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TYPICAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS – 1

by Paddy Collins on April 27th, 2017

This is the first of the series of typical interview questions. For each question we will outline why the interviewer is asking the question and how the interviewee should respond to it.

Our suggestions should be treated as guidelines, always adapt them to your personal judgement of the situation and to your own particular experience and individual style.

Question 1:        Tell me about yourself

Why is this question asked?

- Starts the dialogue, relax into interview, put you at ease – ‘break the ice’
- Get to know you in a less formal way to build rapport and to see if you can relate / connect with them at an early point in a human way – can you create ‘rapport’?
- Observing your confidence level – and friendliness
- They’re asking ‘could we work with this person’?  How have they progressed through their career?
- Find other areas or ‘hooks’ or ‘topics’ to explore with you later  – relate to job (so they can see you have raised important points with them – from the job requirements perspective)
- To see – are you prepared / have you clarity about yourself? What do you choose to emphasise – that might be relevant to the role?
- Helps panel get to know you quickly – or refresh their memory – hear you with fresh ears!
- To consider if you have a ‘brand’ and how it sits with the panel

How to Answer?

- Ideal max 2 mins – 3mins input (first chance to ‘sell yourself’ positively). Be concise.
- Get to work-related input quickly – profession, experience, progress of career
- Career and recent experience and key achievements – map to competencies/experience of job of interest
- Provide ‘relevant hooks’ (linked to job requirements) – take control – you want them to note/probe on these points because you are prepared on these topics / competencies
- Optional: Give very short input on personal information at end – e.g. where from, family, hobby?
- Use aspects of brand statement – Finish with key differentiators and direction (all relevant to the job)
- Keep it positive / keep it concise and punchy (2 mins) – stay calm
- Brief, simple, honest, natural – tailored to the specific job

2017 – Treasure and foster your career

by Paddy Collins on January 20th, 2017

2017 – Treasure and foster your Career

You may not realise it but the way your career develops over time is almost entirely under your control. Certainly you can opt to stay in your current job, work hard, hope your efforts are recognised and some fantastic new opportunity falls into your lap.

However wouldn’t it be nice to know where you are going and have a timetable for achieving your personal goals?

I am not advocating any rash or dramatic changes but I can suggest some simple steps which will help you enormously:

Number 1

Take some time out to answer a few questions about yourself and your future, for example

What do you want to be working at in the short, medium and long term?

Where do you want to be doing this work (location, target companies, employment type)?

What steps should you take in 2017 to help deliver your career targets?

Number 2

Write down a plan of action for developing yourself and your career with target milestones

Number 3

Review and update your plan regularly, at least each quarter

Some of these actions are not easy to complete, especially on your own without support – we in Torc have developed a self analysis toolkit taking you through each stage quite painlessly.

You are invited to contact the office to get a copy – after all you and your career are well worth the effort!

Christmas wishes

by Paddy Collins on December 13th, 2016

Paddy and Izabela, along with the broader Torc team wish you a very Happy Christmas and look forward to working with you again in 2017.

Does career management matter to organisations?

by Paddy Collins on November 30th, 2016

The answer to the question is a resounding YES; and leadership teams are advised to ensure they have some tangible approaches in place for employees.

Recent research confirms that millenials want to feel they are contributing to achieving business goals; they want to have career paths to pursue; they are entrepreneurial thinkers who relish responsibility, hate micro-management and are concerned about corporate social responsibility.

Keeping  employees engaged with the organisation is important because “those most engaged are 87% less likely to leave a job and are 20% more productive in the workplace”.  However their level of engagement is determined by three main factors: how safe they feel in their workplace, how meaningful their job is and how available senior management are to employees.

Career management is about the future of the organisation, and also about the effective development and deployment of all employees. Get career management right and individuals will feel connected to their work, valued for their contribution, engaged with the organisation, and motivated to contribute. Their willingness to apply and increase their capability will be enhanced.

Manage careers well and the organisation’s capability to meet future demands will be enhanced by its ability to retain existing staff and to attract high quality applicants.  This in turn unlocks the value chain which links personal success, organisation performance and business results.  Get career management wrong, and organisational capability is compromised with employees becoming disengaged or demotivated, or physically by moving to competitors.

