DAV Professional Placment Group
DAV Professional Placment Group


Johannesburg +27 11 217 0000

Cape Town +27 21 468 7000

JOHANNESBURG +27 11 217 0000
CAPE TOWN +27 21 468 7000

July 29, 2015
10:41 am
by Anita Hoole

Preparing for Your Job Interview









The best athletes prepare long before an important event: job seekers should too. Whether for a telephonic interview or a face-to-face, follow these top tips to prepare for your big event.

Companies often prefer to conduct telephonic (screening) interviews before inviting candidates for a face-to-face interview. Telephonic interviews are also often preferred when:

  • Candidates have to travel a long way;
  • There are large numbers of candidates;
  • Screening by CV is difficult (for example, personality is more important than experience or qualification);
  • A large part of the job will involve talking to people on the telephone.

Preparing for a telephonic interview is just as important as for any other type of interview. Here’s what to do:

  • Practice. Use a voice recorder to get an idea of how you sound on the phone or ask a friend to help you conduct a mock telephonic interview. Practice smiling: a smile can be heard over the phone.
  • Dress up. If you’re dressed for business, your verbal communication will most likely convey greater professionalism.
  • Find out as much as you can about the company and the job description.
  • Have a pen and paper ready for note taking.
  • Keep your CV, cover letter and the job advertisement in clear view.
  • If possible, have pictures and/or bios of the interviewer(s) in front of you.
  • Prepare a short list of questions about the job and the company.
  • Think about how you’ll answer questions about salary history or expectations, so you’re prepared with an answer when it comes up.
  • Have a calendar available should you be asked to schedule another interview.
  • Turn off call waiting, the radio and the television so you are not interrupted.
  • Close the door and ensure the interview location is free of distractions (e.g., children, pets etc.).
  • Have a clock nearby to monitor the time you have remaining in the interview. Respect the time parameters set by the interviewer.

When it comes to preparing for a face-to-face interview (as with a telephonic interview) research is key. Learn everything you can about the company from as many sources as you can. Get a sense of “who” the company is and how to embody a similar personality during your interview. Before your interview, get a list of the people you’re meeting with and make sure you know their background and reputation. And then:

  • Plan the perfect outfit. Don’t forget about the little things: shine your shoes, check for loose hems, and make sure your fingernails look manicured.
  • Do a little pampering, feeling good about yourself will boost your confidence.
  • Print out five copies of your CV. You never know who you’ll be meeting with, and you want to have it ready in case you’re asked for it.
  • Prepare a reference list, whether you think you’ll be asked for it or not. For each reference, include a name, title, organisation, division or department, telephone number, and email address, as well as a sentence briefly explaining the relationship.
  • Anticipate the questions you’ll be asked as well as how to answer them. Spend time thinking carefully about what skills, accomplishments, and interview answers will resonate with your interviewers most. Have an answer to “tell me about yourself!” Interviewers always ask it. Don’t be thrown off by the classic, “What’s your biggest weakness?” Think of something that you struggle with but that you’re working to improve. Don’t forget about the numbers! Finding some numbers, percentages, increases, or quotas you can use when talking about your responsibilities and accomplishments helps you tell a hiring manager why you’re a good hire.
  • When the interview winds down, you’ll probably be asked, “So, do you have any questions for me?” Prepare a few smart, thoughtful questions that show you’ve done your homework when it comes to researching the company and the specific job you’re after.
  • Brush up on your body language and what it conveys. Be aware of what you’re communicating through your posture and stance, and make sure it’s a good message.
  • Make sure you know how to get to the company’s offices, plan your route and leave early enough to allow for unexpected traffic problems.
  • Get some sleep. There are few things that will throw you off your game like sleep deprivation.

Good luck and as always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.


