Rethinking workspaces – how will your company adapt to the new normal?
Rethinking workspaces – how will your company adapt to the new normal?

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General

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General

01/09/20

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Akin to the tourism and travel industry, the commercial property market has undergone a real shake up over the past number of months. We have been speaking to many business leaders who are desperately trying to balance a host of decisions, such as social distancing, rental agreements and remote employee engagement. In order to answer some of these prevalent questions our Managing Director, Matthew Wilcox, hosted a discussion on these topics with flexible work space experts Instant Group. Instant Group place more than 11,000 companies in flexible work spaces annually around the world. The panel of experts included Matt Dawson - Strategic Sales Consultant, John Williams - Head of Marketing, and James Booth - CFO. They tackled the many uncertainties, below is a summary of short Q&A video snippets: Is the office dead?   What is remote working and what are the cost implications of not having a physical office? Motivating a remote workforce    What is the future role of the office?   Five predictions for the future of Corporate Real Estate We now have to question what is the purpose of the office? The new role of a Head of CRE (Commercial Real Estate)   The importance of office design to entice employees to visit   If you would like to contact us for more information on this webinar or general market trends, you can email us at marketing@markssattin.com. Alternatively, follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date on business and recruitment trends.

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Akin to the tourism and travel industry, the commercial property market has undergone a real shake up over the past number of months.

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Alastair Paterson

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Alastair Paterson

Alastair Paterson

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Alastair Paterson

Preparing you for competency based interview questions
Preparing you for competency based interview questions

