Do you really want the job?

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I recently went for two interviews for jobs I applied for. The first one had 77 people apply. I was told there were too many qualified candidates so there was going to be a pre-screening phone interview. As soon as I got the outlook invite for the phone call, I had a look at the Director’s calendar to discover she was calling 17 people for this pre-screening. I made it through that round and was one of four that was selected for the final interview. I thought I did rather well in that interview and discovered that she called all my references. That is until I got a two line email from her right before Christmas informing me that I did not get the job. In my mind, I think I dodged a bullet with that one. Just imagine what that Director is like to work with when she feels the need to personally take two days out of her schedule to conduct 17 pre-screening interviews. I bet I would be pulling my hair out by the end of the first week with that level of micro-managing.

The second interview I had was also right before Christmas. The interview itself was delayed as one of the panelist was really late showing up. So I had a very informal chat with the hiring manager. I learned that the incumbent did not apply for job. That was a BIG red flag for me. What is wrong with this manager or office environment where the incumbent doesn’t want to apply. Anyways, a few weeks later I got a voicemail from our HR regional office in North Bay asking me to call back regarding this job. I have never had this happen for a job, but immediately got the feeling that I did not get the job and the poor HR lady had to be the one to break the news to me. Sure enough when I called she told me I didn’t get the job but to hang in there and keep applying. That is like getting a friend to break up with your boyfriend for you. Again, what a bullet I dodged. This manager didn’t even have the common courtesy to tell me herself. I couldn’t imagine working for someone that I couldn’t feel I could talk to.

My takeaway after these experiences is to take the time to evaluate the hiring manager to make an informed decision about whether the job is a good fit for you or not. I don’t feel bad when I do not get a job I interview for. I still have a winning record, getting more offers than rejections but I am not really keeping score because what’s the point. I am grading the hiring manager as much as they are grading me on my responses during the interview to gauge whether the culture, practices, and attitude of a company would make it a great place to work.

 

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Wearable Smart Technology; The Future is Here

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I recently moved into a large IT organization and being new to IT with no former IT background or experience. Yes, sure I have an iPhone, tablet, playstation and a whole other range of gadgets but I am not an expert by any means. I could not tell you the difference between software-defined storage and hybrid cloud services. Because of this,  I have been taking every opportunity to get up to speed on all things tech.

I recently attended a webinar on the “Top 10 Trends and Their Impact on IT Infrastructure and Operations” provided by @Gartner_Inc. Gartner is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner is predicting that;

Wearable smart electronics in shoes, “tattoos,” and accessories emerges as a ten billion dollar industry by 2016.

Imagine having a tattoo that will analyze and report real-time data such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar levels etc. That may be scary for a lot of people or be too much like big brother is watching you but I for one cannot wait for technology like this to be readily available for the general public. Sure there are consequences to this data, for example who will be responsible for managing this data? Will it be your doctor, some third party company (much like your home security) or will you be left to figure out what your heart rate is telling you. Maybe, the technology will be so advanced that it will be self-aware and location-aware so it will know what a heart attack is and be able to tell you where the closest hospital is or be able to call 911 for you. The possibilities are endless! Just think; people with diabetes would no longer have to prick their fingertips anymore to get their blood sugar readings; their smart tattoo would monitor that for them.

If you haven’t heard of Gartner, check them out at gartner.com/webinars.

This just in…Cauliflower is the new Kale

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It is a new year, and that means a whole new set of trends. Last year was all about kale but food experts are predicting the newest food trend in 2014 will be cauliflower. That’s right, I said cauliflower. Usually taking a backseat to its commonly paired broccoli, cauliflower will take 2014 by storm!

Did you know cauliflower is actually a type of cabbage?
Cauliflower is loaded with vitamins B and C and is a good source of protein. Cauliflower contains antioxidants that if eaten regularly, will help reduce your risk of heart diseases and cancer. Also, it could potentially help decrease the risk of inflammation diseases such as arthritis, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. Take that kale!

The sky is the Limit with Rainbow Cauliflower
Experts are saying to look for different colour cauliflower this year too. They taste the same as white cauliflower and retain their colour even after cooking but will add a splash to any meal. Some even say, different colours will add health benefits such as orange cauliflower contains higher levels of beta carotene which encourages healthy skin and purple colour comes from anthocyanin, which may help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting.

But how do you eat it?
Any way you want…being so versatile, cauliflower can be eaten raw, steamed, baked, grilled and used in soups to make them extra creamy without using cream along with countless other ways.
I’ve always loved roasted broccoli and cauliflower drizzled with olive oil and a dash of salt but I am looking forward to cauliflower becoming the next superfood so more recipes will be calling for it.

But just in case you are not ready to give up kale, here is a great Cauliflower-Kale soup recipe from William Sonoma: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/cauliflower-kale-soup.html
Cauliflower-Kale Soup with Crispy Kale Topping
Ingredients:
• 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
• 5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml) olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 1 large bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves torn into
1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
• 1 yellow onion, diced
• 2 celery stalks, diced
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 7 cups (56 fl. oz./1.75 l) chicken or vegetable broth
• 1/3 cup (1 3/4 oz./50 g) pine nuts, toasted

Directions:
Preheat an oven to 450°F (230°C).

In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender and the edges are browned and crisp, about 22 minutes. Reduce the oven to 300°F (150°C).

In a bowl, toss half of the kale with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and season with salt. Place on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast, stirring once halfway through, until the kale is crispy, 26 to 28 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower and broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining kale, increase the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a Vitamix blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Top with the crispy kale and pine nuts and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.