A Fast “Top Ten” List for Interviewing Success

A really quick, really smart guide to preparing for what a Hiring Manager wants to see!

Okay, you’ve dotted all your “i”s and crossed all your “t”s. You’ve made it to the interviewing round! Now, you get to meet the elusive mortal – the hiring manager. Here are ten things you MUST do to make a great first impression and outshine your competition. Interviewee shaking hands with hiring manager

#1 Show enthusiasm. It’s the key to a great interview. A positive attitude is a reflection on what your personality will bring to the working environment. Show you are alert and excited about this opportunity.

#2 Dress the part. When you dress the part, it’s easy for the hiring manager to visualize you as his or her newest employee. If you need some guidance on how to professionally dress for an interview, download the FREE Power Connections Professional Attire Guide for a more detailed description of what’s acceptable in today’s working environments.

#3 Master the handshake. It’s your first contact with hiring managers, so make sure you give a firm handshake while looking into their eyes. Of course you’ll be smiling during this first interaction! A firm handshake signals you mean business, that you’re confident, and you’re willing to take charge.

#4 Be extra courteous to EVERYONE! You honestly don’t know who might be watching the “newbies” as they come through the door and sit in the waiting area. Smile at those who walk past, say hello when appropriate, and be mindful that you might be on a security camera. You can bet a hiring manager will ask the front office staff who the courteous candidates were for that day.

#5 Show “R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Find out what it means to me.” Offer a professional greeting by standing up straight and addressing people as Mr. or Ms., unless told otherwise. A little bit of admiration can go a long way.

#6 Adopt a “can do” attitude. This makes anything possible. If in your interview an obstacle arises, look at it from the “I can” point of view. It’s not who we are that holds us back, but who we think we’re not.

#7 Keep a sense of humor. We’re attracted to happy, optimistic people. When appropriate, offer a clever quip and DO laugh at the hiring manager’s attempt at humor. After all, laughter is the best antidote to calm nerves.

#8 Have a few common interview questions already scripted in your mind so you answer confidently during the interview. Your “Tell me about yourself” answer should not start off with “Uuummmm….”

#9 Know how you can add value to the company once hired. This will require a bit of pre-interview research, but will be impressive to weave into the interview discussion.

#10 Be smart. Be honest. Be yourself. You’ll land the career that’s best for you!

Oh No! The Perspective is All Wrong! Four coachable elements of perspective to give you the edge in your value proposition.

Paint and brushesIn my office you’ll find my very first oil painting displayed. It’s a painting of the charming interior room of a home in Greece overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I placed it in my office for all to see, not because it’s a great first attempt at learning how to paint, (Trust me, it’s not!) but because it lacks the fundamental concept of perspective, and therein lies its raison d’etre. My bumbling first stab at fine art is an excellent coaching tool.

Truth of the matter is, I think the painting is pretty darn good for my first try. But, to the trained eye there is a glaring flaw to the image. I was not aware of my big faux pas, the lack of perspective in the image, when I announced that I had painted my final brush strokes of the piece to my art teacher. She was the one who made it clear to me what it was missing and how. She explained what I’d done wrong, what I’d done right, what I shouldn’t have done, and how I should have done it.

Ah-ha! The light bulb came on! Until that discussion, I didn’t have a clue. I was totally missing this important element of creating an image. Now, I completely understand this concept called “perspective.”

Here’s where the “novice painting as coaching tool” comes in. When I point to the painting and ask clients to tell me what’s wrong with it, of course they feel like they’re in the hot seat. They compliment me, and state that they don’t see anything wrong. Yes, I know, they’re just being polite.

So, I point to the rug that was painted in the center of the room, and explain the importance of perspective in art. The rug doesn’t have any perspective at all, and yet the rest of the room is painted with perfect perspective. The rug is a problem. It throws off the whole painting. No pun intended!

Job search also needs the critical element of perspective. Take a moment to consider our Power Connections perspective on evaluating YOURS. Here are some things you must be aware of in your own search process:

First, how is your own perspective on how you present yourself?
My team of exceptional Career Consultants meet people all the time who have all the necessary accoutrements required for an effective job search, but miss the importance of perspective in the way they present their value proposition.

Next, your talent lies in the expert way you’ve done your job responsibilities. Perspective in job search might not be your forte’.
Think about how there could be something glaringly wrong with your approach that an untrained eye will never see. But we Coaches see it, and we’ll help you with it. We’re not about criticizing you, but helping you to be the best job candidate you can be!

Third, by missing the perspective in your job search you might create unnecessary challenges.  
It can be tedious to go back and fix the mistakes and get the perspective right, but it can be done. Our Career Consultants enlighten you and train you in improving it.

Finally, perspective can be learned.
You can learn to have excellent perspective about yourself. A good Career Consultant will get you there.

Got Stress? I do, too! Let’s kick its bum!

