job seeking

comfortzoneIf you want to be successful, you can expect to be in new situations. Whether you are adjusting to new responsibilities, a new position or even an entirely new job, your learning curve will be quicker and easier, and success will be yours if you remember the basics of getting to know people. Be ready to move out of your comfort zone to master three basic people skills: introducing yourself, remembering  names, and asking questions.

Believe it or not, even successful people under perform because of the anxiety they feel in new situations. We all feel it, but the most successful among us has learned how to put our ego aside so that we can effectively introduce ourselves, reliably remember names, and overcome the fear of asking questions.

These three basic yet critical get-to-know-you skills can be learned, but to practice them we must push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Our confidence level in new situations will grow as we practice these people skills and we will realize success building upon success!

Introducing Yourself

It is important to push through feelings like fear of making mistakes or being rejected when it comes to meeting people. And you will get farther faster if you go up to people and introduce yourself rather than waiting for them to come up to you. All you have to do is learn how to get better at it.

Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself people, just go for it. Whether you are at a networking function to meet people, or at a meeting and your new CEO is there, don’t assume someone isn’t interested in meeting you. Be prepared by having an “opening line” about yourself and a firm handshake. The first few times you stretch out of your comfort zone to do this it will feel awkward, but with some word tweaking and continued practice your opening line will be great.

Then pay attention to what they tell you about themselves. Listen intently so that they feel heard, valued and respected. First impressions don’t have as much to do with what you say, but rather how you made them feel. It is a really, really good idea to write down details about them as soon as you can. Don’t rely on your memory, especially if you are in a setting where you are meeting more than one person. This will help you remember someone the next time you see them, which brings us to our next basic people skill.

Remembering Names

We all are challenged to remember the names of people we meet, but remembering names is a skill that you can master with practice. When you remember someone’s name you are likely to feel much more comfortable with them which will lead to trust that will pay dividends in your future endeavors. Here are a few tips about how to remember names.

Firstly, before the end of your first conversation with someone you have just met, use their name a couple of times. If their name slips your mind, just ask them. Don’t wimp out here. Remembering people’s names is a skill that will serve you almost more than anything else in life. As soon as possible, write down their name, or put it in your cell phone or other device. Go back later, look at their name and purposely bring their face up in your mind’s eye. Go through your list of new acquaintances from time to time to test your recall, and when you do, associate something in their name with something you remember about them such as the way they looked. For instance, Shirley Brown might have long curly brown hair, so you can associate Shirley with curly and Brown with the color of her hair. Association is a proven method of recollection.

Lastly, when you are going to be somewhere you are likely to see someone again, go over your notes so that you will recognize them and remember some things about them. Your commitment to remembering them will not be forgotten.

Asking Questions

Most of us resist the urge to ask questions, but according to studies, the more questions new employees ask, the better they perform. Asking questions shows a commitment to superior performance and organizational success. Overcome the urge to “go it alone” and ask a co-worker or boss for guidance. But before you do, consider what you want, why you want it, and who and when you should ask. Your question should be focused and to the point. Instead of asking “how to” do something, ask to be shown. Avoid multi-faceted questions. Then say thank you.

A good practice when starting something new would be to establish a “go-to” person early on. You can set this up during your introduction to this person by asking them if it is okay to get back with them about questions you might have in the future.

In summary, as you practice these three people skills basics, your confidence will grow as you become more adept at introductions, names and questions. You will become accustomed to being out of your comfort zone as you ramp up your game. Just make a promise to yourself that you will always push yourself out of your comfort zones where ever they are. You will be better for it!

Reference credit: Success in New Situations by Keith Rollag from the December 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review via Hennes Communications on Facebook!


interview picHow you handle an interview can make the difference between landing a job and continuing your search. Whether you applying for work in a hospital, nursing home, assisted-living facility, doctors office, or home healthcare agency, there are ways to gain an advantage when interviewing for a position in the healthcare field.

