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, 2016
11:22 am
by Anita Hoole

Surviving in this Wild Economy


Continuous competition, vulnerability, drought, constant change… Like the African bushveld, our marketplace is constantly transforming and because of these ever-present factors, we need to adopt unique approaches that equip us to deal with what’s coming.

We at DAV attended an eye-opening talk this month by international speaker Lorne Sulcas, The Big Cat Guy, who related adaptability, synergy and efficiency to our business environment. Lorne likens the challenges animals experience in the wild to those we experience in today’s marketplace, and then shares in his unique presentations the powerful success lessons we can learn specifically from Africa’s Big Cats.

Challenges in any environment are unavoidable but it’s how we tackle these challenges that will determine our success. Like the leopard, the lion and the cheetah, each have a different strategy… Each functions differently when it comes to hunting, protecting themselves and surviving. It’s important to not do what everyone else is doing but do what suits your business, your industry and your end goal to prevail over competition.

Lorne’s presentation of animals being in a ‘feast or famine’ type of environment emphasises the need for us to be agile enough to adapt to a constantly changing business landscape. This ability is what will make us game changers……industry leaders! Understanding our market – pulling together the correct resources and implementing the right structures can increase our agility and therefore better prepare us heading into any business terrain. Versatility is what businesses need in this modern economy.

Synergy within the workplace is undeniably one of the most powerful resources an organisation can hold. Lorne looks at the synergy within a pride of lions – their collaboration and teamwork get results that no individual can do on their own. A synergistic team has more power to defend a larger, more prominent territory which provides access to more resources and thus, increased dominance in the market. Synergy is created by one team member offering something that the other team member might not have and together they can accomplish greatness. It’s about encouraging each other to be fully immersed in team collaboration so that we can create a shared level of understanding and therefore, 100% commitment. Synergy can help us overcome any obstacle; just like it helps a pride of lions defeat a hugely aggressive and tough male buffalo.

Time is money! Efficiency makes things happen. The cheetah does not waste time focusing on trying to build on his other strengths, he uses his speed, the one inimitable attribute that will get him his desired result. Eliminate your competition by focusing on your niche area, your area of strength. This way you will be 100% focused on what you know you can execute perfectly. We need to make our time really count to ensure that we meet the demands of the industry by maximising our time but also the resources accessible to us.

“The oldest, most enduring marketplace: Nature’s African bushveld,” says Lorne Sulcas. What a concept: to be able to apply million-year old survival traits from the wild into our workplace?

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more!



June 30, 2016
11:29 am
by Anita Hoole

How to Manage a Multi-Generational Workforce



Today, running a business involves dealing with many kinds of people and age groups. There have always been multiple generations in the workplace, but currently we’re experiencing four generations working together – the largest diversity of generations represented than any other time in history!

The differing generational values, work ethics, and financial perspectives can make our jobs in management quite challenging but how we manage these differences is most important. Roles are being redefined and rules are being rewritten daily. Change is inevitable and we need to recognise the positive impact a multi-generational workforce can have on our company’s success.

Day-to-day I witness how the youth feed off the experienced – their knowledge, their wise ways of the world and their years of experience gained. I see this being reciprocated, as the experienced feed off the youth’s enthusiasm, their energy and their technically advanced and innovative minds. It’s a good balance but it’s up to us as leaders and managers to create an environment that stimulates and nurtures these relationships to increase the synergy within our teams.

The roles of older and younger workers are continually being modified and increasingly we are seeing older, experienced generations being led and mentored by the youth… It’s reality. I read that the US Marine Corps routinely put 22-year old lieutenants in charge of 45 year-old sergeants. The mind-set behind this is apparently to encourage ‘partnership’ as opposed to one leading and the other following. It’s a more collaborative approach that uses discussion and engagement. Studies have shown that colleagues learn more from each other than they do from formal training.

