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20 (More) Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following

20 (More) Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following

 20 best columbus instagram instagrammers

20 best columbus instagram instagrammers

A few months ago, I shared a post featuring the 20 Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following. If you know anything about Columbus, it should come as no surprise that what followed was a stream of suggestions about who should have been included on the list. (We've got no shortage of creative talent + local love.) In other words, there's too much goodness for just one list. So this is list #2.

Anyone can take a photo, but not everyone is a visual storyteller. Much like the first group of instagrammers, the 20 people you'll meet below have a passion and a gift for consistently telling the story of Columbus (and Ohio) through the beautiful, thoughtful images they snap and share.

 WLL

WLL

Lauren Blake // @wholelivinglauren There was  time I regarded "whole living" as nibbling on nuts and leafy greens like some sort of giant rabbit. Lauren's endless feed of "whole livinspiration" has proven me wrong. Very, very wrong. 

 cbuscoffee

cbuscoffee

Columbus Coffee Experience // @cbuscoffeeWho needs to wake up and smell the coffee when you can wake up, tap into Instagram and scroll the coffee?

 cheer up press

cheer up press

Cheer Up Letterpress & Design // @cheeruppressFACT: Real mail makes people happy. This feed is a constant street of paper porn (of the SFW variety) that lives up to the promise of its cheer-inducing name.

 mission coffee

mission coffee

Mission Coffee Co. // @missioncoffeeco I have an inexplicable aversion to hot liquids, which prevents me from being a coffee drinker. But if I were, this is where I'd be sipping my days away, one beautiful, perfectly-lit, topped-with-a-foamy-work-of-art cup at a time.

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Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.32.38 PM

DeliciOhio // @deliciohio You know that unspoken Thanksgiving rule in which an entire nation agrees to embrace the imminent binge and gorge...because FOOD? DelicOhio puts the "feed" in "instagram feed."  Enjoy a Columbus-inspired visual gorge...with none of the calories and zero need to don your favorite fat pants.

 farm fresh therapy

farm fresh therapy

Chelsea Mohrman // @farmfreshtherapyIf I were inviting one Instagrammer to come decorate my home for me, it would be Chelsea of @farmfreshtherapy. One part simple beauty, one part unexpected delight, all parts crazy beautiful. Chelsea creates a world filled with marvels (both manmade and natural) that make you feel like you've just stepped into a magical storybook ...or the coolest store ever. 

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Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 10.40.37 PM

Taylor Riggs // @simplytaylorblogWhen the former @cravebytaylor fell off my Instagram feed, I was sad. When she reappeared as @simplytaylorblog, I was delighted. Taylor's photos will leave you with a serious case of breakfast envy...and a major side of puppy snuggles. I can't imagine a better combination than that. 

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Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.41.14 PM

Live Columbus // @livecolumbus Think of @LiveColumbus as a community within the community. Someone new has been taking over this account daily since October 31, 2014, which makes each new day kind of like turning the page in the story of Columbus and what life here means to the people who call this region home. 

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Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.47.50 PM

Amy Taylor // @ohiogood OhioGood is a celebration of all things Ohio -- with an emphasis on life in and around Columbus. From farmers markets to rural farms, the Short North to shortcake, if it's good and hails from Ohio...you'll find it here. 

 rockswithsass

rockswithsass

Amanda Heslinga // @rockswithsass I have come to think of Amanda as Columbus' true "rock star." With beautiful work like this, it's not hard to see why. 

 ohioexplored

ohioexplored

Ohio Explored // @ohioexplored Fly over state, eh? Your argument is invalid. And this is the Instagram account that's gonna prove you wrong.

 columbus nutrition co

columbus nutrition co

Sarah Crock // @columbusnutritionco Forget what you think you know about boring ol' health food. Sarah's feed is photo proof that healthy eating can be wonderful tasty...and profoundly beautiful. 

 1820 house

1820 house

1820 House Candle Co. // @1820house With a scent offering that includes tomato vine, roasted coffee bean and French baguette, these candles should be at the top of every localvores Columbus holiday giving list.  

 porketta

porketta

Por'ketta // @porkettacbus Sorry vegetarians, you're missing out. Not only does this local food truck produce some drool-worthy culinary creations, they're hugely active on Instagram and big supporters of other Columbus instagrammers.

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Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.05.25 PM

Derrick Linn // @marsder Meet Columbus' tiniest residents. They're always up to something (and half teh time, it's a fairly sassy something...) 

 tizara

tizara

Tina // @tizara Tina's photos stop time for a single, precious, awe-inspiring frame, creating a feed that proves there's a world of difference between seeing and savoring our moments.  

 400 west rich market

400 west rich market

400 Market // @400market Arguably the hippest farmer's market in the most up-and-coming hood in Columbus, 400 Market has shared a season of sneak peeks behinds the scenes at Franklinton's local gem.

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Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.42.34 PM

Megan Hogan // @_mgnhgn There are creative people...and then there are creative people. You know, the kind of people who seem to leave a trail of color and wonder and glitter and inspiration in their wake wherever they go. Megan is the latter. Bonus? Her spirit and endlessly positive message are just as beautiful as her art. 

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Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 11.57.02 PM

Best of the Menu // @bestofthemenu Not sure what you're in the mood for? Tired of the same old places? Feeling a rising swell of hanger? Never fear. Your taste buds have just met their match. 

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Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 12.20.52 AM

Amy Taylor, @amyabtaylor Shameless self promotion! Hi. I'm Amy, the human behind WriteHuman.com. (I'm also the human behind @OhioGood.) You can follow me on Instagram @ohiogood + @amyabtaylor. Have someone you'd like to nominate as a Columbus Instagrammer to follow? Leave their IG handle in a comment below or email me

>>> CLICK HERE TO TWEET THIS POST <<<

Who would you add to the list?

