Ace that interview and get the job

You are impeccably dressed, well researched and rehearsed, on time and waiting in reception before you are called in to interview. You know what to do. This isn’t your first time. But still, you’re nervous. You want to make a great first impression. And, right there, your nerves have caught you in their butterfly spin. We’ve got some insider tips showing exactly what goes into making a great first impression to focus your thoughts the next time you are waiting in reception.

The power of a first impression

It’s a scientific fact that human beings make decisions about strangers in the blink of an eye. Literally. We spend the next three seconds completing our opinion, around our perception of personality and competence. Once that decision has been made it is nigh on impossible to change it. The psychological advantage of making a strong first impression is significant; if you later make a mistake, you are most likely given the benefit of the doubt. There’s not a lot we can do to change these facts. We are funny creatures.

What influences first impressions?

This is where you can make a difference. Consider that the bulk of our communication is non-verbal. While it’s important to prepare what we would like to say, our body language is far more influential than the words we choose.

Make sure your gestures and body movements are congruent with what you are saying. For example: don’t describe a challenging situation where you had to fire an employee while smiling. While you might smile out of nerves or a desire to please your interviewer, the strong message you send is confused. Likewise the classic example of avoiding eye contact. It’s considered a negative gesture. You might feel intimidated, which is reasonable at a job interview, however what you are communicating is weakness.

Keep your body language open and relaxed. Communicate that you’re prepared and ready for the interview: you want to engage. Your tone of voice is another powerful influence. One way to settle your tone is to take a few deep breaths, making sure you breathe right into your stomach. A classic mistake is keeping the breath in the chest area which means your shoulders are hunched up and your breath trapped. Breathe deeply and your register will drop from its nervous higher pitch, down to its natural tone. Your tone of voice delivers your message – make sure it’s in your voice. Remember there are two factors at play here: the words you use and the way in which your message is received. Focus on your delivery.

Make a connection

Be kind and courteous to everyone. Think about how difficult it is to interpret someone’s behaviour and message when they are distracted. Any good interviewer will ask the receptionist, security guard and anyone you may meet on the way to interview what their first impression of you was. Make a conscious decision to switch on the moment you leave home.

Give your nervous energy something to do. Enthusiasm generates confidence. Allow yourself to be enthusiastic, confident and happy. Allow? Yes. Nerves have a sneaky way of imprisoning us in slightly robotic behaviour. Be authentic, enthusiastic, humble and kind. Allow yourself to shine.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For more advice on interview technique please get in touch. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

Counter offers – the truth

 

Most of us know the hard and fast rule: never accept a counter offer. We may also be aware of the statistic warning us that 80 percent of those who accept a counter offer will leave the company within six months. But do we understand why? We explore the simple truths waiting to be discovered beneath the thin veneer of flattery that is the counter offer.

The journey to leave

If your current employer is going to make a counter offer, it will be at the point at which you have been through the process of finding and committing to another job. It’s safe to say at this stage of your career that you understand the challenging questions that you must ask yourself in making a decision that works for you and your career. The process of deciding to leave an organisation is never straightforward, even when your circumstances seem black and white. Your journey to leave was peppered with pros and cons, and culminated in a clear understanding as to why a new job is the answer for you. You have explored every avenue to double and triple check that there is no way forward in your current role. You’ve done your homework and made your choice.

If only…

Receiving a counter offer can feel confusing. It may even feel flattering to receive an offer, often generous, and glowing praise to entice you to stay. Don’t be fooled. Be flattered, allow yourself that, but don’t be fooled. See the situation for what it is, not what you wish it could be. There is a crucial difference between these two trains of thought. One is grounded and pragmatic. The latter is a final attempt at fixing what you have already decided cannot be fixed.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda

The harsh truth is, any employer whose first response to your resignation is to throw money at the situation, is not looking after your best interests. It’s too little, too late. You may want to believe that they have your best interests at heart, in addition to the best interests of the company, but this is highly unlikely. Here’s why. Just as annual appraisal conversations shouldn’t hold any surprises for either party if you’re working properly together, a reactive counter offer highlights everything that isn’t working about your relationship with this company.

