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Career and Interview Tips

6 Tips For Acing Any Job Interview

“When a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split and why?" “Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?" “If you're the CEO, what are the first three things you check about the business when you wake up?"

In most job interviews, you're not going to have to worry about oddball questions like the ones above (which came from Space Exploration Technologies, Whole Foods Market, and Dropbox). Even so, interviewing for a new job can range from stressful to terrifying — and what's worse, a bad case of nerves can keep you from making a good impression when it matters most.

Don't panic, though! Acing an interview isn't actually all that complicated. It's all about the preparation: knowing what to expect, how best to convey yourself, and how to handle those tricky questions you may be asked (“biggest weakness," anyone?).

I sat down with two members of PowerToFly's Talent Management team to discuss tips and tricks for interviewees: Rachel Valdez, Head of Global Talent Management, and Deveshe Dutt, Director of Talent Management. Below are some of the key pieces of advice they had to offer:

1. Practice telling your story.

Chances are, you're going to be asked to tell the interviewer a bit about yourself. And if you haven't practiced, it'll be oh-so-tempting to rattle off the basics: I was born here, I went to school there, I worked over there, the end.

Instead, Rachel suggests that you: “Practice telling your story as it relates to the position you're interviewing for. What can you pull out of your bio, your history, your volunteer experience, your passions, that's really going to stand out for that position?"

2. Dress the part, even online.

So you've landed a video interview. Congrats, you don't have to wear pants! JUST KIDDING (of course). As you may have guessed, it doesn't matter whether your interview is online or in person — either way, it's crucial to dress according to the particular company's work culture.

Taking it a step further, “dressing the part" can be about more than what you wear. “If the interview is on the phone, have energy in your voice," Rachel says. “You always want to convey confidence and curiosity about the company."

Bonus tip: in a video call, your background matters. Deveshe warns, “You don't want some weird painting in the back or your roommate walking around in pajamas."

3. Convey your passion.

Of course hiring managers are interested in your experience and qualifications, but they also want to see how you conduct yourself in the interview. “At the end of the day," Deveshe explains, “They're looking for drive. You need to get yourself excited about the job, you need to think about why you fit, and you need to get your power pose on." In other words, being confident and approaching the interview with the right attitude can make a huge difference in your performance.

4. Never burn a bridge.

Discussing previous jobs can be tricky. Our job placement experts warn interviewees to be careful about venturing too far into negative territory. Rachel has a great analogy for this: “If you go on a date with someone, and you're always talking about the ex in this really annoying way, you're not going to make it to the next date." Your job interview is a lot like that date.

On top of that, word spreads fast. Don't bother talking trash about a previous employer because you never know if they'll end up hearing about it. Yes, maybe you had a horrible past experience, but do your best to keep the conversation positive. This is not an appropriate time to gossip.

5. Don't call yourself a workaholic.

What's your biggest weakness? Rachel suggests steering clear of relying on the “I work too much" cliché. Not only does that overused answer suggest that you don't really know your own weaknesses (which in turn means you're not working to fix them), but research actually shows that working more hours doesn't make you more productive.

Pick your answer to this inevitable question ahead of time, but be prepared to offer a positive spin. Maybe you have a lot of trouble facilitating meetings, or you wish you knew a specific skill — what are you actively doing to improve in that area?

6. Follow up.

“It's really important that you follow up right after the interview," Rachel stresses. “Acknowledge people's time, and take this opportunity to highlight anything you forgot to mention in the interview. Use this as another chance to show your passion and interest."

You should plan to send this follow-up the same day you have your interview — which means thinking ahead and getting the emails of everyone you interview with. If you've been given a follow-up assignment, Deveshe notes that this is also the perfect time to ask any clarifying questions and set expectations for when you'll have that finished.

Of course there's no way to prep for every interview question out there, but these six tips should get you well on your way to a successful meeting. If you're applying for remote positions in particular, be sure to check out “Real Hiring Managers Reveal How To Get A Remote Job" as a next read.


How These Companies Are Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.

That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.


The Secrets to Balancing Work and Family Life

3 Pieces of Advice from Working Moms at Pluralsight

Being fully committed to work and family is a challenge that many working parents have to take on. It can be exhausting and thankless pursuing a fulfilling full-time career, while taking an active role as a parent. Achieving a healthy balance can help keep you motivated and productive at work, while allowing you to be fully present when you're home.

We recently chatted with working moms at technology skills platform, Pluralsight, about their best advice for striking that elusive work-life balance. Here were their key points:


How to Make the Most of Being on a Growing Team: 3 Tips from Plex’s Adriana Bosinceanu

When the startup Adriana Bosinceanu was working for got acquired, things changed fast.

She went from being one of eight engineers on a small team building a streaming service to joining a company that was five times larger and had a much bigger scope.

That company was Plex, where Adriana has been working remotely as a software engineer for the last four and a half years.

As her team grew from two people to ten, Adriana decided to lean into the opportunity to grow; along the way, she found herself deepening her technical skills, her self-confidence, and her relationships. We sat down with Adriana to learn exactly how she did that, and to hear the tips she has for other engineers experiencing growth opportunities on their team.

Career and Interview Tips

10 Tips to Stand Out at a Virtual Job Fair

Your guide to preparing for virtual career fairs and making a great impression with recruiters

According to a LinkedIn survey, up to 85% of jobs are filled via networking. For job seekers, virtual job fairs make networking with recruiters more convenient. You can interact with potential employers from all over the world, ask them questions, and apply for jobs. Every event is different, but they most often include video conferencing features, chat rooms, and Q&A sessions.

Dilyara Timerbulatova, Virtual Job Fair Coordinator at PowerToFly explains that, "virtual job fairs have many benefits, namely connecting top talent and recruiters that would otherwise never cross paths. These events are a tool to help companies build well-rounded, diverse teams that align with the company culture and business vision."


Pride At Work: Learn more about Our Partners, Sponsors & Speakers

Learn more about our amazing speakers and sponsors at our June 2021 virtual summit Diversity Reboot: Pride At Work, three days of conversations and panels plus an interactive virtual career fair.

Our Pride At Work summit certainly made us proud! PowerToFly was thrilled to present talks by members of the LGBTQIA+ community alongside some amazing allies. Our conversations ranged from leaders at the highest levels of government positions to visionaries in the worlds of business & tech to artists from the music and entertainment industry. If you tuned in, and celebrated our speakers, thank you! And if you missed the summit or would like to re-watch any of the talks, those conversations will all be available to watch for free on PowerToFly.

We want to extend a HUGE thanks to our amazing sponsors American Express, NGA, Smartsheet, S&P Global, Raytheon Technologies, PwC and Esri plus our media partner MMCA.

If you can, please consider donating to some of the amazing organizations we highlighted at the summit including GLITS, fighting for the health and rights of transgender sex workers; Garden State Equality, the largest LGBTQIA+ advocacy organization in New Jersey, with over 150,000 members; National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, including people living with HIV/AIDS; and NYC Anti-Violence Project, empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy.

Plus, don't forget to visit our Merch Store and grab yourself some PowerToFly apparel. 100% of the proceeds from our sales will be going to TransTech Social, supporting transgender and non-binary people in tech.

Finally, registration for our July 12th - 15th virtual summit Diversity Reboot: Tech For Social Impact is now open! Join us to learn about founders from mission-driven organizations and their social impact. Register for free here
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