July 24, 2015
11:52 am
by Luisette Mullin

Smart Recruiting uses Talent Communities


We live in the age of social media, at a time when more than half of job seekers are actively involved with at least one social network. Tony Morrison, Vice President of Business Development at Cachinko (a unique professional community where social networking and job opportunities come together) says: “For all its efforts to adopt new technology and adapt to the communication tools and needs of the candidate pool, recruiting overall is still in the dark ages. Candidate submits resume and cover letter; recruiters select the candidates based on their hiring materials, on paper or their online application they seem like a good fit, so you advance them to the interview. You spend the time and money to interview, but you still have only a 50/50 chance that the candidate you selected is a good fit. The problem here is that candidate selection still is a veritable tossing of the coin by the time you reach the interview stage. This is a waste of time and is fraught with error. I guarantee you are overlooking qualified applicants. To reduce that chance of selecting bad prospective candidates, interaction must take place first. This is where talent communities come into the picture.”

For Marvin Smith, talent community strategist at Lockheed Martin, the litmus test for a true talent community (as opposed to a network or pipeline of candidates) is that members can speak to each other, not just read about a company’s culture or receive email alerts for job openings. So how do you go about building a talent community? According to Social-Hire.com, based on information from Forrester Research, this is how:

  1. Build a Hub. Begin by identifying a key platform, such as your company’s careers page, to create a hub for all types of talent including current employees, candidates, past employees and even recruiters. For those companies out there with more sizeable budgets, you may consider recruiting software that allows you to create an internal talent network. Once a hub is established, find matching members to cultivate your talent community. It takes time to build relationships. Use the various platforms available to recruiters to drive interactions in your community. From Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – all interested talent should be able to navigate their way (easily) to your hub and once there, be able to access and contribute to the conversation.
  1. Tell People About It. Companies that want to cultivate a real talent pipeline need to manage their talent community. Invite current, past and potential future employees to join your company’s online network. This is a platform for them to share posts and engage in discussions. Focus on capturing new and lost applicants. Define your online network. List all the communities, groups, organisations, clubs, relationships, alumni, and social networks that have ties to your company or brand.
  1. Share Content. This is your opportunity as a company to show candidates your real company culture. Highlight employees or information on career advancement via blog posts, webinars, videos, or other shareable online content. Invite members to contribute opinions on certain topics and compile quotes into a blog post. “Remember to think about the community from the candidate’s perspective and remember that competitive talent, crave comprehensive and candid information on a company before they interview. What does a potential candidate need to get excited about your organisation? This isn’t just the corporate facts but also includes information on what makes your culture unique,” adds April Eldred, Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition, Forrester Research.
  1. Scale and Brand. Once you’ve created your talent community, consider creating smaller talent networks to target specific audiences. Add a group for discussion and updates among company alumni, or a group just for interested job candidates and current employees to chat. This will allow you to narrowly target your communications to specific audiences when needed. Once you’ve created a talent community, it can be utilized as an employer branding tool. For example, include links to your community in all of your collateral, including emails, offline candidate collateral, and all social and digital channels.

As always, if we can be of any assistance please get in touch.


  1. 5 Ways to Build a Web 3.0 Talent Community – Cornerstone
  2. Using Talent Communities to Strengthen Your Company’s Recruiting Strategy – Global Strategic Management Institute on Social-Hire.com


July 21, 2015
9:02 am
by Kelly Norton

Building an Employee Retention Strategy



As any business owner or executive knows, there’s nothing more important than motivated, productive employees for building business success. And yet as many as 50% of businesses have no formalised strategy in place for retaining these valuable employees once they are hired. While some turnover is expected and even healthy for a steady influx of new ideas and energy, too much turnover is counterproductive and expensive. Life Work Solutions, a provider of staff retention and consulting services, provides the following turnover facts and rates:

  • Over 50% of people recruited in to an organisation will leave within 2 years.
  • One in four new hires will leave within 6 months.
  • Nearly 70% of organisations report that staff turnover has a negative financial impact due to the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training a replacement employee and the overtime work of current employees that’s required until the organisation can fill the vacant position.
  • Nearly 70% of organisations report having difficulties in replacing staff.
  • Approximately 50% of organisations experience regular problems with employee retention.

