Career Advice for CIPM’s ‘Class of 2015’

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going the other way…”

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. 

Liberal Arts graduates and lovers of English literature will be familiar with the famous opening lines from A Tale of Two Cities written by the English author, Charles Dickens (1812 -1870).

The peculiar writing technique employed by Dickens is known linguistically as anaphora, the deliberate repetition of a phrase at the beginning of consecutive clauses to achieve an artistic effect. It is also often used to illustrate or depict tension between two forces.

Now, you might be wondering what triggered off my adventure into the realm of linguistics and why I’m writing about it today? Well, a couple of weeks ago, two important events took place in the CIPM calendar. The first was the Investiture of Mr. Anthony Arabome FCIPM as the new President of the Institute’s Governing Council. The second was the Institute’s 19th Induction Ceremony for new Associate members. I wasn’t able to attend either event in person, but both were covered fairly extensively in the local media and as I browsed through the various newspaper reports I found myself reflecting on what might lie ahead for the new members as their careers unfold over the years. 

A Golden Age for the HR Profession in Nigeria

Some people believe people and HR management in Nigeria are entering a golden age in Nigeria. For example, enrollment into CIPM’s various certification programs witnessed an increase of over 35 percent between 2013 and 2014. Active membership has also risen steadily over the past few years and is now at an all-time high.

At the same time, HR has quietly taken its place among the critical organizational functions that must be resourced when a new enterprise is being conceived. Only the bravest organizations today are prepared to sally forth into turbulent economic waters without some form of human resource management presence.

The growing importance of HR has increased the dynamics of demand and supply in the labor market, and so it is perhaps hardly surprising that the profession has become a well-regarded career destination for increasing numbers of talented people who might previously have opted for other disciplines.

Proliferating Entry Points, Several Paths to the Top

Another interesting development over the past few years has been the growing diversification of entry points into an HR career. In my opinion, this has led to the emergence of three distinct areas of HR practice:

Corporate HR

Perhaps the largest group of practitioners can be found working in organizations in the public and private sectors of the economy. These are the human resources management specialists who give their organizations with a wide-range of in-house HR services.

Progression is usually from HR officer to HR director and may take many years to arrive in the top position. Interestingly, the concept of ‘cradle to grave’ employment with a single employer finally seems to have died a natural death and, with the possible exception of people working in the public sector, most corporate HR practitioners are likely to work for a succession of employers during their careers.

HR Consulting

Probably the fastest-growing segment of the profession, recent years have seen an explosion in the number of people working in one form of HR consulting or another.

The term itself is used somewhat loosely and now covers everything from the one-man independent consultant all the way through smaller entrepreneurial start-ups to the more established indigenous and foreign-affiliated consultancies employing comparatively large numbers of consultants. hrThe services provided vary from boutique or specialist consulting services to those of a more general nature.

Progression is typically from trainee/analyst to director and many consultants eventually end up founding their own firms and working for themselves. However, as with several other professions, there is a considerable amount of movement between corporate HR and HR consulting roles as practitioners seek to acquire varied experience and to optimize their earning capacity.

Regulatory HR

Globally, there is growing interest in ensuring that professionals in various fields of endeavor maintain proper standards of performance. In Nigeria, CIPM is the principal body responsible for developing and regulating the practice of human resource management in the country. In this capacity, CIPM works closely with practitioners in corporate HR and HR consulting. At the same time, the Institute is also expanding its service offerings and practitioners may now find themselves working in areas such as Professional Development, Learning and Development, Membership Services or Consultancy Services to name but a few.

Whereas it might once have been common for practitioners to move into regulatory HR at a later stage in their careers, today it is now seen as a viable career option for talented HR practitioners at both the early and later stages of their careers, testimony perhaps to the success that the Institute has had in developing its ‘brand’ in the eyes of the public.

Progression is typically from officer to director, and practitioners can expect to be moved around the various directorates as their careers progress

Each of the three entry points offers a different kind of work experience. For example, a successful career in HR consulting requires a willingness to accept the rigorous commercial demands that go with the territory. I often meet young people who are excited by the perceived glamour of being a consultant, but who are also totally unprepared for the demands involved in combining high-level technical skills with unrelenting business development and revenue generation expectations, not to talk of the significant work-life balance challenges that come with the job.

On the other hand, a career in corporate HR requires practitioners to develop the ‘political’ skills needed to succeed in large organizations. Although many young people often see this as a negative, I think that it should be recognized as an integral part of the job. Large organizations typically consist of equally large numbers of relationships that must be continually negotiated to do one’s duties effectively.

I’m less familiar with the realities of a career in regulatory HR, but I can already envisage the need for strong balancing and influencing skills on the part of practitioners who choose to work in this area. Here, the need is to be able to balance the temptation to coerce practitioners into enforced desired behaviors using the considerable powers enshrined in the Institute’s Charter with a sensitivity and feel for how to bring about lasting change through cooperation and collaboration.

Career Progression

So, now we have an idea of where the class of 2015 will probably start out their careers in HR. But, how might those careers progress over time?

At Human Edge, we use the 4-Stages Model of Career Development (see Figure 1 below) developed by Gene Dalton and Paul Thompson of Harvard University to identify key performance expectations for people at different career stages. Although the class of 2015 has most likely come from varied backgrounds and will almost certainly include people with different levels of experience, each new member can expect to enjoy a career that will at some time or the other require spending time in one of the following career stages:

stages

Figure 1: The 4 – Stages Model of Career Development

Stage 1. Apprentice. This is where most of us get our start in the profession, typically entry-level positions. The most useful thing we can do for ourselves is probably to learn how to be a good learner. Exercising patience and willingness to learn from just about anyone are the keys to success in this stage. Finding a job where you can learn from more experienced professionals might also be a good idea.

Stage 2. Specialist-Expert. At some point in our careers, we stop needing high levels of supervision. We are becoming specialists (and later experts) and are able to work largely independently. Our technical expertise and ability increase significantly, and we begin to enjoy a growing reputation for the quality of our professional work. What’s the best thing that can happen to us in this stage? Probably working with a supervisor or manager who believes in us and gives us the room to explore our abilities.

Stage 3. Manager. Our first managerial position brings about a qualitative change in the way and nature of the work we are expected to do. In my experience, most HR practitioners in this stage will experience one of the following scenarios. First, we may find ourselves supervising the work of one or more reports – typically apprentices and/or specialist-experts. Importantly, we are now expected to meet results through others and our personal ability to do the work is no longer as highly valued as before.

