Posted by & filed under Advice, Blog.

What is stress?

Stress – is your body’s response to pressures from a situation or a life event.  This could be pressure at work, money worries, relationship difficulties or it could be when you experience something new or unexpected or feeling you have little control over a situation.

Flight or Fight response

When we encounter stress, our body is stimulated to produce stress hormones that trigger a ‘flight or fight’ response and activate our immune system.

Stress can cause your brain to seize up at the worst possible times such as during exams, job interviews or public speaking for example.

Life and death situation

This is actually a survival mechanism and is there to protect you. If you’re faced with a life and death situation, instinct and subconscious impulse overwhelm rational thought and reasoning. This might keep you from being killed in an encounter with a tiger, but, in modern life, this is rarely helpful.

It negatively impacts virtually every cognitive skill you rely on to get through the day, including your ability to pay attention, remember, solve problems, make rational decisions, and think critically.

Your inability to think clearly or make decisions reduces your resilience which in turn increases your stress levels.

Heart Focused Breathing Technique

When you find yourself feeling stressed, take a step back, come away from the situation and try this simple technique to guide you to a state of ease in just a few minutes.

The technique is as powerful as it is simple and can be used anytime you want to create greater relaxation or more energy.

Here’s how you do it:

1 – Focus your attention on your heart area. Breathe a little deeper than normal, in for 5 or 6 seconds and out 5 or 6 seconds. You may find that placing your hand over your heart helps you maintain your focus there.

2 – Now imagine while breathing that you’re doing it through your heart. Picture yourself slowly breathing in and slowly breathing out through your heart area.

Doing this technique will help you reduce stress right in the moment, so the next time you find yourself in a difficult situation at work or away from the office, give it a try.

Should you find yourself stressed at work by a difficult boss, have a read of my blog 5 Managers from Hell – which is yours?

Posted by & filed under Blog, Opinion.

What can an employee do to protect themselves? Here are some tips to assist you…

The Explosive Manager

Keep emotions to a minimum and stick to work issues. If your rage-aholic manager shouts at you, don’t shout back. Instead, maintain your professionalism and calmly deal with the situation.

When dealing with an angry or volatile manager, never confront her in an emotionally charged state. Remove yourself from the situation or remain silent. A good breathing technique to reduce your stress levels can be found in this blog How to Manage Stress at Work.

Then in a day or two, book a discussion with your manager on how her angry comments make you feel and affect your productivity. Documenting the incidents, in detail, and report abuse through the proper channels at work.

If your complaint falls on deaf ears, it’s time to look for another job. Staying in an environment with an explosive manager will only wear on your self-esteem and physical health. No job is worth that.

The Absent Manager

These managers are absent either physically or mentally. Unfortunately, in their absence, they often forget about their employees. You might not get the recognition you deserve, be forgotten when it’s time for a review, or just feel as if you are invisible.

With an absentee manager, your communication efforts are vital. You need to be assertive in your requests. Your manager may even be unaware of how her lack of direction impacts you; tell her. Set up periodic meetings, or updates to report on what you’ve accomplished. You must be proactive with this type of manager.

The Moody Manager

On Monday, he may be cheery and jovial. On Tuesday, he may come in quiet and sullen. By Friday, he’s barking orders at everyone he sees.

Resist the temptation to be defensive. Instead of saying, “Why are you treating me this way?” say, “You seem to be having a bad day”. This puts the negative emotion back on him. His moodiness is really about him, not you. Book in a meeting to discuss how his moods affect your work.

Whatever you do, do not suffer in silence: doing so will impact your physical and mental health. Working for someone like this creates a great deal of stress, consider transferring to another department if all your efforts to rectify this situation fails.

The Cowardly Manager

Usually, cowardly managers create a fairly dysfunctional office setting with their lack of leadership. The best way is to work with a cowardly manager, not against them. Ask open-ended questions to get input and write down what your manager says. Report on your accomplishment, based on their suggestions, and say “thanks”, this will help to boost their confidence as a manager. Bring up the success you experienced, in an office meeting, again singing the praises of your manager for their suggestions. This will in turn show you are on their side.

The Oversexed Manager

Sexual advances in the office not only makes for an uncomfortable situation, but it’s also illegal. Treating a subordinate in this way is abusing their position of power – it’s unacceptable. They think you won’t report them for fear of losing your job.

Document incidents from the beginning. Write down the date, time, where it happened and what exactly was said. Report what you’ve documented to HR and your managers supervisor. Always keep what you’ve documented at home, not in your desk at work. If colleagues have experienced the same treatment, and that’s usually the case, go in together. Know your rights, ask for an immediate transfer, or position where your manager won’t be above you any longer.

