Our bonus episode features Raj Subrameyer, a tech career strategist and author of the book “Skyrocket Your Career” which hit #5 on the best-seller list. Throughout his entire life, Raj was told he was not good enough, and suffered from severe anxiety, fear of rejection, and low self-esteem. After 20 years of false identity, Raj decided to take control of his life, and has helped thousands of people discover their zone of genius, find their dream job, launch their businesses and become successful leaders. Buckle up your seatbelts and be ready to get inspired.
Here are some questions we will be answering:
– Can you walk us through your hardships earlier in your life?
– What was the turning point that led you to take control of your life?
– How do you define “success”?
– How did you stay motivated to keep applying to jobs while receiving tons of rejections?
– How did you define your vision and plan out the steps to get to where you wanted to be?
– How can our audience become rockstars?
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*Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in this podcast are of the host and guest and not of their employers.
“I came to a realization that all this while I was living a life based on other people’s opinions. I was letting other people’s opinion to be my reality. But in the process of trying not to disappoint other people, I was constantly disappointing myself, and that’s when I realized, you know what, screw this, screw society, people are going to give you different labels but you are in control of what labels you want to associate yourself with. And that’s what I did at that point of time where I was tired of living such a life and I wanted to make a change.”
Welcome to the Final Round podcast, where our mission is to help you knock out the competition, advanced past the final round interview and grow in your career. My name is A.J. Eckstein, and I’m a podcast host, recruiting expert, international speaker, career coach and strategy consultant. Join me in the ring as I speak with recruiters at top companies to learn the secrets why certain applicants get “knocked-out” and others are still standing after the final round. Now let’s get ready to rumble.
Our bonus episode for today will be featuring Raj Subrameyer, a tech career strategist and author of the book “Skyrocket Your Career” which hit #5 on the best-seller list. Throughout his entire life, Raj was told he was not good enough and suffered from severe anxiety, fear of rejection and low self-esteem. After 20 years of false identity, Raj decided to take control of his life and has helped thousands of people discover their zone of genius, find their dream job, launch their businesses and become successful leaders. Buckle up your seatbelts and be ready to get inspired.
What is going on, everybody? Welcome back to the Final Round. Today, we have a very special bonus episode coming for you. And the last two bonus episodes we have done were actually over the last few weeks, it was episode 11 and 17 with two other best-selling authors. And today, I promise you, our guest is going to provide so much value to help you get past the final round. So, without further ado, I want to welcome Raj Subrameyer to the show. So, Raj, how are you doing today? How’s your energy level?
Raj: I am doing good. I’m super excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Of course. Well, I know you’ve been and spoken on a ton of podcasts, you’ve been interviewed I think every single different news publication, every different channel. I mean, you’ve written a book. I’m so excited to dive in. I know how much value you can provide to our audience. So, I think the best thing that would be super helpful, especially for just us is can you give us a brief intro about yourself and kind of what makes you an expert in the career space?
Raj: Sure. So, again, I’m Raj Subrameyer. I’m a tech career strategist. So, I help people specifically in the tech space to find their dream job and become successful leaders in industry. I’ve been in tech space for over now what 17 years now and I’ve been through so many different roles throughout my career, so many different domains. And throughout this experience, which I’ve collected, I’ve attended like 100+ interviews. I’ve conducted even more as a leader and all these experiences helped me get different perspectives on how to ace interviews, how to get into the tech space, how to establish credibility in the tech space. Right? So, yeah, I pretty much spent my whole life in tech and now, I help other people in tech advance in their career, get unstuck in their career, find their dream career in tech as well. And it’s funny because I have to take a step back. So, growing up, I was just like other Asian folks. I was pretty much given three options: you can either become a doctor, lawyer or engineer, then I chose the engineering path. And since then, I’ve never looked back and here I am, worked for various companies and then 3.5 years ago, I found my calling and I thought you know what, I really want to impact people because I know a lot of people are stuck in their careers and what are the different strategies, I could help them based on my real-life experiences and implementing my own life, which could help them have a positive life and career transformations as well. So, that’s what it’s all about.
What was the truning point that led you to take control of your life?
