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Team dynamics: How to get it right
So many organisations struggle to establish strong teams, but the benefits that can be realised when they do are substantial. Effective teams can achieve better results, take up less HR resources in resolving problems, help to reduce staff turnover and, ultimately, improve customer satisfaction.

Very often, poor team dynamics are falsely attributed by organisations and the team members to ‘personality clashes’. On rare occasion, you might get people who simply cannot work together, but in the majority of cases, how you set up, manage, motivate and develop a team is the key to its success or failure.

Here are our top tips on developing a winning team, and creating the all important positive team dynamic that will keep your employees motivated.

1.     Team make-up: Most effective teams are cross-functional, where different team members bring different skills and experience to the table. As such, it is important to not just look at candidates’ practical skills, but also their work styles and personality types to achieve a balanced mix. Some teams fail when there are too many “wannabe” leaders or dominant personalities, and vice versa. The best work and ideas often come from teams that combine diverse styles such as creative thinkers, pragmatists, data-hounds, subject matter experts and negotiators. If you have a good mix of styles and expertise, then this is a strong foundation for building mutual respect within the team – a central pillar for success.

2.     Who does what? When setting up a team, or restructuring one, it is critical for everyone to be very clear on their individual roles within the team, their objectives and the overall goals of the team. Any confusion or blurred lines in this area can start to cause friction, dissatisfaction and underperformance very quickly. Some of the best organisations will involve their team in defining roles and responsibilities so that expectations are very clear and team members’ individual needs are met. If there is a hierarchy, it is important to be very clear on who reports to whom, and who the final decision maker is in any situation. This helps prevent clashes and tensions before they begin and empowers the right people in the right way.

3.     Collaboration and communication: Teams work well when each team member feels that they have contributed to something important. Ensuring the mechanisms and processes are in place so that all team members can and will be heard is important. Regular inter-team communication to identify issues early on and ensure everyone knows what the next stage of the plan is will help keep everyone on track. Giving all team members the opportunity to feedback on the team, its performance and each other, will reduce the chance of resentment or frustration creeping in, and help you to improve team processes or ways of working. These practices will help to develop a transparent and supportive environment, which is much more likely to result in positive results than a stressed, pressured or ‘every man for himself’ dynamic.

4.     Creating healthy competition: As well as creating a supportive environment where team members feel part of a family, giving them opportunities to compete with each other in a controlled and healthy way, can also enhance individual and team performance. By setting targets or creating transparent reward initiatives that don’t discourage team members from communicating and collaborating, healthy and motivating competition can breed great results. It will also help you identify ‘rising stars’ or development needs, so you can plan for the team’s future too.

5.     Celebrating and sharing excellence: When the team or individual members achieve their goals, celebrating and rewarding success is highly motivating. Introducing fun and excitement – when linked to good performance – will further improve the team dynamic and effectiveness. Equally, if anything goes wrong, ensuring the team gets constructive feedback will introduce some realism into the dynamic so that there are no false perceptions of performance or expectations. Ensuring that team members have to take responsibility for any failures is a major development tactic that is important as well. If you have a leader who takes all the responsibility and has to deal with any fallout, then the individuals who make mistakes will not be as motivated to ensure nothing like it happens again.

University and College graduates looking for Jobs Asia can signup on now Asia's fastest growing graduate recruitment platform, combining the latest technology with state of the art tools, including Video Interviewing.

Focusing on improving the dynamics of the workplace can help employees and employers get ahead. It provides them with a learning opportunity which consequently enhances their overall development. It also highlights how internal processes work and how each employee helps shape the dynamics of the overall team. Seeing these individual processes and their results is a great approach for ensuring the survival of vibrancy and positivity in the work environment.
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Standing Out From the Crowd
A fresh graduate starting his/ her career is entering a very competitive workplace where multiple candidates are vying for the same companies and industries. Therefore it’s vital you differentiate yourself from other graduates. This difficulty is enhanced by the fact that there are fewer opportunities than ever before.

Consider each job application, and interview as an opportunity for you to showcase your skills. Proving to the interviewer why you are suitable for the job, why you are the best and most suitable candidate, and why they should hire you above all others is your number 1 priority.

