Monthly Archives: October 2014

What Applicants Say In Interviews That Get Them Hired

By Naomi Seselja

The most irresistible job applicants marry their emotional intelligence with competency based answers in their job interviews to impress on all levels. These applicants understand an interview isn’t an interrogation but an interactive platform for interviewer and interviewee to arrive at the same station – and feel good about it.

While there are a range of processes to understand about behavioural interviews, I will focus here on three pointers compelling candidates understand about their job interview and what they say that highlights their emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is not ‘faking’ it, it is articulating your genuine positive insights in a purposeful and advantageous way. It is putting your best foot forward and using a smart approach, that indeed is useful both inside the interview and in life.

 Successful applicants are incredibly passionate about the job at hand – and prove it.

You are a high quality candidate with a history of excellence in your chosen field, or as a newbie you showcase your potential and willingness to be great at your job. Passion, enthusiasm, zeal, cannot-wait-to-get-the-offer-and-get-started, or any way you want to put it – is undeniably magnetic.

Show off your fervour in a way that translates to “I will be on top of my game in this role”. Anyone can say “I would love this opportunity” without explaining why. In fact, a user of this phrase probably uses it in every interview they’re asked to, and interviewers remain untouched by this cliche. Why not suggest your enthusiasm by the questions you fire back with?

A sample of questions that impress upon your passion:

  • “What would you expect me to have achieved in my first 3 months on the job?”
  • “Can you tell me about the upcoming projects / campaigns in your company?”

Irresistible applicants come across as someone others would love to work with.

In focusing on facts and figures, don’t forget the ‘likeability’ factor. Sometimes the person most qualified for the job misses out because the interviewer didn’t warm to them and didn’t feel the team would, either. The most skilled candidates practice empathy with their interviewer, understanding they are only human with their own social needs to fit in, to be understood and respected, and use this bias to their advantage.

Ways to be charming in an interview:

  • Make the interviewer feel comfortable by being warm and even humorous if the occasion calls for it.
  • Think of the interviewer as someone you know, talk to them as if you genuinely like and respect them. They will feel this warmth and be confident that the team will to.
  • Speak about your greatest achievements, in a modest tone. Let your achievements speak for themselves.
  • Be interactive and ask questions of your own. People often say they don’t get the chance; but when you are answering a question, the floor is all yours to fire away with your own.
  • Don’t be combative, boastful, cold or disengaged – the most superhumanly intellectual of candidates can lose the opportunity just by being unlikeable.

The best candidates aren’t reserved about complimenting the company at hand.

Stipulate your admiration for the companies initiatives, campaigns, projects, presentation, vibe, vision – anything you genuinely like about the company. Compliment the company.

When answering questions, feel welcome to talk about past relevant experiences and then inject what you like about the company’s matching initiatives.

For example:

“I volunteer with an NGO that helps rescue victims of human trafficking, and was actively involved in my previous company’s campaign to stop child trafficking. I’m so excited that you have projects now in Europe involved in this – it’s such an important global initiative that attracted me to applying for this position. I’d love the opportunity to be on board with what you’re doing there.”

Just by using some emotional intelligence to target your answers and build rapport on a range of levels, you are able to get greater insight into the position and company and find out if it’s right for you, as well as being able to sit in a very comfortable position.

Of course, there are exceptions in some cultural climates, but in general this is how the best of candidates do it. This is not enough in itself to get you hired, but by putting your best social foot forward and having that correlate with your suitability for the position, correctly answering competency based questions and highlighting your fit within the company culture, you are giving yourself the best chances of success.

Naomi Seselja is the founder of Mode Recruitment & Career Services. An expert resume writer and interview coach, her clients include: CEO’s, Biologists, Executives, Financiers, people in the beauty industry and everything in between all across the globe. 

Good Character Traits Essential For Happiness

By Barrie Davenport

“In temper he was Earnest, yet controlled, frank, yet sufficiently guarded, patient, yet energetic, forgiving, yet just to himself; generous yet firm.”

“His conscience was the strongest element of his nature. His affections were tender & warm. His whole nature was simple and sincere – he was pure, and then was himself.”

“Such a nature was admirably constituted to direct an heroic struggle on the part of a people proud enough to prefer a guide to a leader, a man commissioned to execute the popular will but, as in his case, strong enough to enforce his own.”

If you haven’t guessed yet, these quotes were written about the character of the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was a role model for character, integrity, and honesty, traits that never left him throughout the trials and tribulations of leading a country during one of the worst periods of its history.

Of course Lincoln was president during the 19th century when character was a highly-regarded quality. According to historian Warren Susman in his book Culture as History, the use of the word “character” peaked in the 19th century. “Character was a key word in the vocabulary of Englishmen and Americans,” says Susman, and so important to society that it was promoted as an essential component of one’s identity.

