The Worst Case Scenario, or Why Your Job Interview Will Be Fine.

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences, and nervousness can push a person to do all sorts of silly things. There are some smaller generally bad things you can do in an interview, like avoiding eye contact or making a constant whining noise, maybe pinching your nose and whooping every time someone uses a verb, but there are considerably larger more damaging things as well. If you have a job interview coming up and you’re a little nervous, let’s explore the absolute worst that could happen, so that your job interview doesn’t seem so overwhelming and frightening, and you won’t be so nervous you do something silly.

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Interviewers often like to ask the question, “what would you say your biggest weakness is?” This is the perfect opportunity for you to tell them how you just care too much, you’re almost aggressively punctual and that you’ll never forgive yourself for that time in 2002 when you forgot to add an attachment to an e-mail that still sometimes keeps you awake at night, although not late enough to effect your punctuality. A bad thing to bring up in interviews is any anger management issues. It’s especially bad if you then go on to relate a long anecdote about that time you punched a man in administration because he held a stapler like a pen. One person once told an interviewer, “I was fired from my last job because they were forcing me to attend anger management classes.” It’s impossible to tell how such a thing would make them feel. Another interviewee said, “Would it be a problem if I’m angry most of the time?” This person knows what they want from life. Maybe it really helps them focus.

Generally, a bad weakness to admit having is many, many weaknesses. People might not see that as a fantastic opportunity to teach you new skills and build you from the ground up. One of my personal weaknesses was being unable to keep eye contact. So, in my first proper job interview I decided to stare at them, really go for it, and ended up focusing so hard on keeping eye-contact that I had absolutely no idea what was being said in the interview. I nodded during pauses and said yes a lot, and somehow ended up getting the job. But after the interview, I realised that I had no idea what the job actually was. It turned out to be a sort-of pyramid scheme-lite.

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Apparently, an interviewee once fell and broke his arm in an interview. Apparently in the sense that I found the sentence on a website called Linky-Dinky, so I’m going to take it as fact. It doesn’t say how it happened, which is somehow worse. Possible reasons are that the interview involved wrestling a horse, which is a really good judgement of character, or the candidate was standing on a chair to assert their dominance, which is a really good judgement of dominance. And Chair strength. But the mystery may never be solved.

Other things to avoid during an interview is bringing a pet or wearing a costume. Which has definitely happened, maybe even both at the same time. You risk unleashing all sorts of potential allergies and dog eggs all over the carpet. But you could potentially scare an employer into giving you the job with a massive dog or a flock of poorly trained jackdaws, so that’s something to bear in mind if you’re still really nervous. But, if a pet is more engaging and adorable than you are, there’s always a chance it’ll get hired instead.

Although halloween is just around the corner, coming to a job dressed in a costume might be seen as being a bit inappropriate. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing the most historically accurate ruff ever, you probably won’t get a job as a museum curator. Even going to a film audition in full costume is often frowned upon. Although, everyone knows that a suit and tie is the real costume here.

Crying is also a common interview faux-pas. This will make you look over-emotional and incompetent, rather than passionate. If a company could hire a robot to do the position you’re looking at, they would, and any crying is a harsh reminder of your weak human interior. Although, a robot could definitely do what they do. It wouldn’t be too hard to programme a bin to ask where you see yourself in five years.

So, hopefully that’s cleared up any paralysing fear you had about your impending job interview. And in serious danger of giving actual advice, always remember to prepare and rehearse as much as you can before an interview. You can never be too prepared for an interview. Unless you consider getting the dog into the lift and to the interview preparation. Then maybe dial it down. Prepare your answers, talk to yourself in the mirror, look into the eyes of a winner. Make sure you have questions to ask them afterwards, to show that you’re really interested in the position and willing to learn. Practice the firmest of handshakes, take a deep breath and don’t panic.

Business Insider has a great article here about how best to spend your fifteen minutes before an interview.

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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The Top 5 Upcoming Office Gadgets

It’s almost been almost two years since our last look at the latest office gadgets, and technology has moved on a lot since then. So what is the best in new technology for office life?

