Toronto +1 647.799.0580
Vancouver  +1 778.200.4990 
recruit@forgerecruitment.com
recruit@forgerecruitment.com

We have been in quarantine for a while now, and I am very much missing my hairdresser right now. My roots and highlight appointment are needed right now. Obviously, this is all for a good cause. I’m hoping that we can all continue to stay disciplined while working from home and that we can work together to flatten this curve.

At the same time, I am also missing my family, friends and my coworkers, and I’m sure a lot of you are in the same boat. So, today I wanted to talk a bit about some tips that can help us in our emotional state of social isolation while working from home.

I don’t know about you, but lately, my days are filled with feelings of frustration, headaches, anxiety, and tired eyes more than ever, from starring at the computer screen all day. I’m finding that there are few things though, that are helping me get through this time, and are helping me to stay sane during these weeks.

  1. Picking up the phone. Instead of sending lengthy, wordy emails to communicate and get your point across, pick up the phone and call who you need to call. Call your co-worker or call your client, and have a friendly chat. You’d be surprised how much better hearing someone else’s voice makes you feel, rather than reading their words over a computer screen. Especially during this time of isolation. Ask them how their day is, how their family is, make a few jokes and take the time to laugh. Not to mention, by making a phone call, you will save a ton of time, and useless emails back and forth, just to get a few simple points across.
  2. Get some fresh air. It’s as simple as opening up a window while you work. The more fresh air you get, the more oxygen you will breathe, which increases the amount of serotonin we inhale (our happy hormone). Taking a break every few hours to go for a short walk outside, is even better. 
  3. The third tip I have for you is to sing! As silly as this sounds, singing releases endorphins, the feel-good chemical in the brain. Because singing requires deep breathing, it draws more oxygen into the blood and causes better circulation. So, this is a natural stress-reducer! So turn up some tunes and belt out your favourite song.
  4. Video calls- I’m sure the majority of our offices are already on the video call trend right now, whether it’s via Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. I’ve actually already seen a few amazing offices hold virtual bingo or trivia nights, and we ourselves have had a virtual happy hour, where we enjoyed drinks, snacks and played virtual Pictionary! These types of fun activities brighten everyone’s day, as we feel purposeful when getting ready in the morning, brushing our hair, or pulling out our favourite wine glass for the video call!

I hope that these tips help you to stay sane and smile during this difficult time. Remember that all things are temporary, and this too shall pass.

Stay safe Forge Followers!

With so much uncertainty out there at the moment and all of our lives being turned upside down, we know that there are many people who are worried about their jobs and whether or not they will even have a job in the coming weeks. 

With this, today I wanted to share with you some tips and things to consider if you are fearing that you may be affected by lay-offs at your work.

Keep focused on your work. 

This is not the time to be going through the motions or embroiling yourself in company gossip. If you have moved to a work from home set-up, make sure you are still being as productive as ever.  Now is not the time to be baking bread in the middle of the day. 

You will want to ensure that you are delivering quality work.  Further, if you see an opportunity to elevate the amount of value you bring to your employers, now is the time to do just that. You need to think, are there any initiatives that you can take, that can help increase revenue for your firm, or any problems you foresee that may come up with a file, which you can possibly get in front of?  If you do take on added work though, MAKE SURE that it does not take away from your main work, and that it will NOT cost your employer extra money. 

In doing all of this, it is also important to make sure that your hard work does not go unnoticed – make sure you mention what you have completed and accomplished.  You may not be the “braggy” type, but in situations like this, now is the time to vocally hammer home your value and your efficiency to your employer. 

Prepare yourself mentally for the worst-case scenario. 

These are challenging times for everyone, and the reality is, you may be affected by a lay-off. Don’t hide from this.  Know that it may be a possibility and prepare accordingly.  Control what you can at work, such as your performance, while also preparing what you can for the worst-case situation.

What does this preparation look like? 

It means updating your LinkedIn profile, re-connecting with other professionals in your line of work – this may be people you previously worked with or people you have never met before, but who work in your industry in your city.  Speak with industry professionals such as recruiters to see what is happening in the market.  What would your plan of attack be? If you have an opportunity to upgrade any of your skills at this time, that will help you in your line of work, do it. 

