How to change your Pre header text in Convio

I think I’ve figured out a way to control what your pre header text says in your email, even when using Convio, a popular email software for non profits.

Preheader is short summary text that follows the subject line. Many mobile, desktop and web email clients show pre headers to tip readers off on what the email contains before they open it.  In the attached image “This Saturday: Auto Auction” is the pre text in Outlook. pre header.PNG

1. Login to Convio and go to Email> Stationery. Find the Stationary of the email you want to add Pre Header text to.
2. Click Edit
3. Click 3. HTML
4. Switch to HTML view (Edit HTML Source)
5. At the top, add this code

  Your Pre Header Text
6. Click Save.
7. Test it out by sending yourself a test email.

This allows you to have Pre Header text that won’t affect your design because the text will be white.
If you have questions, email me at debbie.gillum@voago.org


Operation Backpack Thank You Email

At work, I sent out this Thank You email today to everyone who participated in Operation Backpack this year and in previous years. I worked with Becky to revise the language and make sure the photo featured diverse kids. I’m proud of how donor-centric this email copy is. After I sent it out, Nicole replied to me saying “My favorite email!” which was a huge compliment. My mom texted me saying “Great Job” on this email and that some of the backpacks the kids are holding look like ones she and her company donated. That’s the reaction I wanted. Like hey, “That smiling kid is holding the unicorn backpack I donated. Wow, look how happy and confident he looks! I love Operation Backpack.”

You deserve an A+ for your generosity!
Image of the email

You can also click here to see the email online


From: Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio [mailto:operationbackpack@voago.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2018 9:48 AM
Subject: You deserve an A+ for your generosity!

You deserve an A+ for your generosity.
You deserve an A+ for your generosity. (1).png
It’s a happy new school year for more children, because of you!

You’ve helped over 4,000 children across Ohio who are homeless or in-need start the new school empowered to succeed. Because of you, they’re heading back to school this year ready to learn.

The next time you see a child walking confidently to school, or a school bus of smiling faces driving by, know that you helped put smiles on some of those faces. You’ve given hope and confidence for a better tomorrow to children who need it the most. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Thank you for your support!
A special thank you to our wonderful sponsors.
You deserve an A+ for your help with Operation Backpack too!
Oswald and Buckeye Health Plan logos



New laptop

I got a new laptop today.  I’d been planning and thinking about it for several months and finally placed the order earlier in August. I got the new Macbook Pro 13inch without the touch bar. After work today, I went to the Easton Apple store and picked it up.

First thoughts:

It’s so small and lightweight
It’s fast
The keyboard is loud and not as bouncy or fun to type
The trackpad is bigger
The Apple doesn’t glow
It holds a charge much longer
The charger doesn’t light up to tell me if it’s charging or complete
The charger isn’t magnetic
Doesn’t have USB ports
Speakers are on the side of the keyboard
I have so much space
It doesn’t have my Snow White decal on the front
Doesn’t have my stickers on the bottom
Doesn’t have a case
Doesn’s have Microsoft Word
Doesn’t have a keyboard cover
It doesn’t have that light on the front that showed the laptop breathing (It would glow brightly like it was inhaling then go dark almost like it was exhaling).

My laptop came with a pair of Beats headphones which so far are quite comfy. I don’t regret getting the bright purple and pink colored headphones. Purple is my favorite color!

I bought my Macbook Pro in July or August of 2010 before I started Denison. I didn’t have a laptop in high school. I would use my family’s computer at home. That laptop served me well through college, came with me on my study abroad trip to Copenhagen, helped me during my summer internships and came with me after graduation as I wrote articles for ThisWeek News. I would take it on road trips and pop in a DVD to watch. I would curl up in bed with it, watching Netflix, writing something or doing something or another online.

Now, it’s like I have this stranger in bed next to me. I love sitting in bed with my laptop perched on my lap. I know it’ll take some getting used to but I hope I learn to like this new laptop. Hey, it’s faster and lighter which is what I wanted in a new laptop.  I hope this one serves me another solid 8 years.


