When your event planning business is growing, there are few things more satisfying than having the opportunity to hire new staff to come work with you. I love the energy that new blood brings when they come on board! Fresh ideas, new contacts, great questions…it’s fantastic. But, it often breaks my heart to interview prospective candidates and find they’re just not interview-ready. Last month I had the opportunity to interview two great candidates – based on their cover letters and resumes. But, when the actual interviews began – one was a rock star and the other, well, he left me feeling disappointed. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “Tell me what the rock star did so I can nail my next interview!” Well, let me share because she brought 7 things to the interview – and you want to be sure you bring those things with you when you’re interviewing for an event planner position.
7 Things to Bring on Your Interview for an Event Planner:
1. Your Portfolio.
Yes, you need a portfolio. I want to see what you’ve been doing. From conception to the final production – show me what you’ve got. I want to see how you come up with estimates, photos of the events, examples of communication with your clients. And I want to see it in a neat, organized and somewhat creative way. Now, some of you may say, “I haven’t really had a paid gig yet…” and that’s okay. If you planned a bachelorette party for your best friend – share it. A birthday party for your nephew – put it in your portfolio. A Christmas party at your current place of employment – document what you did. Every event planner needs a starting point – and a portfolio of even the smallest events goes to show that you are dedicated to making your way in this business.
2. A List of Client References.
Be sure to ask each and every client if they would be willing to act as a reference for you. Gather all of their contact information and be ready to share it with a prospective employer. Clients provide the real details on what it was like working with you – for example, how you handled the small details or little crises that arose. I want to be able to talk to those people.
3. A List of Vendors You Work with Closely.
I LOVED this! My rock star candidate brought a list of contacts she used when planning weddings (which was her niche). She explained about the relationships she had developed with each vendor and how she was sure they would love to work with me and my company. (We overlapped on several vendors, but she also brought some new talent to the table – which was a great bonus!). Be sure to talk to your vendors and make sure they are open to you sharing their contact information, but it usually turns out to be a win-win for all the parties involved. And there is no such thing as a small vendor! So if you have a relationship with the guy who sells you door stoppers (I know…what event planner needs door stoppers? … but hey – you never know!) and he wants to continue to work with you and others – add him to your list!
4. Bring Your Research.
Now, this seems like a no-brainer, but make sure you’ve done your research on the place where you will be interviewing. Do they specialize in wedding event planning? Corporate events? Sporting events? Have you been to any events they’ve planned? Did you check out their website and social media pages? The more you know, the more you can be engaged in the interview.
5. Bring Your Questions.
In each and every interview, I always ask, “Do you have any questions about me, the company or anything we discussed today?” And, inevitably, I will have a candidate say, “No, I don’t think I have any questions.” For me, that says they’re not interested and, as far as I’m concerned, the interview is over. ALWAYS have questions if you are truly interested in the position. If you want the job, have a few questions ready that you can ask related to what you’ve researched prior to the interview or if there was something that came up during the interview and you’d like to come back to it – now’s the time! Questions show you are engaged!
6. Bring Your Expertise.
If your strength is as a wedding planner, then don’t be afraid to share that expertise in an interview – even if the interview is for a corporate event planner. You should be able to easily show how what you’ve done as a wedding planner is transferrable to the world of corporate events. Additionally, if I see quality work as a wedding planner, along with rave reviews from clients, I’ll know that you really listen to your clients and can handle the pressure that planning an event entails.
7. Bring Your Passion.
I want to see some smiles when you are talking about your work. It’s important to see excitement when you tell me about the very first event you planned. I want to see satisfaction when you tell me how you handled a sticky situation with a client. This shows me you are passionate about the world of events planning. And you know what? Sometimes a little passion is all you need to catch a break!
So be sure to share with me some of your best tips when interviewing for a job as an event planner! Or, let me know which of these tips worked for you! And good luck at your next interview! You’ve got this!