February 14, 2017

Seeking Work, and Advice: Kathy Leonard’s candidate reply can help anyone looking to ‘apply’ themselves

I was recently asked by a candidate for some advice.  She was interviewing for an account director position with a well-known New York City-based advertising agency.  She wanted to know what level of compensation to expect for the position, but more important, what kind of questions she might expect.  As I read over my response, it seemed to have merit for many candidates interviewing for all kinds of positions.  So I thought I’d share it with you.  Below is what I told her.


Hi, Andrea.

I’m not sure of the questions they will ask, but I can give you some perspective as to what they will be looking for.  Basically great, energetic attitude, clearly knowledgeable in agency process and loyalty programs; has experience (you can describe) in how to engage customers, and is very proactive in bringing up ideas and opportunities to the client.

Think of your experience in terms of three or four best stories.  These stories should be examples of your having done the things they are looking for.  Then, regardless of the question, you can use one of your examples to tell a compelling “story” about what you did, how the client reacted, etc.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a case study where you go into “and the results were….”  It does need to give the idea that you took the initiative, worked really well with your team, bonded with your client, etc.

Illustrate in your stories something that was innovative, something you or your team brought to the client they hadn’t thought of or asked for. In other words, how you brought “the next big thing” to the client.  And remember, while it doesn’t have to be literal, it has to be illustrative.  Your excitement and passion need to come through without being over the top.

Your prospective employer has provided a nice job description, but don’t expect everyone you interview with at the company to have read it. Have a few questions for each interviewer: for example, Define what you believe success looks like in the position.  Describe the team and how you like to communicate given the different markets involved.  What makes this client unique?  How long have you had this client?  Do you do client satisfaction surveys each year?  How does this client view the agency?  Is this a new position?  If not, what happened to the last person in the role?  Why do you like working for (agency)?

These are just some suggestions.

Good luck and let me know how it turns out!



When you make it to the interview stage, you can be pretty sure the company believes you have the skills and experience to do the job.  How you are perceived by those interviewing you will make the difference in whether you get the offer or not. Find out as much as you can about what the client is looking for beyond skills and experience, then build your own stories that illustrate those assets.

December 2, 2016

10 Holiday Events and Fun Things to Do In Dallas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially in our area, where there is something special planned in nearly every corner of the Metroplex. If you’re looking to fill your calendar with memorable activities and events for you and your family, here are a few can’t-miss ideas:


July 25, 2016

Visuals Are Worth 1,000 Words on Social Media

Microsoft just published a study on attention … Poof, Bill Gates says you’re already gone!

The notoriously ill-focused goldfish has nine seconds’ worth of attention span. Microsoft recently published the results of a study that shows humans are now even less attentive than their aquatic companions, with just 8 seconds of comprehension time.

Personally I’m not insulted, and you shouldn’t be, either. It’s not that our brainpower has necessarily deteriorated over time, a la Idiocracy (though who procreates most may play some role). It’s the avalanche of information we receive daily through smartphones, tablets, and laptops, added to traditional TV, radio, and billboard advertising. We’re assaulted continuously, and we’re shutting down in an attempt to retain information capacity for something other than advertising and social media. That largely explains the 33% drop in human attention spans since 2000, when we were doing so well at 12 seconds.

As communicators who use social media, this trend is especially important to understand. If you read through your previous social media posts and stop after 8 seconds, you’ll see how rarely your posts are understood, if Microsoft is to be believed. So what’s the solution?


July 21, 2016

How to Create Infographics for Social Media

The case for infographics in social media is clear. After you consider the superior impact of visuals in your online communications, if you’re not yet convinced, consider two points from MDG Advertising’s research:

  • 94% more total views on average are attracted by content containing compelling images than content without images.
  • 67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to be very important, and carry more weight than product information, descriptions, and customer ratings.

The collaborative process between a writer and designer is different than many other projects. You can simplify much of it by using Piktochart, which enables you to pick professionally-designed templates; edit text, fonts, and colors; find industry icons; and import charts, maps and photos. Infogram is another option that is weaker on infographic creation, but stronger in tools for publishing and sharing.