04 August 2017 - Business training

Interview Advice: 10 Great Questions to Use in Your Interview

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Most of us have all been in the hot seat at an interview before, but being the on the other side of the desk comes with its own set of requirements for skill and expertise. Whilst professionalism is obviously key, you want to get to know your interviewee beyond whats written in their resume. Here are some questions you might want to ask when selecting the best candidate for you:1) What would you be looking forward to most about working with us?Setting the tone right for an interview is key. A question like this sets the rest of the interview in a positive light and creates a scenario whereby the interviewee has to imagine already being an employee, then you can follow up with questions that will help you to assess their suitability the company. Furthermore, a question like this will give you an idea of why the person in front of you chose to apply for the role and if they have fully understood the job specification. It will give them a chance to explain what they are wanting to gain from you, as well as what they may be able to offer.2) What are you personal aims and how are you going to achieve them?Getting an insight into someone’s future goals can provide a good indication of where your candidate is in their ‘life stage’ but more importantly, shows what kind of mind set they are approaching your company with. It is important as an employer that you are aware and encourage personal aims to get the best out of your team.3) What is an experience you’ve had but wouldn’t want to go through again?A question like this allows people to discuss difficult situations they have come across without feeling as though they are highlighting weaknesses. Asking someone to ‘Tell me your biggest weakness’, will never get you a real answer, but rather one where the weakness always ends up as some sort of strength. The suggestion that everyone will have come across at least one difficult or compromising situation will also help you identify elements of a character such as an ability to handle pressure or use initiative, but also situations they may be able to handle but try to avoid. It’s a good way to also prompt candidates to talk about their experience with reflection and hindsight so you can see their progress and development through their career.4) What does ‘work’ mean to you?Being able to define ‘work’ is an effective prompt to discuss your expectations but also theirs. Discussing work will often lead to a conversation on past experiences and what environments and work cultures they have been involved with up until this point. It also gives you an insight into their perceptions of your company and what working with you would entail.5) Who would you say is the most successful person you know?This question seems like one you’d ask at an awkward dinner party to break the ice. It has its strengths in that it is a rather unexpected but ‘fun’ question where there is no right or wrong answer. It will, however, give you a very good insight into the kind of person you are dealing with, and the characteristics that cannot be put across on paper. Inherently the question also alludes to the understanding of success, and what they view success to be. Does this correlate to your company ethos? How does it match up?6) What makes you happy?This is a great question to find out whether someone holds values that would fit well into the workplace. It also helps you identify their motivators and what gets them up in the morning. You will be looking to employ someone with enthusiasm over an interviewee who is lacking a bit of zest. This will help you identify where they fall.7) What are the negatives of this company?This question prompts more than just backhanded compliments. Being able to talk about the negatives sets a good precedence of trust and compromise. This is not to say that you have to offer to change any points they may bring up, but it is a good means of delineating their ability to be constructive in their criticism, and also open to discuss things during their employment that they may not be completely satisfied with. It also shows you whether they are capable of bringing innovative ideas to the table, or even that they are self-aware in their choices and new environments they find themselves in.8) If you were in my seat, what question would you ask yourself?This is question that will put the ball in their court to indicate an area of their experience or expertise that they want you know about. It is a good opportunity for a candidate to bring up an aspect of their personality or ‘story’ that they think has impacted them or is significant enough to warrant mentioning. It’s a real ‘get to know you’ question that is helpful for breaking through nerve barriers.9) Teach me something I might not know.This gives your interviewee the opportunity to talk about something they know a lot about and therefore, probably have some passion for. Seeing someone talk about something they enjoy or are good at is a great way to see the best side of a person. This question also lends itself to assessing how logical someone is, or how well they communicate concepts and ideas, which are obviously key skills in any teamworking situations.10) If you worked here, enjoyed your job and got paid a salary you were happy with, what would prompt you to take up another job somewhere else?Most job advertisements will have a ‘desirable qualities’ list, and commitment is definitely one of them. Of course, you cannot expect people to want to stay forever, but it is a good to know that who your hiring really does want to stick around and contribute to what your company is about. It will also indicate if someone really does feel that they want to work with you and your team, and will give you some perspective on their next moves that may be important to consider in your decision-making process.

