Tag Archives: work

Minding the Employment Gap- What Not to Do

Mind the gap


1. Do not anticipate the worst

In the past, employment gaps were viewed by employers as discouraging, an indicator of unreliability. However, after the recession, employers have been forced to change their perspective, resulting in career gaps ceasing to be seen as an insurmountable blot on a candidate’s CV. While it is true that stigma around employment gap remains, employers are increasingly flexible and understanding when it comes to periods of unemployment or underemployment. Currently, the UK is in the midst of a shortage of skilled candidates, so it is likely that employers will be able to overlook gaps in your CV as long as your relevant skills and experience are evident. We find that many employers adopt the same philosophy as the entrepreneur James Caan

‘Personally, I am always more interested in the abilities and characteristics of an individual- if they haven’t been in work for a while but they have the quality my company needs, I will hire them’

2. Don’t be unprepared

That being said, it is unrealistic to expect that employers will not be curious to know why you were not in work for a period of time. Do not try to lie or bluff your way through the interview. It is far better to prepare for a grilling that you answer will appear natural and honest. Remember, your ultimate goal is to convince your interviewer that you are a genuine and dependable candidate. Make sure that you are well prepared to deal with the tricky questions so that you are able to convey a positive image consistently throughout the interview.

3. Don’t assume that what you were doing wasn’t valuable

A common fear amongst candidates who have experienced gaps in their employment is that potential employers will view career gaps as a sign of irresponsibility and a lack of commitment. However, in many cases, employment gaps have been spent doing valuable unpaid work, which has enabled the candidate to expand upon their existing skillset. Perhaps you took a career break in order to bring your children up. Maybe you were travelling or took a sabbatical year in order to develop and grow as an individual. All of these activities add value to you as an individual, so you should not assume that employers will take a dim view of your career gap. Put a positive spin on your employment gap by explaining the skills and experience that you required during this period.

4. Do not automatically opt for a standard CV

Nowadays, there is no reason to choose the default chronological CV when there are other resume options which may play to your strengths better. Go for a skills-based CV in order to showcase your diverse skills and experience in a way which will downplay your career gaps. If you do this effectively enough it is possible that your interviewer may not even notice that you have experienced periods of unemployment. Here is some help and advice for building a stellar skills-based CV


How Employers Can Aim to Build a Loyal Team

Earning the Respect of Your Employees Now Will Pay Off in the Future!

When leading a team of individuals, it is important to remember make each member of your team feel useful, valuable and necessary to the functioning of the group as a cohesive unit. Here are some points all employers should bear in mind when dealing with when negotiating with their staff.

We’re all familiar with the cliched ‘boss from Hell’ trope, take action now to make sure that you’re not comparable with this stereotype!



devil wears prada


This guy is my hero.


A Little Bit of Freedom Goes a Long Way

Giving your employees leeway to do their own thing allows them to showcase creative freedom which will prevent your staff from feeling like robots or indentured servants. Your employees will appreciate the faith and confidence that you have in them, and this is sure to pay off in the long-term future of your business

See Your Employees as Individuals

This is crucial. Make sure that you greet your staff by name when you see them first thing in the morning. Aim to raise a smile, even if you’re rushed off your feet. Thank them for their contributions and listen and pay heed to their needs and requests, including requests for greater flexibility at work! Sounds simple, but treating your employees as respected and valued individuals is one of the easiest ways to foster loyalty within your company and earn the respect of your workers.

Share your Vision

When you have a busy team of staff working underneath you, it is difficult to effectively convey your long-term hopes and ambitions. Set targets with your employees and aim to work towards this vision. This is key to creating loyal bonds and creating meaning for your workers. As a strong, unit, you will quickly stride towards your ambitions and beyond.

Keep this point in mind and prepare for major ‘cool boss’ kudos!



Employers- Tips for Making Flexible Work Work!

How to instill a culture of trust around a flexible workplace

Jim Carrey furiously typing on keyboard gif Bruce Almighty HD high quality remake Imgur

While big businesses are slowing leaning towards flexible hours, a large proportion of start-ups are ‘born agile’ and come into being as a result of work done according to flexible schedules.

However, the eternal dilemma for companies large and small is how they can make flexibility work for both the employers and the workers. It’s clear that the knowledge and skills required to instill flexibility still evade many employers, including those who would undoubtedly benefit from using their resources more efficiently.

The operative word here is TRUST. There must be a high degree of respect on both sides and it helps to be organised, diligent and in regular contact. Here are some tips on making flexible work work for you:

COMMUNICATE– Do you worry about how your employers are spending their time? You’re not alone. According to one study over half of employers who endorse flexible hours claim that they worry if employers are making the best use of their time. The solution to this is regular, honest communication. A quick email here and there will help to ease your fears, and your workers will appreciate regular guidance and direction.

