How to Prepare for a Job Interview Episode #14

No matter where you are in your career from new graduate to seasoned professional this week’s episode will help prepare for your next job interview. “How to Prepare for a Job Interview with Barry Pulis Episode #14”

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Whether a prospective job seeker or hiring employer you can find Barry at his company the U.S. Recruiting Group.

How to Prepare for a Job Interview – Summary

  1. When preparing for a job interview the first steps to get ready for an initial phone interview or screening
    1. Research – Know about
      • The company
      • Their products
      • The person or people you are meeting with
  • Go Past the home page
    • Read their blog
    • Review their Social Media Accounts
    • Use that knowledge in conversation
    • Assume that you are competing against other candidates and use your research to stand out.
  • Resume formatting tips
    • Present who you genuinely are
    • Think about potential keywords an employer might be looking for. But don’t try to load up on them in hope of getting a better result.
  • What About Social Media Accounts?
    • Every company is different.  Start with their blog,
    • Then Linked In Page, followed by other socials like twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • If you are a first time job seeker or new graduate what should you expect in an on site interview?
    • A phone screening and first contact via phone
    • Onsite or video intervierws from there
    • Expect to meet your potential manager, someone from HR, and also possible team mates currently in similar roles.
    • Don’t be shocked if you meet people outside your department
  • How do you know what is the right dress code for an interview?
    • You may have clues based on geography or industry
    • When in doubt ask
    • It is always better to be a little over dressed than under dressed
  • How should you follow up and with who?
    • Everyone you met with send a thank you later the day that you meet them
    • Use the method of communication that was most common  up to the interview.  It could be email, text, or phone
    • Always set the expectation in the thank you note that you will be back in touch.
    • Follow through with the follow up when you said you would
  • Compensation for non sales people. When, and how should you have that discussion?
    • Job and Career Websites can give you a range if its not stated in the job description
    • It’s OK to ask but do so in a positive light “if I was over performing…”
  • How should you begin to make sure the company is a fit for you?
    • Most importunately make sure your direct manager is a fit for you. It matters far more than the company.

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When it comes to preparing for a job interview, what’s the first step in getting ready for an initial phone interview or screening?                            

This is one a lot of people, I think know instinctively, but don’t go deep enough. in preparing for a job interview it’s research, right? You want to know the company. Know about what their product or service is. You want to know a little bit about the person you’re interviewing with.

Probably 80% of people interviewing stop with the home page and do the very basic surface level research it.  If you want to separate yourself out from other candidates and this is a theme I’ll probably be touching on throughout this conversation, you have to assume you’re interviewing with against other people. That two people may have interviewed right before you got on the phone and often people in their interview after most of them are gonna stop with just the surface level information.

The basics of what the company sells. What the company does. If you really want to be prepared, dig in a little bit more. Go past the home page dig into their blogs. Read and watch the things they post online. Go through their social media accounts too.

Then you can show your deeper research as a candidate by bringing it up in a conversation. I saw in your blog from last week that you’re introducing this new product. You’ve got to go a little bit deeper than than the average candidate.

So you talked about social media, right? What’s the best way to look at what a company’s saying in social media? Are some platforms that are more insightful than others?

I think their own unique was a lot of companies. A lot of companies are gonna have their own blog, and that is really a great source of information. You want to find something that is somewhat meaningful to you, that it’s genuine as you prepare for a job interview.

It’s not. Oh, you’re doing this in the Asia Pacific market. If it’s really not that that meaningful to you, it doesn’t come across this genuine. Make sure it’s something that really interests you that was in their blog. It could be coming from Facebook or Instagram. It depends on the industry and that what kind of business you are interviewing with. Some people (companies) use social media platforms more than others. Like before with your research when preparing for a job interview  It’s the same is the same technique. It’s the same approach. You refer to it in the conversation and you show them that you saw it

Today companies often use webinars as educational tools for the general public or for their customers. Is that the kind of thing a candidate could watch before that first conversation and educate themselves better?