Well, that’s such an exciting background. I think for all of our listeners, if you’re interested or trying to pursue tech, it’s going to be super helpful to listen to your advice, but also people who might even be pursuing finance or crypto or really any other industry, we’re not just going to talk about tech, but we’re going to talk about mindset about how to really get past different obstacles in the career space. I actually want to talk about change for a second. I know for you, Raj, you seemed to be such a composed person, you seem very extroverted, you’re okay putting yourself out there, you’re such a successful individual, but I know it hasn’t always been like that for you. I think a lot of people don’t realize that they see the success on LinkedIn, right? They see the trophies, they see the awards, they see the achievements but there’s so much that you don’t see, and I want to talk about that for a second, go a little bit deep if you’re okay. When myself and our team, we were doing research on you for this interview, we saw in your bio that you mentioned that you grew up as an introverted and shy kid, but after 20 years of suffering through severe anxiety, fear of rejection, low self-esteem and more, you decided to take control of your life. So, let’s talk about that. Why did you decide to take control? And how did you do that?
Raj: Yeah, it’s good that you brought it up because that’s one key theme, which we are seeing where we live in this world, social media influencers and they put pictures of them behind Ferraris, behind their huge mansions and stuff, but no one knows the real story because there could be different stories. What you see is not what is actually happening, because a person could be like a million dollars in debt, but still wants to create that social media profile and maintain that social media profile. So, they’re still pursuing vanity and putting all these pictures or it took them 20 years or 30 years to get to where they are today and now, they are in a capacity where they can show what they’re doing right now. So, there’s so many different sides of the story which people would not see. And unfortunately, the people in current generation get carried away by what we see on social media, and we think that’s what the life is. But what you really need to go deep and know the person and know the real story, because most of them were successful would have gone through a really low point in their career, like for example, me. So, as you said, I grew up as a shy introvert kid. My dad was super smart since he was born, he studied in scholarships then you have my elder brother who is a genius. He has three masters and a PhD, and there I was the average kid who didn’t do well in anything, you can name it: sports, dating, academics. I was average in everything. So, I constantly kept comparing myself and other overachievers around me. And every time I try to do that, I ended up getting disappointed because I realized I could never live up to people’s expectations. And all this constant trying to make people notice me, to shine amongst other overachievers made me feel like an outcast. I became really reserve, I develop anxiety, depression, stress at a really young age. I came to a realization that all this while, I was living a life based on other people’s opinions. I was letting other people’s opinions be my reality. But in the process of trying not to disappoint other people, I was constantly disappointing myself. And that’s when I realized, you know what, screw this, screw society. People are going to give you different labels, but you are in control of what labels you want to associate yourself with, and that’s what I did at that point of time where I was tired of living such a life and I wanted to make a change. And this was when I was 19, and then fast forwarding like 17, 18 years from that point, I have gone through so many different experiences. I’ve gone through so many different success and failures that made me who I am today. So, it is about doing the work, trying to be consistent and believing in yourself and that’s when transformation happens.
How do you define “success?”
Well, such an incredible experience for you and story, and I think that I resonate a lot with your story as well, because my parents are not in the business world, right? For instance, like my dad is a doctor and I was always thinking about getting the label of following what my dad’s career was, but then trying to pave my own path and trying to do something different and trying to make something on my own. I think it’s such an important theme. And then also what you said is, you see these people who are successful and you think they did it overnight, right? So, many people are trying to sell that guru mentality of buy my course, overnight, flip of a switch, you can be taking pictures in front of a Ferrari, right? But at the end of the day, like you said, it’s a slow burn, right? 10, 15, 20 years, long periods of time of small incremental steps of growth and improvement to get there. I think one of the big themes that you mentioned is breaking out a very large goal into actionable steps. And also, when you’re going through the process, enjoying the journey. And if we take it back full circle to job search and a lot of our audience is searching for jobs, it’s a huge goal, but at the end of the day, you just need one yes. And like you said, you could apply to 1000 companies, but all you need is one company or one person to take a chance on you and make sure you’re enjoying the journey. Yes, it could be grueling at times, but enjoy the networking process, enjoy self-improvement, focus on your mental health and you’ll get to that place where you want to be, which is crossing the finish line and getting that job. So, I think that your story is so relevant for our audience. And you mentioned success as a theme, and I think that’s something that I’ve learned as well, especially just hearing from you, is that success is defined differently depending on who you ask. You could have someone who thinks success means a million dollars in salary year. You can have someone else who says, “I just want to have time to go out in the evenings after work and have a structure 9:00 to 5:00. There’s someone else who says, “I want to grow faster and become CEO. I want to be an entrepreneur,” whatever, the list goes on and on. But I guess for your experience and you seeing so many different types of career paths and working with different types of individuals, how do you define success and how should our audience look at success?
