I typically have a lot of questions for potential employees during an interview, and the answers I get to those questions are pretty important in helping me determine that final hiring decision. But a lot of job seekers might be surprised to learn that the questions they come prepared with can help to elevate them above other applicants as well. Coming to an interview armed with questions shows an interest in the position and role, as well as an understanding of the needs. At the end of an interview when I ask interviewees if they have any questions for me and they don’t, it really makes me feel like they are unprepared and just desperate for a job. I mean, come on guys, this is where you’ll be spending a significant portion of your lives for the foreseeable future – don’t you want to know what it’s like before you take the plunge? I’ve listed some potential questions here so that you can arm yourself and be prepared for your next interview. These are just ideas, particularly for public relations professionals, and I welcome other suggestions or examples in the comments below.
- What does a day in the life look like for the person who takes this position?
- What qualities are you looking for?
- What could this person do that would really knock your socks off?
- How did you get started in PR (or any industry) and what do you love about it?
- Tell me about the culture here. What are the team members like?
- How would you describe yourself as a supervisor?
- I noticed you work with XX client. Can you tell me about your program for them and how well it has worked?
- I like to challenge myself. Do you support outside education opportunities or conferences?
- While I know this is an entry level position, would I have the chance to participate in client strategy or new business? Those are areas I’m really excited about.
- I’ve been watching X, Y, Z in the news. As a seasoned professional, I’d love to get your take on how the situation was handled.
- What’s your process for measuring your programs?
- I’m anxious to get active in the local PR community. Is this something that you encourage?
- What’s your stance on employee involvement in social media? Is it discouraged?
- How are your teams structured?
- Will I have exposure to clients? If so, how much?
- What do you think sets your company apart from your competitors?
- What are the opportunities for advancement for this position and how to do encourage employees to achieve growth?
- Why are you looking to fill this position?
- What specific tactics are employed in your client programs? Would I be responsible for doing all of those things, or would I specialize in a particular area?
- Can you tell me about the person I would be directly reporting to?
We are very excited to be sponsoring a one day boot camp created to help consumer products entrepreneurs learn the in and outs of raising capital for their companies. The powerhouse seminar will help demystify capital-raising terms and provides insights to improve odds for successfully obtaining financing. Guest speakers will include institutional investors, strategic investors, entrepreneurs who have successfully raised capital and more! The seminar takes place in Chicago on June 28 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The best part? Friends of RKPR get a 10 percent discount.
Being a part of this event is a huge thrill for us, not only because many of our clients are emerging and established consumer brands, but also because seminar hosts Bob Burke and Michael Burgmaier are some of the most gifted experts in the industry. Former VP of sales and corporate development for Stonyfield Farm, Burke is an author and consultant who has worked with way too many companies to name, playing pivotal roles in growth and exit strategies. He currently serves on the board of directors of Foodstate,Inc., EcoFish, Nutrabella, and American Halal. Burgmaier is an investment banker with Silverwood Partners where he leads M & A and private placement transactions in the food & beverage/consumer products sectors. He has raised capital for numerous companies and clients, written business plans, prepared fundraising materials, facilitated exits and served on boards of venture-backed companies.
This informative event boasts an incredible line-up of speakers, including:
• Andrew Whitman: Managing Partner, 2X Consumer Product Growth Partners (funded Beanitos, gDiapers, Orabrush, Tasty Bite and more)
• Gregg Bagni, Director, White Road Investments (Clif Bar) – investors in Guayaki, Wild Planet, Big Tree Farms, Honest Kitchen, Manitoba Harvest and Public Bikes
• Neil Kimberley: Director of Global Innovation Strategy, The Hershey Company; former strategy roles with Cadbury Schweppes and Dr. Pepper Snapple
• Amol Dixit: Manager, General Mills Ventures, the company’s new corporate venture capital fund
• Keith Kohler: President, The K2 Group, LLC (debt financing options)
• Ryan Caldbeck: Founder and CEO of CircleUp, a crowdfunding platform for consumer companies; previously with Encore Consumer Capital and TSG Consumer Partners.
If you reference RKPR when you register, you’ll get a 10 percent discount. We hope to see you there! Click here for all the details!
Like most PR agencies, we send monthly activity reports to our clients that detail all the tasks we’ve performed during that time period. Part of those recaps include conversations and leads we’ve generated in the effort to garner media coverage. They’ll read those leads with interest, and hope we can make them come to fruition, but what they really care about are the results. Did we talk to a reporter at Shape magazine, or was their product featured? Yes, we did send samples to Good Morning America, but were they included in the segment? We’d never file conversations under the “results” section. Our clients wouldn’t buy that.
Over the past three months I’ve had about 20 to 30 new business calls. I’ve created so many PR proposals my PowerPoint is about ready to charge me a usage fee. But, for my business, most of the conversations that don’t turn into new business won’t mean much. Unless those conversations turn into clients or referrals, they didn’t do much to drive my business, did they? Those conversations I had were not results.
If the marketers were focused on the definition, not the word, they would actually engage. By having conversations with their customers. By asking about them, not tooting their own horn.
