Job Interview – How to Create a great first impression.

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Many experts in communications claim that the first 30 or 60 seconds are crucial for building a visual opinion for the person sitting opposite us.

If this is true (and my personal experience also confirms this), then you have the task to achieve your first small victory in getting a good first impression before the job interview has even started. It will be perfect if you can fulfill this task in 60 seconds and even better if you can achieve it for 30 seconds.

Do not worry – this is actually easy. See what you can do:

  1. Dress appropriately

Yes, I know that it may sound elementary when you first read it, but I have reasons to do this emphasis, as long as the percentage of people dressed inappropriately for an interview is very high these days.

Remember the following rule – you should be dressed as you think the interviewer will be dressed or one step higher than him.

Or, if you sit for an interview in an office of one company and know that you will meet with some business people, then a suit, a shirt and a tie are mandatory if you are male and clean business suit, if you are a woman.

However, if applying for a job which is not so strictly in the business area like for example for a chef in a fast food restaurant, trousers and shirt would suffice in most demanding case, if you are a woman – a free, sport-elegant clothes, and why not a light color if the season and your wardrobe are allowing it (light is related to cleanliness and hygiene, as it is necessary in cooking).

Especially for clothing and appearance we are going to talk in another material, but this is the important principle – put on clothes which are expected to be worn at this level, or one step higher than the person leading the interview.

  1. Be on time for the interview

If you have a time set for the meeting (and you should have) – be punctual!

Your presence at the appointed hour or a few minutes earlier is the first step towards establishing a great first impression. Nobody likes when the other party is late, and it does not speak well when future employees do that.

So I encourage you to organize your trip to the company that you can be in front of the employer at least 15-20 minutes before the interview, and you should be at the door for an interview (with the secretary or other assistant) at least 5-10 minutes before that.

  1. Be observant

Your arrival 15-20 minutes prior to the meeting will help you calm down more or less for your meeting, to normalize your heart rate and to adjust psychologically.

The last 5-10 minutes inside the premises of the company will also help you to directly observe what is the working environment, how do people that you are going to work with look like , how they are dressed and what is the language that you should use.


I personally go to job interviews at least 15 minutes earlier in order to do all the things that I have just described, and to collect the following important information:

Are the furniture modern, economically, raunchy or cheap?

Is it neat, clean and comfortable in the corridors as well as in the rooms of the company? It is quickly noticeable and speaks a lot about the future climate and the mentality of many business owners.

To make an observation about the phone calls of the company, and for this purpose you should wait at the reception desk of the secretary. If it rings from time to time – then the company has a job, if it is silent – this could be bad.

What does the secretary think for the company she is working for and for which you are going to apply, and even what does she think for your future boss? You will be surprised to find out how many things you may know from a secretary in just 10 minutes of conversation with her.

What do employees talk in the corridors, how are they dressed, do they use a certain jargon, are they smiling? All these are invaluable signals that can help a lot during the interview, which is within minutes.

All this information has helped me a lot about the correct setting for the interview. Thanks to it I get the chance to make appropriate prelude at the meeting, to “melt the ice” and immediately led the interviewer to pay me more attention.

What must people looking for jobs do to get hired

Rarely is a job search a quick, simple endeavor.

There’s no set time commitment and the goal can seem like a moving target. The good news is that this can work for instead of against you. A systematic approach can go a long way toward helping you not only get hired but also getting you a job that’s a great fit.

As you’ve no doubt found, the process can be unpredictable.

Some companies take their time getting back to you and some never do. Assert control over the situation by being pro-active. I give my clients a form I created which allows them to keep track of their progress. This includes when and where they’ve submitted resumes, if and when they’ve heard back, and interview and follow-up dates. Imagine if you targeted 25 companies and you monitored your progress with them–you’d have more than enough to keep you busy, you’d constantly be making contacts, and you just may end up with multiple job offers!

As crazy as it may sound to you right now, I’ve seen it happen again and again. When people focus more on the process and less on the outcome, they quickly gain momentum. The action not only keeps them motivated, but they are less likely to focus on one specific company. With so many balls in the air, they don’t have time to sit around and worry.

To make this approach work for you, there is one consideration.

I’ve had a couple of clients who are resistant to continue when things look good with one prospective employer. I cannot emphasize strongly enough to keep going!  There are so many unknowns, even when you feel an offer is a sure thing. Think of the situation from the employer’s side–are YOU the only candidate they’re interviewing? Probably not.

Think about your entire project, and don’t zero in on one or two aspects. NOTHING is settled until you are sitting at your desk on the first day of work! And, if nothing else, you may receive multiple offers, giving you leverage to negotiate a higher salary!