My Weekend

My den

With Nate being out of town, I found myself finally having time for myself and I wanted to take a moment to a) write in a spot that’s not on my phone or in my journal b) update my website with a fresh blog post and c) share what’s on my mind with you.


I went in early to work, toting two thermoses full of coffee. One spilled in my purse.
I sent out an external email about the Tax Free Weekend and encouraging people to buy school supplies for Operation Backpack. I was proud of myself for putting together that email so quickly and getting the team’s feedback in about 5 hours. Usually, I like to work on these external emails a week ahead of time but things have been really busy with Operation Backpack, the merger and being down a team member.

I left work at 2pm since I’d been working overtime this week and went to drop off some free Ohio State Fair tickets to my horseback riding instructor. I’d received the tickets Wednesday at our Operation Backpack station event and posted on Facebook asking if anyone wanted the free tickets.

At home, I conquered the sink full of dishes and ran the dishwasher. From 4 to 6pm, I sat perched in my bed, watching Cleveland 19’s Operation Backpack Live event and sharing pictures Becky was sending my on social media. (As I was streaming, the same commercial kept playing over and over. Every commercial break, it would be 3 minutes of the same 15 sec ad for transitional lenses, a product I don’t use. Video advertising at it’s worst.)  I’d been sharing and posting for these Live Nights all week so I was relieved this was the last event of the year. It’s a lot of posting and I worry I’m bombarding followers.

From 6-11pm, I was at the Dublin Irish Festival volunteering. I sold tokens, like I’ve done for the past two years. Only at the Dublin Irish Festival, do they use iPads to sell the tokens and meticulously stack the tokens in piles of 6. (What if someone orders 5 tokens? We don’t speak of that. Keep stacking.)  It’s pretty much the opposite of volunteering at ComFest. This shift was incredibly busy from 7pm to 10pm. We always had a long line and the iPads were slow to process the credit cards. I found my groove by listening to the orders and placing the correct number of tokens on the counter. This helped the person on the iPad and kept things moving along.

The mug life didn’t choose me. I chose to volunteer to sell mugs at the Irish Fest. 


I went to brunch with my friend Kelly. We were going to go to First Watch but the wait was too long so we went to Panera instead. I always love hearing what’s new with Kelly and enjoy her positive attitude. It was nice to catch up with her.

For the rest of my afternoon, I did laundry, read my stack of magazines (Columbus CEO, Columbus Monthly, Glamour and Real Simple), watched some YouTube videos and a little bit of the new Orange is the New Black season (this new season isn’t really my jam, but I’ll stick with it.)

Around 5:30pm, I met Emily at the Irish Fest. It was so crowded that I parked in Hilliard and walked over. Not literally, but it felt that way. I had an extra ticket from volunteering and Emily had won 2 tickets at work, so I did my good deed for the year and gave my extra ticket away to a lucky man who was about to pay for his ticket.
We got some Killians and made a beeline to the Celtic Canines. I love seeing the Irish Wolf Hounds. And I like the Irish Setters and pretty much all the show dogs. They had these adorable Irish Fest bandanas.
We got some Cornish Pasties for dinner (then Graeter’s ice cream), bought some sterling silver rings and earrings from Ireland (we buy from the same woman every year, I’m quite loyal to her. I consider her my “jeweler.” Can you have a “jeweler” if you only ever buy $20 worth of rings or earrings?). We watched some Irish Dancing and I really appreciated it when the young women danced to an Irish dance cover of “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran. Good song choice.

Screenshot of a Snap
Look at the legs of that Irish wolfhound
Rings from my “jeweler” 


I slept in until 10am, heated up a quiche from Trader Joe’s, made coffee using this reusable pour over filter thing. I ground up the beans (from Upper Cup), put them in the filter, put the filter on top of my Patrick Star coffee mug, and then poured hot water from my Keurig over it.

