10 Career Boosting Daily Habits

career success boost habits

Most ambitious professionals have a long-term career strategy encompassing at least the next five years. Achieving your goals often starts with the small things.  By acquiring positive daily habits you will find that the road to realizing your vision becomes much smoother.

Plan and prioritize : Create a daily plan that includes at least one task that will contribute towards the achievement of your long-term career strategy.  Make a useful connection within your network who can give you advice where your skills base is lacking for example. By doing at least one thing during your day it will give you a sense of achievement before you proceed to the more routine tasks.

Don’t procrastinate : If there are difficult tasks you need to complete, move them to the top of your list. By getting into the habit of completing them quickly, you’ll be able to move on to the more motivational, enjoyable aspects of your day.  Don’t sit staring at a blank screen or clearing e-mails in the hope they will disappear – they won’t. The sense of satisfaction once you’ve overcome the so-called ‘obstacle’ will enable you to get into the habit of clearing the difficult tasks early on in the day.  

Update your industry knowledge : Keeping on top of your relevant industry trends and developments will enable you to stay ahead of the field when it comes to your customers and suggesting innovative ideas to your employers. Subscribe to relevant websites, industry press or LinkedIn groups that will provide you with regular updates.

Don’t get distracted by the trivial : It’s easy to get caught up in e-mail and on-line distractions that will result in you failing to achieve your daily goals.  If the temptation of the latest update or message is too much to resist, install a software program such as Freedom which blocks your internet access for a specific amount of time. This is particularly useful for professionals who are field based or self-employed and regularly work from home.

Adopt a positive attitude : Your working day will without doubt live up to your expectations, whether upbeat or downbeat.  If you get out of bed convinced that you are going to face a day of challenges and setbacks before you even begin, the chances are you probably will.  Expect great things from your day and you’re more likely to encounter them.

Talk to your mentors :  Create your own support network or team of mentors who you share your long-term career goals with.  When you encounter a temporary setback or struggle to meet a deadline, your network will advise and encourage you. Daily updates are preferable to maintain your focus whether via social media, telephone calls or e-mail.  It will also help to keep you accountable and you can always reciprocate by encouraging them in their career aims.

Avoid negative conversations : Don’t get distracted or lured into negative conversations with colleagues who are unhappy with the boss, the company or life in general. Allowing their negative energy to permeate your workspace will distract you from your daily goals.  Excuse yourself and end the conversation on a positive note.

Get some exercise : The positive psychological benefits of exercise are widely known, especially for overcoming that lethargic feeling after a long day at the office.  Try and get some form of exercise every day. Even a walk at lunchtime will enable you to clear your mind and refocus on the afternoon ahead.

Assess your progress : At the end of each working day, review what you have achieved against your original plan.  If there are outstanding items on your list evaluate the reasons why.  Were you unnecessarily distracted during the day?  Are you trying to pack too much into your daily schedule?  No matter how eager you are to achieve, your daily goals have to be realistic. Use the SMART acronym to set them (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely).   

Express gratitude : Keep a journal and record three things every day for which you are grateful.  It will maintain your focus while also helping to eliminate any stray negative thoughts.  Concentrating on the positive things in life will enable your expectations to remain high. 

The Secret To Career Success? Just Relax…

career success relax

When did you last take some time out to relax and let your mind consider limitless possibilities?  Last week? Last month? Sometime in the last year?  Most of us are so caught up with the notion of career success and the relentless demands of our working lives, that relaxation is the last thing on our mind. More often than not, we then spend our weekends and free time exhausted or wrapped up in domestic duties. Yet if we just allowed ourselves time to reflect and explore future possibilities, it could positively impact our long-term career success.

You may often think about your job and your current responsibilities but how often do you consider your long-term career goals? When did you last review them? Are they outdated? Does your long-term plan represent the very best that you can be? Do you need to raise the bar and set your sights higher?

