Being Hospitable: Enjoying the “Benefits” of a Hospitality Job

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thOLV49LJSA little over 6 months ago, I began my latest adventure in the Hospitality Industry, as the Director of Sales at Candlewood Suites-Memphis, An IHG Property.

I wrote a blog at the time, that included some suggestions by the Founder of Holiday Inns, concerning how to make it in the Hospitality Industry.

Here are Kemmons Wilson’s “Twenty Tips For Success”:

1. Work only a half a day; it makes no difference which half-it can be either the first 12 hours or the last 12 hours. 

2. Work is the master key that opens the door to all opportunities.

3. Mental attitude plays a far more important role in a person’s success or failure than mental capacity. 

4. Remember that we all climb the ladder of success one step at a time.

5. There are two ways to get to the top of the oak tree. One way is to sit on a acorn and wait; the other is to climb it. 

6. Do not be afraid of taking a chance. Remember that a broken watch is exactly right at least twice every 24 hours,

7. The secret of happiness is not doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.

8. Eliminate from your vocabulary the words, “I don’t think I can” and substitute “I know I can”.

9. In evaluating a career, put opportunity ahead of security.

10. Remember that success requires half luck and half brains.

11. A person has to take risks to achieve.

12. People who take pains never to do more than they get paid for, never get paid for anything more than they do.

13. No job is too hard as long as you are smart enough to find someone else to do it for you.

14. Opportunity comes often. It knocks as often as you have an ear trained to heat it, an eye trained to see it, a hand trained to grasp it, and a head trained to use it.

15. You cannot procrastinate-in two days, tomorrow will be yesterday.

16. Sell your wristwatch and buy an alarm clock.

17. A successful person realizes his personal responsibility for self-motivation. He starts himself because he possesses the key to his own ignition switch.

18. Do not worry. You can’t change the past, but you sure can ruin the present by worrying aver the future. Remember that half the things we worry about never happen, and the other half are going to happen anyway. So, why worry?

19. It is not how much you have but how much you enjoy that makes happiness.

20. Believe in God and obey the Ten Commandments. 

After suggestion #20, Suggestion #7 – “The secret of happiness is not doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.” is one which I have taken to heart.

Quite frankly, I am enjoying the stew out of my job.

This may sound corny, but I wake up every morning in anticipation of going to work that day.

There are several reasons for this.

Bob Smuckatelli, writing in an article for positivelyindy.com, detailed the Six Benefits of Working in the Hospitality Industry.

When I read the article, I thought that he had read my mind…and then, I saw that it had been posted on December 20, 2012.

The Benefits that he listed back then are:

Amazing Opportunities: If you love variety, you’ll also love the fact that working in hospitality is never dull. Whether it’s a new challenge or the opportunity to travel to different places, this type of spice makes it very easy to wake up in the morning and feel excited about heading to work for the day.

Appreciation: There are plenty of jobs that involve mostly thankless work. While society couldn’t function without people willing to do these jobs, that doesn’t mean those individuals feel any type of appreciation on a daily basis. The nice thing about hospitality is you won’t have to be put in this type of position. Instead, patrons will remind you on a daily basis of just how much they appreciate what you do for them. The knowledge that you’ve just made someone’s day is a feeling that never gets old!

Meritocracy: One of the reasons many people aren’t interested in working in specific corporate environments is because they know that the only way they’ll be able to move up is by playing constant political games. If you’re the type of person who wants the quality of your work to speak for itself, you’ll be very fond of how the hospitality industry operates. People will notice when you take initiative and follow through. If you have a go-getter attitude, the sky will be the limit in terms of where your career can go.

Lots of Perks: Even though this isn’t the biggest driver of most people’s happiness and satisfaction with their job in hospitality, it’s still worth noting. As you may have guessed, being in a position that’s about ensuring other’s happiness does mean that you will get to reap plenty of perks as well.

Stability: The impact of the 2008 and 2009 financial meltdown wasn’t limited to the housing industry. The travel and hospitality industry also took a big hit as a result of people tightening their wallets in response to concerns about the financial future. Although there’s no sugarcoating the fact that those were very dark times for the industry, it survived and is once again flourishing. Being able to survive that type of trial shows just how robust hospitality is as an industry.

