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How to Prepare for a Successful Interview

How to Prepare for a Successful Interview

With the school year wrapping up and Summer just around the corner, Summer job hunting is at an all time high. Interviews are an essential part of the employee selection process, and can leave either a positive or negative impression on a potential employer. Interviews may seem scary at first, but the key to success is being prepared and confident. Find out more about how to stay calm, cool, and collected during your upcoming interviews below!

 

Before the Interview

1. Ensure you look over your resume to re-familiarize yourself with any experience that could be brought up by the interviewer. Often times, an interviewer asks for a more in-depth explanation of relevant experience. Being prepared to be asked about your experience, and relate it to your new potential job is an admirable quality for employers. In light of this, also ensure that your resume is constantly being updated.

Hand writing on a page
2. Research the company beforehand. If possible, find out a little information on the employee that will be conducting the interview with you so that you can try to relate to him or her. An efficient means of researching companies and employees is the website LinkedIn. It is essential to know background information about your desired place of employment when walking into an interview so that you can readily identify why you are a good fit in comparison to other applicants for the company.

Person working

3. Film or record yourself answering the sample questions listed below. Being able to witness yourself answering questions from an outside perspective helps you to be aware of what the interviewer will see. This step can help you make important changes to your posture and response time, and can assist you by letting you practice forming your thoughts into complete sentences.

Girl taking a video on her smart phone

4. Be on time to the interview! A company will not hire someone who makes a bad first impression, and being late is one of the worst impressions you can make. Wasting the interviewer’s time is ill-advised because the interview will begin on a sour note. This could cause the horn effect to take place, during which the employer regards you as a bad person based on one poor action. To find out more about impressions, such as the horn effect, check out our blog post on perception. If something goes wrong and you are running late, make sure to send an email or message to let the interviewer know so that they are not waiting for you.

Job interview between two women

During the Interview

1. Be prepared for the “Tell Me About Yourself” question. This question is often dreaded, but in reality, represents a unique opportunity to let the interviewer know more about your most relevant assets. This question gives the interviewee the opportunity to steer the interview in whichever way he or she wants and permits focusing on the best qualities instead of qualities that may be lacking. The best way to do this is by telling a story about a past experience that relates your skills to the desired position.

Job interview between a man and woman

2. Maintain eye contact and monitor body language at all times. Ensure that your body communicates that you are engaged in the conversation, and happy to be considered for the position. If you are slouching or looking around the room during the interview, the interviewer will understand that you are uninterested and unavailable.

A handshake between two professionals

3. Ensure that you have questions prepared for the interviewer about the company. Questions about the position demonstrate your desire to learn, and your eagerness about the position. Showing interest can set you apart from other, less passionate interviewees.

Business casual dress attire

4. Dress appropriately, and according to a business casual dress code. As mentioned previously, first impressions are imperative to a successful interview. Even if you are interviewing for a casual job, business casual attire will show your interest in the job and avoid you looking unprepared.

Interview setting between two men

After the Interview

Ensure to send a follow up thank you email acknowledging the person’s time spent with you. This leaves the interview on a high note and demonstrates that you are still interested after the interview as well. A simple, “Thank you again for sitting down to chat with me today, I appreciate your time” will suffice.

Business handshake after an interview

Some Sample Questions:

Tell Me About Yourself?
How Did You Hear About This Position?
Why Do You Think You Are Qualified For This Position?
What Drew You To Our Company Specifically?
Why Do You Want This Job?
Tell Me About A Time When You Exercised Leadership/Teamwork/Responsibility In A Professional Setting?
What Is A Conflict You’ve Faced At Work, And How Did You Overcome It?
What Do You Consider Your Greatest Weakness?
How Would Your Ex-Boss And Coworkers Describe You?

Understanding The Impact Of Perception

Understanding The Impact Of Perception

Picture this: You are walking down a busy street, as you look around at your surroundings. You see people walking, some in a hurry and some taking their time. You may catch a glance at them. Some will engage in eye contact, and some will not. You may attempt to give a friendly smile. Some return the greeting and some do not. The greeting or lack there of makes you perceive them as friendly or rude. You look at the street lights and the store signs. You wait until you see the green light to walk, and you make your way across the street. Every second of everyday embodies the notion of perception. Whether it is the way we view the world or the way that others view us, this process is defined by perceptive processes of the senses.

Perception

 

Perception is defined as the ability to capture, process, and actively make sense of the information that our senses receive. It is apparent in the cognitive processes of the brain that allow humans and other species to identify their surroundings and conceptualize other’s behavioural gestures. We constantly encoding and decoding the messages that the brain receives from the outer world. It is important to understand how this process works in order to understand the communication process. Studies show that humans interpret visual queues at a rate of 13 milliseconds. Meaning that in less than a second, someone has already made a perception of your character.

