Bringing Your Personality to an Interview
Chances are, most interviews that you have will start out a little something like this:
Interviewer: “Good morning! It’s great to meet you.”
You: “And you, too. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.”
Interviewer: “It’s my pleasure. Here, have a seat.”
You: “Thank you. I…”
Interviewer: “So, tell me a little about yourself.”
And there it is: the question.
What happens if we rephrase the question from “tell me about yourself” to “tell me who you are”? Suddenly the question isn’t about job titles and hobbies; it’s about personality and character. It’s about passion and drive, fear and joy.
How would you respond if that was the question asked of you?
The odds are that your perception of yourself may not be as accurate as you think. Studies reveal that 95% of people believe that they are self-aware, yet only 10-15% truly are. So how can you improve your level of self-awareness? One of the key methods is to gain deeper insight into your personality traits.
Understanding what makes you who you are will provide a better foundation to answer the original question at hand.
So as you prepare for the interview, begin to reflect on not only what you do, but why you do it. By promoting professional accomplishments which reflect your personal tendencies, you’ll demonstrate to your interviewer the areas where you truly excel.
And by starting off an interview that way, you’ll excel throughout the remainder of the interview as well!
What to Do in the 24 Hours Leading up to a Phone Interview
While a phone interview can sometimes feel like a pesky formality before you get to the “real” interview, in actuality, they are much more important than you may think.
Phone interviews are essentially your first impression and, good or bad, that impression is going to linger for a while. Research has shown that it takes less than 30 seconds for someone to assess your confidence, competence, status, likeability, warmth, and trustworthiness. After that impression has been made, people tend to only remember actions that reinforce their belief about you and forget actions that contradict that belief.
So if done correctly, a phone interview is the best way to set yourself up for success for the long haul. And the best way to perform well in a phone interview is to prepare!
Follow these tips in the 24 hours leading up to your interview to knock it out of the park.
24:00 | Research
Your interviewer wants to know that you’re familiar with their company; the key word here being familiar. You don’t have to know that Brien from Accounting loves meatloaf (both the food and the musician) or that Megan from HR has seen every Nicholas Cage movie – just get comfortable with the high-level information.
Visit their website and make sure you understand their business and industry. If they are a public company, review their Annual Report. Find your interviewer on Linkedin and see if you have any connections. Lastly, make notes on your findings and see how you can match up your prior experience with the job description and mission statement of the company.
Simply put, do your homework!
03:00 | Charge Your Phone
Between checking emails, updating your fantasy roster, and listening to your favorite Spotify playlist, its easy to forget to check your battery levels. It can sometimes feel like your battery has gone from 84% to 6% in an instant. Be sure to plug in your phone and get a full charge so that your phone doesn’t die mid interview.
02:00 | Dress for Success
Even though you’re interviewer won’t see how nice you look, research has shown that dressing in formal attire boosts abstract thinking and negotiating skills. I guess there is some truth behind the old adage “you look good, you feel good”!
01:00 | Hit the Off Button
Whether its your T.V., stereo, or a squeaky ceiling fan, if you think something in the room may break your concentration, turn it off. The last thing you want is a quick glance at the T.V. to shift your train of thought from “Credits & Debits” to “Khaleesi & Dragons”.
00:55 | Get Set Up
Lay out your research notes, the job description, and your resume so that you will have quick access to your talking points and won’t have to go searching for them mid-call.
00:50 | Review
While your notes are out, this is a perfect opportunity to review! In the interviewing world, the term overly prepared does not exist – it is simply ‘prepared’.
00:15 | Pose and Twist
Get your blood and hormones pumping by striking a power pose. Plant your feet widely and stretch your arms overhead in a V shape for 2 minutes and you’ll feel like a champion.
While you’re at it, do some speech exercises to ensure that you speak clearly. Try some simple tongue twisters like “Theophilus Thistler, the thistle sifter, in sifting a sieve of unsifted thistles, thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb.”
Your dog may look at you strange, but it will all be worth it.
00:00 | Answer the Phone
5 Benefits of Working with a Staffing Firm
“This is my two week notice.”
Six simple words. Six words that are deceptively inconspicuous on their own…
But when strung together and uttered by your most dynamic employee, they send a tangled jolt of emotion crashing down to the core of your ill-prepared gut.
Okay, that was a little (very) dramatic. But even if your response to a resignation is relative indifference, one thought still bubbles to the top of every boss’ mind: “What do I do now?”