A Quick Camping Guide For Someone Who Likes Luxury

When you think about the best advice regarding camping for someone who enjoys luxury, you might think that the only fitting advice for that category is this – don’t go camping! But if you are a person who loves the good life but has been roped into a camping trip, that might not be an option.

If you are in a position where you absolutely must camp, then the following tips should get you through the trip with minimal inconvenience. In other words, they should take the “rough” out of “roughing it.”

First of all, make sure that the tent you select is really top of the line. By which, I mean it should be weatherproofed and lined to keep out light and as much noise as possible. You also want to apply this philosophy to the sleeping bag that you choose. Make sure it is as warm as it can get (mountains tend to get quite cold at night, even in the middle of summer) and that it is as soft as is available. But don’t stop there. No. An air mattress to go underneath your top of the line sleeping bag is absolute must, and this must be the best model, as well. The most sturdy and comfortable kind are the three tiered system beds. They are the least likely to spring a leak, as well.

Here’s the thing – no one ever said that luxury, or even the imitation version of luxury that you are able to achieve on a mountain top, would come cheap. But if you are willing to shell out the dough, you can make your camping experience much more enjoyable.

How To Nail The Job Interview (part 2)

3) Present Solutions. The most effective sales technique used by sales professionals combines asking questions with making a specific sales pitch. You want to make certain that the person is engaged with you and still wants or needs your services. To do that you will ask questions that help you see if the person is still willing and able to buy. In an interview you will most likely not be the one to ask the bulk of the questions. However, a good job candidate will listen carefully, ask probing questions, and present his answers so as to address the specific problems that the interviewer has. This takes skill and practice! We aren’t used to listening actively in our culture. But it’s a skill you had better learn and practice if you want to get a job. You can be certain that your most qualified competitor has taken the time to learn how to listen and ask deep, probing questions.

4) Handle Objections. This is where you have an opportunity to show your prospective employer why you are uniquely suited for the position. If you have done a good job of steps 1 – 3, you will know ahead of time what objections might come up. They typically fall into 2 categories: a) experience and b) personality.

1. Experience. Be aware that these objections may be left unspoken, so you will have to utilize your experience and intuition to know they exist. The best way to overcome the experience objection is to come back to the needs the employer has addressed and highlight your ability to help meet their needs. Use your quantified statements to show specifically how you have dealt with this issue in your past.

2. For personality objections, you will want to help the interviewer envision you in the position. They want to know how well you will work with a team, how you will interact with leadership, how well your personality fits the corporate culture. The best way to let them know this is to ask direct questions about the company, culture, and co-workers. It’s important that you are a good fit as well, otherwise you will be at this job search again rather soon. Consult with a professional career coach how to conduct such a conversation.

5) Close the Sale. Sales professionals have a variety of “closing techniques” in their sales quiver. These techniques have funny names like “the which close,” “the trial close,” “the takeaway,” and even “the red dress close.” Honestly, in my opinion, most of these techniques give salespeople a bad name (can you say, “used car salesman?”). I recommend that most job seekers refrain from the use of such techniques.

There are, however, some softer closing techniques that will help you move forward in the interview process. I recommend the following 3 step approach. This is what I call “the job interview soft close.”

1. Clarify with the interviewer that you have adequately addressed all of their needs, concerns and objections. Some good questions to use here include: “have I adequately addressed all of your concerns?” and “How do you feel my experience and qualifications meet your needs for this position?”

3. Get a firm commitment for following up. If the interviewer tells you he will call you next week, say, “Which day? I’ve got several engagements next week and I want to be sure to block out some time for you.” If they give you a day, ask what time. Ask if it is ok to check back with them directly in 3 days to see where they are in the decision making process. Get a direct phone number to call. Set a firm date and time and don’t forget to make the call at exactly that time. Treat that follow up call in the same way you did the face-to-face interview – which means you need to dress in business clothes and call from a quiet location, etc.

How To Nail The Job Interview (part 1)

In the job search process we compare the job search to the work of the sales and marketing professional.  This new and powerful model for job seekers may a bit unusual but it really works! In our model, your resume is part of your marketing packet, and the interviews are where you proceed through the 5 steps of the sales process to make the sale.  In this article we take an in-depth look at the interview from the perspective of a professional salesperson.  Granted, this approach will be uncomfortable for those of you who aren’t used to selling.  You may not like this approach.  You may not even choose to use this approach.  However, I encourage you to take a serious look at it and see what you can learn from a pro about making this very important sale – YOURSELF.

There are many sales models out there, and professional sales people will argue over the effectiveness of their preferred choice.

