My first job interview… or was it really the first?

I remember when I was in college and I had my first “official” interview for a job.  I write “official” because we are actually being interviewed on a daily basis without even knowing it.  If you look up the definition of interview it is: “a meeting of people face-to-face, especially for consultation.”

We often think about interviews as being the last step to a job offer.  We send our resume and motivation letter to a company we want to work for and then we either get invited to meet with someone inside the company or a recruitment officer who will decide whether you get the job or not.  It can last as little as 15 minutes! Because of this, whether you are being interviewed for volunteer work, internship or a job to start off your career the key to success is BEING PREPARED!

Tell me about yourself…

So, for my official interview I thought I was ready… prepared! Of course I would get the job; I had a great motivational letter, I was highly motivated, I prepared what I was going to wear the night before and I knew it was important to do a firm handshake and look the interviewer in the eye.  Piece of cake!

I thought I was prepared for the first question because it is a question that most people ask, and it seems like such an easy one to answer.  Tell me about yourself.”  Who doesn’t know the answer to that question better than me right?   However, in some odd way, it totally caught me off-guard.  After I told him what I thought he wanted to know he then asked me, “Now that you told me everything that I can already read on the resume, I am going to ask you again.  Tell me about yourself.”  Why was he asking me this question again?  My confidence dropped!  I became unglued and answered the other questions as best as I could.  I was sure he would see that I was motivated and capable and that I am a pretty likable person, so I was surprised when he called me four days later and told me that decided to hire someone else.  What a blow to my self-esteem!

Luckily, the interviewer took the time to give me feedback (something that doesn’t happen much today) and I learned a lot of tips that I still use today – both about being interviewed (since we are being interviewed in some way, shape or form with every person you meet on a daily basis) or interviewing candidates for job openings which is part of my work.

So, what is an interview?ian-schneider-66374-unsplash

An Interview is a two-way process.  Although you think you really want the job, how do you really know until you also start “interviewing” them?  This is your opportunity to learn about future co-workers, company values, expectations.  One of the last questions an interviewer usually asks is: “do you have any questions?”  Don’t think you know it all and say no!  By saying no, the interviewer will also think you’re not interested.  But asking a question that can be easily found on their website can be a deal breaker so do your research!   The questions you ask will show your motivation and that you are thorough and have given this interview some time and effort.

I truly believe everyone can find a job but to find a job that fits your personality, goals and objectives takes some research and preparation.  All worth it of course!

About A Place for Greatness

A Place for Greatness is an activity based life-skills programs designed to maximize a young adult’s potential for greatness. We hold workshops in the South Florida area and work with schools customizing programs for their needs

Diversity and Inclusion at Palmetto Middle

“Middle school isn’t easy, even in the best of circumstances, but with the addition of ever-changing technology and more pressure to be perfect, today’s teens may have it harder than ever. Those concerns prompted Palmetto parents (and PTSA board members) Francisca Puga and Maritza Shapiro to enlist help from A Place for Greatness to create an interactive workshop for PMS students centered around diversity and inclusion. ”

If you want to read more about the workshop we did with Palmetto Middle follow this link.

Read the story on the Florida Villager



Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

How about a person by their appearance / clothing / watch / address / accent / skin color?

We all do from time to time; it’s human nature to try to put things into a defined “box” that we understand. Our brains are wired to ‘catalogue’ things/people/places into familiar or unfamiliar and assign positive or negative reactions based on this – these mechanisms are examples of HEURISTICS or mental shortcuts. What do HEURISTICS have to do with BIASES? Our biases are usually sourced in them – we have been exposed certain opinions via people/news/experiences throughout our lives which create quick decisions about something being good or bad. They affect us when we interview for jobs, when we conduct business, and they impact our children from an early age.

Are all HEURISTICS bad? NO, they can be helpful. We use them to perform repetitive tasks quicker or to simplify problems or decisions. They keep us from over-analyzing simple questions also, so we don’t hold up the line at the coffee shop.

