Staff Party: Planning a Christmas Party?

Staff Party: Planning a Christmas Party?

Christmas is a time for celebrating with colleagues and can be a perfect opportunity to organise a Christmas staff party. However, many organisations have eliminated the traditional style staff party, which may have included all expenses paid meal and drinks, and opted for a more tailored approach to celebrating their team and the year of business that has been.  

Realising that the Christmas party can be a great way to connect with co-workers in a non-related work setting is important to boost morale throughout the year. The event can be an opportunity to positively influence the working environment and strengthen bonds between all departments. The party itself does not have to be exorbitantly expense. What is important is that colleagues celebrate together in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. This can create an opportunity to become innovative in creating a celebratory social activity to appreciate the year that was.

There are many options to create a low-cost Christmas staff party, including:

  • –  Host a Kris Kingle party after lunch or at the end of the working day, where each employee draws a name out of a hat. Each selected name is then not shared with their colleagues until they gift the present at the event. This reduces costs for each worker and creates a sense of excitement. The amount to be spent on each present can be pre-set at a nominal cost, collectively.
  • –  Host a lucky-dip present event at the party. This involves each employee purchasing a gift and putting it into a hamper. Then each staff member selects their present from the lucky dip basket. Where there is an uneven balance of gender, people can buy a generic present such as a restaurant gift voucher or chocolate and wine hamper.
  • –  Extend the lunch time with a meal at a local restaurant, where the organisation can secure a reduced rate for a large party gathering.
  • –  Organise an in-house lunch or evening meal at the company, provided by local caterers. The food can include a buffet that will suit all preferences. This can be combined with awarding an ‘Employee of the Year’ award to the lucky recipient.
  • –  Set-up an annual Christmas Fund, where each employee contributes a small amount weekly. This can offset the expense at an already expensive time of the year, particularly for employees that have family with young children. The funds can contribute to the expense of an overnight break, which can incorporate an evening meal and activities.

Organisations can implement activities into the Christmas party to strengthen the relationships between all employees and management, through team-building events. These can include:

(1) 1.  Outdoor activities: Bowling, paint-balling, spa dates, etc.

(2) 2.  In-house activities: Charades, twister, card games, karaoke, etc.

Once the ideas have been established, putting a vote system in place, via email or a notice board, to choose the activity can empower employees in the decision making process. This may be important in getting all employees on-board to participate in the event.

Although there may be varied costs for management to organise a staff party, the result can be a happier work-place. This strategy can reinforce the work-bond for the year ahead. A happier work environment can result in increased productivity, less absenteeism and improved collaboration between all personnel.

Career: The Benefits of Partnering With a Recruitment Agency

Career: The Benefits of Partnering With a Recruitment Agency

Want to know what a Recruitment Agency can do for your future career? Searching for the right job can be a headache for most us, consuming lots of hours over a laptop and many cups of coffee. Employing a Recruitment Agency can help make the process a lot smoother – if they have jobs in the sector being sought. They can provide a personal touch while searching for a new job and valid insights into what experience and skills are required in potential new position. Remember an agency can only help if the talent, experience and career match the job sector the agency works in and has advertised jobs in.

We have listed some of the benefits that a Recruitment Agency can provide, which include:
  • –  Revision of a CV can highlight experience that aligns with the job advertisement.
  • –  Discuss the pros and cons of a role relevant to an ideal career move.
  • –  Match the right potential candidate to each job specification.
  • –  Improve the chance of securing a potential interview.
  • –  Provide information on updated job recruitment adverts.
  • –  Support each client’s journey with friendly, personal and knowledgeable advice.
  • –  Offer recommendations to employers on the clients past history with the agency, of course with prior consent.
  • –  Suggest advice on the know-how of acing the interview – many will offer mock interview and provide feedback on how to best answer tough interview questions.
  • –  Recruitment Agencies have a direct link to the decision makers of potential employers, the HR department. The agency is in a good position to know exactly what they are looking for in a potential candidate, prior to the interview selection process.
  • –  If successful at interview the Recruiter can negotiate final terms with the new employer – which can be daunting for many potential interviewees.

