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Top Career Articles

This Ghana Payroll Software/Solution is The Best For Your Organization

Admin 09/11/2016

Ghana payroll banner

This Payroll Software / Solution Will Transform Your Business into High Flying Business Without Fail!

Are you looking for a suitable payroll solution in Ghana? Are you a small business, big business or medium-sized business? JobHouse in partnership with one of our partners has developed a highly user friendly and adaptable payroll software for all business sizes in Ghana.

Perhaps what makes this payroll system standout is that, it can be run both on a standalone computer and online. Many customers really cherish the “online” ability because of ease of collaboration among key people who can remotely manage the system without the need to physically visit a particular company that might be hosting the software in case of standalone application.

 

Key Features of the Payroll Software – Summary

Both Online and Offline Versions

Employee Details

Income Tax (PAYE) Computation

Social Security Computation

First Tier and Second Tier SSNIT

Provident Fund Computation

Monthly Payroll Generation

Pay Slip for Each Employee

Bank Advice Generation

PAYE (Tax) Calculator

History Log

 

Key Features of the Payroll Software – Details

Both Online and Offline Versions

This payroll management system can be installed on a standalone computer or online. The choice depends totally on client preferences. The system does not become vulnerable because it is put online. The key advantage of the online version is that, key personnel who are authorized to manage the system can easily do so from each person’s computer at their own convenience. No need to queue to enter details of new employees for instance.

Employee Details

In today’s information age, data is key and accurate data, retrivable in a timely and proper format, is a competitive advantage. For each employee, the payroll system takes care of information such as:

Name, Email, Phone Contacts, Next of Kin Names and Contact, Bank Details, Educational Details, Work History, Bio Data etc.

Income Tax (PAYE) Computation

This system has a section where an authorized staff can input the tax rates. In Ghana, the income tax is progressive. This means that, when you earn less, you pay far lesser income tax and when you earn more, you pay far more income tax. The system by default is pre-filled with the tax rates for various income brackets. However, any time there’s a change in the income tax rates, an administrator can just enter the rates and bingo!

Ghana Income Tax Rates
Income Tax Rate Settings Area

The PAYE (Pay As You Earn) is automatically calculatated along with other statutory deductions when payroll is process for a particular month. This makes your work not only easy but it also ensures your organization is compliant with the tax laws of Ghana. With this system, there can’t be any mistakes with your tax calculations. No more complex Excel formulars.

Social Security Computation

The payroll software also has provision for social security. From the new pension regulations, employers must take 5.5% from the employee’s basic salary and also add 13% of the basic and contribute the sum (18.5) to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and any certified private insurance company, First tier and Second Tier respectively.

The good thing about about this system is that, it automatically takes care of the tiers, thus making your work easier. It also takes care of Provident Fund.

 

Monthly Payroll Generation

Each month, an administrator can just click a button to generate payroll for that month. If you make a mistake (in an employee’s basic salary or allowances for example), you can just delete the processed payroll, correct the mistkate and regenerate. So simple!

Pay Slip for Each Employee

Honestly, I used to pitty workers of Ghana Government a lot. As at 2016, their pay slips are still manual. This means that their pay slips are always one month or more late. Some workers don’t get their pay slips at all because maybe it gets missing before it reaches them. Sadly, a lot of employees in Ghana today have the same fate.

This system is different. For each employee, an Employee Account is created. Every employee can then login and view his/her employee record and also view his/her pay slip provided Payroll was generated for that particular monty.

Bank Advice Generation

Bank Advice is the note you send to the bank instructing the bank to do ABC especially in terms of salary payment to a number of staff. This payroll management system automatically generates this report with a click of a button.

PAYE (Tax) Calculator

Perhaps, one of the most important features of this online payroll mangement system is the ability to input arbitrary basic salary and/or all kinds of allowances to estimate how much tax you might be liable to pay. For instance, if you input a basic salary of GHS1300, your income tax will be GHS152.36. Your social security and others also also displayed to you. This helps in forecasting and it could prove very crucial for employers.

History Log

The system also keeps records of all recent activities by each user. This helps to trace who did what and at what time. Since there might be many users of the system at different levels, the History Log feature is very useful.

 

How You Can Get This Payroll Software/Solution

To make things really “cool” for employers and/or HR professionals who might be interested, a demo page has been created for testing before buying. All the features of the system are available for testing online.

There are three levels of user account on the system. Prospects can enter the login details provided for each level at the demo page and thoroughly review the system before making a decision.

Demo URLhttp://hr.demos.jobhouseghana.com/.

Visit this link today and check for yourself. If you like it or want more details, contact us here.

 

Questions:

1. How much is the payroll software/solution?

Ans: It ranges between GHS1000 to GHS2000 one off fee depending on the level of customization.

2. Are there annual fees?

Ans: No and Yes. If the software is setup on a standalone computer, there are no yearly fees for now. However, if it is hosted online there might be charges between GHS400-600 if it is hosted on our servers.

3. What is the guarantee that there will be future support and updates to the software?

There is a whole company behind this payroll software. You can be rest assured, the support and timely updates will be there.

More Questions / Comments, Put Them Below:

 

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8 Great Excel Shortcuts that’ll Make You a Pro

maabena 04/11/2016

excel

Ever find yourself with a case of Excel envy? You watch your co-worker manipulate multiple spreadsheets without even using her mouse, somehow making the practice look like a graceful act while you can’t even figure out how to resize multiple columns. Maybe it’s just me, but when I couldn’t keep up with these people in my last job, I found myself seriously frustrated.

