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Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University


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“What are your Hobbies?” The Hardest “Easy” Question You’ll Ever Get in a Job Interview

Imagine you’re in a job interview for your dream internship. You’ve been preparing for days – you have your elevator speech fully memorized, you’ve practiced your responses to the “where do you see yourself in five years,” and the “what are your biggest strengths and weaknesses,” questions, and now it’s time to ‘wow’ the interviewers with your smart and concise responses. And you do – until, near the end of the interview, the interviewer breaks out the one question you weren’t prepared for: “So what do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?”

The question seems harmless enough at first, until you realize you don’t have an answer. Because let’s be honest: between classes, organizations and work, your “spare time” is extremely limited. And what spare time you do have involves venting about your busy life to your friends or watching Netflix in your room while eating ramen. And it’s not like you can tell THAT to your prospective bosses. So, what do you do?

This very situation has happened to me a couple of times now, and both times the question caught me off guard. What do you say to a question like this? Do you tell the truth and sound lazy? Or do you lie, and risk being caught? Here’s my advice for answering one of the easiest, yet extremely mind-boggling questions you’ll ever get in a job interview.

What is a “Hobby?”

When I first think of hobbies, I think of the traditional ones: painting, or knitting, or playing a sport or instrument. Now, if you’re already doing one of these things, great! You’re all set for this question. But, if you’re like me and you don’t do any of that stuff – at least not on a regular basis — you might be thinking you don’t have a hobby. But don’t fret! You don’t have to pick up fencing or ballroom dancing just yet. There are a lot of things that you’re already doing that could be considered a “hobby.” Do you cook? Cooking is a hobby. Do you like to hike and explore? That could be considered a hobby. Do you like movies? Passion for films is a great hobby. These may not be as exciting or skill-based as say, competing in tennis or making your own clothes, but they’re still things that not everyone is passionate about and can set you apart from the other job candidates.

What Your Hobby Should Say About You

The reason why this question comes up so much is job interviews is that employers want to learn as much about you as possible. Questions like this could stem from concerns the employer might have, such as your overall health and energy level, your mentality or how you might engage and entertain clients and coworkers. They also want to try and get a sense of whether they’d get along with you, and feel comfortable chatting in the break room or making small talk during a one-on-one meeting.

You should know there are certain subjects that you should never bring up in an interview — even if your favorite way to spend free time is gambling, partying, or any type of illegal or questionable activity, never bring it up in an interview. Political involvement is also not a good response – unless you’re going to work for a political organization or you know FOR SURE that the people conducting the interview align with you politically. Make sure your answer positively reflects you and your ability to achieve success in the position.

You can also use the hobbies question to touch on things that are on your resume that weren’t already brought up in the interview. If you didn’t already get a chance to talk about your work in your extra-curricular activities or your volunteer and community work, this question is a great opportunity to expand on that. Just make sure you’re not being repetitive – your interviewer wants to learn as much about you as possible, not hear the same answers applied to different questions.

No matter what your answer is, make sure it’s as genuine as possible. Chances are, your employer already knows whether you’re qualified for the job: they want to get to know YOU. So remember to sound passionate and enthusiastic when talking about your “hobby.”

Thinking ahead

Now, just because you don’t have a “traditional” hobby right now, doesn’t you can’t pick one up! It’s never too late to learn a new skill, and in most cases, it’s not hard to find opportunities to do so. Most colleges have classes and organizations dedicated to teaching or expanding on a specific craft. So when you’re going to register for next semesters classes, be sure to check out that yoga or dance class, or see what kind of painting, sewing or pottery classes your university offers. You can also go online to see what clubs and organizations your university has that are dedicated to specific hobbies – join a knitting group or book club. If you’re like me and don’t have very much time in your schedule (or money in your bank account) to devote to a new hobby, check out YouTube for tutorial ideas! You can learn how to make friendship bracelets or how to do the electric slide in no time. The possibilities are endless – so go out and find your passion! You’ll thank yourself at your next job interview.

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All hail the Queen: how Beyoncé influenced my PR strategies

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The lessons one can learn from Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter are endless.

In 1999, she taught us to be weary of a significant other who won’t acknowledge your relationship around others.

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In 2003, she taught us that you need one (or three), things in life: me, myself and I.

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In 2008, she taught us that a diva is a female version of a hustler.

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In her latest album, she taught us how to get in formation and to always be conscious of how to turn lemons into lemonade.

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Most recently, she taught society just how beautiful motherhood really is.

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While the life lessons Queen Bey bestows upon us all would be enough for me – her brilliant and strategic planning has impacted my professional development as well. Beyoncé has been in the industry since the ‘90s, providing constant innovation and inspiration for fellow artists and her fans.
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PR In the News: Oscars in la la Land

It’s the movie industry’s biggest social event of the year: the Oscars. Movie stars line the red carpet in some of the most unique and glamorous outfits money can buy. The 89th celebration, lasting nearly four hours, was going smoothly until it came time to announce Best Picture, when presenters gave the Oscar to “La La Land”, when, to the Academy’s horror, the winner was actually “Moonlight.”

Viewers debated if the presenters were in a la la land of their own, confused about how such a major mishap could occur.