Below is a list of 5 factors that will help you to stand out from the crowd, and to help kick-start your career and winning that dream job.
Live “your” dream
There is no point in applying for a role you are not even interested in. Although parents or friends may have the very best of interests in advising and guiding you to a specific career, this path may not fit with you or your passions. By applying for a job that is in line with your passions, you will naturally show more enthusiasm for the role.
To showcase these passions, it would be ideal to demonstrate real experience which you can add to your resume. Extra-curricular activities, work experience, internships, or even projects can demonstrate your heightened levels of interest and enjoyment. These assist in highlighting to the employer that you are already active within the target industry.

In part this comes down to passion, and part of where that lies is in your inherent strengths. Talk to your friends and family or your teachers or take psychometric tests to refine a clearer definition of where those strengths lie.

The biggest single challenge you currently face is understanding “you” and gathering enough information to work out which job, career, industry or sector fits your skills.

You are young, you are at the very top of peers in your generation. You have invested enormous amounts of time and money to reach this level. Now is the time to go to the next step and build your career- and live your dream.

Always, Always, Be Professional
There is a gigantic graveyard somewhere, full of brilliant candidates with excellent qualifications, and real passion, who have fallen into the trap of being unprofessional in an interview and hence failing to win the job.

Always dress professionally – somewhere between graduation and a wedding / funeral. Even if the company is “cool” or relaxed, turning up in slippers and a mankini, won’t get you hired.
Always listen attentively. If you’re looking out the window or dreaming of lunch, don’t worry, the chance are you will be out there sooner than you think. An interview is an energy flow between two or more people. Respect those partaking, and concentrate.
Confidence is vital, arrogance is the exit sign. Yes, you may well be the next big thing, but everyone – literally everyone – started at the bottom, making tea, filing or doing mundane tasks. Realise this is where the respect from colleagues is won.

Be Prepared
“Do you have any questions?”
“Duh-no” is the writing on the tombstone of every failed job interview.
There are a few vital things you can do before any interview and research on the company/ role/ industry/ interviewers as well as preparing your questions is arguably as important as turning up on time to the right venue.

Your desired company’s mission statement and vision give you the clearest clues on who is their ideal hire.
And if you should happen not to have any more questions try this one:
“Thank you. I think you have already answered all my questions. I would like to add that I’m very keen to move forward. What would you advise me to help secure this opportunity?”

Be honest, play to your strengths
We all know, no one is perfect – at least that’s what our mothers told us (unless you have one of those doting moms) – and there are questions (or more likely experiences) you cannot answer.
The ideal reply is to recognise the question and your inability to answer it. Then showcase an area of strength that may be relevant to the issues relating to the question.

“No, I’m afraid I’ve never learnt Swahili, but I did learn French in 6 months, and if Swahili is essential to winning the role, I will dedicate my extra time to learning. Can you suggest any preferred schools or books?”

Never give up
There may be a million reasons why you didn’t succeed the first or second (or tenth) time. Don’t give up, don’t stop trying and show real determination.

Here are a few optimistic facts:
1. They are probably not the only company in the world you have this opportunity with. Look more widely in the industry or sector. Oftentimes smaller more specialised start-ups give wider exposure to the required skills wanted and a start at gaining that all invaluable experience.
2. Get the right skill-set to be a better candidate. Recognise the tools you need or need work on. Take a course, read up or ask advice.
3. Timing is everything. People change jobs often so stay in touch with your preferred company.
Here’s to a successful job search ahead, and finding the career that fits your dreams.
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Interviewing with Integrity

Many corporate executives interview to fill a vacancy within an organisation, but not everyone is skilled, trained or qualified to do so. However, there are some guidelines that anyone can learn and practice. As the interviewer, you are responsible for the entire interview process and, more importantly, are representing your organisation, by giving candidates an impression of what it would be like to work there.

Beyond finding out if a candidate would be suitable for a role, you should build a rapport with the interviewee. This can be achieved by ensuring you remain honest and respectful throughout the interview process. You may be busy, but the interviewee is likely to be nervous and the interview could be a significant event in his or her life. By showing integrity towards the candidate, you are setting the standards for the company and are acting as a role model in terms of how to behave as a fellow employee. Your actions and behaviour in an interview will also set the tone for the successful candidate’s career with your organisation, and could mean the difference between the ideal candidate accepting a role with you, or not. 

