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Recruitment! Are You Excluding the Best Candidates?

Recruitment! Are You Excluding the Best Candidates?

 

Recruitment – chances are you don’t really enjoy it whether you are an employee or an employer.  If you’re an employee it is time consuming, you build your hopes up, you might have the perfect skills to do the job concerned – but can you put them across in the right way, employers don’t always get back to you and it can be a soul destroying experience.  If you’re an employer it’s also time consuming, you might not get the right person, it’s expensive and let’s face it – you would rather be getting on with running your business and doing what you love than sitting in a room listening to people churn out the answers they have been coached to say!  So for both sides it can be tedious and frustrating.  The recruitment process has been developed over a long time, but what – if anything can we do differently to make it more effective and efficient?
Modern recruitment tends to focus on experience.  Sometimes this is useful as it gives an indication of past success.  Or does it?  Just because someone has done something in the past, it doesn’t mean they made a good job of it.  Neither does it indicate whether or not they did it because they wanted to pay the bills, avoid trouble with their employer, or if they are really passionate about the work they were doing.  What about transferable experience?  Does it count in your process?  For example if a candidate has been employed in a workshop making doors, is this relevant to making tables, or are you going to disregard this in your recruitment?  Experience is no indicator of ability – if the candidate made a door, how well did they do it?  And how are you going to know this from asking them?  Sometimes a quick learner will be able to learn very easily a completely new skill, but have you excluded the best person for the job because they haven’t done it before?
As regards the tedious subject of application forms, the rationale behind their use can be readily understood.  They can make it easier to pick out the information an employer is looking for and all of the applications are in a standard format.  However, they are time consuming to put together, may not transfer over from one role to another very well, and the employer isn’t really seeing the potential in the candidates as they aren’t showing you what they think is important to them, and that might just give someone with potential an edge over the other people.  This of course depends on the job you are recruiting for.  You might need to hire someone with a certain level of knowledge already, or maybe it would be best to take someone with potential and train them up……  Maybe that application form is actually ruling out the best person for that job you are advertising, because the form is so onerous and they have so many other commitments that they decide not to fill it in.  Just think of the people with caring responsibilities who have so much to give but don’t apply because they are too busy working full time and looking after children or other family members in their spare time.  You might think these people would not be committed to your organisation and role, but actually these are the people who need the job the most so if they are treated well and their needs are met so they can do both, then they are likely to be committed and achieve within your organisation.  Covering letters are another waste of time in my view, especially if the application or CV is being sent by email – the candidate has to say something to introduce themselves in the email, yet some employers insist on a cover letter too.  Why?  It is just a collection of words that a candidate feels obliged to write in order to jump through another hoop.  I believe in efficiency, and if it isn’t necessary – don’t ask for it.  I believe in politeness and being respectful towards people and so I can see the argument for asking for a cover letter in some situations – for example it makes sense if you are asking for a CV and then you ask for a covering letter to give the candidates the opportunity to say a little bit more about how they meet the criteria for the job.  So that’s my perspective for an employer.  For an employee I would advise that you follow to the letter what the employer has asked for, even if it seems a little over the top.  If you aren’t going to spend the time following the instructions, it’s not worth applying in the first place.
Lies! Yes, shock horror! People tell lies to get jobs.  The question that will encourage most lies is probably “Why do you want the job?”  Well the real reason will probably be something along the lines of to pay the bills, its why most of us go to work.  So this question is going to get people saying how fantastic the company is, how it is their ambition or whatever else they can schmooze out of their mouth on the spur of the moment.  Why do employers ask this question?  Does the answer to this really tell you about the commitment of the candidate or does it just show you how tired the candidate is of having to make stuff up to try to jump through the hoops of the recruitment process?  If there are more candidates than jobs it is likely that the candidates you’re looking to recruit have had many interviews before this one- don’t forget, it might seem like you’re in charge but it’s actually quite difficult to find someone who will do the job well and fit in with your culture.  Do you really want to put people off by asking irrelevant questions or questions that encourage lies?
I mentioned the imbalance of power already and it is certainly a perspective I’ve come across many times.  Working with job seekers, they often think that the employer has all the power.  But do they really?  It’s actually the case that both sides have an unmet need and both sides have the potential to meet the need of the other.  The best candidates will also judge the quality of the employer and how they might be valued or not in that company.  Who wants to work for a company where they are treated like a number?  Or worse?
There is much current discussion about a skills gap. I believe there is a talent gap and that there is a stagnant pool of employees who are continually recruited into similar roles to ones they have done before when actually they have the potential to achieve so much more – but they’re not given the opportunity.  A candidate might not have experience of something in particular for a variety of reasons, mostly relating to opportunity. The employer should consider the possibility that the candidate may have untapped potential yet to be discovered.
There are so many different ways to find the right people for your company – so you need a strategy over the longer period.  Be creative and less prescriptive – you’re going to get the best people by using considered judgement as well as processes.  What about putting the person into a real situation rather than asking them to talk you through a situation?  What about asking what would they do instead of what have they done?  Recruitment should be an ongoing strategy – not a one off panic every time someone puts in their notice.
If you need help with recruitment, contact Kelly on 07881294894 or email kelly@cygnetnortheast.com

