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8 Tricks To Be More Confident for Your Interview

8 Tricks To Be More Confident for Your Interview

A job search can be a stressful time in a person’s life, and staying positive and motivated can make a world of difference for how a candidate is viewed through the eyes of the interviewer. There’s a wealth of practical information on the web about resume and cover letter tips, acing the interview, and follow-up responses. But how do you avoid getting wrapped up in all the stress and worry of a job hunt and maintain a positive outlook? The more confident you feel, the more it will show. Be poised and hold your head high with these useful day-of interview tips:

8 Tricks to Be More Confident for Your Interview

Use Power Postures

We all know that our minds control our actions and our movements. But did you know you can actually use your body to trick your mind into feeling a certain way? Slouching or slumping and crossing your arms are all examples of closed off postures, and when we feel small, we tend to exhibit these poses. If you spend a little time opening yourself up and exhibiting the postures of the confident, you can build a sense of assurance just by your actions. Spend several minutes practicing “power poses,” or opening yourself up, spreading your arms, walking tall, and looking the part.

Practice Speaking Out Loud and Smiling

We often spend the hours before our interview at home alone going over our perfect answers for the questions we anticipate. We haven’t spoken out loud all day, and without noticing it, we feel holed up and nervous. Public speaking and enunciation are skills and we need to hone these skills in order to master them. Once the interview starts, it’s extremely difficult to correct our speaking problems because we may be too nervous or we just plain don’t notice them. Practice speaking your answers out loud so you can hear your voice and correct any nervous intonations, pitch problems, or pacing issues before you go to your interview.

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And don’t forget to smile. Smiling is contagious, even for yourself. Smile often before your interview to get in the habit of doing so, and you’ll feel more comfortable offering a genuine smile while you’re greeted and when you’re being interviewed.

Listen to Upbeat Music

When you’re in your interview, you want to sound excited and enthusiastic about the position, and not downtrodden and beaten up by the job search process. Do whatever you do to pump yourself up and put yourself in the mood to win, whether it’s listening to upbeat music or watching motivational YouTube videos, or just reading inspirational quotes. Think about a time in your life when you succeeded to get yourself motivated.

Leave Your Hang-ups at the Door

So you had your dream job interview the previous day, and now you’re at your backup job interview. If only you could know beforehand whether or not you’ll be offered the dream job, because then you wouldn’t have to keep interviewing. Yesterday you were at your best, but today doesn’t really matter.

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Whatever you feel about the job you’re interviewing for, treat it like it’s your only priority. Bring enthusiasm with you to every interview you go on, because nothing is set in stone, and no matter how confident you are that you aced the dream job interview, you can never be sure until you’ve signed the contract. If you’re anything but excited about the position, it will show. And you never know, the backup job could end up being perfect.

Dress For the Feeling You Want

Job searching sometimes only happens every few years, or longer. If your last interview outfit has gone out of style, you’ll feel outdated and boxy while wearing it and this could result in awkward behavior on your part because you don’t feel comfortable. Don’t dress in clothes you feel ridiculous wearing. If you take some time to pick out a professional and stylish outfit you feel confident in, you’ll be more likely to exude this assurance and everything from your posture to your attitude could change for the better.

Do One Extroverted Act Before Your Interview

Smile at a stranger. Start small talk with the barista. Chat with the receptionist or the people in the elevator in a friendly manner. Interviewers aren’t just looking for the person who has the perfect answer for every question, they’re also searching for someone who can fit the team dynamic. Employers strive to create a motivated, friendly environment with high company morale, and if you come across as someone who’s shut off and impersonal, no matter how well you answer the questions, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not letting your more lively personality show a little.

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Always remember that the small talk that occurs at the beginning of the interview is equally important as the interview itself, so put yourself in a friendly mood by being an extrovert for a few minutes in the morning. (True story: a friend of mine was once so friendly to the people in the elevator after her interview, that one employee rode right back up to tell his boss to hire her immediately. Every action counts, even if your interviewer isn’t present.)

Get Your Nervous Tics Out of the Way Before You Enter the Building

So you crack your knuckles. You bite your nails on occasion, you tap your foot when you’re feeling excited. We have nervous tics because they offer a feeling of release, and it can be relaxing to give in every once in a while. You don’t have to tell yourself to abandon your habits completely, but make sure you’re not doing them in front of a future employer. Make a point to get it all out of the way when you’re still at home or in your car. Go ahead and crack your knuckles and tap your foot if it calms your nerves, then make a mental note to hold off for the few hours you’re in the building (Do be careful when biting your nails, you want them to look nice and well-manicured for the interview).

Understand and Have the Best Possible Answer to the Question “Why Do You Want This Job?”

Depending on how you answer, this could potentially be the most important question of the interview. It can make or break your prospect of landing the job, and if asked in the beginning of the interview, it can set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Knowing the answer to this question means knowing all about the company and the company’s mission, and it requires a deep understanding of your own career values and desires. It also addresses not only why you’re enthusiastic about the position, but how your specific skill set can be of use to the company.

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If the interviewer doesn’t ask this, answer it anyway. When it’s your turn to ask questions or add something, say that you’d like to add what motivated you to apply for the position at that particular company, and why you were excited to be contacted for the interview. Talk about how you believe your values and ambitions are in line with the company’s, and why you feel passionate about the work they do. Think of this answer as your chance to impress and spend a lot of time researching and rehearsing what you’re going to say in this moment.

Your Chance to Shine

Always remember that the interview isn’t just a session to figure out what skills and experience you possess, it’s a chance for you to let your personality show and to prove that you’d be a good fit for the team. Don’t pass up any opportunity for friendly conversation, and be more wary of short and curt answers than loquaciousness (but try not to ramble too much, of course). Have confidence in yourself, believe that you’re capable of landing this job. After all, they called you; they decided your resume and cover letter were worthy of an interview. So practice potential questions and your answers, but also work on building confidence in yourself and having a positive outlook.

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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