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The Five Secret Productivity Hacks for Success

We are all at risk of distractions getting the better of us during our working day. And while some distractions, such as urgent emails and tasks, are necessary – the unnecessary ones eat into our productivity.  

Does this scenario sound familiar: you have a long list of tasks, and you start the week to work your way through them. You get halfway through the week and not only have you completed less than half of what you planned, everything took a lot longer than you had imagined. Not only this, your task list has now increased. 

Technology has played a big part in changing the way we work. We are now more connected than ever, but instead of increasing our productivity, it seems to have had the opposite effect. People now check their smartphones on average 52 times per day. 

‘Productivity’ is not about doing as many tasks as possible, it is about focusing on doing fewer jobs, but doing them well. 

To help you become a more productive employee, here I will share the secret productivity hacks my most accomplished candidates use. 

 

1. Identify When You Are the Most Productive 

Some people prefer to come into work earlier and get their work started before everyone else arrives; others find it easier to complete tasks if they stay a little later.  

This does not necessarily have to be a particular time of day; some people work better when they take regular breaks. Some find it easier to complete tasks in smaller chunks; others prefer to work solidly on one task to ‘box it off’ and then move onto others.  

Are you aware of when you are at your most productive?  

Figuring out your preferred style of working is the crucial first step to becoming more productive. You can do this by taking notes of how much you get done at different times of the day, using an accountability form. Or even just making an effort to notice when you feel most productive, and your work is flowing. 

 

2. Remove Distractions 

As I mentioned earlier, we check our phones on average 52 times a day, or about once every 12 minutes during our working day. This can be everything from emails to family messages, reminders and unexpected calls or messages. 

We have fallen into the trap of believing that not answering messages or emails straight away is poor working etiquette.  

In reality, stopping regularly to answer emails when they drop is cutting your productivity. A strategy productive employees use is to have set times during the day that you dedicate to checking your email and responding to messages.  

If this seems unrealistic, you can start by having set times not to check your email, for example, between 10 am – lunch and 2 pm-4 pm. You will find that you can become more involved in completing your tasks when you are free of distractions.  

 

3. Make a Schedule (and stick to it) 

We all have calendars; email calendars, planners on our phones, physical planners. But the sheer amount of different methods we have of making daily, weekly and monthly schedules can lead to confusion and missed appointments or deadlines.  

If you currently use two or more methods of scheduling your week, commit to reducing this down to one. 

Career skills website ‘Mind Tools’ has an excellent resource on how to plan your month effectively, which you can read in full here. The six key points they emphasise are- 

  • Identify the time you have available. 
  • Block off essential tasks you must carry out to do your job. 
  • Schedule high-priority urgent tasks and vital ‘housekeeping’ activities. 
  • Block off appropriate contingency time for unpredictable events. 
  • Schedule the activities that address your priorities and goals. 
  • Analyse your activities to identify tasks that can be delegated, outsourced or cut together. 

Once you have a cohesive schedule, you can stop trying to face all of your tasks head-on, which brings me onto my next point. 

 

4. Stop Plate-Spinning 

Many employees think that because they are always going at 100 kph and are seemingly busier than their colleagues that they are the most productive. However, this is not the case.  

One study on multitasking found that changing tasks ten times a day decreases your IQ by 10 points. This fact alone should be enough to make you want to focus your time and energy on a few choice tasks rather than many at once. 

 

5. Learn How to Say No 

Finally, the most productive people appreciate and value their own time, and understand when they need to say ‘no’. This does not mean shutting yourself off from colleagues, or refusing all offers of collaboration, it about managing your time.  

Introduce the phrase ‘I am happy to help once I’ve finished what I’m working on right now’ into your vocabulary. Your colleagues will understand and respect your decision, and it means that your work is not at risk of being left half-finished or forgotten about. 

 

Finally 

Do you want to be more productive in your current role? Or is your satisfaction level low because what you want is a new job? We can help you with this. 

We help talented employees find their next job, which is the right fit. If you want to know moreget in touch with us today to find out how we can help you with your job search. 

