08 May 2012 · Connect
When was the last time you spoke to the referees listed on your CV?
It is of constant bemusement to me, how many people listed on resumes as character referees are unavailable, contact information is out of date, or information is just wrong.
This week has been absolutely chaotic with over 200 applications for Home Care Support roles for a large social services provider.
But even when we have copious applications for a handful of roles we still take the utmost care checking each application and ensuring that every person who takes the time to apply receives full and fair consideration.
After eliminating obviously unsuitable candidates, often referring to other roles or retaining information on file, many hours are consumed checking references.
If we are unable to contact your nominated referee we will use all the tools at our disposal to find the person and try to speak to them. Often this involves international calls, internet searches and general skulduggery.
As a last resort we’ll call you for more information.
This too often reveals surprises with numbers listed incorrectly, emails that don’t work or old addresses long since abandoned.
However, we never abandon your file, or file in the too-hard basket, but incorrect information does tell us a lot about you.
Let’s be fair, people move on, change companies and roles, move, die, start new careers and even retire. It’s not unusual for information to change quite quickly without your knowledge.
Yet a litany of errors on your file will definitely undermine your efforts and ours.
Not only does it take us longer to process not only your application, but it also slows down the entire recruiting process.
You can improve your odds of success by regularly touching base with your referees, letting them know you’re in the job market and ensuring that their phone, email, title and company have not changed.
It may even be wise to send them a current copy of your CV. They may offer helpful advice, or even forward it on to colleagues looking for someone like you.
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17 Apr 2012 · Connect
I work with a selection of IT companies including web developers looking for skilled developers, designers and data jokeys.
I've noticed a trend job seekers are adopting. I'm recvieving a lot more creative approachs to CVs. In short, they’re using elements of multimedia—video, infographics, and social media—to bring their resumes to life.
While there are certain guidelines that you should always follow when submitting a resume regardless of mode of delivery, there are a couple of multimedia elements a candidate can tap into to get that extra ommph into his or her resume:
Adding a Face and Voice with Video
By replacing a cover letter with a quick video pitch, job seekers can showcase skills and abilities lost in translation in a traditional resume. As Bruce Hurwitz of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing says, “Video can increase my confidence in a candidate’s ability to successfully interview–Is she professional? Is he articulate?–or eliminate a candidate from consideration.” Of course, time is money, and candidates need to give recruiters a reason to keep watching. My advice: personality is great, but don’t get too cute. Balance is key.
Bringing Flat Resumes to Life with Infographics
Breaking out of the traditional resume template isn’t easy without a degree in design. But presenting a recruiter with a more visually stimulating overview of experience and qualifications can go a long way in setting a candidate apart. Thankfully, it doesn’t take an Adobe Illustrator savant to turn a boring old resume into an interesting infographic. Not only are these easy to create, but they’re easy to share across multiple channels.
Showing Off with Blogs and Personal Sites
Blogs are an excellent platform for candidates to showcase their hobbies, writing and communication skills, and general interests. Think they’re just for marketing candidates? Think again. Even a meat cutter at Whole Foods can run a successful butcher blog to establish expertise and share experience with an avid audience. And who said blogs are just for writing? Techies can demonstrate their ability to build WordPress templates, too, or simply prove they know how to find and add plug-ins to build websites. And candidates for artistic positions can showcase their portfolio of work.
The employment market is exceptionally tough right now and thinking outside the traditional cube may give you the edge you need to succeed to secure a desirable position.
Please feel fre to use the comment link below to offer sugestions, ask questions, critique or comment.
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03 Apr 2012 · Connect
A lot of my recent work has involved looking at employee engagement within companies I work with.
While checking out relevent research on-line I discovered this insightful article.
This article sets out to illustrate a simple approach to increasing employee engagement.
The formula for raising engagement levels is simple and it works, says John Laurent. Develop leaders who value finding out from employees what is wrong, and help leaders to help employees fix what is wrong.
According to a Towers Perrin study of 90,000 employees in 18 countries conducted in 2007-2008, “companies with the most engaged employees had a 19 percent increase in operating income during the previous year, while those with the lowest levels had a 32 percent decline.”
Studies also show that only 20 percent of employees are fully engaged, 40 percent are capable but not committed, and 40 percent are disenchanted and disengaged.
