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Category: Personality

How to Ace Your Phone Interview

Filed under: ambition, Best Advice, Career Advice, Communication, Confidence, Efficiency, Focus, Goals, Good Habits, Hiring, How To, Interviews, Job Market, Persistence, Personality, Productivity, Professional Development, Quick Tips, Success, Thought Leadership, Your Career

Hiring managers are more often opting to start the interview process over the phone in interest of saving time and resources. Some even choose to hire a candidate based solely on a phone screen. Although efficient, these interviews can sometimes put a candidate at a disadvantage because they don’t have the opportunity to impress the hiring manager with a face-to-face interaction. Gregg Gavioli, Managing Director of the Accounting & Finance division of Solomon Page, offers the following tips on how to improve your phone interviewing skills and increase the probability of being called back for an in-person follow up.

Be Prepared

Most individuals often underestimate the significance of a phone interview in the hiring process and therefore do not prepare adequately. This mistake can lead the hiring manager to believe you are indifferent or uninterested in the position. To avoid missing out on a job opportunity because of this, try out the following tactics:

  • Research the company: Be sure to learn everything you can about the organization and be prepared to talk about it.
  • Research the person you are speaking with: Always look up the person you are scheduled to speak with on LinkedIn, Google, and the company website, if applicable. Look for common interests that may be useful to bring up if the timing is appropriate.
  • Find a quiet place: Make sure you are in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for the duration of the interview. If you cannot do the phone screen at your home, check with your local library to reserve a private room.
  • Confirm logistics of the call: Make sure you know the exact time of the call and who is calling who. If you plan to take the call from your cell phone, make sure you are in a place with good reception that won’t cut out during the interview. Test the location for the quality of the reception prior to the interview.
  • Reference your résumé: Be sure to have a copy of your résumé printed out or on screen in front of you to reference during your conversation.
  • Take notes: Keep a paper and pen nearby and jot down notes when the hiring manager is talking—refer back to them when it is your turn to ask questions.

Be Awake, Alert, and Enthusiastic

The downside to phone interviews is the interviewer cannot see your face and therefore your facial expressions. This can hinder them from getting an accurate gage of your interest in the position. To help, try the following:

  • Stand up: It is easier to project with our voices when we are standing. Standing will help you sound more engaged and articulate.
  • Smile: Your voice will sound more enthusiastic if you simply smile while you’re talking.
  • Wake yourself up: This is most relevant in early morning interviews, especially if you are not a morning person. Make sure to give yourself ample time to wake up and try drinking coffee, taking a shower, or exercising before your interview.

A phone interview is one of the initial stages in obtaining a new position, and can also be one of the most important. To ultimately stand out to employers be sure you are prepared and engaged—because what was once a job opportunity, can soon be a job.

By: Gregg Gavioli, Managing Director, Accounting & Finance division of Solomon Page

7 Ways to Show Emotional Intelligence in a Job Interview

Filed under: Attitude, Interviews, Job Market, Job Search, Personality, Professional Development

Yes, having solid technical skills is important in landing a job, but maybe not as important as you might think. In fact, in a survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 71% stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ. What’s more, 75% said they were more likely to promote a highly emotionally intelligent worker; and 59% claimed they’d pass up a candidate with a high IQ but low emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is going to be even more relevant for job hunting in the future too, the Future of Jobs Report from The World Economic Forum ranked emotional intelligence in the top 10 job skills required for 2020. Since more companies are paying attention to hiring people with high emotional intelligence, if you’re looking for a job it’s an important skill to demonstrate in your interview.

Here are 7 ways that to demonstrate emotional intelligence in a job interview:

1. Actively listen

Instead of focusing on a response to the question being asked, give all your attention on the question itself. Don’t give in to the urge that you have to answer the question immediately. Interviewers are looking for a thoughtful response, instead of an immediate one that indicates that you are giving them an answer that you have rehearsed. Repeat the question back in your own words to make sure that you understand it the way that it was intended. If you are not sure if you are answering the question ask the person asking it.

2. Show emotions

Many interviewees, due to nervousness, can came come across as wooden and tightly controlled. It’s not only okay to show some emotion, but the right emotions will form a connection between the interviewer and you. Smiling, as long as it doesn’t appear forced or inauthentic, is always good. Showing enthusiasm and some excitement is also good if it is real. The caveat is not to force any emotions. If the interviewers get a whiff that you are coming across as someone other than yourself, it will cause them to mistrust you and decrease your chances of getting the job.

