It’s only natural to feel nervous before a job interview; after all, there’s a lot at stake. You’re all too aware that you’ll be scrutinised, asked sometimes difficult questions, and that almost all the control will be in the hands of the interviewer. The unfortunate truth, however, is that interview jitters can jeopordise the very reason you’re there: getting the job. This can be true, even if you are perfect for the role. Here’s how to get those nerves under control and make a great first impression:
Good luck and as always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
The allure of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) cannot be denied: they apply the logic of technology search to an ever more complex hiring process, promising to:
Internationally, upwards of 75% of hiring companies use an ATS, in SA it’s probably closer to 40%. An ATS can manage the recruitment process from start to finish, including:
Older ATS software relied on semantic search technology that essentially counted keywords, rendering the process open to abuse by job seekers who could simply keyword-load their CVs. Equally problematic: the hiring company could easily miss qualified candidates if their CVs lacked the keywords the ATS was weighting for that particular role. The newer approach employs contextualisation which goes much deeper and examines the relevance of the keyword to the applicant’s work history and/or education, how recently the desired skill has been used, and the depth of knowledge the candidate possesses of the topic (by assessing whether relevant and related terms are also present in the CV in relation to the keyword or phrase).
However, don’t look to applicant tracking systems to take the human touch out of the hiring equation. They’re designed to make your involvement more time efficient and more effective, but are ultimately limited by the information they acquire from the job-seekers’ CV (which often contain misstatements, omissions and inconsistencies). If the CV isn’t structured in a way that fits the ATS, it can enter a black hole. Success depends on querying the system with the right keywords, specifications, and requirements to draw out CVs that are the best fit for the position. Taking the results at face value can mean you miss out on qualified candidates.
Randall Birkwood, of Ere Media, recommends taking the following into consideration when choosing an ATS (over and above researching the vendor’s experience, credibility and references):
While investing in an ATS has obvious benefits, weigh the pros and cons to ensure you choose a system that suits your business. As always, if we can be of any assistance please get in touch.
According to new Deloitte research more than half of global business leaders rate culture, engagement and retention as their top challenges, up from around 20% in 2014. It wasn’t that long ago that words like ‘culture’ were thought to be an almost laughable measure of company performance but now we know that companies with strong positive cultures outperform others and are the most in-demand for top talent. As Prof. James L. Heskett wrote in The Culture Cycle, companies with an effective culture perform 20-30 percent better than ‘culturally unremarkable’ competitors.
Burson-Marsteller and the Great Place to Work Institute recently teamed up to ask senior executives from top-ranked companies about the value of a positive work environment. Resoundingly, they recognise culture as critical to talent retention. When asked which elements of workplace commitment most benefit daily operations, companies ranked culture at 80 percent and recruitment/retention at 70 percent. In a world where competition for talent is global, star performers seek companies with values that mirror their own.
So what do we mean by this somewhat vague term, ‘culture,’ anyway? Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte says: “Some define it as ‘what happens when nobody is looking’. In reality, it’s much more complex. Culture is the set of behaviours, values, artefacts, reward systems, and rituals that make up your organisation. You can ‘feel’ culture when you visit a company, because it is often evident in people’s behaviour, enthusiasm, and the space itself.”
He recommends The Competing Values Framework, by Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn for diagnosing your culture and helping you align your values and hire to the culture you want to build.
Ultimately how leaders behave, what they say, and what they value drives culture. So the selection and development of leaders is critical to building the right culture. Tim Schaffer of Human Resources Inc recommends that executive management ask themselves the following to define what the company stands for (there are no right or wrong answers but it’s important that the culture is embraced by everyone):
TCii Strategic and Management Consultants offer this sampling of environmental employee retention strategies:
More than ever, employees want a culture of openness and shared information. They want to know where the company is going and what it will look like in the future. How is the company doing financially? Where does it stand in the marketplace? In addition, employees want to know how their specific job fits into the grand scheme of things and what they can do to help the organisation get to where it wants to go.
To assess your culture’s level of openness, ask questions such as:
In conclusion, when people buy into your clearly stated corporate values and have the information they need to get the job done, they tend to stick around.
