Interview Tips

By Loreen Mwangi

Dealing with a big panel in an interview can be intimidating for anyone, especially if the panel consists of senior managers.

Most people find panel interviews unfair, but with the right preparation, you can be able to handle a big panel without feeling ambushed.

Regardless of how you feel about facing a large panel, most large companies use this strategy to see how candidates react when on the “hot seat”. Also panel interviews help them get the right candidate for the job.

So how do you remain calm and composed when you attend an interview with more than 4 interviewers?

How To Handle A Large Interview Panel

1. Maintain eye contact
When yo u enter the room, greet the interviewers. Sit in a strategic position where you can be able to maintain eye contact with all of them. Visually engage all interviewers.

2.  Come prepared
Have several copies of your documents. Give each interviewer a copy of your documents.

Always be prepared for the common but important questions such as “Tell us about yourself, Why should we hire you” and all the other obvious questions.

3.  Take notes
When it comes to panel interviews, it is important to remember their names. Writing their names down in a notebook can help ease the tension of having to memorize their names.

Once you become familiar with their names, you can be able to address them individually. This goes a long way in connecting with them and eventually having an engaging conversation with each of them.

4. Always Be Calm In A Panel interview

Each panel member has a different attitude and energy. Try and connect with each of them. Don’t be in a rush to answer a question, use a few seconds to think of the appropriate answer before giving a response. Again, don’t take too long to come up with an answer.

Focus on the person asking the question. Make sure your body language does not indicate any form of nervousness as the rest of the team observes your body language and how you respond to questions.

5.  Have a question for each interviewer
At the end of the interview, have a question for each of them. Prepare questions that will help you have a better perspective of the company, their standards and policies.

Avoid looking at your notebook when asking these questions, have them flow naturally in a conversation.

Hope your next interview turns out great!

By Loreen Mwangi

It is unfortunate that most people have had to deal with harsh interviewers during an interview. Some interviewers might be harsh by nature or some might be having a bad day.

Others might be unfriendly simply because they dislike you. This can mess with your confidence and make you highly irritable.

Other interviewers pretend to be rude as a strategy to know how you will deal with different characters in the office. Either way, it is important to be prepared if you come across an interviewer who is rude.

5 Skills To Help You Cope With Rude Interviewers

1. Have Self Control
Despite how harsh the interviewer might be, never let that shake you off balance. Always keep your head high and your confidence in check.

If you are asked a question that you find offensive, don’t react in an aggressive or negative way that might contradict your entire personal profile.

Take breadths in between questions as this will help keep you calm. Try as much as you can to stay in a good mood, even if you have to pretend it.

2. Ignore Their Rudeness
Focus on answering the question and less on their rudeness. Don’t answer questions in a careless manner. Maintain your confidence, even when asked an irrelevant question.

Never get into an argument with them. Remember, you are there for an interview, not to win an argument.

3. Have A Sense Of Humor
Maintain a sense of humor. By doing this, you have the advantage of turning the situation to your benefit. You can change a bad question to your advantage and use it to highlight some of your skills that will add value to the company.

4. Be Attentive To Rude Interviewers

Learn to be attentive to pick on statements that you can use as questions later.

5.Don’t Be Easily Offended
Don’t take their comments personally. Learn how to brush things off.

Always remember that interviewers are just like you and me. Despite their personality and nature, treat them like your friends. Focus more on answering the questions than being distracted or intimidated by them.

With these 5 tips you’ll find it easy to cope when you go for an interview.

By Loreen Mwangi

Almost every office has some politics in it. This can be attributed to conflict of interest and differences in opinions. It all boils down to communication and relationships in the workplace, or lack thereof.

There is no point in being scared of office politics as long as you know the appropriate way to handle it. Learn how to master the art of workplace politics without putting your job on the line.

