Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Handling Rejection After a Great Interview

Yesterday's article focused on how to SHINE at an interview. Today's article will focus on how to cope with the disappointment of rejection.

It is really tough to have what seems like the best career opportunity have its door shut firmly in your face. You put a lot of effort into writing the perfect resume and cover letter that garnered their attention for the interview. You researched the company as all advice books and websites advised and turned out appearing confident as ever. You overcame the interview jitters, answered the difficult questions effortlessly, and built up a great rapport with the interviewer who congratulated you for a great interview.

Then a week later you are informed that you were unfortunately not selected for the position of your dreams.

Your natural reaction might be to blame yourself and ask what you did wrong. DON'T!

No matter how seriously and thoroughly you prepare or how carefully you plan, there is no guarantee that all your hard work will always end happily. There are going to be times when you are not successful. This is when you have to be your strongest and most positive. Do not think that you were unsuccessful, but that another candidate was successful. That might seem like no comfort, but remember the time will come when you will be offered the job ahead of someone else. It was not meant to be... at least not this time!

Keep your chin up, dust yourself off, and learn how to separate yourself from the rejection.

The most important thing to remember is that you have not been personally rejected. Someone else has made a decision that they believe is best. It is a judgment call that you can only start understanding if you accept the news in a positive manner. Did you know the other candidates? Did the person who got the job have better qualifications or more experience than you? Was there an internal candidate who knew the company inside out? There are too many possibilities for you to consider.

Rather than spending your time pondering, contact the company or interviewer. Politely ask for positive feedback from your interview and any suggestions they may feel could be beneficial to you. If you are working with a recruiter, contact only your recruiter for this feedback. This will be a great help to you for any future interviews.

Maintain a positive outlook. View the rejection as an opportunity to secure a job that is more suitable for you.

Even though you have just received bad news, believing in yourself is the best way forward. It might seem easier said than done at this frustrating time so perhaps think of your favorite film star, sporting star, model or entrepreneur. Most will tell you of the rejections they have faced, had overcome, and how it made them stronger.

The novelist J.K. Rowling is the perfect example. She wrote a book, was unsure whether she could get it published, and suffered rejection on more than one occasion; finally, someone recognized her skills and believed in her. The rest is history.

Adopt the same approach and you too will succeed.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Preparing Yourself to SHINE at Your Interview

You have landed an interview for the opportunity of a lifetime! Congratulations!!! The excitement of preparing for an interview can be overwhelming. However, do not let this excitement transfer into stress, indifference, anxiety... or worse: blowing the interview all together!

Here are 7 tips to ensure you enter your interview with a clear mind and help you SHINE!

1) Just breathe. Before you walk into your interview, take a few deep breaths--the kind that forces your abdomen in and out. Your body will relax a notch. You want to avoid upper chest breathing, as it tends to just move your stress upward to your face. This will allow you to be more articulate and help you avoid being "lost for words" due to the stress.

2) Stop the negative thoughts. If you go into an interview picking apart your outfit or imperfect responses, you're only hurting your chances of coming off as calm and collected. Turn off your negative self-talk, and create a different self-talk message, like, "I am here to share myself to the best of my ability and that is all I can really do." If you think positive things, positive things will happen!

3) Work it out. Putting in some gym time the morning of your interview can help you get rid of any nervous tension, or go for a walk at lunch or walk to the interview in nice weather. Exercise is proven to help calm your nervous system and tends to reduce the intensity of physical manifestations of stress such as fidgeting. Yoga or meditation will have similar effects.

4) Role play. Ask a friend or family member to role play with you. Ask them to be as objective as possible. Just be ready to handle their advice! Or, video yourself practicing your interview, so you know what issues you need to work on.

5) Arrive early. If you are traveling to an unfamiliar area, take a "practice run" to where your interview is located. Add extra time to allow for unexpected hold-ups such as traffic or mass transit delays. Adding the stress of rushing to your interview on time will not help alleviate your anxiety--it will only exasperate it!

6) Smile. Your first impression means everything. When you arrive at the building, office, or general vicinity of where your interview is to take place, smile at everyone in sight! You really have no idea if any of these strangers will be included in the selection process. Take this smile all the way to the interviewee chair! Remember to maintain a confident posture. It will be noticed!

7) Refer to 1 & 2. Time to make yourself SHINE!

Good Luck!!!

Written by:
Todd Koester
Vice President of Operations
Steffan & Company, Inc.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What really makes an employee happy?

Below are 9 things you can do without spending a dime. It seems so simple, but you would be amazed how many managers and companies fail on all accounts.

