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    Emotions at Work: 5 Ways to Deal and Still Get Work Done

    The average person will reportedly spend more than 90,000 hours of life at work — more than any other activity outside of sleeping. You will encounter days and even extended periods when the actual act of doing your work is hard to reconcile with the other things occupying your brain. Put simply: Sometimes work is not the most important thing.

    Regardless of the magnitude of your emotional storm — whether you’re going through a breakup, reeling from recent world events, or grieving the loss of a loved one — below are a few things to help you be a whole and (mostly) functional person at work, even during incredibly trying times. Some of them are obvious, but worth repeating.

    1. Be ruthlessly kind to yourself

    Take a moment to pause and reflect on how you’re feeling. Are you experiencing stress or frustration? By identifying your emotions, you can better understand their impact on your behavior and decision-making processes. Don’t suppress or ignore your feelings; instead, acknowledge them as valid responses to your environment.

    Self-care is one of the first things that flies out the window in times of severe stress. Correct this immediately, because no one else will do it for you. Unsure of where to start, or even what the term ‘self-care’ really means? Here’s a handy playlist of TED talks about the importance of self-care. 

    If you do just one thing every day, repeat this mantra: “I am doing my best. I am enough.” Because you are, on both counts.

    2. Reach out for support

    Everyone in your inner circle wants to be helpful. This is an important part of friendship. While many are inclined to endure hardships alone in a feat of martyrdom, don’t do that. In whatever way you are most comfortable, reach out to your closest friends and give them a heads-up that you need them. Don’t underestimate the power of being vulnerable.

    Whether it’s venting to a friend, seeking advice from a mentor, or attending therapy sessions, reaching out for support can help you navigate difficult emotions and build resilience in the workplace.

    3. Communicate with your manager

    Also at the very least: Be upfront with the person who manages you about the many things you are navigating emotionally. Put some time on their calendar or send them an email briefly filling them in on the situation, and asking for a time to talk further. 

    Be honest and transparent about how you’re feeling and express your needs clearly. Constructive dialogue can help resolve conflicts, build trust, and foster a supportive work environment where emotions are openly acknowledged and addressed.

    Tell them what you are carrying and ask for their help distributing the load. Even if your manager can’t take things off your plate, they can help you prioritize and manage expectations.

    What do you do when you need to soothe yourself? What do you do to de-stress? Make a list of everything that has ever made you feel better, including the wild and crazy things. Then move the immediately accessible ones to the top. Pick three to implement this week. 

    Consider practicing emotional regulation techniques to prevent emotions from negatively affecting your work. Deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are effective techniques for calming the mind and reducing stress levels. Additionally, reframing negative thoughts and focusing on positive aspects of the situation can help shift your perspective and improve your emotional well-being.

    5. Take action (however small or big) every day

    Taking action is a key part of moving through grief or turmoil. Stasis will only amplify your frustration and magnify your sadness. Plus, per a Harvard Business School study, “rituals” have been shown to instill emotional resilience in times of grieving. 

    The study discovered an interesting behavior: “Rituals appear to be defined by purposeful behaviors designed to achieve some desired outcome and that the specific behaviors that constitute those rituals are less important than performing some form of ritualistic behavior.” TL;DR: It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you do something you believe will make you feel better.

    Manage emotions at work

    Emotions are an inherent aspect of the human experience, and they inevitably influence our professional lives. By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage emotions in the workplace while maintaining productivity and well-being. By integrating these practices into your daily routine, you can cultivate a healthier and more fulfilling work environment for yourself and those around you.

    Originally written by Whitney Ricketts in November 2016. Updated by Hired Content Team in March 2024. More

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    The Metrics That Matter: What HR Leaders Need to Know to Track Progress in 2024

    Though promises of efficiency, productivity, and experience boosts may have served as initial motivators for HR leaders’ investments in connected technology, there’s another benefit that is slowly but surely stepping into the spotlight: objectivity. As digital toolsets expand and their capabilities grow, talent acquisition (TA) teams are increasingly recognizing the value that comes with quantifying outcomes—especially in a field in which “success” often feels like a moving target.
    That said, not all data is created equal. Some metrics prove more valuable to teams than others, and knowing which ones speak to your organization’s goals is critical to benchmarking performance and making progress. As recruiting’s digital transformation journey continues, learning about the metrics that digital suites can provide—and which matter in the context of your optimization journey—is critical to improving outcomes.
    Seeking success with statistics
    Employ’s recent Recruiter Nation study aimed to get to the heart of the matter, asking participating practitioners to rank key TA performance metrics by their value. Here’s what they said…

    Quality of hire: Quality of hire was overwhelmingly cited as the most valuable metric TA teams use to evaluate success, with nearly one-third (31%) of respondents putting it at the top of their lists and 73% ranked it in their top five. This metric takes into account employee productivity, engagement, culture fit, and other performance feedback to try to add color to recruiter and TA team performance. It also helps teams correlate skills and qualities with successful hires to build more precise profiles for different roles.
    Time to fill: Time to fill reflects the timeline of the average hire, from the day the listing posts to the day a candidate accepts the offer. More than half (59%) of practitioners put time to fill in their top five metrics of value, with 14% saying it is the most valuable metric they use. This information can help highlight opportunities to improve sourcing and interview processes by department, role, or sector.

