How to Expand Employee Happiness

Do you feel engaged at work? If you don’t, you are not alone. Around the world only 13% of employees say that they feel completely engaged at work. Half of employees are actively thinking about working somewhere else.

What is so great about engagement anyway? If you aren’t already craving more engagement at work or want to convince your boss that this is important, here are some reasons to focus on engagement. Engaged employees are less likely to leave their jobs and are more likely to display excellent performance.

How do we become more engaged at work? Some of the answers lie with your boss. A boss that you feel comfortable asking questions of contributes to engagement.   

Strengths also contribute to more engagement at work. If your boss focuses on your strengths, you are more likely to be engaged at work. But, if YOU focus on your strengths Ayers notes that you are ‘6 times more likely to be engaged at work’.

I think we can all agree that we would prefer a positive workplace, but is there hard evidence that supports this preference? Absolutely. Positive workplace morale means people stay home less, they are more likely to put in extra hours and productivity improves. It also inspires teamwork and is the precursor to a thriving organisation.

Ayers, tells us more about, ‘How happy employees can lead to a happy company’, in the infographic below:

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If you want to learn more about bringing more passion and happiness to your career, check out our ebook and audio program called Proven Path. It helps you start and complete a project that will help boost your career.

Unhappy at Work? How to Tell Your Boss

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I had it all — a great company, terrific coworkers and a short commute. The only problem was I really didn’t like my job. I spent most of my day alone, crunching numbers for data research. There was no creativity and little human interaction. I wasn’t happy, but I labored on, dejected and frustrated.

One day, everything changed. I had stopped by my boss’s office to answer a question. Instead, I faced one: “Is something wrong?” Instead of brushing it off, I told him I wasn’t happy. It was more than a bad day, I needed something more in my job.

My boss sat back, stunned. Trying to backpedal, I added, “I like the office and everyone here. I’m just not satisfied in this role anymore. I need a change of pace, a challenge, something.”

That was all it took. My brilliant boss saw a good worker in distress and took action. I still crunch numbers, but I can deal with it because I also get to lead a new team. It’s not easy, but I love the challenge, interaction and creativity it brings.

A friend of mine had a similar experience. He was really good in sales, but, at the end of the day, he wasn’t fulfilled. He was more proactive than I and took the matter to his supervisor. I’m pleased to report that he’s now a satisfied — and effective — client manager.

If you’re discontent at work, you don’t have to suffer in silence or change jobs. Don’t wait to have an outburst like I did, either. There’s another option. Get some help by going to your boss and asking for help. Not sure how to do that? Here are some ideas:

1. Get a Grip on What’s Bothering You

Do you know why you’re dissatisfied? I felt unhappy for weeks, but I never took time to pinpoint the problem. Don’t make that mistake. For a week, write down everything that bugs you about your job, no matter how insignificant. When that’s done, you have data. Time for analysis.

Read through your list looking for commonalities, patterns and repetitions. Then you’ll be able to name your issues, such as too many assignments, interrupting coworkers or lack of a challenge. When you approach your boss, you can be specific. Even great bosses can’t read minds.

2. Scrutinize Scrupulously

While you’re considering what makes you unhappy, look at your life outside work as well. Sometimes people are sad and disinterested all the time, but it’s more obvious at work because of expectations and pressure. If you constantly feel helpless, tired, negative, irritable or worthless, these are all signs of a bigger problem. You may be one of the 14.8 million adults affected by a depressive disorder. In this case, a doctor will be more help than your boss, at least initially.

3. Prepare a Plan

Now that you’ve identified your problems, you may see ways to fix them. Since you’re in the middle of it all, you might be the best person to suggest some changes — or not. Either way, you’ll probably be asked for solutions, and you can either make proposals or honestly admit you’re flummoxed.

Think about what it is that would make you happier in your job and list out some things that can help you get it – maybe it’s taking on an additional project or getting to work from home once per month to get done the writing you’re too unfocused to do in your cubicle. Sure, it may mean asking for more work but if it’s fulfilling work it could be the answer to your troubles.

4. Try Talking

OK, you have a handle on what’s bugging you, and you may even have some changes to propose. Time to set a meeting with your boss. Just don’t approach this as a doom and gloom scenario, or your boss’s schedule may suddenly be full for the next two months. When you request the appointment, keep your attitude positive. You really do want things to get better, and this meeting is another step along the way.

