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New Research Reveals the Real Reason People Switch Jobs (and It isn’t Money or Their Boss)

by savanna 25/01/2016

The majority of people don’t change jobs because of their bosses. Or because their work is either too challenging or not challenging enough. Or even because they aren’t paid enough.

The number one reason people change jobs, according to a survey of more than 10,000 people who just did, is for career advancement. Fundamentally, job switchers are most typically people who saw their job as a dead end, so they left it for one that offered a chance to grow.

why people change jobs

That was just one of the findings in our new ebook that used surveys and LinkedIn data to analyze the psychology and motivations of recent job switchers. The ebook also includes data on why millennials change jobs versus why older workers do, why women change jobs versus why men do and what jobs people are leaving for versus what jobs people are leaving from.

What this finding means for you

So, you know that people primarily change jobs because they felt their existing one offered little career advancement and wanted one that did. How can you, as a talent professional, use that information?

For recruiters, it’s invaluable. After all, one of the biggest things recruiters want to know is what to talk about and what to put on their career pages and job descriptions that is going to entice a passive candidate to leave their current company.

The answer is clear: sell the future. Sell not just the offered job itself, but where the job can take the person.

Conversely, there’s a lesson here for HR leaders looking to retain their employees as well. The secret to keeping employees around isn’t just paying them well or ensuring they are being challenged, but also providing people with a real opportunity to grow their career.

That’s not to say other factors don’t play into it. Money wasn’t one of the top-five reasons a job switcher started looking for a new job, but was the second most-popular reason a job switcher decided upon a new position, for example.

That plays out, considering 74 percent of people who changed jobs got a higher salary at their new position. So, while selling the future is great, recruiters should know they are probably going to have to pay a person more to switch to their company as well.

Of course, just knowing why people switch jobs isn’t enough; recruiters also need to know the right channels to speak to those looking to switch. In the ebook, we cover that, including data on how job switchers found out about new jobs and the biggest struggles they faced while switching.

By Allison Schnidman.

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10 Things You Can Control in Your Career

by savanna 15/01/2016

So often we are up against situations we simply cannot control. We tend to focus on the obstacles that get in our way, yet we have no control over them.

Here’s the good news. I’ve assembled a list of 10 things you can control right now, in your career and in your life, that will make a huge difference to your personal and professional success and happiness:

1. What You Do
Make no mistake. You are judged by your behaviors and your actions, not by your intent. We all have good intentions and we are inclined to measure ourselves by our intentions, yet we measure others by their actions. You control your behavior, and therefore how others judge you.

2. What You Say
There’s a saying that “God gave us two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” It’s good practice to listen more, say less, and think hard before you open your mouth to speak.

3. What You Think About and What You Believe
If you are not happy with your current situation, or if you don’t like the direction you are headed in, you can change your thoughts and thereby change your beliefs. Ultimately, what you think about, you bring about.
If you want a different job, a better life, or more money, change your thoughts from “I can’t”, “It’s not possible” and, “I’m not good enough” to “I can”, “It’s possible” and, “I’m good enough.” Be impeccable with your thoughts and your beliefs, as they control your results.

4. How Well You Do Your Job
“If it’s to be, it’s up to me” should be your motto when it comes to doing a good job. Take responsibility and accountability and put your best effort forward. Know you can make a difference.

5. Who You Choose to Associate With
You will be judged by the company you keep, so make sure you associate with high achievers and performers and not your organization’s well known complainers.

6. Your Attitude
You will achieve far more in your career and in your life if you consistently take the high road. Put your best foot forward and constantly demonstrate a positive attitude. Others prefer to associate with people who are generally optimistic and display a positive demeanor and attitude.

7. What Changes You’ll Make
You cannot change anyone else, you can only change yourself. It’s good to take stock regularly, and if there is any area of your life that is not working well then know that you can make changes.
Change isn’t always easy; it can take courage, sometimes even hard work, but the rewards are usually worth the effort.

8. What You Learn
There are lessons to be learned everywhere, including in all your successes and your failures. However, you have to be willing to take the time to review and analyze and to learn from your experiences.
There is a saying: “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” Always be the student, and be learning and growing.

9. What You Share
Be a teacher and a good mentor to others. Others have much to learn from you and your experience and you can be a role model to more junior people in your organization or industry. Give willingly.

10. Your Legacy
What do you wish to be remembered for when leaving behind your organization, your career, family or eventually your life? Be the best person you can be so that others remember you fondly and aspire to be like you.

So stop worrying about the things you cannot control and start taking action on all the things you can take control of right now.

By Linda Cattelan, Career & Life Coach and the President of Results Catalyst Inc. – a professional coaching and training company focused on individuals and teams to maximize human potential and to achieve personal and professional success.  Linda shares over 25 years of corporate experience, much of it at the senior executive level.  A superior track record coaching and mentoring senior managers, executives and entrepreneurs to consistently achieve outstanding results Linda is brilliant at using various self discovery techniques to facilitate getting at core issues instrumental for personal and professional breakthrough. Holding a Masters Degree in Business Administration, Linda is a Certified Trainer and Master Practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach.  Linda is a regular guest of radio and television and a Contributing Author of the inspirational and informative networking book, The Power of Women United.

