does your ego show during the interview?

There was a very interesting study done at the University of British Columbia where narcissistic behavior was studied in context of job interviews. According to UBC Psychology Prof. Del Paulhus,

“A job interview is one of the few social situations where narcissistic behaviours such as boasting actually create a positive impression. Normally, people are put off by such behaviour, especially over repeated exposure.”

The study was conducted by having participants answer questions to rate their narcissism, then be observed in a job interview scenario. Those who fell higher on the narcissism scale made more eye contact, asked questions, talked about themselves, and joked around a bit. This made them more attractive as candidates despite the reality of what they’d be like as coworkers.

It’s also interesting that a cultural bias was observed, where candidates from cultures emphasizing humility (as do many Asian countries) did not impress as well during the interview despite being equally qualified. I think many women also have been trained to avoid being pushy and this would apply to that as well.

Interviews Need Some Narcissism

There’s a difference between a self-inflated egoist and a legitimately confident candidate. If you are qualified for the position and have the resume to show it, you’ve got healthy reasons to talk about why you are the best fit for the job. Your qualifications are the foundation of your confidence and you just need to look at yourself carefully to build on it.

  • Making eye contact is a skill that takes practice if you aren’t used to it. Remind yourself to do this with people you talk to all the time and it will get easier.
  • Asking questions also takes some skill. Do some research on questions to ask at your job interview and be prepared.
  • Talking about yourself isn’t comfortable if it was discouraged in your past. Think about the reason you are talking; they need to know if you will be a good fit for their company. Help them know you by sharing who you are.
  • Joking around a bit can backfire if you really are a narcissist because there’s an insensitivity to people around you. But being comfortable enough to joke makes everything a little less stressed.

The question in the title was, “does your ego show during the interview?” The answer to that question depends on how you view “ego”, but there’s truth to the idea that who you are needs to come across when you sit in the interview chair. Narcissists aren’t afraid to talk about who they are, and that’s why they make such good impressions in job interviews.


data security is an executive issue

We’ve all seen the news reports on data breaches in retail. Even the President is getting involved by signing an Executive Order to combat the growing concern of identity fraud. But this security problem affects the corporate arena just as much as it affects the shopping cart. We all have to be aware that somebody is monitoring our online behavior and looking for a chance to make money somehow. That someone could be a marketer, or they could be a hacker and the effects of their motives affect our lives.

Be Aware of Security in Your Job Search

There isn’t a good way to find a job without being online somehow, unless you are in a unique situation. For most of us, an online job search brings privacy issues and the need to understand how and why security measures are important. This is a basic living skill in the world we inhabit, so it makes sense to keep an eye on developments.

Being aware of security and how it affects data becomes an asset in your career, because you have already developed an awareness that will protect your personal information and your employer’s.

Be Aware of Security in Your Career

Every business entity has security concerns. The risks of data exfiltration are high because the ability to save to “the cloud” with a single click makes it easy to put potentially sensitive information where it shouldn’t be. Staff and management alike need to be educated, and that training needs consistent reinforcement to keep data where it belongs.

Executives who maintain a respect and awareness of the challenges of data security will be ahead of the game because the discipline needed for secure habits is already there. As the responsibility in an organization increases, the security needed will also increase, so if you want to move up the corporate ladder, this skill is an asset.

what does 'dress for success' look like today?

A cursory look at the history of clothing shows a lot of change, and it is a fascinating way to spend some time. Who knew that both men and women wore makeup and high heels in some European courts? Clothing has always been an indicator of power, and that fact will probably never change. But when you are trying to figure out how to dress for the success of your career, there isn’t much help in the styles of the past. What matters today is the impression you make on those around you now.

There Is No Single Business Uniform

It’s a mistake to think that you can read up on business attire and get it right for a specific business environment, because every workplace is slightly different. There are some general guidelines, though, and I think the best one I’ve seen is Business Insider’s look at How To Dress Like A Leader In Any Work Environment. It identifies 5 levels of business attire, from “baseline casual” to “boardroom attire” and gives a complex subject some simplicity.

But the reality is that different regions in the world can vary on their idea of what to wear, and when. CEOs in the Silicon Valley are going to look different than a similar executive level in New York City, while the boardroom in Hong Kong has way more suits in it than the same company’s boardroom in Hawaii.

There Is A Universal Standard of Excellence

While the colors and styles may change, all higher level wardrobes have distinct similarities:

  • Everything fits and flatters the wearer
  • Everything is in good condition
  • Everything is high-quality in material and construction
  • All accessories are equally high-quality

Dressing for success definitely still matters in today’s business environment, but you need to do some research to determine what your success strategy will look like.

one way to keep your networking current

Networking is one of those activities that gets shelved because you are busy. Unfortunately, it’s also one of those activities that needs to be consistent in order to do any good to your career. This is because the nature of networking is relationships, and if you only connect with people when you need them, you are viewed in a negative light. You also miss out on a lot of positive things when you don’t connect, so it’s a good idea to put it on your schedule.

