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GDPR Best Practice: How to Reduce the Risk of a Data Breach
December 11, 2019

A Tribal Group Blog Posted by Paul Dulle

In recent months, it has become apparent that Universities and Colleges are ‘under attack’ or at risk of data breaches. Both the GDPR and the corresponding UK Data Protection Act (2018) are just two examples of international data breach notification laws that have come into play in recent years. 

The breadth and complexity of these regulations are proving to be a significant challenge for businesses and the ICO (the UK Data Protection regulator) has shown they are not afraid to impose significant sanctions for those who cannot demonstrate compliance.   

While it has taken over a year for any ‘big fine’ to be imposed in the UK, during the last few months we have seen some record-breaking fines announced by the ICO. With Marriott Hotel being fined £99.2m and British Airways being fined £183m, now really is the time to ensure your data is backed-up, and if the dreaded does happen, a plan is in place to maintain business continuity.

Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham stated:

“People’s personal data is just that – personal. When an organisation fails to protect it from loss, damage or theft, it is more than an inconvenience”. “That’s why the law is clear – when you are entrusted with personal data, you must look after it. Those that don’t will face scrutiny from my office to check they have taken appropriate steps to protect fundamental privacy rights.”

The ICO has identified a list of factors that have contributed to breaches:

  • Poor board-level awareness of the risk to the organisation
  • Incomplete or missing corporate records (contracts and policies)
  • Inadequate staff training (important to keep a record)
  • Policies repeatedly not followed (compliance needs embedding)
  • Not understanding supply chain risks
  • Investment in security deferred
  • Poor data governance (particularly in test or product development environments; and in respect of the use of live data for testing)
  • Staff Workarounds compromising security systems because the agreed way of working is not the easiest way of working
  • Obvious misconfiguration of systems leaving them open to long-known vulnerabilities

Since most data breaches are the result of human error, even organisations with the best privacy program and awareness of personal data processing, may experience a breach. We have learned from the GDPR that organisations must not only be accountable, but also be able to demonstrate compliance. This can be broken down into three key activities:

  • Put in place appropriate technical and organizational measures to meet requirements.
  • Ensure compliance of data processing operations is demonstrable including having underlying evidence ready.
  • Ensure technical and organisational measures are reviewed and updated on a regular basis (annually) to ensure compliance with changing legislation and guidance.

If your University or College is GDPR compliant, you will already have a solid foundation for addressing a data breach, however, if you are still in the process of becoming compliant here are some recommendations:

  1. Create a Record of Processing Activity (ROPA): A key element of GDPR is the ability to provide proper documentation to demonstrate compliance (Article 30). A ROPA provides easy access to all information on processing operations so that you can quickly retrieve information when you have a security alert or incident report.
  2. Appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO): The appointment of a DPO is mandatory under the GDPR and other jurisdictions are adopting this requirement. A DPO can act as a first point of contact and internal advisor on how to proceed in the event of a breach.
  3. Conduct (or leverage) your Data Privacy Impact Assessment (DPIA): Conducting or leveraging your DPIA may already reveal risk involved in your processing and include mitigating measures put in place to help you determine if a data breach is reportable.
  4. Keep a data breach register: While not all breaches are reportable to authorities, you do need to keep an internal register of all data breaches and security incidents. Reviewing your data breach register may point to problems within your organization related to lack of awareness, lack of security or simple carelessness in some of the departments.
  5. Document your information assets and your approach to privacy management: By documenting and assigning ownership of the different Information Assets that exist across the college, along with the relevant policies and procedures, decision making processes and business continuity plans, you can create a robust set of information that can be used to assist at the time of the incident and demonstrate responsible privacy management to the ICO and other parties after a breach.
  6. Create a robust business continuity plan: This needs to include both incident management and recovery elements, closely linked to the GDPR notification guidelines. The plan should be rehearsed and available in both hardcopy and electronic formats (in case you experience a ransomware/lock-out situation).  It should also include a call tree (a layered hierarchical communication model used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate recovery, if necessary. This should include internal contacts and external agencies (ICO, Police, National Crime Agency, insurance company etc).
  7. Ensure your operational data is backed-up and secure:  As well as your own backups, Tribal offers a business continuity, backup and disaster recovery service, with two days’ worth of data stored off site, SecureSend transfers and data restoration within four hours.
How do you Attract Millennials to a Business?
December 9, 2019

By 2020, Millennials will account for 35 per cent of the global workforce. Renowned for their propensity for smashed avocado and Instagram, they will soon be the most represented demographic on earth from a professional perspective.

