We’ve all heard it said, ‘People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers!’ So with that in mind, what are the top reasons for people leaving their jobs, and how can you ensure that you hold on to those that you have? As you know, high turnover causes disruption in business and can leave you short handed, short changed and needing to train someone new. There are a multitude of reasons people leave their jobs, but here are 7 solid reasons that managers should be aware of – and try to avoid happening. The Boss! Unsurprisingly, as the adage suggests, one of the biggest causes of employee departure is a lack of support from the higher ups. An employee doesn’t need to feel that their boss is their friend, but having a good working relationship greatly improves chances of job satisfaction. Engaging with an employee by providing constructive feedback, making time to check in on progress and ensuring they understand their connection to the business model as a whole can go a long way. Workplace Stress A government survey suggests there were over half a million workers in the UK suffering from work related stress or anxiety in 2017/18. One of the biggest causes of workplace stress is the increased pressure with increased financial reward. Though fiscal rewards are going a huge driver for most employees, sometimes mere recognition for hard work can help to reduce the stress felt, a job well done deserves this. No one wants to feel as though they are under appreciated or replaceable, make sure to let your team know you appreciate them! Feeling bored or unchallenged Everyone hits lulls at work - you can be doing a job you love, but monotony may still kick in. Ensuring that employees are engaged with the tasks at hand, and are challenged means they are less likely to seek out a different job that fulfils their needs. Micromanagement Although it is crucial to maintain a relationship with employees, be careful not to fall into the trap of micromanagement. No one wants someone breathing down their neck at every turn! That being said, no one can force an employee to take initiative, and as a manager all you can do is give your employee the space and opportunities for some workplace autonomy. A valued manager knows how and when to delegate and trusts his/her employees to reach their targets. No room for growth Career advancement is important to most employees, and if they are feeling as though there is no room for them to grow and develop new skills, they will seek new opportunities. Of course, there is not always the option to promote, however training and creating working environments that offer new challenges can help to keep employees feeling fulfilled. Everyone needs to feel nurtured. Work life balance Employees who are expected to stay late, start early or work in their personal hours are much more likely to feel under pressure, and more likely to seek employment they can leave in the office at the end of the day. Having a good work/life balance doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you offer the world or allow employees to come and go as they please! Small things like sufficient breaks, a decent space to get a coffee or a staff outing occasionally can add to work place morale. Company culture and relationships Feeling part of a team that respects and values you is important to employees. Often, colleagues are the people you spend most time with across an average week, and ensuring that workers feel that they can engage with their team members and feel they understand where their cog fits is important. Of course these aren’t the only reasons that people choose to move on and average length of tenure is nowhere near as long as it used to be. Bearing in mind the reasons above will ensure that any manager is doing their best to give people every reason to stay, it makes sense to avoid these pitfalls. PS – notice we have barely mentioned salaries? We’ll cover that in our next blog….June 28, 2019
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Service Desk Manager
My client is looking for a Service Desk Manager who can expertly manage the three tenets of service desk: the people; the processes; the tools/technology. The successful candidate will be an effective manager who has both a goal to develop a strong and highly effective service desk team and the ability to manage and improve an environment that is undergoing continual upgrades and implementations. The successful candidate will have a solid technical background combined with excellent customer service experience. You will need a problem-solving attitude and strong motivational skills. PURPOSE OF JOB: An attractive mixture of both project work and BAU support, the Service Desk Manager will support and guide the existing IT team – made up of 1st line Service Desk Analysts, Systems Engineers, Apprentices and administration staff - ensuring the smooth running of the service desk, responding to incidents, requests for change, problems and security incidents, plus delivering a range of project tasks and managing the team responsible for delivering cutting edge systems. The Service Desk Manager role calls for a multi-faceted individual who will: Deliver an effective IT Service Desk in line with best practice standards and the needs of the business providing advice and guidance on IT solutions Manage the environment dealing with all IT incidents, requests, enquiries and the rectification of underlying problems Build strong relationships between the service desk, business users and third party suppliers and manage