Every hiring manager has a candidate they remember far after the interview itself. These unforgettable folks are often known as the ones who landed the job. Here are three media pros with experience in hiring and their real-world tales of interview success.
1. She Engaged the Interviewer
Erinn Farrell, SVP at space150, recalls a college student who emailed her agency, “seeking me out specifically and reacting to something I had written. I appreciated her confidence, so I met her for coffee.”
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Farrell shares that they wound up talking for two hours, and the student asked some of the smartest questions she’d ever heard. “She wasn’t looking for anything but a connection,” she says. “I offered her a job on the spot.”
The Lesson: Truly earning and keeping the attention of the person you’re interviewing with can pay off. “The biggest mishap I see is wanting to get the whole sales pitch out there,” Farrell says. “Work on structuring your answers like you only have a paragraph of space to respond.”
2. She Read the Room
“One graphic designer candidate saw that we were in a room with a laptop and projector, and spontaneously asked if she could walk us through her portfolio online,” says Mishri Someshwar, AVP of marketing at The National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
“Most designer candidates bring in a physical portfolio, but this candidate used our equipment, joking about technical difficulties and walking us through her portfolio in a relaxed but informative and thoughtful way. It made a real impression.”
The Lesson: Rather than following a prepared speech, it’s best to keep it conversational, says Someshwar. “The more relaxed you seem, the better it goes,” she says. Good interviewees “can tell when they’re rambling too long, and rein it in. They can sense from the interviewer’s body language what matters and what doesn’t.”
3. She Showed Her Enthusiasm and Personality
Don Raskin, senior partner at MME and author of The Dirty Little Secrets of Getting Your Dream Job, recalls an undergrad who heard about a job opportunity at his advertising agency and reached out right away.
“She had a sense of urgency, which I value,” he says. “She was leaving to go back to school but told me she changed her flight so she would be in New York to see me.” The candidate came to the interview with a thorough knowledge of the company, and after a great meeting, “she sent me a follow-up within 48 hours and reiterated her interest. I sent her a formal written offer and she signed it and sent it back at the start of the next business day.”
The Lesson: On top of doing your homework, Raskin emphasizes the importance of letting your personality shine. “If you love shark fishing tournaments, tell them that. The interviewer will see many candidates and he or she needs something to remember you by.”
Still having trouble landing the interview itself? Maybe it’s your resume. Mediabistro’s Career Services can help you transform your resume, cover letter and social media profiles into a professional package employers can’t resist. We’ve also got you covered with mock interviews; one-on-one sessions led by career experts, tailored to the type of job you’re after.