During my active recruiting years, I must have advised at least 5,000 job-seekers on the dos and don’ts of interviewing. I’ll be hosting a webcast on October 10, 2013, covering the most important of these points. (Here’s a link to sign-up.) You’ll find many more in The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired. The book is unusual, covering the entire hiring process from the viewpoint of both the job-seeker and the interviewer. Since most interviewers won’t have read the book, it’s up to the job-seeker to make sure he or she is assessed properly. Some of these tips will help.

How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot in the Interview

1) Stop using generalities, like “I’m a problem-solver” and “I’m a real team player.” Generalities about strengths are ignored, forgotten, or not heard. When interviewers evaluate a candidate they recall the examples and stories the candidate used to prove a point. From these examples they conclude to what degree the candidate possesses the strength or attribute.

2) Never say “I don’t have any weaknesses.” Everybody has weaknesses. The point of the question isn’t even about weaknesses; it’s an attempt to determine your character, honesty, and self-awareness. On the surface, saying you don’t have any weaknesses implies you’ve stopped growing, can’t learn anything new and can’t be coached. Openly stating a weakness, and describing how you’ve learned from it, indicates a willingness to get better.

3) Don’t give answers that are too short or too long. In an interview, you’re judged not just on the content of your answers, but also the quality of how they’re presented. The best answers are 1-2 minutes long. If your answers are too short you’re assumed to lack ability or insight, or interest. Worse, you force the interviewer to work too hard. Interviewees who talk too much are considered self-absorbed, boring and imprecise. Worse, after two minutes the interviewer tunes you out and doesn’t hear a thing you’ve said.

4) Don’t ask “what’s in it for me” questions. At the beginning of the interview, assume you’re the seller, even if you’re the hottest, in-demand candidate in the world. Asking self-serving questions like “what does the job pay?” or questions about benefits and related superficialities, are an instant turn-off. It’s certainly okay to ask about these things once the interviewer signals that you’re a serious candidate for the job.

5) Don’t look at your resume. During the interview you must not look at your resume. This is a sign you’re either nervous (which you probably will be), or you fabricated something. Interviewers expect you to know your work history completely, including companies, dates, job titles, roles, responsibilities and key accomplishments. To help recall these important details, write them down on a few 3X5 cards before the interview.

How to Gain an Interviewing Advantage

1) Be prepared. An interview is more important than any major presentation you’ll ever make. You need to be just as prepared. Part of this is reading about the company, the industry, the job description, and the LinkedIn profiles of the people you’ll be meeting. But this is just a start. Knowing yourself, your resume and work history inside-out, your strengths and weaknesses, and preparing to ask and answer questions is the hard part.

2) Ask insightful questions. Interviewers judge candidates on three big areas: the candidate’s first impression, the quality of the answers, and the quality of the questions. Great questions can often overcome weaknesses in the other areas. The best questions focus on the impact and challenges of the role, and the relationship of the job to the business.

3) Convert the interview into a past performance review. If the interviewer seems to be box-checking skills and experiences, ask about the major performance expectations for the job. Then give examples of your biggest accomplishments to validate you’ve done work that’s comparable to what needs to be done.

4) Prove strengths and neutralize weaknesses. Write down all of your strengths and weaknesses. For each strength come up with 1-2 actual accomplishments you can use as examples to prove the strength. To neutralize a weakness, describe how you converted it into a learning experience, or how you manage to deal with it.

5) Ask about next steps. Towards the end of the interview, ask where you stand, and find out the next steps. If the interviewer is vague or non-committal, you’re probably not going to be called back. In this case, ask if there is something missing in your background or skill set that the job requires. Once you know this, you might be able to minimize the concern by describing some comparable accomplishment that was previously not considered.

For most hiring managers, the interviewer is more about box-checking and validating skills, combined with a big dose of gut feel and intuition. A savvy job-seeker can turn the odds in his or her favor by being prepared, recognizing that the interview isn’t a lecture or a series of 30-second responses, and asking insightful, business-oriented questions. Preventing what can go wrong is a great way to ensure things go right.


