19 Job Interview Tips that Will Set You Apart

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Once you have been invited for a job interview, be sure to prepare yourself so you make a fantastic impression. The interview is an opportunity for you to shine and really show the employer what you are capable of if you’re hired. Below are 19 job interview tips that will set you apart from the competition and give you the best shot at receiving a job offer.

  1. Get clear directions to the interview site and arrive on time—or early—for your meeting.
  2. Be sure you are dressed appropriately for the interview. Dress professionally and conservatively (this also applies to makeup), avoid wearing perfume, and wear close-toed shoes
  3. When you pack your bag for the interview, be sure to put in a few copies of your resume, a pen, note pad, and that list of questions you want to ask. Also bring samples of your work, if you have any that is relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  4. Your job interview starts the minute you walk in the company’s front door and lasts until you exit that door. Keep your best foot forward from start to finish. Be kind to everyone you meet. When introduced to potential co-workers, be friendly. Your interviewer may be watching to see how you interact with the staff and may later ask employees how they liked you.
  5. Smile, especially when you first meet the interviewer. That first impression will stick in the manager’s mind for a long time.
  6. There is nothing like a confident handshake! The right amount of tension in your grip is important—not too tight, not too limp.
  7. Eye contact is a form of communication and it has a magical ability to build rapport. Make eye contact with your interviewers, both when you’re talking and when they are talking.
  8. Try to have good posture that shows you are alert and focused. Avoid negative body language. In other words, don’t cross your arms over your chest, don’t clench your fists, don’t clutch your purse or briefcase tightly, or do anything that might indicate insecurity, hostility, or resistance to change.
  9. Listen carefully to everything the interviewer says and ask questions when you don’t understand something. Understanding each question will help you give the best response.
  10. Answer questions with the right balance between confidence and humility.
  11. Respond with answers based on PAR (Problem, Action, Result): What was a problem you faced? What action did you take to solve it? What was the result?
  12. Shift your interview from an interrogation to a dialog by occasionally finishing your answers with a relevant leading question.
  13. Occasionally, answer a question by saying what somebody else has said about you. For example, “My supervisor always used to say, ‘Bob’s the one you want around when it’s time to launch a new product.’”
  14. It’s okay to be quiet for a minute before you answer a question. It will help you gather your ideas and give a good answer. The employer will appreciate the fact that you’re thoughtful.
  15. Be honest, even if that means saying you don’t know something, or you don’t have a particular experience. At some point, you may need to say something like: “No, I’ve never done that, but here’s why I know I can do it or why I think I’d be very good at it.”
  16. Be prepared to tell stories that show how you work with people, as the interviewer is undoubtedly curious as to how you’ll fit in with the staff. Remember to weave your stories into the answers of pertinent questions.
  17. A terrific way to build rapport is to use your interviewer’s name when you answer a question. So, learn his or her name, and, if it’s a tricky one, practice the pronunciation beforehand so it’ll roll off your tongue during your interview.
  18. Delay talking about salary history and expectations until you fully understand what is entailed in the job and you have had time to think about what is fair.
  19. Send a thank you letter as soon as your job interview is complete. The interviewers took time out of their day to give you a chance at a job, so this is the time for you to say “thanks” in writing.

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Become Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

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No matter your role or how long you have been in it, we all have work situations we would rather avoid. Scenarios can range from taking on a project at which you are not sure you will excel, having a difficult conversation with a client or colleague, or even simply interacting with coworkers in a social setting outside of the workplace. No matter the situation, most would agree that leaving your comfort zone can create the opportunity to flourish professionally, personally, and financially. Yet that comfort zone can be a cozy blanket of security quite difficult to shed! So how do you become comfortable with the uncomfortable?

Embrace It

As a child you may have had a community pool in your neighborhood with a diving board that (especially in your youth) seemed about twenty stories tall. And each summer, during swimming lessons, the instructor would force you to you climb those stairs, teeter out to the end of the board, and would basically push you off the end. Do you remember how that felt? Your whole being was screaming at you not to do it, because you knew that the inevitable would happen and you were most certainly going to plunge to your death. As you fell for what seemed like eternity, suddenly you would hit the water and have the realization that you had survived and, in fact, it was not that bad at all.

As children, our parents, swimming instructors, and teachers were obligated to give us a gentle nudge over the edge. Embrace the fact that now you are the only one who can take that leap of faith. We know how the story continues with those summers at the swimming pool. Once you throw yourself off the diving board and realize that it’s pretty fun, you actually enjoy proving to yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to. You then jump off enough times repeatedly that it’s no longer an intimidating challenge. The first step is to embrace what makes you uncomfortable. Professional growth also comes from new experiences and often distressing ones.

Understand It

If you want something in life that you have never had, you will likely have to do something that you have never done. However, knowing what needs to be done and understanding what is holding you back from doing it are two different tasks. It might be completely evident to you what the looming task or situation is. What you may not be able to immediately recognize is why you’re feeling the way you are. What is it about the situation that is triggering the feeling of fear?

More than likely, it is a fear of failure or a fear of not being good enough. Simply summarized, most paralyzing situations stem from one of those two roots. When you start listening to the doubts of yourself and others, the voice in your head becomes a breeding ground for negativity. People will always have opinions. Understanding that those people are entitled to their own thoughts, yet disassociating yourself from those opinions, is an important step in moving passed any fear of being judged.

