5 powerful strategies that help graduates integrate into a skilled workforce July 20, 2016 0

Access to fresh, new talent often sets businesses apart and is key to the success of business. However, graduates who are new to the workplace often lack the skills needed to perform during the early years of transition into employment.

In a study entitled “Adaptation challenges faced by graduates in South African Multinational organisations”, reports that the manner in which graduates prepare themselves to become employable and retainable in organisations relies on their qualifications, knowledge, values, cognitive and technical skills. These are the same areas which enable graduates to adapt to and become successful in the organisations they are employed in.

The report also reveals that in order for graduates to cope with the strains of the workplace, it is the duty of employers to provide sufficient “induction and on-boarding, training, mentorship and continuous managerial support.” Receiving support from the organisation provides graduates with a sense of guidance to handle the challenges which arise in the workplace. It also enables the long-term synergy and functioning of the organisation.

These are the strategies organisations should implement in order to integrate graduates into the organisation:

1. Graduates need support

Graduates are defined by their energy and optimism, and know that with the right support, they can achieve anything. When it comes to learning, many graduates have specific needs and expectations. They generally respond well to mentoring provided by older employees, but also prefer to learn by doing rather than being told what to do.

2. Graduates expect feedback

Regular, detailed feedback is one of the greatest traits which graduates appreciate from their employers. Companies that have been very effective in managing their graduates are those that understand the importance of setting clear goals, as well as providing regular, structured feedback.

Read: How to give feedback and empower your team

3. Graduates need continuous learning

When entering an organisation for the first time, graduates want to spend a majority of their time developing their skills and gaining new experiences. They look forward to the organisation providing them with continuous learning. In order to meet this need, organistions need to offer excellent training and development programmes which will give graduates confidence in knowing that their expectations are recognised and can be met. The best development programmes provide a combination of “classroom instructions, self-directed study, coaching and group learning.”

4. Provide a graduate-friendly environment

Graduates excel in environments which offer a level of comfortability and creativity. While they may be prepared to work hard, they do not want to be restricted to a bland cubicle. Instead, they expect an engaging environment that offers an atmosphere that offers a balance of work and life.

5. Organisations seek for opportunities to successfully integrate graduates into the workplace…

This is the reason why Careers24 has partnered with the 2016 Future of HR Summit and Awards. The event aims to address the transformation of the HR function in the South African business. Their aim is twofold:

“The Future of HR Summit will address the exciting transformation of the HR function in the business environment, forecast trends for 2016, share innovative and strategic approaches to overcoming challenges, discuss practical methods of employee engagement, talent acquisition, and empowering leadership, and provide thought provoking content, and unique networking opportunities.”

“The Future of HR Awards seek to recognise South Africa’s most influential participants of people management strategies, leadership and innovation. It identifies business pioneers, highlighting their accolades for the world to see. The Awards brings South Africa’s icons from business and government together.”


