1. When is the interview?
This sounds painfully obvious, but make sure you’re aware of exactly when the interview is. It is unlikely that you’ll get a second chance with a client if you make a mistake as fundamental as this – don’t waste the opportunity through something that is perfectly preventable!
If you’re unsure or worried, then it’s better to be safe than sorry. Ring your consultant and check the correct time and date. If you do have to change the scheduled time, you need to communicate that as early as possible to your consultant in order to stand the best chance of getting a new slot.
2. Where is the meeting?
Most of the big media players in London have several offices scattered across London. Check and double check you’ve got the address for the correct one! In addition, ensure that you know exactly how you’re getting to your destination and how long it will take you. Plan to get there 15-20 minutes early; first impressions are the most important and being late doesn’t create a positive one.
3. What impression do you want to make?
Interviews are still (for the most part) considered fairly formal occasions, but in media the dress code can change based on company culture. Your consultant will be able to answer any questions that you have about what you should wear – if you are ever unsure then don’t hesitate to ask.
Things like a firm handshake and the ability to build rapport through small talk transcend company culture, and are still considered positive traits in any environment. Remember that you’re going to leave a lasting impression on everyone that you meet, so make sure it’s a good one.
4. What do you know about the company?
Please do your homework! Most media companies do now have comprehensive web site so there is no excuse! There is nothing worse than emerging from that first interview, realising you’ve blown it purely because you didn’t realise just how good an opportunity it might be and decided to ’wing’ it.A small amount of time invested at this stage can earn you a huge amount of brownie points. Know something about the company, who runs it? how long has it been going? Who is the competition? Check out the products. Read the mags/paper,look at the current poster campaigns or listen to the relevant radio station. You can make a little relevant information go a long way and more importantly,you make yourself look and sound genuinely interested in joining this particular company.
5. What is the job?
Have you see a brief or at least been given a good insight into the specific nature of the role? To be fair some companies are better than others at providing good job descriptions and in many cases the first interview will only require you to have top line details, with the expectation that you will get a more in depth view at the meeting. However, no one wants to have their time wasted so if you want a display role, don’t go to an interview for a classified job and if you want management, flag that up before the interview goes ahead, not after! Plan your questions too! Lots of roles evolve in their content as the selection process progresses, so always be prepared to quiz your interviewer about anything that will help you to decide if this is the right position for you.
6. Who is interviewing you?
The media industry is built upon relationships. The speed in which you’re able to build a rapport with the person, or people that are interviewing you will give you a strong indicator of how successful you might be. Any useful information you can find out about your interviewer before your meeting may allow you to do this effectively. Your consultant might be able to give you some further background on the interviewer.
7. How will you sell yourself?
The interviewer has an opportunity to see you ‘in action’, selling yourself! It’s important to ask the interviewer how much they know about the products you have worked on, or the teams you have worked with. Don’t assume anything! Give short & concise insights into each environment, identifying the role that you played in each. This will give you a great platform to talk about and match your skills with the key criteria of the role that you’re interviewing for. Try to avoid waffling, and always be positive!
8. Who are your key contacts?
The best way to tackle this question is to be fully prepared. You can avoid the risk of drawing blank when asked about your key contacts by having a list of key agency & clients. Remember only to mention people that you really know, and will know you! Due to the social nature of the media industry, you can be sure that claims that you make will be checked!
9. What have you achieved?
This question is the most important aspect of selling yourself to a company. No matter what level of experience you’re at, a fresh graduate or an experienced pro – be ready with an example of something that you feel proud of achieving. Be ready to go into detail surrounding this and demonstrate the difference you could make to a team.
10 Ask for the job!
Remember that you’re interviewing for a sales job – if you can demonstrate your ability and willingness to close then it will go a long way to showcasing your strength as a salesperson. You should never leave an interview without a clear idea of what the next step is, and when that will happen. At the very least you should find out how many more people are being interviewed, when the next round is and whether you have a chance of being a part of it.
And Finally… Good Luck!