SUCCEED FOR YOURSELF PDF
Results 1 - 10 of This book describes five self-help techniques for removing negative subconscious material or 'blockages' in yourself and one self-help. Get yourself some cookies and don't put this book down till you've mastered its message. —Wally Amos, author of The Cookie Never Crumbles. My good friend. Setting Goals for Yourself, and Motivating Yourself to Succeed. Page 2. 2. Be in Control of Your Life. If you want to be in control of your time and your life, you.
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When preparing raw food it's important to be hygienic and store your edibles safely. Using a big Esme's Recipe Book Teach Yourself Electricity and. Title: Think, learn, succeed: understanding and using your mind to thrive at school, . How do you “invest” in yourself, creating a lifestyle that promotes. You want to succeed at interviews. Perhaps you have a suspicion that you aren't putting yourself across to the very best of your ability during.
United Kingdom. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or stored in an information retrieval system other than for purposes of review without the express permission of the publisher in writing. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. The material contained in this book is set out in good faith for general guidance and no liability can be accepted for loss or expense incurred as a result of relying in particular circumstances on statements made in the book. Laws and regulations are complex and liable to change, and readers should check the current position with the relevant authorities before making personal arrangements. He is frequently asked by organisations to design assessment centres and train their interviewers.
Read and read even more In your preparation, you should read ravenously. Any snippet you pick up could make the difference in showing that you have invested time and effort to understand the organisation. Be sure to read any marketing literature that the organisation has.
For example, if the company sends information out, you should ring the customer care line and ask for brochures and so on. Of course internet search engines provide easy access to a large volume of information about employers too. Spending a couple of hours to visit a university library or city business library may pay dividends when it comes to telling the interviewer about some insight that you have gleaned that other candidates have not spotted.
Look, listen, and learn Reading up on an organisation is a great start. But top candidates go further by putting in some legwork to research potential employers too.
Make sure you do the following: Tell them that you are thinking about taking a job with the company and ask for a few of their thoughts. You never know what information you might pick up. Someone could even warn you about favourite questions that the interviewers at head office like to ask! Even if they do not know anything about the organisation, you may find that they know people who have had contact with the organisation.
Even talking to someone in the same industry could be helpful. So ask the people you know for introductions to people who may know either about the particular organisation or its general industry. Interviewers are always much more impressed by candidates who have taken the time to move beyond desk research. Telephone ahead Apart from the time, date, and location of the interview, you will also need to know who you are going to be interviewed by.
But there is other information that you should find out before your interview. Will they let you see it beforehand? Also try to sort out practical issues such as getting directions, or asking whether you will be able to claim for travel expenses. You do not want to bother the interviewer about such relatively trivial matters. Make sure you are unfailingly polite on the telephone. Any rudeness to a receptionist or secretary could easily get reported to your interviewer.
Employers always warm to candidates who can demonstrate they have taken the time to find out about the organisation. Just as important as what you say is how you say it.
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A candidate who says exactly the same words while smiling appropriately, speaking clearly in an enthusiastic way, and making strong eye contact, creates a much stronger impact.
How you come across in your appearance and manner is of particular importance within the first few minutes of the interview. How you look and behave in those first few minutes can make a critical difference between success and failure. This chapter focuses on making not only a great first impression, but also managing your impact throughout the entire interview.
We all do it when we see someone with purple hair and a nose ring, someone wearing expensive designer labels, or another person with overly tight trousers and a low-cut top. We assume characteristics about other people based purely on what they look like.
So why should it be any different for interviewers when they meet you for the first time? If you wear clothes that look as though they are appropriate only for lounging around at home, the interviewer may decide on your behalf that you would be better off at home rather than working for their organisation.
If you look dishevelled, they may assume that your mind is also a bit dishevelled and that you may not be very good at organising your work activity. So think carefully about what you are going to wear and ensure you always create a great first impression.
Bear in mind that interviewers often subconsciously believe that your appearance is the outward manifestation of your personality. What does your appearance say about your personality? However, wearing a suit to the wrong organisation could mark you out as boring and precisely the wrong kind of person to be working for them. For example, creative industries such as advertising agencies often pride themselves on being hotbeds of trendy ideas and may look down on candidates who are suited and booted.
The best way to decide what to wear is to do some research as follows: Watch the. However, be careful, as managers who know that they need to see clients or interview candidates may dress more smartly than they would do normally.
Do not allow yourself to be fobbed off by a receptionist. Ask politely to speak to the secretary or personal assistant of the manager who will be interviewing you.
Explain that you wanted to check the dress code so you do not stand out for all the wrong reasons. If you are in any doubt as to what to wear, err on the side of caution and abide by the following guidelines for men and women. Be very careful of dressing down. Understand the rules for men The rules for men are fairly simple. Navy blue and grey are the most acceptable colours.
