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Last week, about 20 PRSA students from ASU and NAU visited HMA to learn more about the agency life. Abbie led the discussion and of course, the first question asked was along the lines of “what do you look for when hiring a potential candidate?” Abbie touched on the usual AP style, internships, education, work samples, etc. But she also touched on the human side of a person and a question that I also piggy- backed off of to answer.

So, what ways can a future employer learn more about your “human” side?

For Abbie, it’s asking what cereal are you and why? A question that doesn’t make or break your interview but one you should have an answer to.

Another is “what would you do if you got a flat tire on the way to a TV segment for client?” Again, another question that doesn’t have one right answer, but you should be able to answer since it is a real possibility.

Questions like the two above (yes, I did answer both those questions before starting at HMA) don’t rely on any skills that are taught in a textbook. Those answers rely on experiences or soft skills.

Soft skills are skills that include teamwork, adaptability, communication, problem-solving, leadership and so on. The list is endless, but in summary they are skills that you learn through different experiences like working in groups, working a part-time job, playing sports, joining Greek life or other extracurriculars, etc.

These skills are just as important as hard skills (teachable skills) because it means that you can adapt to unexpected situations, work well with others, have a positive attitude, be on time, etc.

In conclusion, when you are preparing for that next big interview, make sure you know what cereal you are.

Autumn Jarrett
Autumn Jarrett
Originally from Illinois, Autumn currently resides in Tempe. In her spare time, you will find her taking weekend trips with her friends, shopping or binge watching her favorite shows. Check out Autumn's complete bio here.

1 Comment

  1. Mark Roden says:

    I actually had a flat tire on the way to an interview many years ago. It was with the VP of the company; I dont think he believed me, but I got the job and worked there for 7.5 years.

    The soft skills gap is real and getting worse. I spend time trying to figure out how to identify those gaps and more importantly help young people learn how to improve in that area, because it really stands out if someone lacks what used to be a minimum expectation for an employee.

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