We are lucky to live in South Florida and enjoy the richness of its diversity of cultures, but it also comes with many of these biases. So, let’s take a look at a couple of them:

  • A person driving a nice car has lots of money, right? Maybe / maybe not- maybe they have lots of debt and no money at all but they want people to PERCEIVE them as wealthy.
  • Conversely, does someone driving an old car have no money? Maybe they’re the ones with the large bank account!
  • If someone speaks English with an accent, does that mean they have no education? Many of the most respected members of the community in South Florida came here later in their life and English is not their first language; that doesn’t mean they are not highly educated people.
  • If an person doesn’t speak English, do they not like Hispanics, it should be easy to learn in Miami, right? Not necessarily, not everyone is able to pick up new languages as easily, and it’s more important that they appreciate the variety of cultures present here than speak the language.

Now, let’s look at a couple of the racial biases caused by heuristics:

  • A female African-American woman steps up to help someone needing medical attention – will people around believe she is a doctor or do they need more ‘proof’? This happened recently on a Delta
  • A Hispanic woman wearing jeans and a t-shirt picking up is Mom or Nanny? This decision might be made based on the jewelry, shoes, or purse she is wearing. This has happened to me, and of course if I do wear the “right” attire, the opposite happens.

…and many many more

jason-leung-797750-unsplashAS PARENTS, WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS?

This is a reality in our lives; our community is diverse, but is also segregated. While large companies have training programs designed for this and schools try to tackle it, mostly unsuccessfully, many parents say: ‘I don’t do that and neither do my kids.’ Burying your head in the sand will not move the needle so take a look at your own behavior and see how often these biases are applied by you, to you and how your kids may be picking up on them as well.

What YOU and I can do:

  1. Recognize that these biases exist both in the way we see others and they see us,
  2. Purposefully seek out activities with your children where they will be exposed to people who are different, highlighting similarities with them as well.
  3. See everyone for who THEY are – unique in their own way, living under similar or different circumstances from yours, and
  4. Help others see the real YOU, live your values every moment of the day.

About A Place for Greatness

A Place for Greatness is an activity based life-skills programs designed to maximize a young adult’s potential for greatness. We hold workshops in the South Florida area and work with schools customizing programs for their needs

The United Nations defines YOUTH AS: A period of transition from the dependence of childhood to adulthood’s independence.

The postings on A PLACE FOR GREATNESS are intended to help you during your YOUTH, ages 15-24.  The words will not give you answers, but will help you ask the right questions and think critically before making decisions during this exciting, yet confusing, period of life where your brain and everyone else’s advice don’t always follow the same compass.


What do Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have in common?


The story goes that when Warren Buffet and Bill Gates first met, Gates’ father asked each of them to name their most important trait. Their answer: CURIOSITY.

Curiosity is defined as an eager desire to learn; it is interest in something, spirit of inquiry, inquisitiveness…you get the picture.

We all have our interests, things that we are curious about, but by using curiosity, we can also help ourselves learn about other topics, ones that can help us with school, friendships, family, and our future careers.

The Curiosity Gap is like Candy 


When curiosity is piqued, we act – we see something beautiful and we think about how sweet and yummy it will taste. It’s difficult to say no to candy, or whatever our favorite food may be.

Knowing this, curiosity can be a great motivator because when we want to learn about something, we will take the time to research it. What’s the payoff? Knowledge


Like candy, curiosity about the wrong things may lead to cavities in our brains so tread carefully by picking YOUR candy. Social media wants to make that decision for you – you are pushed content such as pictures, videos, and news that don’t necessarily add anything to your learning bucket. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have gotten to where they are by deciding what to be curious about – topics such as science, technology, the environment, business, and people (Warren loves to read biographies).

Curiosity can also be used against you. People who want to manipulate you to do things you shouldn’t do often use curiosity as a tool to ‘egg you on’; Don’t fall for it!

Take the steering wheel and drive!

michael-mroczek-384808-unsplash.jpgDecide what you want to be curious about and learn, every day, many times per day. Use all the tools available to you: web, books, old magazines, people, video, radio, etc. In an information overload society like ours, content is never the problem, it’s having the discipline to decide which candy you want to consume and which is best left in the wrapper!

What are you going to be curious about today?


About A Place for Greatness

A Place for Greatness is an activity based life-skills programs designed to maximize a young adult’s potential for greatness. We hold workshops in the South Florida area and work with schools customizing programs for their needs