3. Share the credit for your achievements

Take a cue from professional athletes when they are interviewed after a win or achievement. They always credit their team mates, their team, rather than taking personal accolades. When asked about a project that you are proud of, or that was successful, be sure to share credit with the team, unit, and others who were involved in the project. Make it clear that you are proud to be a member of the group that was involved in the success. This gives more credibility to you being a team player, than if you simply claim that you are, which everyone does.

4. Share how you are trying to improve yourself

The typical advice for answering a question about your weakness is to frame it as something that is actually a strength. For example, claiming to be a perfectionist, or becoming too involved in your job, which can be seem as strengths by an employer. These answers do not cut it any more, as interviewers are looking for something more substantial. When disclosing a weakness be sure to indicate what you are actively doing to work on it and give examples of making progress. Interviewers know that we all have weaknesses and suspect that we may try to hide those in the interview. As long as your weaknesses do not raise any red flags, being honest, open and genuine will help gain their trust and respect.

5. Don’t shy away from talking about conflict

For the question about your strengths, rather than only focusing on your qualifications or technical ability, talk about your ability to work well with others in a teamwork setting. Your ability to adapt to change or setbacks and work well with coworkers and customers is important to bring up. Instead of simply mentioning these things, be prepared to come up with examples of when you had to use those skills. Perhaps there was conflict within your unit or you had to deal with an irate customer. Talk about how you used your soft skills to effectively deal with these situations.

You can read the rest of this article on Fast Company.

9 Skills that Pay Dividends Forever

Filed under: Good Habits, Personality, Professional Development, Psychology, Self Reflection

Some of the most important skills in life are not taught in school. Here are 9 you won’t want to miss out on.

The further along you are in your career, the easier it is to fall back on the assumption that you’ve made it and have all the skills you need to succeed. The tendency is to focus all your energy on getting the job done, assuming that the rest will take care of itself. Big mistake.

New research from Stanford tells the story. Carol Dweck and her colleagues conducted a study with people who were struggling with their performance. One group was taught to perform better on a task that they had been performing poorly. The other group received a completely different intervention: For a task they performed poorly, they were taught that they weren’t stuck and that improving their performance was a choice. They discovered that learning produces physiological changes in the brain, just like exercise changes muscles. All they had to do was believe in themselves and make it happen.

When the groups’ performance was reassessed a few months later, the group that was taught to perform the task better did even worse. The group that was taught that they had the power to change their brains and improve their performance themselves had improved dramatically.

The primary takeaway from Dweck’s research is that we should never stop learning. The moment we think that we are who we are is the moment we give away our unrealized potential.

The act of learning is every bit as important as what you learn. Believing that you can improve yourself and do things in the future that are beyond your current possibilities is exciting and fulfilling.

Still, your time is finite, and you should dedicate yourself to learning skills that will yield the greatest benefit. There are nine skills that I believe fill the bill because they never stop paying dividends. These are the skills that deliver the biggest payoff, both in terms of what they teach you and their tendency to keep the learning alive.

Continue reading the original article on Inc…

The Right Way to Discuss Your Failures in a Job Interview

Filed under: Interviews, Personality, Publishing

In interviewing hundreds of people, I’ve found that the way a candidate answers one key question tells me more about them than any other. I’ll usually wait until the candidate has relaxed somewhat and begins to open up. Then, about halfway through the interview, I’ll ask, “What has been a moment of significant professional disappointment or failure, and what caused it?”

Straightforward enough, right? Yes, but I’m listening for a few key things. First, it asks an interviewee to come up with a specific moment. Rather than the standard “What are your weaknesses?” question, which more often provokes groans from jobseekers, it asks for a concrete professional incident. But this gives a candidate plenty of options: Do they focus on a lost promotion, or a failed project? Do they make it about themselves, or about their company? You can see a lot of their personality by how they interpret the question.

What’s more, by asking what caused the failure, the question doesn’t require an applicant to take responsibility for it, though they might choose to. In my experience, these are three types of answers I typically hear—with some responses earning better marks than others.

Click here to read the rest on Fast Company >>

7 Character Traits That the Best Employees Share

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Personality, Professional Development

The difference between success and failure in business usually comes down to one thing: good teamwork. If someone is going to be an employee, he or she needs to work well with me and other team members. For that reason, it’s important to identify and hire based on the qualities that predict teamwork and success.

Here are seven qualities that the best employees have in common.

1. Reliability
Your employees are only as good as they are reliable. But, how do you determine how reliable new hires will be before you work with them? The value of credentials has all but vanished in today’s economy, so you have to look elsewhere.

