This year’s CIAN Student Retreat and Innovation to Market Workshop took place after the CIAN Annual Retreat. Two speakers were hosted to share their expertise on interview skills and entrepreneurship. Below, find George Kenney’s presentation and advice from Bri McWhorter on the “Top Five Interview Techniques.”
A Managing Director and co-founder of Shepherd Ventures, George has a strong technical background combined with extensive Wall Street and financial industry experience. He has been a successful manager in rapid growth environments, turning around struggling operations and developing and mentoring high technology companies. George has invested in a broad range of technology companies. He also runs an Entrepreneur’s Boot Camp which prepares CEOs to raise money.
Before forming Shepherd Ventures, George was CTO and Partner at Nicholas-Applegate, a money management firm in San Diego, where he directed technology and operations to grow and sell the company. Prior to Nicholas-Applegate, George was CTO and Managing Director at Kidder Peabody in New York City, becoming an expert in Investment Risk Management. Previously he held top information technology positions at Swiss Bank, Salomon Brothers and the American Stock Exchange. As Director of Research for North American Philips and co-founder of Digital Measurements Corp., George obtained numerous US and foreign patents.
George holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University, an MSEE from Stanford University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Additionally, he attended the Optic’s Program at London’s Imperial College and is a Graduate of Harvard University’s Industrial Management Program. A noted technology futurist, George has been a keynote speaker at financial conferences on The Future of Technology. He has served as a Trustee for the San Diego Museum of Art and as pro-bono Chairman of the museum’s Investment Committee. He has also served on the Board of Governors of the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies and is currently a board member of several technology companies.
TOP FIVE INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES
by Bri McWhorter, CEO and Founder of Activate to Captivate
1. BE MENTALLY PRESENT
Be here and now. It is the most important advice I can give. Miscommunications and missed opportunities occur far too often because people are distracted by their own thoughts and not focusing on what is happening in front of them. This is especially hard in an interview, when your body is filled with nerves and your mind is running through all the various ways this interview could play out. Instead of focusing on what could be, pay attention to what is.
2. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
The first thing to do before entering an interview is to change your mindset. Instead of saying to yourself, “Don’t mess up” or “Please pick me,” enter the room believing you are already on their team. You and the interviewer are already colleagues. You are entering the room to get to know each other better, to exchange ideas and to see if you can work together to build something great. You are not entering the room to be grilled or interrogated. This is a supportive atmosphere where you can have a conversation and explore new topics.
3. YOU ARE ALSO INTERVIEWING THEM
It is important to remember that you are also interviewing them. You need to figure out if this is a work environment that you can thrive in. The last thing you want to do is move your whole life around for this job and find out that this is not a place you feel you can spread your wings in. That is why an interview is a conversation. Go in excited to explore new possibilities. You are seeing if you can add to their team and if their team is the right fit for you.
4. GO WITH THE FLOW
The most common remark I hear when I help people prepare for interviews is that they are afraid of not knowing an answer to a question. It is impossible to predict and prepare for every possible situation and question. Instead, breathe and be excited about this experience. Fun is the antidote to fear. I have my clients engage in various improvisation exercises to remind them that the unplanned can be fun.
Even though you can’t prepare for everything, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare. Do your homework. Know the company you are interviewing for. What is their mission statement? What are they currently working on? Were any articles about them released lately? With the internet at your fingertips, you have a vast amount of resources to consult before entering an interview situation. You also need to know why you are the best fit for this job. If you don’t know why you are ideal for this position, how can you expect others to believe you are?
Prepare the answer these questions:
- Why you?
- What sets you apart from the rest of the competition?
- Why this job?
- Why this company?
- What previous experiences will help you succeed in this new position?
- What questions would you ask if you were interviewing someone for this job?
- What do you hope to accomplish with this position?
- What questions do you have for the interviewer?
- Stay mentally and physically present.
- Change your mindset about the interview. See it as an opportunity to exchange ideas.
- You are also interviewing them. You want to see if this is the right fit for you. Be sure you can thrive.
- Go with the flow. Have fun.
- Prepare what you can.
Bri McWhorter is the CEO and Founder of Activate to Captivate where she teaches communication techniques from an actor’s point of view. She specializes in Presentation Skills, Interpersonal Communications, Interview Techniques and is a Speech Coach. She is a Communications Consultant for UC Irvine. She teaches communication certificate programs on public speaking for graduate students and postdocs. She also works with faculty on upcoming presentations. She has a MFA in Acting from UC Irvine and a BA in Theater and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley. She is a private speech coach and conducts group communication workshops for various companies and universities. For more information on Bri, please visit www.activatetocaptivate.com.