However, they all boil down to a few simple steps that, when followed, will help turn a prospect into a buyer. The five steps I see most often are:

  • Identify needs (or problems)
  • Qualify buyers
  • Present solutions
  • Handle objections
  • Close the sale

1)   Identify Needs. The needs identification process begins before you write your resume.  You want to have a clear understanding of what you have to offer and specific knowledge of who needs it.  You want to make this step as precise as possible. Every good salesperson will tell you that knowing your target audience is key to making the sale.  You don’t want to waste your time (or theirs) talking to people who don’t need your product or services. When you identify the needs or problems of your prospective employer you can prepare your interview questions and answers to demonstrate why you are the perfect candidate.

2)   Qualify Buyers. If you are selling cars, it is vitally important to know if you are talking to someone who is a serious buyer or just a “tire kicker.”  Likewise, in the job interview, you want to determine as quickly as possible if the person with whom you are meeting has the ability to make the hiring decision or if they are just trying to make a list to send up the food chain.  There are different tactics for each of these situations, and all of them equates to “making the sale.”  However, the “sale” in each instance may be different. In the interview process, “making the sale” equates to getting a job offer when you are meeting with someone who has hiring authority. In all other cases “making the sale” means “getting the next interview.”

In part 2, we will cover the remaining aspects of nailing a job interview process. Stay tuned!

Yesterday I got a Kindle Touch.

Now, I’m not sure if I’ve said it before on my blog but I hated the idea of books going digital at first. I told myself I’d never buy a Kindle because I always wanted the actual book. I’m the kind of person that loved turning the pages and the smell of an old book. I didn’t want to have to read on a screen whenever I wanted to. I hated E-readers.

Well, that changed.

I was in Texas and I saw my sister had her Kindle with her before bed and in the morning and I examined it and I actually started to want one. I figured it’d be good for being on a plane or having to wait awhile somewhere, I had thousands of books at my hands. I love looking at my bookcase and seeing all of the different kinds of books and the different covers laid out in front of me. I even started highlighting my favorite quotes from the books I loved most.

I researched the hell out of the different Kindle’s and wasn’t sure which was best for me. I found a ton of Youtube videos that reviewed it (I look there for reviews on any products I plan to purchase, I can’t be the only one!?) and there was on that really stood out. I loved this review and it’s what made me decide on a Touch.

So, glad I did. I love this thing so much.

It’s the perfect size and I love the case it’s in (except it’s purple.. ugh). It came with a light so you can read at night and a wall charger. When reading, I feel like I’m reading a book, which I heard was the most “book-like” Kindle out there. I find myself flying through a book so much faster than an actual paperback.

What I love most is being able to sit at home in my pajamas and buy any book I want from Amazon. It’s so much easier, especially because there’s only one book store, Barnes & Noble around here and it’s not the closest. We had a Borders at the Mall but they closed. Lame.

The one downfall I will say is that now that I’ve got the simplest way to get a book, I can’t think of a book. I say there for such a long time last night trying to think of a book, only to come up blank. There are tons of books I want to read but now that I have the opportunity to find them, I can’t. I need to start making a list.. hah.

I’m currently reading a few books by a new author I found, Kody Boye. He’s younger than me (so jealous!) and writes such fantastic stories. I’m going to review some in a few days when I finish them and hopefully get an interview out of him. I found him on Twitter and have his personal e-mail so we’ll see!

Also, Alyicia reviewed her Kindle and gave out a website, to borrow books from readers, which is fantastic! If you sign up, I’d appreciate putting in this referral code so I can get more borrow requests!


Am I the only one that gets giddy when I discover new music?

Finding new music for me is probably the hardest thing to do. I’m really picky when it comes to music. People will recommend artists to me and I’ll begin to listen and if I’m not feeling it, I’m going to move on. I honestly can’t really stand much music today, especially people like the new VMA Best New Artist. I looked up some of his lyrics and I was disgusted and appalled that he was even a nominee.

I find a lot of artists and I think “Wow, this is pretty good”, but rarely will I find an artist that really gives me goosebumps and can really make me obsess over their songs. I don’t find too many artists that make me so impressed with their sound and words, but when I do, you’ll know it. I’ll tell everyone about them and bug them until they listen to my favorite songs. I’m sure my friends are annoyed with it, though. I’ll obsess over a new tattoo idea incorporating the artists lyrics in it or I’ll update my Facebook status.

