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Few things install fear into people like going for an interview for a job. The uncertainty of a job interview is one that can make you very nervous. There has been stories of people passing out from the nervousness of an interview. Rather it be the dream job you are going for or a lateral move in your career, all interviews come with a high level of pressure. Remembering these few helpful hints which me and my colleagues have discussed in detail hopefully will help you with that.

Let’s begin by telling you exactly what a hiring manager is trying to accomplish through an interview. Each interview is trying to evaluate the following

1. How skilled you are and how you applied these talents on a job
2. Your accomplishments and if they are on par with what accomplishments the hiring manager feels should have been accomplished
3. How you would fit with the environment and culture of the company.
4. Level of drive
5. Your potential for improvements.

Of course these five aren’t all weighed with the same importance depending on who is doing the interview. Most technological companies might put more emphasis on technical brilliance since company culture may not be as important because some will work remotely and never meet their coworkers. Some other companies will value a candidate’s first impression more and will hire off a gut feeling more often. Knowing what is being looked for is very helpful when going into an interview.

The most common mistake in an interview is the interviewees showing up far too early and upsetting the hiring manager. I’m sure you think showing up for your 1030 interview at 945 is at worst a good move if not a great one, but that is not accurate. At times hiring managers will take a candidate showing up for an interview very early as a sign of disrespect for their schedule because now they must juggle appointments around to accommodate you. Five to ten minutes early is an ideal time to come for your interview. Leave your house with enough time to account for traffic and sit in your car in front of the destination is usually the best option.

Talk in complete paragraphs not broken sentences
Ideally you want to answer each question for two to three minutes to any question. Short answers, regardless of the job you are interviewing can be the reason you do not get the job, hiring managers will feel you are being difficult and rude. Let your answers tell a story, start with a general opening remark, prove this remark as correct then give some examples to show why you decided to lead with that general opening statement. Then, to take control of the interview you want to end your answer with a question such as “is this the kind of situation or skill that I will be responsible for here?” Remember that an interview is nothing more than a conversation and if you show yourself to be easy to talk to, you’re putting your best foot forward in an interview. A candidate isn’t usually judged on how well they do on their jobs, references do that. Candidates are judged by how well they can describe how to do their job.

Read your own body language
Most if not all hiring managers believe they are mind readers through body language. Knowing not only what you are verbally speaking but what your body is saying is vital in an interview. Stand up straight, lean forward in your chair, make eye contact, allow an ample amount of space between you and the interviewer are just some of the body language rules to follow. Leaning slightly forward in your chair shows a level of excitement in the prospective job and what the hiring manager is telling you. Some signs such as rubbing your neck when answering questions can make hiring managers believe that you are lying to them and trying to come up with your words as you are going. Having a stern understanding of body language is very important when going into an interview for a job.

Do your research

Be prepared for your interview, research the company you are interviewing with. When a candidate has not done any homework on a company it shows easily, and makes hiring managers feel as if you are only interested in pay and will leave whenever another opportunity rises, which can make the next person get your job. You can separate yourself as a serious candidate by doing ten minutes of research on the company before an interview so that you can ask questions and answer any questions with more knowledge and sound complete answers. When the hiring manager ask “what can you bring to this company” you can show how much research you have done and answer this question with something more concrete than the weak “I will do a good job”. Doing research can be the difference in ending your job search or going on another interview somewhere else.

Ask for contact information

Assume that you are not the only person interviewing for a job and that the hiring manager will conduct more interviews. The best way to keep yourself in hiring managers mind is asking for contact information like a business card. When you get home from the interview send an email stating how nice it was meeting with the hiring manager and thanking him for taking time to speak to you. reiterate that you are excited about this opportunity and still want to move forward with the position. You would be shocked at how many times something as small as this gesture will put one candidate as the front-runner over others.

Of course there are other tips for interviews depending on the industry and position you are interviewing for. For any specific questions please feel free to email me at thelionwords@gmail.com and I will answer them in future posts. Good luck on your upcoming interviews.

February 5th was supposed to be Trayvon Martin’s 19th birthday. I don’t have to tell you what took place to keep him from being able to see this day which marked the 19th year being his mother’s son.  On this day in which we all were saddened by the memory of a young son being taken from the world too early, we were once again given a spit in the face and an ass to kiss. For on this day Trayvon Martin’s killer decided it appropriate to announce that he will be counting on us all to give him some money for taking a life. 

