You know how champion athletes train extensively to
prepare for a competition? Well,
that’s sorta how I prep for an interview.
try to get in my “flow”.
Why do I think I’m qualified to provide you with
interview pointers? Here’s some background:
I’ve been working since I was 15 ½ (Gold’s Gym was my
first gig), and I’ve experienced answering controversial questions confidently
with a big smile wearing a bikini and five-inch pumps on stage with girls who
are prettier, taller more “dazzling” than me, et cetera…and I’ve scored better
than they did in interviews. I landed my internship with a cold call. Between
my part-time jobs, volunteer jobs, and full-time work, I’ve probably been
interviewed and sized up by at least 25 hiring managers (and actual judges).
can honestly say I’m comfortable during interviews.
While the interview isn’t my weak spot, I’m aware I’ll
be speaking with big-boys (and big-girls) in first-rate companies. These
companies are not “Mickey-Mouse” organizations; they demand a certain level of
professionalism and respect. If the person you’re interviewing with also
screens executive candidates, then they’re probably pretty good at judging
character. So, don’t B.S. them. A hiring manager isn’t going to be forgiving if
I’m less than par because I said “sorry” in a sweet voice. These are
professionals with a job to do and my job is to make their job easier by being
prepared, honest and cooperative (unless I don’t want the job).
I bring it.
If you’re a true pro, you understand what’s expected.
At the bare minimum, you must do your homework.
no such thing as being too prepared – only unprepared.
Besides, I owe it to myself to behave like a high-level
professional and not like a rookie because that’s who I am. Also, recruiters
and managers are less forgiving about my small mistakes because I have years of
experience and they expect me to know better. And, they’re right! Step up
or get off the plate!
What’s your homework? An understanding of the
organization, its history, values and culture. And, more importantly, an
understanding of the job you’re being considered for. You might think this is
inconsequential because you’ll be learning about the company from the
recruiter, but trust me, they notice and they appreciate someone who takes
initiative. Not only that, but jumping into an organization without
understanding what the culture is like is just plain silly.
your values don’t align with the people you work with, you’ll never advance in
the long run at that place.
I do my research on the person with whom I’m
interviewing as well as the company itself. I also have a checklist that I
complete before the actual interview. Within this checklist is a rating system
to gauge how much I truly want the job with the company.
is a two-way street afterall, and I’m interviewing companies just as much as
they’re interviewing me.
I have tons of experience and a lot of talent to offer,
and I’m not willing to settle for a something that is not a good fit. Also,
there’s no way I can single-handedly change the culture of an organization to
suit my style no matter how much passion or tenacity or drive I possess.
know my weaknesses.
Knowing that a good fit is vital to my career
trajectory in the long-run, I have to first understand what I want from an
employer then be honest about whether they are willing to and have the ability
to provide these things for me.
in mind: this is a negotiation.
If I accept the job, I’m making a commitment to do my
absolute best to provide the company with as much value as I can in the manner
by which I’m able and within the context of my formal role. By accepting a job
obligated to do what’s expected.
Not the very minimum. Not what I can get away
with. I’m in it all the way. It’s a big deal and a formal commitment. And,
because I take what they asked of me seriously, I expect their investment in me
as well. I call this, “healthy relationship”. This reminds me of what my friend
tells his three-year old when she doesn’t want to do something she’s supposed
wanna be a big girl? Then, act like a big girl.”
Mind you, I’m not always a big girl. Sometimes I get
lazy. Other times I’m tired, or immature. I find it tough to be on point 24/7.
I like being goofy at times. And, I appreciate the different roles I have in
life. However, when the situation calls for it, I come through. I have to. Not
behaving like a ‘big girl’ during situations that call for maturity and
commitment cause major problems. Stay on point.
(BTW, I got a second call back and booked a second
interview immediately after the first interview today. The proof is in
the pudding. =)