Hot Topic Interview Questions To Land Your Dream Job

DSC_0714We all want to be remembered and leave a legacy behind, right? Well, good news… you can start practicing by preparing a set of questions to ask at the end of an interview. I’m not saying you need recite a song or preform a dance routine, as this is real life and not a pageant after all. However, you’ll soon realize that preparing to ask questions at the end of an interview can be as important as preparing to answer questions themselves. It gives you a powerful competitive advantage against other candidates and at the same time a chance at being the memorable star we all know you are.

Sad but true, you have got to always keep in mind that people conducting interviews are constantly meeting with tons of other candidates on top of their daily workload. I hope you find this set of questions below helpful while you prep for an interview and hopefully they will help set you apart from the rest of the bunch!

1) What does success look like for you in this position?

2) What is your company culture like?

3) What have you enjoyed most about working here? – this is where you can show them that you stalked them on LinkedIn and did your research!

4) What does a typical day look like for this role?

5) Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?

6) What are additional important skills I will need to do this job well?

7) Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?- this question is for the bold and the brave, it’s very honest.

8) What’s the most important thing you expect this person to accomplish in the first 60 days?

9) Who previously held this position or is this a newly created role?

10) What are the next steps in this process?

Interviewing With Potential Employers: Recognizing That It’s A Two Way Street

rachel_188x300So you’re getting ready to go on your first interview for that new job you’re dying to get, and you’re nervous because you want to impress these potential employers. What’s the best way to respond to their questions? How can I make them think I’m the best fit? Will my experience be enough? Stop right where you are! One of the most important things to remember when prepping for an interview, is that YOU are interviewing this new company and its employees just as much as they are interviewing you.

First realize that you made it to the interview- you got through the toughest part, and you’re in the door. This means that they’re interested in you, your experience, and are taking the time out of their day to hear about it. They WANT to listen to you. They’re curious about you. Just like dating however, it’s a two way street. You have power here, and you should be comfortable with that. This doesn’t mean you should go into the interview with an arrogant attitude, grilling the interviewer about her career trajectory, but it does mean you should inquire about his or her favorite things about the company, projects they’ve worked on and anything else you’re genuinely curious about. This could potentially be your life in the near future, and you want to know what you’re getting involved in. Truly observe the atmosphere, ask the types of questions that reveal the type of work they do, and try to gauge their general happiness at the company. Don’t be so nervous; YOU’RE the one with the talent, and you should remember that throughout the entire time.

Every potential employer wants an engaging interviewee, and the more curious you seem, the more intriguing you’ll come off, and like someone who really does have something to offer.

The Ultimate Thank You – Why Following Up Is Important

rachel_188x300Every step of the hiring process can make a difference, which is why we always encourage our candidates to be as professional as possible with all types of communication with potential employers from day one. From the minute you meet them to the second you leave, you are making an impression; and your electronic communication is just as important. More often overlooked, one of the most important steps of the interview process is the thank you note.

After you meet with potential employers, you should always send them an email thanking them for their time. A great thank you note reiterates why you are interested in the role and why you, and your specific experience, are right for it. It can also be used as a tool to highlight things you forgot to mention in the actual interview. In addition, the thank you note can be a great platform to follow up on certain things you discussed during the interview that did not have to do with the job, but rather personal anecdotes or topics you broached. I encourage you to follow up with those topics, and maybe include more information or helpful links to something they said they were interested in – it’s a great way to add a personal touch to an oftentimes informal letter.

Reminding the people you met with about your strengths and why you’re the best fit for a position will refresh their memory of you, make your name stand out next to other thank you notes, and show how much you really care about the position (something all employers want to see). No matter how many times you meet, you should always follow up with a thank you and restate your interest in the position – this can make a huge difference once you’ve made it past round one. Don’t get lazy! Make sure to follow up with each person you met with (ask for business cards after the meeting) and remind them that this opportunity is at the forefront of your mind, and is your top choice.

Even if they don’t respond, employers always appreciate a thank you note (most expect it) and will likely take the time to respond if you put some thought into it. Don’t underestimate its power, the way you say “thank you” can make a huge difference!

Is it right to ask for the salary on first interview?

DSC_0714Would you ask someone how much they were earning while on a 1st date? No. This concept should apply to your professional life as well (EXCEPT if you are meeting with a recruiter, it might be appreciated depending on the case). Everyone has the right to know how much the position they are seeking is offering, especially after investing so much time to meet the potential employer, but there is a time and place for everything. Asking how much the job you are interviewing for pays on the first interview is kind of tacky, like in a bedazzled multicolored floral vest from the 80’s kind of way…stay away from it! There are set budget ranges that companies work with and it is your job to prove yourself to be part of that top shelf tier. Instead of focusing on an offer that has not yet been extended to you, concentrate on selling yourself to get to that stage so you can leverage your abilities for the position at hand. Worry about asking specific questions about the company that you can use to highlight a strength that isn’t listed in your resume or that you haven’t talked about yet. The time will come when salary will be brought up (I promise), just don’t look like you’re thirsty for money- it isn’t a good look on anyone no matter how cute you are #stayclassy.

