How body language can make or break your interview

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First impressions are extremely important, especially in an interview environment.

The whole idea is to put your best self forward so the person sitting opposite you, can’t wait to employ you. Your body language plays a significant role in the way you are perceived and poor body language can derail and interview regardless of how confident and well-spoken you are.  Body language is as much a part of your communication style as what you say.

Impressions are made within seconds of reviewing body language.

Don’t worry though here at HR Revolution, we have put together a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to how you use your body in a corporate environment.

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  1. Don’t Slouch – This shows that you are taking the interview seriously, and looks confident and professional rather than that you were wishing you were somewhere else (even though you probably would be!).
  2. Good Eye Contact – Don’t stare them down like it’s a contest as this can be intimidating, but do meet eyes with the person you are conversing with.
  3. Shake Hands – Shaking hands at the beginning of the interview breaks down boundaries, shows confidence and implies that you are open.
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  4. Lean towards the interviewer – This implies that you are taking an interest in the conversation and that you are engaged by what they are saying.
  5. Mirror your interviewer – If you are unsure on how you should sit or act, watching how your interviewer does can give you a good indication of how they think it is appropriate to act. It also shows agreement and a likeness between you.
  6. SMILE – If all else fails and you completely forget to remember where you should have your hands or where you should look, just smile. A genuine smile creates a favourable image and will always ensure that you interviewer remembers you in a positive light.

If you need some guidance, give HR Revolution a call + 44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, we’d love to help.

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Do your colleagues like you as much as you think?

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In all probability the answer to this is no! Very blunt I know, but I am just being honest with you.

In truth we all have bits about us that are completely unlikeable, but we just don’t want to believe it!

Take a look at the top reasons for being disliked in the workplace and ask yourself…  Is that me?

You gossip: and I mean the negative kind. What you don’t realise is that you are venting about someone to the very person they are best friends with. In short, neither of them like you now and they have told everyone else not to trust you!!

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You lengthen meetings: with the most ridiculous questions, which in all probability have been answered already if you hadn’t been too busy doodling to notice, or just wanted to make your presence known. Now it’s past going home time you are very unpopular indeed!

You depend on everyone: for every single answer. You have google on your computer, it pretty much knows everything so use it and stop asking me!

You moan: OMG is your cup ever half full? Apparently not, it’s too cold, there are no teabags, you broke a nail, you hate Mondays, the stationery cupboard is too far away, don’t depress the office…

You tell white lies: It wasn’t your idea stop saying it was aaarrggghhh!

You know it all: about everything and you can do my job better than me!!! (even though you don’t know what you are talking about). Get over yourself your insecurity is boring!

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You are lazy: and you know it. It’s never your responsibility, so why should you step up to take on extra duties? Well people might like you a bit more if you pulled your weight for one!

You are Little Miss Sunshine: really?! No-one can be that happy all of the time. The lift breaking down when you work on the 15th floor is NOT a good excuse for light exercise! I don’t want a group hug, high fives or to turn my frown upside down… so please go away.

You talk too much: and when I say too much I mean all the time! Now I don’t mind a quick catch up on last night’s TV, but seriously I have work to do and I really am not that interested in Aunt Maud’s bad back. Rein it in a bit hey!

You are always sick: I mean taking every Monday off is a bit suspect, do you really always have something dodgy to eat on a Sunday!?? I’m suspicious and I don’t really like you for it.

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You smell: ok sensitive subject but it’s true no-one like to sit with someone who’s got BO or bad breath.

You suck up to your colleagues: all the time. Did you do your hair differently? I like your dress, is it new? Did you lose weight? It’s all rubbish, the boss looks the same as always and you are not getting a promotion.

So if you want to win favour in the office, take an interest in other people, listen to a story they want to share, give the odd compliment and maybe offer to buy the coffee or make one at least!

