Saturday, December 24, 2011


Times when the employer was the only one to bring out the fit between the job seekers profiles and the position's requirements are long gone. Employment market has become very competitive that job seekers have to study advertised jobs against their own profiles and establish the link in order to use the same in tailoring their resumes, cover letters and even interview predisposition.

It is needless to condition your personality and preparation to gear towards the position being advertised while your resume is geared towards the position that you through you really wanted two years ago. It is quite easy to spot a candidate who has a complete disconnect with the content of their resumes. Very professional resumes have summaries of ones own profile, career track, developed competencies and overview of experience. The order of importance; or style of highlighting competencies should reflect how you want the potential employer to see you or perhaps what you really want to catch the eyes of your prospect employer. In order to redefine and give focus to what your selling point is the following questions should help one set their own minds and review their resumes and cover letters.

What is the tendency of your profession? What is your profession? Many people who change careers find themselves at the challenge of convincing their prospective employers that they have competencies of performing the new tasks; or that in spite of having a mixed profession, they still have abilities to specialize back to one of the professions they have practiced for a shorter period; or that the mix of their background job titles adds value to their potential results delivery in the target specialized profession.

What other skills do you have other than your core skills and competencies? Such would include institutional coordination, project management, strategic or operational planning, people management, structured problem solving, product/service development, change management etc. Has your employment background helped you achieve this? Are they trained skills or acquired skills?

How authoritative or impactive is your present or pervious position? Such aspects include level of discretion, ability to initiate, ability to steer an initiative or lead a project, responsibility for collective performance or delegated collective role or inter group facilitative responsibility
How characteristic have your past employers be in terms of market leadership, market share, dynamism, and change and product performance improvement?

What is your level of understanding of your sector of profession? Do you know beyond your responsibility? Examples of relevant knowledge may include Organizational Integration, other departmental roles and activities, organisation's strategic purpose and market position, industry challenges and current developments

 What competencies reflect in your mind set? Result orientation, quality consciousness, due diligence, improvement drive, sustainability conscious, customer focus, business acumen, cost benefit mindset etc.

How does your training connect with your previous and target positions?

Can you prove all these?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

BBC News - German insurance firm organised sex party for salesmen

BBC News - German insurance firm organised sex party for salesmen:

'via Blog this'

BBC News - North Korea: Life in cultural isolation

BBC News - North Korea: Life in cultural isolation:

'via Blog this'

What Disappoints Interviewers in Good Candidates?

“I was so confident that I had the won the job. One of the panelists even had a slip of the tongue and mentioned things that suggested my orientation programme”. This is what Robert said in disappointment after he read his regret letter.
The reason that many ask is what else can fail me in an interview in which I am sure to have performed exceptionally well? Here are some sample reasons.
Difference is the work style priority – being overly structured than result oriented or otherwise. The balance between how systematic or bureaucratic one is determines suitability for employer expectation.
Failing to have a personal agenda – wanting to be given a job is different from targeting to acquire certain skills and competencies in a given job.
Lack of Self Assessment – when one lacks a personal assessment of themselves, they have no ability to use the job opportunity to acquire the scope of personal development.
Contrast Between Presentations – when the resume and cover letter give a better impression of yourself than your actual self during an interview, a prospect employer may suspect misrepresentation. If otherwise is the case, you may be deemed a good prospect who has no ability to present themselves effectively or are just unstructured or poor communicators.
Clash between priority and Rank – when you are pursuing a managerial role that requires that you work through people, yet you portray yourself to have the excitement to be hands on in delivering results, you might be perceived to be a potential micro manager or poor in delegation. Conversely, you need not project affinity to manage people when you have not exhausted perfecting your ability delivery results.

