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Who would you have in your zombie-slaying team?

Who would you have in your zombie-slaying team?

Source Sources the 10 Weirdest Interview Questions

A research piece by creative communications recruiter, Source, has come up with the ten weirdest interview questions that their candidates have ever been asked.

The increasing prevalence of these difficult questions has led to Source having to brief its candidates on how to deal with them before putting applicants forward to interviews. The job market is getting ever more competitive and, with over 2.5 million people out of work[i], there is now a huge pool of talent for companies to choose from.

With budgets tight, organisations are ensuring sure that they minimise upheaval by employing staff that fit well within the company, so that they stay for the long haul. This means that interviews are focusing more on a candidate’s personality rather than skills.

Another problem is that employers are struggling to differentiate between similarly qualified applicants. With the majority of candidates having degrees and the average academic grades soaring, education is no longer the litmus test it once was.

At a senior level, this isn’t so much of a problem, as candidates can be judged on their experience, however at junior or entry levels, employers have had to come up with new and innovative ways to decide between potential employees.

The difficult questions they are asking are as much designed to throw an interviewee as test them and, to give you an idea of what to expect, Source has scoured its candidate database to gather the weirdest ones:

Zombies have invaded the earth and the survival of the human race depends on you and your crack zombie-slaying team. You’re allowed six people, alive, dead or fictional – who would those people be and why?

Why are manhole covers generally round?

How would you explain social media in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew?

How would you design a spice rack for a deaf-blind person who couldn’t read Braille?

If you were a miniature person trapped in a bowl of salad, how would you escape?

How much would you charge to wash all the windows in London?

What would your epitaph be?

How do you rob a bank?

I am going to give you a CV to review, please look at it and tell me what you think I should be worried about, with regards to this candidate’s skills and experience. (then they show you your own CV).

Define irony.

Questions like these have always been more common at big technology companies, however according to Source the practice is spreading into the creative communications industry and beyond.

Jonathan Linden, Founder of Source says “The idea behind these sorts of questions is to throw you off. They’re aimed to gauge a candidates’ character, mindset and thought process. Some are logic based and others are simply there to see what kind of person you are. Ultimately however, the questions are there to faze you, take you out of your comfort zone and see how you handle pressure.

He adds “Whilst there are sometimes no right or wrong answers, there are definitely better and worse ones. The trick is to take your time and think carefully before answering. Don’t panic and try to answer the question quickly, instead decide on whether there is a logical response or not. If there isn’t, then try to tailor any answer to the person and company interviewing you.”



Nike chooses Lumesse TalentLink for its recruitment strategy in Greater China

Nike Sports China has implemented Lumesse TalentLinkas the core technology platform for its recruitment strategy across the Greater China and Asia region. In the first phase of the Lumesse TalentLink implementation, a team of 11 recruiters in Greater China and over 15 agencies will work with a fully automated, SaaS-based (Software-as-a-Service) recruitment system to better screen, select and manage a large volume of applications through a highly standardised recruitment workflow. With better information transparency and standardised reporting, the system will also help pull together recruitment activity across the wider Asia region.

The talent acquisition team of Nike China officially chose the Lumesse TalentLink talent acquisition solution in summer 2011 as the core technology tool for its recruitment strategy for the Greater China and Asia region. The implementation and user orientation program took around three months to complete locally in China. The solution will be delivered out of the Lumesse datacentre in China.

“Demand for the best candidates, which far exceeds supply, is becoming a serious problem in recruitment management in China,” noted Rishi Dadlani, Talent Acquisition Sourcing Manager, Greater China of Nike. “Our recruiting processes have been working well in recent years, but now with aggressive market growth plans in place, our recruiters absolutely need to deal with and manage a higher and more effective workload. Only with a best-fit talent acquisition solution will we be able to streamline workflow and improve a process which is driven by an exploding market. Our hiring/screening/candidate management processes, especially in China, needs to be robust, scalable and sustainable.”

As the world’s best known sports brand, Nike’s talent acquisition team certainly plans to leverage its phenomenal consumer branding into talent acquisition. The strategy is centred on connecting Lumesse TalentLink to Nike external and internal career sites for a much better and richer candidate experience in the direct application process.

“While job-boards is certainly a channel that has been around for a long time, we don’t particularly focus on it. We have an excellent toolkit, coupled with the strength of our consumer brand, and our dream is to convert all our consumers into potential candidates,” said Rishi Dadlani. “There are a number of social media platforms/networks we will certainly leverage to market our employment brand. Through these channels we will build and engage talent communities and eventually stimulate direct applications.”

“This is a perfect example of our philosophy of being the only global company making talent management work locally,” said Lumesse CEO, Matthew Parker. “China is an absolutely unique market today, with a high growth economy, a shortage of skilled talent, and very specific requirements for languages and local support.”

As a major brand Nike is also very careful in partner selection. “Lumesse is the only globally-ranked talent acquisition solutions provider that has a fully localized team in China consisting of local and international experts. They are always reachable and often over delivered on the project. They’re just around the corner, too!” noted Rishi Dadlani. 

