7 things you never say in a PR agency job interview

Uttering these statements and questions—or lack thereof—during a job interview will hurt your chances of landing that new gig.

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Employers differ, but I have a mental list of “red-flag” responses that make me wonder if the candidate is a fit for my firm, or even for public relations overall. After a straw poll of other employers in PR, I’ve come up with a short, and subjective, list of things not to say in a PR firm interview.

“I’m a people person.” It may be a personal quirk, but this one is the most cringe-worthy in my book. It immediately makes me see the candidate in a cruise ship director’s uniform. Yes, relationship- building is important in our business, but “I’m a people person” is facile, smacks of naiveté and does nothing to differentiate. It might make sense in an interview in hospitality or customer service, but I think it’s better unsaid.

“I’m the most qualified person you’ll meet!” This and similar proclamations could suggest an arrogance that isn’t appealing. It’s better to offer specific anecdotes that illustrate why you’re qualified, motivated, or dedicated. Sweeping statements, in general, are weaker than examples.

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