One of my clients asked me why I did not spend more time explaining tests and preparing you for tests. One of the reasons is that tests are out of my radar a bit. Yesterday I forced myself through a psychometric test. As you know I sometimes go through interviews too. First of all, going through the process helps me sympathize with you. Secondly, I constantly look for new projects and sometimes new projects means to apply for a full-time position.

What I did not know is that nowadays application processes are designed to test your patience and perseverance more than your work experience or actual knowledge of the subject matter at hand. It starts with all the duplication of data you have to enter in the applicant tracking system and ends with the surprise of being invited to an online test that is supposed to last two hours…and then takes up almost your whole Sunday.

I followed the advice of the recruiter and went through all trial tests on my couch in my PJ first thing Sunday morning. I felt like I was not in my right mind and that I could not do most of the math tasks without a pen, paper and a calculator. Then I was disturbed by an alarm clock. I had to get up and lost time. I also felt it took me very long to understand the English texts which made me think that the tests are biased against non-native speakers. I did not know how elaborate this system was. By the time I finally started the real test I only had one wish: Get through this and see it as a self-experiment.

I understood that there was no deduction for giving the wrong answer and sometimes the last questions were the easier ones. I knew I wanted to finish all questions (even by guessing) and I tried to keep an open attitude even though my ego had been hurt already a fair bit.

I started with the personality test as I figured this would be easiest. Then I did the hardest one for me which was the inductive reasoning test, next the numerical analysis test and then a test where you had to read a paragraph and answer questions to it.

I stumbled upon this video. You might find it useful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h36cpwlslHk&feature=youtu.be

What I found strange is that there was no communication on when and whether I will see the result of my efforts and my lost Sunday. Companies should tell you such stuff. Also, they should tell you that these tests are made for people with Einstein’s IQ. I wrote down a few first tips for you when you are invited to psychometric tests:

1) Go through all the sample and practice test the same company offers.
2) Sign up to their mailing list for future challenges and new test questions.
3) Read all the instructions carefully and check if they have a version in your native language.
4) Make sure you block about three hours and have ZERO disturbance.
5) Take short breaks between the tests and drink water.
6) Make sure you actually have a simple calculator.*
7) If you expect more tests it might be worthwhile buying preparatory tests or books especially if you are a dinosaur like me who has not been to school for more than 20 years.

Here are also two links that might help you. I am not affiliated with those companies but they look genuine.

If you have further links and tips to share please let me know.

http://www.psychometricinstitute.com.au/Psychometric-Test-Guide/Psychometric-Test-Tips.html

http://career-advice.careerone.com.au/job-interview-tips/psychometric-testing/top-10-tips-to-prepare-for-a-psychometric-test/article.aspx

This week, I would like you to challenge yourself by running a self-experiment on a topic that feels like a challenge for you. Please share your experience with me. Thank you.

This week I’d like to talk about something that you can harness to become better human beings and better leaders: emotional intelligence.
Drawing on the Boudewijn Vermeulen® method I recommend to work with “body sensations”. You can also read Daniel Goleman’s (1996) classic “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ“. According to Coleman, we can identify emotional intelligence or ‘EI’ as the ability to recognize, understand and manage our emotions, while using the same guidelines to influence those of others.

The key point to note here is that to be able to influence the emotions of others, that is, to be an effective leader, requires an understanding of one’s own emotions. Therefore, I’ll be talking about ways of developing a better brain-body connection and how that sort of learning can enhance one’s sensitivity and consequently, their leadership skills.

Emotions manifest in various ways, like moods, perhaps even as physical ticks. Sometimes you don’t even know that you’re feeling a certain way, yet your body does and is tensed accordingly. Listening to these signs given by your body, therefore, allows us to develop a conscious language of sensation that can help us understand and articulate what is going on inside our bodies. So, being aware of our current mood allows us to access the unconscious wisdom of our bodies and enhance our self-awareness, which as a result lets us grow our emotional and social intelligence.
How does this learning help you become better leaders? One thing you can try to integrate into your leadership routine is to start off every meeting by asking people what their moods are, so you can have a sense of how the group is at that time. This will enable you to adjust the language, tone or flow to make the meeting more effective. It’s also a great way to get your team to engage in and develop emotional intelligence as a group.

