HELP! I Have an Interview Tomorrow…

If you have an interview at short notice, you still need to be prepared.  Our recruitment agency has helped people find jobs for over 14 years and these are the first things that you need to do to make sure you are suitably prepared without taking up lots of your time.

List Of Things You Need:-
Copy of the job advert or job description to hand.
2 Copies of your CV to take with you to the interview.
Organise exactly what you are wearing for the interview tomorrow – something smart.
Make sure you have the address of the lnterview location and the name of the person you are seeing and the time of the interview written down or printed out.
Make sure you know how you are going to get to the interview,  do you have directions, bus routes etc? Calculate how long it will take to get there and plan to be early.

Once you have organised all of the above, now you can do your research, the first thing to do is read the job advert or the job description and look at the key attributes or skills the company are looking for in the candidate for the role. Write a short sentence for each of the key things they are looking for  about why you match up to each of the attributes or skills they are looking for. (If you can’t match up to them all don’t worry – most companies don’t get candidates who are an “exact fit” and 7 out of 10 may be enough to get you the job.  Go onto their website and see exactly what they do as a business, who their Managing Director is (you can google this if it’s not on their site) – how long they have been in business so that you have some knowledge of the company before you go into the interview.   Write down some bullet point answers to the following 7 interview questions – this will help you be more confident in the interview tomorrow:-

Typical Interview Questions:-
Why are you looking for a new role? (How do you plan to position this to the client – never slate your current employer).
Why do you want to work for this company? (as opposed to any other company – read the company goals e.g. on their website, you need to make them feel that you specifically want to work for them – and not that you would take any role. Best to have a reason prepared).
Why should you get the job? (What skills and attributes make you a match for this position).
What is your strengths? ( have one prepared – ideally one that matches the clients requirements – your recruiter or job advert should tell you what is important to the interviewer/company in the candidate for this role).
What is your weaknesses? ( again have one prepared that’s not really a weakness – so you are not caught our and admit to something that could be detrimental to your application – for example “I get upset when someone promises my client something and does not deliver, because if I make a promise to a client I always keep it”.
What would be your first tasks if you get the role? ( what will you do in your first 30 days if they give you this role).
Do you have any questions? (Create a list of at least 2 questions – avoid holidays or pension questions – that way you have questions to ask at the end or you can confidently say :- “actually you answered all the questions that I had” which makes the client think that you actually had questions and that they did a good job.

NoteGive yourself plenty of time to get to your interview and remember preparation is the key.   Good luck!

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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4 Steps to a New Job!

So you want a new job?
Where to start…
Our Recruitment Agency with experience dealing with large numbers of candidates looking for new positions, we find that the candidates who are well organised tend to get the most interviews. Given job searching can be time consuming we have outlined what we believe to be the 4 key steps you need to take to ensure you are doing all the correct activities that will rapidly lead to a job offer.

Strategy and Goals
First of all you need to plan your strategy and set some goals. So for example ask yourself the following questions:-

What kind of role are you looking for?
What is your long-term career objective?
What kind of salary are you looking for?
When do you want to start your new job?
Why do you want to change your role?
How will you benefit from a new role?

You need to be specific about your objectives – we find that people who are vague about why they want to move and the benefits they are looking for, tend to have a long drawn out job search.

Make a Plan
So how are you going to manage your job search, have you got all the information you need to hand, for example:-

Do you have an up to date CV?
Do you have a template for a covering letter?
Is your linked in profile up to date?
Which agency should you use?
What job boards are you going to look at?
Do the job-boards have your wish list so they can automate sending you relevant vacancies?

Write down all the things you need to do that you have not done on this list.

Create Deadlines
Look at your list and then decide which tasks are most important, and then put them in order of priority, then set a deadline for each task.  In our experience if you don’t treat your job search like a project with tasks and deadlines it won’t happen as quickly as you would like. Really you need to treat this like an important mission and let nothing stand in your way!

Take Action – Now!
You can make a plan, list the priorities and set the deadlines, but if you don’t actually take actions and write the CV or register with a job board nothing will happen!
Give yourself a reward for completing each task, do whatever it takes to motivate yourself to complete all the tasks in your plan.  Hold the thought in your head about the benefits a new job will bring, and use this to motivate you to find your new job. Pick at least one activity to carry out each day, and before you know it, you will be attending interviews and deciding on which is the best job offer for you.
Remember “If nothing happens, nothing happens!”

Good luck with your job search!

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Top 25 Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions

If you prepare your answers to the Interviewers potential questions below, before your interview, this will help you be more prepared, reduce nerves and increase your confidence during the interview itself.
Below is a list of the most frequently asked interview questions and some advice on how to best answer those questions that you may find useful.
There are details at the end of this document on where to find information about a company prior to interview.