I think we need to understand that in order to create a happy and productive multi-generational work environment we need to realise that what has worked in the past might not work anymore.These four generations share some traditional work values but differ in opinion on the role of the manager, issues of loyalty, technical competence, and how much time must be spent on the job to define a good day’s work. Right now, we need to focus on how we can reshape our thinking and collectively find the right way.

As a company, we are always growing and as we go through the different stages of growth, the make-up of our workforce changes too. The more we understand the unique work ethic, goals and perspectives of each generation, the more effective we can be as managers. Business is challenging enough but understanding the context in which each generation was created provides vital information for understanding how to recruit, train, and retain employees. Let’s recognise what an asset we have!

Get in touch if you have any questions.


April 28, 2016
12:48 pm
by Anita Hoole

Why Hire Using a Recruitment Agency?

Why Hire Using a Recruitment Agency - Talent Chronicle

In the face of growing competition from job boards, internal recruiters and social networking, some have forecast the decline of recruitment firms. However, our industry continues to grow and offers many important benefits to corporates looking to secure top talent. Our ongoing success and client relationships depend upon our ability to offer advice and insight, to reduce risks associated with any recruiting exercise and to ultimately provide you with a shortlist of talented candidates you would not otherwise have known about. There are several important benefits to clients when they engage the services of a reputable recruitment firm:


Recruiters define and describe the position best. Professional recruiters can help you define what you are looking for – they know what is out there and can understand the requirements of the role you are recruiting for as well as the availability and market value of the talent you need. They understand real job needs, as well as hiring manager needs, so you’ll hire people who can hit the ground running.

Expertise. Professional recruiters have a deep level of expertise related to job knowledge, employment trends and recruitment practices, as well as industry expertise. A professional recruitment consultant understands the full end-to-end recruitment process and the nuances along the way. They follow a proven methodology overlaid by their accumulated experience.

Exceptional networks – of both active and passive candidates. This gives a sourcing and speed advantage and allows recruiters to find top people quickly. They know exactly how to reach out to this talent, along with salary industry standards, career expectations, available skill-sets and hiring complexities.

Knowledge of the market. The best recruiters will have an intimate knowledge of the state of the market and be able to advise their clients on realistic outcomes including timeframes, remuneration and other ‘success’ issues. The best will act as collaborative partners, and be your eyes and ears in the market.

Recruiters know where to find talent. Some candidates are hard to find. They may be passive or they may be selective. If they aren’t responding to job advertisements, don’t see themselves as part of your ‘talent pool’ and are too busy to search full time, there’s a strong chance a good recruiter will know who they are and how to reach them.

Recruiters attract the best people. Top passive candidates, especially those with three or more years of experience, seek out the best recruiters to keep them aware of opportunities.

Employer Branding. We are, by extension, your face and voice in the highly competitive war for talent. We give potential candidates a real insight into your business – what it’s like to work there, benefits and career openings available, and a feel for the culture. This is often the difference between obtaining the interest of the better candidates versus competing roles they may be considering.

Raise the overall quality level of every new hire. The best external recruiters source from both active and passive candidates to narrow the selection down to a few high-quality candidates and by managing the process from beginning to end, don’t need to present more than three to four candidates – who are genuinely suited to the role – in order for one to get hired.

Reduced time to hire. The real costs or opportunity costs of an open position can be enormous. We are rewarded upon our success, so have a vested interest in achieving the best outcome in a timely manner. Our ability to identify, source, attract and validate candidates takes a fraction of the time it would take a client.

Recruiters save staff time and cost. Considering what their time is worth, the distraction of an employee search to managers and leaders will cost the company more money than a search turned over to an independent recruiter. And because recruitment firms manage the entire employment process, they also relieve employers of costs related to pre-employment testing and background checks.

Recruiters guarantee results. It is standard practice for recruitment firms to offer a 3 month guarantee on a permanent placement. If for some reason the placed candidate does not live up to expectation, it is then beholden on the recruiter to undertake the recruitment exercise again.

Using an external recruitment firm can be seen as both an exercise in risk management as well as a cost effective investment in finding the best people.