5. Google Glass.

It’s hugely expensive and it looks a bit silly, but it’s definitely a product that feels straight out of the future. With all of those frustrating quirks of living in the present. The battery sticks out weirdly over your ear, it runs out of juice pretty quickly and it’s not exactly discreet. But it’s sort of virtual reality,so you can’t really complain. It’s a step in the right direction, and it’s less painful than sticking a phone up your nose.GoogleGlass_35339166_18

It costs over £1,000, so it’s no small trinket, but you can customise it, have GPS practically in your eye and it has some great apps. Particularly World Lens, which translates any written language you see in real-time. Google calls the process of buying it “becoming an Explorer”, so you can feel like a member of an exclusive club, or some kind of techno-Indiana Jones. Don’t expect to be able to wear it in the cinema after work, though.

4. Smart-Watches.

This year saw what is sure to be the beginning of the smart-watch revolution. So far Sony, Motorola, Apple and LG have all released or announced smart watches. It’s another piece of technology you can wear, but one that doesn’t feel too ahead of its time like the Google Glass, which seems more like an early test for improved later technology. The smart watches are either round or square depending on which company has made them, and although battery life is a bit of an issue for some of them, you’ll never miss an important call, e-mail or text again, as it connects wirelessly to your phone, so that when you’re out and about there’s considerably less of a chance of missing your phone vibrating in your pocket.

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Android smart-watches all run on Android Wear, a modified version of the Android operating system, and there are already several apps you can use, that make these products a viable gadget for anyone looking to make their colleagues jealous. It doesn’t fire any lasers yet, but it can remind you when your bus is arriving. Which is still pretty futuristic. It might be a couple of years before they’re considered more than an expensive novelty, but the same was thought of tablets not long ago, and now they’re everywhere. It won’t be long until people will think it’s weird we didn’t talk to our watches.

3. The Pocket Printer8a9df6d83bd497d8484ece4f4d580473_large

In this age of cyber-watches, techno-doorbells and shoes that connect to the internet, the printer still stands proud and tall as something that isn’t really any better than it was twenty years ago. Even the original printing press probably didn’t get jammed and refuse to connect to anything. The ink was most likely a lot cheaper, too. The Pocket Printer offers a compact alternative. It’s a tiny black box, that you can place on a piece of paper, which it whizzes around on, printing as it goes. It’s worth bearing in mind that it doesn’t exist yet, but you can help fund its production on Kickstarter. Then you can be the envy of all your colleagues who still lug around giant printers like neanderthals.

2. The Nod Ring.

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Another gadget to make us feel like we’re living in a futuristic utopia is the Nod Ring. Yet another gadget you can wear. Combining the watch, ring and glasses would make you the definitive businessperson of the future. The Nod Ring allows you to use all sorts of hand gestures with your technology around the office. Turn down the heating by waving your hand, restart a crashing computer by using threatening gestures, activate the trapdoor by giving a client a thumbs-down. It really does have a lot of exciting possibilities. You can scroll through files or presentation slides using its touch sensor, turn the pages of an e-book, or cut fruit in Fruit Ninja. It does mean you’ll be sat at the computer with your hand (or hands if you really want to go for it) help up like an indecisive conductor.

1. Sony Digital Paper System.

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With incredibly thin, flexible screens looming somewhere in the sort-of near future, paper could be a thing of the past. Which is good news for trees. But until then, Sony’s Digital Paper System (SDPS) is the best choice for tree-appreciating paper-hating tech-enthusiasts (TAPHTEs). At only 6.6mm thick and a battery that lasts up to three weeks, it’s a great piece of kit to use in the office. You can upload anything you write to a cloud server, and download any important PDFs back. You can then annotate them and send them back. It uses the same kind of e-ink technology found in an e-reader, like the Kindle, so it doesn’t strain the eyes and it’s visible from any angle. But at over £650 pounds, it’s also a lot more expensive than a Kindle.

