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Preparing for a Behavioral Interview

Behavioral Interviews

If you have recently been on an interview, you may be familiar with the Behavioral-based interviewing technique. If not, I will explain a little further. Behavioral interviewing is an interview technique where the interviewers will ask you a series of questions such as “Tell us about a time when you…” or “Describe a time when you had to… How did you handle it?” This has become very popular because it not only allows your interviewer to asses past experiences but also allows them to predict future on-the-job behavior. These types of interview questions are more probing and more specific than traditional ones, so you need to be prepared. Since you don’t know what specific questions they will ask, the best way to prepare for this type of interview is to think of major accomplishments throughout your career or perhaps some high-profile projects you successfully worked on. This will help you frame your thought process when preparing for these types of questions. How else can you be sure to ace these interviews? Well, you should keep this top of mind: Listen carefully to the question that is being asked and make sure you completely understand. There is nothing wrong with asking them to clarify, if you did not understand the question, to ensure you are answering correctly and practice using the STAR method to answer these questions:

Situation: Give them specific details of the situation you are describing. Provide context.

Task: What was the task or the goal in this situation?

Action: What action did you take? What did you do?

Result – Explain how you arrived at the result. Be specific and thorough.

As I always say, confidence is key. To gain this confidence, practice answering some sample questions with a family member or friend out loud until you are comfortable with them. As career coaches, we also offer mock interviews where we will target the position you are interviewing for, pull out the main criteria based off the job description and create a series of questions that fall in line with the needs of the role, to help you be better prepared.

Keep in mind there are no right or wrong answers. The interviewer is simply trying to understand your thought process and behavior in these situations. I have added a few questions below to help you get started:

  • Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
  • Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do?
  • Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
  • Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to balance different priorities. How did you handle this?
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
  • Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

For more information on this and other topics, go to my Instagram or Facebook page. Good Luck!

Asking for a Promotion

Promotion

Asking for a promotion is not easy, but it is an essential part of your career growth. There are so many things that can go wrong, but so much that can go right. Once you get past the nerves associated with putting yourself out there, you will gain confidence in yourself and in your capabilities.

So, how do you get started on ensuring a successful meeting? Well, its all about communication and preparation:

  1. Think about what you want: What is your goal? New title? More money? Management responsibilities? Would this new role align with your skillset? What about alignment with the company’s objectives? Make sure you are 100% sure of the ask before going into this meeting.
  2. Build your case: Come prepared for the question “What have you done to deserve this promotion?” Write out a few bullets ahead of time with your main accomplishments and be prepared to discuss them. Also, explain to them why you are ready to take on this new position. It is your job to sell yourself.
  3. Consider the timing: The best time is always during your annual review, but its not always the most convenient. If you need to move things quicker, then make sure you consider other factors with regards to timing. For example, it may not be the best time to ask after a round of layoffs or a loss in revenue. But perhaps after a great quarter, this may be the right time.
  4. Do your research: Don’t make the mistake of going in there and leaving it up to them to decide on your next role or your salary. Instead, research the natural career trajectory for a person in your position and what is the next step. Look at sites such as Glassdoor.com, Payscale.com or Salary.com in order to get a feel for your market value. Compare yourself with others in a similar role, same location and company size.
  5. Be patient: If you get a promotion on the spot, that’s great, but it usually doesn’t work that way. So be patient and ask for feedback on what you could improve upon while you wait for a decision.

Remember, your goal here is to clearly communicate what you want, convince them that you have what it takes to get the job done and continue to work hard until a decision is made. Each situation is different and if you don’t feel confident in your abilities to get this done, call me! Career Coaches are always there to prepare you for that conversation by giving YOU the confidence in your abilities. For more information on this and other topics, go to my Instagram or Facebook page. Good Luck!

The Art of Soliciting Feedback

Feedback

We all know feedback is critical for both personal and professional growth. Although many managers incorporate this into their management style, unfortunately, some don’t. So how do you solicit feedback from a manager that may not be too comfortable with giving you the tough, but necessary feedback? Well, it’s all about the relationship. You need to be comfortable with asking for this feedback regularly and also know how to ask for it. I’ve always been very straight-forward with my managers in telling them that I don’t expect a pat on the back for a job well done – this is why I am getting paid. But what I do want is the feedback on areas where I can improve. I know, these are not always comfortable conversations, but I have already set the tone that I am open to hearing the good, the bad and the ugly 🙂 Now, I know everyone is not like me and it may be a bit more difficult to do this with your manager, so I am going to give you a few tips on how to go about asking for this feedback.

  1. Know the type of feedback you are soliciting: At times, it may just be feedback on a small project – were they satisfied with your work? Other times, it could be after a presentation, and you would like to be critiqued. Depending on how you frame the question, they will know if this is a critique or a coaching opportunity. Either way, you have set the stage.
  2. Ask at the right time: Don’t ask for feedback on a project you worked on in Q1 during your year-end review! The timing has to be reasonable. Perhaps get into the habit of soliciting feedback during your weekly 1:1’s, but in small chunks and not at every meeting. Also, if you had a presentation, try to stay behind with your manager and ask for feedback then or swing by their office later that day. This way, the details will be fresh in their mind and they will be able to provide more precise feedback.
  3. Ask the right questions: Make sure you are asking the right questions to get the information you need. Try to stay away from yes/no questions such as “Was that a good presentation?” or “Do you think I did a good job on that project?”. Instead, ask “What is one thing I could have done better?” or “Where is one area where you think I could improve next time?” This will let them know you are open to some coaching and don’t be afraid to ask for examples. Remember, this is a coaching opportunity for you and you want to get the most out of it!

