Monthly Archives: August 2010

Talk with an Agency Principal

Last week Don Rountree, president of Rountree Group, Inc., spoke with the Public Relations Firms course at Georgia Southern University via Skype. Don’s visit focused on his role as an agency principal with respect to his education, hiring employees, progressing through a firm, handling clients, etc. At the end of his talk students had the opportunity to ask Don questions– and they did. Below is a recap to some of the student’s most pressing questions regarding firm life.

Question: What characteristics do you look for in a potential employee?

Answer: I look for those who are using emerging applications and are embracing social media.  But of course they must also possess the traditional characteristics in respect to reading, writing, research, the ability to multi-task, flexible, team player (putting ego aside), and someone with the ability to grow.

Question: What are the top three mistakes you see with those seeking employment opportunities with you?

Answer: The top three mistakes I see with potential candidates are no related experiences, not keeping social media accounts/skills current, and thinking networking–without any experience– will land them a job.

Question: What do you offer to help promote/increase/sustain the skills of your employees?

Answer: We allow our employees to take charge of their career through Rountree Group University. Rountree Group University consists of a series of self-run programs within the company that allows for employees to expand and/or increase their skills. Also, after six months of employment we will pay for employees to attend events, seminars, etc. that are appropriate to our field.

Question: What advice would you give someone seeking entry-level work at a  public relations firm?

Answer: Research the company, look up available information on the person you will be conducting the interview with (many people are on LinkedIn), ask questions regarding your job function as the job announcement will not be all inclusive, come prepared with questions, and be professional.

Many thanks to Don Rountree for speaking with the class.

Image courtesy of Rountree Group, Inc. blog titled PRConnections: Building Bridges of Communications for Clients.


Comments Off on Talk with an Agency Principal

Filed under classes, guest speakers, public relations

Can you pass this writing test?

Below are excerpts of a writing test, complied from various sources, I distributed to students enrolled in the Public Relations Firms course this semester. The exam consists of spelling and word usage, along with editing skills. The students were given 20 minutes to complete the test, yet a substantial amount had finished prior to the 10 minute warning and all were done within 15 minutes. (Initially, I was going to provide 10 minutes for the test, but with it being the first day of classes I decided to give them a little extra time 🙂 )

How do your skills match-up? (A link to the full version is at the bottom of this post.)

Part A: Spelling and Word Usage.
Provide the correct spelling of each word. If the word is correctly spelled, simply rewrite it as shown.

comittee ___________
liaison _____________

Circle the correct word in parentheses in the senteneces below.

-Corporate executives are concerned about the (affect/effect) the product recall will have on future sales.
-Cory said he was not (averse/adverse) to working in New York City.
-The client said she would go no (further/farther) with the discussion until she had more information.


Part B: Editing
Edit the following news release for distribution to the national business and financial media. You are instructed to correct grammatical and Associated Press errors, simplifying phrasing, and reduce wordiness to improve readability.


The Board of Directors of Connors-Walsh, Incorporated, one of the world’s premiere financial planning companies, voted to elect a new president and cheif operating officer today.
Frances A. Kennedy was chosen to replace Allan Edwards, who has announced his retirement and will leave his current post after having served as president for a total of twenty years. Kennedy will assume her many responsibilities as president in a few weeks, on March 1.

Your Thoughts?
Several firms, and some corporations, have writing test they ask potential employees to complete. If you have taken a writing test as a job prospect, what was included on your test? If you have distributed writing test to potential job candidates, what additional sections would you include on this writing test? View the complete writing test.



Filed under classes, public relations

Preparing for the Semester

Last week I had the “opportunity” to help my sister (in-law) move-in to her new apartment. While moving her stuff into the apartment complex, with no elevator, it got me thinking about what students should be doing to prepare for the upcoming academic semester. Below are a couple of tips to get you started, but I would love to hear from you.

1. Check your university e-mail account-I haven’t printed a hard-copy of my syllabi in about three years, and I’m not alone. In an effort to decrease copies, and of course additional paperwork, many professors are e-mailing or posting their syllabi prior to the first day of class.

2. Check your course account-Most universities use some form of blackboard that allows for posting and submission of assignments, along with other features. As stated earlier, many professors post their syllabi there, so check it!

3. Know the entrances to your building-As simplistic as this sounds, not all buildings have signage at every entrance, nor is every entrance unlocked. (It’s always interesting to count the number of students who arrive late to class because of the time they spent trying to enter the building.)

4. Know the professor’s name– If you are enrolled in a course where many sections are offered (e.g. Public Speaking) it would be ideal to know the professor’s name to ensure you are in the right section. Sitting in on the wrong section of a course will typically result in you being dropped from the course you initially registered for thus interfering with your course load and financial aid.

5. Review notes from prerequisite courses-If you are enrolled in the an upper level course then it will not hurt to glance over your notes from the prerequisite course. At minimum know where your notes are from the prerequisite course.

6. Come with working utensils-Don’t assume that you will not do any work the first day of class, especially if you are in an upper level course. Many things can happen on the first day of class including note-taking, so be prepared.

What have I missed? What else should a student do to prepare for the upcoming semester?

Comments Off on Preparing for the Semester

Filed under classes