20 Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following

20 Columbus Instagrammers You Should Be Following

columbus ohio instagram
columbus ohio instagram

If you're new to the Instagram game -- or just looking for a few locals to follow -- I've put together a list of Columbus instagrammers worth a look and a like. Though their followings vary in size, this bunch is the best of the best when it comes to celebrating our community and all the reasons we're proud to call Cbus home. -Amy

GAC
GAC

Amanda Hamman | @girlaboutcolumbus Amanda's feed is pretty much perfection. A Columbus-focused dash of delicious and a sprinkle of lovely with the occasional pup shot peppered in. If you don't live here already, viewing our community through the GAC lens will make you wish you did.

Nom Life
Nom Life

Ewa and Jeromy | @Nom_LifeI have yet to cross paths with Ewa (or Jeromy for that matter) off Instagram, but I kind of feel like she is my sister from another mister at this point.  From savories to sweets, the NL feed is a visual smorgasbord of the culinary greatness emanating from every nook and cranny in Columbus. The #foodporn alert is high on this one, friends, but never fear. NSFW just stands for "not safe for waistlines."

dan baker
dan baker

Dan Riesenberger | @danthebakerThere are two kinds of people in the world: people who love bread so much and people I have basically nothing in common with. If you love delicious carbs and pretty photos of delicious carbs, you've found your feed. Dan Riesenberger, owner and founder of Dan the Baker and Toast Bar, puts the "art" in artisanal. His images may leave you sniffing your screen in hopes of catching a whiff of that "just-out-of-the-oven" goodness. (And let's be honest, who can resist a man who bakes bunny bread? Not this girl.) 

kasuallife
kasuallife

Kathy & Sophia | @kasuallifeLifestyle bloggers Kathy and Sophia have a special gift for showcasing the softer, gentler side of Columbus. Whenever I scroll their feed, I feel instantly transported to a sunny Saturday with nothing on my agenda but enjoying the ultimate Girl's Day with my closest lady friends.  

nooner
nooner

Michael Noon | @noonerblast  It's fair to say that you'll find good things around every corner in Columbus, but Michael Noon has taught me that sometimes the corners are the good thing. His feed is a visual feast of form, color and style that highlights architecture and urban pops everywhere from the soaring heights of our landmark skyscrapers to the subtler gems that often go overlooked. 

alicia
alicia

Alicia | @alicia.wanders A new friend in my feed, Alicia's IG is a continual stream of local food and fun with the occasional cat thrown in for good measure. (You know how the internet loves cats.) Besides inducing some serious stomach growls, her shots are great inspiration to get out and explore Columbus.

tobin
tobin

Robert W. Tobin | @robertwtobinAs an antique photo collector, I have a soft spot for the beauty and mystery of the unfinished stories of people and places I'll never know. Robert's feed is the closest thing I've found to the living version of an antique photograph. He has a true gift for revealing sometimes-broken, always-beautiful stories one snippet at a time. And he captures the city around us in a way that leaves me constantly wondering, "Wow. Where is this?" 

amytellme
amytellme

Amy | @amytellmewhereGreat name aside (I'm admittedly partial), Amy is basically the Columbus food whisperer. No matter where I am, one look at her IG is all it takes to leave me wishing I was where she is. Amy takes "I'll have what she's having" to a whole new level, because what she's having is always delicious.

expcols
expcols

Experience Columbus | @experiencecolumbusWith a mix of org-generated and fan-generated photos, the Experience Columbus IG feed is kind of like a visual version of the daily news. Spoiler alert: the headline always reads the same: "BREAKING NEWS: WELCOME TO COLUMBUS. AWESOME THINGS ARE HAPPENING HERE." (Tip: tag your IG photos with #expcols and #cbusfoodscene to give EC permission to repost.) 

death to stock
death to stock

Death to the Stock Photo  | @deathtostock With a mission to change the way the world (literally) views stock photography, it should come as no surprise that the Columbus-based DTS Instagram serves up a steady stream of swoon-worthy eye candy. The lovelies you find on IG are just a small sampling of the full DTS archive. Sign up on the website to receive free monthly collections or go premium for access to the whole shebang. (And follow founder @alliepal while you're at it!) 

Jones
Jones

Candis Jones | @thejonesmarketWhenever my sister and I look back through old family photos, we often find ourselves commenting on the necklaces that have accompanied us throughout our lives. From the plastic classics of childhood to cherished family heirlooms, they've accessorized our story. Candis Jones, founder of The Jones Market, has created what I consider the modern heirloom necklace. Simple and simply beautiful, this fashion-forward, Columbus-based brand offers up beaded lovelies that are both mama- and baby-friendly.

rustic
rustic

Jonathan + Sandra | @therusticlifeYou'll find @therusticlife sitting squarely at the intersection of rustic-inspired lifestyle blog and home decor shop. This sweet Columbus couple has mastered the art of merging old and new to create modern-meets-vintage magic. Their IG feed regularly leaves me debating ditching my current digs, buying a country cottage and starting over from scratch. Forget the bigger boat. We're gonna need a bigger farm table.