As recruiters, we often hear of bad experiences from candidates, such as not being given enough time, made to wait for hours, or being talked at rather than listened to. The cliché in recruitment that an interview is as much an opportunity for the candidate to find out about an organisation, as the other way around, is true. Here are some tips for giving the best impression and behaving with integrity when conducting an interview.

1.     Leave preconceived notions at the door: We all judge people within seconds or even nano-seconds of meeting them; it’s human nature. But as an interviewer, you have a duty to put aside any prejudices, preconceptions or ill-made judgements and treat everyone equally. In interview situations objectivity rules, although you don’t have to completely ignore your instincts. Ensure you rationalise what it is about a person that is causing you to have a certain reaction to them. If it’s anything that’s not relevant to their ability to do the job, then you must ignore it – both from a legal and moral standpoint.

2.     Respect interview etiquette: Proper interview etiquette ensures a successful and professional process, which leaves a good, lasting impression with the interviewee. Try not to make a candidate wait for too long. If there is going to be a delay, inform them, and whilst conducting the interview, be as polite and attentive to them as possible. Your body language contributes to the way in which questions are interpreted – you should control this to ensure that you remain respectful and put the candidate at ease. 

3.     Be honest and fair about the role: Having integrity whilst interviewing entails being transparent about the job scope. Never oversell a role or organisation simply to fill in a difficult position; the candidate might be staking their career, or more, on a job move. If there are aspects of the role that are challenging – such as long working hours, tight deadlines – be upfront about it. Not only is that fair to the candidate, it will also mean only the right person will accept – saving you unwanted stress or resources down the line when things don’t work out.

4.     Stay positive and highlight opportunities: As an interview is an impactful conversation, always keep in mind that the outcome should be positive. In addition to point 3 above, being upfront about challenges in the role doesn’t mean you should downplay it. If there are opportunities to fast tracking or progression for the ideal candidate, then highlight those points. Match the positives of the role with the candidate’s experience and interests to show them how it could suit them and help them develop.

5.     Dig deeper with follow-up questions: Preparing a set list of questions is basic, but being able to challenge the candidate with relevant, follow-up questions is a skill. Giving them the opportunity to think on their feet and reveal hidden strengths or motivations will only help you to see how well they might fit your role and organisation.  But don’t do this with the aim of ‘catching them out’. Interviews are already stressful, intense situations. Making a candidate feel comfortable and confident will reveal their true potential.

6.     Provide continuous, constructive feedback: By providing feedback, it shows genuine interest and attention in the candidate. If the candidate did something in error, advise them accordingly. If their experience didn’t doesn’t fit, offer some suggestions on how they might be able to gain the required experience. Taking a short amount of time to give feedback is only fair when someone has likely spent hours preparing for and attending an interview with you.

But remember that you can only do the above if you really listen; active listening is a core skill of good interviewers. You can employ tactics like repeating / clarifying their points to show you have understood, or writing down some of what they say as well. Again, this practice doesn’t just help the candidate but yourself as well, in case you need to compare notes between two or more suitable applicants.

Contrary to what many believe, the entire interview process doesn’t just end there. Post-interview feedback should also be provided, which is something several overlook. Candidates have taken time and may have spent money to attend your interview. Even if they are not the right fit for the role, you should always give them an answer, be it via email or a courtesy call.

So, the next time you conduct an interview for your organisation, remember the impact it can have on someone’s life, and take a bit of time to ensure the experience you provide is as comfortable, fair and professional as possible. It will only reflect badly on your organisation if you do not do so. And remember: “Judge someone by his/her questions rather than his/her answers” (Voltaire).

University and College graduates looking for Jobs can signup on GradGreenhouse now Asia's fastest growing graduate recruitment platform
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Interview Tips for Personal Success

You have landed yourself an interview you are now faced with the issue of how to best prepare for one. What do you do? What are you going to expect during an interview? Where do you even begin?All of these questions can be rather unnerving, so here are a set of tips to help you ease those pre-interview jitters.