As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
All research points to the same conclusion: well-managed onboarding programmes have a measurable impact on employee commitment, productivity, engagement and retention. Unfortunately, all too many companies overlook this vital part of the hiring process. The lack of a structured and documented process for onboarding new hires is the most common mistake employers make resulting in a process that is all too often haphazard and incomplete. Here are some of the other common mistakes to avoid when packaging your onboarding programme.
The lack of a structured recruiting and hiring process. Many new hires are already a poor fit for the position or the culture and values of the company. A comprehensive recruiting, interviewing, screening, and hiring process will maximise the potential for finding and keeping right-fit employees.
Confusing orientation with onboarding. These two terms are often used interchangeably; however, orientation (describing the history and mission of the company, teaching employees about company rules, summarising employee benefits, etc.) is actually a facet of onboarding. Well-executed onboarding is a process of developing the behaviors that will be the foundation of an employee’s long-term success, so they can deliver results as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Overloading new hires with too much information. This simply results in increased apprehension along with sensory overload, and it limits the amount of information the new hire remembers. However, employees should be thoroughly familiarised with not only their job functions, but with the layout of the workplace, relevant company wide functions, and even where and when people eat, or socialise as co-workers.
Limiting onboarding to the employee’s first day. The best programmes start before the employee’s first day and continue for up to 6 – 12 months.
Not making new employees feel welcome. Many new hires find themselves having to navigate their own way among their new colleagues. Make a point of introducing themselves to their co-workers and immediate supervisors.
Not offering onboarding at multiple organisational levels. This guarantees the new hire will spend a great deal of time operating blind. According to Dr. John Sullivan of Ere Media, the five organisational levels of onboarding are:
Uni-directional information. Most programmes focus entirely on providing information the company wants the new hire to know. The best programmes make it a two-way conversation asking new hires about their concerns, who they wish to meet, what they wish to learn, and how to best motivate and manage them.
Not measuring ROI. The best programmes measure time to productivity, new hire retention/termination rates, new hire error rates and new-hire referrals. Hiring managers should also be held accountable through the inclusion of their onboarding success rates in performance appraisals and bonus formulas.
A one-size-fits-all approach. Nearly every company makes an effort to hire diverse individuals, but few onboarding programmes provide alternative approaches to meet the needs of diverse hires. Diverse individuals, by definition, have different needs and ways of processing information.
A face-to-face approach… only. Consider providing most, if not all of the necessary onboarding information online where it is more easily accessed and searched before and after they start their new job. Online information can include the standard information provided to new hires as well as interactive forums for asking questions, buzzword and acronym dictionaries, as well as photos and bios of team members.
Failing to intentionally assimilate the new hire into the company culture. Too many companies do not intentionally build employee culture integration into their onboarding programmes. As Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has famously professed, “If you get the culture right then most of the other stuff will happen naturally.”
Not setting clear expectations right at the beginning. Information should be provided on corporate success measures, departmental plans, strategies and goals, how this individual’s performance will be assessed, their bonus and promotion criteria, and specifically, what is expected from them during their first week and month on-the-job. It’s also important to ensure that new employees have assignments that allow them to contribute to the organisation from the beginning. This helps them find their place within your organisation and feel like a valued asset.
Their manager is not present. The most common fault that occurs at ‘departmental level’ onboarding (and the one with the most negative impact) is not having the employee’s direct manager present on the first day.
Delays in offering onboarding. Don’t delay onboarding until you have a large group of new hires. Effective programmes offer online onboarding or don’t delay onboarding beyond the first week after hire.
Forgetting to follow-up. Many new hires leave a position within the first 45 – 90 days. A structured process for eliciting feedback from new hires is critical, on both the overall onboarding and training process as well as on how the individual is feeling throughout (and after) their onboarding.
Your new hire onboarding process is where you set the tone for an employee’s experience. When done well, new employees feel confident and excited. When done poorly, new hires are left confused, lost, and doubting their new job choice.
If we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
Employer branding is relatively new territory: as a concept it only arose in the 1990’s. So, while it’s certainly a hot topic, companies are often confused as to what it means, what it entails and how it differs (or not) from corporate branding. In a nutshell employer branding is the implementation of a targeted, long-term strategy to manage the awareness levels and perceptions that employees, potential employees and related stakeholders have of a particular company. As Dr John Sullivan, an internationally known HR thought-leader, says: “It works by consistently putting forth an image surrounding management and business practices that make your organisation an attractive, ‘good place to work’. A successful employment brand management effort increases both the number and quality of applicants, reduces the turnover rate among top performers, and increases overall workforce productivity.”
