Interview Basics Worth Mentioning

Interview basics worth mentioning

JAVIER: Hi, welcome to this nine-part series on interviews. I am Javier.

KAREN: And I am Karen.

JAVIER: And together we are…

JAVIER and KAREN: The Gov Geeks (together)

JAVIER: So, today we are talking about, ‘Basics Worth remembering’, and we have at least four tips for you guys today. Karen what’s the first one?

KAREN: The first one is take notes.

JAVIER: Taking notes, super important when you're sitting there in the interview. Yeah, there's a couple of great things I can think of why you want to take notes. Remembering people's names, jotting down the organizations that people in the interview belong to, so you can connect with them.

KAREN: Writing down the questions that they are asking.

JAVIER: Yes. Make sure you understand what they are asking you.

KAREN: So you can answer the question.

JAVIER: Yeah. Because sometimes responses can go a little bit off, which is okay, all of us have had that before, but making sure that you're addressing what they're asking for. And it's also a great opportunity to ask a clarifying question if you need to.

KAREN: Right. And you can also use your note taking skills to take notes when they are talking about the position, maybe about what the organization does, why they are seeking out this position so that when you answer your questions, you can pull some of that stuff into your responses.

JAVIER: Yeah. And if you have all of those notes there, you know to whom to send a thank you message afterwards. Because sometimes you don't know that before going into the interview.

KAREN: Right. Which that's a huge tip is, you want to make sure you're sending those thank you notes.

JAVIER: Yes, another tip, that's a bonus one. Make sure you send thank you notes, thank you emails, all of that stuff. Absolutely.

And then I think also, having the notes down allows you to take the opportunity as soon as you get in there, just like you're taking the SAT or another standardized test. You can write down the formulas, you know, write down the key things that you want to talk about so you can kind of reference that. And then, as you're talking, you can even check off how many times you've talked about those things to make sure that you are spreading out all of your examples, you're not talking about any one thing.

KAREN: Right, it helps to keep you organized and focused. And many times it's a nerve wracking experience. So, you're a big ball of nerves, right? So, having this will help you to channel that nervous energy into a more organized fashion.

JAVIER: Yeah. And then now that you have those notes, when you're done, you can go back and look at that information and ask yourself, were these the right responses? How well did I do? You can help remember some of the questions that they asked and your responses just by reviewing it again. So, it's good practice as you continue to go out and do some more interviews.

And on top of all of that, make sure as you're taking the notes that you are focused in on the relationship, the conversation. So it's not like you're just saying, oh, one moment, and you're writing down the information and entirely can disconnect…

KAREN: Yeah, losing that eye contact.

JAVIER: Yeah, eye contact is always very much important and valued, even in a Zoom calls, all of that stuff.

KAREN: Right. Which we'll talk a little bit more about that in our later sessions.

JAVIER: Yes, we will, that’s another one that's coming up.

All right. So, tip number one, make sure you're taking notes. And what's the second one?

KAREN: Research the agency.

JAVIER: Where can you go to research the agency?

KAREN: Well, luckily since we're talking about public service and public entities, that information is readily available on the inter webs.

JAVIER: Yeah. Public fund is a public trust. And so there's public information. You can see more information on their website, you can look at their budget justifications that’s sent over to Congress, the president's budget that describes all of their activities. You can look them up on best places to work, on those surveys, those are always a fantastic thing. See if they're in the news for any particular issue or concern. Yeah, there's just so much, because what you want to be able to do as you are giving your answers is to demonstrate that you know and understand not only what the organization does, but what the individual role is going to be. So they can know, bam, this person is going to be able to hit the ground running, they have a good understanding of what we do here and why we do it, because they demonstrated that they have a good understanding about that.

KAREN: Yeah, so that would make a very good impression.

JAVIER: Very good impression, which is basically what interview is about. Now, think about this, the reason that they're having an interview with you is because they believe you have the qualifications to do the work. Now they're just trying to see if you're a good fit for the organization, researching the agency can really help you do that.

KAREN: Yeah.

JAVIER: All right. So, that's the second one. What's the third one?