Suits that are pure wool are the best as they are naturally much more crease resistant than even fabrics that have been specially treated to resist creases. Make sure that the suit is smart, clean, and well fitted. If it has been a while since you last wore your suit, make sure that it still fits you and does not need to be dry-cleaned. Damp patches are deeply unattractive.
Simply choose a single-colour tie or one with a very straightforward pattern. Some so-called experts say that certain colours send out signals to the interviewers about your personality, but please ignore them. Allow your words to speak louder than your fashion sense. Avoid wearing novelty socks at all costs.
Again, you want your words to speak more loudly than your socks. Leave the white or other coloured socks for the gym or football pitch.
Nothing more. Even a tie clip looks dated. Invest at least a week of your wages or salary when buying a new suit. What you wear is an essential investment in your career. The fashion industry will dictate that a certain colour is in fashion this year and a different one the next year.
However, stick to the following guidelines: Bear in mind that the business world often lags behind the fashion world by several years, so err on the side of choosing a suit that is more traditional and conservative than what the fashion magazines may be telling you to buy. Choose a fabric that does not wrinkle easily — avoid linen! Women interviewers are. Unfortunately, some interviewers can still be a bit sexist about women wearing trousers.
Wear shoes that your grandmother would be happy with. Sky-high heels may be the height of fashion, but again some interviewers in more staid industries may see them as over-the-top. Avoid unusual jewellery such as thumb rings or more that one earring per ear. Again you may get a negative reaction from interviewers with more traditional personal values. You may want to disagree with these guidelines. At the end of the day, you can wear what you like, but just be aware that there are some interviewers with quite traditional ideas about what is appropriate or not.
Avoid blunders Over the years, I have observed that some interviewers can attach a disproportionate amount of meaning to some relatively minor sartorial errors. So make sure that you do the following: Ask your best friend for an honest opinion. As an interviewer, I am frequently amazed by candidates who, for example, leave a trail of body odour in their wake or do not realise that they have bad breath.
Try this test: Be careful not to wear too much perfume or after-shave too. However, your friends might be able to give you some valuable advice on what to wear. Ask your friends, colleagues, and partner for their honest opinion. But if you ask them for advice, be gracious enough to thank them and, above all, listen to their advice and incorporate some changes into your wardrobe. Pack a smart bag You do not have to have a formal briefcase.
However, it would help if you have a smart bag or case of some sort to carry with you items such as the following: Occasionally, an interviewer may have been drafted in at the last minute and may not have your CV to hand.
For example, if you are an architect or designer, you may want to bring along plans or diagrams to show the interviewer. However, do not take a notepad and pen along with you. Interview etiquette dictates that the interviewer is the one who is allowed to take notes. If you must bring along a notepad and pen, use them only after the interview to write up your notes. Be sure to switch your mobile phone onto silent mode or turn it off entirely.
A ringing phone halfway through an interview will not impress an interviewer. After all, would you want to work with someone who was technically very good at the job, but rather boring or a bit arrogant? You need to make the interviewer not only think highly of your skills but also want to work with you. Smiles like yawns are infectious. So think about an interview as an opportunity to present yourself in the best possible light. Use your body language, posture, tone of voice, hand gestures, smiles, and every technique at your disposal to make yourself appear as the kind of professional, committed, enthusiastic person that the interviewers will want to hire.
Focus on first contact First impressions count. So it makes sense to choreograph the first few minutes of an interview to make sure you deliver a devastatingly professional, confident, and personable first impression.
When meeting your interviewer for the first time, be sure to follow these suggestions: Calculate your journey time days before your interview and make sure you can get there on time. If in doubt, get there early and find a local coffee shop where you can relax and get into the right frame of mind. Will this candidate frequently arrive late for work?
Arrive at reception ten or 15 minutes early so you can look around the building for features you could comment on and genuinely praise. For example, look for plaques on the wall commemorating prizes the organisation has won, or books filled with press cuttings about the organisation. Look also for original pieces of art, the design of the reception area or building, the landscaped gardens outside, and so on.
When the interviewer arrives, being able to talk positively about one or two aspects of their organisation will help to create the impression that you are a friendly, likeable person. Babies learn to recognise smiles from the age of several weeks; human beings are genetically programmed to warm to others who smile.
If you have a tendency to get nervous and for your hands to sweat, hold your hands under a cold tap for a few minutes in the cloakroom. Failing that, discreetly keep your right hand wrapped around a handkerchief in your pocket or handbag until you see an interviewer approaching to shake your hand.
