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Nail Any Interview With These Fail Proof Answer Formulas

Nail Any Interview With These Fail Proof Answer Formulas

You spent hours perfecting your CV and resume and you’ve locked down the interview! So now what? At this point in the game, your potential employer has seen you have the necessary qualifications, it’s just a matter of seeing how you would fit in with the team.

Here are some common but essential questions that come up in every interview.

Q: Why do you want to work at _____?

This is going to be a question you get in basically every interview. The purpose of it is to see if you have a genuine interest in working for the said company. If they are going to commit to investing in you as an employee, they need to know you are making an equally committed investment in them. So how do you tackle this question? Make sure you do the research on the company. Have specifics about the company that you can refer to and that you genuinely like. Then try to make the connection of how the focus or values of the company align with your own interests.

Example: I like (x)’s values and goals, I think they are visionary, or I like the work-life balance culture that has been developed at (x).

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Try to avoid things that are too general. You want to really wow your interviewer with how much you know about the company.

If you are an experienced professional you can tell them exactly what you want to accomplish at (x) organization. Identify areas you think you can improve and tell them how.

Q: So tell me about a time you displayed_____?

Usually the blank will consist of something like leadership, time management etc. These questions will most likely stem from the traits they are looking for in their future employees. Most people expect this answer and are able to recall on a specific story. Here’s how to go one step further.

After your story, make sure to link back how you could apply this experience to the job. For example: if you worked at a summer camp and you are currently applying for an HR position. Using your organizational skills you were able to keep track of 20 kids and plan activities and make sure they were present at all times. From what I understand about this position, I will need to be managing a team of 15. I believe I can use the skills I learned from my camp experience in keeping track of each member’s progress and tasks etc.

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If you build the bridge for them they don’t even have to think if you would be a good candidate for the job. You are telling them: YES YOU ARE.

They are trying to see if you are a fit for a position, all you have to tell them is yes you are and here’s why.

Q: What’s your biggest weakness?

The “weakness” question is always a tricky one to tackle but there are ways to answer that actually make you more attractive to a potential employer.

However we should start by emphasizing to never mention a weakness that would be detrimental to the job you are applying for and avoid turning too much a good thing into a weakness. Like saying that you are a perfectionist or that you work too hard.

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Everyone has some sort of weakness; the key is to identify one that would not impede your success in the position and to emphasize the steps you have taken to mitigate it. Employers know that no one is perfect and they can appreciate if you recognize this as well. Stating a genuine weakness may actually prove that you are more self- aware and understand how to overcome barriers that may exist.

Q: Do you have any questions?

ASKK!! When an employer asks if you have any questions, it is always best to ask.

Here’s why: There is no way you know everything about the company purely from their website or job description. Some good follow ups would be to ask more specific details about the job and what the companies upcoming goals and visions may be. Also it is important to ask questions to give yourself a better understanding of the company to identify if it’s really somewhere you want to work.

No matter what questions they throw your way, just remember that you are interviewing for something specific. Make sure you stay in the context of the organization or at least link your answers back if you get on a tangent.

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But most importantly, SMILE, be friendly and practice beforehand. As I stated in the beginning of this article, they already know that you have the necessary qualifications. They just want to see if you would be a fit for the team a.k.a someone they wouldn’t mind spending most of their workdays with. So have fun and try to make a connection with your interviewer.

GOOD LUCK.

Featured photo credit: Image of human hand with pen during seminar or conference via shutterstock.com

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Published on November 12, 2020

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

  • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
  • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
  • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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Final Thoughts

If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

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