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Canadians benefit from new jobs, skills and business opportunities through innovation

Posted on 30 September 2017 by admin

Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan creates the middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow

September 18, 2017 – Ottawa – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Canadians will benefit from new jobs, skills and business opportunities as a result of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to turn more promising ideas into market-ready innovations.

That was the message delivered by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, at The ONE National Conference—a gathering of chartered professional accountants and senior financial leaders from across the country to discuss issues of importance to the profession and to the public, presented by CPA Canada and CPA Ontario.

Through the Innovation and Skills Plan, the Government is supporting the growth of Canadian companies by encouraging the public and private sectors to collaborate in bringing more early-stage research to market. Specifically, the Government is:

•          investing $1.4 billion in new financing for clean technology providers;

•          investing $1.2 billion in the Strategic Innovation Fund and $950 million in the Innovation Superclusters Initiative to increase business investment in research and development, which accelerates innovation and creates highly skilled jobs;

•          providing Canadian companies with faster access to top talent from all around the world, under the Global Skills Strategy, to support the scale up of high-growth companies and keep the jobs they create in this country;

•          investing $125 million to launch the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy; and

•          creating the conditions for big-data analytics to drive innovation and job creation.

By providing more direct support for business innovation, the Government plays a key role in creating entirely new industries as well as companies that have the potential to become global brands. And as these companies grow, they will create more middle-class jobs for Canadians.

Quote

“Where innovation happens is where the middle-class jobs of today and tomorrow are created. Our government is making smart and responsible investments in innovation that will result in better jobs and opportunities for all Canadians and help equip Canadians with the in-demand skills for the jobs of today and into the future. That’s how innovation leads to a better Canada.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Innovation and skills development play key roles in building a strong and resilient economy, one that values sustainability and social development. Collaborating with employers and other stakeholders, including governments, allows us to adapt and evolve our education programs and professional development offerings to ensure that the knowledge and skills of our members continually meet the needs of the marketplace. Change is rapid. As new technologies and issues emerge, our profession is playing an active role in helping organizations stay ahead of the curve and achieve long-term success.”

– Joy Thomas, President and CEO, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

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How To Pitch Yourself And Land The Job Of Your Dreams

Posted on 03 May 2017 by admin

In a buyer’s market, job seekers have to be the world’s best salespeople. You have to spark an interest, craft your pitch, and prove the worth of your top product: you. If you can’t sell yourself as the best and brightest for the job, you’ll never close the deal.

Not a natural sales person? That’s OK. Here are four ways to wow recruiters and land yourself your dream job.

Tip #1: Nail Your Intro

First impressions are everything — in business, life, and everywhere in between. If you flub on your first interaction with recruiters, you might as well show yourself the door.

But if you wait until the interview to show your wow factor, you’ll never get through the door in the first place. For every resume you send out, 250 other people are vying for the same position. If you don’t stand out in the first 11 seconds, your resume will be among the 80 per cent headed to the shredder.

Most resumes are regurgitated lists of dates, past employers and accolades. In other words, not the most riveting way to put your best face forward. Instead, consider the job and the company you’re applying for and use your resume to prove your chops. If you’re a graphic designer, play with graphics. If you’re in marketing, create a campaign. One audacious job seeker wanted an interview at Google so he created a resume that looked liked a Google search — and it got him in the door.

Bottom Line: Even the most qualified candidates get ignored if they fail to make a lasting impression. So make your resume something recruiters can’t ignore.

Tip #2: Know Your Audience

Speaking of Google searches, do one! There is absolutely no excuse to go into an interview blind. It’s easier than ever to find information online — so when I interview candidates who know nothing about our brands, it’s an automatic no. We’re not the only ones: 47 per cent of interviewers will turn an applicant down for lack of preparation.

You don’t need to sell ice to an eskimo, but you should know what you’re talking about and who you’re talking to. Browse the company’s website, research industry trends, and (if you know who they are) look into your interviewers. Always try to have a little something up your sleeve to truly impress. This could be a specific feature of the product or service, or a post you saw on their Instagram feed.

Bottom Line: Going deep in your research proves that you’re taking the opportunity seriously.

Tip #3: Be Genuine

We all know the stereotype of the sleazy salesman, bending the truth to cut a deal. Resorting to cheap tricks won’t get you ahead, and recruiters will know if you’re being insincere. A little honesty can get you a long way.