Brim
Brim

Jolie Ankrom | @brimpaperyArguably the most darling and classy human alive, Jolie Ankrom  is the creative sauce behind Columbus' Brim Papery. Her feed invites you to fall in love with a world of words. I'm not talking pixels on a screen. I'm talking real, paper-to-pen, swoon-at-the-curves-of-your-y words -- one print and sassy coffee mug at a time. (Girl crush alert!)

fox
fox

Fox in the Snow Cafe | @foxinthesnowcafeLots of people claim coffee is an art, but Fox in the Snow Cafe proves it. Scrolling the mishmash of savories, pastries and frothy foam on their IG feed leaves me feeling like I've just cuddled up under a cozy blanket with a favorite book. (A sentiment that is immediately followed by the realization I need to put on real pants and go get me summa that.)

ediblecbus
ediblecbus

Edible Columbus | @ediblecolumbusIf there were such a thing as a bucket list for food, Edible Columbus would be the equivalent of leaving the firehose of inspiration running. From chocolates to crostatas, tacos to tapas, this spotlight on the Columbus food scene may leave you drooling as you scroll. (No judgment shall be passed.) 

jenis
jenis

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams | @jenisicecreams Jeni's tends to make all of my Best-of-Columbus lists. Why? Because they're just so darn good at being good. From the way they do business to the ingredients they source to the instashots that remind me it has been far too long since I last spooned with Goat Cheese and Red Cherries, they're setting the bar high. Their Instagram is a vibrant celebration of the way #TeamJenis does things from start to scoop to smile. 

pv
pv

Pistacia Vera | @pistaciaveraMeet the local masters of the macaron. PV's crave-inducing Instagram feed proves you don't have to go all the way to Paris to indulge in a sweet treat and the perfect of pastry. You'll find it right in the heart of German Village. 

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Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 2.27.22 AM

Curio at Harvest | @curioatharvestI cringe a little when I hear people say that Curio has the best drinks in town. It's true, of course. They do. They really, really do. But it seems almost flippant to refer to the cocktails Curio mixes up as "drinks." They're more like sippable stories told by a clan of artists and historians who pull pages from the past and serve them up in the appropriate glass. Forget the pudding. The proof is in the pour. 

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Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 1.02.13 AM

Kittie's Cakes | @kittiescakesYou know how whenever your mom or grandmother makes a recipe it always tastes so much better than when you do, like they've got some magical ingredient secretly stashed up their sleeve? That's the Kittie's Cakes experience. (And I'm pretty sure the magical ingredient is love.) Some of nicest sweets slingers you'll ever meet, Kittie's feed tempts the tastebuds with snaps of their daily offering (with the occasional cameo from @linus_the_golden_retriever). If you see something you like, don't delay. They sell out regularly, and longingly staring at Instagram shots pales in comparison to chowing down on the real thing.  

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Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 2.46.58 AM

Amy Taylor | @ohiogoodDo you know what time it is? Shameless self plug o'clock! I recently launched @ohiogood as a home for my regular adventures throughout Columbus and occasional journeys throughout Ohio. If you read this post all the way to the bottom, kudos to you! Tag me and say hello! I'd love to connect with you. 

So, who did I miss? We've got way too much local talent for one list. Which Columbus instagrammers would you nominate for Part Two of this Cbus local Instagram series? Name drop in a comment below or tag me on Twitter @NoMeatballs or on Instagram @OhioGood.

ABOUT THE AUTHORAmy Taylor is a Columbus, Ohio-based Marketing Strategist + Copywriter. She likes lunch for breakfast, wine, social media and dogs. (But not necessarily in that order.) Tweet her @NoMeatballs.

How to Nail a Creative Agency Job Interview

chairs

Whenever we start looking to hire, I inevitably end up reflecting on my own interview experiences -- from both the interviewer and interviewee sides of the table. I've run the interview gamut, from extremely structured, multi-phase roundtables to loosey-goosey lunch chats. I've sweated (literally) and rambled and Miss America-ed and stumbled and, in retrospect, sent out my fair share of really awful cover letters. Despite all of this, I've managed to land some pretty amazing gigs over the years, and these days I find myself in the interviewer chair rather than the interviewee hot seat. I'm lucky.

With an unemployment rate of nearly 6 percent, millions of Americans are searching for jobs on any given day. A college degree is no longer a guarantee that you'll walk the stage, grab your diploma and transition seamlessly into the job of your dreams. Lately, it seems I've been seeing a lot of articles about the struggles millennials face when applying and interviewing for jobs. From CNBC:

Some of the biggest mistakes recent college graduates make involve interview preparation or lack thereof.

In an Adecco survey of hiring managers, 75 percent said millennials' biggest interview mistake was dressing inappropriately, and almost as many said they tended to mess up by posting inappropriate material on social media. Almost two-thirds of respondents said millennials tend to demonstrate a lack of research preparation for interviews. These hiring managers also said they were three times as likely to hire a worker over age 50 as a millennial.

One of the things I am frequently asked is how to land a job in the creative industry. For me it was a combination of personal connections, passion and serendipity. I was almost 28 years old by the time everything came together. In the event you'd like to seize the reins instead of waiting for fate and opportunity to show up at your door, here are some of my best bits of advice for those looking to land a job in the magic and mayhem that is the creative industry...

PHASE I: Scoring an Interview Prep work. Grunt work. Leg work. Whatever you call it, do it. Good things come to those who hustle, and in no place does that adage ring truer than in the creative industry. Competition is fierce and talent is rampant, but with a little (lottle) effort, you can make yourself stand out from the crowd. I'm not talking about the kind of hustle you ramp up  a week before you submit a resume. Think of this as a long-term personal branding strategy -- and you're your most important client. This is your chance to polish yourself up and shine. 

FOLLOW + ENGAGE Fun fact: You'd be amazed how many people proclaim their love and admiration for your agency -- then it turns out they aren't even following you on social media. Before you lay the flattery on thick, take the time to connect with the company and people you're hoping to interview with. Many of the positions that open up within the industry are filled with candidates pulled from our personal networks and connections (or referred from the networks of people we know and trust). It really is about who you know, so start connecting today. Comment on their posts. Retweet their content. Reach out and have a conversation. Trust me. We notice that kind of genuine and sustained engagement, and it makes you top-of-mind when a job opens up. 

REVAMP UP YOUR RESUME Here's a little tip: if you are applying for a job in a creative industry, invest in creating a beautiful resume. Not only does that help you stand out in a pile of Microsoft Word templates, it shows that you have an eye for detail. (Which is always a good thing -- even if you're a copywriter!) For well under $50, you can tap into the collective talent of the interwebs and hook yourself up with a gorgeous template. (A few places to start: esty, Behance + Loft Resumes.)

