Saturday, April 25, 2009

Job Application Interview

Do you recognize the flabbergasted feeling that occurs when, after a 'splendid' job interview, you come home with a positive feeling and the day after you are rejected?

Although you thought you performed well in the interview, somewhere, somehow, you missed the boat.

What went wrong?

Well, apart from the general pitfalls in a job interview and the trivial explanations of a rejection, most probably things went wrong due to lack of proper communication.

Probably, when you're having an interview, you'll take notes.
Because you're focused on getting the job, you're inclined to (only) write down the positive aspects of the job and the conversation.

This will definitely give you a biased view on the outcome of the interview. You simply miss or underestimate the minor or negative remarks in the interview.

How to solve this?

This is what you can do to get a more realistic idea about the outcome of the interview.

  • Listen
    First of all, make sure you listen well.

  • Take Notes
    Be careful not just to write down your personally important or spectacular issues (e.g salary, benefits, car, etc), but especially note (and write down!) small remarks, advices or 'used adjectives' of the interviewer.

  • Split in Negatives and Positives
    Split your note paper in left and right, and put the positive issues (the Positives) on one side and the negative issues (the Negatives) on the other side.

  • Manage the Negatives
    Make sure to write down every single negative issue or negative adjective, no matter how small. Don't ignore these Negatives. By questioning, make sure you understand them right and manage them one by one. If you're not able to get those negatives from the table or to put them in quarantine, they might kill you in the end without you realizing it. So:

    Manage the Negatives instead of counting the Positives

  • Feedback
    At the end of the conversation ask for feedback and check by asking the interviewer to summarize your Positives and Negatives. If any Negatives are left, handle them with care right there.

  • Don't fake
    Don't try to reason away negatives that are clear facts. If that would imply a rejection, be happy, because you are not qualified for this job and therefor wouldn't be happy in this job as well.

Evaluating an interview is not simply balancing Positives with Negatives. Even a single Negative can screw it up.

Anyway, this Positives/Negatives Method is not only applicable in case of a job interview, but can be used in every "beauty parade", contract negotiation or proposal you try to defend.

Next time, with a positive attitude, keep your 'sixth sense' on the potential Negatives and manage them!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Time Perspective

According to Philip Zimbardo, we all develop a specific attitude towards time (Time perspective).

Past, present or future orientated?
In The Time paradox Zimbardo explains that people turn out to be primarily past, present or future orientated. Each perspective has a detailed possible orientation (focus):

It's clear that our now-actions strongly depend on our perception of the present and the future. This perception has has been influenced by how we perceived the past. Therefore, our future actions will be influenced by how we perceive the present - as it appears to us right now - as well.

Form this we may conclude that our future happiness is strongly defined by how (positive) we experience the 'now'.

Experiencing the 'now' as a positive and constructive phase in your life, even in times of adversities, demands a conscious mind and a healthy style of thinking.

Healthy thinkstyle perspective

Based on research and his own definition of a 'healthy thinkstyle' in life , Zimbardo developed an ideal time perspective score (red dots):

Take the test
If you wonder what your Time perspective score is, take the test:

Take the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory

Changing Time Perspective
As you grow up, your Time-perspective changes.
When you're young, you're almost not influenced by your past and you don't worry about your future, you just live in the present and simply take what comes.

As you grow up, you've learned from the past and become conscious of the consequences of your actions. You think about your future, feel responsibility and are able to postpone actual benefits in exchange for (more or increased) future benefits.
When we grow old, the past will influence and determine our actions more and more until our last phase in life, where future and present transform in a kind of transcendental state. In this stage your present and decisions are from another order. Physically you're here on good old earth, but in a spiritual way you've already risen to your new destiny.....

However, back to the present., Zimbardo continues that living in the present can also be in a Zen-like perspective, illustrated by the next sanskrit verse:

Yesterday is already a dream and tomorrow but a vision
But today 'well lived' makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope

So it's you who can create a heaven on earth.

Use Zimbardo's time-perspective to be(come) like you wanna be.