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- Business Of Artificial Intelligence
- Background Screening
- Job Interview Tips
- Job Search Cyber SCAM
- What NOT to do
- These Boots Were Made For Walking
- Employability Challenges for the Non-fluent Speaker
- The Nervousness Issue
Great Article – “The Business Of Artificial Intelligence” by Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew Mcafee
(for the full article go to https://hbr.org/cover-story/2017/07/the-business-of-artificial-intelligence
“For more than 250 years the fundamental drivers of economic growth have been technological innovations. The most important of these are what economists call general-purpose technologies — a category that includes the steam engine, electricity, and the internal combustion engine. Each one catalyzed waves of complementary innovations and opportunities. The internal combustion engine, for example, gave rise to cars, trucks, airplanes, chain saws, and lawnmowers, along with big-box retailers, shopping centers, cross-docking warehouses, new supply chains, and, when you think about it, suburbs. Companies as diverse as Walmart, UPS, and Uber found ways to leverage the technology to create profitable new business models.
The most important general-purpose technology of our era is artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning (ML) — that is, the machine’s ability to keep improving its performance without humans having to explain exactly how to accomplish all the tasks it’s given. Within just the past few years machine learning has become far more effective and widely available. We can now build systems that learn how to perform tasks on their own.”
“It’s true, background screening is complex. Deciding which type of check to run to make sure a candidate is the right one can seem like a daunting task. However, background screening is a vital step to ensure the right people are in the right roles. From employment verification to criminal record checks, it’s a proactive way to add a layer of risk mitigation into a company’s hiring process.”
My question is – how much further do we go with this to provide companies with as thorough a screening process as possible. I’ve been getting differing opinions with respect to trolling through social media – adding on psychometric assessments (in addition to the face to face screening etc.). Would love to hear others’ opinions.
I’m of the mindset that we should go as thorough as possible within our means – and that too can change depending on the position the person is being hired for.
This is a Quick Tip list for that very important upcoming interview that you really want to ace. What I have not included in this list – please read my post on “What not to do” at an interview:
- When you are asked if you have a particular skill – always try to give a real work example of when you had to use that skill. Whatever you do – don’t make it up. It’s quite ok to say “I haven’t had experience in that particular area but here is how I would handle it”. Keep in mind if the Interviewer does feel that you may not have experience in that area or that you may not have answered truthfully – they will work the questioning back again to address the area of expertise they are looking for.
- Another very important point to keep in mind is that you are not at an interview to see if the person across from you is going to be your new “best friend”. By this I mean – Keep your interview on a business level at all times. This does not mean you have to be “too” formal. Instead try to engage the Interviewer. This can be done through positive body language – such as an occasional smile and nod – and making sure that you portray the energy level of someone who truly wants to be at the interview in question. Let the interviewer “feel” that you appreciate the time and opportunity they may be giving you. Even if – half way through the interview you discover “to yourself of course” that the job is not a fit for you, then take advantage of the opportunity to practice your interview skills – never just throw an interview. Walk in with your head held high and walk out the same way, knowing that you gave it all you could and in the best way that you could.
- Of course all Interviewers, myself included – want to see all potential candidates and applicants show their confidence in their own capabilities and areas of expertise. However, keep in mind arrogance is not the same as confidence. You are there at the interview to show what you can do and how you believe you are a good fit for a particular role. This is an amazing opportunity where you are given time to basically “strut your stuff” and sell yourself in a positive and professional manner. It is not something you should take lightly. As I mentioned previously, use the opportunity wisely, even if it is just for practice.
Please do stay tuned for other tips and techniques that we will bring your way. If you have any questions about navigating through the waters of looking for that perfect job or launching a new career, please do send us a quick email and we will try to post it live so that others can also benefit from your queries.
Have yourself a great day!
You are marching into big bosses office, jumping up on the desk, laughing like the Mad Hatter, and relieving yourself in the midst of a big sissy fit!! Oh the glorious drama. HA! HA! HA! … BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!)
- “I hate to wake up in the morning knowing I have to go to work.”
- “I no longer feel challenged at my job.”
- “I don’t even like this line of work.”
- “I need more money.”
- “My colleagues are getting on my nerves.”