    At present, the average time to fill across industries, business size, and roles is 47.5 days, but it can vary wildly across industries. At one end of the spectrum are things like media roles, which take an average of 62.21 days to fill in today’s market. Healthcare roles, which are on the other end, take just 38.23 days on average. Knowing the timeframe for your industry critical to planning, as is seeing how your company compares to others.

    Cost per hire: Cost per hire uses operational data to estimate how much it costs to fill a given role. This metric ranks just behind time to fill, with 12% of respondents ranking it in the top spot and 57% putting it among their top five. Knowing the cost of each hire helps teams contextualize recruitment spending and find opportunities to cut waste by adjusting processes to avoid superfluous costs.
    Retention rate: It’s no secret that retention is a top priority in modern businesses, and retention rate data was an easy choice for respondents’ top five lists. Despite only 11% of respondents saying it’s the most valuable metric in their operations, 62% put it in their top five and 14% cited it as their second-most valuable data point.

    To determine retention rates, teams calculate the percentage of employees meeting specific criteria that remain employed over a set period. This exercise can help reveal the characteristics that may lead to employees staying at your company for the long haul and signs that someone might be gearing up to leave.

    Hiring manager satisfaction: Hiring manager satisfaction rounded out respondents’ top five metrics of value, with 53% of practitioners citing it among their top choices (7% said it was their most valuable). This measures managers’ overall satisfaction with the hires made on their behalf using data from qualitative and quantitative surveys. With this information, acquisition teams visualize performance, evaluate progress, and learn from feedback about areas they could improve.

    Of course, all of the above metrics can function at various levels of the business to provide different types of insights and speak to different opportunities for improvement. For example, one company may look at retention rates by department while another may look at this measure through the lens of the recruiter that conducted the search. The former can give insight into ways to improve department-level management practices, while the other may speak to the performance of the TA team member.
    The same is true for any of the metrics noted above—and others. As teams filter results down by various criteria, they are able to find patterns, identify correlations, and identify and test possible solutions.
    What matters to you
    Perhaps the most notable insight is the lack of alignment on the issue overall. Yes, some metrics—like quality of hire—stood out as clear frontrunners. Still, though, none of the options presented were seen as unanimously without value. Even those that scored lower overall were at the top of someone’s list, which speaks to a truth about measuring progress: The perceived value in any metric is directly linked to organizational goals. In short, the difference isn’t between having data and not having it; it’s how you use the data that makes the real difference within an organization.
    Candidate relationship management (CRM) platforms, applicant tracking systems (ATSs), and recruitment marketing software (RMS) all serve as records of past successes and failures. For companies that are used to having “lifers” among their ranks, a metric like retention rate may not be important. But for someone else, finally putting retention performance into tangible, quantifiable terms may yield the insight they’ve been missing.
    Because the possible variations, combinations, and applications of data made available by CRM, ATS, RMS, and other connected platforms are near infinite, it’s up to each company to identify what matters to them. That’s the beauty of connected operations; if you can capture it, you can track it and measure against it. That’s what allows you to experiment with new approaches and find solutions that move the needle for your business, whatever they may be.
    By Josh Jones, talent acquisition manager at Employ Inc.
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    4 Ways Women Can Get the Salary They Deserve

    Although we’ve made tremendous strides in gender equality, data shows we still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to pay. The gender wage gap represents the difference in salaries between men and women. Pew Research Center shared that it hasn’t changed much in the past two decades in the US. In fact, the gap is still narrowing so slowly that at its current rate, it’s not expected to close until 2088.

    When it comes to equitable compensation, particularly as it relates to gender, one important piece of the puzzle is the fact that women, on average, ask for lower salaries than men. This is often referred to as the expectation gap.

    Hired platform data tells us the wage gap has widened for all except white and Asian women, driven by a widening expectation gap. We also see Black women had the widest wage gap in 2021 and again in 2022.

    When we surveyed tech talent, we learned only 25% of women, compared to 39% of men, felt they had adequate knowledge or resources to request compensation in line with the market, their role of interest, and their skills and experience. Nearly 25% of women admitted they need a lot of help in this area compared to 18% of men. Combined, 68% of men and women say they could use help, ranging from “some,” to “a lot.”

    Glassdoor recently published research indicating some women they surveyed hesitated to negotiate salary offers.

    The impact of salary transparency is promising

    While still early in the journey, there is emerging evidence salary transparency is effective. More cities and states have initiated laws mandating the disclosure of salary bands to some degree. As a metropolitan area, New York City’s legislation became effective November 1, 2022. It requires employers to disclose the compensation or range in any ad for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity.

