Work

5 Awesome Questions to Ask at a Job Interview

job-interview-437026_640With hiring managers and recruiters such as Call Centre Jobs in Manchester looking for suitable candidates to fill a wide range of positions, there’s every possibility you could be headhunted for an interview – particularly if you have a LinkedIn profile or use other social media platforms for professional reasons. Sending your CV off to employers is also a great way to land a job but what happens when you come face-to-face with the big boss?

Well, many people are so nervous and focussed on coming across in a positive way that they forget to ask any questions at all about the job in hand. Being inquisitive will not only show your passion for work it’ll help you assess whether the position is right for you, so don’t be afraid to ask the following:

1. What will the job entail?

As the cost of living rises, employees often have no choice but to clock up long hours with nearly a third of all white-collar workers putting in more than 50 hours a week. This is a significant amount of time to spend away from home, so it’s essential to do something you love to avoid work becoming a chore. One of the best ways to see if a job will suit your wants and needs is to ask for a thorough job description during the interview process. That way you’ll get to know the ins and outs of the role and will be able to make an informed decision before signing a new contract.

2. What skills and experiences would make a great candidate?

Want to find out if you’ve the right skills for the job? Then this is a great question to ask. It will give the interviewer the opportunity to explain what they expect from the successful candidate and will act as a springboard for you to talk about your past experiences. If you’ve anything relevant to say that you didn’t cover in your CV or want to elaborate on a certain point, now’s your time to do it. Keep conversation professional, stick to facts and try not to waffle as you want to keep the person interviewing you interested.

3. Is there room for progression?

If you’re bored of your current job and looking for a new and exciting challenge, make sure you don’t go from one dead-end position to another. Find out if there’s room for progression and promotion within the company and ask how the job offered might develop over the coming year. While you don’t want to come across as a money-hungry, step-over-anyone-for-success kind of person, enquiring about the future will show ambition, enthusiasm and a drive to succeed – attributes which are often found in a promising applicant.

4. Will I be working as part of a team?

Teamwork is an important part of many companies, so check out who you’ll be working with and how many people you’ll be looking after if you’re applying for a managerial role. This will give you a better idea of company dynamics and help you to understand what will be expected from you on a daily basis. Often, companies invite people you’ll be working closely with into the interview room, so you might even meet the whole team on the spot. Don’t be shy to ask the people interviewing you about their career prospects and daily tasks as the more you talk, the more you’ll get an idea if the company is right for you.

5. What is your mission?

To achieve job satisfaction, it’s important to believe in what the company are trying to achieve. If you don’t agree with their goals or mission there’s a high chance you won’t give your all to the position, so always find out at the start what the business is all about.
Of course, you might not land your dream job straight away but if you can at least feel passionate about what you’re doing it will help you to feel happier on a daily basis.

Job interviews are as much for you to find a good role as they are for companies to find a good candidate, so keep your questions professional but ask exactly what you need to know.

Personal

Social Media Trends For Bridal Bouquets

bridal flowersIt used to be that brides would plan for their wedding in groups of girls over champagne and wondering where the trends were going next in the pages of a bridal magazine. Now it all happens online. Bouquet trends for brides are as up to the minute as possible because of the Internet and sites like Pinterest.

Years ago, brides mightn’t have identified that the right kind of bouquet design calls for peonies in the place of dahlias. They would also have no idea of the rising acceptance of palm fronds used in the place of ribbons – but thanks to the internet it’s all available instantly. Now brides can look at their favourite celebrity magazine and cherry pick the bouquet arrangement that they most feel suits their style and then ask that it be replicated for their use on their big day.

Trends are also following quickly and there’s a lot of innovation being used by brides who are up to the minute fashionable thanks to Instagram and Pinterest sites making sharing available. You could see spring inspiration in winter thanks to the hemisphere difference in climate, so you can get your bouquet locked in months in advance to ensure you know what’s happening.

Just as an example, this summer a freshly picked and wild arrangement-style was all the rage as seen on social media. We saw brides walking down the aisle with everything from branches and leaves to brightly coloured and lit from within bouquet arrangements – all sourced from social media for the all the rage stuff.

Plus, we saw a cross over from things like bouquet design feeding into the design for the rooms for receptions, with decorative elements like black lighting and centrepiece lanterns weaved around a wildflower arrangement. It was totally possible for brides to work with designers to deliver the outdoors into the inside for their reception, and the results were often stunning. And you guessed it – the whole time any new developments were being blogged about and trended online.

