10 inappropriate questions interviewers need to stop asking!

According to new research, the vast majority of organisations have asked candidates inappropriate and potentially illegal questions during a job interview.

Researchers of the study found that 85% of interviewers have asked questions such as ‘Are you physically fit and healthy’, ‘Have you any plans to start a family’ or ‘Did you grow up outside of the UK’.

All of the above questions are potentially breaching the law, which requires all potential employers to treat candidates fairly.

It’s true though however that many interviewers could be completely unaware that what they think is innocent questioning could be a legal grey area, with 47% saying they have never had official training on what questions to ask in an interview.

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Below are the top 10 inappropriate interview questions that hiring managers have asked:

  • What year did you graduate? (59%)
  • What year were you born? (55%)
  • Do you have any children? (56%)
  • Are you physically fit and healthy? (53%
  • Are you in a relationship or married? (51%)
  • Have you got any plans to start a family? (42%)
  • Where is your accent from? (46%)
  • Will you need flexible time for family life? (46%)
  • Did you grow up outside of the UK? (45%)
  • Will you need time off during half term? (43%)

This highlights the need for training for any person involved in the process of interviewing prospective candidates, so they know what is and isn’t acceptable in the recruitment process.  Ensuring all prospective employees are given a fair and honest opportunity to secure a job based on their skills and ability not their gender, personal choices or maternity/paternity choices.

If you need any HR help, advice or tips on interviewing, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: talent@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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The benefits of hanging out with your colleagues…

For many employees these days their job is no longer seen as separate from their social life. Millennials are set to constitute 50 per cent of the global workforce by 2020 and they are changing the way our jobs function in the process. Socialising with team mates outside of the office has become a desirable part of the job, with work being seen to this generation as a key part of who they are and no longer separate from their personal lives. This shift away from traditional attitudes towards professional environments being a place for all work and no play has meant hanging out with your colleagues is now an ordinary occurrence. Companies need to embrace this cultural shift and ensure they are open to their employees socialising, whilst ensuring they have HR processes in
place to manage the effects this can have upon your business.

So what are the benefits of colleagues socialising with one another? Put simply team socialising helps to boost company morale. Employees want to feel motivated by their work and at ease with their colleagues and so a team that feels happy at work leads to a more productive business. Being part of a friendly, collaborative and supportive company is also going to make it hard for an employee to have their head turned by a competitor, particularly as having an open working culture – not just with regards to their team relationships but towards communication around the goals of the business – helps to give employees a highly-valued sense of purpose.

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Let’s not forget though that a team that decides to spend time socialising with each other might strike a feeling of fear in many employers and HR departments. There is always the potential for colleagues to become too relaxed around one another leading to a lack of focus and possibly a dip in business output. However it’s important for companies to remember that people are at the core of their business and if employees feel comfortable enough with each other to hang out outside of work then this is likely to improve retention levels for the business. Ultimately, if your company is equipped with robust business processes and a comprehensive HR support system for the team, then the benefits of friendly working relationships will always outweigh the negatives.

On a professional level socialising within the team can be confidence boosting for junior members. Mentoring is a fantastic way to bring out the potential in a person and the informal mentorship that can come from having an informal, friendly conversation with a more senior team member shouldn’t be overlooked. Similarly, whilst it’s a delicate balance to strike, managers shouldn’t be too wary of socialising with their teams. The change from a work dynamic can serve to create comradeship and demonstrate their support for an open and supportive company culture.

If you would like to find out how we can help, give HR Revolution a call: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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This article was published in the Recruiting Times on Thursday 26th April https://recruitingtimes.org/opinions/23160/benefits-hanging-colleagues/.

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Holidays over – our back to work survival guide!

Why is it that when children go back to school in September they get about a week’s worth of half days to ‘ease them back in’?  Ok I’m probably exaggerating and I might be a bit bitter (definitely!), but my point is; they get a nice steady transition period to help them adjust to the harsh reality of going back to school. However, workers are faced with the reality of returning to work with no settling in phase!!!.  So if your going back to work with an error 404: ‘brain not found’ message, fear not, I have put together this back to work survival guide to help you get through it.

Be an early bird

If your first day back after a holiday falls on a Monday, then I feel for you, I really do. As if Mondays aren’t bad enough, this is a workers’ worst nightmare. However, I always find that getting up early, eating a proper breakfast then heading off to work early is a good way to set you up for having a productive day.

Also, being in work early before your co-workers descend on you with queries that they’ve been building up whilst you’re away, gives you the chance to acclimatise into work mode. It also means you get the peace and quiet you need to remember your computer password that has completely slipped your mind!

