My Latest Snag: The Byta Cup.
This past week was a blur — the whole house was sick again and mini had a bad fever for two days that led to an emergency visit to the pediatrician. It was not my finest moment, but when the nurse took her vitals and mini was screaming and clinging to my neck, tears slid down my cheeks. I was overwhelmed and exhausted. And is there anything worse than seeing your baby uncomfortable or scared or in pain?! As I was scrolling through Instagram in search of reprieve once she was down for the night, I saw the snap above of Eva Chen and ordered a pink Byta cup on the spot. I needed a pick me up and this one gets great reviews for holding either hot or cold beverages. Cheers to a new week! Separately, I wish I could have impulse-bought her shoes, too. CHIC!
You’re Sooooo Popular: Les Polka Dot Flats.
The most popular items on the blog this week:
+Polka dotted flats! ($125!)
+An ultra-flattering dress for summer. (Around $100!)
+Boring, but good: the best floss.
+This was a thrill ride of a read, but I have to say — I took great issue with the bizarre ending. Will need to unpack at some point in the future, but WTH?!
#Turbothot: Interviewing Faux Pas.
I have interviewed dozens and dozens of job applicants over the course of my career. (Maybe hundreds even? Just thinking back on the business I founded with my husband, we probably interviewed fifty candidates for various roles, and that’s not counting my previous posts, where recruitment was also high on my priority list as a leader in two small, fast-growing organizations.) Hiring is a black magic as far as I’m concerned. You can put as many safeguards as you’d like into the process — but without seeing someone interact, on a daily basis, over an extended period of time, under varying conditions of stress and movement, with the rest of your team, it’s exceptionally difficult to know how well someone will work out. And vice versa: you can be drinking the kool-aid as an applicant and then find out that the company and its team are nothing like what you were promised. Still, I’ve had occasion to spend a lot of time thinking about interviewing on both sides of the table and have come to find certain consistencies among applicants who have worked out particularly well. I recently had a reader ask for some tips on interviewing for a new position and I thought I’d open up the floor to my smart magpies — what are some do’s and don’ts? Below, I’ll share my own two cents though I am far from an expert:
+Show up early and respond promptly to all correspondence. Such a simple, straight-forward no-brainer in my opinion but I was shocked at how many interviewees missed this critical respect-showing step. I had one interviewee breeze in twenty minutes late with a coffee in hand? For all I know, the interviewee may have been over the moon about the position, but showing up late or not responding to an inquiry in a timely manner telegraphed a lack of interest. Sometimes I think this is a generational thing, where old-school office etiquette simply isn’t considered important?
+Do not badmouth former employers or colleagues. The sad truth is that most people quit bad bosses rather than bad jobs. (Think about it — I would say the number one reason I’ve moved from job to job has been related to culture/management rather than anything else. If you’re with a team or boss you love, you will stick around.) But don’t use the job interview as a space to vent frustrations. It gives off a negative vibe and comes off as holier-than-thou. I say this having made the error myself and then cringed in retrospect. If you are asked point-blank about your working relationship with a former boss, I would frankly advise that you devise a polite way to courteously sidestep the question: “I’d outgrown the role” or “there were culture issues at the organization at the time” or something that expresses dissatisfaction with the role but not with specific people. (Also — having been on the other side of the table, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the interviewee would spend her time complaining about me as a boss to everyone around her!)
+Send a thank you email or — better yet — a hand-written note after an interview. This can and should be ultra-brief; you don’t need to wax poetic about the hiring manager or the position. I usually thanked the person for their time and candor, re-stated my interest in the position, citing something specific that sparked my interest about the role; and then concluded with: “I believe we would be a great fit for one another and look forward to continuing the conversation.” The art of the hand-written note is not lost! I used to write notes to sales prospects and investors by hand, too. It builds goodwill and communicates care, poise, and follow-through.
+Read up on the company and arrive with questions. Most recruiters will ask whether interviewees have any questions. I always felt that interviewees that seemed to have spent time researching the company and had thoughtful questions prepared were much more attractive. Whether or not it was true, it showed they’d taken the time to do their homework and were evaluating the business carefully. I had many interns in particular who arrived without fully grasping what the business or role was — always a turn-off. You should be able to pithily explain what the business does in one sentence when you walk through the door. I say this because I was asked this question and I in turn asked it of potential hires: “If you were asked, what’s the elevator pitch for our business?”
+Similarly, rehearse a personal “elevator pitch.” (If you’re not familiar with the phrase, start-ups routinely rehearse their “elevator pitches” — i.e., what they might say to a potential investor if sharing an elevator for sixty seconds. Compress everything into the briefest, catchiest of explanations so that people remember what you do easily and so that you are showcasing your key points quickly and readily.) You should also have a personal elevator pitch: “I am a creative, “full-stack” product geek. I’ve worked on everything from QA to designing mock-ups using InDesign to managing stories in product development software that the engineers use.” Or whatever. Use the appropriate level of jargon for the person you’re interviewing with. You don’t want to throw a lot of argot around if you’re speaking to the head of HR, but if you’re interfacing with the head of product, you should carefully trot out the appropriate terms of art to show you know your stuff. Rehearse your personal pitch. You’d be surprised at how often interviewers will ask: “So, I’ve seen your resume, but why don’t you walk me through it?” (UGH DAGGER) or “So, we’ve chatted a bit, but why don’t you give me the highlight reel?” (Honestly, those generic questions reflect poorly on the interviewer!)
+Arrive with a “yes, and” attitude. One of the trainings I ran with a lot of my teams anchored upon the “yes, and” mantra from improv comedy. Improv comedians learn early on that, when on stage, you should always receive someone’s contribution with an enthusiastic “yes, and!” The idea is that someone might say: “My tooth just fell out” and if you say “Yes, and — so did mine! We better get to the dentist!”, you are building a narrative and moving things forward. If you respond with: “No it didn’t,” you’re killing the momentum and canning their creativity. I found that some of my own interviews involved crazy questions, activities, and even simulations. I always greeted these steps enthusiastically, even when it meant that I one day spent a full afternoon talking about the ins and outs of product design with a consultant who didn’t even work at the organization in question. Yep, I’m here and I’m ready! I said, shrugging off my initial skepticism.
+Take a deep breath and trust yourself. I would often give myself a weird kind of pep talk before heading into an interview: “You are just talking to another human being right now. They need you as much as you need them. This is just a conversation and you are a great candidate. Be yourself!”
+Dress up. Others may disagree, but it doesn’t matter whether you’re applying for the most casual of start-ups in San Francisco — dress up. I always wore a dress and heels to interviews.
What would you add to this list?!
#Shopaholic: Velvet Loafers.
+Loving these velvet smoking loafers in the moss green.
+In love (!!!) with this dress in the floral or plaid prints. The sleeves! The smocking!
+Heads up: Tory Burch is running an insane sale. I’ve got my eyes on this D&G-esque dress and these perfect pointed-toe flats, but you should know that two of my absolute favorite pairs of shoes — these pearled mules and these bow-topped flats — are on RIDICULOUS SALE.
+Intrigued by this well-reviewed concealer…
+Ordered these toddler training cups (with lids!) for mini. (Read reviews!)
+This sparkling water maker is one of the chicest appliances I’ve ever seen.
+Cute toddler bedding for a preppy bedroom.
+Love these monogrammed gift tags.