Hiring managers and recruiters are rapidly waking up to the value of intrapreneurship and the value that entrepreneurially-minded employees can bring to their organisation.

This is clearly great news for job seekers of the entrepreneurial persuasion; however, it’s incumbent on you to make sure these talents shine through during the application process.

Here are the kinds of qualities you should be looking to demonstrate and how to go about it:

1. Be passionate
What sets intrapreneurs apart from other employees is their deep regard for the organisation they work for. They want to help drive the company forward and view their own success and that of their organisation as one and the same.

Identify what you are passionate about (be it a hobby or specific aspects of your work or studies) and show how you’ve channelled this for the greater good of others – this could be an example of where you’ve taken charge of a project and made it a success by galvanising those around you.

2…. But commercially aware
Your passion needs to be shown to be being channelled in the right way, however. At their core, intrapreneurs possess a high level of commercial awareness – they understand what makes businesses tick and therefore know where they can add value.

As a job seeker, you need to demonstrate a deep interest in the organisation you are applying to. Research them thoroughly; show that you recognise their strengths and weaknesses and that you understand the market place in which they are operating. Don’t be afraid to articulate your ideas about where you think the market is going and where new opportunities may lie.

3. Making good use of resources
Resourcefulness is another key ingredient in intrapreneurs – it’s about having the ability to solve problems and find new solutions through good sense and intuition.

During your interview outline ways in which you’ve drawn on your available resources in order to achieve positive outcomes. This could include effective time management, the organisation of a successful event, solving a problem that flummoxed others, identifying and utilising the skills of the people at your disposal more effectively, or a process you tweaked that made a whole system run more efficiently.

4. Show a capacity for developing ideas
Ideas are an intrapreneur’s bread and butter. They instinctively look for a better way of doing things, knowing that this has the potential to make a positive difference to those around them. Highlight original ideas you’ve come up with that have brought about positive changes or led to something new and successful being introduced.

Your creativity needs to be supported by an ability to think critically about your decisions. Do your best to explain the ‘journey’ of how your idea came together and the reasons for the choices you’ve made.

Before starting any new job application it’s crucial that you consider the key qualities of an intrapreneur as well as clear examples of how you yourself embody these traits. Offering hard evidence to support your talents in this area will help show how you plan to add value to your potential employers.

Reference: Forbes; Enterprise Garage; Centre for Enterprise; Abintegro
23 Feb 2017

Compact, pocket, bite-sized, mini: today’s time-conscious society likes its information to be well packaged and easily digestible. Hiring managers are no different, with the average recruiter reportedly taking all of six seconds to decide whether a candidate’s application is worth pursuing.

The way you present your CV or resume is therefore as important as the information it contains, with a clean, clearly laid-out structure usually afforded greater consideration than something that falls badly on the page. This is particularly true in the case of a resume, which, strictly speaking, shouldn’t extend beyond a single page.

Here is our fittingly compact guide to structuring your CV or resume:

Title/header
Besides your name, the top of your CV/resume is also a neat place to include contact details, namely a single phone number and email address. This information shouldn’t take up more than a couple of lines on the page with a centred alignment generally advised.

It’s now also common practice to include URLs to your professional profile on LinkedIn and other sites. Your employer will almost certainly consult these, so you may as well put the information where they can see it.

Personal statement
An executive summary is still an essential component of a CV or resume, so long as it truly adds value. This should contain three to five lines that summarise your strengths and what you’re looking for. Treat it as a sales pitch and keep it professional.

Work experience
Unless you’re a recent graduate, professional experience should be listed before education and qualifications on the page.

Use reverse chronological order to detail your most recent positions first, starting with the company name and a one-line description of what it does. Your job title should be followed by clearly bullet-point key responsibilities and achievements (between two and five for each role). While a resume can afford to be vaguer around dates, a CV should account for any significant gaps in employment.

