We are in the process of hiring our summer interns for 834 which means lots and lots of interviews. Every interview we give is treated as important as if we were interviewing the Pope, we don’t discriminate based on position.

It still surprises me how unprepared individuals are, or the lack of research done before the interview. Here are just a few of the snafus we encountered.

Interview mistakes

  1. Name is not included on the resume. I really don’t think an explanation is needed for this obvious mistake.
  2. No portfolio or writing samples provided. If you are invited in for an interview, bring in work samples to share. I don’t care if you submitted it electronically before, print out hard copies and hand out along with your resume to the interviewer.
  3. Research papers submitted as writing sample. This might impress your professor, but an agency doesn’t give a shit. In fact anytime I get something double spaced and indented, I cringe and stop reading.
  4. Chewing gum. Spit out whatever the hell is in your mouth so you can speak in clear and concise sentences. If you are sitting there chewing your cud the whole time, that is distracting as all hell and unprofessional.
  5. No cover letter. Always, always, always submit a cover letter with your resume and portfolio. Customize it to the company, use humor, explain why you are a fit and be memorable.
  6. Arriving late. I don’t care if had to walk from Ada, if you aren’t on time or early that tells the interviewer that the interview is not a priority.
  7. Eye contact. Look up and look the interviewer in the eyes. If you are staring down at the table that gives the impression you are incredibly insecure and lack the confidence needed to interact with clients.
  8. ‘Like’ and ‘um.’ You are not a valley girl – so drop the use of ‘like’ and don’t use ‘um’ to fill the silence or to connect sentences. At some point the interviewer will stop listening and just start counting all of the ‘um’s.

Interview tips

  1. Dress appropriately. See past blog on dressing to impress.
  2. Follow the job posting instructions. If the posting asks for you to supply several writing samples when sending our resume, then supply the writing samples. If you are unable to follow simple instructions, agency life is going to kick your ass.
  3. Creativity gets you points. In the last round of interviews we held, only one cover letter stood out – in fact it was the only one I read. It included a personal story, used humor and was incredibly well-written.
  4. Research. Know the person who will be interviewing you. Have questions prepared to ask about themselves and the agency.
  5. Follow-up. Send a thank-you email and note. If we don’t hear from you after the interview, it doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in your desire to get the job.

One of the reasons 834 has a well-respected internship program is because we only take the best of the best and the competition can be fierce. Always ask yourself, “how can I stand out?”

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