It’s not really a surprise for us to recommend the use of a niche recruitment agency – a recruiter who works in the specific area, to progress a career. They will have a network of clients and contacts that may be looking for specific skills-set.  The representative body for Recruitment Agencies in Ireland is called the National Recruitment Federation and their website www.nrf.ie lists agencies by their area of specialist recruitment.

Career: Finding Our True Purpose in Career Life

Career: Finding Our True Purpose in Career Life

Have you ever questioned your career and wondered what am I doing here? It may have been great in the early days and life was great. The challenge of adapting to a new career was exciting and the wages were good. It allowed for independent living and the chance to pay for our own way in life. Maybe we discovered when we had well settled into our role that the career path we were on was less than fulfilling, leaving us going through the motions in our job. Maybe now it’s time to start asking “Is this what I really want in my career?”

Maybe we compared ourselves to others in their career lives? Have these comparisons left us with a feeling of inadequacy and discontent? Finding our true-north is tougher than we think. Some of us travel our whole lives, never really feeling that we have found our true vocation or purpose, but the enquiry can still bring us joy and satisfaction.

Having asked the question; what’s my true purpose in life, can open a door that may instigate change. We may be fearful to open this door, as it may actually be an opportunity for a career change, which we can thrive in. We may realise that it is very different from the one our parents wished for us or our younger selves settled for.

The solution can be as simple as looking to inspirational role-models. They may be famous people or people we admire closer to home. What is it about them that inspire us? There may be a clue from these insights that can lead us to start exploring our true life’s purpose. For some the ‘eureka-moment’ can be rapid, almost overnight. For others, it can be a slow arduous task to discover their true purpose, but so worth it in the end if they are persistent.

Maybe our role model includes an Irish chef, Nevin Maguire or Rachel Allen. We find ourselves coming home from work and our first go-to television program is their show. Then we find ourselves getting creative in the kitchen, cooking up a dish that Nevin or Rachel would love to taste, if only they were here!

Just maybe, the penny drops and we realise that cooking is in our veins. We truly see that we were passionate all along, always talking about new recipe ideas or inviting friends over for dinner to try out our new cuisine. We may realise that we were already living out our true purpose in our personal lives. Then, the next day we may find that life throws us an opportunity. We get an email from a friend we haven’t been in contact for ages, telling us that a new cookery course is starting in the nearby college in two weeks. We wonder is life showing us a sign. We may get excited or fear may creep into our minds. We ask “What if …?” or “What will my boss say?”  Well, we won’t actually know unless we pluck up the courage and give it a chance. At the very least, we owe it to ourselves.

Taking that first step, as if ‘walking on water’ with an act of faith, can grant us a deeper knowledge whether this career is for us or not. The change can terrify us, but it can also reward us. Some people go through their career journey never finding their true purpose. There are plenty of supportive professional networks that can help to brainstorm, in search for the right change in our lives. We may also have the support of family and friends that can offer their advice. All we need to do is become open to the idea, explore by asking lots of questions, be patient and trust the process.

Wellbeing: Can the Task of Doing Nothing Replenish Your Soul?

Wellbeing: Can the Task of Doing Nothing Replenish Your Soul?

Did you ever take a holiday and truly get away from the demands of a busy career? Wellbeing is important to our overall health and soul. Have we learned to keep busy almost 24/7, while not getting enough sleep or sat down with time to just be. Just be bored. Have no plan or action to consume our precious time, with ourselves and our family. Realising the importance of really charging our worn-out batteries is vital to restore our relationship with self and those we love. It can also result in reigniting the appreciation of our job and allow us to get motivated again.

It is probably true that we need to make a plan to just do nothing, to take me-time and family-time, and just admire the simple blessings in life. To surround ourselves with nature, good hearty food, plenty of blissfully boring free time and ‘Be’ in the present moment. The importance of self-awareness in looking after ourselves, our health and mental wellbeing, and our family cannot be over emphasised. Bringing it basic to basics and saying ‘no’ to unnecessary demands can help us see the wood for the trees.

Finding clarity on solutions that work for our new-found lifestyle and understanding that time goes so fast can create a fuller life. Recall hearing friends or family say that time goes so fast, or where did the year go?

Imagine booking a holiday where there are lots of non-technology activities to do, with no signal for wifi, to tempt anyone away from the joy of truly being present? Like taking a bike ride, going for a swim, eating lunch down on the promenade, fishing or water sports.  There may be a bit of questioning by others around us as to the changes we make but wouldn’t it be so worth it to truly connect and have some good old fashioned fun on our new journey? 

