Tag Archives: interview prep

How to “Wow” Your Interviewer

Claudia Enriquez is a second year student receiving her Masters in Public Administration from NYU Wagner. She currently works as a Graduate Program Assistant at NYU Wasserman. She is a New Yorker at heart, growing up in Long Island, then moving to upstate New York to attend college, and now she’s back downstate and enjoying her time at NYU.

You landed the interview, now it’s time to bring out your A game and really ‘wow’ your interviewer. Follow these simple steps below and prepare to land that dream job/internship!

Research, Research, Research

Did I mention research? Check out the company’s website. Review the company’s mission statement, values, culture, goals, achievements, recent events, and the company’s products/services.  If you know anyone who works there – ask him/her to give you the inside scoop!

Practice Makes Perfect…Or at least Preparation!

Be prepared to the job interview. Practice general and challenging interview questions with your peers.  Practice in front of a mirror – don’t be shy! The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel, which will come off during the interview.  While you should practice, be authentic during the actual interview.

NYU Wasserman has plenty of great career resources.  Swing by during walk-in hours for a mini mock interview, or make an appointment with a career counselor. You can find other helpful resources on CareerNet, under the Career Resources tab. Check it out!

Get Ready and Be on Time

The night before do the following:

  • Have your outfit picked out (rule of thumb: dress one or two levels up)

  • Pack your bag

  • Print out extra copies of your resume

  • Get directions to your destination (Check alternative routes)

  • Relax and have a good night’s sleep

The day of the big interview give yourself enough time to arrive. Arrive between 5-7 minutes early. If you’re too early walk around, grab some water, etc. As soon as you walk through the door, all eyes are on you – that means, be polite to everyone, from the receptionist to the person interviewing you.  Remember to put on your best smile!

How to Answer Questions During the Interview?

During the interview make eye contact and answer questions with confidence.  Use the STAR method:

  • Situation – Describe the situation you were in (e.g., the name of the internship or course you were taking)

  • Task – Identify the specific project you were working on and briefly discuss what it entailed

  • Action – This is the most important element! Specifically identify what YOUR action was related to the question that was asked

  • Result – Close the question by stating an outcome to your situation

If you ever find yourself stuck on a question, that’s okay! Say to the interviewer ‘that’s a good question, let me think about it.’ Pause, breathe, think, and then give your answer.

Ask Meaningful Questions

At the close of the interview, the interviewer will always ask if you have any questions for them.  Have about 5-10 questions prepared, but of course, don’t ask questions already answered during the interview.

Below are good examples of what to ask the interviewer.

  1. What qualities do you think are most important for someone to excel in this position?

  2. What do you personally like most about working for this company?

  3. What would be one of the greatest challenges a person in this position would face?

  4. Can you tell me more about the team I’ll be working with?

  5. What are the next steps in the interview process?

Follow Up

Send a thank you email or a letter to your interviewer(s) 24-48 hours after the interview. If you interviewed with more than one person, send tailored individual thank you notes. Reiterate your strengths and your interest in the company. This is also an opportunity to add anything you did not discuss during the interview. As always, thank them for their time and the opportunity.

Good luck!

Startup Thoughts and Considerations by 9th Dot

9th Dot is a consumer insight platform that gives individuals a “blank canvas” through which they can share their innovative ideas for improvements with businesses, and  rewards consumers for successfully doing so.  From the businesses’ perspective, they receive insightful information in the form of answers to questions they often don’t even know to ask. Last week, they offered up some advice for the interviewing process. Today, they share what to consider when starting your own business.

So you’re ready to take the plunge?  You’ve got a great idea for a product or service that solves a problem with a huge market size, you’re well underway with developing the technology and have written more code than you ever thought possible, you’re already crafting your go to market strategy and you’ve thought through a business model that will scale seamlessly as your startup grows like a weed.  Think again, and again after that.

