7 Examples of What Being an Ally at Work Really Looks Like
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Diverse and inclusive workplaces can be both difficult to find and hard to create. But if you care about making your own workplace truly inclusive, you have the ability to effect real change—as an ally.

An ally is someone who is not a member of an underrepresented group but who takes action to support that group.

It’s up to people who hold positions of privilege to be active allies to those with less access, and to take responsibility for making changes that will help others be successful. Active allies utilize their credibility to create a more inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive, and find ways to make their privilege work for others.

And wielding privilege as an ally doesn’t have to be hard. I’ve seen allies at all levels take action with simple, everyday efforts that made a difference—often a big one!

Here are a few roles that allies can choose to play to support colleagues from underrepresented groups in beneficial ways.

1. The Sponsor

I once worked for a software company that was acquired by a larger company. In the first few months following the acquisition, I noticed something interesting. My new manager, Digby Horner—who had been at the larger company for many years—said things in meetings along the lines of: “What I learned from Karen is the following…”

By doing this, Digby helped me build credibility with my new colleagues. He took action as an ally, using his position of privilege to sponsor me. His shoutouts made a difference, and definitely made me feel great.

When an ally takes on the role of the Sponsor, they vocally support the work of colleagues from underrepresented groups in all contexts, but specifically in situations that will help boost those colleagues’ standing and reputations.

How to Act as a Sponsor

  • Talk about the expertise you see in others, especially during performance calibrations and promotion discussions.
  • Recommend people for stretch assignments and learning opportunities.
  • Share colleagues’ career goals with influencers.

2. The Champion

In May 2015, Andrew Grill was a Global Managing Partner at IBM and a speaker at the Online Influence Conference. He was on a panel along with five other men when a female member of the audience posed the obvious question to the all-male lineup: “Where are the women?”

The moderator then asked the panelists to address the topic of gender diversity, and Andrew, after sharing some of his thoughts, quickly realized he wasn’t the best person to respond. In fact, none of the panelists were. He instead asked the woman who asked the question, Miranda Bishop, to take his place on the panel. By stepping aside, Andrew made a bold statement in support of gender diversity on stage and championed Miranda at the same time.

Since then, the nonprofit organization GenderAvenger has created a pledge to reduce the frequency of all-male panels at conferences and events. It reads, “I will not serve as a panelist at a public conference when there are no women on the panel.” Anyone can sign the pledge on their website.

When an ally takes on the role of the Champion, that ally acts similarly to the Sponsor, but does so in more public venues. Champions willingly defer to colleagues from underrepresented groups in meetings and in visible, industry-wide events and conferences, sending meaningful messages to large audiences.

How to Act as a Champion

  • Direct questions about specific or technical topics to employees with subject-matter expertise instead of answering them yourself.
  • Advocate for more women, people of color, and members of other underrepresented groups as keynote speakers and panelists.
  • If you’re asked to keynote or serve in a similar public role and know someone from an underrepresented group who’d be an equally good fit (or better), recommend that person (after asking them first if they’d like to be put forward).

3. The Amplifier

In a Slack channel for female technical leaders, I met a data engineer who was working at a 60-person startup. One team inside the company had an unproductive meeting culture that was starting to feel truly toxic. Yelling and interrupting frequently took place, and women in particular felt they couldn’t voice their opinions without being shouted over.

One of this engineer’s colleagues decided to take action to ensure that the voices of those who weren’t shouting would be heard. She introduced communication guidelines for a weekly meeting, and saw an immediate improvement. The guidelines included assigning a meeting mediator (team members would take turns in this role), setting clear objectives and an agenda for every meeting, conducting a meeting evaluation by every participant at the end of every meeting, and reminding the members to be respectful and practice active listening.

When an ally takes on the role of the Amplifier, that ally works to ensure that marginalized voices are both heard and respected. This type of allyship can take many forms, but is focused on representation within communication.

How to Act as an Amplifier

  • When someone proposes a good idea, repeat it and give them credit. For example: “I agree with Helen’s recommendation for improving our net promoter score.”
  • Create a code of conduct for meetings and any shared communication medium including email, chat, Slack, and so forth.
  • Invite members of underrepresented groups within your company to speak at staff meetings, write for company-wide newsletters, or take on other highly visible roles.

4. The Advocate

Shortly after she became the CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki spoke up about how tech industry titan Bill Campbell had advocated for her. In an article for Vanity Fair, she wrote:

I learned about an important invitation-only conference convening most of the top leaders in tech and media, yet my name was left off the guest list. Many of the invitees were my peers, meaning that YouTube wouldn’t be represented while deals were cut and plans were made. I started to question whether I even belonged at the conference. But rather than let it go, I turned to Bill, someone I knew had a lot of influence and could help fix the situation. He immediately recognized I had a rightful place at the event and within a day he worked his magic and I received my invitation.

