Interviews through the ages

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Like so many things to do with work and finding a new job, interviews have changed considerably over the years. This is particularly true over the last three years. Once upon a time, an interview would always have been done in person. Now that isn’t always the case. In fact, depending on the type of role you are applying for, you might find yourself undertaking a number of different types of interviews and tasks at different stages of the process.

In person interviews

In person interviews are still the most likely form an interview will take. That could be a 1-2-1 between you and your potential boss. Alternatively, it could involve a panel of interviewers, that might represent the different stakeholders of the business you are interviewing for. Where it is an in-person interview, it’s important that you know where you are going, show up on time, dressed appropriately and prepared for your interview.

Call up

These days, particularly in the early stages of an interview process, it is feasible that you will be asked for a telephone interview. While your interviewer might not be able to see you, it is still important that you are prepared for the interview. That might still mean that you are dressed for an interview, to help you be in the right mindset. Make sure you also have somewhere quiet and private to take the call, so that you are not distracted.

Zooming along

With the increased familiarity with video conferencing, your interview may well be on-line. This is particularly likely if the job role is a long way from where you are currently living, or the company’s head office is overseas. Similar to an in-person interview, it is so important to be prepared and ready for an interview. Check your IT works beforehand and the sound is clear.

Ready for your close-up?

Less likely, you might even be asked to send in a video. While this is a good way to showcase your presentation skills, it is very one-sided. Therefore, it is not something that is used with too much regularity.

Is the future of interviews AI?

Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) technology, you may soon be interviewed for that job you really want by a computer. In fact, in cases this already happens and is a preferred format for some positions as it removes all types of bias.

With a VR headset you – or rather your avatar – will soon be able to be interviewed by AI software. This could be advantageous for some people, who will like the fact that there is no human being judging their performance, while others will miss the opportunity to build rapport with their interviewer.

Be prepared

It’s important to remember whatever form your interview takes, love them or hate them, in person or on-line, some things remain constant. Interviews are your chance to impress your would-be bosses. They are also an opportunity to assess whether the company is a place you would like to work. Make sure you are prepared and ready to get the most out of your interview

Making the right choice

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This week I’m going to look at why an outplacement strategy is still so valuable in the current employees’-market. The current market is one that is heavily weighted in the candidates’ favour right now. But even it if is a ‘candidates’-market’, outplacement rationale can still help make the right decisions.

With the choice and breadth of roles available, it is making it easier for candidates to pick and choose which they apply for and where they would like to work – both the sector and geographically. It is important to note that it isn’t always necessary to take the first offer. If you are offered something quickly, the chances are you will be offered something else too – so don’t rush into anything.

Weigh up your options

It’s worth bearing in mind that whatever role you are pursuing, it is a good strategy to carefully audit what exactly you want out of a job. This will ensure that you find a good fit for what you are looking to get out of the role. The closer the job profile matches your requirements, the more you will get out of the role and the more you’ll enjoy your work too.

Aspects worth considering are things like work/social life balance. Employers are much more appreciative of this these days and take into account an individual’s case, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach to how, where and when employees work. Many staff will have important commitments beyond their working hours – or sometimes even within their working hours – that they will need to be able to tend to. This can be helping out with care for children or elderly family members, for example.

What best suits?

Talking to a Career Consultant can help you not to ‘jump’ too soon and stay true to your tick list of wants and needs. If there is one thing that is an absolute must, then don’t compromise, as you will only dwell on it afterwards and may view it with regret. When weighing up your options think about things like sector, function, culture, location, agility and salary. How will what you are being offered positively or negatively impact you home life? Salary is very important to everyone, but is it the only reason you work?

We all require renumeration for our efforts, but we also appreciate job fulfilment, gratification, flexibility and satisfaction. If your only concern is money above all else, then you can overlook other aspects of your ‘wants list’. If you have identified wider aspects of your role that make you happier than the salary – the nature of the work, the people you’ll be working with – then this will be less of a factor in your decision. People can be a big draw and the opportunity to work with a great team, from which you can knowledge share and collaborate with, may be a big factor in itself. It’s well worth engaging in an outplacement programme where a Consultant will be able to finely tune your requirements into something that best fits your needs.

 

WELCOME TO OUR LATEST VLOG

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Welcome to the latest vlog from Career Evolution!

We are continuing to share weekly advice and updates from the industry on outplacement, career management, and coaching.

In our latest vlog, our director, Sue Thomas, rounds up some of our posts from October, including creating the right office environment, hybrid working, interviews and out and about more. There’s so much more to this platform than job searching.

Watch the video below:

 

Watch last month’s vlog here.