I once interviewed a candidate to lead our digital marketing team and he told me our website sucked. Then he showed me his ideas to take it next-level — and as it turned out, he was right. Looking back, other candidates had praised our website because they didn’t have the courage to tell me the truth. Gabe gave it to me straight and his honesty helped him land the job.

Bottom Line: Be genuine and upfront about what you have to offer. Your fitness for the job will shine through how you present yourself.

Tip #4: Follow Up

Most sales aren’t done on the spot. In fact, 80 per cent require five follow-up calls to close the deal. I’m not saying you should send your interviewer five emails, but you definitely should be sending one.

Sending a note (whether emailed or handwritten) is a small gesture with big results: nearly a quarter of recruiters will veto a candidate who doesn’t follow up post-interview. Following up is a sign of respect, and it shows that you care and are eager about the position.

Bottom Line: First impressions are critical for landing the chance to pitch yourself, but the follow-up is where you’ll close the deal.

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What The Hiring Manager Knows That You Don’t In Salary Negotiations

Posted on 06 April 2017 by admin

Mentioning an exact salary figure costs you money.

Before you even get a job offer, experienced interviewers will try to get you to mention an exact salary figure. This is a tactic. If you provide a number lower than the range they had budgeted for, they know they can get you for cheaper. So, when they ask something like, “What salary are you looking for?” do not provide a specific number.

Your reply should instead be something like, ”I know the industry standard for roles like this is $50,000-60,000, and my experience puts me near the top of that range.”

To be able to do this effectively, you need to put your research skills to good use. StatsCan, Payscale, and Robert Half all offer online resources to help you determine salary ranges for different positions. Do your research, taking region and experience into account.

Once an offer does come in, don’t be afraid to counter offer. Just keep in mind that the incremental change between the two offers should be realistic. Typically, it’s a good idea to base this on the level of salary. Below $45,000, the increments should be less than ten grand (so you might want to ask for $5,000 more, for example), whereas over $45,000, the range can be as high as $10,000. If the initial offer was over $75,000, you might be able to ask for as much as a $15-20,000 bump.

If, on the other hand, the initial offer is much lower than you are willing to consider, and you really want the job, try offering to work part time. If you want $60,000 and the offer is $35,000, offer to work three days a week as a consultant. This will allow you to pursue other work and have write offs for being self employed.

Perks are always on the table.

Salary isn’t all that has to be negotiated. Perks are almost always on the table. What are we talking about? Apart from the usual health and dental coverage (which are often set in stone), you can negotiate for vacation time, travel expenses, a car allowance, professional development training, flex time, working from home, and moving costs.

Before bringing any of this up, though, know what the industry standards are so you aren’t asking for the stars and moon. Most importantly, know what will make you happy.

Keep in mind that you might have to grow into some of the perks. Six months down the road you have a lot more to offer a company than you do on day one. If you’re confident in your abilities, this can be a negotiating point as well; ask for a review of compensation and benefits in six months and get it in writing (in the letter of intent or contract).

It is possible to lose a job offer at the last minute.

Even if you’ve survived the resume scan, wowed the interviewers, and been offered the job — you don’t officially have it until the contract is signed. If you come across as too demanding or unreasonable in the the negotiation phase, an offer can be rescinded. Don’t forget this; it ain’t over until the fat lady sings!

It’s also important to remember to protect yourself. No matter how low on the totem pole you are, ask for a letter or contract. When you receive it, read it over carefully to ensure all that was agreed upon is clearly and fairly stated in writing. Make any necessary changes, add your initials to the change, send it back to the employer and pray it all goes through.

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40% Of Canadian Workers Would Take A Pay Cut For Career Growth

Posted on 23 March 2017 by admin

It’s not all about the money, apparently.

According to a new ADP Sentiment Survey, 40 per cent of Canadian workers would take a pay cut at a new job in order to overcome a “growth gap” — a lack of career development opportunities from their current employers.

Of the 828 working Canadians surveyed, 23 per cent said they would take a five per cent pay cut, 12 per cent of employees would take a 10 per cent decrease, and four per cent would take a hit of more than 15 per cent.

One-third of Canadians said their employers didn’t offer support such as skills development programs, training, and career mentoring. Others (19 per cent) said they haven’t asked for support, while nine per cent said their bosses don’t have time for their concerns.

“The paradox of a growth gap is that while many employers say they need workers to be increasingly adaptable to new tasks and responsibilities, many workers are saying they lack the development support to deliver on these expectations,” Sooky Lee of ADP Canada said in a press release Wednesday.

