Cause you gotta have friends – keeping up your networks in busy times

By Angela Anderson

Angela Anderson

Angela Anderson

Maybe its just this time of year, with the festive season approaching and all the end-of-year deadlines, but I have been thinking about my networks, which in some cases are also my friendships. I think I’ve had mixed results in 2017, following through on some of my intentions to maintain these, but I’ve definitely neglected other areas.

There’s no doubting how busy we are in work and family life, and we know the reasons why – globalisation, technology, urbanisation, the environment and demographic change, to name a few – but its no excuse really. We are ‘human’ beings, and nothing can replace actually sitting down and interacting with someone we can relate to on a professional and personal basis.

I’ve always liked Margaret Wheatley, the American writer and management consultant who focuses on organisational behaviour and the theory of change, leadership and chaos. As a HR practitioner, I’ve applied some of her work in learning and development settings, both as a deliverer and participant. She has decades of experience and many memorable quotes such as “In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions.” She also suggests “All of us need better skills in listening, conversing, and respecting one another’s uniqueness, because these are essential for strong relationships”.

So put some time in your diary before Xmas to nurture your relationships, whether it be attending a networking event, or scheduling in drinks with clients or colleagues you haven’t had a decent chat to in ages. It’s a great opportunity to have a few laughs, reflect on things, and just enjoy the moment!

Advertisements

Black Tuesday – Takes Me Back…

Justine Eden, DirectorBy Justine Eden

The recent Black Tuesday articles got me thinking back to 30 years when I was working in the dealing room for a share broking firm on that day that the market crashed. It was chaos and very apparent that things were going to change.

Having just left school I spent 2 years of working in finance, one year as a chalkie at the stock exchange and one in share broking. For me the ‘87 crash crystalized my plan to go to university full time. I could tell my job would no longer be there in a few months. Now of course the chalkie is also a relic of the past!

The recent Weinstein revelations also got me thinking. Sexual harassment was rife back in the day in share broking and I had my fair share of unsolicited advances from married men more than double my age, particularly when their wife was out of town. Did I want to come over tonight and have a hit of tennis? Did I need a lift home in the flash euro sports car? No thanks.

I remember sending out statements for shares purchased days, or just hours before the October 87 crash hit, for highly inflated shares now worth less than 5% of what was owing. People now desperate to sell and losing their homes because they had speculated on shares with money they could not afford to wager.

I had forgotten a lot of all of this and now it seems like a life time ago, but those insights back then cemented in my mind a kind of determination and clarity. That was to get an education, to build a career, to invest in shares with money that did not cost me the family home if they failed. To be independent and create my own business and to be able to stand up to anyone that made me feel uncomfortable or compromised in any way.

The power to choose, the ability for independence is something I have always valued greatly and it is what I hope my own daughters will experience. Cause let’s face it power is and always will be an aphrodisiac and independence is a great liberator.

As Abraham Lincoln said “..if you want to test a man’s character give him power”.

The Importance of Effective Recruitment & Selection

By Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Your employees are your most valuable asset, they’re also your greatest cost, so it’s important to hire the right people. So why then do employers have so many difficulties recruiting staff. Employing the wrong person for a role is not only time consuming but will affect morale and productivity and is a costly mistake to make.

Before determining who to attract and select for the role, it is essential that you have a clear idea about what the job requires and the attributes of the person needed. Some people look for the ‘best fit’, the individual who will aspire to the culture of that organisation and one who will understand the needs of the business. Traditionally, job descriptions have been devised to enable the organisation to effectively decide what skills are needed to fill the position. By doing this, the candidate has some knowledge of the type of role they will undertake and from this will enhance job performance as clear ground rules have been set from the beginning. Conversely, the lack of a competent job description will in effect, attract the wrong candidates.

Some tips to adhere to when recruiting include:

  • Develop and design a proper job description, listing the actual skills needed.
  • Design an advertisement that outlines what you are looking for and what the job will entail. You get much better results, if you advertise specific criteria that are relevant to the job. Include all necessary skills, and a list of desired skills that are not necessary but that would enhance the candidate’s chances of success. If you fail to do this, you might end up with a low-quality pool of candidates and limited choices to fill the position.
  • Select the interview panel carefully – make sure they understand the role, their responsibilities and are provided with the skills to participate fully. In my opinion further training should be provided to panel members to ensure this.
  • Fully prepare for the interview, as it provides a vital opportunity to focus on what candidates can offer your organisation. The interview process is an opportunity to express your vision, goals and needs and it is vital that the interview elicits responses from applicants that can be measured against your expectations for the position. If you don’t use the interview to effectively eliminate applicants who don’t fit into your culture, you might find yourself dealing with turnover, confusion and disgruntled employees.
  • When you choose, a candidate based upon the qualifications demonstrated in the resume, the interview, employment history and background check, you will land the best fit for the position. Base your decisions upon specific evidence rather than any gut instincts. If you hire people who can do the job instead of people you merely like, you will have higher productivity and quality in your products or services.

