The better prepared you are for your interview, the more impressive — and comfortable — you will be and the better the chances that you will get that job. Some tips:
- Do Your Homework. Learn everything you can about the outlet and follow its coverage before your interview. That will help you pitch ideas and talk about how you would cover a breaking news event if you worked there.
- Make an Entrance. Arrive at least 10 minutes early. If the interview is an unfamiliar location, scope it out ahead of time to make sure you don’t get lost and arrive late.
- Dress professionally. Show respect for the organization by dressing at least business casual. Pressed neutral-colored slacks, khakis, collared shirts and leather or dark shoes work for men. Casual pants, skirts, blouses, sweater and leather shoes with low or flat heels work for women. Do not wear jeans, t-shirts, loud prints, sneakers, flip flops, excessive jewelry, strong perfumes or anything else that might turn off an interviewer.
- Offer a Firm handshake. Greet the interviewer with a firm but brief palm-to-palm handshake that is neither limp nor crushing. Don’t forget to make eye contact.
- Come Prepared. Pack extra copies of your resume, reference list and clips or demo reel, a pad and pen to take notes, and a few story ideas tailored to the outlet. Also come with an“elevator pitch” that tells the interviewer in 30-60 seconds who you are and why you are the perfect person for the job.
- Be Yourself. The best interview is a conversation — not an interrogation. Don’t interrupt the recruiter but do speak up. Give concise answers and don’t ramble. Be specific when talking about your experience and skills. Be ready to tell the stories behind your clips. Demonstrate self-confidence but not self-promotion.
- Focus on the Job. Ask questions about what you’ll be doing. Don’t ask about how much the job job pays — at least not in the initial interview
- Don’t exaggerate. Lies will come back to haunt you.
- Follow Up. Immediately e-mail a brief thank-you note to the people you met to say how much you enjoyed the interview and to express again your enthusiasm for the position.
Congratulations! They’ve made you an offer, or they are about to make one. Now what?
- Their move. Always let the employer bring up salary first. If you go first, it weakens your negotiating position.
- Don’t take the first offer. The first offer is the minimum — not the maximum — they are willing to pay. Play it coy by asking for the salary range for this position.
- Salary range. If asked to name one, make sure the bottom is the least you could work for and the top is the highest you will likely get. Factor in and negotiate other benefits such as vacation and comp time. Then don’t forget to add, “But I’m happy to consider your best offer.”
- Do your research. Strengthen your negotiating position by researching salary websites; talking with company employees, alumni and professors; and calculating what you will need to live in the area.
- Remember this. If you don’t ask for more, you won’t get more. Employers won’t rescind the offer if you ask — they know salary negotiation is part of the hiring process.
- Get it in Writing. The final offer is not final until you have it in writing.