Grounding Yourself During an Interview

The following is from the always wonderful Harvard Business Review and can be applied to interviewing.  When you have a phone screen, you might be able to walk around.  During an in-person interview, you will have to use the place your feet firmly on the floor portion of the suggestion. 

March 15, 2018


Stay Calm During a Tough Conversation by Grounding Yourself


Having a tense conversation brings up a lot of negative emotions, leaving you feeling like an active volcano. To prevent an outburst and stay in control of your emotions, physically ground yourself in your environment. One of the best ways to do this is to stand up and walk around, which activates the thinking part of your brain. If you and your counterpart are seated at a table, and suddenly standing up seems awkward, you might say, “I feel like I need to stretch. Mind if I walk around a bit?” If that doesn’t feel comfortable, you can do small physical things like crossing two fingers or placing your feet firmly on the floor and noticing what it feels like. Mindfulness experts call these actions “anchoring.” Whatever you can do to focus on your physical presence and your senses will help you stay grounded and get through that tough conversation.

From “How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation,” by Amy Gallo

Management Tip of the Day from the Harvard Business Review

Get Over Setbacks by Learning from Them


The next time you feel that you’ve royally messed something up at work, avoid self-flagellation and think about what you can learn from it. Don’t interpret setbacks as “I’m not cut out for this challenge.” Instead, tell yourself, “I haven’t yet developed the required capabilities for it.” Framing the setback this way will not only help your self-esteem but also allow you to candidly reflect on what went well and what didn’t. Those insights will help you set challenging learning goals and experiment with alternate strategies. You can make sure you stay in learning mode by worrying less about demonstrating your ability to perform certain tasks and focusing more on your development. When taking on a new challenge, ask yourself, “Am I in learning mode right now?” The question will prime you to stay open to what you can discover, rather than diagnosing your inadequacies.

Adapted from “Good Leaders Are Good Learners,” by Lauren A. Keating et al.


I don't keep New Year's resolutions and so don't ask my clients to do so.  However, I think it is interesting to envision a better future and so liked the recent post of Andy Evans that I came across.  He calls this a goals exercise.

Posted by: Andy Evans <> on 11:10am Dec 17, 2017.

- What would your life be like if it was the same in all ways as it is now?
- What would your life be like if it was 10% better in all ways than it is now?
- What would your life be like if it was 20% better in all ways than it is now?
- What would your life be like if it was 30% better in all ways than it is now?
- What would your life be like if it was more than 30% better in all ways than it is now?

Choose one of the above as a goal for 2018 that you would commit to.

Reflect on your choice - why did you choose it? What would you need to do in order to achieve it in practice? Emphasizes the Importance of LinkedIn in Your Job Search

See the information below from a website I have recommended in the past for candidates to run their resume and desired job posting through to see how well their resume stacks up. also does a LinkedIn Optimization of your profile.  Let me know how it works for you, if you try it.

“138M people or 62% of employables in the US are on LinkedIn

44k job applications are submitted through LinkedIn daily

87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates for jobs

94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet job candidates”

Recruiters and hiring managers can’t find you without a complete and fully optimized LinkedIn profile.”

“Whether you’re using LinkedIn to attract recruiters or supplement your resume in your job search, your profile will only make an impact if it’s tailored to the jobs you want with specific keywords and search engine optimized profile sections.”


Book recommendation: WEIRD IN A WORLD THAT IS NOT by Jennifer Romolini

I was asked by TLC Book Tours to preview WEIRD IN A WORLD THAT’S NOT by Jennifer Romolini and given full permission to dislike it.  I have slogged through many career books and disagreed with many parts of them.  This one I enjoyed and agreed with 99.9999% of it.  If you are a young career woman, you should read this book.  It is an engaging and valuable read.  Jennifer might think she is weird (and perhaps she had a weird start) but she is a good human being with real values and she is a terrific writer.  By sharing her missteps, she generously shares how to get a start in the work world, how to manage, how to live, how to be.

She preaches without sounding preachy being authentic and kind to oneself.  Her message is positive, life affirming.  She begins with helping you find out what do you want to do when you grow up, proceeds to resumes, interviewing, handling rejection, networking, how to get out of your own way at work, how to be the employee who is hard to fire, how to tolerate a difficult work environment (FYI, sometimes, it just is), how to ask for a raise and how and when to quit.  She next moves to how to be a Boss, a good Boss, after sharing an example of when she wasn’t one.  You will laugh while learning as she covers all that you need to know to kick off your career.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing a copy for my review.  The opinion is all my own.

