Author: Ellie

Bullet Reboot

Bullet Reboot

You don’t need a resolution, you need a review process. A new year is always a time for starting something new. Traditionally, this would be New Years Resolutions, and in my case, a new theme for my blog. But this year I’m not setting any 

Unexpectedly useful things to do in an interview

Unexpectedly useful things to do in an interview

You can find interview tips all over the internet (including on Hermitopia!), but here are the hidden tips that will get you noticed and remembered. Wear the company colours This tip is great for any organisation that takes pride in appearance and brand visibility. Think 

Have you checked on your introverts lately?

Have you checked on your introverts lately?

Everyone is finding lockdowns to be strange experiences. Introverts, on the whole, have handled it better than extroverts because we have a lower social threshold – we feel satisfied with only a small amount of socialisation. While illness and loss has been all around us, there had been a lot of discussion in the media, in workplaces, and among friends about the mental health impacts we have all experienced.

Introverts who are thriving

Many introverts have found that lockdown was the first opportunity they have had to truly be themselves, able to maintain their energy levels well and focus on their passions and socialising only with their closest friends and family. These happy hermits will be looking at ways to take this lifestyle into the future, perhaps by requesting to continue working from home. Check with these friends to find out what their plans are and how you might continue to support them to thrive!

Introverts who have learned more about themselves

As above, some introverts have found themselves feeling a little isolated and are ready to socialise. They havne’t magically become extraverts, instead they have just realised at what point they do need to socialise again. They may be glad to not socialise every day, but now wish that they could have a get-together with friends every few weeks. Having learned more about socialising and managing energy levels, they will be going forward with a little more confidence about how to be both social and energised. Check with these friends to find out what they are focusing on in life these days, you might learn something new!

Introverts who are apprehensive about socialising again

Now that there has been so much quiet to enjoy, some introverts are worried about the world reopening. As much as they may want to see friends and family, they are concerned about an “over-correction” – will they be expected to attend social events every night to catch up with everyone? Will they be pressured to be more social now because “Haven’t you had enough alone time?” or face other misunderstandings? A car filled with fuel and then driven around the country will need to be refilled, even if it was refilled the week before. Some introverts will be concerned that they will be expected that their full tank will now last forever. Check with these friends to see what their concerns are. Perhaps book an in-person catch-up with them a few weeks or months after the end of lockdown, rather than at the beginning!

Introverts who feel they missed out

Some introverts haven’t had a chance to be introverts at all! If they live with children or extraverts, or have been working throughout with a lot of video calls, or have continued to attend their workplace, they may not have experienced the energising period the way that other introverts have. Check with these friends to find out how they are coping. They are probably looking forward to catching up with you, but might be a bit exhausted for a while yet, even after lockdown ends!

Lockdown hasn’t been magical for anyone, and although someone people have had a more manageable time than others, there could be other issues going on, e.g. grief, mental health issues, unemployment, family issues. Being there as a friend starts with just being touch – send an introvert a meme and you’ve lifted them up in an instant!

Photo by MIKHAIL VASILYEV on Unsplash

Gift ideas for introverts

The Bullet Journal Method: This is an amazing book for anyone who is feeling a bit overwhlemed and in need of organising your thoughts. After I began to start Bullet Journalling (and I’m very new to it) I very quickly noticed a reduction in my anxiety and felt more empowered to be able to handle the hundres of things I want to do each day!

Pilot Frixion Erasable Pens: Have you every tried a product and it just BLEW your MIND? I genuinely felt like that about these pens! They write as dark as a regular gel pen, but you can actually erase your writing – without much effot and without damaging the paper! I gave one to a friend to try and she said “What sorcery if this?!?” – they really are that amazing

Adults Paint-By-Numbers Kits: Colouring books for adults have been a thing for a while now, but some people don’t adapt to it. Painting by numbers might feel a little more calming and results in something you can easily display in your home, particularly satisfying if you get one in a large size!

These may contain affiliate links which help me run my website (privacy). I only advertise products/services I genuinely recommend.

3 times when it’s helpful to use a recruiter

3 times when it’s helpful to use a recruiter

You know where to find jobs and how to apply for them, why would you want to use a recruiter? Here are the top 3 situations when a recruiter can make a big difference to your job hunt! 1. You undersell yourself If you aren’t 

CV Summary Statement: why have it and what to put in it

CV Summary Statement: why have it and what to put in it

If you’ve read any articles about summary statements, you might think that they are of value only if you are using a recruiter but this is NOT TRUE! While they are helpful in that context, they are also great for direct applications, too. Your statement 

Hit your target with the STAR response

Hit your target with the STAR response

Chances are that you have heard of the STAR response. Once you get the hang of it, job interviews become a piece of cake!

The STAR response

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results. It’s a sim[le and effective template for answering those behavioural questions that start with “Give us an example of a time when you…”. What I really love about using the STAR response is that it’s more than just a template. The STAR response allows you to time to think so your answers sounds coherent – even if you’re nerves are bubbling over! 

