Category Archives: September 2015

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Identifying Your Career Fit

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Career growth | Finding your ideal career fit

Jobs are important; they help you survive day-to-day and provide a source of income. However, your career is a step beyond a simple job. Careers are the direction all of your efforts go towards. Choosing a career means choosing the professional skills you’ll develop, the industry you’ll be in and the type of jobs you accept.

Discover your personal career fit to guide your search for the most suitable job for your skills, personality and values. Pay attention to four factors when selecting your career path and jobs to vet how well they suit you.

Goals and Values

Think about what motivates you when choosing your ideal career. Why did you choose to go into the field you’re in? Having a career that aligns with your goals and values will make your job more satisfying and help you work for more than just a paycheck. Your values should be tied to and complement your career goals. For example, if you value personal development, you should aim for learning opportunities in whatever job you take.

Personality Type

Do you enjoy working with others or independently for the most part? Take note, there is a difference between being a social extrovert and working well with others. Sometimes, even if you are sociable, you work better independently. Think about where you get your energy from, what working environment is most productive for you, what work scenarios you’re most comfortable in and how much structure you like in your job.

Skills and Experience

What type of skills and experience do you want to earn? What do you enjoy doing that you are also good at? Having an interest in certain skills will motivate you to work harder and learn faster in a job. Your experience should reflect the type of skills you’re interested in and want to continue developing.

You should also look at what skills you excel at. Pay attention to your strengths and weaknesses when selecting your career path, as doing something you have a natural talent for can make learning and adjusting much easier.

Growth Opportunities

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? How about 20? Your ideal career path will help you continuously grow in your field. Whatever jobs you take should come with opportunities for advancement and education, so you can continue to develop your professional skills.

Want some help analyzing your career fit? Check out our ProfilesXT assessment, which can provide insight into your working habits, behaviors and career paths you may never have thought of.


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5 Social Media Tips for Small Businesses

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social-media-tips

Small businesses may not have as much funding or history as large conglomerations, but they can still level the social media playing field by managing their brand, being creative, targeting the right audiences and staying on track. Expand your online reach and build your followers with these social media tips for small businesses.

Stay Consistent

Consistency is vital in social media. Your messages should align with your business goals, mission and vision. Your messages should also complement each other, not contradict. For example, if your business is taking a stance on a current issue, stick to that stance.

Maintaining consistent quality is also important for your social media profiles. Make sure your posts are all grammatically correct with no spelling errors. Keep your images consistently high-quality and make sure the thought process put into your posts are well-reasoned. It would look strange to your audiences if one day your posts are top-quality and the next they are riddled with bad grammar and poor judgement.

Define Target Audiences

Before you begin marketing, make sure you know whom you’re marketing to. Define your target audiences and create profiles in order to best serve them. These profiles should include which social media sites your audience spends the most time on, their likes, dislikes, motivations and behaviors. All this information will go into refining your messages to be more likable, memorable and relevant.

One way to refine your audience is to target local. Small businesses are extremely relatable on a local scale because your audience understands that you are focused on the local community. Try targeting local audiences to build up your social media following before expanding to large communities. For example, you can use social media to offer specials for individuals living in a certain zip code, or host a local community event.

Be Creative

Creativity will go a long way on social media. Creativity will help messages and campaigns stick in users’ minds and keeps your brand remarkable and memorable. Aim for extraordinary audiences. No one wants to be ordinary, so if you aim your campaign at ordinary people, you may end up connecting with nobody.

Utilize humor, creative messages, and extraordinary ideas to keep your social media pages fresh with interesting content that will keep your followers coming back for more and attract new audiences.

Send Authentic Messages

Social media users can pick up on posts that are just trying to sell a product or brand. In order to avoid being labeled as just another brand, send out authentic messages that reflect your brand instead of describing it. For example, if you sell running shoes, don’t post a picture of the shoes with a caption like “our new line features two different colors and styles.” Instead, post a picture of the shoes in action, with someone running up a mountain trail and the caption “taking you to new places with two new colors and styles.”

