Why should we hire you?

In one of my first posts I gave you some tips on how to answer interview questions. When I talk to some of my friends and practice before their interview, I noticed that the question “Why should we hire you and not another candidate” is pretty problematic for most of them. That is why I wanted to give this question a few thoughts.

I will start with things you should not say. I hear many answers. I appreciate the honesty but saying simply “I am very unhappy in my company, you need to hire me” or “I need more salary” are answers to avoid.

Participating in an interview puts all of us in an uncomfortable situation. We have to talk about our achievements and boast about it without being arrogant. Sometimes we have to explain our weakness but we must be careful that it doesn’t turn against us. We have to show motivation about this particular company without exaggerating. Before going to any interview, prepare why you should be chosen among many other candidates. Some of my tips would include:

  1. Doing a research about the company you are applying for. Which values you share? Is it an industry you would be particularly interested in? In my example, when applying to some of my jobs, I chose teaching as I love helping people or medical devices as it inspires me that my candidates could participate in improving people’s lives.
  2. Think what is exceptional about you that maybe other candidates don’t have. I was always told I have amazing networking skills and that everybody remembers me easily. It is something that I mention during interviews that allows me to show that I create great relationship with my managers or students.
  3. Be yourself. Don’t give an artificial answer that sounds great but is not true. If you say it was always your dream of working in the company or that you are a born manager but nothing from this is true, even if you are hired, you will be very unhappy in the role.
  4. Employers love problem solvers. When answering,  you can use your problem solving skills. You can mention an example from the interview and say how you would solve it e.g. “I understand in the company you would like to improve quality process. I find myself very qualified in continuous improved, I introduced… (here examples that prove you are qualified)”
  5. Always use examples of your skills. If you answer that you are perfect for the role and don’t give any proof of it, it will be hard to believe that you a good fit.
  6. Make a list of the achievements you are proud of. It is important to show your motivation by showing your passion about what you do.
  7. Prepare your pitch and practice. You can write it down the first time you have an interview, read it and practice. Remember to sound truthful.

Good luck! You know you have it. Just believe in yourself and show the interviewers that you are really a great person to work with 🙂

achiev11

 

 

 

 

Are all hamburgers unhealthy – or how to use hamburger method at work.

I will start with a funny anecdote from one of my training sessions when I was explaining what hamburger method is. I wanted to draw a hamburger, and as among many of my talents you would not find drawing or painting, here is how it went:

hamburger.jpg

The participants started asking if it’s a Pacman, ghost or maybe an egg… Drawing was a failure but it started our discussion on… how to give me a feedback that I am bad in drawing and thus I could introduce this method.

I heard about the hamburger (sometimes called sandwich) method during my first job in the agency from my friend. I didn’t know how to tell the candidate that was really strong that he failed in an interview. He told me I should do it this way: start with something really good about the candidate, then give him a constructive feedback on what was wrong and then and end on a positive note with again something good.

I really liked it and started using it from this moment, not only with the candidates, but also with my bosses, colleagues and especially with my family too!

What is important is to always be truthful. When saying the compliments, we shouldn’t be fake and say things that are not true. E.g. if the candidate/husband was not good with his organizational skills or didn’t show them so we cannot say how he/she is, we shouldn’t compliment on that. As for the middle part of the hamburger, the bad stuff, is should be a constructive criticism. Saying “Because you were bad” or “How you answered was stupid” would not bring any added value for us.

A good example on how to give criticism without being considered as a bad policeman is in the article below:

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-give-criticism-without-sounding-like-a-jerk-5915687

As you know, as many people, as many opinions. And I always listen to the other side. I love hamburger method but there might be people who don’t appreciate it. Some say that if you “embellish” the criticism with the compliments, your colleague would not focus on the negative feedback you wanted to tell him, it will be lost in nice words that he heard in the beginning. I don’t agree with it if you do it properly. If you give a good explanation and even introduction that e.g. you will be discussing his/her performance and there are good and bad stuff in it and that you will walk them through, the person already knows they need to work on someting and progress. For those who want to know why hamburger method can be wrong, please read the article:

https://lifehacker.com/stop-using-the-sandwich-method-to-give-feedback-1776592001

Whichever method you will choose, it is important to treat everybody with respect. This being said, stop nagging your husband, wife or colleague and… be nice to each other 🙂

 

Should you be emotionally compromised at work?

