How to stand out from the crowd in an interview

Virtual interview, Remote interview, Zoom call

Article by Jen Hine, HR Advisor at staff management software provider, RotaCloud.

Here, Jen Hine, HR Advisor at staff management software provider, RotaCloud, talks us through her top tips on how to stand out from the crowd during an interview:

  • Go above and beyond with research

When preparing for your interview, don’t just research the company and its history, but research the product or service it offers, even if the role isn’t customer facing. For example, if your interview is with a SaaS company like RotaCloud, sign up for a webinar, or create a trial account, so you can get an understanding of the product prior to the interview.

When you’re in the interview, be sure to mention the research you conducted. It shows you are truly invested in the recruitment process and are passionate about the product or service the company provides.

  • Tailor your presentation to the industry or sector

If you are asked to prepare a presentation beforehand, make sure you tailor it to the specific industry or sector. For instance, if you are interviewing for a HR job in the tech sector and are asked to present solutions on how you would tackle two challenges, select ones that are current and pertinent to the tech sector, such as managing hybrid/remote working or recruitment issues.

While there are lots of HR challenges you could choose from, the interviewer will be impressed you’ve been selective and looked at the issues they are facing at that time.

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  • Demonstrate your technical abilities

For technical roles, sometimes the best way to show you can do something is not by talking, but by demonstrating something practical. It shows you’re passionate about the role, and it helps you stand out.

One of our previous candidates used the job description to build a bespoke app that utilised all the skill sets highlighted in the job post. This proved that he was well qualified for the role and it made his application more memorable. It was impossible to say no to him after that.

  • Prepare backup questions

Prepare some genuine questions to ask at the end of the interview, and have some backups just in case your first set of questions get answered within the interview itself. Write these down and refer to them if necessary – the interviewer won’t mind and will be impressed you’ve prepared thoroughly.

Try to steer clear of asking relatively generic questions such as about working hours, salary or parking – these can be asked at the offer stage. Instead, try to ask job-specific questions. This will indicate to the interviewer that you’re interested in what the company wants from the candidate, and  it will give you a better understanding on whether the job is the right fit for you.

  • Understand the company culture

You can often get a good feel for the company culture prior to the interview by reading the businesses latest blog posts and checking out its social media pages. This will give you things to talk about in the interview on a more human level, while subtly letting the interviewer know that you’ve done your homework. And while the interviewer will ultimately be trying to find out if you’re the right fit for their company, it’s equally as important that you think it’s the right fit too, so take your time and try to get to grips with the company culture before your interview.


Interviewing while black: How tech companies can increase its pipeline of candidates by embracing enhanced hiring techniques

Tech Interview Featured

Article by Portia Kibble Smith, Head of D&I at Karat

Job interviews can make even the most confident person feel vulnerable.

But interview anxiety can be especially detrimental for people who are already under pressure to conform to cultural norms and present themselves a certain way. Unfortunately, these anxieties are amplified for Black engineers and undergraduates entering the tech industry with little to no interview practice/experience and who also face a compounding effect of racial bias and stereotyping in white-male dominated spaces.

According to a recent study from Karat, these challenges were even more acute for Black females, who face a compounding effect of gender and racial bias in white-male-dominated spaces. According to the report, black females reported feeling extreme levels of interview anxiety twice as frequently as their male counterparts. Thirty-seven percent of black women rated their interview anxiety at a 9 or 10 on a scale of 0 to 10 compared to just 18% of black men. Black females also demonstrated high levels of imposter syndrome more frequently than men (40% compared to 31%).

After years within the industry, I know the high-pressure interview situations. As one of the first Black women in tech in the 1980s, I was determined to climb the corporate ladder despite countless obstacles. D&I programs were “virtually nonexistent” in those days. But one opportunity led to another and I eventually became an executive recruiter at Sprint, helping the company build inroads into leading MBA programs and HBCUs in pursuit of the best candidates for roles as future officers of the company/firm.