Exercise Creativity: Musicians and writers aren’t the only people who get to enjoy creative work. Because there are always unique challenges that need to be tackled within hospitality, you’ll always be able to put both your critical and creative thinking to good use.

As the Director of Sales at an Extended Stay Hotel, I have had the privilege and opportunity to be able to make a direct impact on the  bottom line of the budgets of individuals, and of companies, both small and large.

It is a great feeling to be able to help clients from reservation to departure.

At our property, we pride ourselves on our Customer Service.

When guests stay at your property, especially when they stay for a extended time, ranging from a month to a year, you and your Hotel Staff get to know them well, their likes, dislikes, and their daily routine.

Eventually, if they stay with you long enough, they don’t seem like a “guest” at all, but rather, a part of your hotel “family”.

And, being able to make a difference in these “family members'” lives, is the greatest benefit of all.

Never Quit. Never Surrender.

-Allen

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Passion: Ya Got it?

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th2Y1T40FNThe only way to do great work is to love what you do. – Steve Jobs

What the late entrepreneurial genius, Steve Jobs, was talking about, is PASSION.

According to finance.yahoo.com,

Seventy percent of students would prefer a stable job without a high level of emotional investment or passion over a job with lots of passion but no job security, according to the most recent Way to Work™ survey from Adecco Staffing USA, the nation’s leading provider of recruitment and workforce solutions. The survey also found that while the majority (79 percent) of students are optimistic they will find a job in five months or less, finding a job is still their top concern.

 

Adecco conducted the survey of 1,001 Millennial and Generation Z students as part of its Way to Work™ program, which helps prepare students and recent graduates for internships and job opportunities. Members of ‘Gen Z’ surveyed, who are between the ages of 18-20, appear to already have differences in their priorities and concerns compared to their Millennial counterparts.

“We’re on the cusp of a new era,” said Joyce Russell, president, Adecco Staffing, USA. “With the first group of ‘Gen Z’ now in college, it will be fascinating to learn how this new generation of the labor force differs from Millennials in terms of their aspirations, outlook, expectations and priorities.”

It appears that these young Americans are more concerned about surviving than they are about thriving.

The American Worker who simply punches in and punches out at his stale, old job, day after day, is not just a well-known stereotype…it’s an all-too-common reality.

A lot of Americans seem to feel the way that those Millennials do, seeing a job as just something they do, not something they love to do.

And, that’s sad.

Speaking as a “business veteran”, folks who feel that way do not seem to  understand that fact that, as working adults, we spend 80% of our time on the job, and only 20% pursuing leisure activities and family time.

Plus, they never excel at their positions.

That’s a whole lot of time to perform the duties of a job which is boring you out of your mind, when you would rather be doing something else.

No matter how diligently you are performing your duties, quite frankly, you are still cheating your employer, because he is not getting the best that you can give him.

Curt Rosengren, in an article posted on money.usnews.com, said the following about the difference that having passion about your job makes:

It’s an energy source. When you’re on fire about what you do, it energizes you, and you can put that energy back into your work. Instead of the energy drain that work represents for so many people, your work actually becomes an energy gain. So not only are you getting energy from what you’re doing, you also aren’t having to dig into your energy reserves just to get through the day. The energy differential is huge.

It helps you feel more confident. For far too many people, work is about getting up in the morning and trying to be someone they’re not. Not only does that drain their energy, it also keeps them off balance. Think of someone standing on one leg with the other leg up in the air and their arms waving, trying to keep their balance. They’re deathly afraid that someone is going to come up and bump into them, because they’re already in danger of falling over. Trying to be who you’re not in your career is a little like that. You have to put extra effort into doing what doesn’t come naturally. Maintaining the façade keeps you off balance.

When you’re aligned with what energizes you, on the other hand, it’s like having both feet solidly planted on the floor and your center of gravity low. You don’t have to worry about somebody knocking you off balance because it doesn’t take an special energy to simply be who you are. You inherently feel more confident about what you’re doing.

