Jumpstart Your Accounting Career
Tune in to learn key strategies to conquer Meet the Firms, college career fairs, résumés, interviews, and more - presented by Roger Philipp, CPA, CGMA.
Conquer Meet the Firms, Career Fairs, and Interviews
You’ll learn to:
Understand what employers are evaluating
Leverage Meet the Firms and Career Fair events
Craft an impactful résumé
Create a lasting impression
Master the interview process
Now is the time to take control of your career path with this solid plan of attack. Don’t wait until graduation to begin your accounting career – jumpstart your future NOW!
Roger Philipp, CPA, CGMA presents:
JUMPSTART YOUR ACCOUNTING CAREER
Conquer Meet the Firms, Career Fairs, and Interviews
Hello and welcome. I’m Roger Philipp of Roger CPA Review. A little background on myself, I went to school in Los Angeles, worked at Deloitte and Touche in downtown LA where I got my CPA certificate. Started teaching CPA Review 20 plus years ago and our job is to teach you what you need to know to help you accomplish your goal, which is to pass the CPA exam.
Now, today, we’re going to talk about how to jump start your accounting career. Basically, it involves things like conquering Meet the Firms, attending and preparing for things like career fairs and most importantly, hopefully getting an interview and nailing that interview.
So, we’re going to talk about how to meet the right people, how to make a positive first impression, how to build a network and eventually, how to in fact, get your dream job.
Now, at Roger’s CPA Review, we believe the key to success is enjoying what you do. So, we are the top eLearning company in the industry. We make the study process effective, efficient, and enjoyable. We created a learning system designed with the core philosophy of enjoying the process and achieving your goal of what? Passing the CPA exam with a very, very high effective pass rate and with a choice program of top firms and universities throughout the country.
Now, the objectives for today are to learn what employers are evaluating. So, what are they looking for in that person, how to leverage events such as Meet the Firms, creating a lasting, positive impression, ’cause you want to make a good impression and finally, mastering that thing called the interview process.
Now, the recruiting process begins much earlier than you think. Once you realize that, you enhance the entire process. If I’m your recruiter, for example, and I’ve got 10 positions to fill, how do I know you exist?
One way is an amazing resume, right? I’ve got a 4.2 GPA. We all know these people. We all hate these people. Right, they ruin the curve. But, maybe we don’t all have a 4.2, 4.0, 3.8, and so forth.
So, one way is an amazing resume, another way is someone that I am familiar with, someone that I can recognize and how do I get familiar with you? In getting to know you through various events. So, what is it that we’re looking for as an employer?
Well, your poise and your confidence. So, that means, how do you present yourself? Because remember, you’re going to be presenting yourself not only to us, but to all of our clients. You’re a representative of the firm that you’re interviewing for, so we want to see how you carry yourself, how you present yourself, your poise, your confidence. Personalities that will match the company atmosphere.
When I worked at Deloitte, there were times where I’m ticking and tying and footing and cross-footing and I’m sitting in a room at a small table with three of our fellow staff. You know, I’m the new hire and the senior and the manager and so forth, and we’ve gotta see that your personality blends well for eight, nine, 10 hours a day.
Other times, you’re in a huge conference room and you’ve got space and I’m overlooking downtown LA and Mount Baldy with the snow in it in Los Angeles and so forth. I’m sitting there looking out the window going, “Wow, I made it, I’m a somebody.” Well, don’t forget, that wasn’t my office. It’s the client’s you know, board room, that we’re auditing in, but the point is, you’re working in close proximity to others, so we want to make sure that you can blend well with others, you have a personality that matches well.
Communication style, you need to be able to communicate both oral and written. So, that’s important. We want to make sure that you have good goals and ambitions and drive and hopefully we’re educating and training you and you’re going to move up the firm to senior and manager and senior manager and hopefully, eventually a partner.
Your leadership, teamwork skills, and finally, your technical skills and the technical skills that I remember when I finally got my job offer at Deloitte, woohoo! I finally got a job, right? And I was so nervous, like oh my gosh, they’re going to figure me out and realize that I don’t remember anything about accounting. That’s fine, don’t worry. They know that you’re an intelligent, ambitious, driven, you went to a good school, you had a decent GPA, they’ll teach you all the technical side of things. So, that’s important to realize.