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The “Star” Approach to Competency Based Interview Questions

by savanna 12/01/2016

COMPETENCY-BASED INTERVIEWS -THE “STAR” APPROACH
The acronym STAR stands for
Situation
Task
Action
Result.
It is a universally recognised communication technique designed to enable you to provide a meaningful and complete answer to questions asking for examples. At the same time, it has the advantage of being simple enough to be applied easily.
Many interviewers will have been trained in using the STAR structure. Even if they have not, they will recognise its value when they see it. The information will be given to them in a structured manner and, as a result, they will become more receptive to the messages you are trying to communicate.
Step 1 – Situation or Task
Describe the situation that you were confronted with or the task that needed to be accomplished. With the STAR approach you need to set the context. Make it concise and informative, concentrating solely on what is useful to the story. For example, if the question is asking you to describe a situation where you had to deal with a difficult person, explain how you came to meet that person and why they were being difficult. If the question is asking for an example of teamwork, explain the task that you had to undertake as a team.
Step 2 – Action
This is the most important section of the STAR approach as it is where you will need to demonstrate and highlight the skills and personal attributes that the question is testing. Now that you have set the context of your story, you need to explain what you did. In doing so, you will need to remember the following:
Be personal, i.e. talk about you, not the rest of the team.
Go into some detail. Do not assume that they will guess what you mean.
Steer clear of technical information, unless it is crucial to your story.
Explain what you did, how you did it, and why you did it.
What you did and how you did it
The interviewers will want to know how you reacted to the situation. This is where you can start selling some important skills. For example, you may want to describe how you used the team to achieve a particular objective and how you used your communication skills to keep everyone updated on progress etc.
Why you did it
For example; when discussing a situation where you had to deal with conflict, many candidates would simply say: “I told my colleague to calm down and explained to him what the problem was”. However, it would not provide a good idea of what drove you to act in this manner. How did you ask him to calm down? How did you explain the nature of the problem? By highlighting the reasons behind your action, you would make a greater impact. For example:
“I could sense that my colleague was irritated and I asked him gently to tell me what he felt the problem was. By allowing him to vent his feelings and his anger, I gave him the opportunity to calm down. I then explained to him my own point of view on the matter, emphasising how important it was that we found a solution that suited us both.”
This revised answer helps the interviewers understand what drove your actions and reinforces the feeling that you are calculating the consequences of your actions, thus retaining full control of the situation. It provides much more information about you as an individual and is another reason why the STAR approach is so useful.
Step 3 – Result
Explain what happened eventually – how it all ended. Also, use the opportunity to describe what you accomplished and what you learnt in that situation. This helps you make the answer personal and enables you to highlight further skills.
This is probably the most crucial part of your answer. Interviewers want to know that you are using a variety of generic skills in order to achieve your objectives. Therefore you must be able to demonstrate in your answer that you are taking specific actions because you are trying to achieve a specific objective and not simply by chance.

The Star Approach to Competency Based Questions

By  ISC Professional.

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7 Other Reasons to Consider Volunteering

by savanna 07/01/2016

I’m a huge advocate of volunteering, in its many guises.  We’ve all read the surveys telling us how much employers recognise the value of skills developed through voluntary work and it can indeed be a great way of developing the skills you need to break into the job market or push forward your career.  But the benefits of volunteering don’t end there.  Aside from the skills that you gain, there are a whole host of other reasons why volunteering may be a great activity to consider:

1)      It can cover gaps in your CV

If you are on a career break, for whatever reason, involvement in volunteering during this time will help to create the impression that you are a proactive person, which will then be viewed favourably by future employers

2)      It can provide you with new challenges

Perhaps you are feeling a little lacklustre and need to get your teeth into some new challenges and opportunities?  Volunteering may help you get your mojo back.

3)      It can be confidence building

Low confidence can be a real stumbling block for many, particularly those who may be unhappy at work or out of work.  Getting involved with new opportunities and seeing the results of your work can really help.

4)      It is rewarding

What’s not to love about that warm, fuzzy feeling of satisfaction, at the end of a stint of volunteering, knowing that you have helped – in whatever way – to make a difference?

5)      It allows you to experience diversity

Involvement in the wider community is sure to be an eye-opener and bring you into contact with a huge cross-section of people, including groups that you may have had little contact with before.  This can be very enriching.

6)      Can influence your career choices

Who knows, it may give you a whole new set of career goals.  It may help you to decide what you definitely want to do, but also alert you to the types of work that you are not so suited to and this can be equally important.

7)      You can make new friends and contacts

Let’s face it.  At the end of the day, it’s all about the ‘who you know’.  Volunteering may bring you into contact with people who can help your social life or your working life.

By Momemtun Career Advice Blog.

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3 Strategies To Retain Your Best Employees — And To Advance Their Careers

by savanna 06/01/2016

Do your employees really need to leave their jobs to advance their careers?

Apparently so.

A survey by the Gallup Organization found that 93 percent of American workers left their current employer the last time they changed roles!

It’s natural for employees to want to advance in their careers, but the tendency for workers to move out of their organizations instead of changing roles within their companies poses significant problems for employers.

Squandering opportunities

An obvious – and incredibly expensive – outcome of this revelation is the enormous cost of this employee churn. According to many estimates, it can cost up to 150 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace them.

And assuming that at least some – or perhaps many – of these employees were making significant contributions within their organizations, and may even have been capable of playing a much greater role, the opportunity loss is staggering.

Beyond the assault to the bottom line, Gallup warns that turnover can damage team dynamics due to the loss of an employee’s unique expertise and the burden of extra work other employees must shoulder until a replacement can be trained.

Further, losing talented, knowledgeable staff can be a drain on a company’s leadership pipeline, and rampant attrition can also take a toll on an organization’s carefully cultivated workplace culture.

3 strategies to keep your best employees

So what’s to be done to reverse this trend? Based on Gallup’s workplace expertise, they recommend the following strategies to help leaders select and retain their best employees.

  1. Hire the right people — When it comes to getting the best employees, Gallup’s science overwhelmingly supports a data-driven, talent-based approach. By working hard from the start to select individuals with the right talent for the role, organizations end up with workers who are the right fit for the company and the culture. These employees are more likely to become top performerswho use their strengths every day and are more likely to stay and grow within the organization.
  2. Mold jobs to people, not people to jobs — Playing to employees’ strengths is far more effective than trying to improve their weaknesses. When managers possess a deep understanding of their employees’ strengths, they’re able to shape each individual’s role to make the most of that person’s talents. This feeds employee engagement and motivates employees to stay. Crafting jobs to maximize people’s talents also builds stronger teams. By orchestrating each individual’s strengths to fit the team’s goals, leaders promote workgroup engagement and drive team performance.
  3. Keep managers committed and accessible — After an organization invests time and money in hiring great people, it’s in the organization’s best interest to help them continue to grow. This means putting great managers in place to provide ongoing performance feedback and to position employees for even greater success. But managers must demonstrate to their employees they care about them as individuals and about their personal goals. By making career mobility conversations a regular occurrence, managers can help employees stay on track with their aspirations.

