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5 Questions Job Seekers Should Ask During an Interview

 

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You've gotten an interview good going!

If you've gotten far enough into the recruiting process that you're sitting down in front of a hiring manager, this is your shot to get the job.

The pressure is on, you're in the hot seat, this is your moment to shine - but hey, don't sweat it because you're reading this post you're going to do just fine.

Honesty is the best policy, be confident in yourself and try to carefully listen to what you're being asked. When you have a question - ask it, there is no such thing as a stupid question; what there are, are questions that you can answer yourself.

You won't be led to every question you should ask - but the following five questions should help you get the information you need while not making you out to be too nosey or simple.

5 Best Interview Questions Ever

1. Who will I be working with, what are they like? 

This is something you should always ask. When it comes down to it, understanding the team dynamic that you'll be working in is key to your potential success in the role. Asking this question might help the hiring manager think about you as part of the team - it will also bring up opportunities where you can add an experience story about a time working within a group or with people as they've described.

2. Who do you report to, how does the work I do impact your KPIs (key performance indicators)?

This only works if you're being interviewed by the manager you'll be working with. If this is the case, then it will tell you a bit more about the pressures and motivations of the person who is hiring you. It can also give you a strong impression of who your future boss is and how they handle pressure. If they can't explain what impact they're hoping you'll have it isn't a good sign.

3. What upcoming projects would I be working on, should I get the job?

There always specific projects on the go in a given department. May be tax time is coming up, or the Anderson account which comes annually is looming. Understanding what you might be thrown into helps you gauge whether you want the job or not. It also tells you a bit more about why they are hiring. 

 

4. Was this position filled previously or is this a new position?

If the position was filled and is no longer there is probably a good reason. A good manager will answer this carefully but should provide some candor. If they fired someone, or the person quit, you might not get a straight answer in the interview, but use your intuition. If it is a new position, you have the chance to help build the role if you're hired, that's an exciting experience.  

5. What sort of processes are in place for the completion of X?

Whatever the X is, is your job that you're applying for. Asking about the process shows you at least understand how X can be done or has been done somewhere else. The answer might surprise you, "We don't have a formal system in place for this," is a fun one, it is an opportunity for you to provide structure where there was none before. 

What question got you a job? Share one with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada.


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This St. Patrick’s Day Celebrate Workers Safety, Sláinte!

 

This St. Patrick’s Day Celebrate Workers Safety, Sláinte!

St. Patrick's Day Monday, March 17St. Patrick's Day is this upcoming Monday, March 17, I was thinking about what it meant to me and what it could mean to Canadian workers.

The roots of Canada's Irish immigrant population were like most Canadians during the 1800s and early 1900s - working class abourers.

Growing up in Ottawa near the banks of the Ottawa River, closer still to the Rideau Canal I knew the working class heritage that city held dear, Ottawa was still a lumber town back then. Long before NHL Hockey, or office towers, the workers who dug the Rideau Canal toiled away - dying in great numbers in the process. Canada's Parliament hadn't even been built.

Some 1,000 construction workers died while digging the canal, between 1826 and 1832, they were primarily Irish and French, but today we'd all call them Canadians.

We’ve come a long way as a nation and as providers of employment and drivers of industry since those dangerous days when workers would die of malaria or site accidents. Working with picks and shovels could be as dangerous as front-end-loaders and cranes and the explosives of the day weren't terribly safe.

This St. Patrick’s Day, during any celebrations of spirit, remember that our heritages’ deceives us if we don’t remember the past. For most Canadians who identify with their Irish heritage, it is of ancestors who worked in mines, or ships, scaffolds or rail lines. Construction work was the name of the day for the unskilled immigrant labour brought in to do the dangerous work the educated French or Englishmen wouldn’t do.

Much has changed but danger persists. Work sites need monitoring, workers need training and that’s why Randstad Canada has its own team of Health and Safety Managers reviewing job sites - training teams to conduct effective site orientations and in some cases rejecting work on the basis that the sites weren't up to code.

Everyone is somebody's daughter or son and it is the responsibility of all managers, employers, coworkers and friends to look out for one another.

Also related to St. Patrick’s Day is heavy drinking. During any given year in Canada about 1,000 people die as a result of drunk driving related incident. That’s year on year the same number of Canadian workers who die in incidents at work and the same number who died digging the Rideau Canal.

