What do you really want from your job?

Today I wanted to discuss the subject of ‘what to look for in a new job’. As a recruitment company we see a great number of people who are looking for a new job or career path. Over the years of placing a large number of people we have distilled several key factors that have helped cultivate success and longevity for people in their new roles.

Ultimately it’s not about the money- Let’s face it most people work because money is required to keep the lifestyle we enjoy continuing. However when it boils down to it, money is not the prime factor in determining your success and fulfillment in your new role.

A good remuneration package for your role should be enough so that money isn’t the main focus and not too much that it becomes the only focus. We all like to be paid well but studies have shown when pay levels deviate too far from the norm (for the role), performance actually drops along with fulfillment.

If remuneration is the sole focus, career fulfillment and longevity will diminish. This is because the focus will be constantly split – looking elsewhere for potential opportunities for greater pay. Increased remuneration is always nice but it needs to be weighed against other factors.

Can you actually do it? This is where your past experience, skills and qualifications come into play. Do you have a sales background, are you a qualified architect, do you have a license to operate specific machinery etc?  Whilst we all need to start somewhere, it can be highly beneficial to have something to offer besides enthusiasm (which is valuable also).

Many employers want to hire someone who has some form of relevant experience or qualification. Most will have their own ‘in house’ training to educate you on specifics of the role and their company. Many do however like to see at least some degree of experience.

If you are looking for a complete change in career direction consider arming yourself with some further studies in the new field you wish to enter. Not only will the additional education provide you with relevant knowledge it will also to convey to potential employers your commitment and dedication to your new career path.

Do you actually want to do it? This is perhaps the most crucial factor to consider. By this I mean does the role you are trying to get into align and fit well with who you are as a person? Does your natural, innate personality mesh well with the long term requirements of the role?

Skills and qualifications are important. They will significantly influence ‘can you do the job?’ But it is your personality that will ultimately influence ‘are you the right fit for the job?’

We all have a number of aspects and variations in our personality. At times we are quiet and contemplative, other times we are extroverted and gregarious. Sometimes analytical and process orientated and then creative and free thinking.

Most of us though tend to have preferences, a natural ‘comfortableness’ with a leaning to one particular side of the personality spectrum. If for example you have a more introverted and analytical personality, then a role working with numbers and statistics may be better suited for you than a creative, artistic type role.

This is not to say a role that requires extroversion and creative free thinking is not something you could do. It simply means that your nature will see you more suited to the introverted, analytical role and vice versa for those extroverted types.

A role that has personality requirements that align with who you are innately will mean it is easier for you to perform in the role and to better utilise your skills and experience.

An introverted person may be able to do certain tasks that involve them being extroverted but will find it more difficult than someone who is extroverted by nature. Overtime this ‘misalignment’ between personality and role will likely cause stress and diminish to a degree your success, fulfilment and longevity.

Getting these three factors right will help ensure your next role is well suited to you and set the framework for a long and rewarding career.

To learn more about the types of roles you may be suitable for connect with us at DFP and we can assist you to find the ideal job.

7 Tips for a better interview

Today I wanted to cover a topic that is sometimes glossed over yet quite important. It is said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. This can be particularly relevant when it comes to the interview process. I have listed below 7 tips to help achieve a more successful interview outcome. Some may seem simple or obvious but they are all relevant.

It is important to understand, if you are at the stage of sitting in an interview you have successfully passed the first stage of screening; you have likely made a ‘short list’. Many advertised jobs receive a number of applicants, the resume and cover letter is the first screening.

A resume will provide the potential employer with insight as to whether you have the relevant qualifications and experience. Most roles will require a varying degree of qualifications, skills and experience. A resume will help the interviewer to quickly sort applicants.

So if you are being interviewed it is somewhat safe to think you have sufficient qualifications and experience. What is likely to be the focus of the interview is the qualities you possess and how you relate and interact.

This is where the following tips can help to create a positive and successful interview experience.

1. Grooming – it may seem a redundant issue but ensuring you are well groomed is important. By grooming I mean clean, neat and tidy. If you wear makeup perhaps use natural and minimal tones and colours. An interviewer is trying to gain insight into whom ‘you’ are. If you are excessively covered with makeup this is made more difficult. Facial hair in its many varied forms is often fashionable. For an interview it maybe prudent to ensure it is neat and groomed appropriately.  By all means keep your facial hair; just be sure you are groomed.

2. Fragrances – Following on from grooming, in the interview setting heavy scented perfume or aftershave is not advisable. Whilst it may be your favourite, it may not be the interviewers. Deodorant and arriving clean and fresh will suffice.

3. No props – By this I mean chewing gum, lollies or bottles of soft drink. Be sure you are clean and fresh (perhaps a mint before the interview). Taking a bottle of water into an interview is ok. If you are offered tea or coffee that is ok. (And obviously, turn your phone off, not just to vibrate.)

