How to Ace the Interview….Face-to-Face or Virtually


It’s clear that the global pandemic that has consumed 2020 has also changed the way our professional world operates.  If you’re in an active job search or feel like you may be one of the next victims of a layoff or furlough at your work place, you need to ensure that you take the time to fully prepare for any interviews you are lucky enough to be invited to. Below are five quick tips to help you to be ready for the interview…and hopefully, the offer.

Step #1 – Take the time to prepare

Knowing who you are is one thing, being able to communicate that to another person is a whole different ballgame. Showing you can effectively market yourself during an interview is key in nailing the interview, and ultimately, the job offer. Have a checklist of the things you need to do prior to, during, and after the interview-documents needed, location of company, AND floor or office where the interview will be conducted, Wi-Fi capabilities and access to equipment if your interview will be virtual, and any questions you may have regarding the job and company. Practice talking about your strengths and weaknesses, how you’ve overcome obstacles on the job, and some of the major highlights of your career. Also know the parameters of what the offer could be, salary and benefits you need/want. It’s very rare that an offer happens during the interview, but sometimes it does, and you need to know your value before you hear their offer, or if they ask questions about what you want if they offer the job.

Step #2 – Know the job

Be able to give concrete details of how your skills, experience, training, etc. combine to make you the ideal candidate for the job, based on the qualifications and requirements in the job posting. Have job-specific questions ready for your interviewer, and also ensure that you’ve done your homework regarding the culture of the business, as well as the services or product being provided by the company (and to whom they’re being provided).

Step #3 – Have your Interview “Toolbox” filled and ready to go

Whether you are interviewing in person or remotely, there are things you need to have at your fingertips, so you can speak to your credentials. First and foremost, have a copy of your résumé with you and be able to validate the content, if questioned. Have a list of professional references who can speak on your behalf prepared to hand over, or to email, if requested. Be sure your professional and personal social media profiles are cleaned up and that any professional sites have the same career information as your résumé. If you are interviewing virtually, it would be easy of have a typed list of questions prepared, so you can discuss them when the time is right. You can also contact the company prior to your interview to ask if there are specific items you should bring to the interview if you are going on-site.

Step #4 – First impressions are everything

Dress appropriately for your interview regardless of where or how it takes place.  If you are on site, the customary handshake may be a no-go, so be sure you understand any social distancing or cultural practices that need to be followed during the entire interview process. Be on time! This is key for any interview! Do a test run to the location and allow for traffic snafus, trains, etc. If your interview Is being done virtually, make sure your computer or phone is in a quiet spot (no potential background noises or interruptions), and that you are able to access the program the interview will be facilitated through. Eye contact is good and can easily be a sign of confidence in a candidate. If you are interviewing at a restaurant, order a meal that is easy to eat, and keep in mind that following the restaurant’s current guidelines and policies will show that you can follow and respect rules.

Step #5 – Do what you need to do to put yourself at ease

Be sure your body and mind are prepared to help you appear calm and confident during your interview.  Eat breakfast, work out (please shower/groom after), do some breathing exercises, and anything else you can think of that will keep your nerves on the down-low.  Shaky hands, not making eye contact, and talking too quietly or not confidently are all things that could make the interviewer determine how you handle stressful situations.  Keep the conversation positive and on track. Listen intently and think before you answer questions. Be sure to thank the interviewer at the end and if it has gone well, even ask what the next steps in the hiring process will be. Projecting confidence is important!

This year has been one of new ways, new policies, and new working environments for today’s professional workforce.  However, the basics of a common interview haven’t really changed much at all. You need to be sure you are fully prepared for your interview and can show the interviewer exactly why YOU are the candidate they want to hire for the job.

Don't Waste Your Profile Pic On These Things!

Social Marketing/Online Branding

don't waste your profile pic on these things!
The photo you use for your profile on social media and professional sites is prime real estate. This is the face of your online brand, right? This picture is what comes up on an internet search by a potential employer, colleagues looking at your LinkedIn profile, and networking contacts. People are normally visually-oriented, and that profile pic is what their eyes go to first. So why waste that advantage?

