Episode 49 Transcript

Okay welcome to Episode 49 of the
Business in Morocco Podcast today we
have a very special guest
we're here with Meryem Lahlou and she's
from Competence Plus, right so Meryem
thank you so much for your time thanks
for being here with us could you tell us
a little bit more about your company and
the type of work you do?
yeah actually I ran this company for
eight years I was like I was a salary
in the marketing field and advertising
field before I start my company and
actually I'm a trainer, business coach
and consultant and we work with 65
companies here in Morocco we had the
opportunity to develop in Algeria,
Tunisia, Britannia, Senegal, and Ivory
Coast, Wow multinational yeah yeah we are
a small company but we can say that we
we work for different African countries
right wow that's fantastic so what would
you say is the the primary skills that
you train in? what do companies call
you for?
well companies actually in the beginning
they call us for soft skills management
sales and marketing and nowadays they
call us more for law, audit, finance and
quality topics okay so you have a range
of experts and trainers that work with
your company and can offer these
services to clients, most of them are
Moroccans, and we are proud like two
years ago we also bring Canadian
trainers French trainers and
even in Tunisia and Algeria because the
the mindset there they want to work more
with locals than we hire Algerian and
Tunisian trainers yeah that's great yeah
and I saw a couple of your videos on Le Matin which were very very popular Le Matin
Emploi, people can search for that
talking about how to prepare for an
interview how to find jobs this is a
really important topic in Morocco as you
know the unemployment rate is very very
particularly among educated young people
and we have a lot of educated young
people within our audience so would you
be able to share some advice for people
that are looking for a job what kind of
tips can you provide for them? where
should they begin? we can say it's not
only for Moroccan students actually
there is a such competition in all the
countries between like graduated
students from high schools we see that
the students sometimes they do not have
the right soft skills when they when
they are in front of their future
employer and they do not sell themselves
very well because they do not train
themselves to that maybe they learn a
lot of technical skills they are very
smart very intelligent but sometimes
they do not handle the stress and
sometimes they do not prepare the right
questions and some of the recruiters in
in front of them so yes we have like
some key steps to follow to to make sure
that we are ready in front of the
employer first of them we have to
prepare ourselves like a very quick
presentation of ourselves who we are
what we like the most what are our key
qualities and also the key weaknesses
because the usual question
I would like I said for several
companies I worked for PNG I work for
clam and the Louis Viutton also in Paris
and the first question we ask the future
interns or the future candidates
what are your qualities and and and most
of the time people like we're thinking
about that like for a few minutes but
when we we have to see many many people
in the same day we are looking also for
efficient people are people who aren't
there to waste our time but we are
looking for prepared people confident
people people that are natural are
authentic and spontaneous but they have
the examples for example to say when
they say they are perseverant or patient
the next question we ask for
example for these candidates can you
tell me more about experiences you were
patient in from academic world from your
previous internship experiences it's
it's really good for the first thing
that I the first advice that I have to
say to the candidates be prepared be
structured at least with the key
questions that most of the recruiters
will ask you quick presentations
qualities weaknesses what are the
questions you have about our company
also it's a it's a key question maybe
the first thing you have to prepare the
your first impression and your last
impression and when I was recruiting
also candidates the last question I
asked most most of the time is have your
questions for me? have you questions
about our company? did you make any
research about Competence Plus? did you see
our website because if the the person
seems indifferent or if the person is
really wants this job I'm sure she's
gonna look after
our website I'm sure she's gonna look
after our culture I'm sure she would
have questions for me and if she's not
really interested in the job
maybe she say I'm sorry I have no
question it's like I'm sure that 99
interviews like 99% of the interviews
will go this way
the interviewers go and see what are your
how you can handle stress how you can
handle some answers and are you curious
enough or are you prepared enough to to
be to be in this company yeah I love
that I love recognizing the difference
between somebody who's just looking for
any job yeah and somebody who wants this
specific job and is motivated to be part
of this company in this culture right I
love that what you said about the first
impression and the last impression
that's a really really strong point
because sometimes we're told hey make a
good first impression smile look nice
make eye contact these kinds of things
but I haven't heard anybody talk about
the last impression and sort of the the
taste you leave in somebody's mouth
almost when they go what do they
remember about you I have a really
strong advice also for the candidates
even if your future employer is very
like natural all seems very friendly do
not trust that don't trust that at 100%
like for example you are here to be
so keep your professional attitude of
course smile but not a lot of smiles
do not make any any jokes about because
we are here to look after your
competencies your qualities your
additional attitude you are not here to
like to see if you are good on a comedy
show stand-up or something like that
maybe do not sit before he sits because
sometimes we we are in different
companies with different cultures
sometimes it's the Hiroaki culture