Raj: So, a couple of things before I answer this question. One was I wanted to pick up on a general theme, which you were mentioning based on your story, which is yeah, enjoy the journey, but you should also make sure that you have some plan. A goal without a plan is just a wish. So, come up with strategies, come up with the structure and then start the journey and then keep pivoting based on what you see, analyze what you’re doing and then make small tweaks, small tweaks and that’s how it is, right? I just wanted to mention that. But coming back to your question of success, I totally agree that success is very contextual based on who you ask. I think the meaning of success changes for everyone based on the times of their lives. So, coming to the job search standpoint, I think people need to just focus on the goal, right? And then by focusing on a goal, then you’ll figure out what actually success means. I think success is something contextual which changes through the ebbs and flows of life. So, instead of focusing on success, focused on the goal and strategy and then you’ll figure out the success while focusing on the goal and the strategy.
On the same topic of success and being successful in a certain goal or action, I think the biggest thing that you learned is I think you said 600 job applications and you realize that you’re doing it wrong. Can you share what was wrong? And then how do you come up a job search strategy so that you do not have to apply to 1000 jobs, but maybe apply to much fewer jobs but have a target approach?
Raj: That’s a great question. So, first thing what was happening was I was in panic mode because as an immigrant, no one was ready to sponsor my work permit here in the United States. And then I was panicking. So, I was approaching the job search from a panic standpoint and I was applying to any job. Since I was coming from a place of scarcity, my whole mindset was different. I didn’t follow any strategy and I was blindly applying just to get a job, and that’s the mistake a majority of the people do even now where they’re in panic mode and keep applying with their strategy. But 600 jobs into my job application process, I realized a lot of stuff. One was, I was just blindly applying for jobs. I didn’t have any focus on what kind of jobs do I really want, what kind of jobs really fit my skill sets. I didn’t even think about that. So, I had to take a step back and then figure out, “Okay. What I was doing? What type of jobs I want?” Then I had to figure out, okay, I’m just using this one single resume for any kind of job which comes in my plate, right? And it doesn’t make sense. For example, say you’re good at sales, you’re good at marketing, you’re good at programming, it doesn’t make sense to have one resume and I applied for about three kinds of jobs, it doesn’t make sense, folks. It’s like having apples and oranges. It’s totally different because the resume you use for a particular job needs to have the right keywords specific to the particular job. So that is another thing which I realized which I was doing wrong. Another thing which quite often happens during your job search is once you have 50 to 100 jobs into your job application process, this is what is going to happen. All of a sudden, you’re going to get a call. They’ll say, “Hey, Raj! We are calling from Bank of America. We want to talk about the job you applied for.” They won’t mention what job you applied for. So, now, you have to assume, “Okay, man. I don’t know what job I applied for,” but let’s just assume what job he or she is talking about and then you try to have some conversation, and it’s going to be a totally irrelevant conversation because you don’t know what job that person is talking about and you feel kind of, you feel bad for asking, “Okay. What job are you talking about?” Because then it shows that you’re not interested and you’re just blindly applying for the job. So, what happens is half the time, people do not have relevant conversations with the recruiters for the job they’re calling for and by itself, you don’t get to the next round. So, those were the mistakes committed then I figured out, okay, seems like we need a strategy and seems like I need to focus, seems like I need to have multiple resumes, seems like I need to track my jobs. And of course, since then and over the last 15 years, I finetuned the whole process and now I exactly know what to do. For those of you listening, watching, if you really want to know how you want to do a job search, take a paper and pen and this is what you need to do, which I’m going to mention right now. I label it as the job application lifecycle.