CUSTOMIZE YOUR COVER LETTER Remember that old trick where you write a generic cover letter and just change up the name of the recipient and the job title using find-and-replace? Yeah. Don't do that. We notice. And it sucks. Cover letters are a necessary evil, but they're also a golden ticket. We get a lot of resumes -- a lot -- and a cover letter is an opportunity to stand out and let your personality shine through. Take the opportunity. Put the effort in. Look up the proper spelling of the person you're addressing. Forget you ever heard the phrase "Dear Sir or Madam." If you can't put in the effort to craft a compelling, custom cover letter, that sends the message that you're not going to put effort into anything else. And that's about the fastest way I know to find yourself in the thanks-but-no-thanks pile.

CLEAN UP YOUR SOCIAL PROFILE One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was passed down from my mother. Don't put anything in writing you wouldn't want your grandmother to read. (Lucky for me, my grandmother had an awesomely quick-witted sense of humor and a penchant for using the phrase "Oh, piffle!" when she really wanted to say, "Oh, sh...omething else!")

I grew up in the pre-social media era; a time when the worst thing young people had to worry about was having a teacher intercept the note you were passing during class. Shenanigans were documented on real film, and, for the most part, all evidence of our dumb, young lives was kept safe in the vaults of our memories and 20-pound photo albums. Social media has changed all of that. Everything you do, say and share is public these days, and each post you make represents your personal brand and who you are.

We were all young and wild at one time. We've all done silly things. (Some of us still do.) But the reality is that the things you do, say and share influence how other people perceive you. I implore you to consider this deeply when you share publicly. Before you apply for a job, run your social streams through the proverbial WWGS (What Would Grandma Say) filter. At the very least, know when to flip the privacy switch.

DON'T CONFUSE MISTAKE CRAZY FOR CREATIVE There is a fine line between making yourself stand out and coming off as a creeper. Creativity is always noted (think sending individual hand-designed thank you cards -- rather than a group email -- as an interview follow-up), but don't go overboard. You don't need to ship yourself to us in a wooden crate or pop out of a giant cake to impress us. Just bring your talent and truth to the table. Be yourself rather than trying to be the person you think we wish you were. There's a 99.99% chance we're gonna love the most authentic version of you.

INTERN One of my few regrets in life is not interning like crazy before I hit the point of no return (i.e. adult life + bills, bills bills...). Had I interned, it's possible I would have found my calling a lot sooner. So my advice to you is simple: if you're in a position where you can afford to work for minimal pay (or even no pay), do it. Seize every opportunity you can. If no opportunity exists, call people up and make one for yourself. Help them see how you can help them. Learn how to make a mean cup of coffee, then go in and work your knuckles off. Because every once in awhile (more often than you might think) that summer internship turns into the season of "our newest employee."

VOLUNTEER We often meet super eager candidates who lack the practical experience to land the job they're applying for. (A common struggle and catch-22 for recent grads trying to break into the creative world.) Newsflash: there are tons of organizations and nonprofits that need help with everything from event planning to social media management, but don't have a budget to pay professionals for it. Go volunteer your time and talent. When we see that kind of thing on your resume, not only does it add cred to your work experience, it demonstrates that you care about something bigger than yourself. Bonus: you get to help make a positive change in the world. Go you.

FIND A MENTOR Job openings come and go, but the relationships you build in between are lasting. So you found the agency of your dreams? Do some digging (and Twitter stalking). Figure out who holds the position you want, then launch a carrier pigeon, shoot them an email or give them a ring. Introduce yourself. Ask if you can take them to coffee or lunch (we love coffee and lunch!) -- then do it. Show up with a list of questions. Learn all you can. Then rinse and repeat. Start building your own mentor. You never know when a job will come up and that relationship will come in handy.

Phase II: Acing the Interview So the unthinkable has finally happened. Your resume fought its way to the top of the stack. You've stood out as a stellar candidate. You've just received the call. We'd like you to come in for an interview. What should you expect? What should you wear? What should you do? (I'm so glad you asked.)

DO YOUR HOMEWORK My biggest piece of advice when it comes to creative agency interviews is a huge cliche: DO YOUR DANG HOMEWORK. And I'm not talking about a quick scroll through the website. If the agency has published books, find them and read them. Dig through their client roster and case studies so you're prepare to cite specifics. Explore their culture, manifesto, philosophy and beliefs, then think about how those align with your own. Research competitors in order to get a feel for how they differentiate themselves within the industry. It may seem overwhelming, but so few people take the time to do really thoughtful, thorough background research, and this is exactly the kind of thing that will set you apart and above.

DRESS THE PART There's an old tidbit of wisdom that advises "dress for the job you want, not the job you have." It's so old I'm not even sure it's still going around. That advice gets a little tricky in an industry where jeans are a wardrobe staple and going barefoot is often the norm. (Creativity can't happen when your feet are stuck in a restrictive vortex!!) My advice is err on the side of fancier, rather than more casual. Dress like us, but nicer. (You can stop wearing shoes once you have the job.) Also, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but leggings do not qualify as real pants.

KNOW WHO YOU'RE TALKING TO One of the most impressive things I have experienced was an applicant who called our Office Manager to get the names and titles of each person she would be meeting with prior to her interview. When she arrived, she was able to reference my "adorable dog" by name (instant way to win my heart) and shared an anecdote about a city we had both recently traveled to. You can learn a lot about a person by taking a quick scroll through their social channels. We humans all like to feel important and special. I can't recall one other person we interviewed that day, but years later I still remember that applicant because she took five minutes to get to know me before she met me.

Smart answers = a good interview. Speaking to the shared interests between yourself and the company/employees = great interview.