Turnover is a challenge to measure — and manage

This will create a progressive culture – one employees don’t need to leave for a vocational refresh or to achieve their dreams. When workers feel comfortable talking with their managers they’re significantly more likely to be engaged in their work and more likely to remain with their company.

Regardless of an organization’s industry or size, turnover is a challenge that leaders need to measure and manage.

Fortunately, there are steps leaders can take to minimize the damage and keep their workforces strong. It benefits their organization to hire top talent and adopt strategies designed to keep their high-performing workers engaged and onboard.

A different version of this was originally published on the OC Tanner blog.

By Michelle M. Smith

Named as one of the 10 Best and Brightest Women in the incentive industry, a change maker, top idea maven, and President’s Award winner, Michelle M. Smith is a highly accomplished international speaker, author, and consultant on performance improvement. As Vice President of Marketing at Salt Lake City-based OC Tanner, a global recognition company that helps more than 6,000 clients worldwide appreciate people who do great work; Michelle is a respected authority on leadership, talent and employee engagement, and a trusted advisor to many of the world’s most successful organizations. She’s President Emeritus of the Incentive Marketing Association, Past President of the FORUM for People Performance at Northwestern University, among many other prestigious board positions past and present. Connect with her atMichelle.Smith@octanner.com or via LinkedIn or Twitter

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High Staff Turnover Rate? It’s NOT Always About The Money

by savanna 05/01/2016

Even though every talented person who ever left one job for another told their employer it was “for the money,” money is rarely the real reason anyone quits. Over the years, research studies have shown time and again that the number one reason people leave is because of their dissatisfaction with their manager or supervisor.

In addition to a good supervisor, there are four more things that everyone wants in a job, no matter what industry they’re in or which generation they belong to:

  • Good co-workers
  • Family-friendly workplace
  • Opportunities to learn and grow
  • Recognition (appreciation)

Are you delivering what’s needed to keep your best people on-board and happy?

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

About the Author

 

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit.
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Holiday Weekend Job Search Do’s and Don’ts

by savanna 31/12/2015

Can you afford to holiday from your job search on a holiday weekend?

Yes, you can. (And you should!)

You might vacation, you might have extended family meals and you might have friends hosting house parties. Enjoy them all and keep these few things in mind.

DON’T ACTIVELY JOB SEARCH ON A HOLIDAY WEEKEND

…unless you live in a country that has a holiday weekend every weekend (I’m looking at you, France every May).

A recent study said that many people get their best ideas in the shower because:

  1. A lot of dopamine is released in our brains. Triggers like exercising, listening to music, and, yes, taking a warm shower, contribute to increased dopamine flow.
  2. We’re relaxed. When we have a relaxed state of mind, we’re more likely to turn attention inwards, able to make insightful connections. 
  3. We’re distracted. Distraction gives our brains a break so our subconscious can work on a problem more creatively. 

Those conditions should hold true on holiday weekends too.

Not thinking about your job search could be the best thing for your job search.

DO ENJOY THE TIME AWAY (I HOPE)

…from your computer screen, job boards, email, application forms, LinkedIn messages to congratulate other people on their new jobs, cover letters, work portfolios, job fairs, followups, references,background checks, networking events, interview preparations, graphology tests, recruiters, job search blogs (ahem) and everything else related to your next paycheck.

DON’T BE EMBARRASSED TO TALK ABOUT YOUR JOB SEARCH

Millions of people are dealing with the same issues that you are, and millions more will begin to do so in the coming months. It might be uncomfortable and hard, even, but it’s normal and nothing to be ashamed about.

In fact, most of the adults you see or meet during your holiday weekend will have been through more than one job search of their own and will know what you’re going through.

DO BE PREPARED WITH A GOOD ANSWER TO “HOW’S YOUR JOB SEARCH?”

One of the reasons people are ashamed to admit they’re job hunting is because they don’t have good answers to that question, so when they hem and haw, it sounds like they’re not progressing or even sure what to do next.

That might even be true – it was for me on my first and second job searches – but that doesn’t mean you have to leave a bad impression by showing it outright.

Instead, have a good elevator pitch about what you do best and, if people bring it up, casually reply by asking if they know any companies that need people like you.

Mention your most recent job search success, no matter how small, such as an upcoming job interview or a compliment from a recruiter.

And finally…

DO BRING BUSINESS CARDS

Did you know that job seekers need business cards too?

Have simple but professional business cards that say you consult in your industry or area of expertise, and hand them out to those same questioners. They’ll come away impressed, the right way.

By Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

Originally published on JobMob

 

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My Application Forms Are Fine. So Why Aren’t I Getting Any Interviews?

by savanna 30/12/2015

You know you can do the job standing on your head.  You have filled out every section of the application form and submitted it well before the deadline.   So why are you still not getting interviews?

This is a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for a while now as it is a question I am asked a lot.  And in many cases, it is a situation that can be quite easily rectified.  The solution is in understanding the very specific short listing techniques that are being used.

Application forms are the standard application procedure for most public sector jobs,  so this can pose particular difficulties to people who are making the move, for the first time, from the private to the public sector and who, previously, have been used to a very different and less structured method of recruitment.  (Although, that said, many people within the public sector also struggle to translate their experience and skills properly on application forms).  In my experience, failure to be shortlisted for interview is usually down to one of four reasons:

1)      Quite simply, you are not qualified enough

Any vacancy for which a job description and person specification is provided makes this quite clear to see.  The person specification lays out in direct terms the skills and experience they are expecting applicants to have (and be able to prove).  If you don’t meet the majority of these criteria points, it is probably not worth applying.  Obviously this is a call that only you can make.  But bear in mind that the job market right now is very competitive and a decent application takes a lot of time to produce – you need to decide whether it is worth putting your time into this application, or whether your time would be better spent working on an application with a better skills match.

