So in part one of How To Get A Job in PR, we covered the basics, in part 2 we looked at the finer art of defining what it is you’re looking for from a PR role, and now, in this final part, we’ll look at the final furlong – the interview.
What should I do to prepare for an interview?
Do LOTS of research. I can’t emphasise enough how important this is. Look at the agency you’re being interviewed for, do a Google search on them, see if they’ve had any recent news about themselves, or if you can find them, what have they done for their client recently?
Try to get a feel for the agency’s philosophy – are they professional to the hilt or are they casual and laid back?
Read PR websites and get a feel for how the industry is moving, what are the key trends at that moment?
The first interview
Is likely to be conducted over the phone. this is for the agency to get a feel for you and for you to see if you like the sort of language they use and the tone of voice that the interviewer uses. This will be quite standard stuff:
– what newspapers do you read (it might be handy to name some of your favourite journalists)
– what have been the big news stories of the day or last few weeks
– have you seen any PR stories, or news that you thought was generated by PR
– what interests do you have outside of your intended career path
All of these are designed to help the interviewer work out whether you should be asked back for a formal interview.
The formal interview
It is likely that you’ll go through two formal interviews at the agency’s offices, both of which will be slightly different.
The first will usually include a brief run down of the company and what they’re looking for in an employee. You’ll probably meet an Account Manager or Account Director, and you’ll get a chance to talk about the experience you’ve got and discuss points from your CV, before probably being asked to sit a written test. This won’t be anything too difficult, and it’s function is really to see whether you can think on your feet and write copy quickly. It will also help the PR agency to see the thinking behind what you write which of course will help them to determine if you’re suitable for the role.
If you get to a second interview, the chances are you’re on a shortlist of a few candidates and this is where you will get a chance to really excel. There’s no need to be pushy in answering questions or asking them, but your job at this stage is to demonstrate your enthusiasm and willingness to learn. You’ll probably meet some of, if not all of, the team you’d be working in, and this is a chance to assess the chemistry between you and them. Chemistry is a large part of a functioning PR team – it helps in brainstorms if you’re all on the same wavelength for example.
Hopefully, this will be the last part of the interview process, and you’ll find out shortly after if you’ve got the role. If you do, then you are well on the way to getting your head into the PR world and all the best.
If you don’t however, don’t be discouraged. Doing three or four interviews at different agencies and not getting the jobs on offer, will teach you a lot more than flying straight in. You’ll learn how to better conduct yourself, and what is required from you.
I hope this 3 part series has been helpful to anyone looking to get a foothold in PR, and I welcome any suggestions to further improve this guide!