Posts in category "Interactive and Technology"

Job Application Smarts – Part 2: The Interview

You’ve passed the 1st hurdle and your resume is the beacon of skills the company is looking for. Now comes the interview; it’s similar to being set up on a blind date. You two meet up, check out each other’s vibes, chit chat, and pray you and the company are compatible. And hopefully after the interview, it would not end with…. ‘looks good on paper but in person…’

The below are based on interviews that I’ve conducted in the last few years. Most of these tips are outlined in a multitude of job prep sites and books…but apparently not many people read them.

1) Remember and keep track where you’ve applied to
If I call you to come in for an interview, and I get a ‘uh…um…I’m sorry who??’ I’m gonna regret phoning you. When a decent job posting goes out, it’s like dropping blood into a shark infested pool. Our inbox will be attacked and filled with applications and it may take awhile to sift through them. So do not be surprised if it takes up to 2-3 weeks before you hear something.

2) Be on time
This is obvious but it’s still unbelievable how people can still be late. Call the company’s reception, do a google map, check out Translink’s website, etc to figure out the location ahead of time. If you’re going to be late, just call and let your interviewers know. Try to be there at least 5 minutes early, so you can take the time to relax and breath before you meet with HR/Manager/etc

3) Have a firm handshake
Don’t have a barely-there handshake where it feels like shaking a limp plant. It actually feels gross and indicates to us you lack confidence and assertion. But don’t be so firm that it feels like your crushing my hand.

4) Dress appropriately
Depending on the position and company, figure out what the interview appropriate wear would be. If you’re applying for a gaming or web dev job, chances are you can be a bit casual. Whereas if you’re going for a stock broker position, you would want to bring out your Armani suit. But under NO circumstances do you wear jeans to an interview. If you work at a place where everyone wears shorts and tees, and you need to sneak out for the interview, bring a change of clothes then! For the guys, a pair of khakis, a button up shirt and loafers would suffice most of the time. Same for the girls and fortunately we have more flexibility in that department.
And look somewhat polished and comb your hair…and not appear you just rolled out of bed and rolled into the interview.

5) Stay calm and appear keen
Interviews can be scary and we understand that. But we’ll worry if you look clammy, pale, and ready to keel over. It’s counter-intuitive but what keeps me calm is I go into an interview with a ‘I don’t care’ attitude. If you don’t feel like your life depends on it and remember there are other opportunities, you wouldn’t worry as much. When you answer, speak slowly, calmly, and with a smile.

6) Prepare
Review your resume, note your professional highlights, research the company, etc the night before. Most importantly study with the STAR method as 100% of time you would be asked situational/behavioral questions
Situation: give an example of a situation you were involved in that resulted in a positive outcome
Task: describe the tasks involved in that situation
Action: talk about the various actions involved in the situation’s task
Results: what results directly followed because of your actions

7) Have good posture
Don’t slouch, twitch, fiddle around or lean over too much. Sit up straight or just relax back against the chair. If we’re in a lounge like room, don’t slouch and spread your legs like as if you’re hungover. Don’t really feel like staring at your crotch for an hour.

8) Be coherent and transparent
Relates back to point #6 and have answers ready. There was one interviewee who would start telling us an experience and then all of a sudden say ‘oh sorry..can’t say too much about that / can’t disclose too many details’ …then why would you start telling us about it?? You’re not applying to the FBI here.

9) You would love to work for the company
I know you’re sucking up or BSing that you want to work for the place because
It’s the number one place for…etc
Company A is an award winning…etc
You have great projects….etc
That’s fine but don’t say “I want to work for Company A because I found you on Craigslist and I need a job

10) Have a hobby
Aside from your skills and background, we want to know you have a life. This provides us an insight that you have personality and you are a well rounded individual.. If you don’t have a hobby, lie about it and then pick it up afterwards.

12) Figure out what your Interviewer likes
It’s ok before or at the end of the interview to try to throw in something casual…like talking about last night’s hockey game or some new restaurant you went to. It would then make your interviewer open up something about themselves. Like if they don’t like hockey but happens to watch wrestling…work with it. It’s a good subtle way to develop rapport and show you have personality (referring to #10)

13) Paperwork
Bring extra copies of the resume and references to the interview. After the interview, within 24 hours write a thank you email. These little things make interviewers remember you. HUGE Bonus points.