The flip side of this is that as a leader if you are not able to manage your stressors or your emotions, that can be communicated to your team and negatively affect performance and morale. That’s where listening to your body comes in again, this time in the form of Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). It is a relaxation technique that is especially beneficial for reducing muscle tension caused by psychological stress. Used effectively, however, it can help you be on top of any form of stressors, from pain to psychological distress. All these are, after all, manifested in the mind, so it stands to reason that their effects are interconnected.

Progressive muscle relaxation, at its very core, is all about focusing on and listening to specific muscle groups of your body. By actively relaxing these muscles, then tensing them for a while, before returning to full relaxation, you can relieve yourself of stress and pain. For instance, sufferers of lower back pain are frequently taught how to target their back muscles through progressive muscle relaxation techniques to manage pain.

You don’t have to be in pain to utilize these techniques to improve your connection to your emotions. Sometimes, invisible stressors will have your body in a tensed state which can affect how you perceive your emotions and broadcast them. That mind-body equilibrium is essential to being a better person. PMR, mindfulness or any relaxation technique is not just about improving stress or anxiety management, it is about aligning yourselves in such a way that your moods, emotions, and body language work together. This ‘optimal state’ of being is where one can become better listeners, able to make more informed decisions and have better personal and professional relationships.

The key is to incorporate progressive muscle relaxation techniques into your lives through practice and repetition – the only habit can create the kind of self-improvement that lasts. “Body learning” is something that comes intrinsically to everyone, you just have to listen and learn. We added weekly practices to our RockMeApp because I am from own experience aware that it is very tough to stick with such practice especially when your workload gets excessive, when you start to work on weekends and when you have young or elderly family members to take care of as well. Try it for at least eight weeks and do it at the same time every day, ideally after lunch or before you go to sleep.

This is currently my favorite video for practicing. You can also work with Dr. Beth Salcedo’s recording. If you prefer other voices you can try out several and find the voice that you like the most. In German, Dr. Stephan Frucht is very nice to listen to as well. For further reading on the practice of progressive muscle relaxation, you can check out this link for step-by-step guides. In my experience, it is best to just get started with a video or recording without overthinking it.

During the annual RockMeRetreat we practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation and other productivity-enhancing methods together. It’s often easier to start in a group. Don’t forget to claim your meeting with me to discuss your participation.

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

PS: I would like to invite all of you to join me for the Relocation Talk on 22 May 2019 at KOSMOS Zurich.
“Enhancing the Expat Experience in the Canton of Zurich”
with Angie Weinberger
When: 22 May 2019
Where: Kosmos Zurich, Switzerland
Click here to sign up as they’ve limited seats available.

Lifestyle Expatriates are often expat spouses in Dual-Career Couples, Third Culture Kids (TCK’s) and Gig Workers (or Digital Nomads as they tend to be called too). This is one driver of Global Mobility.

I have been a strong proponent of Global Mobility for years now and most readers and clients will know my general optimism towards it. This week I will be taking a critical look at the trend towards more Lifestyle expats and various shortcomings that need to be addressed. AIRINC (2019) confirms that 13% more companies now have an international one-way transfer policy (72% vs 59% in 2018). We also have to take into consideration here is that our populations are a lot more diverse than they used to be 10 years ago (Weinberger, 2019).

Let’s dive right in.

“In recent years, we have come across a new source of mobility traffic. We can call this driver “lifestyle”. Through technology, economic crisis, and mobile mindsets, younger professionals are more willing to move to other countries to find work. The local-to-local hires from abroad are often “coming for love and staying for the job”. Locations with a high influx of foreigners due to low unemployment, high staff turnover and perceived high quality of living – such as Australia, Canada, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Switzerland – attract professionals from many countries. The jobs require academic backgrounds and professional experience but can be filled by local staff, if the talent is available in the marketplace. There is, however, a downside to this trend. Not many professionals think about the long-term consequences of moving from one place to another. Social security is covered in a later chapter, as well as other potential issues that can arise for global mobility professionals.”
(The Global Mobility Workbook, Weinberger, 2019)

Lifestyle expats are often expat spouses in Dual-Career Couples, Third Culture Kids (TCK’s) and Gig Workers (or Digital Nomads as they tend to be called too).

