What to wear, or not to wear

Decide on your outfit well in advance; ideally it should be a suit or equivalent business wear. Ensure it is ironed and ready to wear. Make sure your shoes are polished, your clothes fit correctly and that your accessories are subtle. Personal grooming is essential and you should avoid wearing overpowering fragrance.

Get to know the job and the company

Prior to the interview find out information about the company you are interviewing with. Visit the company’s website, social media channels and search for articles and press releases written about or by the organization. Also take a look at the latest developments in the industry so you can converse with confidence.

Knowledge about yourself

If you are being interviewed for a job that was advertised, use the job description as a guideline as to what you’ll be asked about in terms of your personality, skills, work experience and qualifications. Other candidates may have similar abilities, employment and academic experience to you. Think about how you might distinguish yourself. It is possible to highlight all of your strengths without sounding over-confident or aggressive.

Making a Good Impression

First impressions really do count. If you get an interview you can assume that your potential employers already like what they have seen. The interview is an opportunity for you to build on that impression to secure the job. It’s not just what you say but how you say it that reinforces the message you are giving and creates an overall impression of your suitability. Here are some tips for making a good initial impression:
Arrive on time – ideally at least ten minutes early giving you time to relax and collect your thoughts.
When you arrive state, in a clear and friendly manner, your name, the time of your appointment and the name of the person you expect to meet;
Present all relevant documentation if needed: your interview invitation and a copy of your CV and cover letter or application form;
Switch your mobile phone off before you enter the interview room.

Once the interview commences you will continue to make a positive impression if you:

Listen carefully to each question and give concise answers supported with relevant examples; avoid saying just yes or no;
Ask for clarification if a question is not clear;
Speak clearly and loudly enough for the interviewer to hear and try to keep to a moderate pace;
Stay as relaxed as possible. Prepare techniques in advance that will help to offset any nervousness. This might be simply repeating a silent mantra such as ‘relax’ or whatever works for you and also taking a deep breath before you start to answer a question.

Body language

  1. Be aware of the effects of your body language and how to use it to your advantage.
  2. Give each interviewer a firm handshake at the beginning and end of the interview.
  3. Keep a relaxed but alert posture and a friendly expression and make eye contact.

Interview questions

A useful strategy for providing that evidence and for answering competency-based questions concisely is to use the STAR technique:
Situation – briefly describe the where/when/who;
Task – outline the task or objective (what you hoped to achieve).
Action – describe what you did – focus on your role and your input.
Result – what the outcome was and what skills you developed.
Develop a range of examples of numerous competencies, using the above format. Draw from all aspects of your life. Store them safely and update your examples as you go through your career.

Challenging questions

Think of all the questions you would least like to be asked…

Is there a gap in your CV?

Have you had some poor academic results?

Were you ever fired?

Prepare an answer to each one. Answer as honestly as you can, without being defensive or blaming anyone. Try to turn your answer into a positive statement with a successful outcome. Show how you overcame any difficulty and what you learned from it.

Prepare questions

Have a list of questions in mind to ask. You may feel that all your questions have been answered at some point during the interview but try to ask some, if only to show enthusiasm and interest.
These might include questions concerning progression opportunities, support for further study or any plans that the company has to expand. Avoid asking questions for the sake of it or asking very basic questions that you should already know the answer to.

Ending on a positive note

If the interviewer does not tell you, at the end of the interview ask when you should expect to hear news of their selection decision and, if you are successful, what the next stage of the process will be. End the interview on a positive note. Thank the interviewer and reiterate your enthusiasm for the job for which you have applied.

Good luck!

Here are some other articles to help you land that perfect job:

4 Tips That Will Boost Your Chances of Landing That Interview

The Most Important Part of Your Résumé Is One You Haven’t Even Written Yet.

The surprising interview question one exec asks every job candidate

According to a recent Jobvite survey, a growing number of employers are successfully hiring candidates through social media. Not surprisingly, LinkedIn attracted the highest usage with 79% of employers hiring employees through the platform, whereas 26% of employers have used Facebook to hire, followed by 14% for Twitter.

