Q1. What characteristics do you look for in an applicant?
That’s a difficult question. Each person at C&F Porter Novelli has his or her own unique personality. While strong verbal and written communications skills are essential for each group, it is equally vital to have the right personality, fit not only for PR, but also for a particular practice area. Selecting an Intern is a serious matter. Finding the appropriate balance between creative and technical skills, as well as personality and chemistry, to fit with Account Team members is essential. Applicants must have high-energy and passion, and be team-oriented individuals who have the ability to interact and communicate well with others in both personal and professional settings. Emotional intelligence is a vital asset for PR. Applicants should be generally goal-oriented, flexible and excellent multi-taskers. Applicants must be enthusiastic, eager to learn, unafraid to ask challenging questions and have an abundance of stamina. Above all, they must understand that Public Relations is a service-oriented business, in which there are no menial tasks and attitude is everything!
Q2. I’ve been told you place a heavy emphasis on writing skills?
Absolutely, writing is a fundamental skill needed to practice Public Relations. Being articulate and skilled at crafting all forms of written communications—from e-mails to press releases—is critical. We are in the business of ‘communications’. Technical excellence and a creative writing ability are important assets for all PR Fundamentals Interns.
Q3. What criteria do you use to evaluate the applications?
Applications are evaluated on several criteria including experience and skills. One criterion is the technical quality of the application, including general writing skills, as well as, grammar, spelling and punctuation. C&F Porter Novelli is looking for young applicants with a genuine passion for communications and a high level of interest in Public Relations. We want candidates who express their enthusiasm in a unique and compelling manner. We also look at what others say about the applicant, so the letters of recommendation are very useful. We find that those who have worked in a business environment or who have interned in advertising, marketing, or other PR firms tend to make a good transition into the agency.
Q4. What is your selection process?
Every application is read and evaluated on the basis of an individual’s potential to contribute to the Public Relations industry. After the first reading, applications are sorted into categories: those who appear to be a great fit with our business, those who are ‘maybes’, and those whose applications do not meet our quality requirements. Applicants who meet our criteria will be interviewed in person or by telephone. Some Account Teams prefer to interview the candidate with all team members present; others prefer to schedule consecutive interviews for the Internship applicants to meet with different members of the team. Each Account Team chooses the candidate they feel would be the best match.
Q5. Do you only select graduates who have majored in PR and/or journalism?
No, the PR Fundamentals Internship Programme seeks young professionals with integrity, intelligence, skills, personality and insight. Over the years, we have chosen many university graduates with degrees in a broad range of subject areas. We look for individuals who can bring a unique background and experience to the industry and express an interest, not just in PR, but also in the world as a whole. Graduates with advanced degrees may also apply. Degrees in PR, marketing, journalism, or communications are an asset.
Q6. Can I apply more than once?
Yes you can re-apply. On a case-by-case basis, C&F Porter Novelli may contact individual applicants to ask about their interest in reapplying
Q7. What are the typical duties of an applicant?
The duties vary depending on the group and account needs. Responsibilities include media monitoring, developing editorial calendars and media lists, research, compiling and formatting client reports, drafting press materials, researching and pitching stories to reporters. Since each group is different, applicants may not be exposed to all of these activities, while others may be asked to handle more. Generally, applicants are given a significant level of responsibility. Those who demonstrate unusual talent and drive are often given opportunities that exceed their title. Adaptability and flexibility are other qualities that we look for in Interns.
Q8. What are my chances of getting hired if I complete the program?
Hiring an Intern as a permanent staff member is a business decision. To be sure that each Intern develops to his or her fullest potential there is a formal mid-term evaluation, as well as frequent contact with managers and the head of the PR Fundamentals Internship Programme. Our goal is to train talented junior staff so that they can grow as young PR professionals and make contribution to the Public Relations industry.
Q9. In general, what kind of career path can I expect if I am hired?
If a team chooses to extend an offer to an Intern, it will be for an Account Executive position (AE). The AE then becomes a permanent C&F Porter Novelli staff member with benefits.
Q10. What advice do you have for applicants?
Applicants are reminded to let their special personalities and best qualities shine through in their applications. Those who are honest about their interests and ideals are preferred.