Yes! If they’ve hung it up for public display. Sometimes you have to register to get a white paper, for example, or to be able to go into the webinar archives. If you have to register. That’s okay. Uh, think so. Some people are hesitant to do that’s like, although no, I get that.

And other times my own daughter even said, Yeah, but if I look at the Lincoln profile before interview with don’t know, I did and responses, yeah, that’s that’s good effort. That’s what you want from Candace. It shows interest that you are preparing for your job interview, right?

So the answer’s yes to your question. It’s a great idea, even if you have to register, even if your name pops up. The one thing you want to avoid, though, is sometimes they’re gonna look at you as a prospect.

You don’t on interview with their business approach a bit stressed, tells the generator couldn’t find out, calling you and saying, Hey, Tim, you tell you respect for this women are that, you know when it’s for our kind. You couldn’t just let them know you’re a candidate. If there’s a common section, you know, when you’re when you’re signing up, just know you’re not a prospect.

If they don’t read the comments section and they call, you could say, Hey, yeah, I’m a candidate. I’m interviewing. What’s it like to work there?

Exactly. Great points.               

Don’t be too surprised that they don’t talk too long before going to the next prospect.

When preparing for a job interview is Linked In a valuable tool for most industries?

Yes Industry wide you’ll find all kinds of people in the work force there. I mean all kinds. You know LinkedIn is the business networking site and it’s incredibly valuable. Maybe we’ll get into it a little more detail. How to really maximize it since it is multi industry multi job function.

When it comes to online job applications are there resume / CV formatting tips or things people should consider when they’re looking at jobs?

There are, you know, and that’s that’s a tough one because a lot of the many, many of the businesses are using A. T.S., which is Applicant Tracking Systems. They’re looking for key words, right? So people have learned to maximize certain key words into their resumes or even in their Linked In profile.

If they do a set of long tail keywords at the end of the profile. With a bunch of key words they get found more easily.

There really isn’t a magic formula because some applicant tracking systems. I don’t know why, but I will submit a candidate that has been in their applicant tracking system. And they didn’t find them.  I don’t know if they just weren’t searching by the right key words. Or they just didn’t understand what kind of qualities they really needed in the candidate. So I say format and create a resume genuinely. So it really is you. Don’t don’t add things that aren’t you just to try to get found more easily and those those words should be found. You’re at the mercy of what these Applicant Tracking Systems are searching by and that a lot is done by humans Who put in those keywords.

Sometimes what hiring managers think the key words are and what HR departments and this from firsthand experience think those keywords are very, very different.

Tim, you hit it right on the head, and that’s that’s why I wouldn’t recommend the candidates to just really changed up their resumes and try to maximize all those few hours because what would be good for 1 may not be good for the HR person because they’d always look at the same light and the auto transmission. I really tried to steer people away from that and really as much as possible back to linked in. Use your connections and linked and see if you know somebody who knows somebody at that company can give you a warm introduction. It is it is orders of magnitude. More effective.

The Power of a Personal Introduction when preparing for a job interview                 

Yeah, that personal introduction when preparing for a job interview, even if it’s a virtual personal introduction, is probably much more powerful than Linked In and resumes. I hired a guy once, literally. I was getting ready to make an offer to somebody else. I just happened to go into one of the tracking systems at the place I was working at the time and literally saw a name I recognized. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked it. So I picked up the phone and called the guy and said. “Hey Pete, what are you doing?” He said he was going to call me as he had applied for a job online. Then asked who’s the hiring manager? I’m like, Dude, I am and almost made the offer to somebody else. Let’s have a conversation, right? He applied on line, but he never made the call looking for an intro. And he’s a great sales guy. He just waited 96 hours to pick up the phone when he should have just called once he applied for this job.                 

To the people listening, that probably sounds like that’s just one of those weird questions but it is that stuff that happens all the time. Every recruiter has many stories like that. When preparing for a job interview you can never start too early at looking for introductions and recommendations.

There’s gonna be a lot of people coming out of school. The world’s a strange place right now, so people get in university degrees or finishing grad school.

