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Don’t Do THIS at your New Job!

By | Career Advice, Featured, Workplace

A new job = a plate full of new challenges. This is what I discovered during my first month here at WUZZUF.

Although I tried to leave a good impression and stay away from trouble, I realized that some mistakes are inevitable. Those pesky, relatable, first-month mistakes.

The following are what you should not do at a new job:

1- Not knowing who’s who!

What I did:

I kept asking my new colleagues for their names every time I saw them the first 2-3 days (and they kept asking for mine).


Memorizing the names of new people is hard for a lot of people. But as the newcomer in a company, you want to leave a good first impression by remembering at least the names and positions of the people you meet.

What to do instead:

Almost every company now has an application where every employee’s name and title are listed. Use this to familiarize yourself with your colleagues and what each of them does. (Bonus: This is will also help you understand your new company’s organizational structure better.)

If the company doesn’t use such an app, then ask your manager to give you an overview of the different teams in the company and their members and take down some quick notes. This method lessens the stress of meeting your colleagues for the first time.

READ ALSO:  7 simple ways to improve your emotional intelligence

2- Not aligning myself with the company’s way

What I did:

I had always thought that doing things my way is how I can impress my new colleagues and boss. That’s why I neglected to take a good look at the policies and processes of the company, which caused a lot of clashes when I started work.


As the new member of the team, you want to prove yourself very quickly, which is understandable. But don’t go about doing it in such a way that will slow everyone down and cause confusion.

What to do instead:

Before you work on any task, make sure you know everything about how you should approach the task and how your team works. Follow and align yourself with the company’s values, culture, and voice mindfully. 

Moreover, don’t be afraid to suggest new ideas on how to improve the process, workflow, etc. This is how you add value to your new job and also impress everyone around you.

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3- Hesitating to ask for clarifications and details

What I did:

I isolated myself, unaware that asking for help is necessary in my case. Thus, I kept all my questions to myself. Projects kept getting complicated and I kept missing deadlines because of the passive state I was in.


It’s expected that you won’t know everything right off the bat. So don’t be afraid to look for answers to your questions about anything and everything when you’re just starting.

What to do instead:

If you like to find out answers on your own, then at least don’t start diving if you don’t know how deep the water is. Find the most experienced coworker around and ask them to mentor you for a while. Ask for detailed emails/slides/documents where there’s full coverage of what you need. The more you ask, the less you wonder.

4- Rushing to prove myself

What I did:

When I first started, I was in such a rush to prove myself that I overloaded it with tasks and projects. I didn’t even have time to understand the background and what has been already done in some of them. I definitely bit off more than I can chew and the result was low-quality output and major frustration when I was asked to start from scratch on some of the tasks.


Again, it’s understandable to want to leave your mark and showcase what you can do rapidly when starting a new job, but taking on every task you come across is not the way to do it.

What to do instead:

Sit with your manager to set a plan that makes delivering the tasks you have actually happen. Discuss with them weekly, monthly, and annual goals and expectations. You can also always use project management applications such as Trello.

5- Not communicating with my new boss

What I did:

I was very hesitant to approach my boss about some questions I had regarding my role, team dynamics, and the context of the work. This created some confusion and misunderstandings those first couple of weeks.


One of the hardest parts about the first month at a new job is communicating with your new boss. You want to impress and establish a rapport with them, but you think this won’t happen if you keep asking a lot of questions.

What to do instead:

Don’t assume anything. It’s your right to ask your boss for any kind of help you might require at first. The fact of the matter is this: asking for help shows you’re willing to collaborate with your boss and coworkers and also lends you credibility.

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6- Letting networking eat up my time

What I did:

Being a people person has an ocean of privileges yet socializing with people around the office as a new employee took up a lot of my workday. Consequently, I burned the midnight oil trying to meet every deadline.


This problem arose from a lack of balance between my needing to make new connections and my haste to stand out.