Good News about that Dreaded Salary Question if You Interview in NYC, Philly or Massachussetts

New York City Bans All Inquiries Regarding Salary Histories of Job Applicants

New York City has joined other states and cities across the country – including Massachusetts and Philadelphia – in banning employers from inquiring about a job candidate’s salary history. Per legislation signed on May 4, 2017 by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, effective November 1, 2017, all employers in New York City, both public and private and regardless of size, may no longer:

(1)        inquire about the salary history of an applicant for employment; or

(2)        rely on the salary history of an applicant in determining that applicant’s salary at any stage in the employment process, unless the applicant “unprompted” and “willingly” discloses his or her prior salary information.

The law prohibits both asking the applicant directly about his or her salary history – whether on an employment application or during the hiring process – and searching of publicly-available records or reports.  The law’s prohibition also applies to the negotiation of an employment agreement.  However, the law specifically allows employers to continue asking about objective measures of an applicant’s productivity, such as revenue or sales generated, which should make this change in the law more palatable to employers hiring salespersons.

Instead of inquiring about salary history, employers should discuss a job applicant’s expectations regarding salary, benefits, and other compensation. 

In preparation for this new law to go into effect, employers should carefully review their employment applications, standard interview questions, and hiring processes.  Employers should also train their employees responsible for interviewing applicants and negotiating employment agreements as to the requirements of the new law.  We recommend doing so sooner rather than later to ensure a seamless transition once the law does take effect on November 1, 2017.

Constance Unger
166 E. 34th Street  #12D
New York, New York 10016
H (212) 689-0152
C (646) 325-8289


Attended an interesting and valuable video meeting at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management on reflection and thought I would share.  Thanks to Paul L Corona, MBA EdD for a great presentation and the information.  The topic was reflection and it can certainly be useful in job search.  He quoted, John Dewey, famous educator, who has said that we learn not from experience but from reflecting from that experience.  In our busy lives we seem to have little time for reflection yet there is a return on investment.  Reflection can be gratitude, journaling, meditation talking with a coachThe speaker listed three professional and three personal questions we can ask ourselves as we make reflection a habit.


1.       Exactly what happened?

2.       What lesson, good or bad should I learn from this?

3.       How do I move on and not linger on what happened whether it was good or bad?


1.       What did I do well?

2.       What can I do better next time?

3.       Who and what am I most grateful for?

Perhaps these will be helpful to you.  At the question and answer time, Paul was asked how to turn off reflection for those who continuously ruminate and his answer might be useful to some of us.  He suggested to analyze the pros and cons of what it costs to constantly reflect and instead build in a periodic reflection instead of continuous reflection. 

I am grateful to Paul and to Kellogg for the opportunity to participate in this valuable webcast and to share.




I was talking to a client who is going into a negotiation with an employer who will use my client for contract work.  My client wants a "win/win" solution.  I reminded him that he didn't have to be responsible for the employer, that the employer could take care of his own interests.  Sometimes we bend over backwards so far to be fair that we forget about putting our own interests top of mind.  This is a message mostly for those who find they don't get their own needs met, for the "people pleasers" among us, not for those who want to win at all costs. 


We are once again in the midst of the Olympics.    I can’t imagine doing any of the routines which is perhaps one reason I am not able to do so.  (However, age and lack of athletic talent might also play a part.)  This topic does tie into job search in that we need to see ourselves as successful.  We humans probably spend more time berating ourselves for mistakes we make than we do in visualizing success. 

Olympic athletes go over their routines not just in practice but also mentally numerous times.  They envision success, not failure.

Of course, to be successful we must have and then practice the necessary skills.  After that we need to get out of our own way, let go of fear and envision success

One way to visualize overall success is to write a letter (does not need to be sent) to someone you admire as if it were one year from today.  The letter recipient can be a friend, fictional character in a book, someone in the past, your future self.  In that letter, outline all the good things that have happened to you during the year and how happy you feel.  Be very specific about the successes and your emotions around this success.  Really feel the power of this. 

To visualize success in interviewing, visualize yourself walking into the interview room, confidently answering questions, asking questions, ending the interview.