Tackle your emails head on

Inevitably, when you return from annual leave, even if its just one day, you’ll return to email Armageddon (why is it that everyone has questions for you when you’re not there?). First you should scan through and delete anything that is not critical, is that latest 20% off Gap clothing offer really something you need to look at right now. Then, when you’re down to a manageable number read and respond in chronological order. You’ll need some method to the madness or it just will never end! Top tip: when someone responds to your reply, DON’T immediately respond to them. Get through the rest of your remaining unread emails before you start engaging in conversation and get pulled away from your email-ocalypse.

Catch up on the goss

Returning to a busy office with lots to do and lots to catch up on after spending your days relaxing on the beach without a care in the world, can leave you feeling discombobulated. You’ve been ‘out of the loop’ and when it comes to the world of office goings on you’ll have missed a ton of gossip and activity.

Schedule a tea break with your colleagues to catch up on all the news you’ve missed whilst you’ve been away.

Regroup

It’s only natural to return to work after a holiday and feel a bit like workplace deadwood. You’ll be reminiscing about what you were doing this time last week and you’ll be easily distracted and when you’ve got a mountain of things to tackle at work, it’s sometimes really hard to get back into the swing of things and you’ll be struggling to get motivated!

When this happens, regroup and remind yourself of what you’re trying to achieve at work. Giving your work some meaning will give you the boost to get stuck back in. You might be working towards a bonus, promotion or working hard to save for something special. Reassess your goals and see where you’re at with them, plan your next steps in achieving them and crack on and succeed.

Don’t let your holiday spirit be put out

We all get a boost from taking time off of work to relax and recharge, so don’t let returning to the office instantly crush your joie de vivre. Everyone in the office will want to hear you gush over what you got up to, it’s their duty, so revel in it. Show off your holiday pictures, pass round the holiday sweets and keep your holiday spirit alive just a little bit longer.

If you would like to discuss any HR issues, please give HR Revolution a call we’d love to help, call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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Do you really communicate with your colleagues?…

It’s easy to stop and moan about work or discuss a work related project but how often to you ever stop and just have a little chit chat with your work colleagues on a more personal level?

At HR Revolution we like having a bit of office banter, finding out what our colleagues did during their holidays or at the weekend, we think it’s important to remember that we all have interesting lives outside the workplace.  Establishing a conversational comfort level with your colleagues will allow you to talk to them about anything and make it easier to share your ideas.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Be the first to speak. It doesn’t pay to be shy, so just go ahead and ask a question to get the conversation started. They might be pleased that someone has stopped to talk to them.

It’s ok to be nosy, sorry I mean inquisitive! People generally like being asked about themselves, just don’t get too personal or sound like you’re trying to get the dirt, you’re supposed to be having a light hearted conversation.

Be positive,  again it’s meant to be light hearted so don’t drone on about a miserable experience, focus on something good, like a new fantastic restaurant you’ve tried, maybe a new box set that has you hooked (if you’re like me, I love a box set, Game of Thrones, Line of Duty, Walking Dead to name but a few!), this will definitely get them interacting.

Remember to listen in return. If you plan too hard what you are going to say they won’t get a word in edgeways, and next time they won’t bother engaging with you at all. Besides they might have some great ideas you can use too.

Be discreet. They may also be “inquisitive” about you but they don’t really want to know the in’s and out’s of your life’s back story and remember you do have to work with these people so keep some things to yourself!

Know when to draw the conversation to an end. Remember this was a quick chit chat, and shouldn’t detract from your working day, but make sure you end it on a high, maybe with a “we’ll talk about that next time”! which also then lends itself to be an inner for the next one.

I hope this helps and encourages you to talk to each other, communication is a key factor in good relationships and the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Click this link now to download your FREE guide to Communicating Effectively:

HR Revolutions Guide – Are you communicating effectively

If you would like to discuss any HR issues, please give HR Revolution a call we’d love to help, call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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Embarrassing employee workplace gaffes…

I’m sure we all have experienced the uncomfortable feeling of embarrassment that presents itself when least expected, crumbling our confidence and reputation as others observe with pitiful looks and concealed laughter.  Sadly, the worst part is, that the cringe-worthy story has its way of emerging, days, weeks and even years later…

However, even if your trousers have split in front of colleagues or you accidentally overshared with your boss, you can’t be reeling from embarrassment as much as the best man at Pippa Middleton’s wedding is.  Awkward.

However, these come pretty close!!! The Guardian have collated a few of the worst employee workplace blunders… read on if you dare…

Not work safe!

