I bet it’s not often you look beyond the first page of a Google search, am I right? Just like getting into Google’s top search results, there are ways of getting your CV and cover letter noticed by a blurry-eyed recruiter or hiring manager wading through a pile of CV’s. You may think that the CV and cover letter are old fashioned and unnecessary in the digital age, but don’t be fooled: these are absolutely essential on your path to getting hired.
The cover letter is what entices the recruiter or hiring manager to open your CV. Your CV is what gets you invited to interview; the interview is what will get you hired: each is a fundamentally important part of a 3-step process. And yet, you’d be amazed at how often both the cover letter and CV are sent out riddled with mistakes and inaccuracies.
Let’s start with the cover letter: your first (and sometimes only) chance to make an impression. Nowadays, you will more often than not be submitting your CV online or via email (although it’s sometimes a good idea to hand deliver a copy direct to the recruiter or hiring manager). Rather than attach your cover letter put it straight into the body of the email or submission form. After all, could there be anything more generic, boring and easy to discard than ‘please see attached my cover letter and CV?’ This also reduces the chance that your email ends up marked as spam. Then:
There are many examples of good cover letters available online, so if in doubt… Google! Now that you’ve aced the cover letter and enticed the recipient to open your CV, here are some tips for turning it into an invitation to interview:
turning it into an invitation to interview:
As always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
Understanding how recruiting is evolving is crucial in defining the right strategy specific to your employment objectives. The onus is now on the employer to continually adapt in order to connect with the job seekers they want to attract.
So far in this series on corporate trends in recruiting, we have looked at the widening skills gap and an increased emphasis on planning and future-focus; generational shifts, the return of boomerangs as a primary source and the continued move of women into power positions as well as big data and metrics, the cloud and the mobile platform.
Today we’ll address:
Social / Digital Recruiting
Hiring via social media is here to stay. Social professional networks have become a top source of quality hires in corporate recruiting. This mirrors the increasing candidate adoption of social professional networks together with recruiters becoming ever more effective at sourcing candidates through these channels.
LinkedIn has emerged as the strongest social media website for recruiting. However, others like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are quite effective too.
It pays to make sure that social networks are a strong factor in your recruiting strategy. Figure out where your potential candidates spend their time and establish a presence there with your employer brand. In order to stand out companies need to start posting more work culture related posts (instead of simply the standard press releases) and leveraging their employees to share them. 58% of people are more likely to want to work at a company if they are using social media and over 20% are more likely to stay at their companies if they are using social media. People want to work for interesting companies and when they see social media posts, it gives them a better sense of what they are about.
It’s also a good idea to quantify your return on investment from each hiring source, so you know where to invest to get the most quality hires for your company.
Technology in recruitment
Use of innovative recruitment strategies is a major trend for 2015. Of these, mobile recruiting is probably the most relevant and is increasingly being used by both recruiters and candidates. Another trend is the use of technology by companies to create a common platform across all their hiring solutions by integrating social platforms, job boards, applicant tracking systems, the company website and all internal databases. Technology is also being used in the interview process to conduct assessments and live simulations to better test the candidates.
De-emphasising CVs and accepting online profiles
Few employed candidates have the time required to update their CVs without delaying your time to hire. If they simply can’t become a candidate at your organisation until they update and submit their CV, there’s a weakness in your hiring process. Companies need to learn to eliminate the “CV update wait” by instead accepting LinkedIn profiles for referrals. LinkedIn profiles are generally more accurate than CVs because they are viewed by so many individuals, thus any inaccuracies tend to be timeously discovered.
In the next and last article in this series, I will be looking at the following trends:
If we can be of assistance in the meantime, please get in touch.
Are you open for opportunities but don’t have the time or patience for an active job search?
Here are a couple of tips to make yourself available for headhunters and recruiters to find you:
Good luck. Hopefully we’ll be speaking soon!
Most of us understand the necessity for getting to grips with talent retention, however many of us don’t track our staff turnover or the reasons behind why people leave. The truth is, if we don’t measure these things, they won’t improve.
A certain amount of turnover is a good thing and can help rejuvenate an organisation. New talent brings fresh ideas, different experience and new perspectives. It invites everyone to challenge common practices and assumptions, and look for ways to improve.
But, too much can be harmful. Besides the high financial cost, high turnover hurts a company through lost opportunity, uneven workloads, lower employee morale, loss of corporate knowledge/memory, lack of continuity (particularly in customer or supplier relationships) and problems with quality or productivity.
The trick is getting the balance right. Staff turnover rates vary across industry and economic climate, however most companies try to keep turnover below 15%. To determine your optimal rate, pay attention to turnover rates over a period of time.