Tip #1 Be Ready to Dazzle
Research the company’s website if they have one and make sure of the location of the interview and allot ample time to get there. Know the name and title of the person with whom you will be interviewing. Gather copies of your current certifications, an exquisite copy of your resume and a list of references and letters of recommendation so you will have it available during the interview. Remember to take a copy of the job listing too.

Presentation is everything. Dress in “business casual” attire rather than scrubs. Make sure you are well groomed from head to toe (double check your fingernails) Men should wear clean trousers and a collared shirt. Women may wear slacks or skirt with a business appropriate shirt or sweater. Also a dress would be okay. Leather shoes are appropriate for men and women rather than the nursing shoes or athletic shoes worn on the job. Hair should be neatly groomed as it would be on the job. Body piercings and tattoos should be covered or minimized. Any jewelry worn should not be distracting. Women should avoid long dangle earrings because they can be distracting to the interviewer.

More than likely you will be meeting with a hiring authority. Depending upon the size of the organization, you may speak with other staff members too, perhaps members of the team you may be working with. You may be given a tour of the facility. While taking the tour, notice whether the staff seems friendly, whether the facility seems clean and well-organized, and whether the patients/clients seem satisfied with their care. After all, you are checking out the employer too.

#2 Exhibit Professionalism
It’s mandatory to be on time for an interview. Leave early enough to accommodate any last-minute problem that you might run into. Don’t chew gum at the interview. More listening and less talking is usually a good approach during a first interview. There is no need to fill an uncomfortable silence with words. Let them do the talking, and answer their questions thoughtfully. Remember good eye contact.

#3 Nail the Interview
You will probably be asked open-ended questions about yourself or past work experience. When answering these questions, remember that they are looking for answers that demonstrate your value to their organization. Provide answers that illustrate a good match between you and the company. It’s okay to ask about their expectations, the shifts you’ll work or the duties you will perform. Describe how you can help the organization meet its needs. Be as flexible as possible.

Also be ready to answer the following questions honestly and completely.
1. May we contact your current employer (and your references)?
2. Have you ever been disciplined or fired from a job (and if so, why)?
3. Why did you leave your past position?
4. What do you hope to be doing five years from now?

Keep in mind that if hired, you will be part of a team. Don’t underestimate the importance of the position for which you have applied. Convey the fact that you think every employee contributes to the success or failure of an organization. Specify your experience. Highlight your expertise and experience working with special cases and needs. Were you known at a past job for being able to do something especially well? If you are inexperienced, communicate your interest and motivation. Share a story that shows how you’ve gone above and beyond in the workplace.

You will be given an opportunity to ask questions. If not previously addressed by the interviewer, ask for such information as advancement opportunities and training/probation period. Things to not ask about during your first interview include questions about vacations or time off. Also avoid any questions about the race/gender makeup of staff or patients/clientele.

#4 Make sure you are making the right choice for yourself
Conditions at medical facilities, especially hospitals and nursing homes, can be vastly different from one shift to the next. Even if you are applying for an afternoon or night-shift position, your interview is very likely to take place during the day shift. Before accepting a position, try to visit the facility during the shift you will be working. Checking the internet for reviews may also give you some insight into a potential employer.

#5 Wrapping it all up
Be sure to thank the Interviewer, shaking their hand (no wimpy grips, please). Inquire as to a time it is appropriate to follow up with them if they haven’t mentioned it already. If they don’t specify a time, suggest a specific day and time in near future. Remember, the more people they are interviewing, the longer it may be before they separate the “wheat from the chaff.” Be sure to get their business card so you can follow up with a personal email, or even better, a handwritten note thanking the person who interviewed you. Mention a point from the interview that will set you apart from other candidates. Keep it short and polite.

Good luck in your job seeking!

Bo Ramsey is a CNA Instructor at Express Training Services, LLC at the Destin Training Center. ETS is home based in Gainesville, Florida and has several other training centers in Florida that offer fast-track instruction for certification in many healthcare occupations. For more information call 866-346-0660 or go to

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