As a mark of respect, ask for permission from the interviewer to take off your jacket, particularly from older interviewers who appreciate such nuances of business etiquette. Use your body language and tone of voice throughout the interview Rapport is not established at any particular point in the interview. Building rapport is something that you need to do throughout the interview.
Follow these tips to create a strong and positive impression through your body language. Research tells us that you should look your interviewer in the eyes when they are speaking. It is acceptable to glance away occasionally when it is your turn to speak.
For example, many people look at some spot in the middle distance when pausing for a moment to construct an appropriate response to an interview question. Again, this shows that you are actively paying attention to what is being said. Watch any good public speaker and you will notice that they use their hands to punctuate their words.
For example, many people turn their palms up to indicate sincerity or move their hands slightly more vigorously when they get excited.
Vocal qualities such as the tone, volume, and inflection of your speech can also have a major effect in projecting your personality and positive characteristics such as enthusiasm and confidence too. Have you ever been told that you speak a bit too quietly or loudly? Being barely audible could make you sound quite nervous; being too loud could make you appear arrogant.
One of the commonest complaints interviewers make about candidates is that they have flat, lifeless, boring speaking voices. Try to introduce inflection into your words: Speaking too quickly could make you appear nervous; speaking too slowly will drain the energy from your interviewers. Try to vary your speed occasionally.
Again, quickening your pace may be appropriate to convey enthusiasm. Slowing down may be useful when you want to appear more thoughtful, considered, and mature. If the idea of using body language and your tone of voice to build rapport seems baffling, a good exercise is to look around you at the people you work with.
The next time you are in a meeting with colleagues or simply having a drink with friends, watch the people around you and ask yourself who looks bored? Who looks motivated and fired up? Then analyse what it is that they say, how they say it, and how their faces, hands and bodies move to give off a good or bad impression. Try to incorporate what they say and do during your interviews in order to create the right impact. Mirror your interviewer Another technique for building rapport is to match your speech patterns and body language to those of your interviewer.
Try out these tips: If your interviewer is sitting very upright, then make sure you do too. If your interviewer is sitting in a very relaxed fashion, then allow yourself to relax in order not to appear tense and uptight.
If the interviewer speaks very slowly and ponderously, you should slow down too. But if an interviewer speaks in a fast and excitable fashion, speed up to mimic their style too. Use your hands more if the interviewer is gesturing strongly and boldly; use your hands less if the interviewer moves little during the interview.
If you move your hand when the interviewer moves their hand, your efforts at mirroring could be misinterpreted as mockery of their mannerisms. Minimise any distracting body language Learn to monitor the unconscious signals that your body sends out during interviews.
Typical lapses to look out for include the following: If you feel yourself becoming nervous, try swallowing between sentences as this forces you to slow down. If you are worried about your body language, ask your colleagues or close friends whether you have any particular mannerisms when you are nervous. Start to observe the body language of the people you work with. Notice how their body language often communicates their true feelings and learn from what you see to make sure you communicate only enthusiasm and confidence during your interviews.
The situation is not helped by the fact that unskilled interviewers can sometimes inadvertently — or sometimes deliberately — ask questions that are lengthy, convoluted, and difficult to answer. In order to make sure that you do not fall foul of this trap, be sure to do the following: If the interviewer has asked you a tough question that is an unusual variation on what.
Always ask for clarification if you are not per cent sure of the question. But remember that an interview should be a dialogue rather than a series of lengthy monologues on your part. Bear in mind that an interviewer may have already met several other candidates. The last thing you want to do is talk for so long that you bore your interviewer. When an interviewer asks you a simple question, keep your answers short to begin with. Think of each interview answer as the tip of an iceberg.
You should aim to answer with a response that lasts for only 20 to 30 seconds. But beneath the surface, you have much more detail to share if the interviewer is interested in hearing it. Even a candidate who is a lazy person with poor managerial skills and a track record of failing all the time could claim to be ambitious and so on. As such, the difference between a strong candidate and a weak one often lies in the examples they provide to prove their competence.
I have good managerial skills because I was the only manager last year to be given the top amount of bonus, which is something that my boss would be able to testify to. Immediately, providing examples makes a candidate sound more credible.
Remember that examples paint a much more vivid picture in the mind of the interviewer than do generalised statements that you may make about yourself. Understand that not all interviewers are skilled interviewers A skilled interviewer will ask probing questions about problems and opportunities you have faced, and may want examples along with detail as to what you did, why you did it, and what you learned. However, not all interviewers are skilled interviewers.
Sometimes, you may be faced with an unskilled interviewer who is more nervous about having to interview a candidate than you are to be interviewed. It is impossible to predict what sort of interviewer you will be faced with. You might think that more senior managers or interviewers in the larger, multinational or more sophisticated companies might be better trained than more junior managers or those in smaller organisations.