One of our current clients is planning to put career management centre stage for 2017 and Torc is helping them develop a range of initiatives including:

- Self awareness and career workshops for employees

- Developing career paths and progression opportunities

- Life planning supports

- Upskilling HR department on career development

- Coaching managers on having meaningful career discussions with their staff

The limitations of in-house Talent Acquisition

by Paddy Collins on October 28th, 2016

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Over the past ten years or so many large corporations and tech companies have built internal talent acquisition teams to identify and recruit new staff.

This probably works satisfactorily to an extent, especially for entry level and regular hires, and it saves on headhunter fees. However the approach is self-limiting in a number of ways.

Confidentiality

For a variety of reasons it is often necessary to keep a search highly confidential – perhaps to protect current staff, prevent leakage of business strategy, comply with shareholder or regulatory requirements etc. This level of confidentiality can only be achieved through an external partner.

Independence & Reach

Internal talent searchers focus very much on the industry sector, technology clusters and peer companies – especially those that employ people with target skillsets. This is fine up to a point but where there is a need to broaden the search an external consultant can think outside the box, tap into multiple talent pipelines, utilise personal and industry networks and review similar projects in order to unearth hidden gems.

Ethics and Brand Protection

Most companies simply don’t want to steal talent from their peers and regard the practice as contrary to their CSR principles. Equally whereas internal staff will ‘toe the line’ on company message, the external consultant can act as a Brand Ambassador for the company whilst balancing and protecting the interests of all stakeholders – the client brief, the candidates’ career and personal needs and his/her own professional interests.

Torc’s Masterclass Series

by Paddy Collins on September 22nd, 2016

These are designed to present current best thinking on a series of topical subjects, each in a 90 minute slot. Clients may choose just one topic or consider delivering a series.

The Challenge of Change

Embracing Change

Change – Learning to flex and adapt

Influencing Techniques

Developing a ‘Team Brand’

Being the master/architect of my career

Taking charge of my career – do I need a coach or a mentor?

Engaging the heart and minds of all your employees (or your team)

Rules of engagement for High Performing Teams

Decision making and thinking

Coaching

Understanding ‘millennials’

Building a more collaborative organisation

Stakeholders – Understanding them and relationship management

Trust and its importance in retaining your staff

Stakeholder management and relationship building in the workplace

Setting ground rules to deliver more effective meetings

The power of ‘icebreakers’ – for meetings of different kinds

Mindfulness

Emotional Resilience to thrive in difficult circumstances

Positive psychology techniques to support change in oneself and others

If you are interested we will be happy to forward details on any of these topics.

New L&D Programmes – Autumn 2016

by Brendan Wallace on September 1st, 2016

Torc has provided top class training to clients for over ten years.

We are happy to share with you our current Training Programmes.

Leadership

Maximising Leadership Potential
Inspiring High Performance; make faster smarter decisions
Aligning leadership with corporate goals and strategy
Accelerating the Development of your High Potentials
Driving for results – Empowering your Leadership Team
Strengthening your Organisation’s Engagement Model – latest approaches and techniques

Wellness
Mindfulness & Resilience in the Workplace
Mindfulness Introductory Module
Mindfulness 8 Week Programme
Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP)
Boundary Management
Resilience Workshop
Bullying Awareness and Management
Bullying Investigator Training

Career
Your Career, Your Future, and Change
Career Ownership & Planning your Future
Career Mobility Workshop
Competency Based Interview Training
Assessment Centres – Design and Delivery
Individual career audit and assessment
Advanced job search techniques
Empowering Self for a Sustainable Future
Personal Branding & Marketing

Managing Oneself and Others
Team Building through behaviours and thinking styles
Stepping up to the role of team leader – new skills for the newly appointed
Strengthening team leader and supervisory capabilities
Collaboration skills – today’s key managerial tool
Emotional Intelligence / EQi certification
Analysing Personality Types

Performance
Developmental Conversations that yield success for your management team
Effectively Managing Performance – raising the bar each month with the all-important 1:1 and team collaboration
Personal Effectiveness Coaching
Conducting Effective Performance Appraisals
Executive Coaching
Performance management appraisal training
Assertiveness and Influencing Skills

Sales
Back to Basics Selling – the Steps of the Sale
Mind Set for Selling
Retaining & Growing Customers (Key Account Management)
Managing a Sales Team and Sales Process
Developing Customer Service Excellence
Successful Tendering & E-tendering
How to maximise your Key Accounts

Our subject area trainers are recognised as leaders in their field. If you are interested we will be happy to forward details on any of these programmes. If you have questions or would like to talk directly with one of our trainers, about tailoring a solution to suit your organisation or staff, please let us know.