3 Ways To Deal With Office Politics

1. Avoid Crossing Lines With The Management

Never put yourself at a point where you have to go against someone superior to you. Always remember, you have a choice and you don’t have to tag along in politics that can damage your career or make you lose your job.

However, when you feel someone in management is abusing their power, you can have someone else more superior understand your case, instead of building bad alliances with co-workers.

2. Bridge The Gap Between Power Groups
Office politics are tricky, as one being identified with one group can have negative effects on your relationship with the management or your colleagues.

Don’t show alignment to any of the groups, learn to be neutral. This will help you focus on your job and deliver your best.

Develop relationships with people outside your department. This will help you build trust with your co-workers, helping you focus on constructive business objectives.

3. Don’t Get Personal
Office politics can make you angry and frustrated. You might feel like giving someone a piece of your mind. Regardless of how dirty office politics can get, never lose your composure and engage in useless arguments with people.

Always keep your mind focused on what you want to achieve. Learn to ignore negative attitudes and comments.

Instead of feeling angry and victimized, figure out a way resolve the situation, start with your inner circle, the people you are most familiar with, then branch out to other co-workers.

Source:Careerealism.com

Being stuck in a job that is not in line with your career growth will make you end up being disengaged, unhappy, and resentful.

Feeling sorry for yourself will not make you feel better or help the situation
Instead, you can position yourself in a way that will ensure you have amazing job opportunities.

Here’s how:

How to find a job You Love

1: Seek Out Companies That Inspire You

Naturally, if you’re going to get a job that you love, a great place to start is to find an organization that inspires you.

So, it’s time to put on your research hat and have some fun… starting with your values.

Think about what you value most in life. Do you want to have freedom and flexibility in your work? Or maybe you want to be able to walk to your office and spend time with quality people you cherish?

Perhaps there’s a certain problem in the world that’s always bugged you, and a couple of companies are doing an excellent job of solving that problem.

Whatever it is that’s most important to YOU, find a company whose values match your own, and then find a way to get their attention and get the job (which I’ll show you how to do in a second).

2: Create An “Ultimate CV”

Here’s the thing: Only 1% of traditional resumes actually lead to a job offer.

And if you’re applying for one of the “For-Benefit” companies listed in the resource guide above, it’ll likely be even lower.
See, just like you want to find a company that fits your lifestyle…

The best companies to work for want to hire people who fit their values, believe in their mission, and want to work with them. The good news?

It’s actually quite easy to get their attention and get the job… if you know what to do.

3: Use Modern Job Seeking Strategies

The world is changing, and standing out from the ever-increasing competition is a challenge (if you don’t know what to do).

Because the truth is, people are bored of the same old job seeking approaches. They want fresh, real, and authentic job applications from people who genuinely care about what they’re doing.

So rather than submit 100 copies of the same resume to 100 companies you don’t care about…

Find the two or three that you would do anything to work for. And then go above and beyond to get their attention – while focusing on showcasing what makes you valuable to them.

By using some courage, creativity, and passion, you’re positioning yourself as both rare and in demand

Enjoy!

By Elizabeth Benu

“I am confused on which CV format to use since different HR managers prefer different formats. Which is the best way to go about it?” asks Kate Atieno in an email.

Among the many questions that we receive from our readers is the right format to use in a CV. If you are seriously looking for a format that is easy to scan and easy to highlight important data Kenyan employers want to see, then read on

As Melody Mwendwa, a professional CV writer at Corporate Staffing Services confirms, there are three types of CV formats. The good news is that there is a format for everyone no matter your qualifications and experience.

List of Best CV formats preferred by Kenyan employers

The Chronological CV

This format highlights your work experience in the order of the most current experience listed at the top. It has the following sections: career objectives, professional experience and accomplishments, education and additional skills.
A chronological CV format is good for candidates who are experienced.

However, if you are switching careers or are an entry level candidate, do not use this format. Instead showcase your skills in the professional experience section.