Some practitioners, however, will still find themselves flying solo. One-person HR departments are still quite common in smaller organizations and in such situations HR managers may have no direct reports of their own. Whilst there is some debate over whether such roles qualify for the designation, I personally have no doubt that these are true managerial positions. The goal is to work closely with line management to make sure consistent application of people or HR policies throughout the organization. Access to top management may remain limited in Stage 3 and our much of our contribution to organizational success will take place within our functional area.

Stage 4. Senior Executive/Advisor/Strategist. For most of us, this stage represents the zenith of our professional careers. Organizationally, we are now in a position to make a more strategic contribution to the organizations we serve. In particular, we will be expected to help top management to appreciate the HR implications of business initiatives and devise the most effective means of implementing corporate strategy. Most of us will also find ourselves being called upon to represent our organizations to key external groups on critical strategic issues.

HR work at this level can be deeply satisfying as we typically find ourselves with responsibility for preparing the organization’s future leaders. The demands of work in Stage 4 can be quite enormous but most people know that it’s usually a time of great personal satisfaction thanks to the depth and breadth of the impact we can have on our organizations and our local environment.

Time to the Top

The 4-Stages Model provides a useful template for monitoring our progress towards the top of our profession. Obviously, there is no standard timeline associated with movement through the different stages. Time, chance and ability will likely decide your progress.

However, progress within the Institute may be a little more predictable. Records show that, on average, it takes about 13 years to progress from Associate to Fellow – a minimum of six years as an Associate and a further seven years as a Full member before one can be considered for Fellowship. Movement through the various grades is not automatic and certain requirements must also be fulfilled.

careerSome Final Thoughts

I’ve been associated with the HR profession for close to 36 years. During this period I’ve worked in corporate HR and HR consulting. It’s been a very rewarding journey and I’ve met some very interesting HR professionals along the way (in my next post, I’ll share my thoughts about what I believe the very best have had in common).

I’m convinced that the class of 2015 has some unique advantages. For better or for worse, the deteriorating business environment will make their unique contribution even more valuable to current and prospective employers.

There are now more career options than ever. I suspect that ultimately some form of convergence will occur and that senior HR roles will increasingly be reserved for practitioners who have worked in all three of the areas outlined above. This means that more thoughtful career planning will become de rigueur for anyone aiming for the top.

Finally, I hope my brief my review of the stages through which an HR career progresses will have been sufficient proof that success in HR is like a fine wine that matures slowly. No shortcuts here, I’m afraid.

*This post was first published on July 24, 2015 on http://www.cipmnigeriablog.org   

What Are Your Financial Expectations?

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In an earlier post (Negotiating Win-Win Job Offers), I outlined some of the factors that I believe employers and their prospective new hires should consider when seeking to negotiate win-win job offers. While there are many factors to take into account, one of the most important decisions a candidate must make is where to pitch his or her salary expectations. Sadly, far too many people seem to have no real idea about how to set up realistic financial or salary expectations for a given job situation.

So, here are a few things you might want to take into account in arriving at your personal asking price.

First, if you have no real job experience and are new to the labor market, your educational qualifications will almost certainly play financea large part in determining how much you can expect to be paid in your first job. Generally, the better educated you are, the higher your starting salary will be. For example, the type of degree earned (i.e. graduate, post-graduate, MBA and so forth) and the colleges attended are usually major determinants of how much fresh graduates are offered. However, qualifications can influence the pay levels of more experienced people as well. With growing concerns over rising training costs and the negative impact of high levels of staff turnover, more and more employers are willing to pay a premium for new hires who can show evidence of having received extensive training somewhere else, presumably at another employer’s cost.

Second, consider how much your experience might be worth to a prospective employer. In most cases, the more specialized and relevant your experience, the more an employer will be willing to pay for your services. Bear in mind, however, that what really interests employers is the extent to which your experience translates into performance on the job. If you can show evidence of a successful performance track record, then you can probably raise your asking price another notch. Location can play a big part in determining how much you can realistically expect to earn. In Nigeria, jobs in Abuja, Lagos or Port Harcourt (the main urban and commercial centers) typically attract higher pay than elsewhere in the country. Internationally, assignments in New York or London will most likely be better remunerated than similar assignments in Madrid or Amsterdam.

In many multinational companies postings to certain locations are considered ‘hardship assignments’ and a premium added to the standard pay for the job in question. In a similar vein, the industry in which you are seeking work is often a key determinant of the level of pay available. At the moment, jobs in oil and gas, banking and finance, or telecommunications tend to be higher paying than similar jobs in other industries. Some jobs require relevant industry-specific experience, but for others no added value is attached to specialized expertise. Ask yourself if this is an important consideration in the job opportunity you are currently considering.

Third, recognize that the prevailing economic climate will inevitably impact the desire and willingness of a prospective employer to meet a given level of salary demand. Right now, even the best paying employers are taking a hard look at just how much they need to offer to attract, motivate and keep top talent. You may need to adjust your expectations accordingly. Do your homework. How much do other people get paid for doing the same or similar jobs in the organization in question? Most companies benchmark their pay against their industry peers or competitors. If you can’t get specific data from your prospective employer, perhaps you imagescan find out what the going rate is for people doing similar jobs within the peer group. All the factors listed above work together and it’s generally not a good idea to try to isolate any one of them.

You should look at a potential job offer through the filter of the factors discussed and then fix your financial goal. However, please remember that what makes a satisfactory offer overall may well include other elements of reward such as the work environment or learning and growth opportunities available.

Are you ready to make trade-offs where necessary to arrive at the best fit? Your goal should be to arrive at a win-win outcome for both yourself and your prospective employer, one in which both parties feel comfortable with the pay level ultimately arrived at. You should also try to avoid creating unrealistic expectations on either side. Failure to do so may sow the seeds of future dissatisfaction.

**What Are Your Financial Expectations was first published in 2010. The post offers useful advice to candidates trying to determine their financial expectations before entering into discussion with prospective employers.

Negotiating Win-Win Job Offers

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These days, I’ve come to dread the phone call from a client or candidate letting me know that yet another job offer didn’t work out.  Months of work can go down the drain in a moment, leaving all parties feeling frustrated, angry and bruised. Last week, the phone rang twice to announce the unsuccessful end of two major recruitment campaigns, hence my musings today on why so many recruitment assignments seem to stumble at the last hurdle – negotiating the job offer.