Starting your own business is one of the most gratifying things a person can do. Take it from us, we thought careers in banking were exactly what we wanted until we had a taste of what entrepreneurship had to offer.  From seeing your app published in the app store to hearing your first potential customer express interest in your product, starting a business will give you countless ups, but also plenty of downs.

The advice we never received, well, maybe we never sought out, is what exactly to expect before starting a company.  Hindsight, 20/20 as it may be, will never provide all the answers, but it’s certainly given us some perspective that we’d like to share with other budding entrepreneurs.

With that in mind, we asked ourselves, what would have been most helpful for us before we started out?

First, for any milestone you set or any hurdle you want to cross in which you think things will become easier, guess again.  For all the progress we’ve made, from writing the business plan, developing the technology, getting covered in TechCrunch, receiving a formal offer to join an accelerator program, and delivering our first demo to a customer, we’ve continued to learn one thing – it doesn’t get easier.  No matter what your strategy for building your business, whether it be widespread user adoption, monetization from corporate clients, or a combination of both, be prepared for a long slog ahead with progress likely to come at a rate slower than you expect.

The reality is that it takes time to build a business.  Viral marketing, hair on fire problem solving and growth hacking are all great buzz phrases, but none will be your cure all panacea as you look to build awareness of your startup and the problems it solves.  Be creative in your go to market strategy.  Ask friends and family what they think – they’ll likely give you feedback that will lead you to think and rethink ways in which you position your product in the marketplace.

Talk to your co-founders and then talk to them again.  Communication and candor is paramount.  As most investors will tell you, the number one reason startups fail is due to differences in opinions that co-founders are unable to reconcile.  Founders agreements and incorporation papers are a great start, but nothing takes the place of addressing key questions early on:

– Do all of the co-founders share similar risk appetites?  The idea of launching a startup is appealing to everyone, but tolerable by few.  Make sure from the get go that everyone is prepared to give your startup the time and attention necessary to succeed before doing anything else

-Do all of the co-founders have the financial cushion necessary to give it a shot? No matter how much progress you make, and how quickly you make it, you’re a long way from being comfortable.  Assuming you all have the patience to remain uncomfortable for a while, make sure everyone is prepared to forego a meaningful income for a while.

– Be prepared to change and change often.  Pivoting is another one of those buzzwords in the startup industry, but it’s much simpler than that.  While plenty of companies do truly pivot, in many cases more than once, we learned to simply not commit to anything other than having a clear vision to experiment and experiment often.  We thought we had it figured out – our idea solves a major problem, a problem we vetted across several major VCs by sharing our business plan before embarking on our journey.  We thought, “let’s get a little bit of media coverage and run some campaigns over Facebook and Twitter and we’ll be off to the races” – were we ever mistaken.  Dampen your expectations and then dampen them again.  Building a business and a brand takes time, endless amounts of energy, and above all a passion to see your idea grow into a business. Regardless of how good you think your go to market strategy is, think of as many ideas for building awareness for your product or service as you can, you’ll test them all and then think of some more.

Above all, don’t launch your startup because it’s cool to say you launched a startup or because you want to make a lot of money – neither of these reasons are likely to lead to success.  Start a business because you see a solution to a problem that will only seem obvious after you’ve exhaustively told your story to customers and investors, and likely the rest of the World.  We started 9th Dot, a crowdsourcing consumer insight platform, because we saw a tremendous opportunity to create a “win-win” situation for both consumers and businesses. Creating a platform that enables consumers to deliver insightful solutions to businesses and rewards them for doing so made a lot of sense to us, but it was the realization that we couldn’t live with ourselves if we did not that made us decide to slog it out.  As we were told by one VC investor early on, “Remember, entrepreneurs are mostly irrational, driven by a passion for creating something where there was nothing and realizing a vision they couldn’t ignore. It’s like jumping off a cliff and having to build a plane before you hit the ground!”