The functional CV

This format on the other hand, lays more focus on your marketable or transferable skills. If you have less work experience i.e. a recent graduate or entry level job seekers or you are changing careers or have gaps in your employment history; this is the ideal CV for you.

It is written in the following order: objective, accomplishments, skills, employment history, education and referees.
A functional CV is useful to people with gaps in their employment history, are re-entering the work force, have frequently changed jobs and /or are looking to change careers.

The combination CV

It is a blend of the two above that focuses on your strongest skills and links those skills to your past job history. This is perfect for the recent graduates, career switchers and professionals with extensive experience.
It is divided in the following sections: objective, profile summary, accomplishments, experience, education and references.

Why the combination CV format is most preferred by Kenyan employers

“Kenyan employers prefer the combined format because it gives all details to your career and any skills that the employer might find impressive that would have otherwise been omitted in the other formats were used,” says Ms. Mwendwa.

The success of your job application boils down to how you package yourself: through your words and general appearance of your CV.

You can get away with a few mistakes on your CV or cover letter that the recruiter wouldn’t notice but making a blunder in a job interview will cost you the job and forever  haunt you.

Mary Wandera, an Admin Assistant, landed a job this week with but she remembers a silly mistake that made her lose an opportunity in December.

“For the life of me I didn’t know what the company was all about. Not what they did or even who some of their clients were. It was my first interview and I didn’t think any of those things mattered.”

Speaking to Carol Mutuma, a HR practitioner with AA Lodges, she highlights 4 of the biggest mistakes job seekers should steer away from in 2015.

4 Mistakes to Avoid in a Job Interview

1. Not Carrying Relevant Documents.

Ms Mutuma shares that come what may, you should always have with you some vital documents.

“The most important is a fully updated CV, followed by copies of your certificates, any testimonials relevant to the job at hand and a recommendation letter.”

She adds that getting caught without these crucial items can throw off your confidence and make interviewers question your preparedness.

2. Being Desperate

The HR practitioner explains that there are certain phrases and language that are definitely off limits if you don’t want to look desperate

“I’ve seen people who say I will do anything to land a job. This in essence shows the employer that you no longer have credible skills or value yourself enough.”

She advises that, “You have to understand what your value is. At the end of the day the wants to hear, not sheer desperation but a clear sense of what your value is.”

3. Quoting Too High or Too Low is an Interview Mistake you Must Avoid

Speaking of value, how much are your skills worth? 15K, 50K, 1M?

Ms Mutuma feels that most job seekers attend interviews without the right figures at their finger tips.

“That’s why you find that most people end up being underpaid. For a job that’s worth say maybe Ksh50,000, they get paid half of that either because they do not value their skills much or they do not know the market rate for their job position.”

But then again there are those who go overboard with the quotation. “Some interviewees also quote a very high figure thinking that if they do so it shows that they value themselves and perhaps may impress the interviewer.”

4. Failing To Ask questions.

Ms Mutuma remarks that whichever industry you may fall under “What questions do you have for us,” is a must for most interviews.

“For most entry level job seekers, it’s the usual aaaaahs….and the head scratching that comes with it. Most job seekers think they are playing it safe for not having questions for the HR. On the contrary, that is not the case.”

For guidelines, she concludes that your questions to the interviewer should focus on the company, culture, success factors or chances to contribute.

Job Interview Tips on How To Stay Calm in a Job Interview

By Elizabeth Benu,
Your palms are sweaty, your voice is almost inaudible and you cannot seem to stop your heart from beating so fast. If this is what happens to you when you attend any job interview, then read on:

“Being unemployed or having little experience with interviews makes it hard for candidates to concentrate. There is usually a lot at stake. The candidate already analyses both outcomes of the interview. On one side there is the joy of finally having a job and on the other there is worries of bills to be paid and staying unemployed for longer. This usually causes the nervousness,” confirms Melody Mwendwa, an Interview Coach at Corporate Staffing Services.

