6 Essential Tips For a Successful Interview

Getting the call to interview is a bittersweet moment. Sweet because you passed the first round of shortlisting and bitter because the interview process can be daunting and nerve wrecking.

But, with the right preparation, you can increase your chances of acing your interview. In this article, we will explore Tips for you to have a successful interview.

Research The Company

It is important for you to know about the company that you are looking to work with. Dedicate a few hours learning about everything you can about the company. This information can be accessed online via the company website, professional social platforms such as LinkedIn as well as Google. It is advisable to use different sources of information, to make sure that you get a broad picture of the company and also be ready to answer questions on why you’d like to work there.

Prepare and Practice

You can prepare by understanding the role that you applied for, by taking a closer look at the Job description and matching it with your skills.

You can also prepare by practicing answering the common interview questions, and answering them in relation to how your skills fit what they are looking for.

Also prepare some questions for the interviewers as well, this shows interest in the position.

Dress Appropriately and be punctual

First impressions last and it is in your best interest not to get to your interview late. In fact, consider arriving a few minutes earlier. This will give you time to get settled in, calm your nerves and brush up on areas you might need to.

Dress appropriately for the interview, this shows professionalism.

Improve your interview skills

Interviews are not only about the questions the interviewer asks, but also about how you answer them.

How good are you at active listening? Small talk? Body language? Know that the interviewer is keen about these aspects and you should too.

Prepare for off guard questions

Or rather, know what to do if caught off guard. It’s a good idea to avoid dead air after being caught off guard by having a tactic to buy some time to think.

Repeating the question thoughtfully before answering is one tactic you can use to avoid stalling.

Send a thank you note after the interview.

This is a courteous gesture that can leave a positive impact on the interviewers. Purpose to send the note 24-48 hours after the interview, expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to interview and briefly stress on your interest to work with the company.


By applying the above tips, you will be prepared for your interview. Remember, an interview is a chance for you to showcase your skills, and by preparing you increase your chances of landing your dream job!


Promoting mindfulness and self-care in the workplace

Mindfulness in the workplace refers to maintaining a present state of mind, and being aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. In the current fast-paced work environment, mindfulness ensures employees stay focused on the task at hand amidst internal and external stimuli eventually achieving the required productivity and efficiency. Mindfulness plays an important role in reducing stress by promoting a sense of calm, resulting in a positive impact on individual and collective mental health.

Self-care goes hand in hand with mindfulness, it means intentional actions that an individual takes to boost mental, physical, and emotional well-being. It has traditionally been reserved for outside work hours but we can all agree that work is invariably intertwined with our life routines. Self-care in the workplace looks different, it involves having boundaries, catching onto signs of stress, and prioritizing your own mental health.

To have a satisfying and beneficial experience with self-care and mindfulness, employees are encouraged to practice tips including but not limited to;

Mindfulness tips:

  • Being consciously present while handling a task, for instance, if you’re preparing a report give it your full attention.
  • Indulge in short mindful exercises during your work day, this may look something like a minute off work activity to take deep silent breaths.
  • Be a ‘single-tasker’ – monotasking is a reminder to focus on one task at a time, multitasking is much more likely to degrade our performance on each of the tasks at hand.
  • Slowing down to speed up – the mindful way of working is to decelerate for a short while and reflect, thereafter get back to a project fully rejuvenated which results to more productivity and efficiency.
  • Make stress your friend – Sounds ridiculous right? Viewing a problem that causes stress as a positive challenge improves productivity and achievement at work.

Self-care tips:

  • Organizing and setting limits on tasks handled per day.
  • Utilizing one’s breaks to engage in an enjoyable activity such as taking a walk.
  • Including items on the workstation that evoke joy, could be a small family portrait or motivational quote.
  • Set defined boundaries such as turning off emails during the weekend and taking sick leave to prioritize physical health.
  • Constantly hydrating and having healthy lunch.

How can employers support self-care and mindfulness in the workplace?

  • Offer mindfulness coaching – A coach can help employees develop coping skills to better handle daily challenges and regulate emotions.
  • Support employee breaks – Getting some time to recharge is fundamental in preventing burnout, therefore, improving productivity. Employers need to create clear leave policies that truly support clocking out of staff to relax.
  • Design an ergonomically friendly workplace – This is a work environment with adequate lighting and offers options for a variety of working postures where employees thrive and are more comfortable.
  • Recognize accomplishments – Intrinsic and/or extrinsic rewards not only encourages employees but also make them feel valued. Such small gestures make a difference in employee retention, morale, and motivation.
  • Foster good habits – Encourage employees to log off and shut down to promote work-life balance, discourage eating lunch at the computer and practice what you preach. Set an example by living your own self-care rules!

It is important to integrate self-care and mindfulness in both our professional and personal lives to maintain positive mental health.