1. Fail to prepare = Prepare to fail
Preparation is key to any interview. It’s always good to plan ahead by ensuring that you know exactly where you are going and the time it takes to get to your interview destination. Ensure you arrive at least 15 minutes before, in order to minimise stress; interviewers are never impressed by late comers. It also helps to have a checklist - is there anything else to do on the day or is the company expecting you to bring anything with you? By being prepared, it ensures that you are ready for anything that might come your way.

2. Practice makes perfect
Preparing responses to interview questions is proven to help reduce anxiety levels. Your main aim is to deliver detailed and concise responses with your focus directed at specific examples and accomplishments. A useful technique to remembering this better is to develop your responses into a story form. Try not to memorise specific responses as they may come off as too predictable and rehearsed. Instead, formulate a flow to the questions you feel you will be asked and how you will answer them.
As your interview process begins, remember your success is dependent on the quality and delivery of your responses. Maintain your authenticity and always respond truthfully to your interview questions. Your goal is to get to the next stage, so be mindful of what you say. Showcase your skills, experiences and how well you would fit into the organisation. Provide strong examples of solutions to problem scenarios and showcase your accomplishments.

3. Do your research
Tying in with the first point, you should also prepare for your interview by doing thorough research on your potential employer. Researching your prospective employer highlights your interest to the interviewer and shows that you are prepared to invest your efforts in them. Avoid mere memorisation of facts about the company and form your own opinion. You can obtain such ideas and formulations by reading up on the company on their website, Googling them for news and visit their LinkedIn page. It is also important to find out who you are meeting; is it a line manager, someone from the HR department, or will there be more than one? Look up their backgrounds, their roles and what they do. Again, this can be done easily on LinkedIn.

4. Leave a great First Impression
Observations will be made not only on your verbal, but your non-verbal cues as well. Studies have shown that when meeting someone face to face, 93% of how you are judged is based on non-verbal data, such as your appearance and your body language. The remaining 7% is influenced by the words that you speak. Even during your initial encounter on the phone with the interviewer, over 70% of how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice and the 30% on your words. So it only makes sense that you ensure that you are attired properly. From the minute you walk into your interview, you are being assessed by your interviewer so always keep your interview answers positive. Communicate with a confident smile and a firm handshake or “hello” as they resonate positivity and show the interviewer that you are engaging actively with them.

5. Remember it is a two-way street
When in an interview, it is expected that you will be nervous and a little on edge. This is absolutely normal and you should not let it deter you. However, ensure that you are prepared to not only answer questions about the company, but to also ask questions back. A potential employer will want to know that you have researched their company (see point 3) so that you can discuss the basics and gradually move into current trends. Not only will this help add points to your interview, it will help you exude a confidence that will help with recall. Remember that the interviewer will be seeing several candidates besides yourself - someone who is interactive and communicative will stand out more as opposed to one who isn’t.

While the interview process will always be met with some nerves, there is absolutely no reason to be completely daunted by the prospect. Treat the interview process as a way of a company getting to know you, because that is essentially what it is. Be mindful of what you choose to say, maintain your authenticity, and remember; organisations may interview a lot of candidates, but you are equally important in the interview process as you do not want to join a company or take up a job that is not the right fit for you. Last but not least, good luck!

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” – Arthur Ashe

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 How to make a great first impression
As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and this is particularly applicable in a job interview. Whether your first ‘meeting’ is face-to-face, over the phone or even over the internet, there’s no room for error. From your very first greeting, others will be evaluating your potential suitability for both the job and the company, ultimately leading to a decision on the next stage – a second interview, an offer, or rejection. In short, the pressure’s on and there’s no time to waste: you need to make an excellent first impression.

However, just as no two individuals react to the same situation in the same way, not everyone is able to leave good impressions when under pressure. It pays to understand how people make their first judgment and what you can do to be in control of the results. In this blog I have identified some of the pitfalls, issues and ways to shine.