I’ll be in Toronto this St. Patrick’s Day and this is part of the heritage I’ll be remembering on March 17.

Please be safe, both on the roads and at work.

After all, sláinte, means to health.

Read more about how to stay safe at work.

Want a job that cares for your health and safety? Apply with Randstad Canada.


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5 Reasons Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

 
Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Would you work for the Decepticons just because they paid well?

Peter Drucker the Austrian born American management consultant said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast."

I first ran into this axiom when I was working at an advertising agency and today in the staffing and recruitment space, I see its relevance more and more.

The culture your brand (or you) espouse determines who listens to you, what they say about the work you do later and will in the long run will either help or hurt your hiring and recruitment efforts.

There is an art to all of this in the recruitment space, just as it is in advertising agency land – it is called employer branding.

Employer branding is a mixture of culture and strategy; it is the strategy of deploying your culture - while this is a chicken and the egg scenario, Drucker’s statement prevails.

5 Reasons Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

Megatron as a boss

  1. Anyone can pay competitively: The Decepticons might be offering a competitive total rewards package, but would you want to work for Megatron?  The culture you establish in your department or organization speaks volumes to quality of your management and the realistic opportunities for growth. If you run your organization as a despotic overlord, good luck!

  2. Work environment and job stability are key and they are tied together: Last year Randstad’s employer branding research showed that a positive work environment and job stability were the second and third most important factors in building an attractive employer brand. You can build long term job stability by succeeding in your field and you build a positive work environment by being good to your people. If Canadians perceive job stability as key to a positive employer brand, then ensuring a positive work environment is imperative to that.

  3. Social media becomes your best friend: Every employee in your company can promote your employer brand and they do, just in their own nearly uncontrollable ways. With a positive culture social media becomes filled with photos of interesting projects, fun activities and about positive brand-building statements your people will say about your brand – for free. Your people are your employer brand; they’ll live it and speak about it.

  4. Positive culture builds a responsible company: Corporate social responsibility is seen as an important to most employees, a study reported that 3 out of 5 employees want to work somewhere that shares they values. If you don’t know what your values are and you don’t speak with your people about theirs how can you benefit from this? When you research your own employer brand and begin the process of building it you’ll discover what your perceived values are and you can adapt to where your people believe your company should go.

  5. Culture builds organic process: Most importantly with culture comes natural actions that don’t need to be mandated, thought about or outlined in a process diagram and presented in a meeting. Strong culture just gets things done. Good people who feel good about the work they are doing happen to do outstanding work.

How do you build culture in your workplace? Share your ideas with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada with the hashtag #RandstadAward.

Learn more about employer branding through the Randstad Award at www.randstadaward.ca.

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Randstad Celebrating International Women's Day

 

Randstad Celebrating International Women's Day

This Saturday is the International Day of the Woman. At Randstad, empowering women in the business world and in the communities we work is a shared goal that the organization is proud to reach for.

While our own, Women Shaping Business program takes place in the fall, we recognize female leaders and those aspiring to become them at every opportunity.

Take a moment a watch the Women Shaping Business video and introduce  yourself to some of Canada’s most inspiring women.

 

 

The Women Shaping Business program culminated in Randstad hosting four events across the country reaching business leaders in Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto and Calgary.

You can learn more about Randstad Canada's female leadership programming at www.womenshapingbusiness.com.

 

If you liked this video, you should check out our piece on Films Featuring Strong Empowered Women.

  

Learn more about the challenges and opportunities available to women leaders in Canada  

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3 - Intriguing questions I'll ask at DX3

 

3-Intriguing questions I'll ask at DX3

dx3 image resized 600Mobile development is the future of program development, use, e-commerce and work tracking. The ubiquity of powerful handheld devices has made immediate data collection, sharing and interaction with each other, with brands, our colleagues and partners so simple we forget how ground breaking it is.

Only 10-years ago answering an email on your phone was tough if not impossible. Think about how easy it is to reply to a candidate, or to a job offer with a quick flip through your web browser on your phone. You don’t need to rush back anywhere to say, yes, to the job.

This week in Toronto, Ontario, is Canada’s largest conference on mobile development, it is called DX3. Randstad Canada is a sponsor this year, so come out and visit us and meet one of our technologies recruiters.

