You’ve Got 90 Seconds to Make a Good First Impression

Your resume nailed you an interview. While the average interview can last up to 40 minutes, 33% of hiring managers say they know within the first 90 seconds if you’re the person they want to hire.

To help put that into perspective, here’s what you can do in 90 ticks; that’s the average amount of time it takes to respond to a text message or sing the national anthem.

Your interviewer has already decided whether you’re the right person for the job, in that small window of time.

Here’s some insight into what other factors play on whether you make an excellent first impression.

Spend Time Researching the Company 

Do we really need to list this one? Surprisingly, 47% of hiring managers give a big strike for not doing your homework. Having little to no knowledge of the company you are interviewing with is the most common interview mistake.

It doesn’t take long to spend some time on LinkedIn or Google and find some recent news or learn more about a company’s history. Then drop that knowledge during the interview. Showing a genuine interest in the company goes a long way.

Dress for the Part

What you wear may be the deciding factor between two identical candidates and could get you the mental ax if you’re trying too hard. 70% of hiring managers said they don’t want candidates to be too trendy or too fashionable.

Keep it classic and simple.

Eye Contact

Not surprisingly, 67% of the hiring managers surveyed counted out candidates that had issues making and keeping eye contact.

Holding someone’s gaze for an appropriate period is a nonverbal cue that tells the other person you are engaged and want to keep talking. By contrast, breaking eye contact communicates you don’t want to continue the conversation and desire some distance, which can be rooted in the psychological need to protect yourself from anticipated embarrassment, shame, or other negative feelings that could come from the interaction.

Smile More. Be Confident

Preparation grows confidence. If you’re feeling extra nervous, crack a smile. Science shows it builds your confidence level. When 38% of hiring managers counted people out of the running that didn’t smile or show any confidence.

Need help preparing for your next interview? Contact INNOVA People for more tips to make a lasting first impression.


Why You Need a Hiring Strategy During Hyper-Growth

While rapid growth can be an exciting time for a start-up, it can also be one of the most challenging phases. People are the heart of every company so finding the right ones becomes critical during the expansion stage. 

First, hiring for start-ups needs careful consideration, despite the urgency that the exceptional growth rate imposes. Many founding teams don’t have the time or recruiting expertise to build and expand high-growth companies in such situations.

You can see the vision in your head, you know what needs to be built, and how to build it..but you just don’t have the talent in-house yet to do it. 

We’re here to help. 

With over 20 years of industry experience and a proven model, we can assess where you are today, plan, and execute where you want to go. You get the people that you need but also set you up for the future. So when you do this again, you are ready and know how to tackle this daunting part of your company’s growth life cycle.

This process also establishes a structured hiring process. According to Adam Robinson, author of the book The Best Team Wins, 90% of all companies lack a structured hiring process. Among all the other things that result from the lack of a structured or documented hiring process, the bad hires it brings to your company can hurt you the most. 

Learn more about INNOVA People’s proprietary program for talent acquisition that is two decades in the making for your start-up tech business.

Ted Talks in Ten

We could all use some inspiration right now. Take ten with TED Talks. From speeches on leadership, education to the practice of mindfulness, the highly popular TED talk videos are the perfect source of inspiration for taking small steps toward living your best life. 

While there are thousands to choose from, some of the most insightful talks take up less than 10 minutes of your time. 

Here are five of our favorites if you’re looking to expand your horizons, find some inspiration, and still get to that Zoom meeting on time.

Julian Treasure: “How to Speak so that People Want to Listen

Julian Treasure demonstrates some vocal exercises for anyone who wants to command the attention of a room business consultant and sound expert and shares tips on how to speak with power and empathy.  

Length: 9:58

Sunni Brown: “Doodlers, unite!”

Are you looking for ways to unlock some creative thinking? Sunni Brown insists that doodling is a method for improving comprehension and fostering more creative thinking. Brown makes the case by unlocking your brain via pad and pen. 

Length: 5:50

Andy Puddicombe: “All it Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes”. 

Can you recall the last time you altogether paused and did nothing for ten straight minutes? Yeah, we can’t either. Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, only by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. 

Length: 9:09

Ron Gutman: “The Hidden Power of Smiling”

Health entrepreneur Ron Gutman reviews a collection of studies about the simple act of smiling and reveals some surprising results: your smile can measure longevity, the act of smiling can boost your mood and stimulates our brain better than chocolate. 

Length: 7:26

Adam Atler: Why Our Screens Make Us Less Happy”

What makes us incessantly check our phones? Psychologist Adam Atler dives into the fascinating psychology that drives our tech additions and what you can do about it to live a more fulfilled life.  


Have a favorite TED talk? Let us know, we’d love to hear what’s inspiring you.

On Vacation? Don’t Check Slack

As we have seen a dramatic and abrupt shift in the past six months, how and when we work is fundamentally changing. Remote work has allowed the flexibility to log in from anywhere, but the data shows workers aren’t logging off. 