Tell me about yourself?
Advice:-Give them “your synopsis about you” answer, specifically you’re Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or a value-added statement, the USP is a succinct, one-sentence description of who you are, your biggest strength and the major benefit that a company will derive from this strength.

What are you passionate about?
Advice:-Your response doesn’t need to be work focused, but do be sure that what you share isn’t something that could potentially cut in to your working hours.

Tell me about something that’s not on your CV / Resume?
Advice:-This gives you the opportunity to explain a strength or interest you have that is not on your CV/Resume that will help you perform the role well or/and why you were inspired to apply for the job.

What were your responsibilities?
Advice:-Try to match your responsibilities with those listed in the job description.

Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it?
Advice:-Give a couple of specific examples of how you handled particular difficult situations. Discuss how you researched the issues and contributed to finding solutions.

What is your greatest strength?
Advice:-Stay focused on a couple of your key strengths that relate directly to the job role.

What is your greatest weakness?
Advice:-A good option is try to turn a negative into a positive. For example, wanting to triple-check every item in a spreadsheet can be turned into a strength i.e. you are a candidate who will make sure your work will be close to perfect. It’s a very good idea to prepare an answer in advance of the interview to this question as an unprepared answer could seriously backfire.

How do you handle stress and pressure?
Advice:-Give examples of successful situations when you handled stress when you were under pressure at work i.e. meeting deadlines, achieving sales targets, setting up a new department/office.

What was the biggest failure in this position?
Advice:-Give an example of a failure that happened at work followed immediately by what you did to solve the problem and always keep your answers positive.

What was the biggest accomplishment in this position?
Advice:-Give an example of something you accomplished that is directly related to the job you are interviewing for.

How do you evaluate success?
Advice:-You should be aware of the type of job you’re applying for, so keep it relevant. Whereas a large corporation might place all their emphasis on the bottom line, a non-profit would measure success not in money but in social impact.

What did you like or dislike about your previous job?
Advice:-Don’t be too negative as you don’t want the interviewer to think that you’ll speak negatively about this new job or the company when you’re ready to move on.

Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
Advice:-Show your adaptability by using examples in your previous position/s where there were some assignments that required a great deal of independent work and research and others where the team effort was most effective.

How do you relate to your supervisors and co-workers?
Advice:-Give a couple of examples of how you worked as part of a team to achieve a deadline or successfully overcame an issue.

Who was your best boss and who was the worst?
Advice:-Be positive and don’t say anything negative about any previous boss’s i.e. I’ve learned from each boss I’ve had, from the good ones, what to do and from the challenging ones, what not to do. Be prepared that they may ask for more detail about the “Challenging” Boss – so be able to talk about a behaviour this person exhibited that you yourself would not use.

What strategies would you use to motivate your team?
Advice:-You should convey your understanding that different approaches work for different personality types and give some examples of ways you have successfully motivated staff in your previous roles and the outcomes they achieved.

Describe how you managed a problem employee?
Advice:-You need to demonstrate that you are able and have managed all types of people. Anyone can manage a self-motivated, successful employee, but managers who bring out the best in marginal performers will be highly valued in any company.

Why are you leaving or have left your job?
Advice:-Be direct and focus your interview answer on the future positively and don’t speak badly about your current and previous employers.

What are your goals for the future?
Advice:-Refer to the position and the company you are interviewing with but don’t discuss your goals that are not relevant for the job e.g. a desire to return to education or have a family, they could knock you out of contention.

What do you know about this company?
Advice:-Prepare in advance by researching so you can provide relevant and current information about your prospective employer to the interviewer.

How would you adjust to working for a new company?
Advice:-You need to convey how you have adjusted to new situations and demands in the workplace in the past, to convince your interviewer that you won’t have any problems adjusting to a new set of expectations and a new work environment.

Why do you want this job?
Advice:-Focus on what you feel is unique or special about this company to you, read their website or company report to get an idea about their mission and strategy so you can show a reason why you specifically want to work for them, and not just any company. Talk about how your current experience, skills and qualifications are relevant to the role.

Why should we hire you?
Advice:-Give relevant examples relating to the job description of why your experience, skills, qualifications and accomplishments make you the best candidate for the job.

What were your starting and final levels of compensation?
Advice:- Interviewers expect a candidate for employment to be able to provide the details of their compensation history. Be prepared to tell the interviewer how much you earned at each of your prior positions and make sure these tally with your CV. This normally covers the last 3 roles, however you will not usually be asked for information over 10 years old.

What are your salary requirements?
Advice:-Before you go for interviews with prospective employers, you need to research how much the job and you are worth.  When interviewing for a new position, be patient do your best not to bring up compensation until the employer makes you an offer.

