Let’s get one thing off our chests straight away.
Ok, two things: first, that bit of dried-out apple and banana puree (how long has that been there?). And now, the other thing. Which is the title of this blog. Implying that you haven’t been ‘working’ up until this point is ludicrous.
How many other bosses have called you at all hours of the night, every night, yelling incomprehensible diatribe right at you, pushing you to a state so vegetative that you nearly hug the NZ Post guy because he gives you a whole sentence of pure, unadulterated, human English?
So ‘returning to work’ is a misnomer. But now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s begin.
Want to get back into the office? Wondering if this whole working after Baby idea’s got legs? Guess what? It does. Now, let’s do this.
Today’s how-to: Negotiating flexible work arrangements.
Remember the last time you were at the supermarket checkout with your toddler?
Ok, first, a breath. In. Out. It is over.
Therapy bills and extreme public embarrassment aside, think about how you handled that situation. Chances are it involved the word ‘no,’ some histrionics (his/hers, yours or maybe both), and a resolution. You negotiated.
So you know you can do it. But the tip here is to do it with your boss, not with a screaming infidel, and without an elaborate, staged display of abandonment using repeated utterings of the phrase ‘Bye bye, Archer, bye bye’.
In his book Never Split the Difference, former lead FBI Hostage Negotiator Chris Voss shares some trade secrets on negotiating towards a desired outcome. And some of them may well surprise you.
1.Slow down the conversation.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that honesty and a direct approach will work. You’re infinitely more likely to have success with a slower, more roundabout conversation. It might seem counter-intuitive, but it works, Voss says. “[directness] tends to come across as being very blunt and overly aggressive… dealing with me might feel like getting hit in the face with a brick.”
So. You’ve got your straight-shooting manager on the phone. And you might be tempted to mirror her approach in order to negotiate those flexible working arrangements, with a “Karen, I’m going to cut to the chase. I would like to return to work but on part-time hours.”
Nope! Ease Karen in. Establish empathy, trust and a rapport first or you’ll be ending with a ‘bye bye, Karen, bye bye.’ (And it’s probably not going to be as effective on a 40 year-old serial entrepreneur with an MA in Finance.)
2.Forget about ‘yes’.
What’s a toddler’s favourite word? No.
The same goes for whoever it is you’re negotiating with. Framing your question in a way that requires your negotiating partner to say ‘yes’ is going to instantly get his or her hackles up. Voss believes that ‘yes’ is confrontational. It requires a commitment. Conversely, ‘no’ makes people relax. “If you make it clear to them that it’s okay to say “no”, then you help them feel autonomous which makes them more collaborative.”
So, instead of “Hi Karen, do you have a moment to talk about me coming back to work?”, try “Hi Karen, I was hoping to speak to you about coming back to work. Is now a bad time?”
3.Think of all the things that could be used against you – and use them yourself.
Voss believes that to establish rapport and collaboration quickly, you should “acknowledge the negative and defuse it”.
So instead of, “Hey Karen, I don’t want you to think I’m not committed,” try “Hey Karen, I know it seems like I’m not committed.” It’s a subtle change but again, it makes Karen feel heard, it demonstrates that you’re thinking about her feelings and most of all, it takes that argument right out of the picture.
So there you go. Negotiating flexible working arrangments, FBI-style. So you can return to your dreams of working after Baby - on your own terms.
But what if you don’t have a job? CV magic tips and some career-divining jiu jitsu, up next.
Now, time to pour a glass of sav and binge watch Human Target…
Want more help? Give us a call. We’ve got dedicated careers consultants ready to give your career ambitions an extreme makeover for free! (What’s the catch? There’s no catch! (But how do we make money? Check us out here: www.careerfusion.co.nz)
Tell us about yourself: There’s nothing more panic-inducing than the moment in an interview when the person in front of you says - “So, tell us a bit about yourself”. Your mind goes blank and all you can think about is the fact that you can’t think. Or is that just me?
Not to worry, if you are looking for an easier way to find your next job, follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to discussing MORE important things - like whether your new desk has a view!
Create your Fusion profile in these 3 easy steps (It’s a 10 minute investment in your future.)
1. Add a photo
It’s always smart to go with a neat headshot, but don’t be boring, you want people to talk to you!
That doesn’t mean you have to be an Instagram model to catch someone’s eye: FACT: research published in a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, found average, typical faces to be the most trustworthy – It’s science people! Just keep it professional and friendly.
2. Skills Assessments
At the end of the day, employers are looking for people who can actually do the job.
