Ten things not to do in a job group assessment 


You’ve been selected for your dream job, you’ve sent that suit jacket to the dry cleaners, you’ve researched the company and you are fully confident, then you read the email again and the words “group assessment” fill you with dread. It’s all very well interviewing and not knowing who you are up against but to face your foes in an assessment centre feels like a corporate hunger games. So here are a few top tips as to what those assessors are looking for and how you can fight the competition (metaphorically speaking, violence is always a no no) and get ahead.

1. Take over

When faced with an assessment centre, there is always at least one person who feels like they are on an episode of the apprentice. Whilst it’s great to get your ideas across most employers don’t want someone who takes over, who dominates and who believes it’s their way or the high way. You may feel like you are being authoritative and assertive but if you are not giving anyone else the opportunity to speak then you just come across as controlling and out for yourself. Which ironically in an assessment centre you might think you need to be as you want the job but we are also looking for great team players. Think to yourself, am I behaving like someone I’d like to work with.

2. Be mean to your fellow interviewees

You want the job and you want to defeat the competition but remember this isn’t the Hunger Games meets America’s Next Top Model. If it was it would be much more entertaining for the assessors. You may be surrounded by people vying for one job and naturally there will be people that you instantly warm to and people that remind you of people that you don’t like, there will be others that perhaps you don’t even notice. Just check your behaviour, we say that bitchy side eye, that body language that turns your back on someone and the quick dismissal of someone’s ideas. Try and be nice and professional to all and try to be inclusive. Slyly putting someone down or making them look bad, you might think might make you look like your winning but really we will just think you are being mean. Who wants to work with mean people anyway eh?

3. Not say anything at all

You are filled with fear and everyone around you is so confident and good, so despite being selected you rule yourself out in your head. That Susan she’s going to get the job, she’s so loud and she’s worked on TV before they’ll love her. As those thoughts pace through your head, you dim your own shine to a point where you don’t say anything at all. Try and say something, trust your instincts and remember at this stage everyone is at a level playing field. Make notes of things you want to say if that makes it easier and find pauses in conversation to speak up.. even if you initially say, “I like what John just said” then that gets you going and gives you the confidence to go on.

4. Say too much

Nerves affect people in many different ways. If I’m nervous I tend to over talk or try to inject humour into a situation sometimes it’s appropriate sometimes it isn’t. Often when we are nervous we can just talk and talk and end up saying silly things or confuse what we are trying to say. So pause, be concise and remember it’s not a race to get everything about yourself out.

5. Name drop

I’ve seen this more frequently recently in assessments. People feel the need to say that their auntie works in TV or they know a certain celebrity or went to a certain school. It doesn’t always have to be a negative thing but ask yourself what is the relevance of this to the task at hand. You want to be seen as experienced and in the know but just because your auntie works in tv does that really mean you are the best person for the job? Or the fact that you went to school with Ellie Goulding might be great at a party but in an assessment centre if it’s not relevant then it just looks like showing off.

6. Not stick to the task

If you are asked to do a task read the questions and stick to the task. Don’t try and change the task to suit something that you know better. The assessors have asked you to do something for a reason and they will be assessing you on that. The more you divert from the task the more that it looks like you are not paying attention.

7. When you are supposed to be silent, chatting

This takes you back to school but when the assessor says work on your own in silence for the first ten minutes that is what they mean. They will ask you if you have any questions before this, so ask then. You might think it’s fine to chit chat with the person next to you but we can all see you and it’s not cool.

8. Ask questions to the assessors that aren’t relevant

It’s fine to ask questions about the assessment but make sure you’ve read all the information given to you. If the answer you want is right on the paper in front of you then it looks like you are not great at paying attention to detail. Also you might think it’s fine to ask questions that are personal to the assessors, I had one person mention that they’d seen me at a karaoke bar. Now I was probably slaying a Celine cover but that wasn’t that relevant to that day. People also panic about things that might happen if they are offered the job. Get through this stage first and then we can deal with that.

9. Make fun of the task

You might think the task is too short, not relevant, beneath you but don’t openly mock it. That’s really disrespectful. Don’t say “oh I felt like you would want more from me and I’m a bit disappointed”.. well love you’ll be more disappointed when you don’t get the job. Don’t giggle about it with the other candidates or say it’s shit (this has happened) as we generally can hear that.

10. Don’t be cliquey

You may bond with people more than others and you may know someone already there, but don’t forge allegiances at the expense of other people. Be inclusive not exclusive. You may meet a new friend or a new lover but keep your mind on the task at hand. You are looking to get a job not a tinder date (although if you are very lucky you might get both).

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Surviving and thriving when a job goes wrong..


Sometimes you take on a job and it simply just doesn’t work out. That might be due to things you could control, it might be due to financial and other things way out of your control. Whatever the reasons, it can be devastating finding yourself unexpectedly looking for work and trying to pick yourself up to find a new job, often when you are feeling rubbish about yourself and your confidence is shattered. Most people, particularly in television have that gig they took that just didn’t work out, the key is being able to move forward and not let a bad experience define them. Easier said than done but here are a few tips to get you back on track.

Own it 

When faced with redundancy or a contract not being extended or simply the conversation of “is this the right job for you” can instantly cause panic and fear. That rug of stability is being pulled out from under you and the future seems very uncertain. At this time you can make rash decisions, act inappropriately or literally want to shout and scream. All of that is understandable but take a deep breath, hold your nerve and remember to ask the right questions and keep it about the work not about you as a person. Sometimes these decisions can not be about your work, but a commission falling through or a cost saving exercise but ask the questions as to why this is happening. Ask about the process if that’s appropriate and ask about next stages. If you are being made redundant, what is the timescale for this, what are you entitled too, can you get a glowing reference, on what criteria is the decision being made. Often in the shock of it all we forget to ask these questions. Take notes and make sure you have a comprehensive understanding about the process. 

If your boss gives you a list of things that you haven’t done then honestly look at yourself and ask “is that true”. If it’s not true ask if you can have a right to reply about these issues and if needs be include a union rep or additional person in the meeting. Try not to throw other people under the bus at this stage and maintain your dignity and if your boss throws in comments about your personality rather than your skills then you are well within your rights to question the relevance and focus on the questions of whether the tasks are done or not.  

Finances! 

