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Archive for July 2014

Definitive Guide to #Job Hunting: 7 ways to fail at Interviews

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Interview fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mistake #1: Drop your guard in front of “the help.”

Interviewing is stressful. Sometimes you just want to explode. But don’t. At least not in front of anyone who could influence the hiring decision.

Ron Panaggio, regional HR manager for security systems provider SimplexGrinnell recalls one candidate who took himself out of the running when he thought no one was looking. After meeting with Mr. X, a strong contender, Panaggio, who was then working for Emery Worldwide in New York, asked the receptionist who greeted the candidate to share her impressions. Turns out, Mr. X had launched into a profanity-laced tirade about the company’s lack of visitor parking spaces.

Panaggio notes that although the guy may have had a point — the parking situation wasn’t ideal — his delivery, and his questionable decision to attack his would-be employer set off warning signals. “If he was that critical about parking, we could only imagine how he was going to react to substantive policies that he disliked,” says Panaggio.

Employers know that job seekers interact with receptionists and other support staffers — often with their guards down. “They don’t see those people as decision makers, so they tend to be more genuine in their interactions with them,” says Panaggio. But employers routinely ask these employees for feedback. “We like to see whether the interview persona matches the unscripted persona that walks through the door,” says Panaggio. Consider that the next time you’re waiting for a tardy interviewer (who’s probably busy and making do with a reduced staff).

Mistake #2: Over share.

Candidates worried about explaining employment gaps on their resumes have been getting way too personal, says Wanda Cole-Frieman, an executive recruiter. While she enjoys building rapport with the applicants she meets, certain topics are off-limits — or should be. They include descriptions of your medical conditions and information about your sick parents or childcare woes.

It’s not just a matter of propriety. Chatty candidates put interviewers in an awkward position when they raise issues that could identify them as members of a legally protected class. Cole-Frieman recalls that one of her colleagues was forced to contact the legal department for guidance after a candidate announced that he used marijuana for medical purposes. The legal drug use wasn’t a dealbreaker, but raising such issues won’t endear you to interviewers. “We’re trained to say, ‘Thanks for sharing, but we don’t consider those factors in its hiring decisions,’” says Cole-Frieman.

Mistake #3: Assume your resume speaks for itself.

Your resume may have helped you get the interview, but it won’t get you hired. Susan Strayer, a career coach who also works in corporate HR for a Fortune 500 company, urges job seekers to go out of their way to connect the dots for interviewers, highlighting their work experiences with stories that clearly describe what they accomplished in each role and how it relates to the position they are seeking. Don’t assume that your interviewer is familiar with obscure acronyms and non-intuitive job titles that have no significance outside the organizations that use them.

Strayer recalls meeting with an unsuccessful candidate who breezed through his resume, touting his “A-76 experience,” a term that meant nothing to her at the time, and never pausing to explain it. Strayer says he would have been better-served by taking a moment to add, “If you’re not familiar with A-76, it’s a government mandate to ensure tasks are performed in the most cost-efficient way. My role on the A-76 project was to…”

Mistake #4: Show the interviewer how important you are.

You’ve got places to go and people to see — we get it, you’re a big deal. But when an employer has taken the time to meet with you, your undivided attention is a must. “You’d think it was a joke, but employers tell us about candidates who check voicemail and e-mail, text, and even take phone calls during the interview,” says Corinne Gregory, president of Social Smarts, a program that teaches social skills, primarily to young people.

Note to Gen-Yers (and iPhone addicts of all ages): Acing the interview is your primary mission. If you lack the impulse control to keep your hands off your phone, leave it behind.

Mistake #5: Talk the employer out of hiring you.

Especially in this tight job market, you may find yourself interviewing for positions you would ordinarily consider beneath you. That’s what happened to Russ Merbeth, now an attorney with Integra Telecom when he applied for an in-house counsel position with another company. During two days of interviews, Merbeth says he expressed his doubts about the position, which he viewed as poorly conceived and not perfectly suited to his talents. “I basically rewrote the job description for them,” he says. Not surprisingly, they hired someone else.

While Merbeth’s story ended happily — eventually — he would have been wiser to keep his options open. “Always close strong, and get the job,” he says. “You can reject it later.” It’s advice you likely won’t hear from recruiters, but then they’ve already got a job.