When you effectively recruit, and select the right employee, there is a domino effect. Your new hire will do their job well, employees will see that you make wise decisions. You will gain respect from your workforce, which in turn results in higher productivity.

Finding your happy place

By Michele Cameron

Have you ever reached that point in your career where you hit a wall and you’re unhappy? I knew I had come to a cross road and had to make a change. It has been a few weeks since I’ve started with Eden Ritchie Recruitment, and I know I made the right move. I’m very happy! It has taken a few months to find the right company and a great team that aligns to my expectations. Overall both parties want the “right team fit” match.

How do you find this?

Lots of research! Here are my tips when you’re looking at a new opportunity.

  1. Learn about the company – How are they performing and profitable? What do they offer? What are the values, and do you agree with them? This information you’ll find through their company website, news media links and their financial report.
  2. What is their reputation? Do you have connections who work there you could ask or someone who worked their previously? What does the current staff say? Ones who’ve left? What do the client’s say in the testimonials? This information you’ll find through LinkedIn or Glassdoor.
  3. Who are the Managers/ team you’re part of? You might find this on the company site, LinkedIn or social sites. How long have they been part of the business? Do they have years experience or are they new? How is the team structured? Will you be mentored and supported? What’s the average tenure in the business?
  4. Does the opportunity excite you? Will the new role give you challenges? Improve your skills and future employability? How will the company provide you training in your first few weeks? What will be their expectations for you to deliver in this role short term and long term.
  5. Does it align to what you truly want? Don’t forget what is most important to you which makes you happy at work.

 Trust your instincts

Armed with all of this information, it’s important to go through the interview process with an open mind.  Look, listen and ask. There will be clues you see and feel around you: What is the office vibe? Does the staff look happy? How does the Manager speak and engage you? Ask lots of questions in the interview. After all, an interview process is a two-way street! Candidates don’t forget this!

I wanted to find a company with a good brand, strong reputation and consultative, customer service approach. There’s a lot of recruitment agencies who promise great, customer service but actually don’t. Luckily, I saved myself from jumping from one frying pan to another.  

 Making the decision to accept?

 Maybe all of this information might overwhelm you in making a decision? At the end of the day, you need to weigh up the pros and cons, and sometimes take other’s opinions with a grain of salt. Ultimately, it’s your career path you are building for yourself.  In the first month you’ll know if you made the right choice. In any on-boarding process the first week is critical for a new starter. If you’ve made the wrong decision, you have the option to voice your concerns with your Manager or start the job process again. I hope you don’t wait too long being unhappy in a role.

 Happy work days

When you’ve made the right choice – work becomes the easy part! I found strong leadership, great clients who value our service, candidates who continue to return to us and a collaborative team with strong expertise. I feel energized knowing I belong.

The final tick of approval – Are your referees up to scratch?

By Tiffany Kamotiffany

Think you have put in a good application, and nailed the interview? Congratulations on getting this far, but remember, it’s not in the bag!

References are not just a matter of process, they are a valued contributor to the overall assessment piece. You are not always the only one to progress to interview in a position, they could very well be used as a deciding factor so you want to ensure you are giving yourself the best possible chance at being the successful candidate.

I cannot stress the importance of preparing referees enough!

Always ensure you give your referees a quick call to advise not only they will be hearing from someone, but who it will be, and why. Provide them with a brief run down on the role you are going for so they can reply to questions asked with role appropriate scenarios. I see it time and time again where the referee has not been adequately prepared, and comes across disinterested, lacking any ability to provide detailed responses, and therefore it reads as a lack-lustre reference where it is potentially no real indication of how you performed within your position.

Is your referee related to this position directly? Just as you tailor a cover sheet, a resume or undertake selection criteria, make sure you also tailor your referees to your specific job application to reflect the position you are applying for.

And remember at the end of the day, your referee has taken time out of their day to help you secure your next position, ensure you follow up with a quick ‘Thank you’ so they know you appreciate their time and to keep the line open for them to provide you with future references.

My Pet Hate – The Unedited CV!

By Helen Chard

When asked to write this blog – I started to wonder what was worthy of writing – the answer, what takes up most of my time when searching for the ideal candidate.

Over the past 7 years I have spent thousands of hours poring over CV’s. From CEO’s and professionals with Masters and Doctorates – many being from the most prestigious universities (I spent time in Cambridge!) to the unemployed.