If you are getting a redundancy payment then you may want to take a bit of time out to reflect and plan your next move. This if you can do it can be healthy and give you some perspective. Be careful though as if you have too much time on your hands then you can wallow and be consumed by what’s gone on and the security blanket of the redundancy payment can enable you to do that. It’s what works best for you. The danger often is to jump into something straight away because you need a job and will take any job. Now I know that can be unavoidable sometimes but keep asking yourself is this really what I want to be doing right now. This can be a great opportunity for you to look at what you really want to do, analyse your strengths and think about the types of roles and companies that will showcase your skills.

Was it the wrong job?

In those times of reflection ask yourself was it the wrong job? Sometimes it can be not about the job rather about the wrong team, the wrong company and just not right for you for where you currently are in your life. Acknowledging that is important and you will pick up these cues and red flags when interviewing for your next role. If you look at the type of company, boss and team then hopefully you will see a pattern of why that didn’t work. This can make decisions about your next job more rational and considered.

How do I market myself now 

Redundancy and jobs not working out are more common than you might think. It only becomes alarming to a recruiter if there is a pattern of this with each job. It’s fine to say in an interview I took redundancy as the company were downsizing, changing structure and I felt like it was the right time to move. It’s also fine to say actually that role wasn’t for me and what I’ve learnt is that my strengths lie in …. that is why I want this job at this company. Be careful not to bad mouth the previous company or employer and phrase things in a sense of what you want to do now rather than what you didn’t like about the previous role. Sometimes acknowledging the problem can be useful but you don’t want to undersell yourself leaving the interviewer thinking you are a bit rubbish. If your contract simply ended when it did and it wasn’t a great experience then don’t tell that to the new employer, talk about challenges and how you overcame them rather than how awful the role was. Every job is a learning experience. Sometimes new employers may know your previous bad bosses and they may try and well intentionally collude you to bad mouth them but don’t fall into that trap, keep it positive and professional. It can be a small world and people may know people you have worked with before.

If you feel you were unjustly treated go through the proper channels 

If you feel that you were unjustly treated then know your rights. Speak to a union or an independent legal or HR professional and follow that process accordingly. Fighting for unfair dismissal can be costly and take a long time but if you feel that is the right thing for you to do then do your research and know what’s involved. Make sure you have note, dates and preferably emails and details of why you feel this decision was unjust.

Keep it off social media 

If you feel the need to rant or rave and slag off the company or boss that did you wrong then go to the pub with a trusted friend, preferably someone who didn’t work at the company and rant to your hearts content. The worst thing you can do is play out a tale of revenge on social media.. people remember these things.. TV is also a small world and this can really hamper your chances of another job. What you are saying may be true but think as you should always do on social media about how you are coming across. 

Stop replaying scenarios of what if

This is the hardest thing, you think if only i had done this or that then I would still be in that job.. well the truth is you’ll never know if that is true. Take that what if attitude and switch it around to thoughts of what am I going to do differently in my next job. Also remember your new job won’t be the same as your old job. So take that as face value and don’t predict that your new boss and colleagues will behave in the same way. 

The best revenge is success 

Angry and hurt you will probably play Hollywood esque revenge scenarios on your old boss and company. As fun as this might be it’s counter productive to moving forward. Always remember the best revenge is success. It might be gratifying to throw a glass of wine Dynasty style at an old boss in a showdown in your head but  the best revenge is for you to be happy and successful.. enough time will pass where you just don’t care anymore. So learn from the past but don’t be defined by it. 

Ten things that will help you with your next interview


Ten things to help with your next interview

You get the call or email saying you’ve been invited to an interview and after the initial whoop yasss! A panic sets in.. You know that they think you are good enough to get an interview but how are you going to get through the interview? Your mind races between thinking this was a pity invite and they only invited you to make up the numbers to thinking you’re going to ace it and then berating yourself for being over confident.  So how do you channel those nerves in a positive way and how do you create the best impression.? Before you over analyse, grab a cup of tea, stick on your mindfulness app and breathe.. then after doing that for 5 minutes and scoffing a few rich tea biscuits the work can begin.

Plan your route

Know where you are going and get there early, nothing adds to nerves than a last minute dash and panic as you realise where you thought the office was isn’t actually where the office is. I remember years ago merrily walking in the direction of where I knew the office to me only realising I’d read google maps wrong and was miles away from where I should be. Panic set in and I arrived looking late looking flustered and all over the place.. which completely threw me off the interview and I didn’t get the job.. lesson learned. So plan your route, even do a recce and give yourself plenty of time to get there. Also think about when you are at your best if you are given an interview slot. I’ve had to dash from work at the end of the day to interview and my mind is consumed with the work that I am doing, so for me I much prefer an interview at the start of the day when I am fresh and it also gets the interview out of the way and I can carry on with my day. Nothing worse than having that dread that lasts throughout the day as you anticipate that 6pm interview. Sometimes these things can’t be helped but if you have a choice then pick when best suits you.

Do some research

Do as much research as you can about the company and the people that you are interviewing with. Don’t go overboard and arrive with a massive file full of end of year reports and every press cutting there has been since 1982 about the company. Also don’t overstalk on facebook, “You look like you had an amazing time at Glastonbury”, respect boundaries and know the companies output. Talk passionately about the programmes that they make and that’s half the battle. Enthusiasm is contagious and you might think you are being honest by telling us that you “ don’t really know anything about the company”, or “I haven’t had time to watch the programme” but to the interviewer it really looks like you can’t be bothered. Also still remember to answer the questions, you can be so proud of the fact that you’ve learnt all this stuff about the company that you forget to answer and simply regurgitate facts and statistics about the place.

Take your time

In an interview you can feel like it’s a race and you need to get everything that you want to say out as quickly as possible. Nerves can cause us to babble on and not focus or can alternatively cause us to clam up and struggle to get the words out. Remember it is not a race and it’s ok to take your time. You can feel that you are being judged if you don’t answer straight away but seriously those few seconds that may seem like hours to you, feel insignificant to the interviewer. It’s ok to ask them to repeat the question and to also seek clarification as well. If you feel the urge to panic and you miss a question ask them to repeat it, take a breath, sip on some water and then answer. A few seconds to compose yourself can make a real difference.

Remember it’s a two way thing

An interview is always a two way thing, it’s not just you being judged and sussed out but it is also an opportunity for you to suss out the company and see if it is the right company for you. Trust your gut instincts as sometimes the company isn’t the right company for you. This can be tricky when you are starting your career and you want to get that job but weigh it out and if it’s a short term role but not the right company think about where this opportunity could lead you. It’s a fine balance as you don’t want to appear as if you are interviewing the interviewers but it is fine for you to ask questions and find out more about the company.