“My best friend had just given birth the weekend before and sent loads of cute baby photos to our group messenger. I was showing my manager the pictures on Monday morning when I swiped one photo too far back and a horrific, pornographic photo involving an obese woman and a lot of bananas captioned “it’s Friday c****, let’s go bananas” popped up.

“Someone had sent it to the group ages ago as a joke and I’d completely forgotten. We both screamed and I started apologising profusely, saying I had no clue what it was doing there as this was my girly school group messenger! It was so cringe-worthy I was completely speechless and we were both completely shocked silent for a couple of hours. After I got a stern talking to about private affairs at work.”

Run for it!

“I was responsible for mixing the chemicals that processed colour slides in a professional photo lab. One afternoon I inadvertently picked up an old version of a chemical and mixed the reaction together. The result was a wall of foam that rose over 6ft high and moved like a tsunami out of the mixing room and into the main room forcing everyone to run for it. Luckily, my boss saw the funny side of it.”

Caution – hot liquids

“At an important meeting with some Board members, a colleague made me a cup of tea. Unbeknownst to me, there was no milk in it. At the start of the meeting I took a big gulp of tea, but clearly without any cold milk the liquid was boiling hot.

“My mouth on fire, I had no option but to spit the tea straight back out onto the carpeted floor. Not only was I embarrassed, but all of my mouth was burnt and swollen. I made a swift exit – fortunately my line manager followed me out and I was able to explain.”

Put it away!

“I was in the lift at work heading down to the canteen with a mug of hot soup. It was lunchtime so the lift was full of people. For some reason the mug slipped from my hand, smashing on the floor and soup was thrown everywhere.  “All over me, over the people next to me and across the floor. In my red-faced embarrassment, I bent down to pick up what was left of the mug. It was at that point my trousers split completely, from my backside to about half way down my leg. The whole lift burst out laughing. Needless to say, I made a quick exit at the next available floor.”

Do you have any embarrassing stories you’d like to share?, HR Revolution would love to hear them, comment below if you dare!!!

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Do your colleagues like you as much as you think?

In all probability the answer to this is no! Very blunt I know, but I am just being honest with you.

In truth we all have bits about us that are completely unlikeable, but we just don’t want to believe it!

Take a look at the top reasons for being disliked in the workplace and ask yourself…  Is that me?

You gossip: and I mean the negative kind. What you don’t realise is that you are venting about someone to the very person they are best friends with. In short, neither of them like you now and they have told everyone else not to trust you!!

You lengthen meetings: with the most ridiculous questions, which in all probability have been answered already if you hadn’t been too busy doodling to notice, or just wanted to make your presence known. Now it’s past going home time you are very unpopular indeed!

You depend on everyone: for every single answer. You have google on your computer, it pretty much knows everything so use it and stop asking me!

You moan: OMG is your cup ever half full? Apparently not, it’s too cold, there are no teabags, you broke a nail, you hate Mondays, the stationery cupboard is too far away, don’t depress the office…

You tell white lies: It wasn’t your idea stop saying it was aaarrggghhh!

You know it all: about everything and you can do my job better than me!!! (even though you don’t know what you are talking about). Get over yourself your insecurity is boring!

You are lazy: and you know it. It’s never your responsibility, so why should you step up to take on extra duties? Well people might like you a bit more if you pulled your weight for one!

You are Little Miss Sunshine: really?! No-one can be that happy all of the time. The lift breaking down when you work on the 15th floor is NOT a good excuse for light exercise! I don’t want a group hug, high fives or to turn my frown upside down… so please go away.

You talk too much: and when I say too much I mean all the time! Now I don’t mind a quick catch up on last night’s TV, but seriously I have work to do and I really am not that interested in Aunt Maud’s bad back. Rein it in a bit hey!

You are always sick: I mean taking every Monday off is a bit suspect, do you really always have something dodgy to eat on a Sunday!?? I’m suspicious and I don’t really like you for it.

You smell: ok sensitive subject but it’s true no-one like to sit with someone who’s got BO or bad breath.

You suck up to your colleagues: all the time. Did you do your hair differently? I like your dress, is it new? Did you lose weight? It’s all rubbish, the boss looks the same as always and you are not getting a promotion.

So if you want to win favour in the office, take an interest in other people, listen to a story they want to share, give the odd compliment and maybe offer to buy the coffee or make one at least!

Even as I wrote this blog I couldn’t help thinking ‘actually I do a bit of all of those’, so I will sign off and go and spray myself with some perfume, make my team a coffee or tea and not moan when there is no milk! and tell my colleague that I did notice her hair cut and I like it!

