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11 Career Related Movies You Need to Watch Today

Besides being a passionate talent acquisition professional, I am also an avid movie fan. I’m in total admiration of the actors and actresses that portray the roles scripted for them and the directors that make the scripts come to life. Whenever I come across a movie that has relevance to me in my career, I’m always eager to see it at the first given opportunity. So, if like me you are interested in how movies deal with work related subject matter, you may want to check out the following titles.

The Circle (2017)

The premise: The movie is focused on Mae’s character (Emma Watson) who successfully secures a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle. Things get off to a flying start in the beginning but she soon discovers that the company is up to no good and that its products may adversely impact humanity. She becomes the whistleblower and the chief architect of the company’s downfall.

Takeaway: I see this movie as a bit of an essay on the tech sector revealing the prevalence of bad practices including weak corporate governance and overbearing leadership. The company’s products clearly pose serious ethical concerns around privacy which kind of reminded me of the Facebook privacy issues and Uber during the Travis Kalanick years.

The Intern (2015)

The premise: Ben Whittaker (played by Robert De Niro) is a recent retiree who quickly struggles to deal with life post retirement. He spots an opportunity to get back into work and applies successfully to become a senior intern at an online fashion company founded and run by Jules Ostin (played by Anne Hathaway).

Takeaway: What was really pleasing about this movie was that this was the first time a ‘talent acquisition team’ is featured in a movie setting. We actually see the candidate experience in flow.  Indeed, Ben’s first interaction and interviews are with several members the TA team which suggests that the company in the movie probably has a robust interview and selection process. The movie also raised some important issues about work life balance. In the movie, Jules’s husband is a stay at home dad allowing Jules to pursue her career often to his frustration. The movie also reassuringly tackles the issue of ageism in the workplace. Instead of casting aside senior citizens, it proactively puts together a program of inclusivity to reintroduce senior citizens back into work and really utilize their experience. This probably suggests that the company in the movie values diversity and inclusion. In this movie, Ben helps Jules to reinvigorate both her and the company to overcome operational issues.

A Family Man (2016)

The premise: Dane Jensen (played by Gerard Butler) is a headhunter operating in the cut throat world of agency recruitment. His job is made even more challenging driven by his desire to outperform his peers, own the company whilst fulfilling the needs of his family – thus creating a clash of priorities.

Takeaway: Lays bare the inner workings of agency recruitment. It reveals the tactics – often underhand and unethical that recruiters use to win jobs and place candidates. A ‘win at any cost’ approach reveals an industry culture that is incompatible with work life balance. Agency recruitment isn’t for everyone. Struggling to juggle work and family life, Dane is fired from his job and then starts his own company working from home to take back control of his life.

Up In The Air (2009)

The premise: Ryan Bingham (played by George Clooney) works for an HR consulting company that specializes in terminating employees on behalf of employers. This sees him travelling up and down the country and pleasingly collecting air miles in the process. He enjoys what he does but soon comes across issues that threaten his lifestyle by the emergence of a love interest, and a new hire which prompts him to reassess his life.

Takeaway: Firing people is unpleasant. Sadly, whenever a company goes through a rough patch, it’s human capital that has to pay the price through layoffs. This movie details that process and the issues that companies have to deal with in order to remain profitable. The movie also chronicles the life of an individual (Ryan Bingham) who seems content hopping from one city to another doing a very sensitive job. How happy would you be constantly travelling for your job?

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

The premise: Based on Chris Gardner’s true story (played by Will Smith). The movie depicts a struggling salesman taking custody of his son and the immense difficulties he faces in pursuing a professional career.

Career takeaway: A hugely inspiring and motivational movie that reveals in spectacular detail the struggles and stresses we face as human beings. An emotionally charged account of the worst that can happen to any capable person. Chris Gardner was a phenomenal hero of his own life facing one challenge and setback after another. In the end, he prevailed through his commitment and self- belief.