What to do instead:

The first two weeks or so are all yours so you can get to know everyone and leave the door open for a good impression in what comes next. But don’t waste further time and let your work speak for you.

7- Being ashamed of my slow progress

What I did:

I was worried that I wasn’t good enough or that I wasn’t working hard enough because I was slow in getting comfortable with the new processes, culture, and so on. I absorbed everything, yes. But it took a while to fit in and handle the work at hand smoothly.


This adds to the other sources of pressure one has to deal with when starting a new job.

What to do instead:

Don’t compare your progress with anyone else’s. When it seems like everyone’s learning and progressing faster than you, that is because they’ve had a head start on you. If something seems effortless now, it’s only because it took a lot of hard work, dedication, and experience. As long as you’re making progress, you’re good, because slow and steady always wins the race.

8-Not setting boundaries and expectations

What I did:

What confused me the most was whether I should always be nice and cooperative and take extra work or refuse it politely and focus on what I have at the time? Finding the balance between both took me quite some time that I could have invested more wisely.


Compromising on your boundaries or values to seem friendlier or to show that you’re a team player isn’t a strategy that can hold up for long. You’ll soon start to burn out and this will take its toll on the quality of your work.

What to do instead:

Learn how and when to say no firmly but politely. Make sure that your manager and teammates are aware of your current workload. And understand that if you don’t set your own boundaries, no one will do it for you.

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Any other mistakes you made during your first month at a new job? Share with us in the comments section below.

handshake-job interview

How to make sure you are ready for your next interview

By | #AskYosra, Featured, Interview, Job Search

When getting a job interview, some think of it as a test where they have to answer all the questions correctly, and others believe that googling a list of “the most common interview questions” is what it takes to be ready. In reality, neither approach is enough to prepare for a job interview. Interviews have two purposes. To the interviewer, he/she wants to know a couple of clear facts about what you can do for the company and how well you fit into the company culture and environment. As for you, it’s an excellent opportunity to boost your chances of getting hired through talking about your skills and showcasing how relevant they are to the job.
Achieving both of these goals when you’re under pressure takes some planning and work in advance. While there is no best way to ace an interview, every interview is a learning experience, and your preparation work can surely make you feel less nervous as well as lay an essential base for the upcoming interviews.

Know your audience

interview-glasses-hands-talking

So you have your interview scheduled, and you are quite familiar with the company and its product(s), do you think this is enough information? Better think again. Many people rely on their basic knowledge or the “About us” tab on the company website, while it takes more than just that to come across as knowledgeable and prepared in a job interview.

  1. Spend a few hours learning as much as you can about the company, use different sources besides the official website as it won’t give you the kind of in-depth information you are seeking; read news releases and talk to friends and contacts who have worked there (if applicable). Who are the company competitors? What innovations are on the industry horizon? Who are the key leaders in the field? You need to be able to talk about these topics comfortably.
  2. After that, you need to get a sense of “Who” the company is so you can identify what kind of employees work and excel there. The easiest way to get this information is by asking around your network (in case you already know someone that works there). Another is by checking the company social media pages and reading the published blog articles; the content on these pages will speak volumes about the company environment and culture.
  3. No matter what role you are interviewing for – engineering, sales or marketing- you should ideally use the company products more than one time (if possible). When hired, you will take part in adding value to this said product and its users, so being a user yourself and having feedback is considered a first step.
  4. Before your interview, try to get a list of the people you are meeting with from the company (if possible) you can ask during the phone interview about the name of the person you are meeting with and their position in the company. It’s an opportunity to prepare questions about that person’s focus in the company to help you better understand the nature of the work there.

Anticipate interview questions

Your resume lists all your accomplishments and experiences, and since you already got an invitation for an interview, most probably your interviewer has already gone through your resume. Communicate how will you use these past experiences to help the company in the future.