I watched the movie “The Pretty One.” I’d rented it from the library because I loved “Ruby Sparks” so much and wanted to see more of Zoe Kazan.
“The Pretty One” is about a set of twins. One lives in the big city and has become quite the fashionista and the other twin still lives at home and feels inadequate in comparison to her twin. Together, the homebody twin goes to the salon and gets her hair cut just like the stylish twin. Driving back, they get into a car crash and the stylish twin dies. But, with her new haircut, her dad thinks the homebody twin has died. The girl has amnesia and doesn’t fully realize the mix up until a few days later when she’s attending her own funeral and no one says any parting remarks about her.  She goes on to move into her twin’s apartment, take her job, meet her friends. Eventually, she comes clean and admits who she is, and her friends and family are upset. But, they forgive her, move on, and she’s a better person after this experience.  Solid movie, a bit long. Would watch again.

I researched what Macbook I want to buy some more because I’m still so unsure if I want the new Macbook Pro. I’m worried about only having the 2 ports. I researched adapters on Amazon and they seem reasonably priced.

I wanted to take a bath and continue reading “The Myth of the Nice Girl” but ran out of bath bombs. Luckily, I live next to The North Market so I swung in and bought a lavender bath bomb from Better Earth.  I adore reading books in a warm bath.

Nate called me and said he’s busy on his work trip and misses me. I miss him too. I told him about my Lazy Sunday and he pointed out that it sounded like quite a productive Sunday to him. We have different definitions of lazy.

I watched some more YouTube. I watched a few episodes of Girl Starter because it had Claire Coder (who is so amazing) and reminded me of The Apprentice, minus Trump.

Then I watched old Vines on YouTube and missed Vine.

Oh yeah, I also walked over to Jeni’s and got some rainbow sherbert.


Why I Like to Volunteer


I really do like volunteering around Columbus. I get a kick out of volunteering at festivals around town and helping out.

This weekend, I’m volunteering with the Libations committee of ComFest.  I volunteered Friday night and Saturday night, checking IDs and pouring beer.  This is my second time volunteering at ComFest. I like the laid back atmosphere, the people watching, helping out such a historic and grassroots festival, and feeling like I’m needed. Some shifts they don’t have a ton of volunteers so I stay busy serving customers my whole shift.

Over the years, I’ve also volunteered at the Columbus Arts Festival, BeerFest, Dublin Irish Festival, Highball, Ohio Wine Festival, North Market Festival for Good, and the Food Truck Festival.

Why I like to volunteer:

  • Meeting new people. After studying abroad and having several jobs where I had to interact with the public,  I kind of became an extrovert. I like striking up a conversation and getting to know new people. I mean this not in a sense of “what do they have that I can gain?” or trying to network with them. I mean this in a “talking to strangers can be fun” sense. I just find volunteering is a great way to make new friends and new connections. At Highball, I volunteered with a girl that was really down to earth and we hung out after our shift and have been friends ever since.
  • Helping out.  Festivals, especially ones like ComFest, can’t happen without volunteers. They need the help and hey, I have the time. They give us this amazing festival with lots of neat stuff to do, the least I can do is donate a few hours of my time. I may not have a lot of money to give, but I can give you my time.
  • T-shirt and swag.  I can’t lie that one of the reasons I volunteer is for that sweet exclusive volunteer T-shirt. These have become some of my favorite t-shirts because they bring back good memories and are so unique. I also volunteer for the free beer tokens or North Market Fiver. No shame.

If you’re interested in volunteering, hit up Experience Columbus.
That’s where I find most of my volunteers shifts and they have a time-tested organized volunteer system.


Family Vacation in Florida


May 23-27
My mom’s side of the family met up in Destin, Flordia for a nice beach vacation. We’d gone here 5 years ago and so it was fun to revisit and compare how the town had changed. Generally, it had grown more tourist-y and become a beachy Pigeon Forge.

