<![CDATA[AUERSMONT - BLOG]]>Sat, 15 Jun 2024 14:23:28 +1000Weebly<![CDATA[How to Prepare for an Interview]]>Mon, 10 Jun 2024 13:25:53 GMThttp://auersmont.com/blog/how-to-prepare-for-an-interview
Two recent data sets, highlighted on major news outlets like Fox News and The View, shed light on a unique trend: Gen Z's reliance on parental assistance during job interviews.  Let's delve into these statistics to understand this phenomenon better.  In April 2023, ResumeTemplates.com, a U.S.-based company, conducted a survey of 1,428 individuals aged 18 to 27 who were actively searching for work in 2023. The survey aimed to explore why Gen Z is increasingly involving their parents in the job search process.  Here are the key points: 

  • “70% of Gen Zers ask their parents for help in the job search process
  • Of those who found a job, 83% credit success to parents
  • 25% of Gen Zers brought their parents to interviews
  • 16% say their parents submitted job applications for them
  • 1 in 10 had their parents write their resume”
Just a few months later, in July 2023, Intelligent.com, an online platform that helps university graduates transition into the workforce, conducted a survey of 1,243 business leaders.  The survey aimed to understand business leaders' perceptions of recent college graduates entering the workforce.  Here are their findings:

  • “40% of business leaders believe recent college grads are unprepared for the workforce
  • Work ethic and communication skills top reasons why business leaders think recent grads are unprepared
  • Of business leaders who say recent grads are unprepared, 88% say this is more true now than of grads more than 3 years ago, and 94% admit they avoid hiring recent grads at times
  • Majority of business leaders think culture is to blame”
My own experience transitioning from secondary college to a technical program highlights a crucial gap: a lack of professional development courses within my certification program.  There were simply none, nada, zero available. I can definitely empathise with Gen Z's situation.  Just like them, I had to rely on friends and family to navigate the interview process and even to build a resume from scratch.  Now, after 20 years working for other businesses, I'm a business owner myself. This experience has shaped what I value and what I'm looking for.  The interview isn't just a hurdle; it's a valuable opportunity. Don't become a statistic – actively prepare for your next job interview!
Definition and Importance of a Job Interview
Before we dive into what HR interviewers are looking for, let's establish the importance of job interview etiquette.  Job interview etiquette refers to the set of professional behaviours expected of candidates during an interview.  It looks at various aspects like punctuality, dress code, communication skills, body language, and overall professionalism.  Why is it important?  Job interviews go beyond simply reviewing resumes.  They offer employers a chance to assess your interpersonal skills, how you present yourself, and whether you'd be a good fit for their company culture.  It's your opportunity to learn more about the role and the company to see if it aligns with your career goals.
Good Job Interview Etiquette
You might be thinking, "I have the skills on paper, why wouldn't they hire me?"  Employers want more than just qualifications.  They use the interview to assess your soft skills, including your understanding of professional etiquette. Demonstrating proper etiquette creates a positive first impression and shows you'd be a good fit for the role and company culture.
Employers prioritise punctuality, professionalism, and positive communication during interviews.  Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early to manage nerves and observe the company culture.  Project a positive attitude with a smile, good eye contact, and genuine enthusiasm. Happiness is infectious.  Whether in-person or virtual, ensure active listening by keeping your camera on and responding thoughtfully to questions.  Avoid negativity and unprofessional language, opting instead for clear and confident communication.
Job Interview Preparation
Acing your next interview requires preparation!  Research the company thoroughly, understanding their mission, values, and recent news.  Before applying, ensure your resume and cover letter are error-free, formatted correctly and highlight the skills and experience they seek.  Practice your answers to common interview questions (around 10-15) and prepare a list of professional references.  Dress professionally and appropriately for the company culture.  Finally, practice makes perfect! Conduct mock interviews with a friend or family until you remember common questions by heart and eventually become natural.
Job Interview Attire
Want to know about job interview attire?  Your answer should be and clear ‘yes!’.  When walking into the interview you are being watch for verbal and non-verbal signs.  How you dress comes under non-verbal signage.  Here are some tips:
  • Conservative and Professional: Depending on the industry, this might mean a suit and tie, suit-dress or with skirt. 
  • Non-Conservative to Casual: Ironed white shirt to black or dark blue skirt or pants.
  • Neat and Clean: Clothes should be clean, free from stains, pressed, and well-fitting.
  • Company Appropriate: Reflecting the company's culture, if you are not sure of the dress code, ask your contact before coming into the interview or research online.
