Competition for jobs in the music industry is always fierce, so when you get called in for an interview, a lot can be riding on the kind of impression you make. The good news is that you don't have to freak yourself out and get so uptight that you flub the whole thing. Just avoid these these common music business job interview Q&A flubs, and you'll be sure to make a good impression.
1. I Don't Care What Job I Do, As Long As It Is In Music
Now, don't get me wrong. This attitude can be an extremely helpful one when you're just getting started in the music business, and can be especially good to have when you're looking for internships. Your enthusiasm is also a good thing. So, what's the problem?
Well, you're not interviewing for ANY job in the music industry, you're interviewing for a SPECIFIC position. Your potential employers want you to be excited about doing the work that will be on plate if they hire you, and they won't think you're so thrilled if you can articulate what exactly revs your engines about the job they're offering. You may be thinking on the inside that you're taking this job just to open some doors and will be willing to leave if something more suited to your interests comes up down the line, but, you know, keep that on the INSIDE. If you're interviewing with a college radio PR company, you'd better come in ready to talk about why you want to place music with college radio stations. Anything less just won't do.
2. I'm Not Familiar with Your Artists/Clients
Going in for an interview with a music related business? Then you'd better spend a little time brushing up on their client roster. Whether you're interviewing with a PR company that works with a bunch of indie labels or a major label that is home to a host of chart topping artists, don't go through the door without knowing a little something about the music you'll be involved with if you get the job. You don't have to love it. You don't have to know the life stories of all of the artists/clients of the business. But you do need to know some of the major names that figure prominently with that company and have at least a passing familiarity with their work. Failing to do so makes you look uninterested and unprepared - not good qualities in a job seeker.
Here's one major caution - don't pretend that you know about things you don't during the job interview. If you aren't sure what kind of music an artist on the label plays, for instance, don't try to wing in. You'll be entering the make-a-fool-of-myself danger zone big time. Better to look like a homework dodger than a liar.
3. I Don't Know Anything About That Kind of Music
Your job in the music industry isn't to be a bona fide expert on all things music all the time. However, if you want to work for a company enough to send in a resume and take up their time with an interview, then make sure you understand a little bit about the music the company deals with. OK, so you're a dyed in the wool country fan, and you know zilch about classical music. Does that preclude you from working in the music industry? No. Does it mean that a classical music company is going to be interested in giving you a job? Not unless you've spent some time learning the genre up front - BEFORE your interview - and not unless you appreciate the music enough to want to learn more. "Yeah, classical is not really my thing, but I will still work hard" is not cool. Neither is "I'll learn some about classical music if you hire me." Find a job that fits your interests. Doesn't have to be in your favorite genre, but it does have to be a genre you know a bit about at least.
4. Will I Get Free Tickets To....
Yes, you're going to get some free stuff sometimes when you work in the music industry. Your interview is not a good time to bring it up.
5. Anything to Do with How Much You Like to Party
You wouldn't go into an interview at an investment banking firm talking about your fondness for waking up face down in strange alleyways, right? Yet, somehow, some people think that kind of thing is cool for a music industry interview, because, you know, it's music. Well, it's not. Really not. It won't be a good bonding point for you and the interviewer. Instead, you'll be letting them know that you don't have much respect for the position you're being offered - or their position, for that matter - plus, you'll be telling them you might be one of those people that want to work in the music industry because they think it's not a real job. Not a good look.