  1. Even if you consider yourself an interviewing machine, it’s essential to spend time going through your resume and thinking carefully what skills and experiences resonate the most with the job. The interviewer doesn’t have the time to listen to the full story of your life; you need to plan and decide on the points that you want to bring up during your interview. (these points will probably be slightly different in everywhere you interview depending on the role and the company)
  2. Have an answer to “tell us about yourself.” In most cases, interviewers ask this at the very beginning of your interview, and you want to make sure your answer is attractive enough. A well-structured way to answer this is what I like to call “The Present – Past – Future Technique.” First, you start by the present – what you are currently doing. Then, talk about your past experiences- a little bit of the skills you gained in your previous experiences. Finally, finish with the future – what excites you for the position and what are you looking forward to adding to the company. Let me give you an example:
    If someone asked, “tell me about yourself,” you could say:
    “Well, I’m currently an account executive at Company X, where I handle our top performing client. Before that, I worked at an agency where I was on three different major national brands. Moreover, while I enjoyed the work that I did, I’d love the chance to dig in much deeper with one specific company in the industry, which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity.”
    Remember, of course, that your answer should highlight the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the interviewer when thinking about the position.
  3. Don’t forget about the numbers! Always try to increase the weight of what you’re saying by using percentages, increases or quotas while talking about your responsibilities and accomplishments. It makes your story more compelling and helps you tell your hiring manager how awesome you are!

Practice, practice, practice.

As part of your interview preparation, you should be ready to discuss everything on your resume. Spend time not only rehearsing possible questions, but also reflecting on your experiences to date and studying the job description. When you know your story inside out, it is easier to come up with examples to just about any interview question in your way.

  1. Once you have answers to all possible scenarios, it’s time to get a bright idea of how you sound and look to other people. For example: does your voice sound dull and unenthusiastic? Alternatively, do you talk too fast? Does your body language reflect confidence? Do you say “uh” too much? It’s easy to get that feedback through having a mock-up interview with one of your friends or family members.
  2. Use an interview Cheat Sheet to help you compile all the information that you need to remember on the day of the interview; what topics do you need to bring up? Also, what questions you want to ask?
  3. When it’s your turn to ask questions, make sure you have your research has covered this part as well. Employers like seeing a candidate that’s interested in the role and the company. For example, you can ask:
  • What was the thinking behind this marketing campaign?
  • Can you give me an example of previous success?
  • How well does the company’s vision align with its actual activities?
  • What do you see as the primary goals for the person in this role over the next year?
  • Also, do NOT ask about salary or benefits until you are in final consideration for the position.

Show up on time and dress appropriately

Good for a startup interview
Good for a creative job interview
Good for a corporate job interview
Unfit for interviews
Too much for an interview
Unfit for interviews
Good for a creative job interview
Good for a creative job interview
Good for a start up interview
  1. Showing up late to a job interview is never excusable, and even if you felt like you answered all the questions brilliantly, your late arrival will always be a huge turn-off. Before your meeting, try to learn the fastest route to the company as well as other alternative routes (if available). Also, arrive 10 or 15 minutes early so you can take some time to catch your breath and get your head in the right place. It’s good to have a printed copy of your resume (neat one) and a notebook in case you wanted to jot down any comments.
  2. Back in the old days, you used to wear your best suit for any job interview. Startup executives changed that by regularly wearing hoodies and comfy clothes to the office. If you’re not sure about what to wear to a particular interview, see if you have a contact that works there and can give you a heads up as to what they wear around the office. If you don’t have that luxury, you can check the company’s gallery on their website or facebook page and see how employees and executives dress, or you can ask your recruiter on the phone while scheduling the interview.
  3. Don’t forget the little things: press your outfit, shine your shoes and make sure your nails look neat. The stuff that you think people don’t notice, but they do! Also, do a little pampering to yourself (if needed); the things that make you feel at your best, whether it’s a new haircut or a new outfit. Feeling good about yourself will always boost your confidence!