One of the main things that sets Career Fusion a part from other job matching platforms, is our 3-Dimensional Recruitment™. That means you get matched on actual skills test results, not just a key word search. Fusion allows you to take any skills tests from our suite tests, and add them to your profile for free.
Question: What’s better than free?
Answer: Literally, nothing. (Other than free money).
Skills tests you can take to show your stuff include:
3. Intro Bio
Ok, so you won’t believe me but writing about yourself is easy if you follow these easy steps.
Now you’re done! I told you it was super quick and easy.
Once you’ve completed your profile, you’ll be seen by employers who are searching the Fusion database. If someone is interested in learning more about you, or organizing a face to face interview, you will be notified.
If you want some personal advice on what you can do to improve your job hunting prospects, book a FREE 20 minute phone consultation with one of our experienced recruiters. They want you to get matched on Fusion, so will give you all the hints they can to make your profile stand out.
Good luck !
Here’s Part 2 of our ABC of CVs: your DEF-initive guide to three more of the most commonly requested soft skills, and how to show that you’ve got them in your cover letter or interview.
‘D’ is for ‘Delegation’
What is it?
The ability to distribute tasks to members of your team who have the best skills and resources to get them done.
Why is it good?
If you need to operate in any kind of leadership capacity, an ability to delegate successfully is essential to make sure that you’re spending your – and crucially, your company’s – time effectively. And remember: time is money!
How do I show I’ve got it?
If you’ve studied at a tertiary level, have you ever run a group project before? If not, take a step further back and think about times you’ve stepped up as a leader: we could be talking sports teams, musical ensembles, discussion groups and more.
Still no dice? That’s ok – experience is great, but if you don’t have it, tell them how you’d be a great delegator. Here are our top three tips:
1. Make sure everyone is crystal-clear on what the big-picture end goal is.
2. Include your team in the delegation process if possible – this might mean giving a group of people a collection of tasks and asking them to assign them among themselves.
3. Agree on a timeline before you start. Establish deadlines and set mini-goals. Is everybody on the same page?
With a bit of preparation, you too can be a great delegator. So if you don’t have experience, don’t shy away from the question. Own it, with a hypothetical scenario that showcases your management flair!
‘E’ is for ‘Empathy’
Empathy is an ability to experience the feelings of somebody else and relate those emotions back to your own experiences.
It’s often confused with sympathy – but it goes one further. While sympathy says, “Rachel McAdams’ character was so sad in that movie. It was horrible,” empathy says, “When that happened to me, I was devastated. Rachel McAdams’ character must have gone through hell.”
If you’re able to place yourself in someone else’s shoes, you’re immediately a step ahead in any customer-facing role, from Psychiatry to Inbound Sales. It also makes you a better contributor to your workplace, as your understanding of other peoples’ emotions means you’re less likely to accidentally step on any toes.
How do you show you’ve got it?
If you’ve had to ‘put yourself in somebody else’s shoes’ as part of your role, then you’ve had to demonstrate empathy. Stories about resolving customer complaints, making a sale that was relevant to the customer’s needs, or quelling interpersonal conflict within your team will do the job wonderfully.
‘F’ is for ‘Feedback’
Giving feedback means sharing your thoughts on something for the intended purpose of guiding or changing the course of things to come.
Why is it important?
Hurt feelings, confusion and a sub-par end result are just a few of the things you can expect with poor quality of feedback – so being able to give solid, polite, constructive (ie, helpful) feedback is a must.
Have you ever had to give constructive criticism on someone’s work, or participated in a peer review?
If you can’t draw upon prior experience, again, don’t stress – you can turn it into a hypothetical. And the best way to dish out feedback? The ‘sandwich’ approach: start and end on a compliment, with anything remotely negative in the middle. Here’s an example:
“Karen, I loved your story. The tone was warm and engaging and I can see it really connecting with your audience.
I would only suggest that you revisit the giant turkey section on page27, as readers might be disengaged by something that doesn’t feel like it belongs within the constraints of the world you’ve constructed.
Other than that, though, I think we’re going to end up with something unique and really special. It was a pleasure to read.”
And that’s that! But don’t go too far away. We’ve got a GHI-normous week in store, just around the corner.
Don’t forget to check in with us at any time for a free, 30-minute careers consult spanning CVs, cover letters, interviews and more: www.careerfusion.co.nz
Our ABC of CVs will give you all you need to know about those soft skills you’ll want to show off in your resume or interview.
This week it’s A, B and C. Pull up a chair and get comfy, folks. You’re going to want to hear this.
‘A’ is for ‘Active Listening’
The ability to draw information from a situation that might not have otherwise been offered.