Mistake #6: Stalk your recruiter.

There’s a fine line between enthusiastic and desperate, and you don’t want to cross it. Human resources consultant Jessica Miller-Merrell was impressed following her interview of a VP-level candidate for a position with OfficeMax, where she worked at the time. The guy was one of two finalists for the job — until the phone calls.

Two days after the interview, Miller-Merrell was out of the office, attending an all-day training. She had forwarded her office calls to her cell phone and noticed 15 hang-ups, all from the once promising candidate. Though he finally left a message (about a matter so trivial that Miller-Merrell can’t remember its substance) the obsessive hang-ups left a negative impression on her. “Someone at this level should be able to maintain composure and professionalism at all times,” she says.

Mistake #7: Treat social media communications casually.

These days, many employment relationships begin — or end — with social media. To ensure that yours falls into the former category, heed this tale.

Mark Sullivan, director of talent acquisition for Time Warner Cable in Austin, Texas, posted a link to a Senior VP-level job description that he needed to fill on LinkedIn. Among the candidates who responded, was a woman who wrote, “Dear Mark, That link don’t[sic] work.” Her next sentence began with a lowercase letter and was missing a crucial “the.”

“Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or instant or text messaging, you still have to be professional in every communication related to your job search,” says Sullivan. So, keep yourself in the running by proofreading before you hit “send.”

Courtesy of www.bnet.com

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Definitive Guide to #Job Hunting : Choosing the best agency

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JObs wantedWhether you are an employer wanting to employ a new staff member, or an experienced senior manager looking for your next career move, how do you decide on which Recruitment Consultant will be able to deliver on your expectations? Shop around before making a decision about who is best set to represent you:

1. Credentials

How long have they been active in your specific business area? Do they have references from similar clients or candidates? How did they perform in the past?

This should not relate to the organisation you are dealing with, but the individual consultant. It doesn’t mean that, because the recruitment company has been recognised with accolades, the consultant you are dealing with is automatically qualified or successful. Winning business awards often depends on putting forward a business case. Getting personal recognition depends on service levels and delivery. These will only be meted out on request and is a real indication of the efficiency and ability of your consultant, and therefore his/her ability to assist you in finding a successful outcome.

Membership of a professional body like the REC or IRP, or qualifications gained through a professional institution like the IRP, is a good measure of a consultant’s credibility and professionalism.

2. Objectivity

Realism and objectivity are two key requirements for success in recruitment. A recruiter who makes upfront assumptions is prone not to listen and will therefore get a subjective understanding of the brief or candidate expectation. Sure, a past track record in a particular market gives a recruiter real insight, but it also creates a hypothetical, internal understanding that they should know all the answers. Each employer and each candidate is different, even if they work with exactly the same services or products in exact markets. A consultant who lacks objectivity, or views himself to be in the hiring position (How often have we heard about the “perfect candidate”?) is unlikely to deliver efficient solutions.

A recruiter who asks questions, listens, processes information and asks again to measure his understanding will be far more likely to succeed for both employer and candidate.

3. Market knowledge – Generalist vs Specialist

A recruiter who works in a vertical market in a specific sector is most likely to have a finger on its pulse, and can therefore be more consultative. This makes for a more proactive approach. A generalist is likely to have broader knowledge and therefore able to give wider advice rather than specific factual solutions.

4. Commitment – Retained vs Contingency

There is a lot to be said for a fee paid up front. This is a contentious issue, especially in middle management level positions where there is competition from a lot of candidates and many agencies might have potentially suitable candidates. The current employer market is highly risk averse and paying a consultancy fee in advance seems to be a very risky move. The reality is that it actually reduces risk in the recruitment process.

A consultant who is confident enough of his own abilities to take a proportion of the fee in advance in return for increased service levels and a guaranteed result is in fact sharing the risk with the client. This in turn, benefits the candidate. Consultants can only work on small number of retained assignments at once, so there is a higher degree of quality in their output. Candidates are assured of an exclusive, managed process where they are fully informed all the time, and the trust relationships developed in this business context for all 3 parties are more open and communicative.