The Interview – 6 steps to ‘Slay the Dragon’

by Paddy Collins on August 31st, 2016

When you stand back and think about it the interview is the ultimate sale – your objective is to present and sell the unique set of skills, competencies, and work experiences you possess to the interviewer so you can move ahead with your career plan.

Here are the steps you should take:

1. Know what you are talking about

You need to focus on three particular areas; – knowing yourself in depth and the skills you have to offer, – having a sound understanding of the job content and precisely how you meet the requirements, – knowing about the company – its core business activities, culture, reputation, prospects etc.

2. Build bridges

You know the key requirements for the role – at the interview when you are answering a question always try to incorporate a specific reference to a work situation which demonstrates how your expertise is a good fit for some related key aspect of the job, even if its not directly asked for.

3. Relationship and rapport

The interview process is highly subjective – it is important that you build a rapport with the interviewer(s); you can do this by being open and friendly, maintaining eye contact, and generally engaging with them. Try to be helpful to them and do not compete or challenge the interviewers in any way, especially if you are more knowledgeable about something.

4. Ask the right questions

Prepare some questions in advance which demonstrate your genuine interest in the role eg

“Would there be opportunities to make product presentations to clients and channel partners?”

“What are the prospects for career advancement/progression?”

5. Get into the zone

All too often people go to interviews having done some research and basic groundwork – they are hoping to do well and make a good impression, but they are not really psyched up for the challenge. It is essential that you go to the meeting with a determination to succeed, have your key messages well rehearsed, and you’re fired up to achieve your target.

6. Close

At the end of the interview reaffirm your interest and commitment to the role and company; ask if you have covered everything fully, and summarise your key points. Enquire about the next steps, and if it is a final interview why not ask for the job!

If you can get all, or even most, of these steps covered well you will be close to ‘Slaying the Dragon’.

Candidates should know – interviewing isn’t perfect

by Paddy Collins on July 29th, 2016

How do hiring and HR managers reach a decision about who to offer the job to? Most candidates think its a clear-cut process where the most qualified person gets the job. However this is often not the case.

The main reason is that companies don’t know exactly what they want. The requirement might have arisen due to a promotion, departure or increased business volume. Internal managers/HR are forced to define a list of criteria a candidate needs to be successful in the job – the problem is they might miss some.

The biggest issue is the soft skills – ie what personal qualities will do best in the role or fit with the culture, department or team. In effect the requirement gets clarified as the interviewing and recruitment process continues – some early candidates might become victims of the internal fine-tuning process.

How can you overcome this?

Remember that during the course of the interview, in addition to demonstrating all your technical capabilities, you must also focus on personality and aptitude; make a personal connection with the interviewers.

Also consider checking in with them again a month later – they may have reached a dead-end.

CV Blunders

by Brendan Wallace on June 28th, 2016

THESE WERE TAKEN FROM REAL CVS AND COVER LETTERS:

Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.

Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year.

Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions.

Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave.

Failed bar exam with relatively high grades.

It’s best for employers that I not work with people.

Let’s meet , so you can ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over my experience.

I was working for my mom until she decided to move.

Marital status: single. Unmarried. Unengaged. Uninvolved.  No commitments.

I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse.

I am loyal to my employer at all costs….Please feel free to respond to my resume on my office voice mail.

My goal is to be a meteorologist.  But since I possess no training in meteorology, I suppose I should try stock brokerage.

I procrastinate, especially when the task is unpleasant.

Personal interests: donating blood. Fourteen gallons so far.

Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store.

Note: Please don’t misconstrue my 14 jobs as ‘job-hopping’. I have never quit a job.

Marital status: often. Children: various.

The company made me a scapegoat, just like my three previous employers.

Finished eighth in my class of ten.

References: none. I’ve left a path of destruction behind me.