Now, when should you attend Meet the Firm? As early in your schooling career as possible because I realize that oh my gosh, I don’t graduate for two or three years, well go early so if you make a mistake, you have plenty of time to overcome it.
You know, I go up to the table, “Hi, I heard your firm got sued.” Whoops, open mouth, insert foot, guess what? I graduate tomorrow, I can write that firm off. I don’t graduate for three years, I still have time to kinda make it better. I’m nervous, I’m nervous.
That’s normal, but as they say in life, practice makes perfect. The more you do something, the better you get at it, which means that you know, the first year you’re not as good. The second year, you’re better. By the time I’m getting ready to graduate the third year, I’m very smooth and confident because as they say, practice makes perfect.
Realize too that as you walk in the door, what you have in school right now is a job. What you’re looking for is a career. So, it’s important to go in with the right mindset.
Now, what exactly is Meet the Firms? You’ve got, and it depends on what school you were at or what event you’re attending, whether it’s a firm sponsored event or a campus event, but a lot of times, they have all these firms there, could be five, 10, I’ve been to some with 50 or 60 schools or firms rather, and they’ve got the tables set up with the beautiful table skirts and the signs and all the free swag, the free stuff.
So, I always go and get one of the free bags and fill it all up and it’s kinda like Halloween came early, right? Trick or treat but you’re not there for all the free stuff. You’re there for the information. You’re there to communicate with the people that have the type of job you’re hoping to get.
This is your chance to really talk to these people and shake their hand and say, “How long have you worked at the firm?” and “Why did you choose this firm?” and “Where did you go to school?” and “What motivated you about the firm?” and so forth.
So it’s a big room with a lot of activities, but I always tell people, your goal is to talk to every single firm and kinda go in with the right mindset and say, okay, assume at the end of the evening, I had to choose one of these firms to work for for the next five years, what kinda questions would I want to ask in order to figure out whether or not this is the firm that I want to work for?
Now, a lot of these events have food. I always tell people eat before you go because these events may only be two or three hours and guess what? I want to talk to every single firm and each firm may bring two or three people. So, I want to talk to all of those people because you may connect really well with one person. That’s the person that will talk to the recruiter and get you that interview.
So, it’s important to kinda make sure that you’re out there and if I’m going to spend 15 minutes eating, that’s 15 less minutes I have to talk to the different firms because from your standpoint, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I gotta get a job. I gotta get a job.”
From the firm’s standpoint, they’re looking at you like, “Hmm, is this a manager in waiting? Is this someone that eventually, we can promote up the ladder to manager?”
So, you’ll see things, leveraging your Meet the Firms Experience exposes your resume to a wide range of firms and organizations because you’re out there maybe handing out a resume or a lot of schools prepare a resume book in advance, a connection with a variety of firms, professionals from staff to HR managers all the way up to partners. You gain confidence in speaking with professionals.
So, communicating, that’s why I said that practice makes perfect. Go often, as many, some schools have it twice a year. Go both times. Secure internships, full time positions. So, it’s a great way. One of the questions might be, “Do you guys offer an internship?” Because maybe that’s my foot in the door to kinda taste test the waters and taste what the environment is like.
It says Plan of Attack, prioritize and research the firms. Now with researching the firms, I always, I encourage students to talk to the, whether it’s Beta Alpha Psi or Accounting Society and find out who is going to be attending. So, in other words, what firms will be there.
Then, you may want to go to their website, look online and kinda see, how big a firm is it, what kind of areas do they specialize in, is it audit, is it tax, it is consulting? I also want to know who’s going to be there as far as public, private, governmental. The size of the firms that are going to be there.
So, I’d like to go in the door knowing kind of in advance what to expect and what it is we’re looking for so I have an idea of what’s awaiting me when I walk through that door.
Now, what is your plan of attack? We need to build a resume. What is a resume? It’s a picture of your past and present accomplishments.
Now, at this level in your career, your resume should never be more than one page. Why not? ‘Cause you haven’t done that much yet. When you start going for upper, upper level positions, then maybe it could be a page and a half or two pages. I’m going for you know, a VP, a director position, a CEO, CO, that’s fine, but at this point in your career, one page is more than enough.
