How To Nail Your First Interview
You got an interview! CONGRATULATIONS! Honestly, that's the first battle won and now it's all about dazzling your potential employer with all that experience you've built up and your winning personality.
To avoid becoming overwhelmed by the interview process, split it up into stages
Stage 1: Pre-Interview
- Gather your Experience, Resume and Portfolio ready for the recruiter.
- Clean up your social media removing any inappropriate photos or posts that could be off putting. Alternatively make everything is super private and change your name so you can't be searched.
- Research not only the role you are applying for, but also the company so you're well-versed on their brand messaging and current strategy.
- Phone Interview: You may be screened prior to your face-to-face interview with a phone interview. These are usually friendly and less formal. Don't be afraid to ask questions about the role and show your knowledge of the brand (above).
- First Impression: Dress appropriately for the company culture and air on the side of modest over-dressing as opposed to casual clothing. (Popping a mint before you go in can't hurt either!)
- Make sure you get enough sleep as well as eat a proper breakfast.
- Arrive early and monitor your breathing to ease nerves and clear your mind before entering the interview room.
Stage 2: During Interview
You're prepared, you can do this! Enter the interview room smiling and prime yourself for a confident, but not too firm handshake.
Open body language is very important for a good first impression so avoid crossing your arms or fidgeting and always maintain eye contact when answering questions.
FAQs & How To Answer Them...
- Why do you want to work for our business?
This is a breeze! You've already researched the company and you're excited about the brand, it's strategy and potential for growth. BONUS: Use recent examples of their content.
- What is a challenge you faced previously? How did you overcome it? What was the outcome?
Be honest. Media professionals come across challenges every day, and the learnings they gain are invaluable to growing their skillset so don't be afraid of opening up. Keep it positive and showcase a skill you learned that helped you overcome the challenge.
- What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
These are stock standard and easily rehearsed - so try not to come across that way! Avoid cliches like, "I'm a perfectionist" and try something more original or personal.
- Give an example of working in a team or a project you are most proud of.
This is specific to you, but choose a relevant project to the job you're applying for and if you can point to the example in your portfolio - even better!
- Why are you looking for a role?
Avoid negativity. If you're leaving your job, don't be rude about your previous employer (it doesn't bode well for your future employer). On the other hand, the opportunity may have popped up and you were inspired to challenge yourself, develop your career or your excited about the brand's vision and want to be a part of it.
- Tell me something your passionate about outside of media.
The hobby question! The recruiter is trying to get a sens eof your personality to see whether you would fit well within the company culture. When you're passionate about something, it's very obvious so don't lie!
Questions To Avoid...
A lot of the questions to avoid are common sense. But generally you should steer clear of any negatively geared or self-serving questions.
For example, salary is traditionally broached by the recruiter and not the interviewee.
In the same vein, questions like, "How many hours a day am I expected to work?" says a lot about your intended work ethic. Instead you could ask the recruiter, "Can you describe a general day in the office here so I can get a feel for the company culture?"
Questions You Should Ask...
At the end, most interviewers will leave time for you to pose your own questions back to them. After all, it's not one-sided and you're also still deciding if you want to work for the company.
These could include:
- What's your favourite thing about working here?
- What does a general day in this role look like?
- What avenues for growth are there?
- What do you believe are the business' key development goals or priorities?
- How would you describe the company culture?
Stage 3: Post-Interview
So your interview is done and dusted and now you play the waiting game. However, there's still a few moves you can play to show your interest in role.
- Follow up with a short email the next day thanking the recruiter for their time and showing your excitement for the brand/role.
- The employer will generally give you a time frame for when they will make their decision. So if they say they'll call by the end of the week, and it's next Monday, either send them a follow up email or a call to check in.
- Don’t stalk them and take their lead. Even if you don't get the role, always ask for feedback so you can improve for your next interview.
Good luck with your interview!
Or if you still need help choosing which media sector to apply for jobs, take our quiz!