‘Tis the season when all those bright young grads return from university looking to get on the first rung of the career ladder. Based on some of the interviews I’ve been involved in lately, here’s some tips for young professionals who want to make a good first impression.
1. Don’t let your parents contact your prospective employer. That means not before the interview; not after the interview. Never. When your mummy or daddy rings to give the employer insight into your character or to make sure we fully understand exactly how clever or accomplished you are, it doesn’t reflect well.
2. When asked, “Why do you want to work in PR?”, never reply that you are ‘good with people’. I get a sinking feeling when I hear this reply. For me it’s often the end of any real interest in a candidate. Instead, do some research into what is actually required for the job and focus on how your skills and talents fit.
3. Bring a hard copy of your CV to the interview, even if you’ve already emailed to the interviewer. You’ll look prepared and business like. Even better, bring in samples of your writing and other accolades you’d like to highlight in the discussion.
4. When asked what newspapers you like, don’t reply, ‘I don’t read newspapers’ or ‘Dunno, The Sun, I guess, because when I visit my Gran she has it for the crossword’. This is a complete turn-off. Show some interest in the industry in which you are seeking employment.
5. When asked, did you check out our website?, don’t reply, ‘I meant to, but didn’t have a chance yet’, or ‘Ya, I had a quick look to find your address this morning’. Failing to do even the most basic research tells the interviewer a lot about you, and it doesn’t reflect well.
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