Plus, as times change and seasons shift, so too do brides get onto the next trend as soon as it happens. There’s no limit to what can be achieved with just some brilliant interior lighting and clever floral choices, and you can achieve awesome effects with just a couple of tweaks here and there. Watching favourite style icons online and subscribing to bridal blogs is a great way to stay up to date with everything bridal as it happens.

In terms of innovation, brides have been using everything from eucalyptus to berries, and from succulents to ferns nothing is off limits! People are sourcing images and ideas online and then asking the same of their florist for the wedding. Classic options from the professional florists such as Fresh Flowers will never go out of fashion completely, though there is a lot of wiggle room opening up. For example, trends have seen dahlias and flowers in gold, and chrysanthemums and red blooms making their way into the traditional white domain.

Just as summer brides have blended and matched refined white flowers with delicate green hydrangeas to add coolness and depth to their bouquets, the identical distinctive design in shades of oranges and reds goes a long way to providing warmth to receptions and fall events. Fiddlehead ferns and fall leaves will add depth and shade to any event and have been seen on social media being used to great effect across the world.

With social media you have an endless source of inspiration and trends to follow, so get out there and check what’s happening and use it for yourself!

Home

Home Truths with British Gas

This post was kindly written by my lovely husband for British Gas

Not everyone’s good at DIY.

I remember watching my Dad and Grandads as a lad and thinking “How do they do these things?” while they were hanging doors, building walls and constructing things which, to me, seemed of such great complexity that no one could possibly know how they work.

As I got older, I turned my own hand to doing things around the house. I’d had a little tuition and worked as a builder’s mate for a while as a kid, so I thought it’d be a doddle. I started by putting up shelves and graduated to wallpapering and before I knew it I was brimming with confidence.

When the time came to replace a couple of damaged floor boards in my flat, I was all over it.

“Craftsmen? No need! I’ll pocket the cash and do the job myself,” I thought.

After a bit of prep, hauling up lino and old boards and cutting down the new ones, I was ready to get properly involved. I had the radio blasting and was confidently striding around looking for my tape measure when all of a sudden I toppled forward. I was confused at first. Looking around wondering why I was at eye-level with my cutlery drawer – then it dawned on me what had happened and I braced myself to look down.

Sure enough, I was standing on the top of my downstairs neighbour’s fridge-freezer.

“Hi Sarah!” I said, crouching down.

She didn’t say “Hi” back. She just stood there, mug of tea in hand, in her dressing gown, staring.

After I pulled myself back up into my own kitchen (and thanked my lucky stars that I was wearing underwear underneath my shorts) I made a couple of phone calls, and within 3 hours a builder was downstairs, fixing the ceiling, re-plastering and generally making up for my surprise entrance.

Upstairs, I was happily fitting the new boards. I remembered to roll the lino all the way back this time though, so it didn’t flop forwards and lull me into another false sense of security.

I took a lot from that incident, most notably a lot of ribbing from friends, a couple of whom are professional builders, and a hefty bill for the repairs to my poor neighbour’s ceiling. Thankfully she was a reasonable person and didn’t get too cross over the incident but her cat never looked at me the same again.

The moral of the story – or the moral I gleaned from the story – is that confidence is a great thing, but it can sometimes over rule other, much more helpful feelings. So if you fancy doing some DIY, don’t be afraid…but do be cautious.

British Gas has worked with Channel 4 to share some great stories about people’s relationships with their homes. To celebrate the success of the collection of short films called “Home Truths” – here’s our favourite:

Christmas

Have Yourself an #ebaychristmas

Ebay Christmas 2014There’s nothing better than the joy of giving the perfect gift. This year, ebay.co.uk set out to spread a little Christmas magic across the Britain. For me, a perfect gift isn’t necessarily something shiny and new, it’s something where a lot of thought has been put into it.

This Christmas, my wonderful Husband, who is amazing at buying gifts remembered me mentioning a toy that I really wanted when I was a kid and never got, and has managed to source a fully working version through eBay. When he told me what it was (he may be an incredible gift giver but he’s rubbish at keeping secrets!) I burst into tears – not the sort of reaction you’d get from a random bit of bling and a true sign that he’d put an amazing amount of thought into things.

