By David Landis, LCI CEO/President
Years ago I remember my affiliate in Philadelphia, Anne Buchanan, wrote about how to disqualify yourself from the running for a PR agency job. With the New Year already taking hold, I decided it was time to update that list for 2015. Here goes:
- You show up without your portfolio. Yes, it’s true that we can find your information online or that you can send it later, but you’re assuming that the job interviewer will do that work. We won’t – and you should.
- You show up without references. I’m not going to just take your word that you’re fabulous. Prove to me that you have the credentials you say you do; bring a written copy of your references.
- You show up without additional copies of your resume. Really? And you want a job?
- You don’t even take the time to research our business. Nowadays, with the Internet, it is so easy to do research on companies. Take the time to look at their website, know a little about the business and come prepared with a few questions that demonstrate that you’ve done your homework.
- Bring your writing samples. Just because you tell me your writing is excellent, it doesn’t mean it’s so. PR is all about good writing. We need written verification of that. Bring it to the interview.
- Dress appropriately. I disqualify job applicants if they don’t show respect by dressing well. I don’t care that we live in San Francisco and Silicon Valley and that a hoodie is considered to be fashion forward. It’s not. Wear a tie and a sport jacket to the interview. You can always dress down later (after you’re hired) if you learn that the company is more casual.
- Be prepared to sell yourself. Part of being a good PR practitioner is, in fact, sales. We want to see if you can sell yourself – and how you do so. Think ahead of time and have a couple of campaigns that you’ve worked on for which you are proud. Don’t just talk about them tactically: start with the goal, which audiences you are trying to reach, the strategy and then the tactics. And show me the results.
- Know how to answer the question, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Everyone asks it. Be prepared. Make sure your weakness isn’t an actual weakness.
- Practice being articulate and succinct. Don’t just show up to an interview. Anticipate the questions and formulate potential answers – and practice communicating well. We are, after all, in the communications business.
- Most importantly: always send a written thank you after the interview. If you don’t, you won’t be hired at our shop. Why? Because successful business is about developing effective relationships – and that means doing what Mom taught you: always send a thank you.
What’s your job interview pet peeve? Please comment below or email me directly at: [email protected].