From James C. Hunter’s book The Servant:

“[Power is] the ability to force or coerce someone to do your will, even if they would choose not to, because of your position or your might. Authority is about getting people to do what you want as a result of the influence you carry.”

 

Let’s look at a scenario: Imagine that you’ve been promoted to manager on your company’s sales team. How exciting! You now have 4 team members who report to you. Because of the grueling work you make these individuals to do, you’re hitting the highest sales numbers the company has seen in years. You’ve heard through the rumor mill that your employees are complaining about the long hours and high-pressure tasks, but that’s not your problem, right? They didn’t get promoted, so they must just be jealous. Your boss is thrilled and is looking at giving you a bonus. You find out two days later that three of your four reports have put in their 2-week notices. Needless to say, the bonus didn’t happen, and you’re being called into interrogatory meetings.

 

What went wrong here? The manager made it all about themselves. How they could profit, what they could achieve, and how they would look.  With power, it’s about you. What you can gain and how you can feel.

 

Now let’s take at influence.  What comes to mind? Social media? Highly-paid teens making millions? What about you? Consider this: as a leader, your unwritten title is influencer. Why?

 

With influence, it’s about others. How you can motivate them, persuade them, encourage them, all due to your behavior.

 

The moment you are given your own reports, it’s no longer all about you. As a leader, it’s your job to encourage these individuals, provide resources if needed, be ready to assist if called on. You must be an example. If done correctly, your employees will not only have your back, they will look forward to working with you each day because they know that you truly care for them and their well-being, not just what they can get you.

 

Your influence matters so much more than your power ever will.

 

 

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About Debi

 

Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.

 

Ready to take your career to the next level?

 

Let’s chat. Schedule a call to discuss innovative solutions to your specific needs.

When reading the word “brand”, what comes to mind? Is it your favorite company to shop from? The logo for a fast food restaurant? Have you ever considered that you too have your own brand? That’s right, your personal brand.

 

The definition of a brand is “a public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted” (Merriam-Webster). In short, a brand is what others see and perceive about something. Your personal brand consists of what others see and perceive about you. Your reputation, social media portrayal, appearance, and behavior. And guess what? Like any good marketing department, you are in control of creating, maintaining, and advancing your brand.

 

How Do I Discover My Personal Brand?

Let’s approach this question with the end goal in mind. Make a list of how you want to be perceived. How do you want others to talk about you when you aren’t there? What do you want viewers to take away from your social media posts? How do you want others to feel when you engage with them? For example:

 

  • I want others to perceive me as approachable, kind, and intelligent.
  • I want others to see my social media as fun, honest, and appropriate.
  • I want others to talk about how I am dedicated and always ready to lend a helping hand.

 

Once you have a working understanding of what you want your personal brand to entail, begin to identify the areas of your life that you can advance your branding in. Do you want to be seen as a go-getter? Start asking for how you can hop on-board for projects or sit in on an upcoming meeting. Want to be seen as approachable? Begin striking up conversations with those around you to build friendships. Every step you take can you just a little bit closer to where you want to be.

 

What If I Discover I Have a Negative Personal Brand?

If you are reading through this post knowing that your personal brand is subpar, fear not. It is possible to bounce back from a negative past and propel towards a positive future.

 

First, follow the previous steps and perform a self-audit of your personal brand. The only way to know where you want to go is first knowing where you have been. Then, begin taking actionable steps towards change. You don’t just need remove the negativity; you must add positivity in its place. If you have a negative or hateful social media portrayal, don’t simply scrub your profiles clean, but begin positively engaging. If you have a history of fussy behavior with co-workers, make a mental note of kind topics for upcoming conversations. It may be uncomfortable, but embrace the change. Edit your life to work towards where you want to be.

 

Before closing, I do want to make an important note: while personal branding is something we should all consider, you are not only what others see. You are more than how others perceive you, and the opinions of others are not everything. Your personal brand should be created for you and to get you where you want to be, not just to please others.

 

 

____________

 

About Debi

 

Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.

 

Ready to take your career to the next level?

Let’s chat. Schedule a call to discuss innovative solutions to your specific needs.