Ask questions

Do have some prepared questions, ask people why they like to work there, questions about the culture and also what they expect from the person that they are hiring. You’ll find a lot about the company and the culture and the way people manage people and this will be effective when it comes to making an informed decision. It also helps to focus you in your interview preparation.

Have notes

If having short notes about what you’ve done or what you want to say makes you feel more comfortable then take them with you. Do ask at the start of the interview though if the panel are fine with you having your notes out. If they are not then you need to respect that decision, but generally most interviewers would be fine with this. Again don’t have folders full of notes just have short headlines on card for example that can help you come up with great answers and make you really think about the experience that you’ve got. Also don’t use them for the sake of using them, make sure your answers and your notes are relevant to the questions that are being asked.

Prepare some examples of your work

Sometimes candidates bring along examples of their work, whether that be programme ideas or films that you have worked on. This can be helpful sometimes when you can’t fully articulate what you’ve done. Some panels may not want to see these to ensure fairness with other candidates (who they’ve not asked to provide examples) but they will undoubtedly be impressed that you bought these along. Also what a better way to articulate what you’ve done.

Stop worrying about other candidates

Too often we think about things that we have no control over and I’ve seen this with lots of people, where there confidence can be drained by a perception of how good the other candidates are. In group assessments, candidates can chat and sometimes the most confident people or the people with the most experience can make you feel like a fraud to be there. You need to ignore that, people don’t invite people to interviews if they don’t think they are capable of doing the job. So always remember you are in the running, you stand a chance and you have as much right to be there as anyone else.. act like the boss that you know you one day will become… be quietly confident and know and make sure that you give it your best shot.

Don’t be influenced by other people

That friend that passively aggressively tells you it will be tough to get that job, your parents who believe you should be an accountant and the love of your life sows seeds of doubt about your ability to get the job.. those voices can play over and over again in your head. So much so that by the time you even arrive at the interview that you already firmly believe that you won’t get the job. Voices can crop up in the middle of the interview “listen to yourself, you don’t know what you are talking about” so when you hear those voices, politely or not that politely tell them to go away.. It’s all about you!

Remember to smile and be enthusiastic

Nerves can show on our face and our usual sunny dispositions can be transformed into a scowl without us even realising. When we are feeling stressed and nerves are getting to us, then just smile and try and be enthusiastic and polite. It is really simple but think if you were interviewing a person, how would you want them to behave and mirror that behaviour (as long as it’s positive)!

 

Remember everything is a learning curve some interviews may lead to jobs and some won’t the important thing is to keep on going.. eventually everything will fall into place!

 

Are you sabotaging your career?


Do you ever feel stuck in a rut? Do you look at how effortlessly people navigate the world of work and gain success? Do you scroll through Instagram looking at people’s successful lives, flat stomachs and stick on grins and feel envious or spiteful or just a little sad that this isn’t you.. We all have these moments and if people say they don’t they are lying behind a screen of bravado. This comparing ourselves to others can have an effect on how we perform in the work place. Are we living to our potential or are we living to a reality that we feel that we are suited to, have we just assigned ourselves to not really trying? The legendary RuPaul in his show “RuPaul’s Drag race” often talks about people’s “inner saboteur” where we have the philosophy and mind-set that we are going to fail and often that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So what are the signs that you are falling for your inner saboteur and you could be in fact sabotaging your own career?

We often either don’t see opportunities or we talk ourselves out of things that could be great opportunities for us. We don’t have time, I need to focus on my proper job rather than have notions of doing something else, besides what happens if I can’t do my own job because I’ve committed to that project. I will just stay where I am. Or we can sit at our desk and think, well if they thought I would be any good for that role then someone would have spoken to me and they haven’t, so they obviously think that I am not capable or ready for that next step. We justify our inaction in our head without really knowing the truth. We convince ourselves that our truth is the truth. We are all guilty of this at one time or another, we get so focused on the tasks at hand that we fail to see the benefits of grasping other opportunites. First of all, if you sit at your desk quietly waiting to be discovered then that generally will not happen. So start asking yourself “why shouldn’t I be able to do it” and if you feel that you are becoming invisible ask yourself, “ Have I made it clear to my boss, what I want to do, what I am capable of”. They too might be so wrapped up in work and thinking that you are quiet because you are happy in your role. Ask yourself “what would happen if I just did it, if I went for that promotion.. what would be the worst thing that could happen?” You might conjur up feelings of failure and ineptitude but how can you say that is the truth. Start by saying Yes and then focus on each task at hand rather than panicking about the whole job or a feeling of dread. Keep your eyes open for opportunities and grasp them.

In the work place we can be easily fooled by a confident persona, a beaming smile and someone who knows what they are talking about. That person may be brilliant or they could be feeling a fraud exactly like you. Either way you can’t control their success or failure but you can to a large degree control your own. We are always comparing ourselves to other people, making judgements in the office and preconceptions of how good people are at their jobs. Some of these things can be based on fact but they might also just be based on your own insecurities. They could also be a result of painful school memories or people you’ve known in the past who’ve been given the limelight so you project that onto the people in the office rather than projecting yourself into the limelight. I often hear people say to me, “I can’t go for this job as such and such is better qualified”, or “this should be Sue (random name)’s job as she has been here for a long time and deserves it. Well it’s dog eat dog sometimes and I am sure Sue is great but if you don’t put yourself in the ring then no one is going to see you. I have been in situations in the past where I’ve gone for jobs that I think I could do and do well only to be told by colleagues that “that should be such and such’s job and you shouldn’t be going for that”. What is happening here is either them projecting their reasons for not going for the role or some weird misplaced loyalty towards their colleague. Respond professionally and with dignity at all times but don’t let other people’s insecurities stop you from trying.

One of the biggest ways we can sabotage ourselves in the work place is not asking for help. We take on more and more work as we want to impress and please but can’t say no and end up drowning in a sea of work and end up not pleasing anyone. We want to look confident and know what we are doing so we don’t ask for help and think we can figure out what’s asked and then just get into an absolute panic and through stubbornness make the whole thing much more complicated. Ask for help, ask for clarity and make sure you know what you are doing. Manage your time well, don’t mess around and leave yourself with loads to do. Ask your boss what you should prioritise, make them aware of your work load. There is a fine line between this and being a needy child though so make decisions but if it’s all getting too much , then do let someone know.

