Category Archives: guest blogger

Six Things To Do Before An Interview – Guest Blog

With the current economic climate in its current state, interviews, let alone job offers, are a little on the rare side. Because of this, when you’re called in to discuss your suitability for a position, you can’t afford not to put on a good show.

Though the interview itself is of course important, what you do before the interview is equally so. When it comes to effective interviewing, preparation is key.

An hour spent preparing for an interview can not only save you a lot of awkward silences and regretful rambling, it can also greatly increase the chances of you actually landing the job. Here are six things that you should do before every job interview.

Research the Company

The first thing that you should do upon landing an interview is to spend a few minutes researching the company in question. Many job candidates arrive at interviews knowing little other than the companies name and this sends a very bad message.

A little bit of research about both the company and the industry in which it operates will allow you to illustrate that you are serious the position.

Ask Yourself What they Want

If you’ve been called in for an interview, you probably meet the positions requirements in terms of both qualifications and experience. The interview is your chance to illustrate that you also meet the positions requirements in terms of personality.

To do this, you need to ask yourself what they are looking for. What specific personality traits would allow you to perform the job well?

Think of Examples

Once you’ve established what personality traits the employer is looking for, you then need to figure out how you are going to demonstrate them. Unfortunately, listing them is isn’t going to work.

You need to come with specific examples in your past employment when you demonstrated said traits. Specific examples speak volumes, general adjectives say very little.

Decide What to Ask

Unprepared job applicants are often stumped at the end of job interviews when they are asked if they have any questions. You can save yourself a lot of stuttering by coming up with a few questions to ask before hand.

Avoid asking about the salary. Instead ask about working conditions and specifics of the role. Doing so allows you to demonstrate that you won’t work just anywhere.

Choose the Right Clothes

Regardless of what position you are applying for, you can’t go wrong with a suit. Some people question the suitability of such attire when they are applying to work somewhere with a casual dress code. Ignore such thoughts.

There is no such thing as a casual dress code when it comes to job interviews. When you wear a suit, you are demonstrating that you are both a professional and somebody that genuinely cares about landing the position.

Map Your Route

Finally, we have the small matter of deciding how you’re going to get to the interview. Many people don’t make a trial run and this is why so many people arrive at job interviews late.

When you go somewhere that you haven’t been before, traffic is difficult to predict and wrong turns are easy to make. And just because you know where the building is, that does not mean that you know where the actual interview room is. Always do a trial run.

Peter Johnson is an established career consultant who offers professional assistance to students seeking designer jobs.

Five Things To Do Before You Ask For A Raise

Salary negotiations are tricky. And this is especially the case when you have been with the same employer for a number of years. You are likely to have grown somewhat comfortable, happy even. What if they say no? Do you have to quit?

The longer you work somewhere, the more personal the threat of rejection is too. After all, your employers are likely to know you pretty well. Are you really not worth more money?

Unfortunately however, those who don’t ask, rarely receive. If you want a raise, you’re therefore going to have to man up and ask for one. Before you charge into your bosses office however, make sure that you first do the following five things.

Make Your Value Known

Were you caught sleeping at your desk last week or did you just land a major client? Your answer to this question should determine whether or not now is the right time to ask for a raise.

Clever employees only ask for a raise when they are at their most valuable. They wait until their purpose is clear. They wait until their absence would appear to be a major loss for their employer. What have you done recently to deserve a raise?

Write Down a Number

Do you know how much you are worth? Before even thinking about asking for a raise, you need to understand what a reasonable raise would be. Ask for too much and you can expect an immediate refusal. Ask for too little and you’re a chump.

Use one of the many salary calculators available online. Factor in your qualifications and experience and determine what people like you are making nationwide. Ask your co workers what they make, while being tactful, of course. If you’ve got a friend in human resources, call him.

Once you’ve established what you’re worth, ask for ten percent more. It pays to be strategic when it comes to salary negotiations. You also might just get it.

See Your Boss Smile

Your boss might act like a robot but he’s a human just like you. He probably doesn’t like Mondays and some day’s he probably has a hangover. Timing is therefore something that you want to have on your side.

You shouldn’t use this as an excuse to procrastinate for weeks at a time, but you also shouldn’t approach him when he’s screaming.

Ask Yourself What You Want

You want money. We all want money. But sometimes employers don’t want to give it away. They will therefore come up with other possible incentives. These can include a company car, better health insurance, more time off, a nicer chair.

If all you want is money, stand your ground. But it is worth noting that the more flexible you are in terms of what you want, the more likely you are to get it. And who wouldn’t want a month off?

Practice Your Rejection Speech

Finally, the biggest mistake that you can make when it comes to salary negotiation is to raise your voice. If your request for more money is turned down, a smile might be difficult, but it’s necessary.

Salary negotiation is not a one time question and answer session, it’s an ongoing process. If you are turned down today, there is no law that says you can’t ask again next month. In fact, your boss is likely to expect it.

Provided you are graceful in defeat and you don’t take insult in rejection, you can ask for a raise as many times as you like. Provided you are worth it, you will eventually get it. But if you start screaming, it’s game over. And you just lost.

