Tips to Ace Your Next Job Interview and Map Your Future

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Hitting some rough patches in your career-launch or profession? Gain powerful insights from digital technology pro John Picozzi.

What you will learn in this talk:

  1. What tools do you need and how to master them.

  2. How to be creative to leave a lasting impression.

  3. What questions to ask during an interview.

  4. How to prioritize what is important to you.

Watch The Full Show Below

and we should be live hello john picozzi how are you oh i’m doing great awesome good good hey welcome to the roi and you career success tips show which we do is a podcast and we are broadcasting to facebook live and our goal here is to give tips and insights to emerging professionals whether they’re recent grads or anyone who may be thinking about digital marketing as a career um and you’ve been a digital marketer for quite a while how did you first jump in and if you can tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now uh yeah so you know i think my my background is in uh web development and e-commerce and you know i actually surprisingly went to college for that you know a lot of people in my industry do not have degrees in the things that they they work in or build which which is fine nothing wrong with that but um i remember i actually had a uh my previous boss was had an english degree and he was the director of engineering which is which was awesome he inevitably read all of my emails before i sent them like hey is this is this right uh so yeah so you know i started off uh working for small agencies actually out of college started working for like a startup and quickly realized that lifestyle wasn’t really my my cup of tea so moved on to um kind of incrementally bigger and bigger agencies and more recently within the last month and a half or so went to work at epam systems which is a leading global provider of digital platform engineering and development services so from agency life of you know a 30 person company to like a company that has 41 000 plus employees and you know offices all over the world so definitely um have spanned the gambit working for you know working for companies and organizations like oceana and marriott international cvs health and you know some big names but yeah you know i think my career has uh has kind of been um slightly all over the place but in the same direction in an upward trajectory which is what you always want with your career definitely definitely and that’s one of the things that i’ve been focusing on is that you definitely want to have a little bit of a plan you know one of the nice things about working in journalism as i did when i first got out is there’s there’s a tiered system there’s the smaller paper then the medium-sized paper and then you go to the boston globe if you don’t jump from the small paper into the globe it just doesn’t work that way and so if you think about your trajectory and the position that you’re taking now one of our goals with roi and u is to have students come in and learn the skills that a digital marketing agency or a digital company is really going to need students to have because recent grads typically do not bring the skill set that agencies need do you is that what you found in your agency background um yeah you know i think sometimes in in an agency environment you it’s a little bit hard for them to hire right out of college um there are a couple different thoughts on that right one is it’s hard to hire right out of college because they don’t necessarily have the ability to be a quick starter which means like hit the ground running and be able to be productive on a project right away right the other thought is that hey if i hire somebody right out of college i can pay them less so i’m gonna take the time to kind of teach them things because i’m paying them less than i would pay somebody that has has more experience so you know i think and in talking in the pre-show you know one of the questions came up of like if i had the knowledge i have now um today ver back then you know if i could you know have all of that knowledge would i have changed anything and i think you know looking at it uh holistically you know i’m 37 i’ve had five or six professional jobs uh out of college all with smaller agencies i now work for a large company and you know part of me kind of thinks that maybe maybe i should have done that first taken the leap into the larger company learned how the larger company is doing it and and then been able to kind of evaluate whether i wanted to go to a smaller company or even a startup you know my my as i said my startup my foyer and startups was not as great as i thought it was going to be maybe it would have been better if i had more more knowledge under my belt and you know a greater understanding of the industry that i was jumping into so you know i think ultimately what it comes down to is you have to do what makes you happy and there are a lot of factors that play into that right so it’s um figuring out you know what aligns with the lifestyle that you want to lead and what aligns with your your life goals right in each situation don’t get me wrong each situation has pros and cons you know working for agencies smaller agencies have a great set of pros and cons working for a larger company has a great set of pros and cons but it all comes down to where you want to be and what you want to do so i definitely agree like when you are you know a senior in college and you’re like okay the next step is for me to go get a job and go like build a career you definitely want to have a real conversation with yourself and and say like okay what do i want to do what are my life goals or my life goals to you know get married have kids you know have a nice house live in the suburbs do i want to go live in a city do i want to you know go work for a non-profit and make a difference in the world um you know you got to figure out where where you’re where your journey is going to take you and that leads you to figuring out what the path is to that you know if you’re going to um go work for a non-profit you know there are tons of nonprofits out there that need smart people to come work for them um pay may not be as as good as if you were working for a fortune 500 company but you know there’s a lot more that goes into it than just what do i get paid you know there’s there are other perks and benefits so i think it really comes down to you know what you want to do um and how you how you you know what your game plan is but you should definitely have a game plan that’s the takeaway there yeah well i would say or from what i’ve heard and been talking to people and researching it that a lot of times when you graduate you won’t get hired by a bigger company they want you to have agency experience so just as you were telling me um i thought oh right that’s because the bigger companies want people who have worked at agencies because in an agency sort of like newspapers right you really they work you um it’s a lot of work so that they they like hiring from that from that perspective from with that background and experience but that it’s also nicer that you’ve dealt with a lot of different types of clients and done a number of different projects so they like to see all that fresh i you know fresh ideas and different ways of approaching a problem so i wonder you know in your trajectory if if you would have been able to do it opposite not that you’re not amazing and a great technologist um but just yeah as you as you think back because this is from these are things that i’ve heard over the years that it’s so much easier once you’ve had agency experience to break into a bigger company and sort of move into working retirement compared to agency life yeah you know i think i think it maybe depends on the industry a little bit i think probably with newspapers you’re you’re right on like that is the that is the trajectory that you need to take where you go smaller to bigger i think um in tech in in marketing there are plenty of opportunities with larger companies to get in at an entry level and kind of work your way up if you want to do that or you know spend a couple of years there gain some knowledge and then then go do something else we’re very much in a uh you know if you think of if you think of your parents right um and maybe even your parents parents depending on how old you are when you listen to this but if you think of them like they had one job and they were at that job for like their entire career and they retired and they had a retirement it was great um we are very far far away from that like i said i’m 37 and i’ve had five to six you know professional jobs um you know i think what makes the difference again is is expectation but also the other thing is too you can get an internship at a large company you know large companies often have internships where agencies sometimes don’t have time for interns don’t have um the resources to and this isn’t all small agencies so take this with a grain of salt but sometimes they don’t have the ability to foster that in turn intern pool as well so you can get in as an intern and then you know say hey i’m graduating is there a position i could i could you know slide into here so yeah i think again you got to look at you got to look at your goals and you got to look at how your career is going to progress and you know my feeling is that a larger agency you’ll be able to get more more information more process away from a larger agency and be able to actually impress the smaller agency with like hey well when we did this for coca-cola did this this or hey when we did this for and you know possibly you know position yourself better in the smaller agency realm to to to have a higher level job so again depends on industry depends on depends on lifestyle and you know i don’t think there’s a one i don’t think there’s a right answer you know either path is is fine it’s your path to forge you just have to do what’s best for you