Put your best foot forward
By being prepared. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how few people prepare intensively for an interview. For a start, when applying for a job, learn everything there is to know about the company and who you’re talking to. Research on products and services, as well as the company’s history and future direction. Learning about their competitors will give you an added advantage too. Then, if possible, prepare a video profile stating your aims, aspirations, why you’d be a great fit for the company and why the hiring manager should consider you.

Once that hurdle is cleared and you’re invited in for an interview, bear in mind that when you meet someone face-to-face, 93% of their perception of you in the first few minutes is based on non-verbal data - your appearance and your body language. Ensure that you are well-groomed and appropriately attired while appearing relaxed, engaged and confident.

If your initial encounter is over the phone, however, be aware that 70% of how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice and 30% on your words. So remember that it's not what just you say - it's also how you say it that counts.

Be prepared to be tested
Employers use many tools to screen potential applicants, and these days to prepare yourself for the interview itself, chances are you’ll also need to be prepared for psychometric testing and cognitive assessment. More and more businesses are taking a deeper dive into candidates’ minds by using formal tests - like Myers-Briggs, for example. It’s all about hiring the person who will best fit the job from a skills, intelligence, personality and cultural perspective. Psychometric testing results provide employers with a behavioural profile of you - your level of intelligence or aptitude and your personality characteristics. The profile will indicate whether you can solve problems, are a team player or whether you prefer to work individually, and other relevant attributes. To succeed in psychometric tests, you'll need to do some preparation in advance:

* Get yourself in good physical and mental shape (you need to be at your best to produce your best results).

* Find out what the employer is looking for in the right applicant (is it a team player or an individual problem solver?).

* Get to know the types of questions (familiarising yourself with the typical content and format of psychometric tests will give you an advantage).

* Practise, practise, practise (there are a multitude of psychometric tests you can take online).

Be prepared to be personable
An interview is a chance for you to sell yourself to a potential employer so it’s important to come across as someone interesting and engaging. It’s not uncommon for employers to hire someone they like and train them on what they are missing from the job description rather than employing a candidate who ticks all the boxes but doesn’t resonate on a personal level.  So if you have hobbies, talents and outside interests, mention them. Your interviewer(s) will be keen to see factors such as your personal development, growth, and choices you’ve made and the reasons why. 

Another great way to build rapport with someone and identify how they feel about you is body language. Mirroring other people’s expressions and body helps build rapport, and you can tell whether someone is agreeing with what you’re saying by watching if they cross their arms or legs (in most cases this can be taken as showing disagreement).  Don’t overdo it though as in worse case scenarios it can feel intrusive. More importantly is intensive listening. The greatest salespeople (and we all need to sell ourselves) are great listeners.

The current market is very competitive and companies want to hire the best talent available.  And whilst there’s no definitive method to follow when trying to create a positive and memorable first impression, as you can see there are a few things you can do to help the process.  Don’t miss out on an opportunity by not doing them.

'A good first impression can work wonders' — J.K. Rowling 

Graduates looking for Jobs should signup on GradGreenhouse.
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How do you find a company that’s the right fit?
Graduates entering the working world often tend to overlook potential, as opposed to the reality of what they will be actually doing. They’re frequently dazzled by the “prestige” of working for a global blue-chip or respected national company to the point that they become blind to the fact that a great job is a lot more than just a fancy title in a known organisation.

You also have to factor in dealing with colleagues, bosses, politics and pecking orders and, of course, corporate culture. If you don't thrive in that culture, the job - and your future career along with it - can go very wrong, very quickly.

Today, we take a look at how to identify what your strengths are and what to look for in a company's culture before you apply.

Get to know yourself
You could probably turn your hand to many professions, but one method of finding the ideal career path you’ve possibly never even considered, is through psychometric testing.

Originally devised by the Chinese to test their civil servants, psychometric testing – literally mind measurement – was used extensively by the American and British armies after both world wars to establish what to do with all the enlisted men. These days, tests have become more sophisticated and so reliable that they can be used to quite accurately gauge the suitability of your personal characteristics for a job. This makes it a useful tool for those making career decisions – from the fresh graduate to the mid-career professional. On GradGreenhouse we engage with multiple world leading assessment specialists.