USE THE TOOLS THAT ARE OUT THERE– Many companies now enjoy the benefit of specific reporting and monitoring tools to aid the management of flexible hours. With many programmes like this available to employers, there’s no excuse for not using technology in the quest for flexibility.

KEEP TABS ON SUCCESSES AND FAILURES– Don’t leave anything to chance. That is to say, be explicit in your guidelines, and ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to flexibility and productivity. In theory, however, as long as your workers produce consistent, quality results, flexible working is doing its job for your company.

 Simply striving for greater flexibility is enough to help nurture a culture of trust between you and your employees. Appreciate achievements and keep tabs where you think there could be improvements, and soon, flexibility will become second nature to you and your company!

Ref: Paul Migliorini

How to interview your next boss-YES you can do it!



Job interview can be tricky. Turn the tables on your boss to be…

Job hunting is stressful. If you’re working and job-hunting, you’re anxious to make your move. If you’re not working, you’re under pressure to get a new job fast. As a job-seeker it’s easy to forget that you’re making as big a decision as your next employer is.

If a manager hires you and doesn’t like your brand of jazz, he can cut you loose and find someone new. That will cost money and time, but those are costs of doing business. If you take a job working for the wrong person, it can damage your resume and destroy your mojo. If you’ve ever worked for someone you didn’t mesh with, you know exactly what I mean.

On a job interview, you’re interviewing your next boss as surely as he or she is interviewing you. Your job is not to impress anyone. If you’re focused on making a good impression, you’ll be out of your body, evaluating your own performance, rather than squarely in your body, being yourself. In “Please like me” mode, you’ll contort yourself into pretzel shapes trying to say things the hiring manager will like. That’s beneath you.

Your job is to ‘stay yourself’ on a job interview whether the hiring manager likes you or not. If you aren’t a particular manager’s cup of tea, you haven’t failed — you’ve dodged a bullet. Only the people who get you deserve you, after all.

Your job on an interview is twofold. You’ve got to learn enough about the job opening — and particularly about the business pain behind the job, the pressing problem that warrants an expenditure of precious salary pounds – to be able to gauge whether you and this job are a good match.

Of course, the good match can’t just happen in your mind. If you decide that you’d love this job and thrive in it, you’ve got to make that connection clear to the hiring manager. You’ll do that by telling mini-stories which have a simple format. It starts with the problem your current or previous employer was facing, moves on to the solution you found, and ends by explaining why your dragon-slaying move was exactly what the situation called for. Here’s an example:

MANAGER: I know you’ve managed trade shows. We’ve got a big bottleneck getting new sales leads to the sales team after shows. Have you been around that process?

YOU: Absolutely – I look after that process now. Last year, we ramped up our trade show presence and had the same issue — a bottleneck, and leads going cold because we couldn’t get back to them.

MANAGER: What did you do?

YOU: We couldn’t keep feeding leads into a blocked pipeline. Our inside sales guys were swamped, which is a good thing, but there’s no use pushing on a rope. We jury-rigged an email campaign that got the trade show leads sorted into High, Medium and Low priority groups based on the prospect’s responses. Then I was able to make a case to the sales managers that their inside guys should drop other projects to call the High Priority leads. Two of our territories doubled their sales, and the others had big jumps.

MANAGER: What did you do with the lower-priority leads?

YOU: They got a bunch of email drips and calls to action, and we left the rest up to them. We toyed with the idea of getting some temps on board to call them, but we ended up using email to convert about twenty-five percent of them. The rest are still getting drips.

MANAGER: I like your practical outlook.

Now your hiring manager knows how you roll. Mini stories will make that part of your job easy. But what about your other priority – learning enough about the job, the company, your personal opportunity in this organisation and your potential boss’s style to decide whether or not you even want the job?

How do you interview your next boss as he or she is interviewing you?

This technique is powered by your personal mojo. Finding your voice in a job interview, like using your influence at work, is not a radical thing to do. It is a matter of remembering your value in the talent equation.That is the one thing that many brilliant, talented professionals fear to do. They are hesitant to try. They’ve staked their self-image on their Good Boy or Good Girl credentials. They’re not used to stepping outside the velvet ropes, and saying or doing unexpected things.

Yet finding your voice in a job interview, like using your influence at work, is not a radical thing to do. It is a matter of remembering your value in the talent equation.

If your mojo is low, you’re likely to scoff and say “I can’t interview my next manager! How absurd! I’m a job seeker, and I have no power.

