Quick Interview Tips for Teens and College Grads


Summer Jobs. The first job after graduation. Whenever you have to interview for a job, there is a lot of stress involved.  If you keep these simple rules in mind, you should have no problem making a great impression, giving your a positive edge to the job.

  • Make sure you dress more formally than you usually do, even if the company has an informal dress code.  A suit and tie for men and a dress or conservative separates (and keep the heel height on your shoes 3 inches or less) for women are appropriate if the company has a business formal or business casual dress code.  If the company has an informal code, a blue blazer and grey or khaki slacks with collared, buttoned-down shirt and tie for men and matched but less formal separates or a simple dress are appropriate for women.
  • Arrive on time. On time actually means 5-10 minutes early so you have time to put your coat in the closet, check your makeup, hair and your teeth and relax to gather your thoughts. You will introduce yourself to the receptionist first and give your card to her/him so they can announce your arrival.
  • Stand up when your interviewer enters the room (and always when you are shaking hands with someone) and shake their hand firmly. Avoid the limp, bone-crusher,pumping and fingertip handshakes.
  • Be prepared. This means you need to know what’s happening at their company.  Know their products and services, how well they are doing financially, how many employees they have, who their competition is and how your skills would fit into their future success.  If you can show the interviewer that you already fit into their corporate culture, it will be easier to hire you.  Your resume got you the interview based upon your skills. Your personality will get you the job.
  • Wait to be seated by the interviewer. Don’t walk in a conference room or an office and sit down.  Ask where the interviewer would like to have you sit.
  • Smile when you first meet the interviewer and during the interview. No one wants a sour puss working in their offices. Look enthusiastic, don’t fidget, and turn your phone completely off and put it away during your time in their office.
  • When the interview is over, shake the interviewer’s hand firmly and thank them for their time.  Ask when a decision will be made and when to expect to hear from them whether or not you got the job.
  • Write a handwritten thank-you note within 24 hours of your interview thanking the interviewer for their time and restating your interest in the job.  End it with an action statement like, “I am hoping for a positive result”.  You may also (in addition to but not instead of) write an email thank-you as soon as you get home with the same information as your handwritten note.

From Military to Civilian Career Transition – What You Need to Know

Out of Uniform Military to Civilian Career Transition

​Listen at www.blogtalkradio.com/moderncivility to hear Cynthia Lett and Tom Wolfe (author of Out of Uniform: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition) talk about what is necessary for Veterans to know about their next step in their careers and what business owners who hire them need to keep in mind.  They talk about the etiquette and protocol differences between military and civilian business and key steps to take make the transition easier.  

Some Resources to Follow if you are a Veteran seeking a career change:

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Build Relationships Early for Job Success

This article from one of my favorite go-to places for employment info (no – I have no intention of working for anyone but me anymore) for my clients is www.theladders.com . If you have a new job or are seeking how to move ahead, business etiquette training from The Lett Group and employment advice from TheLadders is a great combination.

Job No. 1 at your new workplace: Identify the ”go-to” people in your new company, and listen to their guidance.

May 2, 2011
By Debra Donston-Miller
On the JobAfter the very big job of finding a new job is complete, it’s time to relax, right? Wrong. Your first 90 days in a new position are critical, especially when it comes to relationship building. What you do or overlook during this time can color your entire tenure with a company — or even cut it short, if missteps during this period are big enough.After you have waded through all the forms and orientation materials, you’ll likely want to roll up your sleeves and jump immediately into your work. While the sentiment is admirable (especially if the managers you interviewed with wanted someone who could “hit the ground running”), you’ll be doing yourself and your new employer a disservice if you start making moves at the expense of establishing effective relationships. Experts told TheLadders that early work to establish relationships will pay off handsomely down the line.

The first few days on the job are no time to be a shrinking violet. “My advice to new employees is first and foremost to get in there and start meeting people,” said TyAnn Osborn, director of human resources at the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. “Don’t just show up and sit in your cube.”

Go to the go-to people

While you’re doing all that meeting and greeting, be on the lookout for the “go-to” people — the ones who know how to get certain jobs done, no matter where those people fit on the org chart. How do you find them? Osborn recommends asking the following leading question after meeting any new person: “Whom do you recommend I speak to now and get to know?” You’ll know you’ve hit on a go-to person when several new acquaintances answer with the same name and say, “Oh, you have to speak with … !”