How balanced are you?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Not every specification on the job advert can be met by a job applicant. Gaps may include such issues as management methods, technology, case scenarios, exposure to target consumers or cultural expositions. Most of job seekers sitting on an interview are inclined to wishing away questions that most likely would expose the gaps. In many cases such aspects of a job that a job seeker does not know are evident from a resume or cover letter – yet one is called for an interview. What does an employer expect when they call a job seeker for an interview yet they know s/he has not being exposed to ISO systems, for instance? A comedy session? Not exactly. Many times scope sells – you can succeed if your mindset points towards reasonable scope of fast adaptability, learning and cross integration.

Here are few examples of I do not know scenario.

Scenario 1

Interview Panel:   Have you worked in an environment where 360 degrees performance management is being carried out?

George: Certainly with the dynamics in the perspective of effective work place performance, it becomes very important that performance appraisal is taken away from just the mere supervisory assessment to include peer and juniors perspective – which is the essence of 360 degree performance management feedback. I have not worked in a set up of 360 degree feedback but certainly it would be quite exciting for me.

Comment: George has taken an advantage of this question to explain what he knows about the subject matter. He has done this to an extent one would be tempted to think that he will at last say that he has the exposure. His closing line is a contrast of his educative observation and his seemingly genuine eagerness to have the exposure has diluted his being not exposed.

Scenario 2

Interview Panel:   How much do you know about mechanized wood cutting?

Gerald: As you know I come from the informal set up where most of the furniture operations are manual. I have very outstanding outcome with woodwork geometry – sorry to compliment myself. Perhaps use of machinery will underutilize my trait. All the same I am able to triple my capacity at a much improved quality standard.

Comment: Gerald has taken the approach of detailing his otherwise capabilities and therefore challenged the panelist to view his background to be more valuable. He has actual made the machine usage to look so aesthetic and therefore not as complicated as the panelist want to make it. This trade off can be dangerous to an emotional panel. They may feel undermined by the impression in his voice that machinery application is no big deal. Sales and marketing persons can apply this leverage method without any risk. For instance a sales candidate may make a statement like, "Amidst the then existing controversy about the applicability of private security and investigation services, I managed to create big business out and tripled the company clientele. I suppose machinery sales may offer no significant challenge as such.  

Scenario 3

Interview Panel:   You have not worked with researchers and scientists. Have you?

Christine: They know me as a highly outgoing administrative secretary in the company capable of working with any departmental heads without difficulty – perhaps even the hardest to deal with (every company has at least a few). They will often assign me to departments that are undergoing very drastic changes so that I can deal with complex interactions and coordinate highly technical experts – consultants, investment bankers etc. This is perhaps one of my underlying aspirations for this position. I have not dealt with researchers and scientists in particular, but I can – with no difficulty.

Comment: "Dare not think your situation is the most complex". This is what Christine is communicating. "I have developed equivalent competencies from my industry or current line of business". What will a technical panelist feel? Embarrassed, enlightened?  Perhaps they will get the mixed feeling that Christine knows the complexity of the interactions they are examining beyond the mere job titles. Alternatively they may begin to think that Christine is well informed and she knows what to expect.

For every job application that you make to which you can identify a gap in your competencies;
·       Dig deeper into the knowledge about what you are short of
·       Try to structure an explanation about the subject matter in a manner that it may show you have the knowledge but only lack hands on exposure
·       Find a similar competence that you already have that can enable you to get over your weaknesses faster or better
·       Structure your presentations in such ways that they display what you have first and then declare what you do not last
·       Be brief and comprehensive.

Friday, December 09, 2011

I am a dying African bestial porn actor stranded in Europe - : Africa news, Maghreb news - The african daily newspaper

I am a dying African bestial porn actor stranded in Europe - : Africa news, Maghreb news - The african daily newspaper


When you go for interviews or are in pursuit of a job, the disposition can play a great role to your advantage. Disposition can help manage the risk of loss or create a better impression on your prospect employer.

There are a number of disposition that may be reflected on ones mindset with respect to a job in pursuit.

