How to know when your interviewer is telling lies

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We focus so much of our energy on impressing our interviewer—but what if they’re not telling you the truth?

So much about interviewing for a job involves impressing the people doing the hiring. But here’s a depressing dirty secret—no matter how much you want or need a job, your interviewer isn’t necessarily acting in your best interest or giving you the full scoop on what it’s like to work for a company.

Here are a few red flags to look out for to make sure you’re not headed to an office with major issues:

1. Exaggeration

Liars sometimes try to cover up their deed with excessive adjective use. For example, you might ask an interviewer about the vacation policy. A truthful response might be, “Oh yes, we have a flexible vacation policy. You let us know what you need and the boss is most likely to approve it.” An exaggerated response might be, “Oh, our vacation policy is extremely flexible. You can practically take off as much time as you want.”

What to do if you suspect your interviewer of exaggeration? Keep asking specific questions so you’re not surprised by a policy down the line.

2. Common fibs

Of course, the tricky part of having an interviewer who tells lies is that, in some cases, your assumptions may be wrong–even when you think you have every evidence. An interviewer may be telling the truth when you think they’re lying, because it’s very hard to tell the difference.

How to handle this? When these topics come up, be sure to pay extra attention and ask follow-up questions that dig deeper to make sure you’re getting all of the information.

3. Body language

A classic clue that’s someone’s lying is when they say something negative (like “no”) but nod their head up and down (a “yes” response). Keep an eye out for these physical inconsistencies.

For example, if you ask an interviewer if she likes working at the company, she might say, “Yes, I love it,” while unconsciously shaking her head side to side—a “no” response. If this happens, keep asking questions until you learn more.

Another potential liar’s move? Defensive body positions. For example, when talking about why someone left the position you’re now applying for, if the interviewer suddenly leans back in his chair and tightly crosses his arms across his chest, it probably means the person didn’t leave on the best of terms.

It will serve you well in interviews (and in life!) to do more listening than talking—and really listen. Excitement about a potential job can make you overlook details or only hear what you want to hear. Slowing down and paying attention to verbal and non-verbal clues is one way to make yourself smarter and savvier on the job hunt.

Common leadership mistakes every employer should avoid

 

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Workplace stress is exacting an ever-higher physical and psychological toll on workers and it adversely affects productivity, drives up voluntary turnover as well costs US employers nearly $200 billion every year in healthcare costs.

Many companies are aware of these negative effects, and some have gotten busy devising ways to counteract them. Efforts range from initiatives to encourage sleep, exercise, and meditation to perks such as nap pods and snack bars.

In the midst of all this activity, it’s easy to overlook something fundamental: the work environment, starting with the work itself. For many years, a number of researchers, including myself, have touted the benefits of better work practices for performance and productivity. A new book, Dying for a Paycheck show how two critical contributors to employee engagement—job control and social support—also improve employee health, potentially reducing healthcare costs and strengthening the case for them as a top management priority.

In this article, I’ll explore the research that connects these two elements to employee health, and describe some examples of organizations that are succeeding at providing the autonomy, control, social connections, and support that foster physical and mental well-being. Any company, in any industry, can pull these levers without breaking the bank. Today, though, too few do.

Job control

Studies going back decades have shown that job control—the amount of discretion employees have to determine what they do and how they do it—has a major impact on their physical health. Recent research also indicates that limited job control has ill effects that extend beyond the physical, imposing a burden on employees’ mental health, too. Organizations can guard against these dangers by creating roles with more fluidity and autonomy, and by erecting barriers to micromanagement.

Physical and mental health

One of the most notable research efforts in this area was the Whitehall Studies, conducted by British epidemiologist Michael Marmot and his team, which examined employees within the British Civil Service. Marmot’s team discovered that the higher someone’s rank, the lower the incidence of and mortality from cardiovascular disease. Controlling for other factors, it turned out that differences in job control, which were correlated with job rank, most accounted for this phenomenon. Higher-ranked British employees, like higher-ranked employees in most organizations, enjoyed more control over their jobs and had more discretion over what they did, how they did it, and when—even though they often faced greater job demands.

Additional Whitehall data related work stress, measured as the co-occurrence of high job demands and low job control, to the presence of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that predict the likelihood of getting heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Employees who faced chronic stress at work were more than twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome compared with those without work stress.

Other research has also found a relationship between measures of job control and health.

A study of 8,500 white-collar workers in Sweden who had gone through reorganizations found that the people who had a higher level of influence and task control in the reorganization process had lower levels of illness symptoms for 11 out of 12 health indicators, were absent less frequently, and experienced less depression. And that’s far from the only example of job control affecting mental- as well as physical-health outcomes. For example, a study of individuals at 72 diverse organizations in the northeastern United States reported statistically significant, negative relationships between job control and self-reported anxiety and depression.

How to cope with a ‘Bad Boss’

The workplace should be a “home away from home” to everyone, but there are many “unlucky employees” who find such settings a dreamland because they cannot just stop butting heads with their bosses, colleagues, and customers – even the peevish walls.

