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Sunday, 28 December 2008

Worst performance in a job interview

I read this in the Independent on Sunday and thought I would share it, as it is a fantastic example of a poor job interview technique.

"...the man who, receiving a mobile phone call, asked the interviewer to leave because it was a "private call"; the man who told the interviewer he had been sacked from his last post for beating up the boss; the candidate who sniffed his armpits as he walked into the interview room; and the person going for an accountancy job who told the interviewer: "I'm a people person, not a numbers person." But the winner is the American who, during a telephone job interview, flushed the toilet."

Try not to make these mistakes in the New Year...but if you do we'd be happy to hear about them.

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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Preparing for interviews: Tips for Girls - Part One

1. Old Reliable. It's really important you feel comfortable at your interview, so it's usually best to go with a tried and tested outfit that buy something flashy and new that you'll spend two hours squirming in and fiddling with.

2. Don't rely on your mirror to decide to decide what you're wearing. Ask a friend - preferably another girl - if you look okay. Do the night before; if you leave it until the last minute you won't have time to change your outfit.

3. Beware of the cleavage. Granted, depending on what industry you're trying - and who your interviewer is - a bit of skin might get you noticed. But the chances are that it won't be in a good way! Always get a taller person to check how much you're exposing;' your v-neck jumper might not look low cut to you, but if you are greeted by a 6 foot - plus potential boss, beware : he might be getting quite an eyeful.

4. Beware the stilettos.Yes - they are sexy. But falling over on the slippery office floor isn't.

5. Less is more on the make-up & accessories. Too many of us confuse interviews with nights out. Mascara, SUBTLE foundation and a clear lip-gloss will usually suffice. Avoid bronzer if you possibly can - it'll look very different in 10am daylight to it's usually colour in a dingy club. And careful on the jewellery front - they won't want to hear you jangling before they see you and Accessorize aren't paying you to advertise for them.

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Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Job interview survey

According to research by jobsite.co.uk people in the UK have not been selling themselves at interview over the past 12 months. They suggest from their survey that people in Briton have missed out on pay rises worth £2.3bn in the past year by failing interviews.

This figure is likely to be complete rubbish and better as a public relations exercise for the company. For example if people these people have lost £2.3bn from failing interviews then pay rises would have been gained by those who sold themselves better than the rest. Also those who failed at multiple interviews have not lost £2.3bn as they couldn't have taken all these jobs.

Nevertheless the report doesn highlight the importance of interview skills.

The study of 5,000 adults showed many did not know how to answer "penetrating" questions such as how to sell a bottle of water, what they wanted on their gravestone or how their friends see them.

One in three people looking for work had failed to receive a single job offer in the past year, mainly because of poor interview technique or nerves.

"Our candidates tell us that it's one thing to find a job that matches your skills and experience, but quite another to be able to sell yourself in an interview chair," said jobsite.co.uk's Keith Potts.

So-called "killer" questions at interviews included: "I've interviewed 20 people for this job, why should I employ you?", and "Tell me a secret you've never told anyone."

Few of those surveyed said they practised possible questions before going for a job interview.

This research highlights the importance of planning for interviews, including understanding the sort of questions they're likely to face. That way you can overcome some of the nerves, really sell yourself and get the perfect job.

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Thursday, 18 October 2007

Try, try and try again

I am pleased to announce that a good friend of mine has recently got the job he's been looking for. This hasn't been an easy ride for him, it has taken him over six months to get to this point. However it has been worth it as he now has a job which he'll be happy to go to in the morning and should help him to progress in his career.

Although this method isn't for everyone, as certainly isn't an option if you aren't already working, it shows that there is merit in not panicing and taking the first job that comes your way when things aren't going your way. With hardwork, a little luck and percerverance you are very likely to get something that will make you happy.

Even in these days of growing economic uncertainty there remains a wide range of jobs out there for you to go and get. So read this site, get prepared and make sure when the job you really want comes around you're in the best place to go and get it.