Psychometric testing encourages candidates to look at their own relative strengths rather than compare themselves with others. While it makes sense to embark on a career that reflects your specific abilities, the results alone shouldn't define your career choices. They can, however, highlight your weaknesses so you know where to focus on improving.

Get to know your choices
Many individuals often say they like to work with people – but psychometric testing will show whether you want to help them, care for them, influence them or advise them. For example, doctors, teachers, social workers and salespeople all deal with people, but they are very different in how they apply their interpersonal skills within their jobs.

Armed with results of the assessment, you’ll now have the knowledge to select careers that play to your strengths and needs. You’ll already know that you should now target specific companies offering openings in these careers, as opposed to simply trying your luck and applying to every job opening. The effort you put into finding job openings that are more suited to your skills and career goals, will allow you to tailor your CV specifically for those jobs. This in turn will hopefully lead to better responses. The same rules apply when it comes to corporate culture. When you find a job that sounds like a great professional fit at a company, take your research to the next level with a checklist of questions.

Get to know the company
Most companies have an “About Us” or “Our Team” page on their websites. These pages normally provide useful background information on what it's like to be a part of their team, or what their "values" are. Sometimes, their job listings page is accompanied by a description of what life would be like to work there, as well as what benefits and bonuses they offer to employees.
Take time to review their company website thoroughly. This will also assist you later on should you apply and be successful in securing an interview – most recruiters either ask “What do you know about our company?” or “Why do you want to work here?” to gauge your interest.

Another valuable (and possibly more honest) gauge for corporate culture is the company’s social media. The company’s Twitter account may be useful reading, and it’s highly recommended to look at what they share on Facebook with their customers and the public. Check their Instagram account if they have one as well, as it might reveal team-bonding sessions; visiting the company's LinkedIn page (or just doing a search for them) will also reveal the number of people who work there, what their skills and backgrounds are, and provide insights on what the company is doing, its projects or clientele, and the direction they are headed in.

For a more in-depth look, you could also go to sites providing honest feedback from past and present employees, thus providing you with almost “insider information.”

Once you’ve gathered all the information you can find, it’s time to weigh the pros and cons, and put together a mental picture of what your day to day experience would be like at this company. Don’t just think in regards to the work you'll be doing, but also imagine what the office environment is like, what potential colleagues might be like, etc.

The more complete that mental picture is, the better equipped you'll be to decide if this job is the right fit for you or not. Remember, you’ll be spending a majority of your week at work, so being self- motivated, inspired and bringing high energy to your profession will make the difference on how quickly your career grows.

Finding the right career and the right company is similar to falling in love. Be passionate in your pursuit of the best “fit”, and realistic that like all great relationships, you need dedication to make it work.

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Finding Your Inherent Strengths

As a new graduate, you’re still learning, adjusting and adapting to the working environment. You’ve managed to secure the role of your dreams, from the organization that you’ve always wanted to be a part of. In this regard, you will want to show them your positive qualities, and you are always going to need to play to your strengths. How does one actually identify what their strengths are?

Let's start with explaining that strengths are an accumulation of your talents, knowledge and skills. It is built upon the key attributes that allow you to show your best qualities about yourself. The notion of what strength personifies, from the school of thought of Positive Psychology, indicates that; strength contributes to personal qualities that make up a good individual.
Organizations rely on an individual’s recollection of their gathered knowledge of their skills experiences and when prompted to indicate ‘what your ‘strengths’ are; responses can be rather subjective. This is because no two interviewing candidates are the same, and no two examples of defining their strengths are either. Thus the responses would be varied on a case-by-case basis.

So how does one learn to understand their strengths better? A proposed way to identify such a trait, would be to take a cognitive assessment test, specifically dedicated to evaluating your personal key attributes of strength. Cognitive assessment tests are usually administered by organizations, due to the nature and purpose of the tests. These are created in order to assist in assessing candidates with the future of their work performance. In this context, it would be to measure an individual's strengths.

When you use your strengths, you are focusing more on what you are good at, than what you know you are capable of doing. High achievers are consistently exercising, pushing their strengths, in that they are taking their experiences, be it positive or negative, and learning how to actively manage them.