Coach To It

As comedian George Carlin stated, “If you’re looking for self-help, why would you read a book written by somebody else? That’s not self-help, that’s help!” In short, let go of the need to try to solve your challenging situations all by yourself. When faced with a situation that seems overwhelming, seek out an individual who you respect in terms of their ability to handle similar situations. Ask for guidance. Pursue coaching from a more veteran individual or perhaps even role play in order to make the foreign seem less intimidating.

People’s words and perceptions of us can actually shape our own beliefs about ourselves. Identify someone who can provide positive mentorship and feedback as you work through whatever it is that is creating the intimidating environment. In time, positive reinforcement can be the catalyst for courage.

Act On It

At some point, you must make the choice to step off the high dive. The battle is half won by that small step! If needed, “fake it until you make it” and simply pretend to be confident. When you have come through to the other side, you will likely realize that it was not as bad as you thought it would be, and you are proud of yourself. Remember that fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.

To make change a constant and not a singular event, consider investing in your own personal and professional growth and well-being. Go ahead and get the membership to the gym that you have talked about for months, research therapists or personal coaches and sign up for an exploratory conversation, book the vacation you’ve been wanting to go on, splurge on a massage, or ask others for suggestions of personal development books they have enjoyed – the key is to act on something! If you are not taking the necessary steps to have a plan for personal and professional growth, the road ahead may not seem so uplifting.

We all have the right to live our best life. Anything else is mediocre, and none of us were put in the roles we are in to be simply mediocre.

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5 Tips to Thrive in a Phone Interview

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Phone interviews are frequently used by companies to save time by pre-qualifying your interest and expertise. They are a great opportunity for you to put your best foot forward and get noticed. The following are some recommendations to ensure your next phone interview is successful for you.

1. Isolate Yourself

Phone interviews can be challenging because you only have one tool of communication: your voice. The interviewer’s impression of you is shaped by all the sounds coming through the phone. Insulate yourself from distractions and background noises. Do not have your phone interview when you are surrounded by a lot of noise like an outdoor café at a busy intersection. If the call is on your cell phone, make sure that you have excellent reception and make sure the caller can hear you clearly as soon as you begin.

2. Stand Up

During the call stand up, walk around, and smile. Standing gives you more confidence and it really makes a difference in the tone of your voice. Smiling is like a secret weapon on a phone interview. It automatically makes your voice friendlier and calm. Both of these things make a big difference in the projection and quality of your voice.

3. Prepare Your Responses

Phone interviews follow a similar pattern of questioning with the purpose of screening people out of consideration. Below is a list of questions most phone interviewers ask. Write them down and practice your responses in advance. Make notes for your reference during the call.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you know about our company?
  • How did you learn about this position?
  • What are your compensation requirements?
  • Why are you looking for a new position?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Do you have any questions?

4. Ask Thoughtful Questions

Questions are your primary tool of influence with an interviewer. They help you direct the conversation and assess if the company is right for you. Here are some questions to ask during a phone interview.

  • What business imperatives are driving the need for this position?
  • Describe the three top challenges that I’ll face in this job.
  • What are the characteristics of people who are most successful in your company?
  • What are the key deliverables and outcomes that this position must achieve?

5. Ask Closing Questions

The end of the interview is a perfect time to finalize any additional thoughts and ask any remaining questions you have. The following are some questions you should consider asking at the end of the phone interview.

  • What additional information would you like me to provide?
  • What concerns do you have at this point?
  • What are the key things you’d like to learn about my background?
  • When is the best time to follow up with you?

At the conclusion of your phone interview, ask the interviewer about next steps and the timing of their hiring process. This will leave you with a clear idea of what to expect so you’re not left in the dark.

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Rise to the Challenge: Leadership During a Crisis

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Leaders show their true colors in unprecedented situations. As companies around the world struggle to deal with the biggest global health crisis of the century, leaders are rising to the occasion keeping team morale high, ensuring the safety and health of employees, providing guidance and support, and making difficult but important decisions. This is what strong leadership looks like in an emergency. Below are some of the ways you can rise to the challenge and provide strong leadership during a crisis.

Be Quick and Decisive

Leaders don’t have the luxury of indecision when the world is in the middle of a health crisis. The situation changes daily, so leaders need to react to these changes promptly. As new information is made public, leaders need to be able to make sense of the information and confidently make decisions that are in the best interest of the company and its employees. This isn’t easy because in times of uncertainty information isn’t always complete or accurate. Plus, your anxiety is likely higher than usual. It helps to continuously examine and identify the top needs of your company and identify obstacles. Once you understand what you need to succeed in the short- and long-term, it will become easier to make quick decisions.

Understand How Employees Are Feeling

Your employees likely feel anxious and afraid right now. But it is a good idea to ask your employees how they’re feeling so you have an accurate understanding of their mental state. As a leader, your job is to understand what your employees are going through and do everything you can to ease their worries by being transparent with them, and providing them with the resources they need to work from home successfully. Reassure them that you will work with them to overcome obstacles and solve problems related to COVID-19.

Keep Employees Engaged

You have to understand that your employees are working in completely different environments. They likely have more distractions and more responsibilities. This will make it harder for them to stay engaged as they work. They are also interacting less with colleagues, which can also affect engagement. You should make a point to contact your employees regularly and pay extra attention to communicating goals and priorities. Video calls can help employees feel less isolated and more connected to the team. You also should take the time to highlight positives, such as the successes of your employees or other achievements. This will help keep spirits high.

We’re experiencing a health crisis unlike any of us has ever witnessed before. While COVID-19 poses many challenges to companies around the world, this is a chance to show your team you have the ability to lead with strength and courage.

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