Tips and Tricks for Skype Interviews Mar26

Tips and Tricks for Skype Interviews

As recruiters, we Skype on the daily and we’ve encountered the best of the best and, unfortunately, the worst of the worst. Since everything comes with its learning curves, we thought we’d share our accumulated insights about Skype do’s and don’ts. The overarching theme is simple: act as if the interview is the same as a face-to-face meeting. Would you shave for an in-person interview? Then please, get rid of your 5 o’clock shadow for your Skype interview. Would you wear a button-up shirt with PJ bottoms to an in-person interview? Then please, wear a complete outfit and don’t just dress up your upper half. (Besides, you never know when you need to stand up to go grab something during a Skype interview…). Based on Smart Savvy’s collective years of experience, here are our recruiter’s tips for that upcoming Skype or Facetime interview you have and want to ace. 1. No Narcissism Just kidding – but really, don’t stare at yourself the whole interview. We know Skype offers that lovely little “picture in picture” screen that shows yourself and severely heightens your sense of self-awareness, but do your best to ignore it. Our Comms/PR guru Marina Guy even suggests covering the screen of yourself with a post-it note so you can instead focus on staring into the camera and at the screen of the other person. Focus on the recruiter and maintain good eye contact, which will also limit other bad habits we’ve seen, such as constantly fixing your hair. 2. Build a Frame Once a recruiter can see your dirty laundry basket, that is the only thing they’re going to see the entire time. If you think a bedroom with open doors to your wardrobe or a psychedelic painting in the background is a good idea, think again. In the case of a background...

#StandApart: Jacquie Loch, VP & Group Publisher, TC Media

“My favourite thing is a blank page.” For having change as the common denominator in her professional life, Jacquie Loch is a woman of certainty. She knows what she’s been through and why – and she knows how to put uncertainty on a leash and tame it (and make it shake a paw). Jacquie Loch is VP & Group Publisher at TC Media and is Publisher of a large portfolio of consumer magazine brands that includes Canadian Living, ELLE Canada, Style at Home and The Hockey News. She had built a career in the publishing industry, although she may not see things that way. “I’m in the media and communications business. I am in publishing but publishing is a verb – it’s not a media platform. I’m in content creation and storytelling that engages audiences.”  With an industry based on transitions and fluidity, Jacquie mirrors the career she has chosen. She is a professional nomad – working out of her purse and working on a day-to-day regimen that has “no normal”. The first time change stepped on Jacquie’s toes, it was a shift in the industry. While her peers had chosen to forgo pursue Business school or Computer Science degrees, Jacquie turned her heels in the opposite direction and chose an art school education at The Ontario College of Art (now OCAD) and a final post-grad year spent in Florence. “An incredible thing that happened over my career is when the industry started valuing creative thinking and lateral thinking. I just happened to crest in that space when all of a sudden what was perceived in the 80’s as a wacky skill set, became the skill set.” Things turned in her favour. After graduation, her time spent at The Financial Post moulded her to...

#StandApart Profile: Ben Smith, VP Sales +Marketing, Rennie Marketing Systems

Ben’s home in Whistler is long gone from his rear-view mirror before half of Vancouverites have even opened their eyes to the morning rain (it is November in Vancouver, after all). While Vancouver sleeps, Ben is plowing through his to-do list—undoubtedly part of the reason why he’s one of the most well-known real estate sales and marketing gurus in BC. Ben leads marketing and sales for Rennie Marketing Systems – North America’s leading real estate marketing organization, known around the world for developments like the Olympic Village and Woodward’s. Throughout his career Ben has seamlessly jumped up the corporate ladder from consultant, to director agency side, to real estate marketing and sales frontrunner. Ben has proven himself a strategic sales and marketing leader. Don’t let marketing and sales innovation fool you. Ben is the Chuck Norris of time management and always makes time for his #1 priority; his family (wife and four children), and his passions; skateboarding and snowboarding. How does this #standapart sales and marketing executive and family man do it all? Learn his story and his secrets – here is Ben’s #standapart profile. Describe your current role in 140 characters or less… I lead a team of people who market and sell multifamily residential communities. One word that best describes how you work. Hard. What is your superpower? (What is the one thing you do you do better than most?) Making change. Intentionality or Happenstance?  Which has played a greater role in building your career path? Both, they are inextricably linked. “You can either have a job or make a career.” Where does your motivation come from?  Does motivation come easy for you or is it work/discipline to sustain it? I think I was born driven to some degree. On the days...