    In New York City, Hired’s data shows a positive effect, as the gender wage and expectation gap

    narrowed. Representation also increased for women in NYC.

    As companies and employees alike think about how to create a more diverse and equitable environment, addressing both the expectation and wage gaps should be a top priority. 

    Now, let’s dive into some of the key ways women can advocate for themselves and combat the gender wage gap.  

    1. Know your worth and advocate for it

    The first step is understanding your own value in the job market. (As a reminder, companies are not allowed to ask about pay history during the interview process.) Research industry standards and salary benchmarks for your role and level of experience. You’ll find out what a fair salary should look like. 

    Armed with this knowledge, confidently negotiate your salary during job interviews and performance evaluations. Don’t shy away from discussing compensation, and be prepared to articulate your accomplishments, skills, and the value you bring to the organization. Remember, negotiation is a standard part of the hiring process, and advocating for fair compensation is not only acceptable but expected.

    Women with specialized jobs may find accurate information on sites like PayScale, Glassdoor, and Hired’s Salary Calculator. These will provide valuable insights into salary ranges for similar positions in your geographical area. Consider asking about the company’s compensation philosophy and whether they publish their internal wage gap stats.

    In addition, understand the potential for career progression with the company — and how salary growth mirrors this. This is an important part of evaluating whether the role can help you stay competitive from a salary perspective. 

    Related: How to Ask About Growth Opportunities During an Interview 

    Even if the initial salary offer is not exactly what you expected, you must be able to grow (both in terms of role and salary) within the company. This will put you in a better position when you make your next move.

    Lastly, remember to calibrate for more than just salary as you’re negotiating with potential employers. Particularly as you progress in your career, additional factors beyond the cash compensation offer may become more valuable to you. These could be helpful leverage as you advocate for fair treatment. 

    Those in more senior roles, for example, may be offered significant amounts of stock compensation. While some companies won’t budge on their salary offer, you may be able to argue for a better overall compensation package by being flexible in your cash requirements.

    2. Leverage your network 

    Cultivate relationships with mentors, peers, and industry professionals who can provide guidance, support, and valuable opportunities. Attend networking events and industry conferences, and join professional associations relevant to your field.

    Hired is a great resource as we regularly hold events and summits to support jobseekers in fostering connections with employers and fellow tech professionals. Keep an eye out for upcoming events. 

    Networking not only opens doors to new job opportunities but also provides access to insider information about salary trends, job openings, and negotiation strategies. Additionally, a strong network can serve as a source of encouragement and empowerment, helping you navigate the complexities of the workplace with confidence.

    3. Don’t stop learning 

    Continuously investing in your professional development not only enhances your skills and expertise but also increases your market value. Identify areas for growth within your field and seek out training programs, certifications, and workshops to expand your knowledge base.

    By acquiring new skills and staying abreast of industry trends, you position yourself as a valuable asset to employers, deserving of competitive compensation. Moreover, demonstrating a commitment to learning and growth showcases your dedication to excellence and can bolster your negotiating power when discussing salary.

    4. Seek out employers committed to pay equity

    When exploring job opportunities, prioritize organizations that demonstrate a commitment to pay equity and gender equality. Research prospective employers’ policies and practices related to compensation, diversity, and inclusion initiatives.

    Look for companies that conduct regular pay audits, have transparent salary structures, and actively work to address gender disparities in pay. By aligning yourself with employers who value fairness and equality, you increase the likelihood of receiving the salary you deserve and contribute to broader efforts to close the gender pay gap.

    Related: How to Identify Value-Driven Employers in the Job Search

    Advocate for equitable treatment and equal pay 

    While much of the onus is on companies to be sure that they are paying both genders equally, women jobseekers can play an important role in narrowing the gender gap. If there’s a willingness to progress toward equality, women just need the information to get there.

    By holding companies accountable, you not only position yourself to receive fair pay but also give the company a chance to rise to the occasion and combat the gender wage gap. 

    Originally published April 2017. Updated March 2024. More

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    6 Ways to Find the Perfect Mentor to Advance Your Career (+ What to Look for in a Great Mentor)

    One of the most undervalued but beneficial resources any professional can have during their career is a mentor. In an increasingly competitive world of work, a combination of emotional intelligence, a refined skill set, and a great network will drive your career’s growth trajectory.

    If you speak with any accomplished (senior) professional, the last piece of that puzzle is having a mentor. In your path to success, it’s important to have guidance and positive encouragement from someone who has been there and done that.

    Harvard Business School’s Thomas DeLong wrote, “Everyone we spoke with over age 40 could name a mentor in his or her professional life, but younger people often could not.” Before you can reap the benefits of a trusted advisor, you have to find one. To kick off your search, here are six strategies for finding a career-defining mentor:

    1. Unearth hidden gems in your current network

    Start with your closest friends at work who have an understanding of you professionally and personally. The motto “If you don’t ask, you shall never receive” could not be more true. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Ask your colleagues to recommend former coworkers or friends who may be a great fit for you (as a mentor).