Innovative Interviewing Tips from 9th Dot

9th Dot is a consumer insight platform that gives individuals a “blank canvas” through which they can share their innovative ideas for improvements with businesses, and  rewards consumers for successfully doing so.  From the businesses’ perspective, they receive insightful information in the form of answers to questions they often don’t even know to ask. Here, they offer up some advice for the interviewing process.
Demonstrate an Approach to Problem-Solving

With such a competitive dynamic in today’s job market, individuals often try to do anything they can to gain an edge and differentiate themselves from other candidates. Interviewers want to be convinced you will be able to solve tough problems and help the corporation achieve its objectives.  Demonstrating your ability to think critically and provide innovative solutions to problems is a skill that can help you both secure the job during the interview, as well as climb the corporate ladder after you’ve landed the job.

It’s widely known that one of the best ways to answer interview questions is to make reference to situational experiences in which you successfully solved a problem.  Success stories tend to be tales of the defining moments in one’s career when an individual overcame significant challenges to succeed. These stories create a memorable impression and give the interviewer anecdotes about you that identify your ability to think creatively, solve complex problems and provide a solution.

While many experts suggest relating interview questions to similar situations from earlier in one’s career to demonstrate specific experience in dealing with similar situations, this can prove challenging for students preparing to enter the job market for the first time.  As we all know, challenges also tend to present opportunities.  When preparing for an interview, think of where you use or have used the company’s products or services.  Think about the context in which you used a product or service and ask yourself “what could have made that experience even better?”  Chances are that you’ve had several occasions like this where the proverbial “light bulb” went off in your head as to what would have made your experience better.  With the rise of crowdsourcing, businesses have quickly realized the value that can be derived from the consumers of their products and services – so much so that many large corporations have built full scale social media, consumer insight and guest experience teams to learn from and incorporate their customers’ innovative ideas for improving their products or services.

For instance, while preparing for a job at the corporate office of McDonald’s or Starbucks one may consider addressing an interview question centered around problem solving or critical thinking by drawing on an experience in which you observed an opportunity to improve something and exactly what your solution would entail.  Starbucks, through its MyStarbucksIdea platform, solicits and reviews ideas from its customers and has implemented just over 300 ideas over the last five years.  Things like WiFi, splash sticks and cake pops all originated through their crowdsourcing platform.  McDonald’s recently began testing third drive-thru windows after its social media team picked up a tweet from one customer who decided to share his idea over Twitter by saying, “I hate waiting in line for 20 minutes during the lunch rush at McDonald’s when all I want is a simple McFlurry.  Why doesn’t McDonald’s have a third drive-thru window for express orders?”  Innovative ideas like these gain the attention from senior leadership throughout an organization.

Companies like 9th Dot, a crowdsourcing consumer insight platform, are gaining traction by serving as the connection point between consumers and businesses.  By providing consumers with a “blank canvas” through which they can share their innovative ideas, and potentially earn rewards, 9th Dot enables consumers to showcase their bright ideas to businesses.  Having the right portal through which you can share your idea effectively gives you the podium in front of a large lecture hall filled with businesses wanting to learn what they can do better.

Consider that the next time an interviewer asks you to describe the last time you’ve solved a problem and how you went about doing so!

 

Management Consulting Case Interviews

Cracking The Case

Tips For Case Interviews From the Other Side of the Table

Here at Argopoint, like other consulting firms, we often use case study interviews to evaluate potential applicants. These interviews are commonly a source of anxiety for undergraduates and other first-time interviewees, but they don’t have to be. Our founder, Jason Winmill, has 20 years of experience in the management and strategy consulting field, and has run thousands of case interviews with top candidates from schools including Harvard Business School, Wharton, and Yale. Here are some tips for prospective applicants gathered from years of experience on both sides of the process:

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”

— Peter F. Drucker, Leading 20th Century Management Thinker

Pay attention to the interviewer

You might be talking to a senior or junior member of the company. They might be warm and talkative or reserved and direct. Some interviewers enjoy the process, while others don’t…and sometimes your interviewer might just be having a bad day.