Now that you’ve identified the go-to people, go to them. Dr. Kevin D. Gazzara, who took early retirement from chip giant Intel and now runs leadership-consulting firm Magna Leadership Solutions, said you should begin cultivating relationships with those go-to people early on. During his early days at Intel, Gazzara said, he made it a point to understand the structure of the division in which he worked and set up meetings with the people who seemed to be setting the tone. “This allowed me to develop a relationship with them, and I could also do a bit of selling of my talents, interests and do some positive internal marketing of the organization I had joined,” he said.

It is also helpful if you can get your hands on an org chart. Most org charts are fuzzy outlines at best, but it’s important to get a sense of who works with whom, who manages whom, who has a dotted line to whom, and so on. Deciphering these relationships early on will help you better understand and more effectively work within the organization.

Of course, the relationship you want built on the strongest foundation possible is your relationship with your boss. Experts recommend putting the shoe on the other foot and “interviewing” your manager — on Day One, if possible. “Find out what makes them tick, why they joined in the first place and, most importantly, what their priorities are so these become your priorities too,” said Osborn.

Experts also recommend that early conversations with your manager involve the development of a 30/60/90-day plan that clearly states what you intend to accomplish in your first three months. While this is a common best practice, you can show your manager — and your colleagues — your focus on collaboration and your ability and willingness to tap others’ expertise by incorporating ideas and suggestions (with appropriate credit) from the meetings you set up during your first days and months on the job.

Perhaps the most important piece of advice for your first 90 days is to establish yourself as a team player by doing more listening than speaking, said Deirdre McEachern, a certified career coach at VIPCoaching. “Too many new employees fall into the trap of trying to prove their worth by offering unsolicited opinions or making odious comparisons to ‘how we did it at my last job,’ ” she said. “Employers and fellow employees want to know you are on their team now and that you are 100 percent committed. The best way to prove your worth is to be a focused listener to your teammates around you. ”

The author, Debra Donston-Miller covers work-life issues and difficult job-search situations for TheLadders.

Why Won’t They Call You Back?

by Marc Cenedella (Founder and CEO of www.theladders.com)

Marc Cenedella

Why haven’t they called you back?

The interview went well — you’re pretty sure you nailed that question about how you could contribute to the team’s new mobile initiative — and you really hit it off with the HR person. You’ve got a background in exactly the area they’re looking for and you know you’re perfectly qualified for the role.

So why haven’t they called you back? After all, it’s already been two whole days! Don’t they realize that you’d be perfect and you’re just itching to go?

To paraphrase John Wayne, “Now hold on just a minute there, pilgrim.” (Or maybe that’s Robin Williams impersonating John Wayne, I’m getting my childhood TV mixed up…)

I know you are very, very excited and very eager to find your next role. After all, you deserve it!

But you need to be aware of the company’s timing as much as your own. Of course, because more than one person is involved in the decision, there will be a hiring process. Feedback needs to be collected, budgets need to be consulted, and meetings must be held.

All of which takes time.

So expecting that you’ll be getting feedback or another interview request the very next day after your visit is just a bit unrealistic. As a matter of fact, expecting and assuming that they’ll be following up at all is probably unrealistic these days. You’ll need to be proactive and do the following-up yourself after a reasonable amount of time has passed.

What’s a reasonable time frame? It’s long enough so that it doesn’t seem you’re breathing down their necks, and it’s soon enough so that they don’t think you’ve forgotten.

My advice is to wait a week between call-backs.

Just put it in your calendar — after you’ve had a call, an interview, an e-mail — just jot a note to yourself to follow up seven days later. And forget about it until then — fretting doesn’t make it better.

What should your follow-up calls (better) or e-mails (OK) read like?

“Hi, Mrs. Lee, I had such a wonderful time speaking with you last week and I think I could contribute a lot to Acme. So I’m just following up on our conversations and would love to hear back from you. You can reach me at this phone or that e-mail address.”


“Hello, Tom. When we met three weeks ago I mentioned how Ink, Inc. would be a great opportunity to apply my software development management skills in an industry I’m familiar with. So I would very much appreciate the chance to connect and hear what you’re thinking about my candidacy. You can reach me at this phone number.”

In each conversation, you’re trying to remind them of the three Es: you exist, you’re excited, and you’re expecting to hear back from them.

You exist. Now, of course, you haven’t forgotten this since you last spoke with Mrs. Lee or Tom Pruitt, but you know what?, they might have forgotten about you. And it’s not because you’re insignificant or not qualified or not wanted. It’s just with hiring on the upswing, and HR departments and recruiters still under-staffed from the recession, they don’t have time to follow up with all of the people they’ve spoken with. So a gentle reminder that “Hey, I’m here” can remind them of how much they liked you.