 

Thanks,  

Amrutha Murali 

4 Things to Evaluate Before You Say ‘Yes’ to a Job Offer

Interviewing for, and being offered a new job, can be an exciting time, especially if it’s for a role or within a company that you have wanted for a while.  

But what many job seekers don’t consider is this – is this the right job to progress my career forward, or is this role simply what I am looking for ‘right now’? 

There are many things that a jobseeker must consider before making the decision; it is about far more than just the salary. 

Here are the most crucial points to consider before you say yes to your next job offer. 

 

1. Look at the Job Offer in Detail 

 

 

When you have interviewed for a position you really want, and you get the call from the recruiter with the offer, it can be tempting to say ‘yes’ straight away, but it is essential to read the full contract before you sign. 

In an interview, the manager might have promised a range of benefits, certain perks, or an alluring description of the role; I’ll talk more about this in the next section. But sometimes, the contract that is presented to you can be different from what you were promised in your interview; are the working hours the same as what was stated in the interview? Are there any surprises in the contract that were not mentioned to you?  

Sometimes this is not done out of malice; the hiring manager may have simply overlooked or misremembered these points. You do not have to accept the offer straight away, you can call the manager to talk over any concerns you might have at this point, and if you need longer to decide – ask when is the latest that they need your answer by. 

Read the contract thoroughly and weigh up the pros and possible cons of this job vs your current role by using a comparison list, like this one from The Balance. 

 

2. Consider the Benefits and Perks 

The added benefits that accompany your salary can be a deal-breaker for many candidates – with some people believing that they are more important than the salary itself.  

Yes, it can be tempting to take a new job when the salary is considerably higher than your current one, but I advise you to think carefully about how beneficial the benefits in your job offer are. 

It is considered that perks can represent up to around 30% of your compensation package, and a good benefits package should include health insurance and retirement plans. 

Additional benefits such as dental, vision and life insurance, are great perks to consider and are generally better for you in the long run than a small amount of extra salary. 

 

3. Training and Development

 

Many of the candidates I work with tell me that their number one reason for looking for a new job is that they felt that their role had no future – their manager or company were not interested in developing them, and so their job title and prospects were likely to stay the same for as long as they were in that position. 

Training and development is a big deal to candidates – knowing that your employer is invested in your career is a primary reason to stay and grow with the company. 

If the interviewer doesn’t mention training and development during the interview – be sure to ask. Moving to a company who will invest in your training and development is always a better choice than staying with one that won’t. 

If you are sure that the salary and compensation package, as well as the growth opportunities, will be beneficial to your career, there is just one point left to consider – the company’s culture. 

 

4. Company Culture  

Before you attended your interview with this company, what made you apply? Was it the way that the company presented itself in the job advert, did they appeal to you after doing some online research, or were they already on your radar? 

It is understandable that some people are tempted by a job offer because of a dazzling salary, but it is crucial that as a jobseeker you ask yourself ‘can I really see myself being happy here? 

 

 

A poor culture fit is one of the main reasons that people leave their job – with 69% of respondents in one study stating that they were looking to leave their current role as soon as possible due to a poor culture fit. 

When you think about the reality of the situation, would you really be able to last long enough in a job where you were unhappy with to make it worthwhile? During the interview and throughout the recruitment process, think carefully about the culture and the ‘feel’ of the company.  

Does the organisation have a diverse and happy workforce? Do they value honesty and honesty in their mission statement? Do they encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance, or have you picked up on the fact that a degree of unpaid overtime is the ‘norm’?  

It isn’t always easy to find these things out before you start, but you can do your best to discover more by carefully looking at their website, social media profiles and even reaching out to members of staff on LinkedIn to get an idea of the attitudes and behaviours that the team exhibit.  

 

Finally 

If you are looking for your next job in finance, accountancy, HR, business intelligence, plus many more sectors, start your conversation with Jobfitts today. 

Our approach of finding candidates their perfect role is so successful that 98% of our placements stay in position for at least two years – what are you waiting for? Contact us today.  

