Today we’re doing something different…I’m introducing you to Sam who works with me at The Skinny Confidential Dreamhouse ( but have you checked out the beauty vault? ).
Samantha works in our office & is the Marketing Director for Woo. She helps curate content, do the newsletter & run the brand. She’s savvy, sweet & knows her shit when it comes to getting a job. I am thoroughly impressed with her work ethic- she’s professional, self-aware & just gets it. Sam lived in NY where she worked at VaynerMedia, so she knows what it takes.
I asked her to come on to give tips on how to absolutely NAIL a job interview. In this post she shares the importance of what you do in the lobby while waiting, your posture & actions you take AFTER the interview.
Let’s get to it.
Hey guys! I’m Sam, Marketing Director at WOO More Play. I recently moved to LA from NY, where I worked in influencer marketing at VaynerMedia. Now, I am living my DREAM career at WOO – and not by accident. Today we’re going to chat about HOW TO KICK ASS AT AN INTERVIEW.
Personally, I have always been ambitious – and I’m sure many of you gals can relate. I started working at 12 years old (is that even legal now…?) at a local frozen yogurt shop in my hometown in Long Island. I liked the feeling of showing up for something and contributing to a vision. That, and blonde highlights were more expensive than I thought LOL.
Over a decade later and I have had jobs from froyo shops and retail stores (#tbt Abercrombie + Fitch) to working at Storm (Kate Moss’ modeling agency) in London, Wunderman UK, VaynerMedia, and now WOO More Play. Jobs are not granted to you with a magic wand – you learn them, breathe them, work them and live them. And if you’re like me, you LOVE it. After years of phone calls, Skype meetings and coffee shop meet ups – I’ve mastered one thing: The Art of the Interview.
Read on for 10 tips on HOW TO KICK ASS AT AN INTERVIEW, and get the job of your dreams.
IF YOU’RE ON TIME, YOU’RE ALREADY LATE.
My 10th grade science teacher told me this when I was rolling into class as the bell rang with an XL Dunkin Donuts iced latte and it hit me HARD. Like, it’s so true – once class starts, the meeting starts, the interview starts – it’s YOUR responsibility to be on your A-GAME.
AKA… by the time your ass is in the seat across from whoever is interviewing you… you already peed, checked your teeth for strawberry seeds and made sure toilet paper wasn’t dragging on the bottom of your heel (speaking from experience. Please check your heels HA.) That way, you’re not sweaty and scrambling with your portfolio when you introduce yourself, and you have time to take a breath and remember why you’re here.
SPEAKING OF PORTFOLIO.
This one is super dependent on the job you are applying for, so I’ll be brief: Have your shit in two places – hardcopy in hand, and another version on email. ALWAYS a resume, and if you are a writer / designer / stylist / model, always a book representing your BEST work. Not all your work, not your whole life story, and definitely not the stuff that you aren’t proud to put your name on.
Personally, I bring my mini iPad with me to EVERY interview. If you don’t have one, I highly suggest investing in a Mini iPad or tablet ASAP. This has saved my ass in the past, and probably will again in the future.
EXAMPLE A: It’s 2016 on a hot summer day in NYC, and I just returned from studying abroad in London, getting my NY Real Estate License online, and am en route to interview for a summer internship at a NEW influencer marketing agency, The Gramlist – now called Social Studies (spoiler alert: I was their second hire and am still great friends with the founder to this day!) And with all the haste of a hot day in June, shifting in my seat to avoid my ass sticking to the leather – I left my resume on the train.
Forgot it completely. I realized this when I was already sitting in the LOBBY, waiting for my interview to begin. So, what did I do? Instead of panicking, I pulled out my mini iPad and handed the PDF version to the woman interviewing me. Not only did this SAVE my interview, the advisor was actually IMPRESSED that I was “digitally minded” and unique. Trust me on this: get an iPad Mini.
Approx. 3 minutes before an interview, I always get hit with this panic-y thought, like, “OMG WHO AM I WHAT AM I DOING HERE I SPENT LAST NIGHT EATING DRIED MANGO AND WATCHING NETFLIX I DON’T DESERVE TO BE HERE I COULD HAVE WORKED HARDER ON THAT COLLEGE THESIS MAYBE I SHOULDN’T HAVE WORN THIS DID I WEAR NATURAL DEODORANT TODAY GOD I HOPE NOT.”
…and that my friends, is imposter syndrome. Defined by Psychology Today as a “psychological term referring to a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.”