Job Interview Strengths And Weakness
While "tell me about yourself" might seem cliche, HR professionals use it to assess your skills and experience relevant to the role.  It's your chance to make a strong first impression!  When asked about your strengths here is where you reveal your relevant skills, experiences, and personal attributes.  In the category of mentioning your weaknesses, choose a genuine weakness but one that is not critical for the job, and discuss how you are working to improve it.
The Job Interview Follow Up
Don't underestimate the power of the follow-up!  It demonstrates your continued interest and professionalism.  Within 24 hours of your interview, send a thank-you email expressing gratitude for the opportunity.  Briefly reiterate your enthusiasm for the position and why you'd be a great fit, referencing specific details discussed during the interview.  Wait until you're home and collected to craft a clear and professional email.
Decline A Job Interview
There are situations where declining an interview is perfectly acceptable.  If the role doesn't align with your career goals, the company culture isn't a good fit, or the salary offer falls below your expectations, a polite and professional email decline is best.  Perhaps you have reservations about the company or role after initial interactions, or maybe you've accepted another offer.  Whatever the reason, a timely email demonstrates your professionalism and leaves a positive impression.  You never know, they might keep you in mind for future opportunities!
Top Pro Tip
While you might seek support from your parents, bringing them to a job interview is a major turn-off for employers.  The interview is your chance to showcase your own skills and ability to handle yourself in a work setting.
Navigating the job interview process effectively is essential for securing a desired position. Understanding and adhering to job interview etiquette is fundamental, as it reflects your professionalism and readiness for the role.  Mastering these elements will enhance your chances of success in the competitive job market. Do you want to be job interview ready?  Take our masterclass>>
<![CDATA[What is Cross Cultural Communication in Business]]>Sat, 08 Jun 2024 09:50:42 GMThttp://auersmont.com/blog/what-is-cross-cultural-communication-in-business
Featured in the CNBC online article “India is moving beyond call centers and IT support – but can it work?” two important statements were made: “For years, multinational companies have set up labor-intensive operations in India involving services such as IT support, call centers, or mobile app development.”  I can verify this as living in Goregaon, I see emblazoned on the tops of skyscrapers such as JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Nestle.
The second statement was, “According to a joint survey conducted in 2022 by EY and the Confederation of Indian Industry, more than 70% of multinational corporations plan to invest in the country in the next 3-5 years.”  Wow, 70% of overseas businesses investing in setting up offices in India to utilise its labour.  But there is a catch in all of this: many of those working in these offices have never travelled or dealt with those living in different countries to fully appreciate the ways of Western thinking.
Additionally, the gap in understanding cultural nuances and business etiquette between Indian employees and their Western counterparts can lead to communication challenges and potential misunderstandings. Furthermore, the need for continuous upskilling and education in global business practices is crucial to ensure that the Indian workforce can meet the evolving demands and expectations of multinational corporations effectively.
What is the Definition of Cross Cultural Communication
Cross-cultural communication refers to the process by which people from different cultural backgrounds exchange information, ideas, and meanings.  It involves not only the spoken and written word but also non-verbal cues such as gestures, body language, and facial expressions.  The complexity of cross-cultural communication arises from the fact that each culture has its own set of norms, values, and communication styles.
What is Cross-Cultural Communication with Examples 
Social psychologist Geert Hofstede identified six dimensions of culture that influence communication: These dimensions, including power distance, individualism versus collectivism, and uncertainty avoidance, provide insights into how cultural values influence communication styles. 

  • For instance, cultures with high power distance might prioritize hierarchical communication, while those with lower power distance might encourage open dialogue.
Another influential model is Edward T. Hall's concept of high-context versus low-context communication.  High-context cultures (e.g., Japan, China) rely heavily on implicit cues, while low-context cultures (e.g., the United States, Germany) rely more on explicit verbal communication.  Understanding these differences can help avoid misunderstandings. 

  • For example, someone from a high-context culture might interpret a direct "no" as impolite, while someone from a low-context culture might simply need more information.
What are Cross Cultural Communication Skills
Cross-cultural communication skills are the abilities you need to effectively interact with people from different backgrounds. This includes understanding and respecting cultural differences, as well as adapting your communication style to bridge the gap.

  • Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity:  Developing an understanding of different cultures and their communication styles is the first step toward effective cross-cultural communication. This includes learning about cultural norms, values, and non-verbal cues.
  • Active Listening:  Active listening involves paying close attention to the speaker, asking clarifying questions, and reflecting on what is being said. This helps to ensure accurate understanding and reduces the risk of miscommunication.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability:  Being open to adapting one’s communication style to fit the cultural context can enhance interactions. This may involve adjusting language use, non-verbal behaviour, and levels of formality.
  • Empathy and Respect:  Showing empathy and respect for cultural differences fosters a positive communication environment. Recognising and valuing diverse perspectives can bridge gaps and build mutual understanding.
What Are Some Cross-Communication Strategies
Consider and seek continuous learning and improvement, why?  In an increasingly interconnected world, people and thinking changes.  So, engage in ongoing education about cultural competence and effective communication practices. Who can assist with cross-cultural communication?  Etiquette and protocol coaches, attending workshops provided by your company, reading relevant literature, and seeking feedback from culturally diverse colleagues.  

  1. Even when people speak the same language, variations in dialects, slang, and idioms can pose challenges.  Take note: how they speak your language and understand what they are trying to communicate to you?  Ask yourself what is the motivation behind the statement?
  2. Stereotypes and prejudices can hinder effective communication by creating false assumptions about individuals based on their cultural background. Take note: of what you previously learnt about the culture and compare what you have learned about the culture when dealing with them now?
  3. Different cultural norms regarding politeness, formality, schooling and social hierarchy can affect communication dynamics.  What is considered respectful in one culture may be perceived as rude in another.  Take note: of how a certain country structures a business, does everyone work independently or do co-workers need to be told the what the next step is?
  4. Non-verbal communication, such as gestures, eye contact, and personal space, varies significantly across cultures. For example, a gesture considered friendly in one culture may be offensive in another.  Take note: of body language of one culture and compare it to your own?  What did you find?  Can you use it to communicate better?

Today cross-cultural communication has become a critical skill. As people from diverse backgrounds interact more frequently, the ability to effectively communicate across cultures is essential for fostering understanding, cooperation, and harmony.  How is your business doing with cross cultural communication?
<![CDATA[9 Benefits of Modern Etiquette]]>Sat, 08 Jun 2024 04:50:26 GMThttp://auersmont.com/blog/9-benefits-of-modern-etiquette
People often ask why etiquette is necessary and what its benefits are, especially in our modern era.  Some may argue that manners are outdated and belong to their grandparents' time.  However, etiquette is never out of style.  It evolves and adapts to suit our contemporary lives.  At its core, etiquette comprises guidelines for politeness and respect, reflecting how we wish to be treated by others.
Etiquette establishes positive behaviours both socially and professionally.  It embodies our cultural values, ethical principles, and the norms of our families and social circles.  It helps us demonstrate respect and consideration, boosts our confidence, and provides the assurance that we have acted appropriately in any given situation.  This, in turn, makes us feel more comfortable.  Additionally, etiquette can protect others' feelings by preventing the highlighting of their mistakes.  It emphasises communication, breaking down barriers rather than building them.  In the workplace, proper etiquette enhances our skills, showcasing us as capable professionals and leaving others with a positive first impression.
In today's busy world, many people miss out on being taught proper etiquette. I t doesn't come naturally; it requires practice.  This practice starts at home, extends to our workplaces, family, and friends, and eventually to strangers.  Over time, it becomes second nature and a highly admired quality.
The Nine Benefits of Etiquette
  1. Prevents Social Collisions: As Pier Forni, Professor at Johns Hopkins University, puts it, "The rules of good manners are the traffic lights of human interaction. They make it so that we don’t crash into one another in everyday behavior."
  2. Promotes Unity, Respect, and Dignity: Proper etiquette fosters a sense of community and mutual respect.
  3. Builds Strong Relationships: Good manners help in creating and maintaining strong personal and professional relationships.
  4. Avoids Negative Situations: Understanding etiquette aids in preventing misunderstandings and conflicts.
  5. Encourages Cross-Cultural Awareness: Etiquette fosters an appreciation and respect for different cultural practices and perspectives.
  6. Positively Impacts Those Around You: Displaying good manners influences others positively, creating a more pleasant environment.
  7. Builds Confidence and Self-Esteem: Knowing how to act in various situations boosts personal confidence and self-awareness.
  8. Reflects Inner Consideration and Respect: As American author Emily Post said, "Good manners reflect something from inside - an innate sense of consideration for others and respect for self."
  9. Guides Social and Professional Interactions: Etiquette serves as a guide for managing both personal and professional relationships effectively.
By adhering to the principles of etiquette, we can navigate social and professional landscapes more smoothly, fostering better interactions and relationships in all aspects of life.
<![CDATA[What is Considered Rude in New Zealand]]>Thu, 06 Jun 2024 11:21:07 GMThttp://auersmont.com/blog/what-is-considered-rude-in-new-zealand
I have always wanted to travel to New Zealand or Aotearoa in the Māori language; many of my school friends and acquaintances come from ‘land of the long white cloud’.  Finally, I booked tickets to go, and I was not disappointed.  When you land, you will meet and see natives from the island and surrounding islands, citizens with British heritage and migrants from around the world.  Even before you leave the airport, it is a relaxed atmosphere, and when you go outside, you will be met with a clean environment, fresh air and very polite people.

