Top Tips for a Telephone Interview

  You applied for that job. Great. Now you have been invited to participate in a telephone interview. This is often the first step of the interview process. It gives employers the opportunity to gauge whether you would be a suitable fit for the role before moving forward any further. Here are some of our top tips to help you ace it: Preparation is key
A telephone interview should not be overlooked so make sure you prepare. You should be comfortable talking through your resume and experience. Prep for questions like “why do you want to work at this company?”, “what is your greatest achievement?”, “tell me about a time you face a challenge and how you overcame it?”. Tailoring your answers is the best possible way to ensure you are satisfying what the interviewer is asking and positioning yourself as an ideal candidate. Eliminate distractions 
You need to concentrate a little more during a phone interview so make sure you create or are in a quiet environment. Find a quiet place for the call where ideally, there are no distractions. Make sure you have any relevant materials like your resume nearby for easy access. Speak clearly 
It is important to present yourself in a professional manner from the first “Hello” to the minute you hang up. Be sure the interviewer can hear you. Speak clearly and directly into the phone. Take your time and consider your breathing. Taking a breath between when the interviewer asks you a question and when you start answering it really allows you to think about what you’re going to say. Listen and engage
Talk, but do...

Develop and maintain high performing teams

  Work teams are the backbone of contemporary work life. You need know when to retain the right people and know when to lose those who are not right for your business. Here are some tips to help you develop and, more importantly, maintain high performing teams: Focus on the long-term Review performance data and keep an accurate, objective assessment of potential. consider the following: Determine who the current star performers are and what qualities unite them Identify these qualities in more junior members of your team Facilitate opportunities for these prospective star performers to grow; investing time and resources into their development. Let your best people know their value There’s a way to show your appreciation for your staff without over-inflating their egos. By letting your team know that their efforts are appreciated, their results noticed, their future progress within the company guaranteed and their hard work rewarded, you can cement their loyalty and therefore stand a much better chance of retaining their services. No one is indispensable Expect and prepare for some of your team members to move on after a while. You should never leave yourself so exposed that if one high performer leaves, overall performance declines and the team crumbles. Your robust long-term plan should help you to ensure that you are able to cope with losing a star performer. There are many measures you can take towards retaining your best staff, and they all feed into the broader measure of making your staff feel valued. Once you’ve done so, and you have a smooth succession plan in place to deal with any unexpected losses,...

Encouraging Your Team to Develop Themselves

  From time to time it is important to let your team struggle as this ultimately has a positive impact on their long-term development and wellbeing. By giving your team room to solve problems on their own and overcome challenges without jumping in and taking control every time will benefit both parties in the long-term. As a team leader, you need to know when the results are too severe for your team to fail and when you need to step in. However, if you always jump in, you risk behaving like an overly protective manager which prevents effective teamwork and development. Interdependence is an essential condition for team working. This is focusing on problems that can only be solved by team members working together. Supporting interdependence means you, as the team’s manager, have to be ready to let go of exerting too much direct control. This is also important for helping the team feel they have the levels of autonomy they need to effectively operate – simultaneously improving their wellbeing and performance. When you do not let go, or give your team enough operational space, there are usually a few common justifications, such as: “I need to stay close to what they are doing as I’m the one that’s being held accountable for their performance.” “The only way I can be sure they will stay focused is by staying directly involved.” “They just don’t have enough experience yet to operate without frequent direction from me.”   These can seem reasonable in the moment when facing heavy delivery pressures. However, if they become default reactions they usually need to be...