It feeds your persistence. The odds are good that, whatever your career path, you’re going to run into roadblocks and experience some bumps along the way. When you’re doing something in pursuit of what energizes and inspires you, those roadblocks and bumps are a lot easier to take. Don’t get me wrong. They never become enjoyable, but their size relative to your objective is smaller.

I was at an Intercontinental Hotel Group “Solution Selling Seminar” last week, where a top executive at IHG asked us if we had passion about our job.

Passion is important in the Hospitality Industry. If you don’t have it, when you go to meet a potential client, they will spot your lack of it from a mile away. So will the guests staying at your hotel.

Whether you are a executive, a mid-level manager, a recent college graduate working in an entry-level position, or a ditch digger, if you don’t have passion about what you are doing during the time that you spend at work, then you are cheating your employer and yourself.

Life is too short…and you’re too smart to remain a hamster on a treadmill, going nowhere fast.

It takes passion to accomplish your goals.

Ya got it?

Allen Fitzhugh is Director of Sales at Candlewood Suites-Memphis. He can be reached at dos@cwsmemphis.com.

The Secret Of My Success…And Yours, Too

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The Secret to my SuccessWhat is the secret of success in today’s business world?

Is it education? No. In my 33 years of competing in the business world, I have met a lot of educated failures.

Is it ” being born into the business”? No. While that might bring you money and perceived success, your employees will still look at you as nobody but your father son. Inheriting a business does not bring  respect with it.

Is it “who you know”? No. While having influential connections in the business world can help you land a job, they won’t be able to do your job for you.

So, what is the secret of success in business?

I believe that there are two factors that are very important in order to achieve individual success in today’s business world.

First, you must be persistent.

John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States. Known as “Silent Cal”, he was a quite, introspective man, who spoke very little. However, when he did speak, he spoke volumes:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.

Persistence requires patience. Patience is a virtue. I know that sounds corny, but it is the absolute truth. Persistence means that you will work toward a goal which you have set for yourself in your business life with a singular focus, set on the ultimate achievement of this goal, no matter what obstacles life throws in your path .

The second thing that you must possess in order to be successful in the business world, is happiness.

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Albert Schweitzer

So, how to you achieve happiness in the business world?

Forbes.com recently listed the following suggestions, found in the book, “The How of Happiness”, written by Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California. (The steps themselves are the author’s. The analysis and any smart alack remarks that may occur are mine.)

1. Express gratitude –

Say, “Thank you” Just two little words. However, little words mean a lot.

“You didn’t have to do it, but you did what you did what you did, and, I thank you.”

2. Cultivate optimism –

Work on viewing the glass as half full. You’ll be surprised what happens.

“Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant.”

3. Avoid overthinking and social comparison –

You can drive yourself crazy with thoughts of “What if?” and “How Come”? And, don’t compare yourself with anybody else. You are unique. One of a kind. Wonderfully and fearfully made.

Besides, if “ifs and buts” were candy and nuts, we would all have a Merry Christmas.

“Welcome to my morning. Welcome to my day. yes, I’m the one responsible. I made it just this way.”

4. Practice Acts of Kindness –

Whether it is opening the door for someone, buying a co-worker’s lunch when they’re short, or helping a co-worker finish an assignment before a deadline, helping someone else feels good.

Therefore, the more acts of kindness you engage in, they better you will feel.

“You got to try a little kindness. Show a little kindness. Shine your light for everyone to see.”

5. Nurture relationships –

Be a good friend. Our relationships in the business world are not only essential to our careers but our sanity, as well.

“Sometime in our lives, we all have pain, we all have sorrow. But, if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow.

Lean on me when you’re not strong. And, I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on. For, it won’t be long, ’til I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.”

5. Develop strategies for Coping –

The most powerful resource you have at your disposal is you. We often get so caught up dealing with problems, we forget to acknowledge, develop and keep our attention with our strengths. Sometimes, when the chips are down, this is all we have – character strengths such as our determination, grace, compassion, clarity of mind and creativity.