After the interview

interview-glasses-hands-talking
  1. Do an interview assessment; write down all the challenging points that were tackled and reflect on your answers to them. It is an excellent exercise to help you formulate better, more structured responses in your second interview or even in similar, future cases.
  2. Anyone who is currently applying for jobs knows that hiring processes could drag for weeks. It’s always wise to ask about the hiring process before leaving the company. When and how will you get feedback? Do they only contact the candidates selected for the second phase? Alternatively, everyone who went through the first interview? That way you will get an idea about when to expect an invitation back or when to know that you didn’t make it to the next step.

Finally, no matter how much you think you nailed that job interview, don’t just sit along waiting for your phone to ring. Keep up with your job search and explore other opportunities. You never know what might be waiting for you out there!

How to make the best out of your internship?

By | Career Advice, Featured, Internship

“You need some experience to get experience”. This might seem like the biggest struggle facing young professionals looking to join the workforce nowadays. Employers tend to rely on resumes that illustrate a relevant work experience, and this could be obtained through an internship, volunteer work or an actual full-time job experience. That’s why, during your college years, working as an intern would, by far, be your most advantageous plan.

The two variables of every internship

When undergoing an internship, as a fresh grad, you will be given several assignments to work on. In some cases, you will be assigned a mentor. Your mentor is your guide during; he/she is the person who reviews the progress you’re making and, in the best case, is keen on sharing insights and updates about the industry and the organization’s plan to stay competitive in the market.

Your assigned projects and your assigned mentor are the two variables of any internship experience. Use the tasks assigned to you to gain knowledge about the field and to learn more about yourself, your passion, and accordingly, plan your career. Also, always take the time to arrange quick review meetings with your mentor so you can get constant feedback about your performance and what’s expected of you.

If you were not assigned a mentor from the beginning, you can always ask about that on your first day or even choose your own; choose colleagues you look up to and try to have quick talks with them over lunch for instance. The diverse information and points of view you will get from these conversations would most likely be very enriching.

Set clear goals for your internship

In any job, it’s essential to identify what is expected of you and what your learning objectives are. Your internship is no different. When you set goals with your employer, you ensure that the time you’re spending in the company will be dedicated to enriching your knowledge and enhancing your skills and performance. Having a clear, solid agenda helps you progress in a structured manner.

Here are some examples of questions you should ask yourself before starting your internship:

  • What are the specific skills I want to work on improving?
  • What are the areas or projects that my employer needs my support at?
  • How will I seek guidance whenever needed?
  • How often will I get feedback regarding my performance from my employer?

Punctuality

In my early career as a talent management specialist, I had the opportunity to interview and work with many interns. If I am asked to identify one critical factor in any intern’s success, I would say relentless punctuality. It all starts with your first interview at the company, show up on time and show your commitment towards the opportunity.

After you start your internship, make sure you keep a calendar of all the scheduled meetings you have so you avoid arriving late to any of them. Also, make sure you complete your tasks by their assigned deadlines. Summer internships are for a short, defined period of time, so make sure you are 100% committed. In this new environment, you are both a guest and a colleague; take this opportunity to show your passion for the job and to also show respect towards your team by always being on time.

Complete all tasks with excellence

In most cases, you will be given different types of assignments and tasks. Whether you consider a certain task boring or exciting, always pursue it with passion and a determination to succeed. If you were asked to make a Powerpoint presentation, invest time and effort to research and get inspired before you start working and make sure you learn how it’s done correctly. This is your opportunity to explore more about yourself and what excites you at work, never decline a task because it seems uninteresting to you or it doesn’t fit your idea of work. Be open to taking every opportunity no matter how small and learning from it; these opportunities are the base on which everything else in your internship will rest.

Take on more work

Use your free time to initiate taking on more work without being asked. In a work setting, checking your social media profiles while waiting for someone to give you a task is not really the best way to get an invite back. Instead, when you see something you can do, simply do it; try taking charge of delayed or undefined projects and completing them. You will most probably need guidance on some projects, but it’s always a win-win situation. When doing what no one is willing to do and no one is expecting you to do, you will get to diversify your knowledge and not only will you be appreciated by your team members, but, most importantly, you will also be remembered.