sometimes it's the paternalist culture
so you have to pay attention to the
codes of the company before you enter
and once you enter there so you see if
you have to be very strict very correct
yeah that's good that's good you can
match the body language follow their
lead yeah that's really good do you know
of any resources that can help a young
person to grow in their soft skills if
we have somebody listening who thinks
she's right I've been trained in
technical skills I have a lot of
intelligence but I'm lacking these these
personal skills these soft skills
they're anywhere they can go to improve
in that to be that your confidence in
any type or in any role or you build
your communication skills because here
in an interview for a job we are also
looking for communication skills if you
change your career if you are 35 years
old or if you are if you are 25 years
old if you are 40 years old we won't
join you the same way of course the more
you have experienced the more maybe we
are looking after the the real
accomplishments and if you reach your
goals before in your present jobs etc so
yes for younger younger young people who
just graduate from the schools or the
universities maybe if they are not that
confident maybe they have to rehearse to
repeat their job interview with their
friends in the
or members of the family we said before
in front of the mirror but unfortunately
the mirror won't ask us any question and
maybe the mirror won't give us any
feedback it's maybe it will be our our
own feedback now of course friends that
will give us real consistent feedbacks
that will help us improve our pitch in
front of real employers after that and
when you repeat yourself in a different
in several situations you can build your
confidence there so you can trust you
can say yeah I did it before so it won't
be it won't be that difficult and about
the company of your dreams of course if
you have a company of your dreams
I suggest that go to several companies
that you don't really want but see it as
a training for you see it as a training
for you because you will improve
yourself each time you do an interview
so make the company of your dreams maybe
not the last one but maybe in the
middle just to have time to train
yourself before that's great yeah you're
right to take an interview even at a
company you can't see yourself working
is a great experience to get that
practice that's it those are some great
tips about how to do during the
interview what about people who are
struggling to even get an interview do
you have any advice for people that are
you know just there putting together a
CV they're thinking where do I even
apply for jobs how do I find what's
available how can I get an employer to
call me back yeah of course
actually we have more opportunities than
in the best like for example when I
start my career for example there was no
LinkedIn no Facebook no Instagram today
if we look well we have several
opportunities on LinkedIn for example
people post some job descriptions we
have to look after
job descriptions that fit with our
academic background with our qualities
with our skills the first step is to
look after a job description that fits
to - and if we can find that easily
today with Google and LinkedIn and stuff
like that then maybe we have to see our
friends our illuminates for example
because the alumni of the same school
same University can be a great help for
young people who are looking after a job
because maybe and maybe it's the case
for some schools there really matters
for the young generations and they are
in their values in the values they learn
in the in the school in the university
they have this distinct of helping
others of helping other young students
I'm not sure that and it's the case
today of many Moroccan engineer schools
who are really we can we can speak about
solidarity and empathy between them
there are really really strong helpers
for the younger for the new graduates
yes I talked about LinkedIn I talk about
the alumni's the network you see
sometimes when you just knock the same
door maybe the door won't want to be
open but if you go for example and open
your perspective for example if you look
only in the pharmaceutical industry and
maybe the pharmaceutical industry is
suffering today well it's not recruiting
today maybe you have to see other
opportunities other industries in other
sectors sometimes I think it's it's a
mistake some some people just what this
type of company this type of big company
this type of sector I don't think it's a
it's a smart move especially when when
the economy is in
crisis or when special sector is in
crisis so the people have to do their
sort of yes that their check before
there they have to see what are the key
sectors that are recruiting today what
are the key companies that are
approaching today maybe not all of them
and among these companies where do I
have the more opportunities where do I
have friends maybe where do I have a
member of my family that can help me
only by telling me what are the
cultural aspects of this company what I
should maybe how I should be prepared to
the interview when you check about the
company do not go only to the website
but see all the the facts the figures
read the newspapers see the videos see
the articles it may be TV a TV show
about the company because it will
maximize maybe your informations about
that journey then we will focus on
searching in this way or that yeah
that's great
I love the idea of expanding beyond your
industry or niche that's a great place
to start
yeah but if that industry is struggling
at the moment you need to expand your
search especially when you're just
beginning of course it's easy to gain
some experience for a couple years and
then you can switch from there to
something that's more in line with your
education and your skills yes of course
and today when I started like 15
years ago when I started my career like
it was as a good aspect if we change a
company like 2 years 2 years if we say
in a company to you
move to another company two years but now
it's it's it's really admitted it's
really like we see that like as we see
you as a person that maybe know what she
wants and and in the past it wasn't the