28 July 2017 - Career guidance

Interview Advice: Preparing Yourself For Any Interview Question

Interview Advice- Preparing Yourself For Any Interview Question.jpg So, you have an interview coming up. What will they ask? What should you say? Trying to guess what the interview questions will be is sometimes helpful, but definitely has its limitations - there’s nothing from stopping your interviewer throwing in a curveball. Don’t worry though! Here are some tips to help you feel prepared for whatever comes your way. It’s a date! Treat your interview questions as though you were going on a date. As much as you are being questioned on your skills for a job, the interview is also an opportunity for the company to figure out how you will fit into the workplace as a person. That isn’t to say you should start questioning your interviewer back (save that for the end), but that this mentality should be going through your own head as you prepare. If you think of an interview as a compatibility assessment rather than an interrogation, it is easier to be enthusiastic about trying to get across a good image, but also showing how you could be a strong addition to their specific company/workplace. What did you say? It’s a well-known fact that interviewers usually make their minds up within the first 7 seconds of seeing someone. That isn’t to say that anything you say thereafter is redundant. However, what it does mean is that the way you answer interview questions is just as important is what you say. Presentation of work translates into verbal communication in that you want to put across your best thoughts and ideas in the most appealing way. During the interview, it is therefore important to remind yourself to not only think clearly and logically, but also to speak clearly and confidently. Bring your ‘A’ game An interview is not only a chance for a potential employer to find out about you, but also a time for you to show what can make you a great new addition to the team. Make sure you have thought through all the things you want to tell them; maybe it’s highlighting a particular skill or a prestigious association you have. Just make sure that you have your points ready, so that you can weave them into your answers and show off how great you are. It’s truth not dare When it comes to technical interview questions in particular, it is always important to be honest about what you know and don’t know. There is no point pretending you know something you don't, as an employer will always be able to pick up on your lack of knowledge. Even if they don’t, you’ll find yourself pretty stuck when you get the job! All is not lost though; the best thing to do is to back yourself up by presenting an enthusiasm to learn and the insistence that you’ll be able to quickly pick up necessary knowledge with competence. The way you deal with the question in itself is a good indicator to the interviewer of the way you will deal with potential future issues. Don’t back down or shy away. It really is mind over matter. Look in the mirror Really look at yourself. Discussions are pretty pointless if you don’t know much about the topic they’re on. It’s the same with an interview, but it’s all about you. Interview questions are varied and not always easy to second-guess, so think about potential topics, like how you’ve dealt with past situations, your temperament or maybe even your personality at large. Perhaps consider doing a few online psychometric tests like the Myers Brigg’s (often used by recruiters), or ask friends how they think you would respond to certain situations. These aren’t all things you have to reveal at interview, but a better understanding of yourself can ease interview anxiety, because you already have the upper hand. After all, everyone’s favourite subject is really themselves. Remember to P.E.E. When it comes to questions that ask you describe past situations, or scenarios, it’s important to P.E.E. It’s very easy to get carried away with describing scenarios, but remember, this isn’t just you telling an anecdote. It has to have a purpose, and was asked with intention to finding out something specific about you. P stands for Point. What’s the point? Why are you telling them this? E stands for Evidence. It’s all well and good you saying that you ‘dealt with it well’ or ‘have great business acumen’, but what proves that? And the final E is Explanation. Explain what that means in terms of what you can bring to the table. Ensuring you P. E. E. can help you maintain clarity of thought, but also makes a very strong case for why someone should hire you. Charm, not Smarm You’ll obviously want to put your best foot forward when it comes to meeting your potential employer. Having said that, you’re not there to be their new best buddy so you should really lay off on any cheesy jokes or attempts at ‘banter’. Your charm should never ere on the side of obnoxious, and really should be effortlessly communicated through politeness, respect and self-awareness. Asking, “So, how did I do?” at the end of interview, is sure to undo any good impressions you’ve made thus far. This is the same for being cautious regarding confidence displaying as arrogance. Being humble but doing yourself justice, is far better than bragging and exaggeration. Fill in the gaps If there are parts of your career history or work experience that aren’t accounted for in your CV or personal statement, make sure you’re prepared to fill in the gaps. These are questions that will be sure to come up, or at least have relevance to any questions asked about prior work experience. The same goes for things that you think are important to mention, such as achievements or attributes that don’t come across clearly on paper. After all, that’s why interviews exist. If you think of your application as a Linkedin profile, the percentage of ‘completion’ will often correlate to its strength and employability potential. It’s your duty to put across the most complete profile of yourself in your interview.