The Internship (2013)

The premise: Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are two salesmen who find themselves struggling in their careers because of the digital age. They somehow manage to get internships at Google where they compete against a talented bunch of youngsters to secure employment.

Takeaway: Whilst critics referred to this movie as being a Google documentary, it’s really about how one needs to adapt themselves in a changing labor market that is being disrupted by technology.

Office Christmas Party (2016)

The premise: Jennifer Anniston plays a CEO of a family run company who threatens to shut down his brother Clay’s branch (played by T.J.Miller). In an attempt persuade her to change her mind, Clay throws a lavish Christmas party in order to land a big client to save the day, but things do not go as he intended.

Takeaway: Both funny and rude, this movie is about the challenges involved in running a family business. It also highlights the importance of company culture. In the movie we see the client rejecting Clay’s business proposal because he doesn’t like the culture of his company which led me to the conclusion that you could think that you are the best company in the world but if your culture isn’t good to those outside the company, you run the risk of damaging its reputation and profitability.

Horrible Bosses 1 (2011)/Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)

The premise: In Horrible Bosses 1 (2011), three friends concoct plans to murder their awful managers in order to secure their happiness. In Horrible Bosses 2 (2014), the three friends featured in the previous movie start their own business but get into problems when an investor cheats them prompting them to plot revenge against their tormentor.

Takeaway: You’ll really relate to this movie if you ever worked for a boss who was passive aggressive, a micro manager or just plain unpleasant to work for. It’s a light hearted look at how three individuals driven to despair by their managers are desperate to ensure their happiness.

Fist Fight (2017)

The premise: Andy Campbell (played by Charlie Day) inadvertently causes the dismissal of another teacher Strickland (played by Ice Cube). This act leads to Strickland challenging Andy to an after school fight.

Takeaway: Shows the impact of weak leadership trickling all the way down to employees. You’ll end up with disharmony among your employees and a workforce that is isn’t engaged. In this particular story, the inability of leadership to manage an employee relations issue results in a fight between two teachers. Poor governance and a lack of concern for employee welfare are strong themes here.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

The premise: Focuses on the life of Alexander (played by Ed Oxenbould) and his family. They each face back to back setbacks. He ends up thinking if he has somehow managed to curse the family.

Takeaway: Ben Cooper (played by Steve Carell) and Kelly Cooper (played by Jennifer Garner) are both working parents who face struggles in their professional lives. In the movie, Ben has the weirdest interview experience when he’s forced to take his toddler son with him to the interview, and Kelly who works for a publishing company, accidently changes the words in a children’s book which result in the book being full of rude words. Despite their individual misfortune, Ben actually ends up impressing in his interview and gets the job whilst Kelly’s mistake actually ends of benefitting her company. The movie is a reminder that we are all not perfect at end of the day and that sometimes it’s ok to have a bad day and you can’t do anything to change it.

So these are my favorite career related movies. If you get the chance, I encourage you to watch them as most of them are comedies so you’ll enjoy them. Happy viewing!

Image Credit: Manu Mohan

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10 Insightful Talent & Career Quotes to Inspire & Motivate You

ONE):  “Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?”- Thomas John Watson Sr., Former chairman and CEO of IBM

TWO):  “Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.”- Marc Bennioff, Founder, Chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce

THREE):  “The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.”- Steve Jobs, Chairman, Former CEO and co-founder of Apple

FOUR):  “If you hire good people, give them good jobs, and pay them good wages, generally something good is going to happen.”- James Sinegal, Co-founder and former CEO of Costco Wholesale Corporation

FIVE): “The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area.”- Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft Corporation

SIX): “Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.”- Lawrence Bossidy, Former COO of General Electric

SEVEN): “You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself.” – Sheryl Sandberg

EIGHT): “Change equals self-improvement. Push yourself to places you haven’t been before.”– Pat Summitt

NINE): “Positive thinking can be contagious. Being surrounded by winners helps you develop into a winner.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

TEN): “We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.” – Kobe Bryant

Image Credit: AlesiaKazantceva

 

Brexit – Unchartered Waters: Quotes devoted to peace, harmony, respect and a progressive future

Our country is currently in the grip of the worst crisis since the Second World War. After deciding to leave the European Union, an institution that the UK joined in 1975 designed to bring countries in Europe closer to foster greater cooperation, enable free trade and unite behind a common identity, the aftermath has revealed deep and some would argue insidious divisions that have shaken the political, social and economic equilibrium of this country.