When an ally takes on the role of the Advocate, that ally uses their power and influence to bring peers from underrepresented groups into highly exclusive circles. The Advocate recognizes and addresses unjust omissions, holding their peers accountable for including qualified colleagues of all genders, races and ethnicities, abilities, ages, body shapes or sizes, religions, and sexual orientations.

How to Act as an Advocate

  • Look closely at the invite list for events, strategic planning meetings, dinners with key partners, and other career-building opportunities. If you see someone from a marginalized group missing, advocate for them to be invited.
  • Offer to introduce colleagues from underrepresented groups to influential people in your network.
  • Ask someone from an underrepresented group to be a co-author or collaborator on a proposal or conference submission.

5. The Scholar

I’m a member of the Women’s CLUB of Silicon Valley, a nonprofit leadership incubator for women. Many of our events are open to guests, who come to hear the speakers and participate in our workshops. Most guests are women, so it stood out when a male guest started attending our events. I asked one of my friends who he was, and she told me he was a former colleague who wanted to better understand the challenges women face in the workplace. He spent many evenings at our events, listening and absorbing information about the issues we discussed so he could be a better ally.

When an ally takes on the role of the Scholar, that ally seeks to learn as much as possible about the challenges and prejudices faced by colleagues from marginalized groups. It’s important to note that Scholars never insert their own opinions, experiences, or ideas, but instead simply listen and learn. They also don’t expect marginalized people to provide links to research proving that bias exists or summaries of best practices. Scholars do their own research to seek out the relevant information.

How to Act as a Scholar

  • Investigate and read publications, podcasts, or social media by and about underrepresented groups within your industry.
  • Ask co-workers from marginalized groups about their experience working at your company.
  • If your company or industry has specific discussion groups or Slack channels for members of underrepresented groups, ask if they’d be comfortable letting you sit in to observe. Asking is essential: Your presence may cause members to censor themselves, so be sure to check in before showing up.

6. The Upstander

I remember being impressed by Lisa, a white software engineer who stepped outside of her comfort zone to be an ally. When asked to name her “spirit animal” as part of a team-building exercise, Lisa spoke up. She wasn’t comfortable taking part in an exercise that appropriated Native American spiritual traditions.

When an ally takes on the role of the Upstander, that ally acts as the opposite of a bystander. The Upstander is someone who sees wrongdoing and acts to combat it. This person pushes back on offensive comments or jokes, even if no one within earshot might be offended or hurt.

How to Act as an Upstander

  • Always speak up if you witness behavior or speech that is degrading or offensive. Explain your stance so everyone is clear about why you’re raising the issue.
  • In meetings, shut down off-topic questions that are asked only to test the presenter.
  • Take action if you see anyone in your company being bullied or harassed. Simply insert yourself into a conversation with a comment such as, “Hi! What are you folks discussing?” and then check in with the victim privately. Ask if they’re okay and if they want you to say something.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

Smart Ways You Can Prepare For Job Loss While You’re Still Employed
LinkedIn
Young latin woman working at home with laptop and documents

Approximately 44.2 million people have filed for unemployment since the start of the coronavirus shutdown in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

If your employer is struggling to stay afloat in the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re probably concerned about your job.

Preparing for a possible pink slip in your not-so-distant future can help you find a new job faster and stay afloat financially in the interim.

In order to brace yourself for job loss, take these steps now.

 

Update Your Resume

If your resume is updated, you’ll be able to start applying for jobs the day you’re laid off. You’ll need to customize it for each position, but having a generic version ready to go will be a huge start.

This is the first impression you’ll make on potential employers, so take the time to create a polished and professional document. Most employers (77%) cite typos or bad grammar as an instant deal breaker and 34% aren’t interested in resumes without quantifiable results, according to CareerBuilder.

Reach Out to Your Network

Over the years, you’ve made a lot of connections in your industry — and now is the time to leverage them. Reach out to former managers, colleagues, clients, classmates and friends to see if they know of any openings that might be a good match for you.

If you don’t want your current employer to know you’re seeking new opportunities, ask them to exercise discretion.

Take On a Side Hustle

A traditional full-time job isn’t the only way to earn money. Finding alternative ways to earn cash now can help you pay the bills if your steady paycheck disappears for awhile.

When it comes to side gigs, the sky’s the limit. You could leverage skills from your current job — like an accountant might become a tax preparer — or find a part-time job — such as delivering pizza on the weekend.

Start Thinking of Places You’d Like To Work

A new job is a big deal, so avoid having to make a rush decision by making a list of employers you’re interested in. Use the company website, blog and social media presence to learn more about what they do, the company culture and possible roles for you.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

How to Be an Effective Teleworker
LinkedIn
close-up of person coding or doing web design on laptop

Many employers and employees are shifting to telework structures. For some, conducting business from home may be a new adventure, while others are veterans of remote work.

Regardless of experience, it can be helpful for us all to think through approaches to teleworking to ensure that we are both effective and content when working from our home offices.

