3 Ways to Recover from a Bad Job Interview

So, you've had a bad interview.  Don't worry, it happens.  Rather than let it get to you, we have some tips to help you recover.  Read on to learn the best ways to handle a less than successful interview:

  1. Think Positively.  Oftentimes, we'll catastrophize very minor things and conclude that an interview went horribly.  However, we tend to be our own harshest critic.  Rather than believing that your failure to answer a question as completely as you would have liked has doomed you from a great job, we'd instead encourage you to focus on all of the things that went well.  Dwelling on your perceived interview failure only makes it that much harder for you to have confidence the next time you interview.  Furthermore, we've probably all heard stories from people who worried about how they performed in an interview only to later discover that they got the job.  You could be one of those people!

  2. Send a Thank You.  You should do this after every interview, but it's particularly important if you were uncomfortable with your interview performance.  Consider the thank you as a way of doing damage control.  While you don't want to harp on your mistakes, you might say something like, “I've had time to reflect about that question you asked me earlier, and I'd like to elaborate on my answer by sharing an experience where I successfully handled a challenging problem at work.”  This gives you the opportunity to present additional information that will make you a more attractive candidate.

  3. Avoid Rehashing on Social Media.  More and more employers are checking job applicants' social media profiles.  Rather than firing up Facebook to post about your “horrific” job interview, keep mum and practice discretion.  Remember that even if the employer you interviewed with never checks social media, another prospective employer could. 

5 Interesting Facts About Columbus Day

Depending on which state you live in, Columbus Day might mean you get a much-needed day off from work, or it could mean business as usual.  That's because although Columbus Day is a federal holiday, there are actually 22 states that don't celebrate it.  Read on to learn why that is, as well as some other interesting facts about our national holiday:

  1. Columbus Was Not the First to Discover the New World.  Scholars have determined that actually, Vikings reached North America 500 years before Columbus.  For this reason—coupled with how Native Americans were treated by our earliest settlers—many cities celebrate Indigenous People's Day, rather than Columbus Day.

  2. A Lunar Eclipse May Have Saved Columbus' Life.  Columbus knew from his almanac that a lunar eclipse was scheduled to occur on February 29th, 1504.  At the time, he was in Jamaica and had been refused food by the islanders.  As History.com explains, “Columbus warned the islanders that his god was upset with their refusal of food and that the moon would 'rise inflamed with wrath' as an expression of divine displeasure.  On the appointed night, the eclipse darkened the moon and turned it red, and the terrified islanders offered provisions and beseeched Columbus to ask his God for mercy.”

  3. Columbus Was Responsible for Introducing Many Things We Enjoy Today to the Americas.  Any time you sit down for a meal, you're probably eating something that Columbus brought to America.  The list includes: barley, rye, sugar, bananas, citrus fruits, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs!

  4. Columbus Day Isn't Just Celebrated in the US.  Although the day goes by other names, it's also celebrated in Spain, Argentina, Belize, Uruguay, and the Bahamas.

  5. Oddly, Nobody Knows the Location of Columbus' Remains.  He was buried and reburied several times at various places around the world, including Spain and Haiti.

Database Modeling

As we said in the introductory article, correct and detailed modeling of our database is one of the most important segments of developing a database information system.  The goal is to develop a detailed specification of the structure of our database, having in mind the DBMS we are going to be working with.  The logical schema of the database must depict the natural properties of real-world objects and their relationships.  A badly modeled database can be a source of multiple problems later on, and might depand large-scale and expensive modifications.  This is particularly true for a complex system with thousands of different data sets to be taken into account.  Having said all of this, it is clear that we need a systematic approach to database modeling.  One of such approaches is developing a conceptual model first—a model close to the human perception of the real world, utilising a high level of abstraction.  This is the approach that we will be using.

One of the most common high-level conceptual models is the so-called Entity-Relationship model.  A significant advantage of this model is the fact that it is very easy, using a set of simple rules, to generate a relational schema of the modeled database.  This is important because today, the most prominent DBMSs are based on the relational paradigm.

Entity-Relationship Model 1/3

If we analize a real-world system, we can distinguish between certain groups of entities: objects, people, concepts, events etc.  Each entity represents something which exists as a whole, and is different from other entities in the system.  For example, entities in a university information system could be faculties, professors, students, classes, departments etc.  The next thing we can notice is that between these entities, there are certain relationships: a professor can teach multiple classes, a student can attend multiple classes but only be enrolled at one department etc.  This kind of reasoning is the basis of the entity-relationship conceptual model.  We will be representing this model in the ERwin data modeler, using E-R (entity-relationship) diagrams.

