After more than two decades in the Executive Search
business, I have learned a lot about what goes into a
successful hire. I try to impart my knowledge to both hiring
managers and candidates. Nevertheless, at many job
interviews I find myself listening to questions that make me
cringe and answers that make me want to cry.
Now it's my turn to talk.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Smile. Why not?

Have you ever worked with someone who is humorless and generally unhappy?  I have - and I swear it is not my current partner. 

You know the type.  She’s the woman who can barely muster up a “Good Morning” because it contains the word “good.”  He’s the guy who can bring you down as mercilessly as a chainsaw drops a dying tree.

Or perhaps you yourself are that purveyor of bad cheer.

Pick a day and try to be aware of your facial expressions.  When you pass the receptionist in the morning, do you acknowledge that person with a smile – or drag yourself by with a perfunctory nod?  When you shake hands with a new colleague, is your handshake accompanied by a smile with eye contact or a blank stare into the great beyond?  Do you react to a co-worker’s good news with a hearty smile or a hardly noticeable uptick of the lips?

If you discover that you are a swirling drain sucking the joy out of your workspace, it may be time for a one-step attitude adjustment – Step 1:  Smile.

Smiling is easy, it’s free, and it usually earns you the good will of the recipient. 

If you are a candidate interviewing for a job, a genuine smile during your introduction scores a few points in the plus column that might compensate for a bad answer later in the interview.   And it just might make you more comfortable and confident as you enter the interview process. 

Similarly, smiles given to peers, managers and subordinates at work are usually given right back, making everyone feel better about each other and about the day.  It has been suggested that acting happy will eventually make you feel happy - when you act happy, the people around you tend to react with happiness making you actually feel happy, etc.etc. you get the drill.

So, if your facial muscles have become stuck in neutral, I suggest that you switch gears and work at smiling.  You will become the person people want to work with and be with – never a bad thing – in your workspace and in life.

Even if you can’t become a habitual smiler, consider the words of the immortal, but long deceased, W.C. Fields, “Start every day with a smile and get it over with.”

Or in the words of a famous headhunter, “Smile. Why not?”

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