The survey says Canadians facing a “growth gap” can be divided into three categories: “The Ready,” “The Resigned,” and “The Relaxed.”

“The Ready,” are employees who are eager for growth, but feel their company isn’t investing in their careers. This makes up 65 per cent of Canadian workers. Employees who want progress, but have given up on their company are labelled, “The Resigned,” and represent 53 per cent of Canadians. The last group, “The Relaxed,” are those who say career advancement would be nice (21 per cent), but it is not that important.

“Whether the under-developed employees in your organization are ready, resigned or relaxed, this study should be a wake-up call for any employer that cares about employee retention and productivity,” said Lee.

Mentoring costly and time-consuming

While employees may face frustration in dealing with a growth gap, managers aren’t always able to satisfy their needs. A 2012 Forbes article said many managers recognize the importance of mentoring and training, but they are costly and time-consuming tasks.

“Companies must either come up with the resources to meet up the expectations of their talented employees or be constantly in the market to replenish them,” the article read.

How can companies make workers stay?

Companies that provide workers with new job titles and a clear path forward are more likely to retain them, a February study by Glassdoor found.

“Every additional 10 months an employee stagnates in a role makes them one per cent more likely to leave the company when they finally move on to their next position,” according to the job recruitment company.

The study went on to say that employees won’t stay for job titles alone. Pay increases and a healthy workplace culture are also important.

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The Do’s And Don’ts Of Talking Politics At Work

Posted on 26 January 2017 by admin

Workopolis

Canada’s largest career site for job seekers and a leader in HR technology for employers.

Anyone who’s ever been in a heated political argument with an opinionated uncle or aunt at Thanksgiving knows the perils of a political discussion. And with the U.S. Inauguration Day on the books, political talk has never been more fraught. According to a recent study by VitalSmarts co-founders Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, nine out of 10 U.S. voters said the 2016 election was more polarizing and volatile than ever before.

So, how do you cover what will inevitably be a topic of discussion, without starting a bitter debate with coworkers? Read on for the do’s and don’ts of talking politics at the office.


DO: Disagree diplomatically

Surprisingly, VitalSmarts’ survey found that people would rather talk to someone they disagree with who speaks respectfully, rather than someone who shares their views but expresses them belligerently. “Most of us think the only safe space to talk is with those who agree with us, and it’s just not true,” said Grenny.


DON’T: Lie about your beliefs to conform

Sure, sometimes it seems easier to take the path of least resistance. But lying about what you believe isn’t a healthy long-term strategy. “A lot of people think being diplomatic is sugarcoating your opinions,” Grenny said. “But that’s not a meaningful conversation.”


DO: Focus on common ground

It might be hard to believe, but you might share some ideological similarities even with people at the opposite of the political spectrum. Locate those common threads and use them to weave understanding. “It’s totally possible two people with polar opposite positions have similar values,” Grenny said. “On immigration, maybe you both care about national security, and taking care of those with citizenship, and the disagreements are how we execute on those values.”


DON’T: Try to change the other person’s mind

After thousands of hours of cable news reports, most people’s opinions are pretty strongly held by now. If you try to “convert” your conversation partner, you may come off as preachy or condescending. “Give up the desire to proselytize to someone with a different opinion,” Grenny said.


DO: Ask for permission

Simply asking if it’s OK to express your dissenting opinion goes a long way, Grenny said. “People feel psychologically different when they give permission to share our point of view.” And with respect to the president-elect, don’t build walls in the conversation. Listen and try to be understanding.


DO: Plan an escape route

No matter how carefully you communicate, some political discussions are simply bound to get heated. If that’s the case, be sure to recognize it and find what Grenny calls the “off-ramp.”

“If it looks like it’s creating something that neither person wants, just stop. As soon as one of those signals occurs, say, ‘gosh, I think I’m getting a little too agitated, it looks like you’re not liking what you’re hearing from me, so let’s talk about the ball game.’ Then cut it off.”

And if that doesn’t work, you could always bring the subject back to a work matter (or worst case, start looking for another job!).

 

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Skilled Trades Will Enable The Future Of Canada’s Economy

Posted on 19 January 2017 by admin

Nobina Robinson

Policy thought leader on Canadian innovation, higher education and skills

 Canada seems perpetually fixated on the “knowledge economy,” no matter the political stripes of the government in power. Budget 2017 will roll out the Innovation Agenda, where significant funds will be dedicated to supporting “super clusters” around the likes of aerospace, cyber security, or nanotechnology.