Every now and then I witness a situation when one of the candidates shows their emotions to me or other recruiters in a very strong way. They show disappointment, that they were not chosen in the recruitment process, they disagree if you give them a constructive feedback, they give very personal answers during the interviews…

As we are all Humans and not Vulcans, it is not possible not to show emotions in business at all. And I don’t even think it is nice to work among robots. But another extreme of showing strong emotions at work might be very destructive: to your teammates, it can destroy a long-term relationship that you built with your supervisors, colleagues or HR people. That is why I always repeat – before writing a disappointed email to your recruiter or dialing number to your manager whilst being angry, count to 10…

Spock is a good example of a Human/Vulcan heritage that we might want to follow. Excuse my nerd comparisons, but a golden mean is always the best option. I have some friends that e.g. participated in a recruitment process and are 120% sure they will be chosen to the role. First of all, we should never be sure. Everything can happen from budget cuts, worse day or just a bad feeling of one of the interviewers… Second of all, even if you feel that you were misjudged, don’t show anger to your interviewers. the best method is to show some arguments why you disagree but to do it as always in a hamburger method (good – bad – good message) and underlying your appreciation of their time during the interviews…

This being said, emotions are not always bad at the work place. If you are passionate about your work and you show your enthusiasm, engagement and optimism, it might thrive many projects and make you work in an efficient way. That is why we should use all our resources including emotions in a positive way.

There is a good article on the Forbes that shows some impact of emotions on your team’s members when they work on some projects, it is also worth reading it:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriklarson/2017/03/21/how-common-emotions-affect-team-decision-making-and-what-to-do-about-it/#79e637bf2896

Emotions can be both negative and positive and we should be aware of both impacts and use them wisely. We should remember the recruitment world is very tiny. May you live long and prosper at your workplace and beyond it 🙂

spock

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small-world network

As my husband is a scientist, I also need to show my nerd nature from time to time and discuss the recruitment world via some geeky comparisons.

A small-world network is a mathematical graph that shows that even if we have nodes that are not neighbour nodes, somehow they are connected via different nodes. To day it in a simply way, we are all connected. I even read a survey that showed that our way to Beyonce is through three of our connections. If you like maths or geek world, more information about small-world network can be found under this link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small-world_network

The reason why I am talking about this subject is that we should never forget, in whichever place of our career we are – job seekers, successful freelancers or stable corporate colleagues, we should never burn anybody’s bridges. Leaving your company for a new role is stressful for both the person leaving the company (a new challenge, feeling insecure, leaving nice colleagues) and their employer (losing a good employee). And when there is stress, there can be issues.

I witnessed many stressful goodbyes however hard I tried to avoid them. In the whole stress we should remember that at one point of our life we can be sure we will bump into our ex-colleagues or ex-bosses. That is why before starting any fight let’s count to 100 and think: “Is it really worth it?”. One of examples I would give you is one of my colleagues in Poland where I worked as a teacher. Nobody appreciated his attitude and didn’t want to cooperate with him. I was pretty neutral and even helped him with organizing some courses. After a few years… we met in Geneva and he was very helpful in giving me tips when I was looking for a new role.

I don’t want to say we live in the world full of milk and honey and it will always be friendly. But even if we had some clashes with our boss, colleague, manager… Let’s try to be positive and leave a good impression. Let’s not erase our LinkedIn connections, say bad things about our ex-employer (it looks bad also when you talk to your new employer). You never know when you meet them during your next… lunch, workplace, tennis tournament or dancing course.

networking funny super

 

 

LinkedIn features that make your profile more reliable

When talking about LinkedIn we focus a lot on the content of your profile, key words and how it should look like. But we forget about 2 LinkedIn features that make a difference: endorsements and recommendations. Both are equally important and the reasons are explained in this great article from LinkedIn Talent Blog:

https://blog.linkedin.com/2014/09/12/why-linkedin-recommendations-and-endorsements-should-matter-to-you

As recently I wrote about LinkedIn but I might not have underlined the importance of both, I would like to underline it in this post. Endorsements matter, as they show your crucial skills – that is why choose them wisely. It is more important that you are endorsed by your colleague for your project management skills then by your friend from studies for your organizational skills. Do not get me wrong, organizational skills matter, but the context is different. If you organized some events during studies, it had less impact then coordinating real projects and being appreciated by your colleagues. Endorsements are also key words for the recruiters when looking for e.g. a good project manager.

Recommendations make our profile look more reliable. You should also choose appropriate people to give you recommendations. They should give concrete examples of your work, not only nicely talk about e.g. your project management skills but also say in which projects you participated and why you were good at it. I always recommend 2-3 recommendations per job. It is important to remind your colleagues (of course not in a pushy way) if you sent a recommendation request to them – some of them do not notice it. Do not be shy about asking for a recommendation when you and the person recommending you knows you well and likes working with you. Do not be afraid of asking your colleague to change the recommendation little bit if it doesn’t emphasize your skills and especially when you see… misspellings in it.

Both endorsements and recommendations will create a decent, authentic and employer-friendly profile which will help you to get noticed, create more network and in the future find a new  challenge.

recommendations

 

 

 

Marketing when networking

Every time I talk about the power of networking, it surprises me how many people still think I exaggerate.  I remember my last post on the great blog of Joanna – Szwajcarskie Blabliblu, where I gave an example of networking during lunch breaks. I remember reaction of a few people who said it was not possible to network whilst eating or that I was a hypocrite – pretending to dine with somebody when the real reason was to network or get a job.

