Job Search SOS

The Job Interview

March 25, 2021 Chris & Nancy Pinto Season 1 Episode 3
Job Search SOS
The Job Interview
Chapters
Job Search SOS
The Job Interview
Mar 25, 2021 Season 1 Episode 3
Chris & Nancy Pinto

Tips for nailing a job interview!

  • Preparation
  • Questions to ask
  • Questions that might be asked
  • Presentation 
  • Follow Up

Pinto Employment Search LLC - Logistics & Supply Chain Recruiters
Chris & Nancy Pinto, Owners
Website: 
https://www.pintoemployment.com/

Show Notes Transcript

Tips for nailing a job interview!

  • Preparation
  • Questions to ask
  • Questions that might be asked
  • Presentation 
  • Follow Up

Pinto Employment Search LLC - Logistics & Supply Chain Recruiters
Chris & Nancy Pinto, Owners
Website: 
https://www.pintoemployment.com/

NANCY:   Whether you asked for a job transition or not, searching for a new position can be scary, frustrating and disheartening.  Times and technologies change quickly, and there’s a lot to organize!  But the journey can just as easily be exciting, fruitful and rewarding.  I’m Nancy Pinto. 
CHRIS:  And I’m Chris Pinto.  Together we own Pinto Employment Search, an executive recruiting firm specializing in the supply chain and logistics industry.  Our combined experience in transportation jobs and recruiting is over 50 years!  We’re here to help you navigate the world of resume writing, job applications, interviews, negotiating compensation, and everything in between - to help you land the job you want!  
Once a week, we will also release an episode where we announce current job openings we’re working on. 
NANCY:  Welcome to the third episode of the Job Search SOS Podcast!  Today we’re gonna talk about THE JOB INTERVIEW!  Few things in life bring on the butterflies like a good ole-fashioned job interview, whether it’s a phone interview, an in-person meeting, or more likely these days, through an online video platform.  While many enjoy the process, I’d say there are just as many people who dread the thought of sitting down to summarize their entire career and impress a total stranger - or panel of strangers - in one relatively brief conversation.  
CHRIS:  At the same time, you want to make sure you get a good feel for the company as well, to see if YOU’RE still interested in moving forward at the end of that conversation.  And like with most things in life, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts.  You don’t want to go into a meeting cold, no matter how well you know what you’re capable of!
So you’ll need to arm yourself with as much information as possible.  
NANCY:  First, grab a cup of coffee, tea, a juice box.  Whatever floats your boat.  Then sit down comfortably.  Get the job description and your resume in front of you.  Read the job description carefully and note all the ways in which your experience matches up.  Don’t just think it to yourself.  Say it out loud.  It’ll help you remember.  It might even jog your memory for things you hadn’t thought about in a while that you can brag about.  
CHRIS: For example, let’s say part of the job requires you to make arrangements for trucking commercial cargo from coast to coast.  And yes, you have done that.  Well, think deeply about what that entails:  Talking to the customer.  Getting all the information about the cargo.  Communicating with truckers.  Getting prices from truckers.  Making the booking.  Giving the trucker all the paperwork and information they need to get on the road and deliver this product.  Knowing the deadline for delivery.   Getting proof of delivery.  Making sure it was delivered on time and without damage.  Paying the trucker.  Billing the customer.  OK, so with all that, for sure, from time to time there was a hiccup.  Problems and unusual occurrences tend to stick out in our memories.   Perhaps there was a delay due to weather.  Or a bridge was out.  Or the customer asked for a seemingly impossible deadline.  Or any number of things.   In the rabbit hole of your thoughts you might suddenly remember that time the customer said, “I know I said I could wait a week, but now IT’S URGENT AND I NEED THE SHIPMENT YESTERDAY!”   
NANCY:  So you did backflips and found a trucking company that was able to provide a two-person driving team on short notice, to go from Florida to California.  Your customer was so happy they paid a handsome rate and gave you more business because you saved the day and their production line didn’t have to go down.  This will be so much more fun to talk about than just “Yes, I make bookings for trucking.”  Try to find a few examples like that, where you can show not just that you know the job duties, but any instances where you saved money, saved a customer, improved a procedure, or otherwise left things better than they were before. 
