After my very worst interview ever, I felt so embarrassed, I wrote to apologise afterwards.
I was completely unprepared, studying for a degree part time, drinking a lot with my new uni buddies and just on the right side of 30 – such that I could stay up all night, work, drink and get through what I needed to do. Or so I thought.
End of term was coming so I had been up all night doing a piece of coursework, fuelled by a lot of instant coffee and cigarettes and I filed the work. Just.
Then I showered, got ready and went for the interview. I desperately tried to gen up on the company in a cab on the way. But the internet wouldn’t load and I couldn’t get anything on my phone about them. I went in with nothing, hoping I could talk my way out of it.
So I’m in the interview giving them platitudes and very generic answers. I could clearly see they weren’t landing.
Then I got the “Why do you want to work for us?” cue, generic answer from me and the interviewer rightly interrupted me, “No but why do you want to work with us?” Reader, I had nothing to say. And actually now as an interviewer, this is probably the question I take most personally when I find a candidate is unprepared. That interview ended pretty abruptly and, like I said in the intro, I wrote to apologise afterwards. Cringe.
Nerves have been a big issue for me in the past, and I am not a natural at small talk. One interview I had saw the interviewer say that she found it hard to keep the interview going because there was no small talk. I have a different view on this quite honestly, as an interviewer I am mindful that people might be nervous and I try to help them relax with a few easy small talk questions but you can’t expect the same from all interviewers.
I’ve had one lady not even smile whilst her colleague interviewed me and she didn’t have one single question for me.
I’ve got a job before because the interviewer liked an image I put together for a mini project. I got a job at a very crap company after just one interview…
So what’s the point of this blog? A few recommendations:
Prepare – be able to talk passionately about why you want to work there. Find out as much as you can about the company, culture, expectations, products, competitors, customers…
Be able to relate those findings to your skills – it’s not enough to know everything about them, much more useful to also be able to say how you could help them and highlight the skills you have which might be unique to you
Have some small talk – interviewers can be nervous sometimes – I remember trying to impress a new boss and properly grilled a candidate so much so he nudged me and showed me his notepad – “haven’t you grilled er enough yet?” Awkward! Sometimes interviewers don’t know what they’re doing, don’t make great decisions and don’t enjoy interviewing
On that note, try not to take things too personally. The interviewed me and said I didn’t have small talk was outside smoking and gossiping for a full hour before my interview – at about 3-4 in the afternoon. I know this because I sat in a nearby pub preparing.
Sometimes it’s not your time or a business is not a good fit for you. Move on, keep trying and you will find something that is a good fit.
News today that brought joy to my sad little heart: the East West Market in Vancouver is using shame to prompt people to bring their own bags instead of using dirty polluting plastic bags. Hoping that bags saying things like “Wart Ointment Wholesale” or “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium” will encourage people to bring their own bags.
So we thought we’d have some fun.
What would you put on your bags of shame to stop people taking single use plastic bags?
Use the hashtag #bagsofshame and tag @climate_jobs on insta.
“The longer carbon emissions continue to rise, the harder and more costly will be the necessary eventual adjustment to net-zero carbon emissions.” Bob Dudley, CEO, BP
Despite a 14.5% growth in the renewables industry, the equivalent of an additional 400 million combustion engine cars was emitted last year.
The Guardian reports the news that carbon emissions from the energy industry rose in 2018. In an ironic twist – if you like your irony sandwiched between bad news – emissions have risen as society struggles to deal with unusual and unexpected temperature fluctuations brought about by climate change. much of the rise was located in China, India and the USA. The stats, which feature in a recent BP report, are a reminder that we don’t talk often enough about the unexpected consequences of the climate crisis.
Global temperature fluctuations mean far more than whether or not we are able to stay warm or cool. They threaten the very fabric that societies are based on. Most major cities are near ports: be they attached to rivers or sea, flooding is a clear and present danger. Most crop growth depends on pollinators – their struggle isn’t necessarily a direct result of climate change as much as it is pesticides but they should act as a reminder about the importance of balance within the eco system.
Last time I checked most major pension funds were invested in polluting industry and/or infrastructure at risk from floods. You can invest in solar and wind power but how stable are those projects in a flooding scenario? What about your house?
We cannot afford to let emissions go up. Never mind climate change, who amongst us wants to continue to breathe in the toxic air which results from our propensity to burn stuff?
One of the report’s authors, BPs chief economist, Spencer Dale has this to say, “At a time when society is increasingly concerned about climate change and the need for action energy demand and emissions are growing at their fastest rate for years.”
Think about it. When oil giants are warning you about climate change, something has gone wrong. BP calls for growth in natural gas, I remain unconvinced since they have vast reserves and a switch from coal to gas would suit them.
You want to get a job in an ethical industry, and you want to help mitigate climate change. Easy, right? But how can you be sure that the company you’re interviewing at is a good fit for you? In the continuum of ethics in business, it’s hard to know whether you’re doing the right thing, and it’s hard to know whether the organisation you’re interviewing at is right for you.