Education and qualifications
List vocational qualifications before academic ones and start with the highest qualification first. You should include relevant courses and training you have undertaken even if they didn’t result in a formal qualification. As a rule only include the two highest level qualifications you have.

Further information
Including any additional information is rarely a pre-requisite, so only include things like IT skills or professional memberships if they really add value. Interests, however, can give you a surprising edge if your interests are interesting! Avoid the superfluous ‘references on request’ at all costs.

Having restructured your CV, it’s always worth having a friend or ideally a professional recruiter check it over to see what they think. Try out the rule on them: would a six-second glance leave them wanting more?

 

Reference: Businessinsider.com; BCS; Abintegro
15 Feb 2017

From CEOs with decades of public speaking experience to first-time job seekers straight out of school, college or university, nerves are undoubtedly one of life’s great levellers.

Whether before an interview, presentation or any other stressful event, it’s worth remembering that feeling anxious is a perfectly normal physical reaction. As inconvenient as they may be, typical symptoms, such as sweaty palms and a dry throat are just nature’s way of preparing you for whatever’s lurking within that interview room or conference hall.

Unfortunately, nature does not seem to care that a sudden hit of adrenalin is not always the most appropriate form of preparation under the circumstances – unless it comes with laser focus and total recall. In the absence of these, however, here are some simple ways to keep your belly butterfly-free when it matters.

1. Rehearse
There are few better safeguards against an attack of the jitters than knowing your material like the back of your hand. Rather than focusing on your delivery, invest time in knowing exactly what you are going to say, which will boost your confidence and help to relax you on a subconscious level.

2. Breathe
An adrenalin-induced shortage of oxygen is certainly no aid to clear, measured delivery. Counteract the natural tendency towards shallow breathing in stressful situations by deliberately lengthening your breath. Inhaling and exhaling slowly as you count backwards from 10 will also help to regulate your breathing and leave you feeling calmer.

3. Visualise
While the old ‘picture them naked’ technique may not always be appropriate, imagining your interviewer or audience as friendly and encouraging before you walk through the door can trick your brain into thinking everything is going swimmingly before it actually is.

4. Laugh
Not necessarily during the presentation or the interview itself (unless you’re addressing a clown convention), but somewhere private just before you step in front of your audience or interview panel. Research shows that a good, hearty guffaw releases endorphins while stimulating circulation and helping muscle relaxation- all natural antidotes to stress. Make sure no one is looking/can hear though, you looney!

At the end of the day, nerves are part and parcel of professional life. Try recognising that that burst of adrenaline could mean all your cylinders are, in fact, firing perfectly and you are now Super-Candidate/Presenter. Or try treating the symptoms as the minor, mildly annoying frustration that they are and employ the above handy countermeasures. Doing so will mean nerves can be easily managed.

Reference: The Muse; abintegro
08 Feb 2017

While we probably don’t realise it, unconscious bias is something that affects all of us in our day-to-day lives. Because it would be far too time-consuming for us to consciously evaluate every minute decision we face during the day, our brains are designed to orchestrate the majority of our thoughts and actions at a subconscious level.

Our capacity for rapid decision-making is useful from a survival standpoint; however, it can present complications in terms of how we interact within society, not least at work. It essentially means that we are hard-wired to like and trust people who look and act like us, who come from similar backgrounds or who’ve lived through similar experiences.

As much as we’d like to think of ourselves as open-minded, how we operate in the work place – whether at a hiring or managerial level, or as an entry-level employee – may be tainted. In unwittingly categorising people according to their race, nationality, gender, educational background, or any number of potential indicators, we risk jeopardising our professional relationships and missing out on opportunities.

The concept of unconscious bias has become increasingly relevant in the modern workplace. For, as we now know, diversity is extremely good for business: according to a recent McKinsey study, gender-diverse organisations are 15% more likely to outperform financial expectations, while ethnically diverse companies are expected to outperform them by 35%.

Fortunately, it’s possible to reduce the impact that unconscious bias has on how we act in the workplace and react to certain situations. The first step in the process is recognising our biases and admitting them to ourselves.