21 July 2017 - Business training

Tips for Hiring and Retaining Industrial Pickers and Packers

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Pickers and packers are an essential part of any successful warehouse operation. They are the people who make sure that the correct goods are packed, ready to be shipped to your customers. Therefore, having competent and motivated pickers and packers can make a lot of difference to the efficiency of your warehouse department. It is also an area that often has a high turnover rate when not managed well, which results in a loss of productivity and increase in cost. The best way to avoid that is to hire the right staff, and ensure that they have a good working environment. Here are five ways to make that happen:Pay competitive ratesThere is a tendency to get away with paying as low rates as possible when it comes to warehouse staff. But you will waste more time and money with a high turnover, so it may be worth your while to retain staff by paying competitive rates.Competitive rates will also attract more applicants, so you will have a wider pool of skilled workers to choose from. It can also factor into employee satisfaction surveys and other performance measures if as a company, you are a preferred place of employment.Provide incentive for unpopular shiftsA lot of warehouse work involves working unfriendly hours, such as graveyard shifts, or crack-of-dawn starts. Provide incentives for unpopular shifts, whether it’s a slightly higher rate of pay, extra holidays, consecutive days off, or other benefits.However, ensure that these incentives are consistent across the board, for all eligible employees.Provide training and developmentJust as competitive rates can attract and retain good staff, so can training and development. Warehouse workers are often neglected when it comes to career planning. Beyond basic needs of the business, they are often not given a chance to improve their skills. You can retain good employees by offering them opportunities. There are many possible options, including but not limited to educational opportunities such as NVQs, professional qualifications like a forklift truck license, opportunities to work towards a higher position within the department or the business, or internal training sessions.Get current employees to refer new workersGetting your existing employees to bring in new employees is free advertising. Your staff may know friends or family who need work, and they are in position to recommend you. It’s also in their best interest to not bring anyone who is lazy or a troublemaker for the sake of their own reputation in the workplace with their management and colleagues.It could also provide them with positive motivation if someone is hired on their recommendation, making them feel more involved in the company. However, do be aware, that there could also be a potential risk of too much fraternising. Or if they are trying to help out their family member, then they may be partially blind to the suitability of the applicant.Increase hiring speed with a more specific job descriptionA vague job description can result in numerous applications from completely unsuitable applicants. So, it’s worth your while to spend some extra time on putting together an appropriate job description.For example, a warehouse picker may be required to pick anything from paperclips to heavy furniture. Everyone who can pick a paperclip may not be suitable to deal with heavier objects.Be specific. A little time spent up front will save you a lot of time later. It’s better to take a longer term view of hiring and retaining the staff, rather than just focusing on the immediate needs. A specific job description, put together with incentives that the company offers, will help you attract the right people.Warehouse pickers and packers can be a lot of work to hire, especially in a busy warehouse. But these above tips should help with the efficiency of that process. Do you have any other suggestions for other good measures to hire and retain good warehouse employees? Feel free to let us know!

07 July 2017 - Business training

7 Underrated Ways to Cultivate a Productive and Happy Workplace

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It is no secret that happier people perform better at work. Whilst productivity is often tied to professionalism, breaking from the rules might be the smarter thing to do. Here are 7 ways to promote productivity and happiness at work:

30 June 2017 - Business training

How to Attract Millennials to Work for You

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Millennials seem to have suddenly turned up as a generation and have ripped up the rulebook of the workplace. Whereas previous generations stayed with one company in the hopes of job security or long-term benefits such as a better pension or loyalty bonus, millennials are more focused on growth, development and getting swiftly out of a workplace that does not work for them.Their outlook towards work is different from their predecessors. It is not lazy, or any less committed. However, they look at a job as one piece of their entire lifestyle, not just a thing by itself. In this article, we will outline four key areas that millennials focus on when looking for the right place to work.CultureMost companies talk about their culture, especially during interviews or when they are trying to attract high calibre candidates. But culture is not quantifiable.How do you feel when you walk into an office where every chair and every desk looks identical? Where items on desks are precisely the same, and there is nothing personal anywhere?Now think about how you feel when you walk into an office where the furniture is the same, but each desk shows off its occupant’s personality? Where there are dashes of colours, a cool lounging space, a great vending machine, or a game room?How do you feel when you walk into an office where men are dressed in a shirt and tie, and women in strict business suits? Equally, what vibe do you get when you walk into an office where people are dressed as they like, and you get to see a range of outfits from crisp suits, and tweed jackets, to jeans and t-shirts?The culture of a company is about how employees feel when they are there. It’s the vibe they get. It makes them feel whether or not they are allowed to be themselves. And millennials are a generation that has been brought up to believe that being one’s self is a basic human right. Even in a workplace. That’s the reason why tattoos, once a taboo in any office or client-facing jobs, are now commonplace. That’s the reason why even the CEO of a successful modern company may be taking meetings wearing jeans and trainers. Millennials appreciate authenticity, so if your company allows them that freedom – within reason – they are more likely to favour you over your more traditional competitors.PurposeThe concept of working for more than just the money also ties in with having a purpose. Millennials want to contribute to something bigger than themselves. They want to know that their work, in however small a way, makes a difference.