If we can be of assistance, please get in touch.




March 30, 2016
10:52 am
by Anita Hoole

What Great Bosses Do Differently


I’m sure you agree: we’ve all worked for a boss at some point that was less than nice. I bet some of them have been downright awful. I know as well as you do that job satisfaction often hinges on the quality of the relationship with one’s boss and yet it’s not always clear what managers should do to create the happiest and most productive employees. Great leadership can be a difficult thing to pin down even though we all know an amazing boss when we are lucky enough to work for one.

Sydney Finkelstein, a professor of management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and author of “Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Manage the Flow of Talent” has unearthed some common practices that can make work much more meaningful and enjoyable for your employees. If you’re a boss, make sure you do the following:

Manage individuals, not teams. When you’re under pressure, it’s easy to forget that employees are unique individuals, with varying interests, abilities, goals and learning styles. But it’s important to customise your interactions with them. Ensure you understand what makes them tick. Be available and accessible for one-on-one conversations. And deliver lessons cued to individual needs.

Go big on meaning. Most employees value jobs that let them contribute and make a difference, and many organisations now emphasise meaning and purpose in the hopes of fostering engagement. But this is also the manager’s responsibility. You can’t rely on incentives like bonuses, stock options, or raises. You’ve got to inspire them with a vision, set challenging goals and pump up their confidence so they believe they can actually win. Articulate a clear purpose that fires your team up, set expectations high, and convey to the group that you think they’re capable of virtually anything.

Focus on feedback. Even if your organisation sticks with traditional performance reviews, supplement them with continuous, personalised feedback. Use regular — at least weekly — one-on-one conversations to give lots of coaching. Make the feedback clear, honest and constructive, and frame it so that it promotes independence and initiative.

Don’t just talk, listen. The best leaders spend a great deal of time listening. They pose problems and challenges, then ask questions to enlist the entire team in generating solutions. They reward innovation and initiative, and encourage everyone in the group to do the same.

Be consistent. Who could be happy with a boss who does one thing one day and another thing the next? Be consistent in your management style, and in the way you set expectations, give feedback and are open to new ideas. If change becomes necessary, acknowledge it openly and quickly.

Here are some additional guidelines I find particularly meaningful:

Praise in public, reprimand in private. People thrive on recognition: the extraordinary boss will praise often and publically but will reprimand you in private to allow you to save face.

Allow employees a good deal of autonomy. Ask any person who has worked for a micro-manager how much having autonomy contributes to workplace happiness.

Get in the trenches. A great boss leads by example. They are not afraid to get their hands dirty and do the same work they ask their people to do.

Set clear expectations/objectives. Research suggests that employees experience increased stress levels when they don’t have a good understanding of what is expected of them.

Don’t be afraid of failing. A great boss understands failure is inevitable and should be viewed as a learning experience. Be wary of the boss that lets you think they don’t make mistakes.

Excel at communication. Just as in any relationship, communication is key.

Know how and when to delegate. An extraordinary boss will delegate responsibilities and not just tasks.

Have a sense of humour. Being in a management position is serious business, but being able to take the daily stresses with a grain of salt is invaluable..

Stay positive, but remain realistic. I found the following analogy in an article on Forbes.com: Think of a sailboat with three people aboard: a pessimist, an optimist, and a great leader. Everything is going smoothly until the wind suddenly sours. The pessimist throws his hands up and complains about the wind; the optimist sits back, saying that things will improve; but the great leaders says, “We can do this!” and he adjusts the sails and keeps the ship moving forward. The right combination of positivity and realism is what keeps things moving forward.

Remember, not all bosses are created equal. Becoming a great one may be hard work, but it’s worth it.

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



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 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 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.


December 22, 2015
2:34 pm
by Anita Hoole

Tomorrow’s Leaders: How to Attract Millennials to Your Talent Pipeline

Tomorrow’s Leaders How to Attract Millennials to Your Talent Pipeline January 2016 - Anita Hoole

Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are the largest generation in the workforce today. By 2025, they will comprise 75%, however not nearly enough companies are putting time and energy into bringing them into their leadership pipelines.

