How to Prepare to Land a Job

You did it! You got an interview for your dream job…so how do you make sure you get it? While you can’t fully control the outcome, you can extensively prepare in advance of the interview to improve your chances. Here is some insight into the four main stages of a job interview, and what you should expect to learn and discuss during each one.

First Interview: Introduction

The first interview is a chance for the recruiter or hiring manager to learn more about you, and for you to learn more about the company and its requirements. Of professionals polled on LinkedIn, 38 percent agreed that a good first interview lasts around 45 minutes, though anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour can still be a great conversation.

            Questions for You to Ask:

  • What are some specifics of the day-to-day responsibilities?
  • What are the company’s values?
  • What is your favorite part about working for the company?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development?

            Questions They Might Ask You:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
  • Why do you want this job?

Second Interview: Determining the Fit

A second interview is usually conducted with the immediate supervisor for the role and may include some teammates as well. This conversation is intended to help everyone involved determine if you would be the best fit for the role. Statistics show you have between a 25-50 percent chance of landing the job at this point!

            Questions for You to Ask:

  • What would an ideal candidate achieve in the first few months of this role?
  • What are the team’s biggest achievements?
  • How does employee feedback get handled? How are employees given feedback?
  • Are employees expected to work outside normal hours?
  • What is the telecommuting policy?

            Questions They Might Ask You

  • What have you done to help someone succeed at work?
  • What management style do you work best with?
  • Describe a time you have failed and what it taught you.
  • What would you improve about your current job?

 

Third Interview: Human Resources and Negotiation

Some companies may not have a third interview, but for larger organizations, a part of the interview process may involve either a conversation or email outreach from human resources. This is a sign you are being strongly considered for the position. In this interview, you can expect behavioral questions, as well as salary negotiations.

            Questions for You to Ask

  • Who held this position previously and where are they now?
  • What problems does the person in this position need to solve?
  • How would this employee be evaluated in performance reviews?
  • What are the salary, benefits, and time off associated with this position?

            Questions They Might Ask You

  • What would you hope to learn in the first five months at this position?
  • What training or education would improve your performance?
  • How can you help the company or department achieve goals?
  • Describe a time you have taken on duties outside the scope of your regular duties.

Fourth Interview: Getting the Offer

This phase of the process isn’t necessarily an interview in a traditional sense, but there are still things to ask and learn as you accept a job offer. When your future supervisor, department head, or head of human resources reaches out with an offer, these are some of the questions that can inform the final stage of conversation.

            Questions for You to Ask

  • Is there a vesting schedule for the retirement plan?
  • How do employees accrue paid time off?
  • When am I eligible to receive benefits?
  • Can I have this offer in writing?
  • When do you need a response?

            Questions They Might Ask You

  • How long do you need to consider the offer?
  • How do you feel about giving notice?
  • Are you excited about the opportunity?
  • When can we follow up?

 

Woohoo! You did it—you got the job! Or, even if you didn’t, you most certainly learned something along the way about yourself and what you’re looking for in a job. Good luck and don’t forget your Alpha Kappa Psi brothers are always here as a resource.

Showing Your Best Self in a Virtual Interview

Virtual interviews have become a common experience for many job seekers in today’s economy. In fact, online job interviews have increased 49 percent since 2011.

While the format has changed, the important elements of an interview have stayed the same. In 39 percent of cases, candidates don’t get hired because of perceived low confidence, voice quality, and lack of a smile. When you’re not in the same room as your interviewer, it becomes more difficult to showcase these elements, and technology can get in the way as well. Here are our tips for presenting your best self in a virtual interview.

  1. Check the Tech

First and foremost, you need to be sure your computer, camera, and Internet connection will work for you when you need them. Do a test run with a friend or family member through Zoom or Google. Get their feedback on the lighting, image quality, sound quality, etc. This will help you avoid showing up to the interview as a laggy, garbled-sounding shadow person.

  1. Use Your Environment

It’s not just the technology that needs to be considered, but also the location of the interview. Assess what can be seen in the background and if it reflects the values and personality you want to convey. If not, consider staging your room or home office for the interview. You can put the posters back up later.

  1. Eliminate Distractions

It’s also important to conduct the interview in a quiet, calm place. If you have kids at home or a dog in the neighborhood that won’t stop barking, consider relocating to a quiet space, like a library study room. Do not conduct a video interview from a coffee shop or other noisy public location. Not only will it be distracting, but also it will make your interviewer question what working with you long-term will be like.