 

When considering diversity in the workplace, the first thought that may come to mind is someone’s appearance, simply because that is the quickest indicator of difference between individuals. However, while appearance-based diversity should not only be necessary, but celebrated, diversity goes far beyond skin color. It is vital that we care for and respect our employees no matter their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, etc.

 

As employers and leaders, it is our duty to set the tone for respect in our organizations. I also encourage my clients and readers to look also at the importance of diversity of thought, and how all the previous categories listed not only contributes to, but enhances our businesses.

 

What is Diversity of Thought?

Quoting Henderson Woods LLC, “Diversity of thought introduces not only differences of perspective, but also differences in approach”. Diversity of thought focuses on the different ideas, concepts, perspectives, and approaches that are brought to the table because of our individual differences. These differences assist us with not only having a more well-rounded understanding of individuals, but also with how we look at issues and solutions in the workplace.

 

Consider this: if you owned a real estate business located in a suburban area, only hiring agents who were raised and lived in the suburb their entire life, how would your business grow? You would be much better off, both personally and professionally, by hiring agents with understanding of the surrounding areas outside your suburban district. While these outside agents may have different approaches and understandings compared to you and your suburban agents, they would also be able to bring new ideas, outside knowledge, and views that you and your employees hadn’t even considered yet because they’ve had different experiences and opportunities from you. They would help you grow and expand your business to something better than you ever thought it could be. Diversity provides a business expansion.

 

Steps You Can Take to Incorporate Diversity of Thought in Your Workplace

Take a look at our top three tips to diversifying your organization:

 

  1. Focus on removing any gender-specific phrases on your application (change “he” or “she” to a gender-neutral phrase such as “they” or “the candidate”).
  2. Choose to recruit from as many universities or applicant pools as possible. If you continue to recruit from the same specific locations, eventually your business will be made up of only those individuals.
  3. Be flexible. Sometimes, the perfect applicant may have a difference that you or your business haven’t encountered before. Be prepared to consider potential accommodations you can make. Does the perfect employee need a desk located closer to the wheelchair ramp? That shouldn’t be a problem. Will the best candidate require access to a private room for maternity reasons a few times a day? Your building should be able to accommodate that.

 

These are but a few of hundreds of ways that you can begin to implement diversity in your workplace. Remember, it starts from day one. A company that hires only one type of applicant, is one that will employee only one type of individual. Look beyond what you’ve done in the past, and embrace what differences you can incorporate in the future. There is a world of incredible, diverse, qualified employees out there just waiting to accept your offer letter.

 

_____________

 

About Debi

Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.

 

Ready to take your career to the next level? 

Let’s chat. Schedule a call to discuss innovative solutions to your specific needs.

 

 

 

As leaders, we often forget who our most effective instructors in business leadership were. Although we would hate to admit it, many first lessons we received on how to (or really, how not to) lead come from Hollywood. That’s right. Films are successful because they portray dramatic scandals, relationships, and situations. Consider all the popular movies displaying poor boss/employee relationships: The Devil Wears Prada, Office Space, Wall Street, and Scrooged just to name a few. These films display a successful, yet ruthless, boss who is willing to make others miserable, all in the name of power.

 

It is imperative that we remember that these fictional stories are exactly that: fiction. They do not represent how we should treat others, or expect to be treated. The leaders in these movies do not display vulnerability, honesty, or transparency and that’s exactly why their employees detest them. The most important asset an authentic leader can have is a trusting team who knows that they are in good hands. But to earn that trust, leaders must first display 3 key traits: transparency, credibility, and forward-thinking.

 

Transparency

Your employees are not naive. In times of trouble or uncertainty, they will look to you for guidance on how to react and move forward, but they are not ignorant of the circumstances. As we are all too aware, COVID-19 hit the world, therefore businesses, hard. Most employees recognized that their career would change; either by shifting to a work-from-home situation, a possible furlough, or even a permanent layoff. While leaders could not control the situation, the best thing that they could do was show transparency and make sure that employees were informed of all updates to the company and industry. As a leader, it is not your job to have all the answers. But, an authentic leader respects their employees enough to share what they can, as soon as they can.