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General

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Career Advice

12/08/20

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Competency based interview questions vary widely between sectors and depending on the level of responsibility to which you are applying. The type of competencies against which you will be assessed also depends on the role and the company who is interviewing you. For example, some companies view leadership as a competency on its own whilst others prefer to split leadership between a wide range of components (creativity, flexibility, strategic thinking or vision for example). Adaptability - Adjusts to changing environments whilst maintaining effectiveness. Which change of job did you find the most difficult to make?Tell us about the biggest change that you have had to deal with. How did you cope with it? Compliance - Conforms to company policies and procedures. How do you ensure compliance with policies in your area of responsibility?Tell us about a time when you went against company policy? Why did you do it and how did you handle it? Communication - Communicates effectively, listens sensitively, adapts communication and fosters effective communication with others. Verbal Tell us about a situation where your communication skills made a difference to a situation?Describe a time when you had to win someone over, who was reluctant or unresponsive.Describe a situation where you had to explain something complex to a colleague or a client. Which problems did you encounter and how did you deal with them?What is the worst communication situation that you have experienced?How do you prepare for an important meeting?Tell us about a situation when you failed to communicate appropriately.Demonstrate how you vary your communication approach according to the audience that you are addressing.Describe a situation when you had to communicate a message to someone, knowing that you were right and that they were wrong and reluctant to accept your point of view. Listening Give us an example where your listening skills proved crucial to an outcome.Tell us about a time when you were asked to summarise complex points.Tell us about a time when you had trouble remaining focussed on your audience. How did you handle this?What place does empathy play in your work? Give an example where you needed to show empathy?Describe a situation where you had to deal with an angry customer. Written What type of writing have you done? Give examples? What makes you think that you are good at it?How do you feel writing a report differs from preparing an oral presentation?What positive and negative feedback have you received about your writing skills? Give an example where one of your reports was criticised.How do you plan the writing of a report? Conflict management - Encourages creative tension and differences of opinions. Anticipates and takes steps to prevent counterproductive confrontations. Manages and resolves conflicts and disagreements in a constructive manner. Tell us about a time when you felt that conflict or differences were a positive driving force in your organisation. How did you handle the conflict to optimise its benefit?Tell us about a time when you had to deal with a conflict within your team.Tell us about a situation where conflict led to a negative outcome. How did you handle the situation and what did you learn from it?Give us an example where you were unable to deal with a difficult member of your team. Creativity and Innovation - Develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages new ideas and innovations; designs and implements new or cutting edge programs/processes. Tell us about a project or situation where you felt that the conventional approach would not be suitable. How did you derive and manage a new approach? Which challenges did you face and how did you address them?Tell us about a situation where you trusted your team to derive a new approach to an old problem. How did you manage the process?Tell us about a time when you had to convince a senior colleague that change was necessary. What made you think that your new approach would be better suited? Decisiveness - Makes well-informed, effective, and timely decisions, even when data is limited or solutions produce unpleasant consequences; perceives the impact and implications of decisions. What big decision did you make recently? How did you go about it?How did you reach the decision that you wanted to change your job?Give an example of a time when you had to delay a decision to reflect on the situation. What did you need to do this?What is the decision that you have put off the longest? Why?When was the last time you refused to make a decision?Give us an example of a situation where you had to make a decision without the input of key players, but knowing these key players would judge you on that decision (e.g. superior unavailable at the time).Tell us about a time when you had to make a decision without knowledge of the full facts.Tell us about a situation where you made a decision that involuntarily impacted negatively on others. How did you make that decision and how did you handle its consequences?Tell us about a decision that you made, which you knew would be unpopular with a group of people.How did you handle the decision-making process and how did you manage expectations?Tell us about a situation where you made a decision too quickly and got it wrong. Why made you take that decision? Delegation - Able to make full and best use of subordinate, providing appropriate support. What type of responsibilities do you delegate? Give examples of projects where you made best use of delegation.Give an example of a project or task that you felt compelled to complete on your own. What stopped you from delegating?Give an example of a situation where you reluctantly delegated to a colleague. How did you feel about it?Give an example where you delegated a task to the wrong person? How did you make that decision at the time, what happened and what did you learn from it?How do you cope with having to go away from the office for long periods of time (e.g. holidays)? Explain how you would delegate responsibilities based on your current situation. External awareness - Understands and keeps up-to-date on local, national, and international policies and trends that affect the organisation and shape stakeholders’ views; is aware of the organisation’s impact on the external environment. Describe through examples drawn from your experience how you measure and take account of the impact of your decisions on external parties.Give an example where you underestimated the impact of your decisions on stakeholders external to your organisation. Flexibility - Modifies their approach to achieve a goal. Is open to change and new information; rapidly adapts to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles. Describe a situation where you had to change your approach half-way through a project or task following new input into the project.Describe a situation where you started off thinking that your approach was the best, but needed to alter your course during the implementation.Describe a situation where one of your projects suffered a setback due to an unexpected change in circumstances.Describe a situation where you were asked to do something that you had never attempted previously.Give us an example of a situation where your initial approach failed and you had to change?Describe your strongest and your weakest colleagues. How do you cope with such diversity of personalities?If we gave you a new project to manage, how would you decide how to approach it? Independence Acts based on their convictions and not systematically the accepted wisdom. When did you depart from the “party line” to accomplish your goal?Which decisions do you feel able to make on your own and which do you require senior support to make?Describe a situation where you had a disagreement or an argument with a superior. How did you handle it?When do you feel that it is justified for you to go against accepted principles or policy?Which constraints are imposed on you in your current job and how do you deal with these?When did you make a decision that wasn’t yours to make?Describe a project or situation where you took a project to completion despite important opposition.When have you gone beyond the limits of your authority in making a decision? Influencing - Ability to convince others to own expressed point of view, gain agreement and acceptance of plans, activities or products. Describe a situation where you were able to influence others on an important issue. What approaches or strategies did you use?Describe a situation where you needed to influence different stakeholders who had different agendas. What approaches or strategies did you use?Tell us about an idea that you manage to sell to your superior, which represented a challenge.What is your worst selling experience?Describe the project or idea you were most satisfied to sell to your management.Describe a time where you failed to sell an idea you knew was the right one. Integrity - Ability to maintain job related, social, organisational and ethical norms. When have you had to lie to achieve your aims? Why did you do so and how do you feel you could have achieved the same aim in a different way?Tell me about a time when you showed integrity and professionalism.Tell us about a time when someone asked you something that you objected to. How did you handle the situation?Have you ever been asked to do something illegal, immoral or against your principles? What did you do?What would you do if your boss asked you to do something illegal?Tell us about a situation where you had to remind a colleague of the meaning of “integrity”. Leadership - Acts as a role model. Anticipates and plans for change. Communicates a vision to a team. Tell us about a situation where you had to get a team to improve its performance. What were the problems and how did you address them?Describe a situation where you had to drive a team through change. How did you achieve this?Describe a situation where you needed to inspire a team. What challenges did you meet and how did you achieve your objectives?Tell us about a situation where you faced reluctance from your team to accept the direction that you were setting.Describe a project or situation where you had to use different leadership styles to reach your goal.Describe a time when you were less successful as a leader than you would have wanted to be. Leveraging diversity - Fosters an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued and leveraged to achieve the vision and mission of the organisation. Give an example of a situation or project where a positive outcome depended on the work of people from a wide range of backgrounds and ideas.Tell us about a time when you included someone in your team or a project because you felt they would bring something different to the team. Organisational awareness - Demonstrates an understanding of underlying organisational issues. Describe a project where you needed to involve input from other departments. How did you identify that need and how did you ensure buy-in from the appropriate leaders and managers?Describe a time when you failed to engage at the right level in your organisation. Why did you do that and how did you handle the situation? Resilience and tenacity - Deals effectively with pressure; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity. Recovers quickly from setbacks. Stays with a problem/line of thinking until a solution is reached or no longer reasonably attainable. Tell us about a situation where things deteriorated quickly. How did you react to recover from that situation?Tell us about a project where you achieved success despite the odds being stacked against you. How did you ensure that you pulled through?Tell us about your biggest failure. How did you recover and what have you learnt from that incident?Give us an example of a situation where you knew that a project or task would place you under great pressure. How did you plan your approach and remain motivated?How do you deal with stress?Give us an example of a situation where you worked under pressure.Under what conditions do you work best and worst?Which recent project or situation has caused you the most stress? How did you deal with it?When did you last lose your temper?When was the last time that you were upset with yourself?What makes you frustrated or impatient at work?What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in your career. How did you overcome it?Tell us about a time when you pushed one of your ideas successfully despite strong opposition.Which course or topics have you found most difficult? How did you address the challenge? Risk taking - Takes calculated risks, weighing up pros and cons appropriately. Tell us about risks that you have taken in your professional or personal life? How did you go about making your decision?Please describe one of your current or recently completed projects, setting out the risks involved. How did you make decisions and how do you know that you made the right ones?What risks do you see in moving to this new post? Sensitivity to others - Aware of other people and environment and own impact on these. Takes into account other people’s feelings and needs. What problems has one of your staff or colleagues brought to you recently? How did you assist them?Tell us about an unpopular decision that you made recently? What thought process did you follow before making it? How did your colleagues/clients react and how did you deal with their reaction?How do you deal with “time wasters”? Give a recent example.When was the last time you had an argument with a colleague?When did you last upset someone?What steps do you take to understand your colleagues’ personalities? Give an example where you found it hard to adjust to one particular colleague. Teamwork - Contributes fully to the team effort and plays an integral part in the smooth running of teams without necessarily taking the lead. Describe a situation in which you were a member of a team. What did you do to positively contribute to it?Tell us about a situation where you played an important role in a project as a member of a team, not as a leader.How do you ensure that every member of the team is allowed to participate?Give us an example where you worked in a dysfunctional team. Why was it dysfunctional and how did you attempt to change things?Give an example of a time when you had to deal with a conflict within your team; what did you do to help resolve the situation?How do you build relationships with other members of your team?How do you bring difficult colleagues on board? Give us an example where you had to do this.