Sending authentic messages will help establish your brand and brand personality to your followers, without coming off as too sales-oriented.

Post Regularly

Different social media websites have different recommended posting times and frequencies, but all of them should be regularly active to keep the attention of your current followers and gain new ones.

According to a post on Quicksprout, the best times to post on Facebook are 1 and 3 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. On Twitter, best days to post are weekends and Wednesdays at 12 p.m. or 5 to 6 p.m. and on LinkedIn the best days are Tuesday to Thursday are 7 to 8 a.m. or 5 to 6 p.m.

In addition to keeping your social media profiles active, make sure you don’t share too much on any of them. In platforms such as Twitter, it isn’t uncommon to post 5 or 6 times a day, but on Facebook and LinkedIn try to limit your posts to two a day.

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3 Different Ways to Recruit Top Talent

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Build a team

In order to succeed, businesses must be able to recruit top talent and find the best and brightest in their fields. Below are a few different ways you can find your next star employees and stand out from the sea of employers trying to snag them.

Colleges. Find your top talent early–look for the potential in them by offering internships, and if they succeed at your company you’ll know you’ve found a great new hire once he or she joins the workforce. Internships are a great way to see how well a candidate works in the office culture, his or her communication habits, and more. Once you’ve found a bright, promising college student who has the right behaviors for your company, invite them on and train them for the skills they need to grow and succeed.

Network, network, network. For effective results, tap into your personal and professional networks to recruit candidates. Take advantage of industry contacts, association memberships, trade groups and social media as well. Common advice given to job seekers is to network as much as they can, but it goes both ways. Employers must also continue to network in order to keep an eye out for the best talent re-entering the job market (or even if they aren’t in the job market, perhaps you can make them a better offer).

Employee Referrals. One of the best sources of candidates is often referrals from current employees. Consider offering financial incentives to employees for each referral hired and reward them again once the new employee has been retained for 90 days or six months. Employee referrals are valuable because your employees already understand what it takes to succeed in the company. They understand the inner workings and the company culture–so they should also know what kind of person will do well.

How do you recruit top talent? Let us know in the comments below!


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How to Define Your Target Audience in 4 Easy Steps

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Target audience

Even the most creative marketing campaigns will fall on deaf ears if you fail to target the correct audience for your concept. Learn to define your target audience with 4 easy steps.

1. Define the Problem You Solve

Before you can define your target audience, you must define the purpose of your product. Understand exactly what problem (also known as a “pain point”) your product or service solves and understand it innately.

Some questions to ask at this point:

  • Why is it important for this pain point to be addressed?
  • What are the different ways to solve the problem?
  • What steps does your product or service take to solve the problem?
  • Why is your product or service is a better solution than your competitors’?

2. Determine What You Want

Once you’ve defined the problem that your product or service solves, create a list of what you want. This entails determining the best case scenario and what type of customer you would get under ideal scenarios. This step is important because you cannot aim to do business with everyone. You must choose a market and focus, or else you will end up confusing customers and your brand by trying to stretch it too thin.

Some questions to ask at this point:

  • What kind of person don’t I want as a customer?
  • With whom do I want to do business with?
  • What kind of disposable income does my ideal client have?

3. Create a Profile

Once you have an idea of the type of customer you want, get to work nailing down the details and create a profile of him or her. Identify their motivations and where they spend their time so you know how to reach them.

Key questions to ask at this point:

  • How old is my ideal client?
  • What are his or her behaviors?
  • What motivates my ideal clients?
  • Where do they spend most of their time?
  • What channels are most likely to reach them successfully?

4. Test and Evaluate

Once you have a complete profile of your ideal customer, it’s time to test out whether he or she is a good target market for your product. Test your target market by giving people an opportunity to buy your product and then seeing whether you reach them through the channels you predicted, and if the people who purchase are more or less similar to your profile. Offer samples, conduct a seminar or hold a focus group to gauge reactions.