Click here to read the rest on Entrepreneur >> 

 

The Hard Truth About Soft Skills

Filed under: Attitude, Communication, Personality, Professional Development

I have a serious issue with the term “soft skills.” You know, those skills that the United States Department of Labor lists as Communication; Enthusiasm and Attitude; Teamwork; Networking; Problem Solving and Critical Thinking; and Professionalism. Every one of those skills is absolutely critical to success in today’s business environment, and calling them “soft” subtly diminishes their importance. Like A Boy Named Sue, soft skills have an image problem, and we need to change that.

“Hard” skills don’t have that image problem. “Hard” connotes tangibility, certainty, and measurability. You have that knowledge, you have that skill, and you are hired to use that knowledge and perform that skill and bring value to the company. Hard skills are essential, because without skill and knowledge nothing gets done.

But today, relying solely on hard skills won’t get the job done either. As we move away from the literal and figurative bricks-and-mortar production model, and toward a more virtual and collaborative work space, soft skills are arguably more essential than hard skills. After all, when breakdowns happen at your organization, is it because your employees didn’t have the specific knowledge or skill to do the job? Not really. We can determine hard skills fairly easily and get people in the right jobs. Failures are far more likely to arise when there’s a communication breakdown, a toxic team dynamic, or a lack of critical thinking. Soft skills don’t seem so soft when you think about it that way.

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >>

How Your Facial Expressions at Work Can Hurt Your Career

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Personality, Quick Tips

What’s the first thing you notice about a person? It’s generally their facial expression. And when you meet someone for the first time, you’re likely to remember if they greeted you with a big grin or a disappointing sulk. First impressions do matter, and your facial expressions can affect how people perceive you. Dr. Alan Fridlund, professor at University of California Santa Barbara, says that expressions are inherently social; they give others clues to how you’re feeling.

Facial expressions can forecast how a person’s feeling: “The face is like a switch on a railroad track,” Fridlund says. “It affects the trajectory of the social interaction the way the switch would affect the path of the train.” Studies by Dr. Fridlund and others show that expressions “occur most often during pivotal points in social interactions; during greetings, social crises, or times of appeasement.” This is where your career may be affected. Because a facial expression can give insight into how a person feels, it may be influencing how you’re perceived at work. Here are three situations where showing your gut reaction through your facial expression may affect you in the workplace.

1. Greeting Someone in the Office Who You Don’t Like

Our general reaction to someone we don’t like is shown directly through the expression our face makes. Dr. Fridlund says that “a scowl may impel them to stay clear.”

Click here to read the rest on Business Insider >>

5 Ways Resilient People Use Failure To Their Advantage

Filed under: ambition, Career Advice, Insights, Personality

While some people become frozen with fear or immobilized by their emotions, resilient people have a remarkable ability to tolerate distress. They face hard times – professional and personal – with determination to do their best and confidence they’ll be able to handle whatever life throws their way.

Whether they get passed up for a promotion, or they fail to close a deal, resilient people don’t give up on their goals. They view each failure as an opportunity to sharpen their skills and become better. Here are the five strategies resilient people use to bounce back after failure:

Click here to read the rest on Forbes >>

To Err Is Human. To Apologize Is Humane.

Filed under: Attitude, Good Habits, Personality, Social Impact

Conflict is a natural and inevitable part of being human. At home or in the workplace, different opinions, perspectives, and values intersect to create interactions that are challenging and taxing to navigate, even at the highest levels of leadership. For example, in a recent survey, CEOs rate conflict management skills as their most important area for professional development.

Handling conflict can become even more challenging when we are the offending party. When we are responsible for hurting someone, we often get angry at the person we harmed, avoid the situation, or try to rationalize our behaviour rather than apologizing for it.

However, a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of apology in repairing and strengthening our relationships. This research examined how people respond when those who offended them offered an apology. The longitudinal nature of this investigation also meant that the researchers could examine what effect the apology had after the event occurred and track forgiveness levels in the weeks ahead.

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>

Do You Have These 4 Soft-People Skills?

Filed under: Personality, Skills, Social Impact, Success

Have you worked with or for a person with a strong leader-type personality? They’re adept in driving for results and measuring performance. They have no issue delivering hard feedback or making tough decisions. At times however, their sharp edge becomes a limitation. They haven’t spent much time developing their soft people skills and it’s making them less effective in their role. Maybe this even describes you.

In a workshop I was conducting on personality types an example was shared about a boss that everyone in the room had worked for. The general dislike of this individual was still evident as everyone had at least one example of how this person was overbearing and difficult to work for. He was eventually asked to leave the company but only after he left a trail of carnage in his wake. His memory lives on.

If you have a strong leader-type personality, you absolutely must get a handle on developing your soft-people skills. There are 4 Skills in particular that may not come naturally but you can learn.

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>