Interviews – making this crucial conversation count

Categories: News

This month there is a lot of talk about careers – the transition, the paths, the interviews. Our April PD event features a lively discussion on managing career transitions and the IABC London website has been full of career opportunities with London’s finest teams and organizations.

If you have the opportunity to participate in an interview this month, below are a few tips (gathered from our IABC executive team), that may turn a seemingly stressful event into one you may remember (for good reasons) for the rest of your career.

  • Talk about your team and coworkers. Of course we mean in a positive way! There is nothing more impressive than a positive team member who spreads credit to teammates, suppliers and partners.
  • Get to know your prospective team and employer. This conversation is also an opportunity for you to get to know the leader, team and organization on the other side of the table. Don’t be afraid to ask ask questions – about the business, leadership style and about the values of the organization. You might find that the fit is perfect, or more importantly, that this role isn’t for you.
  • Prepare for the one question you hope that they don’t ask. Not only will this help you to be prepared, it will help take the edge off. Maybe there was a project that didn’t go as planned, a period of inactivity in your resume, or a quick transition from a role that wasn’t a great fit. Handling tough questions with poise and professionalism is a skill that will serve you well in the interview and when you are seasoned in your new role.
  • If you can, have a little fun and show your personality – I’ll always remember my first big interview out of school. It was with the team at The Grand Theatre; a team I would lucky to spend four years working with, and learning from. Rob Wellan, a PR great who would later become a treasured mentor, asked one of the most off-beat questions I’d ever heard of in an interview. About half way through the friendly, yet professional panel chat, Rob piped-up asking “what’s your sign?”. After a double take I responded “Taurus, I hope that won’t be a problem.” Rob presented an opening in the conversation to have a little fun, and for me to show my sense of humour and my personality.We all had a great laugh and the conversation continued with all of us getting to know about each other on a personal-level.
  • Know the audience. Revise your resume, cover letter and portfolio with each application and interview. Tailoring the content based on the company, job description and decision-maker will show the reviewer that you have given thought to their needs.
  • Have a non-BS response to the “weakness” question. Yes, you might work too much or obsess about the details of your job, but if you can honestly answer this question with humility, it can be a conversation starter and show the interviewer your emotional intelligence. For example, maybe you can be very open about a skill-set that is not integral to the role (e.g., technical production like web development, photoshop or video). Noting that you are taking courses to improve and that you excel at strategy may just show the interviewer that you are willing to improve and that you will admit to fault – something leaders may be looking for.

Recommended reading
So, the job search has gone well, the interview was a smashing success, and you’ve landed the gig of your dreams…now what? There are plenty of ways to prepare for your new role and one must-do is to read The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. It’s an easy book to devour and will help you chart a course for preparing your mind and to do list for your transition. One of the best tips noted is to create time to break from your former role, allowing time to hit “reset” before taking on your new job.

Do you have any interview tips you would like to share or books/articles/blogs that have helped your career, visit our Facebook page and join the conversation.

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