Although it’s always difficult to figure out why or where exactly twin winhings go wrong, I believe most of the  sticking points can be found in three key aspects of the negotiating process: the goals and assumptions held by prospective employers and candidates, their respective levels of preparation, and the approach taken to negotiating the job offer.  Here are a few tips on how both parties can  increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

1. Objectives

The Employer: the typical employer’s aim is to fill each vacant position with the best person that can be found, within a given time period, at the lowest cost.  How each of these requirements is presented will impact on the negotiations that follow.

To start with, an employer’s idea of the ‘best’ person for the job is usually laid out in a set of specifications called a job profile. The profile describes the responsibilities associated with the job and the type of person (i.e. in terms of qualifications, track record, and personal characteristics) most likely to be able to do them to the desired standard. Unfortunately, even the best job profiles rarely capture everything we would like to see in a candidate and sometimes represent more of a wish list than an accurate description of what is actually needed to do the job.

Similarly, most recruitment assignments recognize that there’s a finite amount of time that can be devoted to the search process. As a result, the ‘successful’ candidate who emerges from this process is essentially the best person that could be found within the time allotted to the exercise. Finally, the prospective employer is usually working within a set of financial constraints that influence how much can be spent on the search process itself, as well as how much can be paid to the successful candidate.

b. The Candidate: the typical candidate, on the other hand, hopes to secure the best job, within a given time period, offering the best rewards.  Here, too there are likely to be significant differences from one person to another about what makes up the ‘best job’ or  the ‘best rewards’. However, nearly everyone who sets out on a job search has some idea of the ideal time-frame within which the new job is to be secured.

In other words, both employers and candidates arrive at the point of negotiating a job offer with distinct goals that are more or less clarified. The extent to which each party believes the other can satisfy their primary aim has much to do with how the negotiations are ultimately conducted.

2. Assumptions

Both employers and candidates may make certain assumptions about the others’ intentions:

a. The Employer: all too often, employers assume that prospective employees are predominantly motivated by monetary considerations, thereby subscribing to the view that “everyone has a price”. This is an erroneous view. For example, many talented people are also fiercely career-oriented. Each potential job opportunity is assessed on the its ability to to contribute to various long-term career goals, not just financial gain. Some people are very particular about a potential employer’s reputation and the organization’s mission. Others are more concerned about the learning and growth opportunities the job may offer.

The failure to understand what motivates the person sitting across the table nearly always results in a job offer that simply ‘pushes the wrong buttons’. This is one area that I’d like to see greater collaboration between employers and their recruitment advisers since the latter often pick up information about a candidate’s deepest motivations during the preliminary interview phase, something that doesn’t always surface during the formal interview process.

b. The Candidate: this is tricky because everyone brings a unique set of assumptions to the negotiating table. However, many candidates, irrespective of age or experience, display a certain degree of naïvety. Such candidates often assume that a prospective employer will automatically have their best interests at heart. Now, please don’t get me wrong here. I’m not suggesting by any means that an employer deliberately sets out to harm or exploit a prospective employee during the negotiation process – not at all. However, as a candidate, it’s your responsibility to know what you want, to think about your strengths and achievements and to prove their value during the negotiation process.

3. Preparation

a. The Employer: I’ve already highlighted the need to ‘profile’ a candidate to identify his or her core interests and key motivators. This can be immensely helpful in putting together a  personalized employee value proposition. However, it’s equally important to assemble all relevant data about the candidate’s current job title and responsibilities, pay and so forth. I’ve seen  many job offers that were actually below a candidate’s current financial status, apparently for no other reason than someone on the employer’s staff “forgot” to check what the person was currently earning. This is sloppy work and creates a very poor impression of the employer’s organization.

Where no major hiring has taken place for some time, say six months or more, I usually recommend that an employer consider conducting a pay survey.  Having up to date data can help to moderate the shock employers often experience when they come face to face with the pay levels  now prevailing in the market. Employers  should also bear in mind that the candidate is someone they want to be an enthusiastic member of their team. Preparing a serious offer on time goes a long way to reassure a candidate that you mean business.

b. The Candidate: In addition, after the tips already given, it’s important to take the time to research a prospective employer thoroughly. What sort of organizational structure do they have? What’s the prevailing leadership style and overall culture? Where is the organization’s current pay positioned within the market? How much do people already performing a similar job or role earn? What sort of career progression can you expect? Virtually all companies have some sort of web-presence these days and you can also research the organization’s footprint through your local media. You have no excuse for not walking into a negotiation armed with as much information about your prospective employer as possible.

4. Approach to the Negotiation

Over time, organizations and people develop their own unique approaches to negotiating the job offer. However, even if you’re a veteran of the negotiating process, there are still a few things to be gainfully borne in mind:

  • Remember, this is a negotiation, not a battle. Both parties must come out of the negotiation feeling satisfied that their mutual goals are recognized. If either party feels bruised, cheated or exploited the offer is likely to be rejected or withdrawn. If either side succeeds in ‘ramming’ its way through, the long-term prognosis for satisfaction and productivity will be poor.
  • Be courteous. If there is one truism in business, it’s that you never know where you are going to meet someone again or need their help. Besides, recruiting is often described as the greatest sales process. Typically, both parties continue to negotiate right to the point that an employment contract is signed and even then the candidate still has to show up on the agreed date. Even if the deal eventually falls through, there’s always another day and I’ve certainly been the beneficiary of relationships developed with candidates who ultimately never took up my offer of employment.
  • Be flexible. I’ve seen serious employment offers rejected or withdrawn over seemingly insignificant issues. Differing interpretations or definitions of key elements of the reward package can lead to a breakdown in the negotiating process, so it’s usually a good idea to thrash out any areas of ambiguity at the beginning of the negotiations.
  • Consider discussing a tentative offer first. To avoid the sort of problems raised above, many employers prefer to first make a tentative offer in person or over the phone. I think this is a great idea. From the employer’s perspective, it allows for an early determination of the candidate’s seriousness and diminishes the risk of the offer being used as a bargaining chip with the candidate’s current employer. From the candidate’s point of view, it provides evidence of the employer’s interest and intent, and gives more time to consider the offer thoroughly before responding.
  • Most things are negotiable. Here are a few items that either party may legitimately bring up for discussion:

o   The expected date of reply to the offer

o   The expected date of resumption of employment

o   Proposed pay/compensation/salary

o   Fringe benefits (including benefits-in-kind)

o   Performance targets, bonuses and commissions/incentive pay

o   Promotion and merit pay

o   Probation period/early salary review

o   Indebtedness to current employer/take-over loans

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but I think it gives an idea of the range of issues that an employer and a candidate should be able to discuss openly once a tentative job offer is on the table. Failure to do so can have dire consequences. Take the last topic on the list: indebtedness to the candidate’s current employer. Most employers are willing to ‘take-over’ a new employee’s outstanding liabilities as long as the indebtedness is discussed in advance. Surprisingly, many candidates never mention such indebtedness during the interview or negotiating process and so feel bitterly disappointed when their new employer refuses to take-over their outstanding loans.