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Competency based interview questions vary widely between sectors and depending on the level of responsibility to which you are applying.

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Paul Roche

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Paul Roche

Paul Roche

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Paul Roche

How to resign the right way, and navigate a counter-offer conversation
How to resign the right way, and navigate a counter-offer conversation

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General

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Career Advice

12/08/20

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Even the best of job opportunities have their downsides, and the decision to change jobs should never be made lightly. Once the decision has been made, however, it should be firm and final, because reversing it could be a costly career mistake.Assuming you have been a valued employee, your company will not want to lose you, particularly in the short term, and will likely extend you a counter offer – a flattering inducement designed to tempt you into changing your mind. But as tempting and ego-gratifying as accepting a counter offer may be, interviews with employees who have succumbed to them have shown that the majority suffered setbacks later in their careers. " If the person resigning is a key employee, the manager and company will generally make whatever promises it takes to influence a reversal of the decision to terminate. Changing jobs can be an intense process, and companies know they stand a good chance of keeping the employee – at least for a while – if they can just 'press the right buttons'.  Before you let the flattery of a counter offer tempt you, consider these universally accepted truths below:No matter what the company may say, you will forever be considered a flight risk. Having once demonstrated your 'lack of loyalty' by having looked for another job, you will lose your status as a 'team player' and your place in the inner circle.Companies have long memories and know that even if you decide to stay, statistically you are almost certain to leave them again. You will always be suspected of being on a job interview whenever you are absent from work for any reason. The counter offer, therefore, is usually nothing more than a stalling device to keep you around until your employer can quietly find a replacement for you.Numerous studies have shown that the basic reasons for wanting to change jobs in the first place will nearly always resurface. Changes made as the result of a counter offer rarely last beyond the short-term. For very good reasons, well-managed companies usually do not make counter offers. They believe their policies are fair and equitable and will address any issues prior to a resignation, not afterwardsYour resignation letter Your goal should be to resign in a manner that discourages a counter offer from ever being made in the first place. This is accomplished by stating in unmistakable terms that your decision is final. A less direct approach is likely to leave the impression that what you are really doing is attempting to use your job offer to extract concessions.To eliminate any possible misunderstanding, always submit your resignation in writing. Your typewritten letter should be brief and should contain an unambiguous statement of resignation, an expression of thanks for the professional association you have enjoyed, a final date of employment, and a cooperative statement expressing your willingness to help during the transition period prior to your last day of work. The resignation meetingIf anything is said that even sounds like a lead into a counter offer, simply say, “I didn’t come here to force you into a bidding war. I simply have been presented with an opportunity I cannot pass up.” Then use the statement that should be the basis for the last line of your resignation letter: “Is there anything that I can do to help during the transition time before my last day?”During your resignation meeting, you should be prepared for a reaction, which could range from shock, disappointment, or they may congratulate you. Regardless of the company’s reaction, your plan is to remain calm and professional. It is imperative that you handle your part of the resignation meeting in a courteous and professional manner. The kind of character reference the company will give you in the future will be strongly influenced by the impression you left behind when you resigned. The final few daysRemember that co-workers will be curious about why you are leaving. Whether they corner you at work or call you at home, tell them exactly what you told the company. Anything you say will most likely get back to your employer and make the departure more difficult. Finally, do not underestimate the importance of your performance during your last two weeks. It is a serious mistake to become “mentally unemployed” and wind down while working out your notice. Give it your very best effort right up until the last minute you’re there. You will never be sorry you did.By using the strategies and techniques outlined above, you will resign with a high degree of professionalism and without burning any bridges behind you. Your plan is to remain calm, courteous and in control at all times - Good luck!

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Even the best of job opportunities have their downsides, and the decision to change jobs should never be made lightly.

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Thomas Wesseldine

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Thomas Wesseldine

Thomas Wesseldine

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Thomas Wesseldine

Writing a compelling CV in a competitive jobs market
Writing a compelling CV in a competitive jobs market

