Monthly Archives: October 2013

Time for a new management culture?

This entry was posted in Articles, Working life and tagged , , , , on by Lynn.

Generation Y – a challenge for businesses and HR staff. What does the so-called Generation Y expect from businesses? What do businesses need to bear in mind for the future to ensure that they are seen as an “attractive” employer? 

people at work

According to Deloitte’s Graduate Survey, Generation Y are looking above all for job security, a work-life balance and career development. What kind of manager does that translate to?

Generation Y is usually defined as young people born after 1980. The list of the demands they make of future employers is indeed very long. But who says that only those under 35 are looking for new working models? There’s plenty of room for improvement in one of the most valuable areas of our lives.

Which models of new management culture will be implemented by which businesses remains to be seen. We’ve summarised the most interesting trends.

Trends in a new management culture for Generation Y


Job security:
Following the economic crisis, Generation Y is increasingly worried about job security. Interestingly, this is a trend which is more prevalent in females than males. The managers of the future will be able to reassure employees, and offer them either security or the opportunity to develop their skills to be prepared in case of downturn.

Internal Communication: With regard to comfortable working environments, Generation Y are known as wishing to be treated fairly, and place great value on considerate management. Arrogance and inconsiderateness are frowned upon, as are management figures in “frivolous clothing” or who interact in a chummy manner. As already mentioned, this generation loves its freedom but is also at times surprisingly conservative.  According to the Deloitte study, career development ranks more highly than financial opportunities for this generation. Our prediction: in future feedforward rather than feedback will be given and platforms that encourage cooperation within teams and the democratisation of information will be further developed. E-learning will also become increasingly important.

Private life: This generation is often seen as wanting the best of both worlds – work and play. First of all, however, it should be emphasised that these two areas of life can now merge together more than was the case for previous generations, although they should not be allowed to blend seamlessly.  Ideally, companies should be responsible for a general framework for a healthy working climate, and employees will generally be more open to having professional matters flow over into their private lives from time to time.

Flexible working: Work-life balance is old hat, just like feedback. To keep Generation Y content and motivated in the long term, businesses need to grant a greater degree of flexibility, freedom and autonomy.  Although still controversial now, many still foresee that sabbaticals, flexible working hours, part-time work, working from home and a more flexible working culture generally will have a determining influence on the workplaces of the future.working culture

How do you picture the perfect employer? What kind of qualities should management teams have and what kind of management culture do you prefer?

Why you should tell stories in your interview (and how to do so)

This entry was posted in Articles, Job interviews and tagged , on by plabram.

“…there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story

An interview is all about selling yourself, so, as we’ve mentioned before, there’s plenty that can be taken from sales and marketing to help you out with your interview skills. According to Seth Godin in his book “All marketers tell stories”, telling tales help us make sense of the world. We identify ourselves with stories, and – when they’re told well – we want to believe they’re true. Stories appeal to our emotional side. Andrew Stanton, the filmmaker behind “Wall E” and “Toy Story”, goes a step further: “there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story” (see video below).

So how can you use the idea of storytelling to enhance your interview technique? Let’s look at how to tell a good story (part #1), before applying this to the interviewing world in some examples (part #2).


Part #1: Steps of a good story


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1. Use a hook to get your audience’s attention. You need to signal that your story will be worth your listeners’ time.
2. Create a likeable main character (you). A good way to do this is by talking about worries or concerns that everyone can relate to.
3. Although a bit of editing is inevitable, your story must be essentially true and believable. Nothing is more repellent than insincerity, and nothing more compelling than authenticity.

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4. Time to build up tension:
> To do this, it’s important to include some conflict: a challenge or enemy. Not only does the introduction of an antagonist create “great suspense”, according to the Harvard Business Review; painting a positive picture alone just “doesn’t ring true”. In an interview, you might like to make this enemy a faceless challenge or situation to avoid sounding too negative.
> Leave your audience hanging to maintain engagement. You don’t need to spell everything out – think the spoken equivalent of “…”. Any questions that arise, you can answer later.
5. Keep it simple, and keep your objective in mind. What is your story demonstrating? What is its message? Do not stray too far from your point: your audience will lose interest if you go into complicated details that they cannot relate to.
6. What you cut in terms of factual information, you can make up in description and vivid language. According to online lifestyle magazine Lifehacker, sensory metaphors actually encourage different parts of your brain to light up.

