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Preparing for an Event Coordinator Interview

by Sam Ashe-Edmunds

To properly prepare for an event coordinator interview, you’ll first need to determine how the company uses the title “coordinator.” Smaller companies use a coordinator title to refer to the head of a department or function, while larger companies employ coordinators -- acting as glorified gophers -- to assist managers and directors. Once you know the level of responsibility of the position, you can begin preparing your pitch.

Visit the Company Website

If you don’t know much about the company or job, visit the company’s website and look for the staff page. This will help you determine if the event coordinator is the top person handling events or a lower-level position. If you see a marketing director, but no other promotions or event staff, the coordinator position might be a management position. If you see the title listed along with several other event or promotions-related titles, especially those with director or manager titles, the job might be entry level.

Read the Job Description

The job description for an event coordinator position should give you specific information as to what skills and experience you’ll need to meet the qualifications for the job. Look at the duties, which are usually listed before the skills required. Match your direct and indirect experience to their needs. Indirect experience might include managing budgets and overseeing PR for a company, even if it’s not related to event planning. Direct experience would include negotiating contracts with venues or arranging liability insurance for an event. The fewer years of experience the company requests, the more on-the-job training you’ll get regarding the event. In this case, you’ll need to demonstrate general skills, showing you are organized, can follow orders, have executed instructions given by managers and are a team player.

Match Your Skills

Once you have a good understanding of the duties of the job, its level of responsibility and the skills and experience required, write a list of these so you can match your work experience to each one. List not only your experience but also your accomplishments. For example, don’t just tell an employer you created and managed the budget for an event; point out where you found cost savings or found in-kind donations or sponsorship trades that reduced spending and generated a bigger net income for the event. Instead of pointing out that you handled PR for an event, present innovative marketing methods you used, such as a new social media campaign or setting up and running a media day. It might be weeks from the time you submit your application to the time you come in for an interview. If possible, look for events in your area where you can volunteer to build experience if you need it. Work the registration table at a 5K race or help with setup and take down at a charity fundraiser.

Create an Interview Plan

Don’t rely on a potential employer to pull your best information from you during your interview. Bring a note pad with information you want to present during the interview. If the interviewer doesn’t ask you questions about your strengths, steer the discussion toward them by referring to your notes and working in the information you want presented. Have a list of questions to ask, even if you know the answer to show you have done your research, are knowledgeable about the field and are interested in the position. Ask about the other staff working on the event, where you would fall on the totem pole, when the event planning starts and media, participant and vendor follow-ups finish. If you can find or download event brochures or registration forms, refer to them during the interview to ask about company strategy, showing you understand some basics about event planning and management.

About the Author

Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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