 

Credibility

That being said, as a leader you are not expected to have all the answers, but you are expected to know how to guide the team towards finding a solution. As said by James Kouzes, author of Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It:

 

“If people don’t believe in the messenger, they won’t believe the message.”

 

Credibility is established through honesty and consistency; your credibility is vital to ensuring that the team understands that they are being led by a seasoned individual who is ready to fight alongside them. Stay reliable in your words and in your actions. Your team will thank you for it.

 

Forward-Thinking

As a leader, it’s vital that you see the bigger picture. Crisis occurs, failures happen, and mistakes are made. But as an authentic leader, you must be able to look past what is and see what could be. In the words of author Willie Jolley:

 

“A setback is a set up for a comeback”

 

It is not what happens to you, but how you react to what happens that proves your leadership capabilities. Always be on the lookout for the next opportunity, even if it’s currently packaged as a problem. And often, where you see an issue, a colleague may see a solution.

 

____________

 

About Debi

Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.

 

Ready to take your career to the next level? 

Let’s chat. Schedule a call to discuss innovative solutions to your specific needs.

As a leader, one of the best decisions you can make is welcoming change in the workplace. Often thought of as a buzzword, innovation truly is the key to unlocking productivity in your organization. Here are our top tips for cultivating an innovative environment in your workplace.

 

Lose the Ego

The easiest and quickest way to crowdsource innovative ideas from your workforce is to simply ask. If not careful, leaders often see themselves as the person who must have all the answers. Have an honest, engaging conversation with members of your organization and ask questions. Let them know that you are welcoming of any ideas they have for improvement or experimentation, no matter how small.

 

Introduce an Agile Methodology

Traditionally used in software development, an agile methodology focuses on breaking down large tasks into several small, incremental “sprints” that are completed on shorter timelines. By breaking down a large project with one major deadline into more manageable tasks, coupled by daily check in meetings for alignment, team members are empowered to collaborate, discover, and “fail fast”. Agile is best implemented in organizations looking to explore options and experiment in a fast-paced atmosphere. To learn more, check out this article by the Harvard Business Review and decide if introducing agile is the right decision for your organization.

 

Mess Up

Sometimes, the biggest mistakes lead to game-changing results. For example, the time-honored chocolate chip cookie was the outcome of a baking attempt gone wrong. In the 1930s, Ruth Wakefield added chocolate chunks to her cookie batter, expecting them to melt, and once baked, become chocolate-flavored cookies. What resulted was a failed chocolate cookie, but a perfect chocolate chip cookie. That failure led to the dessert industry-disrupting company: Nestlé Tollhouse, Inc. This concept applies to corporate experiments as well. Be willing to take a risk, and don’t be alarmed or defeated if the result comes out different than expected. Who knows, like the chocolate chip cookie, that mistake could be gateway to the next billion-dollar idea.

 

When a company or department can embrace these ideologies to engage in the forward-thinking process, they are on the fast track to innovation.  And innovation is the lifeblood of a successful business model.

 

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About Debi

Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.

 

Ready to take your career to the next level? 

Let’s chat. Schedule a complimentary call to discuss innovative solutions to your specific needs.

 

One of the top comments I hear from my clients is, “I like my job, but I’m bored. It doesn’t excite me.” After 5, 10, 20 years at a company, it’s understandable to become wearied by the same routine, people, and projects. Here are some tips to reignite the spark in your career, and how to fall in love (again!) with the work that you are doing.

 

Take Inventory and Delegate

Before you change WHAT you do, you must KNOW what you do. Make a list of the tasks that you complete every day. These tasks can be small or large, from “grab coffee from the 2nd floor break room” to “meet with the legal team to discuss next steps on the ________ project”. Then, categorize these things as “I enjoy” and “I do not enjoy”. Getting this list written down provides a visual of what has been pent up in your head and lets you see what work activities you would be happy to continue with and what you’d prefer to say goodbye to. Over time, find positive opportunities to remove the “I do not enjoy” tasks from your job. Is there a colleague looking for a new challenge? An intern begging for work to do? An innovative way to complete the task using different technology? Great! Refine your career so that you are doing the work that excites and motivates you and watch as you look forward to beginning your work each day.