Suggestion: Get a read on your interviewer. Observe the behavior and attitude of the interviewer and act appropriately. Whether they want to chat for a bit or get right down to business, follow their lead. In addition, the information that an interviewer gives you is meant to help you, so pay attention and use their cues to your own benefit.

It’s about more than just the math

Too many first-time interviewees spend time worrying about doing the math correctly to the exclusion of other important factors. Keep in mind that you’re being evaluated on a comprehensive basis, including your critical thinking skills, your analytical capabilities, and your ability to solve problems.  While quantitative prowess is important to being a consultant, this capability doesn’t go very far if you do not know how to apply it in a business setting.

Suggestion: Be sure to demonstrate to your interviewer that you can not only find solutions to mathematical problems, but that you can also use your findings to quickly form opinions and guide decisions. In addition, make sure you spend time demonstrating more than just your quantitative capabilities.

Demonstrate enthusiasm and keen interest in the conversation

In a case interview you are presented with business problems, similar to those actual consultants are faced with.  This is an opportunity to demonstrate to the interviewer that you can both can handle consulting work, and that you find it interesting. A good consultant will find the work enjoyable and intellectually stimulating.

Suggestions: Demonstrate enthusiasm and energy in your conversation with the interviewer. This will demonstrate your passion for the industry.

Focus on the bigger business problems present

You are not expected to be an expert on every industry. Don’t be concerned if you do not know the specifics of the industry that you are questioned about. What is important is your understanding of business and your ability to solve business issues.

Suggestion: Focus on the bigger problems that can be generalized across industries to all businesses. Examples include declining profitability, merger integration, increasing market share, etc.

Structure the problem to help to brainstorm your own solution, but don’t force fit any frameworks

Most firms and professionals recommend applying a pre-existing framework to the scenario at hand. This will structure the problem making it clearer, to both you and the interviewer, how you are thinking about the problem. However, be weary of a strict compliance to these frameworks. Applying one to a situation that it doesn’t fit with is a large mistake you should try and avoid. This mistake implies a misunderstanding of the fundamental problems and thus a flawed way of addressing them and coming to a solution.

Suggestions: Study or review various business frameworks such as Porter’s 5 Forces and a traditional microeconomic cost structure. In addition, read publications such as The Economist and The Wall Street Journal to become familiar with actual business problems and solutions, as well as descriptions of various industries.

Don’t over complicate things

You need not focus on all the information presented to you. While it’s not a bad thing to see potential hours’ worth of issues, as it shows you can think deeply about a problem, focusing on all of them will waste your time without getting you any closer to an answer.

Suggestion: Prioritize and focus on key information, not all the information. As soon as you have a sense of the most important factors in a case, shift your attention to those aspects. Ask questions about the core issues that you have identified.     

Ask (smart) questions

A consideration of the interviewer will be identifying how you act when faced with an ambiguous situation. Consequentially asking too many questions will portray that you don’t respond well. On the contrary, interviewers expect you to ask some questions, but they should be relevant and important to the issue at hand and your proposed solution.

Suggestion: Demonstrate leadership ability and initiative by focusing on questions that help you in connecting the information, but not that aid you in creating a complete picture. This will show that you can solve problems in a less structured environment and possess creativity. 

Communicate your thought process clearly

One of the most important parts of the interview is assessing your problem solving, analytical and critical thinking skills. To demonstrate that you possess these qualities, make sure to communicate your thought process clearly to the interviewer when coming to a solution.

Suggestion: Be thorough in walking the interviewer through your complete thought process. Explain why you come to each assumption that you do and why the questions you are asking him or her are relevant to the scenario presented.    

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box

If there were simple solutions to the problems that consultants address, then there would be no consulting industry, as businesses would be able to solve their own business problems. When businesses approach consulting firms they are looking for innovative and creative solutions.

