Posts Tagged “Guest blog”

How Technology is Changing Recruitment

Today’s graduates and school-leavers looking at how their parents used to go about getting a job would be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled into some kind of Victorian fantasy. For a start, everything happened so slowly, letters and CVs trundling through the Royal Mail – and some companies actually taking the trouble to send out formal rejection letters. Let’s have a look at how things have changed.

The Internet

The first change barely qualifies as new technology any more because it’s been in the mainstream for approaching 20 years. But if you’ve been in the same job since the mid-1990s, you’re in for a shock when you come to make your next application. You’ll be expected to be a fully signed-up, switched-on member of the online community. You’ll be submitting your CV online and communicating via email or other instant messaging techniques.

Social Media

If the internet is a confusing territory for you, the phenomenon of social media is going to blow you away. But if you’re reading this article, we’ll assume you know your LinkedIn from your Pinterest.
First of all, recruiters will be using social media to make contact with potential candidates – sometimes actively, sometimes passively. People make contact with companies they are targeting, and will look out for advertised openings, which they’ll no doubt duplicate on social media for maximum exposure. You need to be one of them if you want to get the inside track.
But it works both ways. Your entire social media history (or at least the parts that aren’t set as private) is there for them to see. Candidates from the generation that has grown up barely knowing a world without social media have their entire lives online – from their professional lives to their hobbies, relationships, nights out and family lives – for all the world to see.
While no employer is expecting candidates to have no life outside work, some recruitment experts warn against making the more colourful aspects of one’s social life public. But there’s a balance to be struck – many employers do value people with active social lives. In some industries sociable candidates tend to make better colleagues.

LinkedIn

The business social network LinkedIn deserves a section of its own because it’s the only mainstream channel whose stated purpose is to assist business. It works via multiple streams:
• Users have professional profiles, which can augment your CV (although it’s still a good idea to edit your CV to emphasise aspects relevant to the role you’re applying for and to keep you LinkedIn profile as more of a permanent record of skills and qualifications).
• Other users can give endorsements and recommendations – a modern-day reference.
• The number of connections you have gives some indication as to the strength of your connections. Unlike some social media, LinkedIn connections are necessarily mutual.
• You can use the “degrees of separation” on LinkedIn to discover mutual friends, colleagues or ex-colleagues and approach them for a personal reference.
• The network is a place for employers to post jobs.

Your Portfolio

It’s normal nowadays for people to display their wares on an online portfolio. Whether you’re a writer, a painter, a carpenter or a computer programmer, you can put your produce online in a gallery or it could be a self-serving demonstration (in the case of a programmer or web designer). A demo says much more than words alone ever could.

Application Analysis

Not all job applications take the traditional advert–CV–interview path. For many jobs, especially in the middle or lower echelons of a company, the application form will be completed online. But this isn’t only for speed and cost reductions. The data that candidates input might be sent straight to a database to be analysed to produce a shortlist based on the stats you put in. It might seem like a brutal filter – and no doubt some good candidates will be rejected – but when even low-grade jobs can expect hundreds of applications, it’s the only way employers can efficiently do it.

It’s Not All Electronic

While it might seem that the whole process of candidate selection is managed electronically, some things will never change. So expect to be grilled at an interview … although it might well be in a local cafe or over Skype.

Samuel-James McLoughlin is Press and Communications Officer at hronline and has over 15 years’ experience in the field. He has worked in HR for the last 5 years and has been with hronline since its launch in 2013.

How Do Corporate Mentoring Schemes Benefit Business?

Mentoring is an increasingly popular way of helping new employees settle in to a new position or a new company.

When new members of staff join a company, they can really appreciate having a mentor on hand to guide them and advise them about their role, the company and career progression. Being able to mentor a new colleague also has reciprocal benefits for mentors – it can be really fulfilling being able to share skills and experience with someone who is keen to learn more. Professionally, it benefits all concerned.

When IT firm Sun Microsystems looked at the career progression of around 1,000 employees over a period of five years, they found that mentoring appeared to be an excellent career choice:

  • People who had been involved in a mentoring programme, either as a mentor or mentee, were 20% more likely to have been awarded a pay rise in the period studied.
  • Mentees were five times more likely to have been promoted than employees who didn’t have mentors.
  • Mentors did even better; they were six times more likely to have been promoted than those not involved in a mentoring programme.

A good mentor will able to provide guidance for their mentee in the skills that are necessary for their particular area of work, and introduce them to the right contacts, resources and professional groups that will help them in their role. They offer practical help and support, and in some cases can become a trusted ally, being a good source of advice for any problems that might crop up during the mentoring period and beyond.

So, what are the benefits for a mentor?

A chance to develop leadership skills:  One of the key strengths of a good leader is an ability to inspire others, and through mentoring an experienced staff member can provide inspiration for new employees. Mentoring junior and inexperienced staff can boost a mentor’s existing leadership abilities and also helps to provide an opportunity to develop these skills in a way that benefits all concerned.

Improves the mentor’s own performance: A mentor survey carried out by Durham University in 2009, found that mentors believed the greatest benefit of mentoring others was that it gave them an opportunity to reflect on their own working practices.  Explaining systems to other people can often reveal easier or more effective ways of carrying out key tasks. Having to explain the way that a company or organisation works to a complete newcomer can also help the mentor to gain a better understanding of it, which in turn can help them to improve on their own knowledge.

Helps to develop new skills: Being a mentor helps develop essential career related skills such as coaching, how to give (and to receive) feedback, and it also gives mentors an opportunity to share their own best practice, a skill that can be underdeveloped in some employees.  One of the most important skills that can be boosted by a mentoring relationship is interpersonal skills; not only through the mentor-mentee relationship but also through the mentor making new contacts within the organisation, finding the right person to go to, and introducing the mentee to key personnel.

