You’re busy, I’m busy, so I keep these secrets to six snappy paragraphs. If you find them useful, do spread the word!
I’ve just tapped ‘how to impress at a job interview’ into google, and plenty of advice immediately popped up. There was the blindingly obvious — be on time, dress appropriately — and the less obvious — if you have dental issues, be sure to floss the night before.
But nowhere could I see any suggestion that reflected how journalists often get their jobs and promotions. Put at its simplest, the most successful candidates arrive bearing a gift. They court their potential employer with something that will thrill them. If you want to work in a newsroom, that means you bring in a really decent news story that is ripe for you to report.
There are two reasons why this often leads to success. First, it means that the interviewer is flattered: this candidate knows what makes me and my business tick. And second, it provides a few minutes of comfortable terrain for the candidate, who can now talk confidently about a subject they may have been researching for weeks.
Here’s some proof. This story about a local ambulance service using second hand ambulances was suggested at an interview by a keen young reporter who’d done his homework on what his employers’ needs might be. He got his story, and he got his job at the BBC.
If you’re an employer, do you always encourage your candidates to do a bit of work before they walk through the door? If you’re looking for a new job, do you inquire about what your interviewers’ immediate needs might be, and then work on some solutions?
Whisper it, but job interviews aren’t just about what you’ve done. They’re often about what you might do in your first week. That might require a bit of oomph. But it’s the oomph — not the gleaming teeth — that could get you the job.
If you’re looking for a way of testing candidates for a job, my Newsroom Bootcamp is a great way for you to observe their resilience, decision-making and communication skills. And it’s fun, too.