Taking part in a celebrity boxing match, George Zimmerman is throwing proverbial blood on all of our hands as if we put a bounty on that child’s life and are simply paying him for his services. Questioning not only our intelligence, but our ability to form opinions and notice disrespect when it is in our face, George Zimmerman announced he will be putting gloves on and fighting DMX. I honestly can not believe that this is happening. The disrespect could not possibly be more apparent. This fight is a statement that we as people have such a unsatisable anomalistic thirst for blood that it controls our emotions into thinking watching George Zimmerman get into a fight with a black man will somehow make us all feel as if we are even.  As if we want to see George Zimmerman beat up so bad that we will put him upon a celebrity status level in which his appearance is demanded and paid for just to witness it. Our lack of intelligence makes us so short-sighted that we can’t see the long-lasting damage that is sure to be the outcome by taking a part in this debacle.

Long term damage won’t be digested by the masses properly without short-term joy, similar to soda which is high in corn syrup and sugar. In this case, DMX is that soda which is put with the long-term damage. Watching a black man beat up on George Zimmerman is the show they are promising to make us not just allow the disrespect, but promote it and happily take a part in it. “Come see the man who killed a child participate in the very act in which led to him becoming a killer against another black man and pay for it”!

Not only is the fact George Zimmerman is being called a celebrity for the killing of a seventeen year old child insulting, but the opponent for which he was picked to fight is another slap in the face in itself. DMX, an admitted drug addict was hand-picked to represent us as a whole. DMX, a man very emotional and who has proven a lack of ability to control his anger and emotions is the person who will be putting the gloves on to serve this imaginary justice to George Zimmerman for all of us across the nation. The disrespect on every level is jaw dropping to say the least. This can not be allowed to happen. And if it does happen we can not become a part of the problem by supporting the monkey show; which make no mistake this is.

I employ you all to not watch the fight. This fight is not right this entire situation is not right. I ask you to sign this petition to keep the fight from happening all together. I can not promise that with your electronic signature that this fight will not happen. If the fight does happen do not watch it, for it does not represent who we are. This fight does not respect us as a people worthy of respect. This fight means we have become so accustomed to the vile disrespect being slung in our face, we do not bat an eye when it is there, we have even started to help the disrespect become popular and cool. A spit in the face and an ass to kiss is what we have been shown, now it is up to us how we react to it.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-george-zimmerman-and-promoter-damon-feldman-using-murder-racial-hate-america-profit/0yVh1nVD

Cross roads

Think of an experiment. The subject is a specific species placed in an erratic environment and forced to adapt to survive.

That experiment is here. That subject is us and the environment is always changing.

With as little as a clearing of the throat some of us put on our mask. For others it’s turning music down when we pull into the parking lot that symbolizes putting it on. A mask of being one of the “good ones”. Where we momentarily forget all of our hardships as to not frighten our white coworkers so that we can continue to work there, any signs of aggression from us is detrimental. We aren’t allowed to have bad days, after we clear our throat Trayvon Martin never happened or it did and we have no opinion on the matter. A mask that says we believe we are indeed equal and part of a family, and everything will be ok.

We wear these masks not because we want to but because we have to. We have to blend in as best we can. Dilute our natural sense of pride and aggression as to not scare anybody. Put away a lot of the things which makes us unique because it may have been deemed unprofessional, meanwhile our counterparts are free to indulge in many unprofessional acts without thinking twice. This is the world we were given.

We represent the outcome. The outcome of affirmative action and the war on drugs. Because of the disturbingly uneven sentences from the war on drugs and high cost of eduction, we are usually the minority even in our immediate circle. We know people who are currently in prison rather it be by blood relation or life’s travels. A lot of us weren’t raised watching our father get dressed in a tie for work due to plenty of unfortunate choices by our families. Studies show we are twice as nervous about losing or job than our Co workers are because we know the alternative. Yet we get up and go to work each day.

We work very hard to get as far away from our people as possible. Even go as far as to equate success with seeing less of our people in the neighborhoods we call home. Because of this outlook, a success related guilt is formed. We feel bad for being successful. This guilt cripples some people’s ambition very severely. This guilt is so powerful that some rather let their family live in poverty than rock the boat and succeed.
But we still are here. Spread across every city in every state in as many countries as there are you are sure to find us. A little more nervous when the boss wants to see us in his office and under an estimated twice as much pressure compared to our Co workers. But what do we do from here is the important question. We can’t simply think we have arrived because there are more of us now than ever before. For a revolution doesn’t go do down in history for the first shot, but for what follows it.