Any of that sound familiar? Maybe it is time to think of a career change. More than likely it is a combination of factors causing your discomfort. It is important to maturely assess the situation, plan and then act. Barbara Woodward, a monster.com career guru, advises, “Career movements are challenging and require a certain amount of logistical preparation. Carefully consider the move you are about to make. Ensure that any move is part of how you have defined what it is you want to achieve.”
Often we are unsatisfied with our jobs because we are no longer feeling challenged, both professionally and personally. A situation that started out exciting has begun to pale with the routine, hidden requirements and hoop leaping. Sometimes we enter jobs for the financial freedom they promise rather than the creative opportunities. Maybe we feel we are no longer financially compensated enough for the quality and quantity of work we are being asked to produce, especially when we look around and see others being treated better or reaping more rewards. Would more money make you happier? Many people work five hell-days to play the two they have off.
Maybe you are in a position to renegotiate the terms of your job to make it more fulfilling or less stressful: a transfer from one department to another, or a little more cash, or benefits. Sometimes a leave of absence or vacation is all that is necessary to recharge the batteries.
Are there personality conflicts that you feel you cannot overcome? Our colleagues greatly influence our happiness. Are there processes within the management structure to aid conflict resolution between staff? Have you tried to resolve these conflicts to no avail?
Sometimes negativity can be short-term. We often react to something that will work itself out over time. Is the situation something that could be changed with a little patience and effort on your part?
Psychology experts state we have one of two responses in the face of stress: “fight or flight”. We dig in both our stiletto heels and fight the beast that burdens us or we avoid difficulties and run away. What is your style? Are you good at resolving situations or is this an area you need to work on? Until you speak up everyone around you will think everything is just dandy. It is important to know when you are the negative sign in the equation of life, because you will take all your habits (good and bad) out one door and in another.
Is it a fear of change keeping you in the situation? Mark Twain once said, “Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear.” When with a company for a long time we begin to rely on it for the comfort, security and routine it provides. Removing all of those things at once can be a shock. In reality it is a little death. But hopefully it will bring with it a new birth.
These are all things we have to evaluate. Look at your situation squarely. Get feedback from trusted friends who can help you face the situation and discover if it is time to move on.
Okay you want out!
When you are planning to leave a job the best-case scenario is to have another one to go to. If you are in a professional field a headhunter could do all the preliminary work. All you have to do is come up with the right arrangement of doctor’s appointments for the week you are interviewing. “Uh… I have to go see my… uh… my proctologist today! Oh no I mean my dentist, yeah!” Be sure to tap into your network of friends and associates to help with your search. The Wall Street Journal has reported that 94% of new job seekers found networking the most beneficial way to find a new position.
If the problem is money, shopping around maybe a good negotiation tool with your current employer. If they see someone else wanting you, maybe they will counter offer. But if it is about people and situation no amount of carrots waved will make those go away.
The loss of money maybe the biggest factor barring the exits. Salaries and pay cheques are the arbiters of comfort. If a period of unemployment is on the horizon, financial stress can often keep us shackled where we are.
Save. If you know you are going to quit then start pinching your pennies. Stop the frivolous expenses. Do you really need the extra Donna Karen frock or Madonna CD? (Okay maybe the Madonna CD!) With a little cash or savings to shore up our courage, leaving will not be so traumatic.
I paraphrase Maya Angelou who once wrote referring to a relative, she looked behind her and did not like where she had come from, and looked at the road that lay ahead and did not like where she was going, so she got off the road and cut herself a new path.
How to cut the path? Do we resign with a nice official letter referencing greener pastures? Stay friendly with colleagues, hoping for a nice going away party anticipating trendy gifts? Or do we go all Whitney Houston – “pack your bags, up and leave”? Sylvia Ho also of monster.com says, “Don’t burn your bridges with the company. You might need them for references, or you might want to come back later on.” So the “Take this job and shove it!” approach could be career detrimental and most execs have security on speed dial. Ah but that recurring dream at the top may be just the therapy needed to get it out of your system.
Often when we leave situations we go through a separation anxiety. Be prepared to face a little depression as well as the excitement of moving on. Talk to people. Get support
It is your life. You deserve to be happy in your work and career. Do what it takes to make your situation the one that you want it to be.