To truly enjoy life, we have got to look after our welbeing – the rest of the demands made of us and of our time can then be made easier to handle. Change isn’t easy for the best of us at first, but once we start to see its benefits we can come to the realisation that our new way of being may not be so bad after all. Plan for the boring days or holiday away from the busyness of life and say no to distractions during these personal moments. Release the guilt and start to recharge the soul to live a really good life and optimise performance in our career and personal life. Start to find true happiness in life and the rewards will be many, and might even include some unexpected rewards, such as a simple hug.

How to Be More Productive in Your Job

HOW TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE IN YOUR JOB

Would you like to commit to accomplishing more in less time, in your job and your career? Many of us feel that our productivity in our jobs can be great some weeks, and a disaster at other times. When we evaluate why, we may realise that we go about our tasks without any strategy. Strategies can help us create effective management of tasks or time.

How to Be More Productive in Your Job Three Q Recruitment

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

These 6 simple techniques can help with becoming motivated to be more productive in any job. They can also reduce the ever increasing ‘to do’ list, more efficiently.

  1. 1.  Plan, plan, plan. Forward planning can reduce the time required to achieve each task. Manage the daily/weekly schedule by documenting a plan for the day/week ahead. List:

  • (1)  What needs to be achieved?
  • (2)  How it is going to be achieved?
  • (3)  When it’s going to be completed? Set a deadline, for faster action to achieve each goal
  1. 2.  Organise tasks for greater efficiency, by prioritising the most important ones first.

  • –  Plan a step by step process for each task, while maintaining quality throughout. For more difficult tasks, it is helpful to visualise this process.
  • –  Time-block the entire working day. This may also be helpful in our personal life, including evening and weekend activities.
  • –  Eliminate the potential for wasted energy and time on less important tasks, by delegating tasks and reducing unnecessary distractions.
  • –  Take on the biggest tasks at the start of the day, when energy levels are typically higher to achieve higher productivity.
  • –  The dreaded word ‘deadlines’ can cause anxiety. Setting achievable time limits can significantly reduce procrastination with starting and/or completing tasks, and ultimately lessen stress.
  • –  Change the dynamic of how work is taken on by grouping interesting and uninteresting tasks together. This can help to reduce the monotony associated with less mundane jobs.
  1. 3.  Maintain focus. Distraction can be our biggest challenge.

  • –  Intentionally stay alert and commit to focus on the task at hand.
  • –  Ensure that a frequent check-in with the planned schedule throughout the day is completed to ensure that tasks stay on track. This helps with achieving greater productive output, efficiently.
  • –  Good self-care including diet and exercise can help enormously with maintaining focus.
  • –  Stay motivated and reap the rewards.

4. Curb stress levels by taking a short break between daily tasks.

Go for a brisk walk around the building to refresh the mind and stretch the body. This simple technique can easily refocus the mind.

5.  Finally, review each week.

  • Evaluate areas where there is room for improvement … there is always room for improvement. For example, eliminate unnecessary distractions. Turn off mobile phones while scanning through emails and daily ‘to do’ lists first thing in the morning. This can assist with maintaining a healthy focus and can increase productivity in the day by accomplishing more jobs in less time.

Don’t just work hard, plan astutely to achieve more each day. It’s amazing how quickly the ‘to do’ list can diminish, with a lot of clever planning and persistence. Achieving increased productivity can provide real satisfaction, and can significantly increase motivation levels. Remember to commit, focus, persevere, stay motivated, and evaluate all work daily for more effective and successful results in job productivity, in our career and personal life.

For a simple way to start, check out quick tips for productivity by clicking here.  

Typical Questions Asked During an Interview

Typical Questions Asked During an Interview

The thought of accepting a HR call for interview on any recent job application can be a little daunting for the vast majority of people. Whether starting out on a new career, changing employer or returning to work after a lengthy time away can leave one with a feeling of apprehension.

The first step to making a good impression in the interview is good preparation. Researching a list of potential questions that the interviewee may ask can be beneficial to helping with responding confidently during the interview. Providing solid answers to potential questions, with relevant examples in previous experiences, can provide real insight into the required personality type for the role. The answers can also demonstrate the abilities and experiences that have been acquired to date.