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7. In the end of your story, you’ll need to resolve the conflict you’ve created.
8. Once that’s been done, you should include a final thought – a punchline – that really makes your story memorable. This might be a small joke, or even just repeating and enforcing the wise moral message you were trying to get across.

*Bonus tip* Use eye contact and wide, sweeping body language to animate your story and involve your audience in what you’re saying. Pause for dramatic effect.


Part #2: interview examples


Enough theory, how does this work in practice? Here are some examples of stories you might tell in an interview. We’ve marked where the various steps of telling a story listed above come into play.

…What is your biggest weakness?

5523122844_c5d80978d4_z“Everyone has weaknesses, and I am clearly no exception (1, 3). Actually, I’ve always found it difficult to speak in public. This might be surprising, as in most situations I’m very confident, but it’s something I’ve genuinely struggled with over the years (2).”

“In my last job, I worked as a university academic, and was often required to give lectures (4). My mouth would go dry, I would freeze up, my hands would sweat (6)… After a while, however, and talking with some of the other lecturers, I realised things were mostly a question of practice. Although it hurt at first (6), once I got used to speaking in public, I was able to let go, unfreeze and even improvise and make the odd joke (7). Speaking in public now isn’t nearly so painful, and people even compliment me on my presentations – something I would never have been able to imagine a few years ago (8).”

…Tell us about a time when you have worked well in a team.

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“I once worked in a team that was a complete mix (1). There was a variety of ages, nationalities, upbringings… everything you can think of. Honestly (3), I have to admit I was concerned about my place in this kind of operation, and what we’d achieve together (2).”

“Our manager told us that in order to get our Christmas bonus, every member of the team had to achieve a certain amount of sales (4). But with the team as it was, we didn’t know how to work together. The stronger members went after their own goals, the weaker members fell by the wayside… (4)”

“To help us work together (5), I started taking a real interest in other team members. I greeted my foreign colleagues in their own language, asked the university students how exams were going, spoke to the parents how their kids were. I got the older members of the team telling me about their hip replacements. Little by little (6), the other members of the team opened up and began to follow my example. Our attitudes towards each other changed, we began to help each other out more (7). By the following month, we’d collectively become one of the strongest teams in the company in terms of average sales.”

“That experience taught me one of the most valuable lessons I’d learnt about teamwork: once we started taking an interest in each other as real people, and took the time to understand each others’ different points of view, working together became natural (8).”

Images: Thanks to Whitney Waller.

Online competition: tell us what work means to you to win iPads and Amazon vouchers!

This entry was posted in Articles, JobisJob news and tagged , , , on by plabram.

Online competition banner

What does having a job mean to you?

We all know that having a job is about more than just the money: there’s a whole world of feelings and interests wrapped up in working life. In JobisJob’s “galaxy of emotions” online competition, you can win fantastic prizes by telling us about your experience of work.

Click here to begin.

Win an iPad!

The top prize for the emotion which receives the most votes in our online competition is an iPad Mini WiFi Electronic tablet. The top five entries will also win a £50 Amazon voucher to spend as they wish.

Entering our online competition

All you need to do to get started in our online competition is follow this link. Here, add the emotion which best describes what having a job means to you. You can make up to a total of ten suggestions that complete the phrase: “(A) job is…”.

…Good luck!

Note: You must be a UK resident over the age of 16 to enter this competition. In order to participate in the competition, you’ll need to give our Facebook page a “like” first. For more information about terms and conditions of entering, see the information provided in the link above.

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How to sell your most valuable asset: yourself

This entry was posted in Articles, Job interviews and tagged , , on by plabram.

In interviews and other workplace situations, we’re often put in a situation where we’re required to convince others of the benefits we can bring to the company. Even if you’re not going for a sales position, it’s an important part of your general skills set to be able to present things in their best light. And what could be of more value than your own skills and competencies?