COME PREPARED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS Confession: I find it more painful to be on the interviewer side of the table than the interviewee side. Something about the sympathetic pain of knowing what the interviewee is going through makes me feel clammy.

Agency interviews can be really strange. Much of the time it's like the Wild West, but instead of shooting bullets, everyone is shooting questions. I've heard everything from "What's the last book you read?" to "How many tennis balls do you estimate can fit in a standard school bus?" Weirdos aside, here's a short list I would be prepared to answer in some form or another when you take the hot seat:

  1. Why do you want to work here?
  2. What do you think you can bring to our team?
  3. What do you want to be doing 5 years from now? 10 years? 25 years?
  4. Tell us how your past work experience makes you uniquely qualified for this position?
  5. What is your philosophy about design/marketing/advertising/programming?
  6. What are your three best qualities?
  7. What are you worst three qualities?
  8. Why should we hire you?
  9. What work are you most proud of?
  10. What do you do for fun?

COME PREPARED WITH QUESTIONS If the last section didn't fill you with panic and dread, hooray. The good news is that you can (and should) keep tossing the hot potato back to your interviewers. Answer questions, then follow with a question of your own. Come prepared to assault us with an exhaustive list of questions, keeping in mind that you're not just trying to convince us to hire you. An interview is an opportunity for both sides to feel each other out and try each other on for size. When you ask really thoughtful questions, that tells us you’re not just trying to sell yourself -- you're trying to determine if we're something you really want to buy into. Here are a handful of questions I've asked and answered over the years: 

  1. Who is/has been your favorite client and why?
  2. Who is your dream client?
  3. What kind of person thrives here? What type struggles?
  4. What made you decide to come work for X agency over all the others?
  5. If you had to boil the agency's core belief/mission down to a single statement, what would it be?
  6. What do you wish you had known about the agency/industry when you first started out?
  7. If your agency had three best friends, which brands would it hang out with?
  8. What has been the most meaningful day of your career at X?
  9. What has been the most challenging day of your career at X?
  10. How would you describe the X culture?
  11. Who are other brands and thought leaders that inspire X?
  12. Tell me about your favorite parts of living in CITY (if relocating)?
  13. How can I, in this role, most help you? (This is always a really interesting one as you'll likely get very different answers from an AE, Community Manager, Designer, Copywriter, Strategist and Admin.)

Phase III: Sealing the Deal Boom! You nailed it! Or at least you think you nailed it. Ohmygosh you really hope you nailed it. As the torturous decision-making wait begins, here are a few seal-the-deal moves you can sprinkle on the "PLEASE HIRE ME" cake... 

FOLLOW UP RIGHT AWAY Assuming things have gone well in your interview, follow up within 48 hours to express your continued interest in the position. The best follow-up contact is personal. That means no generic, cc-all thank you. Take the time to send an email (or -- SUPER IMPRESSIVE -- a handwritten note) to each person you interviewed with. Bonus points for calling out something specific you learned from them during the interview. Follow ups needn't be long or gushy, just enough to let everyone know you're in if they'll have you.

KEEP IT QUIET Please refrain from posting about job interviews on social media before or after. It makes us feel weird and you come off as an oversharer. (And yes, we totally look to see what, if anything, you have posted.)

NEVER SAY GOODBYE In the wise words of Kenny Rogers, "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em." With all due respect to Kenny, don't fold 'em. In the event you don't land the job, resist the urge to fold. There have been many instances when an applicant we loved was beat out by another candidate by just a hair. Don't fall off the map. Don't slink off with your tail between your legs. Keep a conversation going with us. Stay on our radar. When you stay top-of-mind, you stay top-of-list.

Have questions about creative interviewing that I didn't answer in the post? Reach out using my contact form.

Make Sense, Not Noise

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Among the handful of golden rules for brands on social media, you’ll find this tidbit of wisdom: Don’t force your way into a conversation; join a conversation when the opportunity arises, it makes sense and feels natural. 

Those of us in marketing have had time to hone our skills. We’re very familiar with the sound of those obvious and less-obvious doors opening amongst the daily flurry of tweets. But what about brands with a little less social experience under their belts. We’ve all seen the occasionally awkward tweet. ExampleTweeter tweets “What a beautiful day!” BrandTweeter chimes in out of nowhere with “Check our our lawnmowers. On sale now!”

Um…no. 

And while I think the majority of brands are still struggling with how to be conversational rather than promotional on social media, last week I received an out-of-the-blue tweet that really impressed me. The brand nailed it.

WHAT HAPPENED

I shared this link from Fast Company…

Screen-Shot-2014-10-28-at-9.19.51-AM

I then received this tweet in response...

Screen-Shot-2014-10-28-at-9.08.36-AM

WHY IT WORKS

1. The brand found a way to share information about their company with me by tapping into something I was already talking about.

2. The information the brand shared with me included three topics that I care about (and regularly tweet about): dogs, tech and women in STEM.

3. The brand created a personal and memorable moment by sharing a photo peek behind their scenes, rather than just retweeting or leaving things at “We agree."

The Instagram Effect: Life Based On a True Story

I'll preface this post by saying I'm a huge Instagram fan. Of all the social networks, it's the one I'd miss the most if it were to disappear tomorrow. I suspect this love is rooted in a favorite childhood pastime: thumbing through old family albums. Many an hour was spent perusing the pages of family history, scrutinizing not only the photo subjects, but anything in the background, trying to absorb all the accidental life stories captured within. While Instagram lacks the tangible delight of heavy photo books and page flips, it has become the modern version of the family album of yore. What once required the foresight to capture photos, the patience to develop and a sizable chunk of time to lay everything out in a photo book, can now be accomplished with the literal click of a button.

But along with the good, comes a side of hostility. Critics berate Instagram (and its users) for the rise of the "Envy Effect," claiming the majority of photos shared on Instagram portray a perfect and unrealistic life. “When you’re waiting for your coffee to brew, the majority of your friends probably aren’t doing anything any more special. But it only takes one friend at the Eiffel Tower to make you feel like a loser.”