With the right toolkit and with support from the top, a facilitator can apply the process and, where it is followed to its conclusion, a measured increase in employee engagement will occur.
Leaders who are interested in finding out from staff what they really think is wrong and then acting on this are relatively rare.
Too often, workforce perceptions are dismissed as “vague and woolly”, “not relevant to improving the bottom line” or “critical of the leader or others and therefore embarrassing, contagious, hurtful, spiteful, disruptive, etc”. In my opinion these leaders are misguided.
This also means that the majority of leaders and professionals operate to some degree in a more defensive mode.
Coaching and training will be required to move them in the direction prescribed by the ideal leader model. It is not my intention to explore leadership development in detail except to point out how problem-solving facilitation supports leadership growth.
The orientations of the most effective leaders are:
•High Achievement meaning motivated by own goals, seeking problems to fix and wanting to understand problems before deciding, seeking excellence, acting to improve things.
•High Self Actualising meaning non-defensive about self and wanting to understand what is real rather than phoney.
•High Humanistic Encouraging meaning sees best in others, seeking to develop others and involve others in decisions that affect them.
The following examples are typical of problems that were sitting under the surface in actual teams.
Once these were put on the table the teams were able to implement solutions that made a lot of sense and moved the organisations forward.
A manufacturing company supervisory team identified a pattern of misunderstanding in the communication between the schedulers and supervisors. When remedied, this lead to savings of half a day per month in production set up times. Opportunity grasped.
An inwards goods store team were concerned about the number of times they rejected consignments from a supplier owing to their own company’s changing schedules. When they measured the frequency of the problem, they found it didn’t happen as often as they thought and when they shared this data with their supplier they were told they were one of the more reliable customers. Problem disappeared.
A team identified the behavior of one member as their biggest problem. The resulting uproar was uncomfortable at the time, but the disrupter left the company and performance improved significantly. Problem solved.
A senior team followed the process of dealing with their problems right through a long list. Not only did their own team’s engagement (as measured in a survey) increase substantially, but their change had the effect of substantially increasing the entire firm’s measured engagement levels—an unforeseen benefit.
Some points to note
•Emphasis needs to be on team members, not managers, implementing the actions wherever possible.
•Some problems, after discussion, are unable to be solved (eg, world economic conditions). However, sometimes just recognising this helps get the problem into perspective.
•I am always surprised how creative teams can be when they brainstorm solutions to seemingly intractable problems. In large complex organisations, many problems stem from the actions of other departments. This is not to say that teams are helpless victims of others’ actions. Often the solutions involve simply talking to the other department, involving them in solving the problem or recording statistical data and providing feedback.
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27 Mar 2012 · Connect
If you're like me, you like to keep up with developments in your industry.
The following is reproduced from http://www.hrinzblog.org.nz
This guest post was provided by University Alliance on behalf of the online programs from Villanova University. Villanova offers an HR masters online as well as other HR management courses.
It is an interesting perspective on employee engagement and the benefits to business.
How to encourage employee engagement
When employees are engaged, they are positive about their jobs, their employer and their role in the company’s success. They believe that what they are doing is important; this empowered approach carries on to their interactions with customers and co-workers.
During economic difficulties or other challenging periods in a company’s lifecycle, employees may become anxious about the firm’s future. They worry about job security. Stress levels increase and customer service can be negatively affected. These are the times when employee engagement becomes even more important.
Committed employees are your company’s best asset.
Committed employees have a significant influence on business performance, productivity and profitability, as well as customer satisfaction and retention. How can you tell an employee is committed? By the positive qualities they demonstrate, such as:
- Realistic expectations
If you’re a manager with disengaged staff members, you should work toward increasing their engagement. Making the effort can result in positive impacts on customers and other team members.
It can also result in a greater effort from other employees. In addition, since employees who consider themselves disengaged are more likely to leave, increasing engagement encourages employees to stay with the company.
It’s clear that fully engaged employees make a big difference in a company’s success, and that learning how to increase engagement can really pay off.
What can supervisors do to motivate staffers? Draw on your leadership skills to get insight on what motivates your employees. Encourage communication and keep them involved in decision-making.
Try these proactive tips:
Conduct a survey to gather data and understand the drivers behind employee engagement.
Help employees formulate goals and set objectives.