The two presenters, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, were apparently handed the wrong card backstage. Beatty opened the card, read it and paused for a moment, seeming confused. He then handed the card to Dunaway who announced “La La Land” as the winner. It wasn’t until after the cast and producers were on stage accepting that they corrected the mistake, announcing “Moonlight” as the actual winner.

Immediately this mistake took social media by storm. Twitter began to blow up with posts comparing this mistake to Steve Harvey’s last year when he announced the wrong Miss Universe winner. In light of the joke, Miss Universe tweeted “Have your people call our people – we know what to do #Oscars #MissUniverse”. Following this, Steve Harvey even tweeted “Call me Warren Beatty. I can help you get through this! #Oscars”. Users continued to caption meme’s relating to Steve Harvey.

Other posts compared the mistake to the 2016 election, including tweets “wishing this is what happened with the election.” Users turned the jokes political by bringing up the popular vote issue from the election.

PwC, the accounting and consulting firm that handles the ballot counting process for the Academy Awards, took more than two minutes to take action to correct their mistake during the show.

According to ABC News, PwC had no other option but to be up-front and explain what happened to minimize damage to their reputation and brand. The company tweeted a statement apologizing to Beatty, Dunaway, all of “La La Land” and “Moonlight” several hours after the show ended.

Do you think the company took enough action for damage control? Or should they have stepped up more? Time will tell, but, in my opinion, I think the company could have provided more than a tweet to apologize to viewers and the people affected on-stage. Possibly by apologizing for the mistake themselves while it was happening on live T.V. would have served them better and appealed to viewers emotions better.

The Academy has since released a statement, apologizing to the cast and crew of both movies. The Academy shared the statement on its website and social media.


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Things I’ve Learned about Event Planning

Charleah TrombitasWe’ve all been to various events throughout our whole lives. Ones put on by our friends and family, organizations and schools we have attended. I have always been one to enjoy events, but I never read into them. I never spent a second thinking about how much work and planning went into the event I was casually enjoying (or sometimes casually disliking).

The summer before I came to Kent State, I was tasked with planning a bridal shower. In that moment, my take on events changed forever. That summer was filled with phone calls, errands and tears. Deciding what my friend would want without asking her, figuring out how to make it happen and enlisting help… not as easy as I had originally thought. In the end, my beautiful friend got the bridal shower she deserved, and I began to realize all it took to put on an event.

Fast-forward to the present, my sophomore year at Kent State. Holding the YouToo Social Media Conference Chair position for PRSSA and taking Public Relations Tactics, I knew I was in for some serious event planning throughout the year. The YouToo Social Media Conference took a lot of work. I had direction from my peers and professionals who had dealt with the conference before, so I was not on my own. As for my event planning class projects, not so much. We learned how to make an event strategic, create objectives and lay out a budget. All of that is valuable knowledge, but unfortunately, there’s no set in stone way to create an event.

Here are a few of the things I feel have been the most important lessons I’ve learned about event planning:

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YouToo Social Media Conference Recap

IMG_0947I can’t believe the ninth-annual YouToo Social Media Conference has already come and gone! A lot of preparation went into the day, and the day could not have turned out better.

Kyle Michael Miller

The morning began with a keynote from Kyle Michael Miller, lead social media producer for NBC’s TODAY show. Kyle spoke about everything from content to his working environment. He reminded us all to look for stories.

One thing he said that really stood out to me was, “People aren’t going to Facebook for the TODAY show. They’re going for their mom, friends and dog.” I thought about that quote a lot during the rest of the day, especially when I was in a later session and Alyssa Purvis from Key Bank said the same thing. Being in charge of a brand, you become enthralled with what the brand is doing, and it’s important to you. However, it may not be so important to others, and that is where creativity and research come in.

Kyle shared with us the story behind the post of Kathie Lee Gifford talking about her recently deceased husband and why it was so successful. “Authentic moments always win in the social space,” Kyle said. People can tell when you’re being unauthentic. People are responsive to raw emotions. As Kyle said, does anyone really pass up a video of a husband crying after seeing his wife’s new makeover?

Another huge theme of the day was social media analytics. Looking at the analytics of posts to see how they were received by your audiences is beyond important. Having the ability to judge the success of a post on more than just how many likes it received can help you craft future posts and learn more about what content is best received by your audiences. Kyle talked for a while on Facebook analytics and how he uses them daily to track the reception of posts. That information then carries over into future posts.

Two key takeaways from Kyle’s keynote:

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PR in the News: Erin Andrews lawsuit causes trouble for Marriott

By: Victoria Manenti and Hanna Moore

Erin Andrews was awarded $55 million in her lawsuit against the owner of the Nashville Marriott and her stalker in the case over a secretly filmed nude video.

Andrews, an ESPN reporter at the time, was staying at the hotel, when her long-time stalker Michael Barrett compromised her peephole and was able to film into her room. He was able to find her because a hotel employee honored his request to stay in the room next to hers.

The jury found that Barrett was 51 percent at fault for the incident and liable for 51 percent of the $55 million award, and Windsor Capital Group, the hotel management company, was responsible for the remaining 49 percent.

Not only is this a legal issue but also a huge public relations crisis.

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Is blogging dead?

Check out this week’s episode of the FlashCast podcast, where we attempt to answer the question of whether or not blogging is still alive:

 

Are you interested in starting your own blog or improving a blog you already have? Here are some blogging best practices from Digital Information World.

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