95 SAVED IDEAS
Many of us get stuck or frozen at job interviews, even though we have practised long and hard for handling all sorts of questions. This is due to the anxiety spiral that we get caught in, putting pressure on ourselves.
Some stress and anxiety are inevitable in any interview, something that will ‘knock-off’ about 25 per cent of our preparations. We need to over-prepare to balance the odds, practising hard for the tough questions that push us into the anxiety spiral.
Before going to an interview, ask for unbiased feedback from your mentors, peers, family members and friends, just to gain some clarity. We usually would miss those true negative aspects due to our skewed state of mind.
An outside perspective shines a light on our hidden mistakes and the competencies and attitudes that we need to highlight. It helps to be honest about our fears and note down the feedback, working on your ‘interview performance’ later.
It helps to self-conduct mock interviews and practice the tough questions, especially the initial words you may have to blurt out while you frame your real answer:
“That’s a great question, and I haven’t dealt with that exact situation yet. Could you elaborate a bit so that I can take a minute to flesh out my strategy in this scenario?”
Keeping your tone open, confident and curious helps in this tightrope walking of difficult questions. Saying ‘I don’t know’ doesn’t help anymore.
Many of us have the habit of endlessly brooding over negative events after they occur, subjecting ourselves to hard self-criticism. Many people who are perfectionist also amplify small things that go wrong. One needs to recognize and manage such behaviour by breathing exercises or practising hard to reduce anxiety.
One can try being honest and provide creative answers to the questions using their past experiences, both personal and professional. It doesn’t have to be scripted all the time.
Email is essential in a workplace and yet can suck our productivity in a uniquely annoying way. On an average workday, we check our email 15 times, which leads to wasted time and distractions.
Email isn’t even the best way a person can communicate, as it does not provide the recipient with our intended tone, intentions and purpose in an exact way.
Human nature tends to conform to the majority and leans towards safety in numbers. Adopted practices (like email) become the default even when they are not the best solution because everyone else is on it.
Work is done more effectively with in-person or virtual meetings, while instant messengers are less formal and more intuitive while being easy to check.
Email has real value in communicating the following:
American psychologist Edward Thorndike defines social intelligence as ‘the ability to understand people and act wisely in human relations.’ These skills can be acquired with practice.
Some people can sense how other people feel and what to say in social gatherings. These confident, caring people seem to have people skills, but in fact, what they have is social intelligence.
Virtual communication often lacks the nonverbal clues we notice with in-person conversations.
To compensate, we often make assumptions or jump to conclusions that can cause harm to our work relationships.
Instead of acting on your assumptions, go to the facts. Understanding the individual styles of employees can also give interactions more context and help avoid misunderstandings.
To avoid unnecessary conflict, it is essential to understand the nuances of colleagues and how they work.
Accept that others may not work and communicate the same way you do. If you see someone looking to the side during a video conference, instead of thinking they are not paying attention, understand that they may really be taking notes. Another person may want to spend time on a connection before they engage with the content.
Most of us prepare in advance for the usual questions at an interview, which may not be very creative (“Name three of your biggest weaknesses?”). Some crazy questions can take us by surprise, like:
These questions test our presence of mind, creativity, poise and preparedness for the unexpected.
Recruiters and hiring managers are going increasingly offbeat and testing the agility of the employees due to the unusual demands of the modern corporate office.
If oddball questions are thrown at you, which they will be, you need to respond with ease, not getting fluxed or stunned. Take it as a game and use your presence of mind.
One should not comment on the wackiness of the unexpected interview question. Stay relaxed and don’t show a nervous body language. Keeping your cool is part of the answer.
You can take a deep breath and pause, collecting your thoughts. Be comfortable with this game and do not ask for feedback, as it can give away your composure.
Example: If asked what kind of tree you would like to be, you can answer that you would be like a leader, a large oak tree, or like an apple tree, being useful and beautiful at the same time.