Here are a few tips to help you out:

1. Be prepared
“Prepare for an interview well. Have your clothes and documents ready the previous day. Ensure that you have already done ample research about the company, its products, competitors or anything else,” Ms. Mwendwa adds.

You should also go through your CV just to be sure nothing is left out and have a good night’s sleep of between 6-8 hours

2. Arrive early and relax
Arrive 15 minutes early for the interview. This allows you to be familiar with the environment, breathe and reassure yourself that things will be fine

Relaxing will also allow you to listen better and stay focused on how to best respond to questions.

3. Be confident in yourself
If you have shaky hands, trembling voice or feel butterflies in your stomach, take long deep breaths. This eases up the anxiety.

Remember that being called for an interview is a huge step and it means that someone was impressed with your CV and they feel you would be a great candidate.Walk into the interview room feeling confident and it will naturally flush away any nervousness you may feel.

4. Avoid these foods
What you eat might have an impact on your performance. If you want to keep calm, avoid the following foods: Caffeine, Onions, Garlic, and Spicy Aromatic Foods (for their strong smell;) , Beans, Greasy and sugary foods, too much water and chewing gum.

5. Watch out for these signs
These are the visible signs that the employer sees in you when you are nervous:

  • Touching your face and hair which can be remedied by taking control of your gestures and keeping your hands visible or placing them on your laps.
  • Sweaty palms which can be remedied by having a wipe cloth to wipe off hands.
  • Voice trembling which is easy to get rid off by taking a deep breath.
  • Stumbling over words. Keep calm and answer the questions slowly. Take your time.
  • Shyness and facing down. If you cannot keep eye contact, look at the interviewers forehead.

Remember that even if you fail to get the job, there are more job opportunities out there and successful or not an interview is a good experience.

Envy is something that we’ve probably all encountered at some point in either our professional or personal lives. Whether it’s someone getting paid more than us or earning the affection of our boss, there are plenty of times when the green eyed monster comes out to play.
It’s easy to believe, therefore, that envy is something that can only ever have negative consequences at work, and there is much to support that perspective.

One study found, for instance, that there are numerous destructive elements to envy in the workplace, with those among us with especially large egos particularly vulnerable.

“Suppose your supervisor gives your coworker a raise and not you, a raise you feel was given for an arbitrary reason,” the research says. “You would be more likely to undermine your co-worker as a means of expressing this hostility.”

The study found that there are generally three things that regularly make us jealous at work:

  1. Being outperformed by a colleague
  2. Does the area of this out performance matter to us?
  3. How near to us is the reference point to the person of which we’re jealous?

So, in other words, jealousy comes into play when a colleague does better than us in a field that is highly important to our self esteem.  All of which seems reasonable enough, but what is the impact of this on the workplace?

A second study explored the impact of jealousy and found it significantly damaged trust levels at work. The impact was particularly strong in workplaces where the culture was more competitive than collaborative. Such a culture often sees employees comparing their own achievements with those of their peers.

The frequency of envy

Sadly, it seems that jealousy is frequently found in the modern workplace. A third study revealed that 58 percent of employees had experienced some circumstances that made them envious of colleagues at work. The authors suggest that this figure is so high because of the social comparison effect. We’re constantly looking for how we compare with our peers, with this status reflected in our pay, our treatment, and ultimately our success at the company.

What’s more, many organisations make a big deal of highlighting the successes enjoyed by people, which makes it incredibly clear who’s doing great things and who is not. This may be wonderful if the spotlight shines on you, but it may have unintended consequences for those who aren’t given a shout out.

The paper recommends that organisations create certain schemas, or rules of thumb if you will. These heuristics should be rules we can all abide by and are created from of our experiences. Thus, the more often certain events reoccur, the more likely they are to develop into schemas, and the harder it becomes for employees to look past this particular version of reality.

The paper concludes by warning how our typical response to such a schema is usually a negative one. We might curse under our breath for instance or spread a malignent rumour about a colleague.

