Sunday, 31 March 2013

Interview Preparation: Go the extra mile

When you finally secure an interview, treat itas gold dust and make sure you don’t slack on the preparation. I’ve written countless posts about interview preparation and the importance of research.I’ve delved into the what, how and where to research, but I haven’t written much about researching the market.

As it is interviews can be a daunting process, butcarrying out effective interview preparation could make the world ofdifference. Make sure you cover all the basics first, and then get ready to take your research into more depth. It is all about knowing the brand andmarket you’ve applied for whether it’s for a magazine or imprint.

It is always impressive to go the extra mile in an interview and start up a rapport with the interviewer. Of course, this iseasier said than done. The easiest way to do this is to know the brand and market well, allowing you to slip in any facts/statistics when answering questions. It’s all about wider knowledge which will enable you to show off thedepth of your research and thus your interest.

If you’re applying for an imprint, be sure to study it inside out. For example, if you’re attending an interview for an editorial assistant, be sure to name drop appropriately, e.g. if you're interviewing at a mass market imprint, don't mention how much you love the Classics (and vice versa). You should research the list's biggest authors (andideally read them) and come prepared to talk about why you like them and why you think they've done well in the market. Additionally, take it further and research the genre from a competitor’s stance. Think about their successes, what madethe books sell, what appealed to you about them if you've read them, and abouthow they've been published (think about the packaging for example - can you seeany similarities between this and other covers - why would a consumer pick it up?).

If you’re applying for a magazine, similar questions will apply as above. Think about the brand - how it differs from competitors, why the consumer loves it and why it sells. Examine the target audience - how the brand reaches out to them e.g. reader events. Think about what you love about the brand and thus how you think you can contribute to its success. Go prepared depending on what role you’ve applied for - prepare some marketing ideas if it’s for a marketing assistant role or article ideas if it’s an editorial assistant role. Lastly, you’ll probably be tasked with preinterview work, so make sure you work hard on it and be prepared to confidently present the work to your interviewer and answer questions.

Once you’ve covered the market/brand research you’re well on your way to going the extra mile. Remember, if you don’t there’s always someone else who will. Competition for graduate work is fierce so make sure you make the most of any interview opportunity. 

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