Lou Adler (@LouA) is the CEO of The Adler Group, a full-service talent acquisition consulting firm. His latest book, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired(Workbench, 2013), covers the Performance-based Interviewing process described in this article in more depth. For instant hiring advice join Lou’s LinkedIn group and follow his Wisdom About Work series on Facebook.


MS opens multimillion-rand tech centre

Microsoft SA has launched the first Microsoft Technology Centre (MTC) in Africa, a hi-tech multimillion-rand facility that offers local companies the opportunity to develop globally competitive business solutions.

The centre, situated at Microsoft SA headquarters in Bryanston, is one of 31 MTCs worldwide and comprises a number of rooms that each serves a specific purpose in the business solution development chain.



The ‘Microsoft Customer Immersion Experience’ room offers a hands-on introduction to Windows 8 and its productivity solutions. It is designed to be interactive and experimental, and offers a hi-tech space where ideas for business innovations can be discussed.

Another space, named the ‘Design suite’, features smart boards where the apps and solutions can be demonstrated and refined. During a tour of the MTC, Microsoft demonstrated an app developed for the health sector by showcasing it on the smart boards.

The app allows doctors to use their personal devices to access patient information, test results and medical scans and graphs. Users can check their e-mail and consult with colleagues by sending patient information and test results. The app also allows for real-time monitoring of the patient, by connecting to hospital machines such as a heart rate monitor via Bluetooth.


In the ‘Envisioning Centre’, a system called CleanCity was demonstrated, which is a cloud-based application that members of the public can use to share information, such as the location of potholes. This information is then uploaded to a central cloud-based application, which municipalities can use to allocate resources to repair and maintain the country’s infrastructure.

An app that was built for the New York Police Department was also demonstrated. Police upload all known information about a crime, its location and the victims onto a system, which then allows them to call up all criminal activity in a certain area or timeframe, or notice patterns in types or times of offenses.

The centre also features a ‘Developer suite’, dubbed the geek suite, which has state of the art equipment and development tools where apps and solutions are brought to life. The centre will also be available to app developers, start-ups and students wanting to test their solutions before taking them to market.

Local investment

Microsoft SA MD, Mteto Nyati, says the MTC is a massive investment towards SA’s ambition to become a regional technology hub. “This centre is all about collaboration and building an entire ecosystem of innovation. We want to dramatically speed up the pace of innovation, and help our customers and partners slash the time it takes to get solutions and applications to market.”

Nyati emphasised that the MTC is the result of a collaboration effort between a number of role-players in the ICT industry, including HP, IBM and Incredible Connection. “We would like to create an environment where local businesses are able to create more jobs, whether here in South Africa, or anywhere else in Africa.”

Science and technology minister Derek Hanekom said it is important that South Africans and Africans develop home-grown technology solutions and foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly among the youth.

“There has never been a better time for businesses, government and the youth to develop solutions that can address a range of challenges. Technology hubs like these can only enhance our capacity to provide innovative solutions to the most pressing social and business challenges facing our country and continent,” said Hanekom.


By Mariné Jacobs
Johannesburg, 1 Aug 2013




In memory of a great legacy

It is with great sadness that we advise that Rob Barrie, co-founder and owner of Swift Office Supplies died at the Milpark Hospital on 16th September 2013. 


Rob Barrie left a great legacy and Swift Office Supplies and its team Janet, Heather, Jean, David, Eric, Ben and Richard plan to honour him by continuing to support the many customers and organisations who did business with Swift Office Supplies, as he did. 


A memorial services will be held at Trinity Methodist Church, corner 5th Ave and 5th St Linden, at 14h00 on Thursday 26 September 2013.


For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Canon SA has clinched the top spot in the 20 to 29 pages per minute Office colour MFP segment in South Africa for the first half of 2013, according to independent statistics from InfoSource.


 In the first six months of 2013, Canon SA sold 1 402 units in this segment achieving 23.3% market share, with its nearest competitor selling 1 313 units to achieve a 21.9% share.