Every day, thousands of employers and prospective employees  around the world negotiate their way through job offers without incident. Hopefully, thanks to my advice your future job negotiations will be equally successful.

**Negotiating Win-Win Job Offers was first published in 2009. The post offers useful guidance to employers and candidates trying to reach agreement on matters of pay.

Want to Attract Talent? Be Worthy, Be Known

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Employers around the world are becoming aware that the rules for finding and keeping top performers are changing rapidly. Fierce business competition and equally fierce competition for top talent mean that good people are becoming more mobile than ever. Indeed, it seems to have become standard operating procedure for many workers to keep their résumé permanently updated and in circulation.

Not surprisingly, this means that the people most likely to leave their jobs are those who can most easily find jobs elsewhere. Unfortunately for those whose businesses are struggling to meet intensifying competitive challenges, it also means that the people most essential to their future success – talented managers, knowledge workers and revenue producers –  are also the ones most likely to walk off.

Clearly, we are no talent managementlonger competing for just a larger share of the market, we are also competing for talent. In today’s talent market, the best people seem to have the upper hand and are exercising their right to choose the workplace in which they will deploy their talent. To be worthy of that choice, businesses have discovered that they must now offer much more than just good pay.

Talented workers are also insisting on ‘a good place to work.’ Typically, this involves more than just good pay and benefits; it also means a place that provides a welcoming work environment, creates opportunities for professional development and advancement, treats employees with respect and dignity, and enables them to feel valued, both as contributors to the organization’s success and as human beings.

Given a choice between comparably remunerated positions, an increasing number of high potential people are indicating a preference for organizations that offer the greatest opportunities to develop and do their best work. Obviously, this trend must be kept in perspective. A business that is foundering or heading towards bankruptcy will certainly have a difficult time competing for talent, no matter how wonderful its internal culture.

Nevertheless, its obvious that the long–term success of any organization is now heavily dependent on its ability to recruit and keep the best talent, and to enable its people to develop to their highest potential. The term ‘employer of choice’ is commonly used to describe a company whose status and reputation as a great place to work, make it the first choice of top class people.

Ongoing research suggests that organizations that are able to attain this status enjoy certain advantages. To start with, the greater the public awareness of an organization’s reputation as an employer of choice, the greater the pool of talent it will attract and have to draw upon. This, in turn, should help to make the search for top talent more of a selection process. Finally, the increased quality, value or performance of better people combined with expected savings on recruitment costs should, in turn, more than repay any costs associated with the process of becoming and remaining an employer of choice.

Some Key Issues

For reasons similar to those identified above, an increasing number of organizations are choosing to identify with the employer of choice strategy. Unfortunately, as with so many deceptively simple concepts, it is not so easy to convert theory into practice. We believe there are a number of reasons for this.

First, there is growing recognition that to compete for market share, an organization must first compete for talent share i.e. those talented future leaders, knowledge workers and producers who will enable the organization stay competitive. The decision to become an employer of choice is a strategic commitment.

Second, becoming an employer of choice requires employers to see their people as valuable assets, to invest in them as assets that can appreciate in value, and to treat them as human beings who have a range of personal and professional needs or preferences, and who can walk out of the door if those needs and preferences are not satisfied.

Third, and most important, there areEmployer of choice two elements involved in becoming an employer of choice – being worthy and being known. As we have already seen, being a worthy organization requires policies and practices that support people in doing their best work and developing to their fullest potential, both professionally and personally. However, it is also important for organizations to be known and recognized for creating environments that enable people to succeed and to develop behaviors and skills that will position them for greater success in the future.

It seems likely that to be well-known, but not particularly worthy might create a discrepancy between people’s expectations or experiences that could ultimately lead to the loss of high performers whose expectations are not being met. On the other hand, to be worthy but not particularly well-known would also be largely ineffective as it would result in the organization’s failure to leverage a critical success factor i.e. having the best people. We believe both of these elements are necessary to attract the most desirable people to the organization. Neither is enough on its own.

Human Resource Managers Have a Critical Role to Play

Creating a worthy organization or employer of choice isn’t the responsibility of Human Resources (HR) alone. In fact, I would argue that the intention to do so begins with the owners of the business and devolves through the Board of Directors down to the Chief Executive and his or her management team. Nevertheless, much of the day-to-day implementation of management strategies required to meet this lofty goal will eventually fall into the lap of HR.

Fortunately, today’s HR managers understand the vital role they must play. Their preferred weapon of choice is the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) i.e. the set of organisational values and people practices that are used to positively answer the unspoken question from current and prospective employees alike –  “Why should I (continue to) work for you?”

At the heart of the EVP concept is something that all HR managers would do well to keep in mind: talent always has options, always has a choice.

What the Best Human Resource Leaders All Have in Common

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As a Human Resource (HR) practitioner and management consultant, I’ve met my fair share of HR leaders. Most are dedicated professionals trying to do their best under often difficult organizational conditions. A few, however, have been able to reach loftier heights. These are the HR leaders who are able to make a lasting contribution to the long-term success of their organizations.

While the people I’m referring to may vary greatly in terms of age, gender or personality, they also share three traits that I’m convinced play a role in facilitating their extraordinary accomplishments.

Uncommon Leadership Ability

The etymological roots of the word ‘leadership’ are believed to have their origin in the Middle English word leden, meaning leadershipamong other things “to guide” or “to show the way or path.” Popular usage over the centuries seems to have adapted this definition to describe a leader as one “who goes first” or who “knows the way.”

All the top HR practitioners I know seem to have an innate sense of the direction in which they want to lead their organization’s people practices. They also have one other leadership quality in abundance – courage.

According to Winston Churchill (former British Prime Minister and revered war-time leader) “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities…because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” John D. Maxwell, an American expert on leadership and prolific author on the subject, also puts it well when he says “Great leaders have good people skills, and they can get people to compromise and work together. But they also take a stand when needed.”

As HR practitioners, we are often called upon to take a stand in our everyday work. We may find ourselves having to show courage by standing up to management colleagues over a new staff policy that we are convinced will cause unrest within the workforce. On the other hand, we might need to explain to employees why the organization can’t afford to introduce a much-desired new welfare benefit due to its financial position. In both cases, the best HR leaders are willing to step up and take a stand, even at the cost of personal gain or popularity.

