In an interview setting, conversation can tend to live in the land of really good ideas and not enough in the world of nitty gritty numbers. It’s easy for this to happen given that so much of the conversation is hypothetical; what you might do for this company, what you think could happen in this role, etc. “It’s important for PR candidates – like all other job candidates – to understand that prospective employers hire results, not responsibilities,” reminds career coach, Vivian VanLier.
So it’s important to go into each interview armed with some numbers. Use percentages, dollar amounts, return on investment results, and other statistics to communicate your worth to the hiring party.
Working on a Budget
If you have been in a senior leadership role, be prepared to discuss your budget responsibilities. What budget were you working with? How did you determine where to allocate resources? Where possible, use examples of working on client accounts with comparable budgets to those at the place you are interviewing. Any numbers you have that demonstrate your ability to get big results from a small amount of resources will impress companies of all different sizes.
Viral Impact and Media Placement
As Business Wire’s Serena Ehrlich writes, “The first and oldest metric of PR has been the amount of coverage your news and content generated, the placement (and its impact on core audiences), length of article, assets included, message permeation and more.” Work in any data you have to support your ability to secure significant media placements and include specifics about your viral reach as well. Remember that engagement is just as, if not more, important than coverage. If you worked on a social campaign with a specific call to action, results on how people responded might be more meaningful than basic incoming traffic statistics.
Link Metrics to Goals
Help the hiring manager to envision what you might do for the company by connecting your numbers to goals. This will also show that your results were won by strategy and expertise and not accidental viral success. Did your employer’s desire to rebrand lead you to engage with previously untapped communities? Perhaps your team’s goal of building relationships with relevant digital influencers resulted in a record number of blog mentions. Or maybe you wanted to grow your geo-impact on your personal Twitter and you have gained a significant number of followers in another part of the world. Link your numbers to your goals to demonstrate your effectiveness.
Working statistics into an interview conversation will prove you’re good at what you do, but you will also come across as a smart candidate with business savvy and strategic ability. Pretty soon they’ll want to talk to you about other kinds of numbers- salary, vacation days, benefits and the like!
Chaloner, founded in 1979 as Chaloner Associates, is a national executive search firm that focuses on recruiting mid- to senior-level communications, public relations, marketing and investor relations professionals.