Category Archives: Interview Tips

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


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.


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.

Twelve Tips for 12/12/12

12 12 12

Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that today is a special day that won’t happen again in our lifetime!  We wanted to share a few tips that you can do to help your creative career and job search efforts in 2013…

  1. Take time to update your resume and portfolio. A current resume and portfolio show you are a savvy creative, marketing or interactive professional who is serious about your job search!
  2. Do your homework before you head to your interview. Know who you are meeting with and what the company does. You don’t start cooking without a recipe, so remember to educate yourself!
  3. What about your portfolio?  What do you want your portfolio to represent? Does it have range? Hiring managers like timeless pieces and portfolios that touch many different areas. Is your portfolio easy to navigate through?
  4. Leave the bad day behind. Remember, you can always make lemons out of lemonade. A positive candidate on an interview is one hiring managers can envision working for them, show your enthusiasm!
  5. Attend a networking event or sign up for one! In real estate it’s location, location, location. In a job search its network, network, network! Who do you know? Who do they know? Use LinkedIn to navigate through groups and connections and build relationships this way! Utilizing a staffing agency also expands your network, giving you reach to their network as well.
  6. Be sure you’re not still using those words on your LinkedIn profile and remember not to be too wordy! If you are bored reading what you did at your last job, so will a hiring manager. You’re creative, show it.
  7. Get inspired. Ask yourself where your inspiration comes from. What inspires you? Share these pictures, videos, or articles and most likely you’ll inspire others as well! Pinterest is a great outlet to showcase your inspiration and portfolio pieces.
  8. Reflect on the past twelve months – what did you like or not like about this year career wise? Want to keep freelancing or would a permanent position work better for you? Craving more room for creativity?  Think about how can you improve your career or search in 2013!
  9. Do you work with a great team?  Let them know you appreciate them (thank yous go a long way!) Make LinkedIn recommendations, call out your co-workers on Twitter. Let them feel the LOVE!
  10. Stay positive – no one likes a Debbie Downer or Bob Bummer. Positive people exude more confidence naturally!
  11. Connect with CM Access – take a minute now to LIKE us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (and be sure to subscribe to our Blog) Why? Because we want to stay in touch and love to share industry tips, great portfolios, and even some inspiration from fabulous celebrities who are creatives themselves!
  12. Happy 12/12/12 – Don’t forget to seize the day/month/year!

Test Your Job Search Knowledge…

testDecember is a great time to…

  • A.  Connect with Friends and Family
  • B.  Drink eggnog
  • C.  Find a great job!
  • D.  All of the above

If you answered all of the above, you’re correct!  December is a perfect time to continue your job search, and just to prove it, we’re featuring some great Hot Jobs…

Don’t let December slow you down.   Give us a call to learn more about these and other great creative, interactive and marketing opportunities!

When Life Gives You Lemons…

Such a simple solution to make something positive out of something negative.   Every job seeker needs to know how to make their own lemonade when they don’t get the job.

There is a plethora of advice available on how to “get the job.”  But what happens when you’ve taken all the proper steps and you still don’t get the call asking you when you can start? Rejection is disappointing, but turning a negative into a positive is the best thing you can do to move forward.

Handle rejection with professionalism to protect your reputation and your brand:

  • Express gratitude: After hearing back from the hiring manager, thank them for their consideration.  Asking for feedback can help you gain insight into whether there were any particular skills or examples of work that would have had a more positive impact. Check out “How to Ask Why You Didn’t Get the Job” for advice on this tricky conversation.
  • Don’t be defensive: It’s easy to get offended and flash your defensive side, but conducting yourself in the most professional manner possible when you don’t get the job can leave the door open and won’t damage your reputation (remember, it’s a small world).
  • Utilize the experience and feedback: Think of rejection as a chance to improve. This is a great time to refine your resume, portfolio and job expectations.

Remember, you will bounce back, and thinking of this temporary setback as a learning experience can make you a better job candidate, and ultimately, a better employee.

Leo Hiring Horoscope

Leo (July23-August 21) Leo is a Fire sign ruled by the planet Sun. Leo needs to have control whether at home, in a relationship or at the workplace.  Easily able to forgive and forget – Leo will strike back if crossed. Leo has an infective energy that will capture the attention of others. 

If you are searching for a job: As confident and ambitious as you may be, a job search can be frustrating. Take control of the hunt and contact CM Access for help with your job search. Our Career Advocates take a personal approach to recruiting and placing qualified interactive, creative and marketing professionals and they’ll match you with that perfect high energy position.

If you are hiring:  Use your love for the new and unexpected to find a candidate that will bring life to a position. Search for someone with your energy to keep the team motivated and active.  Don’t settle for a candidate based only on their qualifications – personality and fit are just as important.

Business Compatibility: Leo, Gemini and Capricorn

Cancer Hiring Horoscope

Cancer (June 21-July22) Cancer is a Water sign ruled by the planet Moon. Cancer have a strong intuition, some may even suggest psychic.  They are dependable and loyal, always standing up for what they believe in.  Moody at times, Cancer never stop caring for those close to them.

If you are searching for a job: Rely on your intuition in your job search, do not follow the mood swing of the week and accept the first job offer that comes along.  You should not only seek the ideal job, but also a company that shares your beliefs and professional ideology. The right company will value your dependability, strong voice and commitment to hard work.

If you are hiring: Be sure a candidate fits with your company’s culture before making a hiring decision.  Restarting the recruitment and hiring process to replace a bad match is time consuming and costly. You may experience push-back from others, but stand your ground and speak up for the candidate you believe in. Trust your instinct and hire the perfect candidate the first time.

