When SoundCloud announced it was laying off 40 staffers just over a week after Pandora shuttered its local operations, it didn’t offer emerging industry figures much confidence about the local job market.
It’s not all closures and cut-throat probation periods though, the music industry can be as exciting as all the urban legends suggest. However, preparation is key; so here’s five tips for that first job interview:
#1. Do your research
If you don’t know everything about the company and the person you’re meeting, you’re starting on the back foot. You won’t be expected to recite the company’s ‘About’ page verbatim, but if you know its past, you’ll be better equipped to help with its future.
#2. Don’t get stuck reeling off a list of music you love
Your interviewer wants to know more about you than what’s on your playlists right now. A general awareness of music history is expected, so there’s no need to spend half your interview talking about the Crystal Castles show you caught on the weekend and why you think the support act is the Next Big Thing.
Instead, use your answers to address every point outlined in the job advertisement. You’re not actually there to be interviewed, you’re there to sell yourself.
#3. Be honest about how much/ little you know
Fortunately, wild blunt honesty is considered an amicable attribute in the music industry. We’re not telling you to bare all about that time you mistook the lyrics to ‘Blank Space’ as “All the lonely Starbucks lovers”; but don’t be perturbed by how much your resume doesn’t fit the job description.
If you express your willingness to learn and accentuate your strengths, you’ll be more likely to impress the interviewer than if you bumbled your way through technical answers with a transparent lack of assertiveness.
#4. Treat the interview as a learning experience as well as an audition
The music industry is a small and fickle beast, so don’t be discouraged if you aren’t successful. Approach the situation as an opportunity to both sell your strengths and ideas and as a learning experience. If you carry this attitude through the door with you, you’ll never walk out empty-handed.
#5. Don’t wear a suit
And if you do choose to wear a band shirt, leave the Nirvana tee from Target at home – unless you know enough about the band to back up the walking billboard.
Band shirts say a lot about you, but can create a bad first impression before you’ve even sat down. For example, wearing a Jay-Z shirt to an interview at Spotify is career suicide.
Don’t bring the acoustic guitar.