But that is often not the case. Consider the following exchange between an unskilled interviewer I and a candidate C. Because the interviewer did not ask for an example, the candidate lost the chance to demonstrate their competence. However, compare it with an exchange in which the candidate gives a short example, even though the interviewer did not actually ask for one. Are you a good team player?
Yes, I think I am. I have been taking part in a continuous improvement team for the last six months in addition to my day-today responsibilities. I have learnt a lot about working closely in a team to improve how we operate in the business.
I can tell you much more about it if you like. And now the next question. A skilled interviewer will automatically ask for examples,. So try to give short, concrete examples to substantiate your claims and make yourself more memorable. These or so questions should cover almost anything that an interviewer could throw at you.
However, in reading the questions, the advice, and the sample answers, be sure to think about your own experiences. Work out the answer to each question that is relevant for you. You will almost certainly fail if you simply try to learn the sample answers parrot-fashion.
I would strongly recommend that you work through the questions in Chapters 4 to 8 and write down some notes on how you would answer the questions. Believing that you know what you would say is different from writing it down and then reading it out aloud to hear how it sounds. Putting in the extra effort to prepare your examples and stories will pay considerable dividends when it comes to facing an actual interviewer.
Work out your own answers, as you need to find examples that you feel comfortable with. It is much easier to sound convincing and to project your confidence if you are speaking from personal experience. Telling the truth The advice and sample answers in this book lay out what you should ideally be able to say to interviewers.
However, your circumstances may dictate that you are unable to give that answer without either exaggerating the truth a bit or telling an outright lie. I know for a fact that many candidates do embellish their experiences, or tell little white lies as well as great big falsehoods. The truth of the matter is that many candidates get away with it. However, just because many candidates get away with it does not mean that you will necessarily get away with it. Remember that many employers check up on references.
Some organisations may ask to see your exam certificates too. To lie or not to lie — that is the question. The choice is yours. Weigh up the consequences of being found out to be a liar versus being truthful and hoping that your strengths will compensate for whatever weaknesses or faults you are thinking about covering up.
Perhaps you get a dry mouth, racing pulse and sweaty palms. But the good news is that there are practical tips that will help you to manage your nerves and show yourself off in the best possible light. Even better, a modicum of tension can even keep you alert and help you to think more quickly on your feet.
Change any one of the three — the beliefs you hold in your head, your bodily state, or your behaviour — and you can affect the other two. For example, scientists have discovered that just thinking negative thoughts can cause your body to release stress chemicals into your bloodstream, which then make you feel tense. Conversely, thinking positive thoughts can force your heart rate to slow down and help you to feel more relaxed. Changing your behaviour can also affect your brain and how your body responds to stress.
For example, listening to gloomy music can cause your mood to swing downwards; listening to cheerful music forces our brains to switch into a more positive mood. The tips within this section recognise that your brain or the beliefs you have about yourself , your bodily state, and your behaviour are linked. Using all of these techniques together will help you to calm your nerves and project a more confident you.
Harnessing the power of positive thinking We all have a little voice in our heads. When things go wrong, our inner critic tells us how stupid we are, how embarrassing a situation is, how we should avoid similar situations in the future, and so on. In order to stop these ANTs from crawling into our subconscious, we need to recognise and challenge them. The key to stamping out your ANTs is to question them when they arise.
Take a sheet of paper and write down the negative beliefs you have about yourself in the context of interviews and finding a new job. Choose some positive phrases about yourself that you can repeat to yourself when you hear your inner critic putting you down. When you hear your inner critic speaking up, choose to repeat your positive statements instead.
The more frequently you repeat your positive statements about yourself, the more completely you will suppress your inner critic. Phrase your affirmations positively in terms of what you want to achieve, e. So it stands to reason that if you change what your body is doing, you can also change the reactions of your brain as well as the behaviour you will exhibit during an interview. For example, people who feel nervous often start to breathe more quickly, which can make them feel dizzy and even trigger a panic attack.
Conversely, breathing more slowly and deeply can summon up feelings of intense relaxation. Diaphragmatic breathing is a powerful technique for dispelling tension. First, you have to practise the technique so that you can use it in the moments before an interview. Follow these simple steps: Only your left hand should rise and fall. Practise inhaling to a count of four, holding your breath for a few counts, and then exhaling to a count of four. If you do this for several minutes, you may find that you start to feel very warm, your fingers start to tingle as your body relaxes and pumps blood around your body, and you may feel very relaxed and even slightly sleepy.
Your right hand should remain motionless. If your right hand is rising and falling, you need to focus on moving your breathing further down into your gut. Breathing into your chest simulates what may happen if you feel angry or nervous. Then practise the technique while sitting upright. Once you have mastered the technique when sitting upright, you are ready to use the technique just prior to an interview — perhaps when you are sitting in reception — to call forth that deep feeling of relaxation.
