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5 Secrets on How to Land your Dream Job at a Fortune 100 Company / An Interview with Former Fortune Executive, Noga Zilberberg (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome back to the second part of our series with Former Fortune Execute, Noga Zilberberg, on Coffee with Leaders!

A couple of weeks ago, Michael Dha and Noga Zilberberg sat down to discuss Noga’s experience at McKesson and Noga gave our audience 5 secrets on how to land a high-profile role at a Fortune 100 organization.

Noga is a former finance executive, however, has since switched gears and now has her own coaching consulting services, Zilberberg Consulting Inc. She continues on with the 5 secrets on landing a high-profile job below!

To read the beginning of this article, click here.

#3 Innovative Problem Solving and Critical Thinking 

As Steve Jobs famously put it: “…we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do”. I couldn’t agree more. Leaders, teams and employees with innovative problem-solving abilities are crucial to the success of any business. For large, high-profile companies innovative employees, at all levels of the organization, are the lifeline that helps them:  

  • Operate in the most effective and efficient way 
  • Solve challenges that were once considered impossible to solve 
  • Improve the quality of life of millions of people around the world 

Are you up for the challenge? Can you prove that throughout your career you have demonstrated an “out of the box” thinking that resulted ioutstanding outcomes in your area of expertise?  

Think of another well-known saying “a chain is as strong as the weakest link” and you’ll understand why this skill is considered a requirement in many job postings. 

Michael: It’s not easy assessing these abilities during an interview.  

Noga: Some interviewers still use “brain teasers” like those that Google interviewers were infamously known for, such as “how many golf balls can you fit in a school bus?” Or “how would you solve homelessness in Vancouver?”. Candidates often struggle to understand how these questions help hiring managers assess their professional abilities.  

Most of these questions don’t have right or wrong answers, but rather attempt to reveal one’s critical thinking skills, their ability to deal with ambiguity, as well as their ability and desire to come up with innovative solutions. Candidates should avoid responses that suggest they lack these crucial skills. Common bad responses include: 

  • “What do you mean?” 
  • “I have no idea”  
  • “This is not my area of expertise”  
  • It’s impossible to answer without more information”  

Anyone interviewing to a high-profile role that requires significant innovative problem-solving, should familiarize themselves with this type of questions and the best way to answer them.  

Better yet, they should proactively provide their interviewer with plenty of examples of previous professional challenges they faced and how their problem-solving abilities contributed to the solution. They just might avoid being asked something like: “what problem would you choose to solve using time travel?”

#4 Emotional Intelligence (aka EQ) 

Some of the traits I have already mentioned have to do with how people interact with colleagues and others in the business environment. None of them, however, distill this idea as much as the concept of emotional intelligence. EQ has two important aspects that I’d like to emphasize:  

  • Self-awareness and the ability to manage oneself effectively and gracefully around others 
  • Building and managing relationships with others  

Michael: Can you explain why this is important for large companies like those on the Fortune 100 list?

Noga: These companies have many ideas flying around, many conceived by very smart people, and all competing for limited funding resources. Employees who can effectively promote their ideas by utilizing their highly developed relationship-building and communication skills will dictate the direction of their teams or perhaps the entire company, depending on their role. They will be more successful in their jobs and positively influence those around them.  

When you go on an interview, your EQ is put to the test the minute you walk into the company’s offices. Make a conscious effort to calm your nerves so you appear kind and genuine in all your interactions. Greet the receptionist, participate in small talk, and display confidence and self-awareness when responding to questions.  

All types of relevant communication skills are assessed during an interview. Are you articulate and can gracefully deal with unexpected questions? Are you a good listener or ‘jumping the gun’ to answer questions? Remarkably, some interviewers might even hint at the answers they are looking for. Listen carefully to make sure you’re picking up on those clues.  

Effectively using your EQ in an interview is a sure-fire way to quickly build rapport (“chemistry”) with your interviewer. The interviewer needs to like you and feel that the team will enjoy working with you. Candidates with high levels of EQ actually do better on interviews and can sometimes even beat candidates with superior professional skills!  