When I first started at IBM, I was the only Black woman on the sales team and garnered many strange looks and comments from customers. At the time, women and minorities were rarely given the opportunity to work in the large accounts division in sales. I’ve even faced meetings with customers who would get up and leave because I didn’t “look” like I worked at IBM. Nevertheless, despite all of the negativity and racism, I showed up and didn’t allow anyone to intimidate me from reaching success.

But for those just entering the field, this process and the anxieties associated with interviewing can result in physical reactions. Many black women go into interviews knowing they need to perform at a higher level than their peers and are more self-conscious because they are intentionally trying to avoid the perceived stereotypes of “aggressive behaviors.” This includes the natural reaction to stress like sweat, physically shifting, and involuntary body language, which can be perceived as being deceptive or not allowing the candidate to focus on acing the interview to secure the job.

Some of the participants of the Access Gap Report stated the following about their interviewing experiences:

My greatest challenge is not seeing a lot of women, especially Black women, in the field. I am so nervous that interviewers won’t like me or that I will say something that makes it seem that I am unable to do the job or any job in the field for that matter. Also, because I am a dark skin plus-sized woman, I worry about not looking the part for someone in a business setting.

Closing the Access Gap Within Tech

Socioeconomic factors such as access to personal computers and computer science education at an early age require long-term investments and systemic changes to American primary education. Still, there are also immediate ways for organizations to build more equity into hiring today. Here are three steps organizations can take to improve diversity hiring and increase retention of technical talent.

Make the interview process transparent

When candidates have inside knowledge of a company and its hiring process, they are better prepared due to networking or referrals. Hiring managers should ask themselves if a candidate who is interviewing without knowing anyone at their company has the same understanding of the interview process and questions as one who has an “in” with someone on the team.

Failing to do this will artificially benefit people from similar backgrounds as your existing team, resulting in hires that consciously or unconsciously prioritize interpersonal relationships and subjective “likeability” over skill. Consequently, this leads to less diverse and ultimately less effective teams, hurting both the efficiency and equity of the hiring process.

Create interview practice opportunities with second chances

Offer multiple interview opportunities to candidates. One way to do this is by giving candidates the ability to redo their technical interview if they’re not satisfied with their performance.

In fact, the preliminary results from Karat’s Brilliant Black Minds practice interview program also reinforce this best practice. Brilliant Black Minds offers HBCU computer science students multiple practice interviews. After each interview, students received written and verbal feedback on their strengths and opportunities for growth, followed by a second interview opportunity. Seventy-six percent of participants who received practice interviews focusing on data structures maintained or improved their scores, and 85% of participants who received algorithm interviews maintained or improved.

Foster inclusion with support and mentoring

Not seeing people within production, leadership, and C-suite roles can make the candidate feel out of place. According to Code2040, “while Black and Latinx people earn nearly 20% of computer science bachelor’s degrees, they make up only around 5% of the technical workforce at top tech companies. Only 2-5.3% of tech executives are Black and 3.1-5.3% are Latinx.”

Factors that can impact imposter syndrome include first exposure to computer science and the lack of representation within the tech companies – within leadership and C-suite roles.

To address this, engineering teams can create a more inclusive culture by providing support for engineers of color in the form of mentorship opportunities and creating a more transparent structure around roles.

In technical interviews, where applicants are supposed to be judged by “experts” on their skills, bias and perpetuated stereotypes must be checked at the door. And then proactively corrected throughout the recruiting and hiring process to create more equitable experiences and higher retention rates.

COVID-19 presented organizations with the opportunity to get out of their limited referral networks and recruit from new or non-traditional sources – including HBCUs and local colleges. But organizations also must ensure that they’re setting up interviewees and future employees for success in the hiring process by reducing the inconsistencies and bad interviewing practices that cause anxiety and produce false negatives. This can be achieved by adding transparency, creating practice opportunities, and providing career support for employees.

Portia Kibble SmithAbout Author

Portia Kibble Smith is an executive recruiter and diversity & inclusion lead for Karat, a company that conducts technical interviews on behalf of businesses hiring software engineers to create a more predictive, fair, and inclusive process. She has recently been the driving force behind the Real Talk: Diversity in Tech series and the launch of Brilliant Black Minds.