So we must continue this uncomfortable feeling until it is no longer uncomfortable. We must keep showing up to work early and leave late just to stay even with our contemporaries. This is the only way we can sustain our presence in society as leaders. Because the more we make these sacrifices the more generations after us benefit. The more our children see their father get dressed up for work and return day after day the more this behavior becomes not only ordinary but expected.

We have proven we can withstand oppression and strife, it is time to prove we can succeed in today’s world. And in order to do that, we have to keep showing up early, turning our radio down when we drive to the building, “talk white” and be uncomfortable until the uncomfortable is comfortable. See you at the top.

Last night I took my son out of the bath and watched a movie with him, while waiting for him to fall asleep so that I could pray over him like every night. My son thinks likes to scream during prayer so I figure the big man upstairs can hear me a little better if I wait for Junior to fall asleep before speaking to him. Before hearing his soft snore I felt the vibration from my phone signaling that George Zimmerman had been given a verdict of not guilty for murder. Upon reading this update my prayer completely changed from the normal. I began asking “what do I do now”.

How do I raise my son in a world like this? How do I ensure my son’s safety while also instilling in him the pride and self-awareness a black man needs to succeed in a world as cold as the one we live in? How do I do my job as a father to the best of my ability?

This isn’t about the George Zimmerman trial, there will be countless other blogs that will discuss it for weeks. This is to ask how do we, as parents of African-American children raise our offspring with the necessary tools to not only survive but succeed in today’s society? What are the necessary tools that our children need? Is there one answer or a variety of paths to lead? What factors decide which tools we need to give our children?

Do we raise our children up to be prideful self conscious people even though we know that same sense of pride can be the reason we have to bury our boys into the ground before their time? Or do we teach our children that they are second class citizens not worthy to be protected by the same laws and rules they are expected to live by?

I do not want my son to be raised to be a racist, I believe fighting racism with racism will not help anything. But I would also not be doing my job as a parent if I didn’t make it clear to my child that this world we have been given is not a fair one and the color of his complexion means he has to take certain precautions at all times. What is the balance in these two lessons? Is there a such thing as being defensively racist as a reactionary weapon? How do I teach my son to treat everybody fairly and at the same time not expect to be treated fairly by others?

I am raising a black man in a country that hunts black men and doesn’t let them defend themselves because they have been deemed a threat before being given a fair chance, this is no easy task. My prayer was to please give me some of the answers to pass along to my son to prepare him for this war he was born into while finding ways to survive without giving up his sense of self-confidence? I want my son to know he can do anything in the world and to hold his head high because he is from a long line of prideful and honorable men. I shake from fear that same lesson will make my son a target to be gunned down in the middle of the street because of pre-conceived notion that he himself did nothing to make.

I ended my prayer and kissed my child on the cheek before getting up to walk out of his room which was now completely dark aside from the animation from Mickey Mouse taking care of some catastrophic event on the television. I looked at my phone one more time before deciding it was simply too heavy a burden for me to deal with that time of night. I wish I had the answers to these questions but more so I wish I didn’t have to ask these questions but I do. We all do. Every father, uncle, mentor, older brother, mother, aunt, or cousin of a young black boy have to ask these questions. And sadly, there still are no answers.

It’s over. You are now 1-3 in the NBA finals, and never even reached a game seven in your loses. You have let the away team dance on your home court in an elimination game again just like in 2012 and 2007. This feeling is not a new one to you at all. During the last timeout of your season, you looked up and saw the ball boys with a Miami Heat shirt on roping off the court to allow the San Antonio Spurs to celebrate on your court. You saw it all happening again. You saw Dirk buying magnum bottles of champagne in your club and partying in your town this is what your career has come to. Defeat has sunken in for you. There is only 28 seconds left in-game six, you are down two possessions it is over for you. That feeling in the pit of your stomach made you sick.  You shot a three pointer that almost didn’t touch anything and on its way out-of-bounds it looked like your career was about to take a terrible turn for the worse. Those two turnovers late in the fourth coupled with that 3-12 shooting in the first three-quarters look like they are about to define your career.