5. Set the Stage

You hope the meeting will send you on a path toward a happier workplace, so show it. Have a productive mindset. Go in calm, cool and collected. You’ll be more efficient — and you won’t make your boss uncomfortable or annoyed at having to deal with shouting, sobbing, whining or whimpering. Be positive about the process, and your boss will be, too.

6. Sit in the Spotlight

Remember, this isn’t a gripe session about the rest of the staff. It’s about you. Tell your boss you want to be more engaged in your work. Make the case for becoming a better employee. You’re more likely to get assistance if it improves the bottom line.

7. Paint the Picture

Be upfront with your unhappiness, and use your data to back you up. Feeling overwhelmed? It’s no wonder — you had to start five new projects in the last week. Constrained? Because of the chain of command, you’ve wasted time seeking approval for little decisions you’re capable of making. Unappreciated? You put in way more than 40 hours last week but saw no additional compensation through overtime or comp time.

Don’t be accusatory or negative. In a professional manner, state your facts.

8. Recommend Resolutions

This is the time to pull out your list of suggestions — if you were able to generate it. Your boss will appreciate knowing what you think will solve the problem. They’re not a mind reader, remember? You won’t necessarily get everything you want, but it’s a good starting place. If not all your ideas are feasible, go on to step nine.

9. Solicit Suggestions

Request advice and make sure to take notes. This not only helps your recall, but it also shows the boss you’re serious. If an answer seems vague or incomplete, ask for details. You’re here for help, so it’s up to you to get it.

10. Take Action

By the end of the meeting, you should have a plan of action, so it’s time to get busy. If it’s a long list, don’t become overwhelmed and give up. Take it one step at a time. If the going gets tough, remember: This is about you being happier at work. Your boss will also notice — and appreciate — that you followed through.

Get out of your rut at work. You may not have put yourself there, but, with help from your boss, you can crawl your way back out.

Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping others find happiness and success in their careers. Follow her for more inspiring tips at @SarahLandrum

Why Curiosity is so Important in Your Career

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The legend has it that when humans discovered the potato plant, many died because of it. They have eaten the fruits and leafs of the plant which turned out to be poisonous. Sad and angry, they gather all the potato plants (fruits, leaves, roots) they could find and set them on fire to wreck this malefic organism. When the roots started to cook on the fire, the smell made everyone wonder what could that astonishing aroma can be.

Most people put more hay on the fire to make sure the plant will die, but a few curious ones took the roots out of the fire and tasted the wonderful smelling oval shaped object. They didn’t die, and now, all of us can enjoy the potato.

Did you know that latest medical research has found that eating carrots can help smokers improve lung health, but taking beta-carotene supplements increases their risk of lung cancer?

Did you know that there is a city in this world that is illegal not to smile at all times except funerals and visits to the hospital?

Curiosity can cost you, sometimes a bit more than you can chew. However, being curious about the right things is opening many, many doors for you.

Why should you be curious and how to use your curiosity?

1. Seek Personal Growth

Being curious makes you listen. Not just hearing what people have to say, but actually, listen. Listen to learn something new, opposite to hearing only to confirm what you already know.

Developing your listening skills is not only enriching your knowledge but also increases others desire to have you around, and it is improving your relationships of all kind.

You are entering a conversation with an open mind because no matter how knowledgeable you are, you have always something more to learn, you can benefit from any and every human interaction.

Curiosity also is spicing things up in your life because it is a pleasant feeling and the rewards are instant.

When you approach a person or situation with curiosity, your mind gets free of judgment towards that person or situation. Therefore, you are more likely to find solutions and ways to move forward. In a sense, curiosity is a great tool to get unstuck, right?

We are searching for ways to keep our brain young and sane, and curiosity is one of those ways because curiosity is giving a job to many neurons that otherwise would die for lack of activity.

When you find yourself in a difficult situation, your curiosity could be just the needed medicine to overcome that situation instead of lingering in despair.

  • How did others past that situation?
  • What was missing to do better? What can you do better?
  • What others way can you try to solve the situation?
  • Who are the people that can help?
  • What else is there to know about [the situation]?

Get curious about who you are, what you stand for, you present and future. Being curious about all these things are giving you the best chance to keep your self-esteem on positive levels.

Being curious is promoting your motivation and drive feelings. Plus, it helps you to keep your focus on your purpose.