Michael: We are down to the last skillset of this top 5 list.

Noga: I saved the best for last..

#5 Grit 

 If I had to choose the two most desirable personality traits for employees in the Corporate world, it would be EQ and Grit. Psychology researcher, Angela Duckworth, defines Grit as: “the passion and perseverance for especially long-term goals”.  

Money and job titles are no longer the top motivators for employees to work hard towards the company’s goals. A much stronger motivator is the combination of how well those goals are aligned with one’s own values and aspirations (or: what they want to achieve) coupled with their inherent passion and perseverance (or: how they’ll go about achieving that).  

I see grit as the innermost drive and desire to achieve successwhatever that may mean to the individual. Great accomplishments are usually the result of continuous personal and professional developmentgetting out of your comfort zone and unwavering dedication, even when facing setbacks.  

Michael: How dyou assess candidates’ grit during interviews? 

Noga: Two of my favourite questions to ask candidates are “tell me about life-experiences that you believe have made you who you are today” and “tell me about three people who have personally influenced you”. Again, there are no “correct” answers to these questions. It is the type of experiences and people candidates drew on, what they have learned along the way, and how they plan to implement those learnings in future challenging situations, that helped me get to know them better. It helped me understand their ambitions and how determined they were to reach their full potential.  

Another common question that interviewers ask to assess both EQ and perseverance is “tell me about a time you had to convince others to adopt your idea”.  A winning answer will include elements of persuasion and determination while maintaining great professional relationships.  


Identifying superstar candidates who have both outstanding professional/technical skills, as well as these important personality attributes, is not easy, but it pays high dividends for hiring companies, teams and managers.  

If you are one of those superstars, recruiters and high-profile companies must already be contacting you with tempting offers on a fairly regular basis. Others, who are not quite there yet, can greatly benefit from developing the attributes we’ve discussed. Professionals who are willing to work hard to master these skills – are on their way to becoming superstar candidates and landing their dream job! 

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5 Secrets on How to Land your Dream Job at a Fortune 100 Company / An Interview with Former Fortune Executive, Noga Zilberberg (Part 1 of 2)

Welcome to our series on Coffee with Leaders. Each quarter, we sit down with trailblazing leaders of the Canadian market to discuss issues relating to life in Corporate Canada.

Last week, our Managing Director at STRIVE, Michael Dha, called upon a longstanding client and now friend, Noga Zilberberg. Noga climbed the corporate ranks at McKesson Technology Solutions (now Change Healthcare), leading an extremely talented and high-performing team as the Executive Director of Finance. McKesson is 6th on the 2018 Fortune 500 list and one of the largest companies in North America with revenues over $200Bn. Noga has shifted gears in her career and now offers interview coaching consulting services through her company, Zilberberg Consulting Inc.

Michael and his STRIVE team started working with Noga in 2012. At that time, Noga was managing a small finance team at McKesson, which directly supported the executive team of the medical imaging business unit. Over the next 5 years, the needs of the business grew and so did the finance team. Noga’s role as Manager catapulted to Executive Director, and with the help of her recruitment partners at STRIVE, her team quadrupled in size. However, this was no easy feat. Noga and the executive team at McKesson had very high expectations of all their staff. Despite having urgent hiring deadlines, Noga would not compromise on the quality of talent that she brought on to her team. So how did the candidates do it? What did they need to do to impress the interviewer and land their dream job?

In this next two-part series, Michael and Noga sit down to discuss Noga’s experience at McKesson and Noga gives our audience 5 secrets on how to land a high-profile role at a Fortune 100 organization.

Michael:Noga, let’s start at the beginning – how did you end up at McKesson?

Noga: This was back in January 2010. My youngest son was seven months old and I was well into my maternity leave. A recruiter I previously worked with had reached out to me suggesting that I interview for an interesting FP&A position with a large tech company. McKesson was very particular about the type of candidate they were looking for! After a few rounds of interviews, they determined I fit the bill and I was offered the role.

