Interview Strategies and Advice

Brand Career Management Newsletter – January 2020

Hello Everyone,

Happy New Year – I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! My gift to you was not sending an additional “season’s greetings” e-mail during the busiest time of the year.  Joking aside, I do want to take a moment to thank you for your ongoing support of Brand Career Management (BCM). I’m happy to say that this June, I will celebrate my fifth year of running Brand Career Management as a fulltime endeavor and I couldn’t do it without all of your encouragement. Moving forward, please let me know if I can be of service to you in 2020.

As you may remember, the results of the BCM audience survey provided great insight into what you want to read more about, and the number one topic was interviewing strategies. To be honest, I would have thought that people might be tired of this topic since there is so much information out there already, but apparently not. Thank you for challenging my preconceived notions. Accordingly, this first issue of the year is devoted to interviewing tips.  

Also, your feedback inspired me to write a blog post last month explaining what I call The Weakness Formula. I finally decided to put into writing what I’ve said so many times verbally to clients on preparing to address their weaknesses in an interview.

Finally, I am mulling over ideas for a few events this year. As I have done the past two years, I would like to have a collaborative event to honor International Women’s Day. I’m also considering events to recognize Equal Pay Day and the 5th anniversary of BCM. Please share any collaborative ideas that you have, and I’ll keep you posted on any plans.

Warm wishes for a 2020 filled with career bliss,

P.S. Please forward this to a friend, if you like what I have to share. Anyone can sign up for the Brand Career Management Newsletter by going to the bottom of the home page on

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In light of the interviewing theme for this issue, I’ll share some easy ways to utilize LinkedIn for interviewing preparation. Once you have an interview lined up, use the website to research the company and the people who might be interviewing you.  

When you are invited to an interview, it’s always good to ask if they can share with whom you’ll be meeting. Even if they can’t give out a name, this will give you an indication of whether it’s with one person or a panel (which can help you get mentally prepared for the appropriate setting). If they do give you a name or two, you should definitely try to find out more about the people before entering the room. LinkedIn can be a great way to do that.

Enter each name in the main search bar on the top left corner of the site to see if you can find the interviewer(s) on LinkedIn. Once you get to their profile pages, see if you have anything in common with the people and make notes for later. Try to work this information into the interview to build rapport (without sounding creepy). Sometimes it might make sense to just fess up and share that during your interview preparation, you looked them up on LinkedIn and saw that you both like to volunteer for local non-profits. They’ll likely be more flattered and impressed with your research than worried about you being an online stalker. 

You can do the same thing to gather information about the company. On the main search bar, type in the company name. If they have a presence on LinkedIn, their company page should come up in the results. From their page, you can see company data, such as the number of employees (along with how many are on LinkedIn). Most importantly, LinkedIn will tell you if you know anyone who works there! It also directs you to their main website, provides other organizational details and allows you to follow the company page (which means that their updates will be included on your home page stream). 

So next time you have an interview, give LinkedIn in a try for some research and preparation. Feel free to let me know how it goes.


Because this issue is devoted to interviewing, each post will provide insights and tips you can put to use at your next employment interview.

Since most interviews start off asking you to tell them about yourself, we’ll start with this post from Alison Green in New York Magazine’s She offers great advice on how to handle this question. There’s only one point of view where I differ. I think one minute is too short a time frame to convince them why you are the best person for the job. I say you can go up to three minutes (but that’s the absolute maximum). Your words should be focused and rehearsed (i.e. this isn’t permission to ramble for three minutes).

You may be wondering what upper management notices when they interview you. Ladders writer Lindsay Tigar collected sound insights from industry executives to shed light on this angle. It’s a quick read and I agree with the advice shared.

One really tough question can be, “Why did you leave your last job?”. Forbes contributor, Ashira Prossack wrote a short post with very practical strategies for answering this question.

As you probably Know, at the end of any interview, you must ask a question or two. This post by Áine Cain of Business Insider shares six questions you could ask. #3 and #6 are my favorite go to questions. The others are bold but worth asking in the right situation (if you think the question will put the company on the defensive, don’t ask it).


On Monday, March 30th from 7 – 8:30 pm, I will be speaking at the Broadneck Library Branch of the Anne Arundel County Public Library system. It’s not a coincidence that this workshop falls in between International Women’s Day (March 8th) and Equal Pay Day in the US (April 4th). The workshop is titled Salary Negotiation for Women and is part of my mission to help close the gender pay gap. It will be educational and interactive, along with being free and open to the public.  Please join us to enhance your salary negotiation skills.

I’m also in talks with a few higher education institutions to speak on LinkedIn in the coming year.

If you know of any groups that need speakers on women’s career issues (such as salary negotiation or figuring out the next career move) or LinkedIn in 2020, please let me know so I can reach out to them or feel free to share my contact information with them. Thank you for your support!.

Finally, my colleague Kim Cantergiani is researching single moms who became entrepreneurs for an academic study. If that’s you, please contact Kim at

Paula Brand – Global Career Coach & Consultant | LinkedIn Expert | Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator |
Founder of Brand Career Management


Brand Career Management (BCM) helps professionals strategically manage their careers, apply effective job search techniques and leverage social media tools to secure their best career options with ease. We provide an array of career services designed to meet your current needs. Write to: or call me at 443-254-8173.

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