The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) has created the following telework tips for employers and employees. Though they’ve been designed for people with disabilities in mind, they provide information that can be useful to anyone who is transitioning to remote work.

Creating a Comfortable Workplace

Pick a Spot

Designate a long-term space to work in your home where you can focus during work hours, making sure it’s clean and uncluttered. Avoid using a space you frequent in your personal life, like your kitchen table or couch. If there are things that make you happy or motivated (a candy jar, your favorite chair, etc.), don’t be afraid to include them in the space.

Make it Comfortable

Think about the comfort level of the location you choose. Find a spot with room to spread out, a place to type away without hitting your cat in the face with your elbow. If available, pick furniture that won’t put a strain on your body after hours of sitting. Ask yourself: Is this chair causing me to slouch? Is the table too high to type?

Evaluate Accommodation Needs

If you have a disability/chronic condition, evaluate what tools you need to be productive. Don’t be afraid to request accommodations and/or permission to use personal devices that you may already own with the features you need.

Visit the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology at peatworks.org to read telework tips for staying on schedule, communicating with your team, staying productive, and more!

Source: Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology

peatworks.org

How Superstar Candidates Know if a Company is Right for Them
LinkedIn
Job interview, Young executive man asking questions to applicant

It’s all about how you interview. But not in the way you might think.

By Jeff Haden

You need to hire the best possible employees. You need to hire superstars. But superstars have options.

For talented people, the job market is a seller’s market: Because they’re in demand they can to a large extent choose where they want to work. That’s at least partly why recent research involving nearly 100,000 interview reviews and offer decisions shows that last year, more than 17 percent of job offers were rejected by candidates, according to Glassdoor.

That’s right: Nearly 1 in 6 were offered a job they decided to turn down.

So how can you increase the odds that great candidates will accept your job offer? Make the job interview more difficult. The survey showed that the acceptance rate for people between 25 and 34 increased by 3 percentage points when the interview process was more “difficult.” And candidates in professional and technical fields are most likely to accept an offer if their interview is “difficult.”

Toughening Up the Interview Process

For the candidate, the interview is a good way to gauge the potential of a particular employer or job. “If the interview process is tough,” the thinking seems to go, “then that means getting a job here is tough—which means getting in the door should be great for my career,” according to Daniel Zhao, co-author of the survey.

Research clearly shows the interview has a huge effect on how candidates see you as a company. Skills and career development are a priority for younger workers, and interviews are an opportunity for them to see if the company they’re applying for will equip them with the experience they want. Of course, you might think your interview process is already tough. Think again. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “easy” and 5 being “very difficult,” only 10 percent of interviews were ranked as a 4, or “difficult.” And only 1 percent were considered “very difficult.” Which means the odds are, candidates feel your interviews are easier than you think. Which means making your interviews harder should pay off: Increasing the interview difficult by one level increases acceptance rates by nearly 3 percentage points.

Tests Work—As Long as They’re Skills Tests

Aside from asking more difficult interview questions, one way to increase the difficulty of the interview process is to have candidates complete some form of testing. Skills tests, though—not personality tests. Taking personality tests actually lowered acceptance rates by over 2 percentage points. Maybe that’s because superstars want to work for people who care more about results than personality: Taking applicable skills tests increased acceptance rates by over 2 percent.

Don’t Involve Brain Teasers

Many people feel having to answer a brain teaser question during a job interview feels like a bad move, and science backs up their intuition. How you answer a brain teaser says almost nothing about how you will perform on the job, but it says a lot—and none of it good—about the interviewer who enjoys asking the question. All brain teasers reveal is that the interviewer enjoys putting people on the spot and watching them squirm. Which is the last thing any interviewer should want to do—especially since great candidates will see that as reason enough to turn down a job offer.

Instead, do this. First, establish a consistent rubric for how you assess candidates. Then use behavioral interview questions to not only determine how candidates have performed in real-world situations but to also get a sense of what they consider to be “difficult.” The answer to, “Tell me about the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last six months,” instantly gives you a sense of what the candidate considers to be a “tough” decision. Then consider adding a skills test to the process. (Tests are available for just about every job and industry; just make sure you administer the tests consistently and that every short-list candidate takes the test. Where hiring processes are concerned, consistency—and fairness—is everything.)

And then ramp up the difficulty, because the research shows many candidates, especially the great ones, won’t think your process is as tough as you do. They’ll know, within minutes, if your process is easy, or difficult, or very difficult. The answer to that question plays a significant role in how likely they are to accept your job offer. Which means increasing the difficulty of your interviews will not only help you better evaluate candidates… it will also make it more likely that a superstar candidate will say, “Yes.” Win-win.

Jeff Haden is a speaker, Inc. Magazine contributing editor, author of The Motivation Myth.

Where Are the Hispanic Executives?
LinkedIn
latina business woman seated at conference table

By JD Swerzenski, Donald T. Tomaskovic, and Eric Hoyt

Many organizations have prioritized workplace equality and access to high-paying, executive level jobs for minority groups in recent years.

