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Interview advice

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by cowbees, May 8, 2013.

  1. cowbees

    cowbees New Member

    I have my first "real" job interview coming up for a beat writing position, and I'm not entirely sure what to expect. I've successfully navigated interviews in the past for positions within my college paper and for internships, but I'm expecting this to be a whole other animal.

    What sort of advice would those of you who have been there and done that offer? What sort of questions should I expect?

    Thank you kindly!
  2. sportsed

    sportsed Member

    You mean besides don't fart or pick your nose during the interview? Well, the most important thing you can do is be prepared to interview <i>them</i>!

    Be armed with a plenty of questions about the job, and by that I mean beyond the garden variety of "What hours will I be working?" and "How much does the position pay?" You haven't shared whether the position is covering a youth sports leagues or a major college football program, so I'll leave the exact questions about the position for you to figure out. But as a hiring manager, I'd want you, as a candidate, to prove that you're a reporter who is ambitious, inquisitive and thorough in your quest to find the right job for you.
  3. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    If anyone asks if you've ever had cowbees, play dumb.
  4. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    For starters be yourself and be real. They are already impressed with you, otherwise you wouldn't be there for the interview. They are going to ask you about your strengths and your weaknesses. Be honest and don't panic. Act as if you've been there before. Also, they are checking you out, you should be checking them out as well. Sometimes, that dream job can become a nightmare. Good luck.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If it's a beat writing position, I would want to know what experience you have covering a beat, gathering news, making contacts, performing on deadline, coming up with story ideas, etc.

    Beat writers should be largely self-sufficient. They shouldn't be relying on the editor for story ideas and direction as much as some other positions. So if you can come off as someone who has been there, done that, you're ahead of the game.

    Come armed with SPECIFIC examples of when you broke stories.

    "I called the basketball coach at midnight and caught him at the bar to confirm that XXX was transferring."

    "The equipment manager was a good source and helped lead to an expose on players using oudated helmets that were a health risk."

    Etc, etc.
  6. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    This has apparently gone out of fashion, but it really helped me to have gone through a couple of "practice interviews" with real newspaper editors - including the legendary Dick Smyser in Oak Ridge, Tenn. - before I ever sat down for a real interview. My department chairman helped me organize those.
  7. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    Read the heck out of the paper, starting now.

    Go back as far as your reasonable can.

    Focus on your beat.

    Have some ideas of what you can bring to it.
  8. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    A Great idea that isn't done now but should be revived.
  9. GidalKaiser

    GidalKaiser Member

    Be confident and assertive when you answer questions, and come up with that are pertinent to you, beyond the material stuff. How long has your interviewee worked at the paper, and what does he believe are some of the positives it has done or wants to do? How do they feel about certain changes to the beat you might want to implement? And yes, either go through a practice interview — or ask them if, just for learning purposes, you might tape the interview. I've done this with a couple places just to work on my own diction, timing and the like, and it has seemed to help.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    That's funny. It's like going out on a first date and being introduced as the fiance.
  11. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

    What should you say when they ask what your biggest weakness is?
  12. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Lot of good advice here.

    I know some people will disagree with me, but I will add.... DO NOT mention salary/benefits until after an offer has been made or until the employer has brought up the subject. It makes you look like a money-gruber. Yes, I did once have someone make me an offer before mentioning salary and I reluctantly had to bring up the issue, but that was only after an offer had been put on the table.

    I've heard from plenty of managers and HR people that when the first thing a candidate asks about is salary, rather than the company or the job itself, it makes them come across as selfish.

    Some of the questions I like to ask are:

    1) What, exactly, do you want to get from this position?

    2) What sort of goals do you have for the company/department in the next year?

    I keep coming back to these long after I've started to work for them and they serve as the baseline for what is expected of me.
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