the SLAs, standards and procedures Ensure delivery and/or resolution within agreed timescales Manage and develop a team of technical support staff PERSON SPECIFICATION: Working knowledge of IT Project and Programme Management, IT Lifecycle, ITIL processes and IT infrastructure components. Working knowledge of technological/digital specialism. Familiar with appropriate project methodology. A broad understanding of the IT development lifecycle. Established stakeholder management experience. Experience of commercial supplier management, partnership approach. Experience of managing customer/stakeholder expectations in the pursuit of improved services and closer working relationships. Knowledge of the principles for maintaining a large and complex IT estate and the associated risks. Familiar with research techniques for identifying, gathering and validating customer’s needs Experience of commercial supplier management, partnership approach Experience of managing customer/stakeholder expectations SKILLS AND BEHAVIOURS Project skills, including experience in planning and effective time management. Effective stakeholder engagement and ability to build and maintain strong relationships. The ability to analyse data, recognise problems and formulate solutions. Understanding techniques of team and collaborative working. Ability to use methods and techniques for delivering effective presentations, either face to face or online. Excellent communication and presentation skills Ability to evaluate risks, priorities and business benefits, leveraging strong business experience/knowledge. An inspirational team leader committed to inclusivity and team success Innovative and creative; able to bring fresh new ideas to the table Responsible and accountable What my client needs is a Service Desk Manager who can both promote the service and develop the team. If you are looking for your next role and this is you, don’t hesitate to contact Keith Wilkins today – even if it’s just for an informal chat. Or send your CV in for review at the earliest opportunity. Avocet Strategic Resourcing is acting as an employment agency in regard to this role. Please note that every application received is personally reviewed by our team - Avocet Strategic Resourcing does not use automated screening tools. On occasion, a high volume of applicants will mean that we are unable to respond personally to your application and should this be the case please accept our apologies in advance. Applicants must be eligible to live and work in the UK to apply for this role
Senior Service Desk Analyst
My FTSE 100 client is the largest of its type in the UK and prides itself on its reputation of being an excellent employer, with the philosophy of “investing in people, understanding people and building relationships with people is how we can build experiences”. If you pride yourself on your technical analysis and problem solving skills, love the variety of working on a busy service desk and thrive in a customer service driven environment, then we have exactly the right environment and culture for you to bring your skills and experience. You will have worked on a technical service desk previously and understand that empathy and patience are as important as technical skills in this environment. The role is based very close to Victoria Station. Responsibilities Day-to-day Incident Management and Service Request fulfilment – software, applications and hardware. ‘Own’ issues and see through to resolution Use service management tools to log and manage tickets queues, keeping users up to date Provide ‘How do I?’ support for users Provide cover on a ‘walk-up’ support desk when required Provide technical guidance to other members of the Team and assist the Tech Service Manager with the day-to-day running of the desk Contribute to the continual improvement and updates to the Knowledge Base and support guides Additional ad-hoc involvement in miscellaneous project work, working with other tech teams Liaise with external suppliers Required Skills/Attributes: Excellent customer service skills with a good telephone manner. Proven technical, analytical and problem-solving skills Able to effectively prioritise and perform work responsibilities in a dynamic and challenging environment Experience of using an IT service management tool in a service desk environment Strong understanding of supporting the following technologies: Office 365 Suite Windows Operating Systems Microsoft Surface Pro hardware Active Directory Remote Desktop Services Skype Telephony Smartphone mobile devices Meeting Room AV Excellent technical and customer service skills Self-motivating, enthusiastic and positive personality, able to work as part of a team or individually and must be comfortable working with customers face to face or remotely. Good communication skills Strong service-oriented ‘can do’ attitude committed to meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Ability to prioritise, organise and manage workloads without supervision Attention to detail, thoroughness in all aspects of work and pride in working to the highest possible standards Ability to work well under pressure, maintaining personal effectiveness, efficiency and resilience in challenging situations and a dynamic environment. Proficiency in compiling and sharing technical knowledge to fellow team members. An innovative attitude with the desire to actively contribute towards the continual improvement of the technical environment. Desirable skills Familiarity with creating, testing and installing Microsoft