Several 2020 presidential candidates are putting forward plans to increase minority executive positions by diversifying corporate boards, punishing companies with poor diversity track records and increasing funding for minority-led business institutions.

However, according to our own 2019 analysis, white men still hold the majority of executive positions such as CEOs, management directors and financial officers.

As economic and communication scholars, we looked at Equal Employment Opportunity Commission employment data for executives at large and mid-sized companies. Our analysis shows that white men sit in 65.5 percent of these high-paying boardroom positions while representing only 38 percent of the U.S. workforce.

The dominance of white male executives, however, is by no means evenly distributed across the country. Our report tracks representation among Hispanic executives, city by city.

C-Suite Inequality
The gap between labor force and executive representation is wider among Hispanics than any other group.

Executive jobs offer salary—$155,586 on average—benefits and job security that simply are not available in lower level positions. They also offer the power to drive initiatives, including those focused on diversity.

So where do the Hispanic executives work? Pittsburgh is the only large city in the U.S. to nearly reach equity. Hispanics comprise 1.3 percent of the city’s executive workforce and 1.4 percent of its overall labor market.

That low overall representation is a trend among cities with the best equity.

Four out of five American cities with the most equitable representation—Pittsburgh, Detroit, St. Louis and Cincinnati—have Hispanic populations of less than 4 percent.

These findings fall in line with our earlier research showing that minority representation in executive positions is highest in areas with the lowest minority population.

The final city in the top five, Miami, stands out for its high representation of Hispanic executives at 24.6 percent and high percentage of Hispanics in the overall workforce at 44.1 percent.

Miami is also an anomaly among other large cities with Hispanic work forces such as Houston—43 percent overall labor force and 10.3 percent executive representation—and Los Angeles—34.2 percent labor force and 8 percent executive.

Driving Miami’s high representation is likely the city’s strong economic connections to Central and South America, which favors Hispanic cultural background and Spanish language capability among top executives.
This is especially true with regards to the many media-based companies located in Miami, such as Telemundo, which targets consumers throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

Trends at the Bottom
So how do things look at the other end of the scale?
New York City has the largest Hispanic population in the U.S with 2.3 million individuals. They comprise of 22.6 percent of the city’s total workforce, including 28.7 percent of its service workers and 40 percent of its laborer positions.

But only 4.5 percent of New York’s executives are Hispanic.

New York matters because of the large number of Hispanics who live there and the relative power of its executive positions. In 2019, 73 of the Fortune 500 companies were headquartered in the city, among them Citibank, Verizon, MetLife and many other major firms.

It’s unlikely that there is one key factor behind the lack of Hispanic representation in these jobs. One possibility is an entrenched corporate culture in New York dominated by white male executives. Further, unlike in Miami, Hispanic cultural and linguistic backgrounds are perhaps less valued in these boardrooms.

This, however, shouldn’t eliminate the possibility for change. New York’s trade workers—a group once dominated by white men—now includes 21.3 percent Hispanic workers, one of the highest rates in the country. Efforts to develop Hispanic executive candidates similar to Miami’s youth entrepreneurship program or Pittsburgh’s business incubator program centered in the city’s Hispanic Beechwood neighborhood might lead to greater diversification of New York’s corporate offices.

Rounding out the bottom five are San Jose, Salt Lake City, Hartford and Oklahoma City, all cities with at least 10 percent Hispanic representation in the labor force.

Diversity Matters
Research indicates that boardroom diversity can positively impact both profitability and job satisfaction within companies, particularly by bridging the divide between company executives and lower level employees.
With recent reports showing stagnation in the overall number of Hispanic executives nationwide, it’s particularly important for cities and companies to consider what more can be done to bring more Hispanics into the boardroom.

Cities might bolster Hispanic business participation and entrepreneurship by helping build business incubator programs, supporting Hispanic business development groups and promoting educational opportunities at area universities.

To make change, Hispanic workers need to be employed in positions that feed into to the highest company levels. Currently, 8 percent of all managerial and 6 percent of all professional positions in the U.S. are Hispanic, far below their labor market share of 17 percent.

Overriding these discrepancies means acknowledging cultural blind spots that often exclude Hispanic workers, such as non-Latino employers recognizing unconscious biases in their communication styles and providing opportunities to professionally use Hispanic cultural competencies.

Source: theconversation.com

How to Use Online Networking Now for Future Success
LinkedIn
Smiling girl wearing headphones using laptop, working online

By Alexis Reale

It’s been said that looking for a job is a full-time job in itself. You need to make finding a job the focus of your daily routine, and follow a detailed job search plan to ensure that your time is being used wisely.

While applying for jobs is a large part of your job search, networking remains one of the top ways job seekers find positions, so it pays to build a variety of solid connections. During the pandemic, in-person networking is out of the question, so you need to change your networking tactics to focus on online networking. However, even during “normal” times, creating a strong online network can benefit your job search and career.