Policy-makers wish to prepare job markets for disruptions that will stem from automation, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and the industrial internet. The skills for the future? If you believe the pundits, they are coding, sales talent, and everything digital. Is Canada’s economy of the future a place where the skilled trades will survive, let alone thrive?

This is an important question, especially at a time when the trades are facing a demographic deficit – the number of those about to retire far exceeds the number of new entrants into these vitally important professions. If our economy is shifting, how much emphasis do we really need to place on filling predicted shortages and attracting more young people to the trades?

The answer might surprise you. In Canada’s future economy, the skilled trades are going to matter more than ever. So we need to make significant and sustained investments in attracting our best and brightest talent to these professions, the same way we do for the best and brightest knowledge workers.

Why the skilled trades will matter more than ever in the future.

While we focus so much on the digital space, we can’t forget that Canada is about to make massive investments in physical infrastructure. The newly proposed Canadian Infrastructure Bank will see our federal government put up $35 billion dollars in hopes of attracting at least four to five times that amount from the private sector — global or national, to be invested in large infrastructure projects across the country.

Yet, it’s unclear whether or not we have the human capital capacity to complete these projects at present. Some estimate that within ten years Canada will face a shortage of 250,000 individuals in the construction trades alone. If Canada is going to invest heavily in infrastructure, we must ensure we make equally strong investments in training talent that is going to build it.

We may also see a push for Canada’s infrastructure of the future to be “smart.” That is, built with integrated information and communication technologies (ICT) and internet of things (IoT) capabilities. For example, streets could be embedded with sensors that speak to smartphones optimizing commute times and traffic flow. Making cities smarter is going to require much skilled talent: heavy equipment operators, electricians, and concrete finishers. And these folks are going to have to be able to collaborate with other professionals from a range of disciplines: engineers, architects, and environmental scientists.

The digital environment

Be it through the adoption of automated technologies, moving our work to virtual spaces, or the increased use of cloud based software, our work environments are increasingly digital. The skilled trades are inherently physical, but we can’t forget that we are flesh and blood and live in a built environment. The digital and the virtual don’t preclude a built environment. For example, the servers needed to house cloud-based information require the construction and maintenance of physical servers. With the trends toward big data, one can imagine the needs for such spaces are going to intensify.

Microsoft is in the midst of testing the feasibility of housing large data centres underwater. At the same time, Google is building floating data centres in San Francisco Bay on specially fitted barges. These projects, and others similar, require the use of underwater welders, electricians, and HVAC technicians. The digital always requires the support of the physical, so as our digital needs grow, so too will the need to have a skilled workforce in place that can build and maintain the accompanying infrastructure.

 

Our changing energy future

The future of energy in Canada is green. Non-renewables will be extracted through less carbon-intensive means, and the use of renewables is quickly expanding. A diversifying energy landscape will create intensified demand for skilled labour. Take for example two renewables that are gathering traction: solar and wind.

Solar is officially the world’s cheapest form of energy and start-ups are quickly emerging to capitalize. SolarCity, an American firm owned by Elon Musk, specializes in solar energy services — one of their most recent conceptions is an entirely solar roof. The expansion of similar projects to Canada will see the creation of skilled labour demand across the whole value chain — from the production solar cells, to wiring, to installation.

For its part, wind could fulfill 20 per cent of Canada’s energy needs by 2025; this growth of wind energy in Canada will increase demand for wind turbine technicians, electricians, and crane operators. Further, even our traditional energy economy will support job creation in the near future. Oil prices are mending, and with recent approvals for new pipeline projects the demand for skilled trades is certain to rise.

Canada is well positioned to stake its claim as an innovation leader. However, even as our economy shifts to embrace emerging technologies, digital spaces, new infrastructure, and renewable energies, have we overlooked the integral role the skilled trades will play in all of this industrial change?

Through the onslaught of articles about automation and digitization of work, it is worth remembering that we haven’t left the physical world, at least not yet. More importantly, it will be the trades professions that can enable the future of work — here and around the world.

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How do you become a Rhodes scholar?

Posted on 11 January 2017 by admin

Becoming a Rhodes Scholar wasn’t something Matthew Jordan ever gave much thought.

In fact, the 22-year-old student from Thornhill Ont., only applied to the prestigious all-expenses-paid scholarship to Oxford University in the U.K. after a friend encouraged him to.