If you do, then please help the rest of us out by sharing your interview experiences and questions on this site.

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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

CV on one page

It seems that there is a trend to get CVs down to one page.

I really want to know who are the people that decide that they wouldn't read a well set out, clear CV that is written on two pages.

I personally prefer two pages. The CVs that I have seen on one page are either lacking in detail or are jam-packed onto one page, making the CV very difficult to read.

Perhaps there is a case for a one page CV for your first job as some employers don't really care about what you've done outside of school or university. Then again many do and I don't think its worth the risk leaving that stuff out!

If you're an employer who'd reject someone with a two page CV then you probably should look twice at your recruitment policy.

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Sunday, 19 August 2007

Article 1 - Tough times 2008

On the surface all is looking very rosy for the UK labour market if you’re looking for a job. Despite a huge inflow of migrant workers since the enlargement of the European Union the number of people claiming unemployment benefit has consistently remained below the one million mark in the last two years and has fallen by over 100,000 in 2007.

Nevertheless cracks are starting to show in the economy. Interest rates have risen five times since July 2006 and are likely to rise one more time by the end of the year. Higher interest rates are likely to hit both consumers and businesses alike as debt repayments become even more of a stretch. It should be noted that increases in interest rates take about a year to feed through to the economy so get ready for last years rate rises to start to hit!

Other weaknesses are showing. The slowdown in the US economy has been going on for most of the year without major consequences for the UK. The recovery in the major EU countries has helped to buffer the reduction in US demand for UK exports. However, the EU recovery is starting to look short-lived. The Italian economy posted very weak growth figures in the second quarter of year, whilst higher European Central Bank (ECB) interest rates are starting to hinder Germany and France.

Nevertheless on the surface it would seem that the slowdown is not having much of an impact on people’s day-to-day lives. Last week’s financial market chaos would have been a big headache for those working in the City of London or those with large share portfolios, but that’s a minority of the country.

The financial chaos should however start alarm bells ringing. It is not yet clear how the current mess in the international financial markets will play out, but if this turmoil continues then the cracks in the economy could well become holes for jobs to fall through. The financial crisis has exacerbated problem – few had been predicted that the United States could potentially move into recession until the events of last week.

It seems unlikely that the UK will suffer as much as the US. There are no credible analyst suggesting that the UK will enter a period of recession, but as the economy is squeezed by higher interest rates and as chaotic financial markets hit business confidence there will be those that will lose their jobs.

The first possible group to see job losses will be those working in the financial and business services sector in the City of London. Initial estimates had suggested that job losses in the City are likely to number a few thousand, but this number is likely to be revised upwards. The impact of this will be relatively limited to the London area.

The next sign to watch out for is a slowdown in consumer and business spending. With the financial markets looking wobbly and with higher debt repayments businesses will reduce their spending on goods and services, and also on headcounts.

Uncertainty in the financial markets leads to uncertainty in the business environment. Plans to invest will be hit as uncertainty increases the risk that they may not be able to afford the repayments in the future.

A slowdown in consumer spending is likely to follow. Higher interest rates will increase the cost of consumer debt repayments, primarily mortgages. However, this is likely to have a limited impact according to the Bank of England.

Consumer spending will also be constrained by the reduction in business spending. As businesses reduce spending employment growth will slow as will wage growth. With less money in their pockets the consumer will stay at home, rather than spending on the high street.

With business spending less on goods and services, those that supply those goods and services will have a reduction in turnover. With consumers spending less on goods and services these suppliers will also see reduced turnover. Lower turnover cause firms to fold or reduce costs; inevitably job cuts will be part of this process.

So when will this all come to a head? Most analysts suggest that 2008 will be the crunch point when the various factors come together to produce an economic slowdown. Expect to feel the pinch wherever you work, there are unlikely to be many sectors that don’t see an impact.

With this warning in hand I would suggest knuckling down and making sure your boss realises that you’re indispensable, even when business is bad! 2008 is going to be a tough year try to limit the suffering.

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