(A final thought on when quitting is not an option. Surround yourself with a good support system to help you vent your stresses. Make sure the time you are not at work is full of quality things and people that make the office bearable. Being physically and mentally fit with a full social life just maybe the trick. Then there is always retail therapy!)
It has been brought to my attention that there are scammers targeting those who may have posted their resumes online to the various job portals and who are actively seeking new employment opportunities.
I had heard about this previously when another recruiting agency had posted a similar bulletin – however this time they have decided to pretend to be me.
I am attaching a sample of the generic email to this bulletin that these scammers are promoting for nefarious intent and purposes. (PLEASE SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE)
I wanted to send out this bulletin and request that you repost, share and pass it along to everyone you know. This affects all of us.
If you continue responding to them – they even go as far as sending you a Labour Agreement with a Bogus Employer signature and requesting that you give them a signature. And they are getting sneakier and cleverer – even going to the degree of making sure that the bogus employer signature matches a profile that is applicable to the industry that the applicant is applying for.
There are other Warning Red Flags, such as:
- Asking that you only contact them through email – this is a major red flag
- Email Address – Verify that the email address that they are contacting you with matches the domain of the URL that they are saying is the company contacting you. In the sample I have attached – you can clearly seeing the company is at recrutingnow.ca yet the email address is email@example.com – that’s your second red flag.
- Most importantly, our recruitment process does not allow any of our recruiters to send out a job offer or labour agreement via email if you haven’t had an interview with both the recruitment agency and the client who would be hiring you. We also would have requested a full BackGround Check at the same time and all of our Background checks are officially carried out through Sterling Talent Solutions. Even if location or timing is an issue – then a face to face would be carried out via Skype interview – but I can assure you we would never send out a job offer without going through a strict screening process that far extends past email only communication.
To have one email sent to you – followed up by a job offer – is a major red flag to watch out for. When in doubt, call or email the agency – AND do the research that I have mentioned in this bulletin.
This scam and fraudulent behaviour was brought to my attention by some very smart and diligent recent university graduates. Scammers beware – these future generations are very smart, so do not take them for granted.
We too can use the internet to bring attention to what others are doing. Education is the key – and being aware and spreading the word is how we do it together. The internet is not a bad thing – it’s just there are some bad people using it.
Recruiting Now Team
Here are more interview tips and interview techniques pointing out some of the things you “should not do” at an Interview?
Summary: One of the things that you must always keep in mind is that there may be aspects of an interview that are simply beyond your control. However as long as you do the best that you can and within a pre-defined awareness of what is “right and wrong”, then you should be confident that you are putting your best foot forward. And it is that confidence that will enable you to keep moving forward until you do secure that position that you want to have.
Here is a brief summary of things you should not do at an interview:
- Be practical when answering the question, “What are your future plans?”: The most common mistake that the interviewee commits is that they answer the question with their “dream job” in mind and not what is the practical advancement for their present career path. Also keep in mind that sometimes you can also go too far, including right up to when you plan to retire. Keep it brief and within a reasonable time frame making sure that you include that you wish to grow through the company, in respect of position, profile and financial condition.
- Always remember to turn off your cell phone during an interview. Many a candidate has been taken off a shortlist for doing so. However keeping in mind that most interviewers do realize that it may happen accidently, but it is how you respond to the interruption that can keep you on the shortlist. In other words, apologizing and turning your phone of immediately is a positive move. Taking the time to answer it, is definitely not a good move.
- Do not go to an interview even with a 3rd party agency or recruiter looking like you are on your way to a social gathering. By that we mean dress appropriately. It does not have to be a full piece suit, unless of course you are going for a senior role, then err on the side of caution and dress your best. For other type of roles – business casual is always a safe bet.
- Another Interview faux pas is showing up late for an interview. What compounds this error is when you don’t even bother explaining or mentioning you were late. Keep in mind as a professional who has had countless interviews I do not forget that tiny little detail when we finally do sit down for the interview.
Have yourself a great day!
A client from China asked for coaching to become a better interviewer and presenter in English. He wished to express himself more creatively. I asked him how well he thought he expressed himself in Chinese. “It sucks!” he said.
Consideration: Do you possess the skills? It is not the language, it is you.
