Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Interviewing Basics from Ivanka Trump

Lately, I’ve been reading The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life by Ivanka Trump. It’s half memoir, half self-improvement book. I like it because she explains many situations that we, the regular folks, can understand and learn from. Even though her last name is Trump, I like how she doesn’t utilize that to go through life easily.

As we go through this “economic slump” wondering when we will be able to go on our dream interview, receive that dream job, and live our dream life, Ivanka provides us with practical skills from the employee AND the employer side of job seeking. Check out Ivanka’s Interviewing Basics.

Ivanka’s Interviewing Basics:

-When going into an interview, ask yourself “Am I a person this company wants to represent it in a boardroom or in interactions with clients? Will other employees look forward to meeting me in an elevator or by a water cooler? Will I be a constant drag on others’ time, energy, and patience?”

-Remember, the person across the table is sizing you up and measuring all those intangibles, so you’d do well to bring the very best aspects of your personality into the room.

Tip #1: Don’t be late. When leaving give yourself a cushion. It’s better to be an hour early than 10 minutes early. Arriving early sends a powerful signal that you’re organized and grateful for the opportunity, traits every employer seeks in a young hire.

Tip #2: Keep your resume handy. It’s not enough to have it in your bag or tucked away in a folder. Place it in a separate envelope beforehand that way you’ll be able to produce the document in a smooth, confident manner. Make sure it’s a crisp, clean, professional-looking copy that nicely supports the positive impression you hoped to make.

Tip #3: Cover your shortcomings. Some people are natural interviewees, while others are overwhelmed and intimidated. For those that fall into the latter category, find some ways to bolster confidence before the interview. A good way to do this is to stage a mock interview with friends and/ or family. <-- Great tip. This will help to alleviate any preliminary stress and they’ll tell you what you’re doing right or wrong.

Tip #4: Dress the part. What you wear will have “first impression” written all over it, so choose wisely and sell the image you want. Like it or not, your physical appearance will say an awful lot about you—and you don’t want it to say anything awful.

Tip #5: Turn your nose “off.” Smell is subjective, and you don’t want your perfume or cologne to overwhelm the person across the table. Avoid it!

Tip #6: Do your homework. Learn everything you can about the company before you sit down for your interview. Know its history, mission, and competitors, as well as the names of its CEO and top executives. Be able to recognize the company’s top products, services, and accomplishments, as well as its disappointments and missteps. Learn how the company is structures, so you can talk knowledgeably about where you might fit into the corporate structure.

Tip #7: Have your answers ready. There are several questions that are asked in the majority of interviews. By preparing for these questions in advance, you will be able to provide the answers that best reflect you, rather than grabbing at the first thing that pops into your mind.
Some questions include:
  • What skills can you bring to this organization?

  • What inspires you about this field/ organization?

  • What are your short-term and long-term aspirations?

  • Can you give an example of a time when you assumed a leadership role?

*Side note: I think it is a good idea to have your answers to these questions memorized since they are some of the TOP questions asked at interviews. However, I caution that when you are prepared to answer them to not sound robotic or arrogant about it.

Tip #8: Have your questions ready, too. Just before the end of your meeting, you’ll be asked if you have any questions about the job or the company. Count on this. Be armed with at least one thoughtful question going into each interview, even if he or she already knows the answer. Avoid asking questions relating to the company’s retirement plan, vacation policy, or dress code. Save those for when you get the job.

Tip #9: Make a good final impression. If you ace your interview and you’re offered the job on the spot, don’t feel pressured to give an answer right away. Some people worry that saying that they need time to consider an offer will signal a lack of conviction. IF you just want some tiem to think about it, just say so. But never give the impression that you don’t make your own decisions by telling an employer you have to ask someone else about your opportunity…even if that IS the case.

Tip #10 (SOA’s tip): The follow-up. Ivanka neglected to tell us a tip once the interview is over. So I will! You’ve gone through the interview, you feel like you exceeded their expectations and now you’re waiting for the yay or nay. Once the interview is over, ensure that the hiring manager knows how appreciative you are for the opportunity and don’t forget the receptionist. Just showing kindness to other employees helps them to remember you as a potential co-worker. Once you get home, be sure to email the hiring manager a Thank You. Follow that up with a handwritten Thank You note sent out the next day. I like to think that you can’t be too thankful.

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