Have A Phenomenal Phone Interview

Have A Phenomenal Phone Interview

Through the years of your career you’re going to have all kinds of interviews. One-on-one in person interviews are the most common, but there will also be group interviews, Skype interviews, phone interviews, quick ones in a café, the list goes on and on.


Today we’re going to talk about phone interviews and what you can do to excel.


Treat it like a regular interview

Because the interview is on the phone, you may be inclined to treat it as less serious or more preliminary than a regular interview. If you have any intention of moving on to that next interview you’d better take this first one on the phone seriously. Which brings us to our next point.



No matter whether the interview is on the phone, in person, on Skype or via satellite from the moon to Earth, your first priority is to prepare for it.  Research the industry and the specific company. Check out their website. See what they post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Which brings us to our next point.


Make a list of questions

All that homework may trigger questions on your part. Write them down. Have questions ready about the company, the job you’re applying for, the sort of future they envision for you. They will ask you if you have questions. Have some ready.


Use common sense

Don’t think it would be okay to have this interview on the go, in a coffee shop or during a commute or somewhere noisy. Find a quiet room and get yourself comfortable in there. Also make sure your phone is charged! The last thing you want is to suddenly notice you’re about to run out of power in the middle of the interview. Also if you expect the interview to take fifteen minutes leave yourself half an hour. If you expect it to run half an hour then leave yourself at least 45 minutes. Give yourself plenty of extra time.


Act like you are there in person

If this was an in-person interview you would have a smile on your face and you’d be sitting up all tall and attentive so do those things during the phone interview. You would be amazed how much body language and facial expression come across over the phone.


Take notes

Make sure you take notes of the sorts of questions you were asked during the interview. These are the sorts of things that will come up in the next interview. Use them to help you prepare.


Thank you

Finish the interview off by thanking the interviewer for their time and letting them know you look forward to meeting them in person.



Productivity Hacks

Productivity Hacks

Some people have a knack for getting things done. Productivity is no problem for them. They’re more organized than the rest of us and they don’t let themselves get distracted by whatever curveballs the day throws their way.


For those of us who have to work a little harder to achieve the same results here are a few productivity hacks to get you going.



Did you know that morning people are generally more proactive? Here are a few small things you can do to get you going earlier. Set your alarm five minutes earlier each day until you achieve the new wake up time you’re looking for – about an hour earlier than usual.


Once you’re up don’t waste your newly acquired precious time scrolling through Facebook or looking for dinner recipes. Get yourself into productive mode. Start with a glass of water. Your body needs a dose of hydration (other than coffee) to get you going.


Exercise for 10 – 15 minutes, meditate – even a short 10 meditation is beneficial. If you can do both great. If not alternate or choose the one that means more to you.  Make yourself a good breakfast that includes protein. Protein is known to get you going.


Finally spend ten minutes writing. It can be a journal, it can be notes about the day, it can be related to long-term goals. Deliberately sitting down to write everyday lays down a path of productivity for the rest of the day.


Commute time

There are lots of things you can do during your commute. You can seethe at the other drivers or commuters. You can listen to music. You can daydream. Or you can use the time to your benefit. If you drive to work, podcasts are a great way to educate or entertain yourself. So are language apps.


If you’re on transit the commute is the perfect time to catch up on articles you’ve bookmarked for later, for goal setting or for online classes.


If work isn’t too far, the other thing you can do with your commute is use it to get in shape. Cycle, run or walk to work – it feels great and puts everything in forward motion!


First part of your day

Productive people have a routine. Start work at the same time each day. That puts your mind and body in work frame. Don’t check your emails first thing because they are a time and energy suck. Give yourself an hour to get settled and get your most important tasks underway first.


If you haven’t already prepared a to-do list for the day get that done. Prioritize it. Start with your top priority. Get that out of the way, them move down the list. Give yourself deadlines for each task.


You have probably heard that you have 90 minute sleep cycles at night. Well, those 90 minute cycles don’t suddenly stop once the sun rises. In general you can focus well for about 90 minutes at a time. After that you’re brain is tired and you lose productivity so you might as well break every 90 minutes. It doesn’t have to be long, but get up, stretch your legs, get a drink, break it up every 90 minutes. Switch tasks.


Do not multi-task. Even if you think you’re a good multi-tasker you are not. You are still doing one thing at a time then switching. If you want to do something well then give it your full attention then switch to something else.


After lunch

Some people work equally well in the afternoon as they do in the morning, but most have a little more trouble focusing in the latter part of the day. That’s why you want to get your most important tasks done early. Watch your posture in the afternoons. If you notice yourself slumping over sit up straight. If you can get yourself out for a sort walk in the afternoon. A quick walk around the block can do wonders to bring productivity back into the day.


Afternoons are a good time to do the work that doesn’t require as much concentration so save those for after lunch. It’s also a good time to let your mind wander a little to pursue a little creative thinking.