Every hour 85 games consoles, 53 bikes, 258 smartphones, 99 tablets, 5 teddy bears, 57 board games and 146 sets of Christmas lights are sold on eBay.co.uk. The present that Husband has bought me would probably have been impossible, or at least a whole lot harder, to track down if it weren’t for eBay and I’m sure there have been millions of other treasures bought and sold to the delight of many.

eBay has created a lovely short film to illustrate the magic of giving the perfect gift, which you can watch below:

There’s not much that’s better than seeing the look on someone’s face when they open a gift that you’ve put a lot of thought into and they absolutely love. I wish I was a better gift buyer (and had a bigger budget!) but Husband is actually pretty tricky to buy for so I’m always flapping when it comes to coming up with gift ideas for him. Maybe this year I’ll manage to come up with the perfect thing.

Find your loved ones the perfect gift at http://www.ebay.co.uk/christmas  or Tweet a hint of what you’d like for Christmas with the hashtag #ebaychristmas

Anger · Politics

The Demonisation of Benefits (or How The Conservatives Have Got You Fooled)

Demonisation-of-poor-people-500x330Unless you’ve had your head in the sand for the last 4 years, you should have noticed a spiralling trend in the demonisation of benefit claimants. No longer can you open a newspaper without seeing stories about ‘scumbags’ who refuse to work and yet live in massive houses or drive flash cars and live seemingly luxurious lifestyles, all off of the buck of the hard working British public. There are TV shows on Channel 4 and the BBC, all focussed on ‘Benefits Britain’, showing us just how much claimants are swindling the rest of us and doing a bang up job of turning everyone against people who claim from the State.

Almost daily, I see rants on social media, decrying the state of this country, putting the blame on the shoulders of benefit claimants. Normal, working-class people, turning against people who are down on their luck for no other reason than that they think people on benefits are getting an easy ride. Then, today, I heard this (please listen to the whole clip…)

THIS is the voice of Benefits Britain. An ordinary man, down on his luck because of a shitty economy which was created by corrupt bankers and perpetuated by inept politicians. This man, like the majority of others on benefits, is a product of a poorly managed country, not a lazy grifter who’s trying to do as little as possible for maximum return. This is an able-bodied, 35 year old man who’s bin diving for his dinner, who will spend Christmas alone, cold and hungry with only a radio to keep him company. A man who is TOO PROUD to accept what he perceives as charity. And I defy anyone to listen to that and not feel completely and utterly heartbroken. I know I do.

This isn’t about “why doesn’t he get a job?”. When will people realise; THERE ARE NO JOBS?! Big businesses have been allowed to create ‘zero hour’ contracts which make it look like employment levels have gone down, when in fact all that means is that people are no longer allowed to claim benefits, not earning a wage and living in poverty, whilst supposedly employed in the 10th richest country in the world.

And the WORST part is, the Government have got us all fooled. The TV stations are running shows which turn everyone against benefit claimants, which makes it seem SO justifiable when the people in charge start cutting the already meagre handouts that people are given. The poorest are the hardest hit, with Bedroom Tax taking away from families in need, disabled people forced back into work because otherwise their DLA will be taken away. But no, let’s all feel sorry for Myleene fucking Klass who’s worrying about her London mansion being taxed too heavily.

It’s all so easy to believe the lies; it’s on every newspaper, almost every TV channel. But what you need to remember is this: the papers and TV stations are RUN by people who’s interests are protected by a Tory government. They have friends in high places and it directly benefits them to feed us lies and hyperbole and make us believe that benefit claimants and immigrants are the problem. Being British used to mean banding together in a crisis – it got us through two world wars, yet we’re turning on each other in droves and it’s EXACTLY what the Tories want.

Stop believing the lies. This country is NOT in the state it is in because of impoverished people who are down on their luck, and it’s not simply a case of just ‘doing something about it’. This country is on a downward spiral and we’re blaming all of the wrong people. Let’s look to the bankers who caused the global crash. Let’s look to the MASSIVE companies who aren’t paying their taxes, who are sending all of their operations abroad, who don’t pay a living wage.

Let’s look to the politicians who are dismantling our public services for the DIRECT benefit of themselves and their friends, who are fraudulently claiming expenses, who have several houses in the most expensive areas of our country. Lets look to the landlords who are charging astronomical rents for properties which would be considered slums in other parts of the world. Lets look to the energy companies who are charging rates so high that people WILL die this Christmas because they simply couldn’t afford to stay warm.

GET SOME PERSPECTIVE. STOP BELIEVING THE LIES.

If you’d like to donate to a food bank or homeless charity this Christmas, please visit Shelter or The Trussell Trust. Your local Council should also be able to advise you where you can donate food, clothes, blankets, money or your time.