The feeling of not being good enough can resinate and resurface at various times in our lives, or be just a dull aching constant that stops us from creeping out of our comfort zone. I won’t do that as I won’t be good enough. I’m a bit rubbish really, or that idea it’s alright I guess but I am sure people had much better ones. I interview a lot of people and sometimes the most brilliant and talented people can tell me that they were shocked at being interviewed, can downplay their experience or as someone did recently say “everyone here is much better than me”.  All of that is not true, you are capable and you are talented, it is about coming to that realisation yourself. Some people work with gratitude, writing things that they are proud of each day. Some people like to take a more factual approach and look at achievements as things rather than directly connected to you. That sounds weird but if you looked at your CV as if it was someone else’s I am sure that you would rave about all the exciting things that they had done. People don’t want to boast and brag but talk about what you have done and what you want to do as projects rather than reflections of your ego. It’s not arrogant to talk about what you’ve done and it’s not arrogant to reflect what you want to do. Start thinking “why not me…” someone’s going to get that job someone’s going to write that play.. why can’t that be you.. Sometimes are biggest critics are ourselves and we need to be kinder to ourselves.. if you were saying the things you say to yourself about someone else you would be shocked by the cruel way you spoke so learn to be nice to you.. Take it as a day by day process.

I see common mistakes with people starting out their careers and I want to scream “No you are making life difficult for yourself!”, but sometimes people need to learn lessons for themselves. In TV you can’t be 9 to 5 and there will be shoots, and weekend work and other requirements that will be expected of you. If you are rigid and clock watching then ultimately you are limiting future options for yourself. If you are on a shoot and everyone is running around busy and you are on your phone lolling at twitter or swiping right on tinder, then you are not going to be hired again. If you roll your eyes at your boss and furiously whatsapp your colleagues about how mean they are, well they will probably find out and not re hire you. So just behave professionally, when you want to scream obscenaties then bite your tongue and just remember that old adage of treat people how you want to be treated.

So when you see yourself doing these things, take a breath, stop and tell yourself “what are you doing.. this isn’t right.. I am more than capable” and you will be surprised by how easily success comes to you.

Ten things not to do on an application form 


The idea of filling in an application form can fill you with dread.. how do you sell your skills and secure that interview with only 200 words per question? What can you do to stand out? How do you make yourself interesting? What are the company really looking for? You can send yourself into a whirl of panic and anxiety by over thinking the form. Often at this stage of dread, we talk ourselves out of this and say “Oh i would never have got it anyway” or the old faithful “there are going to be people with much more experience”. You grab a cup of tea and a bourbon biscuit and feel secure that you wouldn’t have got the job anyway. When you feel that way.. ask yourself what if i do get the job and apply for it anyway. I’ve seen thousands of applications over the years and here are some of my thoughts and tips about what not to do.

Use fancy verbose language that doesn’t make sense

Often we think we sound smarter and more professional if we use long words and business language. Nothing wrong with that in principle, but does what you are saying actually make any sense? People throw adjectives into a sentence without really giving them any context.. its great that you have business acumen and are proactive in managing complex scenarios related to precarious negotiations but what are you trying to say? You may want to appear intelligent but actually writing in plain English makes life so much easier. You need to think that someone has to read this and you need to be able to explain things clearly. We want to hear about what you’ve done and how you’ve done it rather than your theoretical strategic ideas. You may sound fancy and intelligent but also you might just be talking nonsense. Don’t fill your application with a series of big words that have no context.

Bad mouth the company

This sounds like super obvious who would slag off their previous company or the company that they are applying to in a job application? You would however be surprised. I know that you might want to just be honest and explain how much you hate your current job and everything in your life led you to working in TV, that’s fine but all i read is how much you hate your job. It can sound a little brattish and a little ungrateful. We’ve all done jobs that are not what we ultimately want to do but what have you learnt from them, what skills have you developed, what is transferable from that particular job.

You almost might think you are being ironic and clever by criticising the company that you are applying for but ask yourself, have they asked for your critique. On a recent application i saw someone wrote “I don’t watch your channel and i would love to come in and explain to you in an interview as to why i don’t”. Challenging, perhaps controversial maybe, but also why are you planning to work on a channel you don’t like. It just looks arrogant and rude. A little bit of humility goes a long way sometimes.

Not bothering to spell check 

This is one of my personal favourites when people talk about their great attention to detail and then half of their words are spelt wrong. We can all be guilty of this but double and triple check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. It just looks lazy and sloppy when you don’t. A lot of people in TV are pedantic about this so don’t give them reason to judge you. Also don’t use slang as well as that really doesn’t go down well.

Writing too little

This is very common and something that i presume people just panic about and don’t write very much so as to just got the application done and sent. Take your time with the application and if it says you have 200 words then use that. Someone recently when asked to suggest a programme idea on an application form wrote “n/a”.. i mean b***h please.. you are just shooting yourself in the foot with that.  Some people write short glib answers to questions, saying things like ” i think i have the necessary skills for the role”.. Great i am sure you do, but i am asking for examples, i want to know what you’ve done.. please sell yourself! I often find myself screaming that in the computer.. well screaming that inside my head so i don’t disturb my colleagues. We will be assessing you on your answers so if there is nothing there then we can’t really, it’s as simple as that.

Writing too much that doesn’t make sense

Sometimes we fill the space with a whole lot of words desperately trying to pad out the prose so you reach the 200 words. Try and be succinct though rather than saying something with a multitude of unnecessary words. This can also be confusing to the reader as they have to search through to find out what you are really trying to say. Sometimes you have to re-read and are no clearer as to what you really mean.

Not answering the questions

We can be so desperate to sell our ability, demonstrate our skills and try and be liked that we avoid the question being asked. We have a script in our head about what we want to say and sometimes we just say it rather than answering the question. The reader is looking for a direct answer to the question and they will be assessing you on that basis. It makes it difficult for them to assess you positively if you haven’t answered the question. Sometimes people like to list achievements or talk about the type of person they are in this situations. It’s great that you are “hard working”, “personable”, can speak to “people at all levels” (how noble of you) but that is not telling me what you’ve done or answering the question. So write your answer, re-read it and re-read it again. Until it makes perfect sense.

Over selling yourself 

It’s great to be confident and to know yourself and you can be so eager and ambitious to climb up the ladder of success. There is nothing wrong with that but right now you are not a Series Producer, you are not a TV expert and you are not “only looking for researcher roles”. Be a bit humble and talk about what you’ve done and what you want to do but be mindful that you still have lots to learn. You are applying for a traineeship, an apprenticeship, be open to learning and developing. People aren’t expecting the finished product. Also don’t over exagerate or use your TV experience to say things that you haven’t done or to see you worked as an Assistant Producer when you were really a runner. People see through that. It is also a small world and i’ve interviewed with many people who’ve said things like “she never did that on that programme” or “that wasn’t his idea that was mine”. So be proud, be truthful but be careful not to spiral into a sea of over exageration and falsehood.