KAREN: The third one is showing that your work experience applies to the target position.

JAVIER: Right. Yeah. I know a lot of times we like to talk about our past experiences and then allow them to think, well, maybe that type of a skillset is going to be valuable for them, but you don't want them to connect the dots, don't leave anything to chance.

KAREN: Right. Don't leave the breadcrumbs and expect them to figure it out. You want to make sure that you lead them there.

JAVIER: Yeah, absolutely. Make the direct case, the direct point that you are the right person for the position by connecting your experiences. So, a great example, they could give you a question, you know, how many widgets have you produced in the past? And you can say, well, to be honest, I've had some great experiencing producing XYZ widgets, and I understand that your agency does XYZ activities. And I know that my widget making opportunities could really be a fantastic growth point for your organization.

KAREN: Yeah. So, you tie those connections and you show them that your previous experience is a benefit to your ability to do the job you're applying for.

JAVIER: This is your opportunity. You're right. It's to show them that you can do the work. Because all of the other people they know can do the work, but show them that you're the right fit, that you've got the right skillset, all of that stuff. You're the choice. All right, well what is the fourth tip?

KAREN: So, the fourth tip is power poses and good tune.

JAVIER: Power poses. Yes.

KAREN: So, wonder woman.

JAVIER: Yeah. So like wonder woman that we have right here, she is doing a fantastic power pose, but there's actually some social sciences behind power posing, right?

KAREN: Yeah. There's a Ted talk by Amy Cuddy and she also has a book called “Presence”. And that goes over how the body language is a key factor in your ability to be not only present, but show presence and to show that… what did you call it? Centered Power.

JAVIER: Exactly right. Coming from a place of centered power. So, this is who you are, your best person. I mean, think about this. There were some times in all of our lives where we can really think, I was really my moment. I was really feeling good. I was a funny joke or I knew the information, I felt really good about it. The more you can do some power poses connects you to that. And again, there's actual research on this, so please look it up, it's a wonderful thing. You can even kind of stand, do some stretches and body the space, feel really good.

KAREN: Right. Get the blood flowing.

JAVIER: Yeah, blood flow. Because sometimes when you go into an interview, you could be like waiting in the conference room for the presentation, you are kind of like hunched over, you're looking at your notes. If you're waiting for like a Zoom call or an online interview, you can be focused on something else, and that kind of like contracts or constricts your energy, what you want to do is to feel really good about it.

KAREN: Yeah. Also listening to some good music, or music that motivates you in a positive way to give you the confidence to get you prepared for going into an interview so you can showcase and demonstrate your abilities.

JAVIER: Yeah. And that's all up to you. Like what type of music makes you feel great? Because you need it to be at that point where you're comfortable, you're confident and you're energetic, but you're not too low energy or you're not too high energy. You're not like busting there and going like, I am the one for this job, slamming your fist down on the table, roar!

KAREN: Centered Power.

JAVIER: Yes, centered power. You know, one of the things I like to listen to is a little bit of Hamilton, when I think of like my shot, things like that. Or hero which is another great song done by the foo fighters. Whatever really works for you. Karen, what are songs that you like?

KAREN: It depends on the specific interview or even like a presentation, but it depends on what the actual activity that I'm going for. I know in my recent interview, I listened to Katie Taz; Whistle while you work it. So it had a good balance of what I needed to hear at the moment and to just help me get prepared for what I wanted to accomplish in the interview.

JAVIER: Well, that's excellent. And that really helped you get to that point where you feel comfortable for the interview. And that's the main thing that we'd like leave you with.

So, today we talked about basics worth remembering and we gave you four great tips. First off, we talked about taking notes. Second, researching the agency and third…

KAREN: Explaining how your work experience ties to the target position and finally power poses and good tunes.

JAVIER: Exactly. Power posing and good tunes.

If this information is helpful for you to get you in the right head space and to really perform well in interview, fantastic.

We really appreciate your time and we look forward to seeing you in our other videos that we have coming out every Wednesday here on LinkedIn.

Thank you so much for your time.

KAREN: Thank you.