The Māori arrived in Aotearoa by canoe around 1350, bringing their Polynesian heritage. Over centuries, their traditions flourished in this isolated land.  Their language, mythology, spirituality and crafts developed a unique character, distinct from other Polynesian cultures.  The European exploration of New Zealand began with Dutch explorer Abel Tasman's arrival in 1642, naming it 'Nieuw Zeeland'. Not till 127 years later, in 1769, that the Englishman Captain James Cook embarked on the first of three voyages to the region.  Following Cook's visits, European whalers, sealers, and traders began frequenting it’s shores, marking the start of ongoing European presence and influence in the region.

Why The Name - Kiwi
Kiwis are known for their laid-back nature.  Why are New Zealanders called kiwis you might be asking.  According to newzealand.com  “In the early 1900s, cartoonists started to use images of the kiwi bird to represent New Zealand as a country.  During the First World War, New Zealand soldiers were referred to as 'kiwis', and the nickname stuck. Eventually, the term Kiwi was attributed to all New Zealanders.”

Culture in New Zealand
New Zealand is a place that time can wait.  Dress tends to be casual, so ditch the suit and tie unless it's a formal occasion.  Whilst travelling around I found that respect is key.  Queues are important, and interrupting conversations is considered rude.  When invited to someone's home, it's customary to bring a small gift, catch of the day (fish or seafood) or a home cooked meal.  Take your shoes off indoors when visiting someone's home, a custom borrowed from Māori tradition.

Māori, the indigenous language, which is used together with English, nationwide.  If you are going to use Māori, make sure you have the correct enunciation of the language as you will be corrected and even scolded for mispronunciation.  Kia Ora! Is there greeting for hello.  Watch newzealand.com for more about this amazing opening to start a conversation with a friendly local.
 All About Māori Culture
The Māori culture is an integral part of New Zealand's identity. Here are some key things to remember:
Tikanga: Consists of customs, practices, and values that have been passed down through generations.  These are traditional protocols that guide social behaviour. While you won't encounter them everywhere, being mindful shows respect.

Hongi: The traditional Māori greeting.  It involves pressing noses and foreheads together. If offered a hongi, accept graciously and sincerely.  See YouTube video on traditional greetings.
Tapu: This signifies something as sacred or restricted.  Be aware of signs or instructions regarding tapu areas, it’s important to listen and be reverent of the area.  The Māori are deeply spiritual people, by showing that you have an understanding of their cultures show you are honouring the way they live.

Marae: A sacred meeting place for Māori communities.  Each marae belongs to a specific tribe, or iwi, plays a central role in Māori culture, serving as a place for meetings, ceremonies, and celebrations.  Proper etiquette on the marae involves specific protocols - kawa and ceremonies – powhiri that welcome visitors and incorporate speeches, singing, and often a shared meal - hākari.

Ta Moko: Is the name for traditional Māori tattoo.  This type of body art is a sacred cultural practice deeply rooted in Māori identity and heritage that tells a story that connects them to their ancestors and community.  It is common to see men and woman with tattoo their faces, arms, and legs.  It is very rude to point and stare at anyone with these markings.

It was worth the effort to travel to this beautiful country.  I felt calm and at peace amongst the scenic beauty, culture and its deeply spiritual people.  I was awed by their politeness and willingness to talk. Like newzealand.com’s tagline states: 100% Pure New Zealand, I wholeheartedly agree with it.  (P.S. I am not endorsed by them, I just love their ad campaigns). 