A contingency based process (Where the fee is only paid to the recruiter who delivers a solution) is likely to be a lot more competitive, with several agencies involved. the volumes of CV in the candidate pool is usually a lot higher. This does not neccessarily mean that there is a wider choice for the hirer, as the quality of the candidate pool might overall be weak. That said, the majority of permanent agency placements are made on a contingency basis and there is a large number of highly competenent, capable  consultants in the market who are committed to deliver a high quality of service.

If these 4 elements are in place, it brings the likelihood of success in any recruitment assignment because it manages risk for both client and candidate. By carefully selecting the most competent, qualified consultant(s) to represent your individual needs will bring a higher likelihood of success.

Help for ex-#Unipart #Automotive staff. Definitive Guide to #Job Hunting: Understanding social media

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I'm onlineJust about everyone is using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to network – both for personal and professional reasons. Are you ready for companies and recruiters to find you on all these social media sites? If not, you should be.

Companies and recruitment agencies are increasingly using social recruiting to source candidates for employment, as well as to investigate applicants they are considering hiring. It’s important to be aware of how companies are using social media to recruit, so you can use employers’ recruiting tactics to your advantage and position yourself to be discovered by companies seeking candidates.

Romany Thresher is the MD of Direct Assist, a company that provides Social Media assistance for business owners and busy consultants who need help increasing their online visibility. She says:
“I believe social media is creating an equal opportunities and business without borders market.  We are no longer limited to the confines of our cities and countries.  If you are struggling to find work because of your location, background, or lack of job opportunities you can find work online using social media.  The top 10 demand jobs in 2014 did not exist in 2004.  Early adopters of the new communications medium will stand out from the crowd of people who are still looking for jobs using old methods.

Living in a virtual world almost 24/7 I see a trend taking place where the best positions, business and career opportunities are being taken by those who are connected and building their network. Invariably, someone will know someone who needs what you have to offer.”

But remember, even if you’re only using these sites for personal networking, it doesn’t prevent your employer or prospective employers from checking out what you post.

An inappropriate post on a networking site could knock you out of contention for a new job, or even cost you the job you already have. Every single tweet you post can be found on Google and they can come back to haunt you.

What Not to Do When Using Social Media

  • Don’t embarrass yourself.
  • Be aware that people are reading everything you post.
  • Don’t say anything about your boss online that you wouldn’t say to him or her in person.
  • Don’t take a chance of hurting your career.
  • Don’t do it on your bosses time if you are lucky enough to be in employment

Positioning Yourself for Social Media Success

So what can you do to use social media to boost your career and enhance your prospects of finding a job? How can job seekers capitalize on what companies are doing?

Social recruiting is a new endeavor for many companies and they are still experimenting with what works from a recruiting perspective, and what doesn’t. That means there are no hard and fast rules on how to connect and position yourself to be found, but there are tactics you can use to make the right connections with people in your industry and career field.

It’s important to communicate with connections in your industry, even when you don’t need them. Starting when you already need a job is really too late. Take some time, every day, to connect with who you know and who you don’t know – yet. However, don’t just connect with random people. Identify those with whom you have something in common: education,  industry, experience, professional associations, etc.

Networking Before You Need To

Build your network well in advance of when you need it. Talk to your connections on Twitter or the other networking sites. Join Groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, post and join discussions. Be engaged and proactive in your communications. By building a network in advance, you won’t have to scramble if you unexpectedly lose your job or decide it’s time to move on.

The contacts you make online will help you transition from technology to person-to-person communications. For example, a relevant tweet can lead to an @reply (a reply in response to your post) or a DM (direct message) from a hiring manager.

Use your online connections to connect with ‘real people’ online. These human connections will serve you well in the long run and help you get a foot in the door at companies of interest.

Growing Your Network

Are you active on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook? How broad is the base of contacts you’ve made?  All those contacts ) are there if I need them, and you can help them, as well.

Take it one step at a time – and one contact at a time – and you’ll be able to build your own career network. It won’t happen overnight, but it doesn’t have to. Work on your network when time permits, remembering that your network might be key to getting your next job.

Then be sure to use your network wisely and carefully, thinking carefully about what you post, so you’re using it to help, not hinder, your job search.

#Unipart #Automotive – The human story continues

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aftermath-rubbish-pileOne day after Unipart automotive went into liquidation, the reality of the situation has hit the market like a bomb.