Managerial Prowess

We’ve all met and perhaps worked with managers who “talk a good talk, but can’t walk a good walk.” Such managers typically lack managerial prowess or the ability to get things done. This is particularly challenging when the manager in question happens to be an HR leader himself.

Fortunately, the best HR leaders are invariably very good managers. They take the time to plan their moves, think hard about how best to organize the work that needs to be done, know how to get the best out of their people, and don’t take their eyes off the ball until the results they want have been accomplished.

The top HR leaders are also very effective communicators. By this I don’t just mean that they have a superior ability to speak well or even to give the odd downloadinspirational speech, although many of the HR leaders I’m describing do have superb interpersonal skills. Rather, I’m referring to their innate ability to ‘create understanding’ whenever they must communicate with others. Whether they are explaining management’s position on a particular issue to employees or helping management colleagues to appreciate the employee perspective on a contentious new policy or program, the best HR leaders know exactly how to make sure that everyone involved “gets it.” It’s a rare quality that all good leaders share, but one that has added significance for the effective HR practitioner.

One of the best HR managers I ever worked with had an uncanny ability to constantly show me the big picture of our work while somehow managing to give guidance in even the smallest areas of detail.

I believe such managers are able to inspire tremendous effort on the part of those they lead for exactly this reason – they keep you looking upwards and trying to be your best self all the while providing you with the support you need when you run into difficulty. No little ‘Black Book’ for them.

Soft Hearts and Hard Heads

It’s often assumed that the most important qualifications for working in HR are the innate desire to ‘work with people’ and good ‘people skills.’ Indeed, many parents, teachers and career counselors still offer well-meaning career advice based on the extent to which they believe their children or wards have these very qualities.

Imagine, then, the surprise and sometimes utter dismay of many new entrants into the profession when they are rudely introduced to the “Realpolitik” of HR in many organizations.

Today’s top HR leaders may well be humanists at heart, but they are also realistic enough to recognize that they must be seen to play their proper role in ensuring that the organization is battle-ready. In practice, this means that the best HR leaders are keenly aware that management’s primary responsibility to employees is to create an enabling organizational environment for personal opportunity. Once this has been done, it then becomes HR’s responsibility to support employees who are willing to grasp the opportunities created or to rapidly replace those who can’t or won’t.

There’s a great admonition from Richard S. Sloma, author of No-Nonsense Management, that I try to keep close to heart: “One should manage an organization as nature would by showing neither malice nor pity; abhor a vacuum, whether of power or action.”

In the end, the best HR leaders are almost indistinguishable from any other leader within their organizations. They all share a burning desire to build a winning organization by practicing good management principles. The difference between them raceand the average HR practitioner lies in their ability to balance a hardheaded approach to business with the know-how required to get the best out of people by creating the right organizational environment.

Conclusion

It would be impossible to describe the many facets of all the great HR leaders I’ve been privileged to meet over the years. However, the differences are often more about style than function, and I believe the three traits described above will, if practiced diligently over time, equip the serious-minded practitioner with a set of skills that will stand him or her in good stead no matter the organizational circumstances.

Aptitude Testing in Nigeria: Is There a Better Way?

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The use of aptitude testing is widely employed as a key step in the recruitment process of many large corporations. The goal is to improve hiring decisions and reduce the cost of hiring mistakes.

Unfortunately, the field of Psychometrics (i.e. the technical term used to describe the scientific measurement of mental traits, abilities and processes that is underpins all psychological testing) is quite complex. As a result, there is growing concern over the largely unregulated and often inappropriate use of psychological testing in the workplace.

In this very interesting post Opeoluwa Ojo, a former Human Edge consultant who now works with the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, Nigeria takes a personal look at one of the most common applications of psychological testing, the aptitude test. Enjoy. Ope

Aptitude Testing In Nigeria: Is There a Better Way? by Opeoluwa Ojo, ACIPM

During a recent conversation with a friend, discussion turned to our mutual experiences with the use of aptitude testing for employment purposes. My friend strongly believes that as a Communication Arts graduate, when she sits for an aptitude test in Nigeria, she is usually put at a clear disadvantage by the emphasis on testing numerical aptitude adopted by many employers.

Reflecting on my experience and those of other friends, I can certainly empathize with her. Our reactions have typically ranged from “How on earth do they intend to test our abilities with this?” to “Okay, this seems fair.”

Now, you might think that what the person being tested thinks of a test has nothing to do with his or her performance on the test. Perhaps, but if there’s one thing that HR professionals now acknowledge, it’s the fact that talented people still have a say about where to deploy their abilities. So, developing a screening process regarded as fair by all concerned should be a key part of an organization’s employee value proposition.

Back to our subject, I believe the main problem with the aptitude tests I’ve been subjected to is the assumption that “One size fits all.” Irrespective of the job or role in question, the type of test employed rarely seems to change.

Unfortunately, I believe this position runs contrary to current best practice in the field of psychological testing. Indeed, current thinking recognizes aptitude tests as tools that are used to decide a person’s abilities and competences to do a given job. Furthermore, tests should be designed and employed judiciously using proper scientific methods as part of the broader recruitment process.

With this in mind, I suggest that organizations reconfigure their use of aptitude testing when assessing potential fresh entrants into the workforce along the following lines:

Step 1: Apply a General Aptitude Test: These type of tests should be able to test the general thinking abilities of candidates; they can also be used to assess candidates in one or more of the following knowledge areas:

  • General Knowledge/Current Affairs: Topics that an average University graduate would be expected to be familiar with
  • Residual Knowledge: Topics that candidates would normally become familiar with over a period of learning
  • Simulation/Scenario Based Knowledge: simulations that help to show the thinking patterns and likely behavior of candidates in particular job-related situationsaptitude testing

General Aptitude tests help to reduce the likelihood of some candidates having an undue advantage over others by focusing on their general thinking abilities and not their technical abilities

Step 2: Next, Apply a Specialized Test: Specialized tests seek to assess a person’s technical abilities. They recognize that different jobs require different competencies for best performance. Consequently, it is important to design specialized tests according to the particular job or role in question.

Step 3: Conduct a Personal Interview: Typically, personal interviews are used to assess candidates’ interpersonal skills, educational background and so on. They can also help to assess the fit between the candidate and the organization in terms of values, character and other personal characteristics.