Ka kite ano! See you later!
<![CDATA[The Soft Skills Solution]]>Wed, 05 Jun 2024 02:01:01 GMThttp://auersmont.com/blog/the-soft-skills-solution
At 354pm, dressing casually, on a sunny Tuesday Chicago afternoon, Bethenny Frankel, Founder of ‘Skinnygirl Cocktails’, philanthropist, American TV personality and previous cast member of Real Housewives of New York, was outraged to how she was treated by Chanel, the uber luxury store, after she was turned away as she revealed on Instagram.

What could Chanel have done to minimise a total of six reels (so far) and over 102K views, and counting, of her parody Chanel’s faux pas?  Exactly what global companies such as BMW, L’Oreal, PayPal, Hyatt Hotels and Mercedes have done, and that is to provide their staff training on professional and business etiquette!
Gone are the days of finishing schools and mandatory ‘fork and knife classes’ in the military.  In the 90s, I, for instance, found business etiquette training at TAFE and university was a rarity.  Today, while free resources abound online, the rise of social media influencers and AI assistants, often with disclaimers about accuracy, can leave us wondering where to turn for reliable guidance.
ResumeBuilder.com in July 2023 reached out to 1,548 business leaders, surveying them to find out how many businesses will get office etiquette training for their employees.  ResumeBuilder.com found that:

  • “45% of companies are currently offering etiquette classes;
  • 18% will implement by 2024 Of those currently offering classes, two-thirds say they have been ‘highly’ successful
  • 10% of those currently or planning to offer classes say the training will be required for Gen Z and new college grads;
  • 60% will require training for all employees Business leaders believe Gen Z workers struggle with ’soft’ skills”
Where was it all going wrong for these business leaders and why are they offering business etiquette classes to their employees?  In the Telegraph’s recent article, ‘Hiring Gen Z is a nightmare – they don’t turn up to their first day of work’ interviewed recruiters who sited issues such as:

  • ‘Turning up late and were wildly unprepared for their interview.
  • Talk negatively of former employers and businesses.
  • Afraid of getting on the phone instead communicating via email or text.
  • Hesitation to put their camera on for video calls.
  • Tend to talk and dress in more “informal” ways.
  • Ghosting companies on their first day at work.’
This shift has created a gap in essential skills from work-appropriate attire, speaking correctly to writing an email without double meanings or emojis.  Mastering these seemingly simple arts can make a big difference in how employees can be good representatives of a business.  We can also learn several things from Bethenny Frankel’s and mega stock-market performers.
In one word that would be soft skills.  You may ask what is soft skills?  The oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com define soft skills this way “personal qualities that enable you to communicate well with other people”.  Good personal qualities that employees should have to communicate to a team, customers, clients and supervisors are interpersonal skills, teamwork, customer service and lastly and never the least, presentation skills.

Interpersonal skills, also sometimes called people skills, are incredibly important. They are the foundation of our ability to interact and communicate with others in a positive and productive way.  Employees who can build rapport, practice active listening, and demonstrate empathy can navigate potentially tense situations more effectively.

Customer service skills are essential in any role that involves direct or indirect interaction with customers, clients, or the general public. Understanding customer needs, offering solutions, and maintaining a professional demeanour are essential for building trust and generating positive experiences.

Teamwork skills are a set of interpersonal and collaborative abilities that enable individuals to work effectively and harmoniously with others towards a common goal, propagating a good work culture.  Effective communication and collaboration within teams ensure a unified approach to customer service, even in challenging situations. 

Presentation skills encompass the ability to effectively convey information and ideas through both verbal and non-verbal communication. These skills involve areas as maintaining appropriate body language, eye contact, and appearance and practicing delivery to ensure clarity, confidence, and engagement.  Clear, confident communication builds brand image and ensures customers feel heard and understood.

The public dressing down Bethenny Frankel gave Chanel on social media serves as a stark reminder of the power soft skills hold in shaping customer experiences. In today's digital age and competitive marketplace, a negative interaction amplified by social media reach can significantly damage a brand's reputation.  Frankel's experience highlights the importance of equipping and investing in staff, regardless of industry, with strong interpersonal, customer service, teamwork, and presentation skills.  Soft skills are no longer a nicety, but a business imperative.  What will you do?