Six things we look for in an interview
Our group head of engagement, John Brown, highlights how to succeed in an interview
My flies were undone and I spilt egg on my jumper.
That’s what I can remember from my first interview. Not quite a car crash, but the blend of indecent exposure and dried yolk ensured that I was given a courteous smile and shown the door.
Luckily, I recovered quickly and found a great entry level role at a small PR agency.
Fast forward to today and I’m now on the other side of the table and let me tell you, I’ve had to learn how to interview. I quickly realised that channelling Alan Sugar was not the key to a good interview.
Instead, an interview process is as much about me selling my agency as it is about the candidate selling themselves.
However, there are some key things that my colleagues and I always look for when interviewing. Believe me, it goes deeper than the ‘achievements’ section of your CV.
- Get excited about something: The best comms strategies of today are based on emotion, not content. We always welcome people’s passionate viewpoint on an industry topic or a skill. If there’s no emotion, there’s usually no job.
- A career not a step-up: I do get suspicious when I hear people say, ‘I’ve just not been promoted quick enough’. It feels short sighted. Instead, discussing career paths, aspirations, goals, training desires is far more useful.
- Be honest about what you don’t like: I hate a whole bunch of things. Soya milk, hours sheets, receipts, proofing things, project plans. My boss knows this, and we work on getting the balance right. Being honest about the job builds trust and gives us more opportunity to get the role right
- Bring something interesting to the table: I love speaking to people who know interesting things and talk about them. It could be an article in the Economist or an episode of Eastenders that showed the dark side of machine learning. We love to hear from people who learn in their own time and are willing to apply it in the workplace
- Have a clue about what we do: This is an obvious one, but it does trouble me how often we have interviewees mention clients we don’t have, work we didn’t do or websites we don’t manage
- Talk about your expectations: From cash to clients, we want to know what you want from a job. No need to shy away from some of the hard business stuff, I’m not interviewing you for free and you’re not looking for voluntary work at an agency
Hopefully this will give you a glimpse into some of the more ‘hidden’ things we look for during an interview. Ultimately though, it will come down to personality, passion and pride in your work.
Oh, and never eat a boiled egg before an interview.