I’m not sure if anyone of you have heard of Explosions In The Sky, but you need to. Wikipedia describes them as “an American instrumental post-rock band from Texas. The band has garnered popularity beyond the post-rock scene for their cinematic, elaborately developed guitar work, narratively styled instrumentals, what they refer to as “cathartic mini-symphonies,” and their enthusiastic and emotional live shows.” I’ve recently discovered instrumental music and how powerful it could really be. I’ve come to love putting in my headphones and reading while listening to Mozart or instrumental versions of my favorite artists. EITS are the best band to listen to if you’re looking for inspiration or just background music while reading. Every song is relaxing and so powerful in it’s own way.

About me

  • The journey to date
  • I’m a lifelong digitalist (I’m not sure if this is an actual word – if so I bag copyright). I’ve worked in print, interactive and strategy roles in Johannesburg, London, Austin and now Houston.  I met my amazing wife whilst on a 6 month surf trip in Mexico (15 years ago). I have three beautiful children, Jack, Anna and Harry  and am starting to get some clarity on my hazy idea of the brotherhood of man.
  • Things I like
  • • All things Digital (In no specific order)
  • • Cricket (I don’t like it…I love it)
  • • Triathlons
  • • Surfing
  • • Guitar (been stuck for 20 years though)
  • • Meditation
  • • Reading books on Spirituality/Growth/Improvement
  • • Supporting the Golden Lions (my experiment in patience)
  • • Travel
  • Cool things I’ve done/do
  • • Hiked the Inca Trail
  • • Travelled through 30 countries
  • • Lived on the beach in Mexico for 6 months
  • • Travelled in Indonesia for 3 months
  • • Run New York Marathon
  • • Lead Singer in an Irish Folk Band
  • • Salmon fished in Alaska
  • • Helped build a shop in rural South Africa
  • • Run marketing for a non-profit children’s home
  • How to stay happy
  • Prayer, Meditation, Exercise and Mental Stimulation (reading, writing and concepting).
  • Things I don’t like
  • The word “thought leadership” (would somebody please explain this to me), that word is banned from the office (see t

5 steps you can take to practice gratitude

Below is a picture of me and my mom when I was the wee lad. I keep it next to my bathroom sink and I try and give gratitude every day for her unconditional love.

We go through so many forms in this life. Sometimes we feel as if we’ve got it all figured out and then in the blink of an eye we’re grabbing at straws, begging for answers and trying to get back home.

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I’ve never quite figured out the point at which these waves turn. Maybe it is just me, but they do turn and for whatever reason, when it does we have to enjoy the ride.

I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever been 100% happy or ever wallowed in too much self-pity. Well, that’s not exactly true. There are times when I have no clue as to the next “upswing” phase, but as experience waves, it’s wand over us, we realize that things will settle down and the proverbial mist will clear.

So what is it? What is this elusive happiness that seems to evade us at times? What does the world look like when shrouded in happiness? Is it a myth? Should we expect more?

I hope so. I’d hope that we eventually get to a stage whereby we can live in a perpetual state of flow, positivity, and light.

The “formula” is shaping up for me and I’m influenced by enlightened minds who tell the same story. Be grateful, love yourself, love one another.

You can think mumbo jumbo, hippy bullshit, whatever… but I think it’s true.


We live in a world of duality. We live in a world where people are happy to lay down a tirade of abuse against their barista for not preparing their $5 latte correctly when that same $5 would feed a family for a week. That’s not hippy bullshit, that’s fact. I’ve lived and traveled in countries where $5 would be a gift from god. In the 1st world, we don’t think twice about spending $5.

Here are 5 things you can try:

  1. Be grateful when you wake up in the morning. Seriously, give it a try. The second you open your eyes…say thank you. Be grateful for that conscious breath, be grateful for your child wanting a bottle of milk (resist the urge to throttle),  be grateful for the light entering the room (unless it’s 2 am)
  2. Sit in Silence. There are a million ways to the top of the mountain. I don’t know the path. I do know that we don’t move forward without acknowledging the good that surrounds us. Sit for a minute, for five, for an hour if you choose. Just sit and listen and say thank you.
  3. Say thank you for the smallest things. If your coffee tastes good or the traffic light changes just in time for you or your wife/husband has a sparkle in their eye … pay attention and you’ll be amazed at how much we can say thank you for.
  4. Set an email alert for every few hours that reminds you to be grateful. Hell Yeah, it’ll bug the shit out of you…but something will register and we can do this. Go one step further and set a 15-minute reminder for the reminder. At 3 o’Clock…I will find something to be grateful for. Keep doing it.
  5. At the end the day…say thank you. Take a deep breath…let the shit go and say thank you!
  6. Create your own brand. Keep in mind your industry and the level of professionalism required. If you are in a creative industry you may have greater leeway in this area.