Applying for your first role can be a daunting experience, especially if you’ve never been interviewed before. Employers look for a number of key skills and personality attributes to make sure they hire someone who will be the right fit for the agency.
Before getting to the interview application stage, when short-listing a potential place of employment, make sure they are the right fit for you before pitching yourself as the right fit for them. Research what company benefits they offer, if they offer a training program, if you agree with their company philosophy and if you could see yourself fitting in easily.
Once you have applied and get to the interview stage, here are our five simple tips to help you prepare and make sure you’re in with the best shot!
- The Five P’s
Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. An oldie but a goodie when it comes to advice. Nobody can deny that a little bit of prep goes a long way when it comes to interviews. This doesn’t mean memorising every single one of the agency’s clients or knowing every person’s job title.
The first sign that you’re actually interested the role you’re interviewing for, is knowing what sectors the agency works in, and having a rough idea of their most recent campaigns. It shows great initiative to mention an article in the media that appeared recently that may be relevant to one of their clients, and being able to flag who the journalist was. Those skills are bread and butter for PRs and having a good understanding of the media landscape is crucial. Watch the news, listen to the radio, be across what’s happening in social media trends – and then go into your interview with a few interesting pieces to mention.
Be prepared for basic questions too. Why did you apply for this role? What is it that interests you about PR? What are some recent campaigns you’ve seen that inspired you? Having these answers in your back pocket means you can keep the conversation flowing.
- Body Language
Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication when meeting someone for the first time, and is key to creating the right impression. Small habits that come out when you’re anxious like foot tapping, hair twirling or chair swinging may seem minor but can be super off-putting for the person you’re talking to. Try to practice being in an interview situation, and pulling yourself back when you feel yourself starting the bad habit. The same goes for your posture and general sitting pose. Slouched over with crossed arms comes across as uninterested and defensive. Sitting tall with an open posture suggests you’re alert, attentive and eager to chat.
- Dress For Success
PR agencies cover a wide range of clients, from corporate to chilled out start-ups. Know who you are trying to impress and dress for the occasion. A corporate agency will want to see you in a suit, or shirt and trousers, whereas a creative agency will be fine with a smart casual look. Also take note of your personal appearance, if you aren’t keen to give up your facial piercings and brightly coloured hair, then the corporate world may not be for you. There will be an agency and PR field that suits your personality so make sure you’re going after the right job.
Choosing the right outfit doesn’t mean you should go out and spend a fortune on new clothes though. Whatever you wear, make sure it is smart, clean and tidy and that a company would be proud to have you representing them.
- Question Master
Interviews are a two-way street and it’s very likely your prospective employer will ask if you have any questions yourself, so it’s good to have a few up your sleeve. Not only does it ensure that you look prepared, it also suggests that you’re genuinely keen to learn more about the agency. Have at least two to three questions prepared ahead of time, but also make sure to listen carefully on the day and ask any further questions you have as they come up.
- Bring A Pen & Notebook
Write notes!! Having a notebook in front of you suggests you’ve thought about the interview ahead of time and are interested and detailed. It makes you look fully engaged and suggests to the interviewer that you’re actively listening and absorbing what they’re saying.
If you’re interested in working at FORWARD take a look at our recruitment page, or submit your résumé and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org