By: Renee LeBouef — Contributor
Job hunting is a job in itself.
The amount of planning and preparation for each and every interview you snag SHOULD rival that of a major Hollywood production. That being said, here are a few tips for mastering the art of the interview.
1. The 3 R’s: Research, Rehearse and Review.
Knowing the company interviewing you like the back of your hand couldn’t be more important. You better know the clients they represent and the voice they emulate – and why you want to be a part of it all.
It may seem silly, but videoing yourself answering questions can be super helpful. Replaying it gives you an idea of the little vocal nuances that need tweaking; maybe you need to cut out the “ums,” play up those facial expressions, or work on avoiding too much repetition in your wording. Whatever the case, I can guarantee you’ll find something in that video that can be adjusted to make the best impression.
2. “Testing, 1, 2….”
Technology is not always your friend. If you have an interview via Skype or even by phone, ensure you’re going to have the best possible connection. I recently had one that went horribly; the volume kept cutting out and it was the rudest gesture in history for me to continuously ask my interviewer to repeat herself. Square away the exact internet connection you’ll be using as well as the computer long before the interview. Make a couple of “test” calls that last at least 15 minutes to ensure call quality. Take every possible measure to be certain those technological advances we treasure so dearly don’t backfire on you when they matter most.
….and please, keep time zones in mind. If you’re in Central and you have a phone chat scheduled with a company in Pacific – well, enough said.
3. Develop your own personal S.W.O.T.
Be prepared to discuss your STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES. By OPPORTUNITIES, I mean that whole “where do you see yourself in 3 years? 5 years?” plan. If you don’t have a 5 year plan, I suggest crafting one immediately.
THREATS refers to your ability to overcome obstacles. I was lucky enough to meet the public relations director of the High Museum in Atlanta recently. She mentioned that often times “PR” means someone has a “PRoblem,” and they need YOU to fix it. Here’s a great example of an interview question meant to analyze this skill:
“Say the Supreme Court recently passed a law closing the wage/employment gap for transgender individuals. We’re pitching to major outlets like The Wall Street Journal. How are you going to quickly find the contact information for relevant reporters?”
“Fake it ‘til you make it” is my favorite mantra to live by. When all else fails, a genuine smile and direct eye contact will prove your ability to thrive under pressure. And remember: a sleek pair of pumps (ladies) or a killer, yet classic tie (gentlemen) will, at the very least, leave your potential employer thinking: “Now THAT one had a great sense of style.”
Renee is a small-town southern girl, finishing up a master’s in communications in the bustling city of Columbia, South Carolina (insert sarcasm here.) Her life is an ironic hypocrisy of balancing her passion for sustainable living with her love of good music, fashion and all things chocolate. She hopes to represent hospitality and entertainment clients at a small agency upon graduation – and to eventually soothe the incredible wanderlust that’s haunted her since Siri started reading GPS directions out loud.