'Stacey, can you find us a woman for this role? The rest of the team is male'

Tech Interview Featured

Top global head hunter and Founder of TECHSEARCHERS, Stacey Wilkinson shares her thoughts on Women in Tech and ten top tips, she thinks we could take to address the balance… 

If I had a pound for every time a company said to me, ‘Stacey, can you find us a woman for this role? The rest of the team is male’ I’d be a multi-millionaire!

There’s no doubt about it that the tech world – certainly in the UK - it is dominated by men, but I am sick to death of people pointing this out and not much ever getting done about it.

I see so many articles saying ‘we need more women in tech’ (I know, I wrote one!) or that ‘there’s still no women in tech for X, Y and Z reasons’ - but has anyone actually put a plan together and offered some tangible solutions? Getting more women into the industry isn’t going to happen overnight and it requires hundreds of actions, including rewiring thought processes - as I have found the UK public is largely ignorant towards tech. It seems a daunting task and (similarly to Brexit) and we have a tendency in this country, to avoid tackling issues that seem too complicated, or are likely to offend some people, so they get left to snowball.

People talk about job shortages and the truth is that there is plenty of work out there - if you’re willing to change industry, get out of your comfort zone and learn something new. Tech is a massively growing, ever-evolving industry where about 2/3 of the jobs remain unfilled.

As part of my role as a global head-hunter, in the last two years alone, I’ve had to move 71 skilled people to and from twelve countries, as there wasn’t the local available resource to fill business-critical tech jobs. So what’s going on?

People tend to act on something if there’s obvious benefits and it improves their lives in some way - i.e. makes them look better/cooler/wealthier/harder/better/faster/stronger. With this in mind, the industry needs glamourising a little, and we need to move away from this geeky, nerdy image we once had of ‘computer-based’ jobs, when I was growing up in the 80s and 90s. It still exists today…I was at a networking event last week and one of the young female attendees I got talking to said (of someone at the event) ‘the one with glasses, who looks like he works with computers.’ There’s still this ignorance about the tech industry and The IT Crowd it isn’t…

If we exposed our children (and adults) to female role models from the tech world, then that would start changing things, without a doubt. Who do our kids look up to in the UK at the moment? Reality stars from TOWIE, Love Island… where are the women who have revolutionised the tech industry? Kids nowadays grow up wanting to be the next Kardashian/Jenner, not Professor Sue Black OBE, the British computer scientist and world-renowned speaker. The content that the British media and what parents are brainwashing children with needs a complete overhaul, as it’s quite sickening, when you look closely at it. If you compare it to somewhere like India, which has one of the highest proportions of women going into tech than anywhere in the world - here you regularly see women in tech, on billboards, in magazines and in brochures, plus 85% of women working in tech in India say they chose it because of family influence. Over here, most parents don’t even know what tech really is, unless it means posting a picture on Facebook or getting a few more followers on Instagram.

It’s imperative that we get rid of this ‘geeky’ image tech has in this country and add some glamour and sparkle - show imagery depicting teams of women, have female techies/coders going into schools, giving talks and encouraging kids to get interested early. We need to get mums interested too, as they have the most influence over their children, possibly more than anyone.

With these things in mind, I’ve put together ten bullet points for employers, governments, schools/colleges and parents to take note of, if we are to bring girls/women/more people generally into tech:

Primary and high school curriculums need changing ASAP

As a matter of urgency. Schools need to employ qualified teachers (not people who have been given a computing class, as an ‘add-on’ and it needs to be a compulsory for all as well as fun.

Celebrate Women for their brain - less ‘dumbing down'

…films, reality TV, magazines… hardly any woman is celebrated for her brain anymore, in this country. Magazines should be banned from talking about people’s weight and plastic surgery – why is it relevant? It’s all I hear young girls talking about these days and it saddens me. I can’t recall when we last heard about a JK Rowling or Karen Brady type-model, of the tech world (or indeed, any world?)

Target parents!