Underselling yourself

I’ve often talked to and interviewed people who have been so unaware of their achievements and all the great things that they have done. They are over apologetic and wrapped in false modesty. It is only after talking that someone let’s slip out “oh i made a film”, or ” I won an award”. I’m generally like “Oh my God that’s amazing!” You need to shout about that, people need to know. I’m then confronted with, “I don’t want to sound boastful”. I get that, i really do, but if you keep all your achievements to yourself how are you going to sell yourself and get that job? This might be weird but imagine that you are talking about someone else and be really factual about what you’ve done. You’d happily sing the praises of a best mate or sibling so treat yourself in that way too. It’s really frustrating when you find out later what someone has done and they haven’t put it on the form.

No contact details or not responding to contact details

This is a real pain in the neck. You want to invite someone to an interview and there are no contact details (yes that happens). You have no choice but to not invite them and that feels such a waste. Also if you put an email on your form then please respond to that email. I’ve contacted people recently for assessment centres where i have clearly asked them to get back to me and i have had to chase two or three times to get an answer.. now that’s just rude. I’ve also emailed people and had no response. Just say if you can’t make it or you’ve got another job or you aren’t interested anymore. Particularly as then we can invite someone else to take your place. It really is selfish not to do that. I am aware as well that sometimes emails can go into people’s junk folders so regularly check them. If you’ve applied for a job then check your email and respond quickly.. it really looks like you can’t be arsed if someone has to chase you up.

Not be available to start work when stated.

Often for schemes and apprenticeships it will clearly say that you need to be able to start on a specific day. It’s really frustrating when people can’t. I sometimes here after a big long process “can i defer for a year as i want to go travelling” Well didn’t you think about that before you went through the whole process. Or people booking holidays when they are due to start, i know some things can’t be helped but if you want a job and know when it starts then do try and start then!

 

Ten things not to do on your CV


January always comes around like a wake up call, like an alarm going off or a slap across the face.. you put down that tub of quality street (I mean you’ve eaten all the good ones), sign up for pilates, pick up that clean eating quinoa obsessed cook book that’s remained unopened on your book shelf for most of the year and you start to think, “I need a new job!” You look at your old CV which has not been updated for a while and start to update it and then a sense of dread descends as no matter how you word things, it always sounds a bit naff, a bit disingenuous and a bit show offy..  Having seen 1000s and 1000s of CVs over the years, here are few things that frustrate me and other employers and could be stopping you from getting interviews.

  1. No contact details or incorrect details

This seems blatantly obvious but you’d be surprised how in the rush of sending a CV off people can mistype emails or forget to put on a phone number. Ordinarily if a CV is being emailed to you, it doesn’t really matter as you can simply reply, but if you are applying online through an automated application process then that information can get lost. People also like a phone number on the CV so that they can contact you and chat to you quickly. There have been a number of times when I’ve tried to get in touch with people to offer work or invite in for an interview and I just haven’t been able to get hold of them.. so make sure that the your contact details are correct and up to date, I don’t want to be calling and leaving messages for a random person thinking that it’s you. If you have multiple email addresses use that one that feels most business like, generally your name and initials work. Although I did love emails like slagsgotswag and hornytiger (actual starts of people’s email addresses), think about what your email address says about you and the impression that you are creating.. you may have loved Care Bears and One Direction at one stage  but keep them out of your email address.

  1. Not enough info

This is where I need to get all Poirot and Sherlock Holmes and come to my own conclusions about what you did and what your role was in that job. This does you a disservice. Yeah you can put the word runner and no further explanation  and most runner roles are relatively similar but when you put no detail I will presume you did some filing and made coffee and won’t know about what you actually did. I am not suggesting that you go into heaps of prose about your daily routine but talk about your achievements and the level of responsibility that you had. If you think that you are ready for the next level then you need to demonstrate that with the work that you have been doing and that needs to be clear on your CV.  Employers can presume but by doing that they can jump to the wrong conclusions or simply put you to the bottom of the pile because what they are looking for is not jumping out from your CV. I often talk to people trying to break into the industry and as our conversation flows, I find out about films that they’ve made or skills that they have that aren’t on their CV, things that would get them an interview. So make a list of your achievements, the things that you are proud of and think about how relevant they will be to getting your next job and if you think they are relevant then get them on your CV.

  1. Too much info

The opposite of not enough information is far too much information. A CV should really be no longer than two pages and when it stretches to five you know you have problems. You need to edit the information, ask yourself in the back of your head “so what” to each sentence until you get a finally honed concise sentence that really sells what you are trying to say about yourself. Remember that the person looking at your CV is generally a busy person who will have a list of things that they want from this hire, if they have to dissect through reams of prose about your dissertation to find out what they are looking for then the likelihood is they won’t be bothered with you. Keep it relevant and keep it focused to what they are looking for and ask yourself does this CV best reflect me??

  1. Stats and graphs and ratings

This is a relatively recent phenomena and to be fair it does make your CV eye catching but what purpose does it really serve? If you are rating your skills in terms of out of 5 stars, or a graph or a chart, what are you trying to tell me? If you give yourself 3 stars for attention to detail then I will come to the conclusion that that really is not something that you are good at. Alternatively if you are 5 stars in everything – whoopee 5 stars in communication then I will go into the interview trying to discredit that.. By simply having a list of words or skills and your subjective rating of how good you are at them, doesn’t really tell me much other than your perception of yourself. You may be being honest when you say that you’re a 2 star communicator and even if everything else is 5 stars I will only remember the 2 star. You are drawing attention to things you are not good at and that’s all the reader remembers so stay clear of these things.

  1. Having No References

The world of television moves quick and fast and often you see someone one day to start a job the next day. The world is also relatively small and insular and lots of people will have worked together before. Often you can be faced with two options and you take up references, if the references are there and easy to hand then that makes things easier. Also as people have invariably worked together before, managers may like to ring your references and check out what they have to say about you. Now they can easily ask you for the references but sometimes it makes life much quicker and easier and creates a rapport if they are already there on your CV. Do make sure that the people that you have as references know that they are your referee and are happy to give a positive reference. I’ve contacted references in the past who have no recollection of working with the person or that person just worked there for a day, or alternatively they did such a bad job that the referee couldn’t possibly give them a good reference. So make sure that’s all sorted and you’ve got the best referees you could possibly have before putting them on your CV.