So, what does a typical Millennial look for in a workplace? The modern employee is a different beast to previous decades, no longer motivated purely by the amount of their salary or the size of their company. Money and reputation are certainly still important, but there are other factors at play now.

Work-life balance

The ability to be fulfilled both at and away from work is not only a reality in 2017, it is highly sought after by employees and employers alike. Those at the top of businesses understand that productivity is directly linked with worker happiness and satisfaction, and the flexibility to adjust office hours and work remotely is highly valuable.

Company culture

Clocking out at five on the dot is a thing of the past for many businesses. Workplace culture is a crucial aspect that contributes to employees feeling valued and taking pride in their job. Friday afternoon drinks, celebrating company milestones and mentoring programs are all examples of developing company culture.

Office layout 

The physical nature of workplaces has changed drastically in the last decade, with Millennials renowned for their interest in the design, layout and amenities. Simply being open plan is no longer a distinguishable feature; young professionals are interested in everything from dedicated ‘chill zones’ with ping pong tables and edgy collaboration spaces, to wellbeing facilities and onsite baristas.

Career advancement

There is a perception that Millennials are not as loyal as previous generations given the shift from the old model of spending more than a decade at one organisation. To combat this high-turnover environment, businesses must demonstrate clear pathways for their employees to upskill and develop from a professional perspective.

The Art of Cracking the Interview: A Job Seeker’s Story
November 20, 2019

By Amit Kalra, Guest Contributor.

Until a few months back, the behavioural interview process had proved to be the Achilles’ heel in my professional journey. Being an immigrant to Canada, and new to the process of job hunting in North America, I couldn’t manage to figure out exactly what the hiring managers wanted from me. I had been rigorously applying to positions and I was getting invitations to interviews, but ultimately, I wasn’t chosen as the successful candidate.

Failure after failure to crack the secret of the interview process had created some serious self-doubts about my abilities. Ironically, I experienced so many rejections that the fear of failure ceased to be a concern in my mind. This was the only silver lining to emerge from an otherwise discouraging period.

I realized there was an urgent need for some deep self-reflection. It was during this period of introspection that I discovered things about myself that had been hidden from my conscious mind. I had been making the job search all about ME. I had been approaching interviews with the mindset of, “This is going to be my dream job!” I know now that I should have been asking myself, “How do I become this company’s dream candidate?” Rather than focusing on achieving what wanted, which was to be hired, I realized that I needed to focus my efforts on becoming the candidate that would leave the employer with no doubt that I was the new hire they had to have.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to go through this self-reflection alone. I was blessed to have a wonderful mentor in my career coach at Success Skills Center in Winnipeg. She kept me motivated and on track throughout my journey.

I learned that preparation for an interview is exactly like a deep meditation exercise. If willing to be completely honest, job seekers have the opportunity to uncover answers to the most complicated questions about themselves such as, “Who am I?” and “What’s my purpose?” Theseare the things an interviewer really wants to know.

Instead of cramming to memorize a few repetitive responses, presenting authentic answers to interview questions creates an interesting exchange where one can bring his or her personality, uniqueness, values, and qualities to the table. As job seekers, there are two ways we can approach interview questions: we can present just like the majority of the other candidates, or, we can open up our personality so that the listener is drawn in and becomes a “fan.”

As an old saying wisely states, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” For me, the first step was to arouse the curiosity of the potential employer via my résumé and cover letter in order to secure an interview.

The next step came into play during the interview when I was able to discuss what I would bring to the employer. The job description acted as a guiding path for me; every single word helped to project a picture of the company’s ideal candidate. I took my time and read through each job posting very carefully.

While scrutinizing the posting, experiences and accomplishments from my career history started to form in my mind. I selected the best of my past work and prepared my stories, each with a positive outcome that benefited my employer. The more I practiced, the stronger the connection became between my mind and heart. “Self-bragging” is an art and to make it compelling is part of the preparation that’s required before an interview. Believe me, a fully prepared mind works like a magnet. It doesn’t just attract and hold the attention of the interviewer, but I observed that it seems to go beyond that to enthrall the person.

In a behavioural interview, not only is the interviewer trying to discover how the potential candidate reacts to different situations, he or she is also scrutinizing the candidate’s personality. Among other things, they watch for signs of passion, clarity of thought, positive attitude, and a sense of commitment and responsibility.