I’m in agreement with Jason that a lot of the dialogue brands have with consumers via social media isn’t doing much to encourage interaction, but I believe that engagement, if you define it as conversation, is not a result. I know Jason isn’t afraid to talk about how social media should drive business, and he also said in his comments that he didn’t intend to define engagement as conversation (I interpreted that from his comment above). I obviously took some liberties in what I took from the post, and I hope he goes a little further in a future post to define “engagement,” if he truly believes it should be a result. But I think it’s critical to note that I also don’t have any clients who’d be satisfied with dialogue as our campaign metric. They want to see subscriptions, referrals, reviews, sales etc… You know, engagement.
We recently created a campaign for a client that, in addition to increasing the community by six fold and driving a significant number of shares, votes and entries, we were able to see an increase in website traffic by 39 percent and an increase in online orders by 14 percent in just one week. Those are compelling results, and hopefully we’ll be able to demonstrate long-term impact.
I see a lot of marketers; including PR people, talk about conversation as the end all. I’m not disputing its importance in building brand loyalty, awareness and ambassadorship. But I’d caution against calling it a result, or calling it the only form of engagement. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
photo credit: prawnpie
It was probably a lot easier to be a writer 20 years ago. A questionable or controversial take on a topic might, at best, elicit a few angry letters to the editor that appeared several days after the original piece appeared. By then readers were on to something new and the writer got to have, for the most part, the last word.
Today, thanks to social media, you can react to a story almost immediately and wow, can tempers flare online. For blogs that aren’t moderated (like mine), comments from readers can range from insightful conversation, to nasty and offensive trolling. Because of that, many blogs and news sites have decided to ban anonymous comments, or those written by people who won’t share their full names.
Differing viewpoints are rampant. The San Diego Union Tribune reported in September that they would begin to require that commenters use their real names. Recently, Randy Lovely of the Arizona Republic announced they too would require names to be used on comments, because they felt the incivility had become unconstructive. Farhad Manjoo of Slate blogged about the topic (he passionately believes in the end of anonymity).
I absolutely agree with the thinking from each of them. I sometimes get sick to my stomach when tragedy strikes and I check out the local news online and see unnecessary vile language with no productive purpose except to cause hurt. I roll my eyes when I read, well, just about anything that has zero to do about politics turn into an opportunity for a no-name to go on a racist, hate-filled rant about something completely unrelated.
But for the most part, I disagree that we should eliminate anonymous comments. While the ability to spew online vitriol is a huge draw for anonymous commenters, there are reasons why some people would like to share an opinion, albeit without a name attached. For example, many of the commenters at Gawker are anonymous, yet the site boasts some of the liveliest, most intriguing discussion on the Web – my guess is those participating would simply prefer an employer not know they are spending the work day screwing around on a gossip blog. Or a person’s viewpoint may differ from a client or employer, but they are passionate about a discussion, so by staying anonymous, no one gets hurt. Or, for the sake of privacy issues, maybe safety is a factor.
When I asked the question on Twitter, I had several differing opinions. Michael Brito, SVP, social business planning for Edelman Digital, said anonymous comments should be allowed as long as they add value. Olivier Blanchard, social media author, speaker and blogger said he thinks that anonymity invites a broader range of opinions, as long as the blog’s terms of service are clear. However, Jeff Swystun, chief communications officer at DDB Worldwide said anonymity should never be allowed, equating it to demonstrators who wear masks and stated that people should reveal who they are. Nathan Hughes, VP/Sales Manager with Bandazian & Holden, said it depends on the audience and the purpose of the blog, but he leans towards no (shouldn’t be allowed). Some incredibly savvy people with some different views.
What do you think – is anonymity constructive to the conversation or an open door to inappropriateness? Please let me know what you think in the comments.
Photo credit: hagerstenguy
For almost a year, I’ve been inundated with pitches from one PR “pro” in particular, about the exact same topic. I’ve included the correspondence below for your enjoyment. I’ve not included the young man’s name nor his agency because I’m a true believer in karma, and I don’t make it a habit of outing fellow PR people no matter how much they need a swift kick. But, hopefully this will help drive home the point that people don’t want to be spammed. Targeted pitching produces better results. Lucky for him I don’t write for the Wall Street Journal.
October 8, 2010
Me: You’ve sent me so many pitches about this gaming company. I don’t cover games at all. Please stop sending these.
PR Pro says he will remove me
November 10, 2010 – Another pitch
Me: I specifically asked you to take me off of this list because I do not cover gaming. You told me you would. What happened?
PR Pro: Hi Rachel, I am so sorry. I used my wrong list. It will not happen again.
October 24, 2011 – Another pitch
I have told you twice to take me off of your list because I don’t cover gaming. Twice you’ve told me you would. Now I’m getting this once again.
I’m a PR person as well so normally I’m sympathetic, but this is getting ridiculous. Your pitch is untargeted spam. One of these days someone is going to get upset with you and call your client.
I’m truly sorry as I used an old list.
If you would like, I can send an email to IT to personally block you from getting any emails from XXX.
Please let me know what is best for you.
Again, I’m sorry about this.
Me: I would like you to stop sending me emails about games. Do not ask me how I would prefer you do that. That is your problem.
July 20, 2011 – Another pitch
Me: I ignored this when it came in yesterday but here you are again. You should look through your in-box and remind yourself how many times I’ve requested to be taken off this list. This is ridiculous.
PR Pro: No response
August 25, 2011 – Another pitch
Me: Why can’t you take me off of your list? Why is this such a challenge? I’ve asked you more than five times?
PR Pro: No response
Readers, please discuss
Photo credit: AJC1