 6.Using unnecessary business language

How do I make myself sound intelligent and ready for the cut and thrust of the business world.. well I will use some big words and put them in a sentence that grammatically and logically doesn’t make any sense. Why say something plainly when you can jazz it up with words that no one in everyday life really says. Now I am being sarcastic but I feel that this is the thought process that some people go through when writing their CVs. Especially in the opening paragraph when you are trying to sell yourself but just throw together a series of big words which effectively tells me you are great with people and like to organise things. Big words might impress some people but ask yourself, “does this sentence make any sense”? Often people use these words to impress or convey a superiority, some people are impressed with that but more likely people will think you sound pretentious. Also stay clear of phrases like “I can communicate with people at all levels”, bully for you, it sounds patronising and slightly grandiose (I’m using fancy words now).

  1. Trying to be funny

Now we all love to laugh and be funny and irreverent, I know I most certainly do, but humour can often be so subjective and can often not easily translate when written on a page. You may be a crazy hilarious bantz merchant and have your friends in stitches at your wit, but when you try to relay this on your CV you can often look like a bit of an idiot. Sometimes it can work and can work well but often you look like you are trying too hard or not taking things seriously. Funny anecdotes about the places you have worked or learning experiences written in a bantering tone can be engaging but also can take away from the hard work you’ve done and your achievements.

  1. Glamour shots

We’ve all learnt a lot from America’s Next Top Model, we’ve perfected our walk, we know how to smize and have mastered the subtle but effective differences between catalogue, commercial and couture and that’s great, really great for Instagram and great if you want to be a model or an actor but not necessary for your CV. It’s a very European thing to have a photo on your CV and it can make the reader remember the individual but it is unnecessary. I’ve been sent CVs for runners and researchers accompanied by beach shots, toasting a glass of champagne or leaning provocatively against a tree as if you are in Harpers Bazaar all rather lovely but unnecessary. Your work and your experience should get you the job not the way that you look. If you insist on having a photo on there a simple head shot is all you need, but be mindful people judge photos so best not to have one on their at all.

  1. Gimmicks

This can work exceptionally well in many industries and can even work well in the TV industry but it’s about knowing your audience and doing something that stands out but for all the right reasons. Having an origami CV in the shape of a swan might be beautiful but can you read clearly the CV and your experience or do you need to spend half an hour delicately unfolding it all? . I know of someone who sent their CV on an actual front door for an entry level job which was actually pretty genius but not for the guy in the post room who had to cart it to the third floor.. or the talent manager who was left with a front door that they didn’t really need. It tends to work well though when a CV is attached to cakes or biscuits.. who doesn’t love that eh.. well maybe not in January when everyone is detoxing but that is one gimmicking thing that people love.. I’m not against gimmicks and done well they can really make you stand out but ask yourself honestly if I were to receive this would this annoy me or I would I love it..

  1. Upscaling your experience

We all want to be seen as important and we all think about where we should be in our careers and exaggerate a little on the CV. Most of the time that is fine but be very careful about this as you can easily get found out. Oh you were a researcher on that show, oh why were you credited as a runner? You were instrumental in developing that idea, funny that someone I interviewed last week said the same thing. Oh you were on that show for 3 months, strange that the Production Manager thinks that you were there for a week. I totally get that you want to get the job and that you want to be seen in the best light but just be careful that your selling yourself doesn’t turn into lies.

 

 

Ten things to do that will make a company want to offer you more work!


TV is a competitive world to get into and once your in it, you’ll realise it’s a freelance world. Reputation is key and you’ll need a portfolio of companies that know you in order to ensure you’ve got plenty of work coming your way. You want to be in a position where people are fighting to hire you, and when you leave a company everyone sings your praises and can’t wait to hire you back. Here are a few tips to help you achieve that.

Stay out of politics

It can be easy to get sucked into office politics, sat with the team after work, knocking back a pint and revelling in everyone’s hatred for the boss or rumours about who’s having an affair with who. It can almost be addictive and give you a bit of power but remember people always think if they are speaking that way about a person what are they saying about me? It can feel great in your first week to be so involved with the team that they are telling you all sorts but try and maintain a healthy distance from gossip. Be neutral as it can often come back to bite you. If you are at the start of your career that’s not the reputation that you want to have.

Do the things no one has time/wants to do

Go above and beyond the job description and do this with humility.. It’s a balance between getting your job done and then finding solutions to make everything easier. You don’t want to be that person that is constantly bemoaning what needs to be different or that person who talks about what worked at your old company whilst putting down the place you work in now. If you see things that need fixing and you have preferably free ways of doing that that will save time for everyone then these things are always appreciated.

Be a good listener

In the fast paced cut and thrust telly world we often listen to respond rather than actually hear what is being said. In the incessant need to prove that we are doing a good job we can often talk about what we’ve done rather than respond to what is being asked of us. If you don’t understand something ask for clarification, “do you mean this?” Often in the need to prove ourselves we suffer in silence and struggle without asking for help or really what is required of us. This always leads to problems. It’s always better to ask and always best to really listen.

Do your job well

This sounds really really obvious but people can often come to a role particularly an entry level role with ideas of what they want to do rather than what is required of them. So know what you are supposed to be doing and get on with it. It can be tough, you can work with difficult people but be dignified at all ocassions. Learn from people and make sure you do the job the best that you can. No one is expecting you to be perfect but make sure you get through that to do list.

Don’t be nine to five 

If you are clock watching, always leaving on time when there is so much to be getting on with, well people really notice that. If you’ve done all you’ve got to do, no problem, but people do remember those that in the midst of a production crisis don’t muck in and stay late. It’s about working as part of a team and working towards the same common goals of creating a great programme. Everyone on the team has an important part to play. So ask, “do you need me to do anything before I head off”, or update people as to where you are with your tasks rather than quietly sneaking off and everyone wondering where you went.

Be able to read people 

Emotional intelligence is key to working in telly not everyone has this and not everyone can see beyond what’s going on in their world. So pick up on clues, they look stressed so is now a good time to talk about my personal development. Start of the day is generally better for that kind of chat not in the midst of production. If someone is in an intense conversation or working hard against a deadline suss out that maybe now is not the best time to talk about your weekend, or the student film you want them to see.

Don’t take it personally

You will come across stressed difficult people in television and the key is how you handle them. There will be an urge to eye roll and tell them exactly where to go but think is that going to be really helpful to your career. Spot that they are stressed and think what can I do to make things easier. Also know that it’s never really about you but more about what’s going on in their life. So keep it professional, keep it focused on the work and be clear about what you’ve done. Come up with solutions rather than blame other people and be positive and people will respect that.