Questions like how you acted when you experienced a work conflict or how you handled criticism are not hypothetical ones; vague replies don’t cut it. Answers have to be specific and authentic. No one expects job candidates to be superhumans liked by everyone in the workplace, and who receive only praise and appreciation for work they do. In these interviews I saw the value of my preparation. I was able to deliver specific, relevant answers that directly addressed the questions. My responses were interesting and portrayed a picture of me as someone who was focused and possessed deep self-understanding. It may sound cliché, but the STAR technique worked wonders for me.

In a nutshell, interviewers are human beings just like the rest of us. Their role is to hire a candidate who fits the role and the culture and will make significant contributions to the betterment of the company. So, here is our opportunity to present as the “dream candidate,” showing who we are, what we can do, and what we can be.

I am delighted to report that I now sit on the other side of the table in my role as a Talent Acquisition Advisor for a leading aerospace company. Everything I learned in my own career journey is what I now watch and listen for in the candidates I interview.

To paraphrase part of a speech once made by Mr. Obama; “We are not bound to win, but we are bound to be true. We are not bound to succeed, but we are bound to let whatever light we have shine.”

As an interviewee, I believe that my demonstrations of being a truthful, authentic, prepared candidate who allowed his personality to shine through are what ultimately landed me a job I love.

Hints & Tips: Virtual Meetings
October 30, 2019

While people understandably lament the lack of face-to-face contact and human interaction, it’s impossible to argue against the convenience, speed and low cost of being able to bring together a group of decision-makers without requiring them to travel. 


Issue guidelines to people about what is expected. The same rules apply in a virtual meeting as they do in a face-to-face meeting, with courtesy, respect and all other behaviours equally expected of participants. But just as with live in-room meetings avoid absolutes. 

Establish quiet spaces to hold virtual meetings. If most participants work in an open-plan environment, the ideal place to hold virtual meetings might be in a closed office, rather than distracting the whole floor with the minutiae of one meeting. 

Encourage punctuality. As with physical meetings keeping to a set agenda and managing time will improve productivity and outcomes. Research has shown that about 45 minutes is the ideal length for any meeting. This becomes even more important for virtual meetings as they can be more tiring because attendees may only have audio to go by (rather than being able to also see each other). 

Encourage people to consider their backgrounds and settings when visible on camera. This applies particularly to those who are working from home. There is nothing more distracting than your domestic life intruding in the background (just ask political analyst Robert Kelly about his disastrous BBC appearance). 


Expect too much of the technology. While the tech is now more user friendly it’s not perfect. You can’t just say ‘come in Brussels’ and have the technology understand that and show your Brussels attendees. 

Let people schedule virtual meetings without trying them out. If they were holding a big in-person meeting of course they’d check if the projector was working first. So why should a virtual meeting be any different? People should check the technology (such as the computer, cameras, phones) they plan to use on the day and load up the PowerPoint slides they’re going to show, ideally getting another colleague to check what it looks and sounds like from another office. 

Limit yourself to one vendor. While this makes sense for something like telephone systems (which are physically installed in the building) it doesn’t necessarily make sense for services that are supplied remotely. You may find that a single-vendor solution suits the users that are office based but doesn’t work well for those on the road. Therefore you may not be saving money if your main salesperson can’t bring together a project team for a meeting. 

Share your whole desktop. There is nothing less professional than attendees at a virtual meeting being able to see email notifications with personal subject lines such as ‘you left the kitchen in a mess this morning’ or ‘can you leave early to pick up the kids?’ I’ve personally attended a virtual meeting where the presenter’s internet browsing history was visible to everyone and it did not make him look professional at all. 

By Jonathan Dungan is a marketing executive at 247meeting.com 

Help and Support for Returning to Work
October 22, 2019

Government Equalities Office has published guidance for those looking to return to work following a career break for caring responsibilities, and information for employers wanting to implement a returners programme at their organisation.

Businesses and organisations across the UK face the same issues around addressing the gender pay gap, accessing talented staff, reducing training costs and improving diversity.

There are currently over 1.2 million people in the UK who are out of work for caring responsibilities but would like to return to employment.

Recruiting experienced returners could help employers respond to these business challenges and help people back into work.

Returner programmes are a key priority of the government. The Government Equalities Office has awarded in the region of £1.5 million to sixteen organisations supporting returners in the private sector. They have also launched returner programmes that target key workforces in the public sector, including social workers, health professionals, and police investigators.

