Here’s some really interesting insight into what managers look for when interviewing you. They want to get to know YOU. They want to know why you do news, what your hobbies are and if you have ties to a particular area. They love to call me and talk about why they were drawn to a particular person when narrowing down their candidate pool for jobs.
Recently I was really struck by a news director’s comment about a potential producer. “( ) never got real with me. I heard canned answers. I want to know ( ).” I think we all forget this sometimes. ND’s want to hire someone they really like, believe in and want to be an advocate for. That requires making yourself a little vulnerable during an interview and giving a hiring manager a taste of what makes you tick. Think of it this way, that ND or AND will have a direct impact on your success or failure. If you two do not click and connect on a personal level to some degree, you could lose a key advocate.
Despite what many think, ND’s often take the fall for their employees (see “Taking Ownership” for an introduction into what that’s like) if they believe in the person. They will go to bat for you time and again. So when ND’s are interviewing you they are looking for someone they can mentor and help. ND’s really do love playing a role in helping someone launch their careers. Many think that part of leading a newsroom is helping the staff grow and make the most of themselves as journalists. They may not always be tactful. They may not always make it obvious. But most are trying to groom you and love bragging out your success later. So get real during job interviews. Say why you went into news. Say what you love most about your job. Explain your favorite types of stories and why. These answers might not only help you land a great new gig, they might also gain you an advocate throughout your career.