In the interview process, you are proving you have value to offer the organization, not the other way around.

Ask questions about the role you will be doing:

Who will be your internal clients? 

Who will be on your team?

What will you be doing on a daily basis?

Who will you be reporting to?

What are your manager's goals?

How will you support your manager’s goals?

What are your manager's frustration points?

How can you minimize your manager's frustration points?

If you get the role and all goes well, your most likely career path will be to step into your manager’s role and, until you have the offer, can learn about what may lie ahead that way.

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AuthorAmy Feind-Reeves

Interviewers expect you to act differently with them than you would with your friends.

Shake hands.

Look people in the eye. 

No “likes”.

No “umms.”

No uptalk.

No giggling.

Remember a time when you were talking about something you really cared about.  Negotiating for something with your parents?  A professor?  A cop?  Get into that space and take yourself seriously. 

Sure, your friends would make fun of you.  But your interviewers will not.  Promise.

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AuthorAmy Feind-Reeves

Every organization has a market to grow, a customer to woo and competitors to beat.  Be sure you understand the big picture by identifying those three elements.  Understanding those will make it easy to figure out the rest: why they're in business, how they make money, what's most important to their growth.  Prepare some questions that relate to these big picture items, and you'll show that did your homework and maybe even gained some insight.

Then turn your focus to understanding what the job is and how it fit's in to what the organization as best you can.   Businesses are complex organizations and all are organized differently.  Ask a specific question that shows you are doing your best to understand the  nature of what your accountabilities would be in the role, and how the role contributes to the overall success of the business unit or organization.  You likely won't get it exactly right- and that's ok.  Interviewers don't expect people to understand what happens exactly in the role, but they will appreciate that you tried.

Lastly, focus on yourself and your interest in this job.  What appeals to you about it?  What makes you think you'll be good at it?  Why do you want it?  Its way more important in any interview to be able to discuss these things authentically than it is to list your strengths and weaknesses.  

And really, if you don't have a good answer as to why you want this job, or why you think you'll be good at it- are you sure you want to go to the interview?

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AuthorAmy Feind-Reeves

The first interview question sets the tone for all of it.  Start out confident and you’ll likely stay that way.  Be prepared for some flavor of:

“Walk me through your resume”

“Why are you specifically interested in this company / role.”

“Tell me about (insert your name here)”

It almost doesn’t matter what the question is.  You want to lead with the strongest part of your candidacy.   WHAT you know about the job.  Based on that, WHY you know you’ll be good at it. HOW MUCH you want it. 

See my short video for more on interviewing https://youtu.be/ALD-e6ft3UY

 

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AuthorAmy Feind-Reeves

Frankly, interviewing is a pain from the hiring manager's perspective.  It take's time out of the day, and time away from other commitments.    (S)he would like nothing better than to say "This is the one!" and not have to do another interview to fill the position.  Everyone is looking for that candidate who can be a trusted team member that makes work less stressful because (s)he is always willing to step up, contribute and be accountable.

Keep this in mind:

The more junior the interviewer, the more formal the slate of questions you will be asked.  Let the interviewer take the lead, and follow along wherever (s)he would like to go.

The more senior the interviewer, the more likely it is that (s)he will be handed your resume on the way in the door. 

In the latter case, take advantage of the situation to show off what you’ve learned about the organization and present your strongest accomplishments.  The more you tee up the conversation for the interviewer, the better things are likely to go.

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AuthorAmy Feind-Reeves

Words are great!  You’ve probably picked up some favorites for interviewing like “strategic”, “nimble” and “dynamic”.  Interviewers have heard those and lots of others like them.  What they want to hear are examples. 

How have you acted strategically?

In what instance have you performed nimbly?

What kind of dynamic solution have you created?

Words sound good, but they don't mean much unless you can pair them with examples.

When is a SPECIFIC time you acted strategically?  

How has a nimble performance in a work or academic situation positively IMPACTED an outcome in a specific situation?