Ask questions, good ones

The most common indicator of an eager, performance-driven individual is the quality of his/her questions. Your internship is your gateway to any information you wish to gather about a particular, field, industry, and even the processes of work in a company. Be intellectually curious. Before starting any meeting with your peers, and after you’ve done your preparation, write down some thoughtful questions that would help you better understand the nature of your tasks and projects. If you are meeting with your supervisors, try to think less about your answers to their questions and more on what you’re missing. An internship isn’t only the company opportunity to evaluate your performance, but also it’s your way to know how well you fit in a certain role. Make sure you finish your internship with all your questions answered.

Own up to your mistakes

Making mistakes is a part of your learning curve; don’t panic and learn to take ownership whenever things don’t go as planned. When you accept the responsibility of whatever went wrong, you will automatically find yourself coming up with corrective actions that would result in faster resolution and enable others to see your leadership potential.

Here is an example of a possible scenario:

  • You missed the deadline for an important task

Solution:

  • First, you should communicate this to your supervisor, providing reasons without making excuses. Example: “I underestimated how much time this would take me, and I take responsibility for that.”
  • Next, provide solutions to how you will fix this issue. Example: “I reprioritized my tasks and will be able to deliver this by the end of today.”
  • Finally, take the necessary actions to resolve this and make sure you reflect on your learned lessons to avoid similar situations in the future.

Collaborate with others

This skill is crucial in any profession; “Collaborating” means listening actively, defining needs and communicating effectively with peers. Whether you are working on your own or within a team, learn to always specify the project requirements before starting the actual work. Will you need input or assistance from anyone else? The sooner you define this and align with your team members, the easier it will be for them to collaborate accordingly, and the smoother your work on the project will be. Similarly, when holding any meeting make sure you share a clear agenda, so it’s easier for people to follow up. In case you are attending a meeting with no agenda, contact the organizer before it and ask if there’s any preparation required from your side before attending. Effective communication and alignment will serve you throughout your career so make sure you start developing this skill during your internship.

Make Connections

Internships usually last for a couple of months, and not all of them will result in a job offer right away. If you are interested in the company and your job role, you need to make sure you leave a memorable impression so that whenever an opportunity does open up, you would be the first candidate they think of. It’s always easier to just focus on your work and build relationships with the other interns, but on the other hand, forming broad relationships with your whole team and across the organization can help you manage your responsibilities while also improving your personal development.

Best of luck in your internship and beyond. When the experience is over, don’t forget to update your WUZZUF profile with your latest achievements.

Screening Questions: What, Why, & How?

By | Featured, Find a Job, Hiring, Job Search, Kick-start, Managers

Did you know that answering Screening Questions increases your chances of having your job applications viewed? And that’s merely one of the reasons why they are an important part of applying for jobs on WUZZUF.

One of the features that we offer companies on WUZZUF is the ability to add a number of customizable questions to a job post for applicants to answer. These are called Screening Questions, and we’re going to discuss why you should answer them and how to best do it.

So what are Screening Questions?

When you apply for a job on WUZZUF, you can get redirected to a page that looks like this with the heading “The hiring team at [Company x] also requires that you answer the below questions.”

Apply for Social Media Specialist at Digital Cloud (1) screening questions WUZZUF

These are the Screening Questions. The hiring company can ask any questions about info that doesn’t appear on your profile or CV, like “What makes you the best candidates for this job?”

The company could ask a question that’s specific to the technicalities of the posted vacancy. For example, if you’re applying for a vacancy of a digital marketer, you can find a question asking about brands you like and what made them your favorite.

Another common request is a sample of your work, especially if you’re in the creative field (writing, design, etc.). Because the company wants to know about you as much as they can before making a decision regarding your application, asking for a sample gives them a great idea of what your work is actually like.

Why should you answer Screening Questions?

So why are Screening Questions important? There are a couple of reasons why they’re important and hence why you should definitely answer them.