desktop software images. Knowledge and experience of Remote Access technologies SCCM package creation and deployment experience Apple device support If you want to be the best – you have to work with the best and learn from the best. This role is exactly the opportunity to do that. It has never been a better opportunity to join this market leader. Please send through your cv for review or call Keith Wilkins for an informal chat. Avocet Strategic Resourcing is acting as an employment agency in regard to this role. Please note that every application received is personally reviewed by our team - Avocet Strategic Resourcing does not use automated screening tools. On occasion, a high volume of applicants will mean that we are unable to respond personally to your application and should this be the case please accept our apologies in advance. Applicants must be eligible to live and work in the UK to apply for this role
1st Line Service Desk Analyst
My client is the market leader within its field and is currently looking to expand their Service Desk team by employing individuals with an excellent customer service attitude and a good level of IT skills. The role is to provide 1st line telephone support to external customers from within the education sector, including software support on a bespoke system alongside technical support on Microsoft products and general hardware issues. This position presents a superb opportunity for a structured career in a first-line Service Desk/IT support as there is ongoing training and personal development enabling career progression. Responsibilities Work as a member of the 1st line response team to log calls in the MS Dynamics CRM system and update contacts made to the Service Desk Taking ownership of issues and maintain regular customer contact Communicate with customers demonstrating high levels of professionalism Provide support on a range of software and technical issues via phone, email and remote access tools. Investigate, capture and record quality data. Attempt resolution or escalate to specialist support teams Work to standard operating procedures and instructions Work to Service Level Agreements and specified targets and objectives Follow data compliance processes and procedures Essential Skills Good communication skills including spoken and written English Good standard of education and competent IT skills/technical skills Confident user of Microsoft Office products - Windows, Word and Excel Ability to ask clear and precise questions to ascertain the exact details of their problem Ability to communicate effectively at all levels Able to work on own or as part of a team Able to keep up to date with the latest technological advances A good approach to problem-solving Good communication and presentation skills The ability to empathise with customers at all levels The ability to build up a good rapport with customers at all levels Punctual, flexible and adaptable Good timekeeping Conscientious and self-motivated A 'can do' attitude Excellent telephone manner DBS checks will be required Desirable Skills Previous Support/Helpdesk/Service Desk or Call Centre experience Previous experience working in customer support or education environment Experience of online service products including applications Experience of working in an ITIL compliant environment Call us today for an informal chat to find out more about this exciting role or send us your CV for review. Please note that every application received is personally reviewed by our experienced team and we do not use automated screening tools. Candidates must be eligible to live and work in the UK to be considered for this opportunity. Avocet Strategic Resourcing is acting as an employment agency regarding this role and does not discriminate on grounds of race, sex, marital status, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or disability.
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Imposter Syndrome is characterised by a feeling of intellectual fraudulence, and is common amongst creative people and high achievers. Sufferers feel that they are not as talented as people believe and that they’ve bluffed their way along; these people are waiting for their luck to run out and for someone to expose them as the fraud they feel. Imposter syndrome is a growing problem for people in the workplace, especially younger generations; one third of millennials suffer from imposter syndrome in the workplace, but the cause of this mass decrease in self-confidence isn’t clear. Perhaps people feel less confident due to continual changes in the workplace. It could be caused by the difficulties young people have had getting into meaningful work; or even the high incidence of graduates ‘devaluing’ degrees, leading employers to vale experience over qualifications. This leads to many young people working for free or for low pay in order to boost their profiles. Imposter syndrome is closely linked to feelings of anxiety, which has increased sharply in teens and young adults in recent years Perhaps we can lay the blame on social media which distorts people’s perception of real life and encourages a comparative mindset? Imposter syndrome disproportionately affects women, racial minorities, and LGBT individuals. According to Valerie Yong, this is because of the added pressure of ‘accomplishing firsts’. Most likely, it’s a combination of all these things and more. Increased success and praise just makes sufferers feel they’re one step closer to being found out. Imposter syndrome may mean missing great opportunities