Almost invariably, assessment day interviewers will ask, “why [insert company name here]?” It might seem like a straightforward question, but it’s not an easy one to answer – it’s pretty hard to talk about a job and company you’re only familiar with through what you’ve read on the website.
Unfortunately, I can’t help you out with tricky interview questions, but a few thoughts below on why, after a year, Headland is for me – and why it might be for you…
1. The people
It’s a cliché, but the people really do make the experience. There’s no typical Headlander. An ex BBC journalist; former Chief of Staff to the Secretary of State for Business; Tesco’s former Head of Government Affairs; directors with decades of experience in the City. Such a variety of backgrounds helps Headland provide its unique offering to clients – but it also makes the office an interesting place to work and means that you’re learning from the best in the industry.
2. Variation – every day
If you want a job where no two days are the same, you’re looking in the right place. Though there is the opportunity to specialise should you wish, from the very beginning I was immersed in a real variety of sectors, with each of my accounts requiring different skills and tasks. In a single day, I might draft commentary on interest rate rises, arrange a meeting with a journalist to discuss challenges faced by the world steel industry and attend a fashion collection launch. You’ll find you quickly become an expert in the industries your clients work in, and you might be surprised by what interests you the most!
3. Strong support and guidance
I was pleasantly surprised by how much training Headland provided during my first six months as a grad. While learning is very much hands-on, a structured programme of sessions equips you with the basics of PR, which, for me at least, provided a huge amount of comfort when heading into an unknown world. Inductions range from understanding financial reporting and social media evaluation to how to effectively pitch an idea and tips on running a brainstorm. And the learning doesn’t stop when the grad scheme is over. Weekly lunchtime sessions (free food provided…) run by Headlanders and external speakers mean we’re always up to speed on new trends and issues.
4. A work hard, play hard ethos
It would be a lie to say that you don’t have to work hard to enjoy success at Headland. In itself, that can be hugely satisfying – there’s nothing more rewarding to pick up a paper which includes an article you’ve pitched, or see the success of an event after you’ve spent weeks grappling over speakers and invitees. But the work is also balanced out by a lot of fun. Headland’s all-day (and night) summer and Christmas parties are pretty legendary, but the smaller stuff like the constant supply of sweet treats, Friday beers and our tag rugby team helps avoid any day-to-day drag.
5. A wealth of opportunities
When I joined Headland, I don’t think I appreciated how quickly the company is growing. Though I’ve only been here a year, I feel like one of the old-timers already! Headland is still small enough to mean that grads are able to make a big contribution from the offset – rather than being confined to the realms of photocopying and envelope-sealing as I’ve heard stories of elsewhere. Yet it’s also big enough to mean that you can work on some high-profile clients. This year’s grads are working on Pepsico, New Look, the AA and McColl's, to name but a few accounts. If you want to start your career at a company on the up, where you can get fully involved in its success, there’s no better place than Headland.