30 April 2013
The fact is most interviewers decide within 5 minutes of meeting whether the candidate in front of them is worth pursuing. Often, then, the interview process that follows is an elongated charade with no particular purpose. However, along the way many intuitive questions are asked of prospective employees and the shrewd recruiter is armed with posers designed to identify the candidate’s skills and emotions, tricking and cajoling along the way.
Here is a list of the top 20 interview questions which, if asked in one sitting, would certainly identfy a fake from a flyer:
1. What circumstance brings you here today?
One of the best opening questions ever, where candidates reveal problems with their current employer, potential insubordination, and both positive or negative character traits.
2. Which three people (famous or otherwise) would you most like to invite to a dinner party?
Offers insight into the candidate’s personality. Some go for safe options, whilst others may be more risky or exhibit signs of humour or quirkiness.
3. What felt unfair to you in your last job?
A great way of finding out what makes someone tick and what they stand for
4. What’s your favourite animal and why?
Sub-consciously most people consider an animal they believe most accurately personifies them. This is a good question to identify personality traits.
5. What type of work environment do you prefer?
There is little point hiring people who do not fit the company’s culture. This question identifies the candidate’s likely fit, aside from the ability to do the job.
6. My partner and I are planning a holiday, where would you recommend?
This question allows you to speak about a topic outside of the job role, breaking down barriers and exploring the candidate’s ‘non-interview’ personality.
7. What are you most passionate about?
The answer doesn’t really matter but the way they answer does. The best candidates respond very quickly, sit forward slightly and are usually very animated. Never hire anyone without a passion for something.
8. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your life and how have you overcome it?
The candidate is forced to open up and be honest, whilst allowing the interviewer an opportunity to explore how the candidate handles challenges.
9. Which famous person would you most like to see play you in a film?
The answer to this question will be a great insight into the candidate’s confidence as well as providing a great exploratory topic of conversation.
10. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Studies indicate that people who take risks are generally more successful than those who do not. But too many mavericks in one organisation can be disruptive…Discussion on this can be very revealing.
11. Describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why?
This question identifies motivations and affords personality insights.
12. When I call your old boss what will they say about you?
Other than asserting the point that you will be taking references, this question asks the candidate to think about how they feel they are perceived by their previous (or current) employer, testing their ability to think on the spot and align the answer to the job they are interviewing for.
13. Why are you interested in this job?
Is the candidate interested in your job or any job? Have they researched the company and understood what’s been mentioned throughout the interview?
14. If you could be anyone else who would it be?
Provides the opportunity for further analysis of personality traits and creativity.
15. What are the biggest strengths you would bring to this organisation?
Aligned with question 13, the answer affords the interviewer the chance to gauge the candidate’s perception of how their skills and personality would help drive the company forward, whilst testing their ability to assert themselves.
16. What makes you angry?
Helps understand personality traits and motivations.
17. What are the first 5 things you’d do if you got this position?
Tests what the candidate has understood from the interview and how they perceive their skills and personality would add value to the company and role. Confident individuals are likely to look at the company culture as well as the job function itself.
18. If you inherited an acre of land what would you do with it?
This question helps explore the candidate’s personality and creativity.
19. Why do giraffes have such long necks?
The factual truth behind this question (there’s conjecture over whether it’s for food or fighting advantages) is incidental, as it is a great way to explore the candidate’s creativity – or natural history knowledge!
20. What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
Everyone has an achievement of some kind (if they haven’t, don’t employ them!) so this question identifies motivational traits and passion. It is also a great way to end the interview on a positive note.
19 March 2013
Get ready for some desk-food-survey statistics:
One in ten respondents eat all three meals in front of their computer
Half of them eat both breakfast and lunch at their desks
The average person puts on nearly a stone in their first year of working in an office
One in seven workers describes snacking as the highlight of their day
45% eat far more than they feel they should at work
One in three blame that on colleagues who hand out food
One in seven estimated that they’re involved in 23 minutes of food-related chat with colleagues each day
20% admit they buy snacks at work to gain popularity within the workplace
60% claim snacking helps productivity
45% think they’ve no choice but to put on weight because of the sedentary nature of their job
Source: Breakfast, lunch and dinner at your desk.