Research by Deloitte and Virtuali show that:

  • Only 28% of millennials believe their current company is making full use of their skills;
  • Only 6% of companies report they have ‘excellent’ programmes to develop this generation;
  • However, 53% of these young employees aspire to leadership positions in their current organisation; and
  • 95% of them believe it’s important for companies to offer leadership development activities.

It’s clear that Millennials want the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, despite the sterotypes surrounding them (they can’t take criticism, they are entitled, they need constant recognition) and companies need to start doing a ‘better’ job of supporting their careers. It’s true that millenials are unafraid to switch employers as often as it takes to get the experience and opportunities they crave. Employers who fail to offer sufficient challenge and development face rapid turnover and an empty pipeline once the older generations leave the workforce. Understanding what they value and hence what will keep them engaged is critical.

According to the Virtuali study, 78% of them say they value experience over possessions. You as a company need to give them those experiences. This means instead of boosting salary, boost their exciting opportunities. They want to build relationships, take on a driving force in innovative projects, and interact with customers or other employee teams, depending on the nature of your business.

Leadership training should be both experience based and individualised. Too many companies believe this generation wants only online training but research shows they favour face-to-face training and experience based learning. Think job rotations, shadowing, externships, special job assignments, and helming new projects. Focus on each employee’s strengths and cater to them when assigning projects and job rotations.

In the Virtuali study, 87% of millennial respondents reported that the opportunity to work abroad would increase their desire to join a company, 80% would be highly engaged, and 81% said it would make them want to remain at their company. Don’t miss out on this opportunity if it’s available within your company.

Ashley Mosley of Business Insider suggests you key into the following wants and needs:

The Move Toward Social Responsibility. According to a 2012 study, 56 percent of Millennials would take a pay cut to work somewhere that is changing the world for the better. Having a clear company stance toward social responsibility will win you the much-needed attention of young workers.

Flexibility Is The Future. With 69 percent of Millennials believing office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis, it may be time to reconsider employee scheduling. Consider allowing your employees the freedom of working from home whenever their schedule allows it; they’ll appreciate your trust in their work ethic.

Continued Education Matters. Millennials are on track to become the most educated generation. This love of learning doesn’t stop after they’ve received their diplomas and entered the workforce. You may consider providing industry-related training opportunities every month, paid attendance to conferences and seminars, and even tuition reimbursement for employees looking to further their education in your field.

The Compensation Advantage. This generation is faced with more debt than others. By offering compensation packages that are slightly above the average for your industry or region, you may be able to gain an edge. Or, consider compensating workers in other ways, like with company culture perks such as a gym membership.

The Power of Feedback. Millennials often get a bad reputation for their interest in feedback, but what’s wrong with aiming for improvement? Transform your entire workplace into a more engaged, feedback-focused environment by putting new coaching methods into play. Forget yearly reviews and focus on giving feedback and coaching through quick meetings, e-mails, or even a brief instant message conversation.

Playing To The Entrepreneurial Mindset. Nearly 50 percent of Millennials want to start a business in the next five years. This could mean trouble if you’re planning to retain your recent graduate and Millennial employees. But it’s important to know that 90 percent of Millennials also say that being an entrepreneur is a mindset, instead of the role of a business owner. How can you keep the entrepreneurially-spirited employees at your company? Give them room to generate powerful ideas and solutions for your company and clients, and follow through on their ideas and recommendations.

Whether a Millennial is an individual contributor, a first-time manager, a high-potential or a proven leader, give them access to relevant programmes and experiences that benefit them now, and prepare them to take on something new tomorrow.