Provide feedback on performance and discuss ways to improve.
Ask employees to assess how their skills match up with their job responsibilities, where they excel and where they fall short.
Encourage employees to contribute to the team’s goals by learning new skills.
Provide mentoring opportunities for employees who would benefit from them.
You can create a company culture of employee engagement by increasing your efforts to foster open communication, employee appreciation and value.
Engage employees through open communication and appreciation
. Engaged employees feel comfortable asking questions, offering suggestions and providing feedback. But to keep them engaged, communication must flow in both directions.
Management can contribute to open communication in a variety of ways. Providing clear expectations: Employees want to know how they can contribute to the organization, and what “doing a good job” looks like.
Giving timely feedback: When employees have to wait for feedback – or don’t receive it at all – morale suffers.
Sharing financial information: Knowing how their efforts contribute to the company’s objectives gives employees a sense of ownership.
Using social media to create community: More firms are using social media to engage employees and improve communication.
Showing appreciation is another important component of engagement. While your staff will enjoy monetary incentives and rewards, other forms of positive reinforcement can be just as effective.
Simple ways to show appreciation include saying “thank you” more often, sending staffers notes of encouragement, or hosting an employee appreciation event.
Open communication and appreciation tell employees that what they are doing is important – in short, that they are valuable. And all employees want to feel valued.
Showing employees they are valued
Once you’ve worked toward encouraging engagement through open communication and demonstrating appreciation, you can take your efforts up a notch.
Developing employees to become more valuable to the company is the final step in building a fully engaged staff.
Investing in employees demonstrates their value to the company. Start by encouraging them to take ownership of their positions. Share your resources with employees who want a future with the company. Provide opportunities for career advancement. And finally, be the example of a committed, engaged employee yourself. You may be surprised at how your efforts will motivate your staff to engage and perform.
Who do you want working for you: dismal, disinterested or bitter employees? Or happy, appreciative employees who contribute ideas and produce great work? The difference between these two options is engagement. Engaged employees improve a company in every way – from customer loyalty to profitability.
Follow these tips, and you can be on your way to enjoying the many advantages of an engaged workforce.
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20 Mar 2012 · Connect
Nonverbal communication is the single most powerful form of communication.
Some experts believe that over 90% of communication is non-verbal.
It’s important because very few people can consciously manipulate their non-verbal cues.
We’ve all had that feeling that something isn’t all it seems to be when interviewing someone or chatting with colleagues.
That’s because non verbal cues either support or contradict spoken messages. Even the pace or style of speech contributes to the non-verbal equation.
It’s more than just body language.
More than voice or even words, nonverbal communication cues you in to what is on another person’s mind.
Nonverbal communication ranges from facial expression to body language. Gestures, signs, use of space and pace or information delivery.
Here are several tips for improving your reading of nonverbal information. No matter your position at work, improving your skill in interpreting nonverbal communication will add to your ability to share meaning with another person.
Correct interpretation of nonverbal communication will add depth to your ability to communicate.
Tips for Understanding Nonverbal Communication
•Recognize that people communicate on many levels. Watch their facial expressions, eye contact, posture, hand and feet movements, body movement and placement, and appearance and passage as they walk toward you. Every gesture is communicating something if you listen with your eyes. Become accustomed to watching nonverbal communication and your ability to read nonverbal communication will grow with practice.
•If a person’s words say one thing and their nonverbal communication says another, you should listen to the nonverbal communication – and that is usually the correct decision.
•Assess job candidates based on their nonverbal communication. You can read volumes from how the applicant sits in the lobby. The nonverbal communication during an interview should also elucidate the candidate’s skills, strengths, weaknesses, and concerns for you.
•Probe nonverbal communication during an investigation or other situation in which you need facts and believable statements. Again, the nonverbal may reveal more than the person’s spoken words.
•When leading a meeting or speaking to a group, recognize that nonverbal cues can tell you:
--when you’ve talked long enough,
--when someone else wants to speak, and
--the mood of the crowd and their reaction to your remarks.
Listen to them and you’ll be a better leader and speaker.
Understanding nonverbal communication improves with practice. The first step in practice is to recognize the power of nonverbal communication.
Listen to your gut. Along with your life experiences, training, beliefs and all that make up your past, it’s your inner expert on nonverbal communication.
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