Another suggestion is to change your definition of success until you land.  In some events it is announced that a competitor had beaten his/her prior personal best.  I like this as a measurement because everyone can do it, not just those who win medals.  So I suggest to you that you strive to beat your personal best in number of networking calls, resumes sent out, comfort level at interviewing.  If you set the bar at increasing your ability rather than winning the job, you will see yourself as successful, which then, with the right opportunity, your practice and feelings of comfort will end up in your winning the job you want.

HOW TO REACH ME for career coaching           



The Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review

Like any other leadership capacity, stress management requires self-awareness. Leaders who manage stress effectively are able to recognize signs that they’re approaching their tipping point and consciously, deliberately step back from the edge. The next time you notice your stress levels increasing, take a moment to notice your breath. Start with a couple of strong, long, and deep breaths. Notice the physical sensations that accompany each one. After taking a few of these initial breaths, switch to a technique called “resonant breathing.” Inhale for 10 seconds and exhale for 10 seconds, for a total of six breaths per minute. You may find it helpful to do this while walking; the pace of your steps can provide a regular tempo for each breath. Eventually the rhythm will continue on its own and you can stop timing. Continue to breathe in and out until your state of mind shifts and you feel a sense of control over your emotions.

Adapted from “A Simple Way to Combat Chronic Stress,” by Alexander Caillet, Jeremy Hirshberg, and Stefano Petti


At least 3 times (and if you are reading this, you know how wonderful I think you are and therefore, don’t have to prove it) I have suggested to clients that they remove the mention of “Mensa” from their resumes.  There is no need to rub it in that you are more intelligent than your future boss and it could reduce your chances of being hired.  There are incredible amounts of times that I have really argued that clients remove from their summaries “20 years of experience in blah, blah, blah…” Or even 25 years of experience in…   Mention of great numbers of years only proves that you might be lots older than your future boss.  I also suggest that unless you are looking for a job in consulting or are right out of school, you leave off your GRE or GMAT scores. 

Why?  What is important in a resume is not the gifts that God has given you but how you have used them and these are demonstrated in your accomplishments.  You don’t want your future boss to think she is brighter than I am, older than I am, more experienced than I am.  You want FB to dream about what a great job you are going to do and how successful you are going to make FB’s team.  You do this by the accomplishments that you list in your resume in bullet point form.  They have an action verb, are frequently quantified and demonstrate that what you did was good for your employer or customer/client.  For example:

  • Reduced customer service complaints 25%. 
  • Attained 110% of quota in 2008 despite a difficult economy. 
  • Grew Profit... 
  • Grew Revenue... 


So You Didn't Get the Job

Two clients recently complained that they got rejected for jobs that they interviewed for.  Your not getting the job, does not mean you were rejected.  It simply means that you did not get the job.  When you put the emphasis on your being rejected, you give yourself a double whammy of negativity. 

You might have even been perfect for the job.  I remember helping Wally find the perfect person for his department.  He wanted someone with an automotive background and an MBA from a good school.  The first excellent 10 candidates weren’t good enough.  I threw in a ringer in frustration and that is the one Wally wanted.  What Wally really wanted was someone who could never be promoted over his head and someone who could make Wally look good by comparison. 

Mike Royko’s book, BOSS, if I remember correctly had a line in it, “We don’t want nobody that nobody sent.”  So take a hint and network to increase your chances of getting selected. 

One recent client got a job offer several months after he had interviewed and someone else received the offer.  Another similar job came open in the company and he was offered that job without the job being posted and without having to interview for it.  So in the words of Yogi Berra “It ain't over till it's over.”

Much success in your search and let me know if I can help you.

Changes In My Website and Life

For those who have been to my website or blog before you might notice the difference and that is due to the artistry of my daughter-in-law, Leslie Mac of the Ferguson Response Network.  My website got hacked about three weeks ago.  Leslie designed my new website, chose a new look and put this one up quickly under very tight time constraints.  Changes will be made as we go along but she really got the feel of what I wanted.  I also want to thank my son Drew for what he did technically and that I can’t even describe.

Although a hacked website is not nearly as difficult as losing a job (and I have been laid off three time), there are some similarities.  There is the shock, the need for action and change, need for help from others, the need for a vision for the future and the perspective shift that the new thing might be even better.  Please contact me if I can help you with your job search, not just with the tools but also the confidence to overcome the past and move ahead.