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


9:46 am
by Anita Hoole

Questions to Expect in Your Interview… and How to Answer

Questions to Expect in Your Interview… and How to Answer December 2015 - Anita Hoole

You may encounter some uncommon or unusual questions during your interview and there will definitely be some industry or role specific questions, or requests for further detail about some of the info on your CV. However some questions are so commonly used that you can bet they’ll come up… and it’s best to be prepared with smart and insightful answers to show yourself in the best possible light. Don’t be tempted to wing it!

Here they are, along with suggestions on how to best answer them:

Tell me about yourself. Most interviewers use this to break the ice, but also to get a sense of your poise, style of delivery and communication ability. Prepare about a one-minute broad overview of who you are (professionally speaking), where you’re at in your career and what you’re especially good at, with an emphasis on your most recent position and anything that pertains to the opportunity you are applying for, along with what you can bring to the company. Keep your personal life out of it.

Why did you leave (or why are you leaving) your last position? Your primary goal here is to not throw up any red flags, and to keep your answer positive. Be truthful but don’t disparage your last employer or co-workers and don’t offer up any negative details. Also, don’t mention money at this stage. Give a reasonable reason as to why you left (or want to leave). Focus on the opportunity the new role provides and be specific about what challenges most excite you.

What attracted you to our company? The interviewer wants to guage whether your interest is genuine and that you haven’t just sent out your CV to all and sundry. They are looking to see that you have done some research, understand the company and are a good fit. Talk about the company’s brand, mission, products or services, achievements and culture, and how you’d like to contribute (link your career goals with company objectives in your response).

Why would you excel in this position? For most vacancies, employers are flooded with qualified candidates. You need to show not just that you’re qualified to do the role in question, but that you will excel at it. Talk about ‘evidence’ from your career that demonstrates your success in each of the key qualifications the employer is looking for. Focus on what about the substance of the role most interests you. Don’t talk about benefits, salary, the short commute or anything else unrelated to the day-to-day work you would be doing, or you’ll signal that you’re more interested in what the position can do for you rather than that you are passionate about the opportunity itself.

What are your greatest strengths? Read the job description carefully and highlight strengths that would lend themselves to being successful in the position. Mention a number of them such as being self motivated, taking initiative, the ability to work well in a team, willingness to work long hours, a good motivator, problem solver, performing well under pressure, being loyal, having a positive attitude, eager to learn, taking initiative or attention to detail. Prepare anecdotes that demonstrate these skills in action. Don’t claim to be good at something you don’t actually know how to do.

What do you think your weaknesses are? While it’s often suggested, it’s not actually a great idea to answer citing a positive trait disguised as a weakness, e.g. “I’m a perfectionist.” Instead be sincere and honest and mention a genuine weakness and add to this what you have done/are doing to overcome it. Concentrate on professional traits, not personal ones. Interviewers essentially want to see your level of self awareness, your willingness to learn and improve; and be reassured that any weaknesses you have won’t get in the way of doing the job well.

Why should we hire you over other applicants? Basically, what skills separate you from the herd? Know which skills make you a typical candidate and have an explanation ready that shows why you will be indispensable in the position. Your best bet is to look at skills you’ve acquired outside of the industry (through interdisciplinary study, volunteer work, etc.) and make those major talking points. Draw attention to any skills that haven’t already been addressed.

Where do you want to be in 3/5/10 years time? What they are really asking is what you expect to achieve with their company. So, talk about what you will achieve for this company and where that might take you both.

What’s your salary expectation? It’s better to hold off discussing salary until after the first interview (you can deflect it by saying something like “let’s hold off on the numbers till we are sure I am right for this position”) but when the time comes be ready to negotiate your own worth. Know what the position is offering and research the market rate for the type of role you’re applying for, so you can ground your answer in real data and an understanding of what a reasonable range is. Know your own bottom-line walking away rate.

Do you have any questions? This will always come up. Don’t answer “no.” Show your interest in the company by preparing some key questions in advance. Asking smart questions can demonstrate your knowledge of the industry, and that you’re already thinking about how you can contribute to it. You will also convey confidence and competence. Asking about corporate culture or what the interviewer likes the best about the company, will give you insight and let the interviewers know that you’re interviewing them as well.

