Next to watching your president run this country and tuning into Power every Sunday, interviewing for jobs (or schools) can be quite a nerve-wracking experience. If I’m not prepared, or feel the least bit insecure, it will show ALL through my performance. Though I’m usually a great speaker, I’m not afraid to admit that I need some assistance.
*inserts Issa Rae video about networking across*
Enter Parris Roh, also (affectionately) known as “P”. P is a GODSEND for anything regarding professional development. About a year ago, she officially started PolishedxP, a collaborative-style writing, editing, & reconstructive service for clients of any kind. PolishedxP recently launched its newest service: interview prep.
Additionally, Parris has several years of higher education and recruitment under her belt. She has served on many hiring panels and recruitment teams for grades K-12 as well as the University System of Maryland, so she is no stranger to the interviewing process (on both sides). The20Smthg Saga and PolishedxP have teamed up to drop you some gems for killing every interview, but first…
Parris, tell us how you got your start in writing/editing/professional development services.
Ironically, I got my first salary job by bombing an interview; the manager told me I didn’t quite fit the role I was interviewing for, but she recommended me for an entirely different position. I don’t think this would’ve have happened if I wasn’t pleasant with her or projected confidence. After I started working in education, I noticed how ill-equipped some students were, in terms of professionalism. I mostly wanted to help prepare students, and anyone, really, looking to present a more…”polished” version of themselves through their work.
Speaking of HELP:
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR PRE-INTERVIEW ASSISTANCE. We know it can be difficult to seek help sometimes, but it can prove helpful. You can practice interview questions/responses with a friend, family member, or even in the mirror by yourself (can improve confidence!)
This tip also may apply to job recruiters: DON’T HESITATE to ask your pre-interview recruiter about what to expect moving forward. Will you be interviewing in a group or privately? Will you be speaking with multiple people? Attire? Are there more rounds ahead after this one? All of these are examples of questions you may want to ask; simple inquiries like these can demonstrate that you are invested in the process.
What are some common areas of confusion or nervousness you’ve experienced from your clients, in terms of interviewing?
My favorite ‘go to’ technique for my “confused” clients is the S.T.A.R. method, which can help people ace any type of interview. It shows an interviewer your learning style, and how you are with problem-solving and conflict management. I also noticed that people struggle a lot with 2 parts of an interview: the ‘tell me about yourself’ and the ‘why I left my last job’. For ‘tell me about yourself’, I suggest that clients reference (but DON’T REGURGITATE) his or her resume. Tell the interviewer why you’re in your current field (or looking to change fields, if applicable), and how long you’ve been there. It may also help to describe some of your hobbies, personality traits, or anything that’ll indicate what type of employee you are. When saying ‘why [you] left your previous job’, it’s important to ‘sandwich’ things, meaning tell the truth and a positive. Don’t say too much, but be sure you give a concrete answer. Try [your] best to avoid sounding bitter or biased in delivery, and figure out a way to best describe the positive relationships you’ve maintained from that company.
What’s something you think people underestimate most during the interviewing process?
RESEARCH. Definitely research. I often stress to my clients (and others) that doing research on the company they’re interviewing for is essential. Learn their mission, values, vision, or even their philanthropic partnerships to get insight on your company of interest, then try to align them with your own values and beliefs.
People also underestimate Glassdoor.com . Yeah, it’s typical use is for company reviews and salary comparisons, but their interview feature is also VERY helpful! I use Glassdoor for my clients often, and recommend it for personal [professional] use as well.
Tell us more about what your interviewing prep service entails
Our package includes 3-4 sessions, depending on the position. The 1st session is usually one mock phone interview, and the 2nd session is a mock in-person interview. The final session(s) deal with interview wardrobe and specifics about desired role, respectively.
Remember those gems we promised you we’d drop for you earlier? We made a whole list for you 🙂 Follow all of our tips below and you will be sure to push through ANY interview!