    Additionally, reaching out to your friends who work in a similar industry can prove to be fruitful on multiple fronts. Let them know where you are mentally and what you are looking to gain from a mentor in your corner. Once they suggest a few names, research them through their LinkedIn profiles to get a better sense of their career trajectory before you reach out.

    2. Remember your (professional) heritage

    You may not be at your previous employer for a variety of reasons. But there may be an opportunity you’re missing out on by overlooking this option. Think back to some of the managers you enjoyed conversing with and have shared values.

    Consider reaching out to them to connect further (be flexible: coffee, lunch, or a quick Zoom call) and catch up. In some cases, managers who worked in a cross-functional team could be ideal too. Your mentor doesn’t have to be in your direct line of work for the relationship to be mutually beneficial.

    Building a relationship with someone whose opinion you trust is rooted more deeply in them understanding your ambitions and having a strong sense of leadership. This can help guide your decision-making at crucial points of your career.

    3. Network strategically

    This mentor acquisition strategy, although effective, may take longer to materialize. That’s because you have to build the initial relationship before you establish a “formal” mentor relationship.

    Also, not all industry events attract high-caliber professionals you’ll want to connect with. So be strategic about which ones you attend. If you choose to invest time into an event, make sure you are stepping out of your comfort zone. Connect with new faces and ask insightful questions to spark great conversation and help you learn about their experiences. You may find your mentor in the most unexpected place, so don’t discount anyone before learning more about them.

    Related: Job Searching? Online Networking Strategies to Get you Started

    4. Don’t overlook your peers

    Depending on where you are in your career, it’s valuable to consider colleagues as mentors. We all have different experiences and learnings based on how we got to where we are, so there may be learning opportunities for both of you.

    5. Aspire to learn from differences

    Intuitively, we are attracted to what we are most familiar with. When you’re looking for a mentor, be open to connecting with someone who may not have the same personality or approach as you.

    The differences between the both of you can lead to you learning so much more about yourself and vice versa. There isn’t just one path to success and it’s important to gain wisdom from various sources.

    Although differences can add more to the mentor relationship, honesty, integrity, and great listening skills are must-haves.

    6. Know your value as a mentee

    One of the biggest misconceptions around mentorship is that you are just seeking someone to help you achieve your goals. A mentorship is a dynamic relationship that involves both sides providing value and feedback to each other.

    Of course, more experienced individuals can contribute in a different capacity but your perceived lack of experience does not exclude you. You’d be surprised by how your mentor can learn from your experiences!

    Top traits of a great mentor

    So when you use those tips to go about looking for your mentor, which specific traits should you seek in them? Guest contributor Ted Jaffe shares his recommendations.

    1. Give honest and constructive feedback

    Great mentors will always tell you when you’re doing something well – and when and how you need to improve. Constructive feedback is the key to an impactful mentorship. It’s what truly helps you learn and grow. You’ll learn more from your failures than your accomplishments.

    It’s important to identify a mentor who conveys feedback in a way that’s constructive for you. You need a consistent, trustworthy source to tell you where you can improve – and more importantly how to improve for next time.

    Even as a senior product manager, I get a lot of constructive feedback from my mentors at work. This includes how I communicate a rollout plan, use data to make important product decisions, or how a presentation I delivered to the executive team could have gone better. I know my best mentors are the ones who are:

    Taking notes on my work

    Thinking carefully about how I performed

    Telling me how I did and what areas I should focus on improving

    2. Motivate you to do your best work possible

    Mentors are people you look up to. They motivate you to work harder and put time and attention into your work, which will ultimately make you successful.

    If it weren’t for mentors encouraging me to grow and develop my skills, I would not be able to accomplish what I have thus far in my career. For example, when I was building a plan to revamp our app onboarding process, I faced many obstacles and differing opinions across stakeholders. This made progress extremely difficult. I had to keep the scope reasonable and stick to a predetermined deadline.

    My mentors helped me frame my presentation and proposal in a way that helped me move forward and set scope boundaries. They also ensured we delivered a product all stakeholders could fully support. While it may sound manageable, in practice it was extremely difficult. Many times I wanted to give up. My mentors kept me motivated throughout the process and ultimately helped me deliver a great result for the company and product.

    3. Highly skilled in their area of expertise

    Your mentors should have a track record of success. You can look at their LinkedIn profile and draw inspiration from their career trajectory and growth. You should expect a great mentor to share their learnings and stories with you when you ask them about it.

    At the beginning of my career, I developed relationships with senior directors at both Symantec and RingCentral. Over time, as I delivered value for them by doing great work and helping them accomplish their goals, they rewarded me with mentorship. They talked me through their own career stories and how they developed themselves through skill and experience.  

    These stories ultimately gave me a North Star that I used to inform my own career path.

    4. Want to see you succeed in your career goals

    Your mentors should be your biggest fans. They should cheer you on from the sidelines as you focus and execute your career goals.  