How Online Networking Helps Your Job Search

With online networking, you have a wider reach than you would at an in-person event. People from all over the world can meet up in a professional, like-minded group, giving you the opportunity to meet and network with people in your field that you might never meet otherwise.

Creating a Successful Online Networking Strategy

Start with LinkedIn. LinkedIn has become the go-to site for career-related networking. Beyond creating an optimized LinkedIn profile, be sure you’re taking full advantage of all it has to offer. Let LinkedIn automatically make the “easy” connections by sending invites to everyone in your address book. Then, take heed of its periodic suggestions of other members you might know based on your information or background.

Move Beyond LinkedIn

While LinkedIn is the place for all things career-related, don’t limit yourself to one social network. If your work involves a visual component, create a professional Pinterest or Instagram account to highlight that part of your work. You can also use Facebook and Twitter to engage with thought leaders and other professionals in your field. To take your personal branding to the next level, consider building your own website. It’s a great place to collect testimonials about your work, and create an online portfolio of your accomplishments. This should serve as a one-stop shop for people to connect with you and to learn about your background.

Consider Your Existing Network

Before you reach out to possible new networking connections, reach out to your existing connections first. This is a great way to start building your online network.

Starting with current contacts can offer a greater sense of support and connection simply because of the existing relationship. It can also allow you to catch up with former colleagues and peers, and potentially schedule informational interviews. LinkedIn also has a feature that allows your existing connections to introduce you to their connections. This helps you build your network when one of your current connections is connected to someone you want to meet. You can then ask that existing connection to introduce you.

Try Chats and Groups

Eventually, though, you’ll want to expand your network from existing contacts to new contacts. While that can be intimidating, online networking makes it easier and less stressful for people to connect with new networking contacts.

Join social media groups and chats dedicated to your area of interest. Groups can be found on LinkedIn, and chats exist on Twitter. If you’re savvy with social media, you can also find discussions with like-minded individuals through Reddit. You’ll want to find the sub-Reddit that pertains to your profession.

Choose the Right Connections

Before you reach out to any professional, consider if you’re reaching out to the appropriate person. There is often a pecking order of who talks to whom. If you are a mid-level professional trying to reach out to CEO and executive-level professionals exclusively, you may be hurting your chances of forming any valuable connection.

Connect with professionals on a similar career level to you, or who work on a team where they could be your manager (i.e., a senior tax accountant reaching out to a senior tax manager). This way, you will foster relationships with the people that truly matter—the ones who can influence hiring decisions and likely relate most effectively to your experience. In addition to online networking, joining a professional association in your area is a great way to network in your industry.

Slow Down

“Hi, this is Bob, and I would like a job,” is not the best way to introduce yourself to someone. Networking takes time and requires a relationship to develop. As you continue to build your relationship, you can dive into more details about your professional relationship and potential jobs, but jumping in with both feet and asking outright for a job will only hurt your chances of success.

Keep your “cold call” introductions quick, simple, and professional. Don’t ask too many questions and don’t expound on your great accomplishments in this first message. This first message is just an introduction, a hook to get their attention. Once you have their attention and their response is positive, you can take the next step and delve into more detailed networking questions.

Taking these small steps displays your interest in the company, but it also shows your respect for the person you are contacting.

Online Networking Now for Success Later

Networking is one of the most complex aspects of being involved in the professional world. There are endless methods, tools, and platforms associated with networking, and it can be difficult to decide where and how to start.

One constant about networking, however, is that it is about the practice of building relationships over time. Don’t wait until you are out of work to start networking. It’s something you should develop throughout your career. Take the time to successfully network online using the tips above, and the results will be worth the wait.

Source: flexjobs.com

Microsoft says you will need these skills after COVID, and it wants to help you get certified
LinkedIn
businessman having video call on pc at office

By Lydia Dishman

Microsoft wants to help 25 million people around the world get better jobs by the end of this year. And by better, it means most in-demand now and post-pandemic.

That’s likely music to the ears of those who are currently unemployed in the wake of COVID-19. But even those who still have jobs can advance their careers by tapping into Microsoft’s new initiative, which tackles the problem with a three-part strategy.

The first part is identifying the opportunity. For this, Microsoft is leaning into LinkedIn’s Economic Graph, an analysis of  “all the data on LinkedIn that shows available jobs, their required skills, and the existing skills job seekers have,” and offering it for free to governments.

The Economic Graph already surfaced the current top 10 most in-demand jobs that it predicts will have staying power throughout the next decade. Among them:

  1. Customer- service specialist
  2. Sales -development representative
  3. IT support/help desk technician
  4. Digital  marketer
  5. Project  manager
  6. Graphic  designer
  7. Financial analyst
  8. Data  analyst
  9. Network  administrator
  10. Software  developer

The second part of the strategy is to get people up to speed on the skills needed to land those jobs. As such, they will offer free LinkedIn Learning video courses that align with the required core skills for these roles through the end of this year. These courses are currently available in English, French, Spanish, and German.