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Occupations in the year 2030 July 19, 2016 0
  • FUTURISTS predict 80% of occupations in the year 2030 will be different from today’s careers. This means that if you want to stay competitive, you will have to continually learn new skills.
  • Peter Drucker, probably the most respected management guru in the US, writes in the Forbes edition of 15 May that his former students are back in his lecture hall: “They want to look holistically at their occupations, mainly because today’s blistering pace of technological and economic changes demand it.”
  • Engineers say they need refresher training at least every two years and a more comprehensive course every four. This applies to millions of other knowledge workers too.
  • According to Drucker, the availability of knowledge through the computer and Internet started the process of lifelong training but the gigantic changes in society are giving it impetus. “People who are highly educated and can boast of their achievements feel that they will not be able to keep pace without studying further.”
  • He attributes this to businesses showing a growing preference for outsourcing, which has a tremendous effect on personnel turnover. “There is not much likelihood of anyone entering the job market today and working for the same company a decade from now. You have to take responsibility for your own future.”
  • This creates a market for continuing training through conventional institutions such as universities and colleges, but there are also many new entrants. The Internet is at the heart of it.
  • Anton Jordaan, financial director of the Global School of Business, one of the new providers of post-school training in SA, believes the country’s needs are even greater than in many other countries because we were isolated for so long.
  • This led to training inadequacies — which is why so many universities have picked the brains of their overseas colleagues on course content. Some now act as the local agent of major overseas institutions.
  • Conventional institutions are getting more competition from private education but most are not suffering from inertia.
  • Telematic degrees, other forms of training with the aid of computers and decentralised learning centres are becoming commonplace, while new niche markets in adult education are being discovered.
  • The new business school of the University of Pretoria (UP), which was developed in Sandton recently at a cost of R45m, is an example. The school boasts various leading local and overseas businessmen as lecturers and concentrates on issues businesses deal with daily.
  • Another university that saw a gap in the market was the University of the Free State, which recently started a new Centre for Agricultural Management in partnership with various partners in the agricultural industry.
  • Flip Smit, former rector of UP, foresees a large growth market for private institutions in particular. “There is proof worldwide that private education is more effective and innovative,” he says.
  • “The competition should be welcomed because it will eventually lead to higher standards.”
  • Briefer, more appropriate training is growing in popularity, says Smit. Tertiary institutions are giving more credit for previous experience and accreditation for qualifications obtained elsewhere.
  • The overseas pattern is being repeated in SA. The average age of students at the Central Missouri State University in America is 47. This university is one of many in the US to have noted the niche offered by retraining and has enjoyed tremendous success focusing on this area.
  • In SA, the prospects for adult education are even better: only 1, 3m people have tertiary education and 4m older than 20 have no schooling.


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Why Use Fokus? July 19, 2016 0

Why Use Fokus?

Your company has a vacancy:


  • Advertise
  • Recruit
  • Interview
  • Do reference checks
  • Verify testimonials
  • Evaluate
  • Select
  • Guarantee
  • Provide extensive CV’s
  • Conduct psychometric testing when required
  • Do credit checks on request
  • Criminal Checks
  • Arrange interviews
  • Pay and administer all statutory benefits of Temporary Staff
  • Charge nominal fees
  • Follow up on client satisfaction

Guarantee – Permanent Staff

FOKUS PERSONNEL’S guarantee is subject to payment of the fee within 14 days of date of appointment.  Should the employee resign or be discharged within the prescribed guarantee period due to incompetence or to reasons which can be attributed to inefficient selection, FOKUS PERSONNEL will provide the following guarantee:

  • Provision of a suitable replacement at no extra cost.  FOKUS requires a minimum period of one week to provide a suitable replacement; ór
  • Pro-rata credit of your account relative to the employee’s period of employment.

    The credit will be determined as follows:
    First month – 50% of the fee paid
    Second month – 30% of the fee paid

  • Written notice within 14 days of an employee’s resignation or discharge, including reasons, must be given.  Our guarantee will then be of immediate effect.

Temporary Appointments
We invoice every second week after confirmation of the amount of hours worked.  Should the employee’s performance not meet the client’s job description requirements, FOKUS PERSONNEL will provide a replacement at no extra cost.  FOKUS must be notified within 5 hours of the employee’s commencement.

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Professional Fee Schedule July 19, 2016 0

Professional Fee Schedule



  • The gross annual income includes fringe benefits such as bonuses, 13th cheques and housing and vehicle allowances.
  • Our fees are payable within 14 days of the date of appointment and will also apply should you appoint a FOKUS applicant within one year after having received the relevant CV.  2 % interest per month will be charged on overdue accounts.
  • A fee based on a realistic income potential will be agreed upon where candidates are remunerated on a commission basis only.


A fee of 30% of the applicant’s gross income for the period of employment will apply.
In the event of a temporary assignee of FOKUS PERSONNEL being offered and accepting a permanent position, the client will be charged 10 % of the permanent employee’s annual salary.


FOKUS PERSONNEL’S guarantee is subject to payment of the fee within 14 days of date of commencement.  Should the applicant resign or be discharged within the prescribed guarantee period due to incompetency or to reasons which can be attributed to inefficient selection, FOKUS PERSONNEL will provide the following guarantee:

  • Provision of a suitable replacement at no extra charge.  FOKUS requires a period of one week to provide a replacement.
  • Pro-rata credit of your account in accordance with the candidate’s period of employment. The credit will be determined as follows:
    • First month       –  50% of the fee paid
    • Second month  –  30% of the fee paid
  • Our office must be given written notice within 14 days of an applicant’s resignation or discharge, including the reasons for dismissal.  Our guarantee will then be of immediate effect.
    We accept abovementioned conditions and if this document is signed in a representative capacity the undersigned guarantees his/her authorization to act on behalf of the busines.