i can’t hear you

okay here we go back on track there we go we were just talking about technology and how uh it’s it’s it can be fun and challenging um so i think yeah with the with the technical background um that there’s a lot more opportunity and i love the idea of trying to get that internship but what do you think are some of the key components in order to get an internship or get a job what at um the agency you were most recently at what would they be looking for

so that’s a great question um i think it it you know it depends on position but um in the the technical space obviously we’re looking for you know examples of work that you’ve done real world examples things that you’ve built things that you’re contributing to in a in an open source form forum organizations that you belong to books that you’ve you know you’ve read podcasts that you’ve listened to and you know i think those last couple are probably true of any position right so looking at the organizations that you’re part of or the books that you’ve read or how you stay up on um you know your your craft so to speak you know that’s super important so that’s something that you know you’re doing in college you’re you’re learning you’re learning from professors you’re you’re reading blog posts you’re doing all this stuff and you’re just continuing to do that in your in your career and you know in any interview i’ve ever been on that’s one thing where um you know that’s always been a question like hey how do you how do you stay up to date on you know what’s going on in your in your space and you know people learn different ways uh so i’m i’m more of a um prefer to learn like instructionally so i’ll go to i’ll go to conferences and watch somebody give a presentation on something and ask questions uh you know sometimes once in a while we’ll read a book listen to podcasts quite a bit but i think that’s um you know that’s what people are looking for and i think they’re also looking for people that can um you know really kind of light a fire and show that they’re creative thinkers so an interesting example here comes from dan pink’s book one one book that i am currently reading um to sell is human which is actually a holdover from my previous job but uh basically he has an example in there they’re talking about pitching and he uses an mba program from a from a well-known school that has a certain amount of spots in it and the school decides that they are going to only accept applications via twitter so now if you know if you know twitter twitter has a cap on how many characters you can use and you know it’s really easy when you have that limitation or or that challenge to say like okay well i’m going to use all all my characters as much as i can and try to jam pack this thing full of words that describes how great i am right turns out the winner wrote a haiku