Finally, Microsoft wants to be sure that the people taking the courses will receive certification for their learning. So the company is making exams available at a reduced rate through the end of the year. These are “industry-recognized, Microsoft Certifications based on exams that demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft technologies,” for $15, which the company says “represents a large discount on the price of exams that typically cost more than $100.”

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Job Interviews are Going Virtual, Here’s What You Need to Know
LinkedIn
Hispanic man looking at computer monitor for online job interview

As businesses prepare to open their doors again, the hiring process has begun. Nearly forty million Americans lost their jobs from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that many of those people will be searching for work and participating in job interviews.

But, as we are still adhering to some social distancing rules, many of these interviews are likely to occur via video call.

Interviewing virtually is an unfamiliar territory, but having a successful, meaningful virtual interview is definitely possible.

Here are the best tips for having the most successful interview on a virtual platform.

  • Presentation
  • As you would for an in-person interview, you want to look presentable. While this means wearing an interview-appropriate outfit, you want to make sure that your background and camera angle are also presentable. Make sure your background is clean, containing as little distractions as possible, and that your computer’s camera is catching the best angle of yourself. This will allow the interviewer to see the best version of yourself while bringing their full attention to what you are saying and not to what else is happening in your environment.

  • Make Eye Contact
  • As you would in a physical job interview, you want to make eye contact with the interviewer. It can be difficult not to look at your own reflection in the video call and worry about how you look to the other party, but remember to look into the computer’s camera to show the interviewer that you are paying attention to what they are saying and are really listening.

  • Remember the Lag
  • Unfortunately, video calls are known to lag and glitch. Neither party is at fault, but be aware of these inconveniences. Talking over the interviewer, accidentally interrupting, audio cutouts, and temporary freezes are bound to happen, so speak slowly and talk only when necessary to avoid these possible interview mishaps.

  • Use Your Resources
  • Virtual interviews allow for better access to virtual resources. Keeping interview notes on your screen and using screen share to give examples of your work will help you to remember your best selling points and show your interviewer what you are capable of.

Virus lockdown creates a world of night owls
LinkedIn
Young woman working on her laptop in the city at night

A study of global online traffic shows the whole world is staying logged on later at night and enjoying a lie in before starting work in the morning. VPN providers have a unique insight into global web traffic as their servers track usage in multiple countries allowing them to monitor patterns in how people are working in countries from Australia to Canada. And the massive spike in home working caused by the Coronavirus pandemic has meant more people are installing VPN software to protect confidential business networks as they work remotely.

The figures show that compared to pre-lockdown, people across the UK, the U.S., Germany, Australia, and Canada have been going to sleep and waking up later than usual.

The new data has been collated by privacy protection company Surfshark.  It indicates spikes in use from midnight to 3 a.m. that were not present before the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Due to the aggregated anonymous data that we collect, we are able to compare how people behaved pre-COVID-19 to the current trends, and we have seen some interesting changes in their habits,” said Naomi Hodges, the cybersecurity advisor at Surfshark. “Weekend VPN usage has mainly remained the same; however, from the aggregated data alone, it is apparent that people have been behaving differently during the working days.”

With some variations, the Coronavirus outbreak has given a significant boost to VPN usage. While precise hours vary, new peak times are emerging, and a clear trend of night owls is present across the UK, the U.S., Germany, Australia, and Canada.

People are staying up later – either to work or to play games or watch movies. However, it seems that the lockdowns have all but eliminated early birds. People around the world have been enjoying a lie in and typically not going online until 8:00 or 9:00.

The data shows people remain the most productive during the daytime. On the other hand, there’s no clear lunchtime lull as people are able to either eat at their desks or vary their breaks. There’s also been little change to weekend patterns, which shows that not even a pandemic can change the way people spend their off time.

In addition to that, peak times are now virtually gone. Instead of more people connecting in the evening, now the connection rates remain relatively even from morning to night, with only slight fluctuations that largely depend on a specific country in question.

The UK is waking up and staying up later 

Since March 23, when the UK went into a full COVID-19 lockdown, the average connection counts grew by 60%. It’s a considerable jump, far more than the 15% growth which had been expected.

There are clear patterns concerning working times. Early mornings saw a 25 to 34% decrease, while daytime grew by 10-30%, and nights from midnight to 3 a.m. increased by 25%. Going by these numbers, it is clear that people stay up longer than usual, and in turn, they start their working day later.

The United States is starting work later, but sleeping less

In April, the vast majority of the USA went into full lockdown. It was expected that this situation would make VPN usage grow in the US by approximately 20%; instead, it surged by 56%.

