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

February 26, 2016
8:21 am
by Anita Hoole

The Right Way to Offboard an Employee

The right way to offboard an employee - March 2016









I’m of the opinion that offboarding is every bit as important as onboarding in the employee lifecycle. In fact, I think we all – as employers – now recognise that excellence at every stage of the lifecycle is imperative if we are to win in the war for talent and this doesn’t end at attraction and engagement. Whether as a result of resignation or termination, the impact of our offboarding strategy on our talent brand is massive:

  • Former employees remain representatives of our brand (even more so with the rise of alumni networks) and can either be evangelists or detractors. One thing they will always remember is how well they were treated on the way out.
  • Former employees have the potential to be great talent scouts for our firms; creating goodwill through effective offboarding can make departing employees more likely to refer talent.
  • Past employees often decide to come back (these so-called boomerang employees have many benefits) and bad offboarding may deter them from doing so.
  • Exit interviews, properly conducted, are an invaluable source of information on your employer brand and corporate culture which you can use to improve the entire span of your employee lifecycle.

One of our biggest concerns surrounding the departure of an employee, most especially a valued one, is knowledge transfer. How can a company manage the transition in such a way as to retain valuable institutional experience, expertise and product knowledge? Typically, departure is a flurry of paperwork and a quick ‘handover’ when what we need to be doing is finding ways to transfer business critical, experience based knowledge and behaviours – all the aspects that made this person a valued employee. Here’s how, with thanks to Rebecca Knight of Harvard Business Review:

  1. Make a plan. Buy as much time as you can and then make a plan: what knowledge needs to be transferred, how are you going to do it, to whom and along what timeline. Even better, employees should regularly capture their knowledge, experiences and processes and share them with their fellow employees in a singular, easily accessible place (rather than wait for the end of employment).
  2. Motivate the departing employee. This can be tricky if the employee is dissatisfied but find a way to motivate them to want to share their knowledge.
  3. This will depend on how much time you have for transition but if possible pair the departing employee with 1 or 2 apprentices so they can observe, learn, practice and receive feedback.
  4. Team learning. If time is short and you have no identified successor, hold team ‘workshops’ in which they share stories with colleagues about how they handled challenges during their tenure. Make these facilitated Q&A sessions and they will yield insight into patterns of the departing employee’s thought processes. Also dig deep into how they know what they know: what do they read, what websites to they visit, who do they talk to.
  5. Document intelligently. Instead of a bulky handover document, rather have apprentices and team members keep ‘learning logs’ of information.
  6. Focus on the relationship. You may want to go to them with questions, engage them as a consultant or hire them back some day so let them know you care and deal with them with courtesy and respect.

This, of course, is in addition to the practical: managing payments, health insurance, exit interviews, non-competes, referees and intellectual and physical property handover. As you can see, handling the offboarding process effectively can increase your ability to attract and retain talent.

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


February 25, 2016
3:55 pm
by Maria Meiring

What Matters Most in Attracting Millennials?

What Matters Most in Attracting Millennials February 2016 - Maria Meiring

I’m a huge fan of Millennials: they are bright, tech savvy, connected and energetic and care a lot about being part of something bigger than the bottom line. They don’t necessarily respond to the same things our older generations do but they are not as complicated as they are sometimes perceived. Considering that come 2020, according to some estimates, they will make up the majority of the workforce, I think it’s time we tweaked our tried and trusted methods of talent attraction if we want to become millennial magnets.

Understanding what motivates them is essential to formulating a plan for attracting millennials to our organisations. Their biggest priority is rapid advancement and so I read with interest that some companies are now developing advancement roadmaps that offer ‘smaller’ promotions at shorter intervals. Promotions from roles A1, A2 and A3 to B1 etc., versus a bigger jump from role A to role B. I think this is very clever allowing a company to recognise good performance whilst giving their millennials a sense of career progression.

Millennials are known to consider job-hopping as perfectly acceptable; this is because they consider jobs as opportunities to gain an education in specific technical or communication skills. I believe they stay for longer when we keep them interested and so in attracting them we need to highlight educational opportunities in tangible, technological and communication skills that will feed millennial interest, ambition, and entrepreneurial spirit. This is a marker of the most successful firms and is what the best young people are looking for. Assign mentors to millennials: they want to learn from people with expertise. I even go so far as to recommend giving them co-leadership opportunities. They will embrace the challenge and reward the opportunity to learn and develop with hard work and commitment.

Millennials are just as interested in how a company contributes to society as they are in how it develops its people. They want to work for companies that have a clear sense of purpose and they want to personally have an impact within the organisation. Identify why the world is a better place because your company exists and incorporate this into your attraction message. 81% of the Best Places to Work for Millennials offer paid time off for volunteer work, compared to just 53% of companies that did not make the list. Stress how their role will impact the company’s vision.

Many companies are relooking the type of leaders they have in place, as millennials seek and respond to a very specific style of leadership. According to a Deloitte study, today’s Millennials define true leaders as strategic thinkers (39%), inspirational (37%), personable (34%) and visionary (31%). They respond very negatively to micro-management.