  1. Prepare Conversation Topics

Of course, there are standard interview questions to prepare for, but it’s also a great idea to be prepared to make small talk through the screen. Avoid news and politics in favor of discussing a common interest, sharing a short anecdote about your recent wins, or asking the interviewer how the virtual process has been going.

  1. Dress for Success

Even though you might be in your house during the interview, you must still dress appropriately for the meeting. What would this company expect you to wear if you were coming to the office? Wear the same thing to the virtual interview.

  1. Look Into the Camera

Eye contact is essential during an interview, but on a webcam, how do you know where anyone is looking? To appear as confident and engaged as possible, look directly into your camera. If your laptop has a webcam built in, this will likely be pretty easy. If you are using an external camera, put it as close to your monitor as possible, where you can also capture your best angle and background.

  1. Be Honest and Authentic

This tip applies to all interviews, but especially a virtual one, where there’s more potential for things to go wrong. If ambient noise or a bad Internet connection causes issues, be direct about it. This might even be easier in the comfort of your own home versus being in the company’s offices.

  1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

From your technology and environment to the questions and answers you can expect to exchange about the job, showing your best self in a virtual interview takes preparedness. While you can’t control everything, following the steps on this list will give you confidence that will come across in the meeting.

 

Studies haven’t been able to agree on how long we have to make a great first impression. Some researchers say milliseconds, others say as long as 27 seconds. But what all the studies do agree on is that most of a first impression is formed before a person even has a chance to speak, especially regarding whether we consider a person trustworthy.

A virtual interview offers job candidates more of a chance to control this first impression. From your location to your clothes to the lighting and background details, use this opportunity to your advantage.

 

 

Entrepreneurship: HG Insights with Tracy York

Join Desiree and Chrissy today to hear from Tracy York, co-founder and vice president of customer success for HG Insights, a company providing data-driven sales and marketing strategies. And this isn’t Tracy’s first jump into the startup world – his previous venture, NOZA, was acquired by Blackbaud in 2010. If you’re interested in following these footsteps, listen in for the best tips and tricks to get your idea off the ground.

Tracy York is a co-founder and vice president of customer success for HG Insights. HG Insights focuses on providing data driven insights to optimize sales and marketing strategies at some of the world’s leading technology companies. HG Insights has grown to over 100 employees since its founding in 2010 and has been through several funding rounds, most recently receiving a significant investment from private equity firm Riverwood Capital. Over his career, Tracy has held roles across disciplines ranging from engineering to product to customer success. Prior to founding HG Insights, Tracy worked for another startup NOZA building the world’s largest database of charitable donations. NOZA was acquired by Blackbaud in 2010 prior to the founding of HG Insights. Tracy is a former AKPsi chapter president from the Cal Poly chapter in San Luis Obispo, CA, where he studied computer engineering and minored in business. 

External Links:

Connect with Tracy York

HG Insights website

Tips for Virtual Presentations

Working from home has become more popular than ever, but with that newly found freedom comes an additional expectation––virtual presentations. Some of us have mastered professional attire from the waist up, but if you’re looking to create a successful virtual presentation that will leave your colleagues highly impressed, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we’re giving you tips that will enhance the virtual experience for you, your clients, and your teammates.

 

Less is more.

 

So, you’ve written out everything that you want to discuss in your virtual presentation. Now, you want to ensure that your presentation, above all else, is concise and cohesive. Believe it or not, people appreciate simplicity; most professionals are already stressed having to attend a Virtual meeting, so it’s best to eliminate additional stressors to ensure they remain invested in what you have to say.

 

Aesthetically, you want your viewers to have a user-friendly experience. This means that slide consistency should be a priority. Every slide should have a central point of focus (which should include the main point you’re trying to express). When applicable, use a plain or white background, as the color scheme you choose will contrast well for your viewers’ eyes. In the same vein, using a bold font gives your audience an easier read and keeps you from packing your slides with excessive text.

 

Use visuals to enhance the importance of your subject matter.

 

Who likes a presentation with no visuals? Adding visuals to your presentation will establish a deeper connection between your audience and the subject matter. Additionally, visuals are typically able to:

 

  • Decrease the text density
  • Summarize research findings and analytical data
  • Increase audience engagement
  • Clarify confusing information

 

Allow your audience to interact with the presentation.