Ed Smith is a well-known job consultant based in London who shares the details for those seeking  internal communication jobs  through his informative blogs.

What is an interim and should I hire one?

Should you hire an Interim Manager for your business? Firstly, let us examine what people who say ‘Interim Management’, are actually talking about. Most likely, they are referring to a job placement within industry at a high professional level which is taken on a temporary (short term) basis, usually with the role being taken by a person from outside of the existing company workforce. The reasons for this are varied, but will probably be at least due to the position only being necessary for a short time and usually impossible to fulfil from within an existing company structure either due to a lack of a specific skill or shortage of workforce.
While the actual concept of Interim Management has been around since the earliest recorded periods of History, notably in Roman Times, more recently during the 1980’s in the period of economic boom the concept began to gain huge popularity. Suddenly, with modern, fast communications and cheaper travel, companies could see a benefit in keeping both a core staff and a fluid, peripheral fringe of specialists that can be called upon when needed. This allowed them to deploy a powerful yet flexible workforce, as required.
Many exceptional individuals specialise in Interim Management and are headhunted by businesses to drop in to short term positions in order to utilise their specific skill sets. They often help and guide through a specific phase of development, growth or even setback, before moving on to the next assignment. It can be a particularly satisfying and exciting profession for people who have good organisational understanding, effective people skills and who thrive on tackling a wide variety of challenges and situations.
The benefits of hiring an Interim Manager are many. These might include added accountability, and a good ability to encourage growth and positive change (being employed in more than a purely advisory capacity). Goal based contracts and a new found freshness and objectivity that the prospective employer was previously lacking are also seen as advantageous. They can be deployed quickly, often have a proven track record for the task in hand and are generally more effective than a ‘temp’, as they are highly focussed and motivated and can operate freely at near-board or board-level.
Once a decision has been made to hire an Interim Manager, a fairly common pattern usually occurs involving locating and assessing a prospective employee, them reciprocating with an  assessment and proposing a diagnosis (if appropriate). A contract is then agreed and the new staff member begins implementing the necessary course of action before exiting the position, usually involving the careful handover of responsibilities, skills and commitments.
So, to return to our original question, ‘Should I hire an Interim Manager?’. If you have a specific post which needs filling and requires a skilled and experienced manager, very often due to sudden departure, illness, death, transition, mergers and acquisitions, and project management within your company, then yes! If no one from your organisation is available or looks capable of doing an effective job, (and of course, assuming that it is a short term opening), Interim Managers are generally regarded as an excellent Value Proposition.

If you are looking for someone special to fulfill your Interim Management requirements, Joe Clarke suggests you take a look at

Funding for Construction Projects Extended to Smaller Firms

The construction industry has always been a major part of the UK economy and it’s one that has seen some difficult times in recent years.  At the beginning of the recession building firms and suppliers were particularly badly hit by a combination of factors, including the collapse of the housing market and high fuel and transport costs.  However, a number of initiatives are now underway to help boost this crucial part of the economy.  In addition to the planned high speed rail link and the announcement of a nuclear plant building programme, the housing minister, Grant Shapps, has also announced the Get Britain Building initiative.  The scheme is designed to not only provoke growth in the construction industry, but to address the UK’s shortage of affordable and rented accommodation.  The fund that was launched last year has so far managed to under-spend by £100 million, leading Shapps to announce changes to the scheme allowing smaller building projects and firms to access funding.

Spare Change

The fund was established last year with a pot of £570 million available to those companies constructing a minimum of 25 homes.  With the £100 million funding still available the Homes and Communities Agency will now accept applications from firms building only fifteen homes.  The government estimates that releasing this money will facilitate the construction of a further 2000 homes.  Originally the funding was put in place to develop around 15,000 homes on sites that had previously gained planning permission but where work could not be started due to lack of ready cash.  Funding from banks has become notoriously hard to access for small businesses in every industry and the construction industry in particular.  The small to medium sector has been particularly badly hit and by opening up the fund to smaller firms the government scheme may offer a lifeline for this type of firm.

Limited Growth

The announcement is expected to be a welcome one for small construction firms and their suppliers, allowing access to cash in order to continue with previously mothballed projects or begin new schemes.  With figures from the Office for National Statistics showing a nine per cent drop in output in the construction industry as a whole in April this year, there’s a strong a feeling that the changes to the fund are not before time.  Some experts have predicted that the downward trend in output will continue for at least twelve months, however, the broader access to the funding may well help to stabilise this vital part of the economy.

Scheme changes

The new deadline for applications for funding through the scheme is now the 25 July 2012, only a matter of weeks away and there is some other significant changes to the scheme.  The cash available is now only in the form of loans or equity-risk share and there are time limits on when building must begin and when projects should be completed.  The new start date for construction schemes gives firms until 31 March next year, while a condition of receiving the funding is that the project must be completed within two years.  For many small firms and their suppliers this time scale should be more than realistic and help to get the construction industry, the industry’s supply chain and the housing market a much needed boost.

For those supplying the building industry with everything from a volumetric concrete mixer to a steady stream of bacon butties, the extension of the Get Britain Building scheme to smaller firms should help to revitalise this crucial sector of UK business.