Suggestion: In developing creative solutions, be sure to always stick to common sense and business acumen.  

Demonstrate a dedicated interest in the firm you are interviewing at

Remember that the interview is a good place for you to learn more about the firm, as well as where the firm learns more about you. Use the opportunity wisely and make keep the interview interactive so you can learn more about your interviewer and gain insight into their thought processes and daily work.

Suggestion: Be yourself and display your interest in the firm by making the interview as interactive as possible.

Above all, relax and enjoy the experience. Your interviewers are looking for the skills and traits that will genuinely lead to your success in the position—they want you to succeed. The best applicants are excited by the challenges available in the consulting field, so try to think of your case interview as an enjoyable new challenge and an opportunity to learn more about the company you’re interviewing with. Good luck!

Jason Winmill is the managing partner at Argopoint LLC and has over 20 years of management and strategy consulting experience.  Jason has advised senior executives (including general counsels) across a range of industries including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, retail, consumer products, financial services/insurance and utilities.

Jason served as the “outside architect”—assisting in the design of an outside counsel rationalization and partnering program for one of the country’s top ten largest legal divisions.   His work for this client and other in-house legal groups has resulted in a portfolio of more qualified outside counsel (as measured by a reasoned assessment of objective markers) and significantly lower costs for legal services. He worked to improve efforts involving litigation, intellectual property (patents and trademarks, among others), human resources, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, government investigations and regulatory law.  Jason’s work has been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Corporate Counsel Magazine, the ACC Docket, The American Lawyer, Inside Litigation, Purchasing Magazine and Inside Supply Management.

Jason has held positions at Bain & Co—a leading strategy consulting firm and at Goodmeasure Consulting, a leading organizational change consulting firm headed by Harvard Business School faculty, a former editor of the Harvard Business Review and leader of the Harvard Business School’s general management faculty.

Jason is an honors graduate of Harvard College.  He received an MBA from the Harvard Business School, where he was elected to lead the school’s Forum on Business Ethics.

 

Develop A Personal Website To Land A Dream Job

Are you preparing for an interview at a marketing firm, talent agency, communications bureau, or advertising agency? Are you curious about how to prepare yourself for the “creative professions”?

Apart from attending Acing the Interview for Creative Professionals on Thursday, November 7, at 12:30pm at The Wasserman Center (Presentation Room A), check out our guest blog post from Wix.com’s Ariele Krantzow on how to supplement that dazzling interview with a stunning web presence!

So, you want to land the perfect job or internship, but there are 100s of people applying for the same positions. Ask yourself: How can I stand out from the masses? A website of course! Wait, you don’t know how to code? No worries, here are some tips to building a killer personal website, no code needed.

1. Write a personal statement. How are you different from the 1000s of other recent grads out there? What do you really want to do? Maybe even make it into a video!

2. Use a professional photo. No, not that photo of you from last week’s party. Have good light, make sure your hair is neat, wear a nice top, look at the camera, and snap.

3. Go to Wix.com and create a FREE account. Choose one of the 100% customizable, no-code-necessary templates, and GO!

4. Connect your professional social media channels to your site using the many integration tools available.

5. Showcase your resume on the site using the Instant Resume app. Don’t forget to add a downloadable version of it as well.

Happy Happy Building!*

*If you ever need help with your online presence you can always head over to the NY Wix office (Wixlounge.com) and sign up for a free in-person support session.

About Ariele:

Ariele Krantzow is the Training and Support Manager for Wix.com. With a graphic design background, she teaches a series of classes to local small business owners, creative, and university students ranging from how to build a Wix website to marketing your business online. If you can’t find Ariele at the NY Wix Lounge, make sure to check out the other Wix offices around the world!

Attend Acing the Interview for Creative Professionals on Thursday, November 7, at 12:30pm at The Wasserman Center (Presentation Room A)! Get industry-specific insight on the different components to interviewing for creative positions.