Relaxing and allowing yourself time to reflect is vital to fulfil your true career potential. Ask yourself these questions :-

  • Where do you see yourself in two years’ time, five years’ time, ten years’ time?
  • Do you picture yourself as a senior executive at your current company or in your boss’s job (or their boss’s job)?
  • Are you nurturing a secret passion to completely change your career?
  • Do you want to set up in business on your own one day?
  • What do you need to do to achieve your ambitions? 

When we plan, we habitually focus on career aspirations based on our current experience and abilities. Relaxing and allowing ourselves to consider all of the options available to us – not just the logical ones based on where we are now – can open up a whole new realm of possibilities and potential.

Learning to relax and reflect

Having said all of that, many of us find the very concept of relaxing quite an alien one. For many, true reflection only occurs on our annual two week vacation. If you can’t immediately take a vacation, how can you possibly carve out that time and space in a hectic schedule?

Try some of the following techniques to create the mental space and freedom you need; we are all unique and respond to different triggers so find one that works for you. The one golden rule is that you must allow your mind to soar, do not place limits on yourself.

Take some time out sitting quietly : Whether it’s sitting in a room listening to some music and taking deep breaths or escaping outdoors to absorb the beauty of nature in a park, woodlands or at a lake.

Write it out : Journalling is acknowledged by psychologists and many counsellors as a way of learning to express our feelings and also alleviate stress.  Don’t think, just write.  Relax and allow yourself to explore career ambitions you’ve never dared to consider openly but secretly nurtured.

Share your thoughts : Some of us need the rapport of a trusted friend or colleague to enable us to understand the possibilities available to us. While they may make suggestions that you hadn’t previously considered your career and your goals are unique to you.

Laugh : Whether it’s watching a movie or DVD box set of your favourite comedy, laughter will help you to relax, putting you in the right frame of mind to reflect and explore those long-term career goals.

Exercise : Vigorous aerobic activity, from swimming to running and biking can help you to clear your mind and reflect on your life. It can also help you to forget the stresses and obstacles in your current working environment that may prevent you from setting your mind free.

MeditateMeditate and/or take part in activities such as yoga and tai chi which allow you to relax.

Take a step forward to your long-term goals today

If you are keen to explore goals that emerge while you reflect, you can begin right now.  What is the one thing that you can do within the next thirty days that will represent a step towards those ideas?  Perhaps you can sign up for a new training course at work, or talk to your line manager about your career options. Maybe you’ve realized during your reflections that your true ambition lies in a complete different direction. If that’s the case, research what you will need to do to pursue that passion at a practical level.

But first of all, learn to relax, reflect and allow your mind to soar. You’ll be amazed at the positive difference it can make to both your attitude and your long-term career success. In the words Napoleon Hill, author of ‘Think and Grow Rich’ ‘Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve’.

8 Ways To Deal with Feeling Unappreciated At Work

unappreciated at work

Every single one of us has bad days at work.  Even employees working in their dream job will encounter setbacks and frustrations. The problem arises when those setbacks and frustrations outweigh the enjoyable times.  If you are feeling continually unappreciated at work, the solutions below may help.

Eliminate Your Emotions : If you feel like every great idea or suggestion you put forward is generally ignored while your colleagues are praised for their efforts, your stress levels are probably running high. You may feel frustrated, resentful and emotionally exhausted all at the same time. As tempting as it may be to vent your feelings on your boss and co-workers, don’t.  Not only is it unprofessional, it will undermine your credibility. If things are really that bad, remove yourself from the immediate situation; take a ten minute break, make yourself a drink, get some fresh air outside the office. If that’s not possible, grit your teeth and quietly count to ten. Allowing your emotions to dominate will only exacerbate an already difficult situation.

Work Out What Makes You Feel Valued : It’s easy to work out why you feel unappreciated at work; long hours, an unmanageable workload and lack of recognition for your contributions at work are just some of the most common. Turn that on its head and analyze what would make you feel valued. Understanding what it is that you need to improve your current circumstances will enable you to be pro-active and turn the situation around. Sometimes, it may be something as simple as your boss saying ‘thank you’ for a job well done, or the afternoon off in lieu of the long hours you’ve worked.  

