Interviews

Photo by  Johanna Buguet  on  Unsplash
  • Use specific examples for every question they ask even, if they don’t start with “name a time when…”

    • Answer the question and then mention something that actually happened to back up what you’re saying and to shed more light on your accomplishments.

  • Have a professional outfit ready to go before you even have an interview scheduled.

    • You don’t want to have to go out and buy something the day before an interview because you didn’t realize your favorite professional shirt was not in your closet.

  • Interviews are scary, but they are no end-all be-all.

    • Employers are just people, too.

    • It can feel like the most important meeting, but at the end of the day they’re just people, and want to make sure you are someone they can trust their work with.

  • Stop trying to act like the perfect candidate.

    • When people say “be yourself,” it’s true.

    • Employers are people too, and they can tell if you’re being fake or trying too hard. Stop guessing what they’re looking for and just see if you are what they want.

    • It’s like dating, have you ever talked to someone who seemed too good to be true that it set off many red flags?

Zackary Drucker - The Gender Spectrum Collection

Zackary Drucker - The Gender Spectrum Collection

  • If it's hot outside, carry deodorant with you.

  • Bring gum or tic tacs with you so you don't feel self conscious speaking, especially if you had food before.

  • Eat breakfast (or lunch) before putting on your interview outfit

  • Think about transferable skills from every experience.

    • Your experiences don't have to necessarily correlate 100% with the new job.

    • There is a lot of overlap between jobs that may seem very different from each other.

    • Especially as a recent grad, you might not have alot of professional experience, so think about things you did through school. Leadership, communication, problem solving, time management are all important in extra curriculars.

    • (For example, someone who was the president of an organization could have a lot of project management related responsibilities, like delegating tasks to other board members, coordinating with the outside groups, communicating each week to volunteers, and approving budgets)

  • Pause before answering.

    • When an employer asks you a question, it’s okay to stop and think.

    • You don’t want to feel robotic and rehearsed by immediately regurgitating the perfect response. It’s okay to think about what you want to say, and even ask them to rephrase the question.

  • Don’t overlook those 3 summers as a waiter.

    • If you’re struggling to find more industry related experiences as talking points, think back to other forms of experience you may have.

  • When asking questions at the end, ask one in response to one of the first few things someone mentioned.

    • This will show that you were attentive and curious.

  • Remember, it’s a conversation. You’ve had millions of those already..

    • If you don’t get the job or you mis-say something, you’re fine. They are not going to blacklist you, they’ll probably forget anyways - move on and put your emotional energy into the next opportunity.

@hellotamarcus at www.nappy.co

@hellotamarcus at www.nappy.co

  • Don’t bad mouth your former employer.

    • You may accidently slip if someone asks about a previous experience, but be sure to put a positive spin, and not fall into the pit of ranting.

    • Even if you ended on poor terms, or they were abusive to you, don’t shed a negative light on them with a potential employer.

  • If an employer asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, turn it into an opportunity.

    • We all have things that we are bad at, or know nothing about.

    • Turn your negatives and lack of knowledge into “an area of growth.”

    • Don’t lie, they’ll know right away because you won’t be able to back up anything you say.

  • Don’t mention that this is a stepping stone job.

    • Talk about how you want to contribute to the company and learn. You probably won’t be working at the same company for the next 50 years, but when asked why you want to work there, talk about connections to the company’s goals and projects.

Photo by  STIL  on  Unsplash

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

  • Body language and confidence are huge.

    • Even if you feel like you’re bombing the interview, that may be just you overanalyzing.

    • Keep your head up and remember, they wouldn’t have brought you in to interview if they didn’t think you had a chance. They saw something in you that sparked interest, so don’t let your self doubts translate into condescension or off putting movements.

  • Don’t say anything negative to anyone, you don’t know who you’re talking to.

    • One time I was interviewing people for an on-campus role, and happened to be sitting in the waiting room where candidates were. I was currently a student as well, so I blended in well with the applicants. I got into a conversation with one of them, and she expressed how little research she had done and how she hardly knew what the office or role was. She was mortified when I came back and shook her hand, guiding her into the interview room.

  • Brainstorm a list of questions that are not generic “What’s your favorite part of working here?”

    • You can definitely ask that, but think about questions that are more specific to the company. Always have more questions, even if you feel like you have all the information.

  • Make sure you have a photo ID (at all times) in case you need it to get into the building - check BEFORE you leave your house.

  • DO NOT say your greatest weakness is you're a perfectionist.

    • Frame your weaknesses as "areas for growth" and always give examples of how you're improving for it

    • It is such a turn off when someone says “perfectionst” or “too hard working.”

    • Here are other things you could say instead.

  • Don’t lie.

    • It might feel okay to slip out a tiny white lie about how you know a certain program, and promise yourself that you can Youtube it when you get home.

    • But they will know. What happens if you get the job and all of a sudden they want you to make something you claimed to be an expert at and in reality you have no idea?

  • Send a thank you email within 24 hours.

    • Hand written cards are a nice gesture as well, but be sure to send an email first, because you want to make sure the thank you card doesn’t take a few days to get to the interviewer.

  • Do not negotiate during the interview, wait until you are offered the job.

  • Do not make comments (even compliments) regarding the interviewers appearance. Even if you really like what they are wearing, keep it professional. It could come across sexist or inappropriate 

    Sample questions:

  • What are some of the challenges associated with this role?

  • What kind of relationship do you foresee between you and a person in this role?

  • What is your preferred system for feedback?

  • What are some of your personal goals for this position?

  • What would you like me to achieve by 1 month? 3 months? 6 months?

  • Are there any training and transition programs for new hires?

  • What is your preferred mode for communication within teams?

  • Is there flexibility to collaborate with other teams?

  • Is there room for growth?