There has been a massive influx of job applications into motor factor branches across the country, and available jobs are being snapped up.

Sadly, there will be more people redundant than there are jobs in the market.  Eventually, things will settle down and it will become clear what the future is going to hold. But there is no doubt that, as in any man-made disaster, the human cost of this event will take a long time to recount.

This morning, I received the following message on LinkedIn:

“Good morning Cathy,

I hope you are well. I was wondering whether you would be open to helping some former colleagues of mine.

I was a Unipart Branch Manager up until 7 weeks ago when I decided to take on a new opportunity.

Unfortunately, my former team find themselves in the situation that has been created as a result of the Unipart decline. As they don’t have LinkedIn accounts, would you be willing to give me your contact details so that I can pass them on to my team?

To give you an idea of how they operated, together we turned one of the biggest loss-making branches into the most profitable branch in 2013. They are exceptionally hard-working and dedicated and they would be a great asset to any company.

Any assistance you would be able to provide would be greatly appreciated.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. ”

The spirit of humanity I have seen expressed during this past week has been truly inspirational – This message is an example of that.

My advice to all Unipart’s newly redundant employees will be the same as the advice I always give when I do redundancy counselling: Proceed with caution and care. Make decisions based on your ethics and values, not out of desperation. Give yourself time to recover from the shock, the loss and the inevitable grief that accompanies any job loss. Don’t fall out of the frying pan just to end up in a new fire. Reconsider your options. Do you really need to leap directly into another job, or will your statutory redundancy payment allow you some breathing space to reassess your situation? Is the job you are accepting one in which you will thrive and settle, or is it a stop gap? Be aware of the future implications of short-term decisions.

From next week, I will be blogging content from my e=book “I lost my job – What now?” based on all my outplacement and redundancy support knowledge and experience. I will be happy to speak to anyone who needs advice and assistance.

Written by Cathy Richardson

July 25, 2014 at 9:49 am

Posted in Recruitment

Guide to #job hunting: Are you a frog ab

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Guide to #job hunting: Are you a frog about to be boiled? http://wp.me/pIWOg-lY

Written by Cathy Richardson

July 25, 2014 at 8:55 am

Posted in Recruitment

#Unipart #Automotive – The walls tumble down. But what about the people?

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WallsAnd there it is, at last – news about the final fate of Unipart Automotive. Wales Online have the most clear report so far: Administration with only a few branches bought by The Parts Alliance and Andrew Page, salvaging only a handful of jobs resulting in 1,000+ redundancies.

It is heartbreaking.

This morning, I had a call from a Branch Manager prior to him making the announcement to his staff. He asked if I would mind my details being passed on to them for job seeking assistance. Still, even in the midst of such disappointment and shock, these people care about each other and want to do the right thing.

I did make an offer of outplacement weeks ago, but this was ignored. It is so sad that the human fall-out of corporate strategy is always overlooked. Unipart’s employees have been immensely loyal and stalwart. I take my hat off to every single one of them.

Now, I brace myself for the onslaught on the jobs market. Already, my phone has been ringing off the hook this morning.

The sad thing is that many of Unipart’s staff never contemplated looking for new jobs. They have no CVs, they have not attended interviews for years, job seeking is an alien concept to a lot of these newly redundant people. Many are entirely unprepared for a changed jobs market that is now online and hugely competitive.

The lucky ones based in the acquired branches will TUPE across to The Parts Alliance and Andrew Page. Many will find new homes with companies like Euro Car Parts, who have been aggressively targeting the branches in the past few weeks. Several more will go to smaller factors. For the rest, who knows? I wish them the best of fortunes in finding new jobs quickly.

When I do redundancy support workshops, I always council redundant employees to take a few days off before launching into the jobs market. Rest, recover, repair from the shock. The grief process for losing a job is the same as for losing a loved one. In effect, they all did love Unipart and wanted to work there forever. Now, a choice has been made on their behalf in which they had no power. Getting over that may take some healing time.

There will be some other opportunities available at The Parts Alliance, depending on geographic location and business requirements. I will welcome contact from all Unipart ex-employees to discuss these. If I can help a good person get into a good job, I will do my best to assist.

Good luck to you all

 

 

 

Written by Cathy Richardson

July 24, 2014 at 10:56 am

Posted in Recruitment

The #Unipart #Automotive story – Last man standing?