Selling Yourself Through the Details

theaInterviews can be a nerve-wracking event. There is a piece of paper on the table summarizing your career and everything you’ve essentially accomplished is up for dissection and scrutiny, and by a stranger, no less. We get it. After all, we scrutinize daily. And we also know that through this weeding process of interviews, often times, those who interview the best, might not even be the very best talent for the job at the end of the day. It simply means that their social and communication skills (matched up with their experience of course) are top notch.

What does this mean? If you are someone who is a rockstar talent in your respective field, but are a little shy or not sure how much detail to provide in an interview, I am here to tell you: Provide detail. This does not mean throwing your self awareness out of the window and talking about where you grew up and childhood dog’s name. This means taking the time to provide context to the answer you are providing and by giving as many examples as possible.

For instance, one word answers of “yes” or “no” should rarely be all that is said. The interviewer is trying to get a feel for how you approach your work, a better understanding of your work ethic and a sense of the value you’ve played in prior positions. If you notice questions all appearing to hone in on one particular area or similar topic, take a step back, breathe deep, and think about the larger picture. Then, detail the scope to answer the question appropriately. And when in doubt, ask a question back! There is nothing more interesting than having an actual dialogue across the table going. Afterall, the details will naturally unravel in this case and you’ll have accomplished a successful interview of selling yourself without even trying.

Be Honest About What You Make

2014-07-22 04.08.37Salary can be an extremely touchy subject for most, but it is essential that you be upfront with both your recruiter and potential employer about your current salary from the get-go. Everyone is looking for an increase when switching jobs, but remember to be realistic about this increase- looking at it from the employers point of view- an increase upon what you make now. Not being honest about your current salary in the hopes of getting a large increase will put you at a disadvantage, as it often means you are out-pricing yourself in the marketplace. As recruiters, we are very familiar with salary ranges and what specific companies pay their staff (below or above market rate for example). Therefore, it is very easy for us to identify numbers that seems too high or even too low. You put yourself at risk of losing credibility with us long term, which can lead to losing out on the opportunity now as well as in the future.

To all the junior candidates out there- please be honest! I know that with a year and a half of experience you are definitely not making the same as someone with three to four years of experience.

To all of those who feel they are being underpaid- be proactive! It is not your next employer’s job to compensate you for what your previous employer was not giving you. If you feel you are being underpaid, I urge you to be proactive and look for a new role, as each new salary builds upon the previous one and it is your own responsibility to seek out each incremental increase based on your past experience.

The truth always comes out in the end, as a lot of employers will ask for W2’s or recent pay slips as proof of salary at offer stage. Be realistic and upfront about your expectations and remember that your Recruiter is there to help and guide you through the process.

Dressing The Part by Younes

DSC_0714As they say, first impressions are the lasting ones (usually) and it all begins with how and what you wear to your interviews. Although it’s not always good to judge a book by its cover (we’re all guilty of it), the way you present yourself typically reflects on who you are as person. Your first step would be to do your research on the company culture- you wouldn’t want to wear a full suit + tie to Google but at the same time open toed shoes and a spaghetti strapped top wouldn’t be appropriate either. Be reasonable in your approach and remember that over dressing sometimes can be as bad as undressing. I would recommend making sure your clothes are well ironed, avoid loud prints/patterns and colors since they tend to be distracting (stick to solid colors). Showing too much skin is a bad idea too- you want them to get to know YOU, not your body parts! Keep your outfit simple and clean, make sure your hair is kept and that your nails are in decent shape (you’d be surprised by how much people forget how important proper hygiene is). Get noticed for your talents and remember that you’re going on an interview, not the club, so girls, that means don’t overdo it on the makeup and accessories either! Attire for creatives tends to typically be on the casual side, and therefore it is an excellent opportunity to showcase your individuality. Don’t go too crazy and clean yourself up! What you wear can easily get you major points before the interview even starts, so take fully advantage!


Quick Resume Tips by Nina

Nina8581With the new year often comes the itch for a new job. A daunting part of starting a job search is updating your resume. A well-organized and concise resume is essential to landing your dream job. Here are some tips for creating an awesome resume:

  • 1 page ONLY!– I know that it can be difficult to widdle down all employment history, skills and education information into one page, but it can and should be done. Include only necessary information that an employer can reference quickly and easily. Make sure to list all clients, accounts or brands you have worked on.
  • Make sure to include graduation dates– It is essential to include graduation date, as many employers will assume you did not graduate if you omit it. Often times I see candidates leaving this out to appear older or younger, but let’s face it- leaving out your graduation year will not change your age or years of experience. Leave it on there and be transparent.
  • Objectives or Goals are out– This is very old school… no need to include this in your resume. It takes up space and doesn’t showcase any skills or actual experience. You can discuss these points in an interview or cover letter, as it will be much more effective and better received.
  • Trying to sound original, might not sound so original– Yea, everyone loves cats and Beyoncé and avocados these days, so injecting these “quirky” or “witty” facts about yourselves is overdone. Random facts are great, but make sure they are interesting and not cliché trends.