When you are curious about how well you can do something, your curiosity is overpowering any self-doubt or low confidence feelings you might have.

2. Present what you want without sounding too pushy

Did you notice how children are asking indirectly for what they want? “What is that? What do you have there? Is that [naming what you have with enthusiasm]?” Can you help yourself not to offer some of [that]?!

We are not children anymore, and we have many other ways to ask for what we want. However, formulating your request as a curiosity about what you want sounds so innocent. Doesn’t it? And with some people is the only way you will get what you want.

3. Find Connections

Behind everything and everyone there is a story. You may not care too much about something until you hear its story. And every story is captivating and entertaining. Your neurons, otherwise engaged, are euphoric to follow a story, a curiosity.

Do you know who Mark Rothko is? If you don’t, do you care? What if I tell you that one of his paintings (“Rockefeller Rothko”) was sold by $14,160.000(approx)? Still nothing? The painting is not an extraordinary piece of art in the eye of an ordinary person, but the story behind it is. It’s not the virtues of the painting that made it so expensive but the fact that it was housed in the Rockefeller building for many, many years.

Allowing your curiosity to fly, will take you to beautiful and amazing stories, to new discoveries about yourself and others.

4. Make others feel important and valued

Is there a better way to demonstrate you care about somebody other than showing yourself curious about their well-being, interests, achievements, and skills?

People love to feel important. When you make them feel that, you become important to them; you become valuable.

People don’t judge you by how smart, beautiful or wealthy you are; people are judging you by the way they feel about themselves because of you.

Curiosity is a fertile ground for collaboration.

Have fun, explore what you like, show off what you know, improve what you can do, build long-lasting relationships using your curiosity.

Carmen Jacob believes that us, people are good by nature and giving the knowledge, the chance and the opportunity, they will prove to themselves and to others how extraordinary and capable every person can be.

Why You Should Take The Time to Appreciate Your Progress at Work

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“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” Benjamin Franklin

It makes sense.

You chip away at progress.

It isn’t just a sprinkle of magic that leads to a finished project.

It can feel like a little luck had something to do with it, but it’s always due to hard work that added up to achieve your goal.

It’s this progress that you see that helps you define your hard work. You can point to all the hours that you put in and understand why you did it.

Feeling productive is a human trait that is in 99% of us. We want to feel like we aren’t stuck in a loop doing the same crap every single day. We want progress.

Something from Nothing

So that means working on projects that are just an idea and seeing them come to life. Passion projects that light us up inside.

I remember when I worked on a project for six months to help us reach more young customers. Management kept stalling. We would meet and go back to the drawing board.

It wasn’t going to be a cheap campaign, but it done right we could really see a lot of growth over the next 2 – 4 years.

Most of the senior leaders wanted results in 6 – 9 months. We didn’t want to promise these results because it was our first time marketing to such a young group.

They eventually pulled the plug on the project and we kept on doing the same marketing we did the year before and the year before that.

I felt like I wasted 6 months of my life.

The Process

There was a lot of personal growth in that situation, but I didn’t see it for years after.

I stopped working as hard and coasted along.

I felt much more lethargic because I felt my progress at work had stalled.

I wished I worked somewhere else.

Some of the happiest people in the world are janitors. They are happy because their goal is clear. They walk into a dirty room, clean it and walk out happy.

Simple.

Right?

Not as simple as you might believe.

There are a lot of janitors that are unhappy because they might feel like they want to do different kind of work. If they don’t believe that their time is well spent they will probably hate their work.

The janitors that are happy find it easier to be happy if they take the time to notice the progress that they make at work.

Focus on Outcomes

Many of you who work at large organizations don’t get to see the end results of your hard work. You hand it off to another department and you get to work on the next project. Sometimes you get an update, but it’s hard when you are busy with the next project.

That’s why it’s important to focus on the outcome of your hard work.

Great questions to ask yourself are:

  1. How has my work made a difference in other people’s lives? (Your company, the customers, other employees, etc.)
  2. How has my work contributed to my success?
  3. What could I have done better to improve on my next project?

Keeping track of your hard work and the outcomes will help you appreciate your progress as well as find things you could do to improve. It always comes back to finding ways to be a little more grateful to help improve your mindset. Click here to get the 5 Tools Top Professionals Use now to help grow your career.

I like to keep a journal to help me review what I’ve done over the day, week, month and year. The end of year review is my favorite because it’s my bird eye view to my progress.

