HCI Blog

Archive from "Career Planning"

How to perform well in a job interview


Is it possible to completely plan your career?

A career plan is usually thought out to be in the form of any other type of plan which has a starting point, a goal and the steps to be taken in order to reach the goal. But it is not uncommon that this plan will not be followed exactly as it was drafted.

Many executives start out their careers not knowing where they might end up. As said by Robert Pozen: “There was no grand plan; I backed into my career one step at a time. In the years after I graduated from law school, I had no idea that I would ultimately become the president of a financial services giant. I held positions as a law professor, a senior official at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a partner in a law firm.”

In other words, it is hardly possible to control the trajectory of your career, mainly because many factors exist which are beyond your control. Rather than focusing on the steps of your planning, try to ascertain the right mind set to develop a successful approach to your work habits.

Gain Transferable Knowledge

Transferable knowledge is simply knowledge which can be used in more than one area of work. This is the initial set of skills and abilities which you typically acquire in college and then work to develop and refine.

With time, you will begin to notice that you might favor or be better at a given area instead of another. For example, you focus on courses which involve a hefty load of math and then follow into studying physics and engineering. In years to come, you could then opt for computer programming, which has a large participation within engineering.  This will give you a wider array of choices in the future.

Also, working abroad will help you develop this type of knowledge. The cultural interactions and the different was cultures approach work will assist you in refining your transferable knowledge.

The same goes to working in different types of organizations during your career, such as a non-profit organization or governmental institutions.

Grow Your Network

Networking is perhaps one of the factors which will most strongly influence the outcome of your career path in the future. Despite all the knowledge you have acquired throughout time, you are not hired by a company, but by someone in it who chose you to work there. As the saying goes: “Organizations don’t hire people. People hire people”.

Make your best to become well known within the circles of your area of work. You might attend conferences and seminars, but the best choice is to have long time colleagues within the same line of work, in special those who you have known for a long time.

In summary: “To prepare for whatever surprises lie ahead, try to make choices today that will maximize your options in the future. Gain transferable expertise — in the classroom or at work — and form close bonds with your peers and colleagues.”

Based on: Harvard Business Review

How to choose the best career for yourself

The choice of a career path is typically a big question mark in the professional lives of many people. Doubts may surface as to whether continue on a current job or seek a new path. It is important to certify that the job that you do is truly something for which you have passion for.


Once entering college, you typically may have a slight idea of what you may want to follow in the future, but you cannot most certainly pinpoint exactly where your true passion is directed. It is actually common for the opposite to happen; you choose an area of study and work which you later on find out you dislike.

In all true fairness, how are you expected to know what you like if you never actually done anything related to the job previously? So if you can’t rely on an actual concrete experience to know what you like, where can you find guidance?

So if passion can’t guide you, what can? Well, begin by choosing a career that fits well with your skills and values. Since you actually have some sense of what those are (hopefully), this is a good starting place.

A second way to choose a job is basing yourself on your ambitions. You can opt for a promotion focus, where you advance as quick as possible, seeking rewards, recognition and achievements. Instead, you could select a prevention focus, where you seek to hold on to what you already achieved and work slowly, securing your personal space.

To better understand each of these focuses, here are some characteristics of each different profile:

Promotion- focused people excel at:

  • Creativity & innovation
  • Seizing opportunities to get ahead
  • Embracing risk
  • Working quickly
  • Generating lots of options and alternatives
  • Abstract thinking

(Unfortunately, they are also more error-prone, overly-optimistic, and more likely to take risks that land them in hot water)

Prevention-focused people excel at:

  • Thoroughness and being detail-oriented
  • Analytical thinking and reasoning
  • Planning
  • Accuracy (working flawlessly)
  • Reliability
  • Anticipating problems

(Unfortunately, they are also wary of change or taking chances, rigid, and work more slowly. Diligence takes time.)

In other words, Promotion-focused individuals seek risks, fast growth and ever-changing work environments and markets. Typically, you enjoy spearheading projects and lead teams. And the Prevention-focused individuals prefer to carefully plan their next move based on a complex analysis of all factors involved, as well as having an eye for detail.

The job market has space for both types. All in all, it is important for you to know yourself! Don’t be in a hurry to jump into the first job offer you get. Instead, reflect about what you want for yourself and where you want to reach!

Based on: Forbes

10 Tips for Job Interview Success

Job search techniques change, the labour market changes and job descriptions change. But what more or less stays the same is the job interview. It’s your chance to sell yourself. The first 30 seconds of a job interview are the most important – so if you want to be a cut above the rest you need to be on the ball. Rob Yeung, a business psychologist, maintains that an interview is all about the three Ps. “You need to prepare, you need to practise, and then, on the day, you need to perform.”


Here are 10 tips for interview success.


1. First impressions count

Greet your interviewer with a smile and firm handshake. Give eye contact. Try to make small talk during the walk from the reception area to the interview room. Liz Anderson, a human resources manager says, “You have to sell yourself before you can sell anything else and the first 30 seconds are when the interviewer subconsciously makes decisions about whether they like you or not and whether you will fit into the team.”


2. Be prepared

Re-read your CV and the job advert just before the interview. Do your research thoroughly: Look at the company web site or obtain literature. You may be asked about the salary you are after so make sure you research that as well.


3. Don’t waffle

Answer questions properly – even if you need a few moments’ silence to collect your thoughts. Anderson advises, “It’s better to say you need a minute to think about your answer rather than speak instantly and regret it afterwards.”


4. Why should they hire you?

Most job adverts will list qualities they’re looking for – a team worker, a good communicator – so it’s up to you to think of examples of how you can demonstrate these skills. Be ready to talk about your knowledge, experience, abilities and skills. Have at least three strong points about yourself that you can relate to the company and job on offer.


5. Be positive

Your interviewer will be thinking about what it would be like to work with you, so the last thing they’ll want to hear is you talking about your boss or current colleagues behind their back. Interviewers like to see someone who enjoys a challenge and is enthusiastic.


6. Remember your body language

It is not what you say, but how you say it. During the interview, do not fold your arms and lean back or look to the floor! Sit upright and try to maintain good eye contact. Use your hands and lean forward when making a point. Many people cannot think and control their body language at the same time, which is why you need to prepare.


7. Expect the unexpected

Your interviewer may try to catch you off guard: A survey by OfficeAngels has revealed that 90 per cent of employers ask ‘killer’ questions in interviews. It is impossible to plan for every difficult question, such as “How would your colleagues describe you?” but try to appear relaxed and in control. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question if necessary but do not evade it. Hopefully you will not befall the fate of those job candidates at B&Q who were asked to dance to “Blame it on the Boogie”!


8. Develop rapport

Show energy, a sense of humour and smile. Jean Smith, a social anthropologist says: “It’s infectious, being positive and enthusiastic.” Ask your interviewer questions about themselves and any issues the business is facing.


9. Clarify anything you are unsure of

If you are not certain what are meant by a particular question, ask for clarification. At the end, ask the interviewer if there is anything else he or she needs to know about. Do not be afraid to ask when you are likely to hear if you have been successful or not.


10. Remember your manners

It is better to choose than to be chosen. Tell the interviewer why you are interested in the company and job opportunity. Ask them for a business card and follow it up by sending a “thank-you” e-mail or letter, saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and how interested you are. Take the opportunity to detail the key advantages you bring.


SOURCE: Career Builder