Visit the company’s Website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages to see what information the company is promoting and sharing. If possible access their company report (usually online) as this generally gives a “CEO or Chairman’s Statement” outlining the goals and objectives for the company in the coming year/s which can enable you to talk knowledgably about the company and its goals and aspirations.

Good luck, and remember the client needs someone to fill their role just as much as you may need this role, so treat the interview as a meeting of equals.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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How to Find the Right Company for You

When you are embarking on a new search for your dream job, it is important that you find the right company for you.  The biggest reason that jobs don’t work out well for candidates is not money or ability to do the job, its actually “lack of a corporate fit”.

There are certain factors you should consider before contacting any recruitment agency or the company you are considering working for, and these are listed below. The first step is for you to work out what your requirements are “before” you start sending applications or your dream job could end up being quite the opposite.

Some Factors You May Wish To Consider
What kind of reputation does the company have in the market?
Does the values of the company align with your own?
How is the company structured?
Does the company offer a good career path?
Does the company provide training courses that will enhance you career prospects?
Does the company offer a competitive package (salary, bonus, healthcare, benefits etc.)?
Does the company provide a car or car allowance?
How is the company performing financially?
Does the company look like they could be bought out?
What size of company do you want to work for (local, national, international – pros and cons)?
Will this company positively impact on your future career?
Will working for this company look good on your CV?
What is the company culture like?
What are the company premises like?
Does the company have a high turnover of staff?
Who are the people you will be working with?
Does the company offer childcare facilities or child care vouchers?
What are the working hours of the company?
What are the travel costs, travel time to get to work?
What are the car parking facilities at work?

By first understanding your personal requirements for the company you next work for you will be able to focus your time on the companies who will be able to meet your requirements and to steer recruitment agencies towards only sending you to companies who can meet your aspirations. For example there is no point in being sent for an interview with the owner /MD of a small business if you wish to be an MD yourself in the next two years. Your aspiration would be unachievable even if the “job” you were considering was great.

Recognising what the most important factors are for you, at the onset of your search will not just help you find the right company for you but will also allow you to be more prepared at the time of interview and will equip you properly with questions for the company that you have been unable to find out.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Is it Time to Make a Fresh Start?

When someone asks you about your job, how do you reply to them? Do you speak to them with a sense of pride and passion or does their question make you feel so deflated you just want to avoid their question altogether? Below are 6 signs that it may be time for you to start looking for a new job.

You hate Mondays
When the alarm goes off in the Monday morning, most people wish it was still the weekend at that given moment.  But if you are finding the thought of Monday mornings are ruining your weekends then  it sounds like there is more of a deep rooted issue regarding your current employment.  Are you calling your employer to say you are ill because you can’t face going to work? If this is a yes, then you are more than likely going to build up resentment for your job that is going to get worse over further time.

Jealous of other people’s careers?
When you are out socialising, do you constantly find yourself feeling envious of other people (better job, better career prospects, better employer, better travel, etc.) even if your job role is more suited to you.  Although logically a job role may be well suited to you, quite often people can feel they are emotionally stuck in a rut and that change is there only answer.

Struggle to Motivate yourself at Work?
When you go to work each morning and look at each of your tasks that have to be achieved for that day, are you finding it a struggle to motivate yourself to accomplishing the tasks assigned to you?   Are your productivity levels not the same as they used to be? Low moral regarding your job can be hard to shake off and can be down to a number of issues.   If this issue or issues of your job cannot be resolved or unlikely to be, it’s more than likely your lack of passion and drive can only get worse.

Do you find your role is too easy or too hard?
When you have been in your current position for a while and haven’t received extra responsibility in the form of promotion and you have raised this issue at your appraisals but there still doesn’t seem to be a career path available to you, it may now be time for you to search for a new challenge.   Similarly, are you struggling with the workload you have now got because of changes that have been imposed due to cut backs or staff leaving and their position not being replaced?  Is there a lack of the necessary support and training that is required to do the job properly?  If this is your situation your answer may be with another company as this is a situation that may be out of your control.

You know you are seriously underpaid?
Most of us understand salaries range by sector, location, experience and qualifications etc. Have you made the adequate research and you still find you are well underpaid?   Have you raised this issue at your appraisals but your requests have been rejected or promises that are constantly being delayed?  If your answers are yes on both accounts, then you have to decisions to make, either stay and hope your situation gets resolved or you may want to start looking for a company that is willing to pay you that fair salary but beware of the counter offer.

Disagreements with your work colleagues?
There is no rule that says you should get on with all your colleagues all the time, but if you are finding that you are having disagreements on a daily basis, this can take its toll on you on so many different levels.  It may be that your values may not be the same as your colleagues so you may want to start looking for a company with likeminded people.  Experience also often tells us it’s easier to change your employment than it is to constantly change other people’s minds.

Please note, there are many cases when people are just wanting a change, so you don’t have to relate to one of the 6 signs above to start looking for a new challenge!