What does this mean for your job search, how companies will interact with you in the future and how you can use your phone to get more out life?

3-Intriguing questions I hope to answer at DX3

  1. Job search: Where could this go? Are we going to set up the Google Goggles app so you can visually see which companies are hiring for where? Would that even help a job hunter? Today where you can apply to jobs through your phone on Linkedin’s app, or Randstad Canada’s own site (which has gone mobile if you’re on your phone you should check it out). May be the question is, how can job searching and application catch up to the rest of technologies, where people with the right skills can be more easily connected to employers in need?

  2. Brand interaction and purchasing:  DX3 is featuring the Retail Collective, which is looking deeply at how people will make purchases in the future from online sales to instore purchases. for the past five years we’ve been able to pay for things with our phones. It is only start to accelerate to mass market appeal recently. If you can pay your bills from you smartphone, accept payments in store with an iPad and track all of your purchases using RF tags in store when will we stop needing a wallet?

  3. Digital self-tracking: There are many upsides to carrying a geo-locating-bank-camera in your pocket. If you want to see how physically active you are, or track every calorie you intake, your phone can help you do that these days. What are the potential downsides to this? We can quantify every human interaction, track it on a map, we can take images over every moment. Today we identify with our digital representations of ourselves as much as our physical entities. The question for an employer is what impact does the digital self-make on the actual self when it comes to capability, self-promotion and their promotion of their employer brand? Will companies begin hiring based on follower counts and what would that mean?

Are you going to DX3, say hi to our team on the floor or connect with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada

Experience vs education

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Skilled Trades Jobs Are "Knowledge" Jobs

 

Last night, Randstad Canada's President Tom Turpin, entered into a conversation with Amanda Lang on CBC's Lang & O'Leary Exchange about the skills gap, how Canadians perceive the skilled trades and what a knowledge job really is. 

Tom Turpin - Skills Gap

You can watch the interview on CBC News, here, but I wanted to highlight one exchange between Turpin and Lang.

To a question about the value of trades jobs, "We have this conundrum, we know we want knowledge jobs that can’t be outsourced where wages don’t progressively get lower and yet we have this situation where our kids are supposed to go to college take a skilled trade and become something very mechanical and applied. These seem like totally different career prospects to me, what is the message we’re supposed to send to young people?” Lang asked. 

Turpin replied, "I think they aren’t as dichotomous as they might seem. If you look at it, I mean, we’re in building someone needs to build it; someone needs to maintain it; all of the trades from the bottom to the top. Infrastructure can’t be outsourced. No one is taking this building to India, building it there and bringing it back."

Tom brought up a really interesting point highlighting a schism between Canadian's perception of education, training,  skilled labour and university training. Trades jobs were the first “knowledge” jobs in society. Masons built roads and buildings, welders built ships and cars and today technical mechanics and skilled tradespeople are building the future economy of Canada and will over the next 20-years construct over $300 billion in capital spending for Canadian businesses and municipalities.

Sure a four-year degree has value and even further education has even more value - but that doesn't take away from the fact that it can take an enormous amount of training, testing and time to become a tradesperson.

If we can’t call skilled trades’ jobs “knowledge” jobs we’re doing it wrong. Becoming a journeyman takes, in some trades like for electricians, 8,000 hours of on the job work – getting paid 40-60% of the wage you’ll make as a journeyman. Tack on three years of classes, tests and certifications and you’re talking more than 15,000 hours of training and learning.

Of course, you might be working with wires, or pipes instead of a keyboard and flowcharts – but let’s stop denigrating skilled trade’s jobs as something lower than getting university degree because you might get your hands dirty and wear steel toes  at work.

The reason our study shows negative perceptions is because of this conversation and questions like Lang’s. Trades jobs are knowledge jobs and they always have been.

Canadians might disagree with me. 

From Randstad's Labour Trends Study: Lack of education, negative perceptions widening the gap

According to the study, Canadian workers believe that education and perception are core reasons that have led to today’s skills shortage. Four in five (79%) survey respondents stated they feel a lack of knowledge in skilled trades has led to less Canadians considering them a career option, while more than three-quarters (76.6%) felt that a perception of skilled trade work being less respected and more old fashioned in comparison to ‘white collar’ work has led to less interest for Canadians desiring these types of roles. 

