Archive for January, 2014

Interview Guide, Part Three

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Body language is very simple, really. Lots of people think that it makes a huge difference and teevee shows are full of guys that study body language for “tells” into the mind of the person they’re studying. Set all that pop psychology stuff aside and focus on one big, happy truth:

If you are comfortable and not hiding anything, you look and feel relaxed and confident.

And, its corollary:

If you look like you’re relaxed and confident, employers will think better of you over someone that looked nervous, sad, agitated, angry, or comatose.

That’s key to getting a job. People want to hire people that they like. People like people that are relaxed and confident. So, get your body language in order.

Step one is to take a good shower, get a clean shave, fix your hair nicely, wear appropriate makeup, ditch the facial piercings (see part two for the rest of looking the part), and wear clothes that both look good and feel good on you. You don’t want them causing you to have a pained expression, do you? Comfy clothes that look good let you relax and feel confident.

Step two is to smile. Smiling is the most important form of body language. It’s reassuring, comforting, cheery, and pleasant. Do you think employers want to hire the depressing, abrasive, gloomy, or unpleasant? They don’t, so smile and you won’t be part of that group.

Step three is to play to tell the truth in the best way possible. You may have to drop your smile when you explain a serious bit, like, “I had to be out of work for a year while I took care of my aging mother,” but if you can smile at the end of it, there’s a happy ending and the truth wasn’t so bad. If you plan to tell the truth, you’ll have nothing to fear. If you have nothing to fear, you can relax and feel confident. That’ll put a smile on your face, won’t it?

Do keep your posture open, but don’t go into a panic if you discover that you’ve accidentally crossed your arms. Just uncross them and keep smiling. Do sit up straight, but don’t give up hope should you find that you’ve developed a bit of a slouch. Sit up, roll your shoulders back, and smile. If you commit any other pop psychology faux pas, just fix it and smile so that you stay relaxed and confident.

As you can see, body language is easy. It’s not a matter of following a list of what to do and what not to do. It’s a matter of putting your own mind at ease and where the mind goes, the body will follow.

Inerview Guide, Part Two

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

What do you wear to an interview? It’s hard to overdress. It’s not hard to wear the wrong thing. The key to dressing correctly for an interview is to not argue with anyone giving you advice on what to wear to an interview that is writing this article. Got that? No arguments. Not a peep. Just do what I say.

For men and women, wear a suit. It’s that simple. If you don’t have a suit, get one. Make sure it fits. You should not put it on and say, “Well, that’s good enough.” You should put it on and say, “Wow, that really fits well and doesn’t look too tight or too loose.” It should cover everything from the neck to the ankles and the arms down to the wrists. Women can open the top button or two, but men still need to put a tie on. The exception to the tie rule for men would be if you have a build of a true athlete, are well-tanned, and have enough spiky hair gel to make yourself look like you’re about to get the highest bid at the bachelor auction later that night… and you’re interviewing for a sales, marketing, or other con-man type position.

The suit itself should be black or dark gray or navy blue. No stripes, no checked patterns, nothing. You should look like a Pilgrim with a tie if you’re a man. Women can choose between slacks and a skirt, but that skirt really should go past the knees when you sit down. As far as accessories go, conservative is the watchword. The earrings, necklace, and brooch you wear should be simple, unassuming, and certainly not overpowering. You want the people interviewing you to look at your face, not your bling.

Speaking of your face, you need to let it shine. Hair should be pulled back or cut close. Facial hair should be trimmed close or absent. Tilt your head up when you talk so that the light shines on you and you look great. Women, you’re going to have to do a good, conservative job with your makeup. Too much makeup is as bad as not enough. Dial it in just right and go with that. What is just right? Look at any woman in an executive position and copy her. That’ll do.

The tie for men is simple: dark red or dark blue. Simple pattern is OK, simple quiet stripes are OK. Anything loud or complicated is out. Remember, you want them to look at your face.

Shoes should be nice, clean, and not sneakers. Get a good pair that’s comfortable, shine ’em up, and go to that interview.

Should your interviewer tell you to come as you are, you have the green light to not have to wear the tie if you’re a man. Everything else should be as above, though. If you’ve already done a great phone interview and have already accepted the offer letter, *then* you can show up in flip flops and a Hawaiian shirt. Otherwise, “as you are” is actually quite nice, as it turns out.

Above all, wear a smile. Humans love to see smiles, even forced ones. Smile through your interview as much as possible. You’ll appear relaxed, confident, comfortable, and energetic – all components of the BIG WET (See part one for that acronym).

Interview Guide, Part One

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

All the skills in the universe don’t mean a thing if you can’t put them to use in a job. Jobs aren’t handed out like candy at a kid’s party: you have to go and get them. To get a job, you have to interview for a job. I’m going to write up a series on interviewing to help all you miserable mortals be a little less miserable, so that when I come to destroy the world, you’ll have something to lose and you won’t be looking forward to the end of your misery. Those kinds of things are important to me. So, here we go with interview advisements.

The most important thing about advice is that it be easy to remember. So here you go: BIG WET. You are not likely to forget that. BIG stands for being big. If you feel larger, you project strength. It’s the way animals raise up when threatened: getting bigger means they’re less likely to get whacked. If you sit openly and assertively – in a big way – you can send a message that you’re in charge of your side of things and that you can add something to any enterprise. Before you go in, look in a mirror with your hands over your head, standing tall, stretching out, being BIG, in a word.

While you’re doing the big thing, go with the W, which is for win. If you visualize yourself winning, you enter the interview with confidence. Confidence tells the interviewers that you’re the kind of person that they want to be working with. As you do your big moves, tell yourself that you’re a winner and that you might very well be the best. Not one of the best – the best. Imagine that and go in smiling.

Smiling is part of the E, energy. You can never have too much appropriate energy in an interview. You might think it’s ridiculous, but the interviewer will think you’re the only person that’s really excited about the opportunity. You won’t be applying because you’re desperate for any job or because you decided to show up for another interview that might actually deliver. No, you will be happy to be there and eager for what lies ahead. Win.

The T is for truth. You need to tell the truth about yourself in the best way possible. If you leave gaps in your responses, the interviewer will wonder if you’re trying to deceive him. Be forthright, but be tactful. Find the best way of saying things and that will build off your winning energy.

I can elaborate more on each of these areas, but for now, just remember: BIG WET.