They won’t support and encourage anything they don’t understand and unfortunately many people over the age of 45 don’t really get the tech revolution here in the UK. We are living in this exciting digital age and yet many parents are still pushing for their kids to be doctors, lawyers and other such ‘traditional’ jobs. Free workshops/drop-in centres for parents would help, as well as targeted government-funded online marketing.

Toys for kids

Toy companies can have a field day here… it’s amazing how toy companies are still allowed to produce toy guns and other weapons aimed at young boys, surgical implements and kitchen/cookery sets etc. aimed at girls, but hardly anyone has thought to create the components of a phone, computer etc that kids can put together. Good toys and techie gadgets, marketed effectively, will pique their interest at a young age.

Tech is Creative and Collaborative

This is one for the Governments and local LEAs, but we need to change public perception that working in a tech role means all you’ll be doing, is sitting in front of a computer and not speaking to anyone. It’s a highly creative and collaborative industry and this would be enhanced by holding tech-related festivals throughout the UK, involving young people, keynote speakers and other entertainers. This is a concept I’ve been speaking directly with the Isle of Man government about, as we want to bring more young people over to fill jobs the tech industry, on the Island. The world needs to realise that coders make a massive difference to all of our lives and that’s an amazing thing to celebrate in itself.

Universities and colleges need to collaborate more with tech companies...

...and get rid of this silly ‘jobs-fair’ mentality we have in this country. I get some young people have no idea what they want to do after studying, but if you know you have a job at the end of your studies, then young people will be more likely to pick that subject, stick to it and gain work experience along the way.

Following on from point 6, why not scrap university fees for tech, or make them very low. I recall the Government giving out ‘Golden Handshakes’ a few years ago, to young people as incentives to go into teaching. You would get a mass surge of young people signing up for tech courses, just to avoid the ridiculously high tuition fees. Then, if point 6 is also followed, then suddenly a large portion of the skills gap in this country is appeased.

Free drop-in coding schools might help

There are sections in society that have been traditionally overlooked industry changers - ex-army, ex-convicts, the old, the sick, the homeless even - groups that often no one wants to touch, but we really need to address the fact that there is a massive untapped resource sitting there and most of them are willing to graft.

Get passionate about Tech

If you’re going to buy your kid a phone or iPad, at least explain the benefits of it, how apps work etc… They’re not just a means of keeping your children quiet! Tech is the best industry to work in, in terms of stability and longevity - it’s constantly involving, tech firms are making millionaires out of kids these days, so remove the worry about your child ever having to find a job, by trying to rouse interest in tech at a young age.

Companies need to quit being so anal about job descriptions

Most tech skills can be cross-trained, taught and transferred. There needs to be less emphasis on matching each bullet point on a job spec and more focus on what the person can bring to your business overall. I get it though, in the past, when companies have been paying ridiculously high recruitment fees, the onus is on ticking every thing on the job spec, just to get your money’s worth. I believe this model is broken and needs to change.

About the author

Stacey Wilkinson is 39, lives in Manchester, UK and is one of the top global head hunters in the tech world and the Founder and CEO of TECHSEARCHERS - a global headhunting business for the tech industry, one which is currently disrupting the traditional recruitment market.

Stacey’s unique no-nonsense approach, has gained her an enviable list of testimonials from happy customers, as seen on her LinkedIn page.


Top tips for a job interview in the tech industry

Tech Interview FeaturedTop tips for a job interview in the tech industry

Getting a job in tech industry can be challenging. Currently it’s one of the least diverse industries in the world, and although female representation is increasing it’s still lagging far behind other sectors. At Mojo we pride ourselves on creating an equal workforce, ensuring we have a gender balanced team, as well a leadership full of strong women who are are in historically male dominated positions.

Nevertheless, making sure you stand out in the interview is the first step required to breaking in to the traditionally male dominated sector. Below are my top tips to smashing the interview for your dream tech job.

