- Stay positive
- Be confident
- Be innovative
- Sell yourself
- Share and show your personality
- Be flexible
- Be energetic
- Believe in your strengths
- Believe in yourself
Q: We all know the do's and don'ts of interviewing. Why is this information we need to know?
A: There are a lot of people who are new to the work force who don't know this, such as: · New college grads · People entering the job market for the first time (the newly divorced, kids now out of the house · Folks who have been employed for many years, were recently laid off and have not searched for a job for a long time
Q: You've been on the hiring side of the interview process for over 20 years. Tell me about some of the worst candidate mistakes you've seen over the years?
A: (Examples) · A candidate who fielded four phone calls on their cell phone during the interview. · Discussing salary in the first interview for and admin role or discussing growth or even vacation time.
Q: Some women might feel they are at a disadvantage because they don't fit into the old boy network. Is there anyway a woman can sidestep this issue?
A: Your best bet is to show them you are different, but that they'll get the same results or better than a man: · Keep the conversation to skills and achievements. Don't go too far into family or personal information if you can avoid it · If you are young, then don't dress your age. Try to skew older. · Stick to your guns and don't allow them to try to get you to accept a lesser position
Q: How can you prepare before the job interview?
A: There are things you can do before you even walk into the office. They are subtle things that you might not think are important, but are noticeable to a discriminating interviewer: · Keep *wardrobe, shoes, hairstyle, makeup and nails current: (clothing should be more current - unless it's classic). * It's important for every young woman to buy at least one black suit. They can be purchased for under $100 and if you accessorize properly with jewelry and different shirts, you could pull it off wearing it everyday - at least until you receive your first paycheck. · Do a wardrobe check - check your fly, lipstick smears, random hairs on suit, etc · Don't overpower them with your scent (cologne/perfume) and DON'T STINK (coffee breath, shower, use deodorant) · Study the company; check out their website and recent online articles
Q: You've stepped into the lobby and are waiting for the interviewer to come. When should you turn on the charm?
A: As soon as you walk in through the door. That's when the job interview starts: · Be nice to the receptionist - chat them up if they are not busy and be friendly. If the receptionist has anything negative to say about you, she'll let the hiring manager know and you could lose the job before you meet that person. If they like you, they will also say nice things about you and that could give you an edge. · Have a firm handshake and make sure you make eye contact · Show your personality! Show that you are a doer and not a sitter. Be passionate about wanting the job and show some energy. · Turn off your cell phone - if you absolutely must take calls during your job interview, then you are telling the company you have more important things going on than getting a job · Look professional - no face jewelry, piercings and tattoos. In San Francisco, it's perfectly acceptable to look unique, but corporate America would disagree. · Make sure you give the correct contact information o If the phone information on your resume is not your current one, the company won't go out of their way to track down the correct number o Have a professional email address. JaneSmith@aol.com is acceptable. AztecChica69@aol.com is not. On resumes gaps show that you have done something with your time - volunteer work head of school fundraiser, anything - this is a chance to re-invent yourself.
Q: You've finished the interview and you're waiting for that call. Is there anything you can do at that point to help you get the job?
A: There are a couple things you can absolutely do to nail the job: · Send an email or mail a thank you card because: o it reminds them you're still out there and that you follow up o it tells them that your classy o it tells them that you're grateful and will put them in your good graces o sometimes it takes only one small thing that puts you in the "call back stack" · Call them after a week and ask them about your status. This might remind them that they still need to fill the spot and you are still interested. But don't call more than once. That tells them you are desperate and that you might have the tendency to badger.
Q: As you said, there are a lot of people who might be new to the interview process. If you could give only one piece of advice would that be?
A: Relax. That's how you're going to be your best: · Be yourself, not what you think they want you to be. Being someone else is a losing battle. The unique thing you bring to the table is not your skill set, your education, or your experience- it's you, so offer them you. · Be honest about everything, even deficiencies. An employer would rather know that you have integrity and are prone to growing. An employer can also tell when you're hiding something. · Look the part, better to be overdressed than underdressed
About Paula Todd:
Ms. Todd is the President and Founder of Innovations PSI, a boutique staffing firm specializing in Financial Services placements. Prior to opening the firm, Ms. Todd was in the financial services industry. Innovations is now in its 25th year of business in San Francisco.
Ms. Todd is originally from the Boston area, but has been an active member of the San Francisco business community for over twenty years. She is certified as the owner of a woman-owned business, and has been a supporter of many charitable organizations in the Bay Area, including Glide Church, AIDS Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and Boy Scouts of America, to name a few.