case so yes be curious be prepared be
structured look after opportunities and
do not close some opportunities and do
not say to yourself don't be arrogant
especially in the beginning don't say no
I don't work for startups or I don't
know I don't work for small companies I
just want to work for big corporations
yes it's good it's good to be ambitious
but if they don't hire me if this year
it may be that the company face a
massive restructuration what do you do
from that you have to have the plan B
the plan C the plan that's right yeah
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home loan now back to the show we talked
a lot about advice for the job seeker we
know that sometimes when I talk to small
business owners they have a problem
finding the right person for the right
job and the person who gives the best
interview or makes the best impression
and if you may not be the best person
for the job
what kind of advice do you give to
companies so that they can make sure
that they find the right person knowing
how how difficult some of the employment
laws are or dealing with employees who
who may not end up being the right fit
yes your question is is very very
available and many many people in the
companies we work with ask us the same
same questions because maybe the the
most gifted people in communication
skills are not the most competent people
who won't be that easy to work with or
maybe could not manage the team or maybe
could not fit with the existing team yet
that's right that's right exactly the
recruiters today has to be also prepared
maybe they have to do some lessons of
psychology and
and reading nonverbal expressions and
just just to make sure that to ask all
the right questions like to make sure
that this guy or this girl fits with the
job description and fit with the team in
which she will enter it then we have a
wide range of tests for example here in
Morocco we work with with tools called
disk and emotional intentions and
motivations and stress fracture but
these tools are very very interesting
so once you've narrowed down the group
of candidates how many interviews do you
suggest and from the company side who
should be involved in those interviews
yeah really depends in PNG for example
right which is a great American company
for backs and stuff like that I remember
I did like almost five interviews before
getting hired I did interviews with the
HR person then with the second HR person
then with responsible then my direct
responsible then with the n plus one
responsible then with the director so
maybe and maybe it's quite long five
interviews was that for a higher up
position no no it's for assistant brand
manager Wow yeah to me it was a few
years ago it was like in 20, 2005 but it
was amazing like we did like some
logical test technical tests French test
all of the tests you can imagine some
companies need to be reassured
some companies need to know if you are
really the right person for
the right job so they were doing a
battery of tests I think that doing only
an interview is not enough at minimum
two interviews one with the HR and one
with a person of the management team if
you are not sure or maybe you have some
doubts about the candidates then you can
maybe ask for another interview in
presence of maturity for example yeah
it's always good to have several
opinions about the candidate especially
if you are if we are looking for top
positions of course because the mistakes
are not allowed or maybe out loud but
they will cost you a lot of money yeah
so yeah maybe we're going for two or
three interviews that's good for a
company what would you say to somebody
who's been looking for a job for a long
time and they say there's no jobs
available or I have no experience and
companies won't hire me because I'm just
a recent graduate or it's all who you
know you have to have a family member to
get a job and they've been searching for
months and months it's not an easy
position because when you look after a
job during several months you you get
discouraged you you lose your confidence
in yourself and it's a vicious circle
because you also when you are without a
job for several months maybe the
companies won't look after you because
they will say okay what you did for
several months the companies do not
understand that so it's a difficult
position but if you face that maybe you
have to go and sometimes I say you have
to search for another master or another
degree or another certificate or
reconversion because I don't know
sometimes or some sectors or snubbing
specialties are overcrowded with people
and years ago we talked about marketing
as a field that that is often crowded
today's advertising - and supply chain
at the time seen as the the new Eldorado
for many many students for finance for
supply chain for IT I think that there
is a need strongly today for some
sectors who were sexy or still are sexy
today there is a lot a lot of companies
so maybe maybe if you are in this
situation you have to look after a sort
of diploma or certificate or
reconversion thing that can help you to
find easier or faster job maybe go for
an internship - even if you're a
graduate I know that what I say maybe
seem very hard for people who are
looking after a salary and a job and a
position but sometimes yes you have to
do some compromise or some concession
just to just work somewhere or something
just because it's not good to stay
a job for several months
yes now will we agree and we've talked
about that before on this podcast
encouraging people in that situation to
go and work for free because you'll gain
experience you'll gain knowledge and you
can prove yourself and then that company
will see the value you're offering and
want to hire you and if they can't then
you can at least get a recommendation
letter and try to leverage that into a
paid position elsewhere yeah maybe it
feeds only 50% of your expectation
accepted yeah even if the contracting
affair even if your salary is lower of
1000 dirhams so 2,000 dirhams it's okay
it's okay as long as you learn and you
as long as you meet new people and maybe
it would be an acceleration after of
your career so it's hard it's hard today
but we have to make some concessions to