It underlines how important it is that we promote people based upon their merits, and more importantly, that we ensure that all employees feel that such promotions are within their reach too.

 

Does your workplace suffer from a huge amount of envy or foster a culture of envy? What effect does this have on the staff? Your thoughts and comments below please..

Source : http://www.careeraddict.com

By Elizabeth Benu

“I was fired. I was not performing well at my previous job and the boss decided to discontinue my employment. What does a person do immediately they are fired? I am confused and helpless. Please help,” write Sylvester Mutiso in an email.

In the current job market, getting fired is every employee’s nightmare. Sometimes, like Sylvester’s case, it is inevitable. So what do you when you find yourself in this situation?

8Things to do when you get fired

1. Understand why you’ve been fired.
If you weren’t good in your job you were not a good fit. Take initiative and ask for an explanation on the areas you came up short in. Perhaps you did not enter data as fast as expected which affected the whole company.

Understand that it is something you did wrong and do not blame the boss for your inability to perform. Instead, use this to work on yourself.

2. Accept
Benson Ng’ang’a, a Human Resource Officer at Bata Foot Plus says that, “Depending on the reasons for your termination, the first thing is to accept the fact that you were fired. Stay positive about the issue.”

More tips on what to do immediately you are fired

3. Learn what you do best.
You have already figured out the reason you were fired so analyze your strengths. This will be important when you start looking for a new job and when you get invited fir interviews.

4. Update your CV
Once you deal with the frustration of losing your job, update your CV. Add any achievements you got from the job and target your CV to the industry you are eyeing.

An updated CV maximizes your potential as a candidate and also helps you get back on your feet.

5. Attend networking events.
Just because you feel ashamed that you lost a job, does not mean you should lock yourself up forever. Go out and network with friends, former colleagues and other professionals. They are good information about any available jobs and the latest industry trends.

6. Check your finances
Alison Green, a job search and career advice with HR experience says, “Assume that you might not find a new job for a few months. Review your budget and cut out any expenses you can.”

Getting fired is not the end of the world; be positive and follow these steps to get back on your feet.

By Elizabeth Benu,
You blame the job market and the Kenyan employers for being biased when in fact you might be the cause of your joblessness.

Janet Mueni confesses that she only job searches for 30 minutes every week while the rest of her time is spent hanging out with friends. Most times opportunities pass her and she has never updated her CV for three years yet she complains that employers are unfair.

Kenyan employers hate lazy job seekers. You might not be like Janet, but you should watch out for these deadly lazy-jobseeker signs:

Signs that you are a lazy job seeker

1. CC-ing all HR Managers in one job application:
You went through all company websites and gathered all email addresses on the website. Good research but the problem is that you send the same application to more than 20 email addresses. No employer will bother employing you as this is a sign of laziness and lack of enthusiasm.

2. You just want ANY job
While it is understandable to give in to the frustration of job search and need for money, wanting just any job does not cut it. After studying your course, you should make a list of job titles that align with it.

For example, applying for an IT Assistant job just because you have a computer package certification and the pay is good will only lead you into more frustration.

3. You do not prepare for the interview
“Interview preparation is important no matter your position or experience,” says Melody Mwendwa a Career Advisor at Corporate Staffing Services.

She also adds that attending an interview shabbily dressed, looking confused and failing to answer all questions asked is proof to an employer that you will not be dedicated to the job.

4. You request sample CVs so that you can copy paste.
How much effort have you taken to go through your CV and improve it? If none, you are probably the job seeker who always asks for a sample CV so that you can copy paste it and send it to an employer.

“Your CV is a great asset for career growth; do not mess up job opportunities by copy pasting things from the internet. Samples are only meant to guide you,” Ms. Mwendwa advises.

5. Your referees have no idea they are in your CV
When an employer settles on you, most times they call your referees for a background check. Many HR managers confirm that a large percentage of referees are unfortunately unaware of any skills a job candidate has.

