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How To Understand A Phone Interview

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How many of you feel uncomfortable speaking on the phone? As members of the socially awkward Millennial generation, our generic comforts of communication start at textversations and skip to coffeeshop chit chat. While our social lives may have adjusted to this new norm, the phone is still a crucial communication tool in the professional realm. Enter the phone interview complex.

Not only are we predestined to shake with sweaty palms throughout minutes one, two, and three, speaking in real time without the luxury of tangible analysis, via text or body language, makes deciphering the success of a phone interview an arduous task.

Fear not! Here are 3 surefire ways to understand the outcome of a phone interview:


So, tell me about yourself?

It’s a given the landscape of your interview will cover your professional background and education. This information serves as the basis for determining your level of qualification for the position. It’s the expected. A sign your interview is going well is if it the conversation takes a turn into the unexpected. The unexpected ranges from inquiring about specific contributions  to previous internships to lifestyle questions in attempt to gage whom you are as a person. The more questions, the better. This shows they’re not only interested in seeing if you’re a fit credentially, but if you’re a fit for the office culture and team social dynamic.

Tick tock goes the clock

Phone interviews are no different than first dates. A clear sign there is a connection is if coffee turns into dinner which turns into a movie. While an interviewer is by no means going to invest in that extent of seduction, a phone interview that lasts longer than scheduled is a strong indicator of interest. Prolonging a preliminary call shows the interviewers is excited about you as a potential candidate. While there is no magic time length, 20, 30, or even 45 minutes is a great sign!

The second date

No one feels safe leaving a situation with unknown prospects. If an interviewer explains the next steps clearly at the end of the call, congrats; you have a second date!

 

Are you a pro at the phone interview? Comment with your tips and tricks below!

 

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3 Necessary Interview Questions

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You nailed your interview. Yes! It’s almost over and every question has been answered smoothly. Then the bomb hits.. “Do you have any questions?” Do you? This is a hard question to answer if there is nothing you’re really wondering about. Fortunately, Inc. published an article called 8 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask During Job Interviews with advice that will end your interview with a bang. We’ve picked 3 out of their 8 questions that apply to an internship interview.

What role will I fill?

So Cosmo is looking for a fashion intern. What does that even mean? While the name “Cosmo” shouts incredible fashion, the responsibilities of a fashion intern are ambiguous in the job title. You’re going to be a member of a larger team, filling a void if you will, and asking “who” your position is supposed to be ahead of time is quite impressive.

What would I be doing that makes your job easier?

The role of an intern is to lighten the company’s load. Therefore, it’s important to learn who will be leaning on you the heaviest. This may be a direct boss, or it may be an entire department. Asking this question gives you insight into your job responsibilities and what the team is hoping you can help them solve.

What are additional important skills I will need to do this job well?

The job description lists the essential skills. It’s up to you to ask what additional skills can help you succeed in the position. By asking this you’ll get a more well-rounded view of the kind of person they’re looking to hire and provide an opportune time to pitch your special skills.

View the entire list here!

 

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Interviewing 101

A picture is worth a thousand words; especially when we’d rather not engage in the arduous, archaic task called reading. Fortunately, an art form called the infographic has made ingesting knowledge a colorful and quick experience.

So take a break from reading and enjoy this infographic, compiled by Interview Success Formula, explaining the basics of every kind of job interview, courtesy of  a recent article on Mashable.

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Ready to put this knowledge into action?

Apply now to one of our job listings from the top fashion brands in the world including GivenchyNylon MagazineDolce & GabbanaOscar de la Renta, and many more!

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How To Get Your “In” in the Exclusive Fashion Industry

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Since every wee fashionista blossoms from tomboy skater shoes to an entry-level designer purse, a penchant for an iconic, innovative brand develops. From Coco Chanel desktop screensavers to dreams of dressing top to bottom in Michael Kors’ “MK” logo, the thought of working in the luxury fashion industry is a euphoric dream we eat, sleep, and breathe in order to succeed. But entry into the fashion industry is as exclusive and selective as admittance into the club of Birkin owners. It requires connections. A friend. An “in.” Thankfully, Free Fashion Internships is all of these!

For less than Sunday brunch of omelettes and OJ at Le Pain Quotidien, Tom Ford, Gucci, YSL, and all of your favorite fashion giants can get to know about YOU! When can submit your resume to be a part of our Fall/Winter 2014 Intern Lookbook, we will distribute your resume to our massive list of contacts at the fashion industry’s top companies. At $19.99, getting your ‘in” into this competitive, cut-throat industry is easier than pulling off a messy bun on a crisp Fall day.

Get ready to be “sup-ing” Vera and chilling D&G style.

Submit your application by Sunday, September 28th at midnight EST.

Click to Apply!