Employers want intuitive staff – people who’ll treat each other, clients and management intelligently and with respect. Plus you’ll naturally be a comparatively faster learner and excel in client-facing roles.
This one’s perfect for an interview. Restating what has been said to you for clarification, relating situations to similar experiences, and drawing conclusions from what has been said are all ways you can show that you’re actively listening.
Can I have an example?
“I understand – so you’re saying that…?”
“I had a similar experience when…”
“I can imagine how challenging that must be.”
‘B’ is for ‘Business Development’
The ability to drum up new business and bring in new customers to an existing portfolio, increasing its value to your company.
It’s a no-brainer, really. If you can bring in new business, the company you’re working for will continue to grow, and meet or exceed financial targets. More dollars means happy bosses! And happy bosses? Well that’s a career in the clear.
The easiest way is with proven examples of new customers you’ve brought on board in a previous role, which you can mention in a resume as sub-points under the relevant role, and also in an interview situation. But if you don’t have demonstrable experience, that doesn’t mean you don’t have an aptitude*, so don’t rule yourself out!
If you’re a great communicator, handy with a computer, well adept at reading people (including body language), excel in a team situation and have a head for the bottom line, chances are you’re on the money. Pun totally intended.
‘C’ is for ‘Conflict Management’
The ability to handle difficult workplace situations, for example, differences of opinion, that could otherwise fester, escalate and destroy staff morale. On the flip side, there are some sorts of conflict that can actually be beneficial to the workplace, so being able to tell the one from the other is key.**
Being able to negotiate people’s feelings AND the needs of the business makes you an asset in any workplace. Less conflict means more productivity, and at the end of the day, more dollars in the bank. Happy days!
If you’ve worked in Customer Service before, chances are you’ve demonstrated it at a career level on a daily basis. If you’ve ever handled a complaint from a client and made sure it didn’t escalate further, then congratulations – you’ve got it!
‘Good’ conflict usually takes place in a safe environment and has guidelines in place to ensure that it doesn’t turn nasty: think meetings, staged debates and 360-degree reviews.
Make sure you bring up any moments where you’ve excelled in Conflict Management at the interview – and then bring it home.
Ready to give your job search some further oomph? Then stay tuned – you’ll ‘D-E-F’-initely want to know a bit about next week’s three skills.
*Psst – got no experience and keen to prove that you’ve got what it takes? Our skills testing can identify your hidden talents. Book a free, 30-minute chat with our Career Consultants today.
**Want more resume help? Spend some time with us! http://careerfusion.co.nz We don’t bite … that would be unbeneficial conflict http://www.careerfusion.co.nz/
I’d like to ask you a question. If you were a fruit, what would you be?
A pineapple? Tough and spiky on the outside, sweet on the inside? Or how about an orange, with all of your components perfectly compartmentalised? Or a pear, the apple’s quieter, more dignified cousin?
If this line of questioning sounds ridiculous, then you might be surprised to know that hiring managers and selection panels are asking questions just like this. (If you’re curious, the correct answer was reportedly “a grape, because I work just as well by myself as I do in a team.”)
Whether you’re face-to-face, on the phone or using modern technology to do the job, interviews are one of life’s inevitable phenomena that can cause sweaty palms and mumbled words. But there are ways to make it less painful. And they don’t have to involve obscure metaphors or the imagined threat of an imminent zombie apocalypse.
Earlier this year, employer ratings site Glassdoor conducted a study to determine the top 50 most common interview questions. Taking a moment to prepare thoughtful answers will pay dividends in the long run, with less umms, ahhs and frantic pauses. Here are our top tips for interrogative success.
Every business is different, as is each job. If there are details about the job that you can learn prior to actually being interviewed, do the research and get a huge head-start on preparing answers to show you are a great fit.
“Tell me a bit about yourself,” is a nice, broad, non-confrontational opener that is very commonly used. Mumbling through the very first question gets you off on the wrong foot from the very start, so have an answer for this.
Knowing how you view your strengths and weaknesses is really helpful. But don’t expect the question to be asked outright; because seasoned interviewers don’t want a rehearsed response. Prepare for a question such as “What criticism have you received from a manager before?” and have a story with details about how you addressed that concern.
Interviewers are disappointed if you don’t bring an intelligent interview question or two of your own to the table – so make sure you’re prepared! Some good starters include: “Where do you see this role going in 12 month’s time?” or “What does my being successful in this role look like for you?”
Good luck – you’ll be apples.
Want more tips like this? Your career consultant at Fusion can help. Book a free 30 minute appointment today. www.careerfusion.co.nz