 The impressive gain in market share, from 11.7% for the same period in 2012, is largely attributed to the multi-award winning imageRUNNER ADVANCE portfolio of products,  Canon’s focused marketing drive in this particular market and a strong and dedicated network of channel partners.

The imageRUNNER portfolio comprises a range of robust and innovative products, from the entry level imageRUNNER C1028iF to theimageRUNNER ADVANCE C2200 and C5200 series for more demanding environments. Since 2010, the Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE range of multi-functional devices have received no less than 12 awards in areas such as Best Office Multifunctional Line of the Year and Best Segment 2 A3 Colour Multifunctional Printer.

 According to Dan Porter, Sales and Marketing Director: Business Imaging Group, Canon SA, the office environment is beginning to shift to embrace colour and with Canon’s full suite of products, from Multi-Function Printers, to its extended range of office software solutions, the company can ensure dramatic cost savings and quality print results for its customers.

 “Our success with our imageRUNNER ADVANCE series lies in our ability to provide a complete imaging solution that incorporates renowned quality Canon hardware and software solutions, with price competitiveness, backed by strong and motivated sales channels. This range hits all the right notes with our customers that want value for money without compromising on quality or productivity.

 While ranking first in the 20 to 29ppm Officecolour segment, Canon has placed 2nd, up from 3rd,  in 2012, in the total Office colour market for the first half of 2013, with a 13.2% market share.

 “Certainly, there is room for improvement in some areas but we are buoyed by the company’s overall growth in market share, and specifically the leadership position achieved in the 20- 29 page per minute Office colour segment.


“We are proud of what we have achieved but are in no way complacent. We will continue to focus our efforts on delivering value to customers through cost-effectiveness, ease-of-use, energy efficiency, quality results and capabilities,” concludes Porter

Supply chain risks are on the rise, as is their potential impact on business performance and shareholder value. A recent study found that 85 percent of global supply chains had experienced at least one significant disruption over the preceding 12 months. Another study found that firms that suffered from a publicly-announced supply chain disruption delivered shareholder returns approximately 30 percent lower than their peers. Results like these are too important to ignore – and the risks are only increasing.

A variety of internal and external forces are driving the rise in supply chain risk. Some are macro trends such as globalization and global connectivity, which are making supply chains more complex and amplifying the impact of any problems that may arise. Others stem from the never-ending push to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs. Although trends such as lean manufacturing, just-in-time inventory, reduced product lifecycles, outsourcing, and supplier consolidation have yielded compelling business benefits, they have also introduced new kinds of supply chain risk and reduced the margin for error.

Events that were once considered “black swans” –, high impact, but low probability events– now seem to be an almost regular occurrence. This is not necessarily because problems are happening more often, but because in a globally interconnected business environment, problems that used to remain isolated now have far-reaching impacts.

At the same time, customer expectations and product life cycles continue to shift. Today’s buyers expect businesses to deliver a continuous stream of products that are better, faster, and cheaper – while acting responsibly toward society and the environment. And thanks to social media and the Internet, if a company has a weak link or one of its supply chain partners stumbles there’s a good chance the public will learn about it even before the CEO does.

All of these trends are challenging traditional notions of “acceptable supply chain risk.” In this increasingly complex and challenging environment, what can an organization do to manage its risk exposure and protect the value of its business and brand?

Click here to access the full paper

If you would like to have a more detailed discussion, contact Clinton Houston at clhouston@deloitte.co.za


Due to increases in raw material costs.

JOHANNESBURG – South African Sappi (JSE:SAP)’s Fine Paper Europe division will raise prices for certain speciality paper products by 6% from July 1 due to increases in raw material costs, the company said on Monday.

The price increase will affect coated and uncoated flexpack paper, siliconising base papers and label papers, Sappi said in a statement.


Source – Reuters

While trading conditions in the commercial property market remain challenging, resulting in muted overall growth, there are a number of factors which are having a positive impact on activity and future potential in the market, says Johann Boshoff, MD of JHI Properties, a member of Excellerate Property Services group.

