Since starting the agency, I’ve interviewed a couple of dozen people. At my previous agencies, stretching back five or so years since the first hopeful sat in front of me and my boss, a countless number of candidates.
One thing, in the last year or two, has crept in that has really started to grind my gears – uniquely found with people under, let’s say, 25. If you’ve interviewed recently at something of an entry-level, you might have heard it, delivered with teeth-itchingly self-assured nonchalance:
“I *really* get digital, you know? I mean, I’ve grown up with social media, so yeah, I just feel like my generation really live it…”.
A rambling, half-sentence that essentially revolves around the fact that the person in front of you uses social media – a habit not lost on me as somebody that’s just turned 28 this week; still in secondary school when Facebook launched. It’s an always similarly-worded way of saying “you need me” when asked to talk through strengths, something I’d complete with “because I’m different (just like everybody else).”
And this attitude is one of wider presumption. Nobody deserves a job in PR/marketing simply because they use a medium – for entertainment purposes, especially – that we might also use to reach a client’s audience. It’s like somebody sitting down pre-Internet at an agency and saying “you should employ me because I read a few newspaper comic strips”, or “because I watch ‘Have I Got News for You”.
Demonstrate why your usage makes you stand out and makes you right for the PR jobs you’re going for. Have you built an audience other than your social circle? Have you created anything interesting? Why would you use one service over another? How will that be helpful for our clients? That’s what we want to know.
If I sound like a cranky old man, it’s because a) cranky old people are awesome and I can’t wait to be one and b) I think it’s important people entering the industry don’t come in thinking they’re owed a favour. I see it a lot. The reality is, nobody owes you a thing at any level – and even less if your attitude stinks.
It might be easier than ever to build a reputation, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still have to work for it. An ex-colleague of mine described it best when they said people just want to be immediately ‘industry-famous’ now, without reading, learning, delivering successfully, giving back and generally putting the hours in.
Oh, did I say we’re hiring? If you have answers to the questions above, are willing to work hard to be part of a great team and truly want to do work you’ll be proud of we’d love to have you. Put in the effort and the rest comes, honest.