How to Deliver Negative Feedback

  As tough as it may be to deliver negative feedback to employees, failing to do so could damage the relationship in the long run. Here are some tips to help you deliver negative feedback effectively: Establish a feedback relationship Develop a feedback relationship as early in the relationship as possible. Have an initial ‘talking about talking’ conversation to agree on the base from which to work. Managers often struggle to deliver negative messages to employees because they weren’t prepared to receive the negative feedback. If an employee expects to receive feedback in a certain way, format an agreed date; both a manager and an employee can physically and mentally prepare for the tough conversation. Build the following guidelines into conversations. Context: outline the reason why you are having the conversation Conversation: describe what the conversation will look like and what points will be discussed Consent: come to an agreement and give/receive permission     Use the BOFF model Always refer to facts during your conversation with employees. In order to address all of the points you are planning to discuss with your employee, try to use the BOFF model:   Behaviour: Start with describing the instance or pattern of behaviour that you have observed (always stick to facts) Outcome: Explain the result of such behaviour on others Feelings: Express your feelings (positive or negative) about the issue Future: The last step is to ask your employee to change their behaviour. Prepare for the conversation By planning tough conversations, you can have more control over your own contribution towards the discussion. Think through the list of below questions so that you can sort your thoughts and be able to deliver clear, effective feedback...

7 Conversations to Have With Employees

      It is important to engage in purposeful and meaningful conversations so that you can connect with your team. Below is a list of conversations that you, as a leader, should be having with your employees: The Induction Conversation – a very short conversation that ensures that the professional relationship gets off to a good start and stays healthy. The Goal Setting Conversation – identifying the right level of stretch and ensuring that you both know what has been agreed. Aligning effort to strategy. The Delegation Conversation – involves a level of trust in which you empower employees while also maintaining the right level of oversight. The Feedback Conversation – talking to employees about the range of inputs that make up performance; results, behavior, adherence to company values, etc. Letting people know how their contribution adds value – and also what needs to be changed. The Coaching Conversation – developing self-awareness and responsibility by helping your team work through challenges and issues. The Performance Management Conversation – often an organizational requirement, allowing the leader and report to stop, assess and record how things are going. The Tough Conversation – a broad description covering anything from a performance improvement plan, disciplinary conversation or even making somebody redundant.  The focus is on finding solutions and moving on. There’s no hard or fast rule about these types of conversations or how frequently you have them. Just make sure you’re actually having these discussions. They benefit everybody and will contribute to a successful...

The Must-Read Guide to Resigning from Your Job

  Resigning from a current employer can be the toughest part of the process when starting a new role. Is there a right way to resign? Not necessarily, but we do have some advice to help ensure it runs as smoothly as possible: Understand your company’s policies on resignation Check in your current contract with regards to clauses entered. If your new start date is in 4 weeks but your current notice period is 2 weeks, wait until 2 weeks as per your contract. You may have a gardening leave period if you are moving to a direct competitor so be aware that you may need to leave the premises almost immediately due to conflict of interests. When is the ‘right’ time? Before resigning, wait until you have received official confirmation of your new job offer i.e. wait until your contract has been signed and you have written proof. Hand your notice in as soon as you can once your new position is confirmed. The more notice you can give your current employer the better as this gives them time to find a replacement. Speak with your line manager first and foremost Your line manager is usually the person you worked most closely with. For this very reason they should be the person you speak with first. Ideally, book a private meeting room with them on a Friday afternoon and be prepared for a positive or a negative reaction. You cannot anticipate how they will react so it’s better to have planned for both scenarios. What to say? Plan what you want to say. Get a notepad and write down...

Workplace Diversity

When it comes to truly diverse cities, Toronto is at the forefront but let’s take a closer look at what this means in the workplace.   Diversity versus inclusion Having diversity without incorporating inclusion is pointless. We often see this scenario when it comes to gender quotas with women being invited to join the Board of Directors of a company in order to hit a quota. Companies that just have a diversity policy or strategy in place as a sort of ticking the box exercise counteracts this idea completely. Diversity and company culture A company’s success often relies on a culture where diversity is at the core of the company’s identity. Companies that show a commitment to diversity and inclusion through a company-wide culture code can help create a sense of belonging and develop inspiring leaders. The impact of diversity on the atmosphere Diversity can have a strong impact on the atmosphere and culture of a company. A diverse and inclusive atmosphere can go a long way in promoting a positive company culture, as it makes an organization and its management come across as approachable and people-orientated. Increasing innovation Embracing our differences contributes to increasing innovation and productivity. There are some major links between diversity and innovation. A diverse workforce helps to create innovative and creative solutions to problems. Challenges still exist While the benefits to diversity in the workplace are undeniable, unfortunately challenges do still exist. Communication breakdown most probably tops the list on this. Language barriers and long-established cultural differences can cause major issues, coupled with a general lack of understanding. When next planning to hire new...