The days of posting inappropriate photos taken at a New Year’s Eve party or mentioning your annoying boss on any of your social media accounts are long gone. Now that 73% of recruiters and employers are using these powerful tools to their advantage, as job seeker you may want to think twice before clicking ‘Post’.

To make the transition into executing a more professional social media presence a bit easier, we have compiled a list of the top mistakes that job seekers tend to make:

Profanity – if you are the type of person to use quite a bit of Rated-R language online, then you are more than capable of doing so in person.

Spelling and grammar – it’s one thing to make a mistake every once in a while. However, a prospective employer will think twice if he/she sees that you keep making the same spelling or grammatical errors continuously – especially the dreaded your vs you’re!

Offensive or questionable content – references to illegal drugs, guns, photos displaying sexual content, and discriminatory comments are the type of posts that will cause an employer to question the character of a potential candidate. Do not make this mistake.

Alcohol and partying – a tricky one for social media, as many users post their foodie photos and weekend parties. Avoid those 3am party posts and when in doubt, refrain from posting.

Badmouthing your company, boss, or coworkers – need we say more? Take it from us. Practicing the attitude of gratitude with a great deal of patience and determination will get you far.

Job seekers should consider all their social channels as possibilities for finding employment, and each should be tailored to reflect the professional. Many job seekers consider LinkedIn the only profile that matters, but employers are looking for well-rounded candidates, and can easily find potential employees through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Maybe now is the time to clean-sweep your social media profiles. Below are some helpful articles to get you started:

Facebook’s Privacy Settings Finally Make Sense — For a Reason

10 Social Media Blunders That Cost a Millennial a Job — or Worse

7 things you should never do on Twitter

Employers Share Most Unusual Things They Found on Candidates’ Social Media Profiles

9 Ways for Jobseekers to Clean up Their Social Media

The Four Fruits of a Valuable Employee

What makes us a valuable employee? Often we think that our worth lies in the university degrees we have packed under our belt or the different job roles we have accumulated throughout our lives. It could also be the number of clients we have attracted to our business or the high sales figures that we have contributed towards in the sales department. But these do not necessarily qualify as the concrete foundation for what makes an exceptionally valuable employee.

Want to know what makes an employee a valuable employee? Take a careful look at yourself. Are you the type of person who co-workers enjoy being around? Do you meet your deadlines in a timely manner? Are you a slacker or are you a performer? Your fruits are the results of who you are and what you put out there. The qualities that you display to others are a direct representation of who you are and the quality of work that you are willing to produce.

We could hand you a plethora of things that makes an employee a valuable asset to any firm, small or large, but here are a few simple, but vital, attributes which we think each employee should possess in any work environment.

Being Transparent

No one wants to work with someone who they cannot trust. Both in long-term and short-term business relationships, being transparent allows others to feel a sense of security in knowing that you wouldn’t risk the longevity and quality of the relationship based on your unwillingness to be honest with them from the forefront. It’s human nature to reject failure, so we appreciate that owning up to your mistakes is a difficult task. But it has to be done. Not only are you setting an example for fellow co-workers, it also allows you to come to terms with the fact that it’s okay to make mistakes! Doing so gives both you and others the opportunity to learn and grow, as problems are analyzed and solutions are created to better promote efficiency and teamwork.

Encouraging truthfulness also comes in the form of asking for help when you know you need it. This is a tricky one to overcome because we always want to get things right on our own. However, have you considered the fact that someone else may have a better idea of overcoming the challenge? Keep in mind that the time you take figuring out all possible solutions could be cut in half by simply asking for help. Remember, self-accomplishment can come in many different shapes and sizes.

The Silver Lining

Just like yawns, positivity is so contagious! Complimenting another’s outfit or saying ‘How are you?’ (and meaning it!) makes the world of a difference in anyone’s lives. Do co-workers consider you to be an unapproachable individual? Try making an oath to yourself to find at least three positive things to be thankful for at the end of each day. It’s also helpful to be aware of mind wandering which can lead to overthinking and unhappiness.