I went jet-skiing, para sailing, swimming in the ocean, swimming in the pool, night time walk on the beach, and didn’t get a sunburn. Success!


I went para sailing at Disney World a few years ago by myself and thought it was fun. It was even more fun to do it with Nate. It’s so quiet way up there.  I never fully relaxed or stopped being terrified while I was all the way up.  I secretly wanted to get down but it was still really neat and I’m glad I did it even it it was scary.


Nate started out driving the jet ski then I took over for a while to show him the ropes. I’ve ridden a jet-ski lots of times with my dad but this might’ve been my first time driving one. It reminded me of cantering on a horse in the sense that you need to look straight ahead, watch where you’re going and you’re going super fast. 
Harry T’s at The Harbor Creek Village. My grandpa is named Harry Tucker so we’re big fans of Harry T’s and ate dinner there. 


After para sailing. 



You may have heard of me


Just joking. I was stoked to be mentioned in the Columbus Dispatch recently for a project at work. We’ve been working hard to spread the word that we’ve rebuilt our warehouse after a fire last year and are asking the community for donations. I wanted to share this Dispatch article where I’m quoted. My title is wrong, but no worries. You get the gist.

Volunteers of America seeks donations to refill rebuilt warehouse

A Volunteers of America warehouse in Columbus that was destroyed in an arson fire has been rebuilt. Now, the nonprofit organization says, it needs help from the public to fill the massive building on the Far West Side.

“Insurance did not cover the donations,” said Debbie Gillum, a spokeswoman for Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio.

More than 225,000 pounds of clothing and household items destined for one of the agency’s thrift stores or a recycler were lost in the January 2017 blaze. In addition to the more than $700,000 worth of donations, the fire behind the thrift store on West Broad Street also ruined three large trucks and a forklift.

Even after insurance reimbursement, Volunteers of America said it lost more than $1 million in revenue.

Getting the warehouse back to capacity is especially challenging because donations have been down overall. Gillum said Volunteers of America trucks are now picking up donations in more areas throughout central Ohio, including the University District.

“We’ve added some new routes, and six cities,” she said.

The agency wants students to know they can donate unwanted household items instead of tossing them when moving in or out of campus-area housing.

Shoes and clothing — men’s pants and shirts are in short supply — are needed most, Gillum said.

 The warehouse serves as the hub for all six Volunteers of America thrift stores in central Ohio.

Donations deemed unsuitable for sale or that aren’t bought in the stores wind up in one of the warehouse baling machines, which can compress more than a thousand pounds of clothing into one tidy cube. The cubes typically are sold overseas.

Dennis Kresak, president and CEO of Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio, said community donations help homeless families, veterans and others who receive support through the agency’s housing, health care and other human-service programs.

The man who investigators say set the warehouse fire and others since 2012 pleaded guilty this month to multiple felony counts of aggravated arson. Aaron Callicoat, 32, of Prairie Township, could face from three to 32 years in prison when he is sentenced, possibly this week.

Warren Edwards, an assistant Franklin County prosecutor, has said that Callicoat had been living out of a nearby storage locker and was known to report suspicious fires. He called 911 twice about the Volunteers of America fire and was seen observing the aftermath.

Callicoat seemed to enjoy “watching things burn,” Edwards said.

For information about Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio or to donate, go to www.voago.org or call 614-253-6100.

2018, event, marketing, may, Uncategorized

What I learned at Columbus Startup Week:

I attended my first Columbus Startup Week yesterday. I’d heard others tell me how neat this event was and the price of the conference was right. It’s all free!  It was an inspiring day with a diverse group of people who all shared a love for both Columbus and innovation.  I just attended on Thursday which was the Marketing and Technology day. I’m grateful that I work at a company that believes in professional development and allows me to take time to attend events like this.