    They should have a genuine interest in helping you succeed beyond what’s in it for themselves. You will be able to sense this as you share your progress in your career journey.  

    Throughout my early career, I established a regular 1:1 meeting cadence with my mentors so I could brief them on how I was doing. If I was doing well, we would discuss why. If I was struggling, we would discuss how I should turn it around and get back on track. These conversations may be rare, but when they occur they’re extremely valuable.    

    Originally published January 2017. Updated February 2024. More

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    Is Your Workplace Toxic? How to Know — And What To Do Next

    Do you dread going to work in the morning? You might not dislike your actual job, but the culture or environment of your workplace itself. Unfortunately, a toxic workplace is all too common and can be difficult to handle.

    You’ve got an inbox full of real work to do. Yet, you spend much of your time at work worrying about a negative boss or a colleague who always blames others. A toxic workplace can leave you feeling drained, demoralized, and disengaged. But how do you know if your workplace is toxic? And more importantly, what steps can you take to navigate or escape that environment?

    If you’re stuck in a bad situation, use this blog as a guide to handle it. We’ll delve into the telltale signs of toxicity in the workplace and provide actionable strategies to reclaim your well-being and career satisfaction.

    Signs of a toxic workplace

    1. Poor leadership

    Toxic workplaces are often characterized by ineffective or abusive leadership. This can manifest in various forms, including micromanagement, favoritism, lack of transparency, and a disregard for employee well-being.

    2. Negative culture

    If negativity pervades the office atmosphere, it could be a sign of toxicity. Gossip, backstabbing, and a general sense of distrust among colleagues indicate underlying issues that need to be addressed.

    3. Lack of support

    In healthy work environments, employees feel supported and valued by their superiors and peers. However, in toxic workplaces, you may find yourself constantly undermined, belittled, or ignored, with little to no avenues for assistance or guidance.

    4. High turnover rates

    Pay attention to the rate at which employees come and go. A consistently high turnover rate may indicate systemic problems within the organization, such as poor management, unrealistic expectations, or a toxic culture.

    5. Stress and burnout

    Chronic stress and burnout are common symptoms of a toxic work environment. Perhaps, you find yourself constantly on edge, experiencing physical symptoms like headaches or insomnia, or feeling emotionally drained. It’s likely your workplace is taking a toll on your well-being.

    What to do next

    Realize you’re not alone

    “Everybody has a terrible workplace story. May it be micro-managers or owners that are temperamental, the examples of poor business leaders are endless,” says Steve Farber, president of Extreme Leadership, Inc.

    While it may not be in your best interest to discuss the environment with colleagues while you are physically in the office, it can be helpful to talk to others who are experiencing similar situations. Find out how your friends and mentors use healthy coping strategies in their workplaces. Evaluate which strategies work for your personality and situation.

    When it comes to talking to your own colleagues about employers and bosses, remember it’s best to do it over coffee or a drink. Leave the conversations outside the workplace. You don’t want to add fuel to the fire.

    Document your effort

    When you work in a toxic environment, your work may be called into question, you may feel like you are blindsided by sudden deadlines or expectations, or you may simply receive nasty or unprofessional emails.

    To combat this, rely on written communications to back you up. If your boss says they want reports on their desk by 5 p.m. Friday, follow up with an email confirming when you’ll have the completed reports. This way, when Wednesday rolls around and suddenly the reports are “late,” you’ll have an email chain (as opposed to an offhand remark) to back you up.

    Further, you can jot down notes about toxic situations as they unfold. Farber encourages employees to “document what is happening, and try to meet in-person with their boss or HR to go over any concerns, or continue on their path to professional growth and search for a healthier work environment elsewhere.”

    Interview the workplace

    When you’re interviewing for a job, remember that it’s not just about you. It’s about them too! It’s important to create a non-negotiable list of what’s most important for you in a new job. Keep this list in mind to evaluate before, after, and during your interview.

    Emily Merrell, founder of Six Degrees Society, says, “How badly do you want to work from home on Fridays? Is this a culture where they offer training or are you thrown right in? I would also grab a coffee and talk to previous employees of the company and ask them about their experience there and why they left.” Former employees will be free to speak more candidly about their experiences, giving you a good indication of what the culture is like.

    Assess your health and happiness

    “A toxic workplace can bring teamwork to a grinding halt, jeopardizing goals, affecting employee retention, and potentially becoming an enormous liability,” says Farber. “Some clear signs include not listening to their employees, constantly blaming others when things go wrong, focusing on the negative, and not setting goals or providing enough instruction to their team.”

    If these things drive you crazy, it may be time to move on, especially if your health is at stake. A toxic environment can hurt your morale and your health. If you’ve noticed you’re grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, or getting stress headaches at work, it’s probably not worth staying. Move on to a company or organization that values your contributions and treats you fairly.

    Related: How to Identify Value-Driven Employers in the Job Search

    Move on from a toxic workplace

    Trust yourself, advocate for your needs, and pursue opportunities that align with your values and aspirations. If you’re ready to be in a better role and workplace, check out how Hired helps jobseekers find dream jobs. We work with companies hiring around the world for remote, hybrid, and in-office positions.