Just like in the UK, US workers have been starting their day later, as their 5:00 to 8:00 a.m. usage fell. Daytime usage saw a significant increase beginning at 11:00 a.m., hitting the peak at 1:00 p.m. Americans went to sleep later, with high usage rates from 0100 to 0300.

Although with slight variations from the United Kingdom, the US saw very similar patterns: people are staying up longer, and sleeping in; although in general, Americans are sleeping less than before the pandemic hit.

Germany is the most productive in the first half of the day

On March 20, Bavaria went into a full lockdown – the first of Germany’s federal states to do so. The average connection counts increased by 52% since the nationwide quarantine, although it was expected only to see a growth of 26%.

Just like in the US and the UK, Germany saw a decrease in connections in the early morning from 5:00 to 8:00 a.m. However, they seem to be earlier birds than most, with their peak covering the first half of the day – from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Australia is sleeping in and staying up late

Since closing non-essential businesses on March 23, there was a 58% growth in VPN usage. That’s a massive difference from the projected 14%, showing that many Australians probably started remote work and self-quarantine earlier than many other nations.

It’s no surprise that their connection counts dropped in the early morning hours, from 4:00 to 8:00 a.m. Another pattern we have already seen is a significant increase in usage late at night between 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. in Australia.

Canada is where VPN usage grew the most

During the past two weeks, VPN usage in Canada has increased by a huge 64%, compared with expected growth of 19%. That suggests a high number of companies taking their operations online.

Just like in the other analysed countries, Canadians have lower connection counts early on from 5:00 to 8:00 a.m. They are also staying up late, and there has been a considerable increase in connections through the night.

These new patterns have emerged during the unprecedented experience of global lockdowns. It’s difficult to predict whether we will see huge growth in remote work, although Twitter is setting a new example.

CEO Jack Dorsey has announced that all employees are welcome to work remotely even after the end of the lockdown. This sets a new precedent for more and more remote work, especially in industries where being physically present is not crucial.

It remains unclear how many companies will follow suit, but currently it’s evident that operations haven’t come to a full stop in many offices.

“Telecommuting does present its own unique challenges, and even if more and more companies are to adopt it in the future, it’s unlikely that it will continue as it has during lockdown. There are probably stricter on and off-hours to be expected, as the current habits are also affected mainly by the fact that most people are not leaving their homes very often,” said Hodges.

Not a ‘Math Person’? —You may be better at learning to code than you think
LinkedIn
close-up of person coding or doing web design on laptop

Want to learn to code? Put down the math book. Practice those communication skills instead.

New research from the University of Washington finds that a natural aptitude for learning languages is a stronger predictor of learning to program than basic math knowledge, or numeracy. That’s because writing code also involves learning a second language, an ability to learn that language’s vocabulary and grammar, and how they work together to communicate ideas and intentions. Other cognitive functions tied to both areas, such as problem solving and the use of working memory, also play key roles.

“Many barriers to programming, from prerequisite courses to stereotypes of what a good programmer looks like, are centered around the idea that programming relies heavily on math abilities, and that idea is not born out in our data,” said lead author Chantel Prat, an associate professor of psychology at the UW and at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. “Learning to program is hard but is increasingly important for obtaining skilled positions in the workforce. Information about what it takes to be good at programming is critically missing in a field that has been notoriously slow in closing the gender gap.”

Published online March 2 in Scientific Reports, an open-access journal from the Nature Publishing Group, the research examined the neurocognitive abilities of more than three dozen adults as they learned Python, a common programming language. Following a battery of tests to assess their executive function, language and math skills, participants completed a series of online lessons and quizzes in Python. Those who learned Python faster, and with greater accuracy, tended to have a mix of strong problem-solving and language abilities.

In today’s STEM-focused world, learning to code opens up a variety of possibilities for jobs and extended education. Coding is associated with math and engineering; college-level programming courses tend to require advanced math to enroll and they tend to be taught in computer science and engineering departments. Other research, namely from UW psychology professor Sapna Cheryan, has shown such requirements and perceptions of coding reinforce stereotypes about programming as a masculine field, potentially discouraging women from pursuing it.

But coding also has a foundation in human language: Programming involves creating meaning by stringing symbols together in rule-based ways.

Though a few studies have touched on the cognitive links between language learning and computer programming, some of the data is decades oldusing languages like Pascal that are now out of date, and none of them used natural language aptitude measures to predict individual differences in learning to program.

So, Prat, who specializes in the neural and cognitive predictors of learning human languages, set out to explore the individual differences in how people learn Python. Python was a natural choice, Prat explained, because it resembles English structures, such as paragraph indentation, and uses many real words rather than symbols for functions.

To evaluate the neural and cognitive characteristics of “programming aptitude,” Prat studied a group of native English speakers between the ages of 18 and 35 who had never learned to code.

Before learning to code, participants took two completely different types of assessments. First, participants underwent a five-minute electroencephalography scan, which recorded the electrical activity of their brains as they relaxed with their eyes closed. In previous research, Prat showed that patterns of neural activity while the brain is at rest can predict up to 60 percent of the variability in the speed with which someone can learn a second language (in that case, French).

