China manufacturing shrinks; On New Year’s Eve, 2,300 redundancies at UK’s City Link; Beware smiling too much at interviews

Wish you a Happy New Year!

1 China manufacturing shrinks (BBC) China’s manufacturing activity shrank for the first time in seven months in December, a private survey has shown. The final HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was at 49.6, just below the 50 level that separates growth from contraction in the sector.

The most recent data paints an even weaker picture of the slowing Chinese economy, which has been heralded as the “factory of the world”. New factory orders contracted for the first time since April. The economic data also backs the series of surprising moves by its government to boost growth in the past two months.

In November, the country’s central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates to 2.75% for first time since 2012 in an attempt to revive the economy. Whether the world’s second biggest economy will be able to reach its growth target of 7.5% after not missing the mark for 15 years has economists questioning if more needs to be done by policymakers.

2 On New Year’s Eve, 2,300 redundancies at UK’s City Link (Rupert Neate & Sarah Butler in The Guardian) More than 2,300 City Link workers who discovered their employer was going bust on Christmas Day were made redundant on New Year’s Eve. The administrators of the delivery company owned by multimillionaire Tory donor Jon Moulton made 2,356 employees redundant at 4.30pm on Wednesday.

Moulton, whose Better Capital private equity firm bought City Link for £1 in 2013, said he had done everything he could to keep the company going and was very sorry that the collapse ruined Christmas and New Year for so many people. Moulton, who donated £450,000 to the Conservatives between 2004 and 2011, said Better Capital had probably lost about £20m trying to keep City Link going.

The redundancies came despite a last-minute bid to save the company. The administrators said the unnamed consortium’s bid “offered no money up front and significantly undervalued the assets to be acquired”. Courier company APC Overnight said it would give priority to City Link staff in filling up to 100 vacancies at its national sorting centre. On top of the 2,356 City Link redundancies, 1,000 self-employed drivers face serious financial difficulties with some small businesses owed up to £21,000 in back pay.

3 Beware smiling too much at interviews (Belo Cipriani in San Francisco Chronicle) According to a study released by Northeastern University, flashing your pearly whites too many times during an interview could work against you. The research points out that over smiling can come across as not serious—giving the impression that you cannot handle the job responsibilities.

The data also shows that there is a difference in smiling expectations from jobs perceived as more social to those that are seen as more serious. For example, a bubbly grin will sit better with a manager looking to hire a sales person than for someone looking to employ a news reporter.

The Northeastern study confirms something that recruiters and hiring managers have known for a long time: Too much of anything never works and it’s easy to spot someone who is not being authentic. The purpose of smiling is to greet someone and to help make a connection; however, if done repeatedly during an interview, then the gesture loses its value. Additionally, it may suggest that the over happy person is nervous or, worse, that they are being dishonest.

The study recommends smiling should occur mostly at the start of the interview and towards the end; something I completely agree with, because this is the more natural way to connect with someone. And, in the end, breaking too far away from social expectations can be problematic in an interview.


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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