because you don’t believe you are capable of rising to the challenge, or afraid of what will happen when people figure out you’re not as great as they originally thought. Imposter syndrome won’t be fixed overnight, but remember these things whenever you don’t feel good enough: Don’t let messing up ruin your confidence – everyone makes mistakes, and you are thinking about your mistakes much more than anyone else ever will. Use your mistakes as an opportunity to learn, not to punish yourself – remember what Henry Ford said: “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Be kind to yourself. Why do you expect more from yourself than anyone else? Speak to yourself in a way you would speak to a friend Just because you feel something it doesn’t mean it’s true. Keep an achievements log that you update frequently to read when you’re feeling insecure about your abilities Celebrate your achievements. Learn to really listen to positive feedback and accept it on face value rather than dismissing it as someone being generous or kind Is everyone involved in your hiring process or has given you positive feedback an idiot? Of course not! Trust that the people who hired you did so because you’re right for the job and if you weren’t you would not still be there Everyone is just winging it – that’s life! Instead of feeling like everyone has their life together whilst you’re flying by the seat of your pants, look at your ability to ‘wing it’ as a skill that will serve you very well in your career! These tips might seem simple but actually they’re all about changing the way you think about yourself, which is a huge task! Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has had excellent results in treating imposter syndrome, and CBT techniques allow you to learn new thinking habits which allow you to overcome this barrier to career successMarch 20, 2019
Today – being February 14th – is all about love. We love our partners, pets, family and friends and today’s the day we don’t hold back. BUT – and hold on, because here comes the tenuous bit – do we love our jobs? Ok, so I am reaching a little here but I’ve spoken to so many people recently who really aren’t in love with their jobs. Is it possible to fall back in love with your work and can you recapture the job satisfaction feelings you may have once had? What can be done? Focus on the positives – take some time to write down all the things you do like and enjoy about your job. Does your boss order in pizza if you have to work late? Or do you have a really fab coffee machine? Are your colleagues some of your best friends? I used to work for a company that took the whole team away for a weekend every year and it was always something that was appreciated. When something annoys you at work, look at your list and see if you can focus on the positive and the things that you are grateful for. Keep a list of all the positive feedback you get too. Read this regularly – it makes you feel good. Don’t sweat the small stuff – does it really matter if a customer was rude or ungrateful? Put things into perspective. Will you lose sleep over the comments? Probably not. An old mentor of mine used to say about rude customers: “if they don’t change your lifestyle, don’t worry about it.” And he was right. Practice some self-care – perhaps your unhappiness at work is due to other parts of your life not being quite as you want them. This could be your personal relationships, financial worries, suffering from stress and anxiety, even ill-health. Take some time out and indulge in some precious me-time, speak to friends and family about your worry – perhaps seek the help of a counsellor or practice mindfulness or meditation. Well-being at work matters and as individuals we have a role to play in looking after ourselves too. Develop friendships at work – we all know someone who “doesn’t come to work to make friends” but getting along with your work colleagues can make a massive difference to your morale. You spend longer in the company of co-workers than anyone else, so make it count. Even if it is just so you can have a mutual moan-fest! Make your workspace your own – don’t underestimate the feel-good factor of seeing your loved one’s photo (human, canine or feline!) on your desk. Or maybe even a small plant or ornament that makes you smile. This isn’t always easy if you’re hot desking but if you’re able to, take the time to personalise your workspace and take ownership. Communicate – if you’re unhappy, how can you expect your boss to try to do anything if you don’t tell them or ask their advice!? This includes asking for more responsibility, more money or more training and development (there are ways to do this, which I’ll cover off in another blog) but remember that no one is a mind reader – especially a busy line manager - but I can guarantee if they knew how you were feeling they would want to help. Speak up and be less passive. Even after all this, you are still not feeling the love, then maybe it is time to look for your next role.February 14, 2019
