Last week I enjoyed giving my first series of presentations on the second edition of Working World. Diane Conroy-LaCivita, the Executive Director of the International Center of the Capital Region in Albany, NY (a member of Global Ties U.S.), organized a great schedule. It included appearances at Siena College, The School of Public Health (University at Albany), and The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza. The Book House is a welcoming and independent bookstore with many appealing books, games, and book related items. (I did my part for the New York economy by shopping after the discussion, which focused more on issues relevant to mid-career professionals.)
The photo below was taken after a lively discussion about careers and Working World at the Center for Global Health at the University at Albany. This group of high school seniors – participating in a “New Visions” advanced placement enrichment program—has already decided that they want some kind of career in global health. It was truly a privilege to share the structure and highlights of Working World with them. The Q&A section morphed into a spirited dialogue. They asked some thought-provoking questions. Mark and I welcome your answers to these questions.
Q: How are tattoos and piercings perceived during an interview?
A: Various managers will react differently. In my opinion, however, you do not want to distract the person interviewing you from focusing in on your experience and abilities. I remember interviewing someone with a tongue piercing and my mind kept drifting away from what she was saying. I kept wondering, “Does that hurt?” It’s always best to err on the conservative side until you can assess the culture of a particular organization.
Q: What is your greatest regret regarding your career?
A: One persistent regret is that I (so far) have never perfected one foreign language. I studied Spanish in high school and learned some German when I lived with a German family on an Experiment in International Living (EIL) program. I studied French in college and learned Russian after falling in love with a classmate who was fluent. I used my Russian when I served as group leader for American college students on an EIL program to the USSR. Later I learned Portuguese after my then husband and I lived in Brazil for a year. I wish that I had taken the time to master one of these languages.
Q: What are your tips for a successful phone interview?
A: This timely question generated many useful tips to consider:
- Smile, it is reflected in your voice.
- Be sure to speak clearly and project your voice so you can be readily heard and understood.
- Remove all distractions (close that computer) so you do not lose your focus.
- Have a notepad handy to jot down questions and possible key words of your answers.
- Have a warm beverage (not ice water) in case you get thirsty. A warm drink is much better for your vocal cords.
- One participant suggested standing up as you are interviewed. Another advocated dressing as though you were going to be interviewed in person (no pajamas!).
We welcome your answers to these questions.