First thing you want to do is take a paper and pen. Okay? Put a vertical line through the middle of the paper. On the left column, write down all the things you hate to do and then on the right column, write down all the things you love to do or you want to do and do this in an uninterrupted manner. No Facebooking, no text messaging and let your mind flow. Because this is the thing folks, whatever you want to do in life, it’s already inside your brain, you just have to unlock it and make it visual by doing this exercise, and this is called the mind dump exercise. Do this for an hour, and what’s going to happen is you’re going to find different patterns in terms of what you want to do. So, for example, in your strength column, you may have written things like I’m a good communicator, I have a knack for convincing people, I’m a good listener. I can really explain things to people. Then maybe being in sales or marketing or some things could be a good fit for you because it aligns with all these qualities.
One of the most overwhelming aspects of the job search is you don’t have a goal of how many jobs you want to apply for. And every day this is what happens, you open your browser tabs, you open master.com, SimplyHired then Glassdoor then ZipRecruiter. You have Indeed, Careerbuilder, you have these 10 tabs every day you’re trying to search for that particular job and it’s very overwhelming. Instead, you can follow a proactive approach where have a goal of how many jobs you want to play for. My suggestion is at least 50 jobs per week, that is a minimum because there’s a lot of people applying for jobs right now because there are so many jobs available. And what are you going to do is chunk the 50 jobs into 10 jobs per day. Say you’re applying for jobs during the weekday, Monday, you’re going to do 10 jobs, Tuesday, you’re going to do 10 jobs, Wednesday, you’re going to do 10 jobs and then block a specific time every day where you’re going to apply for jobs just like brushing your teeth because then your mind starts getting used to the routine and it doesn’t feel like a chore anymore but it just feels like a normal thing which you do, right?
So, again, from the resume part, you want to time box your job application process. Do it in a specific time and have a particular goal. And finally, finally, folks, the reason I’m saying multiple tabs and multiple job websites is you don’t have to do that. Instead, what are you going to do is just choose three job board websites. My suggestion, if you’re in the United States would be Glassdoor then ZipRecruiter, for sure, and then LinkedIn jobs. Just those three is enough because all these recruiting websites pretty much share the same metadata, which means the same information it’s in different websites. So, if you just use these three, you’re going to get all the jobs. What you’re going to do is, you’re going to go into these individual websites and then you’re going to subscribe for job alerts. So, say for example, you’re looking for sales associate, search for sales associate on LinkedIn and create a job alert. And what that does is it is going to send you any jobs related to sales associate right into your email inbox. Okay? Then what are you going to do is auto folder all these job alerts, emails into one folder in your Gmail. So, every day, during the time box, say 7:00 to 8:00 P.M. was the time where you’re going to apply for jobs, you don’t have to keep searching for jobs in different websites, instead go to the email inbox in the particular folder, all the job alerts is right there for you. You literally have to open the email then start applying for jobs from there. See, everything now is proactively synchronized and there’s one dashboard where you look at stuff. This is the whole job application lifecycle from start where you want to identify what your dream career is to how you actually strategically start applying for jobs. And of course, the final step would be have an Excel sheet where you track each and every job you apply for and it should have columns such as what job you applied for, the link, the name of the company, the contact person, etc., and that is the whole job application lifecycle.
I know this is a lot of information but the point is if anyone does this, follow this exact same process, you have higher probability to land an interview and get the job rather than just randomly applying for jobs without any strategy, without any focus, without any goal. And again, all these things which are mentioning, I have templates and everything on my website as well, which we can put in the show notes. But yeah, I know it was a long-winded answer but I really wanted to give you actionable tips. So, this is the whole job application lifecycle.
Well, Raj, I appreciate you really breaking down step-by-step the entire job application lifecycle and I think the best way to respond to that long answer is what your shirt is saying. And for our listeners who are not watching video, but just listening on the podcast, your shirt says, “To be a legend, you have to do legendary work.” And I think very similar to the themes that we share in the Final Round is to advance past the final round interview, you need to do a little bit more than the next person. And of course, this process is a little bit longer than just rapid fire applying to 1000 jobs like what you used to do, Raj. Of course, it takes more time, more effort and you have to really follow an actionable plan, but it’s going to help you succeed long term. So, I think that’s such a good again job application lifecycle game plan.