Although stress is a constant in our lives, it CAN be managed. Did you know that there is “constructive stress” caused by positive events? A good job interview is the perfect example. You’re elated, but totally stressed about the outcome. On balance, it’s good.

Stressed woman draped over credenzaTony Jeary says in Success magazine that stress occurs when challenges in life exceed our coping skills. It can derail our lives professionally and cause burnout. And, dang, it will always be there.

Far be it for me to lie about a lack of stress in my own life. Fat chance. 49% of Americans reported stressful experiences last year, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study. Only 49%? Seriously? 13% reported “problems with work.” For those of you “looking for work,” the percentage could be higher. Uh-huh.

Let’s look at some facts about “good” and “bad” stress that could help you deal with your own in more healthful ways.

  • The gory details are all around us, but let’s look at both sides of the coin.

True, the Harvard study shows that too many responsibilities and problems with finances cause stress. If you’re a job hunter with a family and bills to pay, it’s a double “duh,” right? But, there are some good things you need to hear. First, 3rd quarter stats in the US show that we had an increase in jobs and drop in unemployment. Power Connections CEO Susan Howington says recruiting is up.

Good news, right? Stay focused on thinking about how this news could motivate your search. Let it be a “good stressor” to keep you going.

  •  What’s wrong with us? We’re the most anxiety-laden citizens on the planet.

The Atlantic says one reason is the pressure to succeed. You don’t say? I have flailed around my office in anguish over this, and need to get a grip. Et tu?

Jeary says be clear about your own values and what YOU truly want for yourself, no matter what someone else wants to hear. Ohhhhh, boy. If you can leave the pressure to succeed behind and do what you value, “bad” stress will dissipate. Follow your path. That’s “good” stress.

  •  Aha! I knew it! Worry can kill me!

Note to self: get over it! Achor and Alia Crum, Ph.D. at Stanford say that stress can enhance new priorities, greater appreciation of life and self-meaning. Studies show that folks who learn this experience a drop in headaches, backaches and fatigue.

  •  Relish the “good moments” every day.

While you’re rushing like a hamster on a wheel, stop and enjoy any good moment that happens. Had a great lunchtime? Savor it for at least 12 seconds and it will go to long term storage in your brain. Experts say pondering positive moments creates lasting neural structure. Our neuroplasticity helps us become more positive thinkers.

  •  Coffee with a buddy busts stress like nothin’ else.

Isn’t that great to know? If you want to live a long healthy life by slashing stress with zeal, keep strengthening your relationships, baby! It absolutely reduces mortality and boosts happiness.

Millennials: Achieve Your Workplace Goals!

Seven ways to show ‘em you’re in it for the long haul.

Group of young adultsMany older employees don’t believe we Millennials have the same work ethic as previous generations. And, if that’s not bad enough, we also supposedly lack interest in “paying our dues.” Here’s a list of highly effective ways to help you shine brightly for older generations to see.

First, Set Crystal Clear Goals: Define your goals to allow yourself to go beyond your immediate plans, and to see results of your efforts further out. Relish the small rewards for accomplishing tasks and achieving steps in the right direction. Without goals, you won’t be giving it your all, and this will be evident in your work ethic and interactions with co-workers. Map out your professional gains to connect current tasks with future opportunities.

“The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right.” Henry Ford

Always Take Responsibility: Please, do NOT wait to be told what to do in your workplace. Step up to take a task. This simple act will show you’re responsible and mature. And although it’s difficult, own up to your mistakes. It’s okay! We ALL make them in our jobs, and they become learning opportunities. They’ll help you grow in your career.

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!” Jillian Michaels

Use your time wisely: Make a plan, have an agenda, have a task list, and do the thing you loathe the most first to get it out of the way. Prioritize tasks in columns to see what needs to happen today, this week, this month, this quarter. But don’t forget to plan to do a few fun things during the month, like lunch with co-workers, or coffee with the new guy.

“Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then…find the way.” Abraham Lincoln

Be Determined: When you really see what it is you want, do whatever you can to achieve it! Subconsciously, you’ll spend energy on bringing your vision to life. Strive to do what you can to make this sight a reality.

“I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.” Langston Hughes

Engage Emotional Intelligence: Be self-aware of how your emotions may impede the best results for your company. When you don’t allow your emotions to get in the way of your performance, and you can channel your emotions, you have achieved emotional intelligence.

“Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.” Elizabeth Gilbert

Be Curious: Seek new ways of doing the same ol’ same ol’ to keep your career exciting.   Can technology help you create new ideas/products/results? Curiosity will help you adapt to change as you seek new ways of doing things. It’ll help your problem solving at work.

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person” Mother Teresa

Persevere: Finally, maintain your course of action even when you don’t feel like giving 100%. The continual action of pressing forward and upward will outshine your competitors. Keep the vision of better things to come within you to drive your persistent attitude.

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never…” Winston Churchill

If you have questions about great goal-setting in the workplace, you can engage the services of a Millennial coach. Just ask about it!