Accommodations for Employees with Mental Health Conditions

A mental health condition is an important determinant of an individual’s ability to achieve maximum productivity in the workplace. Most employers have at least one employee with a mental health condition at any given time. Human Resource Professionals in organizations ought to be keen to identify employee mental health conditions since they are not as visible as physical and communication disabilities, and subsequently offer required accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations are adjustments to a work environment that make it possible for qualified employees with mental illness to perform according to expectations and contractual agreements with the employer. Most accommodations can be made for minimal or no cost at all and a bit of input in terms of time and planning. Effective accommodations assist employees resume work faster after mental illness related leave, eliminate costs due to lost productivity, and also aid in recruiting and retaining qualified employees.

The process of developing and implementing accommodations begins with input from the employee. Accommodations vary, similar to people’s strengths, work environments, and job duties.

Here are some accommodations that can be incorporated in a company for employees with mental health conditions to enable them more effectively perform their jobs;

Job duties adjustments   

  • Prioritizing and restructuring to cater to essential job duties first and finalize with non-essential job functions.
  • Organizing large assignments into smaller tasks and goals.
  • Support and/or time for orientation activities, training and learning job tasks, and new responsibilities.

Office modifications 

  • Reduction and/or removal of distractions in the work area such as adjustment of telephone volume.
  • Relocation away from noisy machinery and environment.
  • Balance of lighting to ensure employees perform visual tasks efficiently and manage side effects of mental health illness.

Management/supervision interventions 

  • Implement suitable leadership styles and open communication between employers and employees regarding performance and work expectations.
  • Tackle employee relations issues before they get out of hand.
  • Regular discussions either weekly or monthly on workplace issues and productivity as part of annual performance appraisals to assess abilities and discuss promotional opportunities.
  • Create employee awareness on right to mental health accommodations.
  • Enforce written work agreements that include any agreed upon accommodations, long-term and short-term goals, expectations of responsibilities and consequences of not meeting performance standards.

Flexible working arrangements – Telecommuting and/or working from home. 

Scheduling – Part-time work hours, reporting and leaving time adjustments, compensation for missed time.

Leave – Sick leave for reasons related to mental health, flexible use of annual leave, additional unpaid leave for treatment or recovery, leaves of absence for therapy and other related appointments.

Work breaks – Flexibility in scheduling breaks in terms of individual needs rather than a fixed schedule, provision of backup coverage during breaks, and telephone breaks during work hours to call professionals and others needed for support.

It is important to note that Part 2, Section 5 (3) (a) of the Kenyan Employment Act states that;

No employer shall discriminate directly or indirectly, against an employee or prospective employee or harass an employee or prospective employee— on grounds of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, nationality, ethnic or social origin, disability, pregnancy, mental status or HIV status.

It is therefore a core duty of employers to ensure employees with mental health issues are fully supported to effectively and efficiently perform optimally at work.


Mental Health Support at the Workplace

shutterstock_562441603-300x142 Mental Health Support at the Workplace

Human Resource Professionals have always been concerned about managing mental health in the workplace. Some workers find it difficult to maintain their mental health, which has led to a decline in staff morale and decreased productivity. Additionally, more workers are battling substance usage.  This raises the issue of how the HR department can assist staff members who are experiencing mental health issues.

  1. Promote Company-Wide Mental Health Resources

Chances are your company has mental health programs available but many employees are not aware. For example, most insurance plans offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs are voluntary, work-based programs that offer mental health assessments, short-term counseling opportunities, referrals to specialists, and follow-up services to employees. They serve as the first place an employee can go if they need help.

Does your company’s insurance plan cover mental health? If so, to what extent?

  1. Host Mental Health Support Training

As HR professionals, you are experts at understanding workplace dynamics as it relates to mental health. However, you don’t interact with your staff every day. To lessen stigma and teach them how to access the appropriate mental health resources, it is crucial that managers and staff members complete mental health training. Your department can engage an external consultant or specialist, organize internal training sessions, or enroll staff in online training courses. There are still many misconceptions around mental health. By giving employees training, you may assist them understand what the problem is and how to get help before it gets worse.

  1. Provide a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Long-term stress has been demonstrated to have significant negative consequences on people’s physical and mental health. An increased risk of anxiety, depression, mood disorders, substance abuse, occupational accidents, and interpersonal conflict between co-workers can result from professional burnout. When experienced simultaneously, not getting enough time off from work can be particularly harmful to mental health.

It is impossible to overstate how important work-life balance is. The consequences affect not only you but also people close to you. People you engage with at work and outside of it will value the opportunity to do so when you are at your best. Your personal connections will improve as a result of the devoted concentration once work isn’t permitted to consume your free time. On the other hand, maintaining a healthy personal life helps lessen unplanned interruptions at work, increasing productivity.

Prioritize Mental Health

HR departments are the first places employees go if they need assistance. But, it’s also important to proactively communicate all modes of mental health support. Start off by reviewing your company’s health insurance coverage to ensure that mental health is covered and then begin promoting these services to your employees.

Most importantly, offer an open and friendly HR environment where employees feel safe discussing their concerns or issues.