“Life goes on”
This is a disposition that characterizes one’s pessimism in making a pursuit work. Depending in how much you embrace this attitude, it may affect how much effort you put into your pursuits.

“It will happen when my day comes”
This is perhaps the commonest mindsets and disposition that people have. It is quite pacifying and humbling. It makes you not worried of failure – but rather implies that when your day comes, it will not matter how good you are. By this mindset – you transfer the link between effort and success to a fatal.

“May be it’s been taken”
That some opportunities are advertised as a formality is a reality. This should not bias your mind to think that all jobs are not real. This will kill your optimism, water down your efforts and erode you mental energy.

“They called me! Right? Then, I certainly have something that they want”
 This mindset helps you gain you personal appreciation about your abilities and chances but fails to propel you to recognize that they called you not only to verify your positives but also, to assess your negatives. It also fails to make you imagine what possible competitor could have that may outwit your chances.
“The need me – Full Stop”
 This is the most powerful mindset. Watch out it may make yourself branded lone ranger who cannot work in a team.

“It’s their judgment. They are the employers”
 This mindset will make you limit your interview performance to bare facts than conceptual assessment. You are tempted to undersell yourself.

When you walk into an interview panel, what disposition or mindset do you project to the panelists? How do you facially influence the panel that you have competencies, a sense of purpose and drive? What aspects of your current situation may make you give a negative impression to panelists? Common situations are anxiety (almost getting a job of a lifetime), history of unsuccessessful pursuits and frustrating jobs.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


How much have you matured in your career search mindset? The following are typical statements that many who have taken initiative to make breakthroughs in their career search may say.

Which of the following statements best describes your position with career prospecting?

a)      I have not seen an immediate opportunity but I have a deeper and constructive knowledge about myself

b)      I no longer apply for just any job that contains by professional buzz words and I have some companies that I have chosen never to try working for. I know where my career needs to go and I cannot waste it.

c)      I am sure that my next opportunity will not be an advertised job. The success rate for my blind applications is very high. I have the instincts of prospecting for opportunities and establishing my case against them.

d)      I no longer have to prepare much for interviews and I enjoy most of what I go through during the sessions.

e)      I am happy that lately, the most common reason why I have not been able to be hired after interviews is either because I am relatively expensive or overqualified.

This is what it takes to be in charge - if one still has scope of a better career. Not everyone is interested in a better career and career search may not be a career by itself. Self contentment and sense of satisfaction in being able to resourcefully challenge against ones competencies is something to be proud about. All it takes is to know yourself and map how your abilities fit into the career direction that you want to take and all is done.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


The present employment environment is competitive. Many job seekers wait for jobs to be advertised. In reality, only those jobs that are required to attract a large pool of candidates are often advertised. Networks and candidate databases have often enabled companies to attain the required set of candidates without having to incur the advertising costs. Databases and networks, however, may be irrelevant, limiting or obsolete. Employers' silent wish is to have an updated and relevant pool of applicants. Any one could be in such a list.

Why not cold call?

Cold calling works, especially if the cold caller uses such communication methods that entice the respondent. Cold calling is very effective at managerial levels and for highly technical positions. The right people to call are departmental heads who may appreciate ones competencies without necessarily being defensive at the possible status quo. Human Resources Managers are indeed resource managers. Most HR Managers are certain of whether an opportunity exists on not – but not whether the mix of the competencies that the caller has may be of interest to the client department. They never share caller profiles with client department heads. Cold calls to HR Managers normally end with the following phrase.

"Thanks for your interest in working with us. Currently, we do not have any openings in line with the qualifications but we will. Keep looking at the papers incase we may advertise an opportunity."

With this kind of closing remark, you have no indication of how your skills match with the typical positions; you do not have a chance for a more technical person commenting on your profile. They are right that there are no vacancies at the moment. What they are not aware of is whether the technical manager for your prospect department may most likely want to use certain aspects of your qualifications to develop a new service delivery concept or improve performance. It is a business as usual standard response. It is not an HR profession attribute but a cultural tendency and this appreciation, by no means, undermines the profession.

