Program Recap: "How to Get Hired" - Myths, Tips, and How it Really Works

by Audra Hartges ( WMPRSA Program: "How to Get Hired"

The job market can be confusing whether you are looking for your first professional position, hoping to transition from your current position, or trying to re-enter the workforce.

At “How to Get Hired” Steve Groenink, Managing Director at Lambert Edwards & Associates, Jim D’Amico, Director of Talent Acquisition for Spectrum Health, and David Dart, Vice President of Global Human Resources at BISSELL Homecare, Inc. explained how the hiring process really works and discussed how to navigate applying and interviewing for a position. Below are highlights from their panel discussion, including three myths they dispelled and some tips to help you land the job.

Myth 1: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

  • Truth is, the company or organization you are dying to work for won’t hire you just because you went to middle school with one of their VP’s. Who you know might help bring your resume to the top of the pile, but isn’t the most important factor.
  • Your personality and how you would fit in the organization is what they are really hiring for and what an interview helps them determine. All three panelists said that before they hire you, they have to like you.

Myth 2: A flawless cover letter detailing your passion and talent will land you an interview.

  • Cover letters almost never get read. Yes, they said it. If there is a hiring manager who will ultimately decide your fate… he or she won’t read it, either.
  • Improve your resume, which does get look at, by making your experience quantifiable. How much money did you make or save your company? How many media impressions did you earn?
  • Students: make your resume stand out by being a leader on campus or by gaining a diverse set of experiences through cultural groups or study abroad.
  • Even if they don’t look at your cover letter, someone hiring you might check your LinkedIn profile. Keep it up to date, especially since some employers (including Spectrum Health this summer) are accepting applications through LinkedIn.

Myth 3: “The hiring process is simple-if they like you, they hire you!”

  • If your interviewer is just “checking boxes” they don’t have any power in the hiring process-you’re just being screened and will be passed on to a hiring manager who will decide to hire you or not.
  • If an HR representative thinks you are a candidate for the position (after a first or second interview) they will become your advocate, attaching their name and credibility to your utter brilliance. They want to help you get the job, so be transparent with them about things like your salary needs.

P.S. Making a move up that ladder? Expect a 10-20% earnings increase in a new position.

Be extraordinary tips.

Most people won’t do these things. You should.

  • Craft a stand-out answer to an experiential interview question by following the plan, do, check model. Tell how you planned for success, what you did, and how you checked or evaluated the success.
  • Follow up, even if you don’t get the job. Both Groenink and D’Amico add their contact information to rejection emails and are willing to discuss with applicants why they weren’t hired. Learn from your mistakes and get ready to blow away the competition next time.

[RECAP] Navy Crisis Communications

By Ashley Curd, senior at Grand Valley State University On Wednesday, March 20th, aimWest joined with WMPRSA to host Lt. Matthew Allen, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Navy.  Lt. Allen has been in the Navy for the past 17 years, during his service he has spent time in the Middle East, received his APR accreditation and is currently working at the Navy news desk in Washington D.C.

Lt. Allen provided an overview of the Navy’s duties and all they do for not only the U.S., but also the rest of the world.  He also discussed Navy crisis communication and provided  examples of how they have used their PR efforts to manage four difficult situations within the last year.

The first crisis Lt. Allen spoke about was when the USS Guardian landed on a protected reef located off the coast of the Philippines in January.  The electronic maps that were provided to the Navy showed the reef located 7 miles from where it actually was, causing the ship to ground the reef.  The Navy’s communication efforts about the event were delayed and led to a misunderstanding of the situation among the Philippine citizens causing them to protest outside the U.S. Embassy.  Ultimately, the Navy made the decision to dismantle the ship in the hopes that they could minimize the damage to the reef by doing so.

The next crisis discussed was when a F-18 jet belonging to the Navy had both of it’s engines fail and it crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach.  Thankfully, none of the residents of the complex were injured and the pilots were able to eject themselves from the aircraft and survived as well.  After the crash the Navy focused on putting the community first, which ultimately allowed them to maintain their relationship with the local population.

The third crisis discussed was the shooting at the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre during the screening of the Batman movie this past summer.  When speaking to the media about the tragic event, it was the goal of the Navy to take the focus off the killer and bring it back to the victims, including one of the Navy’s own, Petty Officer John Larimer, who died trying to protect his date.