Lose the attitude

You may well have been the best filmmaker in your college but you were a big fish in a small pond and now you are swimming with the sharks in the ocean. In the words of Kendrick Lamarr “be humble”, you have a lot to learn and be open to that. People love working with keen enthusiastic people and a know it all who thinks they are above certain things gets tired very quickly. So be nice.

Let people know you love it there

Don’t be sat in the corner sulking and pouting or blend into the background so much that you become part of the wall paper. Tell people you enjoy working there. Ask them what other productions are coming up. Say you’d love to work there again. Often people are so busy that sometimes unless you tell them that you are keen to stay they will presume otherwise. Don’t be too saccharine and fake though, a Disney princess is fine for the movies but can be annoying in the office.

Keep in touch 

Don’t wait for people to remember you, keep in touch. Let people know when you are coming free again. Let people know as you develop new skills and climb up the ladder. Also if you’ve watched one of the productions the company has made just drop them an email to say how great you thought it was. So keep chatting to them and they’ll remember you. Be wary though of verging into stalker ex girlfriend territory though.

10 ways to be more confident at work 


You’ve been in your job for a while and you are sat at your desk, slurping tea and staring at the ever increasing number of emails that are darting into your inbox and all of sudden your head is full of thoughts of “I’m really s**t at my job”, “I’m going to be found out”.. You stare at your colleagues who seem to breeze through life and the office with unfaltering confidence, no element of fear in their eyes and you feel they are judging you and your apologetic ways. The instant reaction is heads down, get on with the work, as you type another email that begins with “I’m sorry to bother you…”.. Just keep working and you’ll be noticed for all the good work, but inside your confidence is shaking and your perceived place in the work force is slightly below everyone else.. We’ve all been there, but how do you snap out of it, give yourself a talking to and begin to grow in confidence at work.

Here are a few tips to make you more confident in the workplace and thrive and enjoy work.

Remember you were given the job on merit

We always seem to forget this and think that my some fluke chance or there was no one else around that we’ve got the job. When we are sat staring at our to do list and panicking remember you were chosen, often above a lot of other people to do the job. People don’t give people jobs because they feel sorry for them, or out of desperation, they gave you the job because they believe you can do it.

You were given the job, because you were the best person for the job, remember that. Your skills and experience are exactly right. Day to day it might not feel like that but know that is why you were hired.

Quieten the voices in your head

We can often give priority to the negative voices in our head and the more we do that, the more we perceive that as our reality. Why do we do that, and dismiss the positive thoughts. When you start thinking along those lines, just simply say in your head not true not true.. It might be useful as well to start writing down every morning 10 positive things about yourself.. we are so quick and eager to think a long list of negative things about ourselves, but devote time to think about all the good stuff. There is good stuff, you might not instantly think it, but there is always something to be grateful for and appreciative about yourself. Some people like meditation, sometimes it’s just about getting away from your desk, making a cup of tea, or finding 5 minutes of quiet time, to just pause, find balance, take a breath and then carry on. So often when we are having a busy day our focus is all about what we have to do, that work just seems like a jumble of tasks and you don’t really know where to start. Take a step back, and all will become much clearer

Know what’s expected of you

If you don’t know what is expected of you, then make sure you ask your manager. That doesn’t necessarily mean going through your job description with a highlighter and a folder full of notes, “what exactly does clause 2;1 really mean”, nobody has time for that and your job description is there with a degree of flexibility. Too often miscommunication or a lack of asking questions, because you feel that you should know it, or a sense of pride takes over and a fear of looking stupid makes you think I’ll figure that out. So ask, do you mean I should do this, or my understanding is this.. ask for clarification then both parties know what’s expected. Also you then don’t spend hours doing something only to find out that’s not what they really meant at all. Seek feedback, not all managers are good at this, and some will say nothing or try and be passive aggressive through a veil of “niceness”. You leave the meeting and over analyse about “what that meant”, “were they being insulting”, so as scary as it sounds, just seek “what do you mean by that”, “what do you think I could have done differently”. Sometimes you might not get an answer, sometimes you might get an answer that you don’t agree with, but at least you’ve asked that question.

Don’t Take it personally

Offices are not always an oasis of civilised calm, work stress, personal issues, tiredness and insecurities can often lead to abruptness, rudeness, exclusion and miscommunication. Always remember when people behave like that, it is about them and not you. I used to sit behind my computer and over analyse a comment or slight as if I was in a late 90s American drama, dressed in plaid, looking angst whilst a rousing ballad played in the background. I would think “oh what have I done” and then I’d tip toe around and act apologetic or look wounded and sulky for the afternoon. It generally was nothing about me, or maybe it was my in opportune perkiness that had rubbed someone up the wrong way. Either way, I should have taken it less personally, realised it wasn’t about me and focused on getting the job done. I’ve since learnt to do that, but when you are starting out the move into an office environment can seem like a mind field of new ways to behave. So just think they are in a bad mood, and hey they might be an awful person but that’s their issue not yours.

Take time out for you

Try and have some time for you, try not to let work take over your whole life. You’ll be surprised that by simply spending an evening playing tennis, or doing a class, or running at lunchtime will increase your confidence. When we are consumed my work (and sometimes it’s hard not to be) that becomes our life and focus. So find time to spend time with people outside work, outside of your industry, do something fun for you, and that perspective and distance will help you not to get swallowed up my work, and realise there are other things going on in the world.

Stop avoiding things

We always try and do the easy things first, the easy things and the things that require our immediate attention. All the stuff that keeps your job ticking and all the stuff that you know how to do. So often we talk ourselves out of going above and beyond our job, you have this great idea, that stays in your head, yes it would be great for the business but what if no one likes it, what if I look stupid. You know you can do more but there is something stopping you, it might be time, it might be priorities or it might simply be fear. “I’d be amazing at that job” but I don’t think I have time to apply, what if I’m rubbish at it, or I think they really need me hear and I don’t want to rock the boat. What you are doing there is staying in your comfort zone, not raising to the challenge. So right down a scary to do list of all the things that you would like to do and make sure you do one thing, one step each day/week to get closer to that. Then you don’t even notice how far you’ve come or how much you’ve changed..

