Sharon Byers discussed her career as Senior Vice President for Sports and Entertainment Marketing at Coca-Cola North America and offered job interviewing tips. / Image by Joe McAdory
How does a job candidate make a strong impression to a potential employer? Sharon Byers, Senior Vice President for Sports and Entertainment Marketing for Coca-Cola North America, shared insight Monday with members of the Auburn University Marketing Association.
Byers, who graduated from the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business in 1987 with a finance degree but has flourished in her marketing role, said she looks mostly for “interpersonal skills” when interviewing potential hires.
“I want to see if you have that inner-burn to not just be OK, but always pushing to the next level,” she told students and faculty. “You don’t want to hire one person that is a cancer. Their energy sucks the life out of an organization.”
Byers also suggested that potential employers come prepared to the interview to:
1) Have a full understanding what the job is they are applying for
2) Understand the background and history of the company.
She also suggested that interviews should go both ways and wants to see the applicant equally involved in the question-and-answer process.
“Ask me about our social and digital strategy. Ask some ‘wow’ questions,” she said. “Ask me some really hard questions. Ask me about my management style. Ask me about the Coca-Cola Company. Ask me about technology. Those are important moments. Close the deal on an interview.”
Byers’ lunch meeting with students and faculty covered other platforms, including her role at Coca-Cola, why a finance/accounting background can be beneficial in a marketing career, and the importance of internships.
“The single-most important thing I learned from Sharon Byers’ visit is to make your time while at Auburn valuable by taking leadership roles in organizations, which, in return, will give you the competitive advantage in selling yourself to the employer because you are a "go-getter," said Callie Johnson, a senior marketing major.