What’s in the packages?
Often the packages of lifestyle expats are limited. They have a local employment contract in the Host Country. Sometimes we support the immigration and relocation process. The company does not always offer international medical insurance or an international pension plan. In many cases, this is not because of bad intentions. Often, local HR staff has not considered the package and support as they have misconceptions about how these systems work globally.

So here are a few examples and tips to consider.

Going to the US? –  Do you face any Work and Residence Permit Restrictions?
In recent years I have heard a lot of complaints about the US immigration process among others. Protectionism has made it a more trying and difficult process in many countries. In Switzerland, too, we have more administration to tackle than before the bilateral agreement with the EU on free movement was accepted. You need to learn and understand the steps of the immigration process – for certain countries such as the US, you will need the help of a lawyer. Check if your spouse is allowed to work in the host country.

Going to Brazil? – Have you thought about your personal security?
In several countries in the world, you might face issues of personal safety. Brazil is one such country which has built a bad reputation over the years. It’s worth taking a look at your government security websites before moving to a new country. Additionally, once you are there, find out right away where your Embassy is in case of an emergency and get yourself registered with them.

Going to Europe? – Do you have social security in this particular European country?
Imagine if you will, that you move overseas with your spouse, you just find out that you are pregnant but you don’t have health insurance coverage yet in the new country, nor any type of social security. You might not have new coverage because insurance companies won’t accept you or they will increase their premiums significantly.

This leaves you stuck in a limbo where you are waiting for the lengthy assessments for private medical, social security and international pension to come through, while your spouse or yourself require the use of those facilities.

Going to the Middle East – Do you have any residence rights if you get fired?
The employment on a local contract poses a risk in many countries in the world as you might have to leave the country in case you lose your job. If you accept a contract in the Middle East, make sure that you understand your rights and obligations but also your residence permit status. Is it bound to your employment or financial security?

Going to China – Are you ready to face the pace and work 24/7?
Some countries have a different work ethic than others. Some countries are highly productive while others still have a lot of inefficient processes. You could move to a country like China and be surprised how many hours you are physically expected to be “at work”, in the office or even socializing with colleagues. The pace in fast-growing markets such as China could drain you or become stressful in the long run.

Going to India – Will you face tax issues and do you understand your package? 
As a local hire, you might have different legal implications to consider than an expat being sent by a company. If you are going to India, it is worth checking the kind of tax exposure you will face there and to really understand the package that you are offered.

Relocation Planning is left up to you
Many companies have not implemented a great process for hires from other countries. HR often works ad-hoc and as mentioned doesn’t understand all implications.
I once met an expat who moved to Switzerland around the New Year and didn’t have a place to stay when she arrived! Normally, the company could have provided temporary accommodation but that did not happen, the expat ended up having to figure things out on her own.

You somehow forgot that the host country has a different native language than English
Internations mentions that there are still many expats moving to another country without managing the host language to a workable level. I’m often surprised when clients complain about German being ‘so hard to learn’. Even if you can survive well in Switzerland without German, not speaking the language hinders you from integrating into a culture and entering the “circle of trust”.
How can Global Mobility help if they are not empowered and don’t have the staffing?

Increase the Scope, Team and have Global Mobility report to the CEO
What can be done to improve on these shortcomings? On an organizational level, I strongly feel that making Global Mobility a  function reporting to the CEO is the most logical path to positive consequences. Global Mobility activities need to include all sorts of cross-border activity including weekly commuters, International Business Travellers, International Hires and “Digital Nomads”.

It would allow for smarter, involved decisions regarding Global Mobility professionals as part of the company’s expert staff. Looking after the wellbeing of your international workforce is now considered essential to an organization’s success, there really is no justification for slacking off on that front.

Having the CEO directly involved with Global Mobility allows them to devise budgets and become the escalation point for critical hires and moves. Often, CEOs only hear about GM when things go pear-shaped and there is, for instance, a real life-and-death situation such as a terrorist attack or a tsunami – at times like these GM might not be able to get through to them because there are too many layers of organization between them.

