For many people, the hardest part of the job hunt process is the actual interview itself. You wake up early in the morning with butterflies in your stomach, having not much of an appetite, and anxious over the fact that someone today is going to be directly judging your character, your appearance and your intelligence. You carve out extra time in your routine to get ready, making sure your zippers zip, buttons are all there and no bra straps are showing (sorry boys – it’s true).
Lucky for you, if you are reading this, you’ll learn that I’m one of the rare people who doesn’t get all worked up over an interview… anymore. How is that lucky for you? Because what you might not know is that I haven’t always felt this way. It was a learned skill through trial and error where I found what works and what doesn’t. After attending over FIFTY interviews (really) and having over 20 jobs (will explain this in a later post), I’ve found the most challenging but important questions to prepare for before going to an interview. As long as you’ve prepared, researched and done your due diligence, you should be able to show up feeling confident yet calm. Being present and yourself is what will make you stand out.
I’ve gathered 7 interview questions that will help you in more ways than one: they will help you sound educated in what you do, be prepared for the interview and appear confident in yourself. While I haven’t listed these questions in any particular order, they are questions that you should be able to answer confidently, no matter what industry you are in or what job title you’re striving for.
Question 1: Tell Me About Yourself
I once was in charge of recruiting interns and account executives at a previous job. Part of that process was screening candidates before bringing them into the office for interviews with other members of staff and management. One of the first questions I always ask is the simple “tell me about yourself”. This is a question I used to struggle with because it’s so open ended and can lead down several different roads. One time, I asked a candidate this question, and they quickly answered nervously “I graduate in 2015, I really like macaroni and cheese and I really enjoy school”. This is a judgement free zone and I’m sure this person is happily employed at this point in their life, but I couldn’t help but go back to moments in my several interviews where I thought “why did I say that??” This question is one you must – and I mean MUST – prepare for ahead of time. This is your 60 second elevator pitch to sell your potential future employer why you are the best fit for the role. Don’t know how to construct a good elevator pitch? Follow this link for some tips, this one is good too. In 60 seconds or less, you should be able to articulate where you’ve been, where you want to go, and why you want to be here.
Question 2: What Do You Know About Us/Me And Why Do You Want To Work Here?
This is where you show off your research abilities. This is called doing your due diligence. Tell them how long the company has been around, who founded it, who their customers are, what their mission is and if it aligns with your beliefs, what their strategy is, how many locations they have and where, what problem their product or service solves etc… Secondly – this is a chance for you to explain why you want to work for them. Before showing up for the interview, you might want to take the time to look into further detail what the company is all about and if it truly is somewhere you’d like to spend 40+ hours a week, every week, for however long you plan to be there. I’ve made the mistake of NOT doing enough research before accepting a job, and let me tell you, it’s a mistake I won’t make again.
Question 3: How Does Your Prior Experience Relate To This Role?
Another question you might want to think about before showing up for your interview is how what you’re doing now or in the past aligns with what you will be doing at the position you’re applying for. It might sound pretty straight forward, but many job roles are similar yet different. Make a list of the skills you have and pick the top 3 that would be the most beneficial in your new role. Then spend about 1-2 minutes per skill elaborating on what that skill is and why it’s important.
Question 4: What Is Your 5 Year Plan?
Whether you have a real plan or not, you might want to start developing one before interviewing. This question tells the interviewer whether or not you are able to set and strive to achieve goals. Come up with a plan of the different roles you’d like to be within the company, and how you’d reach your goal at the end. Do you want to be in management? Do you want to manage more or larger accounts/clients/customers/patients? Do you want to own your own business one day? All of these things are important to think about and great to share with your interviewer.
Question 5: Why Are You Thinking About Leaving The Company You Are At?
This is my least favorite question because I’m not sure there’s really a “right” answer. Every answer I’ve ever come up with, whether it be I would like to make more money, or I’ve reached the ceiling, or I would like to have more responsibilities, or my beliefs don’t align with the companies – these all have bad repercussions that lead to “well why haven’t you expressed this with your company and found a solution?” Another issue this question brings up is that our generation is known to have a commitment issue across all facets of our lives – we aren’t good at staying in one place. This is one you will want think about and prepare for. Once you come up with an answer, I suggest reaching out to 3 or 4 of your most trusted peers – family, friend, mentor, previous boss, etc.. and see if they think your answer is genuine and understandable. Have them challenge you with follow up questions so you are prepared for questions from the interviewer once you explain your position.