2)      Your application is not tailored strongly enough to the person specification

You need to locate 2 things here: the part of the form called ‘Supporting Statement’, ‘Supporting Information’ or similar, and the person specification.  It should tell you somewhere on the form or within the application notes that the supporting statement should be used to provide evidence on how you meet each individual point on the person spec.  And they really do mean this. The short-listers will quite literally use a grid to go through each applicants supporting statement one by one, and mark every criteria point with a tick, cross or question mark, depending on whether or not they feel the applicant has proved evidence of having this skill or experience.  Obviously, the more ticks you get, the higher the chance of being called to interview.  They will be looking for nothing more and nothing less at this point.  It really is all about the person spec criteria.

A mistake that I see a lot of people make is that they read through the job description and person spec, use it to get a rough idea of the job, and then use the supporting statement to write an unstructured and largely unrelated biography of their career to date, drawing out the qualities and skills that they feel may be most relevant, but which are not necessarily the skills and qualities that the person spec has asked for.  From the short-listers point of view it is very difficult and time consuming to have to scour through a lengthy and unordered text to try and pick out the specific skills that they are seeking.  By far the best way to approach this (and bear with me here, I know it may seem an odd method, but it really is the one that is mostly likely to get your short-listed) is to write out, word for word, each point of the person spec in order.  Then, below each individual point, produce a paragraph to show how you meet this specific criteria.  This way, the short-lister knows exactly where to find the information they are looking for and you will be able to make sure that your responses are covering ALL the criteria that is requested.  It leaves very little room for human error.

3)    You are not giving enough evidence of the skills you have

Believe me, this method of recruitment is all about giving sufficient evidence.  If the person spec states, for example, that you are to have a ‘flexible approach to work delivery’ it is quite simply not enough to write in your supporting statement “I am used to working flexibly in order to meet the demands of different customers”.  At best, that may get you a question mark, but never a tick.  By all means, use the above sentence as the start to you answer but don’t leave it there.  You need to go much deeper by relaying the details of a specific incident.  A useful technique here is known as S.T.A.R.  It involves you telling them what the situation was, describing the particular task at hand, describing your own actions, and finally letting them know the result. So, you need to be breaking it down bit by bit, and keeping a focus on the skills that you had to adopt or the methods you used in order to bring about positive results.  This method is really worth mastering as it is also essential for interview.

4) You have made the assumption that it is OK to leave certain information out of your supporting statement

I’m going to let you into a secret here: short-listing for interview is often based purely and solely on the supporting statement.  The rest of the application form may not even get a second glance at this stage.  It is a big mistake to leave information out of your supporting statement on the assumption that they have already gleaned it from your application form.  Assume nothing.  Write your supporting statement from scratch with the mind-set that they know nothing about you or your previous work history.  If the person spec is asking for 2 years’ experience in a management role, don’t expect them to go foraging through the rest of your application form to find this out.  Spell it out to them on your supporting statement, along with any further information you can give about what your management experience entails.  If the person spec asks for proficiency with Microsoft Office packages, don’t expect them to just assume this from your previous roles.  Again, you need to tell them about it on your supporting statement in order to get a tick in that particular box.

I am confident that by avoiding these 4 errors you will increase your chances of getting called to interview.  What I’ve witnessed many times in the past is that the people getting the interviews are not necessarily those with the best matched experience and skills, but they are those with the better understanding of the recruitment process.

Originally published on Momemtum Career Advice Blog

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50 Most Common Job Interview Questions

by savanna 29/12/2015

For candidates to do well at interviews, it is important candidates adequately prepare for it.

Although many factors can help you land a job, acing your interview is a critical component.

The online career site Glassdoor believes one of the best ways for job seekers to get ready for an interview is to practice their responses to any questions that may be asked.

“Over and over again, we see some very common interview questions asked at companies for nearly all job titles,” Scott Dobroski, a Glassdoor career trends analyst, told Business News Daily. “If you are aware and prepared for what is nearly always asked in any interview, you’ll start the interview off on a great foot.”

 Here are the 50 most common interview questions for 2015:
  1. What are your strengths?
  2. What are your weaknesses?
  3. Why are you interested in working for [insert company name here]?
  4. Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?
  5. Why do you want to leave your current company?
  6. Why was there a gap in your employment?
  7. What can you offer us that someone else cannot?
  8. What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
  9. Are you willing to relocate?
  10. Are you willing to travel?
  11. Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
  12. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
  13. What is your dream job?
  14. How did you hear about this position?
  15. What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/90 days on the job?
  16. Discuss your résumé.
  17. Discuss your educational background.
  18. Describe yourself.
  19. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
  20. Why should we hire you?
  21. Why are you looking for a new job?
  22. Would you work holidays/weekends?
  23. How would you deal with an angry or irate customer?
  24. What are your salary requirements?
  25. Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.
  26. Who are our competitors?
  27. What was your biggest failure?
  28. What motivates you?
  29. What’s your availability?
  30. Who’s your mentor?
  31. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
  32. How do you handle pressure?
  33. What is the name of our CEO?
  34. What are your career goals?
  35. What gets you up in the morning?
  36. What would your direct reports say about you?
  37. What were your bosses’ strengths/weaknesses?
  38. If I called your boss right now and asked him what is an area that you could improve on, what would he say?
  39. Are you a leader or a follower?
  40. What was the last book you’ve read for fun?
  41. What are your co-worker pet peeves?
  42. What are your hobbies?
  43. What is your favorite website?
  44. What makes you uncomfortable?
  45. What are some of your leadership experiences?
  46. How would you fire someone?
  47. What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?
  48. Would you work 40+ hours a week?
  49. What questions haven’t I asked you?
  50. What questions do you have for me?