From these statistics it’s clear how important it is to develop a retention plan to retain employees and keep turnover low. Instead of waiting for the moment of resignation to react, have a formalised retention strategy in place to make sure you hang on to your star performers.

At the heart of any effective employee retention programme is an engaged leadership team committed to its success. Getting and keeping good staff demands focused as well as formal and informal policies and procedures throughout the lifecycle of an employee’s tenure, is not the responsibility of the HR department alone.

Most business owners and managers think retention is based on compensation issues such as wage and salary levels, incentives, and golden handcuffs, when in reality the drivers go much deeper into the actions and attitudes that make employees feel successful, secure and appreciated. According to strategic planning consultant Leigh Branham, SPHR, there are seven main reasons why employees leave a company:

  • Employees feel the job or workplace is not what they expected.
  • There’s a mismatch between the job and the person.
  • There’s too little coaching and feedback.
  • There are too few growth and advancement opportunities.
  • Employees feel devalued and unrecognised.
  • Employees feel stress from overwork and have a work / life imbalance.
  • There is a loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders.

Building an effective retention strategy, demands that all of these factors are considered. Various sources outline the following areas of consideration when building your retention strategy:

  • Recruitment and hiring. It is worth spending time and effort on recruiting. When there’s a good match between employees and your organisation, retention is less likely to be an issue. One suggestion is to build profiles based on your existing top performers’ skills, knowledge and behaviours as a way to identify and source qualified candidates who will be successful in your company.
  • Orientation and onboarding. Treating employees correctly in the critical early stages of employment has been proven to enhance retention.
  • Performance evaluation. When employees know what they’re doing well and where they need to improve, both they and your organization benefit. Recognise and reward success often.
  • Conduct “stay” interviews. Consider asking longer-tenured employees why they stay. Ask questions such as: Why did you come to work here? Why have you stayed? What would make you leave? What are your non-negotiable issues? What about your managers? What would you change or improve? Then use that information to strengthen your employee-retention strategies.
  • Career progression and personal growth. Provide opportunities within the company for career progression and personal growth through training and education, challenging assignments and more.
  • Communicate goals, roles and responsibilities so people know what is expected. Have an open-door policy that encourages employees to speak frankly with their managers without fear of repercussion. Employees also need to know how the organisation is doing and what they can do to help. Feeling connected to the organisation’s goals is one way to keep employees mentally and emotionally tied to your company.
  • Offer a competitive benefits package that fits your employees’ needs. Providing health insurance, life insurance and a retirement-savings plan is essential in retaining employees. But other perks, such as flextime and the option of telecommuting, go a long way to show employees you are willing to accommodate their outside lives.
  • Conduct exit When people do leave it’s important to know why and adjust hiring profiles, policies and practices within the company to address the concerns. A structured exit interview programme can play an integral role in employee retention.

Increasing retention requires careful planning and implementation resulting in a solid programme that incorporates many or all of the solutions mentioned here. As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


Strategies for Retaining Employees and Minimizing Turnover – Sarah  K. Yazinski, University of Scranton – HR.BLR.com


July 15, 2015
2:23 pm
by Joanne Meyer

Why Onboarding Matters


One of the surest ways to lose a new hire is through ineffective onboarding. It pays to make sure this essential aspect of the recruitment process has been well thought through, especially considering the cost involved in sourcing, interviewing, screening and hiring a new employee. And yet, approximately 35% of companies spend absolutely nothing on onboarding new employees. In addition, 60% of companies indicate they don’t set any milestones or concrete goals for new hires to attain.

Many companies confuse orientation with new employee onboarding and the two are not the same. Orientation is the start of new employee onboarding, but the actual onboarding is an ongoing process that includes employee performance acceleration, performance objective setting and instilling the company culture within the new employee.

Effective onboarding matters:

  • New employees who attend a well-structured onboarding orientation program are 69% more likely to remain with a company for up to three years.
  • Organisations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity and 50% greater new hire retention.
  • 62% of new employees with effective onboarding meet first performance milestones on time, as compared to 17% in organisations without formal onboarding.
  • 33% year-on-year improvement in hiring manager satisfaction, as compared to 3% increase in companies without formal onboarding.