    Originally published October 2016. Updated February 2024. More

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    6 Best Apps to Increase Your Attention Span Now

    In season 1 of Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso, Ted helps his star defender Sam focus his attention span on the future and ‘forget’ past mistakes saying, simply, “Be a goldfish.” His wisdom is a great reminder to increase your concentration and focus on the right things. Whether it’s to avoid dwelling on a missed goal or progress on a project at work, how do you train your brain for better focus? How do you improve your attention span? 

    Since the year 2000, about the time the mobile revolution began, the average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. Even goldfish consistently hold higher attention spans at 9 seconds! (Maybe we should be like them?) 

    The Internet is fun and full of distractions: indeed, your work efficiency can suffer from liking too many cat videos on YouTube or researching way too much Fantasy Football. Maybe people in your open office setting rehashing inane reality shows compounds your issues. 

    Luckily, there are ways to use technology to maximize your focus and increase productivity. Here are six apps to increase your attention span.

    Why attention span is important

    Whether you’re studying, working, or simply trying to enjoy a moment of peace, a longer attention span enables deeper focus and engagement. Without it, tasks take longer to complete, mistakes increase, and overall productivity suffers.

    In an interview with CBS, attention researcher Gloria Mark explains three major consequences of a shorter attention span: 

    “People make more errors when they do attention-shifting.”

    “It takes longer to do something because we have to reorient to every new task every time we shift.” (This is known as the switch cost – the additional effort in reorienting ourselves.)

    “Maybe this is the worst of all: stress increases. When people are working on multiple tasks and they have to shift their attention, their blood pressure rises.”

    Can attention span be improved?

    Luckily, attention span is not set in stone. You can improve it with consistent practice and the right techniques. Just as physical exercise strengthens muscles, training your attention can enhance your ability to concentrate for longer periods. 

    Using attention training apps (we’ll get to those soon!) and techniques can help rewire your brain for sustained focus and better cognitive control.

    Are our attention spans getting shorter?

    Over the past few decades, researchers have found that people’s attention spans have shrunk considerably. With the constant bombardment of information and the rise of digital distractions, it’s no wonder this is the case. 

    However, it’s not all doom and gloom. While our environment may be challenging our ability to focus, advancements in technology also provide solutions to combat this trend. By leveraging attention apps and games designed to enhance focus, individuals can counteract the effects of a fast-paced digital world.

    How to increase your attention span

    Increasing your attention span requires a combination of discipline, mindfulness, and targeted practice. Here are a few ideas for non-digital solutions: 

    Practice attentive listening

    Read more – and block distractions while you do it

    Get some exercise 

    Limit distractions and social media use

    Focus on doing one thing at a time – resist multitasking

    Fortunately, there are also numerous apps available that offer effective strategies for attention training. These apps use meditation, cognitive exercises, and habit-building to help users strengthen their focus muscles over time. By incorporating these apps into your daily routine, you can gradually increase your attention span and improve concentration.

    Try these top apps to improve your attention span

    1. Forest

    The Forest app uses gamification to encourage focused work sessions. Users plant virtual trees that grow while they concentrate but wither if they leave the app. It’s a fun and effective way to stay on task and avoid distractions.

    Even better, Forest partners with an organization to plant real trees on Earth. With this app, you have the opportunity to both do good and feel good! Purchase it for your Android or iOS device.

    2. Headspace

    Primarily known for its meditation features, Headspace offers features specifically designed to improve focus and attention. With guided mindfulness sessions and interactive challenges, it’s a comprehensive solution for enhancing cognitive control. 

    In its mission to help you “be kind to your mind,” the app offers workouts, playlists, and sleep sounds, in addition to 500+ meditations. The app offers paid plans for both Android devices and iOS devices. 

    3. Peak 

    As a brain training app, Peak offers a variety of games and challenges to sharpen cognitive skills, including attention and focus. With personalized workouts tailored to your strengths and weaknesses, it’s an engaging way to boost mental performance.

    The games are designed to push users through short, intense workouts. They test focus, memory, mental agility, and more. Try them out on the app. It’s available for free for both iOS and Android devices.

    4. Lumosity

    Lumosity, developed by game designers and scientists, is one of the most popular apps for improving brain functioning. Known as a gym for your brain, Lumosity uses interactive games and training exercises to improve memory, processing speed, attention span, and overall cognitive ability. 

    First, you take a fit test for a baseline score and see how you compare to others in your group. From there you are given a daily workout plan, where you can track your scores and progress, and get insights from that data.

    Currently, there are over 50 games on Lumosity, and the app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Basic membership requires no fee. The monthly membership subscription does cost money, but it enables full access to all of the app’s features.