Applying for a returner programme

Returning to work after a career break can be challenging. There are a number of dedicated returner programmes that provide training and support to help people back into the workforce in a way that makes sense for them. Individual criteria for each programme will differ but most programmes ask for applicants that have been out of work for a year or more, either on a career break or for caring responsibilities.

Read our Returners Toolkit for advice, tips and support on returning to work.

Share your story

We are interested in hearing from returners who are currently on, or who have completed returner programmes. To share your own story, please email geo.strategiccomms@geo.gov.uk.

Read Returner Yemi’s experience of a returner programme.

Setting up a returner programme

Research shows that setting up a returner programme can have significant benefits for businesses, helping to increase the diversity of staff and expanding the level of experience within an organisation. There are two main routes for employing returners into your organisation:

  • Returnships: fixed-term contracts that cover competitive pay and extra support like training, coaching and mentoring.
  • Supported hires: permanent roles for returners, offering the same additional support such as training, coaching and mentoring.

Guidance on setting up a returners programme

Returner programmes: best practice guide for employers 
This guidance provides a framework for organisations to develop effective returner programmes. It applies to organisations in all sectors and of all sizes.

Returners: an introductory toolkit for employers 
This toolkit describes the benefits of returner programmes, top tips for developing a returner programme, how to attract recruits and case studies.

Returners: The Benefits of Implementing a Returners Programme 
This infographic provides an overview of the benefits of Returner programmes and employment methods.

Adapting your current employment practices

Our evidence shows that making small adjustments to a business’s employment practices can have a significant impact on the number of returners applying to your vacancies. Best practice includes:

  • Advertising your job vacancy as suitable for returners
  • Enhancing and promoting your flexible working policies – including flexible working opportunities to job advertisements

Find further guidance on flexible working practices and the 100 ways to work flexibly campaign.

Hints & Tips on Copyright Law
October 21, 2019

Why do I need to know about it?

In a 24/7, interconnected online world, where we have the ability to share almost anything at a click or swipe, it can be hard to discern the original creator of something. 

This has actually been a problem since 1710, when the first copyright legislation was created. But as the way we create and consume content changes, new challenges are cropping up and the area is arguably more important than ever. 

“Copyright law is important for businesses and individuals because it is a mechanism to help protect individuals’ and businesses’ creative output. If you invest time and effort in creating intellectual property [IP] it is right that you should be able to benefit financially,” states Martyn Freeman, general counsel, BBC Studios. 

“Copyright law, along with trademark law, design law and patent law, protects people and entities who create something,” says Kieron Sharp, CEO of the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). “The purpose of the law is to enable a person to make a profit from a creation – although the creator is entitled to give it away. It is also there to protect the product of a company where its profitability and the livelihoods of the workers depend on selling a unique product.” 

What do I need to know?

Copyright law in the UK is governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. The act has eight fixed categories of ‘works’ that content must fall into to be covered. These are: literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, sound recordings, films, broadcasts, and typographical arrangements. 

While you may think only ‘creative’ organisations need to worry about copyright, these categories actually cover a broad spectrum. “A literary work could be an instruction manual. An artistic work could be a company logo,” says Joshua Marshall, a senior associate in the intellectual property and technology protection and enforcement team at Fieldfisher. 

The law can be a little grey over when something is copied and when it’s been inspired by another work, Marshall adds: “Existing copyright works can be used as inspiration, provided a qualitatively substantial part of the work is not taken. Just because a part of something has been copied, that does not mean copyright has been infringed.” 

The law could soon change, however. The EU’s Copyright Directive, passed in April 2019, is an effort to modernise copyright legislation, prevent piracy and ensure that original creators are paid properly. The UK has two years to comply, so depending on whether Brexit happens as planned we will need to update our laws. 

Regarding proper pay, Time calculated in 2014 how much artists earned from their songs being streamed on Spotify. Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’ earned between $280,000 and $390,000 (£228,397 and £318,125), which sounds substantial. But considering the song was streamed 46.3 million times, that makes each play worth less than a penny. This money could then be split further, depending on whether Swift owns the full copyright to the song (unlikely). 

Regarding illegal content sharing, video hosting platform YouTube is currently embroiled in talks over whether it will be obliged to roll out an upload filter that will catch and block copyright violations. 

When might I be in breach of the law?

You could be creating copyrighted material without knowing it. Written a staff handbook? That’s copyrighted. Designed a poster campaign? Also copyrighted. Unfortunately you probably don’t own that copyright. 