Provision of a suitable replacement at no extra cost.  Please note that we require a minimum period of one week to provide a suitable replacement or
Pro Rata credit of your account relative to the employee’s period of employment.

Please note:  A written notice stating the reasons for resignation or discharge of an employee must be supplied before our guarantee will take effect.

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Fine-tune your body-language for success July 19, 2016

Fine-tune your body-language for success

Waving hands or twitching face muscles might not be the first things you think about when preparing for a job interview, but with body language counting for a large part of how people perceive us, actions really do speak louder than words.

According to Michael Kelly of Kelly Speech Communications, any gesture or mannerism we use to express a non-verbal message can be considered body language. Chin jutting, shoulder shrugging, arm-swinging, head tilting, even eye blinking – they all fit the profile. Body language is used to express our conscious or subconscious thoughts, and can be as subtle as a sidewards glance – or as obvious as a slap in the face.

So how can you fine-tune your body language for success?

Before your next job interview, ask a friend to identify any potentially distracting habits you may have such as playing with your hair or drumming your fingers. You may be surprised to learn about behaviour you weren’t aware of.

Next, stage a mock job interview with a friend and video it. “Viewing your body language as other people do is a valuable experience,” says Kelly. “But if you want to gain more self-awareness, an intense questioning session with a friend is useful for noting any negative body language that occurs under pressure, such as foot-bouncing or lip-biting.”

And if that’s not enough to give you an air of self-assurance, Kelly says that observing confident people and modelling their open, friendly and accepting cues can also help you create a winning perception. Additionally, learning by example increases the likelihood that your actions will be read as you intend them to be, and decreases your risk of sending mixed messages.

When it comes to the job interview itself, Kelly recommends creating instant rapport with the interviewer by being sensitive to their body position or pose, and adapting your movements, breathing patterns and expressions accordingly. But if you find yourself forgetting your words, concentrate more on yourself. Maintaining good eye contact will also help impart trust and understanding: a steady gaze that conveys alertness, interest and confidence, without too little or too much focus, is a great choice.

Bear in mind that swaying, fiddling, and face touching can all threaten job interview success, so place one hand on your waist and gesture with the other to control any nervousness. And keep your spare hand free, as playing with unneeded pens or papers will only betray your jitters.

Finally, the perfect handshake, like most body language, is all about finding a happy medium that you’re comfortable with. “A cool hand, firm grasp, two palm-to-palm pumps and good eye contact will create just the right impression,” says Kelly.

Content by: Kelly Speech Communication

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How to answer tricky questions July 19, 2016 0

How to answer tricky questions

Eight interview questions you didn’t see coming.

Anyone can become a competent interview robot. All you need do is hop online and revise dozens of classic questions and model answers.

Armed with knowledge, you learn to say that you left your last job because you wanted more challenges. You know that, if asked to reveal your biggest flaw, the safe answer is that you overwork – the cost of total commitment.

Suppose, though, that the interviewer has more guile than average or is just plain devious, cruel – even strange.

How do you handle a question that comes from left field, never occurred to you and is absent from the cheat sheets? Try these tips.

1. What key performance indicators are you accountable for?

This brutally factual question stems from the hirer’s desire to know that you understand measurement and can achieve targets, says the general manager at Frontline Recruitment Group, Doug Downer. Write them down before attending the interview so you can easily pinpoint and talk about the KPIs for each role you’ve held.

2. Why are you worth the salary?

You must substantiate the value you will bring to the role and the company, Downer says. If you have boosted profitability or sales, that proves your value. Likewise, if you have slashed costs or achieved notable outcomes in projects or roles, that demonstrates worth. Play up your successes – be bold in response to this question.

3. Aren’t you overqualified?

Concerned about commitment, here the interviewer wants to know whether you will keep scouring the job market and quit when the right role or salary materialises. So, talk about long-term aspirations, express a desire to be with the business well into the future. Also, if applicable, point out that the business is growing and so needs able, well-qualified candidates like you. State that your experience and skills will yield an instant return.