Quiet quitting – the silent enemy

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A variety of different factors – from cost-of-living uncertainty to the pandemic – have made a lot of people examine their work-life balance with forensic detail. What suits one person will not suit another, as everyone’s personal and working lives are different. One of the trends that has emerged is the concept of ‘quiet quitting’. It is associated with both work and home life, and can impact both. It is also causing problems for employers, managers and HR professionals, as this ‘silent’ change revolutionises the way people look at their careers. 

Balance or imbalance?

‘Quiet quitting’ refers to employees who elect only to work the specific hours of their contract and fulfil the remit of their roles to the letter – no more, no less. Any extra input, or rather output, from them will need to be paid for. It’s been attributed to a number of factors, such as overwork, employee burnout and mental health issues around stress and anxiety. But it is part of wider trend of people wanting to extend the flexibility and convenience of working from home, or the hybrid part-office/part-home working that many companies have adopted. Apparently, 60% of UK employees value their improved work-life balance and job flexibility over a 10% pay rise.

The lack of structure when working flexibly is being found to be detrimental to some employees though. There are factors such as not knowing when you are going to see colleagues, or when others will be in the office, which can itself cause uncertainty for staff. Some people need structure, uniformity and surety. The nine-to-five routine and ‘who is in the office when’ on any given day matters to them. Many workers now feel disengaged from the workplace, which may mean they also feel disengaged from their roles too. As a result, motivation and productivity have dropped and there has been a wholesale disengagement from working life. Some employees are not even sure of what is expected of them in work and what exactly their roles are for the company. 

The need to reengage

The drop in engagement began in the latter half of 2021 and has particularly affected younger workers. The social aspects of work – communication, chat, popping out to the shops or for lunch – have also been disrupted or supplanted altogether by working from home and the ever-changing routine of any given working week. This has led to over half the UK workforce now reportedly contributing to the quiet quitting trend.

If you don’t feel valued at work, are unsure of your role, or will only do the ‘bare minimum’ of what’s required of you, then this is partly due to poor management. Managers need to make sure their staff are aware that they are part of a wider company. They must feel supported and genuinely valued, and must be provided with a place to work where people can learn and grow, engage with other staff and collaborate to create great teams. Isolation and disengagement should never be felt by any employee and only if managers address this will ‘quiet quitters’ be encouraged to reengage once more.

 

Closing the skills gap

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We are living in challenging times for some sectors, with recruitment in particular a key issue. The impact of a variety of economic changes – and the changing ways in which people live, work and shop – are playing havoc with recruiters attempting to fill roles in everything from health care to leisure. Many industries are currently struggling with recruitment and the skills gap is a real issue. How is this going to be addressed and where are the skilled people needed to close these gaps going to come from?

 Changing expectations and ambitions

The skills gap occurs when there are not enough trained working professionals applying for available roles. It can be that there isn’t the same interest or demand at the moment in certain sectors, or that they are seen as being ‘boring’ or ‘obsolete’. There is also a tendency for people to gravitate now towards places that offer the opportunity to work from home, or to work a four-day week, or both. Peoples’ preferences have changed and they often desire a greater work-life balance these days. This is particularly true if they have a young family, or elderly relatives, that may require a workaround in their everyday lives. The work from home model of hybrid routines has been the ideal solution to many workers’ schedules, but has led to certain areas – social care and hospitality, to take two key examples – struggling to recruit.

 Consequences for business

Whatever the reasoning behind the shortfall, the crux of the matter is that a skills gap has serious consequential effects for businesses. For example, companies having to recruit from other areas, or pay higher wage rates, which results in a change in the business model. The advent of the national ‘living wage’ has already made many companies examine their businesses and tailored them to accommodate this. The cost-of-living crisis and rising household bills is also making people look at taking on multiple roles, across a variety of sectors, that is forcing them almost involuntarily into ‘portfolio careers’ without really realising it. It’s detrimental to businesses growth too, with the uncertainty causing less companies to take less risks. Inflation means employees’ earnings are worth less, which is driving up wages. But the lack of skills and the competition to employ the best candidates in the bet-fit roles is also leading to improved monetary packages.

 Addressing to shortfall

Part of solving the challenge of skills gaps involves the ability to steer workers towards areas where there are shortfalls. Extra training and knowledge-sharing within your company can make a big difference to your existing workforce. Often transferable skills too can be key to filling roles – many staff see themselves pigeonholed in sectors, without realising that they can diversify into different roles with the minimum of training. It’s often beneficial both for HR managers and staff to talk to Career Consultants, to identify where they might have a shortfall in staff skills and options on where the right solutions might be found.