According to the 2018 American Time Use Survey  – 30 percent of full-time employees report working weekends and holidays. A LinkedIn survey found, 70 percent of professionals say they don’t break away completely when they take a vacation. Most workers admit that they at least check their work email when they’re supposed to be out of the office.

While dedicating extra time to your job may boost your motivation and success, there are tremendous benefits to snoozing all Slack notifications.

Harvard Business Review found that spending weekends or holidays working undermines one of the most critical factors determining whether people persist in their work: intrinsic motivation

“People feel intrinsically motivated when they engage in activities that they find interesting, enjoyable, and meaningful. Our data shows that working during leisure time creates internal conflict between pursuing personal and professional goals, leading people to enjoy their work less,” the report states. 

When people engage in work during a time that they think of as leisure time, such as the weekend or on vacation, they may experience conflict between their expectations and reality. As a result, the HBR data shows they find their work less engaging and less meaningful.

As a manager, set an example by not working during time off and support your employees by encouraging them to do the same. When people don’t take the “OOO” seriously, they begin to feel overwhelmed, disorganized, and less creative at work. 

Understanding how to stay motivated has always been important, but as the pandemic forces many employees to work remotely for the long-term and burdens them with additional demands on their time, these strategies will be particularly important to ensure you and your team stay as productive and engaged as possible.

And who doesn’t want to return after a vacation, fully refreshed? 

Tips on How to Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

“I love answering behavioral interview questions,” said no-candidate ever. While you may be comfortable formulating answers surrounding your skills and achievements, it may be a different story for those behavioral interview questions.

Behavioral interviewing is a technique involving queries in which candidates describe past performance and behavior to determine future performance.   The answers should provide verifiable, concrete evidence as to how a candidate has dealt with issues in the past.

Most behavioral interview questions are based around the following themes:

  • Teamwork
  • Patient-care/Customer-care
  • Adaptability
  • Time management
  • Communication style
  • Motivation and core values

Here are some examples:

  • “Tell me about a time when you made a mistake. What did you do to correct it?”
  • “When you’ve strongly disagreed with your team members, how did you communicate those feelings?”
  • “Describe a long-term project that you managed. How did you keep everything moving along on time?”
  • “Describe a situation when you had to work closely with a difficult coworker. How did you handle the situation? Were you able to build a relationship with this person?”

Here are some tips to help you nail it.

Think challenge and specific action. Develop some compelling stories of when you faced a problem at work and make a list of the actions you took to solve it and the results. Formulate concise responses to keep you from rambling.

Next, come up with examples of times when you overcame obstacles, dealt with a crisis, or helped fuel a successful workplace collaboration. Think about how open you are to new ideas, how adept you are at finding common ground, and what experiences you might draw upon to navigate complicated problems.

One technique used to answer these types of questions is the STAR method. STAR is an acronym that stands for:

  • Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
  • Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
  • Action: Explain what specific steps you took to address it.
  • Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.

Rehearse, but don’t memorize.
You’re not a robot. Have some compelling anecdotes handy and practice them out loud. That way, you’ll feel polished and prepared.

Need help finding a job? Elevate your career today with Innova People.

Namaste. Take a Deep Breathe to Becoming Less Stressed and a Better Leader

If you’re not feeling a little stressed during this time in history, our hats are off. Here’s some help for the rest of us, and it can make you a better leader.

Enter the ancient practice of yoga.

The word “yoga” comes from a Sanskrit root “yuj,” which means union, or yoke, yoga brings together mind and body.

Backed by science, yogic practices offer a variety of mental and physical health benefits: reduce stress, enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, and can make you a better leader by increasing your calmness and focus.

It all starts with your breath. Here are five easy steps to experience yogic breathing:

  1. Sit on a blanket, mat, or the floor in Sukhansana or Easy Cross-Legged Pose. Straighten the spine and soften your shoulders.
  2. Place both or one hand over your navel so you can feel your breath.
  3. Take a slow, deep breath into your belly. Feel the abdomen and chest inflate like a balloon as you inhale, and deflate as you exhale slowly. Practice this for five breaths.
  4. Move your hand two to three inches above your navel to your rib cage. Feel the ribs expand as you inhale, and retract as you exhale.
  5. Place your hand below the collarbone, at the center of your chest, and inhale. Feel the chest open as you breathe in, and withdraw on an exhale. Practice this for five breaths

When Steve Jobs passed away, friends and family attending his funeral received a small gift from the late tech genius: Autobiography of a Yogi, a book focused on the ‘ancient science of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation.”

Like the late Jobs, more and more leaders are adopting this kind of mindfulness into their lives with great results.

If you’re not ready to head to your local yoga studio and want to explore a yoga practice at home, check out Yoga with Adriene. Her YouTube channel is full of sun salutations designed to meet all levels and time constraints. The return on your yoga practice could help your leadership skills grow.