Use diaphragmatic breathing to relax at any time. For example, if you feel nervous the night before an interview and have trouble falling asleep too. Amazingly, scientists have found that people who are asked to visualise exercising a muscle can actually build up strength in that muscle without ever stepping into a gym.
Again, this stems from the link between your brain, your body, and your behaviour. If you can think about how a successful interview will look and feel, you are much more likely to be able to behave in that fashion during an actual interview. Practise visualising success in a quiet place. Close your eyes and picture yourself getting dressed in your favourite interview outfit.
Imagine yourself walking confidently into a reception area. Paint as vivid a picture in your mind as you can. If you can make the scene vivid enough, you will be able to trick your body into thinking that it is reality. You can literally think your body into releasing calming endorphins into your bloodstream. The more times you can visualise what success looks like, the more likely you will be to behave in that confident fashion when it comes to actual interviews.
Practise mental visualisation every day to get the benefits from it. The very best candidates practise speaking their answers out loud.
Actors preparing for a big performance on stage do not simply sit quietly and read through their lines. They rehearse and practise out loud. They try to speak their lines in the same tone of voice and use the same body movements that they expect to use in front of a live audience.
The same goes for successful interview candidates. The best candidates say their interview responses out loud using a confident tone of voice while using their posture, facial expressions and body language as if they were speaking to a live interviewer. The only difference is that you should practise talking about themes rather than learning your lines off by heart and repeating them verbatim every time. You never know precisely what question an interviewer might ask you.
So rather than get too wedded to a particular way of answering a question, think about practising out loud the key points you want to get across. There are several ways you could practise. Flick to a random question in the index at the end of the book and read the question out loud as if an interviewer has asked you it.
Then respond out loud. Watch yourself in the mirror and try to observe whether your body language is appropriate too. Watch yourself or at least listen to your voice and be critical about your performance.
Observe your body language and consider whether you appear enthusiastic and positive. Warm up your voice if you have a tendency to get nervous before interviews.
Simply hum a favourite tune for a few minutes on the way to an interview to get your vocal chords working. Run mock interviews The best way to rehearse is to ask friends or trusted acquaintances to ask you questions so you can practise responding to a live person. Perhaps ask a friend to flick through either the index or Chapters 4 to 8 of this book to find appropriate questions to throw at you.
Once you have practised the most frequently-asked interview questions, you could invite your friend to ask you questions that they have been asked in interviews so you can practise improvising. Ask your friend to take some notes on your responses so you can evaluate them together. After the interview, you and your mock interviewer should go back over your answers and consider the questions that you may have struggled with.
Ideally, you would also record your performance so you can hear what you actually said as well as observe your body language and tone of voice during the mock interview. Try to practise with different friends and acquaintances too. If you keep practising with only one friend, you may find that you learn his or her personal interview style and become quite adept at performing in front of them.
But your interviewer is likely to be a complete stranger, so try to practise answering questions from as many different people as you can. I realise that some people dislike role playing. But this really is the best method for sharpening up your interview technique. So deal with your discomfort and ask as many people as you can to rehearse with you.
Ask your friend to be totally honest with you. Explain that you need them to be as critical as possible. Tell them that you are not just looking for positive strokes! Write them down and challenge them, then replace them with short, positive statements that you can repeat to yourself to buoy your confidence.
Rehearse on your own as well as with different friends and acquaintances. I really cannot overstate the importance of practising interview responses out loud!.
That is great news for you as a candidate because you can be sure that certain questions are likely to crop up again and again in interviews. Interviewers want to know about the decisions you have taken to get you where you are in your career, why you are looking for a new job, and why you believe you should work for them. In answering these questions, be sure to provide brief examples whenever possible. Claims can sound like hot air if they are not substantiated with examples and evidence.
Read through this chapter and remember to start jotting down some notes about how you would answer each question. Most interviewers will ask you some general questions about yourself and your career choices before plunging into more difficult questions.
Read through the following questions and be sure you can answer each one with a sharp, succinct answer that presents your skills and qualities to best possible effect. Tell me about yourself Many interviewers like to begin by asking this question.
The open-ended nature of the question means that you could potentially answer it in any number of ways. So start by checking how much information the interviewer wants. If the interviewer does not give you any further guidance, stick to talking about your recent career. Imagine that the interviewer had actually asked you the question: To prepare for this question, look at the job advert for this organisation. What skills and qualities does the advert talk about? Here is a couple of examples: As you can see from my CV, I have six years of experience as an office manager from two companies, the most recent of which has been for an engineering firm, so I have plenty of experience working for demanding and highly motivated professionals.