How to sell (yourself)

Interview photo
1. Know your product. You might think, quite reasonably, that you already know yourself quite well, but in reality our levels of self-awareness are rarely perfect. Before going into an interview, you should have an excellent idea of a wide range of skills and weaknesses you possess. Be thorough and specific, and an expert in yourself. If you need a mirror, try asking a trusted friend or family member for advice. Think about criticism and compliments you’ve been given over the years and skills and training you have under your belt. You might even consider taking a personality test to explore what you have to offer.

list_okSay: “I have over six years’ experience in product management, especially within startups and medium-sized businesses whose sales are mostly internet-based.”
list_wrongDo not say: “Erm… I’m good at organising things, I think.”

2. Respect the people you’re selling to. If you go into an interview with the mindset that your interviewers are idiots who don’t know what’s truly important in running a business, you’re unlikely to get very far. You don’t need to treat them with reverence, but you do need to treat your interviewers with respect. Try to think of five positive things about the company and (if you have any idea of what they’re like) your interviewers before you head in to fill you with subconscious positive vibes.

list_okSay: “Good question. Allow me to address that for you.”
list_wrongDon’t say: “Well, obviously no-one would ever do that.”

3. Tell the truth. “Presenting things in their best light” is a completely different ball game from lying. Unless you’re an exceptional liar, tell the truth and you’ll come across as more genuine and trustworthy – vital qualities for a future employee. And even exceptional liars get found out sometimes. You don’t have to be completely upfront, however – think of ways in which you can stick to the most appealing part of the story.

list_okSay: “I used to have lots of great ideas, but was aware that I sometimes struggled to convey to the team what they meant. I asked them for feedback and to help me practise explaining myself, and they taught me some simple tricks which mean I’m now a lot better at getting my point across.”
list_wrongDon’t say: “My greatest weakness is that I’m just such a huge perfectionist. And I work far too hard.”

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4. People buy from people they like. This adage is often repeated in the world of sales, and it goes double for an interview. Employees are very unlikely to hire someone they don’t feel they would enjoy working with on a daily basis. You need to make them feel comfortable, so they are willing to take a risk. Smile lots, be positive, listen and don’t be afraid to pay the odd compliment.

list_okSay: “I do understand. The business seems to have a strong vision for the future.”
list_wrongDo not say: “Yes, the office is kind of small.”

5. Understand your buyer’s motivations. What do your interviewers need? What are they looking for? What one thing would make all their workplace troubles disappear? Jot down some ideas before your interview, and think about how you can address these needs for them. Remember that an interview is all about your potential employers and their needs, and very little about you and what you want (that part comes later, when you decide whether or not to accept the offer ;)).

list_okSay: “I can hit the ground running and am great at putting ideas into action.”
list_wrongDo not say: “I want a career where I have lots of opportunities to try different things and can do some really interesting work.”

Notemeeting

6. Close the sale (without being pushy). At the end of an interview, don’t hesitate to ask your interviewers if there’s any final doubts they have which you can address for them. Putting too much pressure on will rarely win results, however – try to be patient when waiting for that phone call the next week.

list_okDo say: “Do you have any doubts or worries about my application, or do you feel as though there’s anything missing?” (you will then, of course, clarify these doubts and stress that you’re always willing to learn new things)
list_wrongDo not say: “Ten days have passed and I would really like an answer from you.” (it’s unfortunate, but it won’t get you anywhere).

NEW TRENDS IN JOB INTERVIEW FORMATS

This entry was posted in Articles, Job interviews and tagged , on by María Aragón.

New techniques and methods for selecting candidates for a job.

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The classic job interview is about to become history. Seriously! There are millions of articles where you can read the best answers to give at an interview – word for word. Different scientific studies recommend wearing sober colours, avoiding words such as ‘creative’, ‘motivated’ or ‘effective’ and greeting the interviewer with a firm handshake. They also advise that wearing glasses makes you seem more intelligent and that being too thin or too fat will almost certainly lead to professional failure.