Let me just cut to the chase: YOU CAN DO THIS. If you couldn’t, then you wouldn’t be in this room. There is a REASON for why you are where you are. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. My trick? I talk to myself how I talk to my best friend. I tell myself that I worked hard for this, I made this happen for myself, that it’s not an accident, that my highlighter is on #fleek and that everything happens for a reason. Because it’s all true!
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS.
A good interview is kind of like ping pong. The interviewer asks you questions, you answer, and then at the right time, you ask him or her questions back. It’s a bit hard to explain this one because the flow of every interview conversation is different, but that’s just it – this is a CONVERSATION, not an interrogation. They are not grilling you on your high school AP scores just like you aren’t asking them about how many vacation days you get a year (PLEASE, never ask that!!!). This is an open conversation where they learn about you, your passions, and how those passions can deliver for their company – and also an opportunity for YOU to learn about their personal experience at the agency, their favorite part about their job, how it is working on the “X” team, etc. After all, you may THINK this is your dream job, but it is totally possible that after you hear the inside scoop from someone who works there, that maybe the role or division isn’t for you. Have an open mind, open ears, and know when to close your mouth.
SWOT ANALYSIS YOURSELF.
In my college marketing course, my professor would make us do a SWOT analysis for fake brands we wanted to launch: SWOT stands for: strength, weakness, opportunity, threat. To prep for an interview, SWOT YOURSELF.
What are your strengths? Know them HARD, believe in them, and double-down on them.
What are your weaknesses? And NO, being a “perfectionist” is not a weakness. It’s a characteristic, and an excuse I used for a long time, too. REALLY think about what you’re NOT good at, and be okay with telling the team that. If you can’t think of anything that you’re not the best at, then you’re lying. It takes balls to be good at something and talk about it. It takes BIGGER balls to not be good at something, and talk about it.
For example – one of my weaknesses is staying focused on one task at a time. I’m not hiding it, I’m not pretending like it’s not true. Instead, I am working at it every day so that throughout my career I can grow into the focused, time-managed woman I want to be. See what I mean?
For opportunities – recognize the skills that make you unique, and how your PASSION can help deliver them. See YOURSELF as an opportunity to achieve X for said company.
Threats? They happen. Crises happen in business, relationships, and the two together – but figure out how YOU, personally, would handle a situation like that in your specific role that you are applying for. It’s not always about having the right answer, it’s about having THE answer.
DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT, NOT THE JOB YOU HAVE.
I was working at like six different frozen yogurt stores when I was also aspiring to be a writer at a magazine – applying every day to newspapers, digital marketing companies and basically anywhere that would take me. Did I show up in my T-shirt that said “FLAUNT YOUR FLAVOR?” No. No, I did not. In the beginning of my interview journey, I was overdressed. But NEVER was I underdressed. It’s 2019, so I get it – a lot of creative agencies + corporate environments alike are super casual, and that’s going to be awesome when you want to hit a SoulCycle class right before work.
However, when is it NOT cool? This interview. Tom Ford says it best: “Dressing well is a form of good manners.” The person you’re communicating with will tell you to dress comfortable. They will say they are casual. They will say it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And I am telling you this, because I have gotten every job I have ever applied for: DRESS AS THE GIRL YOU WANT TO BE.
After years and years of conversations, coffees and Q+A sessions, I’ve narrowed down the look that makes me feel SMART, SEXY + most of all ME: black silk tank top, loose fitting blazer, grey silky cargos and black suede booties. AND a bra, which I mention solely because I never wear one, except in interviews. I want the people I’m speaking with to pay attention to my brain and not my boobs.
Now…If your interview is in the summer, which I understand many of them are for you girls that just graduated college – NY / LA heat really does put the pressure on, not going to lie LOL. I suggest a dress, flat sandals (I REPEAT: SANDALS, NOT FLIP FLOPS) and a WHITE blazer. So summery + chic. Blazer goes on for the interview, and after 10 min. you can strip on the way to Starbucks. Or at least that’s what I did.
GET OVER YOURSELF.
YES, you CAN do this, and you’re great and you 100% should feel CONFIDENT in yourself and your abilities…but at the same time, understand a very KEY element in applying for the job you want: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. Even though the JOB is for YOU, the ROLE is for THEM. The agency / corporation that is hiring you is because they NEED SOMETHING. So badly in fact, that they are willing to spend their hard-earned money on your salary. Think of this 10 – 15 min. session as a moment to share what you can do for them, why you are different than the girl in the waiting room, how you can provide THEM VALUE, and why this shit lights you up. This isn’t a time to share that you want to learn from them, see what they do every day, or figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life through this experience.