Fortunately for you, the days of searching through forums for Excel hacks is over. Whether you’re a visual person (see below!) or prefer written instructions (which you can see here), there’s no limit to becoming that person everyone else envies.

 

excel-1

Source: Themuse

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5 Awkward Money Convos at Work and How to Handle Them

maabena 02/11/2016

Interviewer + Interviewee 1

My office is dog-friendly, and luckily I have a friendly dog. While I’d love to bring Odie into the office, there’s no easy way to get him there without driving my car into Manhattan and paying for parking (I generally take the subway). I joked with a co-worker that if everyone in the office gave me 50 cents, I could bring Odie in without it costing me a penny.

But that was a joke. Obviously. I could never ask my colleagues to pay for my dog’s office commute! That would be so awkward. And there’s nothing worse than an awkward money conversation. Throw a workplace into the mix, and things get even more uncomfortable. In fact, I know people so worried about speaking up that they’re practically giving away money.

While most people don’t have to worry about the cost of bringing their dog to work, they do have to navigate tricky situations every day.

Here are five that you should 100% feel more confident dealing with:

 

1. Asking to Expense a Low-Cost Item

You sent a client a package. You buy some stamps to send holiday cards to your most valued customers. You pick up wine on your manager’s request for an event your company’s hosting. None of these things cost more than a few dollars. Your bank account will not suffer. You’ll have no trouble paying all of your bills.

But why should you pay for these items? You may not be at company-card level, but that doesn’t mean that all of the little work-associated costs should fall to you. It can feel funny to expense a 10-pack of stamps, but what if you got in the habit of regularly buying stamps for your company with your own money and never got reimbursed? It would add up.

And, even if it’s a one-time thing, there’s still such a thing as principle. So, take a deep breath before making the purchase and ask your boss if you’ll be able to expense this. If she says no, then all you have to say, “OK, well I guess I can grab it this time, but, unfortunately, I can’t make a habit of this type of spending.”

 

2. Declining to Contribute to a Co-worker’s Gift

There’s Jason, going around with the envelope collecting cash from everyone so you can help give his boss, Larry, cigars for his bachelor party. You don’t know Larry well, you don’t work in the same department, and, actually, you didn’t even know he was getting married until now. But Jason’s persistent, “Every dollar helps,” he says with a charming grin.

You consider seeing if you have a single, but then you remember that when you got married, you just got a gift from your team. So instead you say, “Sorry, I have a policy of only contributing to gifts for people on my team.” It’s not about the literal cost—again, we’re back to the principle. If you gave every time someone in your office got married, had a baby, or celebrated a birthday, you’d be broke.

 

3. Asking for an Uneven Split

Lunch with your co-worker’s awesome. You’re both delighted that you finally got out of the office and decided to sit down at a real restaurant for a nicer-than-usual meal. You couldn’t help noticing, though, that what your colleague ordered—the steak frites—was nearly eight bucks more than your own meal.

You never go out for lunch though, and what’s a few dollars you feel yourself asking to avoid sounding stingy. On the other hand, why should you pay for her food? Maybe you even chose the burger because you were comfortable with the weekday lunch price tag. This is a situation when having cash comes in handy so you can just offer what you owe. But, if you’re paying with a card, it’s fine to suggest an uneven split. Say, “I am watching my dollars this month! Mind if I just factor in the cost of my meal plus tax and tip, of course? ”

 

4. Turning Down a Charity or Fundraising Request

You give to charity. You, in fact, have one that you really support and have been contributing to for years. Or, you don’t. Either way, when that email from Betsy goes out to the entire company asking for a contribution for the charity race she’s running, you can go right ahead and ignore it.

If Betsy personally hits you up, you can politely decline. Tell a white lie and say that your charity contributions are all spoken for, or just say, “I’m sorry, I can’t right now. Best of luck.” Your money’s your business, and no one needs an explanation on why you aren’t contributing.

 

5. Following Up on Money You’re Owed

The first time you went for coffee with the co-worker, you didn’t mind treating. “You can get it next time,” you said. The second time came and went, and he didn’t have cash at the cash-only establishment, so you paid again. He promised to “get you back,” but it’s been weeks, and nothing.

You’re reluctant to bring it up because it’s $4 you’re talking about (he, apparently, is partial to the pricier brews), but you’re annoyed every time you think of it, and, frankly, you want your $4. You can buy a small coffee and a donut with it!

Instead of directly asking for the money, suggest a coffee date later in the week. Ping him to remind him that it’s cash-only. Let him buy you the coffee.

There’s probably no world where money won’t cause some anxiety. You don’t want to appear cheap, but you also don’t want to overspend. And you also just don’t want to feel obligated to spend your hard-earned cash. It doesn’t matter if you work in a large or small office or if you have the money or don’t. One thing’s for certain: You manage your money, and with that management role comes power. Use it wisely.

Source: Themuse

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Ten Things Never, Ever To Tell Your Recruiter

maabena 02/11/2016

Interview

Job-seekers are fragile, and they don’t always realize it. They can seek moral support from the wrong sources — including recruiters who are representing them to employers.

I was an HR leader for a long time. I was always surprised at how readily and quickly job applicants would go “into the vault” with me.

They would tell me a lot about themselves, unprompted — even sharing information that would lower their negotiating leverage with my company, like the fact that they were desperate for a new job and would be very flexible on salary.

Of course, my colleagues and I did not use the information job-seekers shared with us to improve our negotiation posture, but lots of companies would.

Job-seekers have to remember that whether a recruiter works for an employer, for an agency or for themselves, they are still on the other side of the negotiation table from you. Whether they are internal or external recruiters, they still get paid by the employer.