Hopefully these tips will help you to revise your resume and help you get in the door!


Introducing Annie

imagWhere is your home town?

Cincinnati, OH

How did you first learn about TMAA?

I’ve been friends with Nina (the Associate Creative Consultant here) for almost 6 years. When she knew that I was trying to make a career change into a more creative role, she referred me as she knew I had a background in art and would be a perfect protégé for her.

What are 3 words to describe TMAA?

Hardworking, good-looking, wild

What is your role at TMAA? 

I’m a Research Associate on the Creative and Advertising Teams and I assist to help identify the best creative talent in the industry.

Before working at TMAA what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

Before TMAA, I was an Assistant Buyer at Centry21. However, the most unusual job I has was right out of college when I spent couple of months working for a furniture designer. I helped create high end lighting fixtures – so if anyone needs a handcrafted chandelier, I’m your girl.

If you could interview one person (dead or alive) who would it be?

Harry Styles so that I could steal a kiss.

If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?


Do you have a favorite quote?

“I’m not about the drama, don’t start none, won’t be none” – Kandi Burruss The Real Housewives of Atlanta

If given a chance, who would you like to be for a day?

Anthony Bourdain

What is your biggest pet peeve? When people eat soup on the subway

If you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?

At this moment, Modelo

People would be surprised if they knew:

that I have three twitter accounts: my personal account, a fake Chris Christie account, and an account to live-tweet episodes of Real Housewives

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?

Mitch Kramer, the little brother from Dazed and Confused (see below picture)

If you were to write a self-help book, what would the topic be?

How To Turn Every Physical and Mental Feeling Into a Life Threatening Medical Condition: The Official Hypochondriac Guidebook

Least favorite Food?

Fennel…but I’ll still eat it

Which cartoon character would you most like to switch lives with?

Reggie Rocket from Rocket Power because she’s cool/talented and lives in a warm climate

Best vacation you’ve been to?

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for college senior spring break (that I attended with two other current TMAA employees, Nina and Rachel)

New Year, New Job

It’s officially 2015, happy New Year!Nadine-final-191x300

Another year has wrapped and everyone is feeling the pressure of making new year’s resolutions, both small and large. Some will stick with them, though most will likely not see them through January. I am guilty of this as well. While I reflect on the past year, I am content and happy with most things in my life. Of course, I can always improve upon certain things and evolve. That said, one thing I am happy with is my job. I genuinely love the work that I do and returning to work this week doesn’t feel like a chore (I have felt this way with past jobs and it really is painful).  As a recruiter, I know firsthand just how important it is to love to your job. After all, I meet with people each week who are seeking something new. The motivating factors range anywhere from not feeling challenged to being miserable as a result of company culture. Whenever I meet with these candidates, I always stress the importance of not making a quick decision in order to escape their current role, as this could result in an even worse scenario. I also let them know that its important they do their homework, ask all the right questions, and really go with their gut when interviewing. That said, I also part with them my theory of “you should never stay in a job that you don’t love, as this is where you spend most of your time in life”. While a bit depressing, it is the truth. We as humans spend the majority of our days at work, so why spend another day at a job that makes you unhappy, unmotivated, irritable, or stagnant. Which brings me to my point: new year, new job! If you’re unhappy in your current position, make a change. What better time than the new year? Companies budgets are renewed and employers are ready to make new hires!

Finding a new job can feel like a full-time job, which is why working with a recruiter can be so beneficial.  At The Melanie Andersen Agency, we truly take a specialized approach and are here for our candidates throughout each step of the process. Not only do our assistants schedule every interaction between client and candidate but our recruiters offer a hands on approach throughout each step of the process. This includes prepping before each interview and giving you thorough insight into the company, culture and those you will meet with. We also catch up with our candidates after every meeting and offer feedback that candidates likely wouldn’t get directly from the client should they be interviewing on their own.

As an agency, we are also here to act as a sounding board and to make sure that you make the right decision. We can offer our advice and insight  throughout the process, to ensure the candidate feels they have someone to discuss the opportunity with at length. Often times, candidates can rush into an opportunity and we make sure that it’s a concrete fit for both parties. In addition, given our close and consistent relationships with our clients, we have a really strong understanding of what type of candidate would be successful within each company. As an agency, we also meet with each candidate in-person before we will ever submit them to any of our clients. When we meet with each candidate individually, we are able to get to know them on a personal and professional basis. We ask the right questions and get a clear understanding of the type of company, culture and role that would be of interest and relevancy to each particular candidate. This process has allowed us to offer a service that really sets all parties up for success.

Unhappy in your current role? Why not be proactive and reach out to our relevant recruiter this month. This will get the ball rolling and put you one step closer to finding your dream job!