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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Funky Pumpkins

The pumpkin is the world’s second favourite gourd after Thor Gourd of Thunder. And with halloween jumping out from behind a cupboard door tomorrow, let’s have a look at some of the best pumpkin carvings Googling the word pumpkin can provide.

Let’s start off with a timeless classic:

BlankPumpkinActually, let’s not start off with that. Here are some genuinely amazing pumpkin carvings that are frighteningly good.

And here are some inspired by famous films:

And if you want some ideas that you can try at home, without having to spend thirteen years learning to carve, here are some. Ideas. Here are some of those ideas:

BlackPumpkin

This pumpkin was simply done by spray-painting a pumpkin black, and also spray-painting the stool a bit.

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This one might look like an impossible piece of carving work, but was actually done by growing a pumpkin in a mould.

And finally, the most frightening of all:

Student Loans Pumpkin

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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How Non-Professional Experience Can Help You in an Interview

Not everyone has been an executive all their life or spent the last seven years doing exactly the right job to get the next one. Sometimes, you might feel a little unprepared, or a little under-qualified, or perhaps there’s a slightly daunting gap in your career. You don’t have to worry, though. Sometimes a great relevant hobby or interest can help you demonstrate the qualities employers are looking for, give examples of relevant transferable skills, while also showing a bit of passion and personality. So what are the great bits of experience you can get while you’re job-hunting and where are they going to really shine?

Windsurfer

Some job interviews can be significantly improved, or even be turned from a negative to a positive one, by mentioning non-professional and extra-curricular activities done in your own time. Mentioning that you love windsurfing, for example, might be a shared interest with a potential employer and it shows commitment to learning something difficult and demanding. There’s no sure-fire way of knowing this will spark a great conversation, so it’s a good idea to talk about it when describing yourself, rather than using up space on your CV. Non-extreme sports, or sports as they’re generally known, can also be a positive experience, as it demonstrates teamwork and commitment again. If you’re a member of a football team, or a rugby club, there may even be relevant experiences that have come about while you have been there. Was there a time when you introduced something or demonstrated excellent leadership talent and initiative? It’s worth bringing up in an interview. You can even do a little bit of research into the person interviewing you, look them up on Twitter or Linkedin. Try and see if they have interests relevant to yours. Having a great conversation, even if it’s not completely related to the job can make a great difference to the rest of the interview. Be careful not to actually stalk them, though. That can lead to complications. And don’t lie about your experiences, either. If you say you’re interested in hockey because you saw that they are, you could be made to look a bit silly if you can’t answer any further hockey-related questions.

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Non-athletic hobbies can also be a great thing to talk about. Photography, writing, acting, music. They all show commitment to learning something, and a passion and interest for research. Don’t actually bring your guitar, or perform a Shakespearean soliloquy, though. They’re not going to be all that interested in how good you are at them. Unless you’re in an audition for a play. Avoid talking about hobbies that are unskilled and passive, like watching television or playing a lot of video-games, even if you’re really good at them. It’s generally something everybody does, and doesn’t demonstrate any relevant skills. Acting and music can be good examples, particularly if you’ve done them in front of an audience, as this shows a good deal of confidence and creativity. If the job description is asking for someone creative, passionate and dynamic, these can help demonstrate that you are. In fact, always read the job description, and then consider how your non-professional experience might relate to the aspects they’re looking for.

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Any clubs and groups you are part of can be a good subject to talk about, particularly any volunteering or charity work. If you were chairman of a club and organised a charity cake-bake, it can be a good thing to talk about in an interview. It demonstrates a lot of great qualities, and shows great initiative and leadership. If you volunteered at a dog-shelter or a care home, it’s a great experience that is almost certain to impress employers. You can always volunteer in a charity shop as well, to show that you can work in a professional environment and deal with members of the public. This is particularly useful if you’re looking for anything in retail, but can still be pursued anyway.

If you are currently looking for a job, and you aren’t part of a club, you aren’t volunteering and you aren’t learning a new hobby, it’s probably worth considering getting out there and start learning those new skills that could give you the edge in your next interview.

