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6 Secret Tricks To Ace Any Job Interview

6 Secret Tricks To Ace Any Job Interview

Job interviews are a necessary evil in life. Whether it’s physical or phone dialogue, it can be a nerve-wracking experience for candidates as they search for the perfect responses. There are plenty of ways to prepare for it: from asking a friend to do a mock interview with you, to scouring the Web for practical resources.

So you’ve polished your shoes, made a second copy of your CV, and even practiced smiling in front of the mirror a dozen times. Still, there’s no assurance that you’ll bag that post. But with a couple of “secret” tricks, you could be one step closer to snagging that dream job. Here are the top six tips to help you ace your next interview – or any interview for that matter.

1. Wear Something White

You already know the importance of good attire for a job interview – but did you know how crucial color choices are, too? The right hue of blouses, shirts, pants, as well as accessories can give off different signals. Like it or not, your recruiter (and everyone you meet at the interview, like the receptionist) will make snap judgments about you based on your outfit.

Here’s where the color white comes in handy. It’s a safe, neutral color that can complement other shades. At the same time, the wearer will look gentle, friendly, and approachable. Not bad traits to have during a job interview. Don’t like how white looks on you? You can balance the attire by adding bold accents such as a red scarf or a simple, gold bracelet.

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2. Be Friendly with the Receptionist

Receptionists or secretaries are the gatekeepers of every company. One of the main reasons why you need to be punctual (even better: be 10-15 minutes early) for your job interview is so that you can observe your future workplace AND show your friendly nature to the staff. You don’t need to be chummy. Flash a genuine smile, and answer questions when asked. If it seems like the receptionist is initiating small talk, be game! Remember: there are firms that include their receptionists’ feedback when hiring candidates. So be warm and approachable to everyone you meet.

Pro tip: if there’s a place at the receptionist’s desk for business cards, ask if you can include yours. Giving your business card provides people more reasons to stay in touch with you, plus it helps to solidify your presence in their organization.

3. Strike a Power Pose for Two Minutes

Superheroes, particularly Wonder Woman, have special poses that help us identify them as people of authority and competence. But did you know that this nonverbal cue could also help you win that coveted dream job? Also known as “power pose”, it’s been proven to lower stress hormones and boost confidence in demanding situations (like your job interview).

Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, Amy Cuddy and her team performed an experiment that showed how open poses, like those of Wonder Woman, improved feelings of authority. That’s because doing power poses for two minutes increases testosterone levels, the hormones responsible for feeling powerful and in-charge.

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Need a quick confidence boost? Excuse yourself to the restroom or strike a power pose while inside the elevator. You’ll feel instantly alert and ready to take on the challenge!

4. “Anchor” Your Handshake with the Forearm Tap

This trick could go horribly wrong if done incorrectly. Before implementing, make sure you have mastered the art of shaking hands, which has three important aspects:

  • Relaxed eye contact
  • Open palms, not just fingers
  • Mirroring the other person’s grip

According to Phil Bridge, author of Interactional Psychology: Behaviour & the Mind, you can use touch to confirm trust and encourage communication. Now a good handshake could go a long way – but if you want to go the extra mile, gently tap the other party on the forearm with your other hand. This method is known as “anchoring” and it is believed to help other people associate good feelings with meeting you.

A general rule when shaking hands is to smile and always appear sincere. You may also mention the other recruiter’s name for emphasis. If your hands are usually wet, wipe them with your handkerchief or tissue first before touching the other person.

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5. Be the One to Break the Ice

Initiating small talk during your job interview has two big benefits: a) you set the tone for the dialogue; and b) you appear to be a warm and engaging person, characteristics which are especially important for work with a lot of customer interaction. Recruiters would normally play mind games with candidates to catch inconsistencies or to spot anxious individuals. One of these tricks is the awkward dead air. Starting the conversation yourself will help the interviewer see you as a problem-solver.

You don’t need to pamper the recruiter with compliments as an ice breaker. In fact, that’s a red flag! When giving compliments, keep it professional and focus instead on the company’s recent achievements. Great conversation starters could be things you have observed in the office, like a trinket or souvenir item. This will show that you’re observant and you have an eye for detail.

6. Ask at Least One Question

Don’t let the interview end without asking at least ONE question! This will show that your curious and smart, which are always good traits to have. As much as possible, avoid asking about benefits or pay – everybody else would have done that and it doesn’t really help you stand out. Remember, this is your time to shine!

Show how insightful you are by inquiring about company culture, the organization’s goal for this year, or expectations from you. Asking questions is also a great way of steering the interview in your favor because you show how interested you are in the job.

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Make The First 5 Seconds Count

Cliché as it sounds, but first impressions DO matter. How you present yourself after that further reinforces the first image others have of you. The most crucial moments are within the first three to five seconds, so make it count! Flash your most sincere smile, relax your shoulders, and keep your posture open.

You can’t control everything during your job interview, so just focus on doing your best. By being the best version of yourself, you easily increase the chances of snagging that dream job.

Featured photo credit: COD Newsroom – flickr.com via flickr.com

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Published on September 18, 2018

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

1. Show your appreciation

In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

2. Communicate effectively

Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

3. Be open to dialogue

Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

4. Provide constructive criticism

Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

5. Conduct one-on-ones

Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

6. Build training programs

In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

7. Offer growth opportunities

Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

8. Reward them

Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

9. Encourage team outings

Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

10. Involve them

Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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11. Set meaningful goals

In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

12. Empower them

You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

13. Deal with conflict

A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

14. Implement a flexible work culture

Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

15. Host engaging activities

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

16. Maintain a positive work space

Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

17. Avoid discrimination

Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

The bottom line

Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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