 

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5 Interview Mistakes to Avoid

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Imagine you’re Andy Sachs timidly entering the prestigious office of the infamous Miranda Priestly for an interview that has the potential to make or break your career. Not a good time to make a human-prone mistake. But, as members of the innately flawed human race, we all make mistakes. We can do everything in our power to strive for professional perfection, but infallibility is sadly reserved for immortal icons like Anna Wintour. While it may be a nuance to mess up, we do have the ability to learn from our mistakes and avoid making them in the future with the assistance of expert advice.

Maybe it was your grandma shoes that bombed the interview, but, if not, here are interview mistakes you may have made and can avoid in the future.

A happy medium

The ideal interview demure is a happy balance of “owning it” harder than J. Alexander and reverting to hiding behind your shield of hair. Those may be two extremes, but strive for a happy medium that says “hey, I’m awesome, but I know I have to pay my dues.” Having too much confidence may make you come across as a pompous child with jaded indifference. Having too little confidence may make you come across as nervous and inexperienced.

(Don’t) be yourself

Contradiction time! In your interview, don’t be yourself, be your interviewer. If you’re a Lagerfeld lover while your interviewer is a classic Chanel coveteur, your differences may clash. While you don’t want to concoct a fake identity, aligning your interests with the interviewer will go much further than attempting to sound unique. Relatability will take you far. Take advantage of the glorious World Wide Web to social media stalk your interviewer to learn about their interests and work history.

Push your ego aside

While you may be being interviewed, the interview isn’t about you. Sorry. We have the tendency to be a little self-centered and assume an interview revolves around your needs and wants, but the actual goal of an interview is to convince the interviewer that you would be a positive contribution to the company. Don’t ask about benefits. Don’t ask about vacation time. Don’t ask about money. All of those questions can be asked and answered in good time… aka when you get the job!

Did you do your research?

If you don’t know about the company you’re interviewing at, you might as well just walk out the door. Doing your research is essential for nailing an interview! Number one, you should have a genuine interest in the company and, therefore, know about them. Number two, aligning your answers and questions with the company’s mission and projects will set you apart from the other interviewers who slacked off on their studies.

Ask!

Most every interview ends the same – do you have any questions for me? Yes, you do! Check out our post on Interview Questions You Need To Ask for the answers.

Have you had any interview mishaps in the past? Comment below to share your story and what you learned!

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Look The Part!

Meet the marriage of a concept and a confusion: the infographic and dressing for an interview.

In an age of impatience that is making reading near obsolete, infographics make digesting information smart and snazzy. Also, who doesn’t like pretty pictures?

Dressing for an interview, particularly in fashion, can confuse even the stylist fashionista. Do you want to be bold and stand out our modestly blend in?

Fear not! Our friend Lauren Berger “The Intern Queen” shared an infographic that solves the head scratching!

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Want even more style advice? Check out the style section of our blog!

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5 Reasons You Didn’t Get The Job

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You’ve slaved over concocting the perfect cover letter that exudes professionalism and personality (tips here) and found the perfect “hire me” blazer only to find a rejection letter float into your inbox. It’s heartbreaking, but it happens to the best of us. Two options follow rejection: sit, sulk, and deem yourself a failure, or reflect on the mistakes you made that could have led to you not getting the position. The superstar intern chooses option number two, and we have the inside scoop for the mistakes he or she made.

Knowledge is power!

Without knowledge of a company and what they represent, a denial letter may be coming to your email. Knowledge is power! Not only may you be asked questions that imply a previous familiarity with the company’s work, a great way to stand out is to bring up their mission yourself and incorporate it into your answers. For example, if you’re interviewing for the Council of Fashion Designers of America, bring up their most recent work with the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. If you’re interviewing with a PR firm like Krupp Group, bring up Jonathan Adler product placement on the blog Something Navy.

Do you research and troll the company’s website, Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. This will give you a well-rounded understanding of the backbone of the company, its key players, and reveal any recent news or accomplishments.

Be passionate

You need to have a valid reason why you want to intern for a company. Merely finding the job posting online and applying, only wanting an internship for the sake of having one, or being a die-hard fan of the company are not valid reasons. The intern who gets the job is the one with a deep passion for the company and the work they do. If you are applying to the position for shallow reasons that are apparent, your name is sure to be crossed off the list.

Brag, brag, brag!

Bragging is a HUGE turn-off, right? In the real world, yes, but in an interview, brag to your little heart’s desire! One of the biggest mistakes interns make is being timid about their strengths and accomplishments and failing to sell themselves. Employers aren’t mind readers and haven’t read your autobiography, so if you don’t tell them all of the amazing things you’ve done, they’ll never know! Impress them by pointing out how you spearheaded the creation of your school’s fashion magazine or created a list of over 2,000 bloggers at your previous summer internship. Those are wow factors!