A couple other things I want to highlight that you mentioned, you should not be just blindly applying, especially LinkedIn, I think it’s a blessing and a curse. The button is literally called easy apply and you just apply with your LinkedIn profile and that’s great because you can apply to 1000 jobs in a day, but it’s not good because you should have a targeted approach like you said. So, I think try not to go and just blindly applying. You should not apply to a job if you’re never going to take it, right? It’s very similar to, I remember in high school when you’re applying for colleges, there were some people who wanted to just apply just to say that they got in to different schools, but I’m like, would you ever go there? They said, “No, not in a million years.” I said, “Why are you wasting your time, your money?” You have to have a targeted approach is the first thing.
The second thing is you said, the example of Bank of America recruiter calls you and says, “Raj, we love your application, we want to interview you,” and you’re like, wait a second. Maybe I applied to multiple jobs at that company, maybe I applied to 50 banks. I don’t know what they’re talking about. And you said at the end and I love that, that’s what I did is you need to make a tracker either on paper or ideally, you know, Excel or Google Sheets and literally write down the date that you apply, the platform: is at LinkedIn, Indeed, monster.com, whatever it is, the company, the point of contact, the job title, screenshot the job description, add a link to it because it’s so important to track what’s going on. If you haven’t heard back, try to follow up. So, I think the tracking aspect is super important.
Two more things, you said panic mode and I think that this is something that people don’t talk about because it’s very, very, very obvious when someone is in panic mode, whether someone reaches out to me and says, “Hey, I need job advice. I need a job. I need a resume review, whatever it is,” if they’re coming out of a point, like you said of scarcity and they are freaking out, that is going to be tough to get advice. It’s going to be tough for people to help you because you’re going to instantly go to like, “I need the referral. I need the help, I need help. I need something from you,” right? Versus coming out of a place of, “I have time. I don’t need anything right now. I just want to build genuine relationships.” I think that’s the best approach if you can have the time to do that. And then also, when you’re interviewing, it’s very obvious from a hiring manager or recruiter standpoint, when you are dying to get at this company. I think it was an episode 8 or 9 when we interviewed a recruiter from Facebook Niki Woodall and she said, “It’s very obvious when you put these companies on a pedestal.” And when you don’t even imagine yourself working out of Google or Facebook because oh my God, it’s Google or Facebook, it’s very obvious and you’re never going to work there. But if you treat these companies as just any other company, they can envision you being there and you want to come in. Again, it’s like, I always go back to this analogy, it’s like dating. If you come in to the date and you’re like, “Oh my God, you’re the first person who responded to my text. This is the first date I’ve gone on in two years and I’m dying to meet you, go to dinner with you,” the other person is going to be turned off because it’s too much, right? You want to come off as saying, “I have other options. I’m talking to some other people,” and that’s the best way to be successful. So, try to stay away from panic mode from following up 10 times a day. I need to get a response. I need to get a response and it’s just too much. Coming off as like, “Hey, I have other options, but if you can give 20 minutes of your time that’d be super helpful.” That’s the best way to I think get results. So, I love what you said about the job application lifecycle.
Raj: A couple of things just to piggyback because there are two important things which I want to mention, which kind of relates to your point. One thing is there are millions of jobs, okay? So, whenever you get a job interview, don’t think off it as if that if you don’t get the job then you’re dead or your life ends. It’s not the case because if one job closes, then there’s another opportunity which opens up. So, there are so many different opportunities. So, keep that in mind.
Second thing is, yes, everyone talks about the FAANG companies. Again, for folks who do not know what FANG is, it’s Facebook, Apple, Amazon and those set of companies, they think okay if they go there then their life settled, they’re going to earn a lot and they don’t have to work anymore. But that’s not true anymore because even people who work at Amazon, Facebook, they leave jobs within 3 or 4 months because they figure out, you know what, there’s something else which I’m more passionate about and maybe that’s not the work culture for me. So, just because someone says Facebook is good, it doesn’t mean that it’s good for you because you can get the same kind of experience even in the mid-tier company, even for higher salary. And I know it because I literally, my job is to help people get a job in tech space and also grow in the tech space. So, I know people who didn’t work in Facebook, who work in mid-tier company but still earn more than people who work at Facebook. Like for example me, in the 1st 10 years, I haven’t worked for Facebook or Apple. I worked for mid-tier and big companies which are not the FAANG companies, but I’m still earning more than a lot of people in Facebook and Google. So, you need to think about, okay, if someone is saying something is good, why is it good? Is it in their context? And how is it good for me? So, when you start thinking more on a higher-level broader view and don’t follow the bandwagon concept, that’s what I say, just because society and people are saying something is good, it doesn’t mean it’s good. So, you have to keep those two things in mind, which is one, there’s always opportunities, a job interview, if you don’t get it, it does not mean it’s the end of the world. Second thing is there are so many different companies. Just because you don’t work at Facebook or Amazon doesn’t mean that something bad is going to happen in your life. So, just two things which I wanted to let people know because I think it’s really important and kind of as a general theme of why they were mentioning in the last couple of minutes as well.