Calculating your turnover and retention rates is, on the face of it, a simple exercise. During any given period (could be quarterly or annually, for example), turnover is expressed as:
The number of employees that left (resigned or fired) the company
(No. of employees at start of period + no. at end of period) / 2
To express this as a percentage multiply the final number by 100.
Although this number is fairly simple to calculate it doesn’t tell you anything really useful. The key with turnover is to look at who you are losing, from where and, if possible, why. Segment your staff turnover data by, for example:
To make your tracking even more meaningful you could consider identifying how much of your turnover is:
Segmenting your data in this manner will help you identify areas that seem to have a problem retaining talent. Higher turnover rates for your top performers can signal serious organisational problems that need to be addressed. Or you may have a manager who requires coaching and training to improve their management skills, a department experiencing leadership challenges, or even a location proving unsatisfactory to staff because of accessibility. This approach also helps you identify areas with a stellar record for retention, so you can share best-practices across the organisation.
No matter which factors you choose to track, it is essential to conduct effective exit interviews as well as regular surveys amongst retained staff. This combination of quantitative and qualitative data will provide the information required to develop and track the effectiveness of your retention efforts.
As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
Given the enormous cost of bad hiring decisions, it’s a small wonder corporates are spending time and care on making sure they source and hire the right people. From ensuring excellent talent selection systems to the compilation of complex and accurate job descriptions, it pays to finesse every step of the process. However, there’s always a chance that one of the candidates, who looks great on paper, may turn out to have misrepresented themselves in some way, or may not be a good personality fit for either the role or your corporate culture. Thus the importance of pre-selection screening, which moves beyond past credentials and experience, and brings a certain objectivity to the process.
In South Africa, these tests typically take place once the field has been narrowed down to only a few likely candidates. However, internationally they often take place earlier in the process: after only the initial telephonic interview or even as the first step in the process (generally via short, web-based psychometric tests. Such tests efficiently clear out the least-suitable applicants, leaving a smaller, better-qualified pool to undergo the more costly personalized aspects of the process).
Types of Employment Tests
Ultimately, these tools are most effective in screening out non-appropriate candidates when used in conjunction with background screening to obtain hard facts about a candidate. Pre-employment background screening works in four critical ways:
Other important tools include CV verification, financial background checks (when relevant to the job), ID verification and drivers license verification.
Common Concerns Even with all the advantages of a screening program, these are the four most commons concerns that employers express:
Administered correctly, pre-employment testing can help companies save time and money in the selection process, decrease turnover, increase productivity, and even improve morale.
If I can assist in any way, please get in touch.
I frequently have conversations with candidates that have been on the job search for a while, often through no fault of their own, and it’s sometimes (understandably) difficult to stay positive.
It’s a numbers game, and although an opportunity might be the perfect job with the perfect company, there’s always some competition. Until you’ve signed the contract there’s no guarantee. Use the above tips to stay positive while you search and you will get your day in the sun!
A strong employer brand that helps you create competitive advantage in the talent market begins with a well defined Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The two terms are often confused so let’s begin with a simple explanation for each:
According to research by the Corporate Leadership Council, a well thought through and executed EVP can:
However, the value of an EVP goes way beyond cost and time savings, it also:
The EVP encompasses both reward elements and intangible benefits, such as:
Whether formally defined or not, all companies have an EVP, albeit often unconsciously. Organisations typically fall into one of four stages on a value proposition evolutionary scale:
Stage 1 – Tactical: Roughly one third of organisations have made little progress in defining the coherent set of factors that make up the value proposition to employees and candidates. They certainly provide rewards and have cultures, but employees are on their own to understand and interpret them.
Stage 2 – Integrated: These organisations have established a formal EVP and typically have stated objectives for each reward and talent management programmme with key connections amongst them (e.g., clear links between competencies, hiring processes, learning programmes, career paths and compensation bands).
Stage 3 – Communicating and Delivering: Third-stage organisations have gone further by cogently communicating the EVP to employees and delivering consistently on their EVP promises. In effect, they’ve established an internal brand.
Stage 4 – Segmenting and Differentiating: Stage 4 organisations have differentiated their EVPs from those of their talent market competitors and are more likely to measure the effectiveness of their rewards programmes. They view their employee brands as strong and, in some important way, uniquely attractive. This advantage comes from the way they respect the order of the phrase employee value proposition. They start by understanding the employee, then define and deliver rewards that have true value, and then convey a clear and compelling why-you-should-care proposition to the target audiences.