Every recruiter works for an employer. They don’t work for you. That’s why there are certain things you cannot tell them!

Here are 10 things never to tell your recruiter, no matter how friendly they are. Why should you keep these information tidbits to yourself? You should keep them to yourself because if you share them, they will weaken your negotiation stance.

 

1. Never tell your recruiter that you have no other current job opportunities. If they ask you which other companies you’re talking with, tell them “As you can understand, that’s confidential. I’m sure your client company isn’t going to share the names of the other candidates they’re interviewing for this job, and I take the same approach.”

2. Never tell the recruiter your financial situation. It’s none of their business. If you know your salary target and you know it’s reasonable, then that is all the financial information you need to share.

3. Never tell the recruiter that you really, really want the job or that the job meets all of your needs. How could sharing that information possibly help you? It can’t — but it can hurt you when it’s time for the employer to extend a job offer.

 

4. Don’t tell your recruiter if you have a spot or blemish on your resume, like the fact that you left a past job under unfriendly circumstances. Tell your best friend anything you want, but don’t start to believe that the recruiter is your new best friend. The recruiter has a financial interest in seeing you hired. That is the key thing to remember.

5. Don’t tell your recruiter that you are desperate to leave your current job or desperate to get hired (if you’re not working now).

 

6. If you get an offer from another firm and you want your recruiter’s client to match or improve upon the offer you received, go ahead and tell the recruiter what you need. Don’t tell the recruiter “Even if your client can come close, that will be enough!” Don’t undervalue yourself.

7. Never tell your recruiter your rock-bottom asking price, because if you do you can expect to get a job offer that matches your rock-bottom requirement to the penny. Tell them your salary target — that is what you deserve to earn!

8. Never tell your recruiter about longer-term plans that might make you a shorter-term employee than the recruiter’s client organization might wish. (Keep in mind that they would lay you off in a New York minute if circumstances required it.) If your plan is to work for two more years and then quit to go to grad school or move cross-country, button your lip. Those plans have nothing to do with your current job search.

 

9. Tell the recruiter if you want to drop out of a recruiting pipeline because the people you meet on your interviews are unqualified, unethical or not smart. If you decide to stay in the recruiting pipeline, keep your thoughts about the capabilities and personalities of the interviewers to yourself.

10. Never tell your recruiter that you’ll be available 24/7 to answer the employer’s questions, share your advice with them or otherwise start working for free before you get the job offer. One screening interview, one interview with your hiring manager and one interview with the hiring manager’s boss is a reasonable interview process. If they want you to meet with additional managers and/or employees at one more meeting and it works for you, that’s great. After a certain point the employer has to step up and make you an offer or begin paying you an hourly consulting rate. Your recruiter, hoping for the commission they’ll receive when you accept an offer, may pressure you to donate extra visits, telephone calls and even project work — don’t do it!

No employer will ever love you more than they love you just before they make you a job offer. If they don’t show you the love at that point, don’t hesitate to walk away. The job itself will not be better than your interviewing process — but if you ignore the signs, it could easily be worse!

Source: Forbes

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3 Questions You’re to Ask Before an Interview

maabena 02/11/2016

job-interview-questions

When I was a recruiter, I was surprised by how infrequently I’d hear from candidates before an interview. I assumed they’d have tons of questions about a variety of different things, and in all honesty, I was prepared to answer a lot of them. And yet, once interviews were scheduled, I didn’t hear from most people until they stepped foot in the building for the first time.

This made no sense to me at first—until a few of my friends explained to me that when there’s a dream job on the line, they assume that the wrong pre-interview question will ruin their chances. If you’re like a lot of my friends and are unsure about what you can and can’t ask, know that these three are not only allowed, but expected.

1. You Can Ask for More Specific Directions to the Office

I’m a firm believer in the fact that if someone isn’t explicit about how to get to the office (or in larger buildings, what to do once you get there), you should be proactive and bring it up. And yet, I know a lot of people who are afraid to ask for additional directions or instructions, even though they understand they’re running the risk of getting lost and being late for the interview. So, if you look the office up on Google and literally can’t find it (this does happen), or know it’s in a big, fancy building with security, don’t be scared to reach out.

How to Ask

Unless you’re meeting with a company that has a huge neon sign glowing from the roof, many offices have unique quirks that can make it tricky to find them. It might be a weird highway exit, or a door that requires a code to get in, or a security desk that’ll take 15 minutes to process you—whatever the case may be, use the template below to get the information you need.

Dear [Hiring Manager],

Thanks so much for scheduling my upcoming interview. I’m excited to speak with you in more detail about the position. In order to be as prepared as possible, I wanted to reach out and ask [what floor your office is on/if there’s a security desk/the best place to park/where the building’s located in the complex].

Best,
[Your Name]

2. You Can Ask Who You’ll Be Meeting With

It’s important to know who you’re meeting in each interview. And not only when it comes to having enough copies of your resume. Part of your pre-interview work should include researching everyone in the room (in a non-creepy way, of course) so that you can come up with relevant questions, understand personalities, and sound as informed as possible.

How to Ask

If you want a little more intel on the people you’ll be meeting with, use this template to make your life a whole lot easier:

Dear [Hiring Manager],

I’m very excited to meet the team during my upcoming interview on [insert date of your interview]. I was wondering if you know who I’ll be meeting with. I’d love to make sure I [have enough copies of my resume for everyone/know their names beforehand].