“Learning to love yourself…It is the greatest love of all.”

7. Learn to forgive –

Life is too short to hold grudges. You may have to work with the person that your mad at, later in your career.

Everybody makes mistakes. “To err is human. To forgive divine.”

8. Do more activities that truly engage you –

Whether you are at work or at home, look for more activities in which you can “lose yourself”. The stress of life can take years off of your life. Finding a hobby or enjoying your work, can add those years back.

“I don’t want to work. I want to bang on the drum all day.”

9. Savor life’s joys-

Fondly recall the past. Be in the present. Anticipate the future.

“Life is a highway. I want to drive it all night long.”

10.Commit to your goals –

Make sure the goals you set are important to you. Make sure to consider the “what if’s”. Renew your commitment each day.

“Today is mine. Today is mine. To do with what I will. Today is mine. My own special cup to fill.to die a little that I might learn to live. To take from life, that I might learn to give. Today is mine.”

11. Practice religion and spirituality –

“Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force – that thoughts rule the world.” –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You raise me up so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up to walk on story seas. I am strong when I am on your shoulders. You raise me up to more than I can be.”

12. Take Care of Your Body –

This not only means exercising, but also smiling, meditating. and laughing.

“You’ve got to stop and smell the roses
You’ve got to count your many blessings everyday
You’re gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don’t stop and smell the roses along the way.”

The author of the Forbes article suggests picking 4 of these 12 things to do on a regular basis, at your business, in order to achieve happiness in the workplace.

In my view, you should attempt to do as many of these things, as often as possible, because…
Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.- Paul Ryan

In conclusion, allow me to tell you that the American Dream is still achievable.

You just have to be “happily persistent”.

Never Give Up. Never Surrender.

-Allen

***I am the Director of Sales at the Candlewood Suites in Memphis, Tennessee, an IHG Property, and an extended stay hotel. I can be reached at dos@cwsmemphis.com***

Being Hospitable: The Qualities of a Successful Hospitality Employee

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hospitality1Hospitality – the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.

As I reported last week, I have started a new position in the Hospital Industry.

As I was waiting to start, I thought about the qualities that were necessary to be a success in the Hospitality Industry. Per hospitalityschools.com, they are

1. Commitment
To be successful in the hospitality industry, you must be committed to ensuring customer satisfaction. You must do whatever it takes to keep customers happy and also create repeat business.
2. Communication Skills
The most successful in the hospitality business are those with excellent communication skills. They can communicate effectively both orally and in writing
3. Computer Know-How
A great hospitality employee has good computer skills and is familiar with a wide range of technological applications that are used within the industry.
4. Enthusiasm
Great employees of the hospitality industry are enthusiastic about their jobs and strive to do the best work possible. They want to give their customers the best experience available.
5. Interpersonal Skills
To be successful in hospitality, one must have top notch interpersonal skills, as the very nature of the business is to provide spectacular customer service.
6. Leadership
Great hospitality employees have strong leadership skills and are able to command projects and make significant contributions to an organization’s overall success.
7. Organized
To stay on top of the multitude of tasks you’ll face as a hospitality employee, you have to be organized and multitask without difficulty
8. Knowledgeable of Safety/Hygiene Issues
Successful hospitality employees are familiar with rules of safety and hygiene as they apply to food serving places, hotels, and other places where people spend time.
9. Teamwork
Successful members of the hospitality industry work well with others and can be a productive member of a team. They value the contributions of everyone.
10. Thorough
Great hospitality employees are very thorough in their work and realize that any oversight could result in customer dissatisfaction.

In looking for advice about how to do well in my new job, I decided to turn to one of my Hometown Heroes and a legend in the Hospitality Industry, Kemmons Wilson.

Kemmons Wilson and his family took a trip from Arkansas to Washington in 1951. He was so angered by their shabby lodgings, that he decided to open his own hotel.

The first Holiday Inn, a two story hotel, was opened in 1952 at 4985 Summers Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee between a lumberyard and two-lane highway. By 1959, there were 100; by 1975, 1,700.