What was the RESULT when you created a dynamic solution?

Words are just words until you use them in context.  Your skills are just words until you put them into examples.  The value you can add to an organization can be seen in the context of how you've added value in the past.

Use examples to tell stories about how you work, and your stories will do the interview work for you.

 

 

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AuthorAmy Feind-Reeves

When your resume is placed before a hiring manager from a recruiter, you are automatically more expensive because you come with a recruiter’s fee.  If the recruiter is a trusted vendor, it can help.  If the recruiter is not, it hurts.  Here’s the deal.

There are two types of recruiters:

Retained recruiters get paid regardless of who gets hired.   These firms are “retained” upfront to do the research on what kind of candidate will be the best cultural fit and bring the most appropriate management style.  The client, then, chooses from a set of candidates that has already been pre-screened.

There are increasingly fewer of these as corporations get increasingly stingy about paying retainer fees.  They tend to operate only at the highest levels (C-suites or board positions) or for the “hard to find” fit such as a business unit leader with experience in both circus operations and waste management.

Contingency recruiters get paid if their candidate gets hired.  They are in fierce competition with anyone and everyone who may seek to put a horse in the race.  Contingency recruiters can run the gamut from fairly unscrupulous individuals who want to put through a high volume of warm bodies, to highly trained professionals who essentially are retained recruiters without the upfront fee.

The unscrupulous types will be happy to tell you that you have been selected for your excellent record to join a prestigious marketing organization and then send you to a busy downtown corner to wear a sandwich board and pass out leaflets.  They are probably sending 50-100 people per week and always looking for more because the burnout rate is high.

Professional recruiters have good relationships with their clients and will tell you a bit about the atmosphere of the office they represent, what the managers are seeking, the type of person who succeeds in the role and what to expect in the interview process.  They want you to succeed so they can get paid, but they also have a close relationship with the client.

The questions to ask the recruiter are:

How many candidates have you placed with this client?

Do you know the hiring manager (the person who makes the decision on the candidate) or the recruiter (the person who serves candidates up to the hiring manager)?

How long have you been working with this client?

Do you know specifically what the hiring manager is looking for or does not like?

If you get the feeling based on the answers that the recruiter does NOT have an established relationship with the client, don’t allow him or her to send in your resume.  You’ll be a more expensive, less desirable candidate coming from an unknown candidate.

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AuthorAmy Feind-Reeves

Surprised? 

 

Unless you were an accounting, math or economics major most people find that Career Offices don’t have enough bandwidth to support their search for true meaning.  Really, how much tolerance would you have for your college senior self?

 

 Now is the time they can really help you: by giving you a username and password to your alumni database.  These provide a great source of networking.  Most have great flexibility in how you can search including by city, by field, by organization and by function. 

 

Find the people who are doing what interests you and reach out.  Most people enjoy hearing from someone with ties to their college years and everyone (1) loves talking about themselves and, (2) has been where you are. 

 

Send an email.  Ask if you can schedule a short call.  Use your elevator pitch.  Ask how they got their start.  You never know. 

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AuthorAmy Feind-Reeves

If you give out a business card to someone you think can help you, you are then doomed to waiting around for that person to contact you.  If you TAKE his or her business card, then you control the relationship and you reach out when you want with the message you want.

 

Having business cards is great if you are out of work or if you are a student, and giving them away is also fine.  Just don’t give them away with the expectation that anyone is going to use it for follow up.  For that, TAKE a business card.

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AuthorAmy Feind-Reeves

Everyone at a networking event is doing the same thing that you are:  looking for people who can help him or her.   The people who can actually help you will be mobbed, likely to be unhappy about having to be there, and anxious to get home. 

Instead, use your elevator pitch at Starbucks, neighborhood cookouts and sporting events.  I know people whose careers started in each of these destinations.  You probably do, too.  Ask other people for their stories - you might be surprised and inspired.  You'll be much more likely to be surprised and inspired that at, say, a networking event.

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AuthorAmy Feind-Reeves