No other great player has had to endure what you have had to endure in your career. Social media wasn’t around for Jordan. Twitter didn’t see Kobe Bryant in his prime. Great players were allowed to make mistakes before social media. Every play you make is dissected by millions of couch sports reporters with opinions and feel as if those opinions are coming from a reliable source. Social media has made the entire sports world different. Now we are all over obsessed with every detail no matter how small forcing us to lose sight of the bigger picture, or just not care about it. Paying so much attention to details has made us dismiss the totality of a lot of things, and your games are the biggest proof of that. That is why even while averaging almost a double double people still said you were a disappointment this series. Before we could pick up a newspaper and see that even though Michael Jordan may have had an off shooting night, the Bulls  still won and those missed shots weren’t thought about again. You don’t have that luxury, every shot you shoot every pass you make is dissected like no other athlete ever. And this is something you know all too well and are about to be reminded of just that when you take questions after losing your third finals series in four attempts.

Not so fast. You caught the pass and confidently stepped forward and got into the same shooting form that wouldn’t let you take advantage of Spurs defenders stepping back whenever you had the ball in your hand daring you to shoot the ball, and drained a three pointer to close the gap. We all know what happened next, and we had a game seven on the line and your legacy was still intact. Now to win your first game seven is the only thing in your way. This is what you have been working on since 2007 when Greg Popovich drew up the strategy to defend you. Using the same strategy that forced you to shoot 36% from the field and 20% from three along with an underwhelming 69% from the free throw line, the Spurs seemed poised to take another title from your grasp. This is why you forced any contractual agreement you are involved in to set aside court time to allow you to work on your game. This is why you took your shooting coach with you to your wedding and honeymoon so you can wake up early and get 1000 shots up and look at your shooting form. You played basketball in the middle of your bachelor party and watched game tapes the night you were married. All of that was for this one game, this one moment. Your shooting percentage has steadily improved every year since the 07 finals, this is the game to prove all of that hard work has paid off. You showed last year that in the post you are possibly the most unstoppable force in the paint in the NBA, now you have to show the full game to beat this San Antonio Spurs team. Fans and non believers alike were all waiting in anticipation for the best player in the world to make one of the biggest statements seen in sports for the last decade.

It seemed as if the six-year-old strategy was still working. Just let Lebron James shoot jumpers. He can’t consistently score if you don’t let him attack the basket and use that athleticism that is head and shoulders above any basketball player to ever walk between the lines. Outside of the paint Lebron becomes an ordinary player incapable of taking a game over. But this isn’t the same Lebron, this isn’t 2007 and you are now the defending two-time champion of the NBA and finals MVP two times running. You stepped up and took the same shots you practiced while co-stars of commercials you have starred in watched before they could continue taping. The same shots you couldn’t make during the first half of game six are now routine and barely touching the net and we were all witnesses again. You were making shots and nailing three pointers (five to be exact) and Miami was looking like the Heat we were used to seeing. But that wasn’t enough to silence your doubters. Your greatness has left us fans with no choice but never be impressed by what you do. So we all watched you nail jumper after jumper still waiting for you to tighten up since the game was so close, waiting for you to fumble again.

So we sat on the edge of our seat, 27.9 seconds remaining in-game seven of the NBA finals. Miami Heat holding on to a two point lead with the basketball in the hands of the best player on the planet. You started your patented slow dribble which almost always leads to a jump shot and we scooted up in our seats more. You stopped at the free throw line and went into your shooting motion. Even with the great shooting you showed all game we still didn’t believe. You could almost hear the “drive to the basket” demands coming from couches everywhere as you lifted into the air for your jump shot. Nothing but net. Miami Heat win another championship and cue the confetti.

A couple of years ago that shot doesn’t happen. You drive to the basket out of control or pass it to a teammate for a late second shot that you want no part of. But this isn’t a couple of years ago, this is the maturation of a great talent becoming an all time great basketball player. This is hard work and dedication paying off. This is the face of basketball. This is your back to back finals MVP. And we all appreciate it. Thank you.

We all need help in life. And one thing I know everybody can use some help with is personal finances. The first installment of #Let’sBeBetter we will try to handle the bottom line, our bottom line. Today we will all get help with that. As always any follow-up questions can be sent to thelionwords@gmail.com. #Let’sBeBetter

 

1. One thing some people have a problem with is finding out how to start investing. What is the first step people should take when looking onto investing finances

  • When I was a banker I found that the largest problem with people who want to invest is they simply do not know where to start or know what they want to invest in. An investment can be something as simple as a home purchase, paying off credit card debt or as lucrative as a portfolio of different short & long-term stocks and bonds. Anything that grows in value can be considered an investment. The first step people should take when looking into investing money is knowing their financial status. Sit down with a financial advisor and make sure your assets outweigh your liabilities. Banks now hire investment bankers that will sit down and have a financial consultation with you for free.

