Nailing the job interview remains, by and large, a matter of common sense, but even common sense bears repeating. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Research the company. “If you go to an agency and you say to the HR person, ‘I’ve always wanted to work here,’ you’d better have done your homework,” says Jerry Katzman, of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. “Because if you don’t know the history, who they represent, they’re going to (think), ‘This person is saying the same thing all around town, looking for a job.’ ”
Some organizations also give written tests on your knowledge of the field, which is another motivation to read up beforehand.
2. Keep your resume clean and to the point. Skip that paragraph about skills and objectives. Fox Networks Group recruiting VP Angela Gardner asks, “What is the value — and I’m reading this from an actual resume that I have on my desk — of writing, ‘I am an outstanding marketing executive with fabulous communication and presentation skills’? Well, by this stage in your career, I would damn well hope so!”
Gardner also recommends keeping it simple for online viewing: “Don’t have formatting which is very complex, because it doesn’t always transfer well.”
3. Go on multiple interviews. “I always recommend more interviews than necessary,” says USC School of Cinema-Television professor Jason Squire. “Your performance in an interview is a great rehearsal and great practice, but only becomes a lesson when you compare it to another interview.”
4. You’re interviewing them just as much as they’re interviewing you. In other words, don’t be so quick to fall in love with a potential employer. “I’ve had interested students go to interviews, thinking (it’s) a really cool company, and they show up and the interviewer is only half-interested, or they’re a little too overbearing and narrow,” Squire says. “Follow your instincts.”
5. Be passionate. It sounds obvious, but it’ll set you apart. Gardner says, “Anyone who doesn’t have a passion and an interest should probably go elsewhere, because they’re up against a competitor who is very passionate and interested.”