Monday, May 20, 2019

The Best Way to End a Job Interview

"Is there anything else you'd like to add?"

This has always been the question I ask last in an interview, and it usually produces some great results. Sometimes people will say, "No, I think we've about covered everything...." and then jump in with some new information.

The reason I ask it is because I wouldn't be doing my job as a journalist if I didn't do everything I can to conduct a thorough interview. But I also find it's helpful because it can give me real insight into what the person considers important.

I'm not the only one who asks such a question. Hiring managers often ask some version of it, such as "Is there anything else you feel we should know?"

That's when many job candidates stumble and say, "Uh, no, not really." Or, they really screw up and say, "When can I take my first vacation?"

When a hiring manager asks this question, don't waste an opportunity to leave a positive lasting impression.

For example, reiterate your interest in the job and what you have to offer: "I think this job sounds like a great fit for me and I'm excited about the possibilities. With my education and strong work experience in generating sales through social media, I think I could hit the ground running on Day 1."

Or, it could be that the hiring manager didn't touch on the fact that you speak two other languages, which could be a real plus in dealing with customers or partners overseas. "I know we covered a lot, but I just wanted to mention that I also speak Mandarin and Spanish, which I think could be helpful to this company as it expands into markets overseas."

Don't be too long winded -- you don't want to repeat the entire interview. The hiring manager is a busy person, so focus on the highlights and concisely review your strengths so she is left with a positive impression,

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

5 Ways to Successfully Join a New Team

It can be very exciting to join a new team. But it also can be a bit daunting when you realize the successful track record of that team.

How can you make your mark? How can you get others to listen to your ideas? What if they don't like you or what you have to say?

These are pretty normal questions, so don't feel like you're the only one who has ever felt this way. In fact, it's probably a good thing to be concerned with how others may feel about you because it shows that you're ready to be tuned into others and won't be a know-it-all that others may immediately dislike.

At the same time, your ideas are valuable. You would not have been asked to join the team if others didn't feel that way, so don't be shy about speaking up when you have something to contribute.

Here are some way to smoothly join a new team:

1. Listen. The only way to fully understand the team members and their goals is to spend time asking questions and gathering information. Once you have a better picture of how the team functions, then you can contribute more effectively. For example, it doesn't make sense for you to jump in on Day 1 to suggest recreating a process or product that failed earlier.

2. Widen your circle. Just talking to the current team members isn't enough -- you need to get the bigger picture of how things get done. Talk to support staff and outside partners (as long as you get permission to do so), who can provide a more complete picture of needs and concerns.

3. Leverage your strengths. You don't have to make a huge splash from the beginning. But you can also start making a difference pretty quickly if you know your strengths and begin using them to help the team. Help various team members understand your strengths and vice versa. When you combine your strengths with someone else's, the impact can be seen right away.

4. Curtail your ego. You didn't get put on this team because you're a mediocre employee. You were invited to join the team because people felt you had something critical to offer. Still, that doesn't mean you're going to be hailed as a hero from the first day. More than likely, one or two other team members will feel they need to knock you down a peg or two. If you stay focused on how to achieve results, you'll soon earn respect from everyone as a professional who is more concerned with quality work than gaining recognition.

5. Find ways to connect. Invite team members out for coffee or join them after work at the local pub. Those connections are just as important as the ones you make inside the company walls and will make it easier for other team members to accept you.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Are You Burned Out? Here's What to Do

"I'm so burned out."

I overheard the comment while on a subway recently as a young woman talked to someone on her cellphone. I was surprised to see how clearly distraught the woman was -- and how young she appeared to be.

I thought about that young woman several times that day, especially since I had just read statistics saying that one in five adults in this country experience mental illness in a year. While "burnout" isn't a medical diagnosis, it is a very real concern for many people.

Doctors say that job burnout is a work-related stress that can make someone feel mentally and physically exhausted. People begin to feel they are losing who they really are and don't have much to show for their lives -- they don't even really recognize that it's their job that is real reason behind how they feel.

While some believe that depression may be behind job burnout, there are a number of symptoms. The Mayo Clinic suggests you ask yourself:

  • Have you become cynical or critical at work?
  • Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
  • Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Do you find it hard to concentrate?
  • Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
  • Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
  • Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
  • Have your sleep habits changed?
  • Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?
Job burnout can lead to insomnia, high blood pressure, diabetes, fatigue, anger and sadness and heart disease. If you feel like you may be suffering from it, the Mayo Clinic suggests you:

