This month’s great interview question comes from our Vice President, Kassie Wilner: Who do you think is getting it right online and why? Kassie hears this coming up a lot in interviews for digital communications and social media roles. Hiring managers want to know who you see as thought leaders in the industry, whose strategies you will seek to emulate and how up-to-date you are on all things digital.
You can start preparing for this question now by spending time researching every day. What digital campaigns catch your attention and which organizations are behind them? What individuals are a central part of the conversation in your industry? Once you find some people and groups who inspire you, commit to checking up on them daily so you can really understand what they’re doing and how. Then spend the rest of your time looking for new platforms, thinkers and content to explore.
The “why” part of this question is what’s most important. To articulate why someone’s getting it right you have to understand their strategy. Look for the patterns in their content and pay attention to the rhythm of their output. Identify their audience. You must convince the hiring manager you understand not just that a certain individual or organization’s digital brand is working but you must break down how it’s working. So that the employer believes you could build a similarly innovative digital presence for them.
Though I stand by the “why” being the most important part of the question, the “who” can’t be MySpace. Be sure the people and groups you point to are trending right now. “These days, social media waits for no one. If you’re late for the party… you might not be able to get your voice across,” says Aaron Lee, ranked #5 on Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers list. I think sometimes candidates feel pressured to answer this question with someone they are confident that the hiring manager will know of, even if that means settling for last year’s most popular blogger . Go with the people you were eager to wake up and read today. It is better to introduce the interviewer to a new digital voice than point to yesterday’s news and risk sounding out-of-touch.
Trust your instinct on this one. The digital voices you want to follow must be doing something right. Your job is to articulate why they are captivating and in doing so, convince us you posssess those same skills.
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.