Once you have tested your product against your target market and determined it works, launch your campaign with the knowledge and reassurance of strategy and evaluation behind you.


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5 Leadership Tips from Successful Business Leaders

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Leadership tips

1. Be Data-Drive and Creative

“Nowadays everyone wants to be data-driven. That’s great but your competitors will have the same data, so you’re all going to come to the same conclusion. That’s why you always have to infuse some element of creative thinking.” – David Silverstein, CEO and founder of Colorado-based consulting firm BMGI (via Entrepreneur)

2. Ask “Why?”

The most awe-inspiring companies begin with a great leader who regularly asks herself “Why?” – Simon Sinek, author and CEO of the Sinek Group (via Entrepreneur)

3. Consider Leadership a Responsibility

“Think of leadership as a responsibility as much as an opportunity. Effective leaders understand that they are responsible for everyone that they are leading, and consider that responsibility as the main concern of their position. If you ever lose empathy for, and dedication to, the people you are leading, you are not being a leader.” – Michael Talve, the Founder and Managing Director of The Expert Institute (via Inc)

4. Make change for the better

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” – Harry S. Truman (via Forbes)

5. Continue to Learn and Take Advice

“When an entrepreneur stops being willing to be coached, their days are numbered — and understanding the underlying root of this resistance is vital, because the solution often depends on what is causing us to shut out the advice of others.” – Lisa Abeyta, Founder/CEO, APPCityLife Inc. & Cofounder, Hautepreneurs and HauteHopes (via Huffington Post)


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3 Tricks to Staying Focused at Work

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Improve Focus at Work
There are some weeks where staying focused at work isn’t a problem, then there are others wherein the hours seem to drag along. These three tips will help you turn those daunting tasks and endless unmotivated days back into productive and efficient progress.

Manage your time wisely

This trick sounds like common sense, but there is a science to managing your time for productivity. In order to stay focused, you have to allocate time purposefully and distribute tasks throughout the day based on when you are most productive. Stick to a regular schedule or routine in order to counteract procrastination, and schedule in breaks to avoid burnout.

Try different ways to structure your day to find out what works best. You could try doing all the creative work first thing in the morning, when your mind is fresh, and save mindless tasks for last. Or you could start the day by responding to emails and structuring the day ahead of you. Whichever schedule you discover works best, make sure you manage your time to ensure all work is done when it needs to be. Keeping deadlines in mind is also a great way to maintain focus.

Keep it organized

Staying organized is an excellent way to encourage focus and productivity. In addition to organizing your time, it’s also important to organize your working space and tasks at hand. Keep your desk clean and free from clutter so you can focus on fulfilling your responsibilities.

Organizing your tasks in a to-do list is another great way to stay laser focused on what needs to get done. You can list out issues that need to be addressed within the week, the day or even the hour. As an added bonus, once you finish a task you can enjoy the satisfying feeling of crossing it off your list. A to-do list doesn’t have to be done with pen and paper, there are multiple applications, like Evernote and Wunderlist, that can help you keep track of your checklists right from your phone.

Accept that you will occasionally get bored

Getting bored is inevitable with any job, but that shouldn’t make you lose focus. Even the jobs you truly love and enjoy may get boring in some aspects. Move past the boredom and invest your time and effort in remaining focused at work by reminding yourself that what you do is worth powering through despite the boredom. In order to achieve this, pinpoint your goal and work steadily towards that, while reminding yourself of your purpose and the overarching mission and strategy behind your tasks.


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Is Coaching a Candidate a Good Idea?

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coaching a candidate

In today’s fast-paced world, most companies simply don’t have that much time to dedicate to recruiting and hiring. Although employees are the backbone of any organization, companies often end up with a haphazard process of finding and hiring top talent. In most cases, this occurs through no fault of their own—finding good employees is hard and even with the help of recruiters, companies can still end up with bad hires.

