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Daily Archives: July 11th, 2012

Gloria Swanson ready for her close-up:

July 10, 2012

Not just the issues of prime time news presenters anymore, now any potential employee should know the tricks of the TV trade, particularly camera placement, lighting, audio quality, how to sit and what to wear on camera.

Thanks to video chat technology, more and more interviews are being conducted on Skype as many global, national and even regional companies look for a less costly alternative to flying in job candidates for interviews.

It’s easier for the interviewer, certainly cheaper for the company and it can be more convenient for the applicant. But, before you turn on your webcam and set up that all-important “on camera” interview, take some time to prepare.

Here are some tips that will help you look and sound as you should.

You’re on the air

This is a job interview that is being conducted on TV.

In many ways, sitting in front of your webcam is very similar to sitting at the news anchor desk in a TV station. How you look, how you sound and the quality of your image all play an important part in how you are perceived. In fact, these factors may sway the interviewer more than what you say.

Look professional

Generally, you’ll be seen from the waist up. Put on a dark jacket (this goes for men and women). Comb your hair, and if you are a woman, wear enough makeup but keep your look natural. Wear simple and understated jewellery that doesn’t clink and clatter as you talk and move.

Don’t put yourself in front of a plain, white wall. The contrast can make you look like a ghostly shadow. Warm up the background with something like a bookshelf with books and/or a carefully placed plant (not positioned so it looks like it is growing out of your head!).

Add some lighting that brings out your face but doesn’t make you “glow.” Perhaps a floor lamp tilted down from the left side of the webcam or a tall desk lamp that provides extra lighting for your face.

Try sitting at an angle and then turning your head to the camera. You will look more attentive, the position will help you sit up straight and it should help with the lighting.

Make sure the interviewer can see your hands. Use your hands as you would in a face-to-face interview, but try to keep them away from your face.

Scan in examples of your work beforehand and send a copy through Skype, if you are going to include samples.

Keep eye contact with the camera, not the screen. Remember, the camera is the eye of the viewer.

Limit distractions

Put the dog and cat in another room, get a babysitter for the kids, turn off your mobile phone and email alerts during the interview. There should be no noises that can ruin the professional mood you’re going for.

Make sure your equipment is in good shape. Think how it would be if the sound or picture went out in the middle of your interview. Also, do an audio and video test beforehand by using Skype with a friend or family member. A dry run and a critique by someone who will tell you the truth will help you tweak everything before you go “on camera.”

Do your homework

Even though you can’t see the other person, this is a job interview. Prepare your answers in advance, do your homework about the company and the job and act as if you were in the same room as the interviewer.

Relax and enjoy the experience. It beats fighting traffic and can be just as effective as being interviewed in person.

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700 jobs at risk in meltdown at Darrell Lea

July 11, 2012
    • 7 reading now

Philip Wen

...Rocky road: Darrell Lea faces pressure from confectionary imports.

THE 85-year-old Australian icon Darrell Lea, famous for its Rocklea Road and soft liquorice treats, has just weeks to find a buyer to stave off a financial collapse in which up to 700 workers could lose their jobs.

The latest of a string of retailers buckling under the strain of weak consumer sentiment, Darrell Lea yesterday called in administrators PPB Advisory, admitting it would struggle to pay its staff from week to week.

PPB has now started an urgent search for a buyer, but has not ruled out the closure of unprofitable stores.

It has secured a commitment from the founding Lea family to stump up enough cash for the company to keep running for the next four to eight weeks.

Bruce O’Keefe, the regional secretary of the Australian Manufacturers Workers Union, which represents 160 workers at the confectioner’s factory in Sydney, said the move to voluntary administration came as ”a total and absolute shock” that left staff ”shocked, angry and dismayed”.

”People were just dumbstruck, they didn’t know how to handle it,” said Christine Bailey, a worker on the factory floor. ”I saw one girl from admin – she was crying.”

Mr O’Keefe said the union would make an application to Fair Work Australia due to Darrell Lea’s lack of consultation and what he described as a broken agreement for management to set aside money in a trust to guarantee workers’ entitlements.

”There are concerns about whether entitlements will be recovered,” he said. ”[Workers] are trying to find out what it means for their jobs, but it doesn’t look good at this stage.”

PPB’s Mark Robinson said soft retail conditions and the strong dollar contributed to the company’s woes, while he conceded the business might not have been managed as efficiently as it could have been.

Despite the short window of time to find a buyer, Mr Robinson said he was confident a suitor could be found due to Darrell’s Lea strong brand presence.

”We’ve had a lot of cold calls … from some well-credentialled organisations,” Mr Robinson said. ”There’s a range of players there.”

A successful sale, he said, would help guarantee the payment of workers’ entitlements.

Tim Piper, a director of the Australian Industry Group’s food and confectionery division, said his member companies were under pressure from increasing numbers of confectionery imports.

”Darrell Lea are not immune to that – in fact, they’re right in the firing line,” he said.

Executive director Michael Lea could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Darrell Lea employs about 700 people at its Sydney manufacturing base and at shops across Australia, New Zealand and the US.

The company is 100 per cent owned by the Lea family, which established its chocolate business in Sydney in 1927.


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by Tony Schwartz | 10:25 AM May 1, 2012

Tomorrow is my birthday — always an opportunity for reflection, but especially this time. For several weeks now, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned during the past six decades that really matters. Here’s a first pass:

1. The more we know about ourselves, the more power we have to behave better. Humility is underrated. We each have an infinite capacity for self-deception — countless unconscious ways we protect ourselves from pain, uncertainty, and responsibility — often at the expense of others and of ourselves. Endless introspection can turn into self-indulgence, but deepening self-awareness is essential to freeing ourselves from our reactive, habitual behaviors.

2. Notice the good. We each carry an evolutionary predisposition to dwell on what’s wrong in our lives. The antidote is to deliberately take time out each day to notice what’s going right, and to feel grateful for what you’ve got. It’s probably a lot.

3. Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.

4. Never seek your value at the expense of someone else’s. When we’re feeling devalued, our reactive instinct is to do anything to restore what we’ve lost. Devaluing the person who made you feel bad will only prompt more of the same in return.

5. Do the most important thing first in the morning and you’ll never have an unproductive day. Most of us have the highest energy early in the day, and the fewest distractions. By focusing for a designated period of time, without interruption, on the highest value task for no more than 90 minutes, it’s possible to get an extraordinary amount of work accomplished in a short time.

6. It’s possible to be excellent at anything, but nothing valuable comes easy and discomfort is part of growth. Getting better at something depends far less on inborn talent than it does the willingness to practice the activity over and over, and to seek out regular feedback, the more precise the better.

7. The more behaviors you intentionally make automatic in your life, the more you’ll get done. If you have to think about doing something each time you do it, you probably won’t do it for very long. The trick is to get more things done using less energy and conscious self-control. How often do you forget to brush your teeth?

8. Slow down. Speed is the enemy of nearly everything in life that really matters. It’s addictive and it undermines quality, compassion, depth, creativity, appreciation and real relationship.

9. The feeling of having enough is magical. It rarely depends on how much you’ve got. More is rarely better. Too much of anything eventually becomes toxic.

10. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, and don’t expect anything in return. Your values are one of the only possessions you have that no one can take away from you. Doing the right thing may not always get you what you think you want in the moment, but it will almost always leave you feeling better about yourself in the long run. When in doubt, default to calm and kind.

11. Add more value in the world than you’re using up. We spend down the earth’s resources every day. Life’s primary challenge is to put more back into the world than we take out.

12. Savor every moment — even the difficult ones. It all goes so fast.