Any time you add someone as your referee, inform them so that they can vouch for you in case an employer comes calling.

More signs that you are a lazy job seeker

6. Asking the wrong questions
“How do you apply for this job?” “When is the deadline?” are questions you should never ask. Read a job description to the end and get the answers to those questions.

7. Clumsy mistakes
You forgot the HR Managers name and title and also misspelled their name and the company name too. Before sending an application, proof read your documents to be sure that nothing is missing.

Attention to detail is something that the employer can see through your CV even before you start the job.

Make a decision to change your status to an energetic jobseeker. The effort is worthwhile.

Source: Job Search

Safaricom, Centum, PwC and Google are among the many dream companies for Kenyan job seekers. If these companies top your list, look at the following tips:

Keep tracking these companies even before you start the job application process. There are several benefits to “tracking” a company for a period of time before you apply.

How to get a job with your dream company

You’ll be able to speak with genuine interest and enthusiasm, and you’ll likely have a well-formed opinion and several compelling anecdotes to share when you’re asked something like, “What do you know about this company?” or “What do you see yourself doing in the first 30 days on the job?”

Here are some tips for tracking your dream company:

1. Follow the company on social media. Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Instagram. Chances are, the company or companies you’re after probably have accounts on at least a few of them. Connect with them all and pay attention to their updates.

2. Connect with the company on LinkedIn. Follow the company on LinkedIn, view who you’re connected with at the company and who you can connect with, and check the company LinkedIn page for the latest job postings.

3. Look for specific hiring-related accounts. Some larger companies have individual accounts for hiring purposes. Twitter can be a good way to get in touch with a company’s human resources department that might be hard to reach otherwise.

4. Clean up your act. If you’re going to be interacting with a company on social media, you need to make sure your online presence is professional. Review your social media profiles to make sure there’s nothing inappropriate or unbecoming, and check your privacy settings to see who can see what on your page.

5. Bookmark the job openings page. Most companies have a “Careers” section of their websites set aside just to post job openings. Bookmark these pages and make a habit of checking them periodically.

6. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the company. If you have a question – like if a job you’ve been eyeing has been filled, if the company is looking to fulfill a certain type of position – don’t be afraid to get in touch with the company. Just send a polite and professional email asking your question.

Not only will it get the organization’s human resources department familiar with your name, but, it’s a good illustration of your enthusiasm and interest.

Keep these tips in mind for a successful job search.

Source: NigeriaBulletin

There is nothing more discouraging than realizing your colleague earns way much more than you especially if you are on the same level.

These reasons are enough to convince you why your colleague earns a fatter pay slip and what you can do about it.

5 Reasons Why Your Colleague Is Earning More at Work

Your colleague produces more result
Employees who bring in more results in terms of innovation and profit stands to be more rewarded than others. This is why your colleague’s efforts impress the boss and he will sure get a pay rise.

Your Colleague has got more skills
With increasing standards and new innovations coupled with stiff competition, companies are forced to improve their products and services and this requires more skills. The staff that showcases great skills are recognized and rewarded accordingly.

Special recognition is given to staff who can handle several responsibilities effectively. Those qualities make such an employee get a pay raise.

Your Colleague earns more than you if he or she is a new recruit
This may look untrue but it’s not unusual. In certain industries, the external market value can increase faster than company salary levels and this may cause employers to offer more to be able to recruit better candidates.

What actually causes this increase in market value is the possession of new skills by new candidates which current employees may not have and which the company desperately needs.

Your colleague is more experienced
The time an employee has spent with an organization is also one of those factors that determine the pay. You may be doing the same kind of work or the person may even be doing less but the company recognizes the commitment of that individual to the organization and that may be the reason the pay is more.

The person might have also gathered certain experiences before entering the job which is now useful on the job.

For whatever reason your case falls into, take a bold step by negotiating for a raise in your next review if you feel underpaid.