Thanks in advance!
[Your Name]

3. You Can Ask for Alternate Times to Meet

This is something that should come up as soon as a recruiter proposes a time for you to discuss a job opportunity. However, as clear as I tried to make it when I was recruiting, I could tell that candidates felt uncomfortable telling me that they couldn’t be available at my proposed time. “I can move my schedule around, even if that means canceling every single meeting ever,” they’d say.

The thing is that I always blocked off a couple of times on my calendar for each candidate, so there was plenty of flexibility on my end (and I often wished people knew that!). And unless you’re working with the most disorganized company on the planet, I’m willing to bet the recruiters you’re speaking with are just as reasonable about rescheduling.
How to Ask

Again, if someone proposes a time that just doesn’t work for you, that’s perfectly fine. But if you’re having trouble responding, lean on this email template:

Dear [Hiring Manager],

Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview for [insert role]. Unfortunately I am not available at the time you proposed. However I am free on [insert two or three dates and times that work for you] and can be flexible on [two or three other dates and times during which you can shift other obligations]. Please let me know if any of these times work for you.

Best,
[Your Name]

I get it—the stakes are high when a job is on the line, especially a dream position. However, don’t forget that if you’re being scheduled for an interview, the company’s pretty excited about your application. So while it’s great that you’re taking it so seriously, don’t forget that certain requests before any interview aren’t unreasonable. And unless you’re dealing with the most irrational recruiter on the face of the earth, you won’t offend anyone by speaking up and asking for more information.

Source: Themuse

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The Top 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions

maabena 01/11/2016

Smiling manager interviewing a good looking applicant

Heads up, job seekers. This is the article you’ve been waiting for. Here, you’ll find a list of the 10 most popular questions used by hirers everywhere. Do know that we’re only sharing these interview tips to provide you with an overall guide to what they want to know – it’s not meant to be used as a script. Just think of it as a sample interview questionnaire to help you craft the perfect responses that gets you the job.

1. Tell me something about yourself.

Now, this is a classic used at the start of interviews to break the ice and to get you to give them a good initial run down of who you are and what you can bring to the table.

You should prepare a 2-3 minute presentation that briefly introduces yourself (where you’re from), your personal interests (if they are relevant to the role you’re applying for), your work history, and recent career experience.

Interviewers look out for three things:

  • If you are able to give a brief, sequential summary of your life and career that relates to the job for which you’re interviewing. Don’t ramble on aimlessly on irrelevant nitty gritty details though. If you find yourself at the five minute mark talking about your high school days, you’re already way off the mark.
  • Your conversational style, confidence level, and your ability to organize and present information.
  • An idea of the person you are behind the suit.

2. Why do you want to join this company?

Here’s when they’ll try to find out your motivations for joining the company. Long-time hirers have heard it all before and they’re good at reading between the lines, so think carefully when answering.

First, do your research on the company, its culture and market. Not enough job candidates do enough or any of this which is a real no no!

Second, DON’T give answers such as ‘Oh, because its such a cool place to work! I like your salary and benefits package,’ or ‘My friends are already there and it makes it easier for us to hang out together.’ As exaggerated as these responses, the fact is that similar responses do happen and it’s best you avoid them.

These answers are all self-serving and they do not reveal how your skills and experience deliver what the company needs.

Third, demonstrate to them how you can contribute to the company’s goals and how your skills and experience match their requirements. Use concrete examples such as past work experiences to illustrate this.

3. Why are you looking for a new job?

This may seem like a straightforward question to answer, but look again – it is very easy to slip up here if you are unprepared. Most people seek another job because they are unhappy/unsatisfied with their current employment. But relating anything in a negative light at an interview is in bad form. Most interviewers don’t look so much for the reason you left, but they way you deliver your response. So, always be honest and positive.

Even if you got fired from your last job, try to keep it brief yet honest. If you start ranting on about how your ex boss/company was a terrible employer, they may be thinking, ‘Is he still dealing with bitter or sad feelings, or has he been able to focus his energy on the future and the next position? Does she place total blame on others for her situation or does she accept at least some responsibility for it?’

If you left voluntarily, don’t dwell on the negative reasons for leaving, and focus on how you can contribute better to your new company/role.

Some examples of answers that would work are below.

  • I wanted to move my career in a new direction. (Make sure you mention what this new direction is.)
  • My company was restructuring and I chose to seek better opportunities elsewhere.
  • I want to keep developing new skills but was unable to pursue this in my previous company. I decided to make a change to allow this to happen.

4. What kind of position are you looking for?

Avoid vague answers such as “I want an exciting job” or “I want to grow my skills in this area.” It shows lack of focus and motivation for your career objective. Instead, focus on your desired position and how your skills and experience can help you be an asset within that position. For example, ‘I have a strong ability to communicate and market a product as proven in my two years working as a marketing officer for company X. I believe that I understand the consumer industry and can add value to your company’s marketing efforts.’

5. What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?

This particular interview question is especially tricky and it’s important that you follow our interview tips to succeed. This is a time to be honest, but don’t go to extremes either way. You don’t want to start telling them that you are really terrible at organizing and can never be on time. Neither should you make yourself out to be the next best thing since sliced bread. Instead, be clear and concise about qualities that demonstrate you take responsibility for your work ethic, actions, and experiences learned (or failures) on the job, problem-solving ability, and values.

6. What do you know about our company?

This is where your research can come in handy. It is a way to demonstrate that you are serious about joining the company and was motivated enough to learn about it before the interview. Don’t respond by repeating each and every fact you learnt about the company, because it can seem arrogant and memorized. Do mention its major product, markets and latest development. Keep things positive. Also try to show your eagerness to learn more about the company by asking some questions to the interviewer him/herself.

