AREA203 Digital Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
Social Media Manager Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4 days - interviewed at AREA203 Digital in February 2013.
Interview Details – I initially found the job on LinkedIn. I contacted the recruiter directly through his LinkedIn profile. The following day he called to do a screening interview. He passed my information along to the hiring managers. Just a few days later, I had a phone call with them.
It was a terrible experience. There were several people on speakerphones in different rooms, and it was hard to understand any of them.
Interview Question – Describe a social media strategy you have used in the past. Answer Question
Social Media Editor Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at AREA203 Digital in January 2012.
Interview Details – I was asked to submit a few writing samples, then I was called in for an interview which lasted for approximately one hour. About two weeks later I was offered the position. The interview was fun and light, thought I was not interviewed by anyone in upper management.
I was frustrated with being asked to submit the same samples multiple times.
Art Department Position Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at AREA203 Digital in September 2012.
Interview Details – Phone interview with recruiter, went well. Face to face with half dozen managers - half were great, other half arrogant, distracted, rushed. Company has had some bad press - check out timespress.com.
Interview Question – They didn't really ask many - seems they wanted the candidate to do most of the talking. Answer Question
SEO Specialist Interview (Negative Experience; Easy Interview)
The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at AREA203 Digital in January 2012.
Interview Details – Their recruiter posted the job on a popular subsite of a social news site, and I replied to it. The recruiter seemed very excited and was anxious to get me in on a phone interview. The company was willing to pay for relocation, which is awesome. Chattanooga seems like a great place to work, and I was open to relocation at the time.
So, I was setup with a phone interview with three people. Now, for those of you who don't know, doing a phone interview with three people is incredibly awkward. All three are on a singular speakerphone (it's hard enough to hear one person) and asking questions at random times. Again, whatever. I perform pretty well on interviews regardless of the situation.
So, we get on the phone and little to my surprise, it's incredibly hard to hear. The phone interview last for about an hour with questions ranging from past SEO experiences, how you've envisioned ROI, and what you've done during Panda 2.2. I answered all of them with responses that are quite detailed.
Recruiter comes back and says I'm the top candidate. Awesome. Then, the communication stops. I end up calling him back every few days to check on the status of the position (granted, I was interviewing for 5 other positions at the time) to let him know my status. He tells me that they like me, he just wasn't sure of the next steps.
Finally, I'm at a point where I have two offers on the table. I call Area203 back, after not hearing from them for a week (after I had come to them with another offer the week before) and the recruiter attempts to get in contact with the hiring team, to no avail. I accept another offer, and politely decline further consideration.
Area203 seems eager to hire, with all of the recruiter's posts on Reddit and Twitter, but when it comes down to the actual process, they fall flat on their face. This is not the recruiters fault as he was a consummate professional the entire time but the hiring team's. If you're looking for "the best of the best" don't leave the best of the best on the market for that long. My impression was that they wanted to do a Skype interview (after the one hour phone interview) before they met me in person, so that may be your next step.
Overall, I'm disappointed in the process. Any SEO professional who is in the market for a position may want to look elsewhere, at least if you're decent at what you do.
Interview Question – Tell us about a successful SEO campaign. Answer Question
Social Media and PR Manager Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at AREA203 Digital in November 2011.
Interview Details – I thought I was perfectly qualified for this job. They took a long time to take action after I submitted my résumé, finally responding with a skills test. I passed that and a few weeks later I did a telephone interview. (They seem to wait until after the 1st of the month or the middle of the month to do things).
A few more weeks later, I came in to do an in-person two-hour-long interview with four managers, as well as answering questions from the three employees I would be supervising. They alone took 45 minutes grilling me.
Among their questions to me were, "Where do you see Facebook going in five years?" "What are some of the apps you use and websites you read?" and "If you had to give a presentation on something to the whole office next week, what would be your subject of expertise?"
I thought I did well. I even followed up with hand-written thank you notes to everyone I interviewed with, but I continued to see the person who would have been my supervisor encouraging people to submit their résumés on Twitter, which was very discouraging. Two weeks after I did the final interview, I received a letter saying they were passing on hiring me. No reason given. Don't count on being qualified or performing well in the interview process getting you this job. They are perhaps looking for something intangible.
I would describe it as a negative experience, just because it went on for weeks and I was left with a lot of suspense despite them saying they wanted to fill the position ASAP. Just go into it knowing that you'll dedicate a lot of time to clear their hurdles with no guarantee of successfully getting a job with them -- even if you know someone on the inside. I really wanted to work there, even though I was uncomfortable with the emphasis on religion (to their credit, they did not ask me any questions about religion during the interview process). If you do interview with them, make sure you know all of the specific social media marketing industry jargon because they place a lot of importance on appearing to be experts.
Management Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at AREA203 Digital in March 2011.
Interview Details – I really enjoyed meeting the people. They were all very nice. They were very definitive about the fact that they were a "Christian organization". That made me a little uncomfortable, but I still believed in the good works they were doing. We made it all the way to salary negotiations. I was waiting for a week to hear back, being assured that it was a done deal, just waiting for final salary approval to deliver the offer. In the meantime, I declined an offer from another potential employer. The HR rep called me to report they had "decided to go in a different direction". She and I were both shocked. Oddest situation I'd ever been in. The moral of the story is, don't make any plans until you have an offer in hand.
Marketing Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
The process took 2 months - interviewed at AREA203 Digital in September 2010.
Interview Details – Completed a phone interview with a recruiter and 2 phone interviews with the hiring manager. The initial feedback was very positive and they wanted to fly me out for an in-person interview at their office in Chattanooga TN.
My HR contact welcomed me with a hug and was very inviting. I was surprised an ad agency had so many businesses in one building, like four of them. It seemed so odd. The people were friendly and the hiring manager was not around for the interview so we had to wait for her. The interview with her was laid back and it seemed like I was the one asking all the questions and was prepared. The other person who was to be a part of the interview who was a significant manager was on vacation. It was like she had no real questions for me.
I met the team I would work with for 15 minutes including a person who I would manage. When I tried to ask them if they had questions for me, they indicated the manager wanted it to be informal. Why was I there??? Then the hiring manager and the person I would manage and I went to lunch. We didn't even discuss the job or work. Maybe it was a fit thing. When we returned to the office, I met with the hiring manager for 5 minutes, and she asked me if I had any more questions and had one more person to interview on a phone call and I would know in 2 weeks. Then the HR contact asked me if did a significant part of the job focus at my other position??? They couldn't have pushed me out the door fast enough. They also were very private about very obvious questions such as " who was the biggest client? who would I work with - the clients in the position? how are the companies connected? - no advertising agency I have talked to would hide such facts!!!
it was so strange to go from being at the top about to get an offer if things went well and then asked if you did a signficant factor of the job? I am still waiting to hear, no word yet. I did notice they reposted the position/refreshed online the day following my interview.
There were just too many iffy things. I would not accept that job and relocate anyway. Beware.
- Our new hire you will manage does not have any marketing experience. I don't have time to manage him. It will be a part of the job to mentor him and bring him up to speed but he has done good so far. Is that okay with you? Answer Question
- I had heard they work with Payday lending companies and I asked them about it. They skirted the issue and wouldn't tell me who the clients/partners/examples of campaigns I would work on. This was a significant part of the job. Answer Question