It was a surprise, said Jordan, humbly adding that when he turned up to his interview he wasn’t as polished and groomed for it as his peers.

“I spent most of my undergrad life doing very few formal organized activities,” he said. “I haven’t been a part of that many clubs or organizations or won many scholarships or owned a yacht etcetera.”

It turns out though, that the path to becoming a Rhodes Scholar isn’t so clear cut — as long as you are academically brilliant and show a strong sense of community and leadership.

“There’s no checklist to become a Rhodes Scholar,” said Brian Rolfes, a Rhodes Scholar himself and the secretary of the Ontario Rhodes Scholarship selection committee.

“There’s not a formula that will allow one to receive the scholarship. We look for a couple of things, first of all, high academic achievement. So truly top of the class performance in one’s undergraduate post secondary institutions, but it can be from any field, so it’s truly being able to do well scholastically. But then I would say the second piece broadly speaking is around leadership capabilities.”

Applicants also have to be between 18 to 28 years old depending on where they’re applying from and should be set to finish their undergrad.

Jordan, who has been on the Dean’s Honour list throughout his undergraduate degree and received the Harry Lyman Hooker Scholarship for being in the top 10 per cent of his program three times, also earned two Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) to do math projects over the summer.

In his spare time, he wrote a calculus textbook to help make math more relatable to people around his age, plays the piano, guitar, drums and enjoys jamming with his friends and busking on the street.

“I think what probably stood out to the committee was my huge range of interests and things that I’m comfortable speaking about,” said Jordan.

“Most of my pursuits are kind of intellectual and academic, but on the flip side I’m perfectly comfortable talking about what are the last four words in Gilmore Girls or talking about the new Kendrick Lamar album, so I’m versatile in that way.”

Rolfes received the scholarship in 1989 and found living and studying abroad with peers from around the world transformative.

“For me, as a kid from Saskatoon, who had lived and studied only in Canada at that point, it really did open the world to me. I was there with 90 or so other scholars from around the world. You immediately have that collection of friends that sort of challenge you, that have different world views.”

Andrew Wilkinson, the national secretary for Rhodes Scholarships in Canada and a 1980s Rhodes Scholar from Alberta, said the scholarship isn’t interested in “trophy hunters.”

“There’s a phenomenon now amongst teenagers that they feel obliged now to start building up a resume from about age 12 onward and this is something we can see straight through. So the committees are very careful to examine resumes to make sure that they are substantive and don’t reflect the desire to build up a dossier.”

What they are looking for, said Wilkinson, are “people who have deep thinking abilities, who have thought about what to do with their abilities — not just to have a job or make a lot of money, but rather how they can contribute to making Canada a better place.”

“We’re looking for rocket fuel because we have a match.”

Jordan, who plans to get a PhD in mathematical physics at Oxford, credits much of his success to his friends and family.

“It’s hard to do anything, let alone win a big scholarship, without an extremely supportive family.”

He hopes to combine his passion for teaching and science and specifically teach people why they should care and trust scientific experts.

“The moral of the story is apply for stuff,” said Jordan. “Because you never know what’s going to happen.”

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5 Ways To Boost Brain Power And Finally Concentrate At Work

Posted on 05 January 2017 by admin

Do you have a hard time getting motivated at the office? Feel like you just can’t concentrate? You’re not alone. The good news is that you can do something about it.

There are a few simple strategies borrowed from psychology that can actually help you improve the way your brain functions.

Here are five cognitive strategies to enhance your brain power (and productivity).

Exercise your brain

Most of us are familiar with the old saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” Well, the same goes for our brains. Psychologists have found links to improved cognitive functioning for certain activities and tasks following frequent use of brain games.

Brain games are based on the psychological concept of neuroplasticity, meaning our brains are capable of growth through the formation of new neuronal connections. Essentially, completing a few games each day challenges the brain by stimulating various centres that correspond to specific functions, such as short-term memory, information processing, attention and language fluidity.

Though there are mixed reviews on web-based games (they can contribute to sedentary screen time), there is no denying the science backing them up. The key is to stay active and continue to challenge yourself by switching up the game once you notice an improvement. Just as our muscles need to be challenged in order to grow bigger and stronger, our brain should be stimulated in new and diverse ways.

Try the Pomodoro technique

Concentration is essential in most professions, and can often mean the difference between productivity and procrastination. It’s possible to maximize concentration levels by using the Pomodoro technique, a psychological strategy that gradually enhances your attention span.