4. Tell me about someone you worked for and didn’t respect.

When addressing this loaded question, beware of falling into the trap of passing personal judgement, says recruitment analyst Ross Clennett. “The interviewer is trying to see whether you bitch about others or dump on them,” Clennett adds. Focus on how you delivered the outcomes for which you were responsible. Keep the answer about you – not a rival.

5. Who did you vote for at the last election and why?

You could certainly decline to answer this question as it is unrelated to performing a specific job, Clennett says. However, that may not help your cause. If you respond, say that you cast your vote according to the candidates and policies specific to each election and cannot remember which way you voted last time.

6. What is the worst thing an employer would say about you?

Particularly treacherous, this question is fishing for disclosure of your worst weakness. Zero in on an area or skill where you overcame challenges and surmounted barriers that might mar your performance, suggests Annemarie Cross, the author of 10 Key Steps To Ace That Interview! “Avoid bringing up something that you are still struggling with unless, of course, you can demonstrate successful outcomes in the workplace.” Essentially, send the message that you continually strive to improve.

7. In what ways are you similar/dissimilar to your best friend?

This outwardly innocent question keys into the saying that “birds of a feather flock together”. The interviewer wants to know what kind of qualities you embrace. Focus on characteristics likely to be seen as strengths in regard to the role at stake, Cross advises. Some dissimilarities might be good qualities to have. If it’s not stretching things, talk about how they are rubbing off on you.

8. What type of cereal would you be and why?

A variant of this peculiar question is: “What type of car would you be?” or “What kind of animal would you be?” All three have a similar rationale – learning the reasoning behind your selection. For instance, would you choose a wholesome cereal or feel-good sugary pap? Would you select a flashy modern car that grabs attention or a safe, reliable car like a Volvo? When it comes to animals, would you choose to be a lion and become the king of the jungle or an animal that usually moves in packs (teams)? “Again, your response could be quite telling to an interviewer, despite the initial question seeming to be senseless,” Cross says.

By David Wilson
The Sydney Morning Herald

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Common job interview questions July 19, 2016 0

Common job interview questions

Q: “So, tell me about yourself”
This question may be used to assess your personality, preparation, communication skills and ability to think on your feet. Prepare a list of what you do (your current or last job), your strengths (stick to job-focussed skills), and a summary of your career trajectory, linking your experience to the job at hand.

Q: “Why did you leave your last job?”
Respond positively — “…for better career advancement or promotion opportunities, increased responsibility, more greater variety at work…”

Q: “Why do you want to do this job / work for this company?”
Demonstrate your knowledge of the company and re-emphasise your suitability for the position.

Q: “What do you think you have to offer this company?”
This is a chance to sing your own praises — concentrating on the skills you have that are required for the position.
E.g. “I have strong sales skills, am a good team player and am very keen to be involved in the new markets you are developing in the Asian region.”

Q: “What do you think this position involves?”
This question is designed to reveal if you have thought about the position, done some research, listened to the interviewer, and can summarise all of this information clearly.

Q: “What do you know about the company?”
Demonstrate your interest in the job, and your understanding of the organisation and industry. Talk about the research you did into the company’s key areas of interest, its size, its main customers or current status, making reference to your source of information.

Q: “Do you have any questions you would like to ask?”
Always prepare a question to ask the interviewer. Ask about the position, request clarification of general information about the company, or summarise your understanding and request confirmation. If they have already answered your questions tell them (be specific) so they know that you have thought about the position in preparing for the interview.

For example:
“What do you see as being the main focus of this role?”
“Am I correct in saying that the position involves mediating between A and B departments and monitoring and developing new approaches to…?”
“I’d like to ask about the organisational structure… are the publications produced on a national basis or individually by each regional office? How are budgets controlled and allocated?”

Q: “What do you believe are your key strengths?“
Prepare responses that give specific examples of your strengths at previous positions that will support your job application.