7. What do you consider your greatest achievements?

Try to mention about 2-3 achievements. This is a way for interviewers to gauge how you managed people/projects/yourself in a successful manner – which can translate into how you may be able to succeed in the company if they hire you. Try to choose a set of achievements that allow you to display a variety of strengths. (ie. A successful event that you set up showing your organizational skills, successfully resolving a situation at work which demonstrates your problem solving skills and delivering an important report under difficult circumstances which shows your ability to handle pressure.)

8. Where do you see yourself one (or five years) from now?

Your response should reflect confidence and drive to reach a level of work that will be rewarded for your success. State realistic expectations and propose a real plan of where you intend to go within the company. Never sound overly confident, fearful or confused.

9. What type of job assignments did you perform in your last job?

Be honest when answering this, even if the tasks performed don’t exactly match those required in the new position. Likewise, you should also take the opportunity to mention any projects you’ve volunteered for, special projects you took on outside your work scope or elected positions held in committees in other past jobs. The key point here is to try to tell them about experience gained in areas that might be relevant to your new position.

10. When you start a new job, how do you establish good relationships with your new colleagues and supervisors?

It is important here to be enthusiastic and positive. Tell them how you worked well with your past colleagues or peers in projects. Networking skills is important so show how you used yours in your past to good stead.

The bottomline is this: be prepared, do your research, and understand the job you are being interviewed for and how your skills, personality and experience match the job’s requirements. Close the interview with questions, pass on your calling card if you have one, thank them for their time and give a firm handshake before smiling and saying good bye.
The first interview is just a lead into the second interview or offer to a job. Not everyone is suited for the job or the company. So don’t be discouraged if you were not offered a position right away. Keep your chin up and your cool, take these interview tips to heart and don’t give up on yourself.

Source: Jobstreet

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9 Underrated Google Tools You’re Missing Out On

maabena 28/10/2016

Google

Obviously you know how to use Google. In fact, I’d bet that it’s the first place you go when you have a question on, hm, anything.

So while I don’t have to sell you on the benefits, I do want to tell you about nine lesser-known gems. They’ll completely change the way you work, interact, and get organized, even if you have the “perfect” system already.

 

1. Sync Your Email Accounts With Gmailify

Do you use Gmail as your go-to account? I sure do. But I also have a few accounts with other providers that I need to check now and then, and I’m guessing you might, too. Now, as long as you’re an Android user, you can do that in Gmail without having to constantly switch apps.

Google calls this “Gmailify-ing” your email, which means you can add an account from another service to your Gmail app so that you can see all your messages on the same interface. And, once you’re set up there, you’ll also have access to that account in the web app, too.

 

2. Work Anywhere With Chrome Remote Desktop

Forget about lugging your computer with you just in case your boss asks about that revenue spreadsheet while you’re away for a weekend. With this, you can get to anything and everything on your computer from any phone, tablet, or even another laptop.

All you have to do is set up the app on your work computer and leave it on. Then, if you need to get to any file on it, just download the app on your device, log in, and the file’s right there. You can even share your computer with the person who’s covering for you to make it even easier.

 

3. Text Easy With Google Allo

If you’re missing out on cool new messaging features because you don’t have an iPhone, you’ll want to try Allo—it works for all devices!

Allo lets you send doodles, gigantic emojis, and text of all sizes. Plus, it learns how you communicate and suggests replies without you having to even start typing. It even gives you a sneak peek into Google Assistant, the company’s new virtual helper.

 

4. Edit Images With Snapseed

This highly-rated (and free!) app is definitely worth checking out if you want a powerful and fun-to-use photo editor.

It lets you make almost every tweak and fix to your pictures that you can imagine. You can let it work its magic with automatic settings, or dig in deep with fine-grained controls, or add text and frames—perfect if you never plan on buying a camera ever.

 

5. Set Goals With Google Calendar

I keep my whole life on my Google Calendar, everything from work meetings to reminders to call my parents. So, I was intrigued when I heard that I could also incorporate goals into my schedule with it.

And Google’s made the whole process both fun and easy—Muse Writer Abby Wolfe can attest to that: “Here’s the best part: The app automatically finds time on your calendar so you don’t have to. But don’t worry—if something comes up, that’s perfectly fine. This feature’s flexible and will accommodate any new meetings you have or adjust if it’s just not the right time.”

Now you can actually accomplish those goals you always talk about.

 

6. Organize Your To-Dos With Google Keep

Google Keep seems like a basic note-taking program, but it has some surprisingly clever features. I enjoy its simple and friendly look that reminds me of colorful sticky notes.

But, the reason I really fall for this app is for its list capabilities. Keep lets you add or remove check boxes, set a reminder based on time or place, and turn unwieldy notes into Google docs—all with just a tap or two. Add to that web access, handwriting, and voice recognition, and this list lover’s pretty much sold!

 

7. Create Outlines With Google Docs

Of course you’ve got the whole create, format, and share thing down when it comes to working with documents. But sometimes a little more organization is called for.

That’s where outlines in Google Docs comes in. You’ll find it as “document outline” in the Tools menu, and, once you select it, it’ll magically take your titles and headings and make an outline in your left-hand sidebar. You can then click on it to navigate through the doc, or just check that you’ve included everything you need.

 

8. Store Photos With Google Photos

This photo gallery app’s been around for a while. But its best features (or even just the fact it’s available for iOS users, too) aren’t always well-known.