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

Friday fun HR facts…

We hope that as well as providing our readers with useful HR advice and guidance we offer you some fun HR facts too…  Here at HR Revolution we have never been known as the ‘fun police’!

Here are a few Friday fun facts… enjoy…

  • Nearly a third of the UK’s office workers find their co-workers’ moaning to be one of the biggest annoyances in the workplace.
  • 47% of females refuse to poo at work.
  • 2.16pm is the most common time for workers to feel tired and find it hard to concentrate. This is known as the ‘office slump’.
  • Jobseekers said access to good quality tea or coffee at work outweighed other employee benefits such as subsidised gym memberships and childcare vouchers.
  • Half of British workers would walk out of their dream job in exchange for a free round the world trip.
  • 2.3% of jobseekers have witnessed an interviewer pass wind during the interview.

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How long should you stay in a job?

Ok so we know that a job is not for life anymore, gone are the days where you joined a company from leaving school or university and stayed there until you collected you golden carriage clock!!

So what is the norm now? research shows that in fact, a UK worker will change employer on average every five years but is there a magic number that will make sure that you don’t stop progressing or doesn’t make you look flighty?

Ok so moving jobs every 3 months without extenuating circumstances wouldn’t look good, but most employers would probably look favourably on a prospective employee who had changed roles every three to five years.  What’s important to see, is that candidate has an open attitude and continuous learning approach, driving him/her to embrace new challenges.

Also the size of a company can often be a factor in determining how long a person stays, with a smaller company often offering less opportunity for people to progress than a larger rival.

However, the most influential element driving how often you change jobs is age.   Millennials, those born between 1980 – 1999 have a drastically different outlooks from previous generations who were used to working in large corporate firms and work a set number of years in a particular role before progressing.  Millennials aren’t motivated by the same factors, such as a job for life, but instead good work-life balance and a sense of purpose beyond financial success.

With this in mind, it poses a challenge to companies, as losing employees and their knowledge and having to recruit and retain replacements is costly.  Companies need to be more creative in their ways to retain employees and holding regular chats on career progression is a good place to start.

It’s also important for companies to stay on good terms with departing staff, who may decided to return at a later stage in a different role adding wider experience to their already existing knowledge.

Do you have any issues surrounding recruiting and retaining good employees, HR Revolution can help, give us a call on+44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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Personality traits are NOT an excuse for poor behaviour!

Here in the HR Revolution office we have just undergone the DISC profile training, which is a modern interpretation of Dr. William Marston’s behavioral dimensions; a personal strengths profiling exercise that uncovers four quadrants of behaviour. Once you understand your natural behavioral patterns, it is said that you will find it easier to recognize the right opportunities to achieve the results you desire. These for quadrants are:

D – Dominance  I – Influence  S – Steadiness  C – Compliance

What I personally think the great thing about DISC is, it highlights other people’s personality traits, so you can understand better why they work the way they do, for example why one person might like to have all the facts and figures, while others are just, let’s just get on and worry about the details later…. It turns out we have both in our office which is actually a really good thing as we all fulfill different roles.

Anyway, DISC is a lot more in depth than I can offer in this blog and not the reason for me writing today, but it got me thinking… why is it that people tend to use their personality traits as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour?

How many times have you said “ignore him, you know what he’s like” or “don’t let her get to you, it’s just the way she is” or “why does everything have to revert back to them” and whilst this is true, does it make it ok?? I don’t think so.

I personally like to think that no one person is just one personality type and we are intelligent enough to know how to behave and adapt our styles towards other people.

Here is just one adjective describing a personality trait from each of the above groups: D: direct, I: emotionless, S: easily distracted and C: retreating, and I don’t think any of them are particularly positive (obviously there are lots of happy ones too!). But just because they are ‘part’ of our personality does that mean that’s how we should act? For example just because you are ‘direct’ naturally, does that mean you can use absolutely no tact whatsoever when communicating with colleagues? OR just because you tend to be ‘retreating’ does that mean you should get out of doing the things you are not comfortable with? Of course the answer is absolutely no.

So I guess what I am trying to say is, if we know what we are predominately like rather than using that behaviour as an excuse, why don’t we all try to bring through some of our other personality traits, or just take time to think about how we are being perceived by the recipient… be less blunt, show empathy or be bolder, whatever you feel would work best in that given situation.

Personality traits should be used to benefit you and others, not as an excuse to make people cry or be lazy!  Trust me, I know how difficult it is to adapt your natural behaviour to suit the needs of the situation, as my profile is DS the two most polar opposites!

If you are interested in learning more about DISC or any other personality testing within your business, please get in touch with HR Revolution +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, it may be what you need to get your team working more cohesively together.

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