Set Your Goals For 2015

Set Your Goals For 2015

As we hurtle ever closer to 2015, many of us will be thinking of new years resolutions, setting intentions or asking the universe for the things we would like to see more of.  If you have had a difficult time in 2014 I am guessing you will be pleased to welcome in a new year and a new start.  For me, I don’t place as much importance on the new year as I know other people do, however I will be setting some intentions and goals for myself and for my business in 2015.  The benefits of doing this is that it can give you focus and help to keep you on track and motivated to achieve what you hope to in the future.  Without a goal you can end up being distracted by other things that happen in life and then not achieve what you had hoped to.  For example, how many times have you logged onto the internet for a specific piece of information only to get distracted by something else and before you know it an hour has gone by and you haven’t found out the information you went on to get?  This is a simplistic example but this can happen in our lives if we don’t have a goal or an overall objective.

Goal setting can be difficult – how will you know what opportunities will present themselves during the year?  A year is a long time! There are ways to deal with all of the issues you might face, and I will look at those things below.

  • An overall wish for the year is a good place to start.  This can be as creative and out there as you like.  Many people will say something like “I’d like to win the lottery so I can retire.” If anyone says this to me, I challenge it.  Do you really want to win the lottery?  Look at some of the problems past lottery winners have faced…….
  • Once you have a large goal it is beneficial to break it down into achievable smaller goals.  These should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time limited). I think this can be tricky but with a little bit of guesswork and information gathering it can be done.
  • Now think about your goal.  Does it match with your values?  Is it really realistic?
  • The proof of the pudding is in the tasting.  This is where you try it out.  If it doesn’t work, that’s OK.  Goals should not be set to be later used as a stick to beat yourself up with – be kind to yourself.  If something isn’t working review the goal and ask why it didn’t work.
  • Once you have done this, it’s important to revisit your goals and tweak them.  Change whatever needs to be changed and carry on as before.
  • Repeat this process throughout the year.
  • If a new opportunity presents itself, ask if it fits in with your goals.  If it does great! If it doesn’t, do you need to think about changing your goals again?  Remember to ask if the new opportunity fits in with the values you had when setting your goals.  Have your priorities changed?
  • So in summary, a goal plan is very much a live document, to be changed and reviewed regularly.
  • Staying motivated can be difficult, so this is why the goal must fit with your values and what you want to achieve. This is the reason that SMART is so important.

Goal setting can be tricky.  But by thinking out what you want to achieve it can help you stay focussed.  I run sessions on goal setting, so if you would like to know more, please get in touch.

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.