  • No profile pic at all is like saying you don’t care — so why should they care?
  • Using a logo markets that logo, not your career
  • Poorly lit, grainy photos don’t say much about your professionalism
  • Selfies rarely look like anything but selfies (and please, NO FISH LIPS!)
  • Wild party profile pics look like HR nightmares
  • Your kid is cute, but they aren’t hiring your baby. The sames goes with pics of you and your significant other. Don’t use those for your professional pic–unless you co-own a business together and are building your brand based off of that
  • Using a different profile pic for each site weakens the impact of your brand

If you want to maximize the potential of your profile pic, think seriously about what it looks like and where you put it.
Having the same photograph as the face of your online brand on all your profiles; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc. gives you consistency. People associate consistency with reliability, and that instant recognition of your photo acts as a logo for your brand. But the photograph itself also matters quite a bit, so it should be excellent. You can set up proper lighting and background then use a timer, but it generally will work much better if a photographer friend takes your picture or you opt for a professional session.
Background should reflect your industry or be a color flattering to you. Lighting should come from several sources to avoid weird shadow effects (this is why self-portraits rarely work well) and smiling is more appealing than a deadpan mug shot. You should be dressed the way you would be at a job interview and look professional. It’s a good idea to renew your profile pics once a year so they are current.
Your online brand is a combination of everything someone like a potential employer can find about you on the internet. Your profile pic is the face of your online brand, and profile development should include making sure you aren’t wasting its potential.

Can Social Networking Get You Fired?

Social Marketing/Online Branding

can social networking get you fired?
It is increasingly common for stories like this one about a bus driver fired over Facebook postings to show up on newsfeeds. Whether or not you agree with the practice, the reality is that your social media usage has a very public side.
When you think about it, the Internet is like a public park in a big city. When you walk through that park, you see all sorts of people doing all sorts of things. Some of those people might be doing things that make you scratch your head and ask, “What are they thinking?” They probably are thinking that nobody is paying attention to what they are doing.
We have an illusion of privacy on the Internet that is truly an illusion. How many times have you seen a post on Facebook that makes you scratch your head and ask, “what are they thinking?” I know I have… many times. It’s a smart practice to pay attention to your security settings and invest in your online brand — the person you are online — by thinking before you post. You must assume that it will be read by an employer or potential employer because that’s the reality of today’s working world.
Because social marketing and online branding are so important to your career, it’s a good idea to learn all you can about it. Read blogs like this one and consider investing in an hour of online branding/profile development coaching to make sure your professionalism is what people remember about you when they see you in that public park called the Internet.

Wow. In a matter of a week, we lost four icons. To lose two in one day was even stranger. I was on Twitter each time I found out who had passed. It isn’t that I am on Twitter all that much. The kick of it is the news spread so far and wide and fast, that I heard it on Twitter first, then saw it on MSN.
I am amazed at the impact and the reach Twitter and other social network sites have on our society and even, our politics and the politics of other nations— so much so, that the State Department asked Twitter to NOT do a scheduled maintenance so that the lines of communication would stay open for Iranian citizens protesting the Iran election. Seriously.
As a rule, I stay away from news channels on TV. I don’t need to hear every death, every fight, every politician slamming each other, or worse, getting caught with their pants down, as it seems to be the norm lately (for Pete’s sake, keep it in your pants or get a divorce!).  Now it seems I can’t keep it away from me. Twitter is inundated with news. I admit, sometimes I am grateful for it. I probably wouldn’t even have known that any of the 4 had died as quickly as I did if it wasn’t talked about and “retweeted” repeatedly.
The upside to all of this is that Twitter, Facebook and all the others can work for us as well. Promoting your book, product or business? “Tweet it”. Looking for work? Post it on Facebook. With the power of viral marketing you can reach thousands of people in an instant. Talk about amazement. Gone are the days of spending hundreds of dollars on paper, ink, and stamps to get your message out. Now you can do it in a single tweet.