 

Focus on Your Goals

Why are at this job? Was it a stepping stone to your next position? To make money? It can be easy to fall out of love with your career when you feel like there is not a greater purpose to your work. To combat this, you should always have a few long-term goals in mind to be chipping away at. These goals can be anything from earning a promotion to gaining skills in preparation for the next company you would like to work at. When you know the WHY for your work, you will be able to see the purpose in your day to day activities.

 

Ask for Different Work

While you may love your company’s mission and colleagues, the actual daily activities can become mundane when performed day after day. Consider reaching out to your supervisor about having a conversation regarding new projects. But be warned, it’s very important to ask a certain way. Do not come across as bored (even if you feel that way), but rather that you feel comfortable and confident in what you are doing now and are looking to take on new tasks to refine and grow your skills. If done correctly, your manager will see you as a go-getter, and be thrilled to know that you are excited and motivated to take on different projects.

 

Shake Things Up

An easy way to add interest to your workday is to simply change out your routine. Do you tend to sit at your desk all day to complete work? Consider moving your laptop to a spot outside. Always grabbing your Americano and bagel from the Starbucks in the office lobby? Perhaps try out a latte and breakfast wrap instead. You may be surprised that making small changes to your routine can add a bit more interest, even if your actual work is staying the same.

 

Create an Exit Strategy

If you are truly unhappy with your work, maybe it time for a change. Feel empowered to consider outside opportunities but be mindful of your approach unless you are positive that you are leaving your current company, no matter what. Even if you are ready to pursue other opportunities, ensure that your work ethic does not weaken. Leaving on good terms, with a great network and resources available for later in your career, is the sign of a truly successful exit.

 

____________

 

About Debi

Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.

 

Ready to take your career to the next level? 

Let’s chat. Schedule a complimentary call to discuss innovative solutions to your specific needs.

The fight to achieve a work-life balance has only increased through the decades. Historically, baby boomers grew up witnessing their parents go to massive lengths to make a simple living. Growing up in years of global instability, these individuals, statistically, are willing to sacrifice their “life” in return for consistent work. As times have changed, the workplace has evolved; however, the struggle for equilibrium in one’s professional and personal life has continued through the generations. In the modern world, achieving a work-life balance is possible. Discover the best ways to find balance for your career and lifestyle below.

 

Prioritize

Make a list of your 5 non-negotiables for the day. These are the tasks that if absolutely nothing else is done that day, they must be accomplished by the time you head home. Choosing to prioritize a few set tasks breaks down a loaded to-do list into manageable chunks, while also making it clear what can’t wait. Once those 5 tasks are completed and the work day has ended, choose to mentally unplug for the day. The rest can wait until tomorrow.

 

Set Boundaries

As technology use in the workplace has increased, the ability to unplug from work has nearly diminished. With every notification comes an urgent email, request, question, and guilt from not giving an immediate response. While taking the occasional glance at your work email or phone after hours is normal, regularly responding to non-urgent work emails signals to colleagues that you are available during non-work hours. Set a personal boundary for when you are fully off-limits unless an emergency is occurring, and feel empowered to let those non-critical tasks wait until the next morning.

 

Know Your Options

We all know that colleague who is in the office by 7am, workout completed and 2 cups of coffee down. It’s easy to feel less than when comparing ourselves to the early-rising go-getter who seems to have it all together. Don’t be afraid to take a flexible approach with your workspace and schedule. Work for a global company with extra early meetings? Check with your supervisor to see if it’s okay to call in from home or on your commute. Having trouble fitting in exercise due to lengthy work hours? Consider investing in a balance ball chair to keep your core engaged throughout the day. No matter your situation, rest assured that your work-life balance may look different than a co-worker’s and that is normal and okay.

 

While work/life balance looks different to different people, check in with yourself to ensure your approach meets your goals. Try new methods and remember, prioritizing yourself is not selfish. It is always a work in process to achieve balancing and will require you managing your time for the long-term.

 

 

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About Debi

Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.

 

Ready to take your career to the next level? 