CHRIS:  Now, there are the obvious questions you’ll probably get in a standard interview to make sure your experience matches the job and you can pretty much hit the ground running.  Answer all the questions, even if the information is plain to see on the resume.  Never say anything like, “Well, it’s on my resume, as you can see...” because while they were obviously impressed enough to bring you in, they may not have had the time to go through it with a fine-tooth comb.  You can never be 100% sure of what other questions you’ll get, so you have to do some extra preparation and then just come to terms with the fact that you might get a question out of left field.  You don’t want to come across as frazzled or annoyed by any questions; you wanna remain calm, cool, and collected.  
NANCY:   Please note, however, that we’re talking about legal and relevant interview questions.  Any questions that violate the law should not be answered.  You’re within your rights to say something like, “How is my age relevant to the job?”  or “I believe that question is illegal.”  Most of the time it’s innocent, like, “Oh!  Are you from Puerto Rico?  I love their beaches!”  They probably don’t mean to find out where you’re from just so they can discriminate.  But if you feel uncomfortable, or they sound unprofessional, you could just terminate the interview.  
CHRIS:  Most interviewers no longer ask those textbook questions of yesteryear, such as “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”  or “What’s your biggest weakness?”  Although we suggest giving those SOME thought, just in case.  Hint.  Please DON’T say that in five years, you want THEIR job, or that your biggest weakness is being a perfectionist.  They’ve probably heard that before. 
NANCY:  There are also those really weird questions that sometimes HR managers like to ask to throw you off, such as “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?”  In that case, it’s okay to pause and collect your thoughts.  Use that to call upon your creative energy, if you’re comfortable with coming up with something on the fly.  If you’d rather not, then you can have a general answer in your back pocket, something that would work for almost anything (tree, rock, animal, alien, planet, beverage)...you could say “A very strong yet flexible one that can withstand challenges and adapt to any circumstances!”   Cheesy?  Do you agree or disagree?  Let us know what offbeat interview questions YOU’VE gotten, and how YOU responded!
CHRIS:  Speaking of questions.  They go both ways.  You’re interviewing them as well, because it’s equally important that the environment is right for you.  There are lots of ways to prepare.  The first way is to check the website of the company.  Learn everything you can about their history, services, and customers.  Write down any questions that come to mind.   Check their LinkedIn profile and search for any other sites where they make an appearance.  Industry news, directories, social media, and so on.  This should all give you a feel for what it might be like to work there.  If there’s a lot of information, great!  If there’s nothing, that might bring up some different questions.  Maybe they’re recently established.  Maybe they only have a handful of staff, and are so busy with start up and growing, that they haven’t gotten around to polishing up their website (hiring YOU will help with that!).   Maybe they’ve been around forever and wildly successful, but they’re a small, niche, mom and pop type business.  
NANCY:  The only questions I would avoid asking are about compensation, vacation, work hours, benefits and perks.  Unless they bring it up first.  Yes, these are important, and no one wants to waste anyone’s time.  But, this first interview is typically just to gauge the fit of both parties.  Negotiation will come later.  You don’t wanna come across as if money is the ONLY thing you care about.  
If you’re working with a recruiter, they should have given you a salary range, and you should have told them what your expectations are.  At least so both parties know you’re in the same ballpark.   
CHRIS:  Good questions to ask have to do with the company, department, and job itself.  Anything not covered in the job description or website is great, such as why the job is vacant, what the expectations are and how success in this role is measured.  You can ask them why THEY like working for the company, how they promote teamwork, or how they interact with and contribute to their community.   If they’re lacking, maybe that’s something you can see yourself doing for them!  
