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  1. Bad News, You Didn’t Get The Job… What Next?

    March 17, 2015 by Jenna

    You were picked out of the crowd of candidates to attend the interview. You meet the recruiter and start to feel like you are building a strong connection. You leave feeling confident and on a buzz. Then you wait with anticipation for the follow up call. When the recruiter gets in touch they tell you that unfortunately you were not successful, and will not be proceeding further.

    At this point you will probably be experiencing feelings of confusion, disappointment and even anger. Do not react in a way you will regret. Instead think about the importance of maintaining relationships in your potential employment network. Remember that industry networks are all connected in different ways. So if one door closes, it doesn’t mean that another one isn’t waiting to be opened.

    Before throwing in the towel and accepting defeat, you can run through the following steps to help lead you on a better the path towards success:

    • Thank the recruiter/employer for their time – After all it isn’t easy for the person conducting the interview to deliver bad news to a potential candidate. To react badly only shows that you are emotionally reactive and respond to feedback negatively. It could also put you on the back bench for future roles if you behave in a manner that is rude or sarcastic.

    • Don’t be afraid to ask for specific feedback – The best way to make improvements is to gain feedback to learn for future opportunities. Advice on how you performed during the interview (body language, eye contact etc.) or how you answered interview questions can be really useful for upcoming interviews. If the feedback relates to experience or skill sets, you may even want to consider educational courses or work experience that may help further develop those areas.

    • Let the recruiter know that you would like to be considered for other suitable roles that become available. This keeps communication open and allows you to keep connected to potential employers.

    • Don’t hesitate to get out there and start applying again right away – You probably don’t feel like applying for more jobs when that feeling of rejection hits you, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing out there for you. It is important to stay focused on the goal of finding the job that’s right for you and not give up. Reach out to people within your network to let them know that you are searching for new opportunities. Register with a recruiting company that works in your chosen field. You can also seek out networking opportunities to start building more connections.

    • Keep practicing your interview skills – This may sound like common sense, but the more practice you get the more confidence you will have when you interview. Practice for different interview methods e.g. one on one, panel or video interviews. Ask connections who are responsible for hiring people what they look for in the ideal candidate and practice their useful tips.

    Remember that the application process is competitive and that we can’t win them all. That doesn’t mean however that we can’t take further measures and practice further steps to help us land our next great role.

    What was the best feedback you ever received after an interview?


  2. What Resilient People Don’t Do

    January 27, 2015 by Jenna

    We all respond to change differently. For some of us it comes naturally and we can go with the flow, as for others, having that sense of security removed can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Regardless of which type of person you are, it is important to develop resilience so that we can continue to move towards our goals regardless of the situation.

    So what does it take to be an emotionally resilient person? Perhaps it is best to start by clarifying what they don’t do in order for us to understand what it takes to be resilient. An article by Brad Waters in Psychology Today will be my inspiration for this week and I have outlined ten of his points below:

    1. They don’t cross their own boundaries – Resilient people understand that there is a separation between who they are at their core and the cause of their temporary The stress/trauma might play a part in their current story but it does not overtake their permanent identity.

    2.They don’t surround themselves with bad company– In any environment, your behaviour can be greatly affected by the people you surround yourself with. Resilient people surround themselves with other resilient people who give them space to grieve and work through their emotions. These supporters know when to listen and when to offer enough encouragement without trying to solve the problem, allowing the individual to remain in control of their decisions. Good company will help calm a situation as opposed to adding frustration to it.

    3. They don’t avoid self-awareness – Being ‘blissfully unaware’ can get us through a bad day but it’s not a very wise long term strategy. Self-awareness helps resilient people to know what they need, what they don’t need and when it’s time to reach out for extra help.

    Prideful stubbornness without emotional flexibility or self-awareness can make us emotional glaciers. While strong on the outside to stay afloat, you can get prone to massive stress fractures when experiencing unexpected changes in your environment.

    4. They don’t pretend there isn’t a problem – Pain is painful, stress is stressful and healing takes time. Resilient people understand that stress/pain is a part of living that ebbs and flows. As hard as it is in the moment, it’s better to come to terms with the truth or pain than to ignore it, repress it, or deny it.

    5. They don’t ignore quiet time – Some of us find the best ways to cope with stress and anxiety is to dull out with distractions such as television, eating, drinking too much etc. While not all distractions are bad, you still need to be mindful of the current situation you may be in and not use distractions as a means of avoiding problems. Somewhere in between shutting down or ramping up is mindfulness – being in the presence of the moment without judgement or avoidance. It takes practice, but finding a quiet space to reflect is well renowned for healing and resilience-building.

    6. They don’t presume to have all the answers – Sometimes we try too hard to find answers in the face of stressful or traumatic events, that activity can block the answers from naturally arising in their own due time. Resilient people can find strength in knowing they do not have it all figured out right now. They trust they will gradually find peace when their mind/body is ready.

    7. They don’t put self-care aside – Resilient people have a list of good habits that support them when they need them most. Anyone can build their own list by noticing those things that recharge their batteries and give them a boost.