Play your cards

After careful consideration, you chose to leave. Why would an offer of money change your mind? The truth is, if you were unhappy with your remuneration package, or the hours you were working, or the length of your commute, or the monotony of your workload, you would have negotiated a better situation for yourself. You chose not to. You committed yourself elsewhere, and that process was hard work. You evaluated your situation carefully. You have found a better environment more suited to your needs. Do not be dazzled by offers of money at the eleventh hour. The underlying truth to a counter offer is that your current organisation is faced with having to replace you. And they don’t want to do that.

Leaving a company is a commitment to yourself and your career. Don’t give up: stay true to the decisions you have made and go for it.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

 

Why changing jobs is often your best option

The concept of successful careers on a single track over a dedicated 25 year period is now largely regarded as myth. Today’s primary rule for success is to step outside your comfort zone. If you want a purpose-driven and successful career in which you actively participate, you will need to know when to take a calculated risk. Let’s examine the reasons why changing your employer breeds professional success – if you know what you’re doing.

Think. Don’t panic.

We understand you’ll come across organisations which do not hire candidates with a track record of shorter term roles; some companies include tenures as long as two to three years in their hiring rules. Consider the cautious culture behind this policy. Is this a culture in which you believe you can flourish? This example of strategic thinking encourages you to take into account a company’s philosophy and personality and ask yourself: is it the right environment for you?

Tunnel vision be gone

Every committed employee, regardless as to their pay bracket, knows the feeling of disappearing inside an organisation’s world. It’s easy to lose sight of the rest of the industry as you settle into your company’s working environment. Try and keep an eye on what’s going on across the industry, particularly in leadership roles. When you change roles, you reconnect with your industry – and the global big picture.

Can they give you what you need?

In scouting for a new professional home, ask yourself what the company is doing. What’s their growth rate? It’s important – and healthy – to evaluate your potential employer. You want to be as certain as you can be that they can match your development needs as closely as possible. Changing roles encourages this style of leadership thinking: evaluating a challenge with clarity and asking important questions.

By continuing to explore your industry beyond your current working environment, you continue to develop and grow, all the while refining your leadership skills.

You’re worth it

The challenge of establishing your value with your employer is one that enriches all of us. For some, the process is a leap outside their comfort zone. Your ability to embrace the exploration of new horizons over potential professional stagnation will drive the career satisfaction you seek. In taking an active role in establishing your professional worth, you become ever more adept at negotiating value. This is a crucial skill for every successful leader to have at their disposal.

No guarantees

The contemporary workplace values skilled, experienced workers who think outside the box to keep pace with the ever-evolving digital landscape. The modern workplace is a vibrant, transitory environment focused on attracting talented team players. No employer today can guarantee you job security for life. Consider how you are going to remain – or even become – a relevant, dynamic and empowered voice in your industry.

In considering your position in the trajectory of your career, you’ll orientate yourself more accurately if you determine what you have contributed. Clarity and understanding around your contribution reveals a great deal about where you are going professionally. A role in which you are complacent and mechanically performing functions is a job. A role where you negotiate, strategise and challenge yourself is a career.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. Please get in touch if you are contemplating a career move or looking to recruit. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

10 Interview mistakes, avoiding them, and how to dazzle the interview panel

So your CV has fought its way to the top of the pile, and you have been selected for an interview. Congratulations – it is a tough job market out there. But after drinking the champagne and jumping around the room, it is time to get to work and prepare yourself. You will need to put in some work if you want to ace that interview.