Although it might be tempting to take work home, the most productive people know there needs to be a cut off time. Your body and mind need a full stop to recoup from one day and rest up for the next.

Need help budgeting?

Need help budgeting?

Now that you’ve landed a sweet job and you’re getting paid, all that money may start burning a hole in your pocket. Of course you want to spend it. But if you want to make sure you still have some cash by the time your next paycheck appears, you’re going to want to learn about budgeting.

There’s rent, groceries, a phone bill, the cost of public transit or a car, and maybe school debt on top of all that. Before you know it, there seems to be nothing left. Keeping track of your cash can be a chore, but having an App to help you out can take the stress out of money management. Below are our Top Five Budgeting Apps.

Mint -Free

iTunes, Android

As a free app, it’s hard to describe Mint as anything other than great. It connects to your bank account. Don’t worry, Mint doesn’t access your money, it just reads the data. One of the best things about Mint is that it looks at your transactions and automatically categorizes them into things like Entertainment, Food/Groceries, Bills etc. It then puts this information into easy to read charts so you can see how much you’re spending and where.

Mint also allows you to set goals for spending and saving and charts where you are with each of those goals. Saving up for a new laptop? Choose the amount it’ll cost, and when you want have it by and Mint will allot the right amount each month!

PocketGuard – Free

Android IOS

This back account tracking and budget management app shows you how much you have in your accounts along with how much you can afford to spend each day. It connects to your bank card accounts through an encrypted, read-only connection, while automatically sorting your purchases, subscriptions and bill payments to provide you with an estimate of how much you can spend safely without going into the red.


Budgt – $0.99


One of the concerns you may have with both of the previous options is that they hooks up with your bank account. This means that they do a bunch of the work for you, detecting your earnings and spending habits. But we understand if you’re hesitant. If you’d rather not have an app connected to your accounts, BUDGT is a great option.

BUDGT has a lot of the same features as the previous app including options for savings, reminders about spending and options where you can set it up to allow more spending on specific days, like weekends. BUDGT is a great option if you don’t mind doing the work of inputting all your own data.


Wally – Free

IOS and Android

Wally is great for the organized types.  It helps you compare your income to your expenses, understand where your money goes and set and achieve goals. Rather than logging in your expenses, with Wally you can take a photo of your receipts. With Wally you can create and view expenses while keeping track of how much you’re spending to help you stay within your savings goals.

Your Bank’s App

Having your banking at your fingertips can be really helpful when it comes to paying bills, knowing how much money you have and moving money around in a pinch.

While every bank’s app is different, if your bank has an app, it usually offers a number of helpful features. Most apps now have the ability to deposit a check just by taking a picture of it. This can be really helpful if an ATM isn’t near by and you want to have that money right away.

Pick a Budgeting App

While a budget might be the last thing you’re thinking about now that you have a steady flow of cash, keeping and eye on your finances is essential if you don’t want to spend it all in once place. These are our favorite apps, but there are lots out there. If you have a favorite app we haven’t mentioned, we’d love to hear about it.

Nurturing Potential

Nurturing Potential


Find potential and nurture it

With the job market the way it is, most employers will get a huge response to the ads they post. The question isn’t how many responses they get, it’s how many exceptional people are responding. They don’t necessarily look for people with the most experience, but people with the most potential. The ones who are energized by challenge. Who thrive on the potential for success. Who are willing to test the boundaries.

Once they find those people employers want to retain them and, help them grow. Smart managers know, to keep exceptional people they need to keep them motivated with opportunities for training and growth. They need to give them independence and opportunities to prove themselves and they need to recognize their efforts to nurture that potential.


Know when it’s time to let people go

They also know when to cut cords with people who are only there for a paycheck or to pass the time until something better comes along. A team of people is made up of the sum of its parts, and all those parts are influenced by the others. When some people see a lazy, unmotivated person they start to wonder why they try so hard when it’s obvious they can get by with little effort or initiative. Then they too  fall into that pattern of behavior. When they see an innovative, striving person, they believe in greater possibilities and push themselves to higher levels. Unmotivated, bored people demoralize everyone else, motivated, striving people energize everyone else. By populating the office with high caliber, top performing people, that sets the culture. It’s the attitude everyone tunes to.


Great people contribute more to the company than they cost both in terms of profit and in terms of what they bring to the office as a whole. You can’t build a strong team if the foundational people are weak. Every person is significant, every person affects others around them. Everyone one is a link in your team-chain and we all know, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Commonalities In Uncommon Success

Commonalities In Uncommon Success

Each successful person arrived at their success differently – obviously. Each individual brings his or her ideas, imagination, passions and particular objectives to their business. Richard Branson is not Bill Gates, is not Ariana Huffington, but those people along with all the other successful people out there do share a few common traits.


Unwavering conviction

Successful people are completely, 100% confident in what they’re doing. If other people think they’ve gone off the rails, even if they sometimes wonder if this thing they’re doing might just be the craziest thing they’ve ever thought of, they hold the course. They’re confident in their choices and they inspire that same confidence in others.