The single most important process for retaining new employees is an effective induction process, and here are three great reasons why! Continuing your Hard Work The recruitment process can be arduous and costly, and if you’re enthusiastic about a new employee (which you most definitely should be!) you need to continue this investment after they are hired. Employee engagement is an ongoing process, but it is most vital in those first turbulent months when an employee is finding their feet. Of course, we’re all aware of the costs involved in recruiting – each employee is an investment, and if they’re not properly nurtured, it could cost you over £30K to replace them. They’re Vulnerable The probation period is a time when your employees are most vulnerable to poaching from rival companies. The notice time during probation is quite short, sometimes as little as a week; and employees will want to cut their losses early if they don’t feel that this role is the right fit for them. A new role can be intimidating and a sense of insecurity can trigger a flight response. For a permanent position the probation period can last 3-6 months, so that’s plenty of time for an employee to jump ship if they feel like they’re not being looked after. Integration Much can (and should) be done for cultural fit during the vetting and interview process, but you never really know if someone fits into the company culture until they work there. Having said that, people need to be given a change to integrate effectively. If they are not immersed in the culture, invited into the fold, aware of the processes, and properly integrated into the team, they won’t really know the culture and can’t be expected to fit in. Your induction pack should include all the pertinent information (see next week’s blog for more details) about your company, and is an opportunity for you to present your organisation in a way that you can dictate – so don’t miss the chance to leave a lasting impression. In short, you should not forget that the on-boarding process doesn’t end when an employee starts their new job, and that a sophisticated induction process will help to increase employee engagement and retention.January 16, 2019
Gen X often gets overlooked not just in studies and blogs, but in the workplace too. They don’t require the praise and positive reinforcement that millennials need and are generally less demanding. Neither are they (yet) the dominant force in leadership positions like baby boomers. Much is made of helping baby boomers and millennials to work harmoniously together, meaning that Gen X is kind of like the smart but quiet kid in school; they’re dependable and do their work well, so the teacher doesn’t pay them much attention. Which is pretty crazy since Gen Xers are complete upstarts! The Under-explored Qualities of Gen X Portfolio careers Despite what the internet might tell you, millennials don’t have a monopoly on portfolio careers. By portfolio careers we mean an individual who tries various different professions and experiences instead of sticking to one career or job path. These can be undertaken consecutively, but with the increase in flexible working many Gen Xers are taking the opportunity to undertake these roles simultaneously. For example, @AvocetKaryn is currently rocking three jobs! Portfolio careers are excellent for personal development and can help individuals bring a vast set of skills to the workplace. Employers need to be wary however; if you’re not looking after your Gen X workers and they’re being better looked after by one of their side gigs, you might just lose them to a different part of their portfolio. Communication skills The communication skills of Gen Xers is second to none. Unlike millennials (who prefer email, text, or basically anything that’s not face-to-face) they’re not afraid to pick up the phone and start a conversation or meet with colleagues and clients. They’re also much more customer focused than baby boomers, who can have a very brusque and businesslike communication style that rubs some people up the wrong way. This also means they’re excellent at networking and tend to have expansive social and professional networks. Innovation One of my favourite things about Gen X is their awesome capacity to challenge authority. They want to do things the right way, their way, and that’s not always going to vibe with the higher ups. Millennials aren’t too hot on authority either, but tend to resist in in a more passive way by job hopping if they feel that the views of management aren’t compatible with their own. Gen X however are much more likely to stick with it and actually challenge authority head-on, they are loyal but not blindly loyal. Perfect recipe for a disruptive positive influence in your organisation! Gen Xers are independent, productivity and customer focused, and excellent all-rounders. They’ve also got minimum ten years left in the workforce and will be your next leadership team (if they’re not already), over 50 doesn’t mean over the hill! If you empower them in the workplace they will be your hardest hitters and excellent mentors for your millennial and Gen Z employees. Overlook them any longer and they might just start expanding their portfolios.January 16, 2019