1 - Research your prospective interviewees and their company

It goes without saying that interview prep is a given for any job - researching the company, what they do, their competitors etc…will provide you with a holistic insight into life working at the company you’ve applied for. Researching the role should also be of prime importance, ensuring you have a clear idea of the responsibilities expected, in addition to showing your potential employers how you can add value - but why not take it a step further?

If you’re given the details of your interviewees, having a brief snoop of them may provide you with some knowledge into similar points of interests that you previously wouldn’t have known. Sharing interests such as hobbies or work relevant topics can build a bond, arguably one of the most important pull factors in getting someone on your side. Using social media tools like Twitter, or Linkedin can help with this.

2 – The right questions, not just any!

Asking questions is a given in any job interview, however it’s essential you ask the right ones to your interviewer. Prior to the interview, I’ve heard suggestions of noting down 10-20 questions that you think are appropriate to ask - I think this is a good idea, however questions should naturally occur during the interview if you’re listening and fully invested in getting the job, so it’s important to be flexible and not ask questions for the sake of it.

Intrinsically linked with my previous point is the need to ask the right questions - enquiring about topics such as technological developments within the company, or asking your interviewers opinions on such topics will outline several key personality traits to your employer. It will show your eagerness to learn, in addition to acting as a catalyst for building natural rapport with your prospective employer - everyone likes feeling like they’re being listened to!

3 – Gaining a wide understanding of the relevant industries accompanied by a shrewd insight into future innovation

Tech is a broad all-encompassing topic, ranging from food & drink to the property sector, or mortgages in our case. Exhibiting a wide knowledge of both the wider tech industry and (the one you’re applying for/involved in) will highlight your interest in the business, in addition to developments in a plethora of industries.

As well it’s broad reach, tech is always changing and moving forward. As a result, it’s important to keep on top of the latest trends, and being able to see through the hype and identify what could be game changing for your business/industry, will put you at the forefront of the interviewers mind. There’s loads of cool tech out there but is it right for the business and their commercial goals? You need to demonstrate this understanding in an interview

I’d also suggest displaying a strong understanding of complex technological concepts and products, evidencing your intelligence and comfort when talking about things a small proportion of people can understand

4 - Personality is sometimes as/more valuable than experience

Within the tech industry, it’s a well-known fact that several companies employ people as much on experience as their do culturally. Don’t get me wrong, experience is incredibly valuable, and most employers will want applicants to have job experience in some capacity.

However, for specifically our start-up, we look for autonomous individuals who are happy to take on work and responsibilities outside of their remit. Relating to my previous point, we also look for people who are wanting to evolve, learn and develop their skills - showing evidence of motivation and a belief in your interviewees company, will go a long way.

5 - Be yourself!

Being true to your own personality is undoubtedly one of the most important tips I can give for someone looking for a job in tech. Despite the tech industry revolving around unsurprisingly, tech, we actually communicate and talk to each other regularly. As a result, if you pretend to be someone that you’re not in the interview it’s likely that, that will get found out relatively quickly.

Getting to the interview stage is great work, but it’s important to make sure you’re also a cultural fit for the company. I’m aware the traditional interview attire and attitude is professional; however, I’ve also heard of some tech firms being put off by people who seem like rigid out-dated applicants in suits.

Thus, check out the company’s website, social media channels and any press coverage they’ve received, to get a feeling of what kind of company they are. You can also look at job sites websites to see how past and present employees have ranked their companies, this should give you a good insight into whether current are enjoying their jobs.

Amy Lawson HeadshotAbout the author

Amy is a highly experienced marketer and operations specialist. She has held senior roles in both small and large businesses, including CO-OP Bank & Allianz Insurance. She has an outstanding track record of success in marketing, consistently demonstrating versatility, innovation and drive for continuous improvement. Operating in a dual role at Mojo as COO and CMO, she is responsible for the customer journey, operations, content marketing and CRM programs.

https://mojomortgages.com/


Gillian Tans featured

Inspirational Woman: Gillian Tans | CEO of Booking.com

 