Currently managing approximately R55 billion in assets on behalf of property owners, JHI Properties has since the start of 2013 acquired the management of 34 additional properties with a combined market value of approximately R2.7 billion. These comprise 20 retail properties which are predominantly rural-based and in neighbouring centres, nine office buildings and five industrial properties.

Says Boshoff: “The retail sector nationally continues to show positive growth with good results from retail companies buoying demand for space, however it appears that small, non-national retailers are finding trading conditions more difficult. The burgeoning black middle class is driving the demand for brands and shopping convenience, with major retailers positioning themselves to capitalise on this pocket of growth.

“There is a strong international focus on Africa as a new growth frontier, which has lent some impetus to the market as South Africa, and Johannesburg in particular, is seen as the gateway to the continent. Investment in infrastructural improvements such as those in Midrand, which have allowed the Waterfall development to rise out of the ground, and developers’ taking positions near the Gautrain stations in the decentralised CBD’s of Sandton and Rosebank, have driven activity in the market. Tenants are also very sensitive to public transport infrastructure as improved convenience and working environments for staff are prioritised in order to maximise productivity. In addition, industrial property continues to yield steady results with movement in warehousing and distribution contracts sustaining activity.”

Boshoff says it is true that the office market is experiencing little or no growth as companies find themselves under pressure as macroeconomic factors take their toll on growth prospects, in spite of some corporate re-alignments in areas such as Sandton and Midrand in Gauteng. “However, pockets of value are to be found as we work closely with tenants to maximise efficiencies and improve working spaces. We are seeing a desire from landlords for more ‘value-add’ from property managers in terms of vacancy management and tenant retention. As a result, focussed strategies executed by experienced professionals and geared to cater for each individual property have become the industry norm in the current highly competitive environment.”

He says the ongoing increase in the operational expenditure of running a rental enterprise is putting pressure on net rentals for landlords, while stubbornly high vacancy factors in some areas, particularly in the office market, exert downward pressure on rentals as increasingly savvy tenants have more options and negotiate better lease terms.

“Having said that however, the opportunities for us in growing our business lie in the very challenges which face us, firstly, through increasing long-term building efficiencies especially around ‘greening’ buildings for long-term operating cost savings; increasing international interest in the South African market as we comply with international real estate regulations with the conversion of property loan stock structures to real estate investment trusts; and working closely with tenants to understand their needs and provide intelligent property solutions. As mentioned above, further opportunities also lie in the growth of the African middle class both within and across our borders,” says Boshoff.

He notes that in the investment property market there is a shortage of quality assets for sale as investors who hold prime properties find little incentive for disposal as replacement stock is not easy to find. The demand for commercial property may eventually trigger new builds.

“In the current low inflation, low interest rate climate, yields remain low in a market characterised by a shortage of A-grade assets and with an expanding base of qualified investors fuelling demand, applying downward pressure to yields. There is a widening of the gap between A-grade assets and B-grade assets, with some strong players capitalising on this trend by acquiring value assets and working with the property managers in order to increase net incomes and achieve good rental growth in the medium term.”

Turning to the Western Cape region, JHI Properties reports that office vacancies in the Cape Town area and surrounds have been relatively stable, and even decreased in the second quarter of 2013 – currently standing at around 9.6 percent. Although the scale of developments has decreased considerably, developers are still building for the future and constructing new offices.  A notable trend in the market is towards B grade offices, which are reflecting a greater improvement in vacancies in relation to the other classes. This is most likely a key factor influencing the demand for B-grade space, as businesses seeking value accept lower grade offices to meet cost requirements.

Says Boshoff: “Cape Town has a two tier market, where the limited demand is for quality buildings, which places pressure on secondary buildings where vacancies are already high. This presents significant opportunities for improvement and growth in capital value in this market as secondary stock becomes considered for redevelopments and refurbishments in the near future.