Check out www.do-it.org.uk/ to find any volunteering work available near you in all sorts of different areas of interest.

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Halloween Costumes.

You may have noticed that halloween is approaching. If you hadn’t, then constantly seeing cobwebs, skeletons and ghosts everywhere must’ve been quite a surprise. The tradition of halloween is a long and sanctimonious one. A day of much reverence and respect, where food producers are able to turn a tidy profit by making Jaffa Cakes or mini rolls in new colours, and children can wander the streets late at night without fear, on the one day they’re supposed to be frightened.

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But you know what halloween is. The big question is, “what are you going to wear?” A wrong choice could, after all, make or break everyone’s opinion of you permanently. Children will laugh at you, and your relatives will weep openly about your poor choice of costume and how it has soiled their entire legacy, stretching back to that one fish who learned to walk. Uncle Terry or something. I digress. If you’re thinking of going as a sexy cat or anyone from Breaking Bad, expect to meet eight or nine people with the same idea every couple of hours. And if you’re costume is “the frightening physical embodiment of social anxiety” make sure people will actually get it without you constantly having to tell them. So here are some halloween costumes that may amaze you, disgust you, or even blow your mind. Which might make your zombie costume that much more convincing.

The Good:

This person went as a camera. A camera-man. More specifically the Instagram camera, which is far more current. Who even knows what a camera is anymore. But what’s particularly neat about this costume, is that the camera functions as a camera. The screen on the back is an iPad, so any photos taken with the front show up on the back. This means you can take torso-high photos all day. Which may or may not be a good thing.

Camera Man

Tiny screens in general seem to be able to take costumes to the next level. One man used a videocamera and a small monitor to make a wound that looked like it really went all the way through him.

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And here’s a smartphone being made to look like an eye. Because it’s impossible to make an eye.

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This child wanted to be a bowl of spaghetti. And that’s what he became. It’s inspiring.

Spaghetti Boy

And a family dressed as the movie labyrinth. I hope they bought the dog specially. That’s the kind of attention to detail people look for.

Family Labyrinth

The Bad:

This year saw the release of the “sexy ebola nurse costume,” which is both offensive and unsexy. Never a winning combination.

Sexy Ebola

It doesn’t end there, either. You can also get the sexy ebola containment suit. It’s good to know that there’s literally nothing that can’t be capitalised on. Look at that sexy breathing mask. It’s like a post-apocalyptic Lynx advert. It would be depressing to see Lynx survive the apocalypse. Of course, I can decry these costumes, but I’ve put pictures of them on here, so I’m still advertising them, even if I don’t want to.

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The trouble with bad costumes, is that they’re more terrifying than your really detailed iron-man suit you spent far too much money on. So I’m not going to attack people for wearing cheap or hastily put together costumes, because the internet already seems pretty intent on attacking them for, if anything, getting their costumes right. Good for you, people in weird costumes.

The Ugly:

And then of course, there’s the perfect balance of putting way too much time into something and being genuinely unsettling and scary. The perfect balance. So if you don’t mind sticking large amounts of all sorts on your face to make the perfect costume, here are some pictures to inspire you. Just hope you don’t get an itchy nose.

A New Horizon In: Poland

One of the countries that www.strike-jobs.co.uk has a number of current positions available in, is Poland. But what is it like working there? There are many great reasons to work in Poland. The country is a beautiful one, from the medieval architecture to the breathtaking natural parks to the bustling cities. You may find living in Poland to be an interesting and enjoyable experience.

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Working in Poland is a little different to working in The UK, but not so different that you’ll get laughed at for using a pen or anything like that. Work days can often be from 8 to 4, which isn’t a particularly cataclysmic difference, but you should only refer to colleagues by their first name if you are invited to do so. You may find some people from Poland to be quite wary of expat workers, so it’s important to build up good working relationships and learn the basics of Polish. You also have to register your address and get a permit from from the Foreigners office, otherwise you will technically be living there illegally.

