Want to arrive at your interview feeling confident and well prepared? Follow a series of progressive steps, including talking to the mirror!
No, I’ve not had a few too many glasses of wine today, and am not endorsing narcissism. I am, however, a proponent of ensuring you put your best foot forward. Let’s face it: some of us are comfortable walking into an interview, be it with the CEO or a five-person panel. Others among us consider interviews among the most daunting forms of torture, and their entry to an interview room can be a self-imposed gauntlet; once inside, it may be only the clenched grip on the table or arm of the chair that keeps them from sliding under the table, hoping to disappear. A few years ago, I spent some time helping a friend who was firmly in the latter camp.
For the sake of discussion, I’ll refer to this friend as Metus. She had good office skills and was among the most gracious, helpful people in her office; Metus also very much needed both the benefits package and the confidence that came with the success of landing a full time / “permanent” position.
Despite all her attributes, she consistently failed to secure anything other than temporary positions in various departments within her organisation. Why? Interviews frightend her, and she didn’t adequately prepare for them.
Finally, after being shortlisted, interviewed and rejected yet one more time, she was open to some supportive coaching.
With an upcoming opportunity in sight, a couple of friends arranged to have informal get-togethers with Metus. We emulated an interview panel; having read the job description and tossed a few questions Metus’ way, it was clear that, rather than focusing on the questions we posed, she was hoping her resume would speak to her skills and attributes. Her discomfort with the situation was evidenced in the way she prefaced her responses with an “Um … “, or inserted phrases such as, “Like …” or, “You know …”
When we asked about her education in relation to the qualifications required for the role, Metus spoke about her professional development (PD). While it was good to know about her PD (which was a subsequent question we’d drafted), Metus was missing the point: interviewers may be locked in to a system in which – in the interest of fairness – they treat all candidates similarly, and allocate points for each interview question. Depending on the organisation, managers and supervisors must refrain from making allowances for nerves; they may well have a union observer in the room, ensuring all candidates are treated in the same manner.
In some union environments, managers who invite colleagues to form an interview panel recognise that some panel members may benefit from insights as to the ideal, or preferred, responses that would indicate a candidate is suitable for the role, and has the required knowledge base; such administrators may prepare a Q&A section for panel members, with a maximum number of points to be assigned a candidate based on how their responses align with the preferred answers. If a candidate doesn’t touch on those points, that individual’s point score may be reduced from the maximum potential.
We gently offered Metus the good news: we’d identified opportunities to help her improve. All that was required was good, old fashioned hard work.
Interview prep: research, anticipate, build self confidence, emulate the best, develop your own questions, and practice – talk to the mirror
Interview time: dress the part, arrive prepared, listen carefully, speak to your skills, provide focused responses, use good grammar – and consider the employer’s position; it’s not all about you
It may be the time of year, but I’ve noticed that my most popular blogs lately are associated with job searches and interviews; if you’re among those currently working to land a job, I wish you all the best.
We’re all busy, and many of us find it easy to forgo breakfast, but smoothies represent a great start to the day. You can prep them the night before, and whip them up again as you’re preparing to head out the door in the morning. My favourite, pictured here, contains the following and easily lasts me three days.
What are your preferred smoothie essentials? Bananas, flax seed, honey, kale, soy milk, oats, or spinach?
I love summers, and what better time to try this salad and its great presentation? Here’s what you’ll need:
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients apart from the watermelon. Set these salad ingredients in the fridge while you peel and cut your watermelon into squares. The recipe from which we originally worked called for 1.5 inch (3.5 cm) thick slices; I made ours larger.
Use a melon baller or whatever utensil you have handy to scoop out the inside of each watermelon cube; reserve these spares for another use. Wait until shortly before serving to fill each watermelon cube with your salad ingredients, and enjoy.
Now that we spent time Deconstructing Your Minutes in yesterday’s blog, let’s turn to how our use of language can elevate them.
When preparing minutes, do you sometimes seek inspiration to minimize repetition of verbs used to summarize actions undertaken during your meetings? After all, few among us – or our readers – enjoy reading sentence after sentence monotonously offering that, “X asked …” or, “Z noted …”
Equally important, we want to present minutes in an active voice that reflects the action-oriented nature of our meetings. It may be easy to lapse into a passive voice, recording that, “The committee received a report …” or that “Y accepted an award …” but, when you think about it, isn’t such language a disservice to the people who invest time preparing for and then actively participate in a meeting?
With these thoughts in mind, click on Exceptional EA’s Action Verbs or check below for options to consider the next time you’re seeking inspiration … and note (or reflect, observe, affirm, declare or even applaud!) that all such words are provided in the past tense, which is the appropriate choice for recording minutes.
Action Verbs for Minutes and Correspondence