Now, what are some of the resume tips? First of all, consider a bulleted resume. So, as you have on the page some bullets, because it’s easier to read, it kinda clears it up a little bit. As I said, condense it to one page.
Also I like to sprinkle it with things like action verbs. Created, developed, managed, supervised. So go online, look up action verbs, and sprinkle your resume with those.
Also, a lot of times, the career center will come to the accounting clubs and have resume workshops. Go to those workshops or go to the career center, bring your resume in. Have them look it over because it’s a great way to get some input on seeing if you’ve set it up correctly. Also, I like to look online and say if it’s accounting, accounting resumes to get an idea of what they should look like.
You know, what is your objective? To obtain, to use my high energy and my great communication skills in the career of accountancy. So, things like that.
List your jobs in reverse chronological order. Always, always, always proofread it carefully because if you have any misspellings or typo’s, boom, that thing’s gone because we realize you had days, weeks, months to prepare this, that if you’re not that, you know, if you’re not auditing your resume carefully here, what kind of auditor are you going to be at our firm? So, you want to make sure that there are no typos.
Now, things you don’t want to do. Don’t go over a page. So, it shouldn’t be two pages. Don’t lie on your resume. I speak 14 languages. They go, “Oh, say goodbye in three of them.” Uhh… Don’t use personal pronouns, like I, me, my. Don’t list your high school education. Nobody cares, okay? Unless there’s something amazing, like I won state champion in beach volleyball because that’s a good conversation piece.
Don’t emphasize skills that you don’t want to do in the future. Alright, I’m really good at this, but I don’t want to do that because chances are, they may say, “Oh, we happen to have an opening in that since you’re so great at that.”
Resume Tips, attend resume workshops, as I said earlier if you have them in Campus or go to the career center. Highlight your strengths, but also know your weaknesses and I mention that because on a lot of interviews, they’ll always ask you, they’ll ask you these questions and they’re not just one-word answers, but they’re going to ask you questions and they’re going to say things like what are your strengths and so you always have that.
What is your biggest weakness, right? Well, you don’t want to say, “I’m lazy and I drink too much, and I par–,” no, no. You want to use it in a sense like, “Well, I’m kind of a workaholic. I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, so I’m never quite satisfied with what I’ve–” So, you want to make anything a positive. Always, always, always.
Make objectives specific, so it’s clear as to what it is you’re looking for. Tailor to the job description so okay, it’s okay to have multiple versions depending on what kinda companies you’re interviewing with. Do include things like your GPA, especially if your accounting GPA’s higher, include that as well. As I said, keep it to one page and if relevant, include personal accomplishments.
Again, it kinda shows, like I put things like travel through Europe, speak different languages, have been skydiving or snowboarding and I did that because there are times where you hand your resume to someone and you just hit it off great, you could talk for hours. There are times where you walk in an interview with someone who has no personality and they’re looking for things to talk about.
So having put on there that I was on the dating game in the late 80’s, early 90’s, and you can look at it on YouTube, they see that and they go, “Oh, okay, let’s talk about–.”
And a lot of times, what you talk about is not as important during the interview as the rapport. If you’re interviewing with someone and they go, “Wow, this guy’s exciting and interesting, I could talk to them for hours.” That’s great. If they’re like looking around for things to talk about, that’s kind of a problem.
So, it’s important to again, sprinkle it with things that show how your uniqueness and you’re different than everybody else. Talk to students who have attended Meet the Firms ahead of time.
So, talk to people who have been through it. Ask them any good advice, things that they recommend. It also helps to buddy up. So in other words, you can walk around, maybe with a pair like you and somebody else. That’s great because you don’t want to overwhelm the recruiters.
A lot of times when we walk out and it’s our first time, it’s kinda scary, so we’re like, “Well let’s all walk around with these four buddies of mine.” All of a sudden, there’s five of you with a recruiter and they’re like ah! You’re overwhelming the recruiter.
Well, the recruiters have a great personality or they wouldn’t be a recruiter, right? We’re not going to hire someone with no personality, a stick in the mud and say, “This is a representative of our firm.” Instead, we’ve got these ambitious, aggressive, assertive, outgoing, personable people.