Question 6: What Are Your Weaknesses?
This is my second most hated question and I’ve gotten to the point where [if for some unthinkable reason] I interview for another job again, I would decline the offer because this question is so stupid!!! …I mean helpful 🙂 But it happens, and it has happened… and it will continue to happen. The most annoying and overused answers include (and I quote):
I work too hard
I’m a perfectionist
I’m very type A
And to be honest, who can argue with that. While deep inside I roll my eyes at these answers, I use them because business owners want employees that go above and beyond, are genuinely willing to work more than the typical “8-5” and go the extra mile. So I’d suggest picking something along those lines so long as they apply to you, annoying as they may be 😉
Question 7: Tell Me About A Time When You Solved A Problem.
I love this question because I enjoy solving problems and do this quite often, but when you are on the spot and someone asks, you can’t say “well, at McDonald’s this morning there was a problem. You see, I couldn’t get there fast enough, so I ran five red lights, cut off an elderly person and boom- problem solved-hunger vanished.”
Joking aside, think about some of you best accomplishments and perhaps what problems or hurdles you faced on your way to achieving these accomplishments. Turning an unhappy client into a happy client, building a relationship with a coworker that’s hard to get along with just to get the job done or taking on extra work or projects to keep the business running or clients happy are good examples. Managers and business owners like employees who are self-ran – meaning you can handle it and don’t need help solving every single problem that comes your way.
What questions do you think are important to know how to answer during an interview? Have you ever been completely at a loss for words when asked something? I want to know what you might have struggled with and talk about how to get over these challenges. Leave a comment below or reach out @ email@example.com <3
PS – I wrote this post because my best friend asked me to talk about it. Please, tell me things you want to hear more about, I’m open to writing about almost anything, so long as it falls under a topic I cover: career, marketing or lifestyle.
Establishing an online presence starts with two things: a solid website and a solid social media following. Whether you are a small business, a one person shop or simply striving to promote your blog, having a social media presence is essential to your online success.
How do you get there? Share things people want to see and care about. Share things that people will want to share with their own friends or followers. Share your story. Follow my five tips for posting on social media channels and watch your engagement increase drastically!
| 1. Social Media Posting: Rule Of Thirds |
When thinking of different ideas and topics for your social media channels, keep this simple trick in mind: the rule of thirds. Your posting strategy should consist of the following: 1/3 selling, 1/3 educating and 1/3 sharing.
Selling – this means explaining what you or your product/service does. You can share photos of what you do or share the latest “special” or “promotion” for your products. Social media is an easy and FREE outlet for promoting yourself, but beware – only using your social media sites to sell will lose engagement and could even turn off your followers.
Educating – this means sharing blog posts you’ve written or really great articles that discuss the product or service you offer. Educating your following about what you do is different than selling. For example, if you sell an antioxidant drink that does amazing things for your body, you would share an educational article that explains what antioxidants are and why they’re beneficial.
Sharing – I typically see the most engagement in these kinds of posts. This is sharing a funny meme, a viral article, a local news article or event in your city, photos of your customers, photos of you, celebrations, etc.. The idea is establishing an interpersonal connection with your followers while also being a community expert. It’s about sharing things that most people can relate to or have an interest in.
*Note – it is never a good idea to share political or religious views unless you are 150% open to subjecting both you and your company to other people’s views as well. Either way, I advise against it.
| 2. Share Links To Your Website |
Social media profiles are great opportunities to drive more traffic to your website or blog. I get the most site views whenever I share links back to my blog. For many of my clients, I see the same results. Facebook or Instagram are especially great for sharing blog posts or pages on your site, linking your followers to your website. You should have a website before you have a social media page, but the two work together and I recommend you have both – you won’t be as successful with just one over the other.
| 3. Share Video |
When you scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed, what are you noticing the most? Videos are becoming more and more popular. Facebook’s recent update allows for videos to play in your news feed without the need to hit “play”. A quick 15-20 second demo of your product or a 30 second intro of yourself can draw hundreds to thousands of views. Sharing video generates the most viewers and is the fastest way to get your message across. Simply upload your video to YouTube and share the link across all profiles, such as Facebook and Instagram.
| 4. Share Photos |
Just like videos, photos are also very important. While you are able to make a status update on Facebook or Twitter with no photo, I advise against it simply because it won’t get as many views as a photo would. Social media users want to see things faster than they can read them. If you have a photo that is intriguing, it’ll lead to them reading what you want them to know.
| 5. Share Local Events Or News |
This is a good strategy if you need more engagement. Typically, if I see a social profile struggling to get views, I’ll start sharing popular news stories or viral articles to get back into the algorithm of the newsfeed of the page’s followers. This will quickly generate more viewers and allow other posts back into their feed. As you may or may not know, you don’t see every single post of every person you friend or follow. You only see posts of the pages or people you interact with the most. So this simple trick is to help get you back on the mind of your followers.