Effective cold calls require that the cold caller;
§         Has an internal knowledge of the target employer
§         Develops and structured appreciation of their target roles and its scope of improvement
§         Attains some leverage in the relationship between the profile and target role; the reference person and the cold call recipient
§         Have a defined career plan
§         Has indicative performance attributes that can be transferred to key targets
§         Demonstrates scope for improvement
§         Does no undermine the current status of role
§         Does not allude to the knowledge of any possible internal politics.

May we refer to the above guidelines as we look at a sample of cold calls in the next three weeks?


Monday, November 28, 2011


There are certain aspects of resumes that may if not managed properly have implications on the impressions that a job seeker employee earns. Many of them certainly do not imply that the job seeker has not communicated exactly what they need to put through but that there is an extent to which their self projection has remained static – basically functional. Competencies can be defined in terms of career growth. When one starts a career, the first career growth competencies they acquire are basically functional competencies. These are the competencies that require one to be able to do their jobs as required. The next level of career growth competencies are usually qualitative – how better or consistent can you do the job. The third career growth competency usually is integrated or strategic competencies which enable one to place their jobs within the organisation wide context or professional contexts. The final levels of career growth competencies, which unfortunately, are never mandatory for all positions, are those that are associated with self actualization. Such may include etiquettes, style or disposition. The misconception in the career seekers' minds is usually that the requirements for the various competencies are more related to what level of management that one has acquired. An Executive Assistant may require some level of etiquettes that the Chief Engineer may, without much to lose, do without.

In terms of one's impression in career search, there certainly should be a difference in the way one portrays themselves at the beginning of their career from when they are beyond functionality. This may not necessarily be the same for different positions but it should be consistently reflected in ones cover letter or resumes.

Below are examples of resume goofs that may reflect how progressive, biased or conceptual one is in their appreciation of themselves.

a)         using the template of their job descriptions to list responsibilities in their resumes
b)         being  more expressive verbally than in their resumes or otherwise
c)         using past tense to describe responsibilities of a past job – took, wrote, supervised, etc
d)         being overly elaborative – purchasing "books, pens, milk" etc; instead of purchasing office supplies
e)         repeating common responsibilities – "arranged travel, arranged meetings, arranged seminars etc"
f)           including unnecessary details – mentioning machine models
g)         rĂ©sume style – inconsistent font style, spacing etc.

 At some point, George, a Procurement Officer, gathered the guts to ask the HR Manager why for three years he has not been promoted to the Procurement Manager position, adding that many junior staff have overtaken him. "The truth be told" the HR Manager said, "you know all that needs to be done in the department, but you lack any sense of style that would distinguish you from your current level. We need Managers that, more that being competent, will afford our clients an admiration for the managerial sense of style. It is not the same in everybody, but at your level you should have some style. The last interview you went for when the last promotion was on, all you said is what you do but you never gave a managerial touch. You do not even know how to put forward other conceptual things you do. When we asked you about your knowledge of procurement quality assurance, did you notice that is exactly what you do when you carry out quarterly supplier assessments?"

You certainly have all competencies that you need to do your jobs. Otherwise your boss could have fired you. But wait a minute; does your resume reflect your own appreciation of your competencies? Are your work competencies established in your instincts? Are you developing a style?



Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Ambush of an Aptitude Test

Aptitude tests are often assessment criteria that many job seekers find hard to understand and even prepare for. They may have relevance to the subject matter in the job of interest and at time be very general to dig into a candidate’s adaptable judgment al abilities.

A well designed aptitude test will bring out what it is targeted to bring and most often subject a candidate into surprise.

There are often many types of aptitude tests. Here are brief outlines of the commonly used types.