As we enter unchartered waters ahead, I hope the country can find a way forward with peace, harmony and respect for the betterment of all. Here are some quotes devoted to just that:

“One of the things I learnt when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself I could not change others. – Nelson Mandela, Former South African President (1918 to 2013)

“Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They’re what make the instrument stretch — what make you go beyond the norm.” – Cicely Tyson, American actress

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy, Writer (1828 – 1910)

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, 1st chairwoman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela, Former South African President (1918 to 2013)

It”s our duty to look after ourselves and, then, also to look after our neighbours.” – Margaret Thatcher, Former British Prime Minister (1925 to 2013)

“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.” – Helen Keller, author, political activist, and lecture (1880 – 1968)

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Martin Luther King Jr., U.S. civil rights leader, (1929 – 1968)

“Moral responsibility is not just a matter of avoiding harm to others; it also means helping people in need.” – Michael Nedelsky, American educator

“When you’re frightened don’t sit still, keep on doing something. The act of doing will give you back your courage.” –  Grace Ogot, author, nurse, journalist, politician and diplomat (1930 – 2015)

Image Credit: Freeimages.com/ColinCochrane

Six reasons why you need to undertake an expat assignment in the GCC

 

Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates and has witnessed modernisation on a grand scale since the 1990s. It has weathered the financial storms during the height of the financial crisis to re-establish itself as a prime destination for multinationals looking to establish a presence in the region and beyond. The United Arab Emirates is part of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and can be best defined as a regional intergovernmental political and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Having lived and worked in Dubai for nearly four years, since coming back to the UK I have benefited both culturally and career wise. My time there was interesting, enjoyable, challenging and enriching. Having also had the opportunity to travel to other countries within the GCC, I have found that there are several common themes that are prevalent throughout the six countries. These are:

The GGC leads the way in job creation: As the economies and populations of the GCC grow, so does demand on civil infrastructure, education, healthcare, housing so this results in job opportunities across multiple sectors.

Fewer decision makers: This is especially the case with regional companies/family conglomerates where it is often the CEO and/or Chairman who is the sole decision maker so decisions are reached faster rather than going through multiple layers of approval.

Faster business cycles: Due to faster decision making, projects can take shape much faster so a company’s hiring needs can be established quicker, creating job opportunities and transactions are completed faster.

Career development: Economies in the GCC are still developing so this means better prospects to move both laterally and vertically in your career. If you are somebody with between 5 and 10 years’ experience with a good educational background, you are going to be in demand so expect calls from recruiters.

Personal and professional development: Even if you decide to spend only a few years in the GCC or commit to a longer duration, you should expect to enhance your skills set as you gain exposure to prestigious projects and working alongside a multinational workforce means a more culturally diverse experience. Many expats who have worked in the GCC go on to work in other regions such as Asia Pacific and North America as their GCC experience is considered very valuable and transferable so if you choose to go to the GCC region, you will certainly be adding value to both your life and career.

Weather: Although it is stifling hot during summer months (mainly May to October), when it does cool down there are ample opportunities to pursue outdoor pursuits. Plus, it’s really nice waking up to a sunny bright blue clear skies.

7 Bizarre Behaviours Demonstrated by Candidates in the Interview Process

From crazy interview questions at Google to nerve shredding interviews on the BBC’s Apprentice, the interview process is a tense and daunting experience. Whilst it is rare that candidates will be subjected to this level of scrutiny, what is certain is that interviews can either bring out the very best or worst in candidates. Here are seven bizarre behaviours demonstrated by candidates before, during and after the interview process.