Confidence Boost

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Even the most confident person can feel a little daunted by the prospect of a formal interview. In today’s hybrid working environment, your job interview is as likely to be carried out online, via a conference facility, as it is to be in person. Whichever way the interview is taking place, there are various things you can do to help boost your confidence and remove some of the nerves ahead of time.

Finding your own way

If your interview is in person, take the time beforehand to find out where you are going and how you are getting there. This means if you are driving, do a practice run. If you are taking public transport, make sure you know where your stop is and how to reach your destination in plenty of time. If your interview is online, make sure you have tested out your equipment in advance, particularly your camera and your microphone. Make sure you also have somewhere tidy and quiet to do the interview where you won’t be disturbed. Knowing where you are going – or how you IT works – will help calm the nerves on the day.

Be prepared

Do your research ahead of your interview. Find out what you can about the company you are interviewing with, what the job is and who your interviewers are.   I’m often asked if it’s appropriate to look at their LinkedIn profiles and I think it’s a very positive thing to do. It shows that you are taking a keen interest to find out about them.  It’s also an opportunity to see if you have any shared contacts or past experience.

Whilst you can find out a lot of company information by visiting the website you should also google whether there is anything in the press that’s current.  Websites aren’t always up-to-date. The more you know about the company and people you will be meeting, the less unknowns you will be faced with on the day. Also think about what you are going to say, how you will answer questions and what questions you want to ask in the interview too. Don’t forget, an interview is a two-way process and an opportunity for you to find out if the company is one you would like to work for.

Dress for success

Whether you interview is in person or on-line it is important to dress appropriately. While this no longer necessarily means a suit and tie, you should still be tidy and smart. If you are looking good, then you will feel better about yourself too.

Lucky charm

You might have a routine or an item that you feel brings you luck. Don’t worry if you don’t, just remember to smile, it’s the only lucky charm you really need! A well as having the necessary knowledge and being able to answer the questions in an interview, a genuine smile, and a friendly but professional approach, will all help position you as the best candidate for the role.

Interviews can be nerve wracking and feeling a little bit nervous can be a good thing, as it suggests that you are keen and interested in the role. However, the more you can do to prepare ahead of your interview, the more confident you will be on the day. Good luck!

And now time for something completely different…

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There are many reasons why you may be returning to work after a break – from extended holiday or illness, to maternity leave or career hiatus. It may be that you’ve had time to take stock and think about where you see your career going in the future, and where you see yourself in 12 months’ time or longer. If you are returning to work, do you go back to what you know – or is this the opportunity to try something completely different?

Career overlap

The most important thing to remember about a change of direction is that it doesn’t have to be sudden and radical. It can be gradual and considered too. Many of us have already found how one aspect of our careers can overlap into other areas of expertise. This can sometimes happen completely by accident, or it can be something we engineer. ‘Transferable skills’ are an aspect of our working lives we have often talked about at Career Evolution. This is where we can move between sectors but using our skills in different industries. It can provide the opportunity for change without a radical shift.

Moving sideways

Many office-based roles are easily transferable between sectors and it’s often the case that people who do this are the most satisfied and fulfilled in their careers. Many workers remain in the same industry their entire working lives, and they enjoy the security and continuity that brings. But sometimes it can feel like you’re stuck in a rut too, and that is where a literal ‘change of scene’ can work wonders. A sideways move to an adjacent sector can be the answer. We know from life in general that trying something new can be invigorating and if you feel as though you’re simply going through the motions, then a big career change might rouse you from that.

New horizons

One of the big plusses that has come out of the ‘working from home’ ethos is the fact that you are not geographically tied to a certain area when looking to change careers. This can mean that you can work anywhere in the UK, or indeed the world. This opens up many more options in terms of trying something new. If you’re proficient in languages, then you will have even more choice, and it can really broaden your horizons on what is available to you.

Staying relevant in a changing world

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It’s very easy in the day to day, to lose sight of what actually allows you to carry out your job. We all take our attributes for granted to a certain extent. If you have experience in a discipline or sector, it does become something of second nature as to how you work and how your role is carried out. If you’re someone who works in an office, you don’t sit down at your desk in the morning and think: ‘What should I do today?’ We naturally check our emails, attend meetings, carry out tasks, do our jobs, but the process is entirely instinctive.

Working and learning

However, instinctiveness and routine perhaps encourage us to rest on our laurels too. This can lead to complacency when it comes to keeping up to date on new legislation and the latest industry thinking in our sectors. Some companies implement training and updates as a matter of course. If this is offered, it makes sense to take whatever opportunities are available. Employers may fund courses, including master’s degrees and other further qualifications, as well as conventional diplomas, degrees and relevant vocational qualifications.