Even as I wrote this blog I couldn’t help thinking ‘actually I do a bit of all of those’, so I will sign off and go and spray myself with some perfume, make my team a coffee or tea and not moan when there is no milk! and tell my colleague that I did notice her hair cut and I like it!

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Personality traits are NOT an excuse for poor behaviour!

Here in the HR Revolution office we have just undergone the DISC profile training, which is a modern interpretation of Dr. William Marston’s behavioral dimensions; a personal strengths profiling exercise that uncovers four quadrants of behaviour. Once you understand your natural behavioral patterns, it is said that you will find it easier to recognize the right opportunities to achieve the results you desire. These for quadrants are:

D – Dominance  I – Influence  S – Steadiness  C – Compliance

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What I personally think the great thing about DISC is, it highlights other people’s personality traits, so you can understand better why they work the way they do, for example why one person might like to have all the facts and figures, while others are just, let’s just get on and worry about the details later…. It turns out we have both in our office which is actually a really good thing as we all fulfill different roles.

Anyway, DISC is a lot more in depth than I can offer in this blog and not the reason for me writing today, but it got me thinking… why is it that people tend to use their personality traits as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour?

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How many times have you said “ignore him, you know what he’s like” or “don’t let her get to you, it’s just the way she is” or “why does everything have to revert back to them” and whilst this is true, does it make it ok?? I don’t think so.

I personally like to think that no one person is just one personality type and we are intelligent enough to know how to behave and adapt our styles towards other people.

Here is just one adjective describing a personality trait from each of the above groups: D: direct, I: emotionless, S: easily distracted and C: retreating, and I don’t think any of them are particularly positive (obviously there are lots of happy ones too!). But just because they are ‘part’ of our personality does that mean that’s how we should act? For example just because you are ‘direct’ naturally, does that mean you can use absolutely no tact whatsoever when communicating with colleagues? OR just because you tend to be ‘retreating’ does that mean you should get out of doing the things you are not comfortable with? Of course the answer is absolutely no.

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So I guess what I am trying to say is, if we know what we are predominately like rather than using that behaviour as an excuse, why don’t we all try to bring through some of our other personality traits, or just take time to think about how we are being perceived by the recipient… be less blunt, show empathy or be bolder, whatever you feel would work best in that given situation.

Personality traits should be used to benefit you and others, not as an excuse to make people cry or be lazy!  Trust me, I know how difficult it is to adapt your natural behaviour to suit the needs of the situation, as my profile is DS the two most polar opposites!

If you are interested in learning more about DISC or any other personality testing within your business, please get in touch with HR Revolution +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, it may be what you need to get your team working more cohesively together.

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Your Christmas HR questions answered…

Can you believe that two weeks today will be the 1st of December.  Most people think of the Christmas period as a time to relax and enjoy the festivities and I’m sure the office party/lunch/dinner details will dominate office conversation.  But not for business owners and managers I fear, the Christmas period can come with a whole host of issues, so why not this year, plan ahead a little and keep the period problem free.

Read the following Q&As to get the important information you need to know for your business.

Do I have to organise a Christmas party or function for my employees?

There is no legal requirement for you to organise anything for your employees.  There are some wider issues to consider here though. Just because you’re not obliged to do something, it doesn’t david-brentnecessarily mean that you shouldn’t. After all it is the season to be jolly and organising a get-together could be a great way to thank everyone for their contribution and show them that you really appreciate all that they do for the business.

Cost is always a key factor in thinking about Christmas parties, but you don’t always have to spend a fortune, keep a budget in mind and have a look at all options, there are plenty around.

Everyone wants to take time off, how can I manage this?

Getting this right all comes down to the finer details of your employment contracts. You must take the time to assess the precise terms and conditions that you’ve laid out regarding how holiday can be taken. Generally speaking, employees should know how to request time off, and how decisions will be made by the management team.

If you have certain busy periods, you may decide that you’ll only accept requests for time off between certain dates in exceptional circumstances. If you had a employee who was getting married, for example, then you may reconsider your stance.

