Interview Etiquette

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Ace a Job Interview- How to Answer “Why Do You Want to work at This Company?”

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When preparing for a job interview, it is important to research the company, but it is also crucial to remember to answer the question “why do you want to work at our company?” Even if this is not explicitly asked during the interview process, employers want to know the answer to this question. There are a few ways to prepare how to answer this question and these tips will hopefully help you in moving forward in the interview process and landing you the job!

The most important thing to do is your research on the company, showing this knowledge in your answer is essential to demonstrating your interest in the role and company. Be specific and mention key points that are specific to that company, for example, it is important not to just give general statements like “I want to work with fantastic talent”. If you do start with a general statement like “I admire your work”, then follow it up with a specific example of a project or initiative or campaign that the company or individual has produced and explain why you found it inspiration or worth mentioning. If company culture is important to you, look into that and share specific examples and explain precisely why you like this aspect.

Another great way to show your enthusiasm about the company is to explain how you first heard of them or why you sought the company out out. This personal story is a great way to show that you were interested in the company even before you had the opportunity to apply, and allows the potential employer to see your point of view of the company and its evolution.

It is also important to think ahead and explain where you see the company going and how you can see yourself in that plan. Remember that it’s not just a one way street and all about you– it’s important to demonstrate to your future employer why they should hire you. Showcase some of your skills and give examples of how you can be of value in the role. This shows you’ve gone above and beyond just research, really displaying your ability to think about the future of the company and your role in that.

There is no perfect way to answer this question, but these tips can definitely prepare you and give you some unique ways to show your enthusiasm!

The Importance of Actually Answering the Interview Questions

my pickAnswer the question you were asked. Seems relatively straight forward, but in my experience, many candidates can’t seem to nail down this part of the interview. This skill is important to master, not doing so has the potential to hold back a perfectly qualified individual.

Very often I will ask a candidate a question, only to receive a long-winded, complicated, tangential answer which more often than not does not answer the original question. This presents an issue because a) it comes off as if you didn’t listen to the question or b) you are trying to obscure something else that might be the real answer. These are both pretty negative impressions to make on a hiring manager so you want to avoid both at all costs!

The best advice I can give you is:

Really listen to the question that is being asked of you, if you didn’t catch it the first time, it is better to ask the interviewer to repeat the question, than to guess at what they asked you and end up not actually answering the question.
Speak with intention. Be as concise as possible, at the same time as using the most meaningful and impactful language and formulations for your answers.
Be honest, but that doesn’t mean you need to share EVERYTHING, only share what will work in your favor of positioning yourself as a desirable candidate.
The last point that I made above about honesty is important. Never lie about experience or salary, but there is such a thing as being too honest. A hiring manager doesn’t need to know too many details about your personal life, they want to know why you want to work for them, and you should only share the motivations that involve your interest in their company and your career growth ambitions.

To sum up, short, sweet and to the point is the golden rule for answering the question you have been asked! Take your time to figure out what information the hiring manager is asking for, and answer honestly and eloquently. Now you can go and rock that interview!

Body Language: Secrets to Winning the Interview

Having great body language alone won’t land you your dream job, but it can certainly increase your chances of projecting a confident, smart, social and professional image which are incredibly important attributes to be remembered by. I’ve outlined 10 simple and easy tips below to keep you ahead of the game for interviewing and for life in general too!

1. Sit all the back in your seat: it shows confidence and that you are relaxed and ready, so try to avoid slouching as much as possible as it shows insecurity.

2. Instead of constant eye contact: instead, focus on your interviewers face. Eye contact is great, but it can be a little intense and uncomfortable at times so use it wisely.

3. Use hand gestures while speaking: this is a great trick if you’re really nervous and your hands are shaking.

4. Show your palms: it shows honesty and puts people at ease.

5. Plant your feet on the ground: don’t cross your legs, or ankles. Believe it or not, it is scientifically proven that we create the best thoughts with both feet on the floor… weird right?

6. Work on your walk: when your greeting your interviewer, make sure you walk directly towards them with your body pointing in their direction and with your neck elevated and shoulders pulled back; not like Naomi Campbell, but I think you get my point.

7. Don’t cross your arms: it shows disengagement and makes you look like you are closed off, and you want to always look open and inviting but not in a sexual way of course.

8. Nod your head while listening: it shows that you’re attentive, so even if you’re bored to death, it would be best to fake it.

9. Lean in: keeping your shoulders back and down, and your chest high demonstrates interest.

10. Smile: it shows that you’re friendly and approachable

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.

Shake Those First Date Jitters – Why Candidates and Clients Need to Practice Punctuality – Advice from Search Consultant, Nadine Knoblauch

We stress to candidates all the time the importance of being on time to an interview whether it be with us, the recruiter, or with the client. Sometimes the tables are turned, however, and the clients need to be reminded the importance of being on time to an interview with a potential new employee. While the client expects the candidate to be punctual and deserves that courtesy, the candidate deserves the same courtesy and if it is not shown, could ruin their experience with that particular company.

