Michelle: [00:00:00] Good morning, Jeff.
[00:00:03] Jeff: [00:00:03] Good morning.
[00:00:04] Michelle: [00:00:04] How are you doing today?
[00:00:06] Jeff: [00:00:06] Pretty good. How are you?
[00:00:08] Michelle: [00:00:08] Thanks. Um, thanks for jumping in today. Allie had a last minute conflict and you were available. I happen to know this because we work together. So I really appreciate your flexibility in joining me on today’s episode of the underrepresented in tech blog, and you are an underrepresented person, but you’re also.
[00:00:26] The first man is, that’s what I mean on our vlog. So congratulations on bridging that gap. Um, that’s something on there. I don’t know if you saw the episode last week, but we talked Allie and I talked about, um, writing a resume and how and what things you should do to maybe boost your resume things that you don’t want to do necessarily.
[00:00:49] Um, and. I said underrepresented folks, especially people who are in the BIPOC community, it can be, um, off-putting to some people. To think about like whitewashing your resume, things like that. We talked about that last week, but the fact that somebody whose name is Jose, for example, might not be taken as seriously as somebody whose name is Jeff.
[00:01:12] So, and I know, and, and well, you have a background with people from, you know, all over, um, Latin America, right. And Hispanic background. I know you’re from your family’s from Puerto Rico. And so we’ve talked about some of that in the past, just between us. Um, clearly I hired you. So it was, you know, you’re, you’re, um, Your kudos spoke for themselves, your resume spoke for itself.
[00:01:39] And, uh, you know, it had nothing to do with whether your name was Jeffery Jose or you know, or Beatrice or anything else. But, um, but we wanted to talk about this week kind of following up on the whole resume thing was talking about interviewing and some interview tips that we might give to people who are, you know, who got that interview and they’re getting ready to prepare for it.
[00:02:02] And I’ve interviewed so many people over my career and I’ve been interviewed in my career as well. And so it’s, it’s interesting, of course I bring the , the woman’s perspective to it, and it’s just, it’s I think it’s an interesting thing, um, to sit in a er in a interview and feel challenged about your resume, nervous as heck, I don’t know about you, but like anytime I’ve ever applied for a job, like even if I feel a hundred percent confident about myself and my abilities, butterflies in my stomach.
[00:02:35] Yeah. They’re definitely kicking the interview. Okay. Do you have any tips for like how to squelch the nerves or is there like, do you pep talk yourself or like no coffee, extra coffee? Like, is there anything that you do to prep for an interview?
[00:02:49]Jeff: [00:02:49] Well, I definitely practiced the night before. Um, it also helps to practice with friends, maybe practice in front of a mirror, record yourself, all those kinds of things, kind of practice you too.
[00:03:02] Um, create memories that even when you have nerves during the interview, those memories kind of kick in naturally. And that’s what I, that’s what I feel saves me.
[00:03:14] Michelle: [00:03:14] Yeah, I think you’re right. So, um, the more practice you can feel about it, the more you’re able to just kind of talk naturally about your work experiences, the better off you are now I’ve made some mistakes in my past life, in an interview that I know probably cost me a job.
[00:03:30] Like I thought at one point in time, like to say, um, because women, especially like people look at us, they’re like, well, is she going to have children? Is she going to be out on maternity leave? Like, right. And they start to evaluate that way. So like, I was, you know, I, when I was in my thirties or something and I already had like a teenager and I was like, Oh, and I’m not having any more kids, you know? So don’t even worry about that. And then I thought afterwards, that was dumb.
[00:03:51] So, tell me have you ever done anything in an interview where you left with that. Yep. Not going to get that job.
[00:04:04] Jeff: [00:04:04] Not that I can, not that I can think of. I have left interviews thinking, Oh, I should’ve said this. I should’ve said that, but. What I do remember, um, as it relates to underrepresented in tech, um, there’s been interviews where the interviewer has asked me personal questions that, um, like for example, where are your parents from?
[00:04:29] Like trying to basically find out my background. Cause like you said, my name doesn’t really give off that I’m Latino, even my last name, to be honest, Betancourt the way it’s pronounced in English, it doesn’t give off that I’m Latino either. Unless you were to say it in Spanish, Betancout. Then you’d be like, okay he’s well, yeah, they’ll ask questions like that.