The immediate benefits of good onboarding are well-adjusted new employees, but long-term benefits impact bottom line: improved retention, decreased turnover, reduced time to productivity, better overall customer satisfaction, higher performance levels and organisational commitment.

Talya Bauer, Ph.D., writing for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), says that research and conventional wisdom both suggest employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. The faster new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the company’s mission.

Dr Bauer describes the three levels of onboarding as passive, high potential, and proactive, with compliance, clarification, culture, and connection being the four building blocks of orientating new employees.

  • Compliance is the lowest level and includes teaching employees basic legal and policy-related rules and regulations.
  • Clarification refers to ensuring that employees understand their new jobs and all related expectations.
  • Culture is a broad category that includes providing employees with a sense of organisational norms, both formal and informal.
  • Connection refers to the vital interpersonal relationships and information networks that new employees must establish.

The degree to which each organisation leverages these four building blocks determines its overall onboarding strategy, with most firms falling into one of three levels.

Level 1: Passive Onboarding. Almost all organisations naturally cover compliance as part of formal onboarding. For firms that engage in Passive Onboarding some role clarification may be given, but neither Culture nor Connection is addressed.

Level 2: High Potential Onboarding. Compliance and Clarification are well covered by a firm’s formal onboarding practices and some Culture and Connection mechanisms are in place.

Level 3: Proactive Onboarding. All four building blocks are formally addressed. If your firm is systematically organising onboarding with a strategic human resource management approach, you are at Level 3. Only about 20% of organisations achieve this level.

Onboarding best practices, according to Dr Bauer:

  • Start to prepare for new employees before the first day on the job.
  • Plan to make the first day special.
  • Use formal orientation with a written onboarding plan that is consistently implemented.
  • Make onboarding participatory, not boring lecture-style and use technology and engage stakeholders in the program.
  • Monitor the program over time and use milestones such as 30, 60, 90, and 120 days on the job, up to a year after the first day.
  • Make sure objectives, timelines, roles, and responsibilities are clearly defined for new employees.

You get one chance to do onboarding right, so make sure it’s a transformative experience for the employee.

If we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1. Doing Onboarding Right ­– Talmundo
  2. The Onboarding Experience Matters to Your Future Employees – Meghan M. Biro, Contributor, Forbes
  3. Why Strong Employee Onboarding Matters – Sheri Weaver, HNi
  4. Why Employee Onboarding Matters – Andrew Greenberg, Recruiting Division


July 10, 2015
1:19 pm
by Hillary Myburgh

Why Employer Branding is More Important Now than Ever



Brand building has been part and parcel of the marketing process for years. However, the term ‘employer branding,’ with it’s focus on a company’s reputation as an employer as opposed to it’s more general corporate brand reputation, only made an appearance in the mid 1990’s. Between 2004 and 2008, in response to the growing war for talent, leading companies began to give just as much focus to employer branding as they did to corporate branding. As Richard Mosley says in CEOs Need to Pay Attention to Employer Branding; “This led to the development of an Employee Value Proposition, which defined the key benefits offered by the company as an employer, and the production of employer brand guidelines, which aimed to bring greater consistency to the company’s recruitment advertising. Employer branding was predominantly outward facing and advertising driven, and fell under Resourcing and HR.”

Not so anymore. Universum’s 2020 Outlook, the Future of Employer Branding found that a significant number of leaders now feel this responsibility lies with the CEO and Marketing, a strong indication that employer branding has gained strategic importance.

Despite almost a decade having passed since the ‘talent gap’, employers are still reporting talent shortages. In a 2015 PWC survey 73% of CEOs report being concerned about the availability of key skills. Long gone are the days of top talent beating a path to our door, nowadays the onus is on earning the best candidates’ attention. It’s clear that a focus on employer branding is more important now than ever before.

Research conducted by LinkedIn’s Hiring Solutions Insights team in March 2012 found that overall corporate brand impacts job consideration, though not as much as you might think. Merely having a good impression of a company’s brand might lead a candidate to think it’s a good place to work, but it does not necessarily translate to genuine job consideration.