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Time Management – Creating a To Do List

One of the main challenges to achieving success in your career is underestimating the importance of time management.   Organising a To Do List of the days tasks before you start the day – ideally the night before, means you are more likely to have a productive day at work and get through the jobs that really matter.  Below are 6 steps to help you improve your time management:-

1. Create a To Do List clearly defining a list of goals/objectives
Create a To Do List of all your goals/objectives that you have been assigned or need to achieve in that day, week or month and update it as soon as possible when you have completed the goal/objective and add in new tasks to be completed based on priority.

2. Prioritise each goal/objective in order of importance
Prioritise your day so that your most important tasks are completed first. That way, if something unexpected comes up and you’ve run out of time in the day, at least you will have completed the most important tasks of the day. You may also want to consider planning the most difficult or tedious tasks during your high energy hours as there is no sense in plodding through a task you detest during your sleepiest hours of the day as you are more likely to make mistakes.

3. Plan how you are going to achieve each goal/objective
Strategize by breaking down the key elements of each of the new goals/objectives to achieve the best possible results.

4. Create deadlines for each of these individual goals/objectives
Calculate and allocate a set amount of time for each of these goals/objectives as this will focus your mind and should stop you from getting bogged down in unnecessary effort and losing the time you will be requiring for other goals/objectives you need to achieve for that day.

5. Schedule breaks in your day to keep your energy levels up
Schedule breaks throughout your day to keep your energy levels up. If you plod on through the day without breaks, you’ll crash and burn and won’t be able to make the most of your time and your more likely to make mistakes.

6. Pay attention to distractions
Once you have set your goals/objectives, prioritised each goal, broken down each of the elements of the tasks, created the deadlines and scheduled your breaks for that day, you now need to pay particular attention to any distractions that keep you from achieving your goals/objectives for that day.

Tick off the completed actions on your To Do List as you complete it, the sense of achievement will keep you motivated to continue and will give you a mental boost as you see yourself completing your tasks.  At the end of the working day, take some time out to create your To Do List for the next day, moving any tasks from today that still need to be completed to tomorrow’s list in order of priority. That way when you start work the following day you will be organised and ready to complete all your tasks.

This simple process can help you transform your working life and ensure you meet all your key business objectives and be successful in your career.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Handling a 3 Month Notice Period

You have decided to look for another role, but you have a 3 month notice period, you naturally don’t want this to spoil your chances of securing a new role, so how do you handle this?  Below is advice in the best way to handle a 3 month notice period successfully.

The challenges a 3 month notice period presents
Due to companies being worried about key employees leaving their business, many are locking candidates into 3 month notice period in order to protect their business in the event that a key member of staff decide to leave. Candidates on a 3 month notice period can be concerned that this could put off potential employers and often hope they will be able to negotiate an early release from their contract.  Our view is that 3 month notice periods if handled correctly should not stop you from securing your dream role. Handling your resignation professionally will ensure a smooth transition and may offer an opportunity to re-negotiate your notice period down.

First Step – Understand your contractual obligations before start your job search
People often think that you need to understand your contractual obligations when you resign, in fact we feel you need to understand them before you even look for a new role. The likelihood is that if you have a 3 month notice period you will be in a management role, therefore you cannot go to an interview without knowing your notice period, and you certainly cannot promise an early start with a new employer if you are contracted to a 3 month notice period, you can however set things in motion within your team to ensure that the likelihood of you being able to negotiate an early release from your contract is possible.

Most companies will be willing to wait for the right person
It is very important to be honest at the interview stage about your notice period, however you can also say that you will endeavor to have the notice period reduced and that you have plan in place that will hopefully enable you to start your new role sooner.

Your current employers stance
Remember your current employer wants a 3 month notice to minimize disruption to their business, however given your decision to leave, in reality your employer probably wants to find your replacement quickly as your leaving will be disruptive to the team.

How to broker an early release

  • Before you leave your role, start a confidential search for your replacement or
  • Have a succession plan in place so that your company can promote a team member into your role or
  • Re-organise your team to be able to deliver the goals of the business without you being in place
  • Do it in writing and include your planned release date
  • Check how many holidays you’ve got left and also use them to reduce your notice period

The more detailed the plan and help you can give to ensure a smooth transition for your replacement the more likely you’ll be able to negotiate leaving sooner.

Best practice if you are asked to complete your 3 month notice period
Keep your manager up to date with how the plan is going to either find your replacement or to ensure your existing team is in a position to carry on with your role. It may be still be possible to re-negotiate an earlier exit when your bosses see that they can in fact manage without you.

If you do have to complete the 3 month notice period, remember to be committed and professional after all they are paying you to do a job and you did make the commitment to provide them with a 3 month notice period.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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