Every job interview, even a bad one, is an opportunity to learn something about how to pitch yourself to companies, and figure out what a given job entails and what the corporate culture has to offer. The problem, of course, is that hiring managers don't always tell you why the company opted to pass, which makes it harder to learn from your mistakes. Here's what might be holding you back, and how to tweak your approach to improve your chances in the future.
What do you do at work on Friday afternoons? Mobile devices and online access to the tools we use to do our jobs have made it harder to hide out under our desks and wait for the factory whistle to blow. Still, after a long, hard week, it's easy to let burnout overwhelm you. Don't just coast through the last minutes and hours of your workweek. Use your time wisely, and you'll have a more pleasant weekend, and start next week off fresh and ready to work.
Given their druthers, many would prefer to work with a moderately cheerful colleague, instead of someone who tends to see the dark side of a situation, but maybe they should reconsider. Studies suggest that our gloomier colleagues might have a valuable perspective to offer -- one that relentlessly positive types might not be able to duplicate.
Call it corporate hazing: many companies reward workers, either monetarily or with social capital, for working round the clock, both at the office and after hours. Think about the last time you heard someone at your business described as a "good worker" or a "team player." Implicit in the descriptor? "This is a worker who is never off duty." There's just one problem, of course. Studies suggest that working more hours might actually make workers less productive, not more.
Don't burn your bridges, the advice goes. There's just one problem: over the course of a career, even the most cautious and honorable professional is bound to leave a few behind them. So what can you do to rebuild a relationship, once it's damaged?
Have you ever had to make so many choices in a given day that you just plain burned out your decision-making muscles? If so, congratulations: you are human, with all the intricacies and limitations that implies. Decision fatigue is real, and if you're suffering from it, the last thing you need to do is beat yourself up for "not having more willpower."
Employers tend to organize work around blocks of time: the morning meeting is from 10 to 11, the orientation lunch is from noon to 1, and so on. There's nothing inherently wrong with that -- throw out the schedule entirely, and workers lose the pressure and relief of knowing exactly when their part of a project needs to be completed. But recent research suggests that concentrating on the clock at the expense of the task might make workers less happy and creative in the long run.
When preparing for a job interview, it's easy to spend so much time practicing answers for questions the interviewer might ask that you neglect to think about the things you'd like to learn about a prospective employer. Don't make that mistake: come prepared with the right questions, and you stand a much better chance of figuring out if you'd actually be happy working for the company on a day-to-day basis. Just make sure you don't ask any of these.