Have you got a media job interview coming up and want to know how to perform well in it?
We take a look at key factors that could help you ace that interview for your dream media job.
Are you a media type?
By this we don’t mean you have to be a media darling and air kiss upon greeting! But the industry can be seen as fast paced, competitive, professional and fun. These are the sort of attributes that media companies could also be looking for in their staff. The ability to think on your feet, listen and be creative will stand you in good stead in this environment so make sure those skills come across in the interview.
Knowledge is power
Spend time getting armed for success with background knowledge on the following key areas.
Gather as much information as possible on the industry area. For example, if your interview is for a B2B electronics magazine, think about the following. Where is growth (in this example) in electronics coming from? What are the challenges to the electronics industry? Who are the key electronics industry players? Having this information will enable you to talk knowledgably about the industry you may be writing about or selling to.
This is where your recruiter can add value, as well as doing some detective work on your own. A good media recruitment agency will have a long working partnership with companies in their niche and should be able to furnish you with background facts. Information on how the company has evolved, how it sees itself growing in the future, and most importantly its culture should be provided to you before your interview.
Then do some research yourself. The company’s website will be invaluable for information on its media titles and how it positions itself in the market place.
If you will be working on a portfolio of online, print and events, next research those. Find out what digital portals they us, is there a paywall or subscriber model? Can you subscribe for an email newsletter with them? That way you will see what they are currently focusing their marketing efforts on. Who are its competitors? Who currently advertises within it?
Again a decent media recruitment agency should be able to help you with this. Ask them for a bit of background info on who is interviewing you, what they are like and what sort of format the interview and job process is likely to take. Will it be a straightforward interview, will it be competency based (click here for advice on how to prepare for a competency based interview), how many interviews will there be?
Job Specification knowledge
Go back through the job specification with your media recruitment agency. Note the key things they are looking for, then check your CV and work out how your skills match this. You must think about what YOU can bring to the media company – what key media skills do you have? Flexibility? Creativity? Quick thinking? Problem solving?
Start to practice ways to highlight these skills with examples. Jot down notes with ‘a time when I solved x problems’, ‘how I managed y situation’, ‘how I achieved sales of …’, ‘I won xx for my style of writing’ ‘I adapted to this by …’ etc.
If you are applying for a job in media sales, expect to be tested on your sales ability. Have examples ready of when you have won over tough clients. If you are applying for a writing or editing role, expect to be given a short writing test and have relevant examples of your writing work with you.
Now you are armed with all the information you need, practice it! The more you know your answers thoroughly the more you will answer naturally and in your own tone. Your recruiter should be happy to spend some time going through things with you if you’re nervous or a bit out of practice. Or ask a family member to spend an hour helping to pretend interview you.
This is your chance to find out a bit more about the company and where your role within it would fit. Remember that people love talking about themselves and their jobs! Have some key questions prepared so that you can look keen, sharp and interested. This will help you stand out from other candidates.
Questions like ‘What is the career progression plan for this role?’ and ‘What are the company expansion plans – how would my position help this?’ show the enthusiasm and ambition that media companies love.
Click here for a list of questions you should be ready to answer and ask.
The media industry may be a relatively young and fun place to work, but first impressions count. We have had a few candidates not think about the area they would be selling/marketing/writing to who have lost out on second interviews as a result of being too casual. As an example, if you are going to write about the legal industry or sell to it, what type of outfit would you expect lawyer to be wearing?
We would always recommend erring on the side of safe and professional outfits.
Media companies tend to be dynamic places to work and attract positive, professional people who have the skills to adapt to their audience. Bear this in mind when you attend your media job interview. A firm handshake, eye contact and a smile will help start the interview on the right foot.
To seem like an engaged and positive person, sit up properly in your seat, keep up the eye contact and ensure your listening skills are tip top. Try not to fidget or do the ‘um’ and ‘err’ thing too much! If you need a pause, a sip from a glass of water should help.
Click here to read further interview advice.
So, you’ve aced the interview because of your in depth media industry knowledge, incredible skills and positive attitude. Now what?
The first step should be to be to give some feedback to your media recruiter. What were your impressions of the company and the people who interviewed you? Did you find out enough about how you would fit in to the company? How positive about it all do you feel?
A good media recruitment agency will follow up with the company then feedback detailed information to you so you can judge what you did right, what you need to improve upon etc. This sort of constructive feedback is essential to you as you go through the interviewing process, so make sure you receive it.
If you want to create a good impression with the company you were with, it may help to ask your agency for the interviewer’s email address and drop them a quick email to thank them for their time, and tell them how much you enjoyed the experience. No more than that is required, any more on the email may seem desperate so keep it short and sweet. This will help you to stand out from other prospective interviewees, and all goes to reinforce that positive, enthusiastic approach that media companies look for.
So that’s it – go and do yourself justice in that interview! The right media job is within your reach now.
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