I hope you found something here you haven’t heard of before or at least feel refreshed on the things you already know. If you have any questions or comments about the best social media strategies to generate engagement, please feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org <3
When the sun rose this morning, I was feeling a bit less like myself. The week has been a busy one to say the least. Although I’d slept a good 7-8 hours, I felt mentally, emotionally and physically drained. I snoozed my alarm five times and woke up feeling tired, dull and unmotivated. I cooked breakfast slowly, somehow managing to burn the eggs as I waited until the last minute to get in my car to drive in rush hour traffic down 75 to the office. I was burnt out by breakfast.
Some might see this as a millenial/generational issue or simple laziness, but days like these are upsetting to me- not because of the feelings I get in these moments, but because of how awful I feel for allowing myself to feel unmotivated. But something I need to work on is understanding one thing: and that is that I’m human. I can’t wake up every single day feeling full of energy, inspired, creative and ready to take the bull by the horns. While I’m still accepting this truth, I will continue to pull my butt out of bed and put my game face on and try to remember that it’s okay to not alwaysbe and feel 150%.
As I reflect on my day, my week and my perspective, I start to think. Are things really that rough? No. Are things rough in comparison to the things I’ve been through thus far? Not really. Did I decide that I wanted to grow in my career at a fast pace? Yes. Can I help that I care so much about my career and being someone someday? No, I was born with this feeling inside. I can’t help that I care so much. I can’t settle for being average, for riding the wave or for being stagnant. I constantly want to be moving forward, one step ahead, always “on” yet somehow always dreaming. It’s a blessing more than a curse, and to get through this burnt out feeling I get when I have crazy busy weeks, I like to over indulge in things that make me feel like I’m right where I need to be. Motivation for me starts with five simple things:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: this book is one I’m still reading, but there are some really powerful insights into what I may be doing wrong, how I could change my perspective and how the most successful people think. The book is very empowering and motivating, and it makes me feel more educated every time I put it down. It addresses issues in every facet of life – not just career, but also relationships and family. I love this book and will read it over and over until hopefully one day I can be a living example of the philosophies in this book.
Super Soul Sunday: my mom got me hooked on Oprah at a very young age. I wasn’t quick to latch onto her new network, but there are now two shows I LOVE watching: Undercover Boss and Super Soul Sunday. I watch this show in the mornings as I get ready for work, it’s such a great way to start the day on a positive note. On SSS, Oprah interviews some of the top entrepreneurs, writers, and philosophers in the world. She’s had the owner of Whole Foods, the author of “Wild” which later turned into a hit film with Reese Witherspoon, the CEO of Starbucks, the author of Eat, Pray, Love just to name a few. I recently was impacted by something the CEO of Starbucks said in his interview. He talked about the importance of vulnerability in leadership. Basically it’s not always about being right or being perfect, but allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I could write a book about how much I love this show, and it’s not just for the ladies. If you want to learn something from someone who’s figured it out, I suggest recording this series and watching it.
Networking Groups: every time I get together with a group of career-minded people outside of work to talk about the work we do, I always leave feeling refreshed, motivated and full of new ideas. It makes me feel as though I’m not just bettering myself, but also creating ideas in which I’ll contribute to the company I work for. Attending these groups and learning from the members in these groups is such a positive thing for anyone’s career. I highly recommend that everyone, no matter what industry, joins a professional group or two.
Good Friends & A Glass Of Wine: one thing I’ll never be bad at is relaxing while spending time with friends and a glass of the good stuff. Sometimes when things get rough, a simple glass of wine and a long time friend to converse with is all I need to get my mind off the troubles of the day or week.
Pray About It: this should be first, but I’m tired and not ordering things properly tonight. I pray for the happiness of others. I pray for my family. I pray for my friends. I pray for every person I work with. I pray for my clients. And I thank God for all the good things in my life. The last thing I pray for is the strength, the guidance and the knowledge to get through the daily problems I will face. A simple “thank you/help me Jesus” never fails me.
