By Tracey Benjamini, Account Executive, R&J Public Relations
My colleague Tiffany and I recently spent some time interviewing candidates for summer intern positions at R&J. This was my first time “on the other side of the table” being the interviewer and not the interviewee. While there were plenty of candidates who were properly prepared for the interview, I was surprised to discover how many were not. My experience prompted me to put together a list of tips to help future interviewees be prepared. While I was putting it together, I realized the list isn’t exclusive to interviews. The following tips are also useful points current PR professionals should keep in mind for their next client meeting or presentation.
1) Be on time– This may seem like an obvious one, but punctuality is the first step to making a good impression. Of course there are events that happen that are out of your control, so if you’re going to be late you should always let your interviewer or client know.
2) Do your research– You should never walk into an interview without doing your research on the company. Take five minutes to search through their website, check out who their clients are, what industries they work in, and look at some recent hits they secured so you can talk about them in your interview. Similarly, also do your research before any client meetings. Whether it’s your first meeting with the client or one you’ve been meeting with for years, it’s always important to know the latest what’s going on in their company and their industry.
3) Don’t walk in empty handed- Even if you’ve sent your resume ahead of time, you should always bring a copy along with any relevant writing samples or a portfolio. The same idea goes for a meeting. Just because you’ve sent the meeting materials over before the meeting, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring copies of everything with you. You never know if other meeting attendees will have all the materials, or if anyone unexpected might attend.
4) Dress to Impress– Not every interview or meeting requires a three-piece suit, but it is important to always look professional. Even if the job you’re interviewing for or the client you are going to meet with is on the more casual side, there is still a way to be casual and professional.
Walking into an interview or a meeting as prepared as possible certainly leaves a good impression on your potential new employer or client. Your preparedness may even give you that edge to help you land an internship, win a new account or successful pitch a new idea to your client.