The Implicit Association Test (IAT) has been developed by researches at Harvard University for this very purpose. The test requires the participant to make a number of quick-fire selections based on a series of indicators around ideas as race, gender, nationality or sexuality. Any low-riding social preconceptions are then highlighted – whether you subconsciously favour people with certain skin over others, for example.

The idea is that having brought these biases to the attention of the conscious brain they will start to dissipate. A useful follow-up exercise involves visualising groups or individuals towards whom we hold a negative bias and then picturing them in a positive context.

While we’re not at fault for what collects at the bottom of our subconscious, that’s not to say that this can’t prove damaging to our career prospects or to people around us. As is often the case, it comes down to self-awareness and having the emotional intelligence to recognise and work to correct a potential weakness.

Reference: Harvard University; Mind tools; The Guardian; Entrepreneur.com; Abintegro
09 Feb 2017
attitude, hot topics

The simple answer to the above is of course “no!” After all, we should all be able to weigh up the short-term gains of securing a job against the downsides of struggling in a role we aren’t really suited to.

That said, there are certain staple character traits that all employees really need to demonstrate. Most personality tests are designed to single out the core qualities – both good and bad – so it’s worth being conscious of what the major dealmakers (and breakers) are.

At the top of the most-wanted list are qualities like honesty and motivation. We can also include persistence and self-discipline, as well as the ability to work well as part of a team. Tests are also calibrated to screen for undesirable qualities, such as poor anger management and an inability to handle stress.

But, beyond identifying these basic traits, what recruiters are really testing for is personal fit – they want people whose personality and values are aligned with those of the organisation. This means that attempting to tailor your responses to what you think the right answer should be is unlikely to land you in the kind of environment that you’re suited to.

These are some of the more common personality tests you can expect to come across as a job candidate and what they’re looking for:

The Caliper Profile
The core focus of this test is to understand what really drives and motivates you. From here, the recruiter can determine whether you’re a good match for the role – would your values see you thrive as part of a social enterprise, for example?

Gallup Strengths Finder
As the name suggests, this test is directly focused on identifying your strengths and compiles responses to 177 statements to identify your top five strengths from 34 potential positive traits. If they align with those of the employer you’re in business.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
This widely-used assessment looks at where your preferences fall within four ranges: introversion – extraversion, intuition – sensing, thinking – feeling and perceiving – judging. (Be aware that these are psychological terms and don’t have the same meaning as they do in common parlance). Your result will identify you as one of 16 possible personality types, allowing hiring managers to see how you’ll fit within a given team, for example.

Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire
16PF identifies how you rank in terms of 16 key personality traits that we all possess. Unlike other tests, the questions are closely linked to typical work-place situations – ie “what would you do if…?’” The idea is to determine whether your personality will see you perform well in the role.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
This assessment is usually performed by a medical expert such as a psychologist and tends only to be applied within high-stress professions such as the police force. Again, it’s a question of making sure the individual is suited to the requirements of the job.

When it comes to personality tests it’s generally a case of honesty is the best policy, especially given that most assessments are designed to make sure the right person ends up in the right role. However, as we’ve seen, it’s important to take this stock advice with a pinch of salt and always bear in mind the basic benchmarks of what employers are looking for.

Reference: Hiring strategies; Psychometric-Success; MSN; Abintegro
02 Feb 2017

Very few interviews go perfectly. However, there are some common, but easily avoided mistakes that can have a big, bad impact on your interview. Here are the blunders you need to be aware of:

1. Not researching
Research is key to the success of your interview. It will tell the interviewer how much you want the job and it will give you confidence.
• Find out about the industry and the organisation – what it does, its competitors, customers and cultures.
• Check out your interviewer on LinkedIn to see what they’re interested in or if you have any history/companies in common.