You’re excited. Sometimes the candidate with the consistent and persistent enthusiasm can get the nod just for showing sustained interest. Make sure you communicate why you’re interested in the role and why you’d be great.

You’re expecting. Don’t ask them to call back “only” if they’re interested or “only” if there’s an update. You burned up a good few minutes of your time doing the favor of reaching out to them, so ask them to give the favor back in return. Go ahead and politely suggest the return call — it will give you a chance to get them back on the phone, sell yourself some more, and find out what the scoop is on their side.

Also, it’s worth mentioning for good order that there are also three Es you want to avoid. You don’t want to tell them that you’re enraged that you haven’t got the job yet, over eager because you’ve got nothing else going on, or an egomaniac who thinks they should feel lucky that you’re considering them. Nobody wants to hire an angry, desperate jerk.

Keep calling back each week, politely and persistently.

If you’ve got the patience of Job and the stamina of Lou Gehrig, then keep at this for 8-10 weeks. But for most folks, I suggest limiting it to 5. If they haven’t called you back after five weeks, then you probably aren’t going to be hearing from them after 10, and your time is best spent elsewhere. (But don’t give up after three, which is what too many people do — I’ve seen too much luck created on those fourth and fifth calls for you to skip them!)

Rev Up Your Rapport

by Arnold Sanow MBA,CSP

Associate of The Lett Group

Arnold Sanow Get Along book

by Arnold Sanow & Sandra Strauss

Rapport can be defined as “bringing agreement, harmony and accord to a relationship”.

Isn’t that what we want in our connections – to discover points of mutual interest or

common ground, reach agreements, live and work together in harmony and enjoy

interactions along the way- with more ease? Rapport is the magic ingredient for getting

along with our customers, co-workers, colleagues, committee members, families, friends,

neighbors and everyone else we encounter in any role, anywhere, anytime. Getting along

means smoother sailing, fewer hassles, and more fun!

The key to revving up rapport lies in expressing the same qualities that people find

attractive. It’s the pleasure/pain principle in action. We move toward the people we likethose

who are easy to get along with, who make us feel comfortable, who bring out our

best qualities (including our smiles, laughter and good feelings).

In the reverse, we move away from those who bring us discomfort- those with whom we

find nothing in common, or who grate on our nerves, make us see red, hold up our plans,

don’t meet our expectations, give us headaches, or provoke other negative responses.

The relationships that bring us pleasure and good experiences are likely to endear as well

as endure, generating fond memories, long-lasting impressions and joyful feelings. In

contrast, the relationships that bring us discomfort and cause negative experiences are

likely to test our endurance; although their accompanying impressions, feelings, and

memories may also last, we probably wish they wouldn’t.

The ability to rev up your rapport is critical to creating enduring connections. Without it,

you’re more likely to suffer the pain and stress of troubled relationships and

disappointing connections. You may also miss out on wonderful opportunities and their

power to transform. All are typical fallout from choosing a life of disconnection

According to the book, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere … 8 keys to

creating enduring connections with customers, co-workers – even kids, by Arnold Sanow

and Sandra Strauss here are key traits you must focus on to rev up your rapport;

Authenticity Good communication skills

Appreciation Humor

Compassion Neat appearance

Confidence Positive attitude

Engaging style Social skills

Enthusiasm Respect

Friendliness Sincerity

Conversely, here are traits that typically turn people off or turn them away;

Abrasiveness Lack of humor

Apathy Negative attitude

Coldness Poor body language

Insensitivity Poor communication skills

Insincerity Poor social skills

Lack of appreciation Profanity

Lack of confidence Rudeness

Not only does rapport enhance your personal and professional relationships, it can also

boost your company’s bottom line. Communicating with insight, perception, and

empathy strengthens your efforts to keep customers happy, gain and maintain trust,

regain favor with

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disgruntled clients and customers and increase the likelihood of getting

their repeat business and their referrals. Likewise, building good rapport with colleagues

increases the quality of your working relationships, with corresponding impact on

productivity, creativity, cooperation, morale and overall job satisfaction.

As Norman Vincent Peale stated, “Getting people to like you is merely the other side of

liking them”

For more information about Arnold Sanow and how to book him for your next event, contact The Lett Group at info@lettgroup.com or (301)946-8208.