By using the Pomodoro technique, you are essentially completing an interval-training workout for your brain. Start by using the timer on your cellphone or computer and work for 25 solid minutes with no distractions. When the alarm signals, you to take a five-minute break. Repeat this three times and then take a longer break for 20 to 30 minutes. You will have worked intensively for two full hours while also respecting your body’s need for frequent, short breaks.

Regular use of this technique can help develop your attention span, allowing you to give projects and tasks undivided focus for longer periods.

Do mindful meditation

It is also possible to extend your mental functioning by adopting meditation techniques. Meditation is the practice of undisturbed, non-judgmental acknowledgment of thoughts and emotions without actually reacting to them.

Researchers at Harvard have noted that meditation reduces stress and anxiety, and is correlated with improved memory and mental clarity. This can help retain and analyze information, enhance decision-making skills, and decrease work-related stress and conflicts.

Simply put: implementing a few minutes of meditation into your day — whether it’s before breakfast, at your desk or even in bed at night — could significantly improve your mental well-being, productivity and output.

Forgo the GPS

Many people use smartphones or GPS devices to navigate their way around road closures and traffic jams. Scientists, however, have discovered that a dependence on technology for wayfinding could actually be detrimental to brain function, hindering our spatial awareness and orientation.

Creating “mental maps” actually exercises areas in the brain called the amygdala and the hippocampus, which control spatial memory and long-term memory, respectively. Something as simple as your commute to and from work, or finding that new lunch spot without google maps, can help to keep your brain active and functioning optimally.

Visualize success

Neuroscience research has highlighted the impact visualization can have on learning new physical and mental skills. By maximizing the brain’s visual-spatial centres, visualization can improve information retention and recall and language learning.

When you need to learn new information or understand a new concept, combine it with a mental image. Instead of a single centre of the brain working to store this data, multiple areas will be activated; this increases the odds that the data will imprint in your mind and connect with other ideas already stored, making it easier for you to remember it later on.

Key takeaways

In summary, it’s possible to enhance your workplace productivity through cognitive strategies borrowed from psychology. By incorporating brain games, concentration techniques, meditation and visualization (and by cutting back on Google Maps), you can improve your work output by actually improving your brain’s efficiency.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Swear At Work

Posted on 21 December 2016 by admin

Here are five reasons why you should swear at work.

To relieve tension

You’re swamped, deadlines are looming, meetings are veering off track, and for some reason, everything your closest co-worker does is annoying you.

On days like this, you need an outlet, and what’s better, letting a round of expletives loose or doing something you’ll really regret (like getting into a fight)? A well-timed swear word every now and then can help to manage frustration and ease tensions in tough situations.

Cursing activates a “fight or flight” response, which leads to a surge of adrenaline and endorphins. This response relieves pain, which is why we tend to curse when we burn ourselves or drop something on our foot. The response also makes us feel ready to fight back — so instead of just letting a bad situation at work continue, let the F-bombs fly, and you’ll feel more confident and ready to tackle the issue head on.

To make you a more relatable leader

When U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters he was trying to figure out “whose ass to kick” after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, commentators praised him. By loosening things up a bit, and swearing, it showed a more human, relatable side. It showed that he cared.

Similarly, people in leadership roles who curse can be more likely to connect with their employees on an emotional level. That’s not to say that they should walk around the office like a drunken sailor played by Joe Pesci. But by occasionally using “taboo” language, particularly when it’s warranted, bosses can knock down barriers, letting staff see that behind the lofty job title, they’re not all that different.

 

To be part of the boys’ club

A study from East Anglia University in the UK found that women swear more around men as a way to assert themselves in male-dominated conversations. Throughout history, the theory goes, “blue” language was reserved for men in power, so when women use bad words in the workplace, they tap into this historical precedent, appearing more powerful.

But before you start peppering your vocabulary with four-letter words, keep in mind that this can severely backfire. Research from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand has found that potty-mouthed women were judged to be “lower class.”

 

To build a more tight-knit team

Cursing can make light of a situation and make it more humorous. You probably curse around your friends, right? Swearing can signal that we are open, honest, easygoing, and fun — and it encourages others to mirror your behavior and attitude.