Today, there are Holiday Inns in every state and in more than 50 countries.

Here are Kemmons Wilson’s Twenty Tips for Success

1. Work only a half a day; it makes no difference which half-it can be either the first 12 hours or the last 12 hours.

2. Work is the master key that opens the door to all opportunities.

3. Mental attitude plays a far more important role in a person’s success or failure than mental capacity.

4. Remember that we all climb the ladder of success one step at a time.

5. There are two ways to get to the top of the oak tree. One way is to sit on a acorn and wait; the other is to climb it.

6. Do not be afraid of taking a chance. Remember that a broken watch is exactly right at least twice every 24 hours,

7. The secret of happiness is not doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.

8. Eliminate from your vocabulary the words, “I don’t think I can” and substitute “I know I can”.

9. In evaluating a career, put opportunity ahead of security.

10. Remember that success requires half luck and half brains.

11. A person has to take risks to achieve.

12. People who taker pains never to do more than they get paid for, never get paid for anything more than they do.

13. No job is too hard as long as you are smart enough to find someone else to do it for you.

14. Opportunity comes often. It knocks as often as you have an ear trained to heat it, an eye trained to see it, a hand trained to grasp it, and a head trained to use it.

15. You cannot procrastinate-in two days, tomorrow will be yesterday.

16. Sell your wristwatch and buy an alarm clock.

17. A successful person realizes his personal responsibility for self-motivation. He starts himself because he possesses the key to his own ignition switch.

18. Do not worry. You can’t change the past, but you sure can ruin the present by worrying aver the future. Remember that half the things we worry about never happen, and the other half are going to happen anyway. So, why worry?

19. It is not how much you have but how much you enjoy that makes happiness.

20. Believe in God and obey the Ten Commandments.

After my first week on my new job, I  believe that not only was Mr. Wilson absolutely right, he was a visionary.

While training at the Front Desk this past week, I was called upon to go to guest rooms to fix televisions, to figure out why a DVD had no picture (it turned out to be a CD), and to run to the local retail store to buy some bathroom…umm…equipment that we were short of.

After a lifetime of working with clients from every walk of life, I am truly enjoying my new position.

With something new happening everyday, I can’t wait to get back to work to see what will happen next.

Never give up. Never surrender.

-Allen

Okay. You’ve Been Hired. Now What?

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hired1052014If you’ve ever seen the look on somebody’s face the day they finally get a job, I’ve had some experience with this, they look like they could fly. And its not about the paycheck, it’s about respect, it’s about looking in the mirror and knowing that you’ve done something valuable with your day. And if one person could start to feel this way, and then another person, and then another person, soon all these other problems may not seem so impossible. You don’t really know how much you can do until you, stand up and decide to try. – Kevin Kline, “Dave” 1993

Those of you who have read my blog for any length of time, and, by the way, thank you for that, know that I have spent the past 5 months in search of meaningful employment.

Last Wednesday, my search ended, as I was hired for the position of Sales Manager at Candlewood Suites-Memphis.

When the shock wore off, I said to myself,

Okay, Self. What now? How do I handle myself on the first day at my new job?

Being the analytical type of person that I am, I decided to go to the World Wide Web to find the answers to that question, which I would like to share with you.

Here are some tips from Holly Paul, PricewaterhouseCooper’s U.S. recruiting leader, courtesy of usnews.money.com. ( The list of methods is the author’s. The analysis and any smart alack remarks which may pop up are mine.)

1. Time your arrival on the first day.

Paul suggests: “Arrive early, but not too early, to demonstrate responsibility and passion.”

Just like you arrived at job interviews 15 minutes early, in order to give a good first impression, that’s a good idea for your first day on your new job too.

Getting there early allows you to get yourself together before you take off on your new adventure.

2. Think about your wardrobe.

Take out what you want to wear on your first day, the night before.

Of course, by this time you should know what the dress rules are for the office.

Dress professionally and always dress in good taste.

Your appearance says a lot about you. Dress to impress, not to “shock and awe”.