“Copyright law provides that an employer owns the copyright in works produced by its employees during the normal course of their employment. Where this is not the case – for freelancers and contractors for example – the company would usually take an assignment of the copyright in any work produced by those individuals while working under contract,” explains Freeman. 

“Unlike some other IP rights, copyright is an unregistered right meaning it arises automatically on creation of the ‘work’. As a result businesses and individuals create copyright works every day without realising it,” Marshall adds. 

If you work in a creative or innovation-orientated sector competition (and copying) could be rife. “It may be the case that employees within companies rip each other off,” says Sharp. Which could lead to workplace conflict over who actually created something. 

Anything else?

Copyright law will continue to be topical. The Intellectual Property Office is investing in educating the public, including school children, on copyright issues. 

“There are many threats from people who believe copyright is unnecessary and certainly politicians across Europe would like to see copyright law simplified or abandoned,” explains Sharp. “All of us who work in this world would love to see it simplified but it’s difficult to know how to achieve that – by its very nature its bureaucratic. Protection of creations is an absolute necessity and as yet no-one has come up with a better system.”

The article first appeared in HR Magazine News

Questions Managers Should Ask Remote Employees
September 30, 2019

As more employees are working from home or spending days on the road visiting learners and employers, how do you ensure you have the right conversation that homes in on issues that are often unspoken?

Here are 11 questions that you can use to create better dynamics with your remote employees, faster.  Ask these questions when you first start working with any remote employee, or at regular intervals (e.g., every half year), to check in on changes. 

1. What do you like best and least about working remotely?  

Follow-on questions: 

  • What is the high point of a typical day (for example, yesterday)? 
  • What is the low point of a typical day (for example, yesterday)? 

What this question uncovers

Motivation analysis: This question helps you find out what motivates and demotivates your direct reports. Learn more by asking for more context on comments. For example, if they say ‘my high point is getting into a flow state with a project.’  Ask: ‘what creates a flow state for you?’

2. What is your work setup like?  

Follow-on questions:

  • What equipment or process improvements would make things 10% better? 
  • What technology issues have you encountered? 

What this question uncovers

Environment analysis: This question helps you listen for ways to optimize setup and workflow. While doing so, you can also arrange for your remote employee to interview other remote employees from cross-functional departments to learn their setup tips. 

3. What is your daily routine? 

Follow-on questions

  • What do you do to take breaks/ recharge? 
  • Are you able to fully disconnect when on vacation or at the end of the day? 

What this question uncovers

Energy management: Listen for spots to help optimize time boundaries. A big danger for remote employees is burnout since work and life are blended. When working in-person at the office it’s easier to have delineated boundaries for starting and stopping work. 

4. What has your experience been with working remotely in the past? 

Follow-on questions: 

  • What were some challenges in your previous setups?
  • What were some of the learnings you had? 

What this question uncovers

Level of support needed: There is a presumption that working remotely is easy – one simply does what one would normally do, but at a different location. This isn’t true. What we’ve found in our research is that working remotely requires a unique skill set that gets honed with time, including over-communication, clarifying expectations, assertiveness, proactivity, and more. Asking about prior experience with remote work helps you gauge your direct report’s skillsets and determine if more guidance or training is needed to set them up well for success.

5. What challenges do you feel remote workers have compared to those in the office? 

Follow-on questions: 

  • What could make things easier?
  • What benefits/advantages do remote workers have compared to those in the office? 

What this question uncovers

Perception/fairness markers: The human brain is wired to track comparisons between conditions, including in this case in-person vs. remote dynamics. Sometimes remote employees feel more is happening at the office than really is (e.g., team meetings that they are not a part of, benefits they miss out on, etc.). This question helps you surface unspoken issues and re-set expectations if there is a feeling of misbalance. This includes a conversation around perks. The downside of working remotely is getting access to things free snacks or onsite company celebrations, etc, but the positive trade is flexibility, autonomy, no need for a commute, etc.

6. Would you say our meetings are remote-friendly? 

Follow-on questions: 

  • Can you hear and see well? 
  • On a scale from 1-10, how easy is it for you to contribute during a meeting? 

What this question uncovers

Meetings culture: Team meetings are often harder on folks who are dialing in, yet easy to optimize. This question will help you hear, from your remote employee’s perspective, small optimization ideas. As an example, one easy hack LifeLabs Learning has found to quickly improve perceived meeting quality (PMQ) is to have each person in the in-person meeting dial in using their laptop and laptop camera and a jabra mic for the room. With this, all people in the in-person room can speak to each other like normal, but the remote person can see a close-up view of each person who is speaking. 