  1. Be authentic. Trying to be anything else is exhausting and they will find out eventually anyway. Lying, or attempting to be something you really aren’t will result in a disconnect that will probably alienate your interviewers as well. Just don’t do it – it is too easy to do background checks.
  2. Refresh your memory about what the job is, and why you said you would be good at it. Think of examples where you have solved problems or added value in a situation that you can relate to the job you want.
  3. Preparation is everything, so do more research. If you want a position in the exciting Print and Packaging industry, for example, then make sure you do plenty of research about the sector, and in particular, find out more about which segment the company you wish to join operates in.
  4. Do your research. Don’t even think about turning up to the interview without doing due diligence on the company that is interviewing you. Read everything, prepare to explain why you would be an asset to them, and of course have intelligent questions to ask (and not just about how much you will be paid, or when you can take a holiday). For more background  read some trade publications, the company website, any press releases particularly concerning recent acquisitions etc. Watch company videos on YouTube which often give an insight into “behind the scenes” within a target company.
  5. Be punctual. Lateness will make a terrible first impression that you can never rectify. Again, research where you have to be, estimate how long it will take to get there – and double it. Leave at least that much time for the journey.
  6.  Look the part. Think about your personal presentation, i.e. wardrobe. What kind of image would the person who gets this job be projecting? If you appear polished, this should help convince the interviewers and help you exude calm, collected confidence. As you arrived early, you will have plenty of time to freshen up.
  7. Don’t criticise other workplaces, or former bosses, as this will be perceived as negative and disloyal.
  8. Expect tough questions. Expect to be asked about how you deal with conflict, and prepare some professional examples that will demonstrate how you can resolve work difficulties – and that doesn’t mean fighting over the last doughnut in the tea room.
  9. Be polite. No matter how anyone on the panel behaves, conduct yourself with poise and courtesy to show them what a classy act you are.
  10. Do your homework. If you bring documents or case studies to support your professional achievements, then make sure they are presented impeccably. Find out how many people will be on the panel and bring copies for everyone, and a couple extra, just in case.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For interview tips and advice please contact us. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1 

 

360-Degree Feedback – Why You Should Be Using It

Feedback is an essential part of business, especially for Print and Packaging businesses that employ large teams who work together. If you want to improve the communication levels in your business, here is everything you need to know about 360-degree feedback – and why you should be using it.

What Is 360-Degree Feedback

360-degree feedback is feedback that comes from many different levels. Instead of one employee receiving feedback from their manager, they would receive feedback from a variety of people, including peers, managers, other workers, customers or stakeholders. This gives more accurate feedback that includes everyone’s needs and opinions, so the employee can significantly improve their performance and skills.

How a Printing and Packaging Company Can Benefit from using it

One of the main benefits of 360-degree feedback is that you can assess an employee’s performance from multiple people’s perspectives. This is very useful, as it is possible that one manager is unaware of an employee’s bad habits, so they may not point them out. However, a co-worker or a customer may be aware of these issues, and 360-degree feedback gives them the chance to air these so that any problems can be solved.

This is especially useful for employees who work in a busy environment, as teamwork and mutual understanding are essential parts of the business

It also gives employees more power rather than just allowing managers to make decisions. This means that employees will feel more valued and appreciated. It also means that they are less likely to have problems in the workplace, as they are able to air their grievances.

How to Prepare Employees 

It is important to discuss the benefits of 360-degree feedback before implementing it, as this means that employees will be fully aware of how it works. You should take the time to state that any feedback will be anonymous, so employees don’t feel worried about giving it, and you should also say that the system isn’t being implemented to make employees feel under scrutiny. It is being implemented to improve the workplace for everyone.

You should also take some time to sit down with the managers to prepare them for the results of 360-degree feedback. Many managers are not used to receiving feedback from the employees that they manage, and so they may feel attacked and worried about any negative feedback that they get. Thankfully, proper training and an anonymous system should remove any worries that your managers have.

Starting 360-Degree Feedback

Once all of the employees have been informed about 360-degree feedback, you can start to implement it. You should set clear rules to ensure that no one abuses the feedback system – for example, you may want to set one day of the week for when employees can leave feedback rather than every day of the week.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here:  https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1