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Monday, 3 December 2012

A Career in Sports Public Relations, Part Two - The Five Biggest Mistakes Job Candidates Make in Interviews

Perhaps you have a polished CV and you are now receiving invites to interviews! However, this is where so many people, many of whom probably could be good employees, let themselves down. Here are just a few of the mistakes we’ve witnessed that were deal breakers… 1. Make a good impression throughout the interview, not just at the start: if you are going to work in public relations then this is your chance to show the interviewer how presentable you are to their clients. Stand up when they come into the room, shake hands, look them in the eye and speak clearly (avoiding ‘you know’, ‘kinda’ and ‘sort of’). On top of this, avoid the following – ALL of which we have witnessed first hand a. Switch off your mobile – oh yes, a candidate once answered his ringing phone during an interview (which finished about 10 seconds after he hung up on his call) b. Present yourself sensibly – sport can be pretty conservative so think about whether this is the place to showcase your tattoos or facial piercings c. Be careful what you choose to share with an interviewer – it is refreshingly honest to admit you slept with your best friend’s partner but may not make the right impression d. Don’t cry – if you are so emotionally vulnerable that talking about school or your parent’s divorce brings you to tears, take time off and do some healing e. Don’t patronize the interviewer – responses like ‘good question’, especially from someone who is applying for their first job, are inappropriate. Assume the interviewer knows what they are doing and can do this without your endorsement of their skills 2. Demonstrate some commitment to the subject: there are two distinct sides to sport and if you want to join a sports PR company it is as well to grasp it early. There are tracksuits and suits, or, to put it another way, playing sport and overseeing the commercial side of it. By all means let the interviewer know that you are a season ticket holder at your favourite club or that a certain star is your hero, but don’t look like a wannabe. Talk about your understanding (and desire to learn more about) brands, sponsorships, fan engagement etc – that’s the type of work you’ll be doing so seem enthusiastic about it 3. Prepare for relevant questions: we aren’t talking about the ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses’ type question here. If you claim to be a huge sports fan ‘of all sports’ then it is not unreasonable for the interviewer to test this out or expect you to have an opinion that goes beyond rugby, cricket or football PR. Typically we ask candidates what sport they would take out of the Olympics and why; there isn’t a right answer but it tells us a lot about the candidate’s true sporting knowledge as well as their ability to think on their feet 4. Read history: if you are applying to an established company the chances are they were a sports PR agency when you were still in nappies. Check what their successes have been and try and get an understanding of what the sports landscape was before you became aware of it. You will look like a serious contender if you can talk about the evolution of commercial partnerships in sport sensibly 5. Read current affairs: go in prepared to talk about things that attracted you to sport beyond your own sporting skills. There are plenty of examples of PR campaigns that you could talk about and it is very impressive to hear a candidate talk intelligently on these sorts of topics ENS Ltd is a sports PR agency based in central London, tasked with promoting and protecting brands in sport. It is one of the best connected sports PR companies globally.

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