This, then, becomes an opportunity for recruiters. Recruiters are hiring specialists who use their expertise to find the most qualified candidates for a job. The hiring decision ultimately lies with the hiring manager, of course, but hiring managers tend to rely heavily on recruiters’ recommendations. Whether the recruiter works within the company, for an agency, or is independent, the recruiter’s job is to seek, vet, and recommend candidates. Companies depend on recruiters to find the perfect candidate, putting a lot of pressure on recruiters. This can potentially lead to problems if recruiters think that coaching their candidates will make them more attractive.

What does it mean to coach a candidate?

Recruiters can seek candidates in any number of ways—from within the company itself, through industry contacts, on social media platforms, or even by poaching them from competitors. Once a recruiter finds someone who seems like the perfect match for a position, the recruiter begins a process to bring the candidate on board. This can include making the initial contact, conducting a preliminary interview, and coaching the candidate.

The process of walking a candidate through what to expect and what to say at the job interview is known as “coaching.” While there can be many benefits to guiding an applicant through the interview process, this can also lead to false appearances and a potential bad hire.

When is coaching a candidate a good idea?

Coaching a candidate can be appropriate in certain circumstances, such as when a recruiter helps a candidate identify what to highlight during the interview. Say a recruiter finds a programmer who seems perfect for a certain position within a tech company. Through coaching, the recruiter can help the candidate identify personal and professional strengths—the skills and experience that will make the applicant stand out from the rest. The recruiter can also help the candidate determine how best to describe those strengths so the hiring manager will have no trouble grasping the candidate’s expertise.

A candidate who tends to get nervous or hasn’t had many interviews in the past can also benefit from coaching. In these instances, the recruiter can do mock interviews with the candidate in preparation for the real thing. That way the candidate will feel more comfortable and better prepared to meet with the person doing the hiring.

When is coaching a candidate a bad idea?

Since some candidates can clearly benefit from coaching, when is coaching a candidate a bad idea? The answer: coaching is wrong when it enters the realm of deception, exaggeration, or interference.

In some cases—such as when recruiters’ earnings depend on how many people they place—the pressure that recruiters feel to find candidates can lead them to push the wrong candidate for a job. For example, a recruiter may know a candidate doesn’t have the right skills for a job, but will coach the candidate to say things a certain way to make it seem like the skills are there. Because the candidate was practically handed a script, the job is offered and accepted, and in time it becomes clear that this new hire was the wrong choice.

Helping a candidate identify and highlight strengths is one thing, but coaching can lead candidates to exaggerate their expertise to the point of deception. The company ends up with an employee who is ill-prepared for the tasks at hand, and has to spend more time and money finding someone new.

Coaching candidates on how to show their best side is useful, but making them into someone they think the company wants—someone the candidate is not—is a real problem for the company, the recruiter, and the candidate.

For the recruiter, continuously placing unsuitable candidates can lead a company to stop using the recruiters’ services.

For the candidate, being placed in a job that’s the wrong fit means potentially having to quit and start a job search all over again.

Even worse for the company, a candidate might decide to stay even though the candidate neither has the right skills nor fits in with the company culture, thus becoming the cause of slower productivity and potentially bad attitudes or lower morale.

What are other pros and cons of candidate coaching? Do you think it’s a worthwhile practice, or should recruiters stop coaching candidates?

Eric Friedman

eSkill Author Eric

Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of online skills testing for pre-employment assessment and benchmarking. Eric has degrees in Psychology and Business, and a fascination with matching people with roles they’re best at, and that they enjoy.

A company built on exceptional talent from Internet technology, test development, and iterative product development, eSkill leads as an independent assessment company helping HR departments with relevant and accurate job-based tests.

To learn more about Eric and eSkill, visit the company website at www.eskill.com, or contact him on LinkedIn.


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How to Build a Successful Work Team

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Successful Work Teams

Building a cohesive, high-performing team is vital to business success. Below are things business leaders need to keep in mind when hiring and managing employees in order to build a successful work team.