“We’re very proud to be able to work for Nike,” Said Erik Schmit, Managing Director, APAC of Lumesse. “We know that only with local proximity and customer-centric expertise can we help our client to be successful, especially for the highly complicated and fast growing market like China. It will be our future ambition to help Nike succeed in its APAC talent acquisition strategy roll out.”





2011 Saw global growth for the AESC with 9 new members in the Americas, 8 new members in Europe, and 9 new members in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

2011 Was one of the strongest years on record for membership growth at the global Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) with twenty six retained executive search consulting firms admitted to membership. Joining the AESC represents a firm’s adherence to the highest level of professional and ethical practice in retained executive search consulting. Firms are only admitted following extensive reference checks, a site visit, and vote by the AESC regional Councils. Among the new members, nine are based in the Americas, eight are based in Europe, and nine are based in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Peter Felix, President of the AESC, commented: “The worldwide growth of AESC membership this past year illustrates the strength of the retained executive search industry and a strong commitment to high levels of professionalism. Being a member of the AESC helps firms differentiate themselves in the market and acts as a seal of quality. This is increasingly important around the world, but particularly in the emerging markets where recruiting standards are still developing. I take great pleasure in welcoming our new members into the AESC.”

The AESC welcomed the following firms into membership in 2011:

Athena Executive Search & Consulting (India)

BD Associates (Luxembourg)

Caccuri Consultores (Brazil)

Caude Management (France)

Clark Langdon Partners (Monaco)

Emda (Israel)

Fitco Consulting (Singapore)

GreenwichHarborPartners (United States)

Hoffman and Associates (Belgium)

Hofmann Consultants (Germany)

Kaneko & Associates (Japan)

Kemp Consultoria Empresarial (Brazil)

Management Search (Italy)

Mashabey Enosh (Israel)

Metin Mitchell & Company (Dubai)

McCracken and Partners Executive Search (Canada, Penrhyn International, AESC Global Member)

Panamera (Norway)

Pearson Partners (United States)

Renaud Foster (Canada)

Robert Wong Executive Consulting (Brazil)

Stones International (Hong Kong)

Trust (Sweden)

UHUNT (China)

Valuar (Argentina)

Witt/Kieffer (United States)

WPMC (Australia)



Ketchum Pleon and Its Clients Win Three European Excellence Awards

Ketchum Pleon, the leading communications consultancy in Europe andPRWeek’s International Consultancy of the Year,won three European Excellence Awards on behalf of its client campaigns at a ceremony held last night in Amsterdam. The agency and its clients were named winners in the categories of Company Brochure, Evaluation and the National Award for France.

The European Excellence Awards were established in 2007 by Communication Director magazine to honour the top PR and communications programmes in Europe. This year’s winners were selected from 1,300 entries in 57 categories by a jury of 34 distinguished public relations and communications professionals.

“On behalf of the entire agency, I congratulate all of the winning clients and colleagues on this achievement,” said David Gallagher, senior partner and CEO, Ketchum Pleon. “These awards stand for outstanding achievement in communications and prove the value that public relations brings to our clients’ businesses wherever they operate around the world.”

Ketchum Pleon and its clients won European Excellence Awards in the following categories:


“METRO Retail Compendium 2010/2011”

METRO AG with Ketchum Pleon Germany and grintsch communications


“Philips/OneVoice Measurement System”

Philips with OneVoice


“Adobe Live – La Creative Week”

Adobe with Ketchum Pleon France

These awards are the latest in a series of wins for the agency throughout 2011. Ketchum Pleon was recently awarded PRWeek’s International Consultancy of the Year and a series of top honours for its client work. In addition, Ketchum was recently named a Top Place to Work in PR by PR News and a Top Place to Work in the U.K. by the Great Places to Work Institute.

It also was a successful night for OneVoice, the consortium of Omnicom Group agencies led by Ketchum and Fleishman-Hillard, as it won an award in the Evaluation category. Philips and OneVoice have had a milestone year, having been awarded PRCA’s International Campaign Award, a Cannes PR Lion, two EMEA SABRE Awards, one North American SABRE Award and one Global SABRE Award.




Jark Construction invest in new sector manager

A specialist recruitment agency, who provide skilled staff to the construction sector, have recruited a new member of staff at their Cambridge branch.

Jark Construction, have appointed Dan Chapman as Cambridge sector manager to strengthen the team. He brings with him more than six years of recruitment experience within the construction sector.

Dan, who joins from competitor Hays, said: “I’m pleased to be joining the Jark team. I look forward to helping drive the business forward over the coming months”.

Anthony Quinn, Jark Construction divisional manager said: “Dan's proven track record in the Construction recruitment market made him an attractive proposition. The high level of customer service he works hard to deliver will help to capture the key opportunities in a highly competitive Cambridge area. We are delighted to have secured his services and are confident he will be pivotal in our expansion and growth plan for 2012."




“Monitoring the pulse of the Irish professional jobs market”

Almost a third of Irish professional employers do not expect to pay year-end bonuses

Bonus payments for 2011/12 expected to be modest

Bonus Expectations Survey highlights:

Morgan McKinley’s Bonus Expectations Survey in November 11 found that 29% of professional employers do not expect to pay year-end bonuses. 18% are still not sure if bonuses will be paid.