In my current job, I look after all of the office functions, from the computing, photocopying and telephone systems to managing a team of three secretaries, to ensure that the engineers get the support that they need.
Shall I go on? I started out in banking but then discovered that I really enjoy the people side of business, so I transferred across to human resources. What does your day-to-day job involve? Rather than giving a blow-by-blow account of what you do in a typical day, you should be selective in your response. Look again at the job advert and try to decide on the key activities you will be required to do in the job and focus on those in your answer. The two candidates from the previous question might reply by saying: I start the day by speaking in person with all of the professional staff to check what their requirements for the day might be.
I try to be responsive to the needs of the professional staff as well as any issues in my team. The most important part of my job is to understand the needs of the line managers. I then spend the rest of my time meeting candidates and dealing carefully with the administrative side of recruitment in terms of sifting CVs and sending out contracts. Talk me through your career First, find out how far back in your career the interviewer would like you to go.
In any case, this is not an invitation to ramble at length about your career. Instead, think about how you can summarise why you left or joined each company that you have worked for. Finish off by talking about why you want to move again. I was very quickly promoted to team supervisor. But after five good years, I felt that I had learnt everything that I could there, so I moved to Factory Magix, which was a much bigger company. Practise your response to this question and time yourself.
You should avoid speaking for more than two or, at the very most, three minutes.
Have you ever regretted anything about your career? If you must make an admission, try to talk about a decision that happened a long time ago that could in no way reflect badly on you in this interview.
However, I do sometimes wish that I had taken an overseas secondment while I was working with Medical Logistics back in the 90s, when I was young, free and single, to have had the experience of immersing myself in another culture.
Your tactic for responding to this question should be very similar to that for dealing with the previous question about your day-to-day job. Again, think about the main responsibilities in the job that you are being interviewed for, then incorporate these into your reply.
I love meeting prospective customers, asking questions to figure out their problems, presenting ideas to them, and working with them to find ways that we can work together. Ensure your body language and tone of voice convey your enthusiasm when talking about the things you enjoy.
What motivates you? Ideally, you should be able to tell the interviewer that you are most motivated when you are helping your employer to achieve their goals.
If you can, try to give a concrete example of how you succeeded in this. Consider some of these examples: I get a real kick out of solving problems. When faced with a problem, I like to work out options, weigh up the pros and cons, and then sort out the problem. For example, we recently received a lot of customer complaints about a new product that we were selling.
I was asked by my boss to sort it out and I reduced the number of complaints from over 3 or 4 a day to none. I can tell you more about it if that would be useful. I like to know that my work is making a difference and to be surrounded by other bright people who are also committed to the same goals. For example, in my current role, we launched a new fund-raising initiative and I got such a buzz from thinking through how we could make it happen.
Nothing inspires me more than being given a stretching sales target and being motivated to achieve it. Just last year, I exceeded my target by nearly eight per cent. What do you like least about your current job? An interviewer will not believe you if you say that you enjoy every single moment of your job.
A good trick is to talk about inefficient systems, unwieldy processes or bureaucracy. However, when you do give your example, either allude to the fact that the things that frustrate you are entirely out of your control or that you have tried to improve the situation but have good reasons for not being able to change it. Even better if you can say that the situation is currently being fixed owing to your efforts. I spend most of my time visiting clients at their offices. To finish your response, perhaps reiterate how excited you feel about the prospect of doing the job.
I read on your website that on average we will have to respond to anywhere between 15 and 30 calls an hour. But as I like dealing with people and I like computers, I think it should be a great job. How is your performance measured? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
Talking about specifics makes you more believable. Candidates who are unable to talk about performance measurement may appear sloppy. We have daily call targets. We have to handle at least inbound calls from customers and make at least 30 outbound calls to customers a day. Our individual performance is compared against that of others in the call centre and my performance is consistently better than around 60 to 70 per cent of the other people.
I am currently measured on my ability to improve the gross margin for the products that I look after. The margin was 9 per cent when I arrived, and I was targeted with improving it to However, I actually exceeded my target by improving the margin to How would you describe your current company?
Some interviewers have it in their minds that a candidate who knocks a current or previous employer could be a troublemaker. I work with some great people — they are very talented and committed to doing good work. What have you done recently to develop yourself? Employers value employees who continually look to improve themselves.
Ideally, try to talk about a course you are or have taken or a project that is expanding your skills. I recently volunteered to work as part of a new product development team. If you are struggling to talk about a course or project, you could probably mention a book that you are reading to improve your skills at work, or perhaps talk about some endeavour you are pursuing outside of work that will develop some transferable skill that will benefit you in your work.