I recently had a senior candidate interviewing with a client for an important hire at the Vice President level. My client had reached out to me stressing the fact that she needed to hire someone relatively quickly and that this person would be playing a key role within the New York office. When I prepped my candidate I spoke about the company culture and touched on the importance of being Type A, organized, punctual and overall holding a ‘on top of your game’ mentality. She was happy to hear this as this is her in a nutshell.

My candidate was scheduled for a 1pm interview and planned for a 2:30pm departure back to her office (she had client meetings for the remainder of the afternoon, which my client was well aware of). At 1:10 my candidate emailed my assistant as the client still had not come to get her as planned. She patiently waited for another 10 minutes while we were unsuccessful in locating the client via phone and email. When we did get a hold of our client, she said she was running behind and had lost track of time, not seeming phased by her tardiness. They met shortly after at about 1:30, but the damage was already done. My candidate was thrown off, feeling rushed and unimpressed.

The initial interview between client and candidate is similar to a first date. Both parties need to be making a good impression on one another. Yes, the candidate is applying for a job with the client, but the client still needs to sell the position and company to the candidate. When a client wants to attract top talent they need to present like a top tier establishment. This is why timing plays such an important role. Not only was my candidate thrown off going into the interview (where tensions can already be high), but she left with a poor impression of our client and wasn’t interested in going back for a second interview. Don’t get me wrong, the same goes for candidates needing to respect the clients time. When a candidate shows up to an interview late, 99 percent of the time they are not asked to come back in for a second interview.

Being punctual is a great quality to demonstrate in your everyday life, but when interviewing its essential. Whether you are the client or the candidate, be sure to practice it.

Candidates- Why You MUST prepare for an Interview

Candidates MUST take the time to prepare for interviews. This may seem like a given, but many candidates go to interviews totally unprepared and this can ruin their chances of landing a great new role. This can even occur when the candidate is perfect for the position. Even if you are not sure that this is your dream job, you should go to the interview fully prepped so the client believes that you are very interested in the agency and the role. It is also a matter of courtesy and etiquette to go prepared to an interview as the client is taking the time to meet with you to discuss your background.

Prepping for an interview includes the following—

1). Researching and becoming familiar with the company or agency in terms of its culture, client roster, previous and current work, and vision. If you appear to know absolutely nothing about the company or agency, you will give off a vibe of indifference or disinterest and completely turn off the client.

2). Reviewing the role at hand and being able to position your experience so it seems relevant. Also thinking of unique and interesting examples of achievements and challenges to relate to the position during your discussion with the client. For example, if the position entails heavy TV production, it would be smart and strategic to discuss a high profile shoot you managed or your ability to stay calm under very tight broadcast production deadlines.

3). Researching and becoming familiar with the client. It is always very good to have commonalities or similarities with the client—did you both work at the same agency in the past? Were you also an a cappella singer during college? LinkedIn is a great place to gather information about the client. Do not act like a stalker and recite everything you have read about the client’s past but definitely use this information to your advantage and slip on some of these commonalities casually during your chat.

4). Knowing your resume inside and out. You should not have to hold a copy of your resume and refer to it during an interview. Own and be confident about your experience, even if there are breaks in your resume or things that you regret—be able to discuss them openly and position them in a positive light. Prepping is a way to not be caught off guard if and when the client asks you a difficult question.

5). Using your recruiter during your prep. Ask your recruiter questions  in order to avoid asking ignorant ones during the actual interview. Your recruiter can provide a lot of insight into the company/agency and role. Your recruiter can often give you a step up before the interview by providing information about the client’s personality or interview style, for example.

6). Choosing the right outfit to make the best first impression. This pertains to our clients especially as most of our roles are fashion related. Wearing a corporate suit to a trendy and hip agency interview will not look good to the client. It is important to look the part so ask your recruiter or do your own research on the company aesthetic and vibe so you show up looking like you will fit in really well. Of course your outfit is only one part of your overall package, but it is an essential part of making a great impression.

As you can see, being prepared for an interview is extremely important. Even the best candidates often make the mistake of being overly confident and doing no prep beforehand, and the client can usually see right through this. Bottom line—prepping vastly increases your chances of making a great impression during interviews and ultimately getting a job offer.

Interview Scheduling Etiquette for Candidates

Throughout the interview process (which often entails multiple rounds) there is a lot of back and forth between recruiter and candidate in order to schedule candidate interviews with the client. There are often cancellations on both the client and candidate end and the hope is they are not last minute (ill save that for another blog!!). Here is an example of improper interview scheduling etiquette on the part of a candidate.

One of our clients provided availability to offer up to the candidate for a third round interview. During this particular interview, the candidate was supposed to meet the President of the agency. It should be a given that senior members of the agency have quite limited avails and their time is very valuable and should be treated as such— especially by a prospective employee. The client offered these avails and the candidate took days to reply. The President had been holding this time slot for him and was informed last minute that he could free it up because the candidate could not commit.

This really looks bad on the part of the candidate. It comes across as flighty and disrespectful and sends a signal of disinterest and lack of commitment or care. Even if the candidate is very busy during the day with his or her current job obligations, replying to emails regarding client interviews is extremely important and should be made somewhat of a priorty as it affects other people’s schedules and can also affect impressions in a major way.

If a candidate has chosen to explore an opportunity, timely replies regarding scheduling interviews for new opportunities is expected.