Tips for acing your next PR interview

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Business people waiting for job interviewWhether you’re a recent PR graduate or a current student, chances are that some sort of interview will be in your future. As a semi-recent college graduate, I can empathize on many levels; the nerves before that first phone interview are typically through the roof, and they only heighten before it’s time to meet face-to-face.

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Contrary to popular opinion, you actually can prepare for an interview, which is a surefire way to combat those nerves. Here are a few tips to consider before your next in-person interview:

  • Bring copies of your resume and work samples
    This seems obvious, but sometimes we forget the obvious during a stressful situation. It also doesn’t hurt to have relevant samples of past work, whether it be from a previous job or projects you completed in school. Think you’re a good writer? Bring samples to prove it. Not only will it aid those interviewing you in the decision process, but it doesn’t hurt to be overly prepared. Be prepared to talk through every nook and cranny of your resume. As odd as it sounds, it doesn’t hurt to verbally talk through key points of your resume before the big day so you know what you want to say.
  • Do your homework 

    It’s almost a guarantee that wherever you’re interviewing has a website and at least one social media channel, especially if it’s a public relations agency. Our advice? Spend a good 20 minutes surfing the website and/or social channels prior to the interview. It’s doubtful an interviewer will ask for a five minute synopsis of the company’s history, but he or she may ask what you know about the organization. If nothing else, you’ll look exceptionally stellar if you can rattle off a fact or two about a recent campaign the company has exceled at.

  • Know yourself 

    Know why you majored in PR, know your strengths and weaknesses and know what qualities you possess that would make you a good fit for whatever company you’re interviewing with. These are all very typical questions during a job interview, and knowing potential answers ahead of time will prevent the feeling of being put on the spot.

  • Anticipate a writing test 

    Yes, tests do exist outside of school. You can’t really prepare for these, but they aren’t anything to lose sleep over. Keep in mind that many agencies are becoming more and more integrated with social media, so it’s not a bad idea to brush up on your Twitter and Facebook knowledge. It also goes without saying that you should expect at some point to be questioned about AP Style, so be sure to have an AP Stylebook in your possession.

  • Be familiar with current events 

    Know what’s going on in the world of PR. Whether it’s a campaign you’ve seen another brand activate or a new update to a major social platform, it’s good to know what’s going in in the industry. Assuming you’re social savvy, there are tons of great organizations to follow on both Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date news in the industry. Two of our favorites are PR News and PR Daily.

Most importantly, relax and be yourself. This sounds cliché, but it’s true.

To any recent hires or those that have gone through a PR interview lately — what tips and advice do you have to add? Let us know in the comments below!