It amazes me that someone can produce a tidy Facebook page but when it comes to a CV, it can be a jumbled mess – a complete enigma that we recruitment consultants continually decipher.

There are no two ways about it – condensing all your skills and experience into one slick document can be challenging. You’re not born knowing how to write a great CV, so it’s up to you to find out for yourself how to get the basics right. From font size and format to photos and filling in the gaps, there is a certain etiquette that should rarely be broken. Recruiters and employers receive constant streams of applications don’t let a basic mistake send yours straight to the bottom of the pack.

How long should a CV be?
When it comes to length, try to think of your CV as a tasty appetiser that will get people coming back for more. It should be around 2 pages long to ensure that you get your message across quickly, without dragging on like an old encyclopedia, boring employers and recruiters.

If you feel your experience is as good as gold (and listing it all will make you a shoe-in for the job), don’t worry too much about going over. Just be sure to keep it at 3 pages or less.

What do employers look for in a CV?
They want someone who has the right skills and knowledge to do the job at hand, so this need to come across in your CV. If you have the exact experience they are looking for, make sure it is clear – don’t make them read between the lines or join the dots. Spell everything out for them. If you don’t have the perfect profile for the role but know you can do it, highlight your transferrable skills. It’s always important to research your target roles beforehand to find out exactly what they are looking for in an applicant.

What font should I use in my CV?
The saying ‘keep it simple stupid’ exists for a reason and is a principle that applies here. Forget cursive text that makes your CV look like a Disney picture, and best you steer clear of colour altogether. Nice symbols, though. Use a simple font that looks professional and is easy for recruiters and employers to read. Size matters too – you can’t go wrong if you stick around the 10/12pt mark.

Should I include a photo on my CV?
Your best selfie needn’t grace its presence on your CV. There is no need to include one on your CV. It will take up space that could be better used with text that demonstrates the value of hiring you. Show them how you’re so much more than just a pretty face.

Do I include all my experience on my CV?
You should include all your experience on your CV for transparency, but older or irrelevant roles can be shortened down to brief summaries. All your previous roles were NOT created equal. It is important to bring out the most relevant points and let other bits take the backseat.

Should I include my date of birth on my CV?
Age is only a number, right? Employers should not make recruitment decisions based on a candidate’s age, so there’s no need to include your date of birth.

Should I hide employment gaps on my CV?
Take the guesswork out of your CV. You don’t want recruiters or employers scratching their heads trying to fill the gaps themselves, so if you have long periods of unemployment you should be up front and explain them. Keep this short and sweet, after all, it’s just to let them know what was keeping you occupied during that time. Ideally use constructive reasons such as personal projects, study or travelling.

Do I need a cover letter?
Typing a personalised cover letter shows you are serious about your career and the opportunity.  It should paint a clear picture of who you are and what you are looking for, and why you want to engage in further conversation.

Should I include references in my CV?
Employers shouldn’t contact references until they have intentions of potentially offering you the job – it has however been known to happen. You don’t need to list them on your CV, instead a one-liner like ‘references available upon request’ will do the trick.

And if in doubt – GOOGLE – there are templates, job specifications and information at the touch of a button. So, if you can use Facebook you can certainly compose a CV which is legible and flowing.

The Importance of Managing Up

By Justine EdenJustine Eden, Director

Having been in the recruitment industry for a few years now (not specifying how many because it makes me feel old!) I have been able to sit back and watch many people progress up the leadership ladder. Some more successfully than others. There can be many factors impacting on success of course, but in many instances I have seen the inability to recognize the need to manage up, lead to failure.

Managing up can sometimes bring connotations of having to “kiss arse” – excuse the language, and I would argue that if this is what you interpret as managing up you are missing a key opportunity. Many leaders can be overly consumed with managing down and depending on the profile of your team sometimes this is necessary – but you need to ensure this isn’t a long-term strategy.

You need to focus attention on managing yourself – your career, your education, your professional portfolio to ensure you remain relevant and challenged. You of course will have an element of managing down through delegation and KPI’s to ensure deliverables are met.

But – how to manage up? Be clear on who above you this could include and then determine how often and how you will need to feedback to each person. In person communication is an effective way to build rapport and trust followed by putting things in writing to protect each other.

A good executive should adopt a no surprises approach in order to have the back of the people they report to and should also be able to determine what is communicated and what is not to prevent information overload. No Board wants hundreds of pages to read through, so your ability to grasp and communicate the key issues and expand if needed, is critical.

By managing up you increase your visibility and intel because you should be privy to strategic issues and be on the front foot to ask for the opportunity to work on key projects. You will better anticipate future challenges and therefore be able to better position your team to respond. Knowledge and networks are the power base of any ambitious executive but like anything require constant work and attention!