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Rene Bruce, Associate Director, Human Interest Department, Saatchi & Saatchi/NY
Wednesday, April 4, 2001, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. Eastern

<janelle> Hello! I wanted to know how you felt about jobs in the ad industry now that a slight recession is upon us.
<rbruce> Hi everyone, thanks for joining me. Janelle, that's a great question. We are still hiring entry level people into our agency despite this slight recession. We feel that it is important to "feed our pipeline" with great employees to keep the industry fresh with new talent.
<moderator> Question from cleancut: What exactly are ad agencies looking for?
<rbruce> What agencies are looking for depends on what area of advertising you are interested in working in.
<sbradley> How does your company operate as far as job security?
<rbruce> As for job security, we try to provide feedback to employees as they progress throughout their careers so they know how they are performing. We have been very successful over the past few years in retaining our strong performers and assigning them to different accounts in the event their account leaves the agency.
<janelle> I heard that 85% of jobs are unlisted- they are through networking. Do you believe that is true? Do you hire more people that 'know people'?
<rbruce> Janelle, to answer your question about networking, I don't think that is entirely true. We have college recruiting effort where we visit a number of schools and select our entry level candidates from that pool. However, networking is a great way to also get your foot in the door.
<Moderator> Question from dkraut: I am interesting in finding out information about media planning opportunities with Saatchi.
<rbruce> We do have entry level media planning opportunities at our agency. You can send your resume to the address listed on our website (RBruce@saatchiny.com) and someone will get in touch with you.
<dkraut> Thank you. I've actually met you once before at a visit that my college marketing club did to saatchi, thanks for the advice.
<edd> What type of HR programs does Saatchi & Saatchi implement?
<rbruce> I'm not sure exactly what you mean by HR programs. We have a very strong training program and we also assign mentors to our new Assistants. Are these the types of programs you are referring to?
<edd> Yes. Thank you
<moderator> Question from cleancut: Advertising agencies do not recruit at my school does this mean I can not be selected for an Account Management position?
<rbruce> No, it just means that you need to be creative and persevere in getting your resume into the hands of advertising recruiters. Some ideas for doing this are to search websites and send it to the contact person listed. Also, this is where networking can be very helpful. Talk to friends and see if anyone knows someone in advertising. Call your alumni office and see if they can give you a list of alums from your school and contact them.
<suskop2> Does Saatchi & Saatchi hire Account Coordinators right out of college or do they have to work in an administrative position first?
<rbruce> suskop2- We hire most of our new grads into Assistant Account Executive positions.
<suskop2> okay, thank you
<cleancut> I was a MAIP intern last year but have only received one recruitment letter. Do the agencies receive the the MAIP resume book and if so do they recruit from it?
<rbruce> I think MAIP is a great internship program and one in which we participate. We have hired several of our MAIP interns into full time positions. The participating agencies do receive the resume book and we do look at it. However, if you were an intern last year, you still need to do some legwork this year to get your resume in front of people again.
<cleancut> The MAIP internship was the only one I have had during school. I have had to wait tables to get by. Do recruiters view this as an asset or liability?
<rbruce> cleancut: I think the fact that you had an internship at all is very positive. Waiting tables to help support yourself in college can be indicative of a strong work ethic. If you position your experiences, whatever they are, as positive learning experiences, recruiters will appreciate that.
<jdcappelen> What is MAIP?
<rbruce> MAIP is the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program through the AAAA's.
<Moderator> Question from jonnyringo: Are there more internships in account services/mgmt. than in copywriting/art direction? If you start as a creative, are you sort of pigeonholed in that dept. because I am interested in both creative work and working with clients/accounts.
<rbruce> I would say in general that there are probably more internships at the larger agencies in account management and media planning. We do have people move between departments on occasion, but it generally happens between Account and Media departments. It is not completely unheard of to move from creative into another area, but the skills required for account and creative are quite different
<j_baptist> What is the starting salary of assistant account executive positions?
<rbruce> j-baptist- entry level salaries range throughout the country, but I would say in New York they are in the hi 20's-low30's.
<jdcappelen> As far as internships are concerned, what is the number one agency you can recommend for a media planning internship. Also, where is that agency located? Do you know if Orlando, Florida is a good area for the advertising field? I haven't heard much about that area.
<rbruce> jdcappelen- I can't necessarily recommend the best internship program, but I think any experience can be worthwhile. I don't know much about Florida.
<jdcappelen> What are some things that companies look for on internship resumes that could really help get one's foot in the door?
<rbruce> jdcappelen: As for internship resumes, we look for people who have demonstrated leadership skills in their schools, who have good GPAs and who have diverse experiences. Also, don't underestimate the importance of a good cover letter.
<Moderator> Question from dkraut: Hello, I'm going to be going to Europe this summer and can't start working til August, is this going to hurt my chance of getting a job cause I can't start in June right after graduation?
<rbruce> d kraut: It really depends on the agency and what their policies are. We start our training program in August, so I'm expecting all our new hires to start by the end of July. I think you should still pursue opportunities to interview now though.
<dkraut> thank you. I am looking for media planning, I will be in touch.....
<matthewh> Would you be receptive to graduates of a combination business/school? Kind of like a farm league for agencies, so you get entry level talent that already has experience?
<rbruce> Matthew: We are certainly open to a people with a variety of backgrounds, including prior experience and graduate degrees. We sometimes run into difficulty with hiring people with these backgrounds due to their salary expectations.
<cmoney> how important are grades in school when getting a job in corporate America?
<rbruce> Regarding the question about grades, they are important but they are not the only thing we consider. We look for the complete package including good grades, activities, interests, work experiences, etc.
