Can you give me an example of your creativity’ is often a question asked by interviewers the world over? Almost all job descriptions these days list it as a character trait. Quite a lot of people struggle to answer this question but it may be more a case of understanding the very essence of creativity more than anything else. To be creative is to be innovative, solution orientated, adding value, and taking initiative. But it is also about passion – it’s about doing something you love. I truly believe that the most successful people in the world are those who like and love what they do. That’s where creativity flows from. Everything becomes second nature. If all this does not happen, then you cannot be creative.
But all this may not be your own fault. For one reason or another maybe the job or work you do started well but later turned out to be something else entirely. Maybe the office culture wasn’t right. There can be numerous reasons. Some people do take the initiative and make a boring job more interesting by challenging themselves in solving the problems right under their noses. For others being creative is about doing something they love and being in the optimum environment.
Do not be surprised then that if it takes you several jobs or indeed a decade or more to realize your creative potential. It is all about being in the right place at the right time in the right frame of mind. Creativity is like a chemical reaction. Certain elements such as passion, the right environment, meeting the right minded people, doing something you love, pouncing on the opportunities must be present for the creative juices to flow. When that happens nothing in the world can stop you achieving your goals and ambitions.
A job represents different things to different people. A job provides sustenance, prosperity, growth, a realization of a worthy goal to name a few. I have always thought of a job as a vehicle that propels our life, and so it is made up of many key components. More importantly, you are the fuel that is used to drive this engine so it is absolutely important that the engine has the right quality of fuel and in sufficient quantity. The seven key components of a job are as follows:
Job Advertisement/Job Lead – The job advertisement is what generates your interest in a job. You read about the job description and decide whether you tick all the boxes in order for you to apply for the vacant position. That is why it is absolutely important you read the job description carefully and tailor your CV/application accordingly because you do not want it to end up in the discarded pile.
Interview – The make or break stage of the whole process. Some researchers have said that an interviewer will make his/her mind up whether to hire a candidate or not in the first 3 minutes of an interview. First impressions count, and if you can come across positive as soon as you step into the interviewer’s room the better. What is even more important is getting off to a good start when the interview questions come your way. In order to be really successful in interviews you have to know what you stand for and what you can bring to the table. The interviewer may start off with a common question such as ‘Tell me about yourself?’ Quite a lot of candidates struggle with this question. This is your opportunity to truly sell yourself. Think of this question like an elevator pitch for yourself. Have a few meaningful words and sentences committed to memory to really get your pitch flowing.
Contract/Offer of Employment – This is the moment you sign on the dotted line. It is an opportunity for you to review the fine details of the job. Does it fit your requirements? Are there any clauses? What are the terms and conditions? It is always a good idea to read through the contract several times before you sign it and send it back to the employer.
Induction – This is quite an exciting part of the whole job process. It can last anywhere between 1 and 2 weeks and depending on the nature of job can even be longer. The induction is designed to provide you with as much information about the specific job and company. It’s all about becoming acquainted with the house rules. You will be given information on health and safety issues, your holiday entitlement etc. Use this process to gain as much knowledge about the company’s policies and procedures as possible.
Performance Review – This is the nervous part of the entire project. However, it does not need to be that way. The important thing to remember is that the employer is basically looking to evaluate you in accordance with a set of pre-determined criteria relating to the job you were hired to do. The criteria for this depends on the type of job but in essence it revolves around core competencies and your attitude at work and the impact that has on company profitability.
Redundancy/Firing – This signals the end of the road for you but don’t take it in a bad way. The company has made the decision based on your performance review or has been forced by senior management to trim the staff count. Although this process can be very difficult to bear the important thing is to be proactive and figure out what you are going to do next. If you have a really good relationship with your manager, you can ask him/her if they can help you identify any job leads. Also use your network to your advantage because there is a hidden jobs market out there, it’s just a case of finding it.
In summary, starting a new job can be a really exciting experience. The first three months are considered to be toughest where you really have to showcase your abilities. It’s almost like a President’s first 100 days in charge. A solid start will lay a solid foundation for your future role in the company. By six months, you should be comfortable in your daily role. There will be challenges and there will be disappointments and setbacks along the way. The important thing is to remain focused and work hard. Your attitude will determine your altitude.
I was at home in my bed at the weekend nursing a twisted knee which was mind – numbingly painful. As I lay there moaning and groaning in pain. A random thought arose in my mind. That thought was that a person needs absolutely no experience to set up their own business but when they wanted to say apply for a business development position or other, they probably wouldn’t get the job because they had no specific experience. How odd I thought to myself. People who run their own businesses are just as capable as the people who do the regular 9 to 5 jobs of their counterparts. To run your own business, one needs to be pretty decisive and not shy away from doing the dirty work. In many respects you need to be a jack of all trades, and in many cases that is where the lessons one has learnt in life come in handy. You have a pretty big in-tray of work daily as you juggle marketing, sales management, administration, order processing etc. You don’t have specific targets as such but one big moving target all the time which is the product and/or service you are selling.
The global recession has resulted in many business failures because finance has dried up leaving a lot of entrepreneurs to pick up the pieces. So my question is shouldn’t these people be top of the interview pile when they to apply for vacant positions because they have so much to offer? Does one really need to have specific experience in a specific field to be good at the job, or is experience gained over a certain length of time in a general field more worthwhile? I believe that in a depressed economy, it may be more economical to employ someone who has a wide range of skills rather than one skill. I think time has come when it should be perfectly possible and indeed permissible to have one person performing two functions. People who have a wide ranging skills set are more likely to have the appetite and capacity for learning new skills and taking on additional responsibility.
Searching for a job isn’t fun, and if there is anybody out there who found it enjoyable, I would be most interested to hear from them. For most people, it is a stressful, time consuming and grueling experience. The global recession has only made it more difficult than ever before to look for a job with the average job search now taking 8 months, and even more depending on the type of industry.
The main challenge for all modern companies isn’t to find talent but to find the right quality of talent which is becoming harder to find. An ageing workforce and lesser quality fresh talent coming off the conveyor belt is making recruitment and retention a number 1 challenge for companies. We are now entering a whole new age of employee engagement and retention where companies need to be on the front foot in the identification, development and retention of quality talent.
This challenge is now forcing many companies to become more innovative with their recruiting methods. Some companies have totally embraced social media and incorporated it into their recruiting apparatus, whilst others remain more loyal to traditional forms of recruiting via advertising in newspapers, job boards etc. Increasingly, many companies employ the services of a headhunter to help them find and attract talent. As we progress in this information age, technology is going to play an even greater role. As individuals we are going to be better connected with each other, and that means we will be more visible to the outside world. So if your name exists anywhere in print or online, the chances are you are likely to get an email or a call from a headhunter.
So if they called you, why should you entertain their call? First, they have probably contacted you about a job that isn’t advertised anywhere publicly. Headhunters have access to the ‘hidden job market’ so if they called you it’s because they think you might be suitable for a new challenge. Second, even if you do not display a genuine interest in what they want to talk to you about, it’s probably worth keeping in touch with them as you never know what the future holds. A good headhunter will be a very well connected person who could put you in touch with potential future opportunities. So if you have a particular skill set and haven’t had a call from a headhunter, you should expect one in the not too distant future.
Photo credit: CELALTEBER