I love to take notes and so during the day I jotted down points that I found interesting in my notebook and typed them up. This process of reading over the notes again helps me better process what I wrote down. These are my notes:


How to Use Data and Research when Building Your Brand

This was the first session of the day and it was a panel of four guys who each own their own business and talked about their career journey and got a little side tracked by also talking about how much they like traveling. I appreciated their stories of what it took to get them where they are today. 

  • A lot of brands are using colors effectively in their names and identity
    • Orange Barrel Media, Purple Mattress
  • Creative and emotional content is best
  • Netflix tracks every click someone makes so then they use that data to craft hit shows. Data is so valuable.
  • One of the panelists, a photographer, met a hotel owner, stayed in touch, sent messages back and forth which led to a life-changing gig photographing a luxury hotel in Costa Rica
  • Making money and helping others aren’t mutually exclusive
  • A creative filmmaker took a gig out of grad school shooting commercials for Wal-Mart and while he wasn’t thrilled at the opportunity it turned out to help his career and he made the best of it.

Rethinking Brand, Marketing, and Advertising for Startups

Every now and then you meet a presenter who makes you want to bow down and say “I’m not worthy.” Barry Enderwick really understands branding and impressed me with his passion for transforming companies. 


  • A brand is everything a company does and how the world perceives the company
  • Every company has a brand
  • It’s shaped by news, employees, scandals, products, etc
  • Brand Promise is the problem that a brand solves for a customer
    • Netflix 2001 brand promise: Best Way to Rent DVDs
      • This is too transactional. Makes them seem like just a vending machine.
      • Later revised brand promise to: Movie Enjoyment Made Easy
    • Brand Attributes: tone of voice, persona
      • Instead of “customer service phone lines open 24/7” they phrase it “Call us anytime”
    • Brand Story: how the brand came to be, what problem the founder wanted to fix
    • Netflix used to require customers to call to cancel subscriptions but that was a hassle for customers and employees so they switched to an unheard of at the time, 2 clicks to cancel model online. This led to increased customer satisfaction and customers more likely to return.
    • Brand Advertising: No call to action
      • Nike Just Do It
      • Can be expensive, requires existing brand awareness
    • Create a customer survey to better learn about what your customers want
    • Netflix partnered with DVD manufacturers and put a free trial sticker on DVD boxes and gave DVD manufacturers a cut of the profits.
    • InstantPot sent their product to bloggers, optimized their Amazon listing, and chose to focus on grassroots influencer marketing
    • Diesel’s brand is about letting people express themselves so they opened a pop up shop in New York City with a knock off Deisel brand.
    • Do not talk about your competition in your marketing materials. Why would you give them free advertising or exposure?

The Start Up’s Voice + Find It or Drop It 

Alaina from Women in Digital spoke about her career journey, Cement Marketing and Women in Digital. IMG_0090.jpg

  • Don’t create the same content as competitors

How to Create Marketing Partnerships That Grow Your Business

This session was after lunch but trust me when I say nobody was dozing off in the audience. The panel of local business rockstars was very knowledgeable and open to speaking about their marketing partnerships. Claire Coder of Aunt Flow struck me with how she’s only 21, is incredibly extroverted, talks up the brands she works with and is killin’ it. #GoalsIMG_0096.jpg

  • A marketing partnership could mean samples, trials, etc. It doesn’t have to be an exchange of money.
  • It does have to be mutually beneficial and elevate both brands
  • Approach big corporations with a shower of love and appreciation for them. They don’t need you, you need them.
  • Aunt Flow partnered with Ask Pattie (a company that certified auto dealers as being female friendly) because they are similar businesses, like-minded “Give your bathroom a tuneup!”
  • You can find marketing partnerships all around you, with the people you meet. Just ask them and message them.
  • Big companies like working with smaller companies because they have passionate followers and trustworthiness.
  • Come to the table with a specific ask. Do not say “Do you want to collaborate?” Do the work if you’re asking and propose an idea with a specific set of dates.
  • Be careful of politically charged partnerships (Ex. If you work with Planned Parenthood, then Catholic churches might not work with you in the future.)
  • Have a dedicated contact person at the company you’re working with. If shit hits the fan, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters?

