ONA10: Interviewing Tips From The Best

Today’s Day 1 of the Online News Association 2010 conference. We’re at a panel called Landing The Job: A Master Class. Here’s media recruiters giving out their one best piece of advice for handling an interview: (Hint: Don’t say “online is the future of journalism”!)

Chris Barr, senior editorial director at Yahoo!:
If you’re going to go out and represent who you are, it’s who you are. It’s your experience, your chops, your skills, but you have to be real. that’s going to come through in the interview. be who you say you are.

Christine Montgomery
, managing editor of PBS.org:
Do a whole bunch of research. People who walk in, I’ve talked to people, when I pull up our website they’re like, ‘huh, that’s interesting.’ Be prepared to ask as many questions as you can. I’m always surprised when people don’t have questions.

Tom Contiliano, deputy chief of staff at Bloomberg:
Be passionate about the job. I think you come across as authentic if you are passionate that you want the job, and if you don’t get it, you’ll be upset about it. You can tell when people, a mile away, who are applying because we’re hiring, and they haven’t given any thought to who Bloomberg is. I often get asked what industry we’re in. I would say 9/10 of applicants don’t know what industry we’re in. I think if you’re passionate about the job you do that research ahead of time.

Sherry Skalko of Patch.com:
Be true to yourself, because there is a lot to be drawn from the chase. You’re just, ‘oh, I want to get this job.’ Really look at what the job is and don’t get so hung up on selling yourself in a way that isn’t authentic because you want to impress somebody, because you’ll end up being miserable in the job. If somebody says, listen, here are the job requirements, are you up to doing this? Don’t say yes just because you think that’s what the recruiter wants to hear. You really need to let that sink in. A lot of people are like, ‘wow I got this new job!’ and then it’s like, ‘Crap, I got this job.’

Barr:: I always ask ‘Why Yahoo?’ You can’t believe the number of people where that [question] stops them.

Skalko: My favorite answer is, ‘because online is the future of journalism.’ I’m like, OK, that was 5 years ago.