7. Who do you connect with most often at work? 

Follow-on questions:

  • Which coworkers or departments do you wish you had more connection with? 
  • Who do you go to when you need support or have process suggestions or improvement ideas?

What this question uncovers

Support network: When working remotely, it is harder to make connections, yet an essential brain craving for all humans is to feel like we belong. Asking ‘who do you connect with most often’ and the follow on questions helps you realize if your direct report needs help building out their network. Creating relationship capital for your direct report is easy: you can link them to other people doing similar work, find ways to make their work more visible by creating demos, or set them up for informational interviews with relevant departments. 

8. How do you feel about how often you visit the office? 

Follow-on questions: 

  • Is this the right amount or would you like it to be more or less often? 
  • When you meet with other teammates, do you/ they turn your camera on? 

What this question uncovers

Belonging: This question helps you uncover how your direct report feels about the amount of contact they get and allows you to explain decision criteria around in-person gatherings. Having the right amount of in-person time matters when working from afar. Our research shows that ‘frequency beats length’ when it comes to having contact. What this means is that flying a direct report in for in-person time is important, but having cameras on in order to see each other frequently is even more important.

9. What are some things your prior managers did that you liked? 

Follow-on questions: 

  • What’s something you didn’t like? 
  • What’s something I could do 10% better? 

What this question uncovers

Managerial relationship: This question helps you understand how to work best with your employee. It opens feedback lines by normalizing that your team cares about optimizing work dynamics. It also helps you improve one-on-one meetings for the future. 

10. How consistent are our information systems? 

Follow-on questions: 

  • Which apps do you most use in your daily workflow? When do you use Slack, text, Jira, etc.? When do you feel confused about which systems to use? 
  • Where are we consistent/inconsistent as a team?

What this question uncovers

Communication systems: When working remotely, it is particularly important to know which medium to use for which type of information. This question helps assess confusion spots in the system. 

11. What do you want to learn more about regarding our team or company? 

Follow-on questions: 

  • Has any news surprised you recently? 
  • How included do you feel in team decisions? 

What this question uncovers

Information flow: When working remotely, people sometimes feel out of the loop. This question helps you hear if they feel or are excluded. You can then optimize systems or explain the context.

Article first produced by LifeLabs Learning: LifeLabs provides training for managers, execs, and teams, with a focus on rapid skill acquisition and tipping points: the skills that make the most difference in the workplace. 

30 Behavioural Interview Questions Clients Should Be Ready to Answer
September 10, 2019

Interview prep dictates that clients should have their elevator pitch ready, a few stories polished (for the behavioural interview questions they’ll probably be asked), and a good sense of what they have to offer. So, how do they get there? Lots of practice, ideally aloud.

To help them better prepare for their next interview, here are 30behaviourall interview questions sorted by topic.

Behavioural interview questions require candidates to share examples of specific situations they’ve been in where they had to use certain skills. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the answers “should provide verifiable, concrete evidence as to how a candidate has dealt with issues in the past.” In short, it’s a way to let past work performance prove what they are capable of doing in the future for this potential employer.

Behavioral Interview Questions 1-5


For questions like these, you want a story that illustrates your ability to work with others under challenging circumstances. Think team conflict, difficult project constraints, or clashing personalities.

  1. Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
  2. Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  3. Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?
  4. We all make mistakes we wish we could take back. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
  5. Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do?

Behavioral Interview Questions 6-10

Client-facing Skills

If the role you’re interviewing for works with clients, definitely be ready for one of these. Find an example of a time where you successfully represented your company or team and delivered exceptional customer service.

  1. Describe a time when it was especially important to make a good impression on a client. How did you go about doing so?
  2. Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
  3. Tell me about a time when you made sure a customer was pleased with your service.
  4. Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?
  5. When you’re working with a large number of customers, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. How do you go about prioritizing your customers’ needs?

Behavioural Interview Questions 11-15

Ability to Adapt

Times of turmoil are finally good for something! Think of a recent work crisis you successfully navigated. Even if your navigation didn’t feel successful at the time, find a lesson or silver lining you took from the situation.

  1. Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?
  2. Describe a time when your team or company was undergoing some change. How did that impact you, and how did you adapt?
  3. Tell me about the first job you’ve ever had. What did you do to learn the ropes?
  4. Give me an example of a time when you had to think on your feet in order to delicately extricate yourself from a difficult or awkward situation.
  5. Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?