The value of investing in your employer brand is clear. Studies by LinkedIn show that a company’s employer brand is twice as likely to drive candidates to consider a job compared to the company brand.
In 2014 Hudson RPO, in connection with HRO Today magazine, commissioned an interview-based survey with key executives at major corporations. This survey considered top talent recruitment and engagement brands in various ‘Best Places to Work’; to discover how they leverage their employment brands for recruiting and employee engagement purposes. They found that the following are the components of highly successful employer brands:
High-level Executive Buy-in. Top brand companies are significantly more likely to have the CEO or President as the most senior sponsor of employer branding activity, along with support and involvement from other key executives and department leaders, beyond the HR department. In order to get the CEO on board, they recommend making the business case for employer branding by talking cost-per-hire and time-to-fill, ensuring your arguments are supported by facts and data.
Defined Stakeholders and Roles. Nearly one-half of top brand companies have defined organisational responsibilities for their employer brands. Companies must be serious about developing and conveying an employer brand that captures the organisation’s value to potential hires. This is more than just an explanation of the company’s strategy, markets and products, although these are important. It’s a valid, thoughtful expression of the corporate culture and work environment. It is the reason why the candidate will want to engage with like-minded individuals in shared pursuits toward specific outcomes. If the organisation lacks an experienced strategist or influencer, it’s advisable to engage someone (internally or externally) who can bring these messages to fruition, as well as unite leaders from HR, talent acquisition, brand, marketing and internal communications (all of whom need to be involved in employer branding).
Defined Strategy and Investment. While eight in 10 organisations cite an employer brand as important, nearly one-half lack a documented employer brand strategy. A business plan can make a real difference. Twice as many top brand companies have a defined and documented strategy and an average budget of 52.1% more than other brands to support their employer brand initiatives.
A Developed Employee Value Proposition (EVP). An organisation’s EVP (the rewards and benefits employees receive in exchange for their performance) is critical to workplace culture, career management and retention. The research shows that top brands are more closely tied to their EVPs.
The Right Communication Channels. In nearly every case, top brand companies leverage their message across all available channels of communication including (but not limited to) the company website, intranet and company conferences; and of course social media (LinkedIn is the most commonly used, along with Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Blogs). Don’t forget industry associations.
Employee Brand Ambassadors. Forward-thinking employers ensure employees at all levels can communicate their employer brand; using the company intranet, employee events, email, CEO communications and presentations by senior leaders to promote the brand internally. Perhaps the easiest and most cost effective way to educate employees about the firm’s employee value proposition, is to put the actual EVP statement on the screen savers of all employees’ computers, keeping it top of mind. Another suggestion is to create a digital employer brand document that employees can download from the intranet, linking to employee testimonials and videos on the company website. Give this document to new hires to help get them engaged in their new roles.
Ongoing Measurement of Return on Investment. A troubling finding in the Hudson RPO survey was just how few companies measure ROI, including top brands. Many employer brand managers believe that measuring ROI is too difficult and therefore choose not to make it part of their strategy. Others don’t set targets and therefore don’t know what to measure. Admittedly, tracking true ROI on employer brand activities is difficult because other variables beyond employer brand programmes affect retention and hiring data. There are several ways to measure ROI: employee surveys, time-to-hire metrics, cost-per-hire metrics, and the number of applications per position. However, employer brand success is ultimately gauged by retention rates and how easy it is to put new talent into open positions.
In conclusion, as hiring continues to become more competitive, it will become increasingly crucial for employers to utilise all available tools and strategies to help them be recognised as an employer of choice. A strong employer brand is no longer a nice-to-have but a key factor in their ability to attract right-fit talent.
As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
We all know that talent has become recognised as the key differentiator between business success and failure. We know that skills scarcity, shifting demographics and increased talent mobility impact our ability to fill critical roles. And yet for many companies succession planning (defined as ‘the systematic process of identifying and developing candidates for key managerial and professional leadership positions over time in order to ensure continuity of management and leadership’) is overlooked. This is done in favour of focusing on ‘immediate needs,’ until a senior member of the team or a critical skill announces plans to leave or retire, often putting the organisation into crisis mode.
