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Burn After Reading: Tips For Interviews, Take 2

David Greenberg shares tips from his experience as Director of Marketing for Ted Kurland Associates, a boutique booking and management agency where Berklee interns gain insight into a successful career in music and business.


When there are two or more people up for the job you want / need / desire, or the internship is with a highly prestigious place of work, like WME or UMG and they only take the “toppermost of the poppermost,” you need to do everything you can to make sure you are the person they hire, right?

That includes reading last weeks bloggette and taking most of it to heart. Especially the part about FZ, because you never know when you will meet one of us greying statesmen / stateswomen of the business who have a fondness for all things Zappa. Or you get hit with it as a pop reference in pop culture, like the kid in “Valentine’s Day” who uses FZ as a touchstone for being cool. Anyway, you need more music history in your back pocket, not less, if you want to succeed in making great music, or making your mark in this crazy business of entertainment.

And since I blurbled on like there was no tomorrow, there’s a few more tips that couldn’t quite fit in there, yet you should have these tips in the back of your mind, as well as on your ever growing to-do list.  One of my past TKA interns, James Fay, now an assistant account executive at Hill Holliday on their Chili’s account, had a lot to tell me about his own experiences interviewing.  First, fly like a B2–the stealth bomber–to go deeper into unknown territory with your research and gather all the intel you will need and can use.

James did his homework for every interview, checking if his contacts had a blog or was on LinkedIn, Twitter, Posterous, Tumblr, their company’s website, and so on. For one interviewer at a PR agency, he searched online, found a good deal of information and used it well:

“This HR manager interviewed me and she noted that during my job search and interview process I did everything she wants a candidate to do. Of course, I did. I had found an old blog post she had written on the company’s Website that outlined her top 10 hiring criteria.  When I told her that I had read her blog post, she started to laugh about my ‘cheating.’  But, she was very impressed both by my preparedness and my quality as a candidate.”

Besides using social media as a tool for micro-blogging about yourself and/or following others in the biz, you can sometimes get a head-start on everyone with new leads or open positions before they are official. James again:

“During the spring of my senior year in college, I saw a tweet from a creative recruiter at DraftFCB for applicants for a broadcast production job.  I tweeted back to the recruiter and got his email address to send him my resume. The next day DraftFCB called.  A week later I flew to Chicago for an interview. This is one of the largest and most successful ad agencies around. A position there…whew, that would have been a great start.”

“I ended up not getting the job, but I made a lot of contacts at the agency, got great interview experience, and now have a cool story I can tell about using Twitter to find a job.  Since then I’ve used Twitter to connect with more recruiters and keep my ear to the ground for new opportunities.”

By the way, the recruiters at Hill Holliday think that using Twitter and LinkedIn as microblogs to show your interest in the business and having links to your accounts in your resume is a “smart thing to do.”  This also shows that recruiters check everything out.  If you sometimes go on a bender and blurt out drunken tweets, perhaps you should decide to go Jekkyl and Hyde: create two kinds of Twitter accounts. One for Business, the other for your in-the-gutter-sometimes-self.

If you are going to interview with just about anyone who runs a business, Justine Ferland of Ralph Jaccodine Management had some in-depth tips. I know some interns come here early in order to show me they are extremely interested in the internship and overly prompt. Don’t arrive late, obviously, but early? You have to look at it from the other side, the office-minders side. We are all trying to get our work done, sometimes too much work for one day, as Justine told me:

“We’re very busy and we have the interview at a specific time for a reason, so if you come in an hour early, I might be in a conference call or a meeting, etc and it demonstrates to me that you don’t perceive my time as valuable.”

Justine also measures interviewees during the process as to their appearance–is it professional? Can you speak clearly? Do you have direct eye contact? Do you have extra copies of their resume? You may need to see someone else there and leave off a resume. Be prepared, be very prepared.

I have, from another past intern, Gabriel Olivera, intensive information from the Tulane Law School’s Career Development Office about resumes and interviews. Many dozens of pages of good stuff, yet too lawyerly for us music professionals. If you want 33 pages just for the interview tips, another 33 for the resumes and cover letters, I’ve posted a link for the whole shebang on the Greenberg Blogs For Berklee Facebook page.

But the most important tidbit of what I read in there is KNOW THYSELF. Reread your resume and know it intimately, everything on it. Since Gabe is going on interviews for laywerly-like internships, most everyone before (and after him) will have almost the same resume. He finds that the extra-curricular items–interests and activities–is what he seems to talk about the most. Be able touch on any poor grades in there and the like. You might want to practice interviewing with someone who can give you an honest assessment of your interviewing prowess. Ask friends who have gone through interviews about the kinds of questions they’ve been asked. And, if you read last week’s bloggette, prepare questions to ask the employer. As the Tulane packet reads: “Formulate questions that will provide you with useful information and that will demonstrate to the interviewer that you are both interested AND KNOWLEDGEABLE (my capitalization).”

And then, send a thank you letter “in a timely manner.” Within 24 to 48 hours, it is suggested. A letter, not an email. You know, with physical stamps on it? Though for me, you can send a postcard, preferably from somewhere strange. But that’s me. Correct spelling counts for so much in the world, especially to the person you just had an interview with and might hire you for your abilities. You will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, and all those abilities discounted to bupkis, if you misspell their name. Reread your letter and carefully check everyones’ name, the name of the firm, and on and on down the line to the final, sweet, thank you. Ramsey not Ramsie. Kurland, not Kirkland. Greenberg, not Greenburgh. Somewhere in that letter, as you want to stand out from the crowd of others and further impress yourself into the prospective employer’s mind, mention a few specifics from the discussion that you were glad to find out, happy to laugh at / with, were shocked to discover — those specifics that made it a great and personal interview for the both of you.

For more in this series, see:

You Don’t Know Anything and Your Ideas Are Worthless (No, Seriously, Get Used To It…)

Listen to Your Parents and Then…

Marketing OneOH!One: Break On Through To The Tangential Side

Resume? Resume? I Don’t Need No Steeenkin Resume!

A Foot In The Door Or A Foot In The Mouth: Resume Part Two

Talking To Strangers



David Greenberg is Director of Marketing and runs the internship program for Ted Kurland Associates, a boutique booking and management agency located in the Allston environs of Boston, MA. His background in this industry of entertainment has been quite a roller-coaster of one, (which he nicked the ticket for back in junior high school by winning photo contests and writing up a storm) best read on his Facebook or LinkedIn pages. A few tidbits: he has directed participatory murder mysteries, as written by co-Ithaca College alum, David Landau, aboard the QE2, at Elvis Presley’s Las Vegas ex-manse, the then HoJo Hotel on Memorial Drive, and appeared as a bloody corpse in a feature spread on that company, Murder To Go, in some damn magazine that went out of business and he can’t find the name of even through Google. Special thanks to James Fay, Justine Ferland, and Gabriel Olivera for the information used in this bloggette. BTW, Gabe is looking to intern in the legal department at a big profile entertainment agency, those of the fancy offices, high-powered agents, and only their initials announcing their elevated place in the world. If you know of anything, let me know.

Biz Links

Website: / Twitter: tedkurland / Facebook: / Personal Twitter: @tapedave


New Musical Festival na Berklee! ( Berklee’s New Music Festival )


Foxtrot, Free Food, and My 1st Caf Show

1 Comment

  1. Juliana

    I love the idea for sending a thank you on a postcard! That’s a really unique way to stand out from the other applicants.

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