10 tips on how to reduce interview nerves

interview nerves 2

Interviews can be terrifying, but they are an integral part of the job seeking process.  Although they can be sweaty palm inducing, it’s important to remember interviews only exist to create an opportunity for you to showcase your skills and demonstrate just how fabulous you would be in that job role.

To try and reduce your stress levels here are 10 tips to make sure you ace that interview!

Top Tips

  1. Remember that interviews are a two way process. Employers are trying to find out as much information as possible about you, not watch you fail!
  2. Do your research! Find out information about the company and its industry but also focus on the types of questions relevant to the role for which you are applying. Consider what you want them to know about you.
  3. Do more research! Read about interviews; it has been said that there are a finite number of questions that can be asked in one way or another during an interview. Look online, read books check through the role profile. What skills or competencies do they think the role requires? These could be the basis for questions.
  4. Have confidence in yourself. Interview questions aren’t there to catch you out; they are there to showcase how fantastic you would be at the role. Believe you can do the role, be clear about how you could add to the role, and even if you aren’t feeling confident fake it! Wear your best outfit, spend time making you feel at your best, see tip 8!
  5. Ignore stress. How stressed we believe we are affects how stressed we feel. Interviews are stereotypically thought of as some kind of torture. Try fooling yourself; pretend that you are really confident or that you already have the job. You know that advice about imagining your audience naked….
  6. Know where you are going, give yourself time and prepare for issues transport or otherwise. On the day, your stress levels will thank you if you aren’t worrying about being late or lost.
  7. Practice – know what you want to say and practice saying it. Check your speed and tone by either recording yourself or practicing to friends or family.
  8. Pick an appropriate outfit, but one that gives you confidence and make you feel comfortable.
  9. Want the job! It’s great to have interview practice, but going for jobs you really don’t want will do nothing towards reducing stress levels.
  10. Ask for feedback. Knowing what to work on for next time helps to reduce interview stress next time.
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WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE?


Shared - Parental-leave-rights

Parents can now share the 52 weeks of parental leave for the birth or adoption of their child/children.    The introduction of the law will give families the flexibility to create the right care for their children, regardless of which parent can provide it.  Policies such as this have existed in Scandanavian countries for over 30 years, but its introduction into the UK marks a new era.

Key points

1. Shared leave must be taken in the first year of the child’s life or in the first year of adoption.

2. Time off can be divided into blocks rather than one single chunk of time for either parents

3. Shared leave is paid at statutory levels unless employers have an enhanced scheme

4. Both parents must be employed (certain time limits apply)

5. Shared leave can be taken by parents at the same time

What are the benefits of shared leave?

Shared leave allows families to construct their own best version of childcare. In turn, this should allow women greater flexibility about when they return to work after having or adopting a child, in theory limiting the negative impact felt in women’s careers after having children.  It also allows men the opportunity to be as involved as they wish with their child. Although this policy is not a “one size fits all” approach to change, it does represent progress, bringing the start of policy changes which could, ultimately, alter our society.

What at are the limitations of shared leave?

Because of the limitations of the new law, the TUC believe over 40% of new parents won’t be eligible for shared leave.  Both couples have to be working and, even if they are eligible, parents could lose out financially as all shared leave is paid at statutory levels unless enhanced terms are provided by their employer.  Some concerns have been raised that enhanced maternity provisions could be affected as businesses respond to the additional responsibilities that shared leave brings.

Critics say that this policy hasn’t gone far enough. Similar laws were introduced in Sweden in the 1970s with limited take up. It was only when a “use it or lose it” policy was introduced did more men take part in the shared leave option.

What does this mean for parents-to-be?

Many parents and parents-to-be find maternity and paternity pay a confusing prospect, and shared leave only adds to the confusion.  The key thing to remember is to be clear on what your employers already offer and find how how they will be supporting the new policy. Know what you want for your family and work through the financial implications.

Will the changes to the law affect your family? Is sharing leave after a child a realistic option? What are your thoughts?

Below are some useful resources if you want further information on shared parental leave.

www.gov.uk

www.acas.org.uk

 

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CLOSING THE GENDER GAP AT WORK

Influencing-gender-equality- business

As it was International Women’s Day recently, I thought it would be appropriate to blog about something related to it.

Gender inequality still exists in the work place. Some issues are obvious, such as poor female representation in senior roles, and other issues are hidden, one of which is pay. Lots of things have happened since the Equal Pay Act of 1970, nearly 40 years ago! On one hand, it does seem disappointing to think that we are still discussing the same problem 40 years on, but the recent amendment added to the Enterprise and Employment Bill indicates there is now a political push to improve gender pay equality at work. If this bill is passed, both small and large businesses will be forced to declare gender pay gaps. How this naming and shaming will affect pay remains to be seen. 200 companies initially signed up, on a voluntary basis, to report pay gaps but only 5 did so. What does this say about the appetite of business to implement equality? Will the transparency this bill proposes change the underlying culture, does it go far enough?