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Mary Abbajay, the management professional who wrote Managing Up: How to Move Up, Win at Work, and Succeed with Any Type of Boss, acknowledged that adapting to every manager’s style and personality could be an uphill task for most dedicated and productive workers. But when the workplace eventually turns toxic, making the decision to break up or buddy up morphs into a bigger challenge. Freaking awful.

Affected employees describe their bosses as “micromanagers,” “double-edged sword,” “rage-prone,” “d***head,” and “A-hole.” Sound familiar? Been there, done that.

If you are still working with toxic managers and colleagues, DON’T YOU WORRY. There is a silver lining up there in the clouds.

Finding strength in your challenges rather than giving excuses for quitting on yourself is what distinguishes winners from losers. Stop blaming people for a seeming weakness that you have powers to maximize for good.

Abbajay explained that working with an abusive boss motivated her decision to quit and start a business, not to make profits, but to create a healthy work environment where people learn how to lead by example.

‘I swore never to oppress and exploit people the way he did,’ Abbajay wrote.

As a co-founder and president Careerstone Group, a Washington-based coaching and leadership development firm, she has regularly provided inspiring answers to questions on “bosses from hell, workaholics, narcissists etc.”

Speaking on “toxic bosses” and “ghost managers,” Abbajay noted that although one must be a good follower to achieve success at the workplace, most committed professionals with big dreams often succumb to the crushing attitude of a higher-up who can be venomous, uncompromising, indecisive, and annoying.

The management professional advised employees not to ‘believe that every leader is worth following.’

Her words: ‘If you work with a boss who is so insensitive to the point that your self-worth begins to fall apart…if you are overwhelmed, afraid or often shed tears in secret places for the torturous relationships at your workplace, your one and only option is run from that person immediately.’

In her quest to distinguish between good and bad bosses, and help aggrieved workers decide when the time is ripe to bail their workplaces, Abbajay developed a questionnaire with 20 questions.

She continued, ‘Where, for example, your boss feels at ease tearing you down in front of other people, it is time to leave.

‘Do you work with a boss who regularly flies into screaming temper tantrums or demands absolute loyalty but will not hesitate to throw you under the bus at the first opportunity?

‘If your answer is yes,’ Abbajay added, ‘get the hell out. Now!’

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It is understandable that some bosses behave the way they do out of desperation for success. They are humans, just ordinary and flawed humans and, sometimes, impulsive sociopaths who clearly lack knowledge of human resource management basics.

On why people find it difficult to nurture cordial relationships with their boss, Abbajay pointed out that in many organizations, workers get promotions based on their technical skills –  not their management capabilities.

‘For this reason, mediocre managers are replete in workplaces,’ she said, however advising that the best advice is to stop complaining and start planning for a better future away from that less-than-ideal situation.

‘Graduates of the 21st century are yet to understand this,’ the self-motivated entrepreneur lamented. ‘I have seen peoples’ ego get in their way as they resist change because they want to be right, appreciated, understood or loved…This is a waste of valuable time and energy because a toxic boss hardly changes but we have the power to change how we are treated.’

Abbajay noted that employees either drain or energize a boss, however adding that flexibility provides a lifeline for those who wish to avoid a catastrophic staff-boss relationship.

Her best advice: ‘At the start of your new job, one important thing to do is: engage your boss in a conversation and ask three questions on his or her priorities, the method/frequency of reporting, and his or her “privacy concerns.’”

‘Knowing these tips, instead of making assumptions, are the only ways to enjoy even the worst managers from day one,’ Abbajay added.

Where these efforts fail to provide the desired relationship, leave your bad boss behind, dust off the sand from your shoes and move on.

Chinese Manager motivates Staff by letting them tear cash

Employee motivation and interpersonal relationships among workers and employers in China is no joke, and one exemplary manager’s most effective idea of encouraging his workers, is by asking them to tear bundles of banknotes.

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If only this exercise is permitted in private and not as a group, it’d definitely inspire the unmotivated.

Desperate employers in China have tried different strategies aimed at getting the best out of their employees.

In 2016, a car sales manager punished his employee for poor sales; he asked them to crawl on the street as a warning.

Although most netizens criticized the action, calling it “morally wrong,” the worse of such extreme managerial theory came when another employer decided to punish his staff by spanking their buttocks ‘in public.’.

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Most manager’s in the country are described as extremists — they either give excessive rewards or mete out punishment in a demoralizing manner.

The most recent episode of such punishments came from an electrical appliances store owner in Jinan, Shandong province, who tried motivating her ‘under-performing’ employees by asking them to tear 100-yuan banknotes.

In the 3-minute video clip released by the South China Morning Post, a female manager named Liu reportedly lined up her employees who failed to meet their daily sales quota of 100 deals.

A total of five young men were seen with heads bowed as she gave them a “pep talk” for about two minutes. Then she ordered them to take out their monies.

“Tear up the notes!” Ms Liu screamed after scolding the ‘sinners.’ “Tear them all. Take them all out and tear them!”

The men did as they were instructed before disposing the pieces of money.

A report from China Economic Net says the manager was warned of the possible consequences of tearing bank notes but she showed total disregard for the laws, saying: “Anyone who wants to question me can leave their jobs. Get out!”