Your Turn

Look at how you can keep track of your progress. Do you follow up with other departments asking for updates on the project you handed off? Do you keep a journal? Do you ask your boss for feedback on your work?

It’s up to you, but appreciating your progress is one of the quickest way to bring happiness into your career. The best part in tracking your progress is that you can put the project on your resume.

How Can You Live with a Little More Passion?

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I’m drawn to write about something very important.

A friend of mine recently died.

He wasn’t a close friend. We briefly chatted at WDS, but I knew he was powerful the moment we chatted.

He had a honest confidence that I can’t put into complete words.

We talked at WDS (World Domination Summit) in Portland a few years ago. I asked him about his site and he asked me what I did. He listened intently. After a couple minutes his group took off and I stayed with mine.

That was the extent of your exchange.

His name was Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend.

I wanted to interview him for Work Happy Now, but I never did. This I will regret. Scott seized his moments as often as he could and it’s a lesson I’ve learned from him. We have to grab every opportunity that life has to offer.

He was a passionate and purposeful person. He was a little over halfway through his around the world sabbatical when a terrible accident happened.

Loose rocks fell on him while he was hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro.

I hope he didn’t suffer.

His site has changed thousands of lives. He’s taught people to live a life of passion and purpose. To think of every choice as a chance to live a fuller life.

He’s grown his community all over the world. It’s his inspiration that has helped me understand my mission more clearly at Work Happy Now.

At first I focused on helping companies create a happier work environment, but the reality is that it’s personal for everyone. A company can’t make an employee happy. They can create a fun and inspiring work environment that encourages open feedback and ownership, but they can’t make them happy.

I want to do a better job of focusing on helping people with growing their strengths, improving their focus, and living their purpose. The first one is where most people who are unhappy should start. Growing their strengths helps you create more leverage in your career. This starts at work and at home. A side project is a great way to build strengths and confidence.

I called the strengths, focus, and purpose all together, a superpower. I’ve gotten away from this because it’s tough for people to think of themselves as super when they don’t enjoy their careers. So I’ve focused on all three individually. Lately I’ve focused the most on purpose because it’s this driving force that will encourage you to improve your focus and strengths.

You’ve probably noticed that my content has focused on helping people understand, so they can do work that they love.

I created the Happiness Map to help you understand the importance of utilizing how you feel at work and how to do more of the work you love to grow you career. This is the 3rd email people receive when they sign-up for the e-course.

Scott’s work was amazing. I love how he talked about living your legend. He knew that projects and tasks helps us add to our legend. From consistency to creativity, each person has their own purpose. Teachers who stay late to CEOs that start a happiness at work program to the solo entrepreneur.

I see Scott’s life and the risks he took. The community he built and to be honest I felt a little jealous, but over time this faded and I admired him. I admired his passion and willingness to take risks.

I know I need to take more risks. More risks with my writing. More risks with reaching out to make new friends. More risks to grow this community. More risks with partnering with people like Tim Brownson of Coach the Life Coach.

Scott’s death is a reminder to everyone. We only have this life right now. What we do with it matters. Scott lived 3 lives in the short time he was with us.

So my question to you is what could you do tomorrow to bring a little more passion to your life? Be creative and let us know in the comment section.

RIP Scott and I know you are someplace special.

Karl Staib

P.S. I don’t want you to quit your job tomorrow. I want you to build skills that will build your confidence and help you create more leverage to make the leap to the next thing that you truly want to do. Start with a small project and see where it takes you.

Why Mastery Won’t Make You Happier Unless You Implement This Habit

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There’s a myth I want to dispel right now.

People believe that if you chase mastery you will be happy. This makes me mad. They say don’t pursue your passions just focus on being really good at something. They are fools because they want to give you the magic bullet to solve your career unhappiness.

Before you yell at me and site 10 articles that say we shouldn’t pursue our passions. Like this one and this one. I know how hard it is to chase career happiness. There is no magic bullet.

Chasing mastery can only make you happy if you have a balanced approach.

This is where most people get tripped up.

They chase after what they think will make them happy without looking at other factors.

I love music, but you won’t catch me up on stage with a guitar belting out my latest song.

Appreciate Your Weaknesses

I know my limitations. Maybe a bit too well.

You must be honest with yourself. Your weaknesses matter as much as your strengths.