What advice do you have for somebody getting ready for what to expect on their first time preparing for a job interview on site  with an employer?

In any job market regardless of what’s going on it’s tough, Although right now the stakes are particularly high right because a lot of people people are looking for jobs right now.  (Editor’s Note: The Preparing for a Job Interview episode was taped prior to Covid 19 nationwide lock down and 10m unemployment claims in the previous two weeks)

The first on site job interview is a little different. Phone interviews are one thing but you don’t have the opportunity to show interest through expressions and body language.

That is really important that first on premise interview. It is going to be a chance for them to see your composure. It may seem like obvious thing, but also little nervous tics or little anxiety things show up. Try to minimize those as much as possible and try to be aware of them going in and where where you are, the better you’ll be able to control them.

Everyone has things so you can’t eliminate everything.  We all have things we do sometimes under under stress. And a job interview, it’s a stressful situation. Doing an in person interview. The more you’re aware of it, and you can kind of minimize those things that better. That composure, a presence from the minute you open the door. An employer will be looking how job seeker appeared. Some interviewers will be looking at this through the lens of their customers. If you’re going to be a customer facing employees, Oh, are they looking through the lens of other people within the company to see if I hire Tim? This is what other people are going to see when they talk to Tim, and meetings are inside the office, and this is the guy I hired. So they kind of look at it from that lens is how you present yourself. How is your prescience. The more prepared you are, the better.

Is there a different level of presence or communication that may be looked for in a technical roll or an administrative role or a financial role?

Yes, yes, yes, great point. Absolutely. That presence and composure Expectation is lower for non sales roles.

 If you’re going to be interacting with a lot of managers with the company of the same year and an accounting role. If you are working with the CEO or other executives they’re gonna want to see that presence all right.

They don’t want you want to get flustered in front of the managers if they just ask some basic questions. Expectation level is a little bit lower, I think, for, you know, certain roles.

If it has a very strong analytical or or stem basis. You’re looking for those qualities and again the presence and that that level goes down even more for those that are going to be in situations where they have to speak in front of coworkers, it goes a little higher.    

It seems that anyone preparing for a job interview can expect to be going through panels of interviews. Everybody wants to say or a look. How do you prepare somebody for that? If it’s their first time in the second part is how does somebody handle the transition in the small talk between person and person?

OK, so sometimes they’re not done in the same day right. They’re over a period of time. But I think I think them. The approach applies whether it’s within the same day or it’s over over multiple days as much as you can take notes. If you know you’re gonna be interviewing with Tim Kubiak and then later in the week you’re gonna interview with Barry Pulis well, have notes.

And that way, when you’re fit is talking with Tim. You thank him, right? And you move on to the next interview, whether it’s the same day or later, and you talk to Barry and say, That’s a great point Tim was talking about this in this, and it sounds like that’s what you’re saying or what? How are you?

However, you want to work it into the conversation reference those previous conversations with another hiring managers or the other interviewers? A. It shows that you’re listening and you’re applying those things be.

It’s complimentary and it also can create that that easy conversation. And also maybe some small talk. If it was something that was not really business related, you know, Tim was talking about how the Cardinals were guaranteed to win the World Series. It’s too bad that things were getting pushed back. You know I was gonna change her date. Well, Tim is was crazy for thinking that this is a nice little little conversation.

 You can connect different items if you have notes from a previous interview., It acceptable to look at them as you formulate your questions to make that cross reference.

Sometimes say “is okay if I take notes?” I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t be okay with the candidate taking notes. It shows interest again, They don’t know whether you’re taking notes or reading your notes right, and it’s more than okay to refer to it.

 Now if if it appears that you’re reading everything that doesn’t come across as well, it’s okay to do it a little bit. But if you’re throughout the entire interview, you’re reading everything that’s not quite as good. You should have some a couple of questions or points that you want to bring up in your head. You can refer to your notes for others, but just try to bounce between the two. Don’t read more than half.

