Interviewing Tips to Land the Job

After all those applications, you finally have an interview. Congratulations! Here are some tips on how to nail the interview and land the job.

Research the Company

Go to their website, read the “About Us” section, learn how they compare to others in their industry, find out everything you can about this company. If you know who you will be meeting with, look them up, too! The more you know about the company, the better you’ll be able to answer questions and impress the person conducting the interview.

Practice & Prepare

Grab a friend to practice some typical interview questions. These questions are often resume-based or behavioral/situational. Remember to highlight your strengths during the interview. Think of some concrete examples when you displayed these strengths in a previous position. Answers like this will provide evidence of your success which will prove to your interviewer your level of candidacy.

Prepare a list of questions for you to ask at the end of your interview as well. Interviewing is a two-way street. The ones conducting the interviews ask their questions to see if you will be a good fit with their company. You should be asking questions as well to see if this company is a good fit for you! Do not ask questions that can be easily found by researching the company. The questions you ask should have more to do with company culture, day-to-day responsibilities of the roll you’re applying for, and how you compare against other candidates. You can find a great list of questions in this Forbes article.

There are a few other items you should prepare for your interview ahead of time. Print out extra copies of your resume, printed on paper of good quality, as well as a list of your references. During the interview, you should be taking notes. Use a professional binder with a notepad and don’t forget to pack a pen! If it pertains to the job, get together a portfolio showcasing your work.

Dress Up and Show Up… On Time!

No matter the type of job you’re applying for, you’re going to want to create a good first impression. Dress to impress. It’s also extremely important to be on time for your interview. A good rule of thumb is to arrive 10 minutes early. Give yourself some extra travel time as well so you aren’t scrambling to find a parking spot or find the visitor entrance to the building. Some additional tips: remember to silence your phone (or better yet, leave it in the car), don’t chew gum, and don’t bring a cup of coffee.

During the Interview: Listen and Remain Calm

As previously mentioned, you’re interviewing this company just as much as they are interviewing you. Break up the monotonous Q&A tone and make it more conversational. Listen to the questions they are asking you and take a moment to gather your thoughts before providing an answer. Body language is important in an interview, too. Be cognizant of your posture, restrain from fidgeting, and make eye contact with a smile. Keep in mind to give off a sense of confidence, but not arrogance.

Follow Up

Once you get home, craft a thank you note to those you interviewed with. Most of the time, an email will suffice. This thank you note gives you the opportunity to reiterate the skills you have that will make you a success in this position and your enthusiasm for the job.

The Necessity of Professionalism

No matter what industry you work in or who you engage with on a professional level, in today’s world it’s crucial that you possess this one important trait: professionalism. Many people hear the word “professionalism” and think of workers who remove any pretense of individuality under the guise of acting more professional; however, professionalism is simply a set of qualities embodied by a person who behaves in a professional manner in a professional setting. This includes everything from refraining from office gossip to taking ownership for one’s own mistakes. In today’s workplace, professionalism is a necessary trait for all employees to possess as they work together to achieve company goals; here’s why:

Professionalism Helps Maintain Responsibility for One’s Actions

This holds especially true if you’re working in a business where you regularly interact with your customers. Professionalism dictates some best practices for engaging with others in a professional setting and helps to ensure that you best represent of your company. If you’re working directly with customers or clients, you will be held accountable for your behavior, and thus treating a client poorly will reflect poorly upon you, as well as the company as a whole.

Professionalism Allows for Clear Boundaries

Even if you work in a relaxed setting where employees get along and are encouraged to interact with one another, there are still clear cut things that are and are not appropriate to discuss in a work environment. While professionalism dictates proper interaction guidelines when it comes to clients and customers, it also comes into play for interpersonal office relationships as well. By setting up these boundaries, you can help mitigate any conflicts that might arise due to inappropriate interactions and can make the work environment better overall.