Let’s chat. Schedule a complimentary call to discuss innovative solutions to your specific needs.

We all hear about the accomplishments of executives and picture a rigorous, caffeinated, and meeting-filled day beginning the moment they rise until the second their heads hit the pillow. In a study performed by Vanderkam, 90% of executives claim to be awake before 6am on weekdays to get a head start on their day. However, individuals negotiating million-dollar deals and leading hundreds of employees don’t sprint to the office the moment the alarm buzzes. In fact, you might be surprised at the calm, laid-back pre-dawn approach leading successful people into high-yielding work days.

 

They Say No to Coffee

 At least until they have hydrated their bodies for the day ahead. During the night, your body loses nearly 1 liter of water. Because of this loss, we wake up dehydrated, which is only worsened by the immediate reach for a cup of coffee. Taking the time to drink 16-32oz of room temperature water puts you well on your way to rehydration, alertness, and a faster metabolism. Feel free to reach for your morning java…after a few swigs from the water glass.

 

They Are Selfish

 We’ve all heard the age old saying: you can’t pour from an empty glass. When a successful person begins their day in the wee hours before dawn, they focus on what they need to fill their cup. They set their sights on personal growth, self-reflection, meditation, faith-based study, or simply take a few moments to breathe. Begin a gratitude journal, or perhaps invest in a personal development book or two. By setting your daily mindset on bettering yourself, you are then prepared to pour into others and establish a day of accomplishment, focus, and productivity among employees.

 

They Set Their Intentions

 Try as we might, it is near impossible for humans to accomplish the entirety of the mile-long to-do list we set for ourselves. TimeManagement.com CEO Rob Rawson sets his top priorities first thing in the morning before the hubbub of email churn and meeting requests fills his time. Take 5 minutes to write down the 3 things that, regardless of anything else, must get accomplished today.

 

They Move

 Though a quick jog or a few sets of squats may not sound like the most mellow way to begin the day, research shows that a dedicated exercise routine before heading to work can improve mental clarity for 4 to 10 hours post-workout. Former CEO and chairman of PepsiCo, Steve Reinemund claims he has been running 4 miles at 5:00am for decades. This week incorporate 20 minutes of exercise into your morning and take note of how you feel by the end of the week. You know how the saying goes, “the only bad workout is the one you didn’t do”.

 

They Get Educated

In order to change the world, we must know what is going on in the world. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet has been known to begin his day reading the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the New York Times, USA Today, the Omaha World-Herald, and the American Banker. Understanding the world around you not only provides a stronger educational foundation, but also gives insight into your industry, the economy, and global happenings.

 

They Stay Silent

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, surrounding noises can affect health by increasing stress levels, high blood pressure, risk of coronary disease, peptic ulcers and migraine headaches. Our mornings are often the only time of the day we aren’t surrounded by ringing phones, noisy conversations, loud television shows, and blaring music. In the morning hour, take the time to remain in complete silence as long as possible, leaving the hustle and bustle to the office.

 

Even adding a few of these habits will get your day moving in the right direction!

 

 

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About Debi

Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.

 

Ready to take your career to the next level? 

Let’s chat. Schedule a complimentary call to discuss innovative solutions to your specific needs.

What week of social distancing is it? Week 7? 8? 25? When quarantine first began, it was frightening. Some people will not return to work for awhile. Others were asked to come back a couple of weeks ago. And then there are others that unfortunately lost their positions. As the weeks have gone on, anxiety has increased and staying motivated to work has become challenging for us all. I want to share with you my thoughts on how we can all maintain our personal morale in moments of adversity.

 

Give Yourself Grace

First and foremost, recognize that this is an unprecedented time for everyone. No one in the world has ever faced the massively-scaled COVID-19 before. We are all doing the best that we can with what we have, and that may look differently from your work prior to the pandemic. With added layers of uncertainty and anxiety, it is normal and okay that concentration and motivation are becoming harder and harder to come by while trying to work as usual. Give yourself grace. Recognize that you, along with your colleagues, are doing the best you can.

