So I attended the slayfestival two Saturdays ago and I am here to share the career advices I got from attending these 2 masterclasses: Developing your Leadership style, Communicating values: Acing interviews
The first masterclass which was hosted by Olachi Olatunji focuses on how one creates a unique leadership style that sets one apart from other leaders. I was a little bit late to the class but I learnt the following:
Characteristics of a good leader
Respond: A good leader respond to questions or problems bothering the people they lead.
Communicate: One who is a good leader must be ready to interact with people in order to know how to lead them better.
Have heart: A good leader is one who cares about people; you can’t call yourself a good leader if you are mean and extremely nasty to those you lead.
Mould your own leadership style: You should be able to create a different but effective leadership style. You can do this by first taking everything you know about leadership while making sure that you don’t lose yourself in the process. It is not by acting all serious every time, frowning and being stuck up. Leaders nowadays are pretty laid back. They club, chill and still excel. Find your own unique way and what works for you.
Develop yourself – Become a good person and decide the kind of leader you want to be so you won’t keep running and miss your post. Read, learn and invest in making yourself a better person. There is no way you can be a great leader if you are content with the present knowledge you have.
Leadership is personal: Many amazing leaders actually didn’t set out to be leaders. They just found out they are excellent at leading which can be achieved by developing yourself first.
During the question and answer session. The following questions were asked.
Can good people be great leaders?
The answer was ‘Leadership doesn’t require you to be mean… be authentic.’
How do you lead in a male dominated field?
Stand your ground. Your work will speak for you. Do not be ashamed of what comes with being a woman, menstruation, child birth and all. You were given birth to and you are bearing forth another life. They will begin to see you eventually as a partner and colleague not ‘that woman.’
Being the youngest in a legal practice, how can you manage in a place where you are the youngest?
Katherine from the audience answered and said someone called her rude because of the Nigerian respect mentality. I wrote a blog post on this. She advised it is better to speak as someone in the office and not be effusive and say ‘yes ma, yes sir’ to everything because it will make you unproductive. So instead say ‘I am sorry I can’t do this’ and if it is perceived as rude, explain and people will understans. Be firm and let them know what you do not want. At the end of the day if you are doing the right thing you will be exonerated.
How do you get people to buy into your vision?
Not everyone will support your vision if you are not paying them. Go into networking to meet those who would counsel you for free. If you don’t get the support look for support by yourself and don’t expect it to fall on your lap like manna from heaven.
The second masterclass I attended was taken by Mark Igbinedion with 10 years experience in recruitment. I actually have no business attending the class since I didn’t register for it but I was like, why not?
Mark started his session by asking ‘How many people are tired of over-negotiating their value?’ All hands including mine went up.
He continued ‘Nigeria is one of the countries where people bargain. Everything gets bargained something you don’t see in other countries. Which is why you to have a walk away point. It is where you don’t want to go below, do not be too desperate.’
Now a walk away point I believe is the hill you are willing to
die, sleep on. Nothing can make you move beyond that point except of course it is taking you higher. Sometimes some people accept certain offers because of that ‘how we for do?’ Mentality. Yes Nigeria is pretty tough, yes money dey scarce but that doesn’t mean one should sell one’s potentials cheaply. Take for example the blog I run, I have people approach me for promotions and stuff. Okay, how much are you willing to pay for the promotion? They get shocked at my questions because they are not willing to pay. They thought shebi it is to paste their content and publish and dazall. Some other times I straight up tell people how much I would be collecting for certain promotions and writing gigs and they act defensive.
‘But you know we are not doing this event for monetary purposes so just do it for us for the sake of…’ pass!
‘Ehn, we have no money to pay you but we would give you exposure’ pass!
‘Your blog logo will be on our backdrop….’ pass!
Most times it is not even about the money. It is about the kind of content that they want me to put on my blog. I run my blog and I know the kind of vision I had in mind the very first day I uploaded a post so nope! I won’t post any random stuff for traffic or payment. Thank you.
Next up is the question of value;
This was illustrated with the pictures of two designer bags, Birkin and Chanel. The two are expensive, the two are designer bags but one holds more value than the other. The Birkin is more valuable even if you keep it for 5/6 years. If you bring it out to sell, it will retain it’s value unlike a Chanel purse.
Next is what people value you for, what do they come to you for? For advice? Is it on business? Career? Money? Or women and men yadayadaya relationship wahala? Find your personal value.
On what subjects do your friends call you for advice?
Know the value of the jobs you are looking for. He explained most graduates do not. They just want to work. Nobody wanna hire such graduates because they believe you won’t know the worth of the company or the job you will be doing.
Mastering the value in communication: Always speak to people in a way that you have their attention, have them enamoured, enraptured in whatever you are saying. Tell stories, create scenarios to have them absorbed into what you are saying. He explained this by asking how the women in the audience would feel if a guy matches up to them in a club and starts saying ‘honlodbobonosbononobo’ to which everyone shook their heads and laughed. Create a story to capture your audience so as to engage them.
At the beginning of the next session, Mark asked ‘do you have to be yourself in an interview?’ Someone from the audience answered that some places require certain standards, so conform to the different standards of the firms you are applying to.
However, Mark said it is better to be yourself so you won’t underperform and get sacked.
The “May we know you” question.
Don’t reintroduce yourself by saying all you have said on your CV. Instead talk about other things they do not know about you. Your zodiac, interests, what you do for fun and so on. Many candidates get cut off from first stage of interviews due to inability to talk about themselves.
According to Mark, you can say I am energetic, I work well under pressure. I am flexible because one time I was going to Togo I did this. I hate tricky folks due to one babe that backstabbed me. I prefer working with emotionally intelligent people.
The “Why do you want to work for us” question
You can research about the company before hand and tailor your answers towards what you have seen. You can also go on LinkedIn to find out more about them.
The tricky thing however is interviews can happen anywhere. Mide, from the audience, said, she complimented someone at the company she applied to on the day of her interview and an informal interview took place as they were both communicating. Yes, she got the job.
However, it is important you;
Have questions for interviewers because some have no information on their website. So interview them as they interview you to know if that’s the company for you or the right environment for you. Hold your pad and pen and make eye contact. Ask all of them questions
To prevent being seen as rude due to our fascination with respect as Nigerians, It is important to relax before asking questions. Let them know at the start that you have questions so they should let you know when they want you to ask.
Adjust your profile
One page is enough if you have no experience.
Write about other more important things.
Make sure you are active on LinkedIn.
On shooting shots at firms and recruiters onsocial media. Mark advised you say something like;
I am zzzzzzz, I do zzzzz. If you wanna prosper in this aspect of your company. I am the one for you.
That’s all darlings. I hope you find the tips I shared helpful. Trust me when I said this was only a tip of the iceberg at the event. There was more fun and much more learning. Will you be attending the next Slayfestival? Because I will!!!