So, we created this scoresheet which you can use to see whether an organisation is a good fit.
We’ve broken policies down into groups – obviously, not everything will be relevant but it’s worth asking these questions. We have gone into much more detail than you might want to at interview, but it is up to you how many of these questions you ask.
CDP today, 4th June have reported the gains of realising climate change related business opportunities at around US$2.1 trillion and would be around 7 times more lucrative than the cost of achieving them which came in at around $311 billion.
The report identifies the potential sources of new revenue “Companies in the financial sector see the most potential revenue (USD$1.2 trillion) from potential new sustainable products & services, followed by manufacturing ($338 billion), services ($149 billion), fossil fuels ($141 billion) and the food, beverage & agriculture industries ($106 billion).”
That being said, the risk was concentrated in the financial sector too. With an estimated US$1 trillion at risk due to climate change with many businesses expecting to feel the pinch within the next 5-years.
Added costs include impact from climate change, changing weather patterns and increases in natural catastrophes, increased cost of carbon pricing and other policy-related charges. Stranded assets – assets which companies currently report on balance sheets but which they might not be in a position to develop or whose economics would no longer work – such as new oil operations are estimated at $250 billion.
Nicolette Bartlett, Director of Climate Change, CDP commented, “The goalposts for climate action have never been clearer for companies. Our analysis shows that there are a multitude of risks posed by climate change, including impaired assets, market changes and physical damages from climate impact, as well as tangible impacts to business bottom lines.
The report goes on to say, “Following the recommendations of the UN’s IPCC report, our collective response to climate change is more urgent than ever, and it is clear that corporate action cannot be delayed. So it is hugely encouraging that companies are reporting that the potential value of climate opportunities far outweigh the costs of investing in the transition.”
“However, while our research shows that financial organizations see the most opportunities and value at risk from climate change, a more concerning story may sit behind this statistic. It is likely that this growing awareness is partly caused by the increased scrutiny of regulators and stakeholders. And the potential gaps in awareness and disclosure elsewhere in the economy present real risks. Regulators and investors should take note, and all companies from all industries need to step up.”
The scope of the report includes almost 7,000 companies who report data to CDP and a 500-company sample of the largest companies by market capitalisation.
What do we mean by panic-working? You may well have seen this chart before. It’s called the The Eisenhower Decision Matrix and it’s designed to stop people working in panic-mode and to start working strategically on tasks which are beneficial to your future. It’s also often called the Urgent-Important Matrix.
It goes like this:
1 URGENT AND IMPORTANT
2 IMPORTANT BUT NOT URGENT
3 NOT IMPORTANT AND URGENT
4 NEITHER IMPORTANT NOR URGENT
Quadrant 1 is what I call the “tail wags the dog” quadrant. You end up being dictated to by circumstance and other people. You’re chasing your tail, trying to keep up, solving problems (and everything’s a problem) and items trickle through from quadrant two when you least expect it because you take your eyes off quadrant two, when this is your most important area – I will get onto quadrant two later but now onto box 3.
Quadrant 3 is the stuff you have to get out of the way. It’s not adding value to you and it might not be adding value to anyone! Items in this quadrant include: interruptions (and life is plagued with these), meetings but also your own ability to minimise distractions and really focus on what has to be done now. I mean NOW.
Tips for managing other people’s requests in this quadrant:
Learn how to say no (nicely)
“Happy to help but I’m in the middle of… let me come back to you, drop me an email to remind me”
“That’s something I’d like to look at in more detail, I’m in the middle of… I’ll come back to you in …. hours/days/weeks”
“That’s a great question, I’m in the middle of something now, why don’t you make a start on the email/copy/research and I’ll check in with you in….hours/days/weeks”
Manage yourself in this quadrant:
I highly recommend having an ideas stash on paper or digitally where you can store ideas that will take you away from where you are now but that you really want to look into later. In his book, “Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality”, Scott Belsky calls this a backburner list.
Quadrant 4 well why would you do work which was neither important nor urgent? Seriously. If it’s genuinely neither of those things, then put it in the “someday it might happen” pile and get on with your life.
“Thank you for your email. I am currently out of office on vacation. Your message will be deleted in the order in which it was received upon my return” The best out of office message I ever received, I can’t remember from whom…
“What about Quadrant 2?!”, I hear you ask.
Work in this space. Like, really werk! Do it, do it often and try to spend as much time in this quadrant as you can. This is where you set yourself up for future success so, for example, it might be things like:
Understanding what’s on your calendar for the year and starting to plan now, even though you haven’t started working on your next project
Making a list of early actions you can take on a future project
Spending some time last thing on a Friday looking at the following week and booking in time to get the important things done first
Blocking off some time to make healthy packed lunches or exercise which will hopefully keep you healthier, more energised and more able to work effectively
Understanding your how senior peers got there and what you could do differently
Sending your contacts a note with interesting news you know is relevant to their work
Joining a networking community so that you can build a network of your own