If you ‘suck’ at it in your first language, you will suck more with a weaker language skill set. Changing languages should not have a profound impact on ability, but language deficiencies expose skill deficiencies or can be seen as incompetency. The good news is communication skills are simply that – a skill set. But you must answer the question: “Do I possess communication skills?” Before looking at the nuts and bolts of communicating in a new language you must be able to do it in your first language
Communication skills are an invaluable asset. Words, both written and spoken, are the instruments of business. The person who can maximize those tools has the greater opportunity for success. A person with dynamic communication skills is often perceived as having a higher aptitude than a person with weaker communication skills. Though there are numerous books and courses on the market to turn you into a good presenter the final decider will be, “Are you creative and dynamic?” The number one skill of the great communicators is that they approach their material from a creative and dynamic perspective.
That is what separates a boring presentation on the annual census report from a forceful one on the relevance of demographics in economic and political decision making. Anyone working in a foreign language should have a forthright evaluation of their skill set in their first language to help understand the challenges they will have in a new language.
If one discovers or knows their first language skills are lacking, taking skills development workshops in the non-fluent language will provide the opportunity to pick up some new skills and practice them in a safe environment. Having the opportunity to practice and receive constructive feedback will help increase confidence.
A client from Japan was a confident woman but quiet. Due to fears about speaking in English she seemed shy and reserved. She said in Canada people thought she was unfriendly.
Consideration: Are you self-confident?
Confidence! Over the last five years, I have discovered that confidence is the most influential factor for a non-fluent speaker. When learning and working in a foreign language a person’s confidence level can be shaken. And the same rules apply: if you have confidence issues in your first language they will be exposed or magnified in a foreign language.
This confidence thing is a little tricky though. If you are over confident in your first language you may come across as arrogant in a foreign language. Language without finesse can offend easily. If you lack confidence in your first language you may come across as shy, quiet, or even passive in a foreign language. An absence of language still communicates a lot to the observer.
We place great value on what people say or do not say. A key insight when trying to understand language confidence issues is the fear of being judge and the fear of looking stupid. Everything we say and write reflects who we are. We are judged, evaluated, and processed on our ability to communicate. We know this is happening in our first language, and any stress associated with it will be magnified in a foreign language setting.
I have often said my biggest fear is waking up one day and everyone discovering the emperor has no clothes. Appearing incompetent is a common fear among humans. Being embarrassed or looking stupid due to communication errors adds a strain on confidence. Further, not being able to perform at the same high level as in one’s first language adds stress to the situation or task. The way to lessen these two fears is to accept they are a part of the process and by preparing well.
A client from Poland working in a bank found she spent 50 percent more time on emails that her fluent speakers. She felt as if she was always behind.
Consideration: Are you prepared for the extra work?
A mentor once said, “Fail to plan, plan on failure.” This caveat is well-tried. But for the non-fluent speaker it is twice relevant. It is folly to think one can walk into a non-fluent language situation and shine in the same manner and fashion as in a fluent language situation. One must take extra time to prepare material; it is a necessity that cannot be sidestepped. A non-fluent speaker has to allot more time for preparation; time which is spent asking one question: “Am I communicating well in an English context?”
Fluent speakers often resent having to polish foreign colleagues’ work before it can be presented; it takes time away from their assignments. A Japanese client once reported she had to spend an extra two hours preparing for classes and meetings just checking her English. This caused her a lot of stress as she knew her fluent colleagues were working on the next project.
A client from Brazil asked me recently, “Why are Canadians so cold?”Meanwhile a Korean client enjoyed the “warm and friendly people” of the city.
Consideration: Are you culturally aware?
We have to consider cultural differences. Often there are multiple cultural differences to consider in the international business community. Team diversity can span numerous continents. Cultural differences among group members affect communication. “When in Rome do as the Romans do” is the first rule to follow when deciding on cultural communication differences. If you are in Canada then the Canadian way of life is the way to conduct oneself.
The non-fluent speaker must consider that the way people learn, network, public speak, and present in an English language environment may be different than their home environment. The use of voice, gestures, and body language differs across cultures. What may be polite in one context may be rude in another. Knowing which topics are appropriate or taboo is essential knowledge when communicating in a multi-cultural environment. Transgressions are never publicly mentioned but they do have an impact on how one is seen and the manner in which one is dealt. Learning and communication vary across cultures.
