This is the 1 Critical Thing You Should Do Before Any Job Interview

When going after a new career opportunity, there are plenty of steps you need to take (there’s a reason they say that getting a new job is a job unto itself!)

Assessing your market value, finding jobs that meet your desired salary range), and of course, networking should all be part of the build-up to landing a big job interview. And regardless of the role you’re pursuing, as soon as you get called in, there’s one role you need to take on: Chief Research Officer.

Only two percent of applicants get interviews, so if you’re lucky enough to get that far, don’t blow it by skipping your homework. With the amount of information available online about just about everywhere you’re sending a resume, there’s no excuse not to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the ins and outs of both the company where you’re interviewing and the interviewer herself.

Start with the company website, but don’t end there. A quick Google News search can give you the most up to date happenings of a business, and give you some informed talking points for your interview (along with topics to avoid).

A company’s social media channels and blog will also give you the latest internal news, a glimpse of what’s top of mind, and insight to the brand’s voice (plus, following their social channels can’t hurt in terms of brownie points). From all of this research, jot down a few questions you can ask when you’re put on the spot at the end of the interview that showcase that you’ve done your homework.

Sure, this next step may qualify you as a certified lurker, but you can also peek into your interviewer’s social channels to get an idea of their personality and interests. LinkedIn is the least creepy version of this “personality audit” (though, beware if they have Premium they’ll know you’ve been trawling them), and can also give you the opportunity to suss out any first degree connections that might put in a good word for you.

You’ll get some more personal insights on Instagram and Facebook, but just be careful to avoid the dreaded “deep like” (or any like, really) if you don’t want your cyberstalking known. Remember that all of this is on background: It will definitely creep your interviewer out if you ask her about her niece’s birthday party this past weekend.

This online research is about more than just impressing your potential employer, though–it’s about sussing out the company culture to assess if it’s a good fit for you. Check out Glassdoor for insights on company culture from current and former employees. While one disgruntled rant shouldn’t turn you away, a consistent thread of negative reviews can be a red flag.

And remember that digital research can go both ways: your potential employer (and co-workers!) will inevitably use the same techniques on you the moment your resume lands on their desks. While you’re polishing your resume, give your LinkedIn and social channels a good scrub as well.

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Bosch to invest 17 billion rupees in India over next three years

(Reuters) – German auto parts maker Bosch Group plans to invest 17 billion rupees ($250 million) in India over the next three years to meet growing demand in the domestic automotive market, Chief Executive Officer Volkmar Denner said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO – The Bosch logo is seen in Reutlingen, Germany, June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

The company will also ramp up investments in electric vehicles, self-driving technologies, diesel engines and artificial intelligence, Denner said at a press conference in Bengaluru, India.

To keep pace with rapid changes in the automotive industry, Bosch said it plans to spend an additional 6 billion rupees to revamp one of its manufacturing facilities in Bangalore to focus more on advanced technologies such as Internet of Things.

Bosch anticipates electric vehicle technologies will be a future growth area in India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to allow only electric cars in the country by 2030.

“We believe electrification is the future but an adequate transition period is required and 2030 is too short a timeline,” Denner said.

For now, the company believes hybrid engines, which combine traditional combustion engines with electric technology, will be an interim solution on the path to an all-electric future.

Electric car sales in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing auto markets, made up less than 0.1 percent of annual sales of more than 3 million passenger cars in 2017-2018.

The lack of demand is mainly because electric vehicles are expensive, have a limited range and require a vast charging network.

Bosch generated around 2 billion euros in total sales in India in 2017.

Reporting by Krishna V Kurup and Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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NHS trust dumps creaking EMC SAN for Nutanix hyper-converged

Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Trust has expanded its hyper-converged deployment to around 400 virtual machines (VMs) on 24 Nutanix nodes.

The move saw Nutanix replace traditional server and storage architecture, including an EMC SAN, with huge reductions in server room space and cooling as well as snag-free patching of the infrastructure. The project also saw multiple backup products replaced with CommVault.

The Trust is centred on Chesterfield Royal Hospital, which serves a population of 350,000 and has 550 beds and an IT estate that runs around 260 applications.

At the start of the process, in which it was helped by Chesterfield-based integrator Coolspirit, the trust had about 70 Dell servers each dedicated to an application, with 12 more running two VMware ESX clusters.

Storage was provided by an EMC VNXe SAN and it was here that the key bottlenecks arose as it reached capacity.

“The biggest headache was storage,” said IT technical delivery lead, David Sawyer. “When we first got it it had been purchased for requirements at the time. No-one could know the explosion of servers there would be.”

“We had only about 50 VMs then,” said Sawyer. “In seven years that has gone to 400. As that number has increased storage has been battered, with the app guys wanting more and more.”

At the same time, said Sawyer, the compute side was running out of resources, including RAM on occasions.

“We got to the point where we had to ask, ‘Do we throw loads of money into this and keep expanding it, buying shelves and drives?’ In the end we decided to see what was out there,” said Sawyer.

His team considered a setup from NetApp in the traditional three-tier architecture. “They wanted to come along with a pre-configured cabinet, but we simply didn’t have space.”

The trust eventually plumped for Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure and now has 400 virtual machines running on 24 nodes.

Did Sawyer have any worries about opting for what was a new alternative to traditional IT architectures? “Yes, we had concerns. It was something completely new but with some research we felt we knew where we were going,” he said.