Marketing Without A Lot of Money  (My favorite session!)

This session was packed! Man, this guy is the real deal. He knows how to break through the clutter and stand out. I love presentations that tell stories rather than rattle off statistics next to stock photos. He was honest, real, and friggin’ human.  My biggest takeaway from his talk: Don’t be a turd. (I loved how he looked to the audience and was like “Some of you are turds. I know it, but like don’t be. Sometimes I’m a turd, yeah, but I try really hard to not be a turd.”)


  • To stand out at SXSW, his emerging marketing agency handed out scrolls, not business cards. It was an ice breaker, memorable and made follow up calls easier “We’re the guys with the scrolls.” Budget: $135    Don’t steal his idea. No seriously. 
  • To advertise an Homage clearance sale, they held a carnival where people could spin a wheel to win a prize. They started out knowing they wanted to do something with a carnival and spinning a wheel and decided Facebook Live would be the best medium for this idea. They told their fans in advance and then on the specified day, every hour on the hour, they did Facebook Live, spinning a giant wheel, giving out prizes to commenters and having inside jokes. They just used just an iPhone on a tripod. Budget: $400
    • Message before the medium. Who’s the audience? What’s their language?
    • What freebies can you offer?
    • How can you lighten up?
    • What can I do to listen to my customers?
    • How can I gamify my services?
    • People want to win something and they like free stuff.
  • To move Hot Chicken Takeover from a takeout window in Old Towne East to the North Market they needed to keep it authentic and please their loyal fans. They chose to hand make everything, like hand painting the menus, using pallets on the walls, chalk board signs etc. Budget: $610
  • Listen to your customers, store managers, people on the ground floor. They know best.
  • Show your personality in Instagram Stories
  • Barter for your services. You can do marketing for a lawyer to pay for your legal fees
  • Send handwritten thank you notes  (amen!)
  • Join the chamber of commerce

What the top CMO’s have to say about Marketing

I learn best when I hear from people who are on the ground doing marketing. This was a panel of CMOs from big local companies. They didn’t say a whole lot that I found to be earth shattering. Yeah, I know that data is important and voice is an upcoming trend. 

  • You can’t fix what you can’t measure

Vlog like a Boss: How to Create Video that Gets Attention 

Man, this was not her first rodeo. Amy Landino was an experienced presenter who knew how to keep the crowd awake and listening. I’d heard her speak before at a Columbus Young Professionals event and again was struck by how much of a boss she is. She’s good at what she does. 

  • Make videos of frequently asked questions. People like customer-service style videos that will help them.
  • Your video will last on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for about 24 hours but will be on YouTube for years.
  • Video making process
    • Idea, research, outline
    • Film
    • Edit
    • Upload and optimize
    • Make a custom thumbnail
  • When doing a tutorial or vlogging, show the end result first. This adds trust and keeps the viewer watching.
  • At 8 sec, people decide to keep watching or leave
  • Keep their eyes moving, use B Roll, text on screen, different angles
  • End your video with one CTA that you say out loud
  • Don’t link to YouTube videos on Facebook. The platforms don’t like each other and don’t want traffic leaving their site. If you need to share your YouTube video also on Facebook, natively upload a different and shorter video to Facebook.
  • Talking head videos don’t work on Facebook. Not engaging to people scrolling thru news feed


2018, About Me, Uncategorized

I’m a Board Member

I’m so excited to be joining the board of advisors for the Columbus Women in Digital chapter! Ever since hearing about the group 2+ years ago, I’ve wanted to get more involved and I can’t wait to help this amazing group grow and thrive even more. This powerful supportive network of women has changed my life and the lives of countless other women.  Learn more about Women in Digital: https://lnkd.in/gxnKtdX


2018, blog, blog post, blogpost, myblog, Uncategorized

How to Answer Top 10 Interview Questions


Interviewing for a job can be tough. You want to be honest but still show yourself in the best light. It’s a nerve-wracking process!  Learn about the best strategies to approach 10 common interview questions.

