group interview

The A to Z Guide in Personal Branding

It’s easy to neglect one’s personal brand, or even the very idea of it. From childhood we are conditioned to dislike the idea of being self-promotional. Even our popular culture reflects the negative perception that we have about selling ourselves or being boastful. Movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, The Devil Wears Prada, or the modern classic, Jerry Maguire portray the dark “promote at all costs” perspective that most of us are repelled by. But nowhere does it say you have to create a personal brand that is distasteful or something you can’t be proud of. You have to remember that your personal brand already exists. People Google you when they are considering hiring you, or they look for references online when they are thinking about buying from you. If nothing exists, that can have as much of an impact as having the wrong information show up. Just like the clothes you wear, how you communicate, the ideas you share, and the things you create, your footprint in the world represents you regardless of what you think.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” — Jeff Bezos

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Businesspeople having lunch indoors.

Etiquette Tips for Business Lunches

At certain moments in your career, you might be presented with an opportunity to dine with a few higher-ups in the company. Whether these business lunches are scheduled on-site with a catered meal, or at a nearby restaurant, knowing how to conduct yourself according to an unwritten set of etiquette rules will help you make a positive impression.

No matter how comfortable — or nervous — you might feel in this setting, here are a few tips you can use to put your best foot forward.

Be Prepared
Although you might have the perfect professional outfit laid out the night before, getting ready for a business lunch means more than looking the part. Knowing where you’re going and showing up on time are essential details that shouldn’t be overlooked. Try to make sure you understand where the restaurant is ahead of time and be certain of the schedule. Will there be a brief mingling period ahead of time? Additionally, consider who you’re meeting. Look up their LinkedIn profile and think of a few questions to ask ahead of time. Once you’ve managed to narrow down these details, you might find that you will be more at ease when the lunch begins.

Don’t Dive Straight into Business
Instead of beginning the meal with shop talk, try to ease into the setting a little. Whomever you’re dining with should be given a chance to order his or her food first. Also, by holding off on business discussions until after the menus are put away and the meal is being prepared, you will likely have fewer interruptions from the restaurant’s waitstaff. Until then, feel free to engage in pleasant chit chat. This will also give you a chance to ease into the situation and build positive rapport, which could help any lingering tensions melt away.

Put Your Cell Phone Away (and Leave It There)
No matter what the topic of the lunch might be, having your smartphone on the table can tell your dining partner that you’re still connected to the outside world, rather than focusing your attention on the present moment. When you’ve spent so long relying on these devices for business or leisure, it’s difficult to ignore them when they vibrate or light up. By glancing down at them when they buzz, you’re allowing yourself to be distracted. Even before the lunch begins, put the phone away, and don’t take it out again until you leave the restaurant.

Skip the Alcohol
Despite how comfortable you might be with the guest of honor, it’s a good idea to avoid imbibing. When the drink menu is being passed around, try to take your cues from the host — if he or she has ordered one, feel free to do the same, but that first drink should be all you order. You know your body more than anyone else, so pay attention to it. If you feel like you’re drinking more than you should, slow down and switch to water. At the same time, even before the drink menu has made its rounds, decide if you’re comfortable enough in this setting to partake. If you’re hesitant at all, it might be a better idea to hold back for now.

Remember to Follow Up
After the lunch is over, don’t forget the most important part — thanking the host for the opportunity. No matter what was discussed, this step will let you respond to any questions that might have been raised during your meal. The follow-up can be as simple as a quick note thanking the person for his or her time or can include any additional materials or resources you can gather that will help make a case for your ideas. If you’re worried about an appropriate timeline for sharing these additional materials, don’t fret — locating them can take some time, and as long as you share a brief deadline in your original thank-you email, you should have enough time to sort things out on your end.

About the Author

Rebecca Lindegren is the community relations manager for MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan Flagler’s online mba for executives. She is also passionate about digital marketing, social media, cycling and cooking. Check her out on twitter.

group interview

How To Stand Out In A Group Interview

Group interviews are indeed excellent platforms to showcase one’s talent, leadership skills, effective communication and convincing abilities. Taken too far, it could also smack of egotism, one-upmanship and presumptuousness. Before going into your next group interview it is necessary to understand why recruiting firms carry them out in the first place.