“The attraction was that we could easily add to it and not create bottlenecks. We had been able to add to the SAN but that created a bottleneck between servers and storage. We decided to take the risk and go down the hyper-converged route.”

Key benefits of Nutanix

Key benefits of the Nutanix deployment for Sawyer have been space saved in the trust’s server rooms and lack of disruption during patching and upgrades.

Previously, patching and upgrades had to be restricted to weekends because of the likelihood of causing unplanned downtime.

“We always expected that something would break,” said Sawyer.” Often it would be ESX. It may have been something we’d done. We’d patch the server and we’d lose a node. Now we know that upgrades will happen without a blip.”

“That means upgrades can happen in office hours without needing to pay for resources at weekend rates and in the knowledge we won’t have anything fall down.”

Meanwhile, the reduction in total hardware has emptied seven racks of servers and Sawyer is looking to reduce the size of the server room. Alongside that around half of the air conditioning units often switch themselves off.

The big benefit for Sawyer is, however, that compute and storage is now less costly and more reliable, and easily added to.

“The number of VMs has gone through the roof, and traditional storage would have struggled, with extra chassis and disks needed,” he said. “With Nutanix, you put a node in, go back to your desk and turn it on; it’s not a project.”

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Worried About Amazon Taking Over Your Industry? Here's What to Do

In the past decade, Amazon pulled the rug out from under traditional brick-and-mortar companies. Now, Amazon continues to grow–taking a big piece of the e-commerce pie–while other major brands are grappling with the threat of bankruptcy and profit loss.

Traditional players are struggling to stay relevant and meet their bottom line as they compete with Amazon. But, agile and savvy online businesses are finding massive success taking advantage of new ways to sell and interact with customers.

So, how did Amazon impact the way companies interact with consumers? And, how can an online business find success in Amazon’s world? Here are a few key trends that business owners can leverage for themselves.

Ditch the old models–they no longer serve you.

There’s no question that Amazon is impacting most aspects of selling. If you take a closer look, however, you’ll notice that not all companies are experiencing a decline. In fact, there’s a trend among the companies that are struggling, including those that have filed for bankruptcy, like Toys R Us and Radio Shack.

They’re channel sellers: companies that sell a selection of products manufactured by other brands. With more than 500 million stock keeping units (SKU), product identification codes, Amazon has taken much of the channel sales business for itself.

Before Amazon and e-commerce, consumers would go to a grocery store to get food items, then a convenience store for things like toothpaste, and then a clothing store for basics like socks. Now, they can buy all of these items at affordable prices in one place: Amazon.

Embrace the new direct-to-consumer model.

While Amazon has made traditional channel selling obsolete, it has also created opportunities for nimble, direct-to-consumer companies. These companies are successful because they’re able to differentiate themselves from Amazon. If you’re looking for a specific product, you can find it on Amazon pretty easily. When you want something unique, maybe for a gift, Amazon isn’t the best option. You might pore over pages of products and feel overwhelmed or dissatisfied by the choices.

Instead, you can buy from a direct-to-consumer company that specializes in niche items with a personalized, curated buying experience. These companies are able to build authentic relationships with their customers in ways that weren’t possible before the Internet. That’s in part because there are now many ways to connect directly with a customer online, including social media, a website, and online forums like Quora or Medium.

Bikini Luxe, for example, sells designer swimwear online and uses unique social media tactics to engage with its audience. The company isn’t afraid to take risks, posting a picture of Miss Universe contestant Natalie Roser in a bikini on LinkedIn with the caption, “Is this appropriate for LinkedIn?” The controversial post garnered 50,000 views and boosted sales by 20 percent.

These companies typically have smaller teams with low overhead, unique merchandise, and successful customer acquisition tactics. Many of these brands are generating over $10 million in sales each by using e-commerce platforms and social networks to keep expenses to a minimum.

Quickly iterate with customer feedback.

If customers had product feedback after purchasing from a channel seller, their complaint or suggestion wouldn’t get very far. The teams building the products aren’t regularly talking to the sales employees or their end customers.

Direct-to-consumer brands are able to engage with customers one-on-one, and then make sure the feedback gets to the right person. They’re also able to change the product much faster if there is a problem.

Adapt to new ways of buying.

Consumers are increasingly buying more goods online. Statistia predicts there will be 2.14 billion digital buyers globally by 2021. And according to Nielsen, seven in ten Internet users trust the brand website and consumer opinions over traditional forms of marketing and advertising.

These smaller brands are better able to take advantage of selling via social media, mobile, etc. For example, in general, consumers typically wouldn’t follow a channel seller like Amazon on Instagram, because there’s no emotional connection to their products. But, many follow niche businesses on Instagram, because their products and engagement have greater emotional appeal for the consumer.  

Be nimble.

Direct-to-consumer brands typically have less bureaucracy to deal with, so they can quickly adapt to consumer trends. We’re seeing savvy brands move from one selling technique to the next until they find success. Traditional, larger teams with more red tape aren’t able to make those kinds of decisions quickly, and end up losing money from either outdated tactics or slow-to-market approaches.

There’s no denying that Amazon is impacting the retail industry. But, it is also a great time to own an e-commerce business. Savvy, niche online sellers can be successful by taking advantage of this new retail landscape.

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