Monday, March 2, 2015

Interview Prep

Masterminds, LLC. can review your resume and ensure that you look good on paper, but what about the interview? We offer interview prep as well, but here a few easy tips and tricks you'll want remember in preparation for your next career opportunity.

Here are seven "obvious" and not-so-obvious suggestions for those who get nervous before interviews, those who haven't had the opportunity to interview as much as they would like, or those who are preparing for the biggest opportunity of their professional career. Some of these tips may even surprise the "seasoned interviewee":

Practice in the mirror - Practicing in the mirror will make you more aware of how you look when you speak and will help you to be more conscious of your facial expressions. You want to make just enough eye contact to be engaging, but not so much that it is awkward or creepy!

Record yourself - This is EVEN better than practicing in the mirror. If you can record a short video and then play it back it will make you aware of inflections in your voice, along with posture and facial expression. I know it's difficult to watch yourself and critique yourself, but well worth it. If you look uncomfortable or nervous in your video, just imagine how this will come off to a potential employer! Count the amount of times you say "um". (The goal number is ZERO.) Saying "um" portrays uncertainty, and an employer is typically looking for someone who can be confident in what they are doing.

Research - Research earnings calls, quarterly reports, and any other company information that you can get your hands on. If you can speak to a major issue, success, or general development in the company and how you can be of value, this sets you apart from the great bulk of applicants who are still practicing answers to the old cliche questions like "What are your top strengths?" Speaking specifically to company earnings let's a potential employer know that you are focused on what they are focused on, which is the bottom line!

Example: “Call me geeky, but I was listening to Google’s quarterly earnings call and was blown away by the fact that display advertising hit over $5 billion in the past few years. Therefore, I think that…”

Using Google Alerts is a GREAT way to keep up with a company that you would like to work for, or even better, invest in!

Social Media Clean Up - Use Social Sweepster to clean up your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Yes, employers look at these! Watch what you post! 91% of employers are looking to social media to screen potential employees.

Timing Matters - Glassdoor says that the most opportune time to interview is at 10:30AM on Tuesday. Go figure! So try to book this time, if not just try to avoid lunchtime as the interviewer (as well as you) may be too hungry or too full to focus.

Also avoid bookend days (Monday and Friday) because these are times when everyone is either gearing up or winding down for the week. The same rule applies to first or last interview slots.

However! If you know the company is looking to make an immediate decision, you definitely want to try and get that first available interview slot. Clear as mud? ... Okay, good.

Tell Your Story - Most interviews start with something like "So tell me a little bit about yourself" and many of us pass up this awesome opportunity to be great by saying something boring like "I studied Business because I really wanted to make an impact on the business world, and as you can see by my work experience...blah...blah...blah"

Crafting a thoughful story statement will let your employer know that you are not just a professional, but you are a person as well. Something like this: "I grew up in Miami after immigrating to the United States. Since neither of my parents were able to attend college, I was really inspired to attend and, with some help from my high school teachers I was able to apply to some of the top schools. I've always had a passion for business because..."

Dress the Part - This includes more than throwing on a blue or black suit. You generally want to stay away from bright colors or a lot of large/noisy jewelry. HOWEVER, picking out ONE statement piece such as something that represents your heritage or a particular interest can be a GREAT conversation starter that will leave an impression with your interviewer.

More to come later! Keep reading!

Contact for help with your resume or to prepare for your next big interview.

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Thanks for reading,