Keep Your Resume in the Follow-Up Pile: 5 Resume Must-Haves Oct23

Keep Your Resume in the Follow-Up Pile: 5 Resume Must-Haves

The other day on LinkedIn, I came across a conversation that reminded me of this important rule of thumb: don’t underestimate the basics. Holiday party invite: don’t forget to RSVP. Cooking for co-workers: check for allergies. Interview etiquette: turn off your phone. Whether you’re applying for a job, following a business lead or even just replying to the boss’ last email, the ‘basics’ are the foundation of your personal brand. The smallest details can signify big things. Personalized content on a cover letter shows investment. Clean grammatical work speaks to diligence. Contact details prove common sense. Before you hit ‘send’ on your resume, give it a second look with these 5 basic reminders for keeping your resume in the follow-up pile: 1. Contact Information David Rogers, Recruitment Partner  for BC Hydro posted this on his LinkedIn the other day:“Reminder, as an applicant applying to any job out there, please remember to include phone # and email on your resume.” I had to give it a hearty “like” – just the other day I’d dealt with a candidate who’d listed an invalid phone number on her resume (no wonder no one was calling her back)!  While you’re updating your contact info, don’t forget your LinkedIn profile url, your Twitter Handle and any other relevant social media accounts (i.e. personal blog) too. 2. Spelling & Grammar 6 hours spent on your Vine Resume means nothing when your introductory email is full of spelling erors (oops). Double check everything. Don’t sound like a template. And certainly don’t plagiarize someone’s LinkedIn summary. For all its world-class fare, Vancouver is still a small town by many measures. And if you’re serious about the job (whether you’re a VP or a recent grad), you’ll need a second set of eyes on your final...

Who To Hire? Oct16

Who To Hire?

“Life is like a box of crayons. Most people are the 8-colour boxes, but what you’re really looking for are the 64-colour boxes with the sharpeners on the back.” John Mayer, Singer-Songwriter I’m perpetually surprised by how few companies seem to know “who” they need. Some can identify a needed skill or two but often those are the exception rather than the rule. And the temptation in a time consuming job seach is to take a narrow/linear approach to finding ‘the right person’. Mistake. Potentially costly. Possibly fatal. The adage, “hire for character, you can always teach skill” is a useful framework particularly when hiring someone who is responsible for critical deliverables like media relations, research or marketing strategies. A great character hangs from the solid framework of a balanced ego – all the positive “self” qualities: self-aware, self-motivated, self-restrained, self-confident. The balance is maintained by a reasonable sense of judgment or perception – an ability to gauge yourself in relation to others in diverse situations – and a desire to self-correct. You don’t have to be right 100% of the time (because you won’t be!), but you should always be willing and able to correct yourself when you’re wrong. On the other hand, an imbalanced ego creates a framework with potential weaknesses – all the negative “self” qualities: self-centered, self-seeking, self-righteous, selfish, and sometimes self-conscious. Unfortunately, these are often compounded by a lack of perception and an unwillingness to self-correct. With a balanced ego to anchor them all, desirable characteristics like curiosity, creativity and eloquence, become further assets for your company. The curiosity of a balanced ego is inspired by ideas and plans generated by others not just themselves. They are capable of focusing their creativity on other people and their projects, not...

Counteroffers Cause Career Suicide Oct09

Counteroffers Cause Career Suicide

Trouble letting go of your BlackBerry? Still cutting the crusts off your sandwiches? Eating California Rolls as adventurous as it gets? Favourite tie seen better days? Time to finally kick the “ex” to the curb? Change is a constant. Change can be good – especially in marketing. We need to move with the times and keep up with the trends. The very same could be said for our careers. Stats tell us that the average North American can hold up to 10 different jobs or careers in their lifetime. This means that coming and going can be fairly frequent, and that you may be faced with counteroffers along the way. Here’s 4 tips for how (and why) YOU should ‘counter any counter’ with a “no.” 1. Your reasons for leaving have NOT changed. (Unless, of course, the problem was wholly financial.) Give it 6-8 months and you’ll find yourself standing in the same place—grossly unhappy and cringing for a change. 2. Office chemistry will take a hit.  Your once close office mates may view you suspiciously or resentfully, as they are now aware of your comparatively inflated salary. Leaders and executives may view you similarly, with a study from the Creative Group stating that 28% believed those looking elsewhere are ‘disloyal.’ 3. The company’s trust in you will waver. If there’s a shift in office politics, suspicious eyes may fall on you and you could be the first to go. As career counsellor Arlene Hirsch puts it, “your motives will be suspect from that point on since your boss will wonder whether your resume is still on the street.” 4. Being offered more money is probably a subtle way of telling you have been underpaid during your time there. An increase in salary can be...