Here are the top 5 reasons why a staffing firm might be your best option:
1. Expand Your Footprint
Filling your vacant position with the best possible candidate requires you to get the word to as many people as possible by posting on online job boards, the company website, and social media. But what if the perfect candidate is not actively searching for a new opportunity or simply doesn’t see your postings? A staffing firm will be able to extend beyond the reach of your digital footprint and tap into their vast network of qualified candidates to produce applicants that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
2. Save Money
Posting to online job boards and completing all of the necessary screening measures can be a costly endeavor. Staffing firms generally absorb those costs so you don’t have to worry about it! And since firms will only send highly qualified candidates your way, you can expect to see a boost in productivity after the new hire is placed, improving workflow efficiency and saving money.
3. Don’t Get Bogged Down
Filling a job is yet another addition to the workload that you already have on your plate. From posting jobs, to reviewing resumes and scheduling interviews, priorities sometimes have to be shuffled in order to get everything done. Luckily, filling jobs is a staffing firm’s only job! Let a firm take on that responsibility and do the grunt work while you focus on your essential tasks at hand.
4. Ensure Compliance
It’s probably fair to say that most people don’t get phone notifications when a new labor law is passed. Instead of trying to make sure your hiring practices are compliant on your own, lean on the expertise of a staffing firm to ensure that your company is not accidentally overlooking any compliance issues.
5. Be Efficient
If you have a big project coming up that requires additional support, finding a solution may be difficult. Hiring a permanent employee may prove costly once the workload slows down. Staffing firms have vast connections with temporary workers and contractors who are brought on to the team with a clear understanding of the term limits of the position, so you don’t have to worry about hiring or firing permanent employees unnecessarily.
Women of Accounting: A Look at the Numbers (infographic)
In recent years, issues of gender inequality in the workplace have rightfully found their way into the national social and political conversation.
And while voices on both sides of the issue continue to debate the validity of the topic at hand, we as accounting professionals know one thing to be true: the numbers don’t lie.
Take a look at what the statistics have to say about women in the accounting profession.
3 Fun Ways to Motivate Your Team on Fridays
Fridays – the day of the week where an employee’s mentality magically shifts from “what do I have to do tomorrow” to “what do I get to do tomorrow”. So, it is probably no surprise that studies have shown Friday to be the least productive day of the week.
If that’s the case, what can a manager do to keep his team motivated? Start by implementing these 3 fun ideas to keep your employees more excited about work-hours than after-hours.
1. Jeans for Dreams
Everybody loves casual Friday – it’s a fact. But just because an employee feels more comfortable, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll feel better.
Studies conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Dunn at the University of British Columbia showed that asking people to spend as little as $5 on someone else over the course of a day made them happier at the end of that day than people who spent the $5 on themselves.
Instead of offering dress-down days as a given, encourage employees to bring $1-$5 if they want to participate and donate the money to charity. It’s a win-win!
2. The Email Quickdraw Challenge
Tell your team you will be sending out an email at an unspecified time and the first one to reply wins a prize!
The idea here is pretty simple; your team will be checking emails on a more consistent basis throughout the day, keeping them focused on the work at hand.
Feel free to get creative with this! Email them a trivia question that they must be the first to answer correctly or send a clue leading them to where the prize is hidden.
3. Employee of The
Employees appreciate recognition for the hard work that they’ve done, but it appears that the vast majority do not feel that they receive it.
A 2014 study revealed that a staggering 79% of employees do not feel strongly valued at work.
If you currently recognize an Employee of the Month, begin giving recognition to the Employee of The Week to ensure your team is getting the praise they deserve on a more regular basis. And if you are not doing either of these, start now!
4 Easy Ways to Make the Most of Your LinkedIn Network
We’ve all heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and social media trends show that most people tend to agree. According to 2016 data, the average professional on LinkedIn has over 900 connections.
So if you fall within or above this average, you’re ahead of the curve, right? Well, it depends.
Consider Dunbar’s number which suggests that humans are capable of maintaining only 150 meaningful relationships. Anthropologist Robin Dunbar describes this set of 150 as “the people you have real reciprocated relationships with, those where you feel obligations and would willingly do favours.” Essentially, these people are more than acquaintances, they are truly invested in your success.
Now, while other studies have that number somewhere between 200-300, we are none-the-less presented with a networking conundrum – in order to earn a spot in someone’s “magic 150”, you must also give up someone from yours.
So, how can you grow a meaningful network and maintain your current strong relationships?
Follow these 4 easy networking tips to get the most out of your LinkedIn connections.
1. Focus on quality, not quantity
While having 500+ connections has the potential to look impressive, you must ask yourself if there is real substance behind that number.
Vet your current and new connection requests to ensure they can either speak to the skill set that you currently have, or can they provide opportunities to improve upon them.
LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman said, ” You don’t need to do a deep analysis of every person who asks to connect with you, but if you’d feel awkward chatting with them or introducing them to someone in your network, decline — without a guilty conscience.”