So, if I’ve got five people in front of me, I’m like ada-da-da-da, and all of a sudden entertaining them, but I’m not going to remember any of you. So, I encourage you to break off in pairs or either go alone or with somebody else and that way, you’re talking to the recruiter, the two of you are talking to that one recruiter. There’s a higher probability that they’re going to remember you. So again, I encourage you to break off into smaller groups.
Also, dress is important. With dress, what you’re wearing is so important as you walk in there. Your clothing though should be a source of confidence. In other words, you don’t want to wear something that after the event, everybody’s talking about. You want to wear something that after the event, nobody remembers, right?
So, nothing that sticks out too much. I like to wear maybe a loud tie, something like that, but I’m not going to walk in like, what was that movie, Big, where you walk in in a white tuxedo? Everyone’s like, “Hello?” I might be a little bit old ’cause maybe you’ve never seen the movie.
I remember for myself, when I was going through recruiting and I was in college, I looked really, really young. I know it’s hard to believe, but I did. So, I walked in and I used to have these earrings, you know, these Wham earrings back from the 80’s. “Wake me up before you go, go.”
So, I took those out and since I looked young, I put on glasses because the glasses made me look more serious, more intelligent, and so on and again, the purpose was to, I didn’t want to look too crazy and wild because I’m entering into a pretty conservative, very professional career path. Therefore, I wanted to properly fit in. You know, I kinda looked like Justin Bieber. “Hey, what do you mean?” You know, but I wanted to look a little bit older and more mature.
Again, clothing should be very important where it’s a source of confidence, maybe a nice suit, colored tie, collared shirt, a nice tie, dark shoes, matching belt, that kinda stuff.
For women, maybe dark colored business suit or a pants suit is fine. Something maybe to the knees. A light colored blouse, tailored button down, closed toed shoes are good. Nothing too dangly earrings. Again, you don’t want it to be a distractor. I don’t want them to distract from who I am.
Like I said, I used to have the double hoop earrings that looked so cool, but I don’t want them to remember me for the earrings. I want them to remember me for me.
Now, tips for attending Meet the Firms and I know you’re kinda nervous and as I said, you want to go early, you want to go often. Practice makes perfect. So, it says arrive on time. I suggest you get there not only on time, but early. So, the event starts at six. I want to get there at 5:15 depending on the cities you live in.
I lived in LA. Traffic was a bear, you never knew. There could be a car accident and you’re going to be three hours late. So, leave early, get there early. Get to the parking lot.
When you walk in, all of a sudden, there’s all these tables set up and there’s the big signs and we’ve got drop down signs and freebies and everything else. When you get that name tag, where do you put it? No, put it right here. So, when you’re shaking hands, they see, “Oh, there’s your name, Roger Philipp.”
So, do that, you walk around. You want to circulate ’cause a lot of us, what we do is we get there early, we dress properly, we look good, we walk in, and then we play the wallflower game where you stand against the wall or your tagalong game where you hook up with a bunch of people and that’s it. As I said earlier, break up into groups or go on your own so the recruiter’s going to remember you.
Also, you’re not there to eat the food. If you have to, fine, but try to eat before so you can spend that extra time schmoozing with the people that do the hiring. Attend with a peer, not a posse, as I said earlier. Not a huge group.
Bring hard copies of your resume. Some of the schools will prepare a resume book in advance, which is great, but I don’t know if they’re going to have that. So, what I’ll do is I’ll bring a bunch of resumes and I’m not going to just walk around with a resume. “Resumes, who wants one?”
I’ll put ’em in a nice folder and carry ’em around and then as I walk up and I talk to people, “Hi, I’m Roger Philipp, you’re, oh nice to meet you.” And you start talking and then I say, “Oh would you mind if I gave you one of my resumes?”
Sure and then they start taking notes on the resume and if you do well, afterwards, they write notes on there and then a lot of the firms afterwards will meet together, the staff of that firm and they’ll talk and say, “What’d you think, who’d you meet?”
And then you give that to the recruiter. Well, you have that resume to give to that person you interviewed with or talked to, kind of an interview. They then give it to the recruiter. Hopefully they’re going to follow up with you, which would be awesome.
Also, it’s important to strategize your targets. What that means is, when you walk in the room, there could be 60 firms and I’ve got three hours to hit 60 firms. That’s three minutes a firm. “Hi, I’m Roger, hi I’m Roger, hi.” So, you need to strategize.