4. Stay on course – When you are asked a question, answer it. Don’t stray too far from the subject matter of the question.  The interviewer likely has a number of interviews to perform, barraging them with irrelevant stories and answers will likely agitate interviewer.

5. Let the interviewer finish – You may be eager but do not cut the interviewer off from speaking.  Letting them finish shows that you are listening to them and not pre-empting the question and answering with a rehearsed sound bite.

6. Ask relevant questions – By relevant I mean questions that apply to real world scenarios in the prospective role. If you are serious about the job, then you will naturally have questions about what the role will entail.

7. Be honest – Presenting yourself, your skills and experience in the best light is common sense. However be sure that you do it honestly. Avoid the temptation to embellish. By being honest you avoid the trap of having to remember the ‘white lies.’ Be up front and down the line and you won’t have to be concerned with additional stress.

If you have interview tips please feel free to share them with in the comments below.

Purpose – Having staff who are excited to be at work!

Previously I have spoken about Mastery and Autonomy, both critical components to helping create and foster a culture of success. When combined with the 3rd and final factor the sum total really is greater than the parts.  That final factor is Purpose.

The value and meaning of Purpose in the workplace is perhaps best conveyed through the following allegory:

A long, long time ago in a land far, far away 3 men could be seen working hard in the village. A traveller seeing the 3 men toiling stopped to inquire as to their labour.

To the first man he asked, “What is thy labour for?” Hearing the question, the first man wearily turned to the traveller and replied dispiritingly, “I toil to layeth bricks. Day after day, my hands grow weary as the bricks feel evermore heavier. My back aches and my hands burn. Yet every day, more bricks awaiteth for thee”

Sensing the man did not want to continue to speaking the traveller turned to the second man. With similar curiosity to the first labourer, the traveller enquired, “What is thy labour for?”

The second man replied with somewhat more energy, “I am building a wall. This wall will help our village to stay safe from enemies. It is hard work, and like my friend my back too grows sore and weary. But I know I am helping to make the village safer.”

Looking over at the third man, the traveller couldn’t help but notice the focus and intensity the man was applying to his work. He seemed to be doing the same labour as the first two men but his approach was markedly different.

The traveller ventured closer to the third man and asked, “What is thoust labour for kind sir? Why does thy toil with such ferver? ‘

The third man seeing genuine intrigue on the traveller’s face expressing, paused and replied,

“I toil intently good sir because I am working to keep my family safe and happy. My 2 friends and I work on thy wall every day. Hard, physical work no doubt that it be. But I know thy purpose of my toil is for the benefit of my dear wife and our young son.”

Continuing the third man said, “I know that every morning when I awaken I have been given another day to set about my labour. Not just to move heavy bricks around but to build thy biggest and safest wall the village has ever known. I know that I have a new day that I can use to make my loving wife and son feel safer and looked after.”

Impressed with the third mans answer, the traveller questioned, “Do thy two friends have young families?” “Yes,” replied the man, “However, they unfortunately just focus on thy bricks and not thy safety the wall we are building will provide. For me, every brick I lay means my family is safer.”

“If you don’t mind kind sir, I wish to end our conversing and return to my work.” The third man spoke to the traveller. “Certainly, and I wish thee all the best with thy endeavour.”

The traveller continued on his journey leaving the 3 men working away at their task. Reflecting on his conversations, the traveller was quite amazed that each man had such differing perceptions about their work. To the traveller they all appeared to be physically doing the same work. Yet to each man, their work had a vastly different meaning.

All of us no doubt have days where we feel like the first man, struggling with ‘lifting heavy brick after brick’. We sometimes lose sight of the purpose of our work.

However, when we can tap into that purpose, that very same work can significantly change in its meaning, difficulty and level of fulfilment.

As a leader at DFP this focus on purpose is something I am cognisant of instilling in my team. What is the purpose of our team’s work? Not just the purpose for the business but for them personally?

How can we create and foster a culture of increased awareness on the professional and personal purpose behind our team choosing to dedicated 40+ hours of their life a week to our organisation?

When a team member’s personal purpose aligns with the professional purpose of their work, look out! The productivity, fulfilment, success and enjoyment will go parabolic. I challenge you, whatever your role in your team, find your purpose and enjoy the results!

Autonomy – Letting good people do good things!

Today I am continuing my discussion concerning employee engagement and optimisation. Following on from my recent post on Mastery in the workplace, I want to share today some thoughts on another factor, equally as important – Autonomy.

Autonomy in the work environment can be thought of and perceived in a number of different ways. In fact, there is a whole gamut of theories and practises applied in business today that fall under the heading of ‘autonomy’.