How to Make Yourself More Marketable

  Here are our top tips on how to make yourself more marketable.   Build your brand on LinkedIn and mirror it across your resume. Base your brand on positions that you want and types of companies you are interested in. Make it specific and targeted. Do your research. Look up LinkedIn users who have similar jobs to the one you want for inspiration ideas for your own brand. Write a human-voiced resume and cover letter. Let your personality come across on the page. Tweak your resume for each job that you are applying to, but ensure to keep it in line with your LinkedIn profile. Consider publishing blog posts on LinkedIn. Write blogs around topics in your field that you care about or are interested in. Engage with other blogs and publications in your field – this will help to grow your credibility. Build your recommendations on LinkedIn, leave recommendations for your past and current work colleagues and they may repay the favour. Know your industry. Stay up to date with the latest news and trends. This will really pay off in an interview when you can showcase your understanding and give your opinion on current trends in your field. Keep your skill set up to date. In today’s market, no matter what field you work in, employers look for tech-savvy employees. Continue to expand your resume by signing up to evening classes or online courses. Attend as many networking events as you can. This is always a great opportunity to market yourself as you never know who you could get talking to. Staying marketable is an active process. Make a commitment to continually expand your knowledge and...

Preparing For Jobs of the Future

  The world of work is changing but this doesn’t need to be a daunting prospect. There are a number of soft skills that you can focus on in order to safeguard your future as an employee.   Complex problem solving The ability to see relationships between industries and come up with creative solutions to problems that are yet to appear.   Critical thinking Being able to turn data into insightful interpretations is a complex, yet crucial skill.   Creativity The unique ability to build something out of an idea is an invaluable skill.   People management   Leadership and managerial roles require people skills that cannot often be taught.   Coordinating with others    Most industries, now and in the future require effective communication and team collaboration.   Emotional intelligence   Qualities such as empathy and curiosity are a big consideration for employers.   Judgment and decision making    Condensing large amounts of data into insightful interpretations and decisions is a useful skill in any age.   Service orientation   Being able to offer value and assistance to clients is always in demand as businesses want to provide solutions to problems.   Negotiation The ability to come up with a win-win situation for involved parties is crucial.   Cognitive flexibility Switching between different personas to accommodate the challenges faced is important in multiple industries.   Speak to us to see how you can develop your skillset for the...

Make Your Performance Review Work for You

  There’s no need to dread your annual review. Below are some tips to help you maximize your annual review. Familiarize yourself with the process Understand that employers use these reviews as a way to evaluate how you are working. They want to be able to provide you with feedback, communicate expectations and open a dialogue between the two of you. Self-review Evaluate your own performance as objectively as possible. List your accomplishments over the past year and make a note of how your employer benefitted from your efforts. Be as specific as possible. For example, this could be increased profits. Highlight everything that led you to that and bring documentation to support your claims. Look over your self-review the night before your actual review so you will be prepared to discuss it in detail the next day. Think about what you want You’ve been so busy preparing to showcase everything you have achieved over the last year, but have you considered what you want to achieve in the upcoming year? Where do you want to see yourself in 12 months time and beyond? How do you see the business supporting you? This is a vital time to discuss with your boss what you need from the company in order to support your growth. Prepare for positive and negative feedback Glowing feedback can still present you with an opportunity. Use it as a way to inform you of what you need to continue doing and what you can do additionally throughout the coming year. On the opposite side of things, being prepared for the review not going well will help...