1. Be generous with praise. Everyone wants it and it’s one of the easiest things to give. Plus, praise from the CEO goes a lot farther than you might think. Praise every improvement that you see your team members make. Once you’re comfortable delivering praise one-on-one to an employee, try praising them in front of others.

2. Get rid of the managers. Projects without project managers? That doesn’t seem right! Try it. Removing the project lead or supervisor and empowering your staff to work together as a team rather then everyone reporting to one individual can do wonders. Think about it. What’s worse than letting your supervisor down? Letting your team down! Allowing people to work together as a team, on an equal level with their co-workers, will often produce better projects faster. People will come in early, stay late, and devote more of their energy to solving problems.

3. Make your ideas theirs. People hate being told what to do. Instead of telling people what you want done; ask them in a way that will make them feel like they came up with the idea. “I’d like you to do it this way” turns into “Do you think it’s a good idea if we do it this way?”

4. Never criticize or correct. No one, and I mean no one, wants to hear that they did something wrong. If you’re looking for a de-motivator, this is it. Try an indirect approach to get people to improve, learn from their mistakes, and fix them. Ask, “Was that the best way to approach the problem? Why not? Have any ideas on what you could have done differently?” Then you’re having a conversation and talking through solutions, not pointing a finger.

5. Make everyone a leader. Highlight your top performers’ strengths and let them know that because of their excellence, you want them to be the example for others. You’ll set the bar high and they’ll be motivated to live up to their reputation as a leader.

6.Take an employee to lunch once a week. Surprise them. Don’t make an announcement that you’re establishing a new policy. Literally walk up to one of your employees, and invite them to lunch with you. It’s an easy way to remind them that you notice and appreciate their work.

7. Give recognition and small rewards. These two things come in many forms: Give a shout out to someone in a company meeting for what she has accomplished. Run contests or internal games and keep track of the results on a whiteboard that everyone can see. Tangible awards that don’t break the bank can work too. Try things like dinner, trophies, spa services, and plaques.

8. Throw company parties. Doing things as a group can go a long way. Have a company picnic. Organize birthday parties. Hold a happy hour. Don’t just wait until the holidays to do a company activity; organize events throughout the year to remind your staff that you’re all in it together.

9. Share the rewards—and the pain. When your company does well, celebrate. This is the best time to let everyone know that you’re thankful for their hard work. Go out of your way to show how far you will go when people help your company succeed. If there are disappointments, share those too. If you expect high performance, your team deserves to know where the company stands. Be honest and transparent.

Try one or all of these in the next week and see how different the attitude or climate in the office is.

These were originally featured on LinkedIn on 8-21-2012

Monday, August 4, 2014

10 things to never do with your resume

1. "Once you're unemployed more than six months, you're considered pretty much unemployable. We assume that other people have already passed you over, so we don't want anything to do with you."

– Cynthia Shapiro, former human resources executive and author of 'Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know'

2. "When it comes to getting a job, who you know really does matter. No matter how nice your resume is or how great your experience may be, it's all about connections."

– HR director at a health-care facility

3. "If you're trying to get a job at a specific company, often the best thing to do is to avoid HR entirely. Find someone at the company you know, or go straight to the hiring manager."

– Shauna Moerke, an HR administrator in Alabama who blogs at hrminion.com

4. "People assume someone's reading their cover letter. I haven't read one in 11 years."

– HR director at a financial services firm

5. "We will judge you based on your e-mail address. Especially if it's something inappropriate like kinkyboots101@hotmail.com or johnnylikestodrink@gmail.com."

– Rich DeMatteo, a recruiting consultant in Philadelphia

6. "If you're in your 50s or 60s, don't put the year you graduated on your resume."

– HR professional at a midsize firm in North Carolina

7. "There's a myth out there that a resume has to be one page. So people send their resume in a two-point font. Nobody is going to read that."

– HR director at a financial services firm

8. "I always read resumes from the bottom up. And I have no problem with a two-page resume, but three pages is pushing it."

– Sharlyn Lauby, HR consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

9. "Most of us use applicant-tracking systems that scan resumes for key words. The secret to getting your resume through the system is to pull key words directly from the job description and put them on. The more matches you have, the more likely your resume will get picked and actually seen by a real person."

– Chris Ferdinandi, HR professional in the Boston area

10. "Resumes don't need color to stand out. When I see a little color, I smirk. And when I see a ton of color, I cringe. And walking in and dropping off your resume is no longer seen as a good thing. It's actually a little creepy."

– Rich DeMatteo

A special number 11. Do not put a picture of yourself on your resume unless you are a model applying for a modeling job. Otherwise it looks arrogant and that you rely on your looks rather than on your skills.

- Brian Steffan, President Steffan & Co., Inc

Condensed from Reader's Digest Magazine, April 2011