Recent research reports suggest that a growing number of corporations are moving away from their former heavy reliance on aptitude testing towards a more balanced suite of screening techniques to identify top candidates for their graduate/management trainee programs. Hopefully, this practice will become more widespread in the future.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m all for aptitude testing when it’s used properly (i.e. right time, right place, and right content). My argument is simply that employers must do a better job of matching the tests they use to the real aptitudes they are seeking to measure. If they do, I am confident the accuracy of their selection decisions will improve and so will their organizational performance.

Designing the Candidate Experience: What I Learnt From My First Job Interview

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As I walked into the office, I spotted him almost immediately sitting quietly in the waiting room next to our reception area.

Aged somewhere between 25 and 30 years, he had that fresh-faced but anxious look about him that screamed ‘first job interview’ to all around. Opeoluwa, the charming associate consultant who manages our front desk didn’t seem to be around, so I asked him if anyone had attended to him. His quiet affirmation was barely perceptible over the hum of the air conditioner and CNN broadcast running quietly in the background.

“Here for an interview” I enquired? “Yes, I am” he again affirmed quietly. I wished him good luck and gave him a smile of encouragement as I headed towards my office.

I was still smiling as I sat down at my desk, for unknown to my young friend, he had far less reason to feel downloadanxious than he might have thought. In fact, the 45-minute interview he was about to undergo would probably be one of the friendliest, yet most revealing, interview sessions he would ever attend.

To help you understand exactly how and why Human Edge interviews have been so carefully designed to bring out the best in candidates, I’m going to tell you a story.

From 1979 – 1980, I served my national youth service (or NYSC) with the now defunct Nigerian Petroleum Refining Company (NPRC) in Port-Harcourt, later to become the NNPC Port Harcourt Refinery.

To be honest, I had a great time in Port Harcourt. In the ’80s, life in the city was a young man’s dream and doing my national service at the refinery turned out to be quite exciting as well. I’d been posted to the company’s human resources department and the manager in charge put together an informal, 9-month internship program that saw me rotate through all the main HR functions. I learnt a lot and my stay there sparked off a love affair with all things HR that has lasted nearly 35 years.

Despite enjoying myself so much, I turned down an offer to stay on at the refinery in a permanent role at the end of my service year and returned home to Lagos. At the time, it seemed reasonable to assume that Lagos offered considerably broader options with regards to employment.

Shortly after my arrival back home, you can imagine my surprise when I received a letter inviting me to attend an interview with one of the big three oil majors operating in the country. To this day, I’m not sure how that invitation came about. I do know that I hadn’t yet started to look for work so I definitely hadn’t applied to this particular company. Perhaps a relative or family friend had spoken up on my behalf.

In any event, a week later I headed off to my first job interview, all scrubbed up and wearing my best suit. Sadly, there were no ‘selfies’ in those days, but I’m sure I must have been a sight.

My appointment was for 10 a.m and to make sure I wouldn’t be late, I decided to arrive a bit earlier. So, at 9 a.m on the dot I walked bravely up to the efficient – looking young woman at the reception desk on the ground floor of the company’s headquarters on  Victoria Island and politely informed her that I was there for an interview. She looked me up and down for a moment and then motioned me to take a seat on one of the row of chairs in the reception area.

I watched the flow of human traffic in and out of the building for a while and tried to guess if there were any other candidates like myself there, but it was hard to tell who all the various visitors might be. I soon gave up on this and decided to read through the résumé I’d put together. There really wasn’t much to it, I thought to myself, but I wanted to be familiar with the information I’d put down.

As time passed, I became increasingly nervous. Remember, this was my first job interview! What if the receptionist had forgotten about me, I worried? By 9.45 a.m, I still hadn’t been called and all my efforts to make eye-contact with the young woman had failed. So, I went back to the front desk and reminded her of my appointment. “What did you say you are here for again?” she asked disinterestedly. “An interview with the HR manager,” I said and gave her the letter of invitation to read once more. “Where are you from?” she queried. “Erm, from my house” I answered. “Yes, but where are you from?” she impatiently asked once more. “From my house. Do you want the address?” I replied.

Whoops. Wrong answer, it seemed. Flashing an angry look my way, she dialed a number, and informed whoever was on the other end of the line that there was a candidate for interview before her who “refused to say where he’s from!”

To my horror, she then shoved the phone at me and said “Talk to the HR manager yourself.” The smirk on her face suggested that he or she would soon sort me out. It turned out to be a gentleman …and he did.

Five minutes later, with my ears still ringing from the barracking I got for being so uncooperative – especially as I was the one “looking for a job,” I found myself being ushered into the HR manager’s outer office, where a surprisingly considerate secretary asked me what I’d done to upset her boss quite so much.

“I’m sorry madam, but I honestly don’t know. Both the HR manager and the receptionist kept asking me where I was from, and I kept answering as truthfully as I could, from my house!” I explained. She download (1)smiled at me in a knowing sort of way and proceeded to explain in a kindly voice “Ah, I see. What they meant was who referred you to our company?”

“Really? Why didn’t they just ask me that in plain English” I almost screamed.

Eventually, I got to spend about 10 minutes with the HR manager. I clearly hadn’t impressed him and it was quite obvious that he didn’t see much potential in me. He was kind enough to send me to have a chat with one of his assistant managers who, as it turns out, I recognized as having been a few years ahead of me at the University of Ibadan. Hopefully, he’d be a little more friendly. No such luck. Obviously my exploits of the day had traveled far within the company’s HR department and so, after yet another 5 minute tongue-lashing, I found myself back with the HR manager’s secretary. She gave me another apologetic sort of half-smile and urged me not to worry too much. Hopefully, things would turn out better than I thought.

“Perhaps she’s right,” I sighed to myself as I signed-out from the Visitor’s Book at the front desk, but then I noticed the receptionist somehow managing to both glare and smirk at me at the same time. There and then, I vowed that even if this was the last place on earth, I’d never work there.

So, there you have it. My first job interview turned out to be the proverbial ‘interview from hell.’

Fortunately, there’s a bit of a post-script to this story. Many years later, after I had become a senior HR manager myself with another oil major operating in the country, I had the pleasure of meeting that HR manager again. When I recounted my experience that day in his office, he appeared genuinely contrite, offered a profound apology and blamed the affair on a ‘bad day at the office.’ Well, by this time I’d had a few bad days at the office myself over the years, so I could empathize with his explanation. We shook hands and that was it.

Or was it?

I suspect many of my current views about the importance of creating a great candidate experience during the interviewing process have their roots in my personal experience. For example, I believe that more than ever business organizations are finding themselves competing for a dwindling pool of talent. Their problems are compounded by the fact that talented employees are still able to decide where they prefer to work, despite the unfavorable market conditions in most parts of the world at the moment. In my experience, many employers are still finding it hard to come to terms with the power that prospective talented employees may wield.