My personal favorite is the unlimited storage. While this no-cost option is only for a maximum 16 megapixel photo size, that’s almost sure to be enough for most of your needs. And, with automatic albums and no-tags-needed search, you’ll find the photos you’re looking for quickly. And, once you do, you can quickly edit them right in the app or turn them into movies, collages, GIFs, or panoramas to share.

 

9. Write in Style With Google Fonts

If you have an eye for design, or just can’t stand yet another report formatted with the generic “Arial,” this is for you. It’ll make everything you do online look as amazing as the work you put into it.

With over 800 font families ranging from the playful “Chewy” to the beyond average “Average,” you’re sure to find something to match your style—and they won’t cost you a dime. You can download collections to your computer or add them to Google Docs (either by choosing “More Fonts” in the font list or with the Chrome Extensis extension).

Since you already use Google all day, every day—why not get the most out of it?

Source: Themuse

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Ten Smart Answers To Dumb Interview Questions

maabena 28/10/2016

Interview

It is unfortunate that so many large and small employers are stuck in the past when it comes to their job interviewing processes, but it’s reality and we have to deal with it. Perfectly wonderful managers still often ask job applicants brainless and done-to-death questions because their companies require it.

Here are answers to 10 of the dumbest interview questions still hanging around. Modify the answers below to suit your situation and your voice, and off you go!

 

1. Why Do You Want The Job?

This is a silly question. It’s only a job interview — you don’t necessarily know whether or not you want the job!

If the interviewer assumes that you already know you want the job just because you came to a job interview, shouldn’t they also assume that they already know they want to hire you? It’s a dumb question, but you have to answer it.

Try this answer: “I came to the interview today because I’m very interested in designing traditional and social media PR campaigns. I’d love to hear more about what you’re working on here!”

Any time you can end your answer to an interview question with your own question (or, as in the example above, an invitation for your interviewer to speak) that’s a good thing. As much as possible, your goal is to get the interviewer off the boring, traditional script and into a warm, human conversation.

 

2. With So Many Talented Candidates, Why Should We Hire You?

This is a ridiculous and insulting question, because you will not meet the other candidates for the job, whereas your interviewer (or somebody who works for the company) will.

Sometimes HR people tell me “You’re not supposed to take that question literally! It’s an opportunity for you to talk about your talents,” but that is just as insulting as the original question.

Is the job-seeker the only person in the room who’s expected to dance and prance in order to sell the other party on their worthiness? Is the company going to sell the candidate on taking the job, as well? If you get the feeling that the interviewer wants you to grovel and beg for the job, it might not be the best job for you!

Here’s how you can answer this question: “That’s a great question! Maybe the best way for me to answer is by telling you what I think the job entails and how I’ve handled similar situations before. Will that work?”

When the interviewer says “Sure,” explain what you think the job is all about, and share a Dragon-Slaying Story or two about times in the past when you surmounted similar challenges.

If the interviewer won’t let you answer this goofy question by sharing what you believe the company is dealing with and describing your related experience, you have permission to get up, take off and go find a nice gelato!

 

3. Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?

Which one of us can predict the future? It’s pointless to have a five-year career plan these days apart from the plan “I’m going to keep learning and growing!” because the old-fashioned working world is gone.

We don’t always get to decide how long our jobs will last or where we’ll end up. You can answer this question with “As I look ahead five years I can say that I’m interested in pursuing my love of database design and my passion for data visualization — but that can change, of course! I expect that if I’m alive five years from now, I’ll be exploring a project that interests me with smart and curious people. How about you?”

 

4. What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

With luck we will soon reach the point where employers are desperate enough for talent to stop belittling job applicants with intrusive, impolite questions like this one. For starters, there’s no reason for anyone to believe that people have weaknesses. If you think people have weaknesses, you’re subscribing to a personal belief system, not a law of nature.

Even if we could agree that everybody walks around with weaknesses, why would we think that a complete stranger is entitled to learn what your weaknesses are?

Is the interviewer going to share his or her weaknesses with you? Not likely!

You can answer this question with “My weaknesses? Well, apart from chocolate (ha-ha!) I’m always eager to meet and talk with as many subject matter experts as I can, so I can learn everything I don’t know about any topic, and there’s a lot more to learn — lots to learn about your business here, for instance!”

 

5. Why Have You Been Unemployed So Long?

Tell the story of the great things you’ve been doing since you left your last job. You have nothing to apologize for. If you’ve been taking it easy, that’s fine — you deserve it!

“I left Acme Explosives during the reorganization in April and since then it’s been a whirlwind — I fulfilled a lifelong dream to get dive-certified and I’ve been looking at my next best career move as well, of course. I’m looking at opportunities across our region and it’s been extremely positive and confidence-building to meet so many great people on the job search trail!”

 

 

6. What’s Your Current Or Most Recent Salary?

Don’t give up your current or most recent salary — it’s nobody’s business. Say this instead: “I’m focused on jobs in the $50,000 range for this job search — is this position in that range?”

 

7. Which Other Employers Are You Talking With?

Here’s another question that asks you to give up confidential information. Don’t do it! Say this: “Each one of the employers I’ve met has asked me to keep my interviewing process confidential and of course I’ll keep this conversation confidential, too. I’m learning so much talking with great companies here in town!”

 

8. What Would Your Former Manager Say About You?

Why would anybody consider your former manager such a great authority on you? That’s a very ignorant assumption. You may have quit the job because your boss was an ill-mannered half-wit. Put a happy face on this question and say something like: “She’d say that I brought my best and that our discussions — hers and mine — helped both of us think more deeply about important issues.”