It’s like giving a presentation, whether it’s in class or in business. Don’t read the words on the slides.

 How do you find out what to wear on a job interview with such varied dress codes at companies?

You know, for a couple of snappy dressers like you and me. It’s tough because everything’s going so casual. That’s that’s a really good question. And it’s It’s one of these situational things again.

A lot of times, you’ll get clues. You’ll get some clues from what industry and what geography you’re interviewing in. If it’s if it’s Northern California, especially Silicon Valley area, it’s gonna be more casual than down here in Orange County,

If you’re going into the interview, you’ll usually have an advocate. Somebody, the internal recruiter, an external recruiter like me. Somebody can provide you guidance, and it is absolutely okay to ask. It doesn’t show any weakness or vulnerability at all to say, uh, Mr Hiring manager or Mrs. internal recruiter, “I was thinking about wearing this. Would that be appropriate for the interview?”

Just don’t don’t say what do I wear. I have a closet full of stuff. Just  know what you were planning on wearing. And check in with that. The rule of thumb for a new candidates for people entering the job market for the first time. Or or if you’re newer in your career, five years or less, it’s always okay to dress a little bit more.

And it’s not like that like you’re a sales person going in to make a big sale to some company where they look at you and think you don’t really get us because you’re in a full three piece suit. After the 1st interview If you feel overdressed or under dressed just adjust, it’s far better to be a little bit overdressed.

A large percentage of our listeners are female. Any advice for young women entering the work force that would maybe different from men?                 

Yeah. Tap out on this one, Tim,  I may have lied about being a snappy dresser.          

I would defer to my 23 year old daughter who just entered the workforce. She’s got a nice wardrobe that’s all casual stuff. It’s a lot of slacks. I don’t think she got a single skirt. I would still say for interviews it’s always better to over dress a little bit.

If anything I’d say go a little bit more formal. A little bit not a lot, just a little bit versus less. My daughter did that interviewing just recently, and it worked out. And she wanted going the same approach throughout all the interviews, which was like six or seven. And it worked out. You didn’t need to adjust.

Whon do you follow up with  after a job interview, how quickly? Do you email everyone, phone call, text?

Depends on what the communication process was before. If they lean more toward text, go with texts. If they leaned more toward email, go with e mail. Uh, but those giving you two best phone calls aren’t quite as effective today as they were.

You know, yesterday, years ago and there’s ah, nice weight is a lot to say. “Well we’ll get back to you” I think a lot of younger people are a little hesitant to follow up for fear of bothering them or annoying them. A certain amount of follow up is necessary to show you’re so interested. Also to remind them I’m still out here because again they interview.

They interview Courtney today. They interviewed multiple people on Monday and they might be interviewing a couple people tomorrow. And Courtney may have done really well, but they also have their normal business activities that they’re dealing with. Especially now.

They have other world events they’re dealing with and trying to maneuver around that a lot of stuff coming at people. And I think we kind of look at things through our own lens and assume “it’s just me”. I interviewed with you. You remember me, right?

Well, they have a lot going on their plates because interviewing is not is primary job responsibility, but it makes up a small percentage of their job . For a recruiter or some HR specialists it happens to be is the main part of their that responsibility.

For a hiring manager it’s not always easy for them to remember the details, so you have to follow up. The best way to do that is when you said thank you note.You should always send thank you notes after the interview.You wait a little while. You don’t do it a minute after the interview finishes. But you do it later that night or the next morning.

You said thank you  tell them whatever you want to say in the thank you note, And close with “if I don’t hear anything I’ll follow up with you next week,” You set the expectation. But do it follow through. If you say it then you follow up with them next week. You darn well better opening next week You told them you’re gonna do it. A good candidate follow up exactly as they said they would.

Speaking of non sellers, compensation for non salespeople, how and when do you have that discussion?