For those of you who find it difficult to put on a smile, consider tapping into the source of your negativity so that you can come to terms with and overcome it. A lighter load to carry is always a better load to carry, especially when assignments are piling up and deadlines are edging closer. Challenges at work will never be easier to overcome with a sour attitude. Neither will this approach put your team members at rest, nor your managers.

Silent Strength

Gentleness can come in the form of not having such an overpowering or overwhelming personality. It could also mean not being overly proud or boasting in your work as strengths most often times shine through weaknesses. This does not mean that you get a pass at undermining yourself or making yourself seem insignificant. Rather, gentleness means strength under control.

A neat trick to implementing this quality in your life is by considering the needs of others in your work environment over your own. It doesn’t matter which position you are. Whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the janitor at the Yankees stadium, you can proudly lead others by being a humble servant. Martin Luther explained it perfectly, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

The Virtue of Loyalty

An exceptional employee is one who seeks to do the right thing even when they are being placed under pressure to do the complete opposite. Some decisions involve tough calls to make, but less damage occurs when the right thing is done from the beginning. Your managers will appreciate you even more for looking out for the welfare of the company other than yourself. Managers also enjoy seeing employees who are not afraid to give credit where credit is due. Recognizing the hard work that your co-worker has contributed towards that big project is a sure way to foster team spirit and productivity.

Employees who don’t shy away from voicing their concerns and disagreeing with others tend to stick out above the rest. Even if it means voting against the majority, loyal employees will weigh both the pros and the cons as they look out for the company’s best interest. An employer does not need someone to agree with every single thing he or she says, but someone who isn’t afraid to share their opinions and say things that they sometimes don’t want to hear.

At the end of the day, some of these qualities do not come naturally to any of us. Progress and growth are signs that you are not only maturing as an individual but as a valuable employee as well. Just as a plant needs to be watered each day, you have to keep working at expanding on these features. Don’t be afraid to admit that there is a certain area within you that you may need to work on. Acknowledging that change is needed is the first step to being a better you and a better employee.

Check out these articles below for more insight on being an excellent employee:

7 Qualities of a Truly Loyal Employee

Nine Ways To Keep Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset — Its Employees

The Transferrable Skills That Make an MVE (Most Valuable Employee)

How to Become the MVE (Most Valuable Employee) for Your Organization

11 Qualities Shared by Superstar Employees

What do recruiters look for in a candidate?

If you are looking for a new job then the best place to start is by speaking with a recruitment professional. Not only should they have a wide range of available jobs at their fingertips, they will also help you ensure that you present yourself, your achievements and experience in the best possible light to your potential new employer. Even in a small market such as the Cayman Islands, competition is fierce and a recruitment advisor is always an invaluable resource to help you get that dream job.

Here are our top tips for candidates applying for positions at Affinity Recruitment in any of Cayman’s various industries, whether you are looking to work within the financial services industry, or more broadly, in hospitality, retail, construction and development and more.

1. Ensure you have a well written resume/CV. Employers need to be able to sum you up in a short space of time and your CV should do that, succinctly and accurately. Ensure you include contact details, relevant experience, qualifications and attributes you feel make you the right candidate for the job and make sure you update it regularly.

2. Dress smart for the part! If you manage to secure an interview with your prospective employer, dress like you want it. We may be located in a tropical Caribbean island but if you are looking to work within the financial services industry you must dress suitably in business-attire.

3. Do your homework. If you are looking to work at a particular firm, such as a law or accounting business, make sure you know the names of the senior managers and do some research well ahead of time to find out exactly what it is the firm does. A candidate who has put in the effort to research the company shows initiative and enthusiasm, which is evident during interviews.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are unsure about any aspect of the job you are applying for, ask the recruiter to give you more information. That way, if you get the job, you will know exactly what is expected from you, from the beginning.

Moving to a new job or applying for your first job can seem like a daunting task, but once you have mastered the knack of marketing yourself to your best advantage you will reap the rewards.