As one author says in his rebuttal to the post, "I wouldn’t be the first person to point out that if you’re jealous of your friend’s life as it looks on Instagram or Facebook, the problem is not social media — it’s you."

I tend to agree.

Nobody ever said Instagram was a non-fiction storytelling tool. If anything, it's a medium for telling the story of our lives based on a series of true events. It's art, not forensics.

like experiencing the world through the eyes of those who find beauty in unexpected places. I like that people are taking the time to experience the magic of life on a micro-level. I like people who challenge themselves to find a softer world -- and share that with others. That doesn't take away from my life experience, it reminds me to keep my eyes, mind and heart open to everything around me.

Sunday night a friend shared a great post on Facebook: What I Instagrammed Vs. What Was Really Happening, Or My Entire Life is a Life. In the spirit of the true story, I'm taking a page from Olivia's playbook. Here are Instatruths of my own...

 

THE AUTUMNAL GLORY PHOTO

pumpkins

What it looks like... BEHOLD! Life in Ohio is a blissful state of autumnal glory – and it’s only early September. Must be going now. It’s time to don a thick scarf and a cozy cowl neck sweater for the hayride that takes us to pick apples and sing songs around a Pinterest-worthy bonfire.

The real story... Two minutes before I took this photo, my 2-year-old "nephin" chucked one of these pumpkins at the ground. Hard. As a result, we went home the proud, new owners of a bruised and battered pumpkin.

THE GALAVANTING AROUND THE GLOBE VACATION PHOTO

falls

What it looks like... Clad in practical shoes, I hiked to the top of this mountain to be at one with nature and revel in the splendor of Mother Earth.

The real story... I was essentially tricked into climbing this hill by a much more outdoorsy, fit and nature-friendly friend. Number of asthma attacks experienced climbing hill: 1. Hits off asthma inhaler: 2. Number of complaints about climbing steep terrain only to arrive in front of a beautiful waterfall drenched in sweat on a 90-degree August day: countless.

THE HAPPIEST HOUR PHOTO

cocktail

What it looks like... Just another Saturday night sipping on a fabulous drink at a fabulous bar living a fabulous life.

The real story... The bartenders at this place are so hipster I was afraid they would judge me if I asked if that was a pineapple top. So I just took a picture of it instead.

THE SELFIE

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What it looks like... Just a quick photo to say hello!

The real story... This is the first time I’ve had my hair out of a messy bun in over a week. It only happened because I had a guest in town. If you run into me any place else under any other circumstances, neither I, nor my hair, will look anything like this.

THE PERFECT POOCH PHOTO

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What it looks like... My dog is an adorable, quirky creature.

The real story... My dog is an adorable, quirky creature with a penchant for getting into trouble. This is his “I did something really terrible #SorryNotSorry” face. I see it all the time.

CHIME IN: Do you think the Instagram is a positive or a negative thing? 

6 Brands Killing It On Instagram

A wise person once said, "Don't use two words where one will do." Thanks to Instagram, that age-old grain of wisdom seems to be undergoing a revamp, and now advises: "Don't use words where a picture will do." Brands know that Instagram is where the action is, but many are struggling to figure out how to make it relevant to their brand. Sitting squarely at the intersection of artistic expression, inspiration, information and celebration, it's the place to be. But where to begin? Read on for a few examples of brands that are doing Instagram right. But first, a few statistics:

  • 70% of Instagram users check their feed at least once a day, 35 % several times a day. 
  • 71% of the world's top brands are on Instagram.
  • Instagram photos with faces get 35% more comments than those without.
  • Instagram is more popular than Twitter amongst US smartphone users.
  • 57% of the top brand marketers are averaging at least one post a week.

Chobani

Let's be honest, it's not easy being a humble cup of yogurt in a scoop-of-ice-cream world. Nonetheless, Chobani does a steller job of using Instagram to only showcasing their product, but also to tell a story about the Chobani lifestyle.

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Jeni's Ice Cream Speaking of ice cream... With a penchant for unusual flavor combinations like goat cheese + red cherries, sweet cream biscuits + peach jam, and sweet corn + black raspberries, Jeni's Instagram feed reflects the same sense of creative vision, unexpected delight and passion for food the brand is known (and loved) for . (Warning: may cause sudden cravings.)

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Billiam Jeans What's more quintessentially American than a pair of jeans crafted in Greenville, South Carolina? Nothing. As a self-professed "company made up of trial and error manufacturers," once glance at their Instagram and it's not hard to believe that this is a brand "learning from rolling up our sleeves and trying to make sense of the process."

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Sharpie Everyone loves a Sharpie. No really, everyone. Arguably one of the most recognizable names in pens, Sharpie takes a decidedly different approach compared to most brands. Rather than celebrating their product, their Instagram stream is an ongoing celebration of the things their product empowers fans and brand loyalists to do.

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Kittie's Cakes It doesn't take a lot to sell people on the joys of really delicious cupcakes. Convincing them to engage with your brand on Instagram? A little bit harder. Columbus, Ohio-based bakery Kittie's Cupcakes has made Instagram their primary stream for communication. Much like morning announcements in elementary school, each day Kittie's Instagrams photos of that day's baked offerings (they change daily). By 2 or 3 p.m., it's not unusual to Kittie's post a notice that you've missed the rush ... and they're all sold out.

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TSA Cupcakes and ice cream were born to pose for photos. But what about a less obvious brand? While the public seems to have, um, mixed emotions about TSA, the agency has started using Instagram as a way to invite the public into their world. Scroll through their stream and you'll discover that it's not all pat downs and body scans...but you will have to leave your cat-shaped brass knuckles at home.

