Why do you want to become an art director?

Because you’ve been working in advertising for long enough. Because you have learned the ins and outs of the business, and you know how to lead a successful media campaign. Because it is pleasure to work with you, you know many designers, and can lead a team of creative minds.

And lastly but not least, because you want to make some impact, you enjoy doping what art directors do in work, and believe to bring value to your employer.


Why do you want to work with us, and not with another marketing/advertising agency?

Praise them for their campaigns. Show them that you spent some time researching about their works, and obviously have a first-hand information from your connections in the business.

Speak about particular campaigns that you consider great. Say that your vision of a successful campaign corresponds to what they do in their agency.

If you have good connection with one of their top clients, if you know a CEO here and there, you can also refer to it. And if nothing else, tell them that you really like their job offer, the place of work, and perhaps also the salary offer.


Tell us about your most successful media campaign

Talk numbers. The most successful campaign is not the one that won the creative campaign of the year award, or the one you made the most money with.

It is the campaign that delivered the best results to your client, and also to your employer. Talk about the value you brought onboard, the right decisions you made in this campaign, decisions that had a direct impact on the success it achieved.

And do not forget to give credit to other people who helped you with your success. Show them that you are a team player, and can appreciate the work of other people.


Tell us about your biggest failure in advertising

You won’t find a single marketer/art director who has never failed. Campaigns that cost a lot of money and bring back nothing, campaigns that result in no reaction–we all had such campaigns…

This is a part of the game, and you should not speak about such campaigns with disappointment. Tell the hiring managers about the lessons you learned while experiencing failure, and how the lessons helped you to become even  better in what you do.


How do you imagine an ideal team member?

Hiring designers and assistants will be one of your duties. Or at least you will allocate existing employees to various design projects.

An ideal team member fits with the rest of the team, and brings in skills and opinions that are unique for a team.

Great team member is open to criticism, and they are not afraid to share their opinion publicly, within the team. They should understand their role, as well as the final goal of the particular campaign, and do their best to help the team attain the goal.

Manager leads a friendly meeting with the core employees of his team. He uses demonstration to get his message over.

In your opinion, what makes a successful campaign nowadays?

  • Perfect understanding of your target audience, and the goals of the campaign.
  • Thorough market research and proper planning.
  • Split testing, and segmentation.
  • Repetition of the message, sticking to the original plan.
  • Call to action.
  • ….


How do you imagine a typical day in work?

Arriving early and leaving late. Overseeing the work of your team, giving advice, asking questions, helping the team members. Good coffee, cigarette, talks with the clients and a lunch with your team, or with one of the clients.

Work planning, leading interviews, spending time in analytics, and doing everything that’s necessary to progress with the campaign, and to meet the deadlines. Show them that you plan to be busy, and you understand the great salary doesn’t come for nothing…

Special Tip: Want to practice your interview answers later? Download a full list of questions in a simple one-page long .PDF document, and practice your answers whenever you want:

interview questions for directors of art, in pdf document


What do you consider the toughest aspect of this job?

Pressure from various stakeholders, working with many creative minds at the same time, managing people with big ego, accepting the failure as a part of the game, meeting deadlines.

Experiencing conflicts, dealing with lot of technical stuff, multitasking.

Anything you consider difficult, ensure them that you are ready to take care of it anyway. Show some courage and self confidence.


Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

Running your own advertising business, and crashing your competition, including your last employer–I am joking, of course :).

Say them that in five years you still want to work as an art director, leading successful campaigns for your employer, and trying your very best each day in work. And perhaps you hope to be even better in the things you do, as you get older and more experienced.


What are your salary expectations?

Sky is the limit, but not all birds will fly up to the skies… Salaries for art directors range from $40,000 to $200,000, or even more. The more experience you have, and the bigger the agency is (in terms of budgets and revenues), the more money you can ask for in your interview.

One way or another, you should ensure them that salary is not the deciding factor, and that you are ready to prove your skills first, before earning that covered six figure salary…


Other questions you may get in your art director interview

  • Why do you want to leave your present occupation?
  • What motivates you the most in this job?
  • Why should we hire you, and not the another applicant?
  • How would you describe an ideal boss?
  • Tell us about a conflict you had with one of your colleagues in your last job.
  • Describe a time when you faced intense pressure in your job. How did you handle the situation?
  • Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work (your colleague, your subordinate).
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with an angry or upset client (customer).
  • If you could change one thing about our agency, what would it be?


Conclusion and next steps

Art director is a fantastic job. And while you will face some difficult questions in your interview, I have also some good news:

Typically you will compete with just one or two other candidates for the job (definitely better than competing with dozens of them, which often happens in interviews for other leadership and managerial roles).

Practice your interview answers, and prepare portfolio of your best works (most successful campaigns you designed or led). Learn as much as you can about your future employer, and go to the interview with the right mindset–that you will succeed!

Continue your preparation with InterviewPenguin.com – Your best job interview coach since 2011:

  • Work portfolio for an interview – Learn how to prepare a selection of your best works, and how to use it to show the interviewers the value you can bring to their team.
  • Art teacher interview questions.
  • Marketing interview questions – Do you apply for an entry level job in marketing? You can expect them to test your creativeness and ideas with a couple of practical exercises. Behavioral and personal questions will help the hiring managers to create a complete picture of your skills and personal traits.
Matthew Chulaw
Latest posts by Matthew Chulaw (see all)