  • Evaluate your options. Discuss specific concerns with your supervisor. Maybe you can work together to change expectations or reach compromises or solutions. Try to set goals for what must get done and what can wait.
  • Seek support. Whether you reach out to co-workers, friends or loved ones, support and collaboration might help you cope. If you have access to an employee assistance program, take advantage of relevant services.
  • Try a relaxing activity. Explore programs that can help with stress such as yoga, meditation or tai chi.
  • Get some exercise. Regular physical activity can help you to better deal with stress. It can also take your mind off work.
  • Get some sleep. Sleep restores well-being and helps protect your health.
  • Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of focusing on your breath flow and being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling at every moment, without interpretation or judgment. In a job setting, this practice involves facing situations with openness and patience, and without judgment

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Don't Be a Jerk When Rejecting an Offer

A Robert Half survey finds that six in 10 workers in a variety of fields and industries say they've received two or more job offers simultaneously when applying for jobs. When weighing their decision, candidates say they look at salary, benefits, advancement potential, commute and the job's responsibilities or challenges.

Those are all important criteria, but it doesn't always make the choice a no-brainer. You not only have to make the right choice for you (and pray you are right) but you have to figure out a way to say "no" to the other offer without sounding like a jerk.

Not sounding like a jerk is very important. Why? Because the world is often very small and you may run across that hiring manager again one day. If you act like a jerk -- and she tells everyone you acted like a jerk -- then you could damage your professional reputation. Hiring managers often talk to one another and if they start telling others about your poor behavior, they may steer clear of you. The one thing we know for sure is that one day the job market will tank again, and where will you be when everyone thinks you're a jerk?

Here is the right way to reject a job offer:

  • Don't wait. As soon as you're sure of your decision, tell the hiring manager. 
  • Don't be chicken. Sending a text is not cool. The person deserves to have a phone conversation, but an email is the next best thing.
  • Offer a reason. Job seekers always want to know why they didn't get a job, so have the same courtesy for a hiring manager. You don't have to go into a lengthy explanation, but you can say something like, "The commute was going to be much longer to your company, so along with the salary and benefits they were offering, it just made more economic sense for me to choose them," you can say.
  • Be polite. It costs money and time to recruit a candidate, so always be appreciative of that investment: "I want to thank you for the time you spent talking to me and I'd appreciate you also thanking the others who shared their thoughts about the job. I hope one day we run across each other again."

Monday, May 6, 2019

Should You Follow Up After an Interview?

You may be feeling great after a job interview and believe a job offer is just around the corner.

Then, nothing. Silence. No phone calls or emails from the hiring manager.

Now your worry kicks in. Did you say something wrong in the interview? Have they already hired someone else?

Should you follow up? How? When?

There are lots of questions and worries probably swirling in your brain about now, but there's no need to panic.

First, the hiring manager is probably interviewing other candidates, which is pretty common. Second, the hiring manager probably has to check in with others about making a job offer. Third, hiring manager have other duties, so it may be that she's simply so busy she hasn't had a chance to consider candidates and make an offer.

But if a week goes by and you've heard nothing, now is the time to follow up. You can send an email again citing your interest in the job and highlight your qualifications that make your a great fit for the job. If you feel like you didn't mention something that makes you right for the job, you can mention it in your follow-up.

If you get the elusive "we're still considering candidates" response from the hiring manager, then you're going to have to wait another week to follow up or just be more patient and await the decision.

Whatever you decide, don't sit on your hands waiting on an offer. Keep your job hunt going so that you don't lose momentum. If you get a job offer, great. If not, you know that you're being proactive and won't have time to dwell on not being selected for a particular job since there may be a better fit just around the corner.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Are You Ignoring This Simple Key to Success?

When was the last time you wrote a thank-you note?

I'm not talking about an email or a text. I'm talking about a handwritten note to someone expressing your appreciation or gratitude. The kind, you know, that has to have a stamp and be put in that thing known as a mailbox.

For many people, the last time they wrote such a missive may be when they were in school (elementary).

But for those who are really savvy about their careers, a handwritten thank-you note is a key to their success. They have a box of nice thank-you cards in their desk drawer. They may even carry some with them so they can jot a note when they have time while commuting or waiting in a dentist's office.

While you, on the other hand, spend all your spare time watching the guy putting weird things in his air fryer on YouTube or posting what you ate for lunch on Instagram.

A career is not something that has it's own momentum. You have to create it. You have to maintain it. You have to plot where you're going before it goes off the rails because you're not  paying attention as you're in a deep discussion about "Avengers: Endgame" on Reddit.

One of the simplest things you can do to help your career -- and maintain important network contacts -- is to hand write a thank-you note. It's so old school it's new again. It's so unexpected that whoever gets your thank-you note isn't going to forget it, or you.

If you're not sure how to write a thank-you note, there are numerous examples, such as here.

Sometimes it's difficult to stand out when you're courting new customers, trying to get a job or land a promotion. A sincere, hand-written thank-you note may be just the ticket you need to put you in the lead.