This is where it gets tricky for most people. They see themselves up on stage with an excited crowd cheering them on. They want this feeling. They think it will make them happy. They believe that if they try hard enough they will make it happen. They negate their strengths and try to make their dreams a reality.

That’s why I advocate to all my clients to create a plan that fits their strengths, passions, and focus. I like to call this trifecta your superpowers. It’s the last one that’s maybe the most important.

Passion focus strengths

Focus allows you to get lost in the work. You’ve heard the phrase:

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

That’s why getting lost in the work is as important as getting great results. Because the journey is where 99% of your time is spent. If you only enjoy 1% of your work then you have a terrible happiness ratio.

This is why passion is as important as strengths. If all you did was focus on your strengths and you became the best in your industry in your field, you could still feel empty.

Know Your Purpose

It’s the people that love their work and are amazing at what they do that are the happiest and get the best results.

You can be extremely happy just doing projects that make you happy, but not a lot of money. In fact you should be doing projects that are solely done to make you happy. That’s what Work Happy Now is for me. It’s my passion project.

You can make a lot of money mastering skills that others admire and pay you well for, but true happiness is mastering work that you love.

To be able to do work that makes you happy and played to your strengths and focus is a trifold effort and always a moving target.

I might master weeding my garden, but it probably won’t make make happy for very long. There is not a lot of difficulty in weeding.

New Challenges

What made you happy 10 years ago won’t make you happy today. Skills you mastered 10 years ago won’t be as enjoyable today. Your brain craves new challenges.

The best way to make mastery an important part of your happiness program is to review and adjust on a regular basis. At the end of each day I review my progress. It’s this habit that has helped me make sure I have a balanced approach to my work.

I make sure that following my passions or mastering a skill doesn’t over consume my life.

Reviewing your day is one the best habits you can implement in your career. You may want to start with a gratitude journal. It’s where I started and one of the best habits I’ve ever implemented into my life.

How you do this is important. It’s important to have a system that fits your personality.

Do you use reflection to improve your career?

I’m working on creating the Work Happy Now podcast, so you can grow your work happiness on your commute or lunch hour. I could use your input. What do you need from me to help you be a better leader at work? Just fill out this 2 minute survey and let me know how I can serve you better.

Start Something New to Level Up Your Happiness

Of all the buildings in Texas my favorite has to be the Alamo. You can feel the pain that happened there.

Even the walls look like they are crying.There is something cathartic about walking through the historic building. I can just hand over my worries to the building.

Then after you thoughts are cleansed you go outside into the courtyard. As you walk around the asphalt paths there are soda machines tucked back by the bathrooms. They make me smile.

We can’t help but infuse modern living into museums. It’s who we are.

Do you want do work you care about? You have to start by building a resume that your ideal people love. Click here to check out the Unlock Your Career Happiness guide. You’ll find out the 7 most important steps to doing work you love.

There was someone that thought this was a good idea. It was voted on and now we have soda machines to quench people’s thirst as they walk the grounds.

I’m not sure it this is good or bad, but how cool would it be if there was an area to buy a drink that mimicked the experience of what it would have been like to buy a drink over 100 years ago?

Employees that worked the 100 Year Old Bar could be dressed similarly. There could be old style music. I’m not sure what they drank back then, but they could add modern drinks and flavors like Coke, but keep everything else feeling like it would a have been ordering from a bar at that time. Yes, this would cost more, but I know it would generate more money for them. It would be a memorable experience. One I would pay for again and again.

The idea is to get visitors to talk about the story of the Alamo with my friends. The only way to do this is to do something new. Something I haven’t seen before. Something worth sharing.

Yes it might be more challenging for the organization that runs the Alamo, but it could also send thousands of more people there each month.

New challenges help us become healthier. It slows down your cognitive decline and helps you work with purpose.

I want to create a better experience for you at Work Happy Now, so I decided to do something new.

As I work to infuse more ways for you to bring more happiness to your career and life I’ve decided to create a podcast.

I want to make it special. I want to make the experience fun, learning, and authentic. Something for you to download to your phone or other device so you can listen on the way to work.

So I’m hoping to get feedback from you.

Are you a fan of podcasting?

Then fill out this short survey and let me know how I can help you infuse more passion, improve your focus, and leverage your strengths at work.

P.S. If you don’t listen to podcast or don’t like audio books then no worries. I’m going to continue to write articles to help you too. If you do like audio then fill out the short survey and let me know how I can help you better.

