The MediaSalesExec.com crew walks up to the meeting location and is greeted by a dark, signless door with a buzzer next to it. Unsure if this is the correct place, we tentatively press the button. The door opens, and we walk through to the staircase. Atop the stairs lies Century Club, where our meeting with Robert Garner, managing director of Media Square Recruitment, is to take place. Having a speakeasy vibe lends an air of excitement to the venue, which is filled with other private members on their laptops or having business meetings over their morning coffees. It seems this is the perfect place to go for any media sales meetings.
Having recruited for every sector within about 90% of the companies in the UK, Garner is very experienced in media sales recruitment—to say the least. He knows what candidates need to succeed in their applications, what lands them an interview, and what gets them the job. We decide to pick his brain to give us some tips for sharing with potential candidates to guide you through the media sales recruitment process.
Looking through CVs
Garner tells us that, typically, he can judge whether a CV is relevant or not within a matter of seconds. Because this is such a short amount of time, it is imperative to get the right information on your CV to ensure you stand out to the recruiter. The initial thing Garner usually looks at is the names of the companies you have worked for previously, to see if they are similar to the hiring company. As this is the first step of the recruiter’s scan, make sure the company names are clearly visible to anybody glancing over your documents. If these names catch the recruiter’s eye, they’re likely to spend longer looking into your CV and delving into your relevant experience.
We asked him what types of characters are most likely to succeed here. “It’s a bit cheesy,” says Garner, “but it’s always going to be the basic things, such as intelligence and common sense.” Different sectors can require different personality traits. Actively listening is a huge part of any media sales role, so this is a characteristic that’s beneficial across the board. Just listening to a client is not enough—you have to be able to answer them knowledgeably and precisely. Clients never want to feel they’re being given an answer from a script. If you want to form a long-standing relationship, the client needs to feel you’ve registered their specific needs. This all comes from being able to engage with what the client is saying, questioning and probing for all the information possible. In terms of different sectors, those working for consumer magazines tend to be quite bubbly and sociable; versus those in the events sector, who tend to be more conservative.
What Not To Do
When asked his funniest interview anecdote, Garner laughed and responded, “I can’t tell you, they’re just too horrible!” He did tell us, however, the main things that are sure to make you bomb an interview.
At the top of the list of interview don’ts is lack of preparation. Garner says the worst thing you can do is come to an interview without having done your research on the company, the position and the requirements.
Not listening properly is also a big no, as it would be in any job interview; but even more so when it’s for a media sales job, as so much of the position revolves around active listening. Nerves are always flying high in a job interview, but try not to let them get the better of you. Listen to the interviewer carefully and intently, and formulate your responses accordingly. As mentioned above, nobody wants to feel they’re being read to from a script—and this goes for potential employers, too. Think of yourself as the product and the employer as the client. This will exhibit your abilities for a media sales role and how effectively you can sell to anybody.
An interview isn’t just a meeting designed for you to talk about your experience. Demonstrable knowledge of the industry and being able to form your own opinions shows employers how you could be an asset to their company.
We asked Garner where he sees the media sales market going. “Content is absolutely key at the moment,” he states, “and targeting the right people at the right times with relevant advertising.” In terms of the digital bubble, he thinks it may soon burst, as all markets do eventually. There is a great deal of excitement around programmatic buying, sequential advertising and generally being able to target consumers with more relevant ads based on collected data from past behaviours, but it is becoming too inflated in many ways. There are certain things that will always be around, though, such as outdoor advertising, TV and radio. Garner also says never to underestimate the amount of power that face- to-face interactions can have.
Now you know the most important tips to make yourself seen to media sales recruiters and how to succeed in your interview. Coming from a seasoned, well-rounded media sales recruiter, this information is of great value to any media sales jobseeker.