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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.

Employee Spotlight – Meet Rachel

As we Spring into warmer weather, we shed our employee spotlight on Rachel Wenig, one of the newest additions to our team. Rachel works out of our New York office assisting, researching, and getting a feel for recruiting. She comes to us from the Media industry, which gives her a unique perspective. Take a look below and see how she answered some questions about herself and her experience thus far at The Melanie Andersen Agency.

Describe your role here at TMAA?

My role at TMAA right now is a mix between assisting and scheduling for Nadine and doing research for our PR and marketing roles. In addition, I’m in the process of training to become a recruiter! I sit in on a lot of interviews and am constantly learning from working closely with Nadine.

How did you get the job here?

Nina, one of the junior recruiters at TMAA, is one of my good friends from college. When I realized I was ready to make a career change a few months back I asked if she could help me in any way since I knew she was working at a recruiting agency. I originally came here to interview for a completely separate role that TMAA had been working on, but by the time I left the interview, I had been headhunted for TMAA!

Where were you working before you came to TMAA?

At the media buying and planning agency, Carat.

Why did you decide to make the move from the media industry to recruiting?

I didn’t feel that my skills and personality were best utilized in the media environment; in other words I’m much better with humans than I am with numbers.

What do you find most interesting about interviewing candidates

I love learning about the trajectory of people’s careers and how they ended up where they are from where they started. Everyone has a different story and I think it’s interesting to learn the motives for pursuing each career choice.

What do you like most about the job?

I really love working with the people here at TMAA. We do a lot of hard work but everyone has a great attitude and there’s always this fun, playful energy in the office. I think a positive environment is one of the most important things for inspiring success, and TMAA really embodies that.

What is your favorite thing about living in NYC?

Being near all of my friends and family is a definitely a luxury I’m enjoying by living here but the city itself is very special too. I love how almost every area feels like a completely different city.

Where did you live prior to NYC?

New Orleans.

What do you miss the most about New Orleans?

Everything. It’s the most unique, amazing place in the world. If I had to narrow it down though I’d say the live music or the fact that you can drink legally outside!

Three words that describe you best?

Determined, personable and Fun.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I interned at Ebony magazine in high school.

What is your ideal social activity?

Happy hour on a rooftop with my friends on a deliciously warm day.

What are you looking forward to the most this summer?

Going to Rothbury, Michigan for a music festival!

Employee Spotlight – Meet Lucy

Happy New Year! Kicking off our Employee Spotlights for the New Year is our Senior Search Consultant, Lucy Flannery. Lucy works in our New York office and specializes in all roles within the retail industry. She brings extensive experience and knowledge of the retail industry to TMAA and has greatly expanded this side of the business since joining the agency. Lucy has settled nicely into the NYC lifestyle and has given the New York office a little bit of West Coast flavor. Want to get to know Lucy a little better? See how she answered the questions we asked her about herself and working at The Melanie Andersen Agency.

How did you get your job at TMAA?

I was actually a candidate of Melanie’s and she reached out to me for a role. I met with her when she was in LA and then again in New York. We got to talking and it seemed like it was a perfect match. What really drew me to Melanie and the agency as opposed to other recruitment firms are her business practices and the approach she takes to recruiting. I have so much respect for the way she does business and then relationships she forms with her clients and candidates and I just really wanted to be a part of that.

Where were you working before you came to TMAA?

I was living in Los Angeles working as a Regional Manager for lululemon.

Why did you decide to make the transition from the retail industry into recruiting?

I felt like I had mastered what I was doing in the retail industry and I had kind of maxed myself out when it came to that career path. I really wanted to make a change and be able to take all of the skills I had amassed and reallocate them into a career that helps other people find the perfect match. I learned so much from being in retail and acquired so many skills, I wanted to be able to turn it around and share those with people who are looking for their dream jobs and carving their own career paths.

What is the most important skill you brought from your retail experience to recruiting?

I really think my knowledge of the industry has been the most important thing. Having the experience and the knowledge I do really streamlines the process for clients and candidates. When it comes to the search process it is very efficient because I know what to look for and I am really able to understand what the client wants for any given role. I also think my assessment skills and ability to interview have really made the transition in recruiting easier because I have done it for so many years and I have really learned how to ask the right questions and assess when someone is right for a particular role.