Long thought of as replacement planning for the C-Suite, succession planning has evolved to include critical roles; the jobs and positions your organisation couldn’t run without or that are critical to strategic/operational success. They could be customer facing, technical or other roles that demand a specific skillset, range of experience or knowledge that cannot be easily replaced. These will differ from company to company. In assessing how critical a role is, Karen Caruso of Via People suggests a company should assess a mix of internal and external factors:
Once you know what your critical roles are, ascertain what skills, competencies, experience and knowledge is needed for success in these roles and identify ‘feeder roles’; the roles in which these are likely to be developed. Look for top performers or high potentials within these feeder roles.
Examples of Performance:
Examples of Potential:
Next, gauge where your top performers and high potentials are right now, how long it will take for them to be ready to seamlessly fill critical positions and formulate development plans to get them to where they need to be.
Key commandments, from Jamie Lawrence of HRZone, to keep in mind during your succession planning and management, are:
Effective, proactive succession planning leaves your organisation well prepared for expansion, the loss of a key employee, filling a new, needed job, employee promotions, and organisational redesign for opportunities.
If you have any questions or if we can help in any way, please get in touch.
In a world of increased competition and scarcity of skills along with shifting demographics and workforce preferences, most companies face the same challenge; keeping their talent pipeline (a pool of candidates qualified to assume open positions newly created or vacated through retirement or promotion) of key people and future leaders full. In fact, a new study of nearly 400 employers by Lee Hecht Harrison, a global talent mobility consulting firm, identified that 33% of employers perceive their talent pipeline to be poor or non-existent. Only 4% reported their talent pipeline to be excellent.
Creating a sustainable pipeline of top talent and top-tier leadership; which will allow your company to survive, even thrive; needs a long-term, integrated and systemic approach. These are the core principles of building such a pipeline:
Recognise that talent management is a core business process with impact on overall business and financial success. Keep leadership engaged to ensure a functioning and robust process and make them accountable for talent management, just as they are for financial and operational functions.
Align with business strategy. Identify the talent you need given your business strategy, understand what talent you have relative to what you need, know where the gaps are and close them through focused internal development or by bringing new talent onboard.
Identify your high potentials. Who is your top talent and how do you identify them? Organisations that identify their top talent are less likely to lose valuable people; only 14% of formally identified high potentials seek other employment. That number more than doubles to 33% if the employee feels they have not been formally recognised. Make sure to identify the employees who have the potential to do the job in this generation and the next: many organisations tend to only look out for immediate successors.
Clearly differentiate leadership talent. Not all high performers have the potential for leadership. However, all high potentials are high performers. It’s important to identify the difference. High potential performers are able to quickly take on larger, more complex levels of responsibility and are often avid learners. It’s a good idea to cross train your high potential performers: provide them with a mix of on-the-job training, intensive coaching, mentoring and education. Lastly, the leadership talent conversation should be ongoing among your senior leadership teams: make it an agenda item.
Take a personal approach. Treating all high potential talent the same is a common mistake. Systems and processes are important, but organisations should have a multiplicity of clear and appealing development paths for high potentials. Knowing what’s important to your high potentials in their day-to-day work is also important. Many constantly weigh the pros and cons of their experience; they may value more responsibility and highly visible assignments versus feeling unappreciated or left in the dark about key decisions.
Attract passive talent. Job seekers actively looking for a career move are not the best candidates for a talent pipeline. They probably aren’t willing to wait around for future opportunities. For this reason, it’s essential to attract passive candidates to populate an effective pipeline. To successfully attract these candidates, employers should know what roles are on the horizon and actively promote these future opportunities.
Keep job seekers engaged. Companies need to stay in touch with candidates in their talent pipelines to ensure they will still be interested when a job opens up. Tailor your messaging for different groups of workers based on job interests, skill level and basic demographics. Provide information about future job openings, company happenings and other aspects of the business to keep job seekers interested.
Evaluate regularly. Your business changes. So does the talent. Sustainable systems identify and proactively address the dynamics of change and the impact on talent needs.
As always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.