Job seekers should never underestimate the importance of preparing for an interview. Dobroski said hiring managers can always tell when a candidate has spent time prepping for an interview.

“Try practicing answers to these questions out loud in front of a mirror, or ask a friend or family member to listen to your answers and give feedback,” he said. “Preparing this way may just give you the competitive edge you need to land the job.”

Most common job interview questions

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Career and Life Lessons From “A Christmas Carol”

by savanna 26/12/2015

There is something about the christmas season that brings out the best in some people. Generosity, happiness and positivity are amongst the expressive feelings that this festive season brings out. In light of my festive spirit, I decided to watch Patrick Stewart´s adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. As I watch this classic, I began seeing it from a different perspective. Perhaps my new perspective stems from the significant changes I have most recently experienced in my life, but nonetheless I feel an exhilarated desire to share it with you all.

Engrossed in watching “A Christmas Carol,” I realised 5 major career and even life lessons from this classic.

1. Reflection of the past, to assess the present, in order to live a better future

Looking at our past can help us analyse our present. Reflection is a great way to reignite your motivations and goals. It can humble us and re-establish our appreciation of the efforts we have gone through to get to where we are now. We always hear about the importance of forward thinking, but it is by looking at the past we see the reasons why. Our present can make us lose touch of why it is we are doing what we are doing. Looking back into our past can give us clarity, to alter our present and create a better future.

2. Dealing with difficult people

The stem of why Ebenezer Scrooge turned into a bitter and reclusive man, is seen in his past. As a child he often felt unwanted by his family and experienced bullying from the other children in his boarding school. He was sent away to boarding school and was often left behind to spend christmas on his own.

‘Yes!’ said the child, brimful of glee. ‘Home, for good and all. Home, for ever and ever. Father is so much kinder than he used to be, that home’s like Heaven! He spoke so gently to me one dear night when I was going to bed, that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home; and he said Yes, you should; and sent me in a coach to bring you. And you’re to be a man!’ said the child, opening her eyes,’and are never to come back here; but first, we’re to be together all the Christmas long, and have the merriest time in all the world.’

This passage spoken by Ebenezer Scrooge´s sister Fan, provides an insight into Scrooge´s situation. It can be assumed in her dialogue that Scrooge grew up in home with a cruel father and although not literally mentioned, it can be assumed that Scrooge´s mother is dead.

Dealing with difficult people at work or in life is not the best of situations. At times it can create a negative energy and frustration. In dealing with negative attitudes, it is important to incorporate a level of empathy, not necessarily in a detailed sense, but with a consideration that this person may be going  through or has gone through a tough time in their life. There may be other reasons for their attitude and it is important to not let their behaviour get to you. It is also vital not to take their attitude personally and hold a grudge, doing so could worsen the relationship further. Try to create a comfortable and supportive environment, even if they do not want to tell their situation, you can in the least, create an atmosphere where they feel they have a positive outlet.

Likewise, if you are the person who has been or is going through a tough time, it is important to communicate these feelings. Your communication does not have to be detail, but say enough to ensure that people are aware and have an understanding of your situation. Releasing your feeling could also help you react to other people better.

3. Don’t let your ambitions be your whole life

Part of Scrooge´s bitterness stems the rejection he felt when his fiancee, Belle, broke off their engagement. During this time Scrooge´s fear of poverty fuelled his greed and desire succeed. His main focus was to succeed and everything else in took a back seat.

“There is nothing on which is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth!” – Scrooge´s view

“You fear the world too much,” she answered, gently. “All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you. Have I not?” – Belle´s response

Belle´s response of “ I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one,” can be understood as Scrooge losing sight of his main goals.  Hiss fears have consumed him to forget other importances in life.

It is important that we see our ambitions as a part of us and not all of us. If we let our occupational or monetary achievement define us, we run the risk of neglecting other factors of life that can make even happier. We run the risk of losing sight of who or why we are doing it in the first place.

4. Effective Management style

“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy, to make our service light or burdensome, a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks, in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to count ‘em up; what then? The happiness he gives us is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.” – In this passage Ebenezer Scrooge refers to his old mentor Mr. Fezziwig. On his journey through his pass, he was able to reflect back to see the happiness and motivation he felt whilst working for Mr. Fezziwig.

5. It is never too late to change

I often hear people saying that “This is how I have always been” or “I can´t change the way I am now.” “A Christmas Carol” presents the perfect lesson, that everyone is capable of changing, no matter what stage of your life you are at. It only requires the willingness to want to change for the better.

It can be considered that one of the major reasons why people believe that they cannot change, is because they fear the actual process of change. Scrooge, he had to face hard truths about his life and the negative perceptions that people had about him. In a way Scrooge had it easy because he was forced to these realizations by the three christmas ghosts. We unfortunately need force ourselves to take the initiative to change and this in itself can be a major deterrent from change.

Perhaps I am stating the obvious, however, it don´t suppose it would hurts to remind those who may have forgotten.

Originally published on bloguk.jobandtalent.com

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Being Truly Flexible

by savanna 24/12/2015

I’ve recently seen some research about what employees really want at work when it comes to benefits.

Top of the list was flexible working.  Above and beyond those benefits that actually cost employers to provide like cars, or healthcare, or vouchers and the like, and all of those other things that we often offer or include in flexible benefits schemes.  What people (two thirds of those surveyed) wanted more than anything else, and more than employers were actually offering it, was flexibility.

For many of us, the Monday to Friday 9-5 is predominantly what we do and how we work.  The promise about work being something that we do rather than somewhere we go, simply hasn’t delivered.  Our working hours and practices are culturally hardwired.  Tradition.  But the thing about many traditions, is that when we step back and take a long, hard look, they aren’t really all that necessary or important or even sensible.  And we certainly wouldn’t invent them all over again if we started from new.