maybe it's it's a step it's
for a first step
yeah that's right you can begin working
even if it's not an area you're
extremely passionate about but then you
can move from there into another
department that fits with your education
and your interests maybe try to be
entrepreneur to try and reproduce it
even if no one will hire you try to do
to create your own path you're right to
look after maybe an associate or student
or not only that will help you that way
because we will respect you for that we
will respect you if you do positive
action if you try to change the game if
you try to change the yeah the
environment is not easy but yeah
sometimes I see great entrepreneurship
careers because I didn't find the right
opportunities at the beginning because
they were fired or they didn't get the
job they want or many many many things
that can happen in a career
we've talked about this on the podcast
the idea that if you are a student and you
haven't taken an internship or you
haven't done any entrepreneurial work
for example these statutes of auto
entrepreneur, then you're wasting an
opportunity and we definitely encourage
everyone to at least get the auto
entrepreneur card, pursue some of those
passions on the side on the weekends at
nights if you're in a job that you don't
like then you can work on the side and
develop other skills so we completely
agree with your advice and think
it's very wise the other thing that
we've talked about a lot is we don't
like this understanding that
somehow the world owes you something
that a job is beneath you or I'm too
good for a certain job both Ryan and I
have done
many jobs in our lives that we didn't
like and that were hard but we did that
because that was the work that was
available that was where we developed
skills but you have to earn the job that
you want
I share completely or your opinion when
I was like studying in France years ago
and of course the amount sent by my
mother wasn't enough to pay my all the
things and all the obligations and all
the school obligations I was like making
pancakes in a restaurant and it was a
really fantastic experience for me
because I learned making pancakes I
learned to work in a kitchen I learned
to serve clients it was like a really
good job fantastic experience I love
honor to work with teens also with young
people like me with there is no small
job to me and this opportunity of making
pancakes I talked about that during my
first interviews when I apply to some
jobs because I was proud of that and
maybe the people in front of me maybe in
their careers even there if there are
directors or CEOs or stuff like that
maybe they have the same experience so
it's been some resonance between me and
them so yeah we have we have to look
about all the opportunities even working
for associations even giving some free
teaching classes of mathematics or
French or English
well if we are optimistic enough and
positive enough we will find experiences
and after that we have to package them
we have to
we have to and we have to admit
sometimes in front of the employees yes
it was difficult for me to find a job so
what I prefer not to say at home and I
look after every single opportunity it's
okay I think it would be seen as a good
aspect of your behavior I agree I think
it shows initiative
it shows proactivity somebody who's
hardworking somebody who doesn't have a
big ego is willing to do whatever it
yeah that's very attractive to a company
Yeah right any tips about LinkedIn you
mentioned it as a really powerful tool
for searching a job you have many
connections on LinkedIn sort of bad
practices that you've seen or a young
person someone's searching for work
could do it enhance their LinkedIn yes
yes sometimes yeah when we receive
candidates for interviews yes before we
check their LinkedIn their posts their
profile picture for example and some
pictures and some footers are not that
appropriate for them feel like for
example I saw some candidates with
like some t-shirts or that's good that's
good I like that but from Facebook or
into Instagram not fooling around with
some sunglasses or with some arrogant
like posture it's not that appropriate
because LinkedIn is it's the network in
which you will you will sell your
professional image and and people will
may make checks and and benchmarks
between the resume you send them
and in profile so if they say if they
noticed that there is some incoherence a
problematic picture some posts that are
not relevant for professional network
maybe they would see that as a negative
points yeah be careful be careful about
what you post LinkedIn is not
appropriate for political discussions
religious discussions he were stuff like
that Facebook and Instagram is
appropriate more but even for this type
of social networks you have to pay
attention the main advice that I have to
say to young people here paying
attention to your posts because you will
do some times opposed in when you were
angry when you were not that good when
you see a movie when you see the news
but please be careful because today the
we could to see all your stuff all your
humor that tough yeah that's great
advice to consider all of our public
posts yeah and if you're transitioning
from being a student to being somebody
who's becoming a professional looking
for a job you really do need to do an
audit of your privacy settings and look
back on your previous posts and see what
can people see and am i proud of that
does this reflect on the type of image I
want yeah in this next chapter of my
life so that's great advice yeah thank
you so much for the interview for
sharing your wisdom and expertise with
all of our listeners we wish you the
best of luck in 2020 and maybe sometime
in the end of the year we'll come back
and talk to you about the progress of
your business or maybe a different
subject doing consulting at the
enterprise level or some are these
conferences that you put on
we're very interested in that as well so
thank you, thank you very much I was very
honored and I hope that advices I share
will be yes will be taken into
consideration so good luck to everyone
and thank you again for listening thanks

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