Sohu News reported that the manager could have been fined up to 10,000 yuan under Chinese law.

How smart employees should handle errors at work

Being a leader is in itself a big challenge – a reason most people would rather follow than lead the way. One’s abilities are always proven through tests,  in a practical way, and this goes a long way in determining how successful a leader can be.

“A first-time leadership job is very stressful,” said Richard Wellins, senior vice president of HR consulting firm Development Dimensions International (DDI) and co-author of “Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others” (Wiley, 2015). “There’s a significant change in roles and responsibilities. Success comes not from what you do … but from what you do to grow and develop others.”

Leadership challenges vary by organization, but many of the most common have to do with motivating, encouraging, and effectively managing people.

Employers have worse problems than any worker can ever imagine. These challenges include: the pressure to rise to another level, the need to test yourself and improve in the process, and to show that you can accomplish something that may seem difficult or even impossible.

“It’s a difficult transition because your identity [among] your peers and colleagues changes,” Wellins said. “You have to shift and identify as a leader.”

 

However we choose to look at it, every employer battles three “demons” of factors which are: external, coming from people and situations; internal, stemming from within the leader himself; and those arising from the nature of the leadership role.

Diane Omdahl, president and co-founder of Medicare consultation firm 65 Incorporated, said that when she first stepped into a leadership position, she realized there were many opportunities for “teaching moments.” The challenge, however, is knowing how and when to teach others, especially if there’s a conflict that must be addressed.

“As a first-time leader, you’re in a position you’re unfamiliar with,” Omdahl told Business News Daily. “You might feel like you’re overstepping your boundaries when you have to confront a co-worker on an issue. But, just because you’re in a leadership position doesn’t mean you need to change your attitude or how you approach your work.”

“Employees feed off of that — leaders who lead by example cultivate the next generation of great leaders,” she said.

Mark Suster, a partner at Upfront Ventures who writes on bothsidesofthetable.com, wrote this about employers and ways of handling errors.

I was once involved with a company (not as an investor) where an embarrassing mistake was made. One of the leaders took a sort of “heads will roll” approach. It’s not my company so I basically stayed out but tried to encourage him to think differently about the “punishment.” I didn’t stick around for the repercussions so I hope the process was balanced.

But it got me thinking about the topic of leadership and how to manage people through “light” and “heat.” (Think carrot & stick but I like my analogy better because we’re humans not animals.)

As a leader you need to have both heat and light in your arsenal. You cannot lead all people all of the time through light. In my experience some individuals are the over-achievers who are looking for stars on their foreheads and thrive on constant positive feedback. For these people you need to lead through *mostly* light. There are other types of people (let’s say, prone to a bit of laziness or procrastination) who tend to be motivated more by fear of being in “trouble” and not wanting to look bad. These people are led better through a bit of heat.

I know the populist answer is to lead through only light. But as a father let me offer you this analogy. I spend a lot of the time with my kids trying to tell them things like, “if you want to be able to buy nice things in life you need to work hard” because I don’t want them to take all that they have for granted. I tend to praise their efforts as much as their results while still emphasizing the importance of actual results. I try to be a “light” daddy. Mostly.

But when they’re being naughty an “I’ll buy you ice cream if you’re good” approach doesn’t work and isn’t warranted. I much simpler, “if I have to come over there and separate you two, you’re going to lose your lego set for a week” yields better results. Not with a yell. Certainly never with violence. But with heat.

But that begs the question, What is “heat” and how do you apply it?

I always felt that the “disappointed dad” (or mom!) approach in business worked more effectively than yelling. It is crushing to somebody when they hear messages like, “I would have expected you to have planned better for this meeting. I put a lot of trust in you and I feel let down that you didn’t take this seriously enough to prepare.” And then followed with “listen, I don’t want to see this happen again. Let’s work on a plan to make sure it doesn’t. But to be clear, if I see this again I’m going to have to consider consequences.”

Important Competence Based Interview Tips.

Every job seeker gets nervous about competence based interviews –  though in different ways.

Things get worse when you face a few unfriendly interviewers who wear faces meant for soldiers on the battlefield; and dish out questions like you wrecked havoc at their homes last Halloween.

Image: Competence based interviewing.

At those times we pray and wish they’d treated us like buddies so the pounding heartbeats, blank memories and sweaty palms could disappear for confidence to set in.

Rightly said, “if wishes were horses..” but preparedness should be a key word for anyone looking for a job.

Do not buy the idea that interviewers are evil.

Continue reading “Important Competence Based Interview Tips.”

Careers: 7 Candidates Most Hated By Employers.

There are lots of lessons for candidates to learn before they step into that interview hall. An applicant may have the right qualifications; confidence; fluency; job experience and more but in most cases,  fail to secure the seemingly begging jobs.

Learning by experience is acceptable for job seekers as well as those who have already secured their dream jobs because the challenges continue. However, it is worse when a job seeker / employee doesn’t know what the problem was.

These are a few simple lessons that can save your dream job.

Continue reading “Careers: 7 Candidates Most Hated By Employers.”