22 June 2017 - Career guidance

7 Traits That Can Make You The Worker That Everyone Wants

7 Traits That Can Make You The Worker That Everyone Wants

Are your Syfter friends constantly getting rebooked on shifts? Wondering how you too can get in on the action? Well, luckily for you, we’ve put our collective heads together and whipped up a list of 7 traits that can turn you into the worker that everyone wants to hire. Your success as a worker not only comes down to how hard you work but also the type of impression you make on an employer. If you're having issues with any of the points below, you may want to work on improving them so that you can increase your chances of getting rebooked on future shifts!Be punctualAre you that person that is always running to catch the bus? If so, then it’s time you bought a LOUD alarm clock. Not something that will make a couple of peeps. No, we mean, get a clock that can wake the guy that is three floors up from you!Punctuality is very important when you are a temp worker. Make sure you are not late by getting your things organised the night before so you are not rushing around in the morning. Know where you are going and how you are going to get there. If you are using public transport, check first thing in the morning for any delays. Citymapper is a super-helpful app/website that also includes live updates so you can get around London or Manchester with the greatest of ease!Know how to connectKnowing how to make a connection with people is extremely important for temp workers. You could find yourself working with different people daily. Being able to judge what level of friendliness is appropriate will help you to ‘jell’ with your colleagues and managers.When on breaks or after the shift has ended and you're chatting with colleagues, it is a good idea to keep the conversation to general topics and not to get involved in personal chit-chat. So, avoid asking (and answering) questions on personal matters. At the end of the day, you're there, being paid, to do a job and not to chit-chat!Have a poker faceTemp workers are often expected to come into the business and hit the ground running (or sprinting in most cases). At times, this can be stressful as you might not get the necessary level of on-site briefing.In this situation, you need to show your employer that you can stay calm, collected and do the best job you can. If you feel yourself becoming stressed or overwhelmed take a minute to refocus and calm down. If things continue to spiral out of control, speak to your manager. Syft Support is always around to speak to as well, should you have any worries about your work!

16 June 2017 - Business training

6 Factors for Successful Stock Management

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Effective stock management is one of the most important functions a business needs to master in order to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance productivity. There are numerous factors that can impact stock management.

02 June 2017 - Business training

Overcome these Common Operational Challenges for Restaurants

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Being able to run a successful restaurant is no mean feat; from conception stage all the way up to serving that first dish for a paying customer, there are many opportunities for things to go awry. In our experience of working with restaurateurs, we have found that more often than not, they share some common issues that affect their chances of success. To aid the discussion of these operational challenges, we are listing our findings here, with some possible solutions to those problems!A Unique Selling Point (USP) Assuming your establishment is not part of a chain, you will need to settle on what you plan to provide to customers; are you an easy-going dining bar? A perfect dating spot? What does the setting contribute to the atmosphere? Like running any other businesses, finding your value proposition and settling on a USP will help you to drive home to your customers why they should choose your restaurant to dine at instead of your competitor across the street. When opening a restaurant in competitive cities like London, Manchester, Edinburgh etc., customers are spoilt for choice and without a hook, your establishment could be left floundering.

26 May 2017 - Career guidance

7 Essential Apps for Students

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University is the best time of your life, or so they say! It’s great fun living with your friends, studying and having fun the majority of the time before you head out into the big wide world. However, sometimes you need a little helping hand to balance everything and make life a little bit easier when there’s SO much going on.From apps that help with studying, to relaxing, to living with friends and staying safe on nights out; we’ve compiled a list of 7 apps we think are essential for students.

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