Michael: When you landed that first job with McKesson, did you think you would stay there for 8 years and progress as much as you have?

Noga: Well, I knew that working for McKesson, a 180-year-old international pharmaceutical and tech company, would be an amazing opportunity. Even my first role at McKesson was extremely challenging and rewarding. However, at the time, it was a much smaller finance team. I appreciated my manager’s honesty when she warned me that there will be no room for growth. Despite that early warning, as the business unit grew and the team expanded, I was promoted four times. All these roles didn’t even exist when I started working for McKesson. I am very happy I took that ‘leap of faith’ in 2010.

Michael: Throughout the years you have interviewed, assessed and hired many candidates for various levels. Can you share some advice on what it takes to land a job at a large company like McKesson?

Noga: First, it’s important to understand that large, successful companies are in constant need of talented professionals, who are also good team players. On the flip side, the competition for those positions is undoubtedly fierce. Hiring managers are bombarded with candidates’ resumes, even when they have no open positions. They can afford to be very selective and pick only the very best to join their teams.

Most managers, in any organization, are looking to hire the best candidates possible. However, from my experience, there are a few “skillset categories” that will be considered a must-have at these high-profile companies. I am not just talking about being the best at what you do professionally, or the obvious soft skills that most job postings mention, but rather that “secret sauce” that ensures great companies keep growing, attracting more investors, clients, positive public attention, brand recognition, and… more great employees.

Here are my top 5 skillset categories that will get you high-profile roles at high-profile companies:

#1 Common Sense and Maturity

Throughout your life, you are encountering increasingly complex and delicate situations, from how to speak with your college professors to managing your own finances, career and personal life. These experiences should build character, help you develop good judgment, and teach you the value of responsibility and accountability. Have they?

Do you have a good understanding of desirable behaviours in the corporate world? Can you demonstrate those behaviours consistently? Business etiquette includes anything from appropriate attire and good old manners to not sending a Facebook friend request to the Vice-President who has just interviewed you (and anything in between). These unwritten rules create a foundation for a comfortable work environment that encourages professionalism and cooperation.

To many people the above sounds obvious. However, as the saying goes: “common sense is not so common”, unfortunately. I wouldn’t mention this if it wasn’t so high on my priority list as a hiring manager. My teams and I worked directly with senior leaders in a multi-billion-dollar company. There was very little, if any, room for error, when it came to the fundamentals of handling ourselves in a professional manner, providing excellent customer service, and in general “doing the right thing”.

That’s why during interviews, I paid special attention to the subtext in candidates’ stories and examples. Any case of placing blame on others or a lack of self-awareness, for example, was a big warning sign for lack of maturity. If the candidate’s integrity or discretion was called into question during their interview, they would also, unfortunately, have their resume placed in the ‘no’ pile. This includes, for example, a management candidate who disclosed major upcoming layoffs at their current company during their interview.

If you are not convinced that a bit of “business gossip” should be grounds for a candidate’s rejection, just imagine the potential damage, such lack of discretion can cause when putting the company’s intellectual property (IP) in danger, exposing non-disclosed financial results that might impact investment decisions, and so on.

#2 Resourcefulness and Independent Thinking

High-profile companies are looking for talented people who can foresee & prevent, identify & resolve issues in their areas of responsibility, before those need to be escalated. They need employees who can get things done! These companies aspire to resolve big problems, positively impact millions of lives, and increase shareholders’ value. For them, there is just not enough time in the day and not enough resources to dedicate to “handholding”.

If you want to join high-profile companies, it would be in your best interest to demonstrate that you are a “low maintenance” resourceful employee, with regards to simpler tasks, and a thoughtful professional when it comes to the more complex assignments.

What does the term “low maintenance”, resourceful employees actually mean?

These people are not easily taken back by moderate inconveniences, roadblocks or uncertainty. When possible, they just roll up their sleeves and find a solution. They do not expect anyone else to resolve the day-to-day obstacles we all face, not even their manager.