3. Step up your company research.

Since you landed the job, you probably already conducted some due diligence, and you have a basic knowledge of what the company is about and what their core values are. Since you are about to be working there, it would be a good idea to review the company’s website once more, in order to learn about its mission, lines of business, and culture from the viewpoint of an employee.

Additionally, there may be some LinkedIn and Facebook groups for employees and some professional groups your co-workers may go to.

This is a great way to network and to keep up with what is going on in your field..

4. Practice introducing yourself.

I know that it sounds corny, but direct eye contact and a firm handshake will demonstrate the you are a go-getter with self-confidence.

Remember how smooth you were in your job interview? Carry that same suave demeanor and stylish professionalism into your new position and you will do well.

Just don’t be like Tim Matheson in “Animal House”:

I’m Otter…Rush Chairman…D@#n glad to meet you!

5. Ask questions.

…Not just because you are expected to.

The best questions will show that you are genuinely interested in learning the daily procedures involved with your new position.

Just don’t be like my 6 year-old grandson…

Why?Why?Why?Why?Why?Why? (I kid.)

6. Show what you know.

Look for ways to professionally “show off” your skills and knowledge.

Be humble. Approach the situation like, “Have you ever tried…?”

7. Communicate professionally.

Don’t speak to your new boss, like you do to the guys you watching football with on the weekends. be mindful of your diction. Enunciate clearly, but do not speak in a stilted manner, like “Joshua”, the computer from the 1983 movie, “WarGames”.

Greetings, Professor Falken. Shall we play a game?

8. Share your passions.

The best part of who you are, as a professional, includes knowing and being able to articulate who you are and what’s important to you, in other words, your values and passions.

While you are sharing your values and passions, your boss just might share theirs with you, as well, enabling you both to know where each other is coming from.

9. Hone those listening skills.

One of the skills which I have had during my professional career, is the ability to listen to clients and interpret what they want from what they say, what they don’t say, and what they imply.

It takes practice to sharpen this skill, but, it will prove invaluable to you, as you strive for a successful career.

Can you hear me now?

10. Take notes.

I used to work at a company where all of the vice-presidents (the owner’s sons) kept a writing journal on their desks. Just a cheap composition book. However, it proved invaluable to them when need arose to remember what happened in the past, in order to move forward into a more profitable future. It also helped when there was a disagreement at to how a certain situation occurred.

Additionally, taking notes helps you to stay organized and keep up with the small details that might escape your memory.

Because no boss wants to hear…

I forgot.

In conclusion, if you are unemployed, and I could give you one piece of advice on landing a job, I would refer you to this profound advice, given by the man known to our nation as “Silent Cal”, because he measured his words very carefully. However, when he opened his mouth, his words spoke volumes…

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge,  30th President of the United States of America

Never give up. Never surrender.

-Allen

The Job Interview: Interviewers’ Tricks/What They Want To Hear

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Unemployment20One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. –Arthur Ashe

Sitting here, waiting to hear the results from my latest in 5 months worth of job interviews, the thought struck me that Corporate Interviewers, just like any other professional, must have some “tricks of the trade”, which they rely upon in order to find the right job candidate for any position for which they are interviewing applicants.

The professional life of an Interviewer eventually finds them in front of every single type of individual, whether they be introvert, extrovert, detail-oriented, or free spirit.

While Interviewers all have their own particular interviewing style, there are certain common methods that they use in order to get the job candidate to “open up”.

Here is a list of 10 “tricks of the trade” which Interviewers use to get a job candidate to let their guard down during a Job Interview, initially posted on money.usnews.com in March of 2012. (The list of methods is the author’s. The analysis and any smart alack remarks which may pop up are mine.)

1. Silence.

There are some interviewers who will remain silent after you finish answering their question, hoping that you will continue to talk and reveal something about yourself that you did not intend to.

Answer their question succinctly. If their silence continues, ask them if there was something else about the topic of the question that they wanted to know.

2. Extreme friendliness.

By putting you at ease, Interviewers hope to break down your defenses and gain insight into the “real you”.