What I always suggest is kinda warm up with a firm you’ve never heard of or a firm you don’t know very well because A., if I make a mistake, that’s fine. At least my dream firm, I didn’t blow it with them yet. But also, you may learn some great opportunities about a firm that you thought you had no interest in.
So, I would go up and say, “Hi, you’re what? Shlokencone, nice to meet you. Tell me about your firm.” You start hearing stuff, you’re like, “Wow, “that sounds exciting and great.” So again, warm up there. After a couple of these, by the third or fourth table, you feel comfortable, you feel calm now.
“Hi, I’m Roger Philipp, nice to meet you. And you’re? Bob, nice to meet you. How long have you been working at the firm? Great, what office are you in? Uh huh, what department are you in? Why did you decide to choose this firm over–?”
So, it’s again, as I said earlier, what you talk about is not as important as the rapport. That person feels like gee, this is someone I could work 40, 50 hours a week with. That’s a good thing. That’s what you’re looking for as far as communication and as far as figuring out where you want to go.
Now this is an important statement. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Think about it. You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. So, when I walk in, I want to make a good first impression.
So, how do I create that lasting first impression? I walk in the door, shaking your hand, good firm handshake. Have you ever shaken someone’s hand that’s like that dead fish? That doesn’t give you a sense of confidence. So, a nice firm hand, you’re not tryin’ to break their fingers, right? But a nice, calm, confident handshake.
If some of you get nervous and your hands are all wet, what I suggest, you carry a drink in that hand ’cause some of us get nervous and sweat. ‘Cause you don’t want to go, “Oh hi, I’m–” and your hand slips off. So what I would do is carry a drink in that hand and then a napkin and then I go, “Oh hi.” Then I put the drink down, dry it off like it’s condensation from the drink. It’s really my sweat ’cause I’m nervous. “Hi, I’m Roger, nice to meet you.”
Good eye contact is important. Have you ever seen people, “Hi, I’m Roger.” Right, I’m really confident. Well then look me in the eye. Again, it’s not a staring contest. But, “Hi, I’m Roger, nice to meet you.”
Start the conversation, as I just did, asking questions. Make sure with the questions though and if they ask you a question, it’s never a one-word answer. “Hey, how do you like the, do you like the accounting program here?” “Yep.” No, no, no. “Yes, I do. That’s actually one of the reasons I went to the school here. Did you attend the accounting program here?”
Ask questions because people like to answer questions. So, I like to keep the conversation going. Also, listen carefully. Be a good listener. A lot of times, we’re so nervous, that all we’re thinking about is our next question. Don’t do that.
It’s like, “Hey, have you been on any good audits?” “Yeah, I was on this one audit.” “Anything interesting happen?” “Yeah, there was an explosion and 12 people died.” “Oh, that’s nice,” and then you go to your next question. No, no, no, no. Let the conversation go where it will. So, have a couple of starter questions, but then just let the conversation go.
Your posture’s important. You don’t want to be all shlumpy and eh. It shows that you’re not calm and confident. You want to have good posture, good communication. Avoid things like negative topics. “So, what do you think about the political situation?” Not a good topic.
At the end, I like to say, “Oh, do you have a business card?” And then I collect the business card. And it’s important, I then turn the corner and I write notes on the back of the card because otherwise, after the event, it’s like, how was the event? “It was fabulous, look at all the cards I got.” You’re like, “Well, who are these people?” I don’t remember.
So, it’s important to afterwards, “Thank you very much, do you have a business card?” Yes, then I walk away. I don’t do it in front of them. It’s not like you’re taking dictation. “So, how long you worked here? Mmhmm, why’d you choose the firm? Mmhmm, are you sure about that?”
So, I take notes afterwards, write it on the card, and then I follow up with them. Since I have my own cards, I usually fold ’em in half so I don’t accidentally give them, someone else, you know, someone else’s card by accident. So I like to fold it up, put it in my pants pocket and then I keep my cards in my jacket pocket so I’m handing those out, but the ones I’ve collected are actually down in my pants.
Also, follow up promptly. Maybe that evening or the next day, I’ll write them a thank you note. “It was great meeting you.” And I’ll mention something like, “It was great talking to you about blah, blah, blah.” Or “I’m glad that you liked the color of my tie, ’cause they’ll say, “Well that’s a nice tie.” Or “I enjoyed talking to you about Hawaii or Mexico or whatever.”