There is a vast amount of information online. Search Google for standard interview questions and also how to frame answers.  Some companies use competency based interview questions, which ask questions about specific competencies being sought in the advertised job. 

Potential questions that can be asked in an interview may include:

  • –  Why did you apply for this job?
  • –  What do you know about this company?
  • –  Where do you see yourself in two to three years?
  • –  Describe yourself?
  • –  What has been your biggest achievement to date?
  • –  What are some of your key strengths and weaknesses? When listing a weakness, always turn it around by offering it as a recent experience. For example, if confidence levels are not their best when giving presentations. This answer could be backed up by saying that increasing self-development is part of a one year personal plan to improve confidence levels, by taking a course in presentation skills.
  • –  Do you work best on your own or in a team environment?
  • –  If there are any gaps in the curriculum vitae, interviewees may ask why. Provide them with an honest answer, whether it was raising family, undertaking a course, etc.
  • –  How would your colleagues describe you?
  • –  How do you deal with criticism?
  • –  Why should we give you this job?

Prior to the interview it can be helpful to do some deep breathing. This can be refreshing and grounding before entering the meeting. Also, browse over the curriculum vitae to memorise specific details, including dates. Remember to hydrate and eat a light snack, even if the nerves are playing havoc.

During the interview it is important to answer all questions with honesty and clarity. If unsure about the question being asked, it is appropriate to ask for a little clarity. Maintain a friendly manner, good posture and good eye-contact with each interviewee throughout the interview.

Finally, when the interview concludes, thank each interviewee for the opportunity of the interview with a firm handshake. Leave the building following the meeting, don’t hang around. Check personal correspondence daily to ensure that replies to potential notifications are prompt, and hopefully allow enough time to prepare for the interview.

How to Prepare for an Interview

How to Prepare for an Interview

Preparation for a job interview can unnerve almost anyone. The thought of it is worse than actually doing it. It can cause a sleepless night before the meeting. Preparation is important to help overcome any feelings of anxiousness. Many people find that once the meeting begins, the nerves calm and the brain refocuses again to give a good performance.

These simple tips can help to achieve a greater level of ease and confidence to undertake any interview:

  • –  Research the organisation, including their products/services, staff, history, etc.
  • –  Know the job specification in detail. Fully understand what each requirement entails.
  • –  Interview questions will ask about experience relevant to the role details in the job advertisement – so prepare some examples of how skills were put into practice.
  • –  Use a framework such as ‘STAR’, which can help to answer questions the following questions. What was the Situation? What was the Task being presented? What Actions were undertaken? What Results were achieved?
  • –  Practice a trial interview with a close colleague. Ask them for their constructive and honest feedback, particularly on communication skills, posture and appearance.
  • –  Plan an appropriate outfit for the meeting. Visualise being dressed for the role.
  • –  Prepare examples of past experiences, relevant to the role, including answers that highlight key strengths and weaknesses.
  • –  Keep answers brief and relevant to the questions, don’t ramble.
  • –  Delete any social media content that may damage the application. HR professional can browse online to find out more personal details.
  • –  Research frequently asked questions in an interview, relevant for the job.
  • –  Plan the route at least the day before the interview. Know where the car-park is and where the location of the interview is within the building. This will ease further stress, and ensure that there is time to relax and breathe before for the meeting.

Show the panel of interviewees plenty of interest and motivation toward the potential new role, and personal commitment to continuous learning on the job by being prepared. First impressions count, so make a strong start and even stronger finish. 

The Importance of Creating a Good Cover Letter

The Importance of Creating a Good Cover Letter

Get their attention on the first glance! The cover letter is the chance to create a good first impression and provide extra insight on a more personal level, albeit briefly, to a CV. It can be compared to the window of a house; it offers HR personnel a glimpse of what is to come. It is an opportunity to hook any potential recruiter or recruitment agency, by providing points of interest that inspires them to continue reading the curriculum vitae.

There are many methods to improve the document, including sourcing sample cover letters online. Drafts developed by other people can provide useful keywords that may be suitable to the new job application. It is important to adapt the template to relevant skills and experience, displaying a unique application to the reader. 