A resourceful team is a blessing for a manager and the entire company. This means managers can focus on the bigger picture, setting strategic directions, and solving the big problems – inside the company and for their customers.

Interviewers will sometimes attempt to examine resourcefulness and independent thinking (as well as innovative problem solving, discussed next, and other skills on this list) by asking “stress questions”. These questions throw interviewees off-balance, challenge them to think on their feet and deal with situations of missing information. Some examples of “stress questions” include what would I find if I googled your name? or what would you do if you won $50 million yesterday?

I suggest mentally preparing in advance for these types of interview questions, especially when interviewing for high-profile roles in high-profile companies.

Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this article next week!

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Our First Annual Team Trip to Los Cabos, Mexico!

We had some ambitious goals set out at the beginning of the year and after hitting our team targets, the STRIVE Recruitment team booked themselves a ticket to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico! 2018 was a record year for the company and the team celebrated by taking all of the staff on a fun-filled trip to celebrate all of the hard work and dedication in 2018. From the Sunset Cruise over “Lands End” to team building activities throughout the resort, it was a trip to remember. We are already off to a great start for 2019 – where will our team end up next?!

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Annual Whistler trip 2018!

The STRIVE team had their annual trip once again after reaching Q2 goals! The team celebrated a successful first half of the year with an exciting zip-lining excursion through Superfly Ziplines. Everyone soared down one of the longest ziplines in Canada – it was absolutely breath taking. The guides made the first and highest zipline look like a breeze.

To wrap up the trip, our annual Rook’s cooked everyone dinner, it was a fantastic three course meal that cannot be beat. Whistler was definitely one for the books, till next time!

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STRIVE Pub Night – Fundraising for the Children’s Wish Foundation

A night of success for the STRIVE team and the Children’s Wish Foundation. Through the attendance of clients, candidates, friends and family as well as an awesome array of silent auction items from all of our sponsors at our annual pub night; the “Super STRIVERs” were able to smash their fundraising goal and raised $11,000 for our wish kid, Khol! Khol will now be able to take his trip of a lifetime – a Star Wars themed Disney Cruise with his family!

Thank you to all of you who participated, donated and bid on our silent auction items. Without you , none of this would have been possible. We greatly appreciate your generosity and support!

Click here to read more about Khol’s story.

To learn more about how you can support the Children’s Wish Foundation, please visit:  Super STRIVERs Children’s Wish Page.



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Canada Goose files for IPO on Toronto and New York exchanges

Luxury winter jacket maker Canada Goose has filed for initial public offerings on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges under the symbol “GOOS.”

The company said in regulatory filings it had revenue of $291 million in fiscal 2016, up from $152 million in 2014, and gross profit of $146 million.

Canada Goose opened its first retail stores last year in Toronto and New York, with sales also through the company’s online store and authorized retailers in Canada and abroad.

The manufacturer said it plans to further expand its brand internationally including opening more stores in major cities and premium outdoor centres.

It also said it was considering an expansion of its offerings, with more spring and fall jackets as well as knitwear, fleece, footwear, travel gear and bedding.

Its parkas, which retail for up to $1,500, have been worn by celebrities and featured in Hollywood movies and on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.

The company, founded in Toronto in 1957, touted its “authentic brand” and “uncompromised craftsmanship” as some of its key competitive strengths in its filing.

Canada Goose sold a 70-per-cent equity interest in 2013 to investment firm Bain Capital, which is sponsoring the IPO.

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STRIVE Pub Night with The Children’s Wish Foundation



STRIVE hosted a fantastic evening with some gracious folks at the Moose’s Down Under to help fund Crystal’s Wish! On behalf of The Children’s Wish foundation, STRIVE was paired with Crystal and her awesome family (especially Little Benny!) to help fund her wish of taking a family vacation to Turks and Caicos.  (You can read her ful story here!: )

We had a great turnout, some really great silent auction items and a big winner on the 50/50. Thanks to all who came out. We are half way to our $10,000 goal! If you haven’t already, you can donate here!