Managers are Human

We all come to work carrying our own baggage, it’s no different for managers. The key is knowing how to deal with them to protect yourself and your job.

If you find you are dealing with a situation which is affecting your mental or physical health, or general well-being, do what you can to network into another position in a different department, or right out that company’s door. No job is worth jeopardising your health and well-being.

Should things not improve at work, why not get in touch with one of our friendly consultants who will be only too pleased to assist you in finding you the right opportunity.

Posted by & filed under Advice, Uncategorised.

When most people start their job they’re on their best behaviour with their boss, but with the best will in the world, those standards can slip as the months go by. Everyone can get annoyed with their colleagues from time to time, but annoying your boss is a definite no-no.

At the end of the day, your manager can have a big influence on your career, so you want to avoid annoying them as much as possible. To be fair, you might not be aware of some of the niggling things that are really grating on them – so here are five things to avoid.

 

Not responding to emails

The working world is a busy place – especially if you’re working within the property industry which means that emails can be easily forgotten about. But if your manager has sent you an email, make sure you acknowledge it – otherwise, they might think you’re either being rude or you’ve been negligent and forgotten about it.

Your boss will not have the time to chase up emails that you should have replied to. If you’re rushed off your feet and you’ve been sent a task that you won’t be able to do that day, just let your manager know the situation and the time scale that you’ll be able to get the task completed by. This way, everyone knows what is going on and your manager will have no reason to feel frustrated.

 

Not pulling your weight

There are certain duties that most offices have like washing up or making a round of hot drinks. If you’re always the one who sits there and waits to be served, then your manager will probably have taken note of it. No one likes laziness so make sure you get stuck into the daily office routine – you want to show that you’re a team player and don’t mind getting involved.

 

Being too loud

At Cherry Pick People we love a laugh and a giggle but at the end of the day the office is a place of work – so if you keep talking incessantly then you could actually be distracting others from their work, which could really irritate your boss.

 

Moaning

We understand that some days you wake up and everything that could go wrong has gone wrong – you wake up late, burnt your breakfast and get stuck in a long traffic jam on your way to work. However, avoid bringing the rest of the office down with you – a manager’s job is to keep team morale up and if you’re putting a dampener on the office environment then you’re going to get on their nerves.

 

Taking feedback to heart

Constructive criticism can be hard to hear at times because all you want to hear about is the good things you’ve done, but in order for you to progress it’s great to hear both positive and negative feedback.

If you’re defensive to constructive criticism, then your manager is going to wonder whether you’re the right person for the job. So when your boss gives you some points to improve upon, take them on the chin. Your boss will be especially impressed if you turn the negatives into a positive.

 

So there you have it; five things to watch out for that could annoy your manager. If you’ve got any more ideas feel free to comment below.

Posted by & filed under Advice.

5 Things to Avoid if You Want a Pay Rise

So you think you deserve a pay rise and its time to make a visit to your boss and see if this is realistic. However, there are a few things to consider before doing this, so take a look at Cherry Pick People’s tips before asking for that increase in salary.

  1. Don’t ask if you’re not performing well

One of the first and most important considerations is your job performance. Look at your current duties to assess what you are doing to not just achieve your objectives that are expected, but the extras that you accomplish during your daily routine. What do you bring to your company that other people do not? 

  1. Don’t ask for a ridiculous increase

Be realistic; don’t ask for a 50% pay increase. This will only hinder your boss’s view of you and question how seriously you take the job. Do your homework and talk to others in your profession at a comparable level, use salary surveys, speak to specialist recruiters and research roles being advertised that are similar to your own to understand the salary brackets and commission being attributed to them.

  1. Don’t ask if it doesn’t benefit your boss

A pay rise is warranted by the value that you add to the company. Will you carry on at the same level if your salary is increased, or is there something you can offer which will make that increase in pay much more worthwhile? Identify which of your unique skills aren’t being fully utilised in your role. Can you work at a higher capacity? Suggest ways that you can add more value to the company over the next 12 months.

 

  1. Don’t ask if targets are not being met

If your targets aren’t being hit for that month or worse, that year, then don’t make a visit to your manager’s office asking for a raise. Be aware of how your team and the company as a whole are doing, if it isn’t up to scratch, then it is likely that the company will not be in a position to authorise any unnecessary spending in the meantime.

  1. Don’t ask in front of others

This type of conversation should always be private or in an organised meeting, this is not something to drop into casual office chat when your boss is around. Make the time to speak to your manager on a one to one basis, giving you the chance to provide your full thoughts on why you deserve that pay rise, also allowing them to give their own opinions.

To sum up, always be attentive to what’s happening in your organisation before looking to start up a conversation about pay with your boss. Additionally, be aware of how you are performing as an employee to certify perfect timing for such a discussion.