Talk To Your Manager : Don’t seethe inwardly, it will eventually permeate your work and affect your relationships with your colleagues.  Once you understand what’s causing your malaise and how it can be put right, request a meeting with your boss to discuss your concerns. Far too few employees get any one-to-one time with their boss outside their annual performance review, by which time the damage is done. Prepare an agenda explaining your predicament, together with suggestions on how to improve the issues that concern you. Present solutions, not problems – and don’t ever make it personal.

Look For A New Job :  You may have already followed the previous advice, had a candid discussion with your boss and discovered that things aren’t improving – and in some cases may be stagnating or getting worse.  If this is the case, you may need to look for a new job, either within your current company or with a different employer altogether. Before you make that step, be sure that you have reviewed all of your options and understand what it is that is making you feel unappreciated at work. Always check your own attitude too; if in doubt about how you may be perceived, ask a colleague or friend you can trust.

Focus On Your Career Development : Are you up-to-date with the skills needed to carry out your current role successfully? Are there any areas that would benefit from training? If you are finding it difficult to secure another job or improve your current situation because you lack those skills needed to move or excel, request additional on-the-job training. If the answer from your employer is negative, is it feasible to fund your own training or seek support from a mentor?  You’ll feel better for being pro-active.

Help Your Colleagues : How can you help your co-workers? Where can you share the benefit of your skills and experience to help others who may be struggling or lacking knowledge (without expecting anything in return)? Try it next time you are feeling unappreciated; it will help you to feel better about yourself and may also help to put things in a new perspective.

Remember Your Long-Term Career Strategy : What is your long-term career strategy? It’s easy to get so swept up in what’s directly in front of us that we forget our career strategy and lose sight of our long-term goals.  Why are you in this job? Does it fit within your long-term career plan? If not, how can you readjust your situation and get yourself back on course? Do you have an advisor or colleague you can consult for guidance and support? Is there someone within your social network who will provide candid advice? Revisit your original long-term career strategy and if you don’t have one, perhaps now is the time to create it.  

Make A Difference In Your Personal Life : Are there issues in your personal life that are affecting the way you feel about your job?  If your work/life balance is suffering or impacting your attitude at work try to identify areas where you may be able to improve your personal life. Perhaps you can volunteer for local charity work or in schools. Serving others will again take the emphasis off you; what’s more, it may give you the clarity you need to put your working life into perspective and move forward.

10 Signs Your Job May Be Damaging Your Health (And What To Do About It)

job work damaging health

Today’s 24 hour lifestyle can have detrimental effects on your emotional and physical health – and nowhere more than in the workplace. If any of these symptoms apply to you, your job may be affecting your health.

You work long hours : A study in Europe revealed that constantly working overtime can damage the health of employees. Staff working over 10 hours or more a day on a regular basis faced a 60% higher risk of heart related problems in comparison to those who didn’t work overtime. In addition, working more than 11 hours each day increases the risk of depression.

You are exhausted by your daily commute : Spending several hours a day travelling to and from work by car, bus or train may have an adverse effect on your health. People who walk or bike to work are generally more energized and ready to face the day. Commuting by train, bus or car often leaves workers feeling exhausted and lethargic.

You can’t sleep : Insomnia is generally caused by stress – and more often than not stress at work. Concerns over job insecurity, unrealistic deadlines and a company that demonstrates a stark lack of concern over the well being of its employees all contribute to sleep deprivation.

You feel out of control : Many professionals report a strong sense of a lack of control in their career, primarily caused by unsupportive bosses, hostile co-workers and uncertainty in the workplace. This can increase feelings of resentment and anger, both of which are related to heart disease and depression.  If you experience physical symptoms of distress, such as nausea or palpitations, make an appointment with your doctor to assess your overall state of health.  Ongoing chronic stress can lead to long-term health problems.