 That’s an age old question, isn’t it? Both of us are interviewing managers and have hired a lot of people. I mean, this could be a personal preference thing, but I don’t want to hear a lot of compensation questions on the first interview. I want them to think about fit. There should be some idea going into that first interview, some idea of what the range the conversation range is gonna be. So you shouldn’t it shouldn’t be completely blind if it is. The company hasn’t done a great job. They don’t always. They don’t always tell you what the actual conversation or the base out is gonna be, but it’s not hard to get arranged for customer service rules. It’s not hard to get a range for entry level financial analyst Rolls. It’s out there. The information’s out there. You get a decent range, and it depends on geography. You know, Pittsburgh and ST Louis and Chicago are gonna be different as our Northern California and in Seattle. So you seem to get that information

Online tools  Give you pretty good range. Then now we’re let’s say we’re past that first interview. You’re in the second and third. There’s a lot of ways to get compensation information without just saying “How much are you willing to pay me if I get this job?”?

Because they by the time they you get to the point of knowing before they offer you a job you. You want to know that ahead of time so that if your interview with other company I get that you need earlier in the conversation though you can ask, “I’m really excelling in this position…?” So you kind of changed it from how much impunity, But let’s picture me achieving and maybe over receiving on the numbers and whether it’s a sales position or an internal again financial analyst positions.

Some of those have little bonus opportunities, and that’s what you can find out. You know, if I’m really overachieving, what what would I expect? Thio. Earn it in our their boss. Doctors say something like that, and it’s especially for new people. They don’t expect you to have the wording perfect, but it gets you. It gets you an easy and more comfortable way toe. Have that conversation conversation. Maybe after you know, maybe after the first interview, make more likely, maybe after the second.

How do you make sure the company fits with you?

And we’re really on our best behavior. Sometimes we’re interviewing our way. So I’ll give you a couple ideas and some of the questions asked. At the same time it is. It’s the same on both sides, and sometimes you don’t know which person fits again until they’re there and they’ve been there for a month.

For candidates. It’s like everything sounded. Website was pretty. The people are really nice here I am a month in. I’m not getting quite as much attention whenever you don’t really know, sometimes a year into the environment, actually living and breathing now to help make an educated decision.

You can talk to managers and a lot of this has to do with your manager. And really, culture of a company is hugely important. Even more important is your direct supervisor. That is really what drives jobs has fashioned more than anything else.

Company culture could be a less than ideal fit for you, but your manager is great. She provides all the guidance. She also runs a little interference for you when things get all sticky for no admin, and they’re asking for different things the company does.

So your leader is when the biggest drivers for a customer satisfaction. So with that said, when you’re interviewing, you can ask questions like What would your team say is, Is your best quality and the only answer that you’re allowed to ask these questions of interviewers and Tim,

You and I even ask questions that you know, like that, probably that I like that I want to ask me that question. Asked them How would you describe your coaching style? You can ask questions like people have left the company. Is there sort of, ah, common reason? Or is there anything that that you know you’re comfortable discussing, like why people be, you know, ask those questions in the very first interview?

Is it Okay to ask why the position is open?          

Hopefully you might know a little bit going in. But you may not, right? It’s probably more likely you won’t know. Obviously, if you don’t know if you’re flying blind on it, you can absolutely ask it again how you ask questions.

You never want to put the interviewers on the defense too much. Cause at some point in the interview after after 20 minutes or so, if they’ve been feeling defensive a little bit, for some reason, they’re not gonna as positive feeling about that candidate.

But you can ask that question to say “is this assistant open because of a promotion?” You’ll get the same answer. You just ask you definitely don’t say why is it open? You know,Kind of doing the positive and we’ll say, Oh, no way. Want him out the back door, “We shot so and so because he couldn’t sell”.


Any LinkedIn tips for non sales people on what they can do with their profiles to make them more appealing? 

Make sure it matches your resume. Because if your LinkedIn profile has trans east to your resume, that’s not good way. Have to assume one of them is right. So what’s what? Which one is it? So you wanna have consistency between your in your profession to steal plenty from your resume.

You should have some of the same bullet points. LinkedIn gives you a little more latitude because it’s a little bit more free form. And no one ever says your LinkedIn profile can only be so many inches from top to bottom. But on resumes, center that air two pages or less with lengthen.

