Tips and Tricks for Potential SCAB Interviewees
By Rosie Lewis
The School of Communication Arts is like no other School on earth. The selection process is rigorous, has many stages and only the best get through. However, you will not be asked for your grades, any written work or be required to send in a C.V. So, how do you prepare for an interview so desperately different to anything else? You can’t, is the simple answer. The process is designed to allow the creative’s to shine where others to whom perhaps creativity (in whatever form) does not come naturally will struggle. I am here to help though with some useful tips and tricks to calm your nerves.
1) Dress Code
I have started here as when most people hear interview they think SUIT. If you love suits and wear them everyday then rock your suit, be yourself. However, if like most people you are comfier in your jeans, wear your jeans. The interview is all about representing yourself. So if you are never, ever going to come into school on a day to day basis in a suit then I wouldn’t bother. You will feel uncomfortable and it might affect how you perform.
I wore a summer dress, biker boots and trench coat. I recently found out I flashed my bum, ‘only at the front row’ on my interview. So girls, please be aware of dress length and that you might have to bend to put your USB in the computer. Or just be more aware of the front row.
If you arrive early you will get to talk to all of us lovely current pupils. If you arrive late you look like a plonker. The school does not have a sign but it is located in the big church opposite the cinema in Brixton. The entrance is in the crypt (you go down, through security and then up to the fourth floor). When you inevitably loiter outside for five minutes hoping it is the right place, don’t worry it is. Do not be nervous about talking to us or asking any questions. When I came for my interview I thought everyone looked so cool and I definitely felt intimidated. I recounted this to one past interviewee and she said she felt the same thing. I snorted (not cool) because – no offence to my lovely friends and fellow spankers – we are not that cool. We are a really friendly bunch, and are happy to chat, but we don’t know you have questions for us unless you ask them.
3) Be Loud, Be Proud
In advance of the group interview you will be asked to prepare a four minute presentation showing examples of your creativity. Firstly, do not panic. I was doing a university degree in Classics; I had no advertising experience whatsoever. This is not about showing off your D&AD pencil (unless you have one, then congratulations!) It is about showing what makes you tick. What you like doing, how you manifest your creativity. The most important thing I can say is this is not the time to be modest. We like to say at SCA, ‘We sell or we die’. Apply that to your interview. You are selling yourself. So make whatever it is you have painted, written, photographed seem like the most exciting thing in the world. Make everyone watching understand your passion. Be enthusiastic about it.
Do not put a video in a PowerPoint it does not work 9 times out of 10. If you want to show a video put it online or bring it with on a USB – much more reliable. (Mine failed on my interview I wish somebody told me this before)
When it does fail – don’t panic (I still got it in) – Just laugh, joke and move on. These things happen.
4) Somebody is always watching…
You are not just being assessed on your work but also on you as a person. I am going to assume you are lovely and a joy to work with. However, what if the person you are working with is a nightmare, an arrogant so –and –so, what then? Do not panic just take deep breaths and try and make it work. Do not let them get to you, if you do it could ruin your chances. Do not be afraid to shine (cheesy though that is), if you feel you have lots of great ideas then share them. No ideas are stupid and some of the best ideas can be a bit off the wall.
5) The truth and nothing but the truth
If after spending the day at SCA you feel it is the place for you and you will cry yourself to sleep for weeks on end if you were to not get in – then tell someone. Preferably, Marc or one of his team (anyone who is conducting the interviews is probably a good bet though). People love to see passion. Don’t just scoot out at the end of the day, stick around tell people how you felt the day went. What you have learnt (or not), ask more questions. Remember ‘We sell or we die’, even when the interview ends, if you feel you have something you have not asked it is never too late.
That is it!!! I hope this is all helpful.