you know so maybe he used ten words yeah and he won and it and if you read the haiku you’re like okay now i see why you won he was able to take a limitation and be as creative as possible and show that he you know definitely deserved to to be in this program and i think that’s that’s really what people and you know employers are looking for when you have a sea of candidates um you know you’re really looking for that person who can be who can be creative and think outside the box and use the technology and the resources that they’re at their fingertips in the most most effective and creative ways yeah definitely well it was interesting because i recently interviewed a recent intern uh who did a lot of work with newport interactive marketing and she was interviewing actually she just posted that she got she got a new job and in her new role since her second job out of college she graduated a year ago and um and yeah so she’s doing great but one of the things that they did was they gave her tasks and they had called me for a reference and i said well i’m just curious like what what stood out and they said well we gave her a project to do and she i think it was i think it was creating social media posts and she created graphics to go along with it and that really stood out as like here’s somebody who is going above and beyond the expectations of the task and um yeah so i just noticed on on linkedin i got an alert congratulations haley nathan sent her her job and uh yeah she’s super excited she’s a fashion design pr double major from uri and she’s working for a small relatively small very niched in brand and she’s super excited and she’s gonna be doing a lot of influencer relationships um and you know one of the things you do in the nim internship is you’re working with a lot of our presenters and a lot of our experts and promoting them and you know how do we put them in their best light and so i think that they were really pleased with the experiences that she had had but yeah i think bringing to the table and showing tangibles about what what you have done and what you can do and how you can bring you know this was the task and then this is how i completed it is huge yeah absolutely it also removes a lot of the dead air from an interview right like my best interviews are the ones where they ask a question and you say and then this and this and you know you you figure out like when to stop talking but you give them enough information they it’s not a problem to answer the question because you know the answer right and that’s how that’s how employers know that there’s a fit right when you’re sort of like oh i don’t know and i don’t understand the question or what have you but when you have enough skills um and that’s really what the what roi new is all about right is to give you the specific skills that are needed um whether that’s social media influencers or curating content or promoting events um that you know we’ve been doing really well now for a long time and other more if you go back like do you remember um oh my god now i’m blanking on her name uh julie do you remember julie like way back in the beginning of him she she’s not even in digital marketing anymore but and then daisha so dasha now is director of marketing for a startup health company that has gone like really done really really well in covid um so yeah i mean everybody’s gone on to do pretty great things it’s just exciting i think you you highlighted an interesting point there you know in an interview when you know don’t try to overfill dead air but also if you don’t have a set of experience i’ll never forget this i was at a um was it a job interview and they asked they asked me to actually do some some like whiteboard coding and um i was super super unclear on exactly what they were looking for so i just kind of like winged it and um i’m like 95 sure that that code did not impress anybody and uh i never heard back from them again um but my point there is like if you don’t know the answer to a question or you don’t have relevant experience to kind of fit into the answer to a question always have a an example that that’s maybe parallel to it or be able to think quickly on your feet to be able to say well you know i’ve never done that but i did do this other thing for somebody else because that shows one what i just said it shows you quick on your feet it also shows that like you can you can kind of bridge the gaps between you know something that may be asked of you and something that may not be directly related but could be um could be useful so you know i think that’s always important too to be able to make those those um connections when you’re when you’re in an interview yeah yeah definitely i think yeah and and also the like you said you’re not sure that you understood what they were looking for so to ask ask a clarifying question so that you have a good sense of what you know what exactly sorry that also that also brought up another one for me make sure you have questions for the person you’re interviewing with that is like one of our when i used to do interviews that used to be like one of my my big things was well we want to give you a chance to ask any questions you have do you have any questions um yeah uh no not really okay so you’re gonna come work for us you have no questions whatsoever yeah no i’m good okay great doesn’t really doesn’t really necessarily paint you in the best light yeah well i think part of the problem with that is i don’t think that you know if you if you haven’t had work experience and you haven’t run a business let’s just say if you have not run a business um or been a key player in running of the business they probably don’t have a very good understanding of the level of investment that giving someone a job and incurs it just it does like we have a new intern now and um you know it takes time for people to get up to speed and this is why my internship programs you know for the traditional internship program i’ve been running for 11 years now it’s a year-long internship because by the time you learn and feel confident at doing things i need to get something out of it as the business owner so i’m happy to train you i’m happy to give you all those skills but like by the time the two months or three months summer internship is over like i i basically don’t get anything out of it i’ve i’ve already invested a lot a lot of my time and i think when you get into an employment situation and you’re there for an interview to have the empathy right of what these people are trying to achieve and and also i think to be okay with if they come to the decision that it’s not really a good fit