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Banning Smartphones Is Not Smart Business

Recently, it seems I have seen a lot of restaurants bragging about being “smartphone-free zones,” encouraging patrons to instead talk to one another. While I wholeheartedly agree that a meal is time meant for sharing with your dining companion(s), banning smartphones in restaurants is simply bad business.  Before I continue, I should clarify. I’m not talking about people yapping loudly on their phones — I’m talking about restaurants that are discouraging smartphone use for social media (primarily Instagram) while you’re in their establishment.

Last week, a NYC restaurant took to Craiglist on a rant. (Post has since been removed.) After receiving a series of bad reviews for slow service, the restaurant hired a firm to investigate. When they compared footage from 2004 to footage from 2014, they made some pretty startling discoveries…

We are a popular restaurant for both locals and tourists alike. Having been in business for many years, we noticed that although the number of customers we serve on a daily basis is almost the same today as it was 10 years ago, the service just seems super slow even though we added more staff and cut back on the menu items…

One of the most common complaints on review sites against us and many restaurants in the area is that the service was slow and/or they needed to wait a bit long for a table. 

We decided to hire a firm to help us solve this mystery, and naturally the first thing they blamed it on was that the employees need more training and that maybe the kitchen staff is just not up to the task of serving that many customers. 

Like most restaurants in NYC we have a surveillance system, and unlike today where it’s a digital system, 10 years ago we still used special high capacity tapes to record all activity. At any given time we had 4 special Sony systems recording multiple cameras. We would store the footage for 90 days just in case we needed it for something.

The firm we hired suggested we locate some of the older tapes and analyze how the staff behaved 10 years ago versus how they behave now. We went down to our storage room but we couldn’t find any tapes at all. 

We did find the recording devices, and luckily for us, each device has 1 tape in it that we simply never removed when we upgraded to the new digital system!

The date stamp on the old footage was Thursday July 1, 2004. The restaurant was very busy that day. We loaded up the footage on a large monitor, and next to it on a separate monitor loaded up the footage of Thursday July 3 2014, with roughly the same amount of customers as ten years before.

I will quickly outline the findings. We carefully looked at over 45 transactions in order to determine the data below:

2004:

Customers walk in.

They gets seated and are given menus, out of 45 customers 3 request to be seated elsewhere.

Customers on average spend 8 minutes before closing the menu to show they are ready to order.

Waiters shows up almost instantly takes the order.

Appetizers are fired within 6 minutes, obviously the more complex items take longer.

Out of 45 customers 2 sent items back.

Waiters keep an eye out for their tables so they can respond quickly if the customer needs something.

After guests are done, the check delivered, and within 5 minutes they leave.

Average time from start to finish: 1:05

2014:
Customers walk in.

Customers get seated and is given menus, out of 45 customers 18 requested to be seated elsewhere.

Before even opening the menu they take their phones out, some are taking photos while others are simply doing something else on their phone (sorry we have no clue what they are doing and do not monitor customer WIFI activity).

7 out of the 45 customers had waiters come over right away, they showed them something on their phone and spent an average of 5 minutes of the waiter’s time. Given this is recent footage, we asked the waiters about this and they explained those customers had a problem connecting to the WIFI and demanded the waiters try to help them.

Finally the waiters are walking over to the table to see what the customers would like to order. The majority have not even opened the menu and ask the waiter to wait a bit.

Customer opens the menu, places their hands holding their phones on top of it and continue doing whatever on their phone.

Waiter returns to see if they are ready to order or have any questions. The customer asks for more time.

Finally they are ready to order.

Total average time from when the customer was seated until they placed their order 21 minutes.

Food starts getting delivered within 6 minutes, obviously the more complex items take way longer.

26 out of 45 customers spend an average of 3 minutes taking photos of the food.

14 out of 45 customers take pictures of each other with the food in front of them or as they are eating the food. This takes on average another 4 minutes as they must review and sometimes retake the photo.

9 out of 45 customers sent their food back to reheat. Obviously if they didn’t pause to do whatever on their phone the food wouldn’t have gotten cold.

27 out of 45 customers asked their waiter to take a group photo. 14 of those requested the waiter retake the photo as they were not pleased with the first photo. On average this entire process between the chit chatting and reviewing the photo taken added another 5 minutes and obviously caused the waiter not to be able to take care of other tables he/she was serving.

Given in most cases the customers are constantly busy on their phones it took an average of 20 minutes more from when they were done eating until they requested a check. Furthermore once the check was delivered it took 15 minutes longer than 10 years ago for them to pay and leave.

8 out of 45 customers bumped into other customers or in one case a waiter (texting while walking) as they were either walking in or out of the Restaurant. 

Average time from start to finish: 1:55

We are grateful for everyone who comes into our restaurant, after all there are so many choices out there. But can you please be a bit more considerate?

And that’s when my head basically exploded. And here’s why:

1) Are you blaming your customer? Seriously? Seriously??? When a brand blames their customers for their problems, that tells me something. And I don’t mean something about their customers, I mean something about their internal culture and business practices. Your customers are not your problem, they’re the only thing keeping you in business. I feel confident that a proper audit would not only provide a cold, hard dose of reality, but would also reveal a wealth of underlying problems that exist within this restaurant. And I’d venture to guess none of them have to do with their diners. (Might be time to call Gordon Ramsay…)

2) Because 90% of consumers trust online recommendations from people they know. Instagram photos are free advertising. Only crazy people say no to free advertising. Which leads us to…

3) Brands with nothing to hide should not fear allowing their customers to drive the conversation. If you’re providing a consistently great product and creating a consistently great experience, you’re giving your customers a reason to say great things about you — be it in person, on Twitter or via Instagram.

I’m certainly not going to defend diners who spend their meal with their noses buried in the phones, but as a brand, you should want to see people sharing their food and experience on Instagram. When your customers share their experiences on social, they are communicating with each other. The only brands with something to fear are those who fall short. And that’s on you … not them.

