Season 4 Episode 158: Job Interview Success with Brenda Mariah

On this episode of the Lessons Learned for Vets podcast, we welcome Brenda Mariah. If you are having trouble getting others to see your value or recognizing your own value, this is where Brenda shines. Brenda Mariah, of Push Career Management, is a career-focused speaker, wordsmith, storyteller, encourager, author and strategist. She is the president of the National Resume Writers Association, the past president of the Resume Writers and Career Coaches Association and is certified in interview coaching, compensation negotiation, job search strategy, resume writing, career management, LinkedIn profile development and employment law. Major brands rely on Brenda to provide corporate outplacement services during layoffs and her prior engineering and project management background qualifies her to help even the most technical professionals.


While a resume’s job is to help you land an interview, the interview is an opportunity for both you and the employer to find out if your skills and personality are a good fit for the organization. During the interview, the employer is looking for the most cost-effective employee, the person who is going to add the most value and bring the most return on investment. This doesn’t necessarily mean the employer will always look for the person they can hire for the least amount of money. Employers are asking themselves questions like “Can you do the job?”, “Will you do the job?”, “Are you a good fit?”


It's important to bring your personality to the interview. While an interview should be taken seriously, don’t forget to smile, make eye contact and engage with the employer. While the resume is fact-based, an interview is more emotion-based. Be confident with who you are and don’t pretend to be something you’re not.


As the interviewee, you have more control over the situation than you might think. According to data, about 40% of your interview success is based on your packaging such as nonverbal communication and appearance. Another 40% is your responsiveness to the questions. 10% of your success is based on your qualifications.


Brenda Mariah breaks down the interview process into 5 stages. Stage 1 is Making an Entrance. When you enter an interview with confidence, you appear competent. If your interview is virtual, make sure you understand the platform being used. If you are not familiar with certain software, like Teams or Webex, find a demo video online and learn how to navigate the platform. Make sure the position of your camera highlights your face and be aware of what is in your background. Experiment with lighting to ensure shadows are not covering your face.


Stage 2 is Questions They Ask You. During your interview preparation, be able to answer why you want to work for them and why they should pick you. Research the company by looking at their website and social media channels. Google the company and visit for additional insight. Review your resume and begin to formulate stories to back up your accomplishments. Use the STAR method to ensure you are giving the backstory, the actions you took and what you achieved.


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Are You Struggling to Write Your Resume?

I created the Veteran Resume Self-inspection Checklist to lessen the resume writing struggle for veterans. This 11-item checklist will educate you in resume best practices while giving veterans a guide to assess their resume and determine if it's ready to send to  employers. 

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