Behavioral Interview Questions 16-20

Time Management Skills

In other words, get ready to talk about a time you juggled multiple responsibilities, organized it all (perfectly), and completed everything before the deadline.

  1. Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities.
  2. Describe a long-term project that you managed. How did you keep everything moving along in a timely manner?
  3. Sometimes it’s just not possible to get everything on your to-do list done. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?
  4. Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  5. Give me an example of a time you managed numerous responsibilities. How did you handle that?

Behavioral Interview Questions 21-25

Communication Skills

You probably won’t have any trouble thinking of a story for communication questions, since it’s not only part of most jobs; it’s part of everyday life. However, the thing to remember here is to also talk about your thought process or preparation.

  1. Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
  2. Describe a time when you were the resident technical expert. What did you do to make sure everyone was able to understand you?
  3. Tell me about a time when you had to rely on written communication to get your ideas across to your team.
  4. Give me an example of a time when you had to explain something fairly complex to a frustrated client. How did you handle this delicate situation?
  5. Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.

Behavioral Interview Questions 26-30

Motivation and Values

A lot of seemingly random interview questions are actually attempts to learn more about what motivates you. Your response would ideally address this directly even if the question wasn’t explicit about it.

  1. Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.
  2. Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
  3. Tell me about a time when you worked under close supervision or extremely loose supervision. How did you handle that?
  4. Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
  5. Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your work. What could have been done to make it better?
Two Evidence-Based Strategies to Settle Interview Nerves
September 2, 2019

What do you do to calm down before a job interview? Some candidates call their loved ones for emotional support, others rehearse practiced answers, some fidget – the list goes on.

Feeling anxious about job interviews is normal but can be very uncomfortable and unwanted. Consequently, there are many ways that individuals attempt to settle their nerves.

A few years ago, two Canadian psychology researchers from the University of Guelph were interested in how to manage interview worries. The researchers, Amanda Feiler and Deborah Powell, adapted two short interventions commonly used to reduce social anxiety and tested them with a sample of 104 interviewees in Southern Ontario. Study participants were diverse in terms of ethnicity and age, and there was an even split of both unemployed and employed individuals. As the researchers found that both short strategies helped reduce interview anxiety for most individuals in the study, they may also be effective for your clients.

The link between social anxiety and interview anxiety

Candidates often worry that they will accidentally give off the wrong impression to the interviewer. This is because social anxiety can be part of interview anxiety. That is, those who get interview jitters can sometimes worry that they will behave inappropriately, interviewers will not like them or they will be seen as awkward. Since worrying about interacting with others makes up part of interview anxiety, Feiler and Powell theorized that if a strategy worked to reduce social anxiety, it could also help manage interview anxiety. (Of note, since interview anxiety is not a mental illness, the type of social anxiety people experience in interviews is not the same as those diagnosed with social anxiety disorder.)

Those who get anxious around others are vigilant about the way they present themselves; they can overthink the way they look or the way their actions are being perceived by others. Additionally, those who experience worries in social situations can be afraid of receiving negative judgment and criticism. Since the job interview is an important event where jobseekers will be evaluated by others, interviews can be particularly fear-provoking.

Nervous man in a job interview
Strategy 1: A shift in focus

Those who worry about interacting with others tend to focus their attention on themselves, rather than the situation around them. Interestingly, socially anxious individuals tend to see themselves through a third-person perspective, rather than through their own eyes. They can feel as though how they think they look is the way they actuallylook to others. For example, if an anxious job applicant feels unprepared, they may believe the interviewer will absolutely notice their lack of preparation. These worries about how others see them contribute to increased anxiety in the interview.

Worried interviewees can spend an excessive amount of mental effort worrying about the impression they are making. The result? Nervous interviewees could potentially be distracted by imagining what the interviewer is thinking about them, rather than how to answer interview questions effectively.

To shift their attention away from themselves, interviewees can try this short exercise:

 Before the interview begins, take 15 to 20 seconds to close your eyes and imagine yourself in the interview. Then, imagine focusing attention away from yourself to your surroundings. At the time of the interview, try to re-direct your attention to things around you. This could mean being attentive to the interviewer’s voice, features of the room or the meaning of the question. Try to be fully engaged in the interview by focusing only on the reality of your surroundings rather than the “what if?” worries in your head.