  • It is much more convenient and time saving for prospective firms to interview people in batches rather than as individuals. Group interviews are able to pick the best from a given lot, and that is what really matters
  • It is not only necessary and important to understand how candidates fare in one-to-one- situation but also in one-to-many situation. How candidates counter and manage tricky group, cross-personal situations are also important in work environments
  • It  brings forth competitive personality strengths and traits- both positive and negative- aspects like tact and diplomacy, how well candidates behave with others and conduct themselves with courtesy, good manners and politeness and how they win friends and influence others are all gains of group interviewing
  •  Group interviewing also brings out the latent and dormant virtues of candidates which are not otherwise visible. For instance, when given a topic to speak on impromptu, or a problem to solve immediately, employers could be able to fathom the quality and effectiveness of the candidate’s potential and how well suited or otherwise they are in meeting the demands of this company

There are also certain tips that successful candidates bring to bear in group interviews and they are as follows:

  • Be oneself, it is not correct to speak in affected manner or put on false, albeit impressive airs. The experienced interviews can see through all this
  • It is necessary to be accommodating and responsive, and also respect the views of others. While we may be right others may also not be wrong, and it is important not to thrust one’s views on others, however convincing and  robust it may appear to be
  • Give credit where it is due. During group discussions, which are part of group interviews, it is important to put forth one’s views and also respect the views of others, even if they appear contrary.
  • Remain well dressed, composed, calm and speak in well modulated voice, only in the pitch of others to hear, not too loud to be obstreperous and not too soft to be inaudible.
  • Remember- the panel is trying to get the best performance from each of the candidates and it is therefore important that one gives one’s best- regardless of the outcomes
  • Always say “X may be right but this is my opinion about this matter” –  never try to argue or force one’s opinions on others, especially the judging panel members
  • When differences arises, try to be calm and in control of the situation. Never try to put oneself in a tight situation from where it would be difficult to wriggle free. Remember that just as we judge others, others are also judging us, so we need to be at our very best all the time, giving others more than we are gaining ourselves.
  •  It is better to remain silent rather than to utter foolish and misguided utterances. While excellent performance may not necessarily fetch more grades, low performance could be ample grounds for disqualification.
  • Since all group interviews are competitive and based on elimination, it is important that one prepares well, be confident but not brusque, and be in a good position to respond to all kinds to issues, not necessarily from one’s specialized fields or knowledge domains.
  • During deliberations, candidates should desist from limiting their own minds and thinking and need to be fully accomplished in whichever tasks are ordained. This is the virtual key to success in group interviews wherein not only education and levels of intelligence are assessed but also how well one responds favorably to different situations are also judged and decided. Education should be a motivating factor and not a limiting factor.

Essentially, group interviews are very much like choosing the best apples from the basket through the right judgments made by the buyers. How one presents, conducts and impresses others are major tools for success and this cannot really be subjectively taught in any business school.

About the Author

Joseph Porter is a freelance writer at online service companies and the professionals helping to write essay for the academic students with over 14 year’s experience. He enjoys writing about current trends and innovations in education, technology and traveling.

Griselda Blanco La viuda negra

The One Thing Griselda Blanco Had That All Women Need to “Lean In” and Win

Griselda Blanco is the perfect example of how a woman leader leans in. So you’re probably on this page like “Let me get this straight Emmelie, you want to talk about how the cocaine godmother and the queen of drug trafficking found work-life balance? I gotta hear this one..” But hear me out for a minute. While I was doing my weekly catch up session with my dear friend Cristine, we were sharing our addiction for the soap opera or novela which is capturing Spanish-language audiences. As we were commenting about the latest episode, I mention ” I can’t believe she’s killing men and moving coke, with a baby on her arm.” Christine replies, “Lean in on that!” and thus this post was born. Continue reading