[00:04:48] Like where are your parents from? Personal questions are actually illegal and I’ve left the interview thinking I should have said something, but I was younger back then. So I was, and the nerves kicked in and it’s like, those kinds of questions make a person who’s underrepresented feel so uncomfortable.
[00:05:07] You feel like you’re being judged based on your past, your ethnicity, your race, stuff like that. So those are the kinds of things that I would say to any company to make sure that their employees aren’t doing that because usually when you’re getting interviewed, right, you’re getting interviewed by a department manager or even, even a director.
[00:05:25] And it’s not like they’re part of the HR department. So they may bend those rules that could really like defeat the purpose of trying to hire diverse people.
[00:05:38] Michelle: [00:05:38] Yeah, cause hiring for diversity is a big topic. Now we’ve talked about that before you, and you and I’ve talked about that. You’ve heard us talk about it with underrepresented in tech, for sure.
[00:05:46] Um, and then we also talk about like the idea of tokenization and looks like if you walk, let me ask you this. So if you walk into a place to interview and you look around and everybody’s like, White. And there’s only a couple of women. Do you feel like, yeah, I’m in here as the token interview or like what kind of experiences have you had, do you feel uncomfortable?
[00:06:06] Do you feel like you might not fit in? Do you feel challenged at all? Or are you, I mean, I think you are and who you are, you’re confident in your abilities, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have feelings when you walk into a place like that. So what are your experiences that way?
[00:06:21] Jeff: [00:06:21] So, um, you do bring up a lot of your points and you make them, you go back.
[00:06:25] I remember so many memories. Um, like I said now in life, I am more used to it, but just remembering when I was younger, going to interviews, um, for anyone, right. Anyone depending. Uh, what culture you come from or not, it doesn’t even matter what culture you come from when you go into a room. And you’re the only one from that back ground that can add to the, intimidation.
[00:06:48] You’re wondering that if you’re being hired as a token, or you’re just looking around, you want to see someone familiar that you can relate to. Um, so that definitely is not easy. It definitely is a culture shock, but, um, Yeah, that’s another challenge that you have to face.
[00:07:08]Michelle: [00:07:08] So one of the things you said is that somebody would maybe ask you, so where are your parents from like trying to kind of figure out like what your background is and, and you said you wish you’d said something in the past.
[00:07:18] What would you, your advice be to somebody who might face that question today? Like how would you respond to that question differently than you did in the past?
[00:07:26] Jeff: [00:07:26] I definitely would, um, respond by saying, you know, That question is not a legal question to ask. Like I would check them, but not in a disrespectful way, but I would take a firm stance and let them know that it’s not okay to do that.
[00:07:45] You may not get the job right. You may risk losing your job and that’s fine. Do you really want to work for someone who’s asking you those kinds of questions, but at the same time, you’re helping future interviewees. Because of your correcting that person, that that’s not okay to ask those kinds of questions to behave that way during the interview.
[00:08:06] Michelle: [00:08:06] Yeah. That actually makes a lot of sense. If somebody said to you, like, okay, let me rewind a sec. If you’re applying for a job and nowhere on the job, does it say that you have to speak Spanish or that you have to be bilingual or bring any of that? Has anybody ever asked you in an interview? Like, Oh, do you speak Spanish?
[00:08:23] And how do you respond to that? And does it feel inappropriate?
[00:08:27] Jeff: [00:08:27] Um, well, culturally it’s a, it’s a, to me, it doesn’t because like, um, especially from a Puerto Rican background, we kind of enjoy saying that we speak Spanish. Um, doesn’t feel inappropriate, but then again, it all depends how the or, how the question is worded.
[00:08:44] Right? If you just say, do you speak Spanish and you’re being polite about it, I’m fine with it. But another thing that did happen to me during interview was something very similar to that. It was actually the same interview. Um, and the funny part is that the interview was director of the, uh, director of, uh, of, uh, trying to think what it was.
[00:09:06] It was a social worker department. She was director of the social worker department. And she basically said that she, um, She spent time in Ecuador and she asked me, are you, are you Puerto Rican? And I’m like, yes. Why? And she was like, Oh, because I can tell because Puerto Ricans cut their words in Spanish.
[00:09:31] And I’m like, wow,
[00:09:34] Michelle: [00:09:34] that sounds really racist. Yeah. Judging somebody based on their entire ethnicity or, yeah. Wow. Blatantly like, just wrong.