With a 2019 just around the corner, you may feel motivated to look for a new job or even a complete career change. The mantra of ‘New Year, New You’ applies to your professional life too. The weeks leading up to the New Year are the perfect time to audit your candidate profile and make sure you’re in perfect shape for the job hunt. Your CV First impressions are key, and the first thing a potential employer will see is your CV. Ensure that it is tidy and properly formatted. Overly stylised CVs can be off putting, so remember simplicity and readability are key. Always include a personal profile which highlights your career highlights to date. Avoid clichés like “good team player” and words like “passionate” Perhaps most importantly, always tell the truth on your CV. Potential employers will do their research and pre-screen candidates before offering employment. What may seem like a white lie, could be the difference between being starting your dream job so put your best, most honest, foot forward! Social Media In this modern age, employers will often screen candidates’social media accounts. Ensure that any personal profiles have the correct privacy settings, keeping those holiday snaps and boozy party pictures for friends and family alone. Remember that your profile picture will still be visible, so have something that you feel will represent you well to potential employers and recruiters. LinkedIn is an important social media platform when job seeking, and ensuring that your profile reflects your correct work experience i paramount. Ensure that your CV and your LinkedIn details are the same. Almost all employers will use Linked in as their second port of call after looking at your CV, so don’t neglect your LI profile. Use recruiters Having a recruiter onside who can best showcase you can be the difference between a job you can do and a job you can love. Do your research to ensure that the agencies that you register with are best suited to your needs, that have an understanding of the roles that you are seeking and are specialised to your field. Personal and Professional Ensuring that you present yourself professionally across the board will increase your chances when seeking new employment. Make sure your email address is personal and professional, we recommend variations on first name/last name addresses – avoid nicknames or joke names: yes “email@example.com” I do mean you! There’s an old adage saying that getting a new job is a full-time job in itself. Treat your New Year job hunt with the same level of professionalism as you would your first day at work.December 14, 2018
Despite their amazing benefits the number of apprenticeship starts dropped by 40% this year. New rules have made apprenticeships a little trickier for employers meaning some have been put off trying it out or expanding their current apprenticeship programmes. Despite this apprenticeships have incredible benefits for your business. Here are five reasons why apprenticeships are a great investment. Diversity Business which employ apprentices can attract talent from a wider pool, including people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as individuals from the older generation and those who find it difficult to find work due to disability. If this isn’t enough of a good in itself, there are many fantastic benefits to a more diverse workforce. Plug the skills gap If you have a skills gap in your business or industry, you can train apprentices to fill those exact skills gaps and tailor the training to their role as well as future responsibilities. Increased loyalty, engagement, and retention Much like employers that offer a lot of learning a development opportunities, apprenticeships result in a better employee experience leading to increased loyalty and engagement, both of which mean an employee is likely to stay at your organisation for longer. Increase loyalty, engagement, and retention Data from the National Apprenticeship Service has found that more than half of employers offering apprenticeships say their apprentices stay with them longer than other employees. This is due to the fact that apprentices get to build their skills from the floor up and feel that the company is invested in their development. Shake things up There’s nothing like new blood to shake things up in your organisation, and the energy apprentices bring can be infectious; 92% of employers who employ apprentices believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce! It’s also good for new business, 76% of apprentice employers polled say they promote their apprenticeship credentials when pitching for new business or talking about their company. Apprenticeships might be a bit more difficult to provide nowadays, but the benefits of apprenticeships for employers make it undeniably worth the effort!August 23, 2018
A competency based interview isn’t as scary as it sounds, in fact, you’ve probably been to one before without even knowing it! These interviews are designed to see if your skill set matches the skills needed for the job, and relies on the principle of past actions and experience being the best indicator of this. Normally the interviewers will have a set of questions each one focused on a specific skill required for the role. What kind of questions will I be asked? You are less likely to be asked informal questions such as ‘why do you want to work here?’ or ‘what can you bring to the company?’ or ‘if you were a kitchen appliance which one would you be and why?’. The aims of the questions are actually really obvious, so it shouldn’t be difficult to see what hiring managers are looking for. Describe a situation when you assumed the role of leader. Were there any challenges, and how did you address them? (leadership skills) Tell us about a time when your communication skills helped diffuse a situation? (communication skills) Describe a situation in which you were working as part of a team. How did you make a contribution? (teamwork) The STAR Method Despite the fact that competency based questions aim to get you talking about your past experience, a common complaint we have from hiring managers is that candidates don’t evidence their competencies with work based examples. You want your answers to fit their criteria as much as possible, and there’s one trusted method for ensuring this – the STAR method. The STAR method helps you at answer