It is giving me a great deal of exposure to people with different backgrounds, which I hope will help me to understand and manage my team more effectively too. What kind of salary are you after?
Nor do you want to mention a salary that is far lower than they might be willing to pay, as that could compromise your ability to ask for more later on. However, if the interviewer persists and asks you a second time, you may need to give them a rough idea, but again, without pricing yourself out of the market. Try something along the lines of. There is more advice on how to negotiate salary in Chapter Avoid at all costs mentioning too high a salary. To get the job, you must convince the employer that you are interested in the challenge rather than just a big fat pay cheque.
How much are you earning at the moment? Give your precise salary but then, if you know that your current salary is somewhat higher than the organisation may be able to pay, reiterate that you are most interested in finding the right organisation to join rather than the same kind of pay. May we check your references? It is natural to be concerned about having your references checked if your current employer does not know that you are looking for a job.
Make sure that your references will be positive. Choose them carefully and check that your referees are happy to speak in unreservedly positive terms about you see also Chapter Why did you take a certain job? Why are you looking for another job? Three of the best reasons to mention in responding to this question are wanting to seek more challenge, greater job security, or greater rewards.
But I have ambitions and realise that I can do more. I want to feel more stretched and so this new, bigger role is exactly what I feel I need. My current organisation is always on the verge of a cash flow crisis.
But I get the sense that a successful company such as yours will be able to invest in product development, which is the area that excites me the most. I know that I can make a significant contribution to my employer. So rather than just earning a salary, I would like to be able to take an equity stake in a growing business. Try to avoid saying that you left a previous employer owing to any sort of personal conflict. For example, that you did not get on with your boss or that the company failed to give you the promotion that you wanted.
Such comments could reflect badly on you. The interviewer may start to wonder whether you were in part to blame for not getting on with your boss or not being offered a promotion. Focus on the positive reasons you want to join a new company rather than the negative reasons you want to leave another one. If you must mention negative reasons, avoid dwelling on them. Why do you want to leave your current employer?
This is just a variation of the last question.
Succeed for Yourself
Again, remember to emphasise the positive qualities of the interviewing organisation as opposed to whingeing about negative aspects of your current employment situation. For example, mentioning that your current commuting time is too long makes you sound like a moaner, so try to talk about something else. I enjoy the work and I have a great group of people around me. When I read about this position with your company, I was excited by the prospect of working for a larger business with more scope for my personal career development.
How would you describe your ideal job? Instead, talk about what you could contribute to the organisation. I enjoy passing on my expertise to the people around me. I know that I can move upwards in my career only by developing the people in my team to be my successor.
My ideal job is one in which I have lots of autonomy in how I can meet organisational objectives. What do you know about our organisation? This question should never be a problem if you have done your research see Chapter 1. While this may seem like a straightforward factual question, the interviewer is really looking to gauge how much research you have done on the organisation as an indicator of how seriously you want to work for them. I went to your big flagship branch to get a feel of how you deal with your corporate customers.
I visited a few of your smaller branches to see how you deal with local customers too. My understanding from speaking to people in the industry is that your company is experiencing a squeeze on profit margins due to increased competition from aggressive American entrants into the market. However, I have experience of having grown sales and profits in my current job by over 20 per cent for three years running, so I am confident that I would be able to make a contribution to the business.
What do you think of our organisation? Your answer to this question should both demonstrate what you know about the organisation and tell the interviewer why you want to work there. I read on your website that you put all of your trainees on an intensive five-day training programme.
I think that kind of commitment to training and development must be indicative of the importance you place in your people, so I thought that this is the kind of company I need to be working for.
As a major insurance company, you have always had a high profile and I have admired your print and television advertising campaigns for some time. I even once got a quote from one of your customer service assistants on the cost of taking out household insurance with you and I remember thinking that the assistant was very friendly and helpful. The feeling I get is that customer service is a very big part of what you do, which is great as customer service is the bit of my job that I get the most enjoyment from.
I did a six-week placement here when I was at school and I was impressed by how much fun people seemed to be having. The people here are of course very professional, but I get the feeling that they would almost do the work for free. What would you do differently if you were in charge of our organisation? This kind of question implies that the interviewer is looking for an intelligent answer that shows you can make comments that are constructively critical as opposed to simply entirely complimentary.
Be careful of being overly negative. To make your criticism easier to swallow, try to offer up some positive comments first. The organisation has obviously been incredibly successful over the last 20 years since the founder started the business. Again, good research on your part will allow you to answer this kind of question well. I went to your flagship showroom in the west part of the city just last week, explained that I was applying for a job with you, and got to speak to a couple of the sales team.