Strategy 2: Picture success

An important ingredient for interview success is believing in one’s abilities. Another thought pattern that some anxious interviewees engage in is having a negative belief of how the interview is going or will go. Nervous interviewees may overestimate their likelihood of “failure” in an interview, perhaps saying to themselves: “I wish I had more interview experience” or “This interview is not going well.” Alternatively, worried interviewees may picture themselves in scenarios where they are failing an interview. So, a strategy to change this pattern of thought is to imagine themselves doing the opposite: performing well. By picturing success, jobseekers can counter negative images of failure. Here’s a strategy you can share with your clients:

We have all had moments in life where we felt confident, successful and relaxed. Next time you are in an interview waiting room, try to close your eyes and remember a vivid memory where you experienced these positive feelings. You may want to think about what the situation was, who you were with, what you felt and what the good aspects of the situation were. Try to keep this memory vivid in your mind for as long as you can. You can aim to hold this memory for 15 to 30 seconds. In the interview itself, when you are starting to doubt your abilities, try to recall the memory where you felt successful. If more negative images of yourself start to push into your mind, try to push them back out and reflect again on your past success. 


Feeling nervous about interviews is normal, but interviewees don’t need to suffer through it. Psychology research has shown two ways to help counter those interview-day worries. Best of all, both strategies can be used in the waiting room a few minutes before the interview and during the interview itself. First, interviewees can focus their attention on what is happening around them, rather than on how they are performing. Second, candidates can visualize their success in an interview, rather than imagining failure. With these two simple mental tools in hand, your clients can hopefully gain short-term relief from interview anxiety.

Original Study Citation

Feiler, A. R., & Powell, D. M. (2016). The role of self-focused attention and negative self-thought in interview anxiety: A test of two interventions. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 24, 132-149. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijsa.12136

How to Be Productive When You’re Unemployed
August 28, 2019

Hints & Tips for Your Clients

Do you know what to do when unemployed? Whether you were fired or whether you were laid off due to cutbacks, no doubt you’re reeling internally and trying to find a new direction in a world suddenly gone topsy-turvy.

Once the initial shock wears off and ennui sets in, you’ll need to know what things to do when unemployed and bored in order to keep your productivity high.

Obviously, you know you need to find new work, and here’s how to be productive when you’re unemployed so you can find a new job quickly.

How Do You Stay Busy When Unemployed?

It’s tempting to hide under the covers, binge-watch “Game of Thrones” and ignore your plight. But doing so hardly helps you find new employment. Give yourself two or three days to recover from the shock, then get to work.

Depending on where you live and your personal financial situation, you may have a powerful extrinsic motivation to find new work quickly.

Try to take some time, even if only a morning or afternoon, to reflect on what kind of work you truly desire. If you were feeling burnout at your previous job due to finding your work meaningless, a job loss is a perfect time to switch careers.

Think about what you used to play as when you were a child. Maybe you’ve dreamed of becoming a teacher. If you lack a certificate but have a bachelor’s degree, consider applying for an online or in-person tutoring position. Always fantasized about working with animals? Now is the time to explore a potential career as a veterinary assistant.

Soul-searching definitely makes the list of things to do when unemployed and bored. But how to be productive and work toward getting that new dream job?

How Do You Be Productive When You Don’t Have a Job?

Nearly every job seeker with a computer knows how to upload a CV to a job site and begin sending applications. But in answer to the question, “What to do when unemployed,” more productive means of finding new work exist.

Take every opportunity to attend networking events in the field you wish to apply. Also, call up your friends and let them know you’re looking for work. While you may feel embarrassed to admit you’re unemployed, this is the best way to find out about insider opportunities friends may know about in their fields.

Looking for work is a full-time job, so make yourself a schedule each Sunday for the week ahead. Tackle high-priority activities such as filling out applications for the jobs which interest you most first on your schedule each day. Reserve afternoons or your least productive hours for sending thank you notes, making phone calls and researching new opportunities.

Prepare and rehearse an elevator pitch so you have an instant speech for yourself ready if you come across a prospective employer unexpectedly.

Prepare a job interview ready bag full of CVs, business cards, hand sanitizer and breath mints to avoid arriving unprepared. You’ll have materials ready to go if you meet someone who is looking for staff by chance!

Above all, avoid falling into despair and unhealthy habits. Keep up your exercise routine and continue meal planning even if you need to adjust the menu slightly to account for the loss in income. Take a pass on using alcohol, nicotine or other drugs to dull the pain of losing your job — impairment makes it tougher to find a new post.

Being Unemployed Doesn’t Mean Being Unproductive

Job loss can cause significant distress, but try to look at this as an opportunity to seek something more in line with your passions.

By remaining productive while you’re unemployed, you improve your chances of finding work more quickly.