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5 Habits That Can Turn Interviewers Against You

Having spent the last decade recruiting, I’ve had many a conversation with hiring managers after a candidate exits the interview. And, while I always hope for exceptional feedback, sometimes the news is not so glowing.

Sometimes, the candidate has done something so annoying to the interviewer that, at best, she is now questioning her interest in keeping this person in the running.

What are the things that drive interviewers the most crazy? Listen and learn.

1. You arrive super early

Everybody knows that you’re an idiot if you show up late for an interview. It’s completely disrespectful of the interviewer’s time.

But showing up insanely early is also going to make you look like a jerk. Why? Because, when you arrive more than five or 10 minutes before your meeting, you’re putting immediate pressure on the interviewer to drop whatever she may be wrapping up and deal with you. Or, she’s going to start the interview feeling guilty because she knows she just left you sitting in the lobby for 20 minutes.

A secondary problem with showing up early is that it says, “Hi, I have absolutely nothing else going on in my life, so I’ll just park it here in your company lobby.” You don’t want that. If you arrive super early, hang in the parking lot or a nearby coffee shop until just a few minutes before your scheduled time.

2. You’re so over-rehearsed that you act like a robot

Once again, we all know not to show up to an interview completely unprepared.

Fewer of us, however, realize that it’s entirely possible to arrive over-prepared. Are you someone who thinks through every possible question that you suspect might be asked, writes out verbatim “best answers,” and then practices them in the mirror (or with a friend) until you’re beyond exhausted?

You might think you’re doing yourself a solid, but what you’re actually doing is putting yourself at risk for coming across as robotic or, worse, disinterested.

When you’re hyper-prepared and hanging on the edge of your seat waiting for certain questions for which you’ve prepared to be asked, you will likely have a very hard time engaging in genuine conversation with the interviewer.

And interviewers don’t tend to hire detached people who can’t seem to have a genuine conversation. Certainly walk in prepared, but force yourself to not memorize or over-rehearse the practice questions.

3. You head into the TMI zone

Is your underwear riding up your rear end as you sit in that interview? Did you totally run a red light (and nearly sideswipe a school bus) so that you could be on time? Did your husband lose $15,000 at a craps table in Vegas last weekend? How interesting — yet all completely off-limits conversation topics while you’re in the interview.

Even if you’re interviewing for a role within the most free-wheeling, fun-loving organization, the fact remains that you are in an interview. Never, ever get wooed into believing that the casual nature of the environment frees you to enter the TMI zone.

Be friendly and conversational, for sure. You want this crew to feel that you’ll fit in around the joint. Just never, and I mean do not ever, cross the line into TMI. When in doubt, leave it out.

4. You’re a clear and obvious WIIFM

Guess what interviewers want to know when they meet with you? First and foremost, they want to know what you can do for them. What can you do to make that company money, improve businesses processes, grow the organization and, importantly, make their lives easier?

That said, when you bust out with an immediate litany of WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) questions, you look both arrogant and, frankly, unappealing.

Of course you want to know what the benefits are, how much vacation you get, and if you get a cell phone, company car, and corner office. But in the early interview stages, all the hiring managers and HR people really care about is what you can do for them. This is a business they are running, not a club.

Making you happy will be important if they want you, but you’re not even going to get to that stage if you make your list of demands clear too early.

5. You don’t say “thank you”

I’m not just talking about the after-interview thank you note here. Surely, sending an immediate thank you out to each person with whom you’ve met is critical. But it’s also super important to thank the interviewer enthusiastically before you even part ways.

Certainly, it can be stressful and exhausting to shuttle through hours of interviewing at a company, to the point it all starts feeling like a bit of a blur. But if you really want this job, you need to stay focused and energized, and you absolutely must end strong. A strong, genuine, “Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me — it was great to meet you” will go a long way. “Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me — it was great to meet you” will go a long way.

