Monday, December 14, 2009
Six interview tips from the pros
On November 26, Ed2010 Toronto hosted a panel discussion and workshop on how to nail a job interview. Dishing on the good and the bad were guests Bonnie Munday, editor of Best Health; Megan Griffith-Greene, who as head of research at Chatelaine has hired many, many interns; and Jenny Pruegger of Transcontinental Media, who interviews candidates for most of the publisher's english-language magazines. Here's a taste of what they had to say.

1. Know the magazine. The most common – and stupidest – mistake Griffith-Greene sees is people who come into the interview not having familiarized themselves with the publication. The interviewer isn't going to believe that you want to work there if you haven't bothered to read the magazine. Read at least three back issues, though reading more will give you a better understanding of the topics covered and tone of the title.

2. Have examples. I'm not talking clippings here. Pruegger recommends that you arm yourself with stories of times that you've demonstrated the necessary skills. It's not good enough to say that you perform well under pressure; explain how you still got things done without sacrificing quality when the deadline was moved up by two weeks, for example. Pay particular attention to examples that demonstrate the skills that are listed in the job posting. What you did and what the result was is a good indicator of how you would react in a similar situation in the future.

3. Anticipate questions. There are some standard interview questions that you'll likely be asked, such as Why do you want to work here? Tell me a little about yourself. Where do you see yourself in five years? Prepare answers for these questions so you're not stuck with a blank look on your face or saying something not so great.

4. Be a superstar. Griffith-Greene was impressed by a candidate who pulled out a sticky-note–riddled copy of Chatelaine filled with comments when asked what she did/didn't like about the magazine. Munday was impressed by a candidate who created a mock magazine all about herself, with cover lines and articles selling her talents and qualifications.

5. Ask questions. A candidate who doesn't ask questions won't appear to be that interested in the job, but make sure what you ask is appropriate. For example, asking what kind of team it is shows that you're a team player and, if the editor is the one interviewing you, gives you some insight to how he/she values his/her staff. Asking if you'll be able to write for competitors is inappropriate, says Munday, especially if you haven't been offered the job yet.

6. Interact with everyone who is interviewing you. If you're being interviewed by a panel, respect all people in the room. If one person asks you a question, make eye contact and respond to him/her directly; don't ignore him/her by replying only to the person, like the editor, whom you think is the one making the final decision.

- Corinna vanGerwen
About Me
Corinna vanGerwen


Corinna vanGerwen is a freelance editor and writer. She has worked as senior editor at Style at Home, senior design editor at Cottage Life and is the former Canadian Director of Ed2010. She has also held the position of operations manager at a boutique PR agency, where she handled strategic planning and daily operations.

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Corinna says:
Thank you, Alicia!...
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