What’s Your Next Step?

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Many well-intentioned parents, grandparents, and teachers urge kids to get a job with good benefits.

I couldn’t agree more.

Except.

Except that when most people talk about “benefits,” they usually mean really, really good health insurance (with full dental!) and some sort of retirement plan that will take care of you when you’re put out to pasture.

When I was going through high school, trying to decide what I wanted to do in life, I got the impression that these specific benefits were very important. Even more important than liking the actual job I was doing to obtain said benefits.

That seemed backward to me. The idea of doing a job I hated (or only kinda liked) just for the so-called benefits made shooting myself out of a cannon into a brick wall more appealing.

Fortunately, my parents did support me as I gravitated toward a career in art that pretty much assured there would be no such benefits.

It blows my mind how many people make major life decisions based almost exclusively on this narrow view of “benefits.” They are willing to stay stuck in dead-end jobs that eat their soul just because they have a good vision plan. I think that a Cadillac health insurance program or generous vacation packages are fine factors to consider when hashing out the pros and cons of any potential job. But they should never be the only ones. And maybe not even the main ones.

The truth is that my job offers NONE of the benefits in the traditional sense. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. In fact, my job as an artist, author, and speaker, comes with TONS of benefits:

  • The work I do makes a difference.
  • I spend every day doing things I love.
  • I set my own hours.
  • I am rewarded for the results my hard work generates.
  • I don’t have to answer to clueless middle managers, corporate suits, or short-sighted shareholders.
  • I get paid to travel to cool places.
  • I have no dress code. (I literally wear jeans or sweatpants every day.)
  • I can take time off whenever I want. (Kim and I were BOTH able to take a maternity leave when our kids were born.)
  • On most days, I get to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with my family.
  • My daily commute is seven seconds long.

Now these benefits don’t come without a price. (In fact, ALL benefits come with a price of some sort.) Most of mine have required many years of hard work and persistence. Then there’s the pressure of being responsible for generating income (no sales = no groceries). Also, I don’t have a pension or company-matching 401k program, but I love what I do so much that I don’t envision ever really retiring. Oh yeah, and I have to pay a few hundred bucks a month for health insurance.

Totally worth it.

So yes, you should definitely have a job with benefits.

Just make sure they’re the ones you really want.

Do here is what you can do.

Write out a list of at least ten benefits you’d like in your idea job. They could be things like a good health plan, zero commute, freedom of schedule, relaxed dress code, doing work that matters to me, lots of variety, etc. Then decide on the three most important benefits to you and circle them.

If your current job has all three, great! You’re in a good spot. If not, your next step is…to decide what your next step is. I know that sounds flip, but on the road to our dreams, we rarely know ALL the steps we’ll need to take to get there. We often don’t even know the next three. But we always know the NEXT step (and it’s usually not to just quit your job!)

Get a little curious about about what you could do to bring more benefits to your career. It’s your curiosity that will drive your next step. Maybe it’s to make a phone call. Buy a book. Attend a conference. Or design a new logo. Do that, and the next step will materialize.

What’s your next step?

Jason Kotecki is an artist, professional speaker, and author of the book “Penguins Can’t Fly +39 Other Rules That Don’t Exist,” (Amazon link) which uncovers some of the most useless so-called rules we can find ourselves living by. It explores some small but mighty actions you can take to turn your life into the fun, adventurous and exciting story you deserve. This beautiful 240-page hardcover work of art is a magical combination of Jason’s whimsical illustrations, humorous wit, and poignant anecdotes. Learn more at RulesThatDontExist.com.

9 Powerful Tips to Help You Ace Every Job Interview

Job Interview

Here’s an important point no one ever shares. You do not have to be the most qualified person applying for a job to get hired. You just have to be the person your interviewer likes for the job!

Most managers hire for personality and passion, not your skill set. A lot of skills can be learned by people who bring a positive attitude to work.

You can always become better trained on the job. It comes with experience. But no manager wants to hire a person they don’t find likable. They’re looking for someone who will be pleasant to be around and will work well with their current team as a productive member.

In the past six years, I have tripled my income by moving up and moving on to better opportunities. I’ve used these practices to ace all my job interviews, including the latest one that landed me my present, new general manager’s position.

I am happy to share my tips with you that always get me the job.