You suffer from regular headaches, backaches and neckache : Prolonged, regular use of computers can cause headaches and eye strain. On top of that, long periods sat in one position can lead to problems with your joints, spine and tendons.  Ask your boss to invest in an anti-glare computer screen to reduce headaches. Take regular breaks and request annual eye tests. An ergonomically designed chair may alleviate some symptoms, together with regular breaks away from your desk. Eight hours sitting at a desk every working day is not conducive to long-term health benefits.

You’re putting weight on : Combine a sedentary job with too much convenience food at lunchtimes and weight gain is inevitable. An inactive lifestyle can result in a variety of associated health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

You just can’t concentrate : If your desk is cluttered with mountains of ‘to-do’ lists and reminders you’ve ignored, it’s likely that you are suffering from overload. 

You’re short-tempered with your colleagues, customers, family and friends : If you are snapping at friends, family and colleagues on a regular basis,  you are probably suffering from classic signs of burn-out.  You need to take a vacation or take a step back from your life to assess what is causing the areas of stress.

You work shifts :  Employees working shifts can often experience more serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, ulcers and depression.  The fatigue from working irregular hours and the knock-on effect on your body clock can also contribute to an increased risk of injury.

You dread going to work : According to the Human Relations Journal, employees who remain in a job as there is no alternative yet hate every moment spent in the office are more likely to suffer from related health problems. In the meantime, if you have no option but to continue where you are, take regular breaks, avoid working long hours and get plenty of exercise.

If you recognize yourself in the above symptoms, these five additional tips will help you to take a step in the right direction to improve your physical and emotional well-being :

Monitor your diet : Avoid artificial stimulants such as alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine.  Eating a low fat diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables can help to maintain your energy levels, rather than relying on soft sugary drinks and fast food. Look into the effects of garcinia cambogia, as some of that can help you with your energy levels.

Manage your time : Avoid late nights in the week.  Try and get up at the same time every morning, even at weekends, to avoid that lethargic ‘Monday morning’ feeling.  Create manageable to-do lists and set goals that are realistic to help you to focus.

Exercise : Regular exercise – just three times a week – of moderate intensity will improve your sense of well-being and help you to manage your weight.  Create time in your schedule – either before or after work or during your lunch hour. Remember to consult your doctor if you have not exercised for a long time or have significant weight issues.

Seek support : Prioritize your tasks, delegate what you can and request a review with your manager if you believe you are being overloaded with work.  It is not in anyone’s interest for you to take on a workload that is over and above your capability. 

Work flexible hours : Speak to your boss to see if you can either work flexible hours or work occasionally from home. For example, eliminating the commute to work just once a week will contribute to reduced stress levels and increased productivity.

10 Reasons to Change Your Job

time for a career change

As the global workforce becomes more transitory in nature, it is not uncommon for workers to change their jobs every two to three years.

If you can identify closely with two or more reasons in this list, perhaps it’s time to consider if you should change your job:-