Address the Package Issues through a Guideline
We should address the package issues and devise at least medical coverage, support with the immigration for expat and spouse, international pension, pay for the move and repatriation in case of redundancy and ensure the personal safety of the expat family.

Despite the tougher aspects of being involved in Lifestyle Expatriation, I still maintain my optimism. The Future of Global Mobility will see us rise to the level of other corporate functions and we will be able to support our diverse global clients even better than today.

Great strides have been made in recent years and I am certain that the coming days will see more positive resolutions to people’s pain points and enhance the expat experience.

Lastly, I’d like to mention that the third edition of The Global Mobility Workbook is coming together really nicely.  For a field evolving as rapidly as #GlobalMobility, revisions to the workbook are inevitable to continue being of value to professionals. This edition brings you many new chapters, thorough analyses on the Future of Work and a host of improvements. Watch this space for more details on new features and the launch and join our team of test readers here:

Test Readers of The Global Mobility Workbook (3rd Edition).

Have a productive week ahead.

A guest post by Nabeha Latif – Social Media Guru at SparkZing


This week I’ll be talking about one of the most important tools in a professional’s repertoire: the LinkedIn profile. With over 500 million users, a LinkedIn profile isn’t just an afterthought, it is a mainstay of modern recruitment. Something that essential needs to be mastered fully, so let’s get to it. Presenting:

Top 10 Tips for a Killer LinkedIn Profile

1 – Get a personalised URL

In my experience, far too many professionals forget to do this, often because they simply forgot about it. LinkedIn provides you the ability to discard the standard URL (which is a jumble of letters and numbers) and have a vanity URL instead. This personalised URL can be used to promote your profile in email signatures, on business cards, portfolios and resumes. It also gives you the ability to target better organic SEO by putting in your job title or industry. Having your profile appear as a top Google search result against a job title keyword is a pretty useful trick! Check out LinkedIn’s own guide on setting up a personal URL for your profile here.

2 – Nail that headline!

You’ve got only six seconds to catch the attention of a recruiter on LinkedIn, which makes your headline absolutely do-or-die. Do make sure your headline contains the necessary keywords that are SEO friendly (that is, they contain certain words that people generally use when searching for the relevant job title or industry) and allow people to identify your industry with ease. Do make the most of the allotted 120 characters, don’t just write your job description. Try being playful (if appropriate) with word choices – sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity. Of course, don’t forget your real purpose: catching a recruiter’s attention. If your profile views drop, a reason could be that your headline needs to be re-worked.

3 – Populate your experience

Just like some people sometimes forget to update our CVs, LinkedIn profiles too can become stagnant. That’s why, every so often, you should sit down and make sure that everything from your summary, work history, projects, trainings and education is up-to-date. It helps to employ the same sort of creativity you used to create your perfect headline to show how you excelled during a particular role. Make sure that you review and plug in any gaps that may have been left in the first time round. The more a hiring manager sees of you, the easier it makes for them to decide if you meet their requirements.

If you have privacy concerns, you can choose not to share details about your career or self that you consider sensitive, as a LinkedIn profile is public and trawled by internet search engines. Concerns about private data stored by LinkedIn can be addressed by going through their GDPR-compliant privacy policy.

4 – Get creative!

This is the third time I am mentioning creativity – that is how important it is. In a sea of automation (LinkedIn now has a feature that autofills your summary), it is very easy to drown in the overwhelming number of similar looking profiles. Learning to showcase your skills and experience in a smart, catchy manner greatly increases your chances of getting noticed by the right people. Put in media from YouTube, your favourite design wireframes or any public mentions or accolades you may have accumulated! You can do that by going to Add Profile Section > Accomplishments and choosing the appropriate section.

5 – Engage, engage, engage

LinkedIn is a social network after all and engagement is key to building a healthy profile. Engaging with peers through endorsements is a positive methodology, not only will you establish a good rapport with your network but will receive endorsements in return. That rapport can help you reach out for recommendations, an important aspect of building your brand and establishing yourself as a significant presence in your industry.
It is also imperative that you join the conversation. On groups, with key influencers, with colleagues and peers. Profiles that engage actively on groups are 5 times more likely to be viewed!