If you don’t feel ready to do it yourself at this moment, don’t despair! We are all growing new muscles and mojo for the new-millennium workplace. We are doing it together.

ou can interview your next boss to a greater or lesser degree depending on your mojo level. If you happen to have a job interview on a day when your flame is high, you can interview your next boss more aggressively. If you interview on a low-mojo day, use our Low Power setting (below).

Don’t try to interview your next boss in a panel interview or one where the questions are highly scripted. If you see your next manager reading from a script in his hands, you may have difficulty getting him off the script.

At the same time, a manager who reads interview questions from a script is not your ideal next boss if you’re over 21 years old. We forgive baby supervisors for scripted interview questions, and hold everyone else to a higher standard.


If you’re new to the Whole Person Job Search and the idea of interviewing your next boss freaks you out, try this approach. The hiring manager will ask you interview questions, and you’ll answer each one. After each answer, you’ll ask a question of your own back, like this:

MANAGER: So, what made you move to Edinburgh in 2007? That’s a big move.

YOU: You’re right! I’d never lived in a snowy climate before, but I love it here. My fiancee at the time was in University here. We got married two years ago. That reminds me, I notice that since your merger with Acme Explosives last year, you’ve added a lot more jobs in Birmingham than here in Edinburgh. Do you see that shift continuing?

MANAGER: Sharp eye! Yes, I definitely see more of our operations moving to Birmingham, but the corporate headquarters is staying here, including Finance, HR, IT and my Sales Administration group. That’s the plan. Since you asked, how do you feel about travel to Birmingham?

YOU: Love it! It’s just that my wife is now getting her PhD and we wouldn’t be able to move any time soon.

MANAGER: I hear you. That’s fine. So many things are virtual now anyway, right?

Try the Low Setting if you’re new to interviewing your next manager. It isn’t difficult, but it may take a shift in your perspective.

Most of us have grown up with the idea that the manager is in the driver’s seat at a job interview, and we fall into Student mode, sitting quietly and answering questions as they’re put to us. We can shake off that old training and have a normal conversation with our next boss, just the way we’d chat with anyone we’re meeting for the first time.


If you’re already comfortable ‘spinning the table’ the way we described above — answering a question and asking your own question back to the hiring manager — try taking your interviewing-your-next-boss practice up a notch by helping your hiring manager get off the script entirely.

You’ll do that by using some of your airtime during the interview to learn more about the pain behind the job ad.

Here’s an example:

MANAGER: So, you’ve dealt with this trade show hand-off thing before?

YOU: For sure. I’ve got a story to tell you about that, in fact. Can I ask you a quick question about that issue first, though?


YOU: You’ve got sales leads not getting out to the field, and I would imagine that causes some headaches. You’ve seen those lead forms and business cards, and you know some of them are hot prospects.

MANAGER: Not only that, I made commitments to some of them in the booth.

YOU: Exactly! So you come back to headquarters, and weeks go by, and the leads sit in the queue and nobody calls them. That’s frustrating.

MANAGER: It is. It’s a huge problem.

YOU: At the same time, it’s hard to imagine that that one problem gave rise to this £60,000 job, which reports to you directly. Would you say the sales lead bottleneck is the main reason this job is open, or are there other pressing issues? I would love to get the full picture, from your perspective.

MANAGER: The sales lead thing is the most top of mind. There are two other big items on my plate. Our sales reporting has to get a lot better. We’re hamstrung in a number of ways that I’ll share with you. The other issue is sales training. It’s all OJT and catch-as-catch-can stuff right now. So that’s my trifecta.

YOU: Thanks for that explanation. I get the picture now. Let me tell you that trade show story with that added context.

MANAGER: Please do.


When your mojo is high and your spinning-the-table muscles grow, you’ll make every job interview a conversation about pain. You won’t sit meekly like a lamb and answer interview questions, then go silent and wait for the next question. It’s much more fun and more interesting to dig into the pain behind the job ad — and more useful for the hiring manager, too!

When you really understand what’s keeping your hiring manager up at night, you can talk with him or her about more important things than when you first learned to use Excel or if you were an animal, what sort of animal you’d be. Hiring managers only ask brainless interview questions like “What sort of animal would you be?” and “With all the talented candidates, why should I hire you?” because they don’t know any other way to get through a job interview.

ou can start interviewing your next manager any time the spirit moves you! Here’s a sample High Power Setting interview to get your wheels turning:

MANAGER: So, how long have you been using Excel?

YOU: Oh, my goodness, when did that program come out? We can say forever. Can I ask you a quick question?