 

Do What You Can

Lastly, do what you can. There may be projects and tasks at work that have been put on hold for the time being. Colleagues may be facing furloughs or layoffs that have logistically or mentally affected your productivity. During this time, do not expect the same past results from these new challenges. If your company uses a goal tracking system, consider having a conversation with your supervisor to adjust those metrics.

 

Forget Work

At least for a while. Because we are unable to check in with our colleagues each day during coffee breaks and lunch time, conversations with work friends seem to be all work and no play. Plan a 30-minute virtual coffee break, or even a post-work happy hour with colleagues to catch up in an informal setting. Ask about one another’s families, find out what movie you should be watching next, talk about everyone’s favorite quarantine recipes. Just relax, and remember, no work topics.

 

Remember the Bigger Picture

Lastly, remember the bigger picture. Yes, I am a business coach, but I’m also a wife, mother, daughter, and friend. And as passionate as I am about my career, my family and friends are my absolute world. I want to encourage you to remember those individuals in your life. Remember that while business may be tough right now, you have people in your life, related or not, who love and care for you beyond how successful you may be at work.

 

____________

 

About Debi

Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.

 

Ready to take your career to the next level? 

Let’s chat. Schedule a complimentary call to discuss innovative solutions to your specific needs.

You’ve accomplished the hardest step of the job application process: landing an interview. According to Forbes, only 20% of job applicants receive an offer to interview after they have applied.  The interview is the biggest opportunity a candidate has to stand out and show that they are the best choice for the position.

Here are some simple tips to ensure you are set up for a successful interview with any organization:

 

Research, Research, Research

When walking into an interview, you should be familiar with what the organization does, its largest competitors, prominent individuals in the company, and the basic responsibilities of the position. While these data points may seem obvious, it’s shocking how many candidates are rejected simply because they didn’t browse the company website or social media to get a base overview.

 

Dress to Impress

You only get to make a first impression once. When interviewing, your attire should always err on the formal side, but take a moment to check out the company’s social media to determine dress code and culture. Then, dress one level above the standard. If employees dress business casual day-to-day, you should be decked out in full formal business wear. If employees tend to show up in jeans and a t-shirt, polished business casual is appropriate.

 

Arrive Prepared

It is nearly impossible to over pack for an interview. At minimum, you should arrive with a copy of all materials that you submitted to the company during the application process, including your resume, cover letter, reference letters, and examples of your work if applicable. Bring a pen and notepad as well to keep track of questions, notes, company and contact information, or if nothing else, to simply show the interviewer that you thought ahead.

 

Slow and Steady

Let’s face it, interviews are one of life’s most anxiety-inducing events. The desire to impress and earn a position at your dream company can often lead individuals to rush through interview answers without taking pause to really think through what they are saying. You may have prepared these answers ahead of time, but this is the first time that the interviewer is hearing them. Take a deep breath and slow down to give the interviewer the chance to hear and take in your responses. Remember, they would not spend the time or resources interviewing you if they did not see you as a potential fit for the organization. Breathe, smile, and communicate with confidence.

 

Ask Questions

One of the worst mistakes a job candidate can make when asked, “Do you have any questions?” is saying no. Asking questions demonstrates that you did your research, paid attention during the conversation, and want to know more about the company and position. Prior to the interview, prepare a list of intelligent yet practical questions to ask the interviewer. These questions do not have to be in-depth inquiries. A simple, “What is the day-to-day culture of the company like?”, or “You mentioned that the previous individual in this role had been working on X project, could you share a bit more about that?” shows that you are interested and care.

 

Follow Up

As soon as you exit your interview, you should be thinking through what to write in your follow up message to the interviewer. While a thank you note may seem old-fashion, 57% of resume rejections are from a lack of follow up from the candidate. The message can be handwritten or digital, but must be personalized and show appreciation for the interviewer’s time.

 

There are times, however, that you can be perfectly prepared, excellently dressed, confidently inquisitive, and still will not receive an offer. Do not be discouraged, and instead take your experience as a learning opportunity and practice for the next interview invitation. If appropriate, contact the interviewer to ask for some pointers. Stay sharp, stay positive, and stay collected. The right opportunity will be heading your way in no time.