10 Interview Tips from AMC’s Mad Men


Well, looks like Mad Men withdrawal has set in, everyone. It’s only been a month or so and I’m having a hard time with it.

From an outsider’s perspective, Sterling Cooper appears to be half circus, half perfect-place-to-work. Afternoon drinks get the creative juices flowing, people don’t hold back opinions, and everyone there is charming, in their own little way. You’d work there, right? Honestly, if I could carry Roger Sterling around in my pocket for the rest of my working life, I’d be a happy lady.

There’s a lot to learn from this show, so we’ve gathered some Mad Men gifs for advice on nailing your next interview.

1. You got the call!

Mad Men Sally Draper

Somebody wants you. Or at least was intrigued enough by your resume that they’d like to meet the personality that goes along with it. Keep your cool. When they ask about your availability to interview, pretend you don’t have an excessive amount of free time in your schedule. And if you actually don’t? Even better. A company wants someone who is also wanted elsewhere.

2a. On Interview Eve, get a good night’s sleep..

Mad Men Don Draper

2b. ..followed by an excellent breakfast the next morning.

Mad Men Peter Campbell

People don’t realize, but getting enough sleep, especially the night before an interview is crucial. You’re sharper, quicker with answers, you don’t fumble, and you look alive. In this interview, you may only be representing yourself, but if you’re hired you’ll be representing the company, and they want someone who can take care of themselves.

Maybe Don’s not the best example here.

3. Arrive within the Goldilocks window of time.

Mad Men Peggy  Olson

Don’t arrive late, but don’t arrive too early. Five minutes is perfect. Any earlier and you’ll spend an awkward amount of time with the receptionist, not to mention you’ll rush (and annoy) your interviewer.

4. Stay calm.

Mad Men Pete  Campbell

Your pulse might be going a mile a minute, but keep that to yourself throughout the interview. Speak clearly and deliberately. Don’t eagerly throw your answer in their face, let it roll off the tip of your tongue. Gives you time to really think about what you’re saying.

5a. Pay attention.

Mad Men Roger Sterling

5b. PAY ATTENTION.

Mad Men Don Peggy

Notice the workspace, notice what the people wear, what they’re talking about, and what’s important to this company. Context clues. Are the walls blank or covered with posters? Do they have the latest and greatest technology? Be aware of your interviewer’s personality. Blanket advice can’t be given as far as how to interact in an interview – you have to read the signs. If the person across the table from you is very professionally dressed and speaks formally, you’re expected to do the same. If they’re a little more casual or easygoing, you can let your personality show a little bit more. Don’t push it– it’s still an interview, and it still dictates your future at the company, but it means they’re probably very interested in the type of person you are as much as the type of worker you are.

6. Show ’em what you got.

Mad Men Roger juggling

And if it’s orange juggling, best of luck to you. No matter how the interview has gone up until this point, keep your confidence level high. Be proud of your work, and make sure to explain it well.

7. Be polite.

Mad Men Roger Peggy clapping

If you need to meet with several people and your smile died after Person 2, keep up appearances. Be just as friendly as you were with your original interviewer. They all probably have a say in this decision, otherwise you wouldn’t be meeting with them.

8. Say goodbye.

mad_men_joan_hug

A solid handshake will do. A “thank you” will also do. And a follow-up email reaffirming your interest in the position will mandatorily do.

9. If it went well, postpone the Happy Dance. 

Mad Men Lane Joan dance

Not in the elevator. Not even in the parking lot. This also applies to any sort of victory phone call. You don’t know who you’re sharing an elevator with, and there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.

10. Don’t harumph if you don’t hear back immediately.

Mad Men Peggy

Interviewing is a long process sometimes. However, if they promised you a call “either way,” and if they didn’t follow through, you’re welcome to politely inquire.

So there you have it. Surely, this doesn’t cover everything, but it’s an excellent place to start. You can survive the interview process until Mad Men’s return next year.

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