Interviewing can be among the most stressful things we do as adults, especially when we need the job badly. It’s definitely never a breeze. But keeping a cool head, arriving prepared to engage in conversation, and staying focused on the value you can bring to that organization is going to help you make it through with flying colors. People hire people, not robots, not jerks, and not people who don’t value their time.

Keep this top of mind as you march forth and conquer.

Source: Mashable

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STRIVE’s Annual Team Getaway in Whistler!

After 12 months of making placements for our wonderful clients and candidates, the STRIVE team let off a little steam atop the mountains at Whistler Blackcomb.

With blazing speed, we flew down the moutains in our skis.. i mean tubes! Then relaxed in our luxury suite at the Hilton hotel before we took on the town. The Ketel One vodka Room was very cool.. literally, it was -32 degrees!

It was a great way to celebrate our best year yet!

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STRIVE Annual Holiday Party 2015 with Alex Burrows!

STRIVE Recruitment teamed up with Vancouver Canucks superstar Alex Burrows to celebrate the holiday season with friends, colleagues and clients. Guests enjoyed local BC wines and several appetizer dishes including Momma Dha’s legendary samosas.
Needless to say, this party went into overtime with the home team coming up victorious.
STRIVE would like to thank all of the guests who attended and enjoyed the evening. Can’t wait for the next one – Cheers!



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Marriott to Buy Starwood Hotels, Creating World’s Largest Hotel Company

When Marriott International’s $12.2 billion bid for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide was announced on Monday morning, investors and analysts were surprised.

It was not the sale itself — Starwood, whose brands include Westin, W and Sheraton, had effectively put itself up for sale in late April — but that the buyer was Marriott.

Of all the rumored suitors — Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group and a few Chinese companies — Marriott had not been seen as being in the mix. On Marriott’s earnings call on April 30, the company’s chief executive, Arne Sorenson, waved off a question about a combination, saying it was inconsistent with its previous acquisition strategy.

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The top 1% made more than 10% of Canada’s total income in 2013: StatsCan

Canadian taxfilers with earnings in the highest 1% saw their share of total income across the country hold steady between 2012 and 2013.

In total, there were 264,030 individuals that made up the top 1% in the country in 2013, and this group earned 10.3% of the country’s total income—the same percentage as in 2012—according to Statistics Canada data released November 3. On average, taxfilers in this group made $454,800 in 2013—up $5,600 or 1.2% between the two years, which is the same percentage increase as seen, on average, by all Canadian taxpayers.

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STRIVE is a Vancouver based boutique recruitment firm offering recruitment solutions in the specialist areas of Accounting, Finance, Construction, Skilled Trades and Operations. We are passionate about recruitment at STRIVE and commit to offering an upfront, genuine and consultative approach to everything we do. Visit for more of our current searches.


Our client is one of the largest logistics company in the world with large scale facilities located in Langley, BC. They are currently seeking an Operations Supervisor to join their growing team. Keeping in line with their top notch services, the Operations Supervisor plays a large role in overseeing staff members and ensuring daily operations are running efficiently and smoothly. Our client is an established and growing company that prides themselves on exceptional leadership, an excellent company culture, and a strong injury-free record.

Click here to learn more about this position.

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How Ryan Holmes has kept Hootsuite in Vancouver

Around the world, Hootsuite is famous for its social media dashboard, the go-to for companies managing multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts—which, these days, is pretty much all of them. But here in B.C., the company is known for another rather remarkable accomplishment: staying home.

The Vancouver-based tech titan went from 20 employees to its current headcount of 800 in just four years, evolving from a young startup into a major local employer—all the while promising not to skip town. Often, the story for our tech startups ends much sooner: the company sells for $50 million, deciding it doesn’t have the resources it needs in Vancouver to become the next Facebook. So how does a company like Hootsuite—founded in Gastown in 2008 by Ryan Holmes—stay and grow so significantly?

Continue to read this article here.

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