Professionalism Promotes Respect

In an environment where professional boundaries and courtesies are not promoted and encouraged, things can quickly spiral out of control. Professionalism allows you not only to demonstrate respect for your coworkers and those in management but also shows the respect that you have for the company in general. It reduces inter office gossip and generally promotes a more cohesive workplace because of the respectful environment. It can also speak a lot for how you do business; if you’re working with a particularly rude or inappropriate client and still offer top notch support, it shows just how professionally you conduct business.

Making Public Speaking Come Naturally

microphone public speakingPublic speaking can be pretty nerve-wracking.  Some people can do it, but it doesn’t come easy to everybody.  In fact, there are plenty of people who are terrified of it.  But there are some tips that you can take to overcome that fear.  Here are a few, taken from blogger and manager Mohamad Zaki:  

It’s okay that you’re nervous: If you admit to the audience that you’re a bit nervous speaking to them, not only will they be more forgiving if you act nervous later on, but they’ll also like you more.  The best way to do this is through a joke.  

Redefine the audience: Generally speaking, this means changing how you view them.  Rather than lecturers evaluating you, they could be long-lost friends you haven’t seen in years.  This lets you maintain eye contact with them as you try to figure out where you’ve seen them before.  This will make you look a lot more friendly.  

Visual aids: No matter how descriptive you are, there are some things that visual aids can do that you simply can’t.  Not only do visual aids enhance your performance, but they also take the pressure off of you.  

Intentionally make mistakes: Did you know that George W. Bush would intentionally write stumbles in his speeches?  It helped make him look more approachable.  The idea behind this is to gain control of the audience by interacting with them.  If you make a mistake, and then can turn it into a joke, that doesn’t take away from your presentation, but rather enhance it.

Speak to one person at a time: Even if you’re terrified of public speaking, you could be great at talking one-on-one.  To overcome this, simply speak to one person at a time.  When somebody asks a question, change your focus just to them, and answer the question as if you’re talking over a beer.

Get personal: When you speak or give a presentation, try to offer your personal thoughts on the issue.  But make it look like these ideas are “just in” while you’re presenting, which will differentiate your presentation.

Play around: Have fun with the crowd.  Try new ways to play with them and their emotions, so that you can give the best possible presentation.  You’ll often yield some pretty interesting results.  

How to Stay Cool Under Pressure

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned industry veteran or a novice entrepreneur, there will be times in your career when you encounter stressful situations. You will be required to perform under pressure, and it’s how you respond to this strain that can truly define who you are to other people. If you’re someone who reacts with anger at the slightest provocation, people will learn not to bring negative news to you. If you’re someone who crumples under pressure, you’re not going to make for a very effective leader.

Staying calm and proactive in times of great stress can help you collect your thoughts, process a plan of action, and move forward towards a solution. Here are some tactics you can practice to help you stay cool when the situation starts heating up:

Practice proper breathing.

That statement sounds a bit silly: ‘proper breathing’ is something we must be doing all day every day or else we’d be dead, right? While your breathing is no effective, proper breathing necessitates a bit more conscious thought. Regular breathing is typically shallow, meaning that the diaphragm muscles aren’t being utilized. By inhaling with your stomach using a method called belly breathing — where instead of breathing with your chest you inhale and exhale by pushing out your abdomen — you can relieve tension and help bring yourself to a more calm state. Repeating this exercise a few times during a stressful situation can help to calm your nerves and clear your mind.

If it’s a planned event, rehearse!

The old expression ‘practice makes perfect’ has stuck around so long for a reason: practicing something helps you to be better prepared and perform more effectively. If you’re giving a speech or a presentation that really has you on edge, run through it whenever you have the chance. If you’re prepping for a huge meeting, make sure you go over any points you have and study any material until you understand it thoroughly. The best chance you have for remaining calm in these anxiety-ridden situations is to make sure you’re prepared the best that you can be.

Focus on finding a solution, not on negativity.

If something has gone wrong, the last thing that anyone needs is a round of the blame game. Instead of perseverating on what went wrong and how there’s a problem to be fixed, look instead for solutions and ways that you can improve the situation rather than add to the issue.