2.  How much money is needed for somebody to start investing their money

  • Now this all depends on what you would like to invest in. The general rule of thumb to get a good return on investment with stocks, annuities, and bonds would be ten grand and above. When you get serious about investing Get Really Serious about investing.

3. Most people think stocks immediately when investing comes up. What other investment options are out there for people who don’t want to go straight to stocks and bonds

  • For short-term investment options consumers can purchase:

    • Federal Savings Bonds (I, EE paper bonds)

    • 401k’s and IRA (personally one of my favorites because of the tax benefits and long-term financial gain for the consumer)

    • and of course liquid savings accounts & certificates of deposits from your local bank (which aren’t paying anything because of the Prime Lending rate at the moment)

4.  About how much money should somebody invest on a regular

  • This too depends on the amount of excess liquid funds a person has to comfortably invest.

5. A lot of my readers are at the age of looking into buying a home. What are three things people need to take into consideration when looking into purchasing a home?

  • The economy & whether or not it is the appropriate time to purchase a home.

  • If they truly can afford to purchase a home.
    • Most people don’t take into consideration the extra cost of home ownership like home maintenance, higher utilities, property taxes, home insurance, more furniture, HOA fees etc.

  • Their credit.

6. Credit it’s something we all have to deal with. What are some ranges that would constitute a good credit score and what numbers would be a bad credit score

  • Typically anything in the 700’s and above is considered a “good” credit score. I think many people need to focus on the story their credit tells as opposed to their scores. Don’t get me wrong credit scores are important, but with the current state of the economy and overall low credit ratings of the Nation lenders are looking more into the story your credit report tells when deciding your credit risk. I’ve seen instances where people have had low scores but still get loans because they have paid off previous charged off accounts that can no longer affect their scores.

7. What are some options people can take when cleaning up their credit

  • Working with their creditors and credit consolidation. I always suggest working directly with your creditors over a debt consolidation firm because there are typically no additional fees involved.

8. One thing i feel was never taught well or passed along in a lot of homes is financial responsibility. What are some good resources for people to educate themselves on finances

  • The internet is always a great place to start. One of my favorite blogs is thefinancebuff.com but also look for people in your local communities with a financial expertise and never hesitate to question your personal banker at the bank you hold your finances. Those people are hired to educate you on financial responsibility as well as aid you in opening accounts.

9.  What percentage of a family income should realistically be put away into savings

  • Realistically 10% per person. I understand that cannot always be attained but something should be placed into savings each pay period. PAY YOURSELVES!!!

10. People don’t understand APR and APY. What is an average interest rate on a bank loan and what should people watch out for?

  • The rates on bank loans depend on the types of loan and the borrower’s credit score. The difference in Annual Percentage Rate & Annual Percentage Yield is the compounding of interest. APY is always larger but it’s usually such a nominal difference that consumers shouldn’t worry about it unless it vastly affects their tax rate (on savings accounts and such). People should always read the fine print on loans and look out for hidden terms, fees and conditions when applying for loans. ALWAYS understand what you are signing before you sign on the dotted line and make sure you have at least 3 days right of recession to read over the paperwork.

11. What are some quick and fairly cheap ways a person can start to build their credit up for when they start to need things like loans for cars or houses etc

  • Department store credit cards. I always suggest these because they usually have a low credit limit and these are stores you will shop in any way. Credit cards are the best way to quickly boost your credit score if used wisely. Keep them under 60% of the limit and always make at least the minimal payment on your cards.

12.What are some investments people should stay away from when trying to make business moves on their own

  •  Anything that is a quick get rich too good to be true type of investment or one where you loan any family member money

#Let’sBeBetter

 

#Let’sBeBetter

One thing i wanted to do when i started this blog is to show the diverse sides that i think we all have. Through sports, comedy, and serious posts i tried to show diversity. This series is no different. #Let’sBeBetter is designed for all of us to help one another do better things in life rather it be through doing better interviews for employment to get that job you always dreamed of or doing better managing personal finances and everything in between. I have put together a constantly growing team of individuals all well educated in their separate fields who are willing to help one another be better through educating one another. I encourage people too email me at thelionwords@gmail.com with questions on anyway that we can be better as people and i will have then answered and posted on this site with many #Let’sBeBetter blog posts. If anybody would like to join in helping please email me as well. This is setup to be a community helping one another to be better so participation is not merely encouraged, but needed. Be on the lookout for these posts and #Let’sBeBetter. Thank you