If you do find yourself in this situation, hopefully these tips will help. Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or any other job searching or interview topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Have you ever been in an interview and asked by the interviewer, “How do you handle stress?”.  If you have, how did you answer it?  Did you stumble? Were you happy with your answer?  If not, not to worry!  Today we’ll be talking about the best way to answer the “How do you handle stress?” interview question!

First, understand why you are being asked the question.  When asking this question, the interviewer wants to know a few things.  One, they want to see what you consider to be stressful. Two, they want to see how you react in stressful situations.  Three, if the role you are interviewing for has a higher than normal level of stress, they want to know if you will be able to succeed in the role. 

So, let’s look at the best way to answer the question.  When answering the question, you will want to provide an example that shows you handling and succeeding in a stressful situation. Keep this example work related. Focus on how you managed the stressful situation.   Don’t focus on the emotions you were feeling in the situation.  Rather, address what the situation was and what steps you took to overcome it.  Be sure to highlight the successful result.   For example, you can talk about juggling competing priorities within a specific deadline.  How did you decide what you did first, second, third?  What was the result?

A few additional tips.  When talking about how you handle stressful situations, be sure not to provide an example where you were the one that created the stressful situation.  For example, if you forgot to mail something out or follow up with a client on an important matter. Don’t say you never experience stress – it sounds fake. And, don’t emphasize the level of stress you felt – acknowledge that you felt stressed and then focus on how you addressed it.

So, these are our tips on how to best answer the stress question during an interview.  Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or any other interview or job searching topics, be sure to contact us. 

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Over the past week, we have had a couple of law firms tell us about their frustrations of having someone accept a position at their firm, only to rescind their acceptance a week prior to starting. 

I can understand the firm’s frustration.  There is a lot of preparation that happens before a new hire joins a firm. Computers are set up, training is coordinated, internal conversations take place, schedules are re-arranged, etc.  Not to mention, after you have accepted your offer, your new firm has stopped considering other applicants.  That means that if you then rescind your offer, the firm has lost out on not only time and money, but also all the other candidates they were considering as those ones have most likely moved on and are off the market. 

But, at the same time, I can understand things from the Candidate’s perspective.  Life happens, people change their minds, and new opportunities arise and ultimately you the candidate, needs to make the best long-term decision for yourself. 

However, the legal community is small, people change firms and you do not want to burn a bridge and have it follow you.  So, how you rescind your offer is important!  If the situation arises, you should:

  1. Let the firm know as soon as you have made up your mind. Don’t wait until the last minute. 
  2. Give the firm the courtesy of knowing why you are rescinding the offer.  Now, you don’t need to get into the specifics of your “Why”, but you should give a reason.  They have just invested time and money preparing for your start.  The firm’s initial reaction will be to see if there is anything they can do to change your mind.  Further, the firm will wonder if it was something about them that caused the change of mind.  Is there anything they need to change moving forward, so this doesn’t happen again? They just need some closure. 

While we are on this topic, we also have candidates sometimes ask us why their new employer wants to know if they have handed in their resignation yet.  They tell us, that they have signed the offer letter, indicating they are coming on board, why does it matter when they resign. 

The firm wants to know you are fully committed to making the move.  Yes, you have signed the offer, but you still need to successfully resign. When you are leaving one job for another, a two-step process is involved.  The firm will want to know this for a) peace of mind, but b) they will also want to know that you are fully committed before investing the time and money in preparing for your start.   

So, if you do need to rescind your acceptance, make sure that at the very least you take these 2 steps. 

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions about this or any other job or interview topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

We often hear about the importance of fit when companies are hiring.  Firms want to hire people that will best fit with their culture and environment.  But, do you the job seeker, ever stop and ask yourself what is the right fit for you?  What firm culture and environment do you want to be a part of?  What firm culture and environment do you think you will succeed best in?

When interviewing with prospective employers, what you’re looking for with regards to fit needs to be top of mind.  Culture fit matters and you will most likely be happier and more successful if there’s a good match.

So, what are some things you can do to best asses your prospective new firm’s culture?  You can:

Further, during your interview, you can ask questions such as:

The answers to this will help give you a better sense of what the firm values and how they treat their people. 

When determining whether or not a firm is the right fit for you, it’s important that you gather as much information as you can. Don’t necessarily make your judgement based on what one person you knew several years back said in passing on the firm.  Everyone is different.  Things change.  And you need to figure out what works best for you.    

