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How to Win at Your Next Interview

Any type of interview, from a phone interview to an in-person panel interview, can be extremely stressful and nerve-wracking. The key to dealing with interview anxiety is to be prepared. Here are several simple tips for how to navigate your next interview, no matter the type.

 

Don’t Be Late

If you are interviewing in person be sure to give yourself plenty of time and arrive early. It’s much better to be super early and sit in your car in the parking lot ahead of time than to risk being a few minutes late. Alternatively, if you’re having a phone interview or virtual interview, make sure your phone or laptop is charged with plenty of battery and get yourself all situated well before the set time to meet.

 

Do Your Research

Before any interview, you always want to do your homework and thoroughly research the company you’ll be interviewing with. You not only want to do this to make sure it’s a company you actually want to work for, but it’s also important to show the interviewer that you’ve come prepared and are interested in the company culture, background, and industry. Here are 7 things you can research ahead of time.

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Another way you’ll need to prepare for your interview is to practice your answers to common interview questions. If you have the option, enlist help from a friend or family member and role-play the interview in advance. The more you practice your answers, the more natural it will feel, and then when it is time for the real interview, you’ll feel confident and composed in your responses. If you need help, here are 27 of the most common interview questions.

 

Be Courteous

When interviewing you’ll want to show your appreciation to the interviewer(s). You’ll want to begin the conversation by thanking them for their time and the opportunity to meet and end the interview the same way. After the interview, it’s always a good idea to send a thank you note and in that recap why you think you’d make a good addition to the team and what you have to offer. Here is a link to some sample thank you letters to get you started.

 

While these tips may seem straightforward, they bear repeating. We hope this list of recommendations is helpful for you before your next interview. Bookmark this page and come back to it as often as you need for a refresher beforehand.

 

How to Win at Your Next Interview

Networking (for When You Hate to Network)

For a lot of people, the idea of networking causes instant anxiety and dread because if not done properly, it can feel forced and uncomfortable. However, making professional connections is key to furthering your career and expanding your network. The cliché, “it’s not what you know, but who you know” does in fact ring partially true. Networking is important because it opens doors for you, so in today’s blog, we will look at some ways to develop your network.

 

Learn New Skills

An organic and natural way to expand your network is to learn new skills. Think about it. If you’re taking evening classes at a local college, doing a training for something in your field, or getting a certification, you’ll be meeting new people. Basically, mastering your craft will help you build connections.

 

Help Out

Helping others not only feels good but it can also further your career. However, don’t help out only with the intention of getting something in return because it will come across as transactional. Do something that’s meaningful to you with the intention of giving back more than you expect to receive. Some ways to do this is by volunteering at events or causes that are in your work wheelhouse and are of interest to you. You’ll meet people along the way and if you go with the intention of helping out, it will come across as much more sincere and meaningful than going in with the intention of solely getting something out of it.

 

Use Social Media

Social media, and specifically sites like LinkedIn, are a great way to network. Like the tip above, one way to increase your network (even online) is to focus on what you can bring to the table and the value you offer. Think about posting interesting articles or writing your own. It’s important to maintain an active presence on LinkedIn by engaging with content and others frequently. Here’s another tip: While you may be tempted to connect with strangers on LinkedIn that you think could help further your career, a better approach would actually be to re-connect with those you’re already connected to. If it’s been a few years and you’ve lost touch with a previous co-worker, reach out to them again and see how they are doing and what’s going on with their career. As people go on and expand their careers, they may be able to introduce you to others that would be helpful in furthering yours.

 

Attend Events You’re Interested In

Build a network by being social and connect with others over a shared interest. As more in-person events open up, think about joining an event that you’re interested in. Some ways to find a meeting in your area is through sites like:

  • Meetup.com
  • Eventbrite
  • Facebook
  • Chamber Of Commerce

When meeting people at events, don’t worry about what you’ll get out of a conversation but instead let the conversation flow naturally. At these events you’ll be meeting others with a shared interest which will help the conversation feel a lot more natural and comfortable.

 

 

Networking (for When You Hate to Network)

Tips for When You Don't Like Your Job

Your career is a big part of your life and how you spend quite a bit your time, so you want it to be something that (more often than not) you enjoy. If going into the office feels like drudgery and you’re at a point where you truly dislike your job, it is time to reassess the situation. Finding a new role isn’t always the solution, but instead, try taking simple steps to improve your work life. In today’s blog, we’ll look at some of the most common reasons people dislike their jobs and what to do about it.