Medical and Dental School Interviewing Workshop

As some of your Class of 2014 classmates can attest, some Medical Schools have started to interview applicants, and will continue to do so through April. The Medical School interview process might seem intimidating, but there are definitely things you can do now to prepare:

1. Do your research ahead of time. The good news is that most of the interview questions will be all about a subject that you’re an expert on: yourself! Make sure you’re able to speak about everything on your application, resume and transcript, and that you know how you want to market yourself in the interview. Make sure you have also researched the school and the specific program.

2. Practice your interviewing skills. Schedule a one-on-one 30 minute counseling appointment with a Wasserman Career Counselor to do a mock-interview. This can be a great way to get feedback on your interview techniques before you’re in front of Admissions staff.

3. Attend the Medical and Dental School Interview Workshop on September 23rd at 5pm at the Wasserman Center. RSVP on NYU CareerNet. In this workshop, students will learn and practice interview strategies that will help you ace the medical and dental school interview. This workshop will be led by Preprofessional Advisors, Career Counselors, and current medical students who very recently navigated the process. They will give you suggestions and tips for how to tailor yourself and speak confidently about your experiences in a way that will leave a lasting impression on admissions committees. You will also have the chance to watch and participate in mock-interviews that will help you hone your skills.

How to Tuesday: Dress for Success

Happy Tuesday! Many of you might be wondering what to wear to the interview for your summer internship, or how to rock it out in style at a career fair. Below are a few ways to dress for success!

1.  Dress formally, even if the office environment is casual. Women: remember cleavage and tight clothing are great for the club and bad for office settings, you don’t want to look unprofessional standing next to someone in a full suit

2. Outerwear is just as important as your interview suit/outfit– make sure your coat is business appropriate and presents the image you want from the moment you step through the doors

3. Bright colors for accessories, ties, camisoles or socks are great, in general interview outfits/suits in dark colors convey that you are a serious job candidate who is capable of looking the part as well as acting it!

4. Accessorize with jewelry (small) pieces that won’t over-power your interview look, if you are in a creative field this is a chance to show your style and creativity

5. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and business appropriate, i.e. not too bright or casual, open toed, or sandals/flip flops- you won’t know how conservative the interviewer is, or what they consider a “faux pas”- so letting your words do the talking and not your outfit is key.

6. Women: make sure your make-up & nails are neutral and natural and your hair is away from your face, hair should not be a distraction. Men: make sure your haircut conveys attention to grooming or care

7. Interview purses or briefcases should be big enough to hold your resume and essentials, but not big enough to look like you’re going away for a long weekend!

8. Do a sit test in your suit/outfit to make sure it and you are comfortable

9. Iron or Dry Clean your interview suit/outfit– nothing says you are unprepared and unprofessional like lots of wrinkles or dirt spots!

10. Details matter– on your resume, in your interview, and in what you wear- be mindful when choosing your outfit!

 

What Now, Wasserman? Prepare, Prepare, and Prepare…but don’t Cyberstalk

I finally scored an interview for my dream job, but I don’t know how to prepare! Do I stalk my interviewer on Facebook? Find out his Twitter handle and pretend to like the band he went to see last weekend? What now, Wasserman? – Cyberstalking in Founders

First, please do not cyber stalk your interviewer. Second, calm down. There are tons of ways to prepare for an interview so have no fear, take our advice, and you’ll be confident and prepared to land your dream job. The best way to prepare for any interview is to first do your research. Be familiar with the job description and know about general industry trends. Find out about your employer the right way; utilize tools like Hoovers and Vault (available on NYU CareerNet) to learn about them and their career. You should also familiarize yourself with the organization’s website. Look for client information, the annual report, the company mission, and the general language used, etc. And this may be an obvious tip, but be prepared to discuss your goals, accomplishments, and experiences. Make sure to have specific examples ready in case your interviewer should ask for them. So start preparing and practice practice practice!