 

Blue Mirror

 

Identifying the perception process is crucial to ensure that you are perceived in a positive light. This occurs through a specific form of perception called person perception. This is when we encode behavioural cues from others that allows us to come to conclusions of a person’s character. This can come from a facial gesture such as a smile, a greeting such as a wave or a hand shake, body language such as crossed arms to the full auditory interpretations from conversing.

 

Magnifying Glass

 

The entire perception process allows others to link these cues based on the interaction or communication process and link them to characteristics of the individual. For example, if you are talking to someone and they have their arms crossed and are looking off into the distance you are going to perceive them as disengaged, closed off, distracted with an overall unwillingness to interact. Based on the these cues an individual can perceive them as rude, standoffish or reserved. This may cause the individual to no longer want to continue in engaging in a conversation solely based on the notion of perception.

Of course, a major element of person perception is the cultural context in which the situation is taking place. Understanding the location or surrounding environment that the communication process takes place in is crucial. For e.g. In North American cultures it is custom to make eye contact and shake the hand when meeting a new individual. But in Japan, it is deemed as rude to look directly in someones eye and the custom greeting is bowing.

Girl In Mirror

 

This direct correlation of behaviours and personality traits is called implicit personality theory, that is based on the assumptions that we have about the characteristics of the individual. The major aspect of perception in which social norms and roles com into play in such theory. We have certain perceived expectations when we engage with others. When these are not met there is an element of deviance associated. This process happens fast, automatically and at the subconscious level. Further allowing you to respond and make decisions quickly. This furthers your role as a social being.

Girl Mirror Outside

 

Although understanding how others perceive you is beneficial under various scenarios, it is a reality that humans are not always aware of the internal perceptions that others have of them. Since no one can read minds, engaging in communication is solely based off of external sensory cues with no access to the internal perceptions that one may be experiencing during the conversation. Due to this, individuals are left to perceive themselves through the process of introspection, which is defined by looking inward to our own feelings and thoughts. A major fall back of this perception process is the misconceptions that occur while speaking. Individuals have to come to conclusions that may not always be accurate. Leaving an aspect of ignorance apparent in the conversation when a person’s own morals, values and attitudes get in the way of perceiving others.

Man Camera

This internal perception of ourselves is vital, as the level of self-esteem we exhibit will transcend onto others. The self-actualization process will in turn affect how we come across in how we act and feel in a conversation. It is shown that as humans the more cues we have to process the less accurate our ability to perceive others is. Things essentially can get lost in translation and people could be perceiving you differently than you think- for the good or the bad. This proves that less is more. Statistics show that we accurately encode facial cues about 90% of the time. Showing that our brain capacities are better based on physical functionalities than of voice.

Types of Perceptual Errors

Stereotypes

1.Stereotypes:

A reality in society is that the ideological implications of stereotypes diminish the perceptual integrity of individuals. The connotations that we have with specific social markers can allow perceptions to occur before the encoding process all together. This disallows individuals to achieve a positive characteristics when judging based on social factors that are outside of their control.

Halo

2. Halo Effect:

This is the process in which individuals come to a conclusion about an individual based on only one aspect trait. This gives power to one individual trait over all others and results in an over cast of influence. E.g. if someone does an act of good they are as a result perceived to be a good person.
Horn

3. Horn Effect:

This is the opposite of the halo effect, as it takes one bad act and results in the person being considered as a bad person.
Conversation

4. Recency Effect:

Taking the most recent information as the ultimate perception of the person, even though you have access to other information about them.
Interview

5. Primary Effect:

Making an assumption about someone based on the first information that is received. This is the embodiment of the first impression and how that can determine a person’s overall perception by others.

Bonding

6. The Similar-To-Me Effect:

We often feel more comfortable, identify with and have more positive perceptions of those who are similar to us.
Emotions

7. Fundamental Attribution Error:

When an individual underestimates external factors and thus relies mostly on the influence of internal factors when making judgements about others behaviours.
Blame

8. Self-Serving Bias:

When individuals put positive outcomes on internal characteristics and project blame of the negatives towards external factors.

Happy

9. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:

When individuals have a preconceived perception of a given person or situation will result in their expectations becoming a reality.

 

Happy Mirror

 

Identifying and understanding the way the brain processes information through our senses is one of the most beneficial tools of the cognitive mind. Perception is in every aspect of your life, from knowing your surroundings, making a good impression and identifying the behavioural traits of others. The way we interact with our environment is through understanding human behaviour. The beauty of perception is that everyone sees the world differently, so there is no one mode of perception. Making your perception of the world one of a kind. Without perception, the world would be a standardized monoculture of uniformity. Master perception, make the world unique.
A Guide to Better Conversations

A Guide to Better Conversations

Conversations are an essential component of every day life. The ability to make a lasting and meaningful impression on others during conversations can make or break your relationships with friends, colleagues, and others. To help you have better conversations, the experts at Speak have compiled a guide of the most effective ways to have a great conversation.