5 March 2013
It’s common advice among job seekers: when you’re interviewing, you need to interview the employer right back. After all, you’re the one who is potentially going to fill this position, so you need to know if it’s going to be a good fit, right?
Accept that while salary ranges, benefits and schedule flexibility are important details you deserve answers to, hiring managers don’t appreciate questions like these until at least your second interview (or maybe even after they’ve made you an offer).
During your first interview, the “impress me dance” is still in full swing. When a potential employer asks if you have any questions, they don’t want inquiries about parking validation; they want to see if you’re prepared, educated and inquisitive.
Here are six questions to ask at the end of your interview that will help you master the twisted tango of getting hired:
1. If I were to start tomorrow, what would be the top priority on my to-do list?
The answer to this question will give you more insight into the current state of the position, while the question shows that you’re invested and interested in learning how you can start things off with a bang. The added bonus lies in the Jedi mind trick: now you’ve already got your interviewer picturing you as the position holder.
2. What would you say are the top two personality traits someone needs to do this job well?
The answer to this will be very telling. “Creative” and “intuitive” can be translated to mean you will be on your own, while “patient” and “collaborative” could mean the opposite. Not only will this question allow you to feel out whether you’re going to be a good fit; it will also get your interviewer to look past the paper resume and see you as an individual.
3. What improvements or changes do you hope the new candidate will bring to this position?
This answer can shed light on what might have made the last person lose (or leave) the job, and it also tips you off on the path to success. Asking this shows an employer you are eager to be the best candidate to ever fill this position.
4. I know this company prides itself on X and Y, so what would you say is the most important aspect of your culture?
This type of question is sure to impress, as it shows that you’ve done your research on the company and gives you a chance to gain insight into what values are held to the highest ideal.
5. Do you like working here?
This question might take interviewers back a bit, but their answer will be telling. A good sign is a confident smile and an enthusiastic “yes” paired with an explanation as to why. If they shift in their seat, look away, cough and start with “Well…”, consider it a red flag.
Regardless of their answer, employers appreciate getting a chance to reflect on their own opinions, and this turns the interview process into more of a conversation.
6. Is there anything that stands out to you that makes you think I might not be the right fit for this job?
Yes, asking this question can be scary, but it can also be beneficial. Not only does it give you a chance to redeem any hesitations the employer might have about you; it also demonstrates that you can take constructive criticism and are eager to improve—valuable qualities in any candidate.
Delaney Browne Appointments is here to help at every stage of the interview process.
29 January 2013
All employees want to feel appreciated and valued. . Even if they are not exceptional or busting their gut, people want to be recognised or – in the language of TA (transactional analysis) – ‘stroked’. Sometimes we forget that common politeness means a lot. Little things matter.
So what are the 7 things employees most want to hear?
1) Thanks for that!
- Even if it is what they are being paid to do, without them your operation would not happen!
2) How are you?
- With the reply listened to – they are people not machines!
3) Thanks for this!
- Every day, notice and show gratitude for a job done and if it is, it will get done better, because they know you notice.
4) Yes, I see you.
– Because they are people and individuals and if they change their hair, their clothes or their specs they want to be noticed, if they do extra work, make a contribution, highlight a problem…
5) Yes, I know you are working hard.
– Surprise them – research shows that unexpected rewards have more power to motivate than an expected reward (becomes a right) or the salary (it is my contract).
- Just be polite, and mean it!
7) Yes I know you have an opinion and it does matter.
- When you are considering change remember they are doing the job, they are speaking to the customers. They may have ideas. And whilst they may like the ‘way they have always done it’ you can not persuade them to change if you don’t listen to their objections.
