Journalism Interview Tips:
Original Post by Mark Grabowski
- Wear your best professional attire.
- Bring a couple sets of resumes and clips with you to the interview. Don’t assume your interviewer(s) will have them handy.
- Arrive on time, and preferably early! If you’re late for a job interview, an editor can’t help but wonder what type of reporter you’ll be when it comes to meeting deadlines.
- Know the media outlet. Check out its Web site ahead of time, and be able to discuss things that you like and don’t like about it. Understand how the newspaper or magazine sees its role in its community. What is its community?
- Be confident, but don’t be cocky. As an editor once told me, “To make it in this business you need to have a super ego. But that doesn’t mean an over-inflated ego. There’s a difference.”
- Make sure you sell your good points in the interview; this might require you steering the interview somewhat. But don’t talk too much. Many editors like a give-and-take-type conversation. Listen carefully to what the interviewer says before responding.
- Questions you may be asked to answer include: “Tell me your life story?” “How did you get interested in journalism?” “What was the best story you ever wrote and why?” “What would your co-workers or editors say about you?” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” “Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years?” “Why should we hire you?”
- Come equipped with questions of your own, such as “What sort of feedback can I expect?” or “What type of professional development opportunities are available to the staff?” Remember, you are not just trying to sell yourself in an interview. You should value your professional development, so make sure the media outlet is a good fit for you.
- If you want to separate yourself from other applicants, come equipped with story ideas. The more you have and the more developed they are, the better.
- If your interview doesn’t start out so well, don’t panic. You can always recover. Sometimes recovering from a bad first impression can be better than making no impression at all.
- If your interview bombs, don’t dwell on it. Hopefully, the interview was just one of many things that will be taken into consideration when the hiring committee is deciding whether or not to hire you. Many editors also give your resume, clips and recommendations equal consideration.
- Send thank you notes to all your interviewers afterwards.
- If you don’t get hired, remember, your try wasn’t a waste of time. You got to see another newspaper or magazine and meet with other editors and/or reporters. The insights you gained from your visit and conversations you had with the publication’s staff should add to your personal and professional development.