NANCY:   So now you’re prepared and you know what you want to highlight about your experience and skills, you have a good feel for the company and job, and you’ve jotted down 3-5 questions of your own.  
CHRIS:   At some point soon before the interview, try to role play with someone you trust.  Have them ask you standard questions, crazy questions, bad questions, and good questions, so that you can practice what you want to say, and feel what it’s like to tackle the unknown.  Have fun with it!  
NANCY:  Now let’s think about how the conversation will happen.  Is it going to be a phone interview, a video chat, or an in-person, socially distanced, masked meeting?  Will there be more than one interviewer?  Maybe it’s just me, but I like to assume it’ll be more than one person, because that makes me more nervous, and I’d rather be mentally prepared for that and be pleasantly surprised when it’s just one!
CHRIS:   Let’s start with the phone interview.  Print out your resume, the job description, the parts of your experience you want to make sure you bring up, and your questions for them, so that everything is in front of you.  You can have your computer, of course, but you don’t want to be clicking between tabs, or risk the blue screen of death, right in the middle of the interview.  Make sure you’re in a quiet location where you have good reception and won’t be interrupted.  Set aside an hour to be on the safe side.  Have a beverage handy.  Not alcohol though! That can be later.
NANCY:  Obviously you don’t have to wear an evening gown or a tuxedo, but looking professional can help put you in the proper mindset.  If I’m in a t-shirt and sweats, I’ll automatically think, “aaaaahhhhh, it’s time to relaaaaax.”  Wear something that makes you feel alert and productive.   
CHRIS:   About five minutes before the call, sit down and get comfortable.  Take a few deep breaths.  Also, when the call comes in, answer it with a smile on your face.  Yeah, it might sound cheesy, but it works!  You wanna do your part to set a friendly, professional, ice-breaking tone from the beginning.  Remember, they WANT you to succeed!  Stay focused, listen carefully, and answer thoughtfully.  And whatever you do, don’t no-show. Unless it’s a real emergency. Then follow up to explain and reschedule as soon as you can afterwards.
NANCY: At the end of the conversation, make sure you don’t hang up without knowing the next action step, which is typically that the interviewer will be in touch with you or the recruiter to let you know.  If they don’t explicitly say it, feel free to ask!  It gives you peace of mind and shows enthusiasm.  
CHRIS:  Most of what we just talked about for a phone interview also applies for in-person and video interviews.  Dress professionally, arrive or log in no later than five minutes before the interview, and have your documents ready and in front of you for reference.  The end might feel a little awkward, since you can’t shake hands, you’re probably wearing a mask, and you don’t really wanna do the same vigorous windshield-wiper goodbye you give your friends after your millionth Zoom happy hour.  Say thank you with a big smile, give a nod, let them end the meeting, and proudly take your leave.  
NANCY:   You did it!  Now all you need to do is prepare a written thank you email for all participants, and set a calendar item for a week out to remind yourself to follow up if you haven’t heard back.   
CHRIS:   We hope you enjoyed your trip down Interview Lane.  We wanna hear YOUR interview stories!  The good, the bad and the ugly!   In future episodes, we will talk in more detail about interview prep, the actual interview, and following up.  If you have any specific questions, we would love to hear them!  
NANCY:  For our NEXT episode, we’ll get into the searching and application process, and give you ideas on where to look for jobs, how to find companies in the field you’re interested in, and give you tips on how to network. 
We’ll also drop a weekly episode to announce the hottest logistics jobs we’re working on.  Our website and contact info will be in the show notes of every podcast episode, so please feel free to share with anyone you know, and reach out with comments, questions, or just to say hello!
CHRIS: Thank you for listening to the Job Search SOS Podcast!  
Please visit www.pintoemployment.com and feel free to reach out to us.  See you next time! 
Pinto Employment Search LLC - Logistics & Supply Chain Recruiters
Chris & Nancy Pinto, Owners
Website:  https://www.pintoemployment.com/
Chris Pinto: 
Phone: 908-578-5814
Email:  [email protected]
www.linkedin.com/in/chrispintoemployment
Nancy Pinto
Phone: 201-988-2293
Email:  [email protected]  
www.linkedin.com/in/nancypinto