Nail Your Next Job Interview: Channel Mad Men's Don Draper

31 October 2016 By Alastair Cleland

1519 Original

​Ahh, Don. Star of AMC's hit TV series Mad Men, the effortlessly suave Don sat at the epicentre of advertising's Madison avenue in his heyday. Boasting an ego the size of a skyscraper, Don created campaigns that gripped the imagination of America.

Don is a master of office theatrics. Over 7 seasons, in countless scenes, SCDP’s Creative Director lights up board meetings and dominates client pitches. Content, delivery, timing - the man is all over it.

Which is why we could think of no better role model (albeit a fictional one) to provide inspiration for nailing your next job interview. By channelling Don Draper, you'll have every opportunity to capture attention, covey your passion and land the job.

Here's how Don Draper does it...

1 - Exhaustive Preparation, Sweating The Small Stuff​

Draper’s showstopper moments may look effortless, but only with hard graft and depth of research does the ad legend find the right solution. In an interview situation, you’re never sure which direction things could turn. Do your homework properly and you'll never run out of steam.

2 - Finding The Story ‘Hook’

A personal story. An example that encapsulates an idea. An image or a prop. Don structures his conceptual ideas around something memorable that he knows will stick in his subjects’ mind. Your hook could be a project you started, a notable encounter or a change you inspired. Far more memorable to talk in specifics than in generalisations.

3 - Impeccable Delivery: Slow, Steady, Assured

​Mastery of oration sets Don apart from everyone in every room he’s ever in. Nothing can rush him, and his tone draws in all who hear him speak. Never forget your interview is a aperformance– testing your delivery as much as your knowledge.(Aside: Interested in boosting your delivery? Bill McGowan’sPitch Perfectcould be just the book for you.)

4 - Respectful… To A Point!

Client meetings are Don’s playground. Poor Pete Campbell - account manager - was never quite sure what his creative director would say or do next. Civility comes as standard, but by pushing the boundaries Don earns true acclaim. Careful with replicating this one – whilst bold risks may pay off, they could equally cost you the job!

5 - Readiness To Walk Away

​No opportunity is too great for Draper to turn down. Money, fame, prestige – whatever the prize, Don sees when he's being baited. Establishing the mindset of ‘being ready to walk away’ allows you to be far more critical and unbiased. Ultimately, you’ll allow yourself to make the right decision.