Monthly Archives: July 2014

THE FRESH HELL OF THE PHONE INTERVIEW

It seems that everyone I know is out on the job hunt these days. And with the increasingly impersonal process of interviewing for work, the phone interview is often the first hurdle. I have a foolproof (and very thorough) process to prep for a phone interview that will leave a you well positioned to advance to the next step. Note that some of the points are fairly specific to the world of advertising and marketing, but can broadly be applied to pretty much any job search.

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The OCDelight Foolproof Phone Interview Prep

There are three categories on which to focus: your work, your personality, them.

Details on each are in the paragraphs below.

Be sure to:

  • Create a Word doc of each of the following topics and have them printed/pulled up and ready to go.
  • Have your cover and resume printed out and ready to go.
  • Have notepad and paper at the ready.
  • Place glass of water by you to avoid smoker’s cough. No gum, dumbass.
  • Don’t ramble, stick with short answers and follow up with your questions when you can. Stay focused and concise.

The key to getting to the next step of a real-life in-person interview is preparation, although the average phone interview is usually only 30 minutes.

Your Work Background (have answers or bullet points prepped for each):

Employment:

Tell me about yourself

In three sentences, how did you get here.

Short list of your accomplishments

List 3-5 with measurable (preferably financial) impact.

Job history and responsibilities

Have a chronological list ready that focuses on the points of your work history that directly correspond to the job description.

Major challenges and how did you handle?

Have 1-2 examples prepped. Problem —> your thought process —> solution.

Why are you leaving your current job?

Memorize your prepped response – stay positive, focus on the fact that this does not align with your strengths/future goals.

Salary range

I would avoid this over the phone if possible. Maybe keep it vague like “I’m negotiable and would like to discuss it in person.” If they force it, have one in mind and be able to back it up. If you can get any intel on this, even better – hit up Glassdoor.com

 

Your Personality and Attitude (some standard questions):

Strength and weakness?

Yeah it’s stupid, but have one of each handy just in case: i.e. “I brought piss to a shit fight.”

How do you handle stress and pressure?

What motivates you? 

How do you motivate others/manage a team?

How do you evaluate success?

What are your career goals?

What are your hobbies/personal stuff/etc?

 

Them: Company research – DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Find out as much as you can – in advance of the interview – about the following and do a write-up:

-Founder

-Team of managers

-Client list

-Philosophy (they have a lot of this on their site)

-Current campaigns (also have a list of 3-5 clients/campaigns that they have done that you like/that resonate with you and why)

-Recent achievements and news

Check out their website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Also connect w/ her on LinkedIn and read up on her history – it’s good to have that information.

Make your list of questions (in order of what is most relevant to the person interviewing you – tailored to his/her level and background) based on:

  1. Job listing – duties, requirements, next steps, start date, client?
  2. Company research findings (some examples below)

If you’re on with upper management, I would steer more towards big picture, company culture questions.

How would you describe your culture?

What type of people succeed at Awesomesauce Agency?

Who would you consider to be your biggest competition?

What differentiates Awesomesauce from other shops?

What’s in store for the future? What are the big initiatives on the horizon?

What’s your client service philosophy?

How does Awesomesauce handle new business – do you have an established process?

 

In the case of a founder/principal/president, you don’t want to hit her rapid-fire with a laundry list of crap over the phone, especially about the day-to-day nonsense, which she might not be as familiar with. So boil it down a top 5 list of topline/strategic questions to show her what a badass you truly are.

 

ALWAYS end the call by telling your interviewer that you want the job

“I’m interested, this sounds like a fantastic opportunity and I would be an ideal match. What are the next steps? I can go ahead and get a list of references over,” etc…

And don’t forget send a thank you within 24 hours restating your interest – handwritten notes are kick-ass, but also follow up with an email in case their office is the type that takes forever to deliver the mail.

 

You’ll kill it.

They’ll call you back to come in.

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I’ll cover in-person interviews on a future post.

 

XO

c

 

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Everything in it’s right place

Nothing better than catch-alls around the house. 

To deal with the constant misplacement of remotes.

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To make convenient obsessive need to apply lip balm and moisturize my extremities throughout the night by keeping within arms reach of my bedside.

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To hold only my most precious of jewelry.

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To hold my crappy discount store jewelry.

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You can never have too many of these things – how do you use yours?

 

-c

 

Back to School…Again…

1st grade

First grade starts on Monday (!) and O has seemingly forgotten all letters and numbers over his 9-week summer break.  Literacy, like the contents of my wine fridge, is another casualty of summer. O has, however, deepened his drawing mastery, and consequently we have several boxes of How to Train Your Dragon and Sugar Rush sketches in various states of completion. In addition to the piles of supplies we are required to purchase, I dread the constant flow of PTO meetings and emails, fundraising events, and field trips, not to mention the nightly homework sword of Damocles.

