that stand out in my mind.
Crispin Porter & Bogusky — At the time, they were the up-and-coming hot shop. They did all the campaigns that everyone was talking about, both in the industry and among the general public.
And somebody in CP&B HR took the time to contact me. (Can’t remember if it was snail mail or email.) They must have been drowning in applications and resumes and portfolios, but they still responded. And it felt oddly good.
BooneOakley (or OakleyBoone) — I had seen the two principals speak and was impressed by their humility, creativity, and hilarity. A single man at the time, I definitely would have moved all the way to North Carolina for a chance to work with them.
So I sent an email that I thought was clever, and the one who’s a writer (can’t remember which is which) responded. We went back and forth a couple times, but then our torrid email affair (all professional, mind you) ended. Even when the emails stopped, I felt validated that someone out there at a quality agency would be interested in my work.
The Not-So-Epic Conclusion
I got my last job via social media. A Facebook friend (who I’ve still never met, but we have many colleagues in common) knew I was looking and hooked me up with a former boss of his. She had an opportunity that fit me very well, and I had an interview and the job within two weeks. (That was in my “Corporate Hack” days.)
Currently, I’m at a digital agency thanks to a former colleague who brought me in for an interview when she knew there was going to be an opening. Networking works, people.
The moral of the story? You can be darned sure that when I have my own agency, every single applicant will get a response.
Share your rejection story in the comments below — I promise it won’t end up in the circular file.
After a year of creative incarceration in Corporate World, your beloved Corporate Hack finally distracted the guards, outran the bloodhounds and scaled the wall to make his escape. Now that he’s back where he belongs in Ad World, he’s re-branded himself as The Inside Man...but he’s still having Ad-Verse Reactions.