How to Interview a Potential PR / Marketing Hire

 

 

Interviewing job applicants came up in discussion last week amongst peers. Here’s my short list:

1. Shut up.

Don’t jump in and fill in the pauses. Let them talk. Don’t spend 35 minutes of a 45-minute interview telling the candidate about your company. Amazing what you’ll find out when there are a few moments of silence. Remember, you’re looking to hire a communications professional who has to know how to communicate.

2. Look for a confluence of values

The resume matters only if the candidate has integrity, a strong work ethic, and both a desire and a need to succeed. Plus whatever other personality characteristics are important to you.

HR people, and Tony Mikes of Second Wind, will tell you this.

3. Give the candidate a writing test.

4. Go ahead…ask the “best” and “worst” questions.

Might as well stir things up. Try “What’s the most embarrassing moment in your career.” A candid colleague…a very successful PR VP…told me that early on she was pitching a business story when the editor asked her if the company in question was private or publically owned, and she didn’t know. End of conversation.

It’s all about lessons learned.

 

5. Read lots of other advice from HR veterans. Such as:

5 Ways to learn the most about a job candidate

 

Now back to our regularly-scheduled feature:

IT’S GAME

“Evergreen”

This can be a refreshing term when used in a business communications context. As in: “keep your website evergreen by frequently supplying new data on…”

Evergreeen

IT’S LAME

The prepositional phrase: “In today’s competitive business world…”

Perhaps the ultimate throw-away. If you’re in business, can you think of a set of words that could illicit more of a sarcastic “Duh!” from the reader. What’s worse, this phrase is often followed by the revelation that “you need to be more competitive” or something close.

 

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