In many cases, following the tips above will get you the results you need. In the case where you have that manager that is just not comfortable giving feedback and you feel you are not getting enough, try a different method. Instead of being more direct, perhaps try the following: “I think there are a few areas I need to work on this year, such as, X, Y and Z. What do you think?” This will get them to open up, even if they don’t want to. Try these and remember that every opportunity to receive feedback is a chance to grow, so take advantage of it!

3 Tips to Improve Job Satisfaction

Job Satisfaction

Do you look forward to Monday mornings? If you don’t or simply have hit a rut at work lately and don’t feel the satisfaction you once felt, then its time to take a step back. First, you have to analyze the main root of the problem. Is this something you can try to fix or is it time to move on? Once you’ve identified the problem, then you have two options: 1. You can start looking for a new job best suited for your needs or 2. you can learn to find fulfillment in the role you are currently in.

How can you do that? Well, lucky for you, I am going to give you 3 tips to help you get started:

  1. Stay Engaged: If you are not engaged at work, you will not be productive – period. So, don’t be afraid to speak with your manager and tell them how you feel. They will appreciate this. Ask them for more responsibilities or perhaps a challenging project where you can utilize your skills better. Doing this will change things up a bit and perhaps give you a renewed sense of purpose in your role.
  2. Set realistic job expectations: When starting a new role, be realistic. Don’t expect a quick promotion. Many people, especially millennials, expect to move up quickly and when it doesn’t happen, they start becoming dissatisfied with their jobs. Having those unrealistic expectations going in will certainly set you up for failure. Understand that this takes time and focus on proving yourself and developing your skills rather than how long it takes to get there.
  3. Find a good work/life balance: This is important. I am a strong believer that if you take care of yourself, everything else will fall into place. Work will become more enjoyable and tolerable because you will be more focused and relaxed, so treat yourself!

Understand that there are many factors to not feeling satisfied at work, you should be aware of those and have the ability to decide whether this is something you can resolve or if it’s time to move on. Again, this is where a career coach can help. We will be able to help you identify the cause of your dissatisfaction and guide you to a decision. Don’t do this alone, you need an objective point of view and someone that can be honest with you and tell you why this is happening. Remember…”Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work” – Aristotle.

Check out my video blog at: Instagram: Job Satisfaction

The Art of “Enhanced Focus”

Focus

I recently read an article where 35,000 leaders were surveyed and asked about their focus. Surprisingly, 73% of leaders felt distracted from their current tasks “some or most” of the time. According to this study, the biggest sources of distraction are demands of other people (26%), competing priorities (25%), general distractions (13%) and too large of a workload (12%). As a result of this, the term “enhanced focus” became a topic of conversation – something that has since become very valuable and essential in their day to day.

This article focused on leaders, but I think we can safely say this is definitely not just a leadership issue. I believe focus directly correlates with performance and effectiveness. It is critical that with everything going on in our daily routines, we remain focused on tasks at hand. I am guilty of not finishing one task and already trying to deal with another. I think most of us have this issue, if not all. The key here is to recognize those signs and quickly adjust your direction.

There are many strategies out there to help you focus, I will share a few with you today.

  1. Be aware of the times when you are most productive – your focus pattern. Everyone has a different pattern. Most people are highly productive in the morning and then the focus starts slowing down after lunch and then back up close to 4-5 pm. Again, everyone is different. The time when you are most productive or your “Einstein Window” should be the time you schedule all of your important meetings or projects around. For example, my “Einstein Window” is between 2-4pm. This is the time when I am most focused, so my time to work on strategic projects and brainstorm is during these hours. It is important to limit distractions during this time to maximize your productivity. How do you do this? Well, I would suggest blocking your calendar during this time, this makes others aware you are unavailable. You can also close your door if you are in an office, or if you sit in an open space, jump into a quiet corner in the office or into a conference room. Just make sure you can concentrate!
  2. Break up tedious tasks – if a task is starting to cloud your focus, take a step back to refresh. The best way to do this is to schedule this work in 60-90 minute blocks. As we work, our alertness drops and we start to lose focus. This is why it is important to set timers to remind you to get up and take a break and reset your mind. This is important, so make this a habit!
  3. Set clear goals for the day – Review your list of action items each morning and be sure they are realistic and manageable. Once this is done, make sure you try your best to stick to the plan. Use your focus pattern as a guide to help you manage this list and set priorities. If you find yourself with too many strategic projects or important meetings, perhaps this is your sign that you have too much on your plate and may need to divide your workload into 2 days to make sure you give each project the right attention.

Remember, every time you get distracted, it takes your brain about 23 minutes to re-focus. This will have a huge impact on your productivity. You are surrounded by people and things that could easily distract you day after day. We live in a world with information overload and pressure to get things done. It is your job to learn how to stay focused on tasks. One of the greatest skills of a leader is the ability to focus and concentrate on the tasks at hand. Practice the strategies above and see how your focus improves leading to higher levels of productivity and success. For more content on this and other related topics, check us out on: Instagram, Youtube, Nvision HR Website, Facebook