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How to Achieve Success at your Interview–Part 1

Lesson 14 from: FAST CLASS: A Brand Called You

Debbie Millman

How to Achieve Success at your Interview–Part 1

Lesson 14 from: FAST CLASS: A Brand Called You

Debbie Millman

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Lesson Info

14. How to Achieve Success at your Interview–Part 1

Lesson Info

How to Achieve Success at your Interview–Part 1

The first thing you have to do, is prepare. The same way that an athlete would never consider going to a match without preparing for that race, you are not gonna be able to go into an interview, and wing it. I would contend that for every hour you spend in an interview, and if you're lucky you'll get an hour, you should probably spend 12 hours preparing. 12 hours preparing. You need to be able to know every single thing you can about that organization, and about that person, prior to going into the interview. Now you might think, how on earth could I do that? And I'm going to say one word, Google. (laughter) I interview people for a living now. I interview people on Design Matters, and I think that for anybody here that's ever listened to one of my shows, one of the questions that I often get is, how did you find that out? I didn't pay anybody to become a private investigator, and go through somebody's garbage to find out something about their childhood. I just researched. It was a ple...

asure to actually be able to go online, or into the books, and find out everything I possibly can about who I was going to be talking to. You owe that to the person that is going to be interviewing you, to know everything that you can about who they are, what they've done, the journey of their life, the arc that their life has taken, so that you can show up as your best self, recognizing who they are as their best self. So where did they go to school, what did they study, where did they work before they were working at the company that they're at? If it's a publicly traded company, you have to look at the annual report. You have to see what the CEO's statement is. You have to see how well they're doing in the marketplace. You can see what kind of employee retention they have. Go to Glassdoor, go to all of these organizations online, that will tell you everything that you can learn about the organization. You might not use any of it, but you might, and if you do, chances are, you'll be much further along to getting hired for that job. You're not finding this information out, to prove to the person who's interviewing you that you've done your homework. You're not. You're not going to sneak it in there, I knew that you went to SUNY Albany back in 1983. What was that like for ya? That's not what you're there to do. You're there to really understand where the motivations for their questions are coming, and if it's possible to connect with somebody about something that they like, have done, or are interested in, with something that you're showing them. So it's not about proving to somebody that you've done the research. I don't ask the questions to have the question come back, where did you find that out? I ask the question to get the answer, because I'm really interested in what they're going to say. So, the reason that I'm saying that I love when people will say, where did you find that out, it means that I have found everything that I could possibly find on them, and therefore it gives me something interesting and new to talk to them about, that they haven't been asked about before. So part of what gives you the ability to show up fully engaged, is being fully prepared about why they're potentially hiring for this position, what is the culture of the organization like, what is the history of this person's trajectory in their own career, what do they find important, and all of those things aren't questions that you should necessarily ask the person about, but they certainly help inform the way in which you're talking about your work, or the way in which you are presenting the things that you have in front of you. So, if you know for example that one of the organization's priorities is women's equality, and you've worked on a project that was ab out women's equality, then you would have that in your portfolio, and be able to share that in a way that shows you have some shared values. You're not gonna say, "I know that this is a priority "in your organization, so this is something "that I thought you'd be interested in," but you would show it, and indicate by the mere, the sheer virtue of showing it, that this is something that's also important to you. So, preparing. We're learning everything that we can about the organization. Again, not to show off, not to be better than, but just to be knowledgeable about where we're going, in the same way if you were running a race, you'd wanna know what that journey around the track looked like, you wanna know what you're getting yourself into. Then, when you get there, and this goes back to what I was saying about this sort of arrogance clash, you have to check your ego at the door. Now, this might upset some people, because you might be thinking, but I am who I am, and I wanna show up as I am. I'm not suggesting that you don't be fully