Before we get into creating a diagram, we need to explain the entity-relationship model in more detail.  Like we said already, an entity is something which exists in the real world, physically or conceptually.  Each entity is characterized by certain properties, called attributes.  Each property of an entity is described by a quantitative value of a certain attribute, for example, an entity called Student can have an attribute named FirstName, and the value of that attribute can be John or Sarah.  Some attributes can (or should) have unique values, like ID numbers, different identifiers etc.  These attributes are called primary keys, and this is a very important concept, but we will return to primary keys (and other kinds of keys) later.

Now, let's say a bit more about attributes.  Attributes should always be named in a manner which makes it easy and intuitive to understand the attribute's purpose.  Attributes, depending on the type, have a set of allowed values, and this set is called the attribute's domain.
There are different kinds of attributes:

  • Atomic/Composit attributes - we say that an attribute is atomic when it has values which are unseparable, while a composit attribute's values consist of smaller parts.  For example, an address can be considered a composit attribute because it consists of street name, number, city etc.
  • Single-valued/Multivalued attributes - single-valued attributes can only have one value for one entity, while multivalued attributes can have multiple values for one entity.  For example, a person can have multiple phone numbers, which would make the PhoneNumber attribute in the Person entity multivalued.
Another important thing to say about attributes is that some of them can have the null value.  This is a special value, it can be a part of any domain, and it means that the attribute's value is either unknown or inapplicable.  DBMSs treat null values differently, depending on the implementation, but MySQL (which we will be using) considers each null value to be unique.  In the following articles we will continue to learn about the entity-relationship model, attributes, relationship constraints, mapping cardinality etc., and we will apply that theoretical knowledge on building a simple model of a university.


Just Don’t: 6 Social Media No-Nos

Unfortunately, mismanaging your social media accounts can cost you a job, a relationship, or even your safety.  To make sure you’re protected, here are 6 things that you should never do on social media:

  1. Share Vacation Plans.  Don’t return from your trip abroad to a house that’s been ransacked.  While it’s tempting to share your vacation plans with your friends and family, do it privately.  You don’t want to announce to criminals the best dates to rob your home.

  2. Write A Confessional.  Hate your job?  Have a drug problem?  Can’t stand your clients?  Keep it to yourself.  Research shows that 15% of companies have disciplined employees for oversharing on social media and 8% of companies have gone so far as to fire someone.

  3. Post Inappropriate Photos/Videos.  What’s inappropriate?  Anything that may come back to haunt you in the future: nude photos, videos of you wearing a lampshade on your head or using drugs and alcohol, etc.

  4. Divulge Controversial Opinions.  Some things are better left unsaid.  Or in the case of social media, unwritten.  Rather than jumping into the fray when controversial topics are debated—like politics or religion—keep in mind that this behavior could cost you friendships or job opportunities.

  5. Detail Relationship Problems.  If you’re having a dispute with your spouse, keep it to yourself.  Posting these types of issues online are not only detrimental to your relationship, but will also cause others to question your judgment.

  6. Post Anything You Don’t Want Shared.  Before posting anything, ask yourself how you would react if your post suddenly went viral.  PR executive Justine Sacco sent a tweet meant as a joke—“Going to Africa.  Hope I don’t get AIDS.  Just kidding. I’m white!”`—right before boarding a plane for South Africa.  Because she only had 170 Twitter followers, she didn’t expect much of a reaction.  However, the tweet went viral and by the time she landed, she had received tens of thousands of angry tweets in response.  Ultimately, she was fired as a result.  Social media lives on forever so think twice before you post anything that could be misinterpreted.

4 Ways People Bomb Job Interviews

Interviews can be stressful.  However, they're made much more so when you start to sense that you're bombing.  Rather than do that, learn the most common ways that people bomb interviews so you don't make any of these rookie mistakes the next time you interview for your dream job:

  1. Getting Defensive.  Some interviewers will ask you challenging questions or even come off as being slightly aggressive to see how you react under pressure.  Rather than getting defensive or flustered, take a deep breath and pause for a moment.  This gives you a chance to relax before answering, rather than spouting off the first thing that comes to mind.

  2. Being Unprepared.  At a minimum, you should prepare for an interview by refamiliarizing yourself with the specifics of your resume, researching the company you're interviewing with, preparing some questions to ask the interviewer, and practicing answers to some of the most commonly asked interview questions.  Few things make a worse impression than arriving to an interview completely unprepared.

  3. Arriving Late.  Speaking of arriving to the interview, it's extremely important that you arrive on time.  If you're unfamiliar with the area or don't know how long it will take you to get there, it's a good idea to give yourself twice the amount of time you think you'll need.  This has the added benefit of allowing you to sit for a few minutes to collect yourself in advance of the interview so you don't feel rushed or stressed.

  4. Little Enthusiasm.  Now is not the time to hone your resting b*tch face skills!  Instead, be positive and enthusiastic about the position and the company.  People who go on interviews and lack enthusiasm can appear bored, unfriendly, or as if they're merely looking to collect a paycheck.  While we realize that collecting said paycheck is important, you also want to appear interested in the job itself and your daily work responsibilities.