 

As you continue to craft your virtual presentation, keep in mind that you are more likely to keep the audience engaged if your presentation:

  • Animates certain elements: By adding slide transitions or animating single objects like images or certain emphatic words, you draw the audience’s attention to those focal points. If you’re using bullet points, it’s also good to individually animate them, so as to add more emphasis on single ideas.
  • Includes links: In your webinar or presentation, you can add links to other helpful resources, such as PDFs or YouTube videos.

 

Make sure you have a stable environment.

 

The bane of our technology’s existence is poor internet connection. If it turns out that your connection is weak, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to provide a seamless experience for your audience. Interruptions could include the delay in slide transition and the beautiful effects that you’ve created to keep your audience’s attention. Furthermore, if there are connectivity issues, members of your audience might not stick around to see if you’ll resolve the issue. If able, try connecting to the internet with an ethernet connection, as doing so provides an uninterrupted connection.

 

Next, check that your laptop is connected to its power supply. By doing so, you avoid your computer shutting down during your presentation.

 

Above all else, create a clean background environment. If your bed is in the background and is covered with a pile of unfolded laundry, your audience will see it. Wherever your ‘office’ is located, make sure that the background is neat and tidy before turning on your camera. Your audience will thank you, and so will we, your brothers at Alpha Kappa Psi.

 

 

 

Back-to-School Checklist for Adults

Once you’ve gotten back into college as an adult, it’s great to take a moment and celebrate your achievement. But you know the work has just begun. As you’re preparing to attend classes while also balancing work and personal obligations, Alpha Kappa Psi hopes this checklist will help you get on track and stay there until graduation.

  • Consider Personal Obligations: While school is an exciting new element in your life, it’s important to start your adult college enrollment by fully assessing your other commitments and responsibilities. Some of these, like your job and your family, are necessary priorities in your life. Volunteerism, sports leagues, hobbies, and leisure time are also important, though a full schedule might mean they become less common. Go beyond simply thinking about these obligations and start a schedule for how you can keep them all in balance.

 

  • Review Transcripts and Prior Learning Assessments: If you’ve attended college in the past, communicate with your new institution’s registrar about getting a review of your transcripts. Whether you’re pursuing a full degree or a certification, credit for your past courses can save you time and money. The same is true of prior learning assessments. These are tests offered by many institutions that allow you to obtain credit for classes based on your real-world experiences and knowledge. Completing these tasks before you create your class schedule will ensure you are spending your time and tuition on the right subjects of new learning.

 

  • Brush Up on Student Skills: Skills like research, writing papers, and studying are not like riding a bike. If you haven’t used these skills in a long time, you might have lost them. Take time before you start classes to dive back into these habits. Study or research a subject you are interested in, or take a free online course to practice. As silly as it might sound, you could even try writing a paper just for the practice.

 

  • Create a Workspace: With your busy schedule, the psychological benefits of establishing a school-specific workspace could be extremely useful in helping you get it all done. If there is a desk or part of your home that you know is only used for schoolwork, going there will help you get into the mindset faster and more efficiently. Elements like plants, a bulletin board or whiteboard, and school supplies can help this space feel unique within your daily schedule.

 

  • Gather Technology and Source Textbooks: Part of your back-to-school checklist must include checking you have the technology and software you need to succeed. College today isn’t possible without some kind of computer or tablet, including word-processing software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Depending on your program, area of study, and if you are doing school online, you also might need a specific Internet speed or bandwidth. Textbooks are another area of concern and expense for many students. Remember that in addition to buying books new through the campus bookstore, there are often textbook rental services, used book services, and even free sources for textbooks that can help you achieve your academics on a budget.

 

  • Assess Your Apps: Lastly, going back to school means you might need to sacrifice some social media scrolling in the name of productivity. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest can be big time-eaters, especially when we want to procrastinate. Rather than deleting these apps, start to monitor your use and see if you can control the number of times you open the app. There are also other products that can help you with this, like built-in screen time monitors on your devices. In the end, you could try to substitute with a new app that empowers productivity instead.

 

Adult college students make up anywhere from 35-40 percent of the nation’s current college student population. While adult students have unique needs for flexibility, and many distractions competing for attention, the practical benefits of earning a college degree or certification are also very powerful. Whether you have gone back to school to earn more money or change careers completely, we hope you will continue to visit the Alpha Kappa Psi blog for resources, inspiration, and support along the way.