The final topic discussed was Sequestration and the role it has played in the Navy’s budget cuts, which led to the delayed deployment of the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman.  Both crew members of the Truman as well as their families have been affected and according to Lt. Allen, the Navy is currently in internal communication crisis mode.

Overall, Lt. Allen said that his role as a Public Affairs Officer is to be a bridge to get both the brand and sacrifice of the Navy’s sailors into public knowledge.

[RECAP] Media + Members with Mary Kramer of Crain's Detroit Business

CrainsBy Ashley Curd, Senior at Grand Valley State University On February 7th, 2013, WMPRSA held a Media + Members event at Grand Valley State University’s DeVos campus.  Mary Kramer, publisher for Crain’s Detroit Business and Matthew Gryczan, West Michigan editor at Crain’s Michigan Business both spoke at the event.

In 2011 Crain’s expanded it’s coverage with a monthly statewide feature.  There are now 5,000 Crain’s Michigan Business monthly print subscribers, 1,561 subscribers outside South East Michigan and 52,000 statewide recipients of the weekly morning newsletter.  In order to continue the expansion Crain’s partners with MiBiz, MEDC and MichBio.

Kramer discussed the purpose of the publication and said that the goal at Crain’s is to cover what other people are not.  While Gryczan discussed different projects in the West Michigan area and mentioned that Crain’s serves their readers by informing them of things happening in the area before they actually take off.  “Local media puts dots out there.  We connect them,” said Gryczan.

Kramer also discussed the various statewide events that they host.  The main events include the General & In-House Counsel Awards, CFO of the Year Awards, Health Care Heroes and Michigan’s Healthiest Employers events.  In August, Crain’s will also be hosting it’s second annual Grand Rapids House Party, co-hosted with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

WMPRSA Program Recap - Lights in the Night - How PR launched lanterns into the ArtPrize Top 5

wmprsaprogramlightsinthenight10-15-12_048 (Large) On November 15, 2012, WMPRSA hosted a panel of four speakers, Dan Johnson, who is the managing partner of Six Voices LLC, Mark Carpenter, an entrepreneur, currently engaged in digital app collaborations with clients across the world, Kim Bode, owner of 834 Design and Marketing, and Adrienne Wallace, a project manager at 834 Design and Marketing. Wallace helped lead the discussion. [Slides From the Presentation Available Here]


The panel discussed how the ArtPrize entry Lights in the Night made it into the Top 5. Dan and Mark spoke about how they developed the idea, while Kim and Adrienne discussed how 834 Design and Marketing handled all of the promotion.

Carpenter explained that before he came up with the “lantern” idea he knew that he wanted to be involved with ArtPrize in some way and participate in the “risk taking roll.” He wanted to show his children that you can start with a small idea and turn it into something larger than you could have ever hoped for. Carpenter also knew that he wanted to involve the community in his entry.

Johnson said that after he and Carpenter decided to enter “Lights in the Night” into ArtPrize, they discussed how they needed to find great advertising and marketing. Thats when they hired 834 Design and Marketing.

Wallace and Bode went on to discuss how 834 led the Lights in the Night campaign:

  • Name selection
  • Descriptive of what the event truly was
  • Content creation
  • PR pitch to local media
  • Weekly blog posts to Facebook notes
  • Postcard (included in Gilmore Collection restaurant checks)
  • Weekly email (2,000 on list)
  • Advertising
  • The Lights in the Night ad on had the highest click through in the history of the website
  • Street teams that passed out post cards, and QR codes to help drive the public to the website
  • Word of mouth- The community had a lot to do with this, they became advocates for Lights in the Night.
  • Instructional video
  • Poster with instructions on how to light a lantern
  • In order to get the media involved and interested in the event it was important to have a mini-launch so they could all see the lanterns first-hand.

Johnson discussed the process they took to receive all of the proper permits with the city and then went on to explain the difficulties they had with the city a week before the lanterns were scheduled to launch. The main issue they had with the city was the fact that they pulled several locations that were scheduled launch spots. They were also give the green light to purchase 20,000 lanterns, but after they were purchased were told they could only launch 2,500. At the end of the event the final count came to 15,000 lanterns that had actually been lit and launched.

Lights in the Night entered the Top 25 within a day, from there it moved to the Top 10, and ultimately into the Top 5. Brian Burch, public relations director at ArtPrize said that he had never seen anything like it before and it was a testament of the community’s engagement.