The remaining 53% predict that their companies will be paying year-end bonuses. However, the majority (77%) of managers surveyed expect that these bonus payments will be modest, at approximately 1-10% of base salaries.

Irish Employment Monitor highlights:

The November 11 Morgan McKinley Irish Employment Monitor recorded a month-on-month decrease of 12% in the number of new professional jobs in Ireland.

There was however an increase of 24% in the number of professional job opportunities when compared to the same time last year.

The number of professionals entering the jobs market rose 8% from October 11 to November 11.

Compared to November 10 there was a slight decrease (1%) in the volume of professionals seeking new career opportunities in the Irish market.

8th December 2011 - In November 11, Morgan McKinley carried out a Bonus Expectations Survey with 584 senior-level operational and HR managers across Ireland to find out their views on forthcoming year-end bonuses. The results showed that almost a third (29%) of professional employers in Ireland do not expect to pay year-end bonuses, with a further 18% still unsure of their plans for the 2011/12 bonus round.

Just over half (53%) of survey respondents expect to pay year-end bonuses but for the majority (77%) these will be quite modest at approximately 1-10% of base salaries. Only 1% of companies expect to pay significant bonuses of 26% of base salaries and above.

The bonus outlook is relatively similar across the four major sectors surveyed: financial services, IT, manufacturing and professional services. The forecasts for the size of bonus payments for the majority of companies is slightly higher for manufacturing and IT at 6-10% of base salaries (44% of manufacturing companies predict this range 49% of IT) than for financial services and professional services at 1-5% of base salaries (37% of financial services institutions predict this range 35% of professional services).

Karen O’Flaherty, Chief Operations Officer, Morgan McKinley commented:
“The results of our recent Bonus Expectations Survey show that almost a third of financial services, IT, manufacturing and professional services firms in Ireland do not expect to pay year-end bonuses. This indicates that many Irish businesses are still highly cost-cautious heading into 2012, which is understandable against the backdrop of volatility in the eurozone and ongoing domestic economic challenges.

“Despite this mood of austerity, just over half of employers are expecting to distribute modest bonuses in December or January. It must be emphasised that the majority of respondents predicted that these would be 10% of basic salaries at best. For many companies, these bonus payments are likely to be gestures of goodwill towards their employees, many of whom would not have received pay increases or bonuses for three or more years. Even in this challenging economic climate, employers recognise there are still shortages of skilled professionals in certain sectors, so staff retention is a priority. Where salary increases are not feasible, some companies are rewarding staff with bonuses, increased benefits or work/life balance incentives.

“This is particularly the case within the IT sector, Ireland’s & lsquo;good news’ story for business and jobs growth in 2011. It is has been widely publicised that demand for talented IT professionals often outstrips supply, particularly within the field of software development. Almost half of IT employers expect to pay year-end bonuses of 6-10% of base salaries for 2011/12, the highest estimate of the four sectors surveyed.

“Bonus schemes within the financial services sector are often heavily scrutinised. Our survey found that 29% of financial services employers do not expect to pay year-end bonuses, with a further 15% still uncertain of their plans for the 2011/12 bonus round. Of those financial services institutions expecting to pay bonuses for 2011/12, the highest number (37%) predict they will be modest (1-5% of base salaries). Only 2% expect to pay significant bonuses of 26% of base salaries or higher. It is likely that these larger payments will be distributed to the more senior professionals within the financial services sector.

Hiring activity slows as year-end approaches
The Morgan McKinley Irish Employment Monitor registered a 12% month-on-month decrease in the number of new professional job opportunities, down from 8,535 in October 11 to 7,345 in November 11. Compared to the 5,926 jobs recorded in the same month last year, this was an increase of 24%.

The number of professionals entering the Irish jobs market increased by 8% from 10,080 in October 11 to 10,885 in November 11. There was an insignificant decrease (1%) from the 11,015 job seekers looking for new roles in November 10.

Karen O’Flaherty continued:
“A monthly decrease in the number of professional jobs is quite typical for this time of year, as many firms begin to wind down their hiring activities moving into the festive season. The recent increase in the number of contract and temporary roles coming onto the market may have also affected the Irish Employment Monitor, which tracks Ireland’s permanent professional jobs market. Temporary contracts are flexible and cost-effective and are therefore popular recruitment options during holiday periods or times of financial uncertainty. However, the increase in demand for temporary workers experienced this month may have been diluted somewhat given the lack of clarity around the Agency Workers Directive.

“There was a slight increase month-on-month in the number of professionals newly active in the Irish jobs market in November 11. It is possible that some professionals felt that November might be their last chance to make a career move in 2011, before hiring activity slows considerably in December. Some job seekers may even be registering their interest early to increase their chances of finding a secure position for the New Year. Employers are being very specific about the candidates they invite to interview an exact match to the job specification is a minimum requirement in most cases. This can often protract the process, a trend that is likely to continue into early 2012.”




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