Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University


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Interviewing interns for agency work

I interviewed some strong student candidates last week. I’m always impressed with how professional and poised Kent State public relations students are.

We began interviewing for student positions for Flash Communications when I assumed this role in August 2008. I thought it made sense to be a little more selective in choosing students, but more importantly, I thought it would be a good learning experience for students on both sides of the table.

Students who apply are asked to bring in a portfolio and writing samples. This forces them to work on their resume and organize their clips.  Then they are asked a series of interview questions by a panel of interviewers. This is good practice for students who will be interviewing for other internships and positions in the public relations field. It forces students to do their “homework” and prepare for an interview.

Interviewers usually consist of University Communications and Marketing staff and current agency students. Agency students gain a lot from the experience because they can see what we’re looking for in candidates and how the students measure up. It gives them a chance to sit on the “other” side of the table and evaluate candidates, and it gives them an opportunity to think about how they might answer similar questions.

Students, it’s natural to be nervous when you’re “on the spot.” But there are steps you can take to help you prepare. Check out this video highlighting some basic interview tips:  

Also, check out this recent post by Benjamin Piper on Bizcovering, which includes some good interview resources: Secrets to Nailing Every Job Interview Every Time.

But even before the interview, comes the resume. Here are some resume tips.

It’s so important to triple check your resume before submitting it. Errors on the resume can prevent you from even getting a chance. Typos are grounds for disqualification. 

Here’s how students win my heart. First, I look for a well-written resume free of errors. In the interview, I look for solid writers, who are accountable and can work in a deadline-driven environment. I look for students who “sell” themselves. I am passionate about my job and look for passionate people. I look for a willingness to learn and the ability to generate ideas.

PR pros: What qualities do you look for in a public relations intern? What skills do you want your students to have?  Do you have other interview tips to share with students?

Students: What do you want to gain from an internship?

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