If you applied for a job in journalism and received a call back for an interview, congratulations! However, your journey isn’t over yet. You may be used to conducting interviews yourself to develop stories, but now it’s your turn in the hot seat. To land that job offer, you need to really impress the hiring managers during the interview. Here’s how you can do it.
1. Do your background research
If you’re interested in journalism, you probably are already accustomed to conducting research. Good! You’ll need those skills to research the companies you’re interviewing with. Use sites like Glassdoor to research company reviews, interview questions, and even salaries.
Never walk into an interview unprepared, whether you’re the one conducting it or not. Doing your research is the only way to be sure you have an idea of what you’ll be walking into. They also may ask you about what their company is currently doing to test if you’ve done your research. Don’t get caught slipping up.
2. Bring your portfolio full of samples
Even if you’re applying for your first journalism internship, you should have begun compiling some of your work to create a portfolio. Employers need to see that you’re actually capable of accomplishing the tasks that your resume says you can do. What better way to prove it than with the evidence, right?
If this is your first time applying for an internship and you’re struggling to decide what to include, consider the following:
- Articles you’ve written for campus publications
- Documents you’ve put together for journalism classes
- Stories you’ve written for fun
As long as you can put together pieces that highlight your relevant skills well, you’ll be okay.
3. Be ready to answer STAR behavioral questions
In every interview you go to, you’ll need to answer questions. Duh. But what are STAR behavioral questions? STAR behavioral questions are a method many interviewers use to understand your “behavior” in the workplace. STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result.
These questions are often asked so the interviewer has a deeper understanding of what you did and how you did it to see if you’d be a good fit for their company. Those in journalism are often exceptionally good storytellers. Use that to your advantage to really paint a picture for your interviewer and highlight your qualifications.
4. Ask great questions
Again, as a journalism professional, you’re probably more accustomed to being the interviewer and not the interviewee. However, use that experience to your advantage. Interviews are not only meant for the interviewer to understand if you’re a good fit for them, but it is also the chance for you to determine if they’re a good fit for you.
While your interviewer is talking, make mental notes of what they say to ask questions later. Every interviewer is going to end their questioning by asking if you have any questions. Always ask questions! Not only will your questions help you stand out, but you’ll also have a better understanding of the role, the company, and where you fit into their bigger picture.
5. Show your passion
Why did you choose to pursue a career in journalism? Why this job? Whatever your reasoning (although please don’t say money), be sure to show that passion when you answer your questions. Nobody wants to hire someone who seems bored about what it is they’re going to be doing. They want to hire someone who is passionate about the position and the mission the company follows.
This tip, more than any of the others, will truly help you to stand out from the crowd and “wow” the hiring managers. Passion isn’t something you can be taught, it has to come directly from you. Think hard and think deeply about why it is you’re sitting there in that interview and don’t be afraid to show it.
Journalism is a competitive and fast-paced field. The hiring process is no different. To really make a mark and be on the top of the employer’s list, you need to be ready and prepared for your interview. Following these 5 guidelines can help you accomplish exactly that. Oh, and if you’re struggling to land that interview, check out some of our tips on how you can strengthen your journalism resume here.