How to Ask for a Raise

Navigating your way as you climb the ladder at your job can be tricky. You want to fight for what you feel you deserve so you don’t sell yourself short without pushing too hard or overselling yourself. That can be a difficult rope to walk for those who want to advance in their careers without feeling like they’ve overstepped their boundaries. No, you shouldn’t ask for a raise your second week at the company, but you also should be compensated for tenure if you’ve remained with the company for a long time. If you’ve assessed the situation and truly feel as though you deserve a raise for all the work that you do, here are a few ways you can approach the subject of salary negotiation with your employer.

  • Prepare for the conversation.
    • Conversations about money are always a bit uncomfortable, so the worst thing that you can do is walk into the conversation unprepared and spring the question on your employer. Take the time to prepare before launching into a salary negotiation. You’ll be able to bring more solid points to the table and be able to defend your request.
  • Do not present your request as a complaint.
    • One of the worst things you can do during a salary negotiation is dredge up resentments to back up the fact that you want a raise. Been there for over a year? Gone a while since your last raise? Shouldering some extra work lately? All of that is fine and perfectly valid for wanting a raise, but it’s likely that your employer is already aware of this fact and for one reason or another hasn’t responded the way you’d prefer. Instead, bring to light accomplishments that may not have received a lot of attention or recent successes that you’ve had.
  • Show them the value you bring to the team.
    • If you want to earn more money for doing the same job, or want to undertake more responsibilities for greater pay, you need to make sure that you can actively demonstrate the value you that you provide to the company at large. Have you skillfully handled any difficult clients? Have you successfully increased profit margins for your department? Did you develop a system to streamline productivity and save the company time and money? Highlight the reasons why you feel as though a raise is deserved and help them see what you bring to the table.

Interviewing Pointers

Sometimes the most difficult part of getting your dream job is convincing the employer that you’re the perfect employee for the job. You could have all of the necessary qualifications, excellent experience, and great references, but if you perform poorly in the interview you could negate all of your great qualities. That’s why it’s incredibly important that you take the time to adequately prepare for each job interview that you’re granted. If you aren’t sure where to start, take a look at these pointers that will help you present your best self every time you interview.

  • Dress for the part.
    • First impressions are made within the first seven seconds of meeting someone new. That means that your interviewers will likely have already crafted an idea of who you are before you even have a chance to introduce yourself. That’s why it’s always important that you come to each interview well-dressed and properly groomed so that you can always start off with your best foot forward.
  • Do your research.
    • You should never walk into an interview for any position without adequate knowledge of what the position requires, the goals of the company at large, and how your role will play into helping the company reach said goal. If you’re asked by the interviewer, “Tell us what you know about the company,” and your answer is inadequate at best, the interviewer will see that you came unprepared and will likely not give you a second thought post-interview.
  • Bring strong answers with you.
    • While every interview is different and you never know what the particular questions you’ll be asked are, there are a number of questions that are routinely asked during the interview process. Questions like, “What do you consider to be your greatest strength/weakness?” and “Tell us how you’ve overcome difficult situations” are fairly typical, so be prepared with real answers. Take the time to analyze your greatest professional flaws and consider how you’ve worked on them in the past and how you plan on working on them in the future.
  • Bring strong questions with you.
    • At the end of the interview when they ask, “Do you have any questions for us?” you may be tempted to call it a day and leave on a high note, but don’t overlook the importance of this opportunity. This is your chance to show your already existing knowledge and your eagerness to learn more. Bring along questions like, “Where do you see this position in 5 years?”, “If you could change one thing about this position/department/company, what would you change?”, or “How has this role changed over the past 5 years?” This will show an interest in the company and a desire to grow with the business, indicating that you’re already thinking about a future with the company.

Thought Leadership and its Impact on the Workplace

In today’s world, the phrase thought leadership has been overtly used within the business, private, and nonprofit sector. While the title itself has fallen into the dark hole of private sector jargon, we cannot stand by and overlook the impact that these key drivers have for tomorrow’s innovation. For many future businesses, thought leaders are innovators that play a strong and integral role in creating growth and motivation within a thriving economy. Much of their mentality and drive comes from their inventive ideas and unrelenting energy and ambition to spark and inspire growing ideas and individuals for the future of any businesses. While we can continue to throw the phrase around, I believe it is important t to analyze this trait and its overall impact on businesses and professionals alike.