A strong employer brand on the other hand, as indicated by an individual having a positive impression of your company as a place to work, is twice as likely to be linked to job consideration as opposed to a strong company brand. This provides a clear case for investment in employer brand, even for companies with well-known overall brands. A strong employer brand is especially critical for attracting more junior employees and candidates from younger demographics.

LinkedIn, in previous research conducted with corporate recruiters, also found that investment in employer brand drives savings in recruitment and retention. Overall, companies with a weaker employer brand report a cost per hire that is almost double that of companies with a strong employer brand. When it comes to attracting talent, a strong employer brand therefore not only increases consideration, it is also a smart business investment.

Additionally, if an organisation has a strong employer brand, especially one that resonates with current employees, it will have a signi­cantly lower turnover rate.

In summary, investing to strengthen your employer brand, if done right, should help increase consideration of your company, lower recruiting costs, and decrease voluntary turnover.

As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.


  1. CEOs Need to Pay Attention to Employer Branding – Richard Mosley, Harvard Business Review
  2. 2020 Outlook, the Future of Employer Branding – Universum
  3. Why Your Employer Brand Matters – LinkedIn


July 7, 2015
8:43 am
by Judy Hofer

Effective Leadership Development: Closing the Gap









Study after study shows that businesses investing in leadership development enjoy clear advantages. These advantages include:

  • Improved business growth
  • Improved employee retention
  • Improved bottom-line performance
  • Improved ability to attract talent
  • Solving problems earlier and at lower levels
  • Increased organisational agility
  • Improved business sustainability
  • Greater market value over time

However, with millions of boomers preparing for retirement, a significant number of companies acknowledge they are facing a potential leadership gap. A Global Workforce Leadership Survey, which polled 1,000 human resource professionals in eight countries, found that less than half (47 percent) of respondents said they have an adequate pool of talent to fill leadership roles in their company. Even more disconcerting: only 12 percent of employees aspire to the corner office.

Part of the issue is the way in which workers define leadership has changed from generation to generation. While boomers and even generation Xers tend to associate leadership with management roles and C-suite titles, for millennials, leadership is less title-driven and more situational. The survey also showed a disconnect between what employees want and what employers offer in the way of training, continual development, mentoring, guidance and feedback.

While specific leadership competencies will be unique to your corporate culture and strategy, a 2009 study by the Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL) identified these leadership skills as essential:

  • Leading people
  • Strategic planning
  • Inspiring commitment
  • Managing change
  • Resourcefulness
  • Being a quick learner
  • Doing whatever it takes

Companies report gaps across all of these skill areas. The reason is not as simple as demographic challenges, problematic generation Ys, or the elimination of middle management (the former senior leadership training ground). The gap appears when leaders are either focused on the wrong areas, or when they are focused on the right areas but are not fully performing for one reason or another.

Thus, the leadership gap inherently comes down to a lack of definition of the leadership skills and behaviours required now and in the future; as well as a failure to build and successfully implement a cohesive and aligned strategy to support and develop high potential candidates, new and current leaders in these areas.

According to Oracle, a successful leadership development program begins with the alignment of leadership development with company strategy and an understanding of the type of leadership style(s) needed to execute that strategy. A continuum of steps which positions an organisation for current and future leadership includes:

  1. Determining the best leadership style for your organisation
  2. Identifying current and potential leaders within the company
  3. Identifying leadership gaps
  4. Developing succession plans for critical roles
  5. Developing career planning goals for potential leaders
  6. Developing a skills roadmap for future leaders
  7. Developing retention programs for current and future leaders

John F. Kennedy once said that leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. In today’s complex world, his words have never been more meaningful. Organisations that move to understand their leadership situation and close the gap are the ones that will lead the pack.

If you have any questions, or if we can help in any way, please get in touch.