Q: “What do you believe are your weaknesses?”
No-one readily admits real weaknesses in an interview situation. It is general knowledge that this is an opportunity to turn the question into a positive. Think of something that relates to your experience of work that is plausible as a weakness but is not really a negative point. Eg; “I am very particular about detail”, “I become very focussed on the projects I am involved in”

Q: “Why have you had so many jobs?”
If you have had jobs in different industries or several positions in a short period, describe the positives — that you were learning new skills, following different career paths, and travelling overseas etc. Refer to the experience you gained in past jobs that relates to the position under discussion.

Q: “What do you enjoy most about your current / last job?”
The trick with this question is to list what you have enjoyed about work that strongly relate to the key competencies of the position in question, and mention that you are looking forward to expanding your experience / scope in these areas.

Q: A question requesting confidential information about a previous employer
This may be a testing of your discretion and professionalism. It is best to reply that you would prefer not to divulge any confidential information (sales figures, for instance), citing the fact that you are sure your interviewer would expect the same discretion from their employees.

Q: “Where do you see yourself in five years time?”
This is an assessment of the extent of your ambition and career planning. You should demonstrate that your long term goals are appropriate for the position being discussed and your commitment to them.

Q: “Can you give me an example of your creativity / managerial / organisational skills?”
Think of some examples that prove that you possess the key attributes and competencies requested in the job ad and description. These are probably the areas on which your interviewer will probably focus.

Q: “Do you work well under pressure?”
Answer with a ‘yes’, and give a specific example of a time when you were under pressure and how you rose to the challenge.

Q: “Tell me about when something went wrong”

Q: “Tell me about a time when you have encountered conflict in the workplace”

Q: “Have you ever had to deal with conflicting deadlines? How did you decide which task to complete?”
These are behavioural questions designed to elicit information about the required competencies for the position. Cite experiences in your past jobs, and always try to inject a positive note into your answer (e.g. that you learnt from the experience).

Inappropriate questions

Equal Opportunity (EO) guidelines limit the questions that can be asked in job interviews. By being aware of EO considerations you can recognise possibly discriminatory questions when they are asked. If asked a question that you consider inappropriate or that you suspect may be the basis for discrimination, you are under no obligation to answer it.

For example, an employer may ask whether you have children as part of idle chatter, or they may be motivated by their prejudice that working mothers are not able to commit fully to a full-time position. Alternatively, in asking about your childcare arrangements they may for be trying to assess your level of preparation and professionalism.

If you are uncomfortable with any question, politely and professionally refuse to answer it or request clarification on its relevance to the position. Some suggestions are:
“I don’t think we need to talk about this. I would rather focus on issues relevant to the position and the requirements of your organisation.”
“I don’t understand how this question is relevant to the position or my ability to perform in the role. Could you clarify for me why you think it is important, and I will try to provide you with the relevant information.”

‘Difficult’ questions

If you have had a negative experience with an employer (retrenchment or redundancy, sexual harassment, or clashes with colleagues), prepare to be asked about them in job interviews. The best strategy is to be honest, positive, and to avoid criticising former employers or expressing grudges.

For example:

“I was asked to leave that company. The grounds my employers gave were dissatisfaction with my performance / attitude…
“but I disagreed with their assessment and believe that the termination was based on personal differences rather than performa

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How to prepare for your job interview July 19, 2016 0

How to prepare for your job interview

At few times in the past decade has performance in interviews mattered so much. A decline in the number of positions on offer and a rise in unemployment mean competition for jobs is intense.

But there’s no need to fret. With the right approach you can be your very best in interviews and even enjoy the process. Follow these five steps, starting with changing your mindset.

1. Get your head right

An interview is simply a conversation between people who have a mutual interest in a job. The interviewer, or panel, wants to find someone and you want the job. It is as simple as that.

Try to think of the interview as a conversation with friends, a chat. Think of an interview as a rare, but welcome, opportunity to bang on about yourself.

2. Prepare

Read all information you have on the job and the company and memorise as much as you can. Use this information when answering interviewers’ questions to demonstrate you’re familiar with the role you’re applying for and the company.

Work out what you want to say at the interview, including specific questions about the job. You should include a number of questions that don’t necessarily relate directly to your role in the job, such as general queries about the company.

Ensure you have enough money to get a cab to the location in case the train or bus is cancelled or your car’s engine blows up. Pack an umbrella, tissues and tights to avoid the mud-splattered look.