We’re two working parents with the first grader and another kid in daycare – so we have 4 opposing schedules essentially battling it out for supremacy at all times.  Oh, and we don’t have any domestic help. You’re (virtually) looking at it – we’re it.

Schedules

We have two ways of doing maintaining our family calendars: analog and digital – I realize it’s overkill.  I don’t care.

The kitchen is the “heart” of Casa Lopez (unlike the living room, which is the “ass” since we’re primarily seated there watching crap TV). On our fridge, there’s a large dry erase calendar with color-coded markers for each family member. This calendar serves a dual purpose as it also covers up how hideous the fridge is. This “nerve center” is where we put appointments, field trips, happy hours, etc. It’s notably low on orange-coded activities, I guess Henry isn’t so much in demand.

calendar

The calendar is probably the most used organizational tool in our arsenal. I want to go digital with our scheduling, all the cool kids are doing it. However, I’m having a hell of a time getting us onboard with an app that we will use with any manner of consistency. So, we’re going to try Hub on for size; the only potential downfall being a lack of participation by my spouse.  Hub links up to our work and personal email calendars so we have visibility into each others’ schedules. We can add the kids’ activities and also administer “to do” lists. I’ve heard good things about it, so I’m hopeful. But again, success depends on buy in from all parties. I’ll keep you posted at any rate.

HUB

Chores

Learning how to read (or use the potty, in H’s case) is certainly not an excuse to avoid daily chores. Particularly because in addition to parenting and working, we are also the maid service up in this bitch. We use a great app, Choremonster, that combines the kids’ love of technology and friendly monster animations with my need to keep this damn house clear of child-related detritus.

choremonster

I assign chores to each child via my iPhone and they can use their iPad to check off that they have completed their tasks. Each task has a certain point value (that I determine), and when a minimum number of points is reached, they can be “redeemed” for a toy or app or a break from the nightly beatings, etc. The fun part is that I get a notification every time a kid has “completed” his chore, and I can either confirm or deny that this chore has taken place. So, no bullshiting a bullshitter, kids. I can thumbs up or thumbs down their asses – it’s so satisfying. Of course, this too has gone by the wayside this summer along with any other hint of positive momentum – so back to school means back to chores too. Kids, you’re on notice.

And thanks in advance to the teachers out there, mad props and respect for all you do – and please don’t be discouraged about the fact that my kid would rather draw for 10 hours a day if given the opportunity. He’s…touched.

-c

Sunday Rituals

Since I’m not the churchgoing type, my Sunday rituals revolve around preparing to have the most productive (least painful) possible week ahead. I usually start getting the panic stomach around mid-afternoon, knowing that the reverie of choosing what I want to accomplish and doing it on my own time is coming to a screeching halt with the next day’s 6am iPhone alarm. My rituals help to alleviate the stress nausea and save me from time sucking decision-making and/or inconvenient forgetfulness at crucial moments.

Step into a pew for Sunday services:

Outfits

Freaking out over what to wear in the morning can blow upwards of 15 minutes. I’d rather spend that extra time in bed, lazily snarking on another intellectually devoid episode of Morning Joe. So, every Sunday – after hitting my Pinterest board for inspiration – I pull a bunch of my favorite items and pull them together with accessories and shoes. This is best done to a good playlist with mimosas (my own personal musical montage). After consulting the calendar to determine when I have client meetings and when I have happy hours, outfits are then organized by day (I have handy dividers in the closet labeled w/ each day of the week).

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Kids

So I’m not scrambling in a huff for naptime blankets, spare clothes or textbooks, I pack the kids on Sunday afternoon and hang their bags by the door.  I also pull out their clothes for the day, and leave them out so the boys (one of them, anyway) can dress themselves. O wears a uniform, so I actually have to pay attention to what I select for him. H spends the day in mud and bodypaint, so it’s all good.

Work

I prep Monday’s to-do list and top three, respond to any outstanding emails, and review the week’s calendar on Sunday evening. This way I can launch into work right away without having to determine which items are top priority. This saves me much Monday morning grief.

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Fluff

After all the chores are done and the kids are in bed, it’s time for a glass of wine, something sweet, and either really awesome (GOT) and/or delightfully shitty (True Blood) TV followed by John Oliver as the cherry on top my Sunday. All this prep may seem like overkill to some, but anything I can do to lessen my Monday anxiety is worth it.

Now go out there + have a great week.

c

Back in the Saddle

After a two year break…

New job with new (positive) challenges, potty training and literacy training (not for the same child at the same time), possible entrepreneurial ventures in the making, booze to be consumed, new old house that finally makes Austin feel like home, etc.

Now that things are somewhat settled (as much as possible with a first grader and another in the throes of the terrible twos), it’s time to dive back into the blog again. I’ve established so many more systems – just to deal with homework and activities alone – that I’m excited to write about.

Looking forward to new entries!

c

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