Gillian Tans
Gillian Tans is the CEO of Booking.com. WeAreTheCity sat down with Gillian to discuss gender bias in the Tech industry, her biggest achievement and plans for the future.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’ve had what you might call quite an unusual career path, because I’ve always been led by my curiosity and instinct, rather than following a traditional route. Before joining Booking.com, I worked in the hotel industry, in marketing and sales at the Golden Tulip Hotel Group and the Intercontinental Hotel Group. These were pivotal roles for me as they helped me appreciate how important customers are and the critical need to meet their expectations in our industry. When I joined Booking.com in 2002, the company was just a small tech start-up, with a handful of staff and a small footprint in Amsterdam. I left a successful job to join Booking.com but I decided to take the risk because I firmly believed that the internet was going to disrupt the hotel industry.

As Booking.com’s Chief Executive Officer, I am responsible for the global strategy and operations of the organisation, including the management of all business units with the company.

No two days are ever the same for me. I need to be agile and ready for anything so I try not to plan my days to the minute. Booking.com moves very fast so I need to be ready to make decisions quickly at a moment’s notice.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I definitely didn’t start out with a plan to become a CEO. As I was saying, I have always been guided by curiosity and this has led to quite a non-traditional career path. I took every opportunity I could to study abroad, moving to the U.S. from the Netherlands when I graduated to take a job at Hershey Entertainment. It was there that I was able to prove myself as someone hard-working, creative and not afraid to take risks, and I brought this all back to the Netherlands working in the hospitality industry. When the internet began to take off, I could see very early on that it had immense potential to change the hotel industry and global tourism at large and this is why when the opportunity to join Booking.com came along, I grabbed it – and I’ve never looked back!

Have you faced any challenges along the way? How did you deal with them?

Being in the travel industry and also working in a company of the scale and size of Booking.com means there will always be challenges. For example, we operate on traditional customer service values which means keeping the customer at the centre of everything we do. This isn’t always easy as it means ignoring pre-conceived notions and ideas of what we may think customers want and being able to adapt to their needs. The work we are doing with artificial intelligence and customer service is leading us to innovation that helps provide an even more seamless process than what we already offer. It’s challenging, but very exciting.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

We still see gender bias in the workplace, especially in the tech industry, although it is getting better. While we are on the right track, there is still so much further to go. We need the tech industry to be even more diverse, and it’s the responsibility of tech companies and leaders to push for positive change, both within and outside the walls of their companies.

At Booking.com we are committed to diversity of all kinds and a huge part of this is bolstering female tech talent and eliminating the challenges they face in this industry which we hope to do through our Women in Tech initiative. As part of this, we recently launched the first ever Technology Playmaker Awards, which aim to celebrate and recognise women who have disrupted, and continue to transform businesses, industries, and communities through the use of technology.

We hope that by recognising, celebrating and rewarding their achievements, these women can become a source of inspiration for future generations of women who are looking to embrace the opportunities the world of technology can offer.

We are also working in partnership with the University of Oxford in the UK, and the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands and have introduced 15 Women in Technology Scholarships, designed to support women seeking careers in technology.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you ever had a mentor or do you mentor anyone?

Mentoring is something that is extremely important to me. My parents have been real mentors to me, inspiring me to work hard and create opportunities for others through my successes. My mother is creative and could build anything out of nothing and I learned a lot about creativity and entrepreneurship from her. My father passed on a strong work ethic to me, this is something he instilled into our family early on.

Diversity of all kinds is key to the core culture of Booking.com and a big part of making a change in diversity is through positive mentoring. Recent research shows that 90% of women working in non-tech roles in the tech industry indicated that seeing more women in leadership roles will inspire them to advance their career in tech.

As part of our Women in Tech initiative, we recently ran the first “Women in Tech Mentor Programme” at Web Summit 2017, which gave female tech talent attending the event the opportunity to have one-to-one sessions with myself and other high-profile mentors. Part of the reason we launched the Technology Playmaker Awards, is because now more than ever we need positive female role models and an industry culture that celebrates female tech talent.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I’m very proud of what we have achieved as a company and having led our business throughout the transition from a small start-up to one of the largest ecommerce players in the world.