If I want to accomplish anything, it would be to share my small struggles in hopes to help you with whatever struggles you might be going through. Maybe you’re my age, trying to make your way in this world, trying to find yourself or just trying to find what makes you happy. I hope my writing and my stories encourage and inspire you. Please share with me in comments below how you find motivation in your day to day life, I want to hear from you!
It doesn’t matter what scenario you plug it into, it’s always important to have a strategy. How do I define strategy? In short, it’s simply a plan. In long, a well thought out actionable item designed to improve or increase something (i.e. sales) that includes a goal, steps in place to reach that goal, and lastly ways to measure the success of the strategy put in place.
Strategy is the bread and butter of marketing and advertising, but often times looked over. I can’t help but often wonder why this is so? I’ve come to a few conclusions based off observations of others and even myself: lack of focus, too many tasks at hand, a level of comfort, use of copy and paste strategies, lack of innovation, use of strategies that were created five years ago that are no longer relevant and/or engaging, lack of creativity, auto-pilot mode kicks in and poof there it goes; right out the window.
I’m definitely not perfect and am willing confess I sometimes hit walls. The good thing about working on a team is that if I can’t find a solution or come up with a different yet creative way of thinking or communicating, I can collaborate. To me, this is simply a fresh approach to the amazing reward that comes with planning, brainstorming and organizing thoughts into one gorgeous, electrifying, profitable and STRATEGIC marketing plan. It’s simply what we do, and that’s why we love it!
So…why strategy? Well, here’s a thought: have you ever wondered how a business is started? One of the first things an entrepreneur does (well a smart one) is they put together a business plan – or strategy – if you will. Typically it outlines the concept of the business, finances, timelines, marketing plans, goals and how the goals will be reached, products/services, markets served, and staffing of management and key employees. An entrepreneur comes up with a great idea or product – but in order for it to play out the way they envision it, they must put together a plan. If any elements are missing from the plan, they most likely will miss the mark, won’t reach the goal, and sometimes, unfortunately…. completely fail.
The same idea applies to a marketing plan. Marketing largely contributes to a companies success. Alongside the sales team, it sells the product or service. Without a proper strategy, marketing simply doesn’t work.
How do you come up with a good strategy? Depending on what tactic you’re going after, the first thing to do is research in order to have a better understanding of current trends. The way we view media and are served ads has changed and continues to change at the most rapid pace ever in history. With the super fast pace of changing technology, it is a MUST to stay on top of the newest, latest, greatest advertising tactics and platforms. Magazine and newspaper circulation is on the decline, physical pieces of mail that go inside your mailbox outside on your street have decreased, live TV viewership is heading south, mobile device usage is on the rise and has been over the past decade. Traditional advertising mediums such as TV stations and newspaper companies are opening new departments specifically for the digital ad space. Google, Bing, Yahoo, pay per click ads, display ads, online video ads and mobile app ads are more present than ever before. Staying on top of the trends and learning how these platforms work, how their algorithms perform and who they’re reaching is the biggest and number one way to stay on top of your marketing strategy. Hire an advertising agency that has experienced, qualified leaders in their digital departments if you need advice and help pulling your head out of the sand caused by this sudden dust storm they’re referring to as the digital revolution. Or, if there are budget limitations hire someone who has worked in these agencies.
Once you have a solid understanding of the current advertising trends and platforms, the second most important thing to have is a strong, actionable message. Who are you going after? What are you trying to tell them? What do they want? How will you give it to them? Do they know you have something they might need? How do you make them realize it? Consumers are losing focus. With Mom on her iPad looking at Pinterest recipes, Jimmy on his Android listening to Jay Z, Sarah on her MacBook chatting it up on FaceTime with her friend traveling abroad in Spain, Jane on the Smart TV watching Netflix and Dad on his iPhone watching video clips on his SportsCenter app, it’s important to catch these people’s attention who are getting more and more used to getting what they want when they want by a simple tap and slide of a finger. With the right messaging, you can break through. Think about your product. Think about your target audience/consumer. Creatively yet strategically marry the two.
Lastly, there needs to be a timeline in place with actionable items to follow through with. Set the goal, list out what needs to be done in order to reach the goal (tactics), and next to each tactic list a date it needs to be done by. During the process, be sure to check in on these important dates to make sure smaller tactics are being done. At the end, it’s always important to reflect and look for benchmarks of both success and failure of the strategy. Take what you learned both good and bad and refine your next strategy. As you’ve heard, with time things get better, stronger, smarter and quicker. Efficiency is the goal but without innovation, creativity and strategy you’ll never reach ultimate success.