I think this is unfortunate, not the least because the interview process is probably best viewed as a mechanism for  employers and prospective employees alike to decide if a given job opportunity represents a good fit for both parties. Designing a great candidate experience into that process can help tip the balance in favor of employers as they seek to secure the services of much sought after organizational talent.

At Human Edge, we’ve tried to turn this recognition into concrete action by assembling a team of consultants and tasking them with the design and monitoring of what we call the ‘Branded Candidate Experience’ at the firm. Their goal? To make sure candidates attending interviews with the firm have a great experience while doing so.

In case you’re wondering, the ‘Branded Candidate Experience’ isn’t just an exercise in employment branding or corporate P.R. In his fascinating new book, ‘The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, author Ron Friedman, PhD points out that the first few minutes of an exchange can have a dramatic impact on the subsequent development of relationships. By paying careful attention to those first ‘Moments of Truth’ in the interviewing process we’ve discovered that even candidates who eventually aren’t successful in getting their dream jobs enjoy the experience so much, that they often go on to become some of our most effective brand champions.

From personal experience, I’d also add that first impressions are usually lasting ones. Remember, the events described in my story occurred nearly 35 years ago but I still recall them quite vividly. Furthermore, the (negative) impressions I formed of the company in question have hardly changed since that time. Something to think about at a time when the  concept of ’employer branding’ is receiving growing attention.

Today, I’m more convinced than ever that a great candidate experience doesn’t just happen by chance. Rather, it’s the result of careful planning and disciplined execution. Done properly, it can produce a truly win-win outcome. Employers ignore this important tool at their own peril.

Want a Successful Career? Getting the Right Education Can Help

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fkThis week it’s my pleasure to introduce a new guest blogger, Miss Folakunmi Sosanya, who joined Human Edge in December 2014.

Folakunmi has some very definite ideas about how getting the right education can seriously boost one’s career potential. More importantly, she identifies the need to become a lifelong learner, which is certainly something I believe in.

Enjoy the post.

Want a Successful Career? Getting the Right Education Can Help by Folakunmi Sosanya

It’s a new year, and new thoughts begin to set in as to how to advance your career. So what are your career advancement goals? Educational achievement plans? What do you intend to achieve? Have you set any targets for yourself? So many questions to be answered all in a bid to improve oneself and yet, they can all be achieved by starting on a clean slate. That’s the awesome thing about the beginning of a new year – new plans, new dreams and a positive attitude.

Getting the right education can be a major factor in achieving career success. Try to imagine a world without education. Sounds weird right? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that being uneducated is equal to being unsuccessful, far from it. However, most of us would probably agree that an educated person tends to get better opportunities in life. So, I believe getting the right education is important and in everyone’s best interest.

Here are three reasons to focus on getting the right education:

  1. It helps to develop more confidence and greater independence: Having a strong educational base helps to make us more self-sufficient and independent-minded, particularly when it comes to making those critical life and financial decisions.
  1. It helps us turn our dreams into reality: We all dream. But, as awesome as dreams can be, they can also be quite scary for many of us. One reason is that we often lack the resources or the wherewithal to make our dreams come true. Fortunately, the more confidence we have, the more we are likely to truly believe that we can really achieve the things we set our minds to. According to Brian Littrell, the former Backstreet Boys singer and now Christian music artist who almost lost his life twice to a serious medical condition, we should “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you’ll land among the stars.”
  1. The more knowledge we have, the higher our potential for financial advancement: Having a good education should make us more knowledgeable, which in turn should help us to broaden our horizons. This is not just about personal gratification, after all we live in a world in which being knowledgeable often makes us more powerful. Rather, there’s simply a plethora of evidence that the better educated one is in general, the greater the chances of landing a well -paying job. Money certainly isn’t everything, but it sure does help.

Now that we’ve agreed education has a big influence on our chances of advancement, let me give you a peek into how my educational choices have played a big role in getting me to where I am today.

To start with, like many young people I chose my undergraduate/first degree course with the help of my parents. In my part of the world (Nigeria), parents tend to guide the early educational choices of their children with the hope that they make better decisions regarding such an important life choice.

Soon after I finished my undergraduate studies, I got my first job as a Business Analyst in an I.T consulting firm. I enjoyed my job a great deal but eventually I decided to go back to school for further studies. My choice of postgraduate course was influenced by several considerations. First, I wanted to study something related to the kind of work I had beingimage2 doing in my first job. Second, I wanted something that would allow me to gain more insight into what seemed to be an interesting field of study. Third, if all went well, I hoped to be able to significantly enhance my earning potential once I got back into the labor market.

At first, it was quite difficult contemplating the thought of not being able to earn an income for myself and having to become financially dependent on my parents once again. In fact, it was a really hard decision, but one I honestly don’t regret making. My postgraduate program turned out to be a real opportunity to gain more knowledge and a different type of experience, things which will surely will help me to build a better career in future.

I don’t yet know where my formal education “journey” will lead me. However, I now recognize that I must be committed to lifelong learning and that knowledge must be acquired on a daily basis if one is truly to attain a state of self-actualization.

So, what about you? Don’t let this year go by without aspiring to learn something new or something interesting that will add value to who you are and what you can do. Now that you know how education can improve your worth, what bold steps are you ready to take regarding your educational choices? To boost your career? It’s all in your hands now. Go for it!

Integrity in the Workplace

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It’s been one of the hot workplace topics of 2014 and a subject that has many managers throwing up their hands in despair: just how do you address the subject of “INTEGRITY” in the everyday life of a manager? Talent Matters caught up with Adekemi Akinyede and Olabimpe Alabi, Consultant and Associate Consultant respectively in the Advisory Services division of Human Edge Limited, and asked them for their views. As you can see from their post below, they both expressed some pretty forthright opinions on the subject, certainly no grey areas for them. However, I’m not so sure. Many managers find themselves in a delicate “no-man’s land” when it comes to integrity. One in which “good faith” and “best intentions” are often hard to fulfil due to circumstances way beyond their control. Many managers also wonder if the issue of integrity in the workplace hasn’t become too one-sided, something that applies only to managers and not employees as well. Whichever way you’re leaning at the moment, Adekemi and Olabimpe’s piece certainly adds to the debate. Enjoy.