 

9. What Do You Bring To Our Team?

You don’t have to praise yourself in an uncomfortable and unseemly way to answer this foolish question. You can simply say “I’m excited to meet your team members and learn more about them, but for now I can say that I’m likely to add to the database design experience on your team, the project management experience of the group and a passion for helping everybody succeed.”

 

10. How Badly Do You Want The Job?

This question comes from the old-school mindset “The person who wants the job the most is the person to hire.” While I would agree that it’s not a great idea to hire someone who seems to have little interest in the job, I don’t believe that being desperate or begging for the job is a sign of competence in any way.

It’s just the opposite. The more confident someone is, the less they need to beg. The confident person knows they’ll get a job working for somebody. They don’t have to plead their case, and they’re not willing to do that.

If you get the question “How badly do you want the job?” you can say “I’m confident that I can make a positive difference here. That confidence makes me want to learn as much as I can about your situation and to share my background and my perspectives with you. I’m eager to keep talking and see whether we’ve got a match!”

This may be a glancing answer to the question, but here’s the thing: anybody who can form their lips and tongue to say the words “How badly do you want this job?” is unlikely to be an expert in rhetorical analysis.

The person who asks you this question is likely to be a junior-level screening-interviewer rather than anybody who will be part of the hiring decision. If that is not true — if your hiring manager asks you “How badly do you want the job?” for instance — that’s your cue to run!

It’s a new day in the talent marketplace. Smart employers know that great employees don’t grow on trees. Remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you, and keep in mind that only the people who get you, deserve you!

 

Source: Forbes

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3 Stupid Mistakes Smart People Make in Second Interviews

maabena 28/10/2016

Salary negotiation

Congratulations! You’ve made it past the first interview round and the hiring manager wants to bring you in again to speak with more people. It’s all happening now, right?

Sorta.

Yes, you’re moving on and that’s great. But the truth is that a second round isn’t a guarantee that you’re getting the job or even a top contender. And that means you still have to be on top of your game if you want to get to the end of the process with an offer letter in hand.

To put you in a better position to make that a reality, here are a few of the most common mistakes people make in second interviews—with fixes, of course.

 

1. You Don’t Prepare

It’s easy to assume that you can stop researching the company because you’ve made it to this stage. What else is there to know, right? The only thing you have to do in this round is continue being your delightful self. Yes to continue being your delightful self, but no to thinking you’re all set to just waltz into the office. This is definitely a scenario in which the more you know, the better.

How to Fix This

The night before each round, do a quick Google search on the company for press releases or any other updates from the past month or two. Maybe there was an exciting product release or addition to the executive team that hasn’t been included in the “About Us” section quite yet. You should also review the company’s site and social media presence—no matter how comfortable you feel. Because the more you know, the lower the odds you’ll be caught off guard. Not to mention, your new knowledge will make it easier to have a conversation and avoid the question-and-answer format.

 

2. You Start Making Bold Requests

I should preface this by saying that if you’re thirsty or need to use the restroom before an interview, don’t be shy about speaking up. However, I remember all too well from my recruiting days when candidates would ask for all kinds of things before an interview, like one-on-one meetings with executives or a deep dive into company information that was reserved for employees only.

One candidate even showed up three hours early and asked if she could “hang out” at the office before our scheduled meeting.

How to Fix This

Again, there are certain things you’re allowed to ask for. However, when in doubt, avoid asking for anything you don’t need. And in any case, if someone in the office turns your request down, don’t be too upset. After all, you’re still in the middle of the interview process and you’re still being judged by every single person you meet.

 

3. You Get a Little Too Casual in Your Conversations

At this point it may feel like you know a few employees personally—whether that’s a recruiter who keeps setting the meetings up or the hiring manager. And because of that, it’s easy to let your guard down and share details of your life that might not be the definition of “sordid,” but still aren’t the types of things you should be talking about (no matter how relaxed you think the company culture is during an interview).

How to Fix This

This might be hard, especially for those of you who are proud of being an open book (I’m right there with you). But at this stage, remind yourself that this is still an interview, not just a casual meeting with friends to discuss the latest updates on your favorite reality show.

If you have a personal anecdote that you think is relevant to one of your answers, go ahead and share it. But think twice about telling that person about how late you stayed out this weekend because of all of the expensive champagne your friends kept feeding you.

You should be so proud of yourself for making it to this point in the process. However, be mindful of the fact that it is still an interview. While you shouldn’t translate that as “Be as uptight as possible,” you also don’t want to walk in like the job is yours. Instead, be your awesome professional self and you might just get invited to come in again, or better yet, receive an offer letter.

Source: Themuse

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16 Small Ways You Can Improve Your Life in Less than 30 Minutes

maabena 28/10/2016

happy-person

Improving your life doesn’t have to be about making one big gesture. Instead, it’s something you can constantly work on—and it typically comes down to the small things you do every day.

I understand that no one has all the time in the world to think about self-improvement when there’s work and family and bills to pay, so let’s start with just 30 minutes a week.

Yup, that’s all—now I bet you’re listening.

What I’m asking is that you try one (or two, or five, or all) of these activities and see if they help you become a better “you,” whether that means increasing your confidence, reducing your stress, creating deeper relationships, or becoming a healthier individual.

 

1. Achieve Mindfulness

I’m sure you’re so sick of hearing that you should “totally try meditation,” especially from your (recently) yoga-crazed mother. But mindfulness is a lot more realistic to achieve than the kind of meditation you hear about because it doesn’t require years of practice and a yoga mat. And, it only takes 30 minutes (or less!) sitting right at your desk.