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General

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Career Advice

12/08/20

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Your CV is usually the first impression that a potential employer will have of you and your ability to do the job. Therefore, it is extremely important that your CV presents the strongest and most relevant information. It's essential for you to get across the key points in a concise and clear manner, as you often have less than five seconds to grab the reader’s attention.Be honestExaggerating your responsibilities or achievements is not recommended and could greatly impact your future chances of securing a role. Never falsify dates or jobs to hide periods of unemployment, as a basic check could expose any of these hidden areas. Leaving you exposed to more questions which may ruin your chance of landing the job. Be honest, open and explain any gaps. Back it up and support the claims you make regarding responsibilities and key achievements with facts and comparative data wherever possible.StructurePersonal details: name, address, mobile, email, visa status (if applicable). Qualifications: professional and formal, education. Include any Specialisations, eg. Auditor within IFRS Career highlights: short bullet point synopsis of your recent positions and achievements. Highlight anything that sells your overall strengths. Outline your work history in reverse chronological order. Where possible, include quantitative measurements of success and place an emphasis on the most relevant roles to the job you are applying for.Your work history should be detailed with experience and achievements and should include: Job titleCompany namedates employedKey experience areasOverview of responsibilities (5-10 bullet points depending on the seniority of the role - the greater the seniority, the more detail will be expected).Achievements: List any key achievements within the role, key projects you participated in, etc.Length is important, a maximum of two pages is preferable; your CV only needs to get you an interview. Use bullet points with your most recent experience at the top of the list. This will help to keep your CV concise and relevant to the role that you are applying for. Keep to the facts and don’t try to be funny. Other people’s sense of humor may be very different to your own and it can come across as rude or insulting. ReferencesWhen dealing with references, you do not need to include names of your references or ‘references upon request’ at this stage. If a recruiter asks for names, ensure you have spoken to your contacts and that they are willing and able. The more senior executive, the better.Layout Keep the language simple; avoid jargon that a recruiter or employer may not understand.Highlight achievements in bullet point style so that they are easy to read.Do not include a photo.Ensure your CV is in Word format.Use a clear typeface.Ensure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.Any roles over 10 years ago do not need much detail. Key things to rememberRegularly revisit your CV and update the content. Trying to remember what you did when you started your role five years ago may be difficult! Being relevant, highlight any key skills you have which are requested in the job description, these could appear on the front page as a summary. If it has been more than five years since you graduated, place your education at the bottom. If you have not finished your degree or do not have a formal qualification, explain this thoroughly.  We’re aware that following your ACA qualification you will be considering the next steps in your career. The newly qualified ACA job market is competitive, so differentiating yourself is essential. Download our ACA CV guide here.

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Your CV is usually the first impression that a potential employer will have of you and your ability to do the job.

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

Matthew Fitzpatrick

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

Preparing for your interview - some key advice
Preparing for your interview - some key advice

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General

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Career Advice

12/08/20

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Going to an interview can be daunting, especially if it's your first time, or if you really want to land the role. Preparation is key, and with the right advice you will feel relaxed and confident when making your first impression.  Before your interview do some research   Find out as much as you can about the company you are applying to - their products/services, scale, structure etc. There are a few other sources you can try to find this information, the most reliable would be:   The company website Annual reports LinkedIn Google   Best of all, if you can, speak to someone who works for the company. Of course, this is not always possible, but it is a very useful source of information. LinkedIn is a good way to connect with existing employees and reach out to them.   Key preparations   Check the location before the day and explore alternative options of transport. Read through the job description, know where your role will fit into the organisation. Expect the interviewer to do a CV walkthrough, spend some time going through your CV, making sure to familiarise yourself with your previous roles and projects along with dates. Be prepared for any technical questions that could arise from reviewing your CV. Be prepared to explain your reasons for leaving each role. Have a mental note of all key achievements in each role.   Day of the interview and arrival   Plan to arrive 15 minutes early, always leave plenty of time and assume you are going to be held up and check for traffic reports if necessary.    Best practices   Introduce yourself politely. Arrive on time or early if possible. Turn your mobile phone off during the interview. Express yourself clearly. Smile as much as possible during the interview. Show how your experience can benefit the company. Ask questions concerning the company for which you are being interviewed. Show willingness to learn and progress. Be assertive without being aggressive. Prepare 10 relevant questions; you will probably cover five in the interview. Refrain from answering questions with a yes or no - expand where possible. Answer all questions truthfully and honestly. Stay positive about previous employers. Show that you have put time and energy into planning your career and that this is a crucial step toward your future. Do not talk about the salary and benefits package - getting an offer is the main priority and salary negotiations will follow. For every responsibility/requirement on the job specification, ensure you have at least one example of an experience or a transferable skill that covers that requirement for the interview.   Telephone interviews   As a minimum you should brush up on the company’s business structure, clients, products, industry terminology, or anything else that may relate to the position you are applying for. Spending an hour or two researching these things before an interview can make a great impression on your interviewers and possibly land you a second interview or even a job.   Always remember:   Keep a glass of water handy. Smile - this will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice. Speak slowly and enunciate clearly, be careful not to speak over the interviewer. Keep your CV in clear view, on the top of your desk, so it is at your fingertips when you need to answer questions. Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review. Have a pen and paper handy for note taking. Make sure your phone is charged and you are in an area with good reception.   Read more about how to conduct a great video interview.    Talking about your experience   Keep examples recent and relevant from the last five years, and use a variety of different examples. It is often seen as a weakness to use the same scenario for different questions. If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification. Take your time in answering a question – it is better to give a decent answer after a few seconds pause, rather than a garbled, nonsensical answer immediately. Avoid clichéd answers to questions such as “I’m a great team player”, which you cannot back up with examples from the workplace.   Think about the different interviewers motivations:  - When interviewed by HR their main concern will be to ensure that you fit the company culture, but  they will not be able to assess your ability to do the job.  - A line manager will be able to test your skills and assess whether they will be able to work with you on a daily basis.   Competency based interviewing   Competency based interviewing (link this to blog 4) is a series of scenario-based questions designed to examine your strength across a number of soft skills. The concept behind this type of question, where you are asked to give a specific example of a real-life situation in the workplace, is that the interviewer is able to determine how you will behave in the future, based on how you behaved in the past.   A competency question will start with something like …. “Describe a situation when……” or “Tell me about a time when…..” It is important that you respond accordingly, with one specific example, rather than saying what you would, could or should do. Prepare examples for each of the competencies; and rehearse your answers. Remember that the word ‘we’ should not form part of your answer, replace it with ‘I’. It is you they want to hear about. The hiring manager after all, is looking to hire you, not your team.   To prepare yourself for the competency questions you will need to understand the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method of structuring your answer. The STAR technique enables you to showcase your relevant experience with the interviewer in a methodical manner. We recommend doing some in-depth preparation before the interview so that you can have some great examples to quote.   Some interview example questions:   Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way. Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgement and logic in solving a problem. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done. Give me an example of a time when you had to make a split second decision. What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example. Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa). Tell me about a difficult decision you have made in the last year. Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish failed. Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision. What do you expect from this role?   Communication, talking the interviewers language   A good tip is to always be aware of the tempo of the interview, if your interviewer is talking and asking questions slowly or quickly, respond in a like manner. Try to maintain eye contact and try to gauge the understanding of the individual(s) you are meeting with. Don’t become too technical and lose someone who is unfamiliar with what you are talking about, the same applies for the reverse. Don’t talk high level when you have a technical audience, they will be looking for detail.   If there are multiple people interviewing you, share attention between them and be sure to answer questions to the person that directed them. Avoid talking too much - this is a difficult one, but the talking should be fairly even between interviewer and interviewee. Make sure you pause if you’re in the middle of a long answer to allow the interviewer to speak if they need to.   Always remember:   If late, only apologise once. Remember what you have said to each interviewer. It is fine to duplicate information across the interviews, but make sure you are not repeating yourself to the same person. Sometimes, interviewers may have a short chat between interviews and the second interviewer may be given the task of probing a particular area, so expect some repetition. Never say overly negative things about your current employer or reasons for leaving. Focus on the future, not on the past.   Feedback   After the interview it is essential that you call Marks Sattin and provide prompt feedback. In most situations your recruiter will not be able to get feedback from the client without speaking to you first. Any delay in providing this feedback can slow down the whole process. Whether it is positive or negative, it is essential that you take it on board and use it for future interviews.   Feedback is a great learning opportunity for you and even the very best candidates often need several interviews in order to secure their ideal role.  