“We see lower prices generally remain a theme in the market as landlords become more competitive in regard to rentals, including increased letting incentives, tenant installation allowances, a rent-free period and even relocation costs, in order to reduce vacancies. Despite high rentals, vacancies are very low in prime locations such as Century City and the V&A Waterfront, which is testament to the high appeal of a good location with excellent surrounding infrastructure. While the demand for office accommodation is relatively flat in the Cape Town market, the majority of enquiries are from the likes of IT firms, international call centres and renewable energy companies.”

He says in KwaZulu-Natal the demand for quality office space to lease north of Durban remains constant, although asking rentals have remained flat. There is a significant over-supply of office accommodation in the Durban CBD, which over the past year has resulted in a lowering of asking rentals in that area. Positively however, vacancies in retail centres remain low. Areas receiving considerable attention in the province include the Hammarsdale/Cato Ridge corridor west of Durban – where JHI manages the new Hammarsdale Junction Shopping Centre, a 20 000 square metre retail centre anchored by Spar and Pick n Pay – as well as development in Cornubia Industrial & Business Estate in the rapidly growing northern development corridor near uMhlanga Ridge and the Gateway precinct.


Concludes Boshoff: “As a whole the market is still slower than pre-2008 levels with fewer transactions and increased competition for corporate leasing deals, and the key focus will remain on achieving operational efficiencies and in pursuit of pockets of value. However, with the right approach and looking after our clients’ best interests at all times, we have made substantial progress in developing a strong leasing component of brokers who can deliver results. This is coupled with our growing success in increasing the portfolio of property assets managed on behalf of property funds and investors.”

Ricoh SA and Rectron South Africa, a wholly owned subsidiary of JSE Securities Exchange-listed Mustek Limited Group, have inked an exclusive two-year distribution agreement for Ricoh’s consumer, small office home office (SOHO) and small business printers, multifunction printers, consumables and solutions.


The agreement signals Ricoh SA’s first step into the South African IT distribution channel and a broadening of Rectron South Africa’s printer portfolio. Ricoh SA will extend the channel business into other African countries using South Africa as the base of operations.


“Rectron is a premier distributor in South Africa with a broad national footprint and strong credentials,” says Richard Pinker, MD of Ricoh SA. “The worldwide market for printers and multifunction devices at this level was worth over 11 million units in 2011 and we believe the total local market is around 150 000 units, which is a conservative estimate based on South Africa typically representing 1% of global markets.”


“We expect that this partnership with Ricoh will enable us to double our volumes in the printer portion of Rectron’s business,” says David Kan, CEO, co-founder and major shareholder in Mustek Limited Group. “This is the first indirect model Ricoh SA has embarked on in the IT distribution channel and we have an exclusive agreement with them. By working together we believe the market will support significant growth for our printer division in the first year.”


“This decision supports Rectron’s philosophy of being a value added distributor and partner to our reseller channel, bringing them the best technology, service and price structures to aid them in diversifying and building their business,” says Lindi Shortt, MD of Rectron. “The technology and strength of the long-standing Ricoh brand will open up new opportunities in the market.”


The agreement will see Rectron distribute, amongst others, Ricoh’s SP and SPC printer range, catering specifically to the intended market and including the GELJET printers that have a small footprint, full front access and easy connectivity including WiFi. They feature Ricoh’s fast-drying liquid gel technology to simplify colour printing.


“The rollout includes an intensive distributor education and development programme, as well as reseller launch event where our new channel partners can experience and interact with the Ricoh technology,” says Jacques van Wyk, executive GM of indirect operations at Ricoh SA.


“One of the biggest deciding factors that cemented our decision to partner with Rectron was that they are in fact focused on building an established and versatile printing division, they see the print solution as the technology enabler, assisting resellers to truly understand the value add opportunities in the South African print market,” he adds.



Ricoh SA will also provide a Web portal for Rectron product managers and resellers through which they will gain access to the latest product information, new technologies and marketing materials to assist them with opportunity management.


