Your cover letter and résumé have gotten you in the door. Now comes the dreaded interview.
Some hiring managers and potential bosses might want to throw you a curveball; others might opt for a jolly chat.
Just in case, it’s best to come well prepared. Here are five common questions and directives that form the foundation of most PR job interviews:
1. Tell me about yourself. Give a succinct and short overview of your career, focusing on your more recent positions. Discuss why and how you got into PR, what you love about it, where most of your client experience lies and what your interests are. They might also ask about your personal life—often to spark a conversation—so tell them about your top hobby, that amazing restaurant you went to last week or your favorite music genre.
2. Why do you want to work here? This is your potential employer’s discovery question to see how much research you’ve done. That means doing your homework beforehand. Be specific. Look at their case studies, their blogs and their social media feeds. Key on the parts that interest you, whether it’s their client base, the vibe you get from their office culture or even what you’ve heard from other people. It’s perfectly acceptable to say: “You work with some really cool clients, and it looks like a great place to work. I saw the campaign you did with X.” Ask about it, so you can feed off each other’s excitement and enthusiasm.
3. What are your strengths and weaknesses? This is a bit of a panic question, but a simple one to prepare for. Have some achievements ready to illustrate what you’re good at. When it comes to weaknesses, please don’t say, “Perfectionism.” That’s a transparent dodge. Instead, think of a negative you’re addressing—not something that raises flags (e.g., chronic lateness), but something along the lines of “I tend to be a bit of a ‘yes’ (wo)man and can take on too many tasks.” Then explain how you’re working to resolve that weakness.
4. Tell us five relevant media contacts you hold for our clients—quickly. If you’re an expert in a particular PR sector, you might be asked to name some of your contacts. Make sure you’ve checked Gorkana to get those names right, as well as their affiliations, because it’s likely your interviewer will also know them.