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For good advice on key preparations and what to expect during your next interview.

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Matthew Wilcox

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Matthew Wilcox

Matthew Wilcox

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Matthew Wilcox

Engaging employees when working remotely
Engaging employees when working remotely

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General

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General

11/06/20

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According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, 99% of respondents admitted wanting to work remotely in the future. While that may have seemed like a distant reality for some, in what felt like an overnight transition, the majority of the workforce went from seeing their colleagues every day to communicating entirely online. Managers too had to adapt to this ‘new’ normal and familiarise themselves with hiring and onboarding remotely. In the first few weeks companies were caught up in the flurry of activity, but as things have started to settle, many employers are beginning to question what impact remote working will have on employee engagement. Most organisations have likely brought their daily stand up meetings into the virtual space but there’s much more that can be done. The following tips will help companies engage their remote employees by creating a positive working culture that not only works during the pandemic, but also in the post-coronavirus world. Create a distinction between home and work Buffer’s State of Remote Work report also shows that 22% of remote workers struggle with switching off from work, making it the top problem these employees face. Employers must help their team maintain good mental health by creating a separation between work and leisure time. Take inspiration from others: Good-Loop has offered each employee £50 to spend on their home office, inspiring them to create a space that helps them to concentrate. Meanwhile, advertising agency Merkle has sent out printable artwork for their employees to bring some life to their virtual background. This is also helpful for managers who want to conduct a video interview for maximum impact. Recognition According to O.C Tanner’s 2020 Global Culture Report, company leaders see an 83% boost in engagement when they recognise their employees. For recognition to be effective, leaders must ensure they celebrate those big achievements whilst also showing appreciation for the small wins. A learning culture Isaac Newton achieved some of his greatest mathematical breakthroughs whilst in quarantine and the modern-day workforce also has the opportunity to unlock their stores of creativity during times of limited social interaction. Virtual classrooms and content co-creation tools like online whiteboards are just two options for boosting workplace learning during Covid-19. Here are some other methods: Initiate a ‘learning from home’ hour Having employees block out a ‘learning from home’ hour in their calendar ensures they have the time to dedicate to improving their industry knowledge. This time can be spent taking a course, reading thought-leadership articles, or learning about anything that helps them feel more engaged in their work. Internal learning sessions Hosting internal learning sessions is a great way to encourage knowledge sharing within and across teams. Employers can either schedule fortnightly meetings where teams present insights from their ‘learning from home’ time or give employees the option to share thought-provoking ideas in the Friday wrap-up session.  Involve external thought leaders Invite external industry experts to bring a fresh perspective into the business, either through a presentation or by collaborating with them on a webinar. Working alongside a thought leader can spark innovative thinking, boost motivation and help employees feel more engaged in their field of work. Use surveys and questionnaires This is a dynamic way for organisations to engage their team because it empowers the employees to generate fresh ideas, mention pain points and state what helps them feel more involved in their work. This method receives bonus points because it saves companies the time of trialling and testing engagement practices that have worked for other organisations and skip right to applying practices that are personally suggested by their team. It’s important to remember that what works for one employee or team may not for the next. Employee engagement organisation, Effectory, began surveying employees since the outbreak of coronavirus to gain insight into the new working pattern and what it means for productivity and wellbeing. The results show that 66% of the workforce are able to do their job effectively from home and though this is a majority it still leaves one in three people struggling with the new working culture. Effectory have created a free Covid-19 Workforce Pulse survey which enables organisations to gain fast feedback on their employees’ engagement levels during the pandemic. The aggregated data from the survey shows that the top-performing companies all have one thing in common – they actively involve their employees. Use values to cultivate a sense of community Involving employees in the decision-making process through questionnaires also creates a sense of community. To nurture this environment, employers should seek more ways of helping their teams feel connected, something that’s particularly important for remote workers with limited social interaction. Emphasising the company values will ensure that employees working remotely feel as though they are marching to the beat of the same drum whilst encouraging camaraderie. To ensure their team feel connected and engaged, GitLab is hosting virtual coffee mornings. Boasting the world’s largest remote workforce, GitLab understands the importance of bringing colleagues together and promoting a shared sense of purpose. From e-birthday cards to online quizzes, there’s a lot that organisations can do to create a positive and inclusive virtual office culture. Are you looking for advice that’s relevant and timely? Since our advent in 1988, Marks Sattin have gained the expertise and knowledge that enables us to source the very best talent for businesses at every level, from start-ups to global organisations. Our recruitment consultants are committed to staying on top of trends in their specialist markets meaning they're able to provide our clients with the most relevant advice. Contact us to find out how we can help you recruit the top talent in your industry or register a vacancy now.