Not all of my staff are Christian, what are the implications here?

Having a diverse workforce has a multitude of benefits. You do need to make sure though that you’re conscious of differing beliefs, and the issues that could be at play. Remember that Christmas is a national holiday in the UK, and it’s recognised among many religious groups (including the non-religious) as having a special status. If you have many employees from different religions, it may be worthwhile considering making arrangements to recognise holidaysother holidays that your employees may wish to celebrate.

This can seem like a minefield, but it’s very possible to devise an approach that will suit all needs. You may need some help though when it comes to understanding the relevance and important of various different holidays. As such, you might decide to hold a consultation exercise with your employees. Getting everyone involved in decisions that will have an impact on them will ensure that they’re accepted.

Should I give my employees a present?

I’m sure there is no employee in the world that would not gratefully a Christmas present! However there are a few things to consider.

Not the ideal christmas party scenario!

Not the ideal christmas party scenario!

First of all, make sure that everyone receives their gift. This includes anyone who may be away on maternity, paternity, or sick leave.  Also, think carefully about the nature of the gift, a bottle of wine may seem like a good idea, though not so much if you have members of staff who abstain from alcohol. Use your common sense, and get a professional’s opinion if you’re struggling with ideas.

If you need any help with updating your HR policies and procedures, get in touch with HR Revolution and will be happy to advise you or visit our HR document website www.hrrevolutionshop.co.uk, where you can download our ready to use templates and documents.

It’s worth taking a bit of time to do some planning, then you and your employees can have a very merry Christmas indeed.

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National tongue twister day…

Apparently, today is National tongue twister day…. well according to the internet it could be today, or Sunday depends who you want to believe!!!

Tongue twisters have fascinated people throughout history. Did you know that Peter Piper is a historical figure? Pierre Poivre was a one-armed French pirate and horticulturist during the mid-1700s. Poivre was notorious for stealing spice nuts (known as “peppers”) from Dutch trade ships, and using them to plant his garden. On at least one occasion he stole half a bushel of nutmegs, which inspired the tongue twister we know and love today.

Here goes….

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

FUN FACTS: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most difficult tongue twister in the English language is: “The sixth sick sheikh’s sixth sheep’s sick.” and the shortest is “Toy Boat”… sound simple, try saying it 5 times… FAST!

To celebrate International Tongue Twister Day, have some fun, make up your own or practice some of your favourite tongue twisters with your friends and family… or colleagues and call it team building!

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Fri fun… Does your boss make the tea/coffee…

According to a recent poll by Yorkshire Tea, over half of bosses have never made a cup of tea for their employees!!  I suppose I’m one of the lucky ones then, as my boss at HR Revolution most certainly makes a good cuppa, both tea and coffee!!

Apparently the worst culprits are head teachers, whereas builders and IT Chiefs are the most likely to put the kettle on.

Does your boss make the tea, HR ConsultancyThe survey also found that men were more likely to make themselves tea without asking anyone else if they would like one, now this I can believe!

However, the research also found that nearly half of UK workers were too busy to stop for a cup of tea, and one in four thought they were not allowed a tea break.  This could be harming their efficiency as 44% of workers said they felt revived after a cuppa, and 33% felt more productive.

Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James warns that ‘presenTEAism’ could potentially do more harm than good.

“Fewer tea breaks reflect the increasing pressure people feel they are under at work. Whereas in the past taking a tea break was seen as a valuable social activity in the office, it is now beginning to be seen as an unnecessary indulgence and waste of productive work time.

“Yet research has indicated time and time again that striking a balance by taking short breaks during the working day increases people’s productivity and creativity.’

What are your thoughts on the tea/coffee break debate?  At HR Revolution, we most definitely need caffeine, how much caffeine do you need to get through the day, take our poll:

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A version of this blog first appeared on HR Grapevine.