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  1. Interview Responses: Why did you leave your previous role?

    September 30, 2014 by Jenna

    Once you have been considered for the interview process, it is important to know that the employer or recruiter will ask questions to assess your suitability for the role.

    One of those questions they tend to ask is: ‘Why did you leave your previous position?’ Depending on your current situation there can be a variety of answers associated with this, but what answer will best get your foot in the door?

    I decided that it would be best to ask the experts in my team for their point of view when it comes to screening a candidate with this particular question. This was their feedback on suitable responses:

    • Looking for a new challenges/ Wanting more responsibility – You may have been excelling in your current role but the opportunity was not available to take on new challenges or move up in the company. You are taking on the initiative to pursue new options and take on more responsibilities.
    • Something different/ change of scenery – This is fine to admit, but not in the event that you are applying for a role that exactly matches the outline of your previous one.
    • Redundancy/Restructure – Of course this can be a sensitive subject but the recruiter can often relate to these situations.
    • Cultural change within the company – This can also be an acceptable answer, just make sure you try to be diplomatic and where possible try to avoid sounding too negative about the situation.
    • Career Change – if you have any transferable skills that you could bring to the new role it can always be advantageous to mention them.
    • The role became too demanding/long hours/not enough work-life balance – Think carefully before describing what ‘demanding’ or ‘long hours’ mean to you. Make sure it is relevant to why this new role is more appealing and fits with your career prospects.

    Do keep in mind there are also responses that should be avoided and this is why:

    • Being negative about a company or person within your previous employment – There may be circumstances where you have had a bad experience, however, how you relay this information is important. You don’t want to appear bitter about management or your previous work environment. Try to make your answer is more diplomatic rather than accusing.
    • A higher salary – Most managers/recruiters won’t hold this against you however, if it appears that money is the only driving force for behind you pursuing this role then the chances of getting this new position may be slim.
    • Not being able to give a valid reason – This can be a concern to the employer if you have a history of moving employment frequently. It may cause the employer to question your longevity in this upcoming role.

    Try preparing answers to these types of questions before the interview takes place so that you are not caught off guard. It is the employer’s way of trying to get to know you, what your interests/passions are, and whether you are the right fit so make sure to put your best foot forward.

    What have you learned from these types of questions in an interview? And for employers, what are some of the responses you have received from star candidates?

  2. “It’s all about the people”: Why this is the #1 reason people stay in their jobs

    September 20, 2011 by Jenna

    Rather heart-warmingly, this is how one of our “What’s the #1 reason you stay in your job” online poll respondents succinctly put it. 

    More than a third of respondents chose “I actually like the people I work with” as their #1 reason. Here are the full results: 

    • I actually like the people I work with – 35.2% 
    • I have flexible hours and work arrangements – 17.6% 
    • Other – 17.6% 
    • I actually like the work I do – 11.7% 
    • The money: I am paid above-market rate – 5.8% 
    • My manager inspires me – 5.8% 
    • There are opportunities for learning – 2.9% 
    • I am too lazy to look for another job – 2.9% 
    • There are opportunities for promotion – 0.0% 
    • The bonus and other financial rewards – 0.0% 

    As much as “Hawaiian Fridays” would also tempt me to stay in an otherwise lacklustre role (as another witty respondent volunteered as their #1 reason), I personally agree that it really is the people you work with that ultimately make or break a job. You could get the best job in the world, but if you then discovered that you’ll also be faced with a team of idiots and a psychopathic manager every day, then you’d probably be out the door again quick smart.

    I’m just saying.

    To further support this, here are some more poll responses:

    • I am blessed to be surrounded with very capable and competent staff.
    • I work with a truly amazing and inspiration group of people from the CEO to the Reception staff. The whole team is there to support each other and we are all working towards the goals. The first company I have worked for in quite a few years that I would be really sad if I ever left!
    • I work for family-owned company that treats its people like family. They reward and recognise many things that I know many other employers simply do not.

    It’s a safe bet that most people consider employee compatibility to be an essential requirement for an optimum work experience. Liking one’s co-workers will likely remain the key to overall job satisfaction as long as people are required to spend a lot of time on the job and work with the same people on a regular basis. It has also been shown to increase productivity, job satisfaction, and even life satisfaction. 

    “Anecdotal evidence throughout the culture suggests that liking one’s co-workers is a cherished benefit and even good for business. For example, the U.S. Army for years ran advertisements using the jingle “Be All You Can Be” until market research indicated that to attract the next generation of personnel, a better approach would be to stress the opportunity to “work with people you like”. Recent recruitment posters feature groups of people working together in a variety of occupations.” [Source]

    “Professor John Lounsbury, Trump University faculty (psychometric assessments) and a professor of psychology  at the University of Tennessee, has conducted extensive research in the area of job satisfaction. He has made some striking findings that suggest a positive correlation between employee compatibility and overall levels of personal satisfaction:

    • Based on a diverse sample of more than 1,100 adults in a variety of occupations, I’ve found that liking the people you work with is substantially related (positively) to overall job satisfaction and moderately related to both career satisfaction and life satisfaction.
    • Also, people who rate higher on the following traits tend to like the people they work with more: resilient/emotionally well-adjusted, extraverted-outgoing, agreeable, optimistic.
    • There are no differences in liking coworkers for males versus females, and workers age 20-29 like the people they work with more them those age 30-39. [Source]

    Whilst we’re on the topic of happy teams and staff morale, next week we’ll be looking at whether or not employers should foot the bill for their company’s Christmas party. What do you think? Have your day in this week’s online poll


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