Job Satisfaction: There’s no denying that being able to guide another person through their career development, and being the ‘go-to’ person for somebody, can provide mentors with a great deal of job satisfaction. Jaded or uninspired staff members can find that their enthusiasm for their old role perks up no end when they are tasked with showing a new person the ropes, along with their sense of responsibility.

Personal Confidence: To be asked to mentor another person involves knowing a great deal about your own role, and assumes a certain level of competence, not just in the role, but in the individual’s interpersonal skills and commitment to the job. It can build up flagging confidence levels when an employee is asked to take on responsibility for another colleague’s introduction to the company, and improve their confidence levels through knowing that their employer trusts them to be able to carry out the mentoring process effectively.

Develops professional relationships:  Being part of a recognised mentoring programme can make the mentor more visible within the company, enhancing peer recognition. The fact that the mentor has made the effort to become more involved in the organisation by being part of a mentoring scheme reflects well on them, and can help to improve their reputation.

Unlike traditional training programs mentoring programs are a cost-effective, time-effective and beneficial way to get new employees up to speed on their new role, and keep existing employees engaged in theirs.

Featured images:

Written by Michael Palmer, an Oxford based business graduate. He writes about people management and setting objectives for Cezanne HR.

Made-To-Measure

When buying a bespoke or made-to-measure suit or other piece of clothing, time has to be invested by the maker and eventual wearer. Getting something to fit perfectly isn’t about one brief meeting; it is about choosing the cloth, discussing what the wearer wants, the occasion and having measurements taken by the maker. After several fittings hopefully both parties are happy and the wearer takes away a beautiful hand-crafted garment that they are proud to wear and in which they feel really comfortable. The maker will also be proud to be named as the skilled person behind the creation.

Bespoke positions?

Finding the right position especially when you are already at the top of your game is not dissimilar. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

Both the prospective employer and the executive looking for a position first of all need an introduction. In the best case scenarios they are introduced to one another by a headhunter who has already done some of the hard work. If you like, offered advice to choose the cloth, discussed what the bespoke garment is for and taken the measurements for both sides.

The fittings are taken care of by the client and the executive to see if they can make the perfect garment together.

A good headhunter

A good headhunter not only know his clients well and understands their company culture so that they are well equipped to find the right executive but they are ably prepared to read a CV and understand potential. To interview executives and glean any extra information that will mean a good fit.

A personal service

For top jobs you expect top service so hunt down a service provider who will give you just that. You need a headhunter who will make it their business to ensure you are listened to, kept informed and understanding exactly what you are looking for.

From a company point of view the service you are looking for is not very different. You need the headhunter to understand exactly how your company works and the exact calibre of person you are looking for when recruiting.

Both sides need to feel as though the headhunter is working solely for them and kept informed of all dialogue with the third party.

Executive recruitment

At the top end of the scale it is almost more important that the fit between client and executive is perfect. At this level a new executive is expected to start running, know their stuff and understand the company culture. This means a lot of research and feed back of information by the headhunter and of course during interviews.

A headhunter’s reputation is also dependent on giving the best service and showing a good understanding of what is required from both parties. A good headhunter needs to know his clients inside out and to work better than any match-making agency in putting the two together.

Which ever side of this coin you are coming from, when it comes to executive recruitments make sure that the agency you use has the credentials and a good match-making record.

Wendy Lin is a free-lance writer who is enjoying her new countryside living in the peaceful land of England…

The Project Management Survival Guide

Project management is a fast paced highly involving world of deadlines, information and teams. So how can you survive it all and come out with your and your colleagues sanity intact? Well Here is my survival guide.

Words to Live By

Each Project Management Leader should have the mantra of “Don’t Panic”, friendly text optional. Panic at any level will spread and cause mistakes, so if you feel it coming on, take a breath, count to five and trace the problem to its source, clearing up any other issues that may have sprung up around it in the process.

High Definition

Know what your project is about, have clear goals and make sure the investors and yourself know why the project has been requested, what will be produced during it and what the successfully completed project will have and when it will be.

Negotiation

No one likes to feel forced in to something so learn the art of negotiation, it is much easier to have a team member or employee do whatever task has been set willingly rather than have them fight you or become unhappy which will bring a very obvious note of discord that could disrupt the rest of your team.

Just Communication

Communication is vital to your survival, Don’t just talk at people, remember to interact with them! Listen and give appropriate well thought out responses when questioned as this will encourage others to do the same for you. It is also a good idea to document all communication and correspondence that goes on throughout your project as this will leave everyone on the same page and with a thorough understanding of each aspect of the job. This will be irreplaceable if something happens to a team member as their stand in or replacement will be able to review past notes and comments and pick up where they left off.

Building Bridges

Get your team working as one, even if this means going back to basics with team building exercises that is okay, one day spent on this could mean a much happier work environment with no miscommunication or unfounded resentments. Treat your team equally and help out with suggestions, mentoring or offering an ear for some counselling if needed.

Decisions, Decisions

Make sure there is a process for decisions when they need to be made, this way no one person has the “fate” of the project hanging on them, though is need be you can step in to make an executive decision – just remember that each team should be taught to see both sides of their point and you need to be able to do that too.

A Plan For Everything

You may not like hearing this but it has to be said; Plan for everything, even failure. Look at your project critically, what happens if everything goes wrong? Set aside some time to investigate this and work out some fail safes with your team, this way you’ll be prepared for every eventuality and you’re much more likely to succeed.

Vari thinks that survival guides are needed for most things from zombie apocalypses to engineering project management.