In the end, personnel recruiters have to pick up the axe and shovel to dig down to the candidate’s personality, because everyone wears dark grey, contact lenses and assures them that they are ‘highly motivated’ with regard to the position they are applying for.  By this, we don’t mean to say that it is not interesting to have guidelines to help you prepare for a job interview or the questions that you are likely to be asked.  But each phase of the selection process is being analysed so much and there is so much speculation on how to act and what to answer, that the interviewers are getting bored of constantly running into the same problem:  candidate reactions are tightly structured and the absence of naturalness is almost a feature. So it’s impossible to find what companies want most at the moment: the personal values of a candidate applying for a position.

According to a study carried out by the consultancy firm, Factor Humano, professional experience or CVs are losing weight when talent scouting for a company. Now, attitude, sincerity, commitment and a sense of responsibility are valued above all. In short: if you lack knowledge but are brimming with predisposition, you are already in a good position to capture the personnel recruiter’s attention.

POPULAR TECHNIQUES FOR PERSONNEL SELECTION

Companies have decided to bring out your “I” in its pure state by using alternative selection tests where they test your spontaneity (which is like an enormous phosphorescent doorway to your personal values and logical reasoning). Below is a list of several personnel selection methods that are growing in popularity:  some are acquiring considerable presence on the work market, others are at the experimental stage but promise (or threaten) to stay.

1. “Tell me a story” (Not a lie, though!) We’ve already mentioned the importance of being sincere. This test, for example, forms part of the selection processes used by the consultancy firm, Mc Kinsey & Company, which tops the ranking for companies with the hardest and most complex selection processes. Suddenly, the interviewer asks you to explain a story – either real or imaginary – relating to leadership capacity, personal initiative or other values that accompany talent and professional excellence. Ingenuity, creativity, capacity for innovation… There is so much that you can show here! If you want some tips on how to develop your creative capacity, click here.

2. For unsettling questions, the answers… that occur to you. It’s all about finding out what way your brain works ;) If not, it doesn’t make sense that a candidate for a position at Google is asked “How many cows are there in Canada?” or for one at Dell, “What song best describes your work ethics?”  But there are questions that almost seem completely mad. What would you answer to “How to put a giraffe into a freezer?” or “Would you prefer to fight with a duck the size of a horse or with 100 horses the size of ducks?” They are absurd questions – agreed – but they may show your capacity to overcome difficult challenges and be specific.

3. Role-playing. For a few minutes, (although if the interviewer really gets into it, it can seem like centuries) you will take up the vacant role and you will have to confront a series of situations in the role. For example, you are an air-hostess and, in the middle of the flight, a passenger (the interviewer, of course) has a panic attack. Or you are a bank security guard and you have to manage a conflict with an annoyed client.  But you won’t always have to act out a role! Sometimes, only the company will be aware of the fictitious situation. And if you don’t believe me, watch the Heineken selection process video (and enjoy :) ).

4. Focus group. All the candidates for the same role together in one room. The interviewer puts forward different cases relating to performing the vacant role. They may be direct questions asked to one candidate or just thrown out there. For example, imagine a group of candidates applying for the position of Inditex attendant explaining how they would react to a furious client who wants to return an item of clothing at any price. The company may include a group of observers who will analyse the reactions and participation of each of the candidates.

5. Coffee and work. The job interview mutates into an event or a fair: the consultancy firm or human resources agency that usually organises this type of event brings together the personnel recruiters from different companies with the candidates for a position in informal and relaxed surroundings – ideal for letting your best side shine.

6. Neurotechnology. The future? The advertising agency, TBWA, in Istanbul, was pioneer in applying neurotechnology in personnel selection, using their Adlove project.  They were looking for a worker who would love his/her job so they used an EEG on candidates to be empirically sure of the emotion that advertising produced in them.  And they chose their new employee using the results. It is only my own opinion but the risk of neurotechnology is that, besides analysing the nervous system, it is capable of influencing it: the film, ‘Clockwork Orange’, by Stanley Kubrick deals with this threat – although it takes it to extremes… And you? Do you believe in the possibilities of this system for contracting an employee?

Lots of luck in your future job interviews but, above all, be natural.

Note: Aren’t you curious to find out how they answered the question about how to put a giraffe into a freezer? As we said, what’s important is how you react. And you can do it by asking questions like: Is the giraffe dead? How big is it? How big is the freezer? And no: we don’t know how many cows there are in Canada, but you can get an idea… searching on Google!

Image: César Poyatos