In short, putting together or refining strategy is an ongoing process that should never take the back burner. There’s many exciting things happening out there in the world of marketing and advertising and more tools than ever to make it successful.
The fun thing about marketing is you can apply a lot of the same principles to business in general.
And just to further dwell on my statements above regarding mobile usage, this entire entry was written on an iPhone 6 with WFAA on mute in the background. But don’t worry. I’ve already scheduled an appointment for my carpal tunnel screening. Happy Monday y’all!
The Twitter revolution is upon us. Teens, pre-teens and young adults are doing it- twittering and tweeting all day long (yes-I like to call it twittering). All the hype caught the attention of many fortune 500 companies and popular television shows. Business owners are learning the benefit of using Twitter to raise brand awareness and generate leads. It’s become apparent that the value of the hashtag is higher than ever. #GetWithIt or #GetLost.
Twitter in a nutshell: born in 2006, the most current social media platform used to promote oneself or one’s business in 140 or less characters per tweet (message).
Personal Impact? I get the most current news before it’s ever aired on TV, written in a newspaper, or blogged about online. I prefer to follow the nationwide news networks such as The Associated Press @AP, @CNN, @FoxNews and CNN Breaking News @CNNbrk. I also follow local networks, such as @WFAAChannel8, @Fox4, @CBSDFW and @NBCDFW. I knew about the missing Malaysian airplane before Malaysia even knew it was missing. #Whoah (not really-but close).
I also use it to keep up with my Twitter-saavy friends who tweet about their Chipotle burritos, favorite song lyrics, today’s #OOTD (outfit of the day) or last weekend’s festivities. Sometimes I wish I had more time to tweet my daily activities. *Sigh*
Ever heard of live tweeting? That’s fun too: you can tweet with real live celebrities while your favorite TV shows are on air. I have successfully done it and am proud to say Amy Yancey of AE’s Flipping Vegas and I tweet. Just because it was once doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. She follows me.
Business Impact? The good news is, nearly any size business can use Twitter in the same way. Who wouldn’t want to join in on free brand awareness? It isn’t hard to come to the realization that nearly every major brand has a Twitter handle. The possibilities are endless. Delta created a Twitter handle specifically for customer service. They answer questions and complaints from customers through tweets. McDonalds gives out free prizes through their twitter handle. That’s right- FREE! #OMG #SuperSizeMe Levi Strauss & Co. tweets about current sales and promotions going on in stores. Learn about upcoming sales at favorite clothing stores before anyone else! Need some humor in your life? Oreo uses their Twitter handle to tweet pictures of Oreos featuring funny messages throughout the day. Brand awareness at its finest. Note to self- don’t scroll through Twitter feed during mid-afternoon productivity lull.
But wait – there’s more! Now you can ADVERTISE on Twitter. Crazy, right? Wrong. The strategy is very similar to Facebook if not identical. You can target as broad or as narrow as you please. You pick your main goal whether it be profile views, site views, engagement, leads etc. Finally you decide whether you’d like Twitter to automatically optimize the campaign/budget for you – or if you know how – you can manually optimize. These days you can advertise practically anywhere online. Except Instagram. They still think they’re too cool for all that (unless you’re Disney or Fossil). We shall see if this changes.. LinkedIn has also started swimming in the advertising pool. This should take off pretty quickly as it is also set up in the same way as Facebook and Twitter. Back to the main topic.
How many people use Twitter these days? According to DMR (Digital Marketing Ramblings), there are approximately 255 million Twitter users as of April 2014. Facebook still has a remarkably larger amount of users, coming in at an estimated 1.28 billion users as of April 2014. Instagram has almost tied with Twitter: 200 million users as of March 2014. Another one you might be familiar with: Pinterest, which has 70 million users as of July 2013
Join the revolution. Follow the me at @MaryERobb 🙂
It’s strange when you’ve been a natural writer your whole life but suddenly, a few things change, and you suddenly can’t think of anything you feel the need to write about. Sometimes life throw you curveballs, but I’m not one to give up on what I love and what truly makes me happy. While I’ve been silent the past couple of months, I’m promising myself it won’t last.
Stay tuned for updates as I find myself again through these changes. Updates will come. <3 XXXO