Reasoning and Judgment - Abstract Reasoning; Critical Thinking; Inductive Reasoning; Logical Reasoning; Diagrammatic Reasoning; Situational Judgment Test and Verbal Reasoning

Such often include case studies that may require that you take on commonly accepted principles and notions to make an assessment of a case scenario.

Example; How best can market best practice be?

Creativity and Sensitivity - SiftAbility Test; Spatial Visualization; and Perceptual Speed
These may range from diagrammatic reviews to case studies where trouble shooting is required depending on the level and type of role being recruited.

Presentation, Accuracy and Precision - Document Review and Fast Track Test

A candidate may be provided with a lengthy document to review with specific objective of coming up with a target objective. The tests may also include summarizing a document into specific bullets on the key points.

Leadership and Management – Personality Review; Crisis Management; People Management; Conflict Resolution; and Strategic Focus Tests

Such tests may ordinarily be designed like presentations or write ups and may include case studies and even personal declaration of career strategies and leadership styles

Interpersonal Skills and Personal Orientation - Personality and Preference Inventory (PAPI)

Such test may include preferences, dislikes, specific case studies and personal assessment.

Numerical Reasoning

Such tests are very common, perhaps because a large number of candidates and even assessor would rather deal with situations where answers are discrete rather that judgmental prose. The most common areas of tests are probability, arithmetic, accounting, permutations and compbinations. This is perhaps why an elementary math book at home would really be a though in the right direction.

Example: A soccer match analyst in trying to assess some outcomes of the match sought to have two parameters – ball possession for the two teams and the average distance run by a player from the two opposing sides. What could this analyst be trying to establish?

The result of an aptitude test is a reflection of the actual present state of your mind. No prospect employer will test you in something that you have no chance of knowing.


Monday, November 21, 2011


In many career seekers profiles and resumes, there is often this one section that is hardly a mandatory part – but which plays a key roles in displaying job seeker's credibility in terms self focus. This is the part that declares ones career objective.  Career objectives should, like with nay natural distribution vary considerably as personalities vary. However, one of the things that is relatively consistent is the potential recruiters desired perceptions.

suitability for a job, beyond the technical abilities to perform – which are mostly evident in ones training and experience, may also involve ones own drive and its relevance to the desired performance in a job. Any employer who finds an employee who has genuine passion for the career for which they are recruited is absolutely lucky.   If your passion, career purpose and aspirations coincide with the person specifications of a job, then you deserve every employers consideration for a position. Career objectives should;

1       Exhibit that you have an in-depth appreciation of your career
2       Show that you have a career purpose independent of what employer you may have
3       Show relevance between your profile and your desired destination
4       Clearly state a profession or desired industry.

Objective 1:   To be able to exploit my potential towards achieving company objectives

Prospect Employer Mindset: What potentials? Do you even know what potentials you have? Are you waiting for work assignments to help you know what potentials that you have? Wait a minute – you have not even implied a particular career or profession. I can understand this kind of objective with a fresh graduate who is still discovering their potentials.

Objective 2:   To work in a reputable blue chip company where I can use my skills in financial management

Prospect Employer Mindset: What if we were not a blue chip company? Could you still have showed interest? Are you attracted to the big salary? Can't small companies enable you to use your financial management skills? Now that you have positioned yourself to be blue chip focused, are you a blue chip material? Let me now establish that in your profile (you have attracted a fault finding mindset).

Objective 3:   To develop my skills in audit.

Prospect Employer Mindset: I guess your objective purposes you to a student for life. Perhaps you should be the one to pay us some college fees to learn. What do you have to exchange for the free learning that you want to get from our company.

Objective 4:   To be a reliable Office Administrator with potentials of planning organising, coordinating, carrying out liaison and overseeing resources of a vibrant and competitively managed office.

Prospect Employer Mindset: You have a destination career and you have performance benchmarks or role overview. I need to understand what vibrant and competitively managed office implies. Do we fall in such categories?

None of the above responses are gospel truths or model feedbacks. It is a personal choice on what objective one develops in a resume.