There are many ways an organisation can approach developing an EVP, but most fall into these four key steps:
Step 1. Review and dissect your data. This might include employee engagement, onboarding or exit surveys and recruitment and retention metrics. Analyse all data by key employee populations to identify trends and key themes. Remember to look beyond the top line numbers; the real insights come from the verbatim comments of employees that provide context to the numbers.
Step 2. Discover and dive deeper. This step should include interviews with key stakeholders including senior management, HR, marketing and most importantly existing and target employees. External customer value propositions are often based on a “tell” approach, where a brand will define what it wants to stand for and then use marketing channels to deliver this brand promise. However, an EVP is an employee-centric approach informed by existing employees.
Step 3. Develop your EVP. Based on the research and insights from steps one and two; craft your value proposition as a simple overarching statement. This will become the essence of your employee experience and employer brand commitment. Clarify key areas of focus to support your EVP, such as career development, work-life balance or CSR. Remember to keep these areas focused and don’t try to be all things to all people. Test your EVP against your HR strategy. If your EVP does not support your HR strategy you need to revise it.
Step 4. Deliver your message. Implement your EVP across the employee experience from your recruitment processes, through to onboarding, career development and even through the exit stage. Build in methods to measure the EVP, this will help you demonstrate the value of the EVP, return on investment and financial benefits to the organisation.
As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
The life of modern-day leaders is more demanding than ever. Internally, they need to motivate diverse groups of people, work across organisational boundaries, improve efficiency and achieve growth. Externally, they face a complex and globalised environment in which they have to keep ahead of competitors and exceed the expectations of other stakeholders.
According to a survey conducted at the Center for Creative Leadership, involving 763 leaders across seven counties, there are six primary leadership challenges facing all leaders no matter where they are in the world:
These are difficult challenges, and many leaders feel ill-prepared to tackle them. The most frequently mentioned challenge is developing managerial effectiveness. Here are some recommendations:
The division between task- and relationship-oriented leadership has long been a challenge. Three of the challenges namely inspiring others, developing employees and leading a team; are all related to the relationship-oriented part of leadership. Here are some considerations:
Guiding change is a key challenge for leaders. Organisations exist in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) and leaders need to be adept at managing, mobilising, leading, and dealing with change. Some suggestions include:
Another frequent challenge is managing internal stakeholders and politics. To more effectively accomplish this, leaders need to develop and enhance their political savvy, defined as “the ability to effectively understand others at work and to use such knowledge to influence others to act in ways that enhance one’s personal and/or organisational objectives.” There are several ways to do this:
If you have any questions, please get in touch.
With the news lately being largely negative and the feelings of panic starting to bubble in the hearts of most South Africans, I thought I would revisit why I am here, why have I chosen to make South Africa my home. It is after all, a choice.
There’s real diversity
I’m a German South African. This means, like most South Africans, my family has an immigrant background. This gives me unique insight into what happens around the world as I have many friends and family members overseas. Diversity in Europe means employing women versus men. Here diversity means my colleagues have different cultural backgrounds, may be a different colour and may speak more languages than I do.
There is opportunity
In South Africa you find the most creative people! The most creative and innovative business ideas: from spaza shops, gardening services and handymen to the guy down the street that creates exquisite art in beads or wood. Where else can you, with sheer determination and hard work, have your own business? The entrepreneurial spirit in this country is amazing.
We’re a friendly bunch
A South African can’t resist smiling back when someone smiles at them. Trust me; in Europe you get really funny looks when you smile at someone.
It’s warm and sunny most days of the year
That’s it. It’s warm and sunny most of the time.
We braai and BBQ is a chip flavour
At our essence we are great human beings, all from different cultures and backgrounds. That alone can make this country a wonderful place for anyone! There’s a reason people come here and fall in love with us – we are, after all, irresistible!
Let’s remind ourselves of Mandela’s legacy of true freedom, forgiveness and strength. Something we all have in our hearts. Let’s forget the fear we have of our light and let it shine.
Africa is, after all, our home.
So, you’ve fully understood the reasons you should care about strategic staffing as well as the key issues driving the need for it. You’ve also evolved an effective process for implementing this strategic initiative. However, if this process happens in a vacuum your chances of success are minimized. Strategic staffing is an ongoing process that influences, and is influenced by, all aspects of a company. These inter-relationships must be identified, managed, and leveraged for best results. Here are some essential success factors to consider (with thanks to Christina Morfeld and Affinity Business Communications, LLC):
A workforce plan that is carefully designed and executed transforms the staffing function from a “vacancy-filling” role to one that continually ensures alignment between a company’s human capital and its strategic goals. This not only improves employee utilization, but also the company´s overall effectiveness and competitive positioning.
In the last article in this series, I’ll be looking at the best ways to get started with strategic staffing. In the meantime, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.