With the Protection of Personal Information Act coming in to place, it is imperative for marketers to keep abreast of all the legalities around POPI. Your organisation’s reputation may suffer if you are found to be in the wrong side of the law. You have to minimise the risk to the organisation and protect the organisation’s reputation. 

Attend the Marketing Legislation seminar taking place on 30 July 2013. The seminar is developed to keep you up to speed with the latest legal requirements and developments affecting marketing and advertising today.

Kevin Dam, Director at DM Kisch will talk about how POPI will affect our way of marketing. Other topics to be discussed include; The Consumer Protection Act, legal requirements for marketing on social media, Brand protection, trade mark and Intellectual property and more…


• Learn how to make POPI work for you
• Understand the crucial legal factors in advertising and marketing
• Learn about the legal considerations for marketing on social media
• Listen to experts in marketing law
• Network and build professional relationships


• Marketing managers and executives
• Brand managers and executives
• Advertising agencies
• Brand and marketing consultancies
• Legal advisors
• Small business owners
• Sales managers


Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI): How it will affect our way of marketing.
How unsolicited telephone offers, cold calls, spam email, etc. will be affected.

Kevin Dam, Director, DM Kisch

Precautions to be considered before placing an ad!
Gail Schimmel, Advertising law expert, Clear Copy

The perils of misleading advertising vs. the right to fair and reasonable advertising:

• Latest ASA Code changes affecting substantiation.
• Latest ASA decisions on substantiation
• Practical tips on dealing with the ASA

The Consumer Protection Act: points of caution for Businesses and lessons learnt

Hugh Melamdowitz, Partner, Spoor & Fisher

• Consumer Rights
• Discriminatory Marketing
• Privacy – Direct Marketing
• Strict Liability
• Contract Terms

Legal considerations for marketing on social media
Michael Judin, Senior Partner, JudinInc

• Understating Social Media from a Corporate Governance perspective in the light of the Company’s Act and King III;
• The importance of policies and guidelines;
• The importance of a Chief Social Media Officer or someone performing that duty;
• Intellectual Property in a Social Media world;
• The impact of Social Media on legal issues such as Discovery, Defamation and similar issues

Changing norms, expectations and opportunities for different legal approaches

Paul Jacobson, Director, Web.Tech.Law

• Secrecy and reputation under a collective spotlight;
• Alternative approaches to content licensing (aka giving your customers more than they expect);
• Legal: not just a checkbox, an opportunity to do better.

Brand Protection, trademark and intellectual property
Darren Olivier, Partner, Adams & Adams

Competition Act – the regulation of marketing campaigns and what marketers should look out for?
Aidan Scallan, Senior Associate: Competition Department, Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs

View full programme, cost and speaker profiles

The above fees include lunch, refreshments and parking

FOR MORE INFORMATION please contact Siphiwe on siphiwe@knowres.co.za or 011 706 6009
TO REGISTER please contact Maxine on maxine@knowres.co.za or 011 706 6009


Speakers include professional key-note speakers such as Ryan Hogarth, Debora Patta and Justin Cohen as well as many industry leaders such as Ludi Koekemoer (AAA School of Advertising), Paul Galatis (Yuppiechef) Fred Roed (WorldWideCreative) and many others. More than 16 speakers will share, report and transfer the latest knowledge and trends in their respective fields. This content is valuable for marketers from all industries.

Marketing Indaba is the one event that marketers should attend annually and the organiser, CADEK Media, is happy to bring the event to Durban for the first time ever. Apart from staying in tune with the latest in the world of marketing, delegates will also leave with loads of ideas and tips that they can use in their day to day work. The event offers fantastic networking opportunities with like minded marketers across industries.

Tickets cost R3500 and includes both days. Daily tickets are also available at R1950. The organisers have arranged preferential rates with the Gateway Hotel for those seeking accommodation during the conference. The hotel is linked with the venue and within walking distance. The venue is just 17km from the King Shaka airport.

Visit www.marketingindaba.com or call CADEK Media at 021 855 4750.

See our web site for the programme and tickets.
Looking forward to see you at Marketing Indaba 2013.

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