Tag Archives: interviewing

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!

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: Nailing Skype Interview by Professor Michelle Tillis Lederman

I have taught at NYU since 2005 and besides for the students themselves, the teaching fellow (TF) can make or break the class experience.  I didn’t realize this until I didn’t have a good one.  My fault really, the TF’s had been so competent, I got lax in my interviewing.  I hired this one without meeting him first.

After that debacle of a semester, I swore I would never do that again. But now that I live in New Jersey and have two kids, an in-person interview often isn’t feasible.   Thus the Skype interview.

There is just something about getting to see someone’s face, their body language, and look into their eyes – even through the computer.  But this type of interviewing is new for both sides of the computer screen.

When I interviewed my most recent TF via Skype she commented that it was weird and she didn’t know what to do with herself.  I gave her some quick advice and have since given it a lot of thought.   My biggest take away is that we should ACT AS IF.  Act as if you are on a face to face interview.  Here’s what I mean:

  1. DRESS FOR SUCCESS:  Not just the top but from top to bottom – including shoes.  How you feel and carry yourself is, even if subconsciously, greatly impacted by what you are wearing.
  2. SIT PROFESSIONALY:  Don’t lie on your bed with your computer on your lap or sit with your feet up.  Sit at a desk.  Sit forward in your chair so your energy is in your body.  Keep your feet planted on the ground to enable gesturing.
  3. MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT:  Look directly into the camera or at the screen of their video when you are talking.  It keeps you connected to the conversation and projects confidence.  A few things that will help…
    1. CHECK YOUR CAMERA ANGLE:  Be aware of what they see and remove anything that does not reflect professionally or looks like it is climbing out of your head.
    2. REMOVE DISTRACTIONS: There are a lot of distractions when you are home.  Eliminate as many as possible.  Close the door, schedule it when the house is empty. The other person can’t hear the ambient noise and doesn’t know why you are looking off and appearing distracted.
    3. PERSONALIZE:  This one is not unique to the Skype interview, but the technology gives you an advantage here.  When I interview my TF, I heard a dog bark and asked her what breed.  She had her furry friend jump into the camera shot and we were able to build rapport over our common love of dogs.  Don’t be afraid to share a little of yourself and give the interviewer a glimpse into your life.  Just make sure it is the information you want to share.

Guest post by Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability.

 Michelle Tillis Lederman is the author of The 11 Laws of Likability and founder of Executive Essentials, a training company that provides communications, leadership, and team-building programs, as well as executive coaching services. Also an Adjunct Professor at NYU, Michelle believes real relationships lead to real results and specializes in teaching people how to communicate to connect. She has appeared on CBS, Gayle King, NPR, and Martha Stewart Living and her work has been featured on New York Times, Working Mother, MSNBC, Monster.com, USA Today, AOL, Forbes, CNBC, and About.com. Connect with Michelle on Facebook or on Twitter.    

 

 

 

 

For communications, management, and career resources, come follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/mtlederman.

 


 

Skill Building Thursday: What’s Your Biggest Weakness? Finding the strength in it!

The interview question that gives people the most anxiety is “Tell me about your strengthens and weaknesses.” It’s more comfortable to talk about your strengths. In fact most people walk into an interview with the purpose of impressing the interviewer with what they can do best. So why do they ask you about your weaknesses?

Because being able to recognize, assess, and improve the areas where your lacking is a key skill. Lets think about how companies grow and improve. At the end of the fiscal year, they assess what they did well and what didn’t work so well. They may look at revenues, talk with clients, or request feedback from employees. Yes, its good to hear how well they performed, but they really want to know how they can improve. So why wouldn’t they expect that from their from an employee?

Knowing your areas of improvement shows that you’re actively thinking about how you can better yourself and grow with the company. Here are some tips to prepare for this question:

  • Think about areas in your life where you didn’t do something so well. It can be current or in the past.
  • Write down the steps you took to improve. Did you seek advice? Take a class? Read a book?
  • Next, write the results. Did you completely improve? Are you still working on it? What’s your progress
  • Finally write down how can you relate this experience to the job you’re applying for? How will utilize this skill at the job? Or how you can utilize those steps in the future to overcome a challenge at the company

Once you’ve written it down, make sure you practice your telling your story so that it sounds natural. Good luck!

WasserWord of the Week: Informational Interview

Informational Interview

Connecting with professionals in your field(s) of interest to get an insider perspective about their industry or company.  A great way to build contacts and learn about various career paths others have taken. Can be ineffective if contacts perceive you are simply asking for a job, and are not genuinely interested in their backgrounds.  Prepare for an informational interview like you would an actual interview by researching the individual, industry and company, and coming up with specific questions.  Ask for a specific amount of time and be mindful of their schedules  (“I would love an opportunity to meet for coffee for 30 minutes at a time and location convenient for you”); always follow up with a thank you.

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!