6 – Master the algorithm

A killer LinkedIn profile is one that hits the top of the search results every time someone searches for a certain kind of professional. Want your profile to be the one the LinkedIn search algorithm chooses? Here’s how: Complete your profile, 100%.

LinkedIn’s algorithm is designed to give top priority to profiles which are complete (they are referred to as “All Star Profiles” and only 51% of users have those). This means that if you missed out on any aspect of your profile, you will essentially be invisible in the search results. No one wants that.

On the subject of LinkedIn Premium: spending money on a premium account will not affect your profile in any way, there are no new features there. Those accounts are targeted more towards recruiters and job seekers looking to directly connect with people not on their network. That is why purchasing a premium account will not be helpful in improving the quality of your LinkedIn profile

7 – SEO is king

Some digital specialists posit that the modern Internet is driven solely on SEO. That may be debatable but in the case of LinkedIn, that is very much true! Make sure that your profile is the one found by external search engines: optimize job titles, descriptions and as previously mentioned, in the vanity URL. All these fields are text only and thus will be parsed by search engines, you want to maximise your chances of being the top of those result lists. “Digital Guru” may sound like a catchy job title but people searching for “digital marketer” or “digital marketing specialist” will never know of you! The key is to keep it simplistic so that you can be easily found.

8 – Be pixel perfect!

Having a professional profile picture on LinkedIn is critical – first impressions matter! Questions to ask yourself when selecting a profile picture: Does it have a neutral background? Are you appropriately dressed? Did a professional photographer take the picture or is it just a selfie?

I’m also going to direct you towards how you can elevate your profile by making sure you optimize the technical aspects of the images you use. Hootsuite covers it in great detail if you’re interested, but to summarize: Make sure your images are the right aspect ratio, meet the minimum pixel count and are the correct file types. You don’t want your images to be blurry or misshapen due to incorrect dimensions!

9 – It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon

You burn through an entire weekend getting your profile into tip-top shape. Great, you now have a killer LinkedIn profile! However, what happens after a week? A month? Six months? Remember this statistic: 40% of LinkedIn’s active user-base logs in daily to the platform. These are the people who take time out every day to post, interact, tweak and improve their profiles, connections and more. Emulate them, make LinkedIn a part of your routine, it will maintain your profile as one of the best and help maximise your chances of catching the eye of recruiters, should you be looking for a new job.

10 – Run a company? Treat the page as you would your profile

If you run your own business and have it listed on your LinkedIn profile, you should make sure that the company page receives the same care and attention as your profile. After all, both must reflect the same values. Rigorously fill in and verify the information pertaining to your company, set up a consistent posting schedule and boost posts from your own employees – all add up to creating an interactive and healthy social space around your company.

***
A reminder: I will be offering this year’s RockMeRetreat from 21 November to 28 November. The RockMeRetreat is a seven-day leadership retreat in Southern Germany, where you will get to network with other Expat Leaders and Professionals and develop your global leader competency.

The RockMeRetreat is designed to amplify your success on your chosen career path and help you move towards the breakthrough you need to become a Rockstar in your chosen field!

Sign up here for entering the conversation with me. If you wish to speak to me directly, please book an appointment by replying to this email.

Kind regards,
Angie.

PS: Meet me to discuss your participation in the RockMeRetreat November 2019 by booking your special Rockstar Session with me now.

It’s that time of the year again when we arbitrarily change our clocks by an hour because of reasons that nobody seems to understand anymore, in a planet-wide April Fool’s joke. Perhaps it’s just scientists’ way of reminding us that time is relative? Luckily, the EU is about to get rid of that nasty habit but until then I still cringe because now I literally have to get up at 4 am. I am a morning person but there are limits and I feel sorry for my global, virtual team because now they have to handle my bad mood all day long.

They know me well, so they probably just think “Oh, another one of her dramas”…

We have become accustomed to drama everywhere and we are used to arguing in meetings for the sake of positioning ourselves. Sometimes you just want to win over the other person’s view. It’s about who is better than the other. On the surface.

What is this argument really about?

Have you ever considered that you jump into an argument easily not because you want to move forward the team and “think further and outside the box” but just because you like power? Have you considered that you are worried about losing power when you treat your team members with respect and listen to them instead of thinking that you know best of all?