 

2. Develop a Consistent Morning Routine

Muse Career Coach Adrian J. Hopkins suggests that the key to having a productive day, and saving yourself time in the morning, is “breaking down every task into small steps, then scheduling everything by starting from the end of the day and working backward.” This means you know exactly what activity you’ll do when from the moment you wake up.

Sounds a bit overwhelming, yes, but the reason it works is because you don’t waste any time trying to decide on things—spending 10 minutes picking out an outfit, spending 15 minutes deciding if you want to go on a run. This way, you limit yourself to small minute increments so that you’ll always be out the house exactly on time.

 

3. Develop a Consistent Bedtime Routine

A happy, healthy morning starts with a killer bedtime routine. There’s no perfect answer for making your own, but the important thing is to make one and stick to it.

For example, every evening I shower, make my lunch for the next day, and spend 10 or so minutes doing something that relaxes me in bed, whether that’s scrolling through social media, reading 15 pages of a book, or talking to my parents on the phone. It’s not always like this, but the consistency helps me fall asleep better and feel prepared to conquer the day ahead.

 

 

4. Re-Do Your Bedroom for a Better Night’s Sleep

Especially when you’re busy or stressed, it can be hard to get your best sleep every night, even with an awesome routine. Instead, try creating a space where you’ll always feel good going to bed by trying out these seven quick DIY projects.

 

5. Find an Energizing Midday Activity That’s Good for You

You probably saw it coming, but just as important as setting a schedule for your mornings and evenings is also having an activity that is guaranteed to bring you out of the worst midday slumps.

Muse writer Lily Herman suggests developing these five habits, or, if you’re a coffee addict, consider these better alternatives to help you recharge.

 

6. Make Your Lunch (and Dinner)

Making your meals every day not only guarantees you have control over your health, but it’s also cheaper and a great way to learn a new skill or experiment with your cooking abilities.

Plus, you get to boast to co-workers when they ask where you got the food. And for some brag-worthy recipes, check out these 52 lunches, or, for the lazy, these quick office snack ideas.

 

7. Then Eat it Away From Your Desk

Muse writer Kat Boogaard learned many valuable lessons after bravely eating lunch away from her desk. For one thing, taking a break is just good for you. But, she also realized the importance of practicing work-life balance all day, rather than just after work was over. By giving yourself that time off during office hours, you’re already one step closer to a healthier, well-balanced life.

 

8. Watch a TED Talk

TED Talks are like a mini-lecture. They just might teach you more about yourself, or inspire you to innovate and carry out that dream you’ve always thought about. Plus, they’re only about 20 minutes—watch one while getting ready for work in the morning, or during your lunch break, or when you’re sitting in a waiting room for a super-quick knowledge boost.

 

9. Listen to a Podcast

Similarly, podcasts are a great on-the-go news source. And a lot of the time they’re just what you need to unwind without completely wasting away in front of the TV (not that I have anything against relaxing that way). I’m a big fan of tackling one podcast during my commute—half of it on the way to work, half on the way back, and the stories always bring out some real emotions. (For reference, my favorites are This American Life and You’re the Expert.)

 

10. Do a Bunch of Little Productive Tasks

I challenge you to set aside 30 minutes and do all those nitty-gritty tasks you’ve been meaning to do, all at once. First, this prevents you from multitasking later on when emails are rushing in while you’re trying to do your work. Second, it forces you to tackle those things that make you cringe—things that, once they’re done, will make your life a heck of a lot easier.

 

11. Get to Know Yourself

What better way to improve your life than by learning all about your strengths and weaknesses and honing in on your best self. To get started, here are 14 free personality test you can take in the next half hour.

 

12. Treat Yourself

How long has it been since you treated yourself to a relaxing massage or a manicure? Well, maybe this is your week to do it. Was there a game you’ve been meaning to download and play? Or, a cool new lunch spot? You deserve it, so go get it (just don’t overdo your 30 minutes of leisure, especially on the job).

 

13. Revisit Your Goals

You probably made some New Year’s resolutions or set monthly goals for yourself (whether on paper or in the back of your mind). Have you followed through on any of them? Are there ones you can get rid of, or alter? Do you feel confident in achieving all of them? Take some time this week to reflect positively on how far you’ve come, and think about where you want to be—and maybe write down the steps you need to take to get there.

 

14. Connect With an Old Friend or New Co-worker

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen or talked to someone, reach out and let them know you’re thinking about them. Maybe even try it the old-fashioned way—sending a physical letter! There’s no doubt snail mail makes anyone’s day. (Isn’t it the worst when you open your mailbox to nothing?)

Or, if you haven’t had a chance to meet a colleague in another department at the office, or a new co-worker who just joined last week, consider meeting up for lunch or coffee. You’ll make a work friend (or, eventually a work wife or husband), and, even better, you’ll build up your network.

 

15. Clean Your Closet

By “closet” I could also mean your desk, your office, your bedroom, or even your kitchen cabinets or dishes. Cleaning is stress-relieving, and actually a form of mindful meditation, according to some studies. So, kill two birds with one stone by reorganizing your space and practicing positive self-awareness.

 

16. Get Outside

Notice how I didn’t say “go to the gym” or “go for a run.” Because, yes, exercise is great. But for most people, including myself, it’s a lot easier said than done.

So, I have another option for you—go outside. Walk around, sit in the park and read, or go for a leisurely bike ride. Just being outdoors is good for you in so many ways. It improves creativity, helps us age better, makes us happier, and, it might actually make you want to work out more (science says so!).

Source: Themuse

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