Perfecting the Art of the PR Internship Interview

In March, I discussed how to land the coveted PR Internship. Once you found the best fit for you, whether it be a PR agency or smaller company, it’s time for the most crucial aspect-the interview. The interview gives the company insight on your personality, work ethic, experience, and how you’ll interact with potential clients. Make sure to be professional & appear bright and friendly!

 Before the Interview

  • If there is one, print out the job description and compare this to your resume; what similarities can you find? Type A’s might want to break out the highlighter for this one. For example, detail oriented might relate well to that summer you spent as a legal assistant.
  • Review the company’s website, social media platforms, client list, and blog. Think of 1-2 specific questions you can ask your interviewer. Know why you want to work there, as chances are, that will be a question they ask. If you can’t answer that yourself, maybe this company isn’t the right fit for you.
  • Choose an outfit you feel confident in and comfortable in.  For a corporate PR position, think pencil skirt and matching jacket, or a wrap dress with pumps. You can show off your personality with some accessories. For Fashion PR, you can be a little more creative! Wear the brands they represent, or, if you can’t afford them, style yourself to match the look.
  • Bring samples of work in a portfolio. You can find a simple one, like this, at any office supply store for around $20.  Press releases from classes, articles you were quoted in from events you worked on, marketing proposals, brochures you’ve designed, blog posts/stats, a list of relevant classes, even social media followers.
  • Bring copies of references. Professors, advisors for clubs, supervisors at your part-time job, all are good starts.  Be sure to let your references know you are interviewing so they are not caught off guard.

During the Interview

  • Give thoughtful, clever answers to the interviewer’s questions. Use specific examples to your experience when possible. If you need a minute to think of the right example, take it.
  • Remember those questions you thought of? They will be certain to ask if you have any questions, so make sure to use this time wisely. Ask not only about the company, but about the interviewer and his/her role in the company.
  • Ask when the expected timeline is for hiring. This will be good to know when you are following up later, so you don’t seem too eager, or let too much time go by.
  • Smile. A lot!

After the Interview

  • Be sure to send a thank you email within 48 hours. Thank them for their time, and recap why you would be a good fit. Make sure your grammar is spot on. It doesn’t hurt to send a link to a relevant article on a topic you discussed during your interview, such as a media mention, or even tweet them a new social media trend you spotted. Sidenote: I used wisestamp in my Gmail account to highlight my LinkedIn, Twitter, and WordPress accounts. It makes it easier for a potential boss to view your experience and work.
  • If you haven’t heard back in the allotted time your discussed at the interview, send a brief follow-up email.
  • Don’t worry if you get the dreaded rejection form letter. They may have been looking for someone who was a better fit for their brand, or who had a specific skill to make their lives easier (SEO or web design for example), or found someone who “knew someone”. (Hint-you can be that someone! Network, network, network). This is why you applied at more than one place, so keep your head up and don’t get discouraged!

What are your tips for interviewing?

@Erin