How can your audience become rockstars?
Again, all of those points are such important points. And then the biggest takeaway is don’t put any company on a pedestal because you were coming in at a disadvantage because they’re going to think that you’re not good enough and you’re also going to just think internally, you’re never good enough, so you’re never going to be good enough, right? That’s I think the main takeaway from that specific topic and section. And last couple of questions, Raj before I let you go, you are not just someone who gets interviewed on different news, publications, channels, podcast, but you’re also an author. You are an author of a book called Skyrocket Your Career: The No BS Approach to Find Your Dream Job, Be Successful in It, and Transform into a Rock Star. And this book, for everybody listening, also hit number five best-seller. So, there’s one chapter particularly called Becoming a Rock Star. So, very simply, how can our audience in the Final Round become rock stars?
Raj: People think to become a rock star, you have to do extraordinary things like launch a rocket to the moon or something like that. But no, it’s about simple things, which other people are not doing and that’s what we’re talking about here. So here are some strategies to become a rock star. I mean, I say become a rock star, you’re in a stage where you’re decently successful in terms of fame, money, growth at accompany, but you feel something is missing and you want to set yourself miles apart from the competition wherever you’re working, that’s what I mean by rock star status, right? To do that, here are couple of things. One is you have to build credibility, a lot of credibility. Okay? What that means is you have to do your work so well that people should say, “Oh, Raj, oh, yeah, let’s just give this work to Raj because I know it’s going to be complete,” right? So, number one is credibility.
Second thing is undersell and overperform. So, what do I mean by that? The problem with the majority of the people is if they are given a task, say “Hey, can you build a calculator?” “Don’t worry. I’m going to build a rocket for you.” And when the time comes to deliver, they won’t even be able to deliver a calculator, right? And they lose their credibility. That’s where you have to undersell and overperform. When they say, “Build a calculator,” you would say, “You know what, I’m going to try my best and see what I can come up with. But I get it. So, let me go back to the drawing board and see what I can do,” then what are you going to do and you say, “I’m going to finish the task in five days,” right? What are you going to do is try to finish the task within three days and then for the next two days, see what extra you can do to make people remember you? Because this is the thing, folks, to be extraordinary, you need to go the extra mile. So, what’s the extra thing you’re going to do in each and every task you’re given? So, add your stamp on it. So, for example, if they ask you to put some data in an Excel sheet, which is a mundane activity anyone can do, what if you color code different columns? What if you add formulas where when a person enters value in one column, then another common value gets populated. Again, these are all just random examples, but I’m just trying to give you a context, right? And when you do this repeatedly over a period of time and then you are going to become the rock star because everyone will come to you saying, “Hey, Raj, we have this really critical task. Would you be able to do it?” So, undersell, overperform then build credibility and make your results visible.
Another reason why say, there are five people up for promotion, another person gets promotion but not you even though you did all the work is because you haven’t talked about your work that often to people and they don’t know what you’re capable of. So, say for example, you build this amazing Excel sheet, going at the same example with color coding, talk about it in team meetings and then to your boss and to your colleagues saying, “Man, there’s an Excel sheet that I added color coding,” to help people keep talking about it because now, you’re injecting that value proposition whether the people want to listen to it or not, you’re letting people know that you’re doing extra work. And when you constantly talk about what extra things you’re doing, then you’re planting a seed saying, “Wow, this personality does extra things.” So, make your results visible and that’s how you’re going to get noticed. Right? And again, I talk about more strategies in my book, but these are the three key things to start with. Simple things again, but people don’t realize that there are a lot of simple things you can do to stand out from the crowd and that’s what I’m all about. I hate complicating stuff. I think simplicity is the best form of sophistication, like what Steve Jobs said and I totally believe in that. So, think about what simple things you can do to make you stand out from the crowd, and that’s what it’s all about, whether at works, whether you’re doing interviews, whatever be the case, think about what extra thing, extra value you can add at any given point of time.