[00:09:45] Jeff: [00:09:45] Like in that case, I didn’t feel good that someone, you know, recognize my culture or said something about me speaking Spanish.
[00:09:53] Michelle: [00:09:53] Right. Instead of saying like, Oh my gosh, I visited Santa Domingo.
[00:09:56] And if you were Dominican or I visited, um, you know, San Juan and I loved it. That’s, that’s different than, but like, Oh yeah. I could tell you, you know, cut your words off kind of thing. Yeah, for sure. Oh my gosh. That’s terrible. So what are your feelings when you. You are in an interview and somebody does say things like that, are you at that point?
[00:10:16] Like, I don’t even want this job. Are you still hoping you get the job? Like have you ever withdrawn your application afterwards? Because you’re like, I don’t even want to work there.
[00:10:26] Jeff: [00:10:26] Well, definitely after that interview, I did withdraw the application during the interview. I was just, I felt more nervous by those questions and more confused.
[00:10:36] So I will still try to get through the interview. Um, at that time, uh, now definitely walk away, you know, it’s not worth it. Um, but yeah, but when you’re actually in the moment and especially if you don’t have too much experience interviewing, um, and you’re new to the whole corporate world or any type of field, you’re going to stick through it because you’re thinking I need, I want a job.
[00:11:03] I need a job. Let me just kind of answer these questions. Um, well, yeah, it doesn’t help. At all with your emotions, with the whole atmosphere,
[00:11:14]Michelle: [00:11:14] I can’t even imagine for sure. Absolutely. So one of the things that you might remember when I interviewed you, I’m going to switch over to like talking about some topics and questions and things.
[00:11:23] I think they’re standard questions that people ask are going to be so why do you want to work here, you know, like where do you see yourself in five years? Like all those kinds of questions. One of the questions that I asked, I there’s two questions that I asked that I think when I interview people, people always say, wow, nobody’s ever asked me that before.
[00:11:37] One is how do you like to be appreciated other than salary and monetary, right? Cause I like to see, get feedback and find out what are people’s values about how they like to be appreciated. So like, for example, like not just because I’m, I’m like judging you on your answer, but like, if I hire you, I want to know how to manage you as somebody in my team, by being able to recognize your accomplishments in ways that are meaningful to you.
[00:12:06] Jeff: [00:12:06] That was a great question. You asked me that question. I had never heard it, like he said, in my interview and experience, and it’s so much better to ask someone that kind of question versus a similar question as like, what animal would you describe yourself? As a company asked me that once and was I got what they were trying to say.
[00:12:28] I said, I think I said a monkey because they. Uh, think of, you know, it’s funny to say monkey, right. But I said something along the lines because they’re able to think of ways to use tools to fix, to solve problems. And that just, and he was, he was impressed, but at the same time, what an awkward question right?
[00:12:48] But when you say appreciated that that’s such a great question because the employee gets to tell you, or the prospective employee gets to tell you, you know, what kind of things. Help them to do well at the job. And that also helps you to see if they’re, if they’re a good fit for the company culture. And I was
[00:13:11]Michelle: [00:13:11] My other favorite question I like to ask because at the end, I’ll say, is there any question I didn’t ask that you want them to be able to answer?
[00:13:19] Like, as in tell me something that, that I didn’t ask you about, that you really would like me to know about you. Right. And so I think that most the managers hiring managers, don’t ask that question. They get to the end of their questions and they’ve got their answers and they move on and sometimes I’ve left interviews going.
[00:13:35] I wish I’d had an opportunity to say X, Y, Z about myself, or explain a gap in my resume or explain what a specific job was or software that I’d used or something like that. Or, or that I was an EMT and I have some medical experience, but it doesn’t really fit in my functional resume or whatever. Um, and so I wanted to kind of give some advice to people out there, if you are being interviewed and that you’re getting towards the end of the interview and they haven’t given you an opportunity to say those kinds of things, it’s perfectly okay for you to interject things at the end, because usually they’ll say, do you have any questions for me?
[00:14:11] And that’s your opportunity, not just to ask questions, which of course you should already have formulated some questions, never ask what’s the salary, never ask when, you know, when are you trying to hire by? Those are things that are, you know, typical questions. Ask questions about the company culture.
[00:14:25] Ask questions about, um, Did they enjoy working there? What would I, what would other people that work there say about their experiences there? Those kinds of questions, because salary, those of salary benefits. Those are questions that if they offer you the job you can do, you can get those answers then and make a determination of whether or not you want to take the job.