In an article published by the CIPD (link here), they give the main tips that businesses can employ to ensure female equality. The article raises some really relevant points for business owners and senior managers, but still leaves the question as to what people who work within the business can do to influence change. Whilst not everyone is in a position of power, it does still seem reasonable to suggest that we all have a level of influence, and that we all have opportunities either within a business or, when dealing with a business, to champion some of these points. Perhaps through awareness, we can help business to adopt some of the tips, and really start to tackle gender equality.

Using the ideas raised in the CIPD article, here are some suggestions of how each of us can make a difference.

  1. Don’t assume

Although there are gender equality issues within our business world, it doesn’t necessarily follow that every business will suffer from it. Don’t assume that every business won’t be able to adapt to changes in your circumstances or value the impact of your leadership skills. Most importantly, don’t use the issues identified as a mental barrier to limit your own ambition.

  1. Networking

Does your workplace help you to network with other women in business or have a specific leadership programme? Could they become involved with any existing programmes or even set one up? Participating in such programmes is not only beneficial for you and your personal skills, but also for the company itself in exposure, an increasingly skilled workforce and “buy in” from senior leaders. Could you bring these ideas to your existing workplace or the businesses you interact with? Finally, how can you broaden your own network?

  1. Flexibility

There is a call for businesses to become more agile as the shape of the workforce changes. Companies need to react, making sure they do not lose talented women and men from the workplace because of the amount or type of hours they can offer. Instead, by offering part time positions, companies retain your skills and experience, which may otherwise be lost, or worse, utilised by a competitor. It has been shown that part time workers have less absence, improved output and better morale. Restricting part time workers to lower paying jobs on the basis of the number of hours worked rather than ability seems to be a out-dated notice, one which no longer fits with today’s 24/7 work environment. What can you do to promote flexible working in your workplace?

  1. Set an example, lead the way

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, said Ghandi. Demand the changes that will support equality and your career, but also support people just starting out in their careers or those further down the career progression ladder. Even the smallest change has an impact and causes a ripple.

Although much of the ability and power to change comes from senior figures, maybe we could argue that much of the will and demand to change comes from people just like you and me. Maybe the question we really need to ask is; what will you do?

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10 TOP TIPS TO REDUCE INTERVIEW STRESS

How to reduce interview stress

10 tops tips to reduce interview stress

 

We have all felt stress at some point in our live. Stress is a natural response and is something us humans are built to respond to and deal with. Unfortunately, the responses we are good at relate to physical stress such as being chased by predators or hunting for our food, not the mental type of stress we have now, such as finding mortgage payments, juggling family commitments and interviews. No caveman ever worried about a psychometric test!

So how do we bring stress under control? By managing these three things:

  • Perception
  • Control
  • Predictability

Perception

How we perceive our situation is a really important indicator of how stressed we actually feel. Have you ever experienced a situation where you are expecting awful news only to receive slight bad news? Even though the situation is still bad, you feel relieved and less stressed because it wasn’t what you first perceived.

Control

The less control we believe we have, the greater our stress response. It is interesting to note that we don’t necessarily need to have the ability to control the situation, rather just believe we can. A way to exercise this perception of control in an interview is to be prepared and to see the interview as a two-way process. Interviews are an opportunity to showcase your talents and the interviewers aren’t deliberately trying to catch you out.

Predictability

If you knew the outcome of your interview, how much difference would this make to your stress levels? Obviously, this is a difficult, if not impossible, task for most people! Some career book authors have suggested that there are only 5 different types of questions interviewers can ask in one form or another, which, if true, tells us that with the right amount of research and preparation, an interviewee could increase the level of predictability.

So now we know what influences our stress levels, here are some top tips to help you to reduce your stress levels when preparing for interviews.

Top Tips

  1. Remember that interviews are a two way process. Employers are trying to find out as much information as possible about you, not watch you fail!
  2. Do your research! Find out information about the company and its industry but also focus on the types of questions relevant to the role for which you are applying. Consider what you want them to know about you.
  3. Do more research! Read about interviews; it has been said that there are a finite number of questions that can be asked in one way or another during an interview. Look online, read books check through the role profile. What skills or competencies do they think the role requires? These could be the basis for questions.
  4. Have confidence in yourself. Interview questions aren’t there to catch you out; they are there to showcase how fantastic you would be at the role. Believe you can do the role, be clear about how you could add to the role, and even if you aren’t feeling confident fake it! Wear your best outfit, spend time making you feel at your best, see tip 8!
  5. Ignore stress. How stressed we believe we are affects how stressed we feel. Interviews are stereotypically thought of as some kind of torture. Try fooling yourself; pretend that you are really confident or that you already have the job. You know that advice about imagining your audience naked….
  6. Know where you are going, give yourself time and prepare for issues transport or otherwise. On the day, your stress levels will thank you if you aren’t worrying about being late or lost.
  7. Practice – know what you want to say and practice saying it. Check your speed and tone by either recording yourself or practicing to friends or family.
  8. Pick an appropriate outfit, but one that gives you confidence and make you feel comfortable.
  9. Want the job! It’s great to have interview practice, but going for jobs you really don’t want will do nothing towards reducing stress levels.
  10. Ask for feedback. Knowing what to work on for next time helps to reduce interview stress next time.
If you liked it share it!