They say the economy is improving but, in publishing, it is still very difficult to get a job, especially at the entry level. We are fortunate enough to have very little turnover in our staff at DGLM so most of the interviews I do are “informational” – I am asked by friends or colleagues to speak to young college graduates about our business and advise them on how best to get an entry level job.
Last week I had just such an interview and it struck me afterward just how badly prepared the person I spoke with was. So, even though this might not seem relevant to writers, I thought I’d share those things I deem important in interviews of all kinds.
1) Dress appropriately. Appearance matters, no matter what people say, and so wearing inappropriate clothes or outfits should be off limits.
2) Research the company you are going to be interviewing at. Know the kinds of books they represent or publish and be able to discuss a couple of them if at all possible. In the same vein, try to research the person who will be interviewing you so that you are knowledgeable about their interests and achievements.
3) Look the person with whom you are meeting in the eye. There is nothing more distracting to me than someone who is talking to me and looking everywhere but at me.
4) Express interest in whatever company you are interviewing at and in the job you are searching for.
5) Ask appropriate questions both because you really want to know the answers and to show how interested you are.
6) Finally, and this is most important, write a thank you note, preferably in long hand and mail it right after your interview.
As I said, this blog post is probably not appropriate for writers, but frankly, as I look over the above list, I think an author interviewing a new agent or meeting with a prospective publisher should definitely observe all of these rules as well.
Whether you are searching for a job, an agent, or a publisher, first impressions are most important and following the rules I have outlined here, I think, will serve you well.