  1. Lack of a challenge : In theory we all claim to want an easy life at work but spending every day in a slow- paced environment can induce a sense of boredom and leave you feeling uninspired and unmotivated. The ideal balance is a job that takes you out of your comfort zone around 20% of the time; constant pressure and deadlines will only result in burnout.  If you’re suffering from chronic boredom at work, it may be time to consider a move.
  2. You want to learn more : The beginning of a new job is always a learning curve. The most recent research suggests that after three years most professionals have mastered their current role and are eager for a new challenge. Employers who value their staff will have career development policies in place to help you to evolve in your career.  Eager workers seeking a new opportunity who cannot find it in their current role/company often move to a new company to ensure their skills remain up-to-date.
  3. A difficult boss (or colleagues) : At some point, every worker encounters the difficult boss – the one that will criticize to extremes and generally irritate you profusely! If that irritation affects your ability to do your job or undermines your sense of well-being it may be time move on.  In this case it is essential to identify which of your boss’s personality traits are the most disconcerting. Is it poor communication or a general negative attitude towards your work? If you fail to identify these characteristics before you change your job, you may find yourself in a similar situation with a future manager. The same principles apply with hostile co-workers.
  4. Increased earning opportunitiesIs your salary competitive? While it’s not all about money, the promise of a raise and improved career prospects are justifiable reasons for leaving your present role. By changing jobs frequently, professionals can often keep their skills up-to-date and increase their salary significantly in comparison to staying in-situ. If you’ve worked hard to get to where you are today and network within your industry, the chances are you will be noticed by other organizations looking to recruit the best talent. Review their potential and ensure it correlates with your long-term career strategy.
  5. You’re not appreciated by your current employer : If your best ideas are pinched by your employers or colleagues who express no gratitude for your innovation, it could be time to move on. There will be other employers out there who will value your enthusiasm and contribution to the company.
  6. Life change : From time to time professionals change jobs due to a change in their personal circumstances, such as relocation, marriage, health reasons or to spend time with their family.  As your career evolves your priorities will change with it. What may have seemed so important at the beginning of your working life, for example working long hours, may not seem so important at a later stage.  If your job no longer suits your personal circumstances, it may be time to change your job. 
  7. Your job focuses on your weaknesses : Ideally, you should be working in a role that allows you to play to your strengths. If you realize that your job is mainly focused on areas of weakness – excessive admin duties for a sales focused professional for example – discuss this with your employer at the earliest opportunity. Explain how you believe your skills can be of more benefit to the company in a slightly different role.  If there isn’t a suitable opening and you feel like a square peg in a round hole, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.
  8. To become an entrepreneur : Many dream of it, but few choose to pursue their goals of working for themselves. With the long-term security in the job market becoming a thing of the past, increasing numbers of workers are opting to take a self-employed role or set up their own businesses.
  9. The company is unstable : When company profits tumble and a two year pay freeze is announced, this is often a time for employees to look around for a more stable employer.  Don’t instantly jump ship unless you are left with no alternative; take your time and research available opportunities.  Don’t leave one struggling employer for another only to find yourself in a similar situation a year down the line.
  10. Downsizing or restructuring : Or to put it another way – redundancy.  Losing a job forces people to review their current career and the alternatives open to them. If personal finances allow, some will often take the opportunity to retrain for an alternative career or become self-employed, particularly older workers who find it harder to secure new employment after losing their jobs.

Wish you all the best in your efforts to change your job!

Turn Your Job Hopping To Your Advantage

job-hopping-singapore

How many times have you applied for a position or discussed your career options with a recruiter/employer only to be rejected on the basis that your career history doesn’t demonstrate loyalty to a company?  If your resume is a litany of short stints at a variety of organizations, don’t despair.

You can turn your history of job hopping to an advantage.


What is ‘job hopping?’

It is a term coined to describe someone who changes jobs every one to two years (or even more often). Typically, employers seeking committed, loyal candidates have been deterred by ‘job-hoppers’ on the basis that past performance predicts future behavior, but attitudes are changing.

Today’s workforce is more self-centered than in previous generations when thirty years at one company was often the norm. Today’s career isn’t linear; often, workers will change their jobs up to half a dozen times before the age of 30.

While job hopping is still regarded in a dubious light by many employers, used as part of your overall career strategy you can turn your job hopping history to your advantage.


Job-hopping…

Allows you to explore your strengths : Unless you’re one of the fortunate few, it’s unlikely you’ll fall into your dream job at the beginning of your career. By changing jobs frequently early on, you’ll discover not only where your strengths lie but what you actually enjoy doing. It makes much more sense than staying in the same unfulfilling job for years.

Broadens your skills base : It may be a process of trial and error for a while but that process will increase your skill set. By experimenting with several different jobs, you will also understand your transferable skills and demonstrate adaptability to future employers.