<jdcappelen> What do you mean by a good cover letter- text, or creativity?
<rbruce> jdcappelen: A good cover letter should combine creativity and good grammar, etc. We read lots of cover letters, so it's always nice when you get one that is interesting and stands apart from the others.
<suskop2> What skills or qualities do you look for when hiring an Assistant Account Executive?
<rbruce> There are lots of things we look for in AAE's, but I think some essential skills include: organizational skills, the ability to be diplomatic and handle difficult situations and people, the ability to juggle a lot of tasks, people who are both analytical and creative and, particularly at Saatchi & Saatchi, people who have great IDEAS.
<Moderator> Question from jonnyringo, How would you suggest starting out my career as a college junior (# and type of internships) if I'm interested in gaining experience in creative and account svcs? What path would you recommend?
<rbruce> I would suggest that you get as many varied experiences as you can. Try to get an internship this summer or during the school year in acct. mgmt. or creative. When you graduate, it's important that you go into interviews with a clear sense of your goals regarding a career in creative or acct. mgmt. But for now, get as much experience as you can.
<Moderator> Question from priscillablue, Does the work experience have to be within advertising?
<rbruce> Not necessarily. We have many people who come to us with experience on the client side in marketing departments, or at PR firms, or even non-communications related fields. These experiences may help you define why you DON'T want to work in them and why you would prefer advertising.
<Moderator> Question from edd, What would you say are the main challenges in your HR dept? Environmental, organizational or individual?
<rbruce> That's a tough question and it varies at different times. I'm not sure I can give you a clear cut answer on that.
<Moderator> suskop2, When receiving a cover ltr and resume, do you prefer traditional mail or email?
<rbruce> It's very easy to get things over email and respond quickly and forward the resumes to people as appropriate. The only downside to email is that it is sometimes difficult to open all attachments.
<Moderator> Question from j_Baptist, I know experience is important, but how do you sell yourself to companies without experience? Do you think that really determines how far you can go?
<rbruce> You have to find a way to get an interview. Experience is important because all we have to go on at first is your resume. But once you get in the door, you can sell yourself based on your passion and other experiences.
<cleancut> Are the internet job sites such as Hotjobs and Monster.com viable avenues for a job hunt? In other words, do ad recruiters hire people from those type of sites.
<rbruce> The Internet sites are viable ways because I know recruiters do use them. However, the volume of resumes we get through those sites is very high so it takes a while to get through them. Use other vehicles as well such as AAAA's job posting.
<cleancut> thank you
<moderator> Question from twinkling, Is it necessary for you to go to a portfolio school to easily be hired by an agency?
<rbruce> In the creative field, it is not necessary for you to go to a portfolio school, but it is necessary for you to have a portfolio (at least here it is). You can come up with concepts on your own and put together your own book
<twinkling> Thanks
<moderator> Question from jonnyringo, what about a 'book'? I'm in the adv. at the Univ. of MN and the curriculum will provide me with some examples and some papers on adv. strategy, to show in my portfolio, but not very many actual ads. Should I consider a portfolio school or just make some stuff up?
<rbruce> You may want to consider a portfolio school but that is certainly a personal decision. If you decide not to go that route, you can look at existing brands and create your own ads for those brands so that Creative Directors can see your ideas and how you think.
<Moderator> Question from huntw, What foreign languages are mainly being used within advertisement medias? Is there a high or low percentage of new employees that are bilingual?
<rbruce> The ability to speak other languages is certainly a skill that we find interesting in our candidates. We are a global agency, so people who can converse with our international agencies and perhaps even work in other areas of the world are an asset. I think the languages being used depend on the target market
<suskop2> If hired, what kinds of things can we expect to learn during a training program at an agency?
<rbruce> We model our training program to give you a great overview of the entire advertising industry and all it's functions. So, no matter what department you work in, you will have seminars about all the other functions. Our training program also has small groups work on a case study, just as if they were a mini-agency. This allows you to get exposure to media planning, creative development, etc. even if you are in acct. mgmt.
<Moderator> Question from priscillablue, Somebody told me being a traffic controller first is a good way of getting into an agency, because that way you will eventually become AAE. Is that true?
<rbruce> I don't think that is a guarantee to becoming an AAE. It helps you understand the traffic function and gain exposure to other departments so it may be a good way to get in.
<moderator> Question from calkinsd, In regards to college recruiting, what does Saatchi look for in a college program and its students? What can a college and a student do to improve recruiting?
<rbruce> We have relationships with certain schools where we have had success in hiring great candidates. However, every year we reassess our strategies and see if there are any schools we want to add. Schools that are involved in consortiums that come to NY are also very convenient for us.
<calkinsd> When receiving an offer from an ad agency, what are some things to look for and how can one be fair in negotiating?
<rbruce> I think an important thing to look for in deciding about an agency is what kind of training you are going to get. Do they have a training program? Also, what kinds of growth opportunities are there? It's important to feel comfortable with the Agency culture. In negotiating, many of the bigger agencies probably have a set entry level salary.
<Moderator> Final two questions: What schools do you work with? Do you recruit at the Univ. of MN?
<rbruce> We have a list of about 25 schools that we work with...far too many to list here. We don't recruit at the Univ. of MN. However, we do attend events such as the AAF competition and other advertising related events that you may be able to find us at.
<jonnyringo> Thank you.
<Moderator> If you have any further questions about getting a job in advertising, please visit the aef.com Job Fair channel.
<rbruce> Thank you for your great questions
<suskop2> Thank you for having us
<moderator> Keep looking on aef.com for more discussions

 

 

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