Additionally, researching recent job advertisements in the same area can reveal additional useful material that can be used. These job descriptions can reveal additional skills and areas of experience required for similar posts, which are possessed and may not have been previously included in the cover letter or curriculum vitae.  It is important to ensure that it contains the right key words that uniquely describe the applicant, and are relevant to the job that being applying for.

Gain support from colleagues, by asking them to read the draft of the cover letter and CV. They may be able to offer positive feedback, by suggesting improvements or highlight any grammatical errors in the document.

Ideally, the cover letter will contain a snapshot of all skills and experiences to date. These experiences can highlight that this career step is the right choice. Writing an effective cover letter helps the application to shine out loud and clear, particularly if it is relevant for the role that is being applied for. It will certainly increase any chance of being called for an interview, and potentially create a positive change in a new career.

The Importance of Updating Your CV

The Importance of Updating Your CV

Did you know that updating your CV can significantly improve your chances of succeed in getting that interview? An out-dated CV can weaken a job application, possibly resulting in the CV being dismissed at screening stage by the HR software or the HR Administrator, as they are looking for key roles and experience.  This can leave us with a sense of failure or at worst rejection. It makes sense, that as we are going to the effort of applying for the job in the first place, putting time and effort into creating a smart updated CV can significantly elevate the rate of success of the CV being screened fully for the job.

The task of fine-combing a CV, with the help of colleagues and professionals, is a necessity in today’s competitive job market. Matching current skills and experiences to each job application is necessary to be in with a chance of succeeding on respective endeavours. Providing relevant examples validates, to the HR department, that skills were previously applied to other jobs effectively and provides a much better picture.

When a business goes into liquidation, it is a stressful time for employees as they are facing unemployment. They may be out of work for months or years. A mother may decide to return to work as a nurse, once her children have left home. Employers know this and so by taking the time to update gaps in our career history provides a much clearer picture for the reader.  Offering details on gaps in work experience is the same as putting a jigsaw together; it starts to make more sense when the recruiters are getting a more complete picture.

It can be daunting to know where to start. Up-skilling may be necessary in order to re-enter the workplace. Newly acquired skills, temp employment and gaps in work experience will need to be added to the old CV. The experienced eye of a professional HR recruiter can glean over a resume, and quickly pick out the relevant information to match the job specification. From this knowledge, they have greater certainty if the candidate is suitable for the role. There are also a lot of resources online to review and get a CV looking its best.

Stand out from the crowd, of the many job applications, and give each application the very best effort. Reduce the possibility of not gaining a seat on the panel for an interview. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all. At the very least, the HR department may hold the CV on file. This can result in a future call for interview, for a similar or superior job with the organisation. Additionally, requesting feedback from the company is positive, once the CV reflected the skills and experience outlined in their job advertisement, and can be invaluable to improve performance on future interviews.

Click here to find out tips to update your CV.

The Art of Combining Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness

The Art of Combining Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness

Can emotional intelligence and mindfulness help us to appreciate life and create valued relationships? Our careers place so many demands on our time and attention. This can leave us to sometimes feel that we are not truly connecting with ourselves, our emotions or allow us to be mindful in different work situations. This can also be true in our personal lives.

Has life got so busy that we can’t stop to press the pause button and allow us to touch into our positive emotions and be mindful? To allow ourselves to take a deep breath, smell the roses or express appreciation for the great work that employees achieved on bringing a job in before its deadline? Connecting with self and others is an on-going responsibility in both our work and personal life. Without this connection tasks can become mundane and less rewarding, for all concerned. It can also lead to decreased production and higher turnover of staff in an organisation.

Taking a step back from the busyness of a day, to truly acknowledge and appreciate the work or ourselves and others, is the first step in being mindful. Displaying acts of praise can combine our emotional intelligence to mindfulness and can lift the heart of any soul. Showing gratitude can also have a positive effect that can inspire colleagues to improve their performance on the next task.

Until we become more mindful and combine it with an act of emotional intelligence, we may miss out on truly appreciating our work life. It can make for a happier and healthier work environment, creating positive collaboration, improved communication and integration of work between all departments. We are all responsible for connecting these two vital elements that can pave the way for success in relationships and businesses. Its effects can have the added benefit of filtering into our personal lives and creating a positive change there also.

Click here to find out more about emotional intelligence – Daniel Goleman.