interview questions systematically so that you don’t miss anything important. SITUATION: Set the scene for your example by giving a brief description of the context. For example, if you’re talking about teamwork you will need to explain what team you were in, the team’s purpose, how many members, and any important information about the team dynamic. TASK: This one is just about you and what your exact tasks were in the situation. ACTION: This is what you did including going above and beyond your actual TASK. You should include a lot of detail and specifics, and for clarity it’s a good idea to start from the beginning and take your interviewer on the journey of how your actions evolved along with the project. You don’t need to talk about what other people did, but you should talk about yourself in relations to your teammates; how you motivated them, how you helped them, how you worked together. RESULT: Explain the outcome to all your hard work. The best way to do this is to show measurable outcomes, such as finishing a project before the deadline, getting positive customer feedback, or saving the team from extra work. Also include what you learned and if you would do anything differently. For this method to work you will need to do some pretty in depth research on yourself, but trust me it will be worth it. Go through the job description and pick out the core competencies, then think about examples from your career and apply the STAR method to create an answer to these core competencies. Don’t be afraid to take a little longer in the interview to answer these kind of questions, and be sure to let your interviewer know that you’re thinking about your answer instead of babbling to fill time while you think!August 09, 2018
We all know that miscommunications and misunderstanding are a constant struggle professionally and in daily life, there’s a whole literary cannon based on it (looking at you Shakespeare)! Often in life we get the opportunity to rectify the miscommunication and there’s no harm done, but interviews are not one of these opportunities. First impressions in interviews are ridiculously important and, fairly or not, all the explanations in the world won’t take back that gut feeling you’ve given an interviewer that you’re not a great fit. Here’s an example; a candidate of ours recently had an interview. He was (like all our candidates!) a very strong candidate and we were pretty confident. Even the best of us sometime eat our words. The candidate told the interviewer that he likes to do more difficult work, a pretty innocuous statement to most people, and a statement which was clearly intended to demonstrate that the candidate enjoys a challenge and doesn’t shy away from hard work. Unfortunately the interviewer rejected this candidate because he interpreted that statement as meaning that the candidate would only undertake work that he considered interesting and would ignore the day-to-day essentials, which would make him a difficult employee and a poor team player. One take away from this example is the importance of well-rounded individuals. This doesn’t mean you don’t have a specific strength or area of expertise, but that you are willing to do all aspects of the job with enthusiasm. But my larger point is that it’s frustratingly easy to be misinterpreted. A good way to avoid this for candidates is to anticipate the questions you will be asked and have set answers. You can then look for various ways in which your statement can be interpreted, or even ask a friend (or reddit!) to take a look. This is more difficult on the fly and you can’t prepare for every potential question, but just practicing this will change the y you think about your use of language. The best way to avoid this as a candidate is to use work based examples. Something like ‘I was excited to be included in X project which had extremely complex aspects including XYZ. The challenging work pushed me to achieve my best and the team environment was mutually supportive which taught me a lot about supporting others and accepting help from teammates, I also learnt a lot about time management by undertaking this project on top of my everyday tasks.’ See what I did there? You’ve got passion, you’ve got ambition, you’ve got time management skills, you’ve got a can do attitude, you play well with others, you’re eager to learn, but you still finish your dinner before you have dessert. However, the onus should also be in hiring managers. A great hiring manager does not take things on face value and understands that candidates are nervous and might misspeak. Always be probing; the simple version of that would be asking the candidate if they can explain in more detail or give an example. It might be a bit radical, but that hiring manager could have said ‘what about doing (insert mundane task here)’ and used their intuition to divine whether or not the candidate was lying when they professed their love of said mundane task. A more subtle approach would be asking something along the lines of ‘what do you believe you achieve by volunteering for the more challenging work?’, this would have given the candidate the opportunity to explain that they like to push themselves are rise to a challenge. So, it’s the responsibility of both candidates and hiring managers to prevent the interview turning into a misunderstanding of Shakespearean proportions. The candidate needs to be aware of how they can be misinterpreted, and the hiring manager needs to be more lenient with candidates and take the time to ask questions.August 01, 2018