“Ultimately, these resting-state brain metrics might be used as culture-free measures of how someone learns,” Prat said.

Then the participants took eight different tests: one that specifically covered numeracy; one that measured language aptitude; and others that assessed attention, problem-solving and memory.

To learn Python, the participants were assigned ten 45-minute online instruction sessions using the Codeacademy educational tool. Each session focused on a coding concept, such as lists or if/then conditions, and concluded with a quiz that a user needed to pass to progress to the next session. For help, users could turn to a “hint” button, an informational blog from past users and a “solution” button, in that order.

From a shared mirror screen, a researcher followed along with each participant and was able to calculate their “learning rate,” or speed with which they mastered each lesson, as well as their quiz accuracy and the number of times they asked for help.

After completing the sessions, participants took a multiple-choice test on the purpose of functions (the vocabulary of Python) and the structure of coding (the grammar of Python). For their final task, they programmed a game—Rock, Paper, Scissors—considered an introductory project for a new Python coder. This helped assess their ability to write code using the information they had learned.

Ultimately, researchers found scores from the language aptitude test were the strongest predictors of participants’ learning rate in Python. Scores from tests in numeracy and fluid reasoning were also associated with Python learning rate, but each of these factors explained less variance than language aptitude did.

Presented another way, across learning outcomes, participants’ language aptitude, fluid reasoning and working memory, and resting-state brain activity were all greater predictors of Python learning than was numeracy, which explained an average of 2 percent of the differences between people. Importantly, Prat also found that the same characteristics of resting-state brain data that previously explained how quickly someone would learn to speak French, also explained how quickly they would learn to code in Python.

“This is the first study to link both the neural and cognitive predictors of natural language aptitude to individual differences in learning programming languages. We were able to explain over 70 percent of the variability in how quickly different people learn to program in Python, and only a small fraction of that amount was related to numeracy,” Prat said. Further research could examine the connections between language aptitude and programming instruction in a classroom setting, or with more complex languages, such as Java, or with more complicated tasks to demonstrate coding proficiency, Prat said.

Source: newswise.com

7 Reasons to Participate in a Virtual Job Fair
LinkedIn
Back view of female employee talk with male businessman on webcam laptop conference, woman worker with man employer brainstorm on video call from home, online

Traditional job fairs can be a drag, requiring your recruiters to travel, set up an expensive display, and stay on top of their game when they’re tired and maybe even a bit overwhelmed by a crush of candidates. But if you need a good-sized pool of potential employees, you probably feel you have no choice but to participate.

Actually, however, that’s not completely true. Your business can reap many of the benefits of such an event without some of the drawbacks, thanks to the growth of virtual job fairs.

Here are seven reasons why your company should take part in a virtual job fair:

1. You can interact with potential employees from all over the world and a variety of disciplines.
In today’s job market, you can’t afford to limit your hiring pool to a small geographical area or a particular kind of person. A virtual fair can put you in touch with a huge variety of people quickly and efficiently.

2. Virtual fairs save you money.
When your “booth” is in cyberspace, you don’t have to pay for a big display or for your recruiters’ travel. Your team can manage everything from the comfort of their offices—or from their own homes, if you offer remote work options.

3. You can take advantage of pre-fair promotion.
These events are enthusiastically and broadly advertised by their sponsors, and your participation will allow you to piggyback on that promotion to build your brand—all without paying for advertising. You can’t beat that kind of opportunity to create awareness about your company and what you do.

4. You can manage and target your message.
When you’re participating in an online event, you can be sure that your talking points will be communicated consistently and will reach your intended audience. “All applicants will receive the same information, face the same questions, and confer with the same company representatives,” says an article from Getting Hired.

5. Virtual fairs allow you to use your time more effectively.
“You can have multiple conversations going at the same time with job seekers, so it is less time-consuming than traditional career fairs,” says an article from Right Management.

6. Online fairs let you communicate the way your workers do.
“Whether you’re a millennial, a Gen Xer, or baby boomer, we all communicate online through messaging apps, such as Facebook messenger or through text messaging,” says an article from Brazen. “Online events and online career fairs offer the same form of communication. Take advantage of this shift.”

7. You can guarantee you’re capturing the information you need.
This is another point noted in the Getting Hired article. “A virtual career fair automatically captures the data of applicants, helping to ensure easier contact and follow up after the event, as well as retaining all candidates’ contact information for future roles and pipelines,” the article says.

Your company should explore opportunities to participate in these types of virtual activities. The savings in time and money, along with the ability to extend your recruiting reach nationwide or even worldwide, make them an obvious choice when you’re seeking the most talented workers to help your business grow.

Source: flexjobs.com

HNM BLM

 
*Please be sure to check event websites for latest updates on postponements or cancellations due to COVID-19 precautions.