Communication

Communication is at the center of all successful work teams. It’s what enables a team to function properly, fulfill goals and complete projects. Communication must be a core concern when building a team, so make sure each member of the group is comfortable with the communication channels or willing to learn how to use them. Provide the proper tools for communication as well, whether it’s company phones or project management software.

Diversity

Team diversity doesn’t just refer to a healthy variety of cultures and personalities, but also a diverse set of skills. Diversity is important in any successful work team because it provides a wide range of views and opinions necessary to make well-informed decisions and different viewpoints on issues. Having a diverse skill set as a team will also allow for comprehensive project completion and ensure there is an expert for all the different areas of a job.

Innovation

A team must be innovative in order to succeed and grow. If your team is just doing what has always been done, the results will most likely remain the same instead of constantly improving. Invest in team members who are innovative, always willing to test new ideas and excited about change and improvement.

Responsibility

It should go without saying that successful work teams must be comprised of responsible team members. These are the key players who are punctual, on top of their tasks, goal-oriented and can think with common sense. If a client needs something done, your team members should step up even if it means doing a little extra work or research to get it completed.

Conflict resolution

A successful work team must understand the importance of conflict resolution and be able to apply it in workplace disputes. They should be able to work past differences towards a common goal, and put aside any personal complaints they may have against each other for the job. Knowing how to resolve conflict will make it easier and more efficient for the whole team to operate cohesively, even with differences of opinion and diverse outlooks.

Defined roles and responsibilities

Some team members are able to operate in multiple departments with different sets of duties, but in order to get a project done efficiently you should implement clear roles and responsibilities–especially if there are multiple of them. You don’t have to outline every detail of someone’s job, but you should clarify the roles of the team so different team members know to take ownership of a task. For example, you can have a designated content person for social media, and another for the blog. Be sure they know who is in charge of what.

Feedback and praise

Finally, you must implement a feedback system and understand when to give praise. Feedback is important so your team members understand their strengths and weaknesses, and how to improve in the team. Praise is important so your team members understand what they are doing right, and focus there. In order to build a cohesive and successful work team, you need everyone to have a grasp of their own and their colleagues strengths and weaknesses.

What else is vital to build a successful work team? Let us know in the comments below.


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Public Seminar: The Professional Supervisor

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Leadership Series_Professional Supervisor

Join us from September 16 to 18, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for our Leadership Series: The Professional Supervisor workshop. In today’s changing workplace, many new supervisors are unsure of their roles and responsibilities. They have little experience dealing with the challenges of managing work through others. They haven’t had the opportunity to develop those critical skills of planning work, leading their group, and communicating with their employees, their colleagues, and their manager. This three-day workshop will give you that opportunity.

Register Now

Participants will be able to understand the scope and nature of a supervisory position, learn how to deal with the challenges of the role and recognize their responsibilities to themselves, their team and their organization. By the end of the course, attendees will have identified key techniques to help plan and prioritize effectively.

This course is ideal to acquire a basic understanding of leadership, team building, communication and motivation. It will teach strategies for effective supervision and teamwork.

Course Outline

Adjusting to your role
A supervisor’s responsibilities
Making plans
Setting goals
Leadership
The Situational Leadership model
Problem employees
Synergy
Trust
Team development
Communication skills
The communication process
Motivation
Orientation
Training
Providing feedback
Delegation
Dealing with conflict
Discipline

For an investment of P12,500 plus VAT, you will receive instruction by an expert facilitator, small group workshops that provide “active learning,” snacks and lunch, a specialized student workbook and a personalized certificate of completion.

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About the Facilitator

Dr. Maria Vida G. Caparas holds a Master’s Degree and Ph.D., Summa Cum Laude, in Psychology. She is an Accredited Trainer of the Philippine Government with invaluable experiences in Organizational Development as a Human Resource, Training and OD practitioner. She authored three books on Psychology/HR Management and was a Trainer Delegate of DFA-Foreign Service Institute in Italy and Singapore in 1999-2000. Dr. Caparas is a recipient of various national awards and also a professor in prestigious universities.

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