The Final Question
Again, the two biggest takeaways that I just took away from what you just said, undersell and over perform or over deliver and then to be extraordinary, you just need a little bit extra and that will take you from ordinary to extraordinary. A lot of the examples you gave on how to go from level one in the company to level 10 and really advanced, but I think you said at the end also, it’s just how to shine as a candidate, how to be – going back to the chapter in your book, how to be a rock star in the application process, in the interview process. And again, it’s little things: being respectful, building lasting relationships, going out of your way to network and it’s very obvious that Raj network with 10 people on the team versus Stephanie didn’t talk to anybody, doing the research, knowing what’s going on at our company, preparing for interview questions. It’s all very obvious, it’s very little and minor, but those little things that gets you past the final round. So, I love what you said about becoming a rock star. And Raj, as much fun as this episode has been, I think the rocket engine is dying out and we’re coming to our last question. And the last question that we ask every guest is what is the best piece of advice that you can give to our audience to help them get past the final round interview and land their dream job?
Raj: Just like Apple’s logo, it’s about being different. So, say there are 20 candidates applying for the same job, what makes you different from other people? And it again, boils down to this whole rock star theme, right? What are the small one or two things you could do, which you know other candidates would not do? Right? For example, in the final round of interviews, if you know the interviewer’s name, what you could do is say Raj is going to interview you, literally what you can do is go to LinkedIn, type in my name, you’ll get my whole LinkedIn profile. Okay? And then you can figure out different areas of interest, which I like to talk about. And literally, in the first five minutes of the final round of interview, open with that. So, say for example, I went to Ohio State, which I didn’t but say if I go to Ohio State then in the first five minutes, what you could say is, I’m Raj interviewing you, I would say, “How is it going?” Then the candidate would say, “Yeah, doing good.” And then I would say, “Okay. This is the final round of interviews. We’re going to have 45 minutes. I’m going to ask you these things. Are you good with that?” Then the candidate would say, “Yeah, that’s good. That’s good. Oh, by the way, I also noticed that you went to Ohio State, go buckeyes!” Again, for people who do not watch sports Ohio State Buckeyes is the football team, you know? So, then immediately, I’ll say, “Oh, you know what the buckeyes?” “Yeah, yeah, I noticed. And yeah, I’m an Ohio State fan as well.” See how within the first three minutes you already brought the anxiety level down? Not any candidate would have done that in the final round of interview. And that’s just one simple example of how to make that lasting impression in your final round. So, think about what you could do differently. That’s pretty much it.
I love that. Just to piggyback off of that, I’ve had interviews that were scheduled for an hour that we didn’t talk about one interview question because we broke the ice so well in the beginning and we were just chatting about random things outside of like the core process of what this company does. Because I think in the final round, like you said, it’s more of a culture check. It’s more of do I want to work with Raj? Can I drop him off on a client and will he represent the company in a good way? Does Raj add to our company culture? Not just is he a part of our company culture. So, I love what you said. And again, I use that tip all the time about looking at interest on their LinkedIn profile or anywhere online and finding what they’re passionate about, what gets down up out of bed and then talking about that and also lowers anxiety levels for everybody. So, thank you so much again, Raj for being on the show. I know I took so much insight from this. I know our audience is going to become rock stars, like you said like your book in advance past the final round. So, thank you so much again for being on the show.
Raj: Thanks for having me. And of course, if you want to connect with me, I’m super active on LinkedIn. I literally live on LinkedIn, so if you just type in Raj Subrameyer, there’s no one called Subrameyer in this world. So, you will find me and make sure you follow me as well. And again, thanks so much for having me here. It was a pleasure.
One of my favorite aspects of this episode was the honesty and transparency from Raj and how he shared the hardships in his life and how he overcame them. Never be afraid to be vulnerable, if that means it will allow you to take charge of your life for the better. Just as Raj’s book states, I know that our entire audience of the Final Round will also become rock stars. Be sure to share this episode with a friend or colleague so that they too can feel inspired. Until the next episode of the Final Round, keep fighting and I will see you in the ring.