Other factors that millennials consider important are:

  • Focus on results, not hours. Introduce flextime and/or telecommuting.
  • Work/life integration (more than just balance, they want work and life to integrate seamlessly).
  • Open communication and transparency.
  • Innovation and creative thinking.
  • Regular feedback.
  • Collaborative, rather than competitive, work cultures.

What millennials are looking for is actually pretty basic and straight-forward. You may already be getting some of what they want right, you just might need to adapt and revamp a few things.

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



February 24, 2016
8:16 am
by Anita Hoole

How to Approach Psychometric Tests in a Job Interview

How to Approach Psychometric Tests in a Job Interview February 2016 - Anita Hoole

For many of the candidates I see here at DAV, the prospect of psychometric testing is a daunting one. I’d like to reassure you: there’s very little to be worried about. Recruiters and employers use these to give a more rounded and objective understanding of a candidate’s behavioural and cognitive suitability for the job.

They give you another opportunity, beyond the interview and your CV, to demonstrate your skills. Certain skills, such as problem-solving or spatial ability, are in fact better demonstrated through testing.

Psychometric tests are divided into roughly 3 categories:

Aptitude/ability tests. These will be timed and will measure your ability in a specific area such as numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, logical reasoning or abstract reasoning. Employers use these to test your ability in a job-relevant area in order to assess your potential for that job.

Personality types. These have no right or wrong answers and are not strictly timed. They assess aspects of personality such as typical behaviour, preferences, interests and motivations. They are used to gain additional information about your suitability and ‘fit’ for a job. They can also be used in career planning and career development to help you understand more about yourself.

Learning styles. Everyone learns in a different way and questionnaires can help a potential employer assess your preferred learning style.

My best advice for anyone when taking a psychometric test is to relax and be yourself. Good tests are set up to pick up on any inconsistencies so don’t try and ‘put on an act’ for the personality sections of psychometric tests.

Beyond that, here’s my take on how to be prepared:

Practice makes perfect. Unfamiliarity with this kind of test, along with nerves, can sometimes lead to underperformance. Avoid this by taking practice tests before hand – http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/psychotests.htm is just one of many websites out there where you can do so.

Find out the type of psychometric test questions you need to practice. Not all jobs get the same test questions. The level of difficulty and complexity will vary based on the job you are applying for. A test for a management position is likely to have more difficult questions than that for an entry role. Ask the potential employer what type of tests you will be taking and whether they have any sample questions to help you practice.

Know what to expect. The tests may be given in the potential workplace, or at a testing facility. Read the attendance instructions carefully and be sure you know where to go. Also, read any instructions about the test itself to learn what you can about the types of questions, the timing permitted, and the sequences the testing will be provided in.

Be in good physical and mental shape. You need to be at your best to produce good results in psychometric testing. Tiredness is likely to severely harm your scores so make sure you are well rested and try to take decent breaks in between aptitude tests to ensure you regain your energy. Have a good attitude towards the tests themselves: they are not there to discriminate or put you down in any way.

Practice working against the clock. All aptitude sections in psychometric tests are timed. Practicing against the clock will get you used to answering a lot of questions in a short space of time and to learn to balance speed and accuracy.

Review basic maths. Think of possible mathematical operations that could be required and practise them. Brush up on reading tables and graphs as well.

Improve your vocabulary and comprehension by reading. Look up the meaning of words you are unsure of. Practise reasoning through what is clearly true or untrue from passages of information. Review your understanding of grammar and practise spotting associations between words or types of words.

Be familiar with any tools you’ll be allowed to use during the test. Most numeric tests will let you use a calculator, and many of us haven’t used one in a while! Familiarise yourself with the different types of calculator operations and functions ahead of the test.

Get the best answer down and move on. Don’t spend too much time on a single question. Doing that would waste the opportunity of another 6 questions at 20 seconds each (easy questions score the same as hard ones)! Just keep working through and if you have time left, come back to the harder questions and skipped ones. These tests are designed in a way that only 1 – 2% of people who take such a test can actually finish it. However, you don’t have to complete all the test questions to get a perfect score.

As daunting as psychometric tests seem, the key to success and achieving a top score is practice and preparation. See them realistically: if you’re not the best fit, you’re better off not working in this work environment. It doesn’t reflect on your worth as a person.

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


February 16, 2016
12:08 pm
by Luisette Mullin

How to Make Flextime Work for Your Business

How to Make Flextime Work for Your Business February 2016 - Luisette Mullin

I’ve long seen the return in commitment, lowered absenteeism and productivity from my team that comes from offering flextime. I am also seeing an increased number of desirable candidates who won’t even consider working for a company that doesn’t have a flextime policy.

Most companies that I work with have had a casual flextime approach: staff can leave early for a doctor’s appointment or to fetch children, work from home for the morning when the geyser bursts etc. But can formalised flextime work for your company, as well as for your employees? I think yes.