- See more at: http://www.brainsonfire.com/blog/2014/07/17/banning-smartphones-smart-business/#sthash.oVy43yxN.dpuf

The Girl Who Cried #Hashtag

whoomp No longer can I sit idly by watching you people--and you know who you are--commit your daily crimes against humanity. It's time for an intervention. Sit down and settle in. We're going to have a little chat about your hashtag abuse problem.

For reasons I cannot understand, the advent of Twitter and Instagram seems to have given people carte blanche to go apeshit nutty with the hashtag. I know you're probably feeling drunk on power (or maybe just feeling drunk, period) as you steer the social bus, but it's time to stop.

Here's the thing. I'm not sure what you're saying/doing on Twitter, or Instagram for that matter, that would warrant the use of 4-9 hashtags. You only have 140 characters to begin with. #Seriously.

I don't need a hashtag dissertation on a photo of your feet (#feet #grass #summer #love #yay #woohoo #IHaveToenails #TheColorGreen). And your Instagram shot of a cityscape followed by a stream of #sunshine #sky #tree #building #sidewalk #people #humans #society #BananaHammock makes you look like you a) don't know what you're doing, b) are desperate for attention, c) have hashtag Tourettes. So what is it?

I believe it was Coco Chanel who once offered a sage tidbit of advice to all the ladies of the world. Noting our propensity for wearing all the sparkly things we own at the same time, Coco advised that before leaving the house, women should look in the mirror and remove one piece of jewelry. The same advice applies to hashtagging. When you abuse hashtags, you look like this guy...who wears all the scarves.

lots of scarves

 

Moderation is a good thing. Give it a go. You might like it! If you're creating good content, people will find you. If not, pounding them over the head with the pound sign isn't going to do a gosh darn thing. Except inspire ranty Monday night blog posts.

In the meantime, let's leave the 'tag teaming to the professionals, shall we?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffCEr327W44

Yeah. I took it there.

Whoomp.

#ThereItIs

Bringing Back Recess

Yesterday was one of those unusually cool autumnal days we don’t see a lot of this time of year in South Carolina. The kind of weather that compels you to slow down and take note of the world. The choreography of leaves dancing in the wind. A man walking a matching pair of dogs down the sidewalk. The sound of footsteps over a gravel path. It was the kind of day that compels neighbors to stop, wave and say hello instead of just passing by. As I sat in my car, stopped at a red light, I noticed two men sitting on a downtown bench. They were two people who appeared to be from very different walks of life. On the left, an older man in a suit. On the right, a younger man with dreadlocks almost to his waist–and a style most of us here have come to closely associate with Asheville. Despite their differences, they appeared to be engaged in a pleasant exchange. The kind that takes place when two strangers decide to embrace an usually autumnal day and happen to come to a rest on the same bench.

In the sixty seconds I sat at the light watching those two men, a realization came over me. Most everyone has some sort of social media skills these days, but social skills are going extinct. We do a lot of talking, but we don’t make much time for conversation. We interact a lot, but connection is becoming rare.

Go find a park bench at lunch today. Take a walk with a colleague to get a cup of coffee. Talk with someone for five minutes. Your day and your heart will thank you. Take a break and GO TO RECESS! (In case you haven’t heard, recess is back.)

Twitter will still be there when you get back.

I promise.

Growing Pains (and Pins): Should Brands Be On Pinterest?

“Pinterest really seems like the next big thing.”“I’m not sure how we can use [Pinterest], but I’m on it because it seems like we should be.” “I don’t know how it will add value to our marketing, but we’re getting on Pinterest because everyone else is.”

The above are REAL statements I have come across online or have heard in conversation relating to brands on Pinterest.

Let me be the first to say: Ick. Ick. And ick.

We’ve recently had a bit of casual BOF banter about whether Pinterest is a good forum for brand participation. The reviews have been mixed to say the least. Upon floating the question to the Twittersphere, feedback (mostly from kindred spirits in the marketing world) has been surprisingly split. Some feel it’s a great space for self-promotion, while others expressed that they feel it is a sacred space and marketers shouldn’t muddy the water.

As an early adopter of Pinterest, I appreciated that, until recently, it was a relatively marketing-free space. It felt pure and untainted. For me there was a rare sense of communal credibility in knowing the things people pinned were shared because they truly enjoyed and believed in them. NOT because they were trying to convince me to buy a $500 pair of leggings or a $70,000 car.

With the influx of brands racing to get on board now that Pinterest has gone mainstream, it has changed the Pinterest game a bit. I have seen fashion brands regurgitate and pin images from every page of their catalogs. I have seen advertisements pinned as though Pinterest is nothing more than a free marketing forum. And as a result, I have started to see the spirit of Pinterest shift from “Look at how great THIS is” to “Look at how great WE are.“

While I recognize it is within a brand’s right to play in the space, it leaves me with the same “ugh” feeling I experienced the first time I came across a T.G.I. Fridays in Europe. Sure, you can be there, but should you be?

THE GOOD It’s not all doom and gloom for brands on Pinterest. I recently spoke with our friend Ryan Morgan, Director of Marketing at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, and he redeemed my faith in brands on Pinterest a bit. Jeni’s is using Pinterest to give their fans and advocates VIP access to the brand.. Pinterest feels like a natural space for Jeni’s in my opinion. They’re not forcing their way into their fans’ lives, they’re inviting them behind the scenes and into their test kitchen. And that, if you’ll pardon the pun, is pretty cool.

So. What say you? Do brands belong on Pinterest? Is it an appropriate space to self-promote or should brands trust their fans to advocate for them in an organic, authentic way? Does it bother you to see brands working their way onto the pinboards you follow? And do you know of any brands that are doing Pinterest really well? Or no so well?

Step up and share your thoughts. We’ll be on pins and needles waiting to hear your thoughts…