Monday, April 16, 2012

The No-Stress Interview

Friday I had the pleasure of visiting with my pals over at Stitch Labs to be interviewed for Stitch Spotlight, an upcoming series focusing on Stitch customers and their businesses. It's always a blast going over to the Stitch office. The team is so lovely, brilliant, and fun and the energy always gets me so inspired!
While the interview was very low stress for me, it did awaken some jitters as I was pulling myself together that morning. Instead of dissecting why I would be nervous about being casually interviewed about Zelma Rose by people I know and like, I just went with the feelings and did a little old school interview prep.
Here are some of the interview prep tips and tricks I have picked up over the years.

  • So What Makes You So Great Anyway?
A mentor told me quite some time ago that his best practice for interview prep was to read one of his reference letters of recommendation right before an interview. I have followed this piece of advice for years and while Friday was not a job interview, I did employ this practice to prepare. Instead of reading a letter of recommendation I took a look at my customer feedback over at my Zelma Rose Etsy shop. It was really helpful to have what customers appreciate about my work fresh in my mind, when answering questions about my business.
  • It's the Opposite of None of Your Business.
Whether you work for someone else, or yourself, what you do is your business. Own it. Know the ins and outs of your job. Both the parts you find interesting and the parts you dread. Whether you need to crunch numbers, pull together line sheets, prepare product samples, portfolios, or writing samples, get intimate with what you do at your job on a daily basis. These are the oh so important facts of our work we forget when tending to the minute by minute tasks. Give yourself a little refresher course of the micro and macro of your job before your interview.

  • Remember It's Not Just About What Makes You Qualified on Paper, It's Also About What Makes You Qualified in Your Heart.
Now more than ever you need to be clear about why you love what you do. Competition is super high these days and employers are looking to create both a qualified and passionate workforce. Even if you don't remember what inspired you in the first place, think back, even if it is really far back, to remember that spark that got you interested in your career in the first place. When did you and your career share that first kiss? Passion is contagious and your excitement about a potential position will be inspiring! If you are struggling to find that passion, think on one thing about your job that you do not hate. Yeah it sounds dismal, but sometimes we just have to dig deep, ya know?
  • Get Some Perspective
I put this toward the end because it's the hardest. Yuck! If getting perspective on what we do, our qualifications and expertise were easy, interviews wouldn't make us so nervous. Stepping back to take a look at ourselves takes practice and if you are not there yet, admit it, and ask a friend for help. Have a friend or partner read over your resume. Does it properly represent what you do? Your job title? Your level of expertise? Too often we sell ourselves short in this way and getting an outside perspective can really help. We are often the last person to call ourselves an expert, but if you are, then claim it, no one else is going to be at the interview rooting for you, but you! Become your own cheerleader.

  • Be Yourself
Yawn. Could I be anymore cliche? It's true though. A friend had the rare opportunity to apply for the same position twice, within a 3 year period. This position was her dream job and after not nailing it the first go around, she always kept an eye out to see if the position opened up again. It did, and instead of going to the interview pretending to be the person she thought they wanted to hire like she did the first time, this second go around she put HER best foot forward and went as her genuine self. She nailed it and they loved her so much, she has been happily working away at her dream job for the past 6 years. It can be scary to really be ourselves and even if your interview calls for you to step outside of yourself, find a small way to bring a genuine part of you to the table. No matter the job, I have always let employers know that I like to have fun and laugh. This is true and this is me. While this sounds like it might not be appropriate for an interview at a psychiatric facility, you'd be surprised! It got me in the door there and a few other places I'm sure.

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

What are your favorite interview tips? What has you nervous and freaked out about your upcoming interview? What has you excited? Share your thoughts below!



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