Hiring is not a free-trial for a company. This is a decision that is going to elevate their brand’s experience – either in sales, creative work, community energy, etc. One day, if you start your own company, the tables can turn. Right now, be a GIVER – as simple as that.
I don’t often think about the fact that I skipped ballet class when I was a kid, but I sure do when I’m in an interview! Posture is EVERYTHING. The way you present yourself physically tells the world that you care, or that you don’t. With cell phones always in front of our faces and tech neck happening, it’s easy to ignore proper posture and the core work involved to maintain a straight spine. And yes, it is WORK! Doutzen Kroes has attributed her sleek abs to always sitting up straight, even when she’s driving in the car. A perfect posture REALLY lights up the core. Pull your bellybutton in toward your spine and drop your shoulders away from your ears. This will help you relax and appear SUPER attentive, which is what they’re looking for. A hot new job + hot new abs. I see this as a win/win – don’t you?
GET THE FUCK OFF YOUR PHONE.
5 years ago I wouldn’t feel this needed to be said, but I see it happen in interviews all the time now, so here we go.
Get. The. Fuck. Off. Your. Phone. If you’re following along this thread of how to kick ass at an interview, then hopefully you already got there 10-15 minutes early. And more often than not, the interviewers will be running a bit behind as well, so realistically you’re sitting there for like 20 min. And yea, it’s going to feel like the longest 20 minutes of your life. And sure, your friends are blowing up the group chat and it’s super tempting to see how your Instagram post of your dog is doing – JUST IGNORE IT. It is twenty minutes of your life, and it can wait.
You might argue, “but the people interviewing me aren’t even here yet! I’m just on the sofa in the lobby” or “it’s a digital marketing agency for a social media position – I’m basically working by being on my phone!” I’ll let you in on a little secret: that girl or guy sitting at the front desk of said agency, floating through google calendar and answering the phones is also the brains of the operation. She knows WHAT’S UP with everything, and everyone. My two best friends at my previous agency, VaynerMedia, work at the front desk. And let me tell you that agency insiders are not shy to ask them their thoughts on people’s attitude, presence, and respectfulness.
You will STAND OUT when you are the girl sitting poised, with her legs crossed, phone out of sight and in bag, patiently waiting. Look around the office, take in the scenery, or check out your freshly polished manicure. I don’t care what you do, but don’t look at your phone. Or your watch, while we’re at it.
THE AFTER EFFECT
LISTEN CAREFULLY… what you do AFTER the interview is almost as important as what you do before + during. Most likely, this company has a long list of girls that are similar to you in academic achievements, skill set and good manners – so what makes them choose you?
+ a handwritten thank you note.
If you’re thinking that’s so 1950s, think again. Nothing says that you give a shit about something MORE than actually writing it down on a piece of paper and saying so. MY HACK: Bring thank you notes WITH YOU to the interview. Before you leave the building / area, write them down and either put them in the interviewer’s mailbox at the office or hand them to front desk associate, your new BFF, to pass along for you. I always find really cute thank you notes at Target for like 5 bucks. I stick with a black + gold theme but there are so many options – do you! Some girls are out designing their wedding invitations, and I’m in Target with a thank you note color palette. I’m OK with it LOL.
+ email follow up
First things first, say thank you for their time. If you want to take it up a notch and actually GET the job, show them that you were listening to what they were saying when you asked about their experiences. If they mentioned a favorite project they did, or something they worked on that brought the company huge success, or maybe even a simple lesson they learned through growing in the company – name drop that shit. Not only does it show that you pay attention to detail, but that you’re inspired by them, and want to hustle like they did and make this job a CAREER. Connection + chemistry is important to establish early on.
Check your teeth. Check your shoes. Take a deep breath and feel grateful that the universe has aligned to bring YOU here, in this moment. One of my favorite LA SoulCycle instructors, David, says “if it’s in front of you, you’re ready for it.” – let that sink in for a sec.
GOOD LUCK out there babes! xoxo
If you have any questions on the interview process, how to get an interview or preparing for your first day, DM me at @samantha_nik.
There you have it. Make sure you follow Sam on Instagram, & also follow Woo– cuz you know coconut oil lube is the best thing on the planet.