In the job hunting market? Interview preparation is key. A couple of months ago I already gave you great resume tips in an article I wrote. Please refer to that article before you go on with this one!
You may have the right skillset and the degree, but if you can’t reflect all that on your resume, and during the interview process, it will be almost impossible to land a good job!
I know that for most of us job interviews can be a stressful and a traumatic experience. When I was in the job market, I often asked myself why in the world do I need to sell myself further if it’s all on my resume? I would walk into every interview with negative beliefs attached and for a long time I was not successful. Because the truth is that the people who land the best roles are not the smartest ones or the ones with the best track record. The best roles go to the ones who know how to sell themselves! Not fair right? But it’s the rule of the game.
So do you want to be right or do you want to land the job of your dreams and maximize your salary potential?
Today I’m going to teach you basic interview rules and tactics that will land you the role of your dreams!
Two can play that game!
○ In a world where we are becoming more and more casual, please do not apply this “modern trend mentality” to your job search wardrobe! You should always wear proper attire to an interview.
■ The Men- A Black or a navy Blue suit with a white button shirt is classic and you can never go wrong with that. You should always aim to wear a red tie. Red ties represent power. Wear black or brown shoes and stay away from flashy colors. And definitely invest in a padfolio /notepad. Make sure you look clean and polished with a fresh shave and haircut, if your culture and beliefs allow, of course. And if you wear cologne, make sure you don’t overdo it.
■ The Women- we can get away with so much more but try to stay within the black and dark blue color family. Women can wear a conservative dress that covers the knees. If you opt for a sleeveless style, please make sure you wear a cardigan or a blazer. I also love a pencil skirt with a classic button down shirt. No cleavage! And stay away from tight clothes. For shoes, make sure they are comfortable and keep them in the dark blue/black family. You should invest in a nice padfolio/notepad that you can fit into your handbag. Your hair should be washed and styled neatly. I also love a low bun. I personally think it looks very professional.(and before I get accused of cultural appropriation and/or discrimination, style your hair according to your cultural and religious beliefs. Just make sure it looks neat). You can wear perfume but stay away from strong scents!
● For help with the visual, watch a few episodes of SUITS. I find myself rewatching that series just to check out the outfits! And guys I understand if we are job hunting we are probably not exactly swimming in money. So I’ll give you a few places you can check out that won’t break the bank. Check out H&M, Zara, and Amazon. If your budget allows, Ann Taylor and Brooks Brothers are two of my favorites.
Before the interview
Before your interview, review the most common interview questions, plan your responses, and research the company so you can walk into that room prepared.
research the company you are applying to. Do they only have one or various branches? Research the interviewer. Read their bio. Write down notes. Research how much the salary range for this role is. Glassdoor is a good source for researching companies and salaries. This will be useful in negotiating your salary later on.
The day of the interview, try to eat a light meal or snack and relax. Make sure you arrive 10-15 minutes early to your interview.
Walk into your interview with confidence and when you shake the interviewer’s hands, make sure it’s a tight grip and keep eye contact. And don’t forget to smile! When you sit down, take out your professional portfolio and ask the interviewer if they need a copy of your resume. (Always keep several copies of your resume inside your portfolio).
- Ask as many questions about the expectation for the role and the company.
- Mention key points you learned about the company and also the interviewers BIO.
Please note the following usual questions an interviewer may ask:
Tell me about yourself
This question gives you the chance to make a great first impression and bring out your personality. Be prepared to describe yourself in a few sentences. You can mention things like:
- A short summary of your academic and career background
- How your most recent job is relatable to the role you’re interviewing for
- Your best traits
- A personal hobby or attribute (can be a sport you practice, or museums you visit, book clubs)
What the interviewer is looking for is a response that leans on your experience and education but you have to tie that in with a sprinkle of your personal life. Please keep your introduction at 2-3 minutes.
Why do you think you’re a good fit for this role
Make sure you use key words and attributes that are related to the job posting. Relate your professional background and your personal strengths to this role. “I understand the role is demanding. Working at the stock exchange taught me a special set of skills that have given me the ability to work well under pressure and to be able to multitask” Why did you leave your last job or why do you want to leave your current position.
When asked about leaving your previous job, be very careful. Under no circumstance should you bad mouth your previous employer! Even if you left a job under poor circumstances, keep your response short and professional.
Here are some suggestions:
- I’m fast paced and am always looking for roles challenge and motivate me.
- I outgrew my role and I’ve decided to go down a different career path.
- I’m ready to take on a new challenge with an innovative company.
- I’ve always wanted to work for this company because (fill in the blank)
What are your strengths?
Here you can be honest. You can say things like I can multitask. I know how to prioritize. I can work with little to no supervision. I’m a team player and am always willing to share my knowledge with my team. I work well under pressure and I am thick skinned.
You can be honest but be careful. I used to say “I can be a little meticulous and obsessed with perfect grammar . For example, it would take me a long time to generate emails because they needed to be perfect. So I started saving templates and that made my work a lot more efficient” other times I would throw in a little humor. “My absolute pet peeve is when I print stuff and by the time I make my way to the printer, someone else has grabbed my stuff”. This is so relatable and usually the interviewer would start laughing.
Your greatest achievement is your opportunity to stand out and show why you are the best candidate and how you are going to be a great asset and it should be something specific, like “ Primary broker has steadily increased revenue by 25% over the past five years” “Revived over 40 dormant accounts by contacting clients and piquing their interest in new services and acquired additional assets held at other firms”. Your achievement should also be tied in to the role’s objectives that you are applying for.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years
Well, right now I would take my time to learn your systems and everything about the role. That would be my focus.
How do you keep yourself organized?
With this question I would usually take the interviewer through my daily process “I have a routine where I check emails first thing in the morning. I keep a pending folder and a to do folder. Pending is stuff that I have already worked on and I’m waiting to hear back from the customer or back office. The To do folder is for the stuff I have to do. I use outlook to schedule meetings and for deadlines and reminders”.
Do you have any questions for me?
This is where you start asking questions based on the research you’ve done on the company and the interviewer. But before you ask questions make sure you stroke their ego and connect with them, praise the company and highlight key points about the role. “While researching the company I noticed that you went to Georgetown. My brother just graduated last year. Great school”.
- How would you describe the culture of this company?
- Why do you love working here?
- What are some of the challenges you expect the person in this position to face?” ● Whose role am I replacing and why?
- What is the typical turnover for this role?
- Can you describe a typical day or week in this role?”
- What would you say is the most important part of my role, and why?
No matter what happens, do not give them a number before they reveal the salary range. Statistics show that most people sell themselves short during salary negotiations.
Stay tuned for an upcoming article about salary negotiations.
That’s all for today.
Good luck hunting!
Remember your success is my success!
Rocio Solaire Roca
“From Wall Street To Mount Vernon”