2. Not preparing
Preparation isn’t just about research or a quick skim of the job description. Preparation will allow you to do justice to your experience, your knowledge and your expectations.
• Think through likely questions and work out how you’re going to answer them
• Consider a few insightful questions for you to ask about the role, company, culture etc
• Know your CV inside out and be able to highlight your most relevant skills.
• Be ready to answer questions on salary. Don’t wing it on the day.

3. Not practicing
Rehearsing your answers and your questions out loud helps you to formulate articulate phrases. Practise talking about yourself or why this is the perfect job for you, for example.

4. Being late
It’s nearly impossible to recover from being late for an interview, so why take the risk? Don’t plan to get there a few minutes early; plan to get there an hour early and then go for a coffee.

5. Being rude
If you’re shy or just nervous you may not be aware that the vibe you’re giving off is one of arrogance or rudeness. It’s important to make a concerted effort to be polite to everyone you meet: receptionists, other staff and interviewers.
• Make eye contact, smile and give a firm handshake
• Switch off your phone and get rid of your chewing gum.

6. Presenting the wrong image
Wearing the wrong clothes can ruin the first impression you make. So find out what the dress code is before the interview.
• If in doubt, wear a suit.
• Make sure your clothes are clean and your shoes are shiny.
• Take care with your hair and makeup.

None of this is rocket science, but they are mistakes that candidates make again and again, frustrating employers that hoped this would be the candidate that would shine. The advice offers simple steps, which, if you really want the job, you must follow.

Reference: Abintegro; US news
02 Feb 2017
interview, hiring manager views

It’s well known that you only get one chance to make a first impression, and when it comes to networking situations, the pressure to make the initial encounter count can lead people to try too hard and over-compensate.

Rather than going in all guns blazing, with a potential new business contact a more subtle approach can actually be more effective in leaving a lasting (and positive) impression with your new connection.

Here are our top dos and don’ts for first impression success:

DO

Know your own stuff
Making a good impression starts with having a firm idea of who you are and what you want to say. Being able to talk about yourself confidently (and succinctly) means you won’t end up waffling or hogging the limelight.

Have a short elevator pitch ready, make sure you can deliver it clearly and with confidence, and be ready to pass the conversation over to your new contact when the opportunity arises.

Allow them space to shine
Successful networking involves making the other person feel like you’re interested in them and what they have to say.

Ask a thoughtful question that will tee them up to speak openly and honestly about themselves, and grant them room to fill the conversation as they please. This will mark you down as a good conversation partner in their eyes.

Give them a reason to remember you
A good way to create a lasting impression (without dominating the conversation) is to wow your conversation partner with an interesting statistic or nugget of information.

Avoid lengthy anecdotes; it needs to be something short and sharp that will get them thinking, long after the meeting has taken place. The more closely related it is to their area of business, the better.

DON’T

Keep things too professional
Business networking events have a tendency to feel a little superficial, so connecting with your conversation partner on a personal level will make the encounter far more memorable.

Ask your counterpart what their passion is. What’s the most interesting place they’ve been, or where they’d most like to visit in the world if given the chance? A personal thought-provoking question will catch them off guard in a good way and get them engaging with you.

Neglect to listen
In the commotion of networking and meeting new people it’s easy to forget to actually listen to what the other person is saying. Being an attentive listener will improve your chances of retaining information (and potentially linking back to the conversation in the future); moreover, it will vastly enhance the perception your new contact develops of you.

Forget it’s a two-way street
You may have focussed on this networking opportunity as an opportunity for you, but don’t forget that they may be thinking the same thing. Looking for ways to help out a new connection is a surefire way to strengthen that connection. In order to offer help you firstly need to have processed who they are and what they are about and then asked pertinent questions.

If you can and do offer help make sure you make good on any promises.

The key takeaway from the above should not to be to go into an initial encounter giving it the hard sell, but rather to leave space for your new connection to make themselves heard. Complement this by keeping your own input short and sweet (but impactful) and you’ll find that person will come away from the conversation with only positive memories.

Reference: Fast Company; Inc; Entrepreneur; Abintegro
26 Jan 2017