The Interviewer, while friendly, isn’t your BFF. Stay professional.

3. Asking “What do you know about us so far?”

When Interviewers ask you this, they want to know if you desire the job enough to learn about the company, i.e , “do your homework”.

In this case, what you don’t know CAN hurt you.

4. Asking why you’re thinking about leaving your current job (or why you left your last job).

This is another “Gotcha” Question.

The Interviewer is attempting to get you to reveal if you left on bad terms or if you’re willing to badmouth your former employer.

Remain positive. Keep your private thoughts about your former employer private.

5. Asking how soon you can start.

Interviewers want to know if you posses the strength of character to give your current employer at least two-weeks notice. If you are employed, and you tell the interviewer that you can start immediately, they will assume you’ll do that to them someday, too.

6. Asking you to follow up about something.

The Interviewer is testing you to see how well you remember and follow up on commitments, even small or informal ones.

7. Leaving you with the receptionist.

If you are a “People Person”, like I am, you might slip up and say things to the receptionist that you would never say to an Interviewer.

Just remember that the receptionist is the gatekeeper. Just as is the case with salespeople trying to get in front of a decision-maker, she will follow up with her boss after you leave.

If they chat with you, talk about the weather or compliment the “cute” picture of their grandchild.

8. If you were laid off, asking if others were laid off with you.

The question “How many in your department were laid off as well?” Is an attempt by the Interviewer to find out if a past employer laid you off in order to avoid having to fire you for performance issues.

9. Asking you to describe your dream job.

If you answer with any other job than the one you are applying for…you’ve shot yourself in the foot.

If you are interviewing for a job as a zoo keeper, don’t say that you want to be a Big Game Hunter.

10. Asking what questions you have.

A good Interviewer can tell a lot about you by what questions you ask. Interviewers want to hear insightful questions about the position itself, the company culture, and the organizational structure.

There are also some general statements about yourself that every Job Interviewer wants to hear.

In November of 2012, Forbes.com posted an article titled,  “5 Things Every Employer Wants To Hear”.

Here is a list of those statements.

1. You will never have to tell me what to do twice.

This shows that you don’t let any moss grow under your feet, i.e., that you are pro-active and engaged.

2. I will complete the job/assignment you give me with excellence.

This tells the Interviewer that you take your assignments seriously and excise due diligence in the performance of your job duties.

3. I am open to learning, adapting, adjusting and to receiving feedback on how I can improve.

This shows that you are not a know-it-all and that you will recognize your manager’s authority.

4. I am easy to correct and instruct.

With this statement, you are telling the Interviewer that you have a good, professional attitude, with a strong dose of humility thrown in for good measure.

5. I am a loyal employee.

This statement lets them know that, if they hire you, you will be a steadfast, productive employee for as long as they will have you.

Remember, every Job Interview is different, as is the style of every Interviewer.

So, get out there, land an interview, and give it your best shot. As Legendary Professional Hockey Player, Wayne Gretzky, once quipped,

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

My sincere hope is that the insights and suggestions provided in today’s blog will help you land your “dream job”.

Never give up. Never surrender.

-Allen

The Job Search: Dealing With Depression

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Unemployment19One of the hardest things that you will ever deal with in your life is losing a job, especially if you wind up being unemployed for an extended period of time.

Let’s face it. If you are an average working American, you spend more time at your job than you do at home with your family.

Losing a job leaves a void in both your self-identity and your self-esteem. It also seriously messes with your mind, as it tears asunder your daily routine and can completely destroy your financial security.

The state of being unemployed and unwanted by potential employers can seriously affect your feelings of self-esteem, comfort, financial security, and personal control of your life.

Losing a job is a major trauma in anyone’s life. It can affect you like losing someone close to you, like a family member or a friend, and it can put you on your heels, like a divorce or a car accident.

You can feel defeated and demoralized. No longer having some place to go everyday can leave you with a sense of loss, rendering you disoriented, worthless, rejected, and scared.

The fact that today’s employers, a lot of times, don’t even have the grace to tell you that you weren’t chosen, and leave you hanging, waiting to find out if you got the job or not, leads you to beat yourself up over your continued unemployment..