Things began to change in the 20th century, as we transitioned from a producing to a consuming society. Emphasis shifted from a focus on virtue and character to a focus on self and material possessions. Says Susman, “The vision of self-sacrifice began to yield to that of self-realization.” It became more important to cultivate personality, influence, and outer perceptions than to develop nobility of heart, mind, and deed. Abraham Lincoln likely would never be elected president today.

Is developing good character an outdated, useless pursuit that has little relevance in modern society? If you look at many of today’s role models (the Kardashians, Miley Cyrus, sports celebrities), it would seem so. Who has time for boring character which gets in the way of an egocentric life?

However, it doesn’t take much experience to discover how essential good character traits are when it comes to one’s self-esteem, relationships, and life satisfaction . Individual character is the linchpin for a healthy, functioning society. Although it may not be a popular pursuit, developing your character is one of the most satisfying, emotionally healthy endeavors you’ll ever undertake.

Good character consists of defining your values and integrity based on time-tested principles and self-reflection, and having the courage to live your life accordingly. So how do you begin to improve your character?

Let’s look at 20 good character traits that impact your happiness . . .

  1. Integrity:  Integrity is having strong moral principles and core values and then conducting your life with those as your guide. When you have integrity, you main your adherence to it whether or not other people are watching.
  2. Honesty: Honesty is more than telling the truth. It’s living the truth. It is being straightforward and trustworthy in all of your interactions, relationships, and thoughts. Being honest requires self-honesty and authenticity.
  3. Loyalty: Loyalty is faithfulness and devotion to your loved ones, your friends, and anyone with whom you have a trusted relationship. Loyalty can also extend to your employer, the organizations you belong to, your community, and your country.
  4. Respectfulness: You treat yourself and others with courtesy, kindness, deference, dignity, and civility. You offer basic respect as a sign of your value for the worth of all people and your ability to accept the inherent flaws we all possess.
  5. Responsibility: You accept personal, relational, career, community, and societal obligations even when they are difficult or uncomfortable. You follow through on commitments and proactively create or accept accountability for your behavior and choices.
  6. Humility:m You have a confident yet modest opinion of your own self-importance. You don’t see yourself as “too good” for other people or situations. You have a learning and growth mindset and the desire to express and experience gratitude for what you have, rather than expecting you deserve more.
  7. Compassion: You feel deep sympathy and pity for the suffering and misfortune of others, and you have a desire to do something to alleviate their suffering.
  8. Fairness: Using discernment, compassion, and integrity, you strive to make decisions and take actions based on what you consider the ultimate best course or outcome for all involved.
  9. Forgiveness:You make conscious, intentional decisions to let go of resentment and anger toward someone for an offense — whether or not forgiveness is sought by the offender. Forgiveness may or may not include pardoning, restoration, or reconciliation. It extends both to others and to one’s self. (Reminder: Have you checked out my new book? I just released STICKY HABITS: 6 Simple Steps To Create Good Habits That Stick. Click here to check it out!)
  10. Authenticity: You are able to be your real and true self, without pretension, posturing, or insincerity. You are capable of showing appropriate vulnerability and self-awareness.
  11. Courageousness: In spite of fear of danger, discomfort, or pain, you have the mental fortitude to carry on with a commitment, plan, or decision, knowing it is the right or best course of action.
  12. Generosity: You are willing to offer your time, energy, efforts, emotions, words, or assets without the expectation of something in return. You offer these freely and often joyously.
  13. Perseverance: Perseverance is the steadfast persistence and determination to continue on with a course of action, belief, or purpose, even if it’s difficult or uncomfortable in order to reach a higher goal or outcome.
  14. Politeness:You are knowledgeable of basic good manners, common courtesies, and etiquette, and are willing to apply those to all people you encounter. You desire to learn the skills of politeness in order to enhance your relationships and self-esteem
  15. Kindness: Kindness is an attitude of being considerate, helpful, and benevolent to others. It is motivated by a positive disposition and the desire for warm and pleasant interactions.
  16. Lovingness: The ability to be loving toward those you love means showing them through your words, actions, and expressions how deeply you care about them. It includes the willingness to be open and vulnerable.
  17. Optimism:Optimism is a sense of hopefulness and confidence about the future. It involves a positive mental attitude in which you interpret life events, people, and situations in a promising light.
  18. Reliability: You can be consistently depended upon to follow through on your commitments, actions, and decisions. You do what you say you will do.
  19. Conscientiousness: You have the desire to do things well or to the best of your ability. You are thorough, careful, efficient, organized, and vigilant in your efforts, based on your own principles or sense of what is right.
  20. Self-discipline: You are able, through good habits or willpower, to overcome your desires or feelings in order to follow the best course of action or to rise to your commitments or principles. You have a strong sense of self-control in order to reach a desired goal.

Developing these traits of good character can be difficult to foster and maintain, but they afford so many positive benefits to improve the quality of your life.