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According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, 99% of respondents admitted wanting to work remotely in the future.

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

Matthew Fitzpatrick

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

 Crisis management advice for business leaders
Crisis management advice for business leaders

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General

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General

18/05/20

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Most established organisations will have experienced difficult periods in the past. Businesses often go through peaks and troughs of activity, with profit and margin fluctuating and external conditions and pressures impacting the success of even the most well-prepared business. In fact, nearly 70% of business leaders say they’ve experienced at least one corporate crisis in the five years leading to 2019, according to PwC’s 2019 Global Crisis Survey. Despite this, it’s safe to say that most businesses around the world will never have gone through anything remotely like the current Covid-19 crisis. With 94% of the Fortune 1000 reporting Covid-19 disruptions and one-fifth of UK workers furloughed, it’s clear that Coronavirus is well and truly affecting workplaces and the wider economy. For business leaders, responding to and communicating the impacts of the virus to employees, stakeholders, clients and the wider public can be fraught with challenges, particularly for those who are inexperienced in crisis communications. There are, however, some simple strategies you can follow to help navigate your business through this time. Here is our top crisis management advice for business leaders:  Communicate quickly and clearly  During a crisis, unclear and inconsistent information can lead to people feeling unsure and demanding transparency and guidance. The influx of news, opinion and rumours around Covid-19 means many of us are experiencing information overload, but still aren’t sure what to believe and who to trust. That presents a clear opportunity for business leaders to practice effective crisis communication. According to McKinsey, good crisis communicators do the following:  Provide a variety of information that responds to the needs of listeners, whether that’s business updates, reassurances around job safety or useful tools to support mental wellbeing.  Communicate clearly, frequently. Repeat key messages to ensure they are absorbed.  Be truthful, show vulnerability and promote transparency to help build loyalty. Sometimes you will have to deliver difficult messages, but doing so openly and with empathy will help your leadership.  Encourage resilience, accentuate positive outcomes and messages and promote communal bonds.  Help people to understand. A clear (and clearly communicated) vision or mantra on what the business is doing and what the outcomes will be can help people to see beyond the chaos and focus on the task at hand.  Reach out for support  Crisis management and communication is usually not the responsibility of just one person. While there is typically someone who leads the business through these times – usually the CEO – PwC research shows us that ownership of crises tends to be shared across functions including legal, risk and IT, with roles such as preparedness, response, communications and recovery spread across many business units. What’s more, this responsibility is often shared with external parties, with 74% of business leaders seeking help during or after their most serious crisis, according to PwC.  Consider establishing a Coronavirus crisis team within your own workforce, made up of team members from across the business to contribute to everything from making key business decisions to communicating messages, encouraging workforce socialisation and sharing helpful resources. For more tips and insights into how to handle crisis management, take a look at resources from the Institute of Internal Communication on 'Coronvirus advice for internal communicators', and PwC's 'four essential crisis management lessons'. Plan for the future  As “real life” feels indefinitely suspended and the world’s attention seems to permanently be on Covid-19, it can be easy to develop tunnel vision and focus only on the here and now. And while business leaders should certainly be in the moment to navigate the seemingly endless questions and challenges posed by Coronavirus, it’s critical to also be looking ahead to ensure that the decisions you make now don’t have a negative impact in the future.  We don’t know what a post-Covid-19 business landscape might look like, but savvy business leaders will be factoring in enhanced technological solutions to allow for more remote working as well as looking at options for local suppliers and solutions. With billions of people living in closed-border countries - and the vast majority of workers residing in countries that have strict barriers to entry - we may see changes to everything from workforce mobilisation to supply chains. Businesses that utilise cloud systems, video interviewing software, digital conference calling programmes and other new technologies may find themselves with an advantage as we ease back into some sense of normality. Staffing during and after the Covid-19 crisis should be a major part of any business leaders’ strategy. Many businesses are now being faced with cost-cutting exercises that are leading to furlough and redundancies, which can help struggling businesses stay afloat to continue operations post-Covid-19. Any long-term crisis management strategy should include detail on building your workforce back up, whether that’s through bringing employees back off furlough, taking on contract workers or hiring new employees to add value as you build your business back up. Whichever your strategy, a specialist recruitment agency like Marks Sattin can help you to achieve this objective. At Marks Sattin, we’re working hard to ensure professionals and organisations in our key markets stay connected and have access to the best opportunities. Stay up to date with our latest news and industry insights in our blog section, or contact us to find out more about working together.  