Another thing that I consider a big achievement is that we have preserved our entrepreneurial and diverse culture throughout this period of transformation and business growth. Booking.com has been so successful because we’ve been thinking and building on an international level from day one and putting our customers at the centre of everything we do.

Despite all this, sometimes it’s the smaller moments, like hearing a small business owner talk about how their business has been positively impacted by Booking.com, that inspire me the most. The little stories and successes are what drive me and our team of 15,000+ people every day.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

At Booking.com we are on a mission is to empower people to travel and experience the world. . We have worked to develop technology that can take our customers anywhere: wherever they want to go, whatever they want to do, they can make it happen through Booking.com. In the future, we would like to be able to offer the technology that is needed to break through barriers, whether that is time, money, choice or languages. We will continue to innovate and invest in technology to help make our product the most innovative and offer the best customer experience.


Renee Mellow featured

Inspirational woman: Renee Mellow | Head of Emerging Digital Activation, EMEA, Mediacom

 

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I didn’t in my 20s, but I wish I had! I now make time regularly to plan and prioritize my career goals.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

In the past, I spent too much time and energy on the wrong things. The distractions can be endless – cleaning out your inbox, overthinking what meetings you are or aren’t invited to, office talk at the pub. What a waste of time! Don’t let others set your agenda; you’ll end up being reactive to others instead of what truly has impact.

Others may quote CEOs or visionaries, but I love the mantra of supermodel and party girl extraordinaire Kate Moss who said ‘don’t complain, don’t explain.’ This is a brilliant position to take in the workplace. It means staying positive, getting on with the work, and standing behind your actions without feeling the need to justify your decisions. Your work should speak for itself.

What advice would you give someone who wishes to move into a leadership position for the first time?

Set a goal, focus and be confident that you are more than capable and deserving.

I realized this when I became a parent, which may sound counterintuitive. I had one of the most pivotal moments in my career when I came back from my first maternity leave. I was determined to be effective, have impact, AND leave on time to see my little ones. My career propelled exponentially and I transferred to MediaCom’s HQ, leading a team to +80% YOY growth and soon managing a department of 100. My stress level dropped as well; when you arrive at the office and have already faced two tantrums and a nappy change before 9am, you feel pretty confident that you can manage the rest of the day with ease!

So focus your time and energy, ensure you are working towards your goal every day and that a leadership role with satisfy you. Be direct and upfront with your boss. Make it known what you want, build the case for why you deserve it and craft a plan together.

When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how would you decide who should have the role?

I am firm believer in trusting your gut when it comes to building your team. If you have an inkling that the candidate may not fit the culture or working style, trust your instinct. Hiring the wrong person is worse than having the role sit vacant a little longer until you find a good fit.

How do you manage your own boss?

I try to be accountable, independent, proactive, and come to her with solutions to problems.

On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?

I am an early bird, so make time every morning to do the work that matters – projects or tasks that require focused thinking. Then, I start my day knowing I’ve already accomplished something.

I end my day reading with my children. It’s quite telling that most of our favourite books involve children exploring imaginary worlds, or underpants.

What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles within their own organisations

For women, it’s essential. An easy way to start is to focus on the topics you are most informed about. Write something for LinkedIn. See if your internal communications team can use the materials. Quickly say ‘yes’ to PR opportunities and prep three quotable quotes or statistics so journalists know you are reliable. Look for industry events and panels to participate in.

By picking a topic that is relevant to your role, you will refine your thinking and simultaneously build recognition.

Make a pledge to yourself not to overthink it – no one cares as much or is as harsh a critic as you are. Have fun and get better as you go along.

How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?

If the definition of confidence is turning thoughts to action, coaches and mentors fuel my confidence and I become accountable for ‘doing’ something with my thoughts and ideas.

Do you think networking is important and if so, what three tips would you give to a newbee networker

Yes, yes, yes – women need to make a plan to create a establish a network. A good place to start is internally within the company you know best.

  • Push yourself to establish relationships with senior men in your organization
  • Make the most out of this time by preparing 3-5 questions, and truly listen
  • Pay it forward and make time for other females rising in your organization
What does the future hold for you?