Why not use Cherry Pick People’s brand new Salary Survey to give you an idea of how your salary compares to the rest of the property sector?  Click here

If you would like more advice or a bit of an update on the property market then please contact one of our consultants:

Posted by & filed under Advice, Interview Tips, Opinion, Starting a new Job.

6 reasons why accepting a counter offer is rarely a good idea!  So, you’ve accepted an offer to work for a new company and its time to quit your current job. You do all the right things: give notice, offer to help in the transition, say thanks for the opportunity. But instead of just shaking your hand and wishing you good luck, your boss hits you with a counter offer – one that includes more money, more holiday, and better benefits.

It can be easy for candidates to be dazzled by a hike in salary and commitment from their current employer. However, the chances are your boss has ulterior motives. Employee resignations can hurt a manager’s record. Or, maybe, he or she wants to keep you on long enough to find a replacement. Perhaps it’s their motive because it’s far more cost effective to pay you a bit more than it is to recruit, hire, and train a new employee.

In some instances, accepting a counter offer may be a good move. However, once the dust has settled statistics show that 80% of people either voluntarily leave within 6 months or are let go in a year. We see this first hand, candidates that accept a counter offer from their current employer are active again – more often than not within 6 months.  So before you say yes, consider these reasons why you might want to consider declining.

 

1. If you have previously requested a pay rise and not received one you have to ask where the money is coming from for your counter offer? It is likely this was simply the money allocated for your next bonus or raise, diminishing the true value of the counter offer.

 

2. Don’t forget your original reasons for looking for a new role – if company culture played a part in this a pay rise will only temporarily mask this issue. You also have to question the company ethics if it takes you to tell them you’re leaving to realise how much you’re worth.

 

3. From this point on your employer will question your loyalty – after the initial euphoria at you staying they won’t forget that you came close to jumping ship. Be aware that in months to come this could affect future promotions and potential for progression.

 

4. It’s not just your employers that will change their behaviour towards you but colleagues may see you in a different light and your relationships may suffer – ultimately adding to your workplace unhappiness.

 

5. Going back on an offer you accepted from another company can hamper your impression on the new company as well. Even though the acceptance could just be verbal, it is still viewed as an agreement between you and the new company. If you decide to stay with your current company and things again don’t work for you as promised/expected, you’ve burned a bridge with a company that may have been a much better fit.

 

6. As mentioned above, once the dust has settled statistics show that 80% of people either voluntarily leave within 6 months or are let go in a year. You will be first in the firing line if cutbacks are made as they know that your commitment is not truly there.

 

The advantage of being on board with Cherry Pick People is that we can help you manage this process to get the best outcome and guide you through every step of the way. Feel free to get in touch with Lema for advice on 020 3587 7687 or by emailing lema@cherrypickpeople.com

 

Posted by & filed under Interview Tips.

10 Weirdest Interview Questions

Having worked in Property Recruitment for many years I’ve certainly come across a few quirky individuals who have asked some very random questions – one in particular was “if you were a chocolate bar – what would you be and why?” that was asked by a senior Director of one of our Estate Agency clients!

Of course there is a benefit of asking the standard questions – such as “what are your strengths/weaknesses” and “what was your greatest achievement in your previous job?”

However, I’ve always found that interviews based solely on these types of questions can be as painful for the interviewer as the interviewee! So I think a few off the wall questions can help you learn more about the person you’re interviewing as they won’t have been able to prepare extensively in advance and it gives you a chance to see how people respond to the unexpected! Something particularly important when recruiting for Sales people

Having said that some companies have taken it too far!

Here are the 10 weirdest questions I’ve collated – surprisingly only one is directly from the Property industry?

Here are 10 amusing questions asked by real companies:

  1. Describe the colour yellow to somebody who’s blind. – Asked by Spirit Airlines.
  1. On a scale of 1-10, How weird are you? – Asked by Zappos.
  1. Can you say: `Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper` and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time – Asked by Mastercard.
  1. A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here? – Asked by Clark Construction Group
  1. You are in a dark room with no light. You need matching socks for your interview and you have 19 grey socks and 25 black socks. What are the chances you will get a matching pair? – Asked by Guardsmark.
  1. Is Batman a superhero? – Asked by AlphaSights
  1. Choose a city and estimate how many piano tuners operate a business there – Asked by Google
  1. If I was talking to your best friend, what is one thing they would say you need to work on? – Asked by Apple
  1. Tell me a story – Asked by Celgene
  1. Please bring a toy with you and explain how this reflects you as a person or a part of your personality – Asked by Unknown

I’d love to hear if anyone has heard any others? What’s the weirdest question you have been asked or asked yourself!?!

And if you do happen to be in the market for a new job in the property sector, why not check out our latest opportunities right here.