Being a successful journalist means having a good mix of intelligence, charisma and street savvy -- traits that will also serve you well when you're going for a job interview in the media world. With jobs for reporters and correspondents declining and expected to stay that way, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you're going to need all three of those traits as well as a good deal of preparation in order to be the one who gets the job.
You may have sent along a set of clips when you applied for the job, but don't assume that the hiring managers are going to have them on hand, advises the CubReporters website. Bring along a few extra copies of your clips -- as well as your resume -- so you'll be prepared to talk about why you chose them. Be prepared to talk about the style of your past work and how it might fit in with the new media outlet. Also, expect to take a writing, editing or computer skills test. You will want to brush up on any skills that may have gotten rusty.
Do your homework about the media outlet far ahead of the interview. Check out the types of stories it covers and who covers them. Read the social media feeds and mention some of the big stories they're covering during the interview. Since most media outlets are keeping a close eye on the competition, you should do the same. Editors or hiring managers may separate an astute candidate from a mediocre one by asking you to name the outlet's top three competitors and what they covered that day.
The world of journalism is increasingly moving toward more niche publications that focus on very narrow subject areas. This is largely due to journalism's move to the Internet, according to the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, though even traditional newspapers have "desks" that focus on certain subject areas. You may have gotten this far in the application process due at least in part to your special areas of focus. During the interview, be prepared to talk about your interests. Read up on the latest trends in technology, medicine, the environment or any other area in which you're interested. Come with a few story ideas you'd like to pursue should you get hired.
Questions that gauge a journalist's ethics may also come up during the interview, since many journalists are exposed to sensitive information that could be exploited for personal gain. This is where "behavioral" type interview questions may come into play, as the hiring managers ask you what you'd do when placed in a certain situation. For example, a hiring manager may ask how you'd handle requests to go "off the record" during an interview or what you'd do should a company ask you to omit information the puts it in a bad light.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.