People think work is all about earning money – it is, but it is not just about earning money and just because they are being paid does not mean they are not valuable or that they should not be recognised as such. When work becomes solely a financial transaction you have lost access to their discretionary effort. People find an identity, a social circle, intellectual challenge and a meaning in life through work. They will find more of those and be more committed and productive if they hear what they want to hear, that they are valued.
Source: Undercover Recruiter January 2013
8 January 2013
With social media playing a major part in many people’s lives, Acas has set out some guidelines on how best to manage the use of social media in the workplace.
•Time theft: employers may be concerned that employees are spending too long using company computers for personal reasons such as sending personal emails, updating social network accounts, shopping online.
•Work organisation: the use of social media often blurs the distinction between work and home life, with many employees available at home and while travelling. This has led some employers to put more emphasis on managing the tasks an employee performs rather than managing the time they work.
•Managing remotely: use of social media is allowing many employees to work remotely, which offers unique challenges for performance management.
•Better work life balance: By managing the person not the employee, and being aware of issues at home as well as at work, businesses can get more flexibility from the hours and the way employees work, and employees can have more choice about when they undertake work and home activities.
•Improved communication: between a line manager and their staff. Colleagues can use tweets, smart phones, emails, internal message boards and professional networking sites to keep in touch.
•More responsibility for individual employees and teams: Although knowledge sharing often leads to a greater centralisation of information resources, employees can get more freedom in the way they manage their workloads.
•Productivity issues: in some organisations productivity could be badly affected by employees spending too much time away from core work duties (research has suggested that misuse of social networking tools costs the UK economy £14 billion annually in 'lost time' MyJobGroup.co.uk Survey2010). It can be hard for managers when employees switch quickly between business and personal use of social media - for example, flicking between professional and social networking sites - often using different tools for access (eg personal, work phones etc).
•Health and safety: many employees are using personal social networking as a way of switching off from work rather than having regulated breaks away from IT equipment.
•Addiction: the use of social media can become addictive to varying degrees - from constantly checking work emails, often at home, through to deeper personal problems, such as on-line gambling. Where there is a serious problem, employees may need to be encouraged to seek specialist help.
•Monitoring: for employers, heavy-handed monitoring of the use of social media can cause bad feeling and be time consuming. Employees may be unaware that some forms of social networking, such as smart phones, can inadvertently provide a form of monitoring, for example, by revealing the user's location.
•Reduces face to face communication: electronic communication can be less subtle than talking face to face and line managers may not be able to get to the root of problems relating to sickness absence, for example, if communication is via email.
The way forward
•Develop a policy on use of social media while at work. Every organisation will have different rules. Some may ban personal use of internet altogether, other may allow 'reasonable use' at the discretion of a line manager. It may be helpful to set some guidelines: for example, personal use of social media is permitted during tea breaks and lunch periods. Consult your employee or union representatives when drawing up a policy (see the guide on 'How to develop a policy'). Be aware that this is a rapidly changing area and policies may have to be updated on a regular basis .
•Educate employees of the risks of using VDUs and IT equipment. Although many people's social and domestic lives revolve around the use of social media - everything from booking concert tickets to paying bills - this does not constitute having a break from computer screens (many organisations recommend ten minutes away from a screen for every hour worked). The Health and Safety Executive has guidance on the use of VDU equipment.
•Give line managers guidelines on remote/home-working. Common sense suggests that managers will often focus on end-products rather than managing the time too closely. However, the basic rules of effective performance management still apply, for example holding regular performance reviews and maintaining an ongoing dialogue with all staff.
•Induction: use the first few weeks of employment to establish your acceptable standards of behaviour and spell out the dangers of using company facilities for personal use - in terms of the impact on productivity and the extra pressure it puts on the team.
•Links to disciplinary procedures. Be clear about what behaviour will be monitored and what disciplinary sanctions may be triggered - for example, if someone is off sick but colleagues report seeing pictures online of them out socialising.
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