Here’s the thing.  Many flexible working arrangements cost the organisation precisely zero.  Not one single pound.  Nowt, as they say where I live.  Or at the very least, significantly less than the other reward and engagement activities that we are happy to spend our corporate cash on.

Compressed hours, reduced hours, changing when and where work is done, finishing early for the school run, travelling outside the rush hour, a day a week from home.  The investment required isn’t so much financial as it is an investment in a little bit of effort and a little bit of trust.  And of course, the willingness to try and step out of the old routine.

It is becoming clear that if you don’t offer flexible working, you are missing out on one of your biggest potential opportunities around retention, engagement and candidate attraction. And when I say ‘offer’ flexible working, let me be a little bit more specific.  I don’t mean doing the statutory minimum, and only saying yes to a mum returner if you can’t come up with a reason to say no.  I mean building it in to what you do, when the roles in question genuinely allow it.  Talking about it at the recruitment stage.  Making it part of your employment offering.  Welcoming the discussion from anyone.  Educating your managers on the benefits.  Challenging those who take a default no position.  No snarky comments.  No one feeling like they have to apologise for working differently.  Not only making flexible working possible but actively embracing it.

It appears that more people want flexibility than can get it, or feel like they can ask for it.  This means it is both an opportunity and a threat.  An opportunity to offer something truly valuable to your people, that will engage and retain and attract.  Or a threat, because if you can’t or won’t get flexible, then maybe they will go somewhere else that can and will.

By Gemma Reucroft.

Published on hrgemblog.com

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6 Rules for Addressing a Cover Letter

by savanna 23/12/2015

While perusing the job advertisements of your favorite career site, you’ve just found a position that seems tailor-made for you. That’s a common scenario, but unfortunately, one that often strikes fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned job seekers. After all, there are a lot of steps to go through between locating a job and actually getting it. One of the first involves addressing a cover letter appropriately.

Addressing it properly is important because first impressions can make a big difference. However, being unsure how to get started could create a big roadblock. That’s especially true when you need to write a cover letter that does not go to a specific person. Fortunately, after reading the essential rules below, you’ll feel well-equipped to write a cover letter that shows recruiters and hiring managers you’re in this career-bettering game to win a job that meets or exceeds your hopes and dreams.

Don’t Call the Company to Get a Name

For years, you’ve probably heard about how important it is to not just come across professionally when writing a cover letter, but to also make your content authentic. It shouldn’t seem like a particular cover letter is the same one you’ve given to numerous other hiring managers, without even a sentence of personalization.

However, it’s not necessary to call the company to find out the name of the person doing the hiring. Hiring managers may see that as overkill, and you’re not likely to lose points if the letter is not addressed to the hiring manager by name.

Do Your Research

The tip above doesn’t let you off the hook and permit you to use a totally generic greeting in all cases. In the Internet age, it’s usually easier than you may think to figure out the name of the person responsible for hiring. Start by tapping into resources like LinkedIn. Doing a Google search or looking at the company’s website to check for biographies of employees are also useful things to try.

If it is not clear which person is hiring for your desired position, address your letter to the individual who’s the head of the respective department. That shows you went to a lot of effort, and even if someone at a lower level in the department is handling hiring duties, you shouldn’t be at fault for addressing your letter to a person who’s higher up.

Don’t Assume a Human Resources Professional Is the Recipient

If you have hunted for a specific name thoroughly but still come up blank, avoid simply addressing the letter, “Dear HR Professional.” That greeting may not be accurate, because there’s a chance the person who’s hiring for this position doesn’t normally work in human resources. If you are in this situation, it’s preferable to instead refer to the recipient as a hiring manager. Even if the person does not ordinarily handle hiring, he or she is doing that in this instance, so the greeting works.

Be Careful With Gender-Specific Titles

Err on the side of caution if you find out the name of the hiring manager but realize you’re still not sure of the person’s gender. For example, the names Shelby and Shannon are just two of dozens of names that could be given to either a man or woman.

If you’re lucky enough to find a picture of the hiring manager along with the name, it may help you determine the individual’s gender with certainty. If you’re not that fortunate, avoid starting with Mr., Mrs., Sir, Madam, Ms. or Miss. Instead, just use the person’s full name by saying, for example, “Dear Shannon Smith.”

Maintain Formality When Addressing Multiple People

A job posting may outline how the hiring process will go and mention you will only be contacted for an interview if your skills and experience can impress a hiring committee. In that case, don’t assume it’s okay to begin your letter with a “Hello,” or “Hi,” just because you’re addressing several people instead of one.

Use the same language that was described to you in the job ad when making your greeting. If the listing for the open job says, “Qualified applicants will be contacted no later than August 31 after the selection panel narrows down the candidate pool,” address your letter by saying, “Dear Selection Panel,” or “Dear Selection Panel Members.”

Going with that approach doesn’t just demonstrate you took care to be professional. It also shows you have read the job advertisement thoroughly and have a clear understanding of what it’ll take to be hired.

Proofread Carefully to Check for Misspelled Names

You could negate all the hard work performed to address a cover letter as completely as possible just by failing to spell the name carefully. Academy Award-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is a case in point when it comes to reminding us all how many names are difficult to spell.

All parts of your cover letter should be proofread. extremely diligently to check for mistakes and sections that may be unclear. However, many people just glance quickly over the part of a cover letter that addresses the recipient. It’s such a small part of the overall composition that it’s understandable you might just tell yourself, “I’m sure that’s spelled right,” without actually checking it. However, that’s a very dangerous stance to take. You can be sure if you did happen to spell the addressee’s name wrong, he or she will immediately notice that blunder.

A properly addressed cover letter doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a job, of course, but it’ll more than likely give you a leg up on candidates who weren’t so careful with the opening of their letters. Rather than automatically going with an overly formal and generic address such as, “To Whom It May Concern,” use the advice above to show you’re willing to work harder than many to stand out from the pack.

By Sarah Landrum.

Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and Digital Marketing Specialist. She is also the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to sharing advice on navigating the work world.