By cursing around your co-workers, you can establish a friendlier atmosphere, and develop a deeper bond with them. Letting loose every now and then lets them know you feel comfortable enough around them to do so, and invites them to do the same. Remember, though, that everyone reacts differently to this. If you’re around people of the executive team, for example, or a more conservative co-worker, you might want to limit your use of four-letter words, unless of course they drop an F-bomb first.

To speak more powerfully

Words may be just that, but they do matter. The more taboo a word is; the more impact it can have. And sometimes, you need to make an impact.

Swearing can show that we really mean what we are saying, and can emphasize the emotions we are feeling. Sometimes, when you’re in the middle of a bad day, and you’ve had enough, you need to get the point across. Think of swear words like particularly sharp tools in your communication toolkit. Use them when needed, but be very careful not to get cut.

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Looking to hire somebody? You may want to skip the job interview

Posted on 09 November 2016 by admin

Employers, like most people, tend to trust their intuitions. But when employers decide whom to hire, they trust those intuitions far more than they should.

Suppose that you are considering two candidates for a job in sales, Candidate A and Candidate B, and have interviewed both. You and your colleagues were far more impressed with Candidate A, who was dynamic, engaging, and immensely likable — a natural, especially for sales. By contrast, Candidate B was a bit awkward and reserved, and so seemed to be an inferior “fit.”

One of your colleagues points out that both candidates have taken an aptitude test that relates to the job; their personnel files also contain their scores on a general intelligence test. On both tests, Candidate A was just OK; Candidate B performed superbly.

Which applicant will you choose? If you are like a lot of people, the answer is still Candidate A. After all, you met both in person, and part of your job is to be able to assess people. Maybe Candidate B tests well, but Candidate A knocked your socks off.

A lot of evidence suggests that in cases of this kind, employers will stubbornly trust their intuitions — and are badly mistaken to do so. Specific aptitude tests turn out to be highly predictive of performance in sales, and general intelligence tests are almost as good. Interviews are far less useful at telling you who will succeed.

What’s true for sales positions is also true more generally. Unstructured interviews have been found to have surprisingly little value in a variety of areas. For medical school interviews, for example, they appear to have no predictive power at all: in terms of academic or clinical performance, those accepted on the basis of interviews do no better than those who are rejected. In law schools, my own experience is that faculties emphasize how aspiring law professors do in one-on-one interviews — which usually provide no information at all about how they will do as teachers or researchers.

In the abstract, most people in human resources are fully aware that objective measures are helpful. Yet the overwhelming majority of people in these positions believe that executives “can learn more from an informal discussion with job candidates” and that it is possible to “read between the lines” to see whether a candidate would do well in the job. In general, that’s wrong.

In fact, some evidence suggests that interviews are far worse than wasteful: By drawing employers’ attention to irrelevant information, they can produce inferior decisions. For example, people make better predictions about student performance if they are given access to objective background information, such as grades and test scores — and prevented from conducting interviews entirely. (In some fields, of course, specific aptitude tests don’t exist, but general intelligence scores are often available. And if candidates have a previous track record, it makes sense to rely on it.)

So why do employers, managers and administrators continue to give so much weight to interviews? The simple answer is that people trust what they see and hear, and rely on their own feelings even when they shouldn’t. But as Yale University management professor Jason Dana and his collaborators have shown, there’s more to it than that. Interviewers actively fool themselves, finding ways to learn from interviews even if there’s actually nothing there to learn from.

Dana’s central finding is that interviewers work very hard to make sense of whatever interviewees end up saying. If you are conducting an interview, you will quickly form an initial impression of the candidate, and you will be inclined to assess his or her answers — whatever they are — in a way that fits with that initial impression.

To confirm that point, Dana instructed interviewees to give literally random answers to questions — answers that had nothing at all to do with their natural response. Even then, interviewers said in post-interview surveys that they received valuable information.

Dana’s explanation was that interviewers had made sense of the answers they got by weaving those answers into a coherent (and to some degree fabricated) narrative about candidates. In other words, interviewers, thinking that they are good judges of people, ended up confident about the usefulness of the interviews even when the responses were deliberately worthless.

There’s a related problem with interviews: They can give effect to biases, conscious or unconscious. If interviewers are prejudiced against women or Hispanics, for example, a face-to-face interview will predictably result in discrimination. Reliance on tests, or on actual or past performance, can promote equality.

For business, government, and education, the lesson is clear: People ought to be relying far more on objective information and far less on interviews. They might even want to think about scaling back or cancelling interviews altogether. They’ll save a lot of time — and make better decisions.

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