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Most established organisations will have experienced difficult periods in the past. Businesses often go through peaks and troughs of activity,

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Sarah Fallon

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Sarah Fallon

Sarah Fallon

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Sarah Fallon

How to conduct a video interview for maximum impact
How to conduct a video interview for maximum impact

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General

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Career Advice

28/04/20

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Historically, hiring managers have been uncertain about choosing video interviews over an in-person interview. However, the recent Covid-19 crisis has meant that much of the UK’s - and the world’s - recruitment activity has moved online, and there is no denying that video interviewing is an integral part of this. Virtual interviews allow HR professionals to remotely hire the best talent. There are many benefits to the video interview – it saves time, suits flexible working and - with permission - you can record the session and watch it back to help you make your decision. Consider that most hiring managers conduct three interviews per candidate, with some organisations like Google following multi-stage interview hiring featuring different people from across the business. Now imagine how much time you can save by running a virtual meeting. But the question remains - how do you conduct a video interview for maximum impact? You’ll need to begin by adapting your pre-interview preparation. Prior to the interviewOne-way or two-way interview Video interviews are one of our top tips for hiring and onboarding remotely , but first you must choose which style suits you best. One-way interviews don’t require you to interview the candidate in real time; instead you send the questions on and have them record their answers. You can either use specialised video interviewing software which will send out invites and do the recording for you, or have the candidate record and send it on themselves.  A major benefit of this video interview style is the added ease – you don’t need to find a time where both you and the candidate are available, and you can watch it at your convenience. It allows you to create a more consistent process but this comes at the cost of an impersonal format. A two-way video interview entirely mimics the traditional interview, but without both you and the candidate being in the same room. Again, you can use specialised technology that can help you keep organised when interviewing multiple candidates. Because you are having a conversation in real-time, this two-way conversation allows you to understand the candidate better. Also, you have the chance to ask follow-up questions, which is a luxury you do not have in a one-way interview. Choose your room wisely When choosing which room you’ll conduct the video interview in, make sure it’s a quiet space with good lighting and consider using a backdrop. These are all small factors but they will help the meeting run smoothly and look professional – both of which will ensure the video interview has maximum impact. Depending on the video interview software you use, you may be able to select a neutral backdrop to virtually overlay your home setting. Do a test run 49% of businesses agree that video interviewing is a useful method to help them distinguish themselves from other employers. But to stand out for the right reasons your technology needs to be up to scratch. Check your tech before the interview, testing everything from your microphone volume to your internet connection. A top tip is to use a headset as this will cut out background noise.  A noticeable time lag will make communication difficult and even uncomfortable in some cases so your connection must be high quality. Additionally, any technical glitch on the day will interrupt the flow of the interview which can leave the candidate, or you, feeling thrown off balance. Having your technology set up and running without complications is the best way of ensuring that your video interview has maximum impact.  During the interview Remember that a virtual interview should feel as professional and flow as seamlessly as an in-person interview. Seven in ten candidates will share a negative job experience online, which can hurt your future recruiting efforts, whether they happen online or not. So it’s vital that you consider how you can make sure your video interviews run as seamlessly as possible. Here are some quick tips: Have their CV to hand No matter if you’re recording the video interview or not, you’ll want to have a hard copy of the candidate’s CV in front of you. When conducting multiple interviews, it’s a common problem to forget which candidate said what. Save yourself the task of searching back through the video clips and make detailed annotations; this will leave you more time to search for new leads or screen candidates. Put them at ease Interviews are notoriously nerve-wracking and despite not being in the same room as you, the candidate may still feel tense. To see their true potential, you must make them feel comfortable. It’s recommended that for a video interview you only need to frame your face and shoulders in the camera shot, which means that you’re relying on your facial expressions to communicate your body language. Therefore, strong eye contact and an encouraging smile are paramount and will help put the interviewee at ease. Slow it down Even if you have the best technical set up and a great internet connection, picking up on social cues can be tricky in a video interview. To make sure that you don’t miss out on any signals, keep the pace of the interview slow. Relaxing the speed will also alleviate any nerves for the candidate and allow them time to collect their thoughts and showcase their abilities. After the interview Keep in touch Just as you would after an in-person interview, it's crucial to maintain contact with the candidate, or the recruiter you're working with on their behalf. If you don’t keep regular contact with prospective employees, this signals that you are not serious about hiring them and the candidates may pursue other options. Therefore, to maintain access to the best pool of candidates, you should make a point of communicating timelines clearly and updating throughout the recruitment process. Making an offer There’s no use in waiting around to give candidates your verdict. Speed is of the essence and if you manage the timing poorly you risk losing your top candidates to other employers. Once you’ve made your decision it’s time to let your latest recruit know the good news and reach out to the other interviewees to thank them for their time. In summary For years hiring managers and recruiters have weighed up the benefits of video interviewing against in-person interviews but in light of recent changes to our global workforce, no one can deny how essential the virtual meetings are to keep businesses moving along as usual.  Marks Sattin has been recruiting for over 30 years If you found this advice on conducting a video interview for maximum impact helpful then you can view more of our market insights here. Marks Sattin is a specialist recruitment firm working with the best talent across banking, finance, executive search, technology and business change. And with over three decades of experience recruiting for these divisions, you can trust us to source the most suitable and talented candidates.