Candidate is asked about motivations

Interviewer: So what got you interested in this position?

Candidate: My parents told me to apply!

The outcome of this interview was not favourable. Despite the candidate ticking all the boxes on paper, the interviewer stated that this single response resulted in the candidate being rejected. Ill thought out answers are a sure fire to destroy interview success.

Turning up at the interview at the wrong time

In this example, a candidate turned up at his interview at BST (British Standard Time) when he was supposed to turn up at the interview at CET (Central European Time). The Hiring Manager wasn’t too happy about this and waited for the candidate for around 30 minutes. It wasn’t until the recruiter contacted the candidate on his mobile that it emerged that the candidate thought the interview was BST when in the confirmation email it was stated that the interview was CET. When arranging interviews between client and candidates overseas, communication is absolutely essential. It’s always good to double check and if one is really pedantic, triple check.

Telling a Hiring Manager during a telephone interview they are not really interested in the job

In this example, the candidate had a full, transparent discussion with the head-hunter and his motivations and aspirations were ascertained. When it came to the telephone interview, the candidate told the Hiring Manager that they were not really interested in the job but wanted to have a general discussion. So as a head-hunter when asking a candidate about their interest in a particular job, it is a good idea to ask them a questions along the lines of “on a scale of 1 to 10, how interested are you in this job” or “what is your level of interest going to be in a few weeks time”. That will allow a better understanding of their exact level of interest.

No contact after interview

In this example, the candidate interviewed with the client with positive feedback with the client inviting the candidate for a second (face to face) stage interview. The recruiter contacted the candidate to make the necessary arrangements but despite repeated attempts is unable to get hold of the candidate via mobile email, text. Result = radio silence and even more strange was that this particular candidate was still active on a social media site.

Candidate attending another call at the same time of telephone interview

Whilst it is understandable that unforeseen circumstances might prevent communication between the client and candidate, it is absolutely essential that all other calls are put on hold. The client has blocked out time to interview so common courtesy should be extended.

Not being in a quite place during a telephone interview

One of the golden rules in telephone interviewing is that a candidate must be in nice, quite private place when speaking to a recruiter and/or client. Background noise or a lack of privacy will hamper ability to give solid answers and jeopardise chances of further progression in the interview process.

Failing to disclose information to the recruiter and/or client

One of the pet hates of head – hunters and clients is a candidate failing to update them on issues that may be critical to their candidacy. Common issues include not being transparent about salary expectations, failing to inform of competing offers, interviews with other companies, interview availability. A little foresight will go a long way to avoiding problems further in the process.

 

5 Reasons to Accept an Expat Assignment

Let’s face it, the West in the doldrums. High unemployment, high inflation, social and political unrest and ailing infrastructure are all common features and will be for the foreseeable future according to many analysts. Western governments won’t admit it but there is an analysis paralysis of what to do to turn economic fortunes around. In particular, the economic uncertainty in the UK is now an increasing factor why many British residents are opting to pack their bags in return for a brighter future overseas. Here are five reasons why you might choose to accept that overseas job offer:

The economy :

A lack of investment, stagnant job creation and an ailing industrial sector are causing alarm bells to ring in key government and business circles. The cost of doing business in the UK has gone up considerably with fuel costing companies a fortune and as a result many energy intensive industries are suffering substantially. Tata Steel for example has not made a profit in Europe for several years and SABIC Europe, backed by its Saudi parent is scaling back operations in the UK just to stay competitive.  Also, the UK has one of the highest levels of personal household debt in the world. If things don’t improve, many companies will disappear altogether.