  • “To get over a mountain, you have to climb it.” — Unknown

Answering Screening Questions increases your Matching Score. Applicants for a job on WUZZUF are ranked according to their Matching Score, and therefore the ones with the highest scores are placed at the top of the list and have the highest chances of having their applications viewed.

Using Screening Questions, companies inquire about info they otherwise can’t know without actually sitting in an interview with you. Due to the complicated logistics of hiring (the time it takes, the number of applicants a job has, the required human resources, etc.), interviewing all candidate with seemingly fitting profiles is not possible. That’s why Screening Questions are a great tool because they give you a chance to talk more about yourself and fill in any details the company wants to know about you before it decides on an interview.

Answering Screening Questions is a great way to let companies know more about you. #ScreeningQuestionsClick To Tweet
  • “Go the extra mile and you will stand out from the crowd.” — Robin Crow

Screening Questions are the first thing the company sees in your application. Use this chance to impress the company with the effort you put into answering the questions. The company you want to join took the time to ask the questions that matter to the job and that makes answering them important. So respond in kind. Do go the extra mile and take the time to answer well and show your commitment. Use the opportunity to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

How answered vs. unanswered Screening Questions look in your application

How answered vs. unanswered Screening Questions look in your application.

How to answer Screening Questions

So now that you’re going to answer the Screening Questions, how should you do it?

A good point to keep in mind is that Screening Questions are a great chance to get the person doing the screening hooked. The position of the questions means that if your answers are not good, there’s a good chance they won’t go over the rest of your application and just move on to the next one. If they do check it out, it will already have left an unpleasant impression of you.

So here are some pointers on how to provide great answers to these questions.

  • Avoid clichés

Even when the question is one of the most common ones like “What makes you the best candidate for this job?” the company is still looking for a unique answer. Never copy and paste an answer from somewhere, even if it was another application of yours.

Never copy and paste an answer from somewhere, even if it was another application of yours. #ScreeningQuestionsClick To Tweet

It helps to thoroughly read the job description, requirements, and the questions themselves before answering because only then can you focus on your strengths that are directly related to the job.

You should also be unique and true to yourself. This is the only way the company gets to know you really well.

  • Be concise

The hiring company is busy so having someone go through all the applications on a job post would be hectic. Our research shows that someone hiring on WUZZUF spends only an average of seven seconds looking at any one application. This means they won’t read long answers, at least not fully. So be concise, get to the point, and cut the fluff. But do cover the point(s) the question is inquiring about thoroughly.

not concise Screening Questions

Fluffy

  • Play the game

In its core, getting a job is a barter deal. You give the company your skills and experience and in exchange you get a position, benefits, and career progress. It’s a two-way street, but if it were this straightforward, true professionals would be equated with the rest. So you have to play the game. Don’t assume just because that someone is hiring that they’re going to accept anyone. Put the effort in and pull out all the stops.

Screening Questions too direct no elaboration

Too direct with no elaboration

Don’t go overboard though. Never beg for the job in your answers. No matter how badly you need the job, don’t let it show. Don’t add your personal info (phone number or email) in your answers either. All of this will make the company undervalue you, so even if you did end up getting hired, you probably wouldn’t be getting your true worth.

  • Review your answers

Nothing leaves a worse impression than a good answer full of typos. Go over your answers when you’re done writing. Never submit an application without checking for those pesky, little errors that usually skip our attention. Make sure you’re using good grammar and punctuation. This is even more important if you’re applying for a job where excellent writing skills are a requirement. Use a tool like Grammarly for better results.

Full of linguistic errors

Here are more examples of bad answers to Screening Questions that are sure to kill your chance at getting the job you want:

irrelevant Screening Questions

Off topic

By following the tips above, you can get an answer that looks something like this:

Bottom line: Take your time when answering Screening Questions. They are what will get your foot in the door.

Have you ever encountered any Screening Questions you didn’t know how to answer? Let us know in the comments below so we can give you some tips.

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