The fact is, humans are social animals. We spend the whole life in social communities. And it does not matter if you belong to a  group of nature lovers or video gamers, we all bond with people similar to us. That is why it is not bad, hypocritical or fake to talk about your interests, hobbies or job search to somebody when eating lunch.

The question is… how to do it. To help you with this, I would like to give you link to the quotation about networking and marketing:

If you go for a lunch with your ex-colleague and your objective is to mention you need a new challenge in your career. But if you say it the way the person thinks you are a random worker who cannot offer his/her company anything on top of what they already have, unfortunately your lunch did not end with much success.

I am not a typical sales person, I don’t naturally brag about my achievements or my company. Moreover, often I am too modest about what I do. It was my weak point and I decided to fight against it. Let’s compare two sentences:

“I am a French teacher. I finished my studies in 2008 and had a 4 year experience in training and teaching afterwards. I created an e-learning platform to learn languages. Ever since, I have been engaged in recruitment but I also organize French and recruitment training sessions and I would like to be more engaged in teaching at your school.”

“I have been involved in teaching French since the beginning of my studies. My lessons have always been made-to-measure. I personalize my training sessions – when getting to know my students, I choose the best method for them e.g. more visuals, using e-learning or focusing on communication. After 4 years of creating e-learning platform to teach languages, the platform that has still been used after 10 years in my language school, I decided to coach people and help them in finding their jobs. I created some training materials about how to create CVs, prepare for interviews and I organize networking events. In the meantime, I have been teaching  via Skype and attending cultural events near Zurich during which I teach French. Teaching is my passion and having strong pedagogical background makes me a great added value to your school.”

It is not even about the length of both statements. It is all HOW you say things. In the first statement you get many facts but you don’t know if the person likes teaching, how he/she teaches and why they want to be more engaged in teaching. From the second statement you get an image of a passionate teacher having many personalized teaching methods, who uses his/her training sills even in recruitment, being involved in some extra teaching work after work. Which one you would hire for a teaching job? I would choose the second one who seems much more motivated, engaging and qualified.

Of course both people are the same person. But in the first example I didn’t use my marketing skills. Even 1 year ago, when having some tough moments changing my job, I had a tendency to put myself down when talking about my job. But after a few weeks I understood I can take much more from the job I have but also that people will have an image of me based on how I painted it. We always say “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and as much I would like people to follow this phrase and not to be judgmental, we all are. So next time you write me a message saying “Hey Kasia, can you help me finding a new job? I have not much experience and I don’t think I have lots of chance to get anything…”, please think before pushing “Enter” button. As hard as it sounds, I might unconsciously prejudge you and not be too eager to help you with networking – who would like to hire an ordinary Joe who doesn’t know much about what he/she does?

So sharpen your marketing skills and… start networking 🙂

funny job

 

 

 

How to plan and organize your job search?

Back from holidays, 9 days of doing absolutely nothing, just relaxing on the beach, playing Mario Maker 2 and reading a good book, it was not easy to get back on track at work.

What we have to remember at work but also when looking for a job, is to be organized. You could think that simple, repetitive sending of applications is not complicated and doesn’t require any support or organisational tools.  But you would be completely wrong.

Imagine you subscribed to 5 job portals, are in contact with 2 agencies and sent a couple of spontaneous applications. Suddenly you start getting some feedbacks, even from your applications that you sent in March or April. What can happen if you don’t track your job search? You can start talking on the phone with a recruiter and forget for which job you applied. This kind of situation creates a feeling that you are not professional or that you are applying to all available jobs. Moreover, the HR can think you are not organized and in many jobs being organized is a crucial skill.

How can you track your job search and how should you get organized when seeking for a new job or changing your career?

  1. Plan your job search before you start searching for a job. Seems logical but many people start their job search without realizing what they are looking for. Ask yourself some basic questions e.g. why are you looking for a new job/career change, which companies you would like to approach, would you like to have a permanent role or e.g. become a freelancer, what would you expect from a new company etc.
  2. Use a Job Search Tracker. You can create one on you own e.g. with an Excel Spreadsheet or using any online tracking tool. If you need anything more fancy, use some interactive Sheets available online e.g. the one propose by the portal TheMuse: https://www.themuse.com/advice/job-search-spreadsheet-track-application
  3. When approaching e.g. agencies or recruiters, do not exaggerate. Don’t contact 10 agencies and HR people. Quality is better than quantity – choose 1 or 2 agencies you feel comfortable with.
  4. Make a list of companies that can benefit from your knowledge or in case of freelancing – list of clients.
  5. Do not forget about making a list of networking events, conferences or event emails/phone numbers of contacts that can help you in progressing with your job search.

Job seeking is not easy, especially after holidays when our head is full of summer memories and we are not focused on searching for new options in our career. Give yourself a little bit of time, print a favorite photo from your holiday and… start preparing your new well organized job search. Good luck to all of us coming back from holiday 🙂

organized