Monthly Archives: November 2007

How to Close the Interview with Confidence

Interviewing for a job is a challenging task. If you’ve done things the right way and thought in advance about how to talk about your qualifications, researched the company, practiced answering difficult questions with a friend, dressed to match the company culture, and arrived promptly, you may already feel pretty confident by the time you shake hands with the interviewer. After you’ve answered the questions, demonstrated your industry and company knowledge, shown you are a good fit for their team, and made the connection with everyone in the room, you may feel you’re on the homestretch to landing the job.

But there’s one last thing you can do to seal the deal before you walk out the door. And it will really set you apart from other candidates. It’s a technique called closing the interview.

In most scenarios, at the end of an interview, if things have gone well, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. There are many good ones to choose from. And, even if you think you know everything about the job and the people sitting before you, you should still ask a few questions, because doing so demonstrates your interest in the position as well as your enthusiasm and curiosity to know more.

But if things have gone well and you have connected with the interviewers, there’s one question that should be your final choice for the meeting. It’s a closing question, and it puts you in control, demonstrates your self-confidence, and is a memorable final impression to make.

“At this point, what would keep you from hiring me?”

Most interviewers will be honest with you, and at the very least, you will get some good feedback on how you’ve presented yourself. At the best, the interviewer’s answer to this question will stick in their mind and solidify you as a top choice. Asking this question may be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever done, but having the confidence to close an interview is one of the best ways to stand apart from a sea of applicants and demonstrate that you know you are right for the job.

Working in Your Own World?

In today’s workplace, tenure doesn’t necessarily mean you’re entitled to a promotion. Hard work, dependability and a positive attitude are just a few characteristics that employers look for when promoting employees. Some individuals might not realize that some of their actions and the direction they are heading in their employment might be keeping them from that job advancement they are going after.

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …so long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.

In Alice and Wonderland, Alice embarks on a wonderful adventure marked by chaos and misdirection. After wandering around from place to place meeting different characters who seem to be concerned only with what is going on at any particular moment, Alice finally decides she wants to go home. But, only after Alice took the necessary steps, does she get back home.

If you feel like you work hard but get nowhere or that you keep getting passed up for that promotion, then take a look at Alice’s story. Are you like Alice – taking the necessary steps to reach her goal, or are you like one of the following characters lost in a world without reality.

The White Rabbit “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date. No time to say Hello. Goodbye. I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.” If you find yourself in this situation more often than not, then chances are your boss has noticed your tardiness. You might not think that being late for work should affect your chances for advancement as long as you do a good job while your there. But the truth is, if your boss can’t depend on you, your chances for a promotion will come late as well, if at all. To help you break the habit of tardiness, try getting up 30 minutes earlier each morning. Once you establish a specific time to leave your house in the morning, being on time will get easier.   

The Queen of Hearts“Off with their heads.” If you find yourself easily irritated with your co-workers or you frequently lose your cool, then you may have a temper problem. If you’re in a constant state of anger and make life uneasy for your co-workers, then you probably won’t see a promotion coming anytime soon. In fact, you might have to start looking for a new job. This will not only keep you from excelling at your job, but it will also create higher stress and loss of workplace relationships. Employers typically promote employees who have pleasant attitudes, exhibit professional, friendly tendencies and have good work ethics. These traits show great leadership potential and the ability to thrive under pressure. To help you stay calm during stressful situations, try counting to 10 the next time you get upset or take a walk around the building allowing yourself a five minute timeout. This will help you relax and see things in a clearer perspective. Until you tame the impulse to lash out, you’ll probably not see advancement opportunities.

Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum – “How do you do and shake hands, shake hands, shake hands. How do you do and shake hands and state your name and business. That’s manners!” If you find yourself doing only what is expected of you and nothing more, then you’re really no better than these two characters. Many employees prove that they can do the job, but it’s the ones who go beyond what is expected who get the promotions. To help you get over the “just OK” slump, try talking to your boss to see what you can do to improve your work. Once you’ve excelled at those duties, try asking for more responsibilities. Also, take some initiative on new projects by putting your ideas on the table or stepping up to the challenge when your boss asks for something to be done. Show your boss that you can be a leader.

If you found that your behavior resembles that of one of these directionless characters, it’s time to stop and head in a new direction – like Alice did. Visualize where you want to be in your career first, and then start to take the necessary steps to get you there. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way out of Wonderland and into a great career. 

Are You a Workplace Fire Starter?

Work Fire StarterDo you enjoy coming to the rescue in a crisis? What happens when everything is peaceful and there isn’t a problem to solve? Do you find yourself starting little fires at work just so you can put them out later? According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, some employees take their love for providing solutions to the extreme. These individuals routinely create drama and chaos only to swoop in and be the “heroes” who come to the rescue by resolving the issue they created.

The article cites a case of an employee who habitually stirred up conflict among his co-workers. Once the situation reached a boiling point, he’d use his insider knowledge to solve the problem. At first, management thought this employee was very skilled at uniting people until they began to notice the pattern of workplace tension that followed him wherever he went.  Once management removed him from the early stages of group projects they discovered the conflicts stopped occurring.

Thriving on action isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless it causes you to create tension where none previously existed. If you find that you love putting out fires more than you enjoy peace and quiet, take care that you don’t become a workplace fire starter.

When you feel your workplace is getting dull, instead of thinking of ways to stir the pot, brainstorm ideas for becoming more efficient and productive at your job. Not only will new challenges keep you excited, but your supervisors will also have a real reason to praise your efforts.

Do you find yourself looking for ways to become the office hero? What tactics have you used to add drama to your workplace? What have been the results?