Improves your salary : Employers might use a whole range of excuses as to why this year’s pay rise is negligible. Changing jobs frequently generally results in a notable salary increase each time – often up to 20% or more – significantly higher than the 3 to 4% that many industry sectors are seeing.  High performers in particular may find job hopping a solution to boosting their market value.

Expands your network : Ultimately, it will be your network, combined with your experience and achievements that will secure your next career move.  Moving around enables you to accumulate an extended and enviable network that you can tap into in the long-term.

Suggests flexibility and a willingness to take risks : While a willingness to take risks won’t be appropriate for all industries, in some cases it may give you that vital edge in comparison to other candidates.

Exposes you to a range of cultures and ideas : Employers will be keen to draw on your expertise and skills gained from a range of working environments. Not only that, your skills will continually be honed and at their peak.

Some careers naturally lend themselves to job hopping. In the fast paced, ever changing world of IT, professionals can gain invaluable experience in a diverse range of cultures and environments by changing jobs on a regular basis. High performers often prefer job hopping as it gives them the opportunity to respond to new challenges within a different company on a regular basis, allowing them to thrive on yet another challenge.


Understanding the basics of job hopping

Employers are becoming more open to the idea of hiring ‘job hoppers’ but there are a few basic guidelines to adhere to:-

Know in advance what you’ll get from every new role : If you are going to change jobs quickly, make sure you have assessed the benefits thoroughly of what you will get out of your next role.  What skills and experience will you learn? Can you grow in your next position?

Stay long enough to learn something from every job : You have to take something from it, even if you learn what type of role you don’t want! Moving every year is becoming more acceptable in today’s market but if feasible, aim for around eighteen months

Be prepared to explain every move : It shouldn’t simply be a case of ‘it sounded like a great idea at the time’ (even if it was exactly that). Be prepared to provide recruiters and employers with a credible explanation of why you moved, whether it was to gain more skills, a short-term contract in between other jobs and so on.

You are your most recent job : Unless it was a ‘gap filler’, most employers and recruiters will identify you with the most recent position on your resume.  If that isn’t where you see yourself long-term choose your next move wisely. Sideways moves – or even a temporary step back to learn new skills – are acceptable as long as they are part of your long-term plan.

Remain confident : Don’t allow skeptical recruiters to dampen your enthusiasm or flatten your self-esteem. Your job hopping has given you insight and experience that will prove invaluable to a range of employers. Today’s employment market values those who can respond to change positively.

A history of short-term roles isn’t the curse it used to be but some employers still view a job hopping history with a degree of pessimism. Turn it to your advantage next time you encounter a sceptical recruiter or employer.


A recent survey by  workforce solutions provider Kelly Services, provides some perspectives/statistics on job hopping in Singapore / Asia Pacific:

  • 72% of respondents said they’ll get the same or better position when switching employers.
  • 53% believe that in order to develop their skills and advance their careers, it is more important to change employers, rather than remain with their existing employer.
  • “The survey reflects a changing attitude from workers, with more seeking to gain new experiences and skills with multiple employers,” said Kelly Services. “As a sign of the new sense of self-reliance and autonomy seen in today’s workforce, nearly half of all workers (49%) say that even when they are happy in a job, they actively look for better job opportunities or evaluate the job market.”
  • The results also showed that 70% consider job hopping work experience with multiple employers to be an asset to their career growth and advancement. 
  • The idea of a ‘career-for-life’ with one employer is regarded as “relevant” by 31% of respondents.
  • Employees with professional and technical skills are more open to job hopping in Singapore and are less attracted to the idea of a career with one employer (28%) than other workers (35%).

The Seven Warning Signs Of A Toxic Job Interview

toxic job interview singapore

Congratulations! You’ve successfully overcome the first hurdle of the recruitment process in your quest for your dream job.  You have been invited for a job interview and followed all of the relevant advice on how to prepare for your big day.  You’ve researched the company, rehearsed your answers to those key questions and your appearance is professional and pristine.  Barring any unforeseen calamities, you are confident the job offer is within your grasp.