If LinkedIn Is A Garden, It Has Weeds

One of the most productive professional networking sites available today is LinkedIn, but that success means that there’s spam — the weeds of the web. It gets overwhelming if you don’t do a little maintenance every day. Since the average professional on the site gets far more stuff sent to them than they want, your contact attempts can get lost in the spam weeds.

Use the tools available to you and start with your profile. How do you rank? Who’s looking at your profile? Do you share any interests other than a career category? Think hobbies, non-profits you support, and anything that you share with those names and reach out on a personal level to turn the name into a person for both of you. This connection keeps you from being seen as one more weedy spam item choking their inbox.

Cultivate Connections For Growth

People are living things; they grow and change and need regular maintenance. Since networking is all about people, it makes sense that there’s a need for regular maintenance in this area. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on this, but even 10 or 15 minutes a day checking your LinkedIn page and deliberately reaching out to one person in your network on a personal level will keep that connection healthier.

As you develop these professional relationships by becoming acquainted personally, you lay the groundwork for a mutually beneficial networking experience.

don't ignore your references

Have you wondered why you didn’t get called in for an interview when the job was a perfect fit? Maybe it was because when they contacted your references, something went wrong. Good references are one of your biggest assets in a job search because they are independent witnesses who testify that your skills and work habits are suitable — that you will be a good fit for that job. But since references are real people, things change.

Choose Your References Carefully

The buddy that you party with every weekend is probably not going to be a good reference about your professionalism, right? Think about who will be an authority in your career search; someone who understands the work involved and who has seen how you work. This means supervisors, professors, and those you have served with as a volunteer.

Look at the reference the way an employer would and think about the type of questions that will be asked:

  • How long have they known you?
  • How have they worked with you?
  • What problems have you had in the workplace?

Check With Your References Regularly

Ask your reference first, before you put their name down, as a professional courtesy to them. But even if someone has told you it’s okay to use them as a reference, you need to ask if they will be available when you expect a potential employer to contact them. The professor you worked with as an intern may be out of the country for a few months and unavailable, for instance.

It’s also a good idea to make sure the contact information you list for your references is accurate and current. Queries sent to an unused email address will not help your job prospects, will they? Neither will phone calls that are never answered or wrong numbers. It’s always a good idea to check your references before the employer does so you can verify that they will be available and able to provide the positive reference you need to get that job.


new survey shows executives need social media skills

There are many CEOs who are not interested in social media because they are incredibly busy. Let’s face it though, we are all busy. However, BRANDfog’s 2014 survey on The Global, Social CEO indicates that C-level executives who ignore social media are losing the ability to influence brand reputation and company leadership. The global conversations are happening on social media, and not being part of the conversation means others are controlling the topics.

How The Survey Was Conducted

A diverse selection of companies, ranging from small startups to Fortune 1000 companies in several industries, was represented. BRANDfog surveyed 1000 UK and US employees in these companies asking 15 basic questions about social media for executive and C-Suite communication. This is an annual survey and shows a definite shift in perception regarding social media and industry leaders.

Highlights and Conclusions

There were three observations of recent trends made in this year’s survey results. These are:

  1. Social CEOs make better leaders.
  2. Social CEO engagement leads to brand trust.
  3. Social media is modern PR.

It’s clear that anyone interested in being an effective upper level executive is going to need to come to terms with social media. To quote from this survey:

“C-suite executives who embrace social media gain a competitive edge. They use social channels to provide context for business decisions, address brand issues, showcase company culture and most importantly, demonstrate thought leadership.”

What This Means For You

Anyone interested in moving into the upper executive levels of a company should be working right now to be a competent, professional social media expert. Careful monitoring of your social media use now, in areas like LinkedIn profile development, is going to pay off in the future. Developing social media competency keeps your personal brand clean, your professional brand impressive, and becomes a habitual discipline.

As you move higher in the corporate world, a habitual discipline is going to make adding new responsibilities much easier because you already do the basics. It’s also going to make you more attractive to those looking to fill leadership positions. A social media-savvy candidate will be preferred in tomorrow’s business world.

LinkedIn for executives

If you are an executive, then you should be on LinkedIn. Don’t think of it as just another social media website because it is not. It is a networking site for business professionals, and simply having a presence can improve your visibility tremendously. Many executives are finding that out the easy way.

Here are 5 solid reasons you should be on LinkedIn right now:

  1. Many professionals find their next job through contacts they meet on LinkedIn. The social network used to be considered the place to go when you wanted to find a job. Today, it’s much broader than that, but the networking possibilities are endless. And they often lead to better employment prospects.
  2. It’s a great place to generate leads for your business.
  3. You have the ability to share your content with your target audience seamlessly. If you are a blogger or routinely craft content on third party websites, you can share it on LinkedIn and reach your professional audience easily. No fighting through the noise on Facebook and Twitter.
  4. You can publish your articles on LinkedIn and give them wider visibility. You own all your content and can take it with you when you leave–if you ever leave.
  5. LinkedIn profile page acts like a professional online CV. Every time you make a career move–whether you change jobs, receive a certification, take a career enhancement class, get published, or earn an award for your professional achievements–you can add that to your LinkedIn profile. People do read them, and they do take notice.