Good Character

  • Attracts the trust and respect of other people.
  • Allows you to influence others.
  • Changes your perspective about the future.
  • Sustains you through difficult times or opposition
  • Improves your self-esteem, self-respect and confidence.
  • Creates a foundation for happy, healthy relationships.
  • Helps you stay committed to your values and goals.
  • Improves your chances of success in work and other endeavors.

How to build good character traits

If you believe developing your character is an endeavor you want to pursue, here are some steps to show you how.

Define your core values:  Know what is most important to you by determining your values for your professional and personal life. These are the principles that are the foundation for your priorities, choices, actions, and behaviors. You can start by looking at this list of values.

Practice the habits:  Pick one or two of the traits of good character listed above to practice for several weeks. Write down the actions you want to take or the behaviors you define that reflect this trait, and implement them in your daily life and interactions. Wear a rubber band on your wrist or create other reminders to help you practice.

Find people with character:  Surround yourself with people who reflect the character traits you want to embrace. They will inspire and motivate you to build these traits in yourself. Try to avoid people who have weak character and make bad decisions.

Take some risks:  Start taking small actions toward a goal or value that involve some level of risk. When you face the possibility of failure and challenge yourself toward success, you become mentally and emotionally stronger and more committed to your principles.

Stretch yourself:  Create high standards and big goals for yourself. Expect the best of yourself and constantly work toward that, even though you will have setbacks and occasional failures. Every stretch builds your confidence and knowledge that your character is getting stronger.

Commit to self-improvement:  Realize that building your character is a life-long endeavor. It is something that is practiced both in the minutiae and the defining moments of your life. There will be times you step up to the character traits you embrace and other times you falter. By remaining committed to personal growth and learning about yourself, your character will naturally improve, even through the failures.

What do you consider to be the most important and valuable character traits? How do you reflect these traits in your daily life both at work and in your personal life?

Barrie Davenport is a personal growth seeker, published author, and certified coach committed to helping people shift their thinking, create positive new habits, and build lifetime confidence. She’s the creator of several online courses and has helped thousands of people around the world with her practical strategies for personal development.

Making Time for Meaningful Work

by Dan King

Time Flies. As a student a while back, I remember scholarly predictions that advances in automation and technology would ultimately supplant the need for a 40-hour work week by the 21st century. This impending crisis for American society would threaten the fabric of personal and family life as American workers, forced into working just 30-hours a week, would struggle with the stress of having too much time on their hands.

Huh? Who were the people making these predictions — meteorologists? How else could they be so wrong and still have jobs. The 21st century is in full swing and I don’t hear many people complaining about having too much time on their hands — unless they’re unemployed.

We have become a nation of workaholics, working on average, nine weeks more per year than any other modern industrial nation. I hear from clients that they work upwards of 60 hours per week – and that’s not counting the work they take home to do on the weekends.

Author Joe Robinson writes, “the line between work and home has become so blurred that the only way you can tell them apart is that one has a bed.” We work more and more, then drag ourselves home, collapse in front of the TV, fall asleep, then wake up to begin the cycle anew.

In an announcement last week, Max Schireson, the CEO of MongoDB, Inc., announced that he was stepping down as CEO of the software company so he can spend more time with his wife and children. In his blog he wrote: “I recognize that by writing this I may be disqualifying myself from some future CEO role. Will that cost me tens of millions of dollars someday? Maybe. Life is about choices.”

Whether you see Schireson’s announcement as very courageous or very stupid depends on your values and beliefs about meaningful work. However, he’s not as unusual as you might think. I frequently hear clients say that they would gladly forego a pay raise in return for more free time. But in most organizations today, it’s easier to get extra time off for doing your job poorly than it is for doing your job well. A suspension is more readily attainable than a sabbatical!

The World Policy Analysis Center at UCLA this week reported that the United States is the only advanced economy that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation and one of only 13 countries in the world not to do so. This puts us in line with India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and a handful of island nations that don’t require employers to offer workers paid time off.

If you factor in the high level of dissatisfaction amongst American workers, you can see that we’re in the grip of some very destructive beliefs about work. For the seventh straight year, more than half of U.S. workers report dissatisfaction with their jobs, according to the 2013 version of The Conference Board Job Satisfaction Survey. They want to change jobs and explore options for more meaningful work, but don’t have the time to do so. The net effect of all this is an overworked, stressed-out, harried US workforce working at jobs they dislike, trying desperately to manage personal, family and work demands – often with dismal results.

Throughout history, people have usually dreamed of working less, not more. If you want a work life that aligns more closely with your most cherished values and beliefs, you can’t just dream about it — you need to commit to it, whatever it takes — while there’s still time.

MeaningfulCareers.com was created by Mark Guterman and Dan King, two guys with a shared commitment to the power of meaningful work. They help professionals find greater meaning in their careers, lead happier, more satisfying lives, and instill lasting value through their work. For more information and resources visit: http://meaningfulcareers.com.