I am proud to be a part of London’s first Ad Tech Inclusion conference, which I hope will be a catalyst in the advertising and media industry for a discussion about the importance of diversity as technology is created. As we head beyond algorithms and into AI, it’s essential the foundations of these solutions are built for everyone, without any unconscious bias.


anna frankowska featured

Anna Frankowska: CEO of Nightset | Forbes 30 under 30 for 2017

 

nightset

Anna Frankowska is the CEO of Nightset, and has been named in Forbes' prestigious 30 under 30 in Technology for 2017.

Originally from Poland, Anna fell in love with London's rich and diverse nightlife world while studying at UCL, where she graduated with a BSc in Economics.

It was then that she spotted a crucial gap in the market for a comprehensive tool, which combines the best aspects of multiple social platforms in one, cohesive virtual space, to rejuvenate and streamline the nightlife experience for people and club owners.

To master the key areas necessary to realise her dreams, the hands-on entrepreneur worked as a Graduate Analyst in Markets and International Banking with RBS, learning the arts of investment banking, business restructuring and raising investment.

How does it feel to be part of Forbes' 30 under 30?

I’m completely thrilled. To receive this recognition and acknowledgement that Nightset is one to watch has been so fulfilling. In terms of opening doors, being part of the Forbes’ list has given me a worldwide audience, access and approval in the technology sector and the opportunity to disrupt the marketplace. It’s given the company so much credibility and I’m so grateful.

I’m now part of an elite group of individuals who are just trying to make the world a better place!

How does the app work?

Nightset is a marketplace that connects party people to all the social events in their area, giving them all the key information they need to know. It connects people finishing work to venues in that area so they can network, socialise and have fun! The app also has a dating aspect to it, whereby you can discover other singles in the same or nearby venues! It adds a new dimension to the app and has completely changed the dating scene. Now meeting someone can be raw, in the moment, tying into Nightset's brand message; 'Live for the moment!'.

Empower yourself by blocking anything negative out and play up to your strengths as a woman.

Have you faced any challenges or stigma as a businesswoman?

There's been some questions raised regarding my gender and running a business, but for the most part, the business world has been very professional and empowering. In truth, If I have experienced any stigma, I've completely ignored it. Empower yourself by blocking anything negative out and play up to your strengths as a woman. The more we begin to not see or feel something negative, the quicker it will go away.

How important to you is networking and how critical is it for your business?

Networking has been key to Nightset's accomplishments and I would seriously encourage any business owner to get out there and build their connections! Business has never been about working alone, and you can gain so much knowledge, advice and support from being physically out there with your product. I've received some pretty big investments thanks to networking, so I can't reiterate it's importance enough.

Nightset works perfectly as a way to network your business as if you are keen to get out and meet other like-minded individuals, the app will show you where to go! It will expand your social networks and I have future plans to make the app more functional for professionals.

How much input did you have in developing the app?

My brother, who is the co-founder of Nightset, took the lead on the app development, whilst I took over on networking, marketing etc. It's imperative to have a tech co-founder because social media, apps and digital are the future of businesses. But I've been there from day one, overseeing the app and it's development.

What’s your background and how invaluable has it been for your business?

I have a background in investment banking and that really taught me so much about business. I would move into different sectors of the company to learn each different part. How to raise funding, what makes a business attractive, grasping the language of investment. In the end, my background made me a credible candidate for investment because I learned so much from each department. I really recommend taking the steps to learn the language of business inside out. Knowledge is key.

What advice would you give women wanting to start their own company?

I'd say to actually do it. Be passionate about your product and believe in it's success beyond any doubt. There's no risk in following a passion. Keep asking questions because you can never know too much. Continue to empower yourself, tell yourself that your dreams are achievable because they are. Don't be scared, be open to the challenge.

Plans for the future of the app?

World domination! I'd love to have the app in every city. It's so important in today's economy to have an important ambassador for nightlife, keeping it alive and making sure it's beneficial for everyone.

Download Nightset on the app store