 

You’re Stagnant

If each day at work feels like Groundhog Day, the monotony of your work life can keep you from feeling energized and inspired. Finding yourself in this situation, however, is not a reason to necessarily find a new job. See if there are new things you can do within your role or if there's an opportunity for growth at your company. Maybe you can learn a new skill that would benefit your career and that you could implement into your current role. If that's not an option, perhaps it’s time to talk to your boss to see if there is room for more creativity in your role and adding an aspect that excites you and makes you excited to head into work in the morning.

 

Work Burnout

This past year and a half has been a lot for everyone and that coupled with overworking or working in a high-pressure environment can quickly lead to workplace burnout. If your work is taking a toll on your personal life and well-being, it’s a clear indicator to change your work situation. Consider taking a long-deserved vacation and talking with your manager about your lack of work-life balance and come up with a game plan to lighten your workload to something manageable for you.

 

Toxic Work Environment

If the reason you dread going into the office is due to having to be around your manager or co-workers, you’re likely working in an unhealthy work environment. Some other signs of a toxic work environment include high employee turnover, office gossip and cliques, and bad communication. The constant stress and negativity of such an environment are likely not to change overnight. In this situation, it may be best to look for a new job.

 

A Change in Management

Who you report to every day and the type of relationship you have with that person can be a big determining factor in how you feel about your job. Ideally, you’ll work for someone who makes you feel supported, motivated, and secure in your role. On the contrary, working for someone who you disagree with and who you don’t feel supported by can be frustrating and disheartening. Each situation will be different so you’ll have to assess what is right for you and what you can live with and what you can’t tolerate. If your new manager is abusive or disrespectful, you’ll want to speak with HR and look elsewhere for a role. Otherwise, if it’s someone you feel you can repair the relationship with, give it time and see if you can find a work style and communication that is healthy and productive.


Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

 

Tips for When You Don't Like Your Job

Why We Procrastinate and What to Do About It

Procrastination is intentionally delaying a task that needs to be done, even if you know it will come at a cost. The truth is a lot of us procrastinate. Even if we manage to get our projects/assignments in on time, we may have waited until the 11th hour to begin and feel frantic and rushed to get it completed. So, why do we continually do this to ourselves and what can we do about it? Let’s take a look…

 

The Why

According to an article on procrastination in The Washington Post, we procrastinate on projects we find “difficult, unpleasant, aversive or just plain boring or stressful.” Often, it’s the feeling we are trying to avoid. The article goes on to say that some procrastinate because of low self-esteem; we worry about getting the task wrong or disappointing our boss. These types of procrastinators are referred to as “avoiders”. Another type of procrastinator are people that wait until the last minute because they like the thrill and rush of working under pressure. And finally, there are procrastinators that do so because they are indecisive, spending their time ruminating over the possible options and outcomes, and can’t move forward.

 

The Problem

Unfortunately, procrastinators, in general, have higher levels of stress, don’t sleep as well at night, and can suffer from anxiety and depression. People with that constant stress might not exercise and eat well and their health can deteriorate. The article states that procrastinators are “more likely to experience headaches, insomnia and digestive issues, and they’re more susceptible to the flu and colds.”

 

How to Fix It

It may sound strange but one of the first things you want to do to change is to be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for procrastinating. By relieving that guilt, you can begin to take actionable steps towards changing that behavior. Remind yourself that it is part of the human condition that everyone does on occasion. Acknowledge and accept responsibility for the behavior but don’t feel bad or guilty.

 

On the podcast, "WorkLife with Adam Grant" Adam suggests a trick for dealing with procrastination is to identify your “want self” from your “should self”. Your “want self” runs on emotions and wants to seek pleasure in the short run. An example of this would be scrolling social media or watching YouTube clips vs. working on an important task. Whereas the “should self” is more concerned with doing the right thing in the long run. In the moment, it can feel hard to focus on the important tasks but one way to do this is by removing distractions. Schedule tasks on your calendar and block off time to work. Be disciplined and don’t turn towards those temptations even for a minute, because as we all know, that minute quickly turns to 10 and you get sucked in. Save those “want self” items as a reward for completing your “should self” items. It might also be helpful to create a “to-don’t” list. Things you know will be a distraction and wouldn't serve you in the long run. Follow both your to-do and to-don’t lists accordingly.

 

 

Why We Procrastinate and What to Do About It