Ontarians (69.4%) most frequently stated that they experienced pressure by family to pursue more traditional ‘white collar’ careers when in school, while Quebecers experienced the least amount of familial intervention (52.2%).

Is a university degree as valuable as a journeyman's 15,000 hours of training? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada

 

Are you looking for work?

Do you need more help in your job search, or developing your career? Register with Randstad Canada and get your job search started today.


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7 – Reasons Skilled Trades Jobs Are the Best

 

Skilled Trades Jobs Canada

Photo credit - Baytown Bert Marshall

Welders, electricians, millwrights and mechanics have some of the most rewarding and needed jobs in Canada, but a new study from Randstad Canada shows that perceptions about these trades’ jobs are one of the reasons these important jobs remain vacant.

A new study by Randstad Canada Labour Trends Study 2014, indicated that Canadians feel that trades work is less respected and older fashioned than white collar work.

“… 79%, survey respondents stated they feel a lack of knowledge in skilled trades has led to less Canadians considering them a career option, while more than three-quarters (76.6%) felt that a perception of skilled trade work being less respected than white collar work.”

If you’re considering entering the trades, or you have already, here are six things to tell your family about the value, importance and benefits of entering the labour force in the skilled trades.

But why is there such a shortage because we know that jobs in the trades are the best:

  1. Working outside and with your hands is a rewarding and trades jobs pay overtime.

  2. Structured training and mentorship programs, give you a clear idea of where you are at in your professional development.

  3. A skilled trades job can’t be offshored, or outsourced.

  4. Office jobs can kill you. Sitting in a desk by some studies is as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.

  5. International certifications through Red Seal Program can set you to work anywhere in the world.

  6. Entrepreneurship and contractor opportunities avail themselves clearly.

  7. Trades jobs often pay better, sooner and are also often represented by unions which further improve wages.

Are Canadian families causing the skill trade’s skills shortage?

The study also showed that families are pressuring those attending school to stick to white collar work over the trades. Regionally, Ontarians reported this most often with 69.4% responding they’d been pushed toward white collar work, while Quebecers saw this the least with 52.2% of families intervening.

Before you let anyone tell you that a job in the trades isn’t respected, or it won’t pay you well, or that you aren’t cut out for the work; remember that for more than a decade Canada’s federal and provincial governments have been pushing young Canadians into the trades. May be it our families or friends that are pushing back against them. 

The jobs are out there, so are the training programs.

Were you pushed into white collar work? Tell us about it on Twitter @RandstadCanada

Do you need more help in your job search, or developing your career? Register with Randstad Canada and get your job search started today.




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9 – Health and Safety Steps to Prevent Lift Injuries

 

Preventing Back Injuries

9 – Health and Safety Steps to Prevent Lift Injuries 

This Olympic season we all cheered our team on as they risked life and limb to win gold, silver and bronze – but they shouldn’t be alone in this effort. Canadian workers and employers can help the economy save billions of dollars by reducing time loss issues from simple but preventable back injuries.

In 2012 alone, Canadian businesses reported 245,365 time loss injuries and 977 people lost their lives on the job. In British Columbia, injuries resulted in 2.9 million days lost from work. Time loss injuries affect everyone, in how they impact the Canadian economy, our healthcare system and in some cases push people into disability programs and other cost impacts to insurance programs. 

The most common of all workplace injuries are lifting related back injuries. We lift things that we shouldn’t, to places we can’t reach and with techniques that almost guarantee injuries. It isn't just manufacturing or construction jobs, but health care, office work and child care. Back injuries happen to everyone, everywhere and all of the time.

Be a patriot, follow safe lifting procedures.

Step 1 - Keep the load close to your waist: Keep the load close to yourself for as long as possible while lifting. Keep the heaviest side of the load next to you.

Step 2 - Adopt a stable position: Your feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance (alongside the load, if it is on the ground). You should be prepared to move their feet during the lift to maintain their stability. Avoid tight clothing or unsuitable footwear, which may make this difficult.

Step 3 - Get a good hold: Where possible the load should be hugged as close as possible to your body. This is better than only holding it with your hands. Hugging it bring the weight closer to your centre of gravity, further reducing risk.

Step 4 - Start in a good posture: At the start of the lift, keep a slight bend in your back, hips and knees. This is prefered to fully flexing your back (stooping) or fully flexing the hips and knees (squatting).