These are the considerations for the non-fluent speaker when evaluating their communication skills. The challenges go beyond those of the fluent participant and beyond the basics of communication skills. By first considering skill, confidence, preparation levels, and cultural awareness the non-fluent speaker sets the table for a working experience that will build on existing skills while cultivating the ones required for the new language environment.
In addition to working as Director of Training & Development at Recruiting Now Inc., Joshua also sits on the Advisory Board as a Senior Communications Consultant and brings a wide variety of business and communication skills to the organization, especially in the areas of diversity and in assisting newcomers to Canada.
Joshua also facilitates workshops for the MBA program at Rotman School of Management and as a life coach his clients range from Japanese executives to local CMAs. Joshua explores Eastern and Western thought to bring fresh insights to modern business and holistic health issues while also finding time to teach Moksha Yoga as a certified instructor having trained in India.
Perception Shifts to Help Deal with Stress and Anxiety
Everyone gets nervous. I spend all my time speaking to groups of people in classrooms and yoga studios. My heart rate goes up, my hands get cold, and I sweat. For years I hated it. Why is this happening? Make it stop. The more I wrestled with it the more it stressed me out. In an effort to deal with my own, I have spent years studying it.
Here are five things I say when I am nervous to help move from paralysis to action:
- This is normal.
Reality – Feeling nervous is part of the human condition. We simply get nervous: before a presentation, an exam, an interview, a review, or a date. We in fact have biological systems that deal with stress and nervousness. Everyone gets nervous at some point.
Perception shift – Nature would not provide us with a mechanism that was not required. We are an adaptive species. Our sympathetic nervous system is part of our fight or flight response system. It is there to help us cope. Feeling nervous is normal, stop fighting it. Acceptance will lessen the nervousness – and remember it is not just you.
- I am taking this seriously. It means something to me.
Reality – Nervousness is part of our early warning system that lets us know we are doing something that matters to us. When we care about something we naturally invest more emotional energy into it. This emotional energy has the potential to cause great stress.
Perception shift – Acknowledging the seriousness of an endeavour for ourselves is part of the challenge to dealing with the stress of nervousness constructively. This means something to you. You want to do it successfully. You want to be seen as competent and professional.
- I am prepared.
Reality – Stress is felt when one thinks or feels they do not have the resources to meet the demands of the situation. By preparing well there is a confidence achieved thereby alleviating nervousness. There is no short cut around preparedness. You either are or are not. Be prepared.
Perception shift – If you can say you are prepared rest assured anyone listening to you will get the right information. Knowing one’s stuff is more important than a flashy presentation style. The prepared speaker will go further than one of all style and no substance. At the very least the listener will receive right information. The math is simple on this one: more preparedness = less nervousness.
- I am respecting the people and the work.
Reality – We are not islands. We are connected individuals. Part of that connection causes us to be nervous around each other. We often feel self-conscious in social situations and embarrass easily. We compete and have high expectations of colleagues and clients. In addition, there is great pressure to maintain the integrity of the work we are doing.
Perception shift – Acknowledging this stress as an indicator of respect for the people you are communicating with and the material you are representing will aid in reducing nervousness. It helps us to be accountable to others and ourselves. At the end of the day the job has to be done and done well.
Reality – When nervous, our breathing becomes shallow and our heart rate increases. We sweat, stutter, panic, and shut down. These are the physiological responses to stress. When the breath is shallow, our body (brain included) does not get enough oxygen to function optimally. Stress causes hormonal imbalances and real time physiological changes in our bodies that influence our ability to access complex ideas and second and third language skills.
Perception shift – By turning our breath rate deeper and taking the time to count our breaths we begin the process of stimulating our parasympathetic nervous system to calm us down.
Start by blowing all the air out of your lungs through the nose for at least five breaths. Deep resonant breathing will give the body the tools it needs to right itself. Deep breathing will reduce nervousness and focus the mind and body on the task at hand.
Once again this skill set is developed over time with continued practice. The more we practice the more structure and technique slips to behind the scenes and our delivery becomes more confident, clear, and creative.
We will always get nervous when facing new challenges but in the end we adapt with repetition and exceed previous limits.
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