The time of year has arrived when young hopefuls finally break free of years of education and look to make their way in the world. As the CEO of one of the UK’s leading technology consultancies, I receive a regular flow of applications – some good, some not so good and some that are, quite frankly, so bad I doubt whether the “candidate” ever actually went to university.
As someone who gives talks at universities to students and, having seen my own children go through the process, I try to meet as many people as possible. Young graduates will face many rejections, or not even replies in some cases, but if they make it to the interview they have a rare chance in the limelight and they need to grab it.
So what am I looking for? For a start, remember that in my case you are being interviewed by the person who built the business from nothing – the person who made it possible for there to even be a job there in the first place. This means that the candidate will actually be representing the CEO and what they stand for when dealing with customers.
- So, tip number one, don’t be late – five minutes early is good, ten minutes is better. Be smart. Remember, you can always dress down during a day; you can never dress up.
- Do your homework. Google is great and websites tell you everything you want to know. You should know about the company before you walk in.
- Bring a portfolio. Hopefully you will have done work experience so make the most of it.
- Be bright and confident in the interview – show your personality. In PR you have to be able to communicate and the interview is a good place to start.
- Show the interviewer that you have passion about PR – show me real commitment and desire to build a career. PR is not a dull 9am to 5pm job. It is exciting, challenging and every day is different and we need people who are up to the challenge.
Finally, remember it isn’t over when the interview finishes. Don’t be frightened to follow up after the interview. Show us that you are really keen. Even if you aren’t successful immediately, roles come up often at short notice and if you have left the right impression you might just get that career-starting phone call.