    5. CogniFit

    With the CogniFit app, you begin with an initial assessment quiz to measure your cognitive abilities and personalize a training program to address cognitive deficiencies. The game also has specialized training programs for concentration, ADHD, mental planning, and other areas where attention is required. Even cooler, you can challenge friends and earn “neurons” (the game’s currency) from the game’s platform when you perform well.

    The game is available for both Android devices and iOS devices. A basic membership is free and allows access to some games. A full membership requires either monthly or annual payment and allows access to all training programs.

    6. Elevate

    Experts in neuroscience have offered their expertise in the creation of Elevate, an app that gives you new challenges each day on over 35 cognitive skills. The app has numerous training exercises to help with attention, including those centered on concentration, processing speed, brevity, precision, visualization, and other areas.

    The free app is on iOS and Android devices. If you want to take advantage of all Elevate has to offer, you’ll need to make in-app purchases.

    Bonus: Calm

    While not an app with games to improve attention spans, Calm has a variety of tools to manage stress and anxiety, get better sleep, and feel more present. It offers soundscapes and music playlists to tune out distractions and increase focus. It also offers meditation and mindful movement sessions to improve well-being.

    Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, Calm offers a free and a paid version with the difference being access to more content. They also offer Calm Business, as an employee benefit, sharing 21% of Calm users are more engaged at work. 

    While the digital age challenges our ability to pay attention, it also provides tools and solutions to improve our attention spans. By incorporating attention training apps into your daily routine and adopting mindful practices, you can increase your focus, boost productivity, and thrive in an increasingly distracted world. 

    Would you rather focus on a new job?

    If you’re ready to switch your focus to a better role for you, check out how Hired helps jobseekers find dream jobs. We work with companies hiring around the world for remote, hybrid, and in-office positions. Salary transparency is a must, because we respect the time of both parties and want long-term success for employees and employers.

    Originally written by Nicholas Callos in September 2016. Updated by the Hired Content Team in February 2024.  More

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    Tech Candidate Spotlight – James Turner, Senior Mobile Engineer

    Can you share a little bit about your educational background?

    I have a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Hampshire College. I also have 40+ years of self-learning new technologies as I worked in the tech industry. My BA has had the biggest impact on my career. I was able to spend a year working at the MIT AI lab and LISP Machine Incorporated as part of my degree. That gave me a big step up in entering the workforce.

    Related: Ready to Start Programming with AI? A Quick Guide for Software Engineers

    What would you like to learn more about?

    I’d like to get better at 3D design and CAD. I specifically want to learn more about and become proficient in using Blender to do organic designs and animation poses. Outside of tech, I’d like to get better at welding!

    What led you to pursue a career in tech?

    I’ve been interested in computers ever since I got to play with one at the Boston Museum of Science. Later, in high school I had the chance to work with PDP-8s. I quickly fell in love with programming. I became so interested that my advisor threatened to cut off my access so I would concentrate on my other subjects!

    How has your skill set evolved throughout your career?

    When I first started, FORTRAN and Pascal were the cutting-edge languages. C was the newcomer. I had an advantage in that I learned LISP as one of my early languages. When OOP came along later, I was already familiar with the idea. The big change has been the cutover from monolithic architectures to distributed ones. And of course, mobile was an entirely new domain to become proficient in.

    Related: What are the Best Programming Languages to Get a Software Developer Job? (Video)

    If you chose to specialize in one area, what was it and why?

    I’ve always been a generalist, able to do client, server, or now, mobile work. I have also spent time doing system admin, teaching, and video production. I tend to specialize for a portion of my career but still keep a broad outlook.

    Is your new role different from previous ones?

    It’s another mobile position, but in a brand new industry for me (real estate management). It’s also a strange mix of a startup with very deep pockets.

    What are you most excited about in your new role?

    It’s a chance to revolutionize a stagnant industry with new technology and a new outlook on the renting experience. I’m also thrilled to be a part of a greenfield development effort, which is something I love to do. The people I have talked to at the company have also been a lot of fun.

    What was your job search experience like before you joined Hired?

    I would post to job boards, apply to anything that looked promising, and try to connect with one or more recruiting firms that seemed to be interested in working with me. Then rinse, lather, and repeat.

    What’s your best advice for jobseekers on the Hired platform? 

    Get your resume in shape and spend the time to at least run it through some of the resume-tuning tools online. Because you don’t tailor your resume to each position on Hired, make sure that what you’re presenting is a good match for the kind of jobs you want.

    Related: Get Employers’ Attention: How to Craft an Effective Hired Jobseeker Profile Headline

    What would you tell someone who’s curious about Hired?

    Hired has consistently delivered high-quality opportunities for me, without spamming me with poor matches. The last two jobs I landed came from Hired, and they made a point to keep me in the loop through the entire process.

    Any general advice you’d like to give other tech professionals?

    Keep your skill set fresh and play with the tech for fun. If you don’t have some Raspberry Pis, get some. They are cheap and you can find a million uses for them. The people in the industry who do best are the ones who don’t walk away from the tech when the work day is done.

    Thanks for sharing, James! Looking for a tech or sales role? Complete your free Hired profile today!

