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What’s playing on the iPod right now? SHATTERED by O.A.R.
This probably won’t come up for the majority of my blog readers but just in case, I’m going to dispense a few more interview tips if you ever want to work at a literary agency.
Before the interview, visit the agency’s website. (I know—no brainer but hang with me here.) See what kinds of authors and books the agency handles. Then, in preparation for your interview, read some of the authors before your meeting. (Or at the very least see if you can find the first chapter on Amazon’s Search Inside or the author’s webpage so you can read a snippet of the work.) Then demonstrate that knowledge during the interview.
We were hugely impressed with candidates who did that.
Another bit of advice? Be prepared to ask some insightful and/or intelligent questions. At the end of each interview, we always asked the candidate if he/she had any questions for us. Good questions really stood out for us—especially if it showed the candidate’s awareness of current events in publishing (like the Google Settlement or anything else that may have hit the major newswires).
And one last bit of advice. Practice your interview with a friend (and have that friend make up some questions for you). This will allow you to think on your feet if you receive a question that is unanticipated. This will also allow you to practice your speech and conversational ability during the interview. The biggest killer for us in our recent interviews was the constant repetition of the word “um.”
Now we realize that people are nervous in interview situations. We do expect some “ums” (after all, anyone who doesn’t make a living in TV or radio will interject an occasional one here and there). It’s the excessive amount of “ums” that are the problem. Unfortunately, that can make a candidate sound verbally ineffective or tentative—not two qualities you want to project in an interview.
So be conscious of that possible verbal tic during an interview and if you practice before, you’ll have some answers ready and smooth. Trust me, that will impress.