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Blow your chances in a PR job interview in four easy ways

We recently recruited for a role at our agency. I must say we were overwhelmed with the sheer number of applications – and it makes sense as Australia’s unemployment figures are on the rise and sitting currently on 5.6 per cent. When the employment rate sits on the side of employers, it’s time for candidates to step up. Fresh from this recent recruitment drive, we came across these ‘types’ of applicants which led to our winner. We hope this gives jobseekers an insight into what won’t work in today’s competitive market.

The Charmer

This is the candidate who loves a conversation and can talk their way out of anything. They can answer every question and they almost steal the show with their quirky experiences and humorous expressions. While we were absolutely captivated during the interview, when it came down to it, we worried about substance, and whether we would actually get quality work and commitment.

The Confider

A close contender to our winner for their honesty around what they can and can’t do. We felt confident this person would raise any personal or work issues, and we wouldn’t need to worry about them being disloyal or divulging confidential information. What we struggled with, was this candidate’s confidence, and whether they would back themselves when it came to gruelling client or media situations.

The Giggler

This candidate made us wonder if we were on candid camera – despite looking strong on paper it was hard to take them seriously. Instead of directly answering a question, these candidates would chuckle, breathe heavily or actively search for an experience that would answer standard interview questions. Our tip for this jobseeker would be to familiarise yourself with interviews, have examples of work (even uni work) ready, and do your research on the company and role your applying for.

The Non-Committer

Juggling a number of interviews at a time, this candidate is a serial interviewee (and you may even get their application twice). They know the drill and answer the questions – even the one on what attracted you to this role – with the same script you know they’ve shared with others. They actually don’t care what job they’re going for, they just want a ‘job’. For this candidate, we say avoid the shotgun approach (which doesn’t work in our field) – you catch more jobs with a more targeted approach.

The Gun

This is the candidate we go for. They’re enthusiastic, they have relevant experience, they know the role, and have researched your company. They can confidently answer questions, can identify unfortunate situations and they’re role in resolving them. Their personality matches the role and industry they’re apply for – they’re personable, funny, intelligent, ambitious – and at the same time humble and ready to sink their teeth into a new environment.

As employers receive an avalanche of applications to roles they advertise, it’s important to find ways to stand out from the rest. If you don’t have the skills and experience listed, it’s better to contact the company before applying to see how they’re tracking. That way you don’t waste yours or their time. And with all the new ways out there to communicate and build relationships including Twitter, LinkedIn, video and the humble phone call, take a step back from ‘auto-apply’ and think how you can leave an impression that wins your next role.

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