Further education in the workplace is a positive outcome both for employer and employee. This mutually beneficial option is worth exploring if there are areas of research and education you’d like to take on. There will be a multitude of options, from in-person courses to online certificates. However, make sure that any academy purporting to provide certificated accreditation is authentic and the real deal, and not a bogus organisation.

Improved prospects

The importance of keeping relevant isn’t always naturally encouraged by employers. It may be down to the individual to make the effort themselves. There are many ways to keep abreast of industry developments. This can be through the membership of industry bodies, or it may be through websites and courses.

You can also tap into your colleagues’ knowledge. They may be able to advise you where to find relevant information, or even provide the tuition or training themselves. Sharing skill in the workplace is one area in business that is often overlooked. Networking might also be an option, with tips and news on current thinking and development often best heard by word of mouth. There’s no quicker way to impart information than an in-person conversation. It’s often the most straightforward and low-key situations. An informal chat over lunch or a coffee, for example, can prove the most unexpectedly rewarding.

Looking beyond the expected

You can also look beyond your sector too. There will be affiliate courses and accreditations that will be useful in your long-term career path. Certainly, any academy courses and memberships of official organisations – that will, in simple terms, ‘add letters after your name’ – will expand your skillset. This will make you a more attractive prospect for any employer in the future, and of course enhances your CV. Joining organisations will ensure you keep in the loop regarding industry developments and technological advances. You may also like to look at coaching and mentoring, whereby you will undergo a career appraisal that will identify areas where you can explore. A good Career Coach will both find out where you are in your current situation and identify areas you can address for career advancement that will keep you relevant – both for your current career path, and the road yet to be explored.

Shy and (un)retiring

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The current economic climate is leading to all kinds of unusual phenomena. From the continuation of work from home to the adoption of hybrid working models, people are changing their lifestyles and working life routines in a multitude of ways. One aspect is that people are continuing to work beyond their retiring age – but also some are coming back into the workplace, having already retired. This can be for many reasons, from financial necessity to personal choice. However, ‘unretirement’ is an undeniable trend that is worth looking at.

Uncertainty and finances

Research from the Office for National Statistics has revealed that there are now more people aged 50 and over in work – or actively looking for work – than since just prior to the pandemic. This is driven by a  number of key factors that are affecting everyone, in one degree or another. These new findings identify upwardly spiralling inflation, volatile financial markets and the soaring cost of living as leading to the ‘great unretirement’.

Some of the statistics are telling. Of the increase of 116,000 over-50s working or looking for work in the past year, more than half of them were men aged over 65. This is an increase of 8.5%. This research also showed that 37,000 more women over 65 were also now in work or looking for work. Experts deem this increase is being driven by former retirees returning to work, rather than people working longer.

Volatile financial markets are said to be creating significant fear and uncertainty in people’s perceptions of their future retirement income. Any kind of pension pot can be affected by all kinds of factors and in some instances, if there have been financial difficulties with the business, or any kind of personal fallings-out (such as divorce), this can have a big impact on savings, assets and pension arrangements.

Wellbeing and benefits

In addition to the obvious financial benefits, there are of course a variety of positive impacts on a worker’s wellbeing by continuing to work. For many the void or retirement simply isn’t for them. Working can provide a sense of purpose and direction, of motivation and routine – not to mention exercise, both mental and physical, depending on the role. The social aspect is very important to many people too.

The ‘great unretirement’ also keys into some important aspects of Career Evolution’s vocation. We work a great deal with people who are getting work-ready and getting used to entering (or re-entering) the jobs market or workplace once more. We guide our clients on using networks and keeping up-to-date on developments in their sectors. It’s always worth subscribing to newsletters, or retaining links to your sectors via networking or even socialising, just to keep up to speed on any new legislation or technological developments. In this way, it won’t be such as shock when you re-enter the working environment.

With the jobs market becoming particularly competitive, it’s more important than ever to gain an edge. By continuing to keep in touch with your network and being creative and flexible about what a career might look like, it will ensure that you are prepared – should you want to ‘unretire’ yourself and enter the world of work once more.

Speak to our team if you are in need of our services.

WELCOME TO OUR FOURTH VLOG!

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Welcome to our new vlog from Career Evolution!

We will be sharing weekly advice and updates from the industry on outplacement, career management, and coaching.

In our fourth vlog, our director, Sue Thomas, rounds up some of our posts from July, including developing your personal brand, portfolio careers, identifying transferable skills, and a case study with Peter McCarthy.

Watch the video below:

See our first vlog here, our second vlog here and our third vlog here.