The aspect I am speaking about here refers to allowing staff the freedom and breadth of flexibility to really own their role and responsibilities within the organisation.

Typically, discussions of autonomy are categorised with principles centred on systemisation, streamlining and economisation, almost with an undertone of homogenisation. However I feel this misses a crucial component- that of human interaction and what is fundamentally the core human needs we all share- to feel competent and capable.

In this light, I believe Autonomy when cultivated and encouraged by the leaders of an organisation affords staff the opportunity to fulfil their core need to feel worthy and competent. Allowing your staff the autonomy to perform their roles knowing you trust them, knowing you have faith in them is a significant productivity and qualitative enhancer. Autonomy provides your staff with the understanding that you value their judgement, knowledge, skills and experience.

Upon reflection the reasoning again is emergent and simple. When competent people are allowed to perform their chosen role in a largely autonomous way they are freed from the onerous task of placating a ‘meddling’ manager- they are free to focus on what they actually prefer to engage in.  A competent staff member who is recognised for the qualities they possess is virtually certain to outperform someone who is excessive monitored.

At DFP rather than micro manage our staff, I am constantly striving and working with our senior leadership team to instil the value of Autonomy.  I believe that hiring good people, giving them clear benchmarks and processes then allowing them the freedom and autonomy to set about achieving their goals is the optimal way to produce results.

I see a large component of my role as CEO as working with my team to illicit the qualities from within them that will help them best achieve their goals. For me, this approach is far more ideal than constantly pushing, pestering and micro managing.

Does this approach mean at times I have a staff member who’s approach or style will differ from what  I believe is the best way to perform a task? Of course, but at the same time I recognise that it is very likely a happy, competent and actively engaged staff member is quite likely to still produce the goal result even if the approach differed.

Next time you are dealing with a staff performance issue, why not stop and consider is it a greater level of performance management that is required or perhaps a correctly applied, deft degree of Autonomy?

A the core of the issue you are dealing with, is it a lack of job specific skills  or is it something more fundamental in that the staff member that providing Autonomy may neautralise?

As an experiment, why not consult with your team and elucidate the areas of their work where a greater level of Autonomy may help to improve their performance and success at work.

The answers may well just be a surprise…….

Mastery in the workplace

Employee Engagement is crucial for any leader of an organisation. Today I want to discuss the core factors which cultivate increased levels of engagement, productivity and results.

The 3 factors researchers identified as critical to ensuring a team of happy, fulfilled, self-motivated and top producing employee were Mastery, Autonomy & Purpose.

Today I want to explore the first of these 3 core factors: Mastery.

Mastery can be described and articulated in a number of different ways. However at its most basic form it is simply the natural desire we all share to improve and become better at something.

Very often, employees get caught up in ‘having’ to perform at work. And just as often, the environment that permeates in today’s workplace reinforces the culture of having (you must!) to do better.

On the surface this seems rational. After all, every business wants to improve, do better and leverage their staff to produce even better results.  Why not make it a directive that everyone ‘have to’? But as we dig deeper the research is showing this is not the optimal approach.

What is now starting to emerge is that a different approach, one focused on creating and cultivating a workplace culture where employees feel encouraged and free to improve and master rather than ‘having’ to improve. This leadership approach can yield desirable results. As you begin to think about this, it intuitively makes sense and the logic emerges as self-evident.

This is what I see as one my key roles as a leader at DFP – catalysing the creation and sustained momentum of a ‘mastery’ approach to work. If I as the CEO of the organisation focus on creating a mastery based approach the benefits ripple across all areas of the business.

People are capable of creating and doing amazing work. When they are in a work environment that is deliberately shaped to encourage mastery their passions are ignited and focused. Creativity is enhanced; internal motivation arises and compels them to work longer, harder and with greater efficiency.

Think of the hobby or favourite past time you enjoy. Why do you do it? It’s certainly not money that drives you; after all you don’t get paid for it. It’s the idea that working on something that is fun and improving at it is inspiring to you. The fulfilment comes from expanding your skills and mastering something that previously you were not able to do.

This same approach to a hobby can be translated into the workplace. Creating a workplace culture with a focus on employees being encouraged and supported to master their role can be rewarding. Not only does it offer greater fulfillment and satisfaction in the workplace but also greater productivity and profitability.

Imagine your workplace full of staff that were driven by the natural desire towards mastery, mastery that was focused around their job. In short, staff would be more willing to do more, to do it better and with less oversight and micro managing.

At DFP we are diligently working to bring a greater emphasis on mastery to our workplace. We are focusing on supporting and allowing our staff to cultivate and foster their desire to become masterful.

Research shows that all of us desire to become masterful of at least one thing in our lives. Why not do what you can to allow that desire to expand and unfold in your workplace?