So, you have aspirations to be an event planner and you’ve turned in a job application. You got a call back for an interview, congrats! Now you have to undergo the interview part where you’ll be in the hot seat and grilled by an interviewer. Your answers, conduct, demeanor, and body language will determine if you land the job (or not). Here are five steps to knock your event management job interview out of the park.
1. Watch your body language
Maintaining composure is essential in the event management sector. You need to remain level-headed if something unexpected occurs or if dealing with a difficult client. Frustration can easily show not just through your tone of voice but also through your body language.
Your event management job interview will start well before the talking even happens. You can bet then that the interviewer will be studying your posture. The rules here apply to an interview for any other job. Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, sit in an upright posture with your hands on your lap, and make eye contact as you speak. This gives the impression that you’re confident, dialed in, and grounded. This is the kind of body language you will need to maintain when interacting with clients. It’s crucial that you come off as confident since clients have other event planners to select from.
2. Get familiar with your resume
Even though it’s already on your resume, the interviewer will nevertheless ask you to describe your prior experience. Right off the top of your head, you should be able to describe your background beginning with the most recent and working your way back. If you have planned events for notable clients or Fortune 500 companies, be sure to emphasize those. This should also include the names of references that can vouch for your background.
For newbies that don’t have a padded resume, emphasize your skills and what you have done, even if it’s only an internship or volunteer planning for a localized event. Even if you lack experience, interviewers will still seriously consider you if you come off as confident, teachable, enthusiastic, and ambitious.
3. Emphasize your social media presence
Event planning is a people-oriented industry. This means you need to be a great communicator with both digital and face-to-face interactions. In addition, you should also be fairly active on social media. Showing that you’re tuned into the industry via social media and actively contribute to the conversations happening around it is key. Know that as an event planner your duties will also include promotion through social media. This means using the event hashtag and encouraging followers to participate in pre- and post- event social media activities.
If asked the popular question, “Why we should hire you?” bring up your social media presence as a selling point. Clients are looking for planners that also double as a promoter – your self-management does, in fact, mirror your ways of handling social media for your events in the future.
4. Be ready to answer behavioral questions
An event management job interview wouldn’t be complete with behavioral questions. The interviewer will ask you several questions regarding a hypothetical scenario they describe. You must be prepared to answer these using your best judgment. Some examples of questions you may be asked include these:
- The venue administrator informs you last minute that it double booked. What do you do?
- A sponsor pulls out last minute? How will you come up with the funding?
- Tickets are underselling. How would you ramp up sales without lowering prices?
You may also be asked questions regarding situations that occur during the event, such as:
- A technical glitch prevents the lecturer from showing an important slide, what do you do?
- The event started later than anticipated. Would you cancel an activity or go over the time schedule and pay a venue penalty fee?
- An attendee is being aggressive towards other guests. Do you confront the attendee yourself or leave the situation to a security personnel?
Another way to approach an open ended, behavioral question is the STAR method: Situation, Task, Action, and Result. You’ll be able to walk your interviewer through the situation, what you were tasked with, the action you took, and the result.
5. Prepare questions for your interviewer
A good chunk of your interview questions will also include follow-up questions. Be ready to back up your answers and say why you answered the way you did. You can also bring up previous planning experiences if a particular situation is relevant to the question.
At the end of the interview, you can certainly expect your interviewer to ask you which questions you have for them. Be mindful to ask questions for things that you aren’t able to glean from public knowledge. For example, instead of asking about paid time off or benefits, ask about the upward trajectory of someone in the role. Similarly, instead of asking if your interviewer likes working there, ask which three things they’d change about the company culture. After all, you’re interviewing the company as much as they are you. You’re bound to get more insightful answers that can also aid you in making a decision of if the company is right for you.
The interview is your time to shine and distinguish yourself from the competitors. Don’t feel like you’re leaving your event management job interview completely up to chance. Be prepared, be confident, and be yourself!
What other ways do you prepare for an event management job interview? Let us know your interview hacks on Twitter!