That way, I can stick out because tomorrow, they may get 10 or 15 thank you emails. I want them to remember me. It’s important that I stand out in a positive way.
Now, securing an interview. First of all, Meet the Firms often leads to great interviews. That’s awesome. If it doesn’t, then you may need to explore other methods or other ways of getting an interview. So, for example, the company’s website directly, or going to LinkedIn or the University’s job board or the career center or referrals. Those are other ways.
You also may want to touch up your resume to make sure. Maybe I learned something at Meet the Firms. These are better ways to communicate some of my talents and skills. You want to include a well written cover letter. The cover letter should be descriptive and it should be correctly written, no typos, no grammatical errors.
And as I mentioned earlier, understand aggressive versus obnoxious. What does that mean? You want to be aggressive, you want to reach out, you want to be serious about the firm and show that you’re on top of it, but you don’t want to go overboard. You don’t want to be obnoxious about it. So, it’s important that people feel like, “Wow, this guy’s ambitious and aggressive.” That’s good. Aggressive is good, obnoxious is not so good.
Now, the Multi-Stage Interview Process. It varies from company to company. Know who’s conducting your interview. Sometimes it’s going to be one person. Sometimes it might be multiple people.
Figure out the type of interview. Is it an individual, a group interview? Is it a phone interview? A video, an in-person interview? We’ll talk about those in a minute.
Where is the interview? Is it at the client’s office? Is it meeting for lunch? Is it at a social outing? Also, multiple interviews may be required. So, for example, you may have an on-campus interview, an in-house interview.
I remember, for example, when I was in school, basically they had, we didn’t have all the computers. So, you’d have to actually go out and put your resume in the different boxes. In today’s day in age, I submit my resume to different firms. Then they may pick me. We may start with an on-campus interview. So, I want to do a good job ’cause if I do a good job, then I get an in-house interview.
And I went on a whole bunch of in-house interviews and I remember, I’d show up at, let’s say 10 in the morning and you meet with the recruiter. “Hello, nice to meet you.” Then they would bring me and sit down for 20, 30 minutes talk, then bring me to a person. Then bring me to another person. Then bring me to another person. Then I would go to lunch. Every single person evaluates you.
I remember when I started at Deloitte, if I was unassigned, they would always send me out on lunch interviews. It was great, I got free lunch. But what happened is, I would meet with the person, have a nice lunch and then drop them back at the recruiter’s office and then they would give me a piece of paper. And it would ask a bunch of questions and at the bottom, it said offer or reject.
So, I would mark offer or reject based on the conversation, the communication, did they fit in well, were they comfortable in their own skin? These were all things that are important that I would look at to evaluate as to whether or not I want to work with this person 40 or 50 hours a week.
If you’re going to other events and there’s alcohol, be very careful, right? If you’re of age, maybe have a drink, that’s it, right? They’re maybe testing you. Is this person an alcoholic? Let’s figure it out. So, again, I try to avoid that.
When I go on business luncheons, business meetings, I get an iced tea. I keep it safe and clean because I have no desire to drink. If it’s an after evening thing, a cocktail party, I’ll go, I’ll have half a drink and carry that drink around all night long because I’m not there to party. I’m there to do socializing and to enhance my career opportunities.
Keys to the Interview Process. Research the company, obviously. Go with the flow of the interview. So again, let the conversation go where it will.
Keep the energy level up. It’s so important. I mean, I try to do that if I’m presenting or if I’m in a meeting or if I’m in a big cocktail party. I try to have good energy and keep it up ’cause people want to be around people that have high energy, that are motivating, that have a positive outlook on life.
Be prepared with good questions, but again, don’t be married to the questions. Have a couple of starter questions. You don’t have to write ’em on your hand. But let the conversation go where it will.
Use your interviewer’s name. “Hi, I’m Bob. Hi Bob, it was nice to meet you. So Bob, tell me about this.” Because they like to hear the name, plus it’s a good way to remember the name.
End the conversation positively. “It was great talking with you. I’m really excited about the possibilities “of working at your firm and I look forward to hearing from you soon.” So, these are all a couple of things you should consider.
