Shining during PR job interview

Last Friday, I was asked to help with the mock job interview assessment at my alma mater, University of Westminster. Here are a few of my observations.

Teamed up with the brilliant Eva Maclaine and Karen Levi, we started challenging the bright PR students of the University of Westminster with some questions.

#1 Make sure you know about your sector

Those, who stood out knew the latest nuances from their respective sectors. It’s important to show your interviewers that you are passionate about the field and know its ins and outs. If you’re applying for a job in tech PR, you should be aware about implications of AI, have an opinion about wearables, and know some of the top publications. You’ll also get some extra points for name-checking a couple of journalists.

#2 Read news

But how do you get all of the information about your sector? Simply follow the news. Wake up to the Radio 4, grab a newspaper throughout the day. Identify key titles for your sector and read them regularly. Be prepared for the questions about recent stories in press. Know what makes stories, that appear in the papers, newsworthy.

#3 Read widely

Don’t limit yourself to reading news. It’s good to read books, even if they’re novels. Non-fiction is great for building knowledge, but reading prose will enhance your vocabulary. Remember quotes and favourite lessons from book you’re reading — make note of them and then revise regularly. Bonus points go to these interviewees, who have a clever piece of research up their sleeve.

#4 Know your USP(s)

Self-awareness is always valued by employers. Never imply you’re flawless. Never say you’re  a perfectionist. Be modest. Similarly, know your strengths and be ready to give examples of when you really shone thanks to your skills. Have three messages about yourself that you want to convey throughout the interview.

#5 Over-prepare

Finally, know everything about the company that’s interviewing you. Who’s the CEO? What clients do they service? Were their clients in the media recently? Did the company appear in PRWeek or other trade publications in the recent weeks?

It was a great experience for me to help out with assessment and see how interviews are done from the other side. Westminster students did great and I’m really excited for them — and for the PR industry!

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If you have any suggestions, would like to guest post or give me a feedback, feel free to email me at kl.marcel [at] gmail.com, tweet me @marcelkl or connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!

Author: Marcel Klebba

Junior account executive at a global PR agency, working across the corporate & B2B accounts. Interested in current affairs, tech, and digital.

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