yep yeah i mean i think you you should always i don’t want to say expect that but i mean if you you should be okay with the fact that like it may not be a perfect fit and you know i’m always impressed by the folks who ask like well you know why wasn’t it a good fit what could i what experience could i go get or what could i have done better to you know make myself a better candidate for this job i’ll actually never forget uh the one of the last interviews actually i guess this is a couple years ago now as time kind of gets into that weird time warp but um we had somebody that we interviewed and she didn’t seem like uh she had um uh enough of a knowledge base to be a fit for the position that we were looking for but this person reached out to every single person that she interviewed with and sent them an email afterwards saying like hey you know i hope this you know i hope this works out if it doesn’t you know i get it and you know any feedback you have would be would be super super helpful and you know when that position came up again we all said hey what about this person like we were all really impressed with the fact that she reached back out after the interview and she she you know she she reached she made that personal connection and you know second time around we ended up we ended up hiring that person so you know i think it it really comes down to um you know timing is is everything and it comes down to you know being personable and being being able to kind of make that connection and learning from your you know the experience you know you’re not gonna you’re not gonna get it perfect every time and being able to understand what you can improve upon is is just a part of life yeah so true so true i think now i’m just curious had she had a significant amount of experience like how much time had it lapsed between the two i want to say it was like six months maybe so it wasn’t it wasn’t there wasn’t a ton of experi uh there wasn’t a ton of chance for um for for growth there but there was still some growth and um you know i think the first time around it really came down to like out of these two people like which person would be a better you know would be a better fit um but yeah no i i think it was pretty close and it just it just ended up that the you know she got edged out by somebody else yeah cool well and good for her right because if when you’re applying to a growing company right there’s always i think that’s that’s a big lesson now especially with linkedin and social media and digital marketing um you know you never want to close a door and back in the day you know when you’re like sitting at your resume and you never hear back it’s all about nurturing the relationship and there’s so many great opportunities to do that what what do you think is a good way um whether it’s in before the interview process or during the interview process to maybe reach out to make an impression um but what have you seen that might be a good idea to pass on so i mean i think following up the email afterwards is definitely definitely a good a good one um you know following following that person that you’re interviewing with on linkedin you know before beforehand isn’t a bad idea it’s always um there’s a fine line between between creepy and appropriate so you want to try to find that but ultimately you know being able to reference oh hey i saw your posts on so and so a couple days ago thought that was pretty interesting because of x y and z you know that’s again showing that you’re always you’re always learning you’re always looking for interesting things to kind of kind of pick up on and do you know i think that’s that’s important looking at the company’s website looking at the company social media seeing what pride kind of projects they work on uh you know that’s a great way to be able to make sure that you and the company kind of share the same set of values right so if you look at a company and they work with a lot of non-profits and they work in the arts and they do all the stuff and you’re like i’m really into those things you can bring that into the interview like hey i notice you guys work with uh you know a lot of ngos and a lot of arts organizations i i really love the arts you know my my parents were art collectors or whatever you know whatever the whatever the tie-in is there so that kind of shows that you’re invested it shows that you have you know you have a little bit of passion to the the end goal and the project the type of projects that somebody may bring you in to work on so you know i think that’s definitely important and you know as far as other things that people can do and you know again you don’t want to cross over into like the creepy creepy side of things so you want to walk a fine line there but you know anything to make it make more of a connection right be able to you know be able to show that you really do have an understanding and an interest i think is is super important awesome yeah and and i think that that creates a good exercise right because i think when people say research the company i think there’s a lot of just general advice out there that it’s not actionable right it’s not specific enough like research the company research what what am i supposed to be researching right i know now but i can guarantee you when i was 22 i didn’t have that great of an idea um but yeah like it doesn’t have to be overly deep research either like you don’t have to like know you know the whole leadership team and like what their favorite thing to do is and like how much money they made last year and how they spent like you don’t you don’t have to get that detailed it’s basically like that’s the definition of creepy right so but you know you get a broad overview and like try to figure out how you’re going to fit in because if you can make if you can draw that picture for the person you’re interviewing for right then they don’t have to draw it for themselves and and that you’ve just made their job easier which is which is they’re in their head they’re going to relate back to like this person just made my job easier which if i hire them they’ll continue to make my job easier um so you know you wanna you wanna try to take that mindset when you’re doing your research right i think that’s great advice and this is what i always tell my interns when they’re working on their resumes or they’re applying for an internship with me is tell me how you’re going to make my life easier like i’m busy i got a lot of stuff going on i run a school i you know there’s i run in my my little micro agency i run nym there’s a lot of stuff going on so tell me how you’re gonna you know when i invest in you how are you going to return that investment which is the whole you know that’s that’s i think is the whole crux of business but that’s particularly the crux of my brands that i manage is i want to see the return on investment and that’s that’s really the focus because otherwise he’s just sort of messing around and wasting time yeah well we just we have just a few minutes or a few seconds left about a minute and uh any last tips sean that you can think of i know that you have a lot of agency experience you have a lot of technology experience your podcaster um you know any