1. My best “secret” is: Pretend like your interviewer is your own real friend!

Pretend to yourself that the interviewer is a friend you’re meeting for a casual chat, like getting together over coffee or lunch.

Relax: You aren’t stiff around your friends. Hold your shoulders relaxed. Make your attitude warm and friendly. Be yourself!

Be confident: You wouldn’t be nervous and scared visiting with your own friends. You are awesome, smart, and qualified! Be confident. But not cocky. No one likes that.

When you are out with your own friends, you aren’t trying overly hard to impress them. You’re just being yourself and enjoying their company! Your interview will be more successful if your interviewer likes you than if he feels impressed by you.

You also don’t want to smell of desperation because you need the job. You don’t act like that in your friendships, right? You like your friends, you want to spend time with them. You are not desperate for those friendships. So act like you’d like to have the job, but you’ll also be fine if it doesn’t work out. You can still be glad you met the interviewer, and there are other good things that could come from your new connection with him or her.

Smile: Be warm, friendly and genuine. Smile a real smile. Like you would for a real friend. Not just when you are first introduced, but during the whole interview, at appropriate times in the conversation, not frozen throughout. Let your facial gestures naturally follow the conversation. Pleasant, serious, smiling, thoughtful. Just as if you were having a conversation with your own friend.
Repeat: That was a warm, genuine, friendly smile. NOT flirty! Never flirt in an interview! You are negotiating for your livelihood here. Don’t give anybody the impression you could possibly be anything other than a professional.

Eye contact: Don’t concentrate on the eye contact and stare too intently; that is just uncomfortable for people. Maintain the normal eye contact you would if you were sitting down with your best friend.

2. Positive Attitude

Never say anything negative about present or past employers or coworkers! You could come across as difficult or complaining. Don’t let the interviewer think you are someone who does not take responsibility for himself, but looks for someone else to pin blame for his problems.

If the real reason you left your last job was because you had an evil supervisor, or you were harassed at work, or you were passed over for a promotion you earned, don’t say so. Just say you are looking for a better opportunity to grow or to better provide for your family. Don’t try to explain anything else. It might seem like you’re making excuses.

3. Attentiveness

Don’t fidget. Keep your feet firmly on the floor and your hands loose in your lap. Sit upright in your chair. It helps if you lean slightly forward toward your interviewer, but only slightly so that he feels you are interested and alert, not like you’re trying to show off cleavage. Speaking of that:

4. Appropriate dress

Women, never dress sexy at an interview! No low cut tops, no too-short hem lengths! Keep it conservative, and keep it covered! Makeup should be kept conservative also.

All interviews are not created equal. Some companies are more conservative than others, and some jobs are more conservative than others. If your target job is artistic, creative, or tech-y, your coworkers may go to work in shorts and flip-flops. Even if that is the case, if you want to stand out at your interview, always kick it up a notch and dress better than is expected.

5. Preparation

Think ahead. Do some research about the company. Google it. Map out directions to the interview. Learn what you can so that you know about the business and its customers. How can you be an asset to the company? Make sure you have a good understanding of the business.

I checked out the website of my new employer before the interview so I was armed with pertinent information as well as suggestions for improvements that I could help implement. I also did a drive-by so I knew exactly where to go and how long it would take me to get there.

Google interview questions, and practice your answers out loud until you feel comfortable and natural. Be prepared to tell your interviewer how you can help their business succeed.

6. When asked a negative question, always spin it into a positive!

When my interviewer asked, “What do you see as your weakness?” I said, “I’m too much of a perfectionist. I expect too much of myself and always want everything I do to be perfect.” See, a positive spin. They want everything you do to be perfect. That’s how you ace interview questions!

7. What to say and what NOT to say

Don’t talk too much, and especially do not volunteer information about your personal life. Keep the conversation at a professional level.

You want them to see you as a professional, not as a husband or a mom. If you present yourself as such, they’ll imagine you allowing your wife or kids to let your work suffer.

Although my children are more important to me than my own life, I did not mention that I had a family during my interview. I didn’t want to put it on my interviewers’ minds that I could ever need to leave or miss work for their activities or illnesses.

My family is none of their business. My personal life is none of their business.

My professional life is their business.

When they ask you if you have any questions, this is your opportunity to turn the conversation to what you need to know about working there. It is NOT the time to discuss salary, unless your interviewer brings it up. That usually comes after you are offered the job.