  1. Tell me about yourself.

This is where you can give your elevator speech. Make sure what you say aligns with how your qualifications match the job description. No need to give your life story from birth or go into personal matters. Focus on the meaningful job experience you’ve had. Bonus point if you throw in a fun fact that highlights your personality. I like to mention I was President of my college Quidditch team because that shows my leadership experience and shows I like Harry Potter. It usually causes the interviewer to ask what Quidditch is or gawk that it’s  real sport.

2. Why are you leaving your current role?

Never bad mouth a former employer. Don’t talk smack about co-workers, the company, the role, anything. Keep it positive. If currently employed, you can say that you’re looking for career growth. No one can fault you for wanting to grow your career. I like to say I’m looking for a new challenge or a place where I can use my strengths.

3. Why should I hire you?

I’m always tempted to smart-ass this question and answer “Because.” Something tells me that answer would be frowned upon. When answering this interview question, mention your relevant skills. You should be prepared for this question because it’s honestly what the whole interview is about and everyone knows you should prepare before the interview. You can’t stammer or hesitate on this one. Think about what the company and the interviewer needs and show them YOU are the solution.

4. Why do you want to work at our company?

This question translates to “Do you know who we are? Have you done your research?” Try to invest an hour or so researching the company’s website and their LinkedIn profile. Try to read their annual report or latest news release. Every hour of an interview = 2 hours of research.  Bonus points for researching who will be interviewing you. Do you have anything in common with them? Subtly bring that up in the interview. “You went to Denison? I also went to Denison!”  or   “I couldn’t help but notice you used to work at Disney World. My family has gone there every year since I was born. What a magical place!”

5. Why have you been out of work for so long?

Ick, this question just plain sucks and feels rude to me but you gotta answer it.  Try and mention any volunteer experience you’ve done, any freelancing you done and frame caring for your family as the full-time demanding job that it is. Admit that you’re taking time to reflect on who you are and what job would be best for you. Talk about how you read the book What Color is Your Parachute or did some personality tests to better understand how you can best serve a company.

6. Tell me a situation when your work was criticized.

Tell a story. Paint them a picture that they will remember after the interview. Admit that you were at fault or failed somehow but give it a positive spin. Show the resolution and emphasize that you welcome criticism and how it helps you grow. (Pro tip: Avoid mentioning your tendency to cry every time you’re criticized).

7. Could you have done better in your last job?

Always. Point out hindsight is 20/20 and very carefully give an instance or tell a story of something you would’ve done differently or would’ve liked to have done. Mention you’re a lifelong learner and always improving yourself. This question could quickly turn south, so approach with caution.

8. What are your goals?

Mention 1-2 specific work-related or professional goals. Don’t say you have no goals or list vague goals. State a SMART goal that relates to your professional career. Or, you can talk about a personal goal.

9. How much money do you want?

Oh geez, I think people have written entire books about how to answer this question. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there about this question too. I vote to ask “Do you have a budget or pay range in mind?” but then again I’ve heard that the first person to throw out a number wins. I don’t like to say my current salary because I’m not applying for my current role, I’m applying for a new role, so it should have a new salary.  Do you research and know what you’re worth and state your range from X to Y. Keep in mind the company’s benefits and what those are worth to you. If it’s an hourly job you’re looking at, take the hourly rate and multiply by 2080 to find your annual salary.

10. How old are you?

This is an illegal question that I’ve been asked before and answered. You certainly don’t have to answer illegal questions about how many kids you have, religion, sexual orientation, birth control use, citizenship and marriage. You can reply with “How is this relevant to the position?”


Interviewing is hard! It can be tough to brag about yourself or show that you are the best candidate for the role. With experience, you’ll get better and it will hopefully start to feel more like a friendly conversation than an interrogation.