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These Four HR Mistakes Are Causing The Most Lawsuits

by savanna 23/12/2015

It’s a litigious world out there.

Although today employers and applicants are exquisitely aware of employment laws, it’s common for people to file EEOC complaints and lawsuits for things that a generation ago would not have caused anyone to bat an eye.

Here are four of the biggest mistakes HR teams are making that are resulting in lawsuits for their employers and how you can avoid them:

1. Being too passive about risk management

Some people seem to think that if their compliance effort consists of keeping binders updated, the latest Labor Department posters on the breakroom bulletin board, and crossing items off of government lists, that these acts will be a magic talisman.

Unfortunately today, that’s not good enough and indeed was always the bare minimum.

HR professionals need to be proactive, staying on top of developments in state and federal regulation and compliance issues, monitoring key legal developments, and actively reaching out to managers and executives to educate them and give them the knowledge necessary to preventing needless risk exposure to the company.

2. Misclassify employees as independent contractors

The IRS and U.S. Department of Labor ha

It’s a litigious world out there.

Although today employers and applicants are exquisitely aware of employment laws, it’s common for people to file EEOC complaints and lawsuits for things that a generation ago would not have caused anyone to bat an eye.

Here are four of the biggest mistakes HR teams are making that are resulting in lawsuits for their employers and how you can avoid them:

1. Being too passive about risk management

Some people seem to think that if their compliance effort consists of keeping binders updated, the latest Labor Department posters on the breakroom bulletin board, and crossing items off of government lists, that these acts will be a magic talisman.

Unfortunately today, that’s not good enough and indeed was always the bare minimum.

HR professionals need to be proactive, staying on top of developments in state and federal regulation and compliance issues, monitoring key legal developments, and actively reaching out to managers and executives to educate them and give them the knowledge necessary to preventing needless risk exposure to the company.

2. Misclassify employees as independent contractors

The IRS and U.S. Department of Labour been clamping down on this one, big time,

in recent years. It’s tempting for employers keen to avoid paying overtime and providing health insurance, unemployment insurance and workers compensation  to look the other way when people hired ostensibly as independent contractors are actually functioning as statutory employees.

Your role as an HR professional should be to help advise supervisors and management on what they can and cannot expect of anyone working as an independent contractor, and to help prevent the company from accidentally or deliberately violating the Fair labour Standards Acts .

A 2014 decision from the Labour Relations Board has actually made it easier for workers to claim they were misclassified as employees.

And another decision last month may make it much trickier for franchisors to limit the damage from franchisees misclassifying workers from reaching the franchisor level.

The risk situation has changed substantially. make it your business to know the rules –

be the “subject matter expert” in your company – and help your employers comply with the law.

3. Place discriminatory language in job ads

Sure, most HR professionals know better than to place a job ad that reads “no Irish need apply.” We’ve come a long way.

But in today’s environment, business owners, hiring managers and human resource professionals must be extremely aware of the language they use both in written advertisements and in interviews.

For example: Do you want someone with solid computer skills for a position? Then advertise for the specific set of skills that you want. But if you advertise for a “cutting-edge digital native,” you could well run into problems.

The use of the phrase ‘digital native’ could imply age discrimination, which would be a clear violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which among many other provisions also prohibits any expressions of age preference language in job postings.  You’ll cause similar exposure for liability if you post ads looking for ‘recent grads’ or language that can be interpreted as discouraging older applicants.

4. Ask an illegal, discriminatory interview question

Most veteran HR workers know the basics here. There are some questions you just can’t ask an applicant, because you will create the inference of illegal discrimination.

It’s not that the question’s illegal to ask, but if there is a lawsuit, the burden of proof will be on the employer to demonstrate that the company did not violate Title V11 of Civil Right Acts 1964  (which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, creed, sex or national origin), the ADEA (mentioned above), the Americans with Disability Acts (ADA)or other applicable state or federal laws.

There are also problems with workplace interview questions concerning marital status, children, arrest or conviction record, your status as a veteran, or whether you are pregnant or have plans to have children. If you ask a question about any of these aspects of an applicant’s life, you leave the door wide open to accusations of illegal discrimination.

To stay out of trouble, focus on the requirements of the job itself.  Don’t ask if the applicant has small children and when they have to be picked up from day care. Focus on whether the job requires evening work and whether the applicant can commit to that requirement.

As long as you keep the inquiry strictly focused on job requirements and do not bring up religion, age (other than to ensure the applicant is legally able to work), race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy or children, marital status (except where the applicant asks about benefits for family members) or anything that might be a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the ADA, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act or anything else in federal or state employment law, you should be OK.

Some examples of “Ask This Not That!”

  • Ask, “Are you available on Saturdays?” Not, “Do you keep the Jewish Sabbath?”
  • Ask, “Can you work every weekend?” Not, “Are you in the Guard or Reserves?
  • Ask, “What hours are you available?” Not, “Do you have children you need to pick up from school in the afternoon?
  • Ask, “Can you speak fluent Spanish?,” Not, “What country are you from?”
  • Ask, “Are you currently using illegal drugs?” Not, “When was the last time you used illegal drugs?” (Inquiries into one’s status as a recovering drug addict may violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.)

It can be tempting to skim over these processes in order to save time. But paying close attention to them will pay off for you and your company in the long run.

This was originally published on the Tuition.IO blog.

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If You Want A Great Workforce Don’t Use These 5 Traditional Hiring Practices

by savanna 22/12/2015

Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, famously said,

“The secret to my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.”

Hiring the best people in the world is an exceptionally high standard that many companies aspire to reach. But, how can you expect to hire innovative teammates without innovative hiring practices?

If your business is suffering from low morale and high turnover rates due to ineffective employee recruitment and hiring practices, it may be time to reevaluate your methods.

Here are the top five hiring mistakes companies make and how to correct them:

1. Using a traditional job description

Job descriptions that focus on tasks rather than expectations convey low standards by emphasizing minimum requirements. This is a problem in any company where performance is low or even average.