A key factor to remember, is that when you are taking cognitive assessment tests, these are being administered by your hiring manager, to help them in assessing your cognitive abilities and deductive reasoning. Do not focus on the fact that just because you score lower in certain areas, that you are generally ‘weaker’ in that aspect of talent. This is often enough a common misconception amongst individuals who take the assessment. Do not be disheartened by this, as assessments of cognitive capabilities, gives organizations a better understanding into increasing business performance. It is an indicator of an individual's ability to acquire, retain and organize information.

Organizations want to know your strengths, so that they are able to analyse individuals, when they work autonomously, as opposed to working in a team environment. By being able to understand the strengths of each individual, recruiters, can better recognise and assess which candidate complements their organization.

In a survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management, roughly 18 percent of companies are using cognitive assessment tests in their hiring process, with a rate of growth of 10-15% each year. Companies that have chosen to implement cognitive based assessment tests, can reap benefits in terms of reducing turnover, and improving morale. This is because companies want to hire high-quality candidates in order to help place them into the right role. Almost 90 percent of firms that test out job applicants, state that they will not hire job seekers when pre-employment testing finds them to be deficient in basic skills. Additionally, companies have seen a high correlation between high cognitive ability and optimal job performance.

Rather than letting this be a deterring factor, consider cognitive based assessment testing as your opportunity to shine. This is a way to showcase where your strengths lie, and how organizations can benefit from optimising from them.

So what would you consider your inherent strengths to be? Find out and take your assessment now to see what you shine in!

GradGreenhouse is a dedicated recruitment site for graduates
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Dressing to Impress (Literally!)

From the late Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg, they’ve disrupted the industry in more ways than one, down to the clothes they wear. Jobs made black turtlenecks seem avant-garde while Zuckerberg brought the advent of the “entrepreneur hoodie.” But these entrepreneurs have a very valid reason for donning their"uniform" of success – running is a multi-million dollar company is not easy, and to simplify their morning routines, the last thing they want to think about is “What to wear?”
However, this does not mean that anyone can now take liberties with their choice of clothes, especially for an interview. Attire is an important component in the interviewing process as it is an extension of self, helps create a favourable first impression and speaks volumes to recruiters in terms of suitability at first glance.

The Psychology of Image
While enlightened society still extolls “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” this rule simply does not apply when hiring. In general (beyond just recruiters), people size you up within the first 7 seconds of meeting you based on your posture, handshake and your dressing – from the choice of clothing item, down to thecolours worn.
So it is imperative to ensure that your dressing sends the right messages across.

What to look out for:
By now, it is safe to say that office wear is essentially the safest bet to dressing for an interview.

For the ladies, that means:
- A simple dress that isn’t short or tight, or in too loud a colour or print
- A blouse or shirt that is not low cut, paired with dress pants or a skirt of appropriate length (no shorter than an inch above the knees)
- Comfortable heels – opt for kitten or a stacked heel, as opposed to stilettos

For men:
- Business shirt and pants.
- Depending on the industry, a suit may be in order. If not, a well pressed tailored shirt, tie and pants are fine.
- Avoid loud prints and colours as well.

For Video Interviewing:
- No checks / patterns
- Look in a mirror – check hair/ teeth/ complexion

Stay away from clothes that are too fitted, too short, too baggy or too revealing. If you’re unsure of a clothing item,then don’t wear it. The safest bet is your best bet. But aside from the basics, there are other details that many miss out on. Before your interview, here’s a quick checklist:
1. Look out for wrinkles and missing buttons. Details like these ruin your image by making you look sloppy.
2. Pay attention to your nails. Everyone looks at hands, especially as you go in for a firm handshake, so keep your nails clean and trimmed. For ladies, ensure that your manicure or nail polish is not chipped.
3. Watch the shoes and accessories. Ensure that your shoes are not scuffed or dirty. Do not over accessorise as it can be distracting during an interview.

While you wish to leave a memorable impression, careful consideration should made as you don’t wish to be memorable for the wrong reasons. Remember that attire is an extension of oneself; aside from speaking well and being articulate, dressing is also a very important part of the interview process as it is especially apparent when you first walk through the door. Take extra care in what you wear and you just might be able to “clothes” the deal at your interview.

