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8 Ways to Succeed at Your Next Job Interview

8 Ways to Succeed at Your Next Job Interview

Going for a job interview can be incredibly nerve racking, no matter how prepared you are. However, you can minimize your anxiety by preparing yourself for every step of the process, beginning before you even set foot in the door. Above all else, you should always keep in mind that, if you’ve been called in for an interview, the company at the very least believes you’re qualified for the position on paper. Now you just have to show that your true persona matches the one on your resume.

1. Do your research

Throughout the days leading up to your interview, read up on everything you can find about the company. Read the website to understand the company’s mission, as well as its previous accomplishments. Check out the current employees’ profiles, as well as the type of clients you’ll be working with. Once you have a firm idea of what the company stands for, figure out how you fit into the mix. Remember: you might be qualified to do the job, but if your personality isn’t what the company’s looking for, you’re not guaranteed a position.

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2. Dress confidently

Make sure you know what attire is expected for the interview. Regardless of what you’re expected to wear, make sure your clothes are ironed and spotless. Even if you know that you don’t have to dress too professionally on a regular workday, definitely do so for the job interview. Once you get the job, use discretion when “dressing down.” You don’t want to show up in jeans just because it’s Casual Friday, only to find out that just means you didn’t need to wear a tie. Besides, don’t you feel better when you’re all dressed up, anyway?

3. Come prepared

Don’t just come into the job interview with the shirt on your back. Bring extra copies of your resume and references, so that if you’re interviewing in front of a committee, each member has the necessary information in front of them. Also, bring a notepad so that you can write down any new information you learn throughout the process. It helps if your notepad is already full of the information you gleaned doing your own research, which will show you’ve done your homework before walking through the door.

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4. Be punctual

The last thing you want to do is peel into the parking lot a minute or two before your interview is to begin. You should arrive at least 10-15 minutes early. This will show your prospective employer that you account for contingencies such as traffic, and are responsible enough to give up some of your time to ensure that you meet the company’s expectations. Use this time to check over your notes about the company, and to refresh in your mind the important points you want to stress about your abilities and accomplishments.

5. Be enthusiastic

During a job interview, you want to be Leslie Knope. Don’t be afraid of looking like a total geek. The interviewers want to know you’re dedicated wholeheartedly to the success of the company. Speak confidently about your abilities, goals, and aspirations. Make them confident that picking you for the position will be the best decision they could possibly make. Remember, they’ve already picked you to be interviewed based on your skills; show them you not only have the skills needed to perform the job, but you’re able to put these skills to good use.

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6. Listen

There will also be times during the job interview that you’ll need to stay quiet and hear what the boss has to say. You want to be enthusiastic, but don’t be so excited that you jump the gun and interrupt them because you thought you knew what they were going to say. Show that you’re able to contain yourself and maintain a calm, collected persona even when your mind is racing with great ideas. This will show them that you’re a team player and not just out to make a name for yourself.

7. Ask questions

As mentioned before, you should have a list of questions prepared for the interviewer that you might have still had after doing your research. If you’ve been taking copious notes throughout the job interview, you probably have even more questions than when you began the process. Asking these questions is imperative. Find out how the company gauges success, what the previous person in the position you’ll possibly inherit is doing now, and what goals you’ll want to set upon being hired. This will solidify the notion that you already see yourself as a good fit in the company and want to hit the ground running as soon as possible.

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8. Follow up

After the job interview is over, it’s essential that you reach out to each and every member of the interview committee to express your gratitude. Remember, they took time out of their busy schedule to get to know you better, so even if you don’t get the job, you still owe them for the opportunity they gave you. You also want to reach out to ensure that they know as much about you as possible. If you didn’t get a chance to mention an accomplishment or experience from your past that you think would help them make a decision, you have one chance left to wow ‘em. Make it count!

Featured photo credit: GK_VermRS_42-15696056-ROLAND-Versicherung.jpg / Pressbox.de via farm7.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

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