You kept your mouth shut

After flawlessly answering every question the interviewer asked with poise and eloquence, you’re exhausted and ready to beat it. You know the you nailed the interview, so what’s the point in sticking around, right? Wrong! While you may have razzle dazzled the interviewer in the Q and A session of the interview, answering “do you have any questions for me?” with a blank stare can negate all of the perfectly formulated answers you gave beforehand. No worries, though – check out our post on interview questions you need to ask.

The plague of Solo cups

Guess what’s the easiest way to take yourself out of the running? It’s not a fresh coffee stain on your silk blouse; it’s not stuttering over your answers; it’s inappropriate use of social media! Welcome to 2014, where everyone is social media stalked under every circumstance. For the low-down on how you may be using social media inappropriately, check out our posts on social media etiquette you need to know and the truth about social media.

Have any more advice? Comment below and help your fellow interns!

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How To Show Your Personality In An Interview

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The last thing anyone wants is to come across as a boring, bland Plain Jane in a much anticipated interview. No one wants to hire a big old bore. But you have to stay professional in an interview, right? While it is very important to maintain a mature, professional demeanor during an interview, there are ways to showcase your personality as well. Knowing how to show your personality while staying professional is how you nail an interview! Showing two sides of yourself at once isn’t as complicated as you might think, though. Here’s how:

Show your passions

Are you an avid reader? Play tennis on the weekends? It’s all applicable! It may happen that an employer asks you what your hobbies and interests are. This question is an excellent opportunity to show your personality in a natural way. It gives an employer an idea of whom you are as a well-rounded person, not just a worker. Who know – maybe you’ll have something in common?

True life: I’m in an interview

The best way to set yourself apart from all of the rest is to show yourself! Using real-life examples that show your strengths and weaknesses add a personal element to an impersonal interview. Check out our article on how to discover your biggest strengths and weaknesses.

Be a stalker

Let’s be real – we are all professional social media stalkers. From tracking down your ex’s latest wayfarings to envying the glamorous lifestyles of the girls you hated in high school, we know our way around Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. When it comes to an interview, put those skills to the test by researching the interviewer. You most likely will not be able to access their Facebook, but Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are great platforms to gain some inside information about whom they are as an actual person.

Who knows – maybe you’re sorority sisters? Although, the connection doesn’t have to be as major as sisters for another mister; it should just be something you can casually allude to in the interview. Don’t be afraid to say you stalked them (but don’t use the word “stalk.”) It shows that you are very interested in the company and have done an extensive amount of research. If anything, they’ll be complimented. In addition, a great way to make that connection is to take a break from sharing your life story and ask the interviewer about him or herself. Try asking them what drew them for the company, about their career history, and why they chose a career in that industry.

Have some tips and tricks to add? Comment below!

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How To Know If An Interview Went Well

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We’ve all been there – the relentless obsessing if last night’s date went as well as you thought it did. Was it just “nice to meet me?” When will he pick up his phone and text me? If only we possessed the power to read every compliment or insult running in his mind! Just like we fret over these silly, frustrating boys, walking out of an interview is just as anxiety prone. While you’re not wondering if he meant to brush up against your hand on the stroll to the subway just before you doze off, after an interview, you obsess over every little question the interviewer asked. Was the interview too short? Were my answers good enough? How many other candidates are being interviewed? Forget about receiving the boy’s casual “hello,” now you’re anxiously waiting for the wonderful notification of a new message in your inbox.

Instead of gluing your phone to your hand, here are some ways to know that your interview went well (you’re on your own about the boy.)

They ask for references

One surefire way to know if an employer is interested in hiring you is if they ask for references. It shows that they’re very interested in knowing what kind of a worker you are. They wouldn’t spend the time contacting your previous employers if they weren’t interested! In case this (hopefully) happens, make sure you come prepared with a printed list of three to five references. A printed list is much more presentable than writing them down on the fly.

The difference between 15 minutes & 30 minutes

Even though the measurement is only in minutes, there is a huge difference between a fifteen minute interview and a thirty minute interview. The longer the interview, the more apparent it is that you’re hitting it off with the employer and that they’re interested in learning more about you. They’re very busy people who wouldn’t waste their time talking to someone they saw no potential in. One way to instigate a lengthy interview is to keep the conversation flowing at a reasonable pace by not rushing through your questions and answers. Take time to think what you’re going to say. Not only will your answers be better, the conversation will be more developed.

A second date!

The boy finally texted you! Yay! Just as his casual “hey” proves that he likes you, an employer asking to meet again is a great sign that the interview went well and they want to see more of you. They may even introduce you to other members of their team. Basically – it’s the best sign.

Have any stories of a time an interview went really well? Share it with us by commenting below!

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