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TitanicEvery day, it seems, there is a new take on the continuing saga detailing the impending demise of Unipart. Today, Tyrepress reports that yet a new bidder has stepped into the ring, whilst the previous front runners like  ECP have now slightly receded in the race for acquiring the market share of the struggling titan.

What still remains unclear, is what the future holds for Unipart’s employees. Will a rescue deal mean they still have jobs? Whatever happens, it seems a certainty that there will be job losses. But the ongoing lack of information and communication is compounding an already distressing situation for hundreds of employees.

I can’t help but think of the sinking of Titanic in this context. No one wanted to believe that the unthinkable would happen: That an unsinkable ship would end up doing exactly that. The incomprehensible denial of the facts resulted in chaotic disaster management. The partying on board continued unabated until the ship was listing so badly that there was no choice but to accept that it was, in fact, definitely going to sink.

What happened next was very similar to what is going on in Unipart at the moment: Immediately, some people opted to jump ship and seek their own fortunes under their own steam, literally leaping off the deck into the freezing waters. Others opted to fight for a place on a life boat, of which there were far too few for the numbers on board. Yet others decided to keep on partying, patently accepting their undeniable fate with great British (most of them, anyway) aplomb. And finally, the band kept on playing as the ship went down.

I see several similarities here, the biggest concern of which, for me, is the race for life boats.

Those who have already decided to take the leap managed to extract themselves from the contest and hopefully, have secured jobs that will sustain their careers and livelihoods. I am pleased to say I have assisted a few of those.

There will also be those, like the band on Titanic, who stay stalwart until the end, regardless of how the end may look for Unipart. At worst, it will result in their redundancy and at best, a benevolent acquisition will mean secured futures through TUPE.

However, as soon as information about any major decisions hit the news, the scramble for the available jobs in the market will mean carnage. Just as it did for those seeking salvage on Titanic’s lifeboats.

When the recession hit in 2009 and all the motor and parts manufacturers announced major redundancy programs, the market was flooded with far more experienced people than the jobs market could sustain. Not all of them got jobs right away. Some had to take massive drops in pay to remain employed, often in jobs that did not match their qualifications nor experience. This hampered their future job searches. Some struggled for years to find jobs, having to retrain in order to remain employed. Some (Like me!) became self-employed. Others, even now, are still job hunting. Salaries were driven down, retention rates suffered and the actual cost of hiring for companies went up due to the volumes of applications and miss-hires involved.

Losing one’s job is equally as distressing as suffering a bereavement or getting divorced. It is necessary to deal with the associated grief constructively in order to move on. I believe that, for Unipart’s employees, there will be a great deal of personal challenge involved in coping with the change and shock.

Future employers should factor this in. Chasing and harrassing already stressed people by phone (Sadly, a factor that is pre-eminent in aftermarket recruitment) is rubbing salt into the wounds. Why should people who are still loyal and emotionally bonded to Unipart through complex psychological contracts, respond to aggressive telesales style headhunt calls? I know several who will prefer to be the last man standing as the ship goes down, than to be seen as abandoning their team and their post.

The reality of their situation is starting to dawn on Unipart employees. They should be looking for employers who will value them, treating them with dignity and respect as they exit a difficult situation. They need to find employers who will support them through their change processes. Employers who will look to the long term and offer career advancement opportunities and a brighter future. Regardless of the fact that job losses are looming, Unipart employees deserve the right to make their own choices.

That way, the likelihood of making good choices based on facts rather than bad choices based on desperation, is a lot higher.

But soon, a choice must be made. I would urge Unipart staff to think carefully about what they do next. “Every man for himself” is still an adage that holds firm. It’s great to be remembered for standing at attention whilst the ship went down. But it’s better to be remembered for making positive choices that resulted in good outcomes for everyone concerned.

There are employers in the UK parts aftermarket who care about their staff, who have capital to invest and who have strong, profitable businesses based on the quality of their people. The Parts Alliance (Owned by Hg Automotive) are one of those. Contact me if you want to know more.

But make a decision soon. Once the race for lifeboats start, it may be too late.

Written by Cathy Richardson

July 22, 2014 at 9:29 am

Posted in Recruitment

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