Trust me. I know.

When some hourly Human Resources Clerk does not return your phone calls, it makes you feel about the size of Stuart Little.

And, the worst thing is…you start believing all the negativity about yourself, no matter what great things you have accomplished in your Professional Life.

These  negative, self-defeating thoughts start affecting you, governing your behavior. You start eating all day, or not eating at all. or sleeping all day or not sleeping at all.

Once the darkness of depression enters your life, searching for jobs every day, in order to claw yourself out from the abyss of unemployment, becomes an almost insurmountable task.

Thankfully, there are measures you can take, in order to keep the darkness of depression for taking up residence in your mind and heart.

In March of 2010, cio.com posted the following 10 suggestions as to how to deal with depression during your job search. (The suggestions are theirs. The analysis and any smart alack remarks which may pop up are mine.)

1. Maintain a Routine.

Act as if you are still going to work everyday. Get up in the morning, shower and dress. Use that same work ethic which has served you so well in the past, to provide disciple to your present job search.

Just don’t say, “Good morning, Boss” to your spouse. Trust me on this one. I have just about regained the sight in my right eye.

2. Exercise.

Exercise increases the blood flow. It helps to fight off depression, and generally makes you feel better, physically and mentally…even if it is just going out for a walk, or a “drag”, if you are a dog owner.

Also, even computer programmers have to take a break from staring at the monitor all day. It can make your eyes cross.

3. Keep a Job Search Journal.

In other words, keep a record of what you are doing in your quest to find gainful employment.

When you are feeling down, you can look back on it to find affirmation that you are working hard to get a job. Additionally you can show your family what you are doing.

A journal, or record, will also keep you from contacting the same person twice. I wish some employers, like “The Duck”, would keep one. …I’m just sayin’…

4. Reach Out to People.

Contact your family, friends, and your Facebook and LinkedIn Contacts.

Back before computers, that’s how people found work. You might even actually have a phone or face-to-face conversation with those personal friends and family. **Gasp!**

5. Attend a Support Group.

Networking and Support Groups for unemployed executives cab alleviate your loneliness and improve your self-esteem. somebody may know somebody with a job opening in your area of expertise.

After all, no man is an island. No man stands alone. Hey, that would make a nifty title for a song. Oh. …never mind.

6. Participate in Productive Distractions.

Volunteer at a Non-Profit Organization or a charity sponsored by your place of worship.

Helping others will make you feel better about yourself and take your mind off of your own problems.

Or you could even start your own blog. WordPress and Blogster are both great platforms for blogging. And, they’re FREE!

7. Seek Inspiration.

Watch movies, television programs and webcasts, and listen to CD.s and podcasts which will inspire you.

If you are a spiritual person, embrace your faith. Use your faith to anchor your life through the storm that you are presently going through.

8. Persevere.

Battle the darkness of depression. When you start to recognize the symptoms, follow one or more of these suggestions. Fight it.

If you are a “Seasoned Professional”, like myself, you will remember the end of every Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, when, exhausted, his tuxedo shirt unbuttoned and bow tie askew, he would sit on a stool and sing, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, by Rodgers and Hammerstein…

Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.

It’s like that.

9. Get Professional Help.

Don’t let the darkness of depression overwhelm you and destroy your relationships and your very life. Nonprofit mental health centers and county mental health agencies may provide counseling services for free or at a reduced rate. You might also look into organizations like Easter Sales, Catholic Charities and the United Way, in order to find local groups that offer free-of-charge counseling services.

10. Maintain Work-Life Balance.

If you are one of those whose job was their entire life, encompassing your self-worth and identity, the loss of a job will, quite literally, be psychologically devastating.

When you finally land a job and return to work, make every effort to balance out work and home. Get more involved with your family and community.  Work on “defining yourself” outside of your job.

After all, in today’s business world, jobs come and go…but, you’re stuck with yourself forever.

So, learn to love yourself. He/She’s got a lot going for them.

Never Give Up. Never Surrender.

-Allen