13 July 2016
“What are you reading right now?” This question sounds simple in theory when asked in an interview; either you are reading something or you are not. However, for hiring managers who ask this question, it usually means one thing: reading is valuable to them. While reading seems like a luxurious (or perhaps dull) way to spend time for many, employers see reading as a key personality trait in an excellent hire. People who read are constantly looking to gain more knowledge, expand their horizons, and push harder. Plus, they often boast better communication skills and higher levels of creativity. With all of these soft skills and personality traits, this seemingly innocent question can actually reveal a lot about who you are. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to pick up a book in lieu of your next Netflix binge. However, this is an excellent opportunity to take it a step further and read a book that will actually help you in your job search or in your career. Not only will this allow you to exhibit the aforementioned qualities, but your choice of reading material can also show that you value self-improvement and career advancement. To help you get started, here are a few books that will impress any interviewer and help you grow professionally in the process: Linchpin by Seth Godin In Linchpin, author Seth Godin poses a critical question: Are you indispensable? Godin dissects the workplace and your work ethic to show you how you can become an employee that is not just a cog in the machine, but rather an employee who does more than what is asked of them. Godin teaches his readers how to become a “Linchpin”; someone who can walk into chaos and create order. By becoming an employee that does more than the bare minimum, solves problems, and makes things happen, you can become indispensable. In your job search, this will show any hiring manager that you want to provide value to their organization outside of just abiding by the job description. Additionally, once you’re hired, you’ll be able to prove your value with what you’ve learned from Linchpin, and your company won’t want you to leave. The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander Do you ever wonder how some people continuously achieve seemingly impossible goals? Rosamund and Benjamin Zander challenge your assumptions of what is possible in The Art of Possibility. Both from musical backgrounds, the authors argue that the world we compose through our own postulation can be changed with new definitions, which in turn alters our mindset regarding what we deem as possible, and thus, the way we view the world around us. Not only can this help you achieve your goals in the workplace, but it can help you in your job search as well. By challenging your own assumptions or perhaps the assumptions of a hiring manager, you may impress your interviewer without even meaning to do so. As a result, you could land a job sooner than you think. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell Malcolm Gladwell, an accomplished author and writer for The New Yorker, is known for writing books where interesting stories and profound research overlap. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell dissects how ideas expand (or “tip”) into ubiquity, similar in the way viruses turn into epidemics. Even though all messages always start out with just a few individuals, why is it that some will spread like wildfire while others fall flat? While The Tipping Point is often touted as an important read for marketing professionals, its focus on communication and the spreading of ideas can help any professional navigate their own workplace. Additionally, you’ll excite any interviewer when you mention a Malcolm Gladwell book, as his ability to apply research to social sciences is well-regarded among professionals. Feel the Fear…And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers Fear is often thought of as a barrier to success. For example, you’ve probably heard a story of a great accomplishment and thought to yourself that you could never be brave enough to do that. However, in Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway, author Susan Jeffers challenges the notion that fear should stand in the way of your triumph by suggesting that this is an educational problem rather than a psychological issue. If you can re-educate yourself to accept fear as a fact of life, you can face it with more confidence. A job search can be riddled with uncertainty—often accompanied by fear. The idea of such a big life change can impact the way you decide to go about your job search, so it’s important that you don’t deny yourself opportunities based on fear of failure or fear of the unknown. Additionally, Jeffers’ ability to reposition fear in the mind may help you through a difficult interview process or in furthering your career. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg Whether you’re stuck in a rut or having trouble turning a negative habit around, it can be mystifying trying to deconstruct what you’ve been programmed to do. However, in The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg breaks down the components of a habit into three parts: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Through this concept, Duhigg explores the habits of individuals, successful organizations, and societies. As a result, not only will you be able to impress any interviewer with your self-awareness, but you’ll also provide more value to your employer on the job with your understanding of how businesses operate around habits. Additionally, your ability to create your own habits can make you a more productive employee.