They were really helpful in talking me through the new models that you have coming out at the moment. Why do you want to work for us? Think about how the organisation likes to present itself to the outside world. How does this one company believe it stands out? Select a few of these unique characteristics about the organisation and incorporate them into your reply. Many companies, for instance, believe themselves to have a good reputation or to be leaders in their field.
Or the organisation may think that its employees are a breed-apart from the rest. I think your business has managed to develop leading edge products that other companies go on to copy. What attracts you most about working for us? This is merely a variation on the previous question. Choose the key feature that you think differentiates the organisation from its competitors.
There was a survey of the most environmentally responsible construction businesses in the country last year and you were the only construction firm to be in the top 20 in this part of the country. When I read that in my research, I decided that yours is the firm I most want to work for. What do you think of our website?
This question requires a bit of judgement on your part. Some interviewers may simply be looking for a bit of flattery. On the other hand, other interviewers may want to ascertain whether you can offer up constructive criticism. I found it very easy to navigate and it took me only several clicks to find my way to the section on recruiting administrative staff. I also noticed that the web designers had made the colours very striking so that older customers or people with poorer eyesight can still.
What do you think of our recruitment brochure? As with the previous question, try to be positive about their recruitment documents and be as constructive with your criticism as possible. A lot of thought had obviously gone into the brochure. What I found most useful was the profiles of different people who have joined the organisation. I also thought that it really showed off the socially responsible side of your organisation too, which just makes me want to work for you even more.
What worries or concerns do you have about this job? The best tactic for dealing with this question is to deflect the question, certainly until after you have been made a firm offer. Once you have been offered the job, you could always go back to the employer to find out more about the job see also Chapter 12 on understanding the culture of the organisation and the nature of the work.
What other jobs are you applying for? Interviewers most like to hear that candidates are motivated to work in a particular field or to work in a particular role. They worry that candidates who are applying for too wide a range of unrelated jobs, such as a sales representative for a pharmaceuticals firm as well as a creative job for an. How many other jobs are you applying for? As with the previous question, be careful about announcing too large a number. An employer ideally wants to hear that you are focused on a particular role or type of organisation rather than that you are applying for every job in existence.
What all of these companies have in common is they are all leaders in their fields with good brands and reputations for developing good managers. How does this job compare with other jobs you are applying for? In the past, interviewers could get a bit uppity when candidates admitted to having applied to more than just their company. I have to say that the people at the other firms were also very bright. But, even though this is obviously only my second interview with you, I prefer what I have heard so far about your incentive scheme.
If a competitor offered you a job right now, would you accept? Asking this question allows interviewers to understand a little bit more about your planning and decision-making skills. In your response, be sure to impress upon the interviewers that you do not make rash decisions. I would have to weigh up the pros and cons of exactly what they are offering.
The most important factor for me is getting a good training programme and having a boss who will develop and mentor me. Have you received any other job offers? Honesty is the best policy for dealing with a straightforward question such as this.
I started applying for jobs only a couple of months ago so companies are just beginning to get back to me to invite me to interviews. Avoid the temptation of lying to make yourself look as if you are in demand.
Your tactic could backfire as an interviewer may feel less guilty about rejecting you, thinking you have other offers to fall back on. How would you rate us against our competitors? Your research will highlight key differences between this organisation and its competitors. You may need to do quite a lot of reading and come to your own opinions as to how this organisation is different from its competitors.
I see your bank as being amongst the top tier of international banks. So I see you competing against some of the big American banks as opposed to having any true competitors here in the UK.
As you are the only truly international bank based in the UK, I can honestly say that this is the only business I want to work for. You have an excellent reputation in the marketplace. Avoid at all costs telling the interviewer how much better one of their competitors is. That may prompt the response: This question tries to ascertain how much reading and research you have done. My understanding is that moves to create an open skies agreement between the US and Europe means that airlines will now be allowed to fly between cities with far fewer constraints.
While this is good for the customer, it will probably mean consolidation in the industry. That should be good news for a large airline such as yourselves with the financial firepower to buy up other smaller ones.
Would you rather be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond? The employer wants to know whether you would rather work for a small company or a large employer. Think about what might be relevant to this particular employer.
The benefits to working in a smaller company might include the following: The benefits of working for a larger company could include these: If they decide to offer you the job, they would like to know that their investment in training you and getting you efficient would be repaid by a good stint working for them. Ah, that old chestnut.
If most candidates were honest, they would be forced to admit that they actually have no career plan. Unfortunately, interviewers like to hear that you have thought about the future. In your research on the organisation, try to find out what opportunities there might be for you to learn and grow, or seek other opportunities within the organisation. If the interviewer could be your future boss, it might be dangerous to say that you would like their job. However, it is increasingly acceptable for you to say that you might be ready for the next step in your career.
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