Integrity in the Workplace by Adekemi Akinyede and Olabimpe Alabi

If only there was one value to live by, it would be this: INTEGRITY!!!. Success, work, people, things and money will come and go, but integrity lasts forever. Integrity integritymeans doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. It takes having the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences will be. Building a reputation of integrity takes years, but it takes only a second to lose. Why is integrity so important in the workplace? We have heard of many instances where integrity is taken for granted at the workplace, the reason could be any of many reasons. When you think about something, and you say it out loud, then you are obliged to act on what has been said. For instance, where you are invited for a conference/workshop and you accept that invitation, you are obliged to be present irrespective of other pressing engagements or bad traffic you are faced with. You owe it to yourself and the person to be there. You have to give people around you the opportunity to trust your word. At the beginning of the year, there are expectations from the employer and the employees, objectives are clear, goals are set, promises are made, salaries are expected amongst many other things, we are all excited! For an employer, because nothing is certain and businesses face good times, hard times, economic recession rears its head, things may not go as planned. You therefore, owe it your employees to communicate change in circumstances. Communication is one of the most important and effective tools of managing an organization. Communicate why you cannot meet these set expectations, communicate why you cannot pay that leave allowance we’ve been planning our holiday around, communicate! Let the people you work for and who work for you “trust your word”. The “policy” says after one complete calendar year an employee is due for promotion, in fifteen months, no promotion, and no communication whatsoever. Employees’ feel they are being taken for granted, they don’t feel appreciated or even noticed. These will impact the way the employee feels towards the organization and there won’t be any feeling of camaraderie or ownership because the trust was broken. You want to create a work environment where people don’t jump off the bus at the slightest glitch the company faces, you want an environment where the people are committed and trusted, but that will not happen by paying lip service or ignoring the needs of your employees. An organization needs to invest emotionally in their employees, find time to genuinely care, empathize, and communicate with them. The worst thing that can happen to an organization is to lose her good employees. Employees, on the other hand, should endeavor to honor their working hours and not steal time from their employer. Keep workplace secrets such as client information, employee salaries and up-coming company changes to yourself – it’s an absolute integrity must. We live in a world where integrity isn’t talked about nearly enough. Where “the end justifies the means” has become an acceptable school of thought for far too many. Sales people over-promise and under deliver, all in the name of making their quota for the month. Applicants exaggerate in job interviews because they desperately need a job. Employees call in “sick” because they don’t have any more paid time off when they actually just need to get personal errands done. The list could go on and on, and in each case the person committing the act of dishonesty told himself or herself they had a perfectly valid reason why the end result justified their lack of integrity. Profit in Naira or popularity is temporary, but profit in a network of people who trust you as a person of integrity is forever. Warren Buffet, said it best: “In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy.  And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.” 

Finding the Right Talent

Talent Matters recently caught up with Colin Enim and Jumoke Aleoke-Malachi, Head, Staffing Division and Senior Consultant respectively with Human Edge Limited.

We asked them what they are currently advising their clients to do in order to find the right talents in today’s hyper-competitive talent market. I think you’ll enjoy some of their insights. Over to you.

Finding the Right Talent by Colin Enim and Jumoke Aleoke-Malachi

Successful hiring is a two-sided process. You have to find the right talent and the right talent has to be interested in the working with your organization. Talented people almost always have options available to them. To ensure your organization is on the right pedestal, consider adapting the following strategies to attract talent:

  • Treat your Employees Well: A good and enabling work environment will create a positive message about your company/organization in the community. Your organization will be a place where people want to work
  • Promote your Company/Organization: If no one has ever heard about your company/organization, it will be difficult for your organization to attract the talented people you will need to grow and prosper
  • Focus on Employee Retention: Lowering turnover will reduce your need to hire from outside which in turn should lower your costs considerably. In addition, give your employees the same courtesies and opportunities that you extend to customers and the public in general.
  • Be Conscious of Timelines: Don’t lose employees’ to other employers because your organization acted too slowly. Act quickly.
  • Show Enthusiasm: Always speak positively about your Company/Organization. During interviews, sell the candidate on yourself and your organization.

 

Now that your house is in order, let’s examine the hiring process.

Hiring the right employees for your organization is a challenging process. Hiring the wrong employee is expensive and time consuming. On the other hand, hiring the right employee enhances your work culture and pays your organization back a thousand times over in high employee morale. To achieve hiring the right employee the following steps are crucial:Finding the Right Talent

1. Prepare a comprehensive job description before initiating the hiring – This will go a long way in determining the right specification for the job

2. Plan your employee recruiting strategy – An effective recruitment strategy will go a long way in reducing the duration of time used in identifying the candidate from respective organization and sectors.

3. Use a checklist for hiring an employee – A checklist will serve the purpose of ensuring that every potential candidate provides every necessary documentation relevant to the job he /she is applying for.

4. Recruit the right candidates when hiring an employee – Recruiting the right candidate goes beyond the paper qualifications and relative experience meant for the job but also addresses the issue regarding the candidates’ profile that has to be right for the organization and for the job itself.

5. Review credentials and applications carefully – The review of the candidates credentials becomes prime necessary due to the risk of forgery of credentials that is rampant in this day and age alongside the required experience level of the applicants for the job positions.

6. Prescreen your candidates – The pre-screening of candidates helps sieve out those that are not qualified by not meeting to requirements so the focus can be on those qualified that would be subjected to a rigorous interview process.

7. Ask the right job interview questions – Asking the right job interview questions will show great level of professionalism during the interview stages. This will help identify the right person that has met the required job specification

8. Check backgrounds and references when hiring an employee – This is considered a necessity while considering hiring. This would eventually check mate the risk of a potential miss hire or mischievous individual before hired or within the system

9. Pay Fairly: Poor compensation is a major reason a new employee may walk away early. For instance, someone who takes a job with your organization may get a better offer a few weeks later and decide to jump ship. The economy has evolved and many candidates are getting multiple offers. If your organization truly likes a candidate, then offer them fair market value.

10. Don’t neglect looking inside your organization when filling an open position. Employees are a great source of potential hires because a current employee is likely to give a realistic preview to a candidate and is less likely to refer someone who will not be a positive reflection of themselves.

Also consider promoting from within; proven employees who already know your company and fit in well with the culture are the easiest hires you’ll ever make.

11. Consider several approaches, such as giving candidates an assignment before the interview. For example, ask them to review your product or webpage and give you their comment. If the position for which you are hiring is especially key to your organization, make an effort to see the person in action. For example ask a shop foreman candidate to walk through your plant and comment on things he/she sees. Always give a five minute warning before closing an interview. People often say something important about themselves at the last minute.

In closing, put your house in order so you can attract the right candidate.

 

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