[00:14:45] But. You know, getting questions about the company culture, how you’re going to find out if you really want to work there and the fit, but at, but take that opportunity at that point to say, if they say, do you have any other questions? You know, I ask a couple questions and then say, but I also wanted to mention this about myself.
[00:15:03] I also want it to be able to tell you X, Y, Z, because you might’ve thought they were going to ask since they didn’t, that you’ve been sitting with is like gem in your pocket. You’re dying to tell him this amazing fact about yourself. You know, take the opportunity to make sure you say those things. And then always, always, always follow up.
[00:15:18] We used to follow up. This is this. I always say this is going to tell my age. We used to follow it up with handwritten. Thank you notes. And you can still do that, but sometimes by the time you’ve written a thank you note got it to the post office. The post office delivers it to that person, their mail room or whatever delivers it, delivers it, that decision might’ve already been made.
[00:15:35] So follow up immediately with an email, you can always follow up with a handwritten, thank you note afterwards, but always follow up with email and you can take the opportunity in those emails to say those things that you might’ve thought of afterwards, that you wished you’d said. Right. Yeah. It’s so important.
[00:15:49] Jeff: [00:15:49] Like, as you mentioned before, and you asked me if you ever left the interview, regretting something, right? So giving out that advice to, um, let out those final stories that you wanted to tell them, um, can help to do that. And I have no regrets on the interview. Um, that’s another important thing too. I’ve learned when it comes to interviewing, even if you come from a culture where, um, You’re not used to talking about yourself or bragging in the interview, you’re supposed to do that.
[00:16:21] So you should really focus on telling those stories. So practice telling stories about your experiences and that’s, uh, that’s one of the. Best things to do in order to get the job.
[00:16:33] Michelle: [00:16:33] Yeah. So if you have that gem sitting in your pocket, that thing you’re dying to tell them about find a way to work it in some of the other questions, if you don’t feel comfortable waiting till the end, because like, why would it’s not like at the end, there’s this big tada, right?
[00:16:45] You want to impress them throughout the whole, the whole thing that like mundane and mundane, Michelle’s Michelle’s okay. She’s okay. She’s like, Oh, look at that. You know, I want to wow them from the start. Right. So you definitely want to, uh, that’s really good advice to make sure that you’ve got all that stuff in there and that you have the practice and telling it.
[00:17:00] So it isn’t just like a last minute thought. I think that’s great for sure. And any other pieces of advice before we sign off on this blog for today?
[00:17:12] Jeff: [00:17:12] Definitely practice beforehand. Uh, be confident and, uh, Don’t let people ask the questions that they shouldn’t ask. Yeah, that’s good. And I think, yeah, the laws and your rights as a, as an interview.
[00:17:28] Michelle: [00:17:28] Yeah, and it’s okay to get up and walk out of an interview if you’re uncomfortable or you don’t, you decided right then and there, this is not a place I want to work.
[00:17:35] You can stop the interview and say, you know, I appreciate the time today, but I’ve already determined. This is not a good fit for me. And I’m going to, I’m going to stop wasting both of our time and you can get up and leave. That’s okay. Um, The other thing is be your authentic self, right? Like you don’t have to let it all hang out, but they want to see your personality.
[00:17:51] You want to see if your personality fits with theirs, so don’t put out a different persona. Yes. You want to be a little more professional and things like that, but don’t change your persona entirely. Like, just be you be natural because that’s who they’re going to get on the day-to-day basis with. If they hire you.
[00:18:07] Yeah. Well, Jeff, thank you so much for jumping in here. Give us some details. How can people find you on social media? If they have questions? Uh, I know you’ve worked for GiveWP, so, you know, they can find you through Give of course, but, um, how did they find you on Twitter? If they have some questions for you?
[00:18:24] Jeff: [00:18:24] My handle is WPJeffB so WP J E F F B.
[00:18:30] Michelle: [00:18:30] Fantastic. So, yeah, for sure. You’re open to questions. If people have questions for you about interviewing and hiring and things like that. Well, thank you so much for being here today. Um, I’m going to let you go so you can get to work because you do work with me and I know how busy we are anyway.
[00:18:44] Thanks for being part of the underrepresented in tech vlog today. And for everybody else, we’ll see, see you next week.