  1. Seven Steps for Effective Leadership Development – Oracle
  2. Closing the Gaps in Leadership Development – Brigitta Theleman, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
  3. The Leadership Gap – Centre for Creative Leadership


July 1, 2015
12:12 pm
by Anita Hoole

Are Talent Pipelines Truly Effective?



Historically, when companies had a hiring need, they would put the word out and wait for candidates to stream in. Nowadays this reactive approach is often not enough thanks to increased competition for skills, talent shortages and changes in both technology and job seeker demographics. Being that the goal of hiring managers and HR professionals alike is to build talent rich organisations, creating an effective talent pipeline is a fundamental necessity for any company.

As David Szary or Ere Media puts it, a talent pipeline is a: “network of talented professionals (active and/or passive job seekers, pre-screened or not) that you regularly communicate with regarding opportunities with your organisation. A pipeline of candidates, that when an opening comes up, you can immediately contact and engage in discussions about the opportunity and/or to network.”

According to a LinkedIn white paper on the benefits of building a talent pipeline, the advantages are clear:

  • Identify the right talent early. If you’re waiting until you need to hire to start looking for candidates, you’re too late.
  • Reduce your time to ­hire. Establishing an ongoing dialogue with candidates gives you the option to accelerate the discussion when the time is right.
  • Prevent superstar candidates from slipping away. When the time to hire arrives, you’re already top of mind for your chosen candidate, reducing the risk of a salary war against the competition.
  • Minimise the business disruption caused by vacancies, especially unexpected ones, making you a better partner to the business.
  • Strengthen your company employment brand, as well as awareness that you’re hiring, by being continually ‘out there’ engaging prospective candidates.

However, there are leaks in the system and it pays to be aware of them. Firstly, the expectation that the pool of candidates remains interested indefinately is somewhat unrealistic. Many will move on, accepting positions with other firms, meaning that the time it takes to keep your pipeline stocked and maintained becomes time-intensive and cost-prohibitive. Most recruiters (and hiring managers) underestimate the time required to identify, contact, and maintain relationships with quality professionals.

Another challenge is the lack of capability in existing human capital systems, coupled with frequent reluctance to add an entirely separate tool for pipelining. Companies frequently make do with ad-hoc, manual and decentralised processes and tools: a low-tech approach that has obvious limitations. Manually maintaining records is highly ineffi­cient and a candidate’s job status changes over time, so information quickly becomes stale and outdated

Glen Cathey, in his series on building talent pipelines and just-in-time recruiting, points out that pipelining creates 5 of the 7 classic wastes of Lean production: over-production (recruiting more candidates than necessary), over-processing of candidates that will never be advanced in the hiring process, excessive WIP inventory, defects (candidates who do not match actual hiring requirements), and waiting (the vast majority of WIP candidates never move forward in the hiring process and spend most of their time waiting for something to happen that never happens).

In addition, there’s the risk that pipeline candidates are ‘pushed’ at open positions without ascertaining whether they are in fact the best person for the job. Makes sense to do this, having spent time and effort maintaining these relationships but this is all too often the wrong recruiting decision.

While the benefits of candidate pipelines are evident, especially for critical and leadership roles, it’s clear that each organisation needs to find the right balance between building a strong talent pool and spending too much time finding, contacting, screening, and maintaining relationships with candidates for whom there is no current need, which could ultimately be highly wasteful and of little value to either the candidate or the company.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Prioritise where you pipeline. Focus on skills your business recruits for repeatedly and roles that are hard to fill. This will increase your chances of filling these roles quickly, reducing cost per hire and time to fill.
  • Pre-screen for top performers. Before placing a candidate in your pipeline, find out whether they are a cultural or performance fit.
  • Get hiring manager commitment. The best pipelines are built in partnership with hiring managers. Get buy-in by explaining the benefits using metrics such as “getting x people to sales productivity y weeks earlier.”

As always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.

Resources: Overcoming the Challenges of Strategic Staffing

  1. Building Talent Pipelines and Just-In-Time Recruiting, Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 – Glen Cathey, Boolean Black Belt
  2. Building Candidate Pipelines: The Dilemma and Some Solutions – Davis Szary, Ere Media