“Good clothes open all doors” – Thomas Fuller

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5 Effective Work Habits for Graduates

When entering the working world as a fresh graduate, you’re eager and excited to showcase your new skills in order to prove yourself amongst your peers. Sometimes, it is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to do too much too soon and as a result, you may go over the top with what you show to your new employers and colleagues.

Whilst such eagerness can be a refreshing within the working environment, you might end up at a point where you become overwhelmed with tasks and assessments and end up failing, which is not the result you wanted. Below are 5 key traits for new you to practice and develop to transition into the working world.

1. Respect
Respect can appear to be easy to practice well, because it’s straightforward. However most individuals take it as a given. We have heard it often enough that we should be respectful to people, regardless of rank or designation. Ideally it is an act of reciprocity, when you are nice and respectful towards others, they would return in kind and help you when needed. This is especially important when entering a new organisation, seeing as you would never know what assistance you would require from your colleagues.
Being respectful to all your new colleagues is done out of common courtesy, especially when environments can become stressful and overwhelming. Being professional at all times increases the chances of individuals wanting you to work more with them and assist you when needed.

2. Diligence
Individuals often think that working hard is having to do as much work as possible. This is not true. In the situation of “working hard” there are contributing factors to keeping one working effectively. Self-motivation is a key component; as the old saying goes - if you’re standing still, you’re going backwards. The key to being diligent is to give each task 100%. You should also always look to improve on your skills, even as a graduate, and through due diligence, you will effectively learn what new skills you might need to acquire, or areas for improvement. Doing so helps to increase your value not only to yourself, but to your potential employers. (Doing homework and extra research on an area of focus also never hurts).

3. Focus
Sometimes when entering your new workplace, you are so eager to show everyone what you have learnt that you could overwhelm yourself by volunteering to assist with any task or project. Understanding what your job scope is and focusing on main tasks is vital. While you may think that you are showing initiative, promising to assist someone and then failing to complete the job due to lack of time or other external factors, will only reflect on you negatively. Maintaining a clear sense of professionalism and direction is important. Be aware of your limitations - focus on the current task at hand, deliver it and then move on to what else you can do next.

4. Positivity
Maintaining a strong level of positivity is not always an easy task, especially when faced with a challenge or under stress. For example, when your manager hands you a new project and expects you to work on it immediately, while you are in the midst of finishing another. It is not always easy to keep yourself balanced and often, you could fall into a slump which will probably manifest itself in your work and/ or appearance, causing others to be frustrated and annoyed.
Experiencing negative emotions being delivered in the form of criticism or rejection makes you stressed. Your body will shut down and your mind will switch to your conflict and defense mechanisms. As a result, you perceive situations as being worse than they really are. Being positive on the other hand, increases your communicative, collaborative and trust skills in others. Moreover, positive interactions increase expansive thought and actions.
On average, we need 3-5 positive interactions for every negative exchange that we have. In the workplace, have interactions and seek feedback about what is working effectively. As a new hire, people tend to be more understanding and forthcoming, and this can be used to your advantage, but only if you are proactive and remain positive.

5. Communicate
Having clear and open communication is effective in the process of helping to build strong working relationships with your colleagues. Strong communicators have the positive ability to give and receive criticism. It is always important to be able to express yourself whilst being able to listen to the ideas and opinions of others. Your appetite for learning should not diminish upon graduating - ask relevant questions. Ensure that when you are asking questions or seeking clarity with a problematic task that you offer what you think is a possible solution as well. If you see that something is not working, bring it to your manager’s attention but do not go ahead without having a series of well researched and analysed recommendations. This shows you’re proactive and you’re willing to learn even if the solution is not the right one. People are more likely to help you when they see that you have made a conscious effort, rather than wait to be spoon-fed answers.
It is clear that entering the working world is no easy task. However, consider these 5 points when taking that first step. Understand what is expected of you and learn to actively practice these points. There will be more along the way as you learn to adapt to your new company and work environment, but always be mindful when learning to practice a series of good work habits.

P.S. And always be on time.

“Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late” – William Shakespeare

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