Inspire trust

You can have the greatest idea in the world but if other people don’t trust you you’re never going to get that idea off the ground. People don’t follow an idea, they follow other people. People who are uncommonly successful inspire trust. Others trust in their ideas, their instincts, and their vision. They choose to join in the effort to bring that vision to fruition.


Believe in the destination not in a particular road to get them there

Sometimes people get so caught up in the way they think something needs to get done, they lose sight of all the other ways of possibly doing it, or the fact that there might even be other ways. Successful people have no problem changing course. If something isn’t working they don’t waste time trying to make it work. Their eyes are on the final destination and they’re willing to consider all possible roads to get them there.


Instead of focusing on problems they focus on opportunities

When they don’t like the way things are, most people complain or try and find work arounds. It’s uncommon to look at a problem and see it as an opportunity, but that’s what the uncommonly successful do. They see the problem as an opportunity to change things for the better. By solving a problem for themselves they’re solving that same problem at large.


Willing to go the distance

Starting something new can be a long, drawn out process. Success might not happen for years. There will be failures. There will be terrible days or weeks, maybe months – enough to make most people give up. There’s the difference between common people and uncommon people. The uncommon ones keep going anyway. They keep on taking risks, they continue believing in themselves and what they’re doing and the team they’ve surrounded themselves with. They change what they need to change, see the opportunities in problems and persist.

Strong Leaders Work From Within

Strong Leaders Work From Within

When you think of leaders who became fabulously successful you might think of Elon Musk, or Bill Gates or Richard Branson, or Walt Disney, the list could go on forever. Each of us has our own person list of people we admire and wish we could emulate. No matter who is on your personal list it’s important to remember they didn’t achieve their success on their own. Before reaching the top, everyone has help along the way.

Develop leadership skills

If you’re going to lead a team, then you should have strong leadership skills. Not everyone is a born leader, but anyone can learn and (and improve). Ask advice from people you believe are good leaders, take courses, and practice what you learn.

You want the people you work with to be as capable as you. Don’t be afraid of surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you. As Warren Buffet said, “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.

Keep the lines of communication open

You might have great ideas, but you won’t have all the great ideas. Keep the lines of communication open so people feel encouraged to both contribute their ideas and also bring problems to your attention. Let people know their opinions, thoughts and contributions matter.

Shared vision

What is the goal of this endeavor you’ve started? Does everyone on the team know the goal? Are they invested in its accomplishment? A shared vision binds a team, makes it stronger and more focused. It makes achievements toward the goal something that can be celebrated by everyone. This Big Think video discusses Steve Job’s favorite product: The Apple Team

Recognize your strengths and weaknesses

Now that you’ve surrounded yourself with the best people you can find, trust them when they point out areas that aren’t working. Sometimes we get so caught up in what needs to be done, what we believe we can do, we end up losing perspective. You need to be humble enough to recognize the difference between going too far out on a limb and testing a limb’s limits.

Create a positive atmosphere

Sometimes you end up spending more time with the people you work with than your own family. You need to nurture relationships with those people. Praise them when they’ve done something praise worthy. Not just in private but to others as well. Make sure people know how much you appreciate what they do. They’ll want to do even more!

Five years From Now?

Five years From Now?

Some people like to think about the future. They plan and dream and focus on all the directions life may take them. Others are more live-the-present types. They prefer to think more about the now and the today. Still others focus on the past, what their mistakes and missteps taught them.


The interview question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” forces everyone to consider the future. Employers who ask this question want to know that the person in front of them has thought beyond the job they’re applying for.  If future focus isn’t your strong suit, here are a few tips help you answer this interview question.

Know Your Industry

This question gives you the opportunity to show off your knowledge of the industry. Research the career path of others in the position you’re applying for. Where have others gone? what have they done? In your industry, how long does it usually take someone to go from one position to another?


The more information you can find and build into your answer, the more impressed your interviewer will be. They’ll be impressed  by the ambition you display. They will also see how much you care about this specific job you’re after.

Make It About the Job You’re Applying For

A common mistake people make when answering this question is to focus only on the jobs that might follow the one they’re applying for. It makes sense, if they ask you where  you want to be in five years, you will to talk about being a Director of a Division or Manager of a Region.


Make sure your answer includes your intention to learn from and master the job you are applying for. Show that you know upward mobility takes hard work.

Highlight Your Goals

Hopefully the job you’re applying for give you experience in a field you’re interested in. Make sure you note this in your answer. Where you see yourself in five years isn’t just about your job title, it’s also about what you will have learned and the skills you will ll have gained. When you mention that the job you are applying for will help you gain experience in areas you’re interested in, is a great way to show you know where you are going, and that you know how to get there.


While the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” demands that the interviewee think and plan for the future, it’s important to be mindful of the present. Show that you’ve thought about where you want to go, and make it clear that the job you’re applying for is your means of getting there.