Fri | Dec 14, 2018

Glenford Smith | Your worst experience

Published:Wednesday | December 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Q Do you have an article that answers the question, 'Tell me about a bad or your worst experience'? Also, do you have an article that addresses when a person works at a company for over eight years and has not advanced after that time?

- T. S.

CAREERS: Thank you for your question. I realise that I don't currently have an article that deals with that, so thank you for raising it. One principle to bear in mind throughout your job interview is never focus on the negative.

This question is a prime example. It is an open invitation to indulge in recounting a negative experience from your past.

You need to be prepared to know there are some questions an interviewer shouldn't ask, and he knows it. They ask it on the off-chance that, in case a candidate is not prepared, he will take the trap and bring up one bad experience. That is a failed question or interview.

To answer the question, you don't want to seem to be stonewalling, yet you know you won't be negative. Here is what you do.

Say something like, "Just like anyone else, I think I can find something about myself that I can think about in a bad way. In my past employment or at home, I think I can find those things. Because, after all, I am human, and none of us is spared having to deal with these things.

"What I do, however, is try and take the lesson from the experience, but I do not focus on the experience itself after that. It is something that is a habit with me. It keeps me positive and in a good frame of mind. I never harbour any regrets in life. If it involves another person, I seek out that person as soon as possible, apologise, and somehow resolve it before it becomes toxic."

With regards to your second question, I would ask, "What is the reason for the seeming lack of upward mobility experienced by that person?" The person might not have advanced himself in any way in order to justify any forward movement.

Just because someone is at a position for a number of years does not make them deserving of a promotion. A promotion is earned when the employee does excellent work that is important to the company. And equally important, the employee deploys a set of strategies that ultimately leads to the promotion that is sought.

The following, in my experience, seem to be mastered by those who successfully get promoted time after time.

1. They work at activities that are important and meaningful to the company. They are unlikely to get promoted if what they do doesn't affect the bottom line in any way.

2. They ensure that the people who should know, know.

3. They are always excellent at what they do.

4. They are people experts - they know what makes people tick.

5. They always expand their knowledge of what their company does.

6. They practice emotional intelligence with everyone.

8. They ask for a promotion when they have earned it by their work.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.