Every executive should have a presence on LinkedIn, from CEO down to the middle manager who wants to be CEO.

the top reason professional resume distribution works

Is anybody in your family interested in your family history? My mom is our family historian. She has our family tree going back to the 1600’s! It’s pretty amazing what she’s found out and who she has met along the way. One thing most genealogists will tell you is that researching a family tree is a lot like networking. Many families will have one person in the generation who is willing to keep all the photos and letters and information, and finding that person is like finding a treasure trove. Instead of laboriously working on finding one branch, suddenly you discover that they’ve got the connections to a whole bunch of branches and they know the people who are the keepers of the photos and letters and information for all of them.

If you are interested in finding the connections in your ancestry, you need to find the people who are already doing the research. They have already made connections you have no access to until you contact them. For example, if you never meet Great Aunt Irma, then you won’t get to see all the letters your grandma sent to her dad with the pictures of your dad as a baby.


Companies use recruiters to fill executive positions and many other types of openings. A professional resume distribution service has carefully maintained connections with many professional recruiters so that a resume goes to the right recruiters for that job seeker. The connections have already been made: These are professionals who rely on networking for their career and carefully maintain the connections between them. Instead of Great Aunt Irma keeping your dad’s baby pictures, they’ve got first knowledge of job openings, and you won’t find out about it unless you connect to the right one.

This networking is the reason professional resume distribution works so much better than a blind email blast to every company in the phone book or a hopeful query out of nowhere. If your resume is presented by a reputable distribution service, that reputation enhances your resume by association. Recruiters get untold numbers of resumes all the time. It makes sense to filter them for efficiency. The fact you recognized quality and respected professional standards weights your submission with authority.


if nobody knows you are an expert, you are invisible

One of the assumptions about executives and those higher on the career ladder is that they have expertise in their field. The problem is, people have to realize you have that expertise. Your plan for your business, career, or any kind of future acknowledgement really needs to include ways to show the world you know what you are talking about. Fortunately, it is easier today than it’s ever been to establish yourself as an authority: an expert in your field.

Ways To Establish Your Authority As An Expert

  • Write a book. This is so easy with e-books because you can self-publish right away and update as needed. And the benefits are huge: you “must be an expert” because you wrote a book or two. It’s also a good way to let potential employers know what your expertise is, and it looks impressive on an executive resume.
  • Be a great blogger. Writing consistent and useful content builds up an audience of readers who welcome your next post because it helps them somehow. If you are sharing your insights and making a difference in your reader’s lives, you are building a reputation for expertise. You are proving your expert status with every post.
  • Utilize online networks. Whether it’s LinkedIn profile development and posting regularly, guest blogging, Google+, or taking thoughtful part in online discussions, there’s an impression being made about who you are. Make it a positive and authoritative impression and there will be lots of good reasons to see you as an expert in your field.
  • Curate content carefully. Link to authoritative sites or articles and share your expert opinion on the information. Create a reputable source for research in your industry.

When you think about it, this is marketing. You are in the business of selling yourself as a well-deserved expert in your field by getting the message out to the people who need what you offer. Anyone who aspires to become an executive or any type of professional needs to be seen as an expert, or nobody sees them at all.

two ways to enhance any career

Did you know that anybody can enhance their life, and thus their career, by improving some simple, basic skills? Once you have a handle on these skills, there’s no telling what can happen but you have to apply them consistently: everybody needs to learn how to learn and learn how to teach.

Learn How To Learn

Learning is essentially acknowledging that you don’t know everything and being open to expanding your horizons.

  • What are you reading? If you don’t read, start slow and it will get better quickly.
  • If you are always reading a novel, try reading some non-fiction regularly.
  • If you never do fiction, start with some short stories and work up.
  • Take a class in something that appeals and intimidates you.
  • Play games on  your phone or computer that are not in your comfort zone, like words for a math whiz and numbers for the linguist.
  • Learn how to use your hands or your body a different way, like dancing or knitting or soccer or anything fun.

I bet you thought I’d be telling you to work on a career skill, and that certainly is a good idea. But for many of us, we need to start developing the ability to learn first. When you start with what you like and stretch your mind a little bit, you are learning how to learn.

Learn How To Teach

Teaching is not being a windbag standing in front of suffering students and talking to hear themselves. Good teachers listen to their students and try to understand how they perceive things so the facts being communicated get through to the brain. A teacher needs to have a good grasp of the subject in order to explain it effectively.

  • Offer to explain something you are good at to a friend who wants to know how.
  • Show a newbie some tips about a skill you have.
  • Write instructions just to see if they make sense when you follow them.
  • Improve your writing skills so you can communicate better.
  • Rewrite things that are confusing to make the meaning clearer.
  • Research the styles of learning and figure out how to explain to each style.

The truth is that we all teach, whether we realize it or not. The goal is to be a teacher of good, helpful things who passes on all you have learned. When a person continually is learning, and is also continually sharing their knowledge, it completes the circle of intelligent growth. It also keeps you in a positive stance for whatever your career is doing and enhances any job.

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