Let’s practice this with a standard interview question: “Give us an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer”.  If you’ve ever worked in any kind of customer service role you’ll be able to answer this easily!  Say the first employer that comes to mind. Start by explaining the challenging Situation and how your got there.  “My first job was at the counter of Budget Burgers. Sometime customers would be served the wrong meal or be overcharged and they would get angry.” 

Next is your Task. What were you expected to do in this situation? What was your responsibility when this situation would happen?  “I would try to calm them down and find out what the problem was.” 

The Action part is where you say specifically what you would do – what actions you would take – to complete your Task. Your action is how you get your task done. “I would listen to their complaint and I would try to understand what happened. If I could fix the problem, like a wrong order, I would fix it. If it was an overcharge or some other kind of issue I would offer an alternative or ask if they wanted to speak to my manager.” 

Finally, it’s time to let the interviewers know about your great Results! Where your Actions successful, and what did you learn?  “I found that by calmly talking through the issue and showing understanding, the customer calmed down faster. Fixing it myself was the fastest solution and always worked well. But when I couldn’t fix it and I offered an alternative and the option to speak to my manager, the customer had choices and felt like they were in control and they were less likely to argue and more likely to want to offer solutions or accept one of mine. When I was a trainee I would call my manager over a lot, but I learned from watching her way of dealing with the customers and I became better at it.” 

That’s it! When the interviewers ask the question, don’t get overwhelmed, just think of each part of STAR one piece at a time and it will all come together. In your mind, you’ll be thinking “What was my task back then in that situation? What actions did I take? How did it all end?”. All the interviewer will hear is one coherent answer. 

“My first job was at the counter of Budget Burgers. Sometime customers would be served the wrong meal or be overcharged and they would get angry. I would try to calm them down and find out what the problem was. I would listen to their complaint and I would try to understand what happened. If I could fix the problem, like a wrong order, I would fix it. If it was an overcharge or some other kind of issue I would offer an alternative or ask if they wanted to speak to my manager. “I found that by calmly talking through the issue and showing understanding, the customer calmed down faster. Fixing it myself was the fastest solution and always worked well. But when I couldn’t fix it and I offered an alternative and the option to speak to my manager, the customer had choices and felt like they were in control and they were less likely to argue and more likely to want to offer solutions or accept one of mine. When I was a trainee I would call my manager over a lot, but I learned from watcher her way of dealing with the customers and I became better at it.”

Recruitloop has a good list of different behavioural questions, such as “Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision.” Have a go and if you want to share your answers, put them in the comments below. 

Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

These may contain affiliate links which help me run my website (privacy). I only advertise products/services I genuinely recommend.

Is imposter syndrome stopping you from enjoying your success?

Is imposter syndrome stopping you from enjoying your success?

I have a friend who is highly successful in his field. He doesn’t seem aware that he has done well for himself. High grades through school, scholarships, placements, and he’s now in a very prestigious job. None of it seems to matter to him. It’s 

Do you have all four legs on your mental health table?

Do you have all four legs on your mental health table?

Recently, I’ve been binge-listening to a podcast called “Economic Update”. Sounds like a real snore-fast, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s soothing, gripping and depressing all at one. In an episode from a few months ago a regular guest, Dr Fraad, was talking about what support 

The Basics of Transferrable Skills

The Basics of Transferrable Skills

On the hunt for job hunting advice (am I going in circles?), you will find the phrase transferrable skills. Do you know what they are, and do you have any? Well done if you do. But even then, do you know how to sell those skills?  I was working with the Queensland Government, in Australia when they brought in the Capability and Leadership Framework (CLF). The concept, as I overheard at the time, was that all job descriptions would have essentially the same key criteria. At first, it sounded quite strange, and all I understood came from vague conversation and eavesdropping on colleagues. But it’s actually an excellent framework for analysing your transferable skills, and the website even has checklists to help you assess yourself. Okay, it all looks very governmental and is written as such, but the key points to focus on are there:

– Supports strategic direction / Shapes strategic thinking
– Achieves results
– Supports/Cultivates productive working relationships
– Displays/Exemplifies personal drive and integrity
– Communicates with influence

Thinking about it this way makes it really easy to assess yourself for transferrable skills. How well do you understand your role in the context over the overall organisation? What are your greatest achievements, and what planning do you do to ensure you succeed? What networks do you have? What motivates you? How to you promote your ideas?  Notice how none of these questions are job-specific? That’s how you think about transferrable skills.

If you’re thinking to yourself “I can’t get a job in recruitment, I’m just a volunteer at an animal shelter (or any other example that comes to mind)”, think about how what you do now affects those around you.  Do you have great conversations with suppliers/visitors/peers? Have you ever found a solution to a problem? Do you take pride in what you do? Then you have transferrable skills. 

Photo by Artyom Kabajev on Unsplash

What a career coach does (and doesn’t) do

What a career coach does (and doesn’t) do

I recently met with a career coach. Even though I had met her before, I was nervous. I was coming to the end of a contract and I’m not sure where to go next. Is it time for a pre mid-life career change? Should I