How to Switch Careers

How to Switch Careers

This week’s blog will focus on how to make a career change, following a request by one of my followers on Facebook.  I don’t know if you’ve had this happen to you, but I personally have applied for quite a number of jobs over the past 10 – 15 years or so mainly due to short term funding in the voluntary sector where I have worked.  I have found that the jobs I have been successful in being offered are usually closely aligned with the sort of work I have been doing in the recent past, in a previous role.  The more people who apply for the job, the more they seem to focus on experience – whether their priority is with the client group or maybe a database they want you to use without having to give training.  The reason often given for not being offered a job is that someone else had more experience than me.  The problem is, how am I to gain that experience unless I am given the opportunity?  It is definitely not an easy issue to get round, especially if you have commitments to a mortgage, to paying off a loan, or to raising your family it can make changing career harder.   So if you are in a career that is not well suited to your values – you took it because it was well paid /  it offered you good job security /  it was what your father did / you fell into it by accident –  then what do you do?  Well the answer is that it depends.
I would start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How many years am I prepared to work towards my chosen career?
  • Can I afford to be without an income for the duration of retraining or is there an option for part time learning?
  • How motivated am I to do this?
  • Is it the right time?
  • If I am miserable at work, are there any ways I can minimise the factors that make me miserable?
  • Am I prepared to volunteer to gain experience?
  • Are there many opportunities in the career path that I would like to enter into, or is it very competitive?
  • Am I prepared to start in an entry level role again and work my way up?
  • If I have children, how will this impact on my decisions?

There may be a few more questions depending on your own personal circumstances, and this is before you have even explored the possibilities of career options.  Add in the fact that if you ask other people for help they will no doubt all have opinions – and let’s not be too hard on them they want to help! These suggestions can be really useful, or they can drown out our values and our inner voice so that we get so confused we really don’t know what to do or where to turn.  If you are facing this dilemma, please do get in touch.  I can help you work through your confusion and make some decisions based on what your own values are, to help you be true to yourself.  Whilst the suggestions of others can be helpful at times, you only have one life – why waste it on making other people happy?
If you want to go for it and would like some help to get where you want to go, please contact us.

Seize the day!

Staying Motivated

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated is essential in any job search, but it is really difficult.  The situation you face might be that you’re applying for loads of jobs and hearing nothing back.   Many of my clients find this very rude on the part of the employer, but unfortunately it is the norm and can be very frustrating.  My advice is not to take it personally and to keep on applying.  However, if you are applying for job after job and not getting interviews then it may well be time to ask why.  Is it because you don’t have enough experience?  Is it because you aren’t giving the best examples of your competencies? Or is it that you’re applying for the wrong jobs? There will be a reason and it is important to identify it as soon as possible, otherwise you are wasting valuable time.

Another situation you might face when applying for jobs is that you’re getting interviews but haven’t been offered a job and have faced a few rejections.  This can have a damaging effect on our confidence too, however my advice would be that if you are getting interviews the employer thinks you have something to offer because you have been short-listed – so keep going!

It’s really important in any job search not to get too hung up on wanting ONE job in particular.  This is easier said than done as it’s only natural to imagine yourself in a particular role – especially if you have been for an interview and you like the feel of the place.  However, in order to be successful you must stay detached – but not too detached! If you seem like you don’t care about the job or the company, this will not get you the job.  But the best way to approach a job search is to be like a robot.  Keep on knocking out the applications and try not to get too emotionally involved.  It can feel very personal, but it really isn’t.  An employer has a role to fill and has to make decisions based on past experience and a very impersonal application process.

Of course, the above advice does depend on your circumstances.  If you are out of work or facing a redundancy situation you might need to get a job quickly.  Whereas if you have a job but would like to improve your circumstances you will be more selective about the jobs you apply for.

I am sure your job search will be as unique as your individual circumstances, but the scenarios above are very common.  If you have a question please contact me.  Also – remember that the person who gets the job will probably be the best at selling themselves and these skills aren’t necessarily the same as the competencies needed for the job.  The good news is that you can learn the skills needed to get the job you’ve always wanted.