No doubt, as I have, you’ve been getting more and more requests for flexible or non-traditional work schedules, which include:

  • telecommuting (working remotely)
  • a shortened work week (four days’ work for four days’ pay)
  • a compressed work week (four longer days for fulltime pay)
  • flextime (changing on-duty or on-site hours)
  • job share (two people sharing one job)

To deal with these requests fairly, you’ll need to introduce official guidelines as to what is and isn’t permissible so that all managers can respond consistently. Inconsistency will lead to lowered morale. Having a formal policy will also minimise abuse of the system by staff and help employers track the impact of such arrangements, improve the benefits and reduce the pitfalls.

I think the best way to begin formalising your policy is to ask yourself what your motivations are. Do you want to attract candidates, engage/reward existing staff or reduce operating costs? Knowing what your goals are will help you bring structure to the programme.

Next be very clear about what types of flexibility will be available for which departments and roles. Not all roles are suitable for the same flexible work arrangements (for example reception probably couldn’t work from home but could adopt flexible hours or a shift approach) and decide who is eligible. Base this decision on business needs not on employee requests. Some employees will also prefer not to work from home so perhaps survey your staff first.

Get management buy-in (demonstrate productivity benefits) and give them adequate training to transition. It’s very different managing people in-office to managing them remotely. Their support for the programme and their consistent, knowledgeable implementation are crucial to its success.

Design a request and review process including steps for both employees and managers. Be sure to test your policy, building in a 3 month reassessment, before making it permanent. Establish a clear way to measure performance so it can be unambiguously evaluated – did productivity increase? How was the rest of the team affected? Top performers, who are typically self-motivated and need relatively little management, should be measured on their value to the organisation and their output rather than where they work from.

Of course it’s important to equip your flextime staff with ways to connect. Remote access to your network, smartphones, VPN, laptops, Skype, video conferencing – whatever works best for your environment.

With careful planning and a clear policy and procedures for supervisors and employees to follow, flexible working initiatives can make your workforce more productive than you might think.

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


February 1, 2016
12:43 pm
by Anita Hoole

Sourcing, Attracting and Retaining Scarce Skills

AH-Sourcing, Attracting and Retaining Scarce Skills-Feb-2016

If there is one challenge all our clients’ face it’s the attraction and retention of scarce skills, despite unemployment in SA hovering at around 25%. My experience is that companies (and recruiters, for that matter) all too often use the same approach when recruiting for scarce skills, as they do for roles for which there is a talent surplus. However, the two need very different approaches.

In a talent surplus situation we have a quantity vs. quality of hire scenario. Our goal is to separate out the weakest candidates through incredibly specific, detailed, non-negotiable and targeted job descriptions and hence advertising, so that only the strongest candidates respond. The skill here, I’ve found, is in creating job ads that attract top talent while dissuading underqualified candidates from applying.

When it comes to scarce skills, there may only be a handful of qualified candidates out there. Many of them not even on the job market. Even the most skilfully written job ad may not find them. You need to know where to look (and be prepared to look in unexpected places) for the few that may be actively open to a new opportunity, as well as those passive candidates who may be ideal but aren’t scouring job portals. You need to understand what conversation to have to entice them.

In a surplus environment we fit candidates to required qualifications and compensation range, in a scarcity scenario I recommend emphasising the work itself, the employee value proposition and the impact the candidate can have on organisational strategy, mission or project/initiative. Fit the job to the candidate rather than the other way around, convince them this is their best career move.

At DAV, we recommend to our clients, that they be a little flexible when reviewing CVs for scarce skills. Even the best CV from the most confident candidate could result in a wrong hire when the pool of talent is this small. Sometimes it’s the candidate with the right soft skills and a demonstrable potential to adapt and grow that will succeed in the role. Their CV may fail against a checklist but their drive and ingenuity makes them a good fit. Look for potential, the right attitude and the ability to learn.  Sometimes it’s even the people who have seemingly failed, or dropped out or changed their career paths that are the best choice. Traditional measures such as past experience, academic accomplishment and test scores are not always the best predictors. I say be willing to embrace an unconventional view of what skills are truly needed for the role. Don’t be blinded by achievements alone.

When it comes to hiring these scare skills, we recommend:

Speeding up time to hire. These candidates will be in demand. Streamline the interview process. If at all possible, get all the decision makers together in one interview. Once you have identified the right candidate be decisive and make them an offer.

Making an offer that is fair and collaborative. A good candidate will not move for less money than what they are earning. Regardless of where the job is located or who the company is. Top candidates need to know what the bottom line on their payslip is going to be. Reflect this in the offer which will, to some extent, negate the threat of a counter offer.

To safeguard against losing these difficult to find gems, I find the following to be useful strategies:

  • Ongoing monitoring of job and pay satisfaction levels.
  • Taking a personal interest in your top talent and finding out what motivates them and what they are looking for in their careers.
  • Implementing a collaborative career roadmap.
  • Keeping your employees challenged and stimulated with new assignments and situations.
  • Rich and flexible benefit packages, possibly including share options.
  • Allowing for flexitime or telecommuting.
  • Educational opportunities.

Lastly, you’ll probably lean on these employees to take on the most difficult and important assignments. Monitor their workload and make sure they do not ‘burn out’.

In a world where demand often exceeds supply, we are in an ongoing war for talent. It’s time to get both strategic and creative in order to win.

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