Now, what kind of interviews are there? Well, there’s a phone interview. I just had one of these recently. I always like to break myself off and go into a private area. I’ll have my phone, I’ll have my headset on. So, that way I don’t have to be disturbed. I want to be a good listener. I’ll bring paper and I’ll take notes. I’ll write down key things so I can bring those back up later in the conversation.
So, take it like a regular interview. Put yourself in a quiet, uninterrupted environment where you can hear well. While you’re talking, it’s important to smile because believe it or not, the smiling carries through in your voice. It helps to make it more positive, more energetic.
Make sure you’re available. Do not miss the call. Make sure before the call comes in that your phone is working properly.
A video interview, that’s when you’re sitting in front of the video cam, you know, the video screen. So maybe you’re doing a Facetime or maybe whatever, a Skype interview. Choose your background carefully. Make sure the wall behind you is not too busy. Make sure the wall behind you is not completely blank.
Test your sound system and video equipment prior to when the interview is about to start. It looks very unprofessional if last minute, you’re scrambling to try to figure out how to get it going. Avoid any background noise.
Look at the camera. When you’re talking to them, don’t look down at the picture of yourself. “Hi, look how beautiful.” No, look up so that way, it feels as if you’re talking to each other. Even though you want to look at the picture of them, kinda look at the camera. Glance at the picture to see what’s going on, but in your peripheral vision, but make sure you’re talking to them.
Also, dress professionally, at least from the waist up, right, because we want to make sure that you look the part. So, dress professionally, watching again, how you carry yourself, how you present yourself and so forth.
What about an in-person interview. That’s usually the best. That means hey, I’ve made it to that step. Now it’s in-person. Always arrive early.
When I went to my in-houses, be nice to everybody. I mean, you’re going to do that anyway, I hope. But I walk in the elevator, “Hi, how are you? Great day today.” I go up to the receptionist, “Hi, nice to meet you. Oh, hi Bob, I’m Roger, nice to meet you.” ‘Cause they may ask everybody, “What did you think of that person?”
Dress for the job that you want. Dress for success. Try to find out in advance who’s going to be at the meeting so you can maybe do a little bit of research on them.
Your body language, again, is very important. You walk in, you offer a handshake, a nice, firm handshake. You’re not tryin’ to break their fingers. Haha, you lose. But you want to have a nice, calm confident handshake.
Make good eye contact and I suggest bring a resume with you. Why? So that way, if they didn’t get it for some reason, you have extras. I’m not going to hand it out until I know, but if we’re just sitting and talking, I’ll go, “Oh here, I brought an extra resume in case you wanted one.” And they’ll love to take notes on there.
Plus it gives them things to talk about if in case, they’re having trouble coming up with a conversa– ‘Cause like I said, the recruiters are great at carrying on a 30-minute conversation. The manager who just happens to be in the office that day may be great, a technician, but a bad communicator, but he still got the job or she got the job, but you want to have things on there on the resume for them to talk about.
After the interview, follow up promptly. Now, when you follow up, some people say, “Should I send an email? Should I send a letter?” I kinda believe it depends how desperate you are, you know?
I graduate in three years, alright, I’ll send an email. I graduate in a few weeks and I don’t have a job. I ain’t got no job yet. What am I going to do? I’m going to send an email and I’m going to send a handwritten letter because you get that beautiful handwritten letter and you look at it and it’s nice and then you go, “Ah, I don’t want to throw it. I’ll put it on my desk.”
And it sits there for two or three days and that recruiter comes by, I go, “Here, here’s a nice letter I got. Why don’t you follow up on it?” So, it doesn’t hurt. You know, in life, it’s better to be ambitious. It’s better to be a little bit aggressive. Not annoying, but a little bit aggressive. So, again, remember your aggressiveness versus being you know, too obnoxious.
But dare to be different because it’s important to make that positive impression because that gives you a higher probability of actually getting that job. So, it’s really, really important to do that.
So, follow up promptly. Follow up with a warm thank you letter. Let them know, “I really enjoyed meeting with you. I hope to hear from you soon. I’m looking forward to hopefully working in the firm and working in the department of whatever.” So, it’s really important that you do that.
Now, if you follow all of these tips, you will meet the right people, be prepared for the events, you’ll interview well, and hopefully, you will land your dream job. Again, good luck and thank you so very much for your time.
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