Show me poor performance and I’ll show you a traditional job description.

But the problem is compounded because job descriptions are the key ingredient in ads when openings occur. If you’re using a traditional job description, chances are you’re recruiting the same low performers who are leaving the company. What a vicious cycle!

To hire all-stars, you must describe the job in terms that are challenging and persuasive to the type of candidate you seek. The job description should create a vision of the value the job contributes to the organization and communicate the highest expectations for performance.

If you want your job to stand out from other companies, write it in terms that will appeal to all-stars.

2. Using traditional methods to attract candidates

Most organizations use a handful of techniques to recruit new employees, leaving leaders struggling to fill openings because high-quality candidates don’t often look to generic job boards or Craigslist. Moreover, today’s top performers won’t respond to old-fashioned ads that fail to inspire them to tackle challenges or improve already valuable skill sets.

To attract the best talent, recruiting campaigns should be thoughtful and persuasive. Spend time composing ads that showcase your company culture, and describe positions in more dynamic ways. And ask your team for ideas about unique recruiting outlets.

3. Using a traditional hiring process

The hiring process used by most organizations involves multiple one-on-one interviews that exhaust candidates and stifle collaboration among team members. Or worse, only one interview occurs and the process is minimized by relying on just one person’s judgement.

Then we use traditional questions like, “Why should we hire you? Why do you want to work here? What are your weaknesses?

Most people can recite the top ten interview questions by heart and have also visited sites coaching them on the “right” answers to each. Traditional interview questions may make it easier to hire fast, but they won’t help identify the best candidates. Interviews should not help you decide whether applicants can do the job, but instead how they will.

Think outside the box and employ radically different techniques, such as peer hiring teams, interviewing for attributes, and job simulations. Using these methods will dramatically improve your ability to find and hire the best candidates.

4. Ignoring cultural fit

One big reason new hires fail is because they don’t fit the company culture. Cultural fit is a critical component of employee success and also impacts a team’s morale and its ability to execute tasks.

Your company’s culture — its values and how they are demonstrated, as well as the characteristics defining the way team members work together and with stakeholders — is the DNA of your organization.

When cultural fit isn’t ignored in interviews, it’s often addressed using traditional questions that candidates can easily “pass” by regurgitating the “right” answers.

A better alternative is to solicit the help of employees who embody the culture of your company to participate in a hiring team. Then, identify applicants who are a good fit using a behavior-based interview process to evaluate their personal attributes and character.

5. Sourcing candidates from a temporary agency

Outsourcing the discovery of your most valued assets — your team members — to a third party that isn’t familiar to your standards or company culture is like playing a game of “hiring roulette.”

It might work sometimes, but it’s not a winning strategy for building a team of champion players.

In industries like manufacturing, this is a common practice that often contributes to an unstable, untrained, and unreliable workforce. An HR manager at a major manufacturing company described it like this:

We call the temp service on a Friday to get staffed for the following week. Many who show up on Monday don’t even make it through the day. By Wednesday or Thursday, we’re calling again to get all new staff for the next week.”

This kind of pressure to fill openings can lead to some desperate decisions — like opening the door to anyone who can fog a mirror. But now is not the time to lower your hiring standards; now is the time to raise them. Stop the cycle of turnover and sinking moral by using the above methods to raise standards, engage team members, and set high expectations.

By employing simple and creative recruitment, interviewing, and training practices, you can replace low morale and high turnover rates with a positive company culture and a top-notch team of reliable employees.

Author: Sue Bingham, founder and principal of HPWP Consulting, has been at the forefront of the positive business movement for 30 years. She’s driven to create high-performing workplaces by partnering with courageous leaders who value the contributions of team members.

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4 Reasons Why HR Will Be A lot Different In 2016

by savanna 22/12/2015

I’ve been around HR for awhile, and very few trends are sticky.

So let me be the first to contradict myself and tell you that 2016 is a pivotal year for HR. Here are four (4) good reasons why human resources will be different next year.

1. It’s an election year

Right now, everybody is talking about Donald Trump. But, the real election kicks off in June, and most of the issues you care about are work-related.

When I worked in human resources, nobody wanted to offer a political opinion. Next year, look for a change. Your HR business partner has a viewpoint on everything from the H1-B Visa Cap to paid time off policies, and she’s not afraid to express an opinion.

2. HR leaders are getting younger and bolder

I don’t know when the heck this happened, but as I was getting older, HR started getting younger.

Millennials are now assuming leadership roles, and they don’t care if you take them seriously because they know how to influence managers and score serious points with executive leadership teams. You’re talking about the good old days when kids gave a damn while a 32-year-old recruiting manager is out-maneuvering you on the executive battlefield.

It sucks to lose to HR, but you’ll lose more than you win in 2016.

3. HR won’t do as much HR stuff

Automation killed the need for a pool of payroll ladies, and it killed off the need for a local HR representative to update personnel files.

The best HR professionals in the game do a weird mix of managing projects, running interference between finance and IT, and coaching directors on how to lead more effectively. Or something like that. If you think you can summarize the average HR professional’s day in simple language, your wrong.

Every day is different, and it usually doesn’t look like HR.

4. HR will be as analytical, if not more so, than any other department

Your HR department is turning into a nerd factory, and I don’t entirely hate it.

Successful businesses make decisions using data and good judgment, and you can’t make good decisions if you keep repeating the same mistakes from the past. HR departments will employ more analysts in 2016, and I only hope they keep hiring people with good intuition.

All of the data in the world won’t stop your projects and initiatives from failing if you aren’t courageous enough to raise your voice when something is wrong.

Actually, I’m looking forward to 2016

I’m not fearless enough to predict that 2016 will be the year of HR, but I do know one thing: it certainly won’t be the year of accounting. Why the heck not HR?

So if you work in human resources, remember to come back here at the end of 2016 to see how many of my predictions come true. I’m betting that my odds are pretty good.

By Laurie Ruettimann

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