Practice and preparation are key: remember, interviewers are looking for a competent, confident candidate who not only wants the job, but also understands its requirements and can quickly hit the ground running. Answering questions with poise and conviction helps you outshine other applicants, and puts you in a good position to land the role you want.

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


October 30, 2015
12:21 pm
by Anita Hoole

Talent Pipelines: Internal Development is as Important as Recruiting Right Skills

Talent Pipelines Internal Development November 2015 - Anita Hoole

We’re all too aware that there’s a talent shortage; we know how hard it is to find the right skills and how big of an impact talent has on our organisation. However, when building effective talent pipelines recruiting is only half the equation. Just as important is ensuring comprehensive development of talent; those earmarked for leadership and those displaying high performance and/or high potential.

An article from Harvard Business Review, “Why Top Young Managers Are in a Nonstop Job Hunt” describes a study based on analysis of international databases of over 1,200 young high achievers, and concludes that many are not receiving the career development support they desire: “Dissatisfaction with some employee-development efforts appears to fuel many early exits.  We asked young managers what their employers do to help them grow in their jobs and what they’d like their employers to do, and found some large gaps. Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility. But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring and coaching – things they also value highly.”

Victor Lipman, writing for Forbes, says development planning makes good business sense:

  • People care if you take a genuine interest in their future. Development planning should be something a manager takes a real personal interest in – not an HR-driven mandate.
  • It helps build loyalty, and loyalty increases productivity. Taking an honest interest in someone builds loyalty. Loyal employees are more engaged. Engaged employees are more productive.
  • Good talented people naturally want to advance, and appreciate meaningful support in the process. As the HBR study showed, capable ambitious young employees want training, mentoring and coaching. They want to gain skills. They want to become more versatile and valuable to an organisation.

The four primary components of effective development programmes, according to Oracle, are:

  1. Describing what needs to be developed and why it is important to the individual, team and organisation.
  2. Detailing how the individual will acquire the behaviours or skills; for example, going through a training course on coaching or perhaps assigning the individual a mentor.
  3. Identifying specific application opportunities in which they can use their newly learned skills immediately on the job. Mastery of the skills only occurs with frequent practice.
  4. Establishing tangible measures to track performance. This ensures that the individual knows exactly how they are going to be evaluated, which drives accountability.

And for your programmes to be truly robust:

  • Consider reach: Create tiered development programmes aimed at developing the next generation of leaders and key contributors extending beyond just your management team. Consider all the roles and skills your company needs for current and ongoing success.
  • Include the opportunity to develop effective collaboration skills. According to Halogen Software, those skills include the ability to work well with members of all generations. It’s not uncommon to find Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials working together on today’s teams. As more generations collaborate, they and their leaders need deeper insights into differing communication styles and expectations, and greater skill in applying those insights.
  • Ensure the right training methodology and content. Many companies have found that neither classroom nor online training produce the desired results in developing the suite of skills leaders and key contributors need. As Harvard Business Review puts it: it’s far more effective to pair classroom training with real-life exposure to a variety of jobs and bosses—using techniques like job rotation, special assignments such as establishing a regional office in a new country, and “action learning,” which pulls together a group of high-potential employees to study and make recommendations on a pressing topic, such as whether to enter a new geographical area or experiment with a new business model.
  • Engage managers in employee development. This means: allowing time in their workload to devote to employee development; assigning them goals and/or competencies related to employee development; and measuring their efforts at developing others as part of their own performance management, with appropriate rewards for their successes.

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


  1. Why Employee Development Is Important, Neglected And Can Cost You Talent – Victor Lipman, Contributor, Forbes
  2. Addressing your CEO’s top priorities: building an effective talent pipeline – Halogen Software
  3. Developing Your Leadership Pipeline – Jay A. Conger and Robert M. Fulmer, Harvard Business Review
  4. Emerging Leaders: Build Versus Buy – Oracle