Being connected to 1000 different groups is okay, but that, to me, isn’t real attractive. Tells me you’re just doing a lot of things. You’re you’re a mile wide, but an inch deep in those cause for those that have five or six things that you know. Here’s things that like I’m following. That’s cool, it tells me, especially if they’re consistent with what the role that they’re going before. I like that to make it attractive.

And this is not so much the visual, but the content. Good quantitative figures say from the resume. But some specifics around things that you’ve done that could be quantified. It can’t be quantified. Still, specific responsibilities is to have a lot of times we like to put in the company. Mission statement in our in Arlington profiles, right. Well, say, I work for years, trooper here, the output people work one time or whether that’s fine. That’s good. What you did there is a little bit more important to me as a recruiter and hiring.

Tell me about the three strangest things you have heard about happening during a job interview.                 

I’ve got a firsthand experience but will give you a couple of others. . This is when I was at Dunn and Bradstreet. So I was a final interview for one of my managers that worked for me like the candidate.

It was a formal interview, so I wasn’t looking to not like him. He was probably nervous. It was also summer. I think you remember what it was like late too. It’s like, uh, but he was sweating. And I’ve given them my card when he first came in and gave me, gave me his card for where he was working currently.

He wiped his sweaty brow with my card. He was this nervous when he saw me staring at him. It may  have been the look on my face because everything went downhill from there so bad. I haven’t told the manager he was horrible in the interview, and I think some of it was that. And yes, so that was That was the weirdest things I had happen in one.

This 2nd one is one of my candidates that went in for an interview, and it was a new candidate. It was somebody who was not straight out of college. They had been somewhere for a year. And this was their second professional job. They had newspaper print under cheek. Apparently, this is what the manager told me. He medicine tow you? No, I am sentencing. You should just let it governed. Not even sending me to the cannon. But you totally can’t you have a little newspaper? You got something on your cheek? So he went there like, rub it off. I guess he still had it on his hands. He must have read in the paper in the lobby or stopped. And I don’t know. He said all he did was create a bigger message. E. I couldn’t concentrate. That is why do you have to say you think is the guy I got nervous after that again. It wasn’t because of that. It was really how it spiraled out to that. Because I think through them off right. Sometimes if you don’t start strong, kind of kind of feeds on itself. That’s why I always so candid You want to start a strong in an interview because it kind of thieves on itself positively can also get nailed. The 3rd 1 This is one that wasn’t one of my Candace. This is something I just heard through through other people. Guys interviewing it was more a senior role with ah senior execs at the company that will will talk about oflife. And probably about 15 20 minutes into the interview, you, the interviewer left his posh office. He succeeds himself, said, Give me just a minute and didn’t come back. And then the executive assistant came in and talk this cannon. He’s gone. He’s gonna be coming back here. Let me just let me


validate your parking on the way out.


It’s the seas I’ve ever heard. I don’t know that they weren’t connecting. And I thought, What a jerk of a manager. So nothing like, uh, nothing like the guys from stepbrother showing up in tuxedos and, you know, thanks for funny.


Yeah, well, I got my tuxedo shared for next time I get a picture, clients Don’t worry. You


got the photo?


I definitely got the bow tie every Tuesday, No doubt. So Barry thinks you’re being on today. This is part one of three parts, So tune back in a couple of weeks, and we’ll get to interviewing for sales candidates as well as how to work with the recruiter. Thanks again for listening. When we hope you’ve enjoyed this episode, we put a fresh content every Tuesday. If you like what you heard, please subscribe. Tell your friends and sharing your own social media accounts. I want us to see what you have to say. It’s a B Y o B kind of party. Bring your own bow tie so hashtag bring your own bow tie. Our listeners are important to us after all that you would create this content. For with that in mind, we’re doing a mailbag episode once quarter. You have suggestions, ideas or questions you’d like answered emails that mailbag at Bow Ties in business dot com. This show is produced, edited and resear

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