present, but I am suggesting that you show up authentically, and without having to show off. You show up, not off. Show up, not show off. And we go into these interviews with the notion that we have to be showoffs, that we have to talk about who we are, as these amazing people that have accomplished so much, and done all of this, and done all of that, and we can never be wrong, and everything that we've done is great. Never, ever, please ever, use this phrase in an interview: this is really great, because... And I hear this all the time. You cannot opinionate on your own work. You can't tell someone why something is great, and you laugh, and we're all laughing because we all have done it, and we all know it, and we've all heard it. You can never, I'm begging you, never tell someone why they should think something is great, because immediately they will be defensive, because not only are you telling them what you think they should think is great, they then think that what they might be thinking might not be right, and then they get defensive. So, you've walked in, you've checked your ego at the door, and then you walk in, and you're in an organization's reception area. And what do 99.9% of the population do? They sit down, and they pull out their iPhone, and they start checking how many people liked their latest Instagram photo. Don't do that. Don't have your phone anywhere near. Turn the damn thing off. Because the last thing you want is it to go off in your bag, or your portfolio, while you're in the meeting. Turn it off. And what you're going to do is stand in the conference room, in the waiting room. You're going to stand. You're not gonna sit passively by, waiting for the person to come out and retrieve you. You're going to stand at attention. I see people saying, "Why should I do that?" Why do you think you should do that? Why do you think you should stand? Pardon? Shows you're ready. You're paying attention. You're ready. You're getting in the zone. You're not thinking about Instagram, you're not thinking about Twitter, you're not thinking about Facebook. You're thinking about the job. Do you think that any of the Olympic athletes were checking their Instagram feed before they ran the race? No. You're thinking about what you need to accomplish in that interview. So you've checked your ego at the door. You are then going to have already been dressed, but let's talk about what you're going to be wearing. (laughter) Let's talk about what you're going to be wearing. So there's a whole range of thinking about what you should actually wear to an interview. People, I have many, many students that say to me, "I'm not gonna dress a part. "I don't wanna show up as anybody but myself." Great. That's not why you're going to get dressed for the meeting. You're not going to get dressed for the meeting to declare your independence to the world. You're going to get dressed for the meeting to show that you respect who you're seeing. That's it. You respect who you're seeing, so you clean yourself up. You don't have to wear a tux. You don't have to wear something that you would think would be inappropriate in that environment. This is a great quote I saw yesterday on LinkedIn. "Men in suits look really successful, "until you find out they work for people "in t-shirts and jeans." So, you want to feel proud of who you are in what you're wearing. And if you don't feel proud of who you are in what you're wearing, it doesn't matter what you're wearing. No gum. Now I'm probably saying a few things that you're like, really, you need to tell us this? But yeah, I do. From the many, many people out there that I have met in interviews, that were chewing on hard candy, or blowing bubbles, or any number of things, nothing should be in your mouth when you're presenting your work. Avoid hats. Especially baseball hats backwards, unless you're Timothy Goodman. He's the only person that can wear a baseball hat backwards, anywhere he wants to go. Timothy Goodman is, he can pull that off. So, I want you to dress going to a meeting as yourself on your best day, one notch nicer than you would imagine everybody else in that organization is dressing. Just one notch.

Ratings and Reviews

Hilary Larson
 

I was not expecting to get so much out of this accelerated class! Debbie is a captivating speaker who manages to get her points across directly while maintaining a strong sense of relatability with her audience. I really look forward to taking what I have learned here with me as I move forward in my career as a visual artist. Highly recommended.

Michelle
 

This class is for a specific audience - young or new-to-the-field designers. It is NOT a branding class for the regular person. The class description is misleading. However, there are bits and tips that anyone can benefit from, but you have to sit through the entire presentation to get those bits and tips. I am not a designer. Because I had the all-access pass, I dipped in and out of different classes, speeding up and skipping as needed. I found enough value in this Fast Class: A Brand Called You to watch it, rather than the long one. I can see how this would benefit new designers as they job hunt.

Matías Obando Ruiz
 

Debbie the OG

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