5 Music Business Job Interview Tips

Here's How to Stand Out From the Crowd in This Competitive Industry

At last: You've been invited to interview for a job in the music industry! If you've been pounding the pavement, trying to get a foot in the music business door, then you know just how competitive these positions can be. How can you make sure you're the candidate who shines the most during the interview process?

Commit these five music business job interview tips to memory.

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Be Clear About Your Goals

Man and woman having office meeting
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Don't go into the interview and say, "I don't care what job I do, as long as it is in music." That may well be the case, especially when you're just starting out and learning to the ropes, but it's not a winning answer when you're interviewing for a specific position.

Instead, prepare yourself to discuss why you want a particular position, and why you're the ideal person to do the job. Did you work with someone who's gone on to great things? What unique experience do you bring to the table. Be sure you can clearly articulate what interests you about this particular job, and why you would outshine any other applicants.

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Be Punctual, Punctual, Punctual

In other words, be on time. This is a no-brainer for any job interview, sure, but somehow it really needs saying for music biz jobs.

The perception that the music business is so laid back that showing up on time isn't important is flat-out wrong. People interviewing you for a music job want someone willing to work, not someone who thinks getting a job in the music biz is like getting paid to party.

Do everything you can to convince your potential employer that you're interested in rolling up your sleeves and putting in the hours. One of the easiest ways to do that is to be professional enough to be ready and waiting when your scheduled interview time rolls around.

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Dress the Part

This is one of the toughest questions about a music industry job interview: How should you dress? The conventional wisdom dictates a conservative outfit, but that's if you're interviewing at a bank or a law office. Can you be as casually dressed as musicians you see on stage when interviewing for a job in the music industry?

 As a general rule of thumb, opt for dressing up versus dressing down. If the "is this a jeans and t-shirt workplace" question is plaguing you, go business casual. If the "do I need a skirt/tie/suit" question is the one on your mind, then go that route. Better to be overdressed and look super enthusiastic than to look underdressed and look like you're not taking the interview seriously.

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Be Prepared to Talk About Music

Show you can get specific about your favorite stuff. Of course, in many music jobs, the music you love the most isn't necessarily what you'll be working with, but showing your enthusiasm for your music is a job skill, period. Showing that you love it enough to educate yourself about it is an even bigger skill.

One important point to remember: If the job is genre specific, know something about that genre, even if it isn't your favorite. Show that you understand the major artists and trends of the genre. You can still talk about the other music you love, but don't go into the country PR company talking about how you love all kinds of music but country. If that's true, you're not going to be the best candidate for that job anyway and should probably be looking elsewhere for opportunities.

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Know the Company

Landed an interview at Label X? Don't go into said interview and say, "now, who does Label X release?" Find out who the company has worked with in the past, what their biggest successes were, the kind of work they do, and so forth.

Your interviewer will want to know you've done your homework and then some, so try to go beyond the first few results of an online search. Ideally, you'd want to talk to someone who's already working there, but this isn't always possible.

One way to show off your knowledge is to come up with a few questions about the company and ask them during the question and answer part of the interview.