PR Exec Lists 11 Ways to Fail at a Job Interview

I’m sure it’s good PR for his PR agency, but Mark O’Toole’s visual slideshow makes excellent basic points.

And the points apply to more than a job interview. I advise students at a campus newspaper, and I’m not sure that student journalists always understand that their story interviews are “interviews” in the job sense, too. That is, each interview is a rehearsal for what the newly trained graduate will face in the “real world.” Does the student reporter:

  • Make arrangements to interview in advance or just expect sources to be at his or her call? And do the reporters encourage a face-to-face meeting rather than gathering statements via e-mail? E-mail is OK to confirm information, but there’s no chance for follow-up, and e-mail quotes are almost always lifeless and dull.
  • Make a good impression during the interview? Has the reporter done at least a quick Google search so he or she knows the basics and can articulate questions and understand the answers? And how does the student dress and act for the interview? Does he or she use a recorder? A reporter’s notebook? Act in a fussy hurry, or give the source his or her full attention?
  • Create artifacts worth keeping? One of the valid motivations to engage in student journalism is to build a portfolio–but does that portfolio include grammatically correct sentences? Is it full of interesting reporting, well written, or are the leads dull and obvious? And, while it’s good experience to write reviews and columns, the chances that anybody will read your movie review or hire you because of it are roughly a snowball’s chances on a hot day in the Sahara or somewhere else. Future employers will be way more interested in news and feature stories that showcase both your reporting and writing skills–and, probably, your video and photography skills–but pretty unimpressed by your music review. Reviews are easy. Reporting is hard. Do the hard stuff.

Anyway, end of old man rant. The students who are on the newspaper staff are already head and shoulders ahead of their peers. But that’s not always enough. See the slides below, which, by the way, MMU Professor Bob Walker brought to my attention by posting them on Facebook. Writing for the MMU Times may get you the resume that gets you in the door for an interview, but then:

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Congratulations Graduate! Eleven Reasons Why I Will Never Hire You.” target=”_blank”>Congratulations Graduate! Eleven Reasons Why I Will Never Hire You.</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Mark O’Toole</a></strong> </div>



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4 responses to “PR Exec Lists 11 Ways to Fail at a Job Interview

  1. Excellent points all. Speaking as an HR professional that hires for a company ‘sans resume’ I would highlight #2 Preparation – which actually covers numbers 3, 5, and 6.
    I’ve spoken to all three high schools in Iowa City and there are no programs specifically geared for job readiness. There are individuals within the schools that are attempting to make it happen on an individual mentoring level – but no class work. In conversation with one such advisor, I offered: “… students will need to get and hold down a job while attending college.” The counselor told me “we’re too busy preparing them for academic success to focus on their soft skills”. Soft skills??? Interviewing, manners, etiquette of job seeking — soft skills. Do you know what you call the academically acclaimed who lack the basic “soft skills”? Unemployed.

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