Jazz Night with The Band – TAFKAJH

No it’s not an eye chart – TAFKAJH is short for The Artists Formerly Known As Jazz Hands. The group is still mauling over a new name for the band…but it’s been funny to see how they’ve been using the acronym.  On Saturday, a couple of us went to the moody Cafe Montmartre to support and check out our friends of TAFKAJH

Cafe Montmartre Vancouver

Aside from being musically inclined, they are super duper smart. I know Ryan (guest drummer) and Shaun (played Guitar) from my old job. Ryan is a very well respected Interface Developer/Interaction Architect while Shaun is a beloved funny Application Developer. Shaun also hosts these highly coveted okonomiyaki nights which I was lucky enough to have been invited to. I am waiting for my next invite *STK if you’re reading this BIG HINT*. David (keyboard) and Paul (saxophone) are also successful engineers. Justin Cathart joined in too as drummer and sound tech guy. Shaun, David, and Paul are the key members and have been friends for a long time. They are all friendly, nice, smart, and very crazy talented.

Part of the night, two guest singers (Sarah Cheevers and Kendra Shand) went on stage to perform. Both had incredible soulful voices

The guys have played at Cafe Montmartre a couple of times now. This popular Parisienne themed cafe is located in the middle of the popular Main Street strip. Once you enter, you can sort of see the vibe and decor does emulate a French artsy cultured night

It doesn’t have a large selection of food but the hot drinks and desserts are worth a try. Chenoa of One Dove and I shared a very delectable chocolate and banana crepe. This was so good that our table ended up ordering two more. I was about to order a wine to assuage my recent wine addiction but decided to go for the Spanish coffee to warm me up.

It was an fun entertaining night with the gang. It’s always nice to see your friends showcase their talents and be in their element. To start your Christmas mood, here’s a clip of their rendition of the Peanuts Theme

Cafe Montmartre
4362 Main St
Cafe Montmartre on Urbanspoon

Job Application Smarts – Part 1

I’ve had my fair share of interviews…being the interviewee and the interviewer. There have been many times where I have even coached and prepped my friends before they stepped into that corporate lion’s den.

And pushing my usual modesty aside, my resume editing skills have had a 95% success rate too (now pulling back the modesty).

So here’s my take on “to-dos” and “not to-dos” from my experience

Your CV:
1) Do not use Comic Sans as your font of choice
Of all the hundreds of fonts why would you use one out of a Simpsons’ episode?

2) Try to limit your resume to 2 pages
I actually think 1 page is too brief whereas 6 pages is too much. Receiving a 6 page resume reads EGO and we don’t have time to read a novel

3) Customize your cover letter and resume
We can actually tell if your resume is generic and know you blasted it to 10 other employers

4) Carefully read the job posting
Note any special requirements for application such as samples of work, references, and where to send your resume. Don’t just send link of your online portfolio when it clearly states something like “Describe and highlight 3 projects that you’ve done”

5) Don’t diss the job requirements and your potential team members
Why would you ever say a particular technical or personal skill is ‘dead’ or ‘out dated’? If you don’t like it, don’t bother applying for the position. There’s usually a good reason why that skill was mentioned. And don’t say stuff like “..and per usual I had to fix and figure out what the art directors did…” when you’re applying for a design/advertising/print/art/web development/marketing company

6) Do not apply to the position more than once
Companies will post the job description in various places. So don’t apply to it every time you see it. It indicates to us that you’re not paying attention. There was a reason why we didn’t contact you the 1st time around. If you don’t hear from the company for 2 weeks, just contact them to check the status of your application.

7) Figure out who’s hiring
Sometimes it is difficult to deduct the name of the company and hiring manager if the posting was put up anonymously. But if there is a company email address to send your application to…use that to start your research. There’s this thing called ‘Googling’

8) Don’t just depend on the Spelling/Grammar check
MS Word doesn’t check the context. For example, at a previous company, someone sent out an enewsletter…the word ‘PUBLIC’ was missing the L. And very important to double check the name of the employer….like my name Teresa does not have an ‘H’ in it…ever.

9) Format your resume
There is a zillion resume templates and samples out there. Having your resume bareboned or misaligned is lazy

10) Don’t list ‘Collecting Guns and Going to the shooting gallery’ as a hobby. Just sayin’

11) Be Humble. Don’t Exaggerate
If you say if you’ve created ‘thousands of websites’, we’ll be tempted to call you on it. And if you write, you can do things way better, faster, and more efficient than anyone else then we’ll be tempted to ask you to code Google again…in a day.

12) Update your online presence
If you have a portfolio site, ensure it is updated with the latest experience and work. If your site is just one big animal graphic with links to your myspace, flickr, etc…don’t bother sending us the link. If you have a linkedin account, try to get recommendations from your colleagues and previous employers…and grow your network. The more the merrier but please try not to spam folks to add you.

13) Aside from typos, check your cv of who you are applying to
If you’re applying to Company A make sure Company B’s info is not on it.