The jobs we currently have available in Poland range from IT analyst positions to accounting group manager roles, and all sorts between. And outside, since they’re not really on any particular spectrum. These positions are also often available for French, German and Spanish speakers as well, so there are plenty of options available for you if you are interested in making a move across Europe.

Warsaw-Skyline-poland

Culturally, the differences between here and there are considerably smaller than Saudi Arabia, but there are still some important changes to take into account when starting your life in Poland. You can be punished for using swear words, for example, although that doesn’t tend to stop people using them anyway, as I’m sure you can imagine. But if you are worried, you can always consider not learning them, so you don’t accidentally shout them at a bus, and you’ll never be able to tell if you are being called horrendous names, so you won’t ever be offended. Parties also generally have to end at ten, and you should always carry around photo ID.

There’s all sorts to see in Poland while you’re not working, as well. The nightlife is vibrant, particularly in Warsaw and Krakow, with plenty of nightclubs, jazz clubs and pubs. There’s mountains for skiing on, beaches for relaxing on and national parks for walking on. You may even very occasionally find bears and wolves in the mountains, but at least they’re more interesting than urban foxes. The winters are very cold in comparison to the UK, but summers are also very hot. Like the seasons probably should be.

Warsaw_skyline

The food in Poland is generally pretty hearty. One of the main dishes is pierogi, stuffed dumplings which might contain wild mushrooms or forest fruits. In fact, you’ll most likely find any kind of fillings, so you can explore the possibilities at leisure. A lot of Polish food contains meat and cabbage, with slow cooked stews and pork chops, although there are plenty of options for vegetarians.

So if you’re interested in a more dramatic change of scenery than just turning your desk to face in a different direction, why not have a look at the www.strike-jobs.co.uk job board for jobs in Poland to find the new career there that’s perfect for you.

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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A New Horizon In: Saudi Arabia.

Here at strike-jobs.co.uk we have job vacancies in a large variety of places, all over the world. This means you could find a position perfect for you in a completely different and new part of the world, which is an exciting but also daunting prospect.

Saudi Arabia Map

We currently have 154 jobs available in Saudi Arabia, particularly positions in the health and medical industry, but even jobs such as driving a fire engine. Saudi Arabia is a conservative, Islamic country, which may be a cultural shock depending on what you’re used to, particularly if you are female. But stepping out of your comfort zone can open your eyes to ways of life that you may not have been previously aware of. While you should be strongly clued-up on the cultural differences, you could find moving to Saudi Arabia to be an exciting, memorable and rewarding experience.

There are some fantastic benefits to living Saudi Arabia. One of the most enticing is the tax-free salary. Of the many medical positions we have available, inclusions such as free accommodation, free flights and generous annual leave can prove to be an enticing array of benefits for anyone interested in relocating. The professional language is English, which should help you ease into starting work quickly as well.

Saudi Arabia has a population of almost 30 million, of which some estimates have stated that 21% may be foreign nationals. As a result, ex-pats often tend to group together. These groups will, however, be hugely diverse, and you will find yourself meeting a wide range of new people from across the globe. The climate is also something to be aware of, and with heats as high as fifty degrees during the day, and next to no rainfall, it’s about as different to the UK as you can get. In terms of entertainment, while there are theatres and cinemas, they are somewhat rare. Instead, many more active forms of entertainment are popular in Saudi Arabia, such as “scuba diving, windsurfing, [and] sailing.” So if you’re an active person, you may find yourself discovering all sorts of new and exciting experiences to enjoy.

Kingdom Centre

With fantastic benefits, a relatively low general cost of living and a gloriously hot climate, moving to Saudi Arabia could be a fantastic choice for you, and certainly one you’ll never forget. Approaching with a sense of adventure, respect and an open mind could be the best decision you ever make.

For more information on living in Saudi Arabia, be sure to have a look at http://undertheabaya.com/, a blog by an American woman who moved to Saudi Arabia, and Expat-Blog’s pages on different aspects of life in Saudi Arabia for an ex-pat.

Louis Clayton | Strike-Jobs.co.uk Journalist

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