i have so many uh tips and and tricks and things like that um i think the last one here and this is a question you’d ask me previously was about podcasting and and getting into uh getting young professionals into podcasting um you know i think overall like you if you’re a young professional you’re just getting out there and you’re you think you might be interested in podcasting you probably want to try to try to go on to somebody else’s podcast or become a regular on a podcast that you don’t really have much to do with other than provide content first just to see if you like it and see if it if it feels feels natural for you and then you know if that if that works out you’ve done that for a couple months um then maybe look into you know what it takes to build a podcast you know most podcasts don’t get off the ground and um you know don’t get past a few first couple of episodes because there’s a lot of there’s not only the content piece of it but there’s also the um distribution the social media public publicizing of it and the post production of it so there’s a lot that goes into it um i think ultimately something that could be easier is youtube you know there are plenty of people jumping on youtube posting videos i know suzanne and i have talked about john o’bacon but he produces uh great youtube videos uh about um you know community development and things like that and uh you know i think that’s potentially could be the way of the future it could be a replacement for podcasting uh down the road um but you know i think that’s a much lower barrier to entry to get into because youtube you basically record the video and then it has tools built in to help you kind of edit it down and whatnot so right that’s a good that’s a really good point right as far as being able to manage the quality yeah and that was a game changer when youtube instituted those editing features right just right within there it just makes things so much easier it’s not perfect right it’s not like extremely user friendly there’s there’s a lot of like most google products yeah you gotta you gotta watch a youtube video or two to get the gist of it but once you watch those a couple of times and if you’re doing it regularly it works out pretty well i organize a a drupal meetup and i actually record the video via zoom and then take that video when i download it upload it to youtube re-watch the video on how to edit it because i forget every time and then um you know edit it and put it out and and that’s it it’s done you know and it takes you know a couple hours to record the content and to get it up there and post it so yeah it’s definitely definitely um becoming a lot easier nice yeah that sounds really good well I’m hoping that ecam which is the platform I’m using like if i strip out the audio tracks it has one track for you and one track for me and i want like one audio track that’s both of us so then i can just upload that right away um which would make you know it would save a bunch of steps and i think from a technical perspective how hard could that be uh not not hard i mean just just merge them together yeah so yeah what we do is we put it into we know our intern right now he puts it into imovie and then just strips out the audio track but wouldn’t it be so much easier if i could just click a button and it would just upload as one single track um but there we are technology sometimes makes your life easier but also sometimes makes your life harder oh yes yeah as as as we spent the first half hour witnessing but awesome all right well thank you so much john this is so great and um everybody can find you on linkedin uh can find you through me on linkedin and thank you again for taking the time to share your career success tips any time thanks a lot okay awesome

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Meet John Picozzi

John Picozzi

National speaker, Drupal podcast host, and multi-time NIM presenter John Picozzi serves as a solutions architect at EPAM Systems with a background in technology. John helps clients navigate through the entire project process – from kick-off, to launch, and beyond.

John has years of experience building and leading successful, cutting-edge web projects. He also has years of experience talking about those projects and educating a large variety of audiences. From the national stage of DrupalCon to local events like Newport Interactive Marketers, John has given a number of presentations in a variety of formats.