#StandApart: Kari Grist, Managing Director, Marketing & Communications at UBC

This is the third installment of our @BCAMA Evening Speaker Series, “If I knew then…”Peter Reek facilitated a panel of five leading Vancouver marketers. He asked them to examine ‘aha’ moments, epiphanies, and things they may have done differently in their careers. Kari Grist is the Managing Director of Marketing and Communications at UBC. A passionate marketer, her career has propelled her from the ground up; from launching the first carbon neutral Olympic Games with VANOC in 2010, to above the clouds with Wardair and Canadian Airlines. Wherever she goes, whether it be financial services, aviation and tourism, or environmental services, barriers fall and milestones are reached. Here are Kari’s career takeaways on how to #StandApart: If you’re going to do something, make sure it’s unique, and awesome, and kicks ass. – Kari Grist Much of today’s marketing is rooted in fear, but it should be rooted in fearlessness. At the  2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Offsetters, with a budget of $35 000, took on global giants Coke and Sony. With an innovative media campaign, they floated the concept that without winter, there would be no winter games, and proposed the new sport of ‘bobwheeling’. This campaign had big impact globally, and its trajectory lead to a start up with twenty-five employees today. You only regret the things you don’t do, so don’t shy away from your big ideas. Don’t be afraid of change. It can be hard to know what career path should look like, and which decisions to make. Kari has changed cities, changed organizations, changed industries, and changed roles, and not regretted a one. My only regret is not going for a role that I thought was too big for me. Can’t go wrong as long as you let your personal...

Career Lessons from Space Jan17

Career Lessons from Space

See that photo there? That’s a picture of the International Space Station (ISS) rocketing by Vancouver from a viewpoint at Point Atkinson Lighthouse. It’s not easy to catch; the photographer had to splice together a series of images taken at a series of intervals and then stitch those together to capture the station’s path. Careers are a bit like that too. A shutter click of moments and people. High points and low points. Achievements and failures that make a story only once you’ve lived them. In real time, they’re just goals, things that happen, decisions (good and bad) and outcomes. Dots in space, really. I wouldn’t call myself a space junkie, by any means, but after having read Chris Hadfield’s memoir, An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth, I can tell you I am looking at the sky and careers a different way. Case in point: you think of an astronaut and you immediately assume the classic spacesuit image – tethered to spacecraft, floating in space. But in actuality, many astronauts work for years supporting other astronauts before getting anywhere near a spaceship (or never make it at all). These are the kinds of details that make Hadfield’s story so compelling. Really compelling. As one reviewer said, “Hearing astronaut Chris Hadfield talk about what going to space taught him, was one of those turn-off-the-car-engine, park and listen moments.” I was talking about this book with Telus’s Katie Drechsel (stay tuned for her #StandApart Career Profile) and she made a great point: “Look at all of the guys who’ve achieved what’s, by any standards, the greatest successes on earth – all of them have turned to space. It’s the next place for mad success.” If so Katie, I am watching. And in the meantime, I am reflecting. Here’s some of the shining...

Love Monday #39: How to Stay Career Limber Dec02

Love Monday #39: How to Stay Career Limber

Lunchtime yoga sessions have long since been on the perks menu of many Vancouver workplaces, but there’s a lot more you can and should do to stay career-limber in life. For starters, keep your ego in check. Are you really too good/ senior/valuable to lend your time and energy to that new office project or recruit? How often do you drive yourself toward new experiences and people? We love the question asked in one of the links below: What’s keeping you too safe? When everything is just copacetic, are you thriving or coping? Here are 5 #LoveMonday links to rattle your comfort zone. Great thoughts in this short but impactful post on staying life and career limber. What’s keeping you too safe? Where do you tend to choose the easy road? If your desire for comfort outweighs your natural curiosity and your openness to new experiences (people, projects, adventures), then you might want to consider a brief trip out of your comfort zone. … One of the top career sabotage moves of all time? An overinflated ego. If you know one (or are one), this Poorly Drawn Lines comic is sure to make you laugh. … If you suspected a top-notch female employee was turning down a promotion for fear that it wouldn’t fit in with her family life, what would you do? Sheryl Sandberg is leaning in (way in) to become a natural partner in the child-rearing and career plans of her employees. Her message: You may want to have kids one day. I’d love to talk to you about it. … How well do you interview your interviewer? That moment when the interview table turns is your chance to engage your prospective employer with thoughtful, smart and targeted questions. Will you come across articulate and knowing what you want? Here are suggestions for smart...