2. Be supportive
LinkedIn connections are only truly valuable if they are mutually beneficial. You have probably heard the adage “you scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours”, but what happens if they don’t scratch first?
Be proactive! Endorse your connection’s skills, write recommendations, and engage with their posts. By doing so first, they will be much more inclined to return the favor.
3. Maintain relationships with acquaintances
Assuming the validity of anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s studies, we have the capability of maintaining only 500 relationships with acquaintances in addition to the 150 closer relationships.
In order to make the most out of these relationships, make note of their personal interests/goals and message them if you stumble across an article that they might enjoy or a job opportunity that they would excel in.
If all else fails, just send them a friendly message on occasion so that you remain a valuable acquaintance in their eyes.
4. Take it offline
If you see value in growing a relationship with certain connections, offer to meet them for coffee or lunch if they are in the area. An engaging, in-person conversation will allow you to quickly identify shared interests and foster the growth of this network relationship.
Revisiting Ethics – A Revised Statement of Ethical Professional Practice
Michael Garelli, Managing Partner of Marco & Associates, acknowledges that ethics, honesty, and professionalism have always been the firm’s guiding principles. “Whether making internal hiring decisions or vetting talent for a client, assessing an individual’s ethics factors heavily in the decision making process. When we talk with prospective hires we always tell them that if it feels wrong – it is wrong.”
The Institute of Management Accountants recently revised its Statement of Ethical Professional Practice. To read more, and to sign up for our monthly newsletter – The Marconian, click here.
$250-$1000 Referral Opportunity
A rewarding referral opportunity is now available through Marco & Associates! We know that individuals like you know other professionals looking for challenging engagements and rewarding opportunities.
Refer an accounting or finance professional and be rewarded $250 when that individual works on an interim or temporary engagement through Marco Management Solutions or Marco Strategic Staffing. The $250 referral reward will be paid after the referred individual has worked on assignment through Marco Management Solutions or Marco Strategic Staffing for 240 hours.
Refer an accounting or finance professional and be rewarded $1000 when that individual is placed in a direct hire position through Marco Financial Search. The $1000 referral reward will be paid following 90 days of the referred individual’s employment and collection of the placement fee by Marco Financial Search.
Multiple referrals qualify for multiple rewards.
Contact Marco & Associates today at 312.546.9800 to discuss this rewarding referral opportunity! To view current employment opportunities please visit http://www.marcoassociates.com/opportunities/.
Three Phases of the Interview Process
With today’s low unemployment rate the majority of employers are looking to retain existing staff. While the pool of candidates competing for accounting and finance positions is smaller than in years past, it is still critical that those looking for a new role learn to master the interviewing process. In a recent presentation to the Northwest Suburban Chapter of Management Accountants, Mike Garelli, Managing Partner of Marco & Associates, detailed the three key phases of the interview process.
• Confirming the dress code, the location, and practicing answers to frequently asked interview questions almost go without saying; however, making sure these are done in advance allows you more time to address the things that will help you stand apart from other applicants.
• Review not only the company’s website but be sure to review their financials if they are a publicly traded company. Plan to discuss how this impacts the company and its outlook for the coming year.
• Review the profiles of everyone with whom you will be meeting – the key is to look for common ground and similar professional interests. An interview is meant to help the employer see beyond your resume and build rapport.
• Review the duties for the position and tailor your resume to reflect the work that you have done and how it relates to the job for which you are interviewing.
• Prepare documentation (non-proprietary projects, spreadsheets, etc.) that you can bring with you which will allow you to showcase your abilities.
• Prepare 3-4 questions for the interviewer. These may be questions about the industry, the role as it relates to others within the organization, or how the company differentiates itself from its competition.
2. The Interview:
• Arrive 10-15 minutes early and bring a pen and paper with you. The interview should evolve from a Q&A session into a conversation. Having a means to take notes and formulate questions during the interview will help you gain a better understanding of the organization and their mission.
• Body language is key. Posture and eye contact are two of the easiest ways for an employer to identify your level of confidence.
• Practice “active listening” when being asked questions and when listening to the responses to the questions you have asked.
• “Show What You Know” – relate what you know about the company when answering questions and align your career accomplishments and skills to what the company is looking for.
• Close the interview by asking for a business card and finding out the next steps in the hiring process.
3. Follow Up:
• Send a thank you note to everyone with whom you have met, remembering to include key details from your conversation and confirming your interest in the position.
The interview process is more important than ever. Technology has the ability to enhance, but cannot replace, the job search process. There are key traits (professionalism, energy, passion, confidence, communication skills) that cannot be found on a resume. Networking and working with a reputable recruiter remain two of the most important ways job seekers can gain access to a hiring manager. For more information, or to discuss your job search, please contact Marco & Associates at 312.546.9800.