I revisited the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”  by Stephen Covey through this video recently. I was lucky to “win” access to one of Stephen’s talks around 13 years ago in Frankfurt. I was very impressed with him when he made a full concert hall of around 5000 managers stand up, close their eyes, turn around several times and then point towards “North”.

There were around 35 different options to show North.

If you want to become effective as a team you need to invest in the relationship level of the team members. You need to create the framework for a supportive atmosphere in which every team member feels valued and can share her view in a way that is appropriate to them.

You probably now wonder “Ok, I know that but it is easier said than done.” and as so often you are hoping for the quick fix, the recipe or the shortcut to global virtual team productivity.

May I take your delusions from you?

There are no shortcuts in life. Someone will always suffer if you try the quick fixes, the formula or the recipes that might work for others. You will first of all need to work on yourself. Once you are ready to be a “rounded” leader who can set aside ego and nurture a team then you can read the six tough steps to start working more effectively in global, virtual teams.

1) Confront your fears and find a place of self-awareness within you

That is the hardest part of self-development. Often our ego is strong and demands that we nurture it daily. It is like the flesh-eating plant in “Little Shop of Horrors”. The ego needs fodder. We have built ways of showing to ourselves that we are worthy. It could be the new certificate that you have to attain, the endorsements on LinkedIn or the positive feedback you expect in your performance reviews and your 360-evaluation. You behavior is driven by optimizing your evaluation, turnover and other Key Performance Indicators. Learn to be self-sufficient without depending on numbers that prove you are a superhero!

2) Identify the formal roles and responsibilities of your team members

While every team needs formal roles and responsibilities most conflicts occur at the handover points. In a fully functioning and high performing team everyone also supports the other team member when they sense that the other team member is overloaded or when they feel that they have the capacity. The more dispersed and virtual the team works, the harder it is to see how much capacity everyone has.

It is your job as the leader to identify the gaps and to build a feedback loop where team members can openly communicate when they feel overloaded or when they do not have enough challenging work. You probably understand that every team member needs a healthy mix of challenges and routine tasks in order to be satisfied at work.

3) Unmask the informal roles of your team members

In your team you will find informal roles too. In a flatter hierarchy you might have an opinion leader who does not necessarily agree with you. You might find this team member challenging but this team member could be your greatest ally and supporter if you understood how this person needs to be inspired

Maybe they need more encouragement, maybe they need more brainstorming  or maybe they need more structure. You need to learn to read your team members and the informal roles they play and then adapt your style accordingly.

4) Find out the areas of support for the team members

In my management and coaching experience I learned that every human being  has needs. It sometimes took me up to two years to drive a team to high performance and great collaboration. When you understand the learning steps the team member has to go through to get to the next level you will also understand how you can lead this person to success.

Instead of asking them to work on projects that are way out of their capabilities you can give them small success experiences so they can grow in small steps and keep their self-confidence in tact. I have seen many good team members in other teams who were crushed and did not believe in their competencies anymore because their manager was overconfident or micro-managing them.

5) Ensure every team member has a voice

In any intercultural team but also monocultural team you will have more introverted team members. They will not always speak up in meetings and voice their opinions. Others might just feel it is not worth to discuss further and shut up. You can use various tools and methods to give your quieter team members a voice.

It also helps if you ask a neutral facilitator to support your annual kick-off meetings or other team building exercises. You might not see yourself how you hinder certain team members from voicing their opinion.

6) Be aware of your limiting assumptions

When a team member is very engaged but not necessarily of the same view as you are it could be a good point to consider. You might assume that the team member is less qualified or experienced than you are and as a result, you might not take her seriously.

You could also be biased against team members who behave like yourself or have similar preferences in working style. This is what we reveal in coaching sessions. In my experience, this process is easier when you work with me through this transition phase as you might have cultural and other blindspots that hinder you from fast progress.

These are six tough ways to improve your collaboration in global virtual teams.

Let’s have a conversation about your current global leader and team performance goals. You can also discuss your expatriate career topics with me. Pick my brain by claiming your RockMeRetreat*** Goal Setting Session (with Code: RMR19)