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Historically, hiring managers have been uncertain about choosing video interviews over an in-person interview.

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Sophie Walker

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Sophie Walker

Sophie Walker

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Sophie Walker

10 tips on remote hiring and onboarding during COVID-19
10 tips on remote hiring and onboarding during COVID-19

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General

31/03/20

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With the vast majority of professionals currently and indefinitely working from home, we are all living through the dramatic effect COVID-19 is having on our society. As some industries like travel and hospitality grind to a complete halt; others such as FMCG, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and logistics, are experiencing extreme levels of demand.  Hiring for essential positions simply cannot stop because of the new remote working arrangements across the globe. This requires businesses to get creative with their recruitment and onboarding processes.  Here are 10 tips for recruiting and onboarding remotely   1. Virtual interviews Interview candidates using one of the many video conferencing applications out there such as Skype, Zoom or WebEx. These are often easier and more efficient than face to face interviews, as you can follow the same or similar format you would use in a face to face interview, with the added benefit of saving time.  2. Shorten the recruitment process, including interview stages  Try to keep the stages in the recruitment process to a minimum and decision making quick – top talent with essential skills in key worker industries are in high demand; if you have long recruitment processes, you are more than likely going to lose the candidate to another business.  3. Make HR paperwork digital Move away from printing and posting signed contracts, which can be time consuming and often impossible in a remote working environment. Use an e-signing tool such as DocuSign or HelloSign so that employees can sign digitally and quickly share contracts with you in a secure environment.  4. Help your new employee to get started with the right tech Arrange for any hardware to be delivered, or software to be remotely installed on their devices via your IT department before their scheduled start date. Have IT and the line manager help them set up what they may need, including: work-related software, tools required by your IT department (antivirus, password managers etc.), team collaboration platforms (chat, file sharing etc.). Also make sure their webcam, microphone and sound-card work for video conferencing capability.  5. Communicate company culture As it is more difficult for new employees to absorb the company’s work culture remotely, it is important to be proactive and introduce them to the company’s values and culture early on. A good remote introduction to the business should include: a breakdown of the company values, a high level description of the company (history, milestones, mission statement, business goals etc.), and a code of conduct (regarding commitment, inclusiveness, communication etc.). Share any employee literature that’s available, such as an employee handbook, company presentations etc.   6. New team and key stakeholder introductions A vital part of the remote onboarding process is to integrate the new employee into the team and business, and have them feel comfortable and welcome. One-on-one and/or group video or conference calls would be a good way to make these introductions. Ongoing communication is key, such as monthly budget meetings, team meetings, weekly catch-ups with the line manager etc. Having a closer relationship with someone inside the company from the start will ease the new employee’s anxiety and increase their engagement. 7. Arrange IT & role specific training To effectively train remote workers, use interactive training courses where possible. Utilise screen sharing tools such as Skype or Join.Me. Engage relevant trainers and buddies such as IT staff, line managers, subject matter experts, and ensure regular follow-ups are made.   8. Help your new employee to communicate easily and effectively  Describe the best ways to contact team members and how to troubleshoot communication technology, such as company email, group messaging tool, video conferencing tool, web phone application etc. Different team members may like to communicate in different ways. It would also be worth having a conversation on what content is appropriate and not appropriate to share via the different mediums. 9. Set specific goals and expectations  Remote workers should not wait until their manager is online to learn what their next tasks are. Make sure hiring managers develop and share a task calendar with their teams; define short and long-term goals and expectations; schedule weekly one-on-one meetings to discuss projects, or how they can help to resolve potential issues. 10. Continuously answer their questions and keep communication lines open New hires are usually anxious about their role and responsibilities. This is exacerbated for remote employees, who have the added disadvantage of needing to figure out many procedures and best practices on their own. When onboarding remote employees, you should aim to put them at ease by answering questions that many new hires are afraid to ask, (e.g. regarding vacation policies, bonuses, reimbursement procedures etc.). Leave some time towards the end of your onboarding program to gather feedback from your remote worker, and have team leaders do a Q&A session with them. Coronavirus is undoubtedly impacting the way we do businesses right now. While we navigate the changes and take precautions - leveraging technology, making prompt decisions and onboarding effectively can help you maintain some of your best practices and achieve already stretched business requirements.  If you would like more advice on remote hiring, or on the hiring market in Leeds in general, please do get in touch on leeds@markssattin.com. Cited: https://www.cio.com/article/3532458/how-to-keep-hiring-and-onboarding-new-talent-while-working-remotely.html  https://www.hiringthing.com/how-to-onboard-remote-employees/ https://resources.workable.com/remote-employees-onboarding-checklist https://elearningindustry.com/how-to-remote-staff-onboarding https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/17/careers-tips-for-successful-remote-job-interviews-amid-coronavirus.html   

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While we navigate the changes and take precautions - leveraging technology, making prompt decisions and onboarding effectively can help you maintain some of your best practices and achieve already stretched business requirements.

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Stephanie Teale

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Stephanie Teale

Stephanie Teale

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Stephanie Teale