Socio – political issues:

The immigration debate in the UK is fuelling multiple issues on both sides of the fence including an increased hostility towards immigrants and certain religious  groups , rise of far right groups, and a growing sentiment in public that immigration needs to be controlled. Some analysts have even linked immigration with the financial pressures facing the NHS and public services. Whilst that is anecdotal, a rising population has added to operational pressures on the NHS with the institution facing a staffing crisis and serious reputational damage due to a number of high profile failings across hospitals in the UK which continue to undermine confidence in the NHS. Education too is facing significant challenges with the cost of going to college/university rising and more and more school leavers thinking twice about whether to be saddled with a lifetime of debt or take up an apprenticeship or start their own business. The UK will fail to produce quality talent that companies in the UK so badly need if the rising cost of higher education is not addressed.

Creaking infrastructure:

A common question the UK tax payer is asking is “where is our money being spent?” Poor quality roads, ageing rail infrastructure and a lack of housing are putting pressure on the Government to reduce the deficit but at the same time making vital investment that is required to sustain thriving, modern cities. A report commissioned by housing charity Shelter stated that young people now need to save money for 30 years in order to put down a deposit for a house. This all does not bode well for future generations, and will lead to a disenfranchised electorate.

Better career opportunities:

Go east if you want better career opportunities and an improved quality of life. Ask many expats and that’s probably what they will tell you. The east is creating more jobs and at a faster rate, and governments are spending freely on infrastructure which has created stupendous levels of economic growth.  For example, it is believed that the GCC’s current rail infrastructure project will spawn a whole new railway services industry in the Middle East. Similarly, rising populations in the GCC region have spawned a growing healthcare industry in the region. If you choose to work in a tax free country like the UAE, Saudi Arabia or Qatar you have the opportunity to save money either through salary or bonuses (which still exists in the current climate), something that is otherwise a struggle in the UK.

The weather:

This year March was one of the coldest months in living memory and weather experts have recently declared that British summers are likely to be wet for the next decade.  British weather is and will be unpleasant for many years to come. This is not good news for people who like a bit of sunshine in their lives, and want to stay healthy.

Cultural exposure:

After spending several wonderful years in Dubai, the cultural experience was vast. What I learnt during my time living and working there is that now I have a better appreciation for and understanding of different cultures. Dubai is a melting pot of cultures where east and west co – exist peacefully. In a business, context, I have now become a more globally minded individual – having a better understanding of how business is conducted in a global hub like Dubai. Culture has certainly enriched my life.

The decision to accept an overseas job offer can be a daunting one for most. Some people like a sense of adventure and don’t think twice about making a move whilst others remain conservative about such a prospect. Whatever you decide to do though, make sure it makes financial sense for you and above all take your time to figure out whether or not you are comfortable living and being part of another country. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Holiday etiquette… before you leave the office

Reclama la Bounty: Mare, soare, cocotier

It’s amazing and disappointing that people do not know how to enjoy and relax on their holidays. They take their work mobiles with them, deliberately do not activate their out of office assistant yet tell their secretaries to tell anybody who asks for them that they are on holiday. Does that count as a holiday? It is acceptable that for some professions being available 24-7 is absolutely unavoidable but there should be limits. Holidays are designed for people to de-stress, and forget about the work. This is ‘me’ time to spend, on your own, with family, friends. Holidays are part of your employment contract and they are designed to be of benefit to you. There is no benefit to you if you are busy checking your work emails on the hotel sun lounger. But there are still ways you can both enjoy your holiday and keep up with work if you absolutely have to.

Use the Out of Office Assistant Properly – Do not just use the Out of Office to simply say that you are not going to be in the office. If you are going to a business meeting, say that you are going to a meeting, and tell others your schedule if need be so that they can call you at the appropriate time.

Specify Emergency Contact Details – If you are needed by your company in a business emergency and you are not carrying your work mobile with you, have a system in place that tells the company how to reach you should the worse happen.

Complete Pending Work – Try to complete any outstanding tasks before you go on your holiday. Do not leave any unfinished business. Even if you do, try to delegate in order to keep the momentum going so that projects stay on track. This way, your mind will be clear and you will be safe in the knowledge that you have things under control.