Thanks for reading! As always, if you have any questions around this or any other topics, be sure to contact us!

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Talking about your strengths during a job interview seems like an easy thing to do.  Of course, you know all of the things you are good at! Obviously. 

But, are you answering the question properly? 

With this, today we will go over our tips on the best way to approach the Strength question in an interview. 

Often, we hear things like “I’m a hard-worker” or “I’m dedicated”.  These are buzz words that are often overused and only saying that about yourself will be too vague.   

Rather, when you are in an interview and asked to talk about your greatest strength or to talk about one thing you do really well, you need to be addressing a strength of yours that matches up with what is required for in the job you are interviewing for.  For example, if you are interviewing for a busy, high-volume, fast-paced litigation legal assistant role, answering this question with, “I get along with everybody” is not the best answer.  Rather, you would want to focus on multi-tasking skills, working with a sense of urgency and being highly efficient. 

Once you have a strength that aligns with the job, you need to get specific.  You will want to focus your strength and anchor it to a specific example.  If you have not yet seen our video on using examples, you can watch it to get a better understanding of how to best frame your example.  But essentially, your example is unique to you and will help illustrate your strength in action.  The example will provide as evidence to your claim.

Now, do you think of these strengths on the spot?  You can, but I suggest you prepare before your interview.  The best way to approach this is to sit down before your interview and write a list of your skills that match the job description or are needed in the job.  Then narrow down the list to your top 3-5 skills.  For each skill, write a brief example of you putting that skill into action. 

Thanks for reading!  If you would like to discuss further how to best answer the strengths question in an interview, feel free to contact us!

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Have you been there before?  Or maybe you are experiencing the situation now.  You have one person in the office who is a challenge to work with.  Maybe they are controlling, maybe they are a bully, or maybe they are always negative.  What do you do?  How do you handle it?

First, you need to ask yourself the following questions. What kind of interactions do you have with this person?  Is there a way that you can limit your interaction with them?  If you can’t, and you unfortunately must deal with them daily (for example if they work in your group), you need to address the issue.  If not addressed, the situation and the effect it has on you, may spiral out of control.  Therefore, the key is addressing the situation early. 

The next step is to objectively assess the situation.  Are you sure that the other person is really the problem and that you're not overreacting? Have you always experienced difficulty with the same type of person or actions?  Are there others in the office who feel like this about that person as well? 

Once you know that the other person is the problem, you need to speak with the individual directly.  When you confront them, do so in private.  Be pleasant and agreeable as you talk with them and let them know of how their actions are affecting you. They may not be aware of the impact that their words or actions have on you. They may be learning about their impact on you for the first time.

During the discussion, attempt to reach an agreement about positive and supportive actions going forward.

If the issue persists, you will need to escalate the situation.

When you speak with your boss, take notes and address the issue itself – let your boss know how this other person and their behaviour is affecting your productivity and work. Tell your boss exactly what the difficult person does. You need to prepare to talk to your boss. Make a plan to address the issues.  A good boss and supervisor should be able to mediate the situation. 

If all else fails, don’t fret. There is always a chance you may be able to switch groups or departments, to find a more suitable working relationship with others.   

Thanks for reading!  I hope this helped!  If you have any questions about this or any other job searching or career topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Have you ever gone to an interview, answered all of the interviewer’s questions, felt good about how things went, were offered the position, but had no idea what the job was about? 

Yes, you may have read the job description and yes, the interviewer may have told you more about the firm and culture, but you didn’t learn about all the specific details you had hoped to during the interview.   

While you hope that the interviewer will tell you as much as they can about the job, it's important to remember that the onus is on you to get as much information as you can about the position.  You need to ask questions. 

In this market, job offers can come fast.  Interviews tend to be brief.  Often, you are being assessed on your work experience and technical skills.  Many firms may only conduct one interview and if they feel like you can do the job, they will make their hiring decision. 

The last thing you want to do is be in a position of making a career-altering decision, without knowing the details of what you will be doing.  Why does this happen?

Some of the candidates who find themselves in these positions tell us that they felt embarrassed asking the interviewer about the specifics of a role.  They did not want to seem as if they didn’t do their homework.  You need to remember that most job descriptions are quite generic.  You should not feel embarrassed about asking for more information about the role.

