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Creating Successful Leaders

Tag Archives: Interviewing Tips

Now

Reflecting on my corporate experiences, a great deal of time was spent in meetings. These meetings ranged from one-on-ones to teams of ten or twenty to business reviews that involved hundreds. Each meeting was an opportunity—but I did not always see them that way. Instead, I viewed them as an interruption preventing me from getting to the real work.

I wasn’t engaged in the moment, fully devoted to what was happening right then and there. Because I let my thoughts go elsewhere, I lost the chance to contribute my best self to the coworkers in those meetings.

It’s easy to get lost in the past or be worried about the future. It’s easy to go off into daydreams. But when you get into the habit of living in the past or future, you miss out on the now. And when you think about it, we’re always in the present. Right now is always, well, happening right now. Which means that when we aren’t in the habit of being present, we limit our ability to live to our fullest.

I’ve started using a technique to help me stay present. I make a point to ask three questions:

1. One that offers support and encouragement

2. One that asks for clarification of a particular subject

3. One that demonstrates the vital inclusionary behavior of successful leaders

You probably noticed that these questions aren’t cookie cutter, copy and paste solutions. That’s the point. In order to ask these questions, you’ll need to be paying attention. You’ll need to know your coworkers’ strengths and weaknesses. Asking these questions shows your team that you’re there, engaged, and ready to dive in.

book_coverFor more on staying present and other vital leadership principles, get your copy of my new book, The 10 Minute Leadership Challenge today.

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potential

Just because you might not have a list of awards or credentials under your belt doesn’t make you an unfavorable candidate for the job. In fact, quite the opposite.

A study conducted by Zakary Tormala and Jayson Jia of Stanford and Michael Norton of Harvard Business School reveals that potential has more of an alluring power than achievements do.

Although going for the individual with more achievements is the safer option, Tormala et al. argue that “the uncertainty surrounding individuals with high potential makes them more interesting, which draws people in, increases processing, and can have positive downstream effects on judgment.” High potential gets noticed.

Sure, with an old pro you can feel more confident that they’ll perform up to standard, but pruning a new recruit reflects better on your own resume. But if you think about it, wouldn’t you rather bring on an undeveloped talent and have them flourish under your supervision than recruit an old pro who’s already done it all before?

If you’re just breaking into a new field, don’t be intimidated by a veteran’s long and decorated list of achievements. A common mistake inexperienced applicants make is downplaying or entirely ignoring the fact that they are a new face.

Use your inexperience as a distinguishing advantage. Instead of saying, “I must admit that I haven’t worked in this area before, but…” say, “With me, you’ll get the rare opportunity to train me in ways tailored precisely to this business. No bad habits here!”

 

Tormala, Zakary, Jia, Jayson, and Michael Norton: “The Preference for Potential.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 103 (2012): 567-583. Accessed June 10, 2013. doi: 10.1037/a0029227.

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By Margaret Smith
SPEAKER | CAREER COACH | CERTIFIED INSIGHTS DISCOVERY PRACTITIONER

In one of my many back issues of Oprah Magazine I stumbled upon an article that had some tips for the job interview that I think will be very helpful for today’s job hunters.

Most of us are amateurs at making snap judgments; HR professionals do it for a living, and they’re tough! Susan Sommers explains that “a skirt suit is a good bet” and reminds readers that “navy is a softer neutral than black.”

However, corporate clones need not apply. “Be genuine—don’t dress like someone you’re not,” warns Susan Kim, Marketing Manager for a skincare company.

Another great way to boost your confidence and image is to make sure your grooming day-of is meticulous. To compliment this grooming, wear the best accessories you can afford.

5 Major Don’ts:

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute: Anxiety breeds mistakes.
  2. Don’t get a radical haircut or color job: Instead, opt for a trim or salon blow dry.
  3. Forget painful shoes: No matter how cute they are, don’t wear them if they bind, squeeze, droop, or bunch. You want to be as comfortable as possible.
  4. Avoid all black: Color has a persuasive, emotional power that should not be wasted.
  5. Don’t starve yourself beforehand: If the occasion does not include food, you may get lightheaded and really be embarrassed.

As for the men, I always tell my coachees to wear a suit and tie. You can always take the tie off, but it’s difficult to discreetly put a tie on at the last minute! Shoes should be comfortable for men as well, but keep them professional (black sneakers don’t count), and they should be polished.

Many times it’s the little things that make a big difference in those first 3 seconds when perceptions are critical. Invest the time in giving your look a little something that will set you apart in just the right, memorable way.

For more useful tips concerning the job hunt, cover letters, and your career, contact UXL today!

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