YOU: You said this is a new position. What would you say gave rise to this opening, more than anything else? Was it the acquisition last year, or a change in strategy, or something else?

MANAGER: The acquisition was part of it, but it’s really just taking our decision-making platform to the next level. This job is about taking our whole sales operations outlook up a notch. We’re keeping up with sales growth, but the analytics aren’t there. We need more altitude.

YOU: That’s really helpful. Can you tell me a story that gives me a feel for that — how that shortfall in analysis hurts you?

YOU: That’s really helpful. Can you tell me a story that gives me a feel for that — how that shortfall in analysis hurts you?

MANAGER: Okay, sure. I can tell you what we sold last year and last quarter by product, by territory and by sales rep. I can tell you which products and regions had the biggest growth. But I can’t tell you the trends, anything longitudinal, or anything related to specific marketing campaigns and their effectiveness beyond the gut-feel level, because we don’t have the data.

YOU: Okay, fantastic. So the ideal scenario would be…

MANAGER: The ideal scenario is that we choose twenty or thirty key metrics and we are on top of them by the day, by the hour, by the minute. That’s not my only goal for this year, but it’s a big one.

YOU: And when this person joins you, how will they start that process? Is it primarily an IT initiative?

Now you’re talking to your next boss about things that matter, not goofy trivia items like where you got one of your certifications. Important things are happening on both sides of the equation. Your conversation becomes a million times more real to the hiring manager, and that’s good for you as a candidate, one of several.

At the same time, you’re getting a feel for the guy (a unisex term) opposite you in the room. Can you work for this person? What is his or her worldview? What does s/he care about? Could the two of you make a powerhouse team? Your job at the job interview is to answer these questions. If you can’t get your hiring manager to open up about what’s not perfect in Denmark, what does that tell you?

It’s a new day, and no one is responsible for your career but you. The old-fashioned measure of a successful job interview (“They really liked me!”) is the booby prize now. What good is a winning interview if the people who like you aren’t people who can grow your flame?

Once you step up to this level of interviewing, you will never, ever go back to being a lamb in a visitor’s chair. Your mojo will be far too big for that. Start with the Low Power setting and work your way up. It’s a new year, and a new day in the talent marketplace. It’s a great time to find your voice!

(Liz Ryan-CEO and Founder, Human Workplace)

I have started my own company Flexiworkforce, which will launch early this year. I would so very much appreciate interviewing people that have an opinion, personality and the CHUTZPAH to question me on my ideals, struggles and future plans for my business. I want to know that the people wanting to work for my start-up have the passion that I have and how they think they could fit in and help propel the business forward.

Meet the Fabulous Fashionistas

Last month saw  the new Channel 4 documentary ‘Fabulous Fashionistas’ report on the lives of six stylish women living the UK, with an average age of 80.

The women featured are inspirational in a variety of ways. Firstly, they each display a strong sense of style. Crucially, these women do use fashion in order to look younger; rather they use their clothing and accessories as a means of maintaining their individuality and expressing their uniqueness. In our youth-obsessed society, the way these women maintain creativity in their wardrobes well into their eighth decades is inspiring, and brave.

Yet aside from maintaining their amazing sense of style, each of these women all succeed in preserving  their independence by continuing to work, despite being many years past the previous default retirement age. After the death of her husband, 75 year-old Jean began working at the international high-street chain Gap. She worked there for a year, and was the company’s oldest employee. Since then she has started working at an independent boutique in Bath, which she feels brings her fulfilment and enables her to maintain self-determination. The other women featured are equally motivational. Jilly, 87 tells us that she loves her job as a dance choreographer/director. She hasn’t stopped working since commencing her career as a ballet dancer in the 1940s, and is never happier than when her studio leading a team of dancers. It is clear that she loves her job, and she even views retirement as ‘dangerous’.

Daphne is 85 and has worked as a model for the past 15 years. She is now the UK’s go-to older fashion model and has been referred to as a ‘supermodel’. However, it becomes clear as the episode progresses that Daphne is an exceptional case, and that older women remain very much unrepresented in the fashion industry today. Bridget, a life-long campaigner visits various agencies in London with the aim of dispelling ageism in fashion, and is unanimously rejected despite being enthusiastic and stylish at 75.

However, she is not put off by the rejection, and resolves to continue her fight against the structural ageism in society which prevents so many from finding fulfilment and reaching their potential. Like all the ‘fabulous fashionistas’, Bridget is in possession of not only a magnificent sense of style, but also a strong work ethic and steely perseverance. These women should be applauded for their refusal to ‘blend in’, but also their determination to not let their age prevent them from living out their ambitions.