 Don’t try to be everyones best friend

Work isn’t high school although it can often feel that way, it’s exhausting trying to be everyone’s friend, being in the cool gang, sharing insider jokes and laughing about Barry’s dancing at the pub on Friday. If it all feels natural and you gel with people then great, but don’t equate your confidence to other people’s opinions of you, don’t feel like you have to be liked by everyone to gain respect. You can gain respect by being great at your job and being professional and easy to work with, besides being popular is a lot of hard work. If you are too focused on being popular with the in group, or senior managers, that can distract from your work, or you can be know as the fun one that gets the drinks in on a Friday (nothing wrong with that) but ask yourself is that who you want to be?

 Focus on your strengths

We get stuck in a cycle of thinking about what we can’t do, what we think we are not good at, and think everyone can see that. How often do we take time to appreciate what we are good at it? Start thinking about your strengths and how you can really use them in the workplace and you’ll see your confidence rise. Good managers will always highlight your strengths and positives and give you time to develop areas of improvement. Successful teams are built with different people with different strengths and that is too be celebrated. Bad managers often through insecurity will neglect to see your strengths and will focus on the negatives or their perception of negatives. Often it is simply you work in a different way to that person and for reasons of control they want you to work like them. That is about them, know and appreciate what you’ve done. At the end of a job or project write down ten things that went well, leave it for a good while then write ten lessons learnt. That will really help give you perspective.

Take advantage of opportunities

Sometimes if you want to be more confident in the work place then you just have to throw yourself at opportunities, a kind of sink or swim mentality, that will undoubtedly fill you with dread. Whether this be joining the company netball team or simply just going for that job in another department, sometimes you have to make it known that you are here. It is so easy to talk ourselves out of new opportunities and I have done that on numerous occasions, that thought process or trying to claw out of your comfort zone, but its oh so comfy in here, is like getting out of bed on a cold dark morning when the duvet is your salvation. Think to yourself what is the worst that can happen, you may agonise over potential disasterous consequences but ask yourself is that true? Too often we can feel that we are going to be noticed just for the good work that we do, sometimes that happens but sometimes you need to let people know. The more you wait for someone to give you an opportunity the more likely when they don’t your confidence will start to wain and you will begin to believe that there is something wrong with you. So at least once a week try and do something that feels outside of your comfort zone, something that shakes up the routine. It can be as big or as small as you make it but it’s about taking tiny steps not massive leaps to a more confident you!

Don’t compare yourself to others

We all do it, we all look and judge other people, smile politely whilst they show off their engagement ring, or tell you about their new flat that they’ve just bought, inside though we are thinking “I hate you” and why does life some so so easy for them and not for me. You look at their achievements rather than your own and feel insignificant. You cave into a shadow of yourself or turn bitter and bitchy when you go down this route, and it’s affecting your confidence. So don’t, everyone has their own journey and only they know what they’ve been through. By comparing yourself to others, you are not looking at yourself honestly but merely as a reflection of what other people have achieved or behaved. So why care about other people and how great they are at their job, sure, it can make you competitive but the only person you should be competitive with is you. Look at how you work and then try and simply improve it, without being harsh on yourself reflect on how you could have dealt with that situation or delivered that project. People will try and compare you to others, sometimes cruelly or sometimes unintentionally, but don’t raise to it, and always with your best fixed smile, respond “good for them, they deserve it”

 

Finding the right company for you to be out, proud and authentic 


Stonewall recently reported that about only 31% of LGBT people in London feel comfortable being out at work. 77% of trans and one in five LGB people reported they have experienced bullying

Coming out is not just a one time thing, yes you might tell your family and friends at the same time, but you are constantly meeting people, starting new jobs, doing your daily stuff where you find yourself coming out in a range of different ways. The simple “how was your weekend” conversation at work, can make you do a sense check in your head of “how much do I reveal”, do I mention my partner and if I do, do I give them a non gender pro noun.? Experiences growing up can make you hesitant to be open and whether we do this consciously or not, we listen, we listen to how people describe and discuss people like us, and then we decide whether to step up and be open or whether to shut down and get on with our work. Workplaces have the power to be inclusive and equally exclusive. Prejudice disguised as casual banter can make us less willing to be our authentic selves. We throw ourselves into our work, with a prove them wrong mentality and many people succeed and become successful but at what cost to our mental health, isn’t it exhausting pretending to be something you are not or hiding a big part of your life. In some companies this might not be a problem as they have the culture of no one talks about their private lives, it’s all work, but if you are surrounded by people living authentically and talking openly about their straight lives, you not being authentic can be damaging.

So how do you find a company where you can be happy, and be your most authentic and productive self?

Do your research, find out as much as you can about the company and work out whether it’s the right company for you. In the field that you work in there may be a limited number of places that you can work in. You may always want to go and work with the biggest brand as that will enhance your CV and open doors. I totally get that, but look at that company, look at their website, do you see people like yourself on there? Do they talk about inclusion, do they talk about culture, when you read the information do you feel in your gut that this is a place that you want to work in? What are people saying about the company, do you know people that have worked there? Now everyone has their own experiences of working in a place and other people’s experiences don’t always mirror what your experiences would be. However look for common themes but don’t let them totally cloud your judgement.

Do the companies pride themselves on diversity, do they have an LGBT group and do they publicly praise this. Do they partake in pride events, have talks and speakers and celebrate diversity?  Are they in the stonewall index of best companies to work for? These may not seem significant but they genuinely reflect how the company feels about their LGBT staff.

When you get to the interview stage this can be a real indicator of the company. When waiting in reception have a look around, see how people are, are they stressed? Do they look unhappy what is the general vibe of the office.?  Listen to office banter if you get the chance, how are people with each other?

In the interview itself, questions can often veer towards family and I’ve been in interviews where people want to know what your hobbies are? What you do in your spare time.. You can feel the need to lie to tell them what you think you want to hear, like awkward conversations with taxi drivers where you talk about politics or football to be polite and then try and wing it to get credibility.. Just do you, just be authentic. Employers should not be asking about your marital or parental status in an interview.. Although some do. Often in interviews people want to validate that the interviewee is similar to them and has the same interests. They may think they are looking for cultural fit, but whether or not you have kids, whether you like gardening or ballet, rugby or crown green bowling.. It’s itrelvant these things will not make you better at your job. When it comes to your turn to ask questions, ask questions around diversity in the company? Around how staff are developed, what is the culture of the company? How would they describe that and how would they describe someone who succeeds in that company.. It’s fine to ask those questions and it will give you a real understanding of the company and help you to make a decision as to whether the company is right for you.

People who are allowed to be authentic in work without shame or judgement perform better, they have greater loyalty to the company and are likely to stay longer. If you feel that authentic and valued then you will enjoy work more, it’s as simple as that.

Happy job hunting and just remember that you’re fantastic and there is only one you.. So just do you…