At its core, thought leadership can be a very difficult concept to grasp. With so many great leaders, how can we differ an effective manager of an office from a thought leader in an entire industry? The answer is actually quite simple if you think about it. Thought leaders are not just managers. They are pioneers who look to go beyond their goals and exploits in order to share their wisdom and knowledge with the rest of their peers. These informed opinionated leaders are those that we commonly refer to as the ‘go-to’ people within any field of expertise. They are the trusted source that not just executes at the job, but also shows and shares how to replicate success in every which way. In its truest form, thought leaders tend to be the most successful individuals. Furthermore, they are the ‘rainmakers’ if you will that can significantly change the face of any business in a positive and lucrative manner. So, with that, one question comes to mind: What characteristics make up a thought leader?

The Experts

While it may seem obvious, I feel like it is imperative to stress their expertise within their field. For thought leaders, they are not simply noticed or recognized because of their name. Instead, they are highly acclaimed because of what they bring to the table. To put it simply, these people are an incredible asset to whatever company or organization they are affiliated with. From their resumes, work experience, and overall work ethics, these leaders provide a high level of exceptional knowledge and natural ability into their work. They understand the ins-and-outs and the best approaches and practices within the day-to-day operations. Without that level of success, they would not be seen as highly as they are.

Born Leaders

Leadership can be a hard skill to develop. But for thought leaders, managing, sharing, and connecting with a group of individuals is something that is second nature. For these individuals, they are not simply looking to retain the number one spot. Instead, they look to create a vision that will inspire and motivate others to work and grow each and every day. That style of collective and communal thinking is something that is rare, especially in competitive businesses. But, for the sake of the greater good, that philosophy and rational of a thought leader are what truly distinguishes them from the other individuals who are looking to just make a name for themselves.

Approachable Mentors

As a thought leader, you will need to know how to communicate with a variety of different people. While it does not require you to be an extroverted individual, it will involve a strong line of communication and personality. In many cases, these individuals will be looked to as the examples and mentors of the business. Because of that, you will have a variety of individuals, from all different departments approaching you on specific ideas and topics. This is an opportunity where friendliness and approachability matters. Whether you are networking, blogging, or writing an email, all of your lines of communication as a thought leader should foster a sense of approachability. Even if it is for the simplest advice, that amicable personality is what truly personifies the leadership and vision that makes a person a thought leader.

Sharing Openly

Thought leaders are seen to have a consistent habit of being pretty transparent about their history and backgrounds. In many cases, their story of self is what fosters their perspective and their success. By understanding a thought leader’s story, you will be able to internalize the goals and reasons for what makes them go above and beyond each and every day.

Persistent and Well-Driven

This goes without saying, but for anyone who is at the top of his or her game, they have to have a willingness to be persistent. They want to make sure the world will move forward and that it will move there even faster with them by their side. For what drives them, that is a different story. The only thing that matters is their determination and belief to stay focus.

Take Action

When it comes to thought leadership, the title comes with action. It is about creating and making a change. This is not to say that it will not take time or effort to succeed. In fact, a culmination of their success is tangent with their overall sacrifice to said task. What we really need to understand is the grand scheme of things where the most effective thought leaders are those who are out in front of their cause and are continuing to show and grow other individuals to their collective goals.

The Three Styles for Leadership Success

Unlike other traits, leadership plays a major factor in operating the work of the day-to-day smoothly and seamlessly. Without leadership, all other aspects within the day become obsolete. Because of this simple reason, it is absolutely vital that we understand the ever-evolving trends and changes that go within this practice. In the grand scheme of things, leadership is not a one-size fit all entity. In fact, there are variations of styles and approaches to this skill that, in itself, depend on the internal and external factors within the workplace. In this blog, I will begin analyzing the three common approaches to leadership and how you can best implement each one of them into your office.  

