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Tip Sheet

Stop Looking for Weaknesses in Job Candidates

Instead, give them the best opportunity to shine. Plus more tips from our Mar-Apr issue.




job interview

HIRINGStop Looking For Weaknesses

In his book Hidden Potential, Wharton business professor Adam Grant offers a contrarian view of job interviews: Design the process to make candidates feel relaxed and to give them the maximum opportunity to demonstrate their strengths rather than reveal weaknesses. “And at the end, ask them if they felt they showed their potential and offer a do-over if not,” he writes.

MANAGEMENTExploration VS Exploitation

At a restaurant, do you order what you know is great? Or do you try something new? At work, do you keep using the same marketing channels? Or try something new? According to technology writer Kevin Kelley, the optimal balance for exploring new things versus exploiting them once found is: 1:3. Spend one third of your time on exploring and two thirds on deepening. “It is harder to devote time to exploring as you age because it seems unproductive, but aim for 1:3,” he says.


FINANCESInvest in Preparedness

Fortunes are difficult to make and surprisingly easy to lose. It’s why the more money you amass, the more time you must devote to protecting it. In his book, Same As Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes, venture capitalist Morgan Housel urges his readers to think of risk the way California thinks of earthquakes. “California knows a major earthquake will happen. But it has no idea when, where or of what magnitude. Emergency crews are prepared despite no specific forecast. Buildings are designed to withstand earthquakes that may not occur for a century or more. As Nassim Taleb says, ‘Invest in preparedness, not in prediction.”

FEEDBACKThree-Star Reviews Are Sometimes the Best

Everyone loves a five-star review, but sometimes the three-star reviews are more helpful, says podcast host Tim Ferriss, explaining that perfect reviews don’t offer much useful information while one-star reviews are often the result of something out of your control, a one-off error, or a crank who can’t be satisfied. “But with three-star reviews, or the most critical three-star reviews, you tend to get a lot of really helpful feedback,” he notes.

MOTIVATIONEmbrace the Cringe

Do you feel a slight twinge of embarrassment when you look at some of the displays you created or even the business decisions you made five, 10 or 20 years ago? Embrace it, says James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. Speaking on a podcast he said, “A good indicator of progress is the feeling of slight embarrassment by the quality of your earlier work,” he says.


Speak first, last or both in meetings. Research shows that it’s not just how you say something, but when you say it that matters. We remember things best if they come at the beginning or end of a list, a presentation or even a trip to the mountains. What gets stuck in the middle often gets forgotten, says Dan Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.

GETTING READYGo Henry Ford with Your Sock Drawer

If getting dressed in the morning takes an inordinate amount of time, replace all of your socks with identical black pairs. “It’s a tip I found in a book on ADHD, and it’s made getting ready in the mornings much easier. It’s definitely helped with my decision fatigue,” beauty and lifestyle writer Anita Bhagwandas shares.


WORK-LIFE BALANCEStop and Smell the Soap

Everyone needs a way to wind down from work, especially at the end of the work week. Here’s a neat one from a list of “100 Tiny Changes to Transform Your Life” that ran in The Guardian newspaper recently: Use a soap that reminds you of a fun vacation. “I use a soap I brought home from Yucatán in Mexico. The smell shifts my mind from work mode to relaxation, with fond memories of the jungle,” related a reader from Colorado.

OPERATIONSRun Better Meetings

One of the best way to improve meetings is to get everyone on the same page, literally. Before your scheduled get-together, write up a Google Doc or even an email for participants to read ahead of time. According to syndicated columnist Marcel Schwantes, this sets the agenda, gets brains thinking about what is to be discussed and “creates a sort of “team” feeling among co-workers that allows you to get to critical thinking faster.”

SALESGet Smart

When precipitation hammers much of the country, it issues an ultimatum to retailers: Shut up or get smart. Marketing website cited the case of two businesses that did the latter. The first was a restaurant that emailed its regulars with an offer of a 2% discount for every inch of snow that fell if they would brave the weather to come in for a meal. The second was Road Runner Sports, which apologized for its local stores being closed and offered customers a discount on online purchases.



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