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My first job interview tomorrow morning....

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by NQLBLQ, Aug 30, 2009.


    NQLBLQ Member

    So only about a year and change after graduation and two years after starting my search for a job in journalism I have my first interview. I had the phone interview on Friday with the ME and I go in for a one-on-one and to meet the staff on Monday.

    It's just a regular beat writing position. I'm covering preps and the two local colleges. I need some advice from the vets about things I should ask, be aware of or shady dealings (no overtime paid types of things) I should watch out for.

    Heck, even some general advice would be awesome. I always love listening to what you guys have to say.
  2. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    There is no such thing as "just" any job.

    Tis is a job you are going for. Treat it like you want it. Don't worry about things you consider to be "shady." Like overtime. Guess what? It's your first interview, your first job.

    You are going to get screwed, in at least some fashion.

    Have a good attitude, come prepared with QUESTIONS and ANSWERS. Show them HOW you think, not just what you think.

    Make them so convinced that you'll be the answer to their prayers that they offer you the job. Then, and ONLY then, can you ask about things like benefits, etc.

    Trust me on this. Do NOT ask about benefits or days off or whether you can get a special day off in September because your second cousin is getting married in Dubuque.

    Don't. Talk. About. It.

    This is about Them, not You. Make it about the Job, and ONLY about the Job.

    Good luck.
  3. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Active Member

    Only the 12 months, then? You're sure you're not rushing into this? :)

    If you haven't already, read up on the paper, its company and the coverage area (and if there were any layoffs/buyouts in the recent past). Chances are you'll get a question regarding what you've seen in the section or paper and how your presence will help improve it. Having specific examples is good. A response of "I haven't seen it" is Double-Plus Ungood.

    If you have the ability, dress smartly. You may find wearing a suit and tie onerous (I know I do), but rare are the instances of people not getting gigs because they dressed too well.

    Unless this was already discussed in the phone interview, don't be the first to mention money. Let them lay the initial offer on the table. If/when an offer is extended, make sure you get specifics re: insurance, retirement plan, mileage, sick/vacation days, relocation help, etc.

    Keep your eyes and ears open when you're meeting the staff and see what you can learn. Is there a universal desk? What kind of computers and software do they use? Are the other staffers surly or receptive when you talk to them?

    Otherwise, just relax and enjoy the experience. Having made it through the phone interview, it's clear you have something they like and they can at least envision themselves offering you the job. Highlight your strengths, and if you have weaknesses in your work or resume, expect to field questions on those and make sure you have answers ready ahead of time.

    Also, if you plug interview advice into the search field, you should find more JTO threads on this topic.
  4. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    Take a deep breath before you answer questions and don't talk too fast.

    Good luck.
  5. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    A fireman's helmet bollo tie:

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  6. good luck....go in there with a plan, stay calm and let things fall into place.....just answer the questions, exhibit energy and let them know, WHY, you are the best person for the job....

    good luck once again
  7. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    this is really great advice. White sport coat, red vest, red plaid pants and ... red and white bucks. with this tie.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  8. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    This actually sounds like a pretty good-quality job, with plenty of opportunity built into it before you even start.

    Show them what you think about that, and why, as it pertains to you, specifically. And, as spaceman suggests, tell/show them how you think, in general, in terms of news judgment, story angles and interests, and such, and how you can/would use your best assets, attributes and skills -- particularly as they pertain to new/multi-media, if the job is to include any of that.

    Suggest how you might approach a beat -- any beat -- and apply yourself and your style, as it were, to it. Explain how you think that would show through, even on the prep stuff, which, by the way, will be the beat that will be harder, in many ways, and more difficult to do good work out of, than the college stuff.

    Dress and act professionally. Speak in clear, modulated tones, and enunciate your speech, even if it means slowing yourself down a bit. Make eye contact and show interest, and demonstrate at least some bit of knowledge about that paper/staff, even if it's an out-of-area outlet, and otherwise, you actually know little else about it.

    Other than that, be yourself. That's really all you can do. This decision will not be all up to you, and the dynamics involved, some of which you may not know or be able to predict, will make all the difference. They also may change, even right there over the course of the interview.

    Do not bring up money unless they do.

    I notice you're not getting much in the way of responses here. I suspect that's because, you know what? There are a lot of people -- both recent grads and long-time veterans -- in the same boat who all are probably tempted to put up a smart-alec post along the lines of "When you find out the answers, please let me know, because I'd like to have some success in an interview these days, too."

    I know, because that was my immediate thought. There are probably very few people who really know, exactly, how to have real job-interview success right now, and that is especially true in this business.

    Times are bad, neither job applicants, nor newspaper managers, it seems, really know exactly what anybody's looking for, and people are flailing around, trying to find the right answers, the right solutions, the right jobs and the right situations.

    Just do your best, so that, when you leave, you can feel like you did that, and that you did well and can feel good about it regardless of whatever the outcome turns out to be.

    Good luck.
  9. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Active Member

  10. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Did I mention a bollo in any of those?
  11. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Agree with a lot of the things already written.

    One thing I'll add about money. Like others have said, don't be the first to ask about money.

    If and when they offer you the job, before you accept, take at least half a day to mull it over.
    And before you say yes, do any negotiating then (relocation, salary, etc).

    It's a lot easy to negotiate before you say yes.
  12. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    Be friendly. Don't be arrogant. Explain how, specifically, you would go about your job. Express a willingness to learn pagination and video if you haven't already. Accept a shitty wage.

    And, presto, you'll have a job and become overworked, overweight and underpaid just like the rest of us.
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