Working Wise | DrumhellerMail - Page #2
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Last updateTue, 23 Oct 2018 11am

One of the newer members of our office just asked me if I would be willing to be her mentor. I am flattered, but a little surprised, because I feel like I’m still learning and I’m not sure if I have anything to offer. I never had a mentor.

Dear Working Wise:
One of the newer members of our office just asked me if I would be willing to be her mentor. I am flattered, but a little surprised, because I feel like I’m still learning and I’m not sure if I have anything to offer. I never had a mentor. What does a mentor do? Signed, Hesitant 
 
Dear Hesitant: 
 
Congratulations on being asked to be a mentor. You may not feel like it, but your co-worker obviously admires you and believes she can learn from you.
 
Mentors are trusted advisors who have successful careers and proven track records. They make a commitment to support and encourage their mentees or protégés as they develop their careers.
 
Mentoring often includes:
•Providing constructive criticism and advice;
•Discussing mistakes, challenges and successes;
•Connecting your mentee to others who can be helpful;
•Sharing what you wish you’d known when you were starting out;
•Offering insight into how you make decisions and resolve conflicts.
 
You have an opportunity to have a positive impact on someone else’s life and help them develop into a professional you and others admire. 
 
Many teachers say they learn more from their students than their students learn from them. Mentoring can give you a new perspective on your career—offering you the opportunity to see yourself and your profession through your mentee’s eyes. 
 
It’s an opportunity to give back to your organization or profession and strengthen your reputation for developing new talent. Mentoring can also help reignite your passion for your work and inspire you to stay on top of the latest trends and best practices.
 
However, you should be cautious before you agree to mentor someone. What a mentee does and how she does it will reflect on you. Choose a protégé who is trustworthy, professional and ethical. Set clear boundaries about what you expect. If you are open, ethical and supportive, you will establish a relationship with your mentee that will continue to be a source of inspiration for both of you.
 
If you don’t think you can effectively mentor her, though, tell her right away so that you don’t waste her time.  
 
For more information and tips on being a mentor:
•Check to see if your organization has a mentoring program or offers resources;
•Look for books on mentoring at your local bookstore; or
•Visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) web site at www.alis.alberta.ca and read the tip sheet: Mentoring: How to Be an Effective Mentor.
If you are a young worker who is looking for a mentor, check out the Mentoring: Finding and Working With a Mentor tip sheet on ALIS.
 
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information. 
 
 

I enjoyed your story on making a good impression during a job interview. Do you have a list of common questions that I can use to help me prepare for an upcoming job interview? Signed, Eager Job Hunter

Dear Working Wise:

I enjoyed your story on making a good impression during a job interview. Do you have a list of common questions that I can use to help me prepare for an upcoming job interview? Signed, Eager Job Hunter

 

Dear Eager:

 

Preparing for your next job interview is the best way to impress a potential employer, but there are hundreds of potential questions you could be asked—too many to list here.

 

You can find a comprehensive list of potential job interview questions on various web pages or in job-interview books found at your local public library or at your nearest Alberta Works Centre (http://employment.alberta.ca/offices).

 

These lists are a great way to prepare for sneaky questions like: “Tell me about a time you had a conflict with your supervisor,” or “What’s your greatest weakness?”

 

But most interview questions are designed to help the employer answer three basic questions:

1. Can you do the job (skills/experience)?

2. Will you do the job (attitude/enthusiasm)?

3. Will you fit into the team and culture (people skills/working style)?

 

Can you do the job?

Scan the job posting closely and create a list of desired skills and experience. Then, brainstorm high points from your career when you have used these skills with success and be ready to talk about these examples to illustrate what you have to offer.

 

You should know what your greatest weakness is and what you have done to improve on it. You should also be ready with a 20-second “elevator speech” that explains why they should hire you over all others. And, bring proof of your skills and accomplishments to the interview.

 

Will you do the job?

The interviewer might ask what you know about the organization, what research you did to prepare for the interview, or how often you were absent from your last job. They want to gauge your interest and enthusiasm. Do your research and be ready to show your excitement for the job and how you see yourself adding value. Picturing yourself in the job and talking about past successes will help draw out your passion for what you do and what you have to offer.

 

Will you be a good fit?

You might be asked about your leadership style or working style, why you left your last job, or what you didn’t like about your past supervisor or co-workers. You might even be asked about a time you had a conflict with a co-worker or your supervisor. The interviewer is trying to figure out how you work with others and spot any red flags. Examples of how you have used your people skills effectively will go a long way toward reassuring the employer that you work well with others.

 

Understanding why interviewers ask specific kinds of questions will help you anticipate and prepare answers and anecdotes that work to your advantage. The time you spend researching and practicing your answers will build your confidence and improve your performance in the interview.

 

For more tips on job interviews and common questions, visit http://alis.alberta.ca/ and click on Tip Sheets.

 

Good luck!

 

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information. 

I have had several job interviews over the past two months, but I haven’t received any job offers or even second interviews. Am I doing something wrong?

Dear Working Wise:

I have had several job interviews over the past two months, but I haven’t received any job offers or even second interviews. Am I doing something wrong? Feeling Overlooked

Dear Overlooked:

I empathize with you, extended job searches can be disheartening, but don’t give up. The good news is that you are getting interviews—that means employers are interested in you.

I have covered tips for preparing for job interviews in the past. Similar tips are available on the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website at http://alis.alberta.ca.

You might also want to focus on making the right impression on the day of the interview. Some of these tips may seem like “no brainers”, but interviewers I talk to say they are still surprised by job seekers making these simple, but costly mistakes.

Make a good first impression:
- Be punctual: arrive 10 minutes early (factor in time for travel and to find parking).
- Dress appropriately: wear clean clothes and nice shoes.
- Come prepared: bring a pen, paper, and copies of your resumé and references.
- Don’t wear perfume or cologne.
- Don’t check your cell phone during the meeting, chew gum, or bring your own drink.

Relax:
A job interview is a meeting between two equally important parties to share information. The employer wants to know if you can do the job and will fit into their team. You want to know more about the position and company to see if you actually want the job. Arrive early enough to use the washroom, calm your nerves and remind yourself that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. And remember, many interviewers are new to the interview process and may be just as nervous as you are. Be ready to smile or laugh—they need to like your personality too.

Engage the interviewers:
- Smile, greet the panel, shake hands with each interviewer and learn their name.
- Use their names during the interview.
- Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and lean in slightly to show interest.
- Make eye contact and listen closely to the questions so you can answer them accurately.
- When you finish the interview, shake hands and thank each person by name.

Answer with confidence:
- Take a few seconds to collect your thoughts before you answer a question.
- Come prepared with examples of when you have successfully used your key skills.
- Bring proof of your skills—numbers, examples, photos, samples, etc.
- Be ready with an example of a shortcoming that you have improved upon.
- Be positive – show your excitement and enthusiasm for the position and your work.
- Don’t talk negatively about past employers, supervisors or coworkers.
- Don’t talk to too much, use short answers and don’t interrupt the interviewer.

Ask questions:
Prepare a list of questions, including what you want to know about the position or company plus when the hiring decision will be made and the expected start date. Questions demonstrate your interest in the position. Don’t ask about salary, benefits or flexible work arrangements at this time. This is not the time to start the negotiation process—it might raise flags with the employer.

Seal the deal:
Send a thank you note that emphasizes two or three reasons why you’re the ideal candidate for the position.

Good luck!

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.

 


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