Now before I start, let’s understand the concept and entity of leadership. When we think about leadership, we first and foremost have to comprehend the impact it can have on an organization as a whole. With strong, efficient, effective, and consistent leadership, organizations and companies are able to overcome times of peril and solidify a sense of success within their professional fields. That type of management and well-oiled culture is what allows organizations to foster and thrive even when times are tough. The only time it becomes a problem is when there is an absence of leadership. In most case scenarios, this can lead to a negative ramifications and effects which can range from a slow and stagnate movement within a business to a total loss of revenue and company culture at a company. Whatever is the case, it is imperative that we understand how important leadership is at every level of the day.

Much of these reasons can be attributed to the arduous decisions business leaders make on the day-to-day basis. For many people, they are unable to conceptualize the risk of putting thousands, maybe millions, of dollars all solely on a deal. For business leaders, these are not just asked, but decided upon. While no decision will ever be easy, the various tradeoffs within these decisions are what make great companies successful. These individuals understand the ramifications, but look surpass them for the overarching goal of their company’s goals and the overall livelihood of the hundreds or thousands of people working at their business.

So what represents leadership? How can you be a defining figure and game changer for your company and your company’s goals?

When it comes to leadership, it is important to understand the variations and approaches to the workplace. Keep in mind, your approach all begins with your employees. To be frank, people are different. They learn differently. They have different personalities. And they operate differently. Because of this, you as a business leader need to adapt various approaches and managerial tactics in order to get the best out of each of your workers. This requires you to holistically understand their personal and professional goals as well as their strengths and weaknesses within their positions.

Now because leadership differs on every level, I have outlined three style of leadership that you can utilize and leverage within the office. At the end of the day, leadership is more of an art than anything else. It needs to be reflective of who you are and what you believe in. But most importantly, it needs to look at the goals and benefits of your employees so that you can optimize every minute within the day.

Leadership 1: Authoritative Leadership

An authoritative leadership style is when a leader dictates and manages every policy and procedure at the workplace. In many cases, this leader is usually driven by the intrinsic goals he or she has for the company. While this style does have strong benefits, it also risks the sense of company culture and manager-employee relationship. Be aware of which individuals and which fields you can utilize this leadership. The overall corporate style of the ‘dog-eat-dog’ mentality can have some strong backlash if you are not careful and cognizant of your workers’ feelings.

Leadership 2: Democratic Leadership

Democratic leadership is a style of leadership that welcomes participative and collaborative values amongst their team members and peers. Similar to our society, this leadership requires a collective decision making though process that can provide different perspective in cultivating and strategizing a concept for success. But like authoritative leadership, this style does have some negatives. For any directors, supervisors, or managers, they know all to well that there will be a day where they will have to play the bad guy. Leverage their strengths, but do not forget your title.

Leadership 3: Transformational Leadership

This style of leadership depends on high levels of communication from management and employees in order to meet specific and necessary long-term goals. For many startup companies, this style of leadership and management maybe best in sparking ideas and driving productivity. Similar to democratic leadership, this does take a strong sense of collaboration. The work culture and managerial involvement needs to be clear and precise if you want to grow and develop your business.

Dave Ramsey’s Best Money Advice

If you’ve ever been drowning in money problems, you’ve probably heard of Dave Ramsey. He’s a personal finance expert, radio show host, author of numerous best-selling books (like “The Total Money Makeover” and “Financial Peace”). In this YouTube Segment, Dave Ramsey goes over briefly six personal finance principles you should be utilizing each and every day. The first step, of course, is to be cognizant of your spending habits. Start by evaluating your financial status holistically by looking at your income, your expenses (especially unnecessary ones), and your financial goals to get you back on track. By acknowledging and understanding where and what your money is going to, you will be able to gain the necessary reigns in moving forward in saving for your future.

TedTalks: Saving for Tomorrow

It’s easy to imagine saving money next week, but how about right now? Generally, we want to spend it. Economist Shlomo Benartzi says this is one of the biggest obstacles to saving enough for retirement, and asks: How do we turn this behavioral challenge into a behavioral solution?