Others tell us that they got caught up in the moment, were overcome with excitement and simply forgot to ask.  You need to be self-aware during your interview.  You need to ask yourself, what information do I have about the position and what information do I still need to obtain.  The onus is on you to learn as much as you can about the role in that interview. 

Next time you are in an interview and unsure about the specifics of the position you are interviewing for, ask the interviewer to tell you more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the job. 

When you work with us, not only will we tell you as much as we know about the role, we will also prep you to ask as many questions as you can about the position.  We can also gather more information after your interview and follow up on any questions you may have forgotten to ask. 

Thanks for reading!  I hope this helps.  If you have any questions about this or any other job searching tips, contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Time-management interview questions may seem simple to answer. However, it’s important when giving your answer, you give the interviewer enough of a response that hits on the things they want to hear! With this, today let’s look at the best way to approach this question.

First, why are you being asked the question?

Some of the reasons an interviewer would ask you a time-management question would be because they want to see how well you can meet deadlines, manage your workload and adapt to stressful situations with multiple demanding tasks.
If they are asking the question, it would indicate that the skill will be required for the role you are interviewing for.

Second, how will the question be asked?

When asked this question, you may simply be asked to “tell me about your time-management skills” or “how do you handle competing priorities and tasks?”. Or the question may be disguised like this: “Have you ever missed a deadline? If so, what happened? If not, how do you make sure you’re not falling behind?” or “Have you ever felt overwhelmed at work? What did you do?” In the end, all of these questions want to gauge your time management skills.

Finally, how do we best answer the question?

Your answer will need to be specific and detailed when discussing how you manage your workload. Talk about your normal process for completing tasks and moving from one priority to the next. You will then want to address what you do when an unexpected change occurs – i.e. something urgent and last minute was dropped on your desk – what do you do? How do you adapt?

You will also want to discuss what process you have for working ahead. Or how you break down larger tasks into smaller tasks and how you impose personal deadlines for these smaller tasks.

It will also be important to address work-life balance. Focus your answer on how you give your full effort at work and are completely present while you are on the clock, and that your efficiency allows you to disconnect when you are at home.

Finally, you will also want to use an example that highlights you doing this in practice.

Overall, points you will want to touch upon will include making a to-do list, taking action or separating the important from the urgent and estimating the time and resources needed to complete each task. You will want to avoid anything which suggests that you procrastinate, inability to complete the tasks by their deadline, suggesting you had a meltdown or a poor attitude while completing the tasks.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions around this or any other interview questions, be sure to contact us.

Happy job hunting and good luck!

Our aim, when speaking with prospective candidates is to get a better understanding of what makes them tick.  Their motivations for job searching, motivations for exploring new opportunities and ultimately what it is that will truly attract them to a new job.  For us, understanding this is what will help us best match them to one of the job opportunities we are working on.

However, it is very common for us to hear vague answers, which usually leads me to believe that the person is more motivated by finding something different to their current place of employment, as opposed to something specific which will address the next step in their career and ultimately help lead them to achieve a specific career goal.

Not having a strong understanding of where you want to take your career and lacking career goals, can be a dangerous position to be in. When we don't have a bigger picture of where our career is headed, we often become complacent and directionless. 

Being in such a position can lead us to fall into a career rut.  You may think your job is good, but not great.  You may end up feeling bored, less engaged and you may find that your work begins to suffer. This is something I personally experienced in the past and can tell you that it is not fun.  You feel as if you are simply going through the motions.  When this happened, I knew I needed to make a change and while it was difficult to break out of something that felt so comfortable, I knew it needed to be done. 

If you don’t have a career plan in place, you need to take a step back, gain a broader view of your skills, talents and what is meaningful to you so that you can develop a clear career strategy.

You need to think of your career as a roadmap.  What does your final career destination look like and how are you going to get there? What does the next opportunity, the one that will get you closer to your goal look like, what responsibilities will it give you and what new skills will you acquire in that role? Setting specific timelines for accomplishing these things will help you achieve this.   

Aside from achieving career satisfaction, navigating down a path that will allow you to take on new responsibilities and acquire new skills, will in turn increase the value you bring to your firm, increasing your salary and financial compensation. 

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions around this or any other job searching topic, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

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Toronto +1 647.799.0580
Vancouver  +1 778.200.4990 
recruit@forgerecruitment.com
recruit@forgerecruitment.com
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