Mediabistro TV has launched a brand new series called “Score That Job,” which becomes the fifth original series to go into production. Starring Mediabistro’s career expert, Vicki Salemi, the series tackles the question, “How do I get a job at…?”
Salemi, who has interviewed the likes of Katie Couric, Barbara Walters and Tony award winner Bernadette Peters, relentlessly grills HR execs and hiring managers and uncovers the truth about how to land a job at some of the most popular hip media companies out there. Salemi is undoubtedly an experienced interviewer. When she first began, she was a freelancer working for College Bound Teen magazine and had a day job in HR. “Angelina Jolie was my first celebrity interview ever in 2004…I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, Ben Affleck, Meredith Viera, she’s incredibly smart and savvy, Lady Gaga in 2008, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matt Damon, Madonna, and Girard Butler, it goes on and on.”
What are Salemi’s interviewing tips? “The key to a great interview is persistence and preparation,” she told FishbowlDC in a phone interview this afternoon. “Being on air [means] it flows more like a conversation. If I’m conducting a phone interview, the interview can go a different way or move in a different direction. When the cameras are on, you are in the hot seat. It’s also not letting them get away with anything, really pushing, getting granular. I think the best questions sometimes come up organically.” What’s more, she added, ask open ended questions. “I learned this from sorority rush. Ask, ‘how did you feel at this time, what was your biggest barrier?’” For the adventurous journalist, she recommends taking an improv class, which she did last year.
But not every interview goes well. What then? “You keep your composure and professionalism,” she said. “You have to keep the interview going. You don’t want it to shut down. You’re the professional interviewer. You own the show. Open with something you have in common. Put them at ease, and then go in for the kill.” She once had an interviewee ask, “You don’t know who I am?” Instead of calling him a “pompous ass,” she forged on.
The first episode starts out with a Carrie Bradshaw meets the TODAY Show kind of feel and quickly moves into a lot of questions for Dori Rosner, the head of HR at Rubenstein PR.
Might Salemi come to Washington and do some grilling? Maybe if we twist her arm. In the meantime, read her work regularly at MediaJobsDaily here, where she’s co-editor of the blog. “I would love to, we have to ask the production team,” she said of coming to Washington to interview HR execs.