Do you know your three Ps?

Wednesday, 29 June 2011, 10:08 | Category : General
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Following on from Russ’s post about how people present themselves in print on their CV, I wanted to take this one step further to consider how people present themselves in person. We all hear horror stories about nightmare interview scenarios and how dreadfully people are treated by the interviewer – but can we honestly all say we’ve done our utmost to present a polished view of ourselves? Last week I read an article listing some weird and wonderful job interview stories which didn’t paint the candidate in the best light. One story showed a girl calling her current employer with a fake cough so she could get time off work for the interviews, nothing wrong with that you say, but would you do it in front of your prospective employer in an interview? Another listed some wet behind the ears boy, ringing his mum for moral support and passing the phone over to the interviewer. We didn’t hear what happened to both of them, but my guess is they didn’t get the job. One thing you can be sure of is that we wouldn’t accept them in the network.

Thankfully, we’ve never had any similar situations in the last five years since we set up The PR Network. As we work with senior communications professionals we are in a fortunate position that our candidates are senior enough to handle each interview with aplomb and can communicate effectively to make the most out of the hour they have! For our people, reputation is everything and it is important that every meeting is handled professionally. When people join The PR Network they are now issued with a handbook on the various policies, procedures and processes we have in place, but it also outlines how we expect every one of our associates to conduct themselves when representing us. Every interview, email and call is representative of our brand and we are fiercely protective of it. We don’t like to teach granny to suck eggs, but we think it’s worth emphasising how professional we all need to be in the outside world.

We are passionate about the 3 P’s. Preparation. Punctuality. Presentation. We cannot impress enough the importance of preparing for every meeting. You would be surprised by how many people think they can wing it. We try to wheedle those people out on interview as our philosophy is that you can never appear over-prepared. Every client and prospect wants to feel flattered that you’ve taken the time to research before meeting them. Some take this a step further, but I will save that for another post…

Punctuality is a huge bug bear for us too. Whether you are meeting face to face or on a call, it’s vital you get there with 10 minutes to spare. We all know that London transport is more of a hindrance than a help, but these days no one buys someone who got lost, or had a major train delay – factor these scenarios into your timing for the day. Also, just because it’s a call doesn’t mean it should be treated flippantly. We do more and more interviews by phone as we morph into a virtual business world. Getting yourself across on the phone has everything to do with how you start that call and no one likes an out of breath, flustered Brit complaining about the quality of Skype! Again, preparation is crucial to a phone interview going well – plan, set an agenda, work out how long you need to get your points across. This isn’t a nice little chat about the weather – this is your opportunity to represent you and The PR Network in the best possible light.

Presentation. Now this is where Nicky and I get ourselves hot under the collar – maybe it’s a girl thing. You can never be too smart for an interview. I know we all live in a far more casual world and that we are still all enjoying what we used to term “dotcom casual” – the jeans or chinos with a jacket and shirt uniform that the likes of Steve Jobs have carried off so effortlessly for years. But, do plan what you are going to wear and how that will set the tone of the meeting. When you are charging fees of a senior consultant, clients often want to see that reflected in your outfit. Not suggesting we all become nameless suits, but think about how you are presenting yourself and what your outfit says about you. Lack of a good iron and a wash, suggests you don’t take yourself or the meeting very seriously, so frankly why would the client? Don’t think it’s just about the content you deliver in that meeting; quite often someone will have decided on whether they want you representing their brand as you enter the room. That’s just human nature.

As the job market is becoming even more competitive, it’s vital that our PR Network associates lead the way in professionalism. We know we have the best people in the industry working with us, we just want the rest of the world to realise it too!

George

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