Step 5 - Avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways: especially while your back is bent. Keep your Shoulders level and facing in the same direction as your hips. Use your feet to turn yourself rather than twisting and lifting at the same time.

Step 6 - Keep your head up when handling: Look ahead, not down at the load, once it has been held securely.

Step 7 - Move smoothly: The load should not be jerked or snatched as this can make it harder to keep control and can increase the risk of injury.

Step 8 - Don’t lift or handle more than can be easily managed: There is a difference between what people can lift and what they can safely lift. If in doubt, seek advice or get help. What is a struggle for one, can be an ease for two. 

Step 9 - Put down, then adjust: If precise positioning of the load is necessary, put it down first, then slide it into the desired position.

Have you ever hurt yourself at work? How did you recover? Share your story with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada.

 

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Managing Hockey Lovers During the Olympics

 

To help managers across North America facilitate team learning and workplace engagement here is our brief two step guide to Managing Hockey Lovers During the Olympics. 

ManagingCanadians

 Follow us on Twitter @RandstadCanada for other tips on inspiring, building and managing your team. 



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5 - Canadian Defence Engineering Achievements

 

5 - Canadian Defence Engineering Achievements

800px NZLAV 2009 resized 600Canada's defence engineering industry has long provided Canadians with permanent roles as engineers, mechanics, designers and machinists.

Veteran Canadian engineering firm, General Dynamics Land Systems Canada (GDLSC) announced last week that it was won a contract to produce armoured vehicles for a client in Saudi Arabia to the tune of $10 to $14 billion dollars over 14-years. The Canadian manufacturer and innovator has operated for the past 66-years, and this big-win, will translate into 3,000 new jobs in the Canadian economy. This is one of the biggest deals in Canadian history.

This is the perfect opportunity to look back on some of Canada's proudest defence engineering achievements. 

1. Portable Walkie-Talkies

Warfare and the completion of large-scale engineering projects wouldn’t be the same without a tool that lets people communicate on the go. Long before cell phones, radio transmission was an effective way of doing this. Canadian engineering Donald L. Hings M.B.E., patented the first portal walkie-talkies in 1942. The system he engineered has undergone changes, but its fundamentals are still used by municipalities, construction firms and army units to this day.

2. SONAR

In 1912, after the sinking of the Titanic, engineers in around the work began developing tools using sound to track incoming objects, vessels or munitions. Canadian engineer Reginald Fessenden worked on an experimental system at the time while working at the Submarine Signal Company in Boston. What he developed eventually became what we now know as SONAR. Application of this tool has impacted more than warfare, by improving transportation safety, mapping the ocean floor and impacting the study of plate-tectonics. Like the advancements of the portable radio, SONAR has undergone few drastic changes it fundamental technology since 1912.

3. G-Suit

In a few short decades after establishing the first human flight at Kitty Hawk, flight engineers began facing the limitations of the human body. We can only handle so many G-forces before we black-out. Losing consciousness is bad when operating any vehicle, let alone one loaded with bombs travelling greater than the speed of sound. Addressing this problem, was a team led by Wilbur R. Franks at the University of Toronto in 1941. The practical applications of this extended to spaceflight as well as jet fighting and rapid commercial transport.

4. The Avro-Arrow

Speaking of jet fighting, The Avro-Arrow was in development in the 1950s, while its decommissioning and later scrapping is a point of deep political contention, the jet-fighter’s importance to Canadian military engineering isn’t. The Arrow was the height of flight engineering at the time, breaking speed altitude records in the process. The engineering team which was disbanded when the project was scrapped went on to work for NASA, just in time to help put men on the Moon.

5. Advanced Artificial Limbs

Canadian companies and engineering teams have long lead the way in terms of prosthetic robotics. This continues with Dr. Kevin Englehart, P.Eng.,’s at the University of New Brunswick and his development of brain to body connections in the connecting prosthetics to the human body. His advancements in connecting muscles and nerve fibers to prosthesis have advanced how veterans and all Canadians recover from limb loss.

Engineering jobs in Canada

Randstad Canada features hundreds of employment opportunities for experienced engineers in all fields including defence engineering, telecommunications, aerospace and oil and gas engineering.
If you are an engineer and are looking for a new career,visit  http://randstad.ca/engineering/ today and get your job search started.

 


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