    8. They don’t underestimate the importance of team input – Being resilient means knowing when to reach out for help from others. It also means knowing who will serve as a listening ear, and who won’t. A supporting team will help you reflect back on issues where you may have been too emotional or overwhelmed to do so at the time they occured.

    9. They don’t overlook other possibilities – Resilient people can train themselves to ask which parts of their current story are permanent and which parts can possibly change. This helps to maintain a realistic understanding that the present situation may be coloured by their current interpretation. Our interpretations of our stories will always change as we grow and mature.

    10. They don’t dwell on issues – When we’re in the midst of stress and overwhelmed, our thoughts can go at a hundred miles an hour. Resilient people can find reprieve accepting the situation and moving on. One technique that works for some people is the write down the issues causing the current stress.

    While writing is one resilience strategy you can keep in your back pocket, there are other ways that resilient people can get out of their head. Examples include healthy distractions like going to the gym or going for a walk, cooking or baking, volunteering or any self-care items as per point #7.

    How have you built resilience in times of change or difficult situations?


  3. Small Talk At Work – Love It Or Loathe It?

    July 17, 2012 by Jenna

     

    I included the awkward elevator photo as my inspiration for this week’s blog as I often find this is the prime example of where we see small talk play out – those that love small talk are initiating conversations between levels, whilst those that loathe small talk are staring ahead waiting patiently for the doors to open at their floor.

    Turns out that just as the elevator shifts between levels, so do you between loving and loathing of small talk, with most of you decidedly sitting in the middle, here’s what you said:

    • Small talk at work can be beneficial at the right times. Everyone needs a social break now and then.
    • In the middle – I am happy to say hello and have a quick chat but no longer than that. It tends to eat into time when you are working.
    • In between – I love catching up with colleagues to connect but I hate office gossip, back stabbing and stirring.
    • Sometimes love, sometimes loathe – Depends on the topic and who I am discussing it with at work and how much time I have to do my workload – when you are under pressure from deadlines, it can be hard to enjoy small talk at work.

    What makes us love small-talk is that it helps build unique, interesting connections with our colleagues. Don’t we all feel more valued – when someone smiles at you, gives you direct eye contact and asks ‘how are you?’ and actually listens to the answer?

    So what is small talk then and how can we make it most effective? Severino Consulting outlines 5 easy steps to improving small talk at work:

    1. Make it real – Disclose something that is not too personal but something that is right now on your heart, head or hands (what are you feeling, thinking and doing?)
    2. Make it useful – Think of it as a time to get some ideas on things you are working on.  Share what you are stuck on and then pause to allow the other person a chance to comment.
    3. Make it a time to learn about the other person – what was the highlight of their weekend?  Where did they go on vacation? What was their favorite holiday gift?  Ask a good question and then pause and listen.
    4. Follow up – next time you see the person, ask about their home improvement project or their new pet.  Continue to learn more.
    5. Notice what you share with friends and family — you may find a snippet of the week to use elsewhere. Maybe you Tweet or Facebook. The process of writing creates a reflection about “current events” that I can then share with others.

    Small talk is a form of engaging with others and you will only get out of it what you put in. And by that I mean, if you often avoid eye contact with others in the workplace or the casual ‘hello/goodbye’ in passing, you will start to notice other staff members stop attempting to make that effort to approach you. I tend to find it’s a common courtesy to acknowledge someone, and regardless of what type of day you’ve had, sometimes small talk can be a great distraction and often make a bad day brighter.

    So yes, we can love small talk when we make it real and reciprocal, but not all topics should be included in our small talk repertoire. About.com outlines the 10 Top Topics to avoid when making small talk in the workplace:

    1. Financial – Asking personal financial questions of people that you have just met is inappropriate.
    2. Politics – The problem with talking about politics is that you never know who in the crowd may have strong opinions.
    3. Religion – Religion is another extremely personal and potentially sensitive topic that should be avoided.
    4. Intimacy – Talking about sex or asking questions of an intimate nature is inappropriate.
    5. Death – Remember that you are in the company of strangers and this is not the appropriate time to bring up emotional topics that have the potential to be upsetting.
    6. Age and appearance – If you have just met someone, do not ask her age. Although the question might seem simple to you, it can be a hot topic for some. In addition, avoid questions related to appearance.
    7. Personal Gossip – While celebrity gossip is fair game during small talk, gossip about people that you know personally is not
    8. Offensive Jokes – Save your off-colour jokes for your best friends (or better yet, replace them with clean jokes).
    9. Narrow Topics – Although you will want to tell interesting stories at some point during small talk, avoid talking at length about topics that are one-sided.
    10. Past relationships – unless you know the person well, this can often be an emotional subject that may be awkward for some to discuss.

    What do you think – are these topics off limits or what do you love about small talk at work?

    Don’t forget to participate in this week’s poll: Do you dread a performance appraisal or does it drive you to perform better? The results will be published in next week’s blog post so stay tuned!




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