3. Think presentation

Wear what the employees at your would-be workplace wear or, even better, something a notch or so smarter. Your clothes and accessories should always be understated. Lose the jangly jewellery, Disney cartoon ties, loud socks and plunging necklines.

Nor should you go in smelling like a pair of old socks or go overboard with the aftershave or perfume. If, like me, you approach your wardrobe each day with trepidation that there’ll be anything that fits or is still remotely in fashion, now is the time to buy something that does fit. Don’t wear dark-coloured shirts as they highlight sweat.

Researchers at Harvard University have shown we can accurately judge a stranger’s personality, sexuality and competence from less than a 10-second exposure to them.
The first impression the interviewers get really does influence them.

Work on body language. Look the interviewer in the eye, proffer a firm handshake, smile, sit forward in the chair and give everyone in the room regular eye contact. Control your gaze as your eyes can send strong messages. Side-to-side movement suggests shiftiness and upward glances suggest a need for divine intervention while downward glances can convey the message I am shy, depressed or have no interest. Rolling eyes can suggest arrogance while a too-intense stare says “I know where you live”.

Avoid offers of tea, coffee and biscuits as you run the risk of spilling them or choking on them.

4. Question and answers

Try my narrative PREP-STAR formula to answer questions. PREP-STAR is an acronym that stands for: point, reason, evidence, situation, task, action and result point and describes the stages you should go through in answering.

Make a point, such as “I am well-qualified for this role.” Then provide the reasons you are qualified, evidence of how you demonstrated your qualifications in a particular situation and task, the action you took and the result. Finally reiterate your point.

Go through the key competencies for the role and your resume and construct true stories about yourself using the above formula.
Making your answers into short stories makes them and you more memorable.

Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question. Avoid giving opinions unless they are asked for or you are sure they will be popular. Otherwise you are asking for trouble.

Politicians are great at answering questions they want to answer because they know it makes them look good. One technique they use is reordering questions. If you are asked for a strength, a development area and a weakness, swap the order so that you start on your area for development and end on the positive strength.

Watch for traps. You may be asked something like “Would you like to work in our New York office?” to which you willingly agree before being told the job is in Woop Woop and asked how a New York-type person could live there. Try instead answering “For me, the main goal is to succeed as part of the team wherever I can make the most contribution.”

5. Negotiate

Know your market value, realise negotiation is a game and so expect to compromise. Do not agree too readily to novel suggestions without fully thinking through the details.

If you don’t succeed . . .

Everyone has been rejected for something or by someone. If you don’t get the job, you are not alone.

Don’t confuse disappointment, which is understandable, with shame. Remember that every minute you spend in anger, resentment, denial or demotivation is a minute lost to improving your chances of getting the next role.

Sometimes people are doing you a favour in the long run. If you have grounds to believe that the interviewer will be honest and open with feedback, request it and learn.

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Tips for a successful job interview July 19, 2016 0

Tips for a successful job interview

When in a job interview situation, there are simple ways to appear relaxed controlled and confident.
Practice makes perfect.

While you may feel silly standing in front of the bathroom mirror practising your ‘my greatest achievement’ speech, it is important to mentally prepare for an interview.

Imagine what the interviewers are going to ask you and come up with a response.

It may help to take some notes and brainstorm particular topics that they may be interested in.

Some questions to prepare for include:

Where do you see yourself in five years?
What attracted you to this company?
What do you know about this company?
What skills will you bring to the office?
What was on the front page of the newspaper today?

Dress for the occasion. Depending on the workplace, try to dress appropriately. Choose something that is professional, but something that you feel comfortable in.

Most offices have a closed-toe shoe policy, so it is best to leave the thongs at home.
Jeans are also not acceptable and avoid clothes that are revealing or could be considered too casual.

Know your stuff. Know your resume inside and out. Often interviewers will construct their questions based on the information in your resume.

Show some interest. While interviews are mostly one way, prepare some questions that you can ask them.

You will appear interested and keen to learn more.

And most of all whatever you do, don’t scream ”Show me the money!” at the interviewers.
Though successful in Hollywood films, this tactic is sure to backfire in real life. Seriously though, it is important to relax and to smile – if you feel at ease with yourself, so will your interviewers.

The Canberra Times
Published: 10 November 2008

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