Here's The Biggest Mistake People I Interviewed Made At This Ivy League School's Career Fair

Managing Editor

Recently, I was representing Business Insider at a journalism school career fair.

To be fair, I won’t name the school. But it’s an excellent journalism school.

I was there for four hours and I met 15 people, about half of whom were pre-scheduled to meet me. The rest were walk-ups.

What stuck out to me during those four hours?

Students had done almost no research on our company.

It’s very easy to tell if someone knows Business Insider. All I have to do is ask any of these simple questions:

“So, what do you think of our site?”

“What articles on BI have you liked recently and why?”

“What do you think we’re doing well, and what can we improve upon as a site?”

Too many of the answers I got were generic:

“I like that you cover lots of topics.” (That’s the most general statement I’ve ever heard. Every news site covers lots of topics.)

“I gravitate towards the business stories.” (Quite obvious that the person knows we cover business from our name, but isn’t sure what else we write about.)

“I think you guys are doing great. I can’t think of anything I would improve upon off the top of my head.” (Really? That’s all you’ve got?)

So, my advice:

When interviewing at a Career Fair, you only have a few minutes to make a good impression. Do some research on the companies you’re scheduled to meet with, or are thinking of approaching. Find out what they do, what you like about what they do, and what you think they could do better.

Businesses (especially websites like ours!) want to hire people who are passionate about working for THEM. Not just for any company.

For example, if you want a job at Business Insider, spend some time reading the site, get to know our tone, our headline style, what news we cover, how we cover it, and what makes us different from other business sites out there.

Trust me. The payoff will be worth it in the end.

What you aren’t doing during the interview process that will ruin your chances of getting a job>

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