What is the biggest surprise about the job since joining TMAA?

Having been on the other end and working with recruiters I never realized the amount of true dedication and work it takes to actually place a candidate in a role. There is a lot of work that goes into each job we work on and before I got into recruiting I honestly thought it was a much easier process.

What is the best part of your job?

I really feel like I have the opportunity to change people’s lives. When candidates meet with you it’s usually because they aren’t happy in their current job or they are just intrigued by seeing what else is out there. When you are able to help them find a new job you are helping them accomplish not only professional success but personal success as well. You are also changing the companies as well by finding them someone who really cares about the success of the company. It’s a very personal industry, and making that connection with the client/company and the candidates is incredibly fulfilling because you are making a positive difference on both sides.

What is the best piece of advice you can give candidates?

I have seen this happen a lot and often advise candidates about this. Don’t make leaving your last company the reason why you don’t get the new job. When you are in an interview, don’t spend all of your time explaining and justifying why you left or want to leave your current job and speaking negatively of the company. Everyone has their reasons for leaving whether they are good or bad. Don’t belabor it and over-explain it. When they ask, own your answer, be clear and then move on. Be confident in your decisions and then go forward.

It’s like going on a first date and spending the whole night talking about an ex-boyfriend you had a really bad experience with it. You probably won’t get a second date and if you do the same in an interview, you likely won’t be asked back or offered the job.

What is the biggest difference for you between living in LA and NYC?

Aside from the weather, obviously, surprisingly, I have found that people are earlier risers on the West Coast but are also early to finish the day. On the East Coast, people are later to rise, but are out much later. No one is down for yoga at 6 am but I can’t even get into an 8 pm yoga class!

What is your favorite thing about living in NYC?

I feel like I’m home because I grew up here. I have and always will love accessibility. I can have anything I want, whenever I want and how I want it. It’s New York!

Three words that describe you best?

Honest/direct, fitness-forward and balanced

What is your go to Happy Hour drink?

Vodka Martini (Ketel One), and not too dirty!

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

Professional and personal success. I really just want to be happy and live a good life. I have spent so much time trying to achieve certain things and getting to new levels but now I just want to enjoy life and spend time with family and friends. Of course I still want to have professional success but I view things differently now.

Employee Spotlight – Meet Ashley

To kick off November, our first Employee Spotlight is Ashley Thompson. Ashley is one of our LA girls who works closely with our Senior Creative Consultant identifying candidates for all creative roles and co-managing our social media presence. She is currently working in the New York office for the Fall bringing all of us a little West Coast sunshine and learning the ways of New York City. Want to get to know Ashley a little better? See how she answered the questions we asked her about herself and working at The Melanie Andersen Agency.

How did you get your job at TMAA?

LinkedIn! I found the job posting when I was looking for opportunities and blindly sent my resume  through the website.

What attracted you about the job?

I watched the video on the website and thought that TMAA looked like a great group of empowering women to work with.

Who is the funniest person in the office?

Casey for sure! She always has a quick comeback and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

What has been the funniest moment since starting work at TMAA?

TMAA karaoke night! Watching Nadine and Jodi on stage together is kind of like watching The Voice. (and by that I mean sometimes the song gets interrupted by one of Nadine’s monologues ending with “I can’t even” and her asking when it was her turn to sing again every 5 minutes.)

What is the best part about your job?

Getting to learn about different industries and our candidates’ career paths.

What is the best part about living in LA?

Living 10 minutes from the beach, the weather, palm trees, what’s not to love?!

What is the best thing about getting to work in New York for a couple months?

Spending time with everyone and getting to explore the city.

What’s on your iPod right now?

Lorde, Avicii, Bastille, Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, Beyonce, Disclosure, Haim, CHVRCHES, The Weekend, Jason Aldean and Grouplove.

Three words that describe you best?

Athletic, easygoing, traveler

What is your go to Happy Hour drink?


What’s your relationship status?

Single and ready to mingle 🙂


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