Of course, not all companies are equal and some, in fact, can prove to be toxic. We’ve all been regaled by stories from friends and family of the worst job they ever had.

Don’t be blinded by your eagerness to change your current position, some employers should be given a wide berth. Rather than propel you along your career trajectory, they can bring it to a grinding halt. But how do you identify those companies during the recruitment process?

Here are our seven warning signs to help you to identify a potentially toxic organization, during the process of a job interview:- 

Poor Communication : Poor communication is the first indication of a toxic employer, ranging from unprofessional behaviour to a complete lack of respect offered towards you as a candidate. Last minute cancellations and rescheduled interviews add to the general air of indifference. On arrival at the company’s offices you are met by a surly receptionist who barely glances up from the desk, leaving you sitting awkwardly in the visitors’ waiting area.

Lack of A Job Description : The continued absence of a job description is a cause for concern. If you are continually fobbed off with promises of details being provided ‘once you have started work with us’, be wary.  A disorganized employer that lacks vision does not augur well for your future career.

A Critical Hiring Manager : One of the golden rules for all candidates attending a job interview is never to reflect negatively on previous or current employers and colleagues. If the person interviewing you interrupts the discussion to present a monologue on everything that he perceives to be wrong with the company, his boss and his colleagues, consider that to be a flashing red warning. To confirm this view, ask your interviewer what they enjoy most about working for their employer.  A series of sarcastic quips, a hasty change of subject or an uncomfortable silence will provide you with the answer you need.

The Interviewer Ignores Your Questions : If you’ve thoroughly researched the opportunity and the company, you’ll have a list of questions prepared that are relevant to the job, the hiring process and the previous postholders. During your job interview, if your questions are met with a frown or a response such as ‘that’s not open for discussion at this stage in the interview process’, this is a cause for concern.  Employers who are reluctant to disclose fundamental details generally have something to hide and it normally includes an unhappy workforce.

No-one Smiles : You may have encountered a miserable Human Resources assistant when you contacted the company to confirm your interview, but everyone is entitled to a bad day. When the hostile theme continues with the receptionist on arrival and every company employee you encounter on the way to the interview room reinforces your initial impression, that’s a whole new level of concern. Can you seriously imagine spending every hour of your working day in such a negative environment?

Beware of the Instant Job Offer : If you’re offered the job within half an hour of walking into the job interview following a distinct lack of probing questions or reference requests, we suggest you resist celebrating prematurely. This is not normal practice for permanent positions or discerning employers in search of the best talent available. Companies that hire quickly normally fire quickly too. Take a mental step back and review the situation before responding. Our advice?  If you are in a financially pressured situation where you simply need to pay the bills then proceed with ultimate caution and continue your job search in the meantime.

You Can’t Wait to Leave : The whole process has been a challenge from the outset, you haven’t warmed up to anyone you’ve encountered so far and your instincts are telling you to run.  Remain professional, steer the interview towards its completion, thank the hiring manager politely and leave, preferably without a backward glance.

I wish you all the best, if you have an upcoming job interview and hope you do very well!

A Brief Guide to Surviving A Pre-Employment Test In Singapore

psychometric and pre-employment test singapore

Psychometric/Pre-employment tests – are words that are guaranteed to sink the heart of even the most confident job seeker. Many a star candidate has suffered a setback at the hands of the pre-employment test in Singapore, and with increasing numbers of employers using them as a key part of the recruitment process, they are here to stay.

With some research and understanding of what’s required, candidates can improve their performance during a psychometric test, when looking for jobs in Singapore.

What Is A Psychometric/Pre-Employment Test in Singapore?

A psychometric test is an impersonal and objective assessment that enables companies to compare applicants for specific vacancies on an equal footing, regardless of academic qualifications and experience.  There are two types of psychometric tests :-

  • Personality Tests – These assess character traits of candidates and their predicted behaviour in a given set of circumstances. They are primarily used to evaluate whether or not your personality will fit within the company culture. The recommended approach for handling these tests is to be completely candid with your answers. It is not in your interests – nor the employer’s – to force yourself to ‘fit’ within an organization. 
  • Aptitude and Ability TestsThese cover a range of tests, such as numerical and verbal reasoning and are normally carried out under stringent conditions. Employers may also incorporate them within an Assessment Day as part of a broader evaluation of your suitability for a particular role. Unlike personality tests, it is possible to prepare for an aptitude test.