1. Lead with a question

The best way to start a conversation is by asking a question. This shows the other participant in the conversation that you are interested in what they have to say, and confident enough to ask. It is important to ensure that the question that you lead with is broad so that the other person can engage with it comfortably. It is also important to ask neutral questions that will not put others in an uncomfortable situation.

Questions to avoid include:

  • What did you think of the presidential address last week?
  • Did you ever get that promotion?
  • Are you and your significant other still together?

Work Friends Having Conversation

2. Start with small talk

Trust is earned, not given. For this reason, it’s better to start a conversation off with light small talk than it is to immediately delve into specifics. For this tip, remember the 3 tiers of conversation.

  • The first tier is comprised of safe territory. This includes the weather, popular culture, and any shared experiences.
  • The second tier is comprised of potentially controversial topics. These include religion, dating, and politics.
  • The third tier is comprised of the most intimate topics. These can include family, finances, and health.

Always ensure that you begin with tier one conversations, and gauge the situation and relationship before moving on to more personal topics.

Group of Friends Laughing Together

3. Look for obvious talking points before you approach a conversation

If you are introducing yourself to someone, consider obvious talking points that you could bring up before you approach. For example, is this person wearing merchandise from a specific band or sports team that you could ask them about?

Colleagues Having a Light Conversation

4.It’s about more than just words

Did you know that 93% of communication is non-verbal? This type of communication includes body language cues such as posture, hand gestures, eye contact and facial reactions. It also includes tone of voice, and pace of speech. All of these non-verbal cues communicate a lot about you to others. For example, typically those who speak slower are viewed as more confident.

A Group of Friends Conversing

5. Don’t hog the mic

Remember to keep the other participant engaged by consistently asking for their opinion and input on the topic of conversation. If you feel like you may be talking too much, ask your conversation partner how they feel about what you’ve just said.

Friends Laughing Together

6. Focus on listening, and remember key points

One of the biggest mistakes that people make during conversations with others is focusing too much on their response before the other person has a chance to finish their thought. Ensure that you are listening to your partner, and considering their full thought before you respond. Make sure to remember key points during the conversation that you can refer back to later to show others that you care about what they have to say.

Two Friends Having Conversation

7. Don’t be scared of silence

Silences are only awkward if you make them. Silence is actually a normal part of every conversation, and should be regarded in this way. Do not grasp for abstract topics to attempt to fill every silent moment, because they are a natural part of every exchange.

Brainstorming Session Between Colleagues

8. Try to relate

Relating to other people is the best way to form lasting relationships. As humans, we are naturally drawn to people who are similar to us. If you relate to something that your partner has said, make sure to tell them that you have had a similar experience or feel a similar way about a certain topic.

Two Friends Laughing

9. Be aware of social dynamics

Conversations will flow differently with various types of people. How you converse with someone depends on your relationship to them. For example, you will likely converse in different ways with your best friend than with your boss. Ensure that you are aware of the social dynamics that you are participating in, and adjust your behavior accordingly.

Colleagues Conversing with Superior

10. Fake it until you make it

The key to better communication is essentially to fake it ’till you make it. Even if you don’t feel 100% confident in a situation, always pretend that you are the most confident person in the room.

Camels Conversing

 

The best way to master the art conversation is by practicing often. We hope this guide has helped you think of new ways to initiate, and keep the conversation flowing.

Visit our homepage to contact us for more insights into how to better communicate with others.

 

Your Guide To Mastering Confidence While Speaking

Your Guide To Mastering Confidence While Speaking

It is proven that a lack of confidence can hinder your overall performance in the workplace, personal relationships and self-actualization. Due to a rise in the digital age, online communication and social media, a major consequence is a decrease in confidence. Succeeding in life and obtaining opportunities starts with your inner perception and your first impression.

The psychological aspect of confidence goes hand-in-hand with goal setting and accomplishments. When you achieve success your confidence boosts as a result. This makes your performance rate in the workplace rise and in turn, creates a continuous boost of confidence cycle. If you do not believe you can achieve your goals, then who else will? You have the ability to change the way you feel about yourself and the ways others perceive you. Take a look at Speak’s guide to mastering confidence through body language and speech.

Communicate Through Body Language:

A major aspect of communication skills is the ability to build confidence through body language. The reality is that 90% of our communication skills and perception of others is non-verbal. This means that the majority of the way we come across is through the natural tendencies of the human body. That is why mastering and adapting muscle memory is an extremely powerful skill. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so make today day one and become more confident.