You should, however, ask what is expected of the position. Make sure you are clear about the job responsibilities and your ability to perform them. Which brings up this point:

8. No lying about your qualifications

I’ve read lots of advice about “beefing up” your resume and “overstating your qualifications” (lying) to get a job.

Don’t do it!

You will set yourself up for failure, and you’ll probably lose the job anyway. It is not worth it. Dishonesty is never a good idea.

A supervisor who works for me recently interviewed several men for a new maintenance assistant.

One guy told him outright that he did not understand a lot of mechanical and repair work, but he would do any difficult or dirty work he was asked to do. He had good character references and a good work ethic, a likable personality, and an eagerness to work.

We appreciated his honesty. Because he was up front about his qualifications (or lack thereof!), and we liked him more than the other candidates, we hired him. We gave him our landscape guy’s job and promoted our landscape guy to maintenance. Everybody won a victory!

9. Practice for more confidence.

The more practice you have, the more comfortable you will get with the interview process. If you are someone who gets very nervous, you can practice interviewing for jobs you don’t even necessarily want, in order to prepare for the one you do. If you don’t care about the opportunity, you don’t have to feel nervous or feel rejected if you don’t get it. It’s not like you’re obligated to accept if you are offered a job, and it’ll add to your confidence if so! Interview any chance you get. You can take away something new from each experience.

You are amazing; you are smart; and you are perfect for your dream job! Go get it!

If you are in HR or a manager who interviews a lot of people then think about how you can reverse engineer these ideas. For example look at #5. Watch how well prepared they are as they answer each question. Are their answers clear and concise. Do they give details that shows their passion and creativity?

Do you have any great interview tips to share? What is your favorite advice that works?

* Deborah Shelby is a life and happiness enthusiast, voracious reader, full-time working mom of teenagers, and writer. She shares inspiration and ideas for a more positive and joyful life on her blog, Happier Better Life.

Take the Career Happiness Quiz

career test

Before we jump into the career happiness quiz there are so many different ways a career can turn from good to lousy. Some examples please!

#1

Your boss walks up to you to find out about the status of a project. You feel rushed, embarrassed, and exhausted. Your first thought is where is the warning. Then you think, I emailed you 2 times and you never responded.

#2

You walked into work and you notice everyone is quiet and it’s Friday. Something is going on, so you ask your co-worker. She tells you that they are calling people in to the conference room. Layoffs.

#3

You’ve been working on a project for the past 6 months and you present the third update to your boss. He doesn’t say much. You don’t feel good about his reaction. You find out that the project is being shelved and you and the team have to switch focus. Your last six months of hard work feels worthless.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Special notice: The Unlock Your Career Happiness Guide is now available. Click here to see how the 7 step process helps my clients become happier and get better results.

I was recently working with a coaching client who works for a famous tech company. She was very good at her job. She liked her employees. She understood her “why”, but the grind was wearing her down. She didn’t feel like she was making any progress.

The most important part of your work is seeing that you are making progress on projects that you care about. If you aren’t getting the proper support to make this progress, it’s hard to stay motivated. This wonderful article from Harvard Business Review that goes a little deeper into this idea.

Now for the quiz! I intentionally made this quiz just 3 questions because when I struggled in my career and I took personality type quizzes, stress quizzes, life satisfaction quizzes, I took them all, I found them too cumbersome. I never applied them to my life. I wanted this quiz to be succinct and give you a clear idea of how happy you are and whether or not you need to make changes.

Career Happiness Quiz

When you enjoy your work, you do great work. You dig a little deeper to get the results that make you happy. Let’s get a quick idea of how happy you are in your career, grab a pen and paper and take a few moments to answer these three questions, using a scale of 1-10:

  1. How excited are you to start your work day?
  2. How much do you enjoy your work rather than just the paycheck you receive?
  3. How much are you able to live your core values at work?

If you scored a 27 or more you are already doing work that makes you happy. If you score a 23 or below you aren’t living a career that makes you happy. If you are below a 20 then you should seek out help very soon. If you are below a 17 you should seek out help as soon as possible.

Your career should support your happiness, not tear it down.

Let us know your score in the comment section. If you don’t want to share publicly, then check out this work happiness survey. No one’s personal information will be shared. Just a fun survey to learn more about your work happiness.

I would like at least 2,000 people to fill out this survey. So if you have 5 minutes I would really appreciate it. The more people that fill it out the more I can help people work happier.