    Looking for tech talent like James? Get a customized demo.

    About Flow

    Flow is transforming the residential rental experience by bringing together the worlds of community, real estate, property management, and financial services. Founded in 2022, Flow has 51-200 employees and is headquartered in New York. More

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    Tech Candidate Spotlight – Dmitry Cheryasov, Senior Software Engineer

    Can you share a little bit about your educational background?

    I have a Master’s degree in computer control systems from 1995. I also completed some postgrad studies in visual programming (one of the fashions of the day). As a junior developer, I pursued various certifications (Java, SQL, HTML, etc). Eventually, my work history became a better certification.

    Related: Inside the Coding Challenge: A Hiring Manager’s Perspective

    Which educational opportunities made the biggest impact on your tech career?

    A computer at home as a teenager. The tinker-friendly nature of 8-bit home computers, their simplicity, and immediate feedback were very inviting. The best analogy today would be to a web browser.

    Various books on electronics, computers, and mathematics also made an impact. Plus, a computer club about writing programs, not (only) playing games. Working as a programmer part-time during my university years helped too. It allowed me to more clearly see the questions to which the university courses were providing answers.

    What would you like to learn more about?

    The human mind and how to best drive it. It’s the principal tool of a knowledge worker. Structures, nature, and behavior of various complex systems, because this is what a software engineer works with every day.

    What led you to pursue a career in tech?

    It was just naturally exciting. Computer programming is the closest approximation of magic in the real world, complete with cryptic spells 🙂 But, unlike magic, it’s based on logic. And I’m comfortable with logic. Also, a career in tech, unlike a career in academia, helps bring home the bacon much better.

    How has your skill set evolved throughout your career?

    I’ve tried many things, but soon enough gravitated towards backend development, mostly through work on databases and programming tools. I tried to learn something new all the time in background mode, before the particular technology was in the spotlight: Java, networking, Linux, PHP, Python, Javascript, functional programming, etc.

    Usually, it takes 5-6 years between the time I start paying attention to something and the time when this thing becomes important in my work, directly or obliquely. For instance, I never used Haskell in production, but learning it helped me a lot to write better Python and Javascript.

    Related: What are the Best Programming Languages to Get a Software Developer Job? (Video)

    If you chose to specialize in one area, what was it and why?

    Once you become sufficiently good in some areas, it becomes more costly to pivot. I ended up working on backend software. One of the reasons is likely that backends are more often implemented solidly, with requirements less fleeting, even though more demanding. But I always try to have some idea about the areas around me. While I’m not turning into a full-time fronted developer, UX designer, SRE, ML engineer, product manager, etc, I try to try my hand at everything, given a chance. This lets me have a common language with colleagues who work in these areas.

    Is your new role different from previous ones?

    My new role is an unfamiliar industry that requires quite specific knowledge. Otherwise, it’s pretty similar: design and build software, and communicate with people as a part of it.

    Related: How to Maximize Your Job Offer as a Remote Engineer

    What are you most excited about in your new role?

    It’s a kind of role I understand and like. I also work with great colleagues in a solid engineering culture. What we are building is replacing ancient systems and improving things for a large number of pharmacy workers. Also, the company has a solid and growing business, indicating stability.

    Related: Top Employers Winning Tech Talent in 2023

    What was your job search experience like before you joined Hired?

    Hired landed me a job twice! Plus, several job offers. I have contacts with several recruiters, too. What makes Hired stand out is a clear process and good quality leads. Hired matches my skills and requirements well. It saves a lot of time and effort. Other services tend to overflow my inbox with enticing but often somehow off-the-mark suggestions, which have to be filtered laboriously.

    What’s your best advice for jobseekers on the Hired platform? 

    Formulate clearly what you want and what you are experienced in. Things requiring soft skills are valuable so mention them. Earn some badges because it shows you can code and know the basics. If you built something interesting, by all means mention it.

    What would you tell someone who’s curious about Hired?

    If you need a job, Hired is a solid resource. Put in the effort to fill in all the information. It will pay off. If you present yourself as an interesting candidate and have a polished profile, your profile may be featured. That’s a serious boost.

    Any general advice you’d like to give other tech professionals?

    Keep learning. Stay curious. Find fun bits in and outside of daily work. Look around and try to grasp the bigger picture. The machines are not going to replace us. Instead, they are going to empower us further.

    Related: Ready to Start Programming with AI? A Quick Guide for Software Engineers

    Thanks for sharing, Dmitry! Looking for a tech or sales role? Complete your free Hired profile today!

    Looking for tech talent like Dmitry? Get a customized demo.

    About Capital Rx

    Capital Rx is reinventing the way pharmacy benefits are priced and evaluated. Founded in 2018, it has 501-1000 employees and is headquartered in New York.


    401K plan, performance bonus, health/dental/vision/life/disability insurance, unlimited time off, company activities, stock options, and more.

    Tech Stack

    Python, React, AWS, Redux More