  

Thanks,  

Amrutha Murali 

What to Do When You Are Rejected for Being Overqualified

During my time as a recruiter, I have matched countless candidates to a wide variety of skills and positions, and I can say confidently – you never know what’s around the corner.  

I have seen all manner of hiring partnerships and recruiting trends come and go over the years. 

But increasingly, there has been a rise in the number of candidates being turned away from even executive roles for being ‘overqualified’. 

This is as frustrating for me as I know it is for the candidate – but it is also understandable. 

In recruiting, being told that you are overqualified usually means that the hiring manager thinks you are either going to get boredbecome unsatisfied too quickly or that you are using this role as a steppingstone until something better comes along. 

But as the world of work has changed around us, there is not one ‘set’ trajectory for many careers or professions anymore. It is now quite common for candidates of all abilities to seek out new challenges – a change of career direction, training in an area you have always been interested in or a move to a new city; there are plenty of reasons for candidates of all abilities apply for a range of roles. 

This has led to a mismatch between the available roles and the types of people applying – and it has led to some confusion for hiring managers. 

If you have been turned away from a role and the reason was that you were ‘overqualified’, it can be disheartening, but, remember – you aren’t the only one.  

This article discusses the current issue of ‘overqualified’ applicants and what to do if you find yourself in this situation.  

 

Go Direct (to the Recruiter or Hiring Manager) 

 

 

This is probably the most crucial piece of advice I have, and so I’ll cover it first. 

If you are applying to a role direct or using a recruiter, make sure you speak directly to the hiring manager (or get the recruiter to talk to them on your behalf) to position yourself before you start your formal application. 

This is a critical step as it allows you to explain your situation. Yes, you might be applying for a role which they consider is below your level of expertise, but there’s a reason for it – and this is your opportunity to explain your situation, showing how serious you are about the position. 

This will put the hiring manager at ease and set you apart from the other applicants. It is such an easy way to give yourself an advantage over the other applicants, but you would be surprised as to how many candidates overlook it.  

 

Explain Your Position 

 

 

Often, when an HR manager is looking at a CV or Resume of someone who they think is overqualified, they presume that you will get bored in your position or move on quickly.  

Yes, you may be overqualified for the role, but in explaining exactly why you are applying for this job at this time, it will put their mind at ease. 

Another reason I see candidates being rejected is the belief that the company will not be able to afford them due to their extensive experience. 

This is one of the times when I would suggest mentioning salary at an earlier opportunity. You don’t have to be explicit, but if you really want the job, it’s worth mentioning at the start of your conversation that you are aware this might be an issue, and that you are prepared to negotiate.  

 

Sell Your Transferable Skills 

 

 

Being rejected for being ‘overqualified’ for a job can be a confusing time for any job seeker. If it were a relationship, we’d be hearing the words ‘it’s not you, it’s me’… 

There are plenty of reasons for the hiring manager to hire you, but they often get put off initially by the perceived imbalance of skills and/or salary expectations. 

In your initial talk with the hiring manager, be sure to highlight your transferable skills. Demonstrate your communication skills, teamwork/team leader experience (if applicable), organisational skills, adaptability and work ethic. 

Likewise, it can be a sensible idea to downplay particular previous experience if it is irrelevant to the position you are applying for.  

For example, if you have previously held a few different management roles and are now applying for a lower-level position, you might only include the most recent post. Similarly, you might want to omit a higher-level position you held in a field unrelated to the job you are currently applying. 

Finally, as recruiters, we strongly advise tailoring your CV specifically to each role you apply for. 

 

How Your Recruiter Can Help 

A recruiter can help guide you through the process of applying for jobs that your CV might not align with, whatever the reason. 

A good recruiter will be able to help you tailor your CV to the positions that you want, will be able to guide you through the interview with their expertise, and crucially, they can be the key to getting you the interviews you really want in the first place.  

If you have been turned down for a position you truthfully wanted for being ‘overqualified’ and aren’t sure what your next steps should be, speak to a recruiter, like the experts at Jobfitts. 

 

Thanks, 

Amrutha Murali