Business Compatibility: Taurus, Cancer and Aquarius

3 Things You Should Do to Not Get the Job…

If you don’t want to land your dream job, pay attention.  We have three tips to ensure you won’t be getting that next great opportunity and what could potentially be the best job ever:

  1. Exude Overconfidence – Give your prospective employer a good dose of you… only to the 100th power.  Be sure you talk only about yourself; don’t ask questions that relate to the position and the company.  Pepper the conversation with words like “guru,” “super-creative,” and more!  You’ll have them escorting you to the parking lot in no time!
  2. Dress Like You’re Grooming Your Dog – To be disqualified from the pool of candidates, just roll out of bed, throw on the outfit that’s hanging on the treadmill next to your bed and – Voilà! You’re interview ready.  Not dressing professionally and appropriately for the company’s culture is a must for anyone who’s not ready for a new career.  (Psst…You may not even make it past the reception desk with this one!)
  3. Be Completely Unprepared – Resume?  Portfolio?  Bah, who needs them?   If you want to completely botch your chances of a promising future, go ahead and fill in the blanks of your resume in pen. (Bonus points if you’re in the lobby right before your interview.) Be sure to exclude any relevant and competitive skills. To really seal the deal, leave out your portfolio pieces that showcase the exact skills they were looking for.

Of course, these are only a few things you can do to sabotage your chances of getting the next great gig. If you’re serious about real interview advice on landing your dream job, give CM Access a call – we’ll point you in the right direction!

Gemini Hiring Horoscope

Gemini (May 22 – June 21) Gemini is an Air sign ruled by the planet Mercury.  Clever and energetic, Gemini are not afraid to speak their minds – though they may have trouble making up their minds. Gemini fear routine and monotony, they will not sit and watch the world fly by.

If you are searching for a job: Focus your energy into your job search and pinpoint the position you are seeking. Utilizing your gift of articulation and go-getter attitude, attend networking events to increase your circle of contacts. Hone in on your ability to adapt to any situation and tweak your resume for each position to which you are applying.  List previous positions, skills and other credentials that are relevant to the job.

If you are hiring: All of the candidates have been interviewed; now it is time to decide who is perfect for the job.  Make the decision carefully and quickly, resisting the urge to waiver and second guess yourself.  Allowing too much time between the interview and decision could give the candidate the opportunity to accept a position elsewhere, leaving you with unsatisfactory choices.

Business Compatibility: Leo, Aquarius, Pisces

Don’t Let Video Kill the Interview Star

Creative hiring managers are using video conferencing not only for internal meetings, but also for the interview process…and it’s paying off for both companies seeking talent and job seekers.

Here at CM Access, we’re leveraging video to bring candidates and hiring companies together in a more efficient way…

We’re offering time-strapped hiring managers and job seekers an alternative to the traditional interview. To shorten the time to hire, CM Access has embraced video conferencing to quickly bring candidates and hiring companies together. No schedules to juggle or travel expenses to incur, while the job seeker gains a job and the hiring company quickly adds a talented team member to hit the ground running.

Cost and time efficient, the video interview sounds great, right?  But like anything else, getting the most out of new technology doesn’t come without challenges. Job seekers, have no fear: We have a how-to video and a few tips to help get you “ready for your close-up” and make video conferencing work for you…

  •  Keep it Professional – Since you’re not in an office setting, it’s easier to become slack about your level of professionalism. Keep in mind you’re not chatting with a friend. This is a job interview, so prepare as you would for any face-to-face meeting – with a sharp, polished and professional appearance and attitude.  Don’t take any wardrobe risks with “business in the front, party on the bottom.”  You may shift in your seat and give your potential employer a shot of your pajama pants they will likely not forget.
Don't Let Video Kill the Interview Star

No pajama pants!

  •  The Setting –You’ve combed your hair and you’re dressed to impress, but does the interviewer really need to know that you’re sitting in your bedroom with laundry hanging on your treadmill?  Be sure to create a professional-looking background, free of clutter and without any hidden surprises lurking or interrupting (that means no barking dogs, lingering cats or children barging into the room!
  •  Practice Makes Perfect – Even if you’re an interview pro, the camera can add to your nerves and throw you off your A-game. Enlist a friend to help you rehearse to ensure that you feel comfortable when it comes to the real interview.  For the most realistic eye contact, don’t look at your screen but at the camera. Be sure you keep your movement minimal – try to avoid talking with your hands, fixing your hair or fidgeting.
You can also check out a great video from Time, “How to Ace a Job Interview on Skype,”  to help get you prepared for your video. Now that you have some tips to get you “ready for your close-up,” will your next interview be virtual?

Taurus Hiring Horoscope Forecast

Taurus (April 21 – May 20) Taurus is an Earth sign ruled by the planet Venus.  Known to persevere, Taurus pushes on when everyone else has thrown in the towel.  Taurus may seem slightly stubborn and a little lazy at times but don’t let that fool you – their persistent drive gets the job done.

If you are searching for a job: Be prompt when writing a “thank you” note to an interviewer.  Procrastinating could cause the job to be filled without giving you an opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position.  Send a letter within two days after the interview and use your creativity to make your follow-up stand out from the rest.

If you are hiring: Create a detailed job description that clearly communicates with prospective applicants the criteria you are searching for.  A vague description will leave you piles of unrelated resumes to sort through, causing even the most patient Taurus to become irritated.

Business Compatibility: Cancer, Virgo, Aquarius