Why Prepare For A Psychometric/Pre-Employment Test In Singapore?

The more time spent in preparation the higher your chances of succeeding in your test.  It’s estimated that nearly fifty per cent of all candidates have failed a psychometric/pre-employment test in Singapore during their career. In other words, they have not demonstrated the standards required to be successful in a particular position. Aptitude tests will be tailored to the role you are applying for, so numerical and verbal reasoning tests used for a financial position for example will be focused on that specific position.

Just as you would prepare thoroughly for an interview during your job search in Singapore, so you should prepare for the test to give yourself every possible chance of success.

Tips for Preparation

  • The Basics : You will normally be advised of the requirement to take a psychometric/pre-employment test in Singapore in advance. Some employers may provide sample questions to assist you in your preparation. Failing that, a number of tests are available online to enable you to practice. SHL, often used by PricewaterhouseCooper, is a popular provider but Kenexa, the Criterion Partnership and Saville Consulting also offer similar tests.  
  • Time Your Test : The test will take place under conditions resembling an examination. Practice your test in the same time limits as you will face on the day.  Familiarizing yourself with the various types of questions will reduce your anxiety levels. Dividing the time allowed for the test by the number of questions will give you a guideline of how long to spend on each question.
  • Brush Up On Your Skills : If you’re powers of reasoning are on the rusty side, you can improve your mental agility by completing word and number puzzles, together with practising some mental arithmetic. Revising your basic mathematical skills will also improve your performance on the day.
  • Always Read The Question : Most pre-employment tests in Singapore will offer multiple choice answers. Check and double check how it requires you to present your answer. Are you required to express your response as a percentage, a fraction or to a specific number of decimal places?
  • Accuracy Not Speed : Don’t rush through the test in the vague hope that you’ll achieve a high enough percentage of correct answers to pass. Test assessors often calculate the speed at which you took the test in comparison to the number of your accurate responses and may use negative marking, that is, deducting one mark for each incorrect answer. The type of role you have applied for will also influence how the test is assessed. For example, the role of a Safety Engineer requires patience and accuracy rather than speed.  It is preferable to answer as many questions as accurately as you can, rather than skip through leaving a trail of errors in your wake.
  • Don’t Guess : If time allows, make a calculated answer based on a process of elimination, rather than hazard a guess.  This may enable you to narrow your options down to a choice of two and increase your chances of a correct answer. 
  • Watch Out for ‘Distractors’ : ‘Distractors’ are options in a multiple choice answer which closely resemble the correct answer but are erroneous. For example, if the correct answer to a question is 8.25, you may be presented with several options such as 8.2, 5.8 or 85. Time spent preparing for your test will enable you to identify Distractors.
  • Focus on Your Strengths :As you practice, you will identify potential areas of weakness. Be aware of these weaker areas and don’t dwell on questions in the pre-employment test in Singapore that are causing you problems; move on and complete the test.  Focus on the areas that play to your strengths to increase your percentage of correct answers.
  • Practice Makes Perfect  : Some experts recommend up to twenty hours of practice before taking an aptitude test. Don’t rely on last minute revision. Download the free online tests available and begin practicing as soon as you are notified of your test. It is not sufficient to simply scrape a ‘pass’; employers and recruiters are looking for the candidates with the highest scores.
  • Make A Difference : While the final decision will not be based solely on your performance in the psychometric/pre-employment test in Singapore, it may prove to be the deciding factor in choosing between a number of outstanding candidates. A degree of research and due diligence carried out in the pre-assessment stage will enable you to perform to the peak of your ability when it counts and get the job you want.