Body Language Figure- Speak Website

Master The First Impression:

Furthermore, first impressions are everything, that is why so many individuals put an emphasis on the first date, the first interview, meeting the parents etc. This is because within 10 seconds the person who you are interacting with has already made an assumption about your character. You must be thinking, I said all the right things, I was so nice, I had amazing manners, well the reality is that verbal communication will not be the root of your success in communication. The mind and the body need to be simultaneously interacting to create a well-rounded appearance.

Woman Pointing - Speak Website
Embody The Essence of Confidence:

This is where the notion of confidence comes in. Being confident is a skill that for many, is extremely difficult. So why not fake it till you make it? Or rather fake it until you become it? This is where the term procedural memory comes in. This is the process in which mastery comes through the constant repetition of body movements. It is true that with practice anything is possible. If you embody the essence of confidence you then build up the natural tendencies of muscle movements.

Business Man - Speak Website
Communication Is Instinctual:

In addition, this is a lesson for your muscles to the point where they naturally execute these habitual behaviours. The notion of naturalistic body movements has been dated back to the beginning of time. In fact, in the animal kingdom, the communication process is instinctual for survival. Animals entire functionality is based on non-verbal communication, this includes gestures, body language, and facial expressions. All of which are relevant to humans, as our biological makeup correlates with animalistic capacities. 

Goal Sheet - Speak Website

Setting Goals is Crucial For Confidence:

Moreover, the mind and the body are interconnected, so the way you move your body is vital for a confidence boost. It is stated that feeling motivated heightens an individual’s level of confidence. The root of feeling motivated is completing goals and feeling good about accomplishments, which in turn makes an individual feel self-confident. So getting out there, setting goals and crushing them is a great way to feel more confident. These can be goals of any size and any manner, from making your bed every morning to completing a marathon, both can contribute to a boost in confidence!

Hand Shake - Speak Website
Master These Body Language Tips:

However, what about those days where you cannot shake a low self-esteem persona? The answer is simple, change your body language. By incorporating positive body language you can, in turn, become a more confident person. Every time you choose to smile, you inherently become more happy and gleeful. It is because the brain obtains the signals coming from the body and translates them into feelings. Let’s talk about poses that are crucial for increasing confidence:

Power Pose:

This pose is an easy and quick way to train the body to feel confident. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, bend your knees slightly and raise those hands in the air! Just like you’ve won the biggest race of your life! These are signals of power and resilience that are being sent to the brain at a rapid pace.

Lean in:

While someone is talking or when you are listening to a presentation leaning in articulates a state of interest. It shows you are paying attention and that you are invested in the situation at hand. This tells your body that there is value in the information being disseminated and makes you an active listener.

Smile, it looks good on you:

Smiling calms the body by lowering your heart-rate, releasing endorphins that eliminate stress. It gets your body ready to be productive and master all the necessary tasks for the day. Every morning smile and tell yourself that you are worthy, attractive and that a good day awaits. It is the best way to begin your day with a cup of confidence!

Sit up:

Everyone is always talking about good posture. But what if it actually helped boost confidence? When sitting keep your back straight, sit all the way back on the chair, feet flat on the floor and keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.

Do not forget about your arms and legs:

When we are nervous we tend to fidget with our arms or tap our feet. Many cross their arms or legs in a resting position. Try to avoid all of these tendencies because they make you look closed off and nervous. Keeping your hands in your lap while you are sitting and by your side, while you are standing is the best resting position.

Start and End with a great handshake:

A great handshake can tell you a lot about the person that you are meeting. It is often times the first sign of confidence through body language and is a trait that should be universally mastered. A handshake needs to have strength, without too much force, mixed with direct eye contact and a smile. This is the recipe for a confident greeting.

Take up space and invite others in with open gestures:

By showing you are not afraid to occupy space shows you are confident. Widen your stance by standing stable and solid. This shows that your natural relaxed state is dominant and sure of yourself. Stand when you can and walk around when applicable show that you are there for a reason

By holding your hands out while speaking and using your hands with articulating shows relaxed body movements. Invite others in by facing your palms up. All of these gestures allow you to be perceived more positively and invites others in for open dialogue. This is beneficial for your overall creditability and appearance and persona.

Business Man Sitting With Tie - Speak Website

In conclusion, all of these tips are simple ways to train the body that you are confident. The more you incorporate these gestures into your daily routine, the more confident you will feel. It is natural that not everyone feels confident all day every day. Sometimes we need a little boost to get our day going. Soon with practice, you will become the master of your confidence. 

Enhance your influence on others through your communication skills. Speak is a key tool that aids in your journey toward confidence. Learn more about Speak and become the best version of yourself. Let Speak help you become a confident communicator and obtain skills that enhance your lifestyle. Email us at success@speakai.co