Friday, 3 August 2012

Everyone’s Interested in New Opportunities, aren’t they?

Pie chart 300x168 Everyone’s Interested in New Opportunities, aren’t they?

The idea of a perfect candidate is one we hear all too often. Yet in this candidate-rich market, hiring managers are still constantly pining for that perfect hire – the one that’s hidden amongst the masses with a skill set perfectly suited to join your corporate brand. More commonly than not, you hear these candidates referred to as a passive job seeker.

But who are they? What is the difference between active and passive candidates? What impact do they have on your recruitment strategy? And why are passive candidates so highly sought after?

Anyone who has done recruiting will understand the difference between active and passive candidates. The most common definition for a ‘passive candidate’ is employed, but not looking for another opportunity. An ‘active candidate’, however, is a candidate that is currently seeking a new employment opportunity.

Yet, a recent poll by webrecruit found the meaning of active and passive may not be so clear cut. The survey taken part by 749 LinkedIn users, asked candidates how they would best describe themselves in terms of searching for new opportunities.

The results revealed 46% of candidates would consider themselves as active job seekers currently looking for a job. 9% were passive and would not initiate candidacy, and another 4% were not interested in opportunities at all. The remaining 41%, however, are not actively looking for a job, but are curious about opportunities they see before them, and are more commonly referred to as the actively passive. So what does this mean for recruitment?

Many argue that a passive or curious candidate is more desirable than an active candidate. This is because, unlike active candidates, they aren’t looking for jobs and must, therefore, be better.

But reaching the passive market can be a challenge. After all, passive candidates aren’t looking for a job and are not using the traditional recruitment platforms. As such, business networking, social media and direct candidate sourcing become key channels to recruit these types of individuals.

The fact is, as recruiters, we have to seek out the right candidates – passive, active and everything in between – regardless of their current working status. Which means we have to be vigilant in the resources we are using, and more importantly, how we are using them.

In reality, no type of candidate is better than the other. Rather, the best candidate is the one that best meets your needs, is the best person for the job, and the best person for fitting into your organisation.

And these findings show now, more than ever, the importance of embracing an integrated recruitment strategy comprising both social media and traditional recruitment methods in order to identify the best person for the job.

James Caan - Issue 105

Dear Member,

Talking about the current financial climate and the affect it’s having on the jobs market is something I’ve had to do a lot of recently. It is tough out there, and with recent government statistics revealing a 0.7% fall in GPD, it doesn’t look set to significantly improve any time soon.

However, and I say this vehemently, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. Recessions can provide us with an opportunity to identify new and exciting career paths.

I also believe that positivity and a healthy dose of fighting spirit is the recipe for career success in these hard times. To help foster this, webrecruit has teamed up with Aimee Bateman, of Careercake.TV, to bring you CareerCamLive.

CareerCamLive – a monthly live careers show – will see Aimee answer questions from those seeking careers advice. The first show – Using Social Media to Job Hunt – is on 7th August, 18:30, and is available here:

Aimee is incredibly knowledgeable and fantastic to watch, so please ensure to tune in.

Now, back to the column. This week I’d like to discuss the issues facing public sector workers seeking employment in the private sector.

For instance, I received an email from Alex, a finance officer within local government looking to move into the private sector due to a lack of progression in his current role.

Having worked in local government for the last four and a half years, he is now seeking his next step up as a finance analyst or manager. However, he fears that prospective employers may be put off by his public sector background.

He asks me:

‘Is there anything that I can do to show them that I am capable of translating the skills I have and continue to learn into the private sector?’

Alex, I can see you’re in a frustrating position. Whilst there are many benefits of working in the public sector, career progression isn’t necessarily one at present.

Transitioning from the public to private sector can be a challenge; this is because they are often seen as two different worlds.

As you mentioned, Alex, progression prospects within local government can be limited. Whilst the public sector can offer flexibility in terms of working hours and holiday, the workspace can be regimented and includes a lot of red tape.

The private sector can also prove to be a very challenging working climate too – it’s incredibly target-driven, with longer working hours and shorter holidays. Yet, the rewards, both personally and financially, can be fantastic.

To make the move, you must consider the type of company you are interested in working for. Whilst I appreciate you’re open to any industry, it’s important to target your job seeking efforts in order to transfer your skills and demonstrate your value effectively.

In your case, Alex, with your lack of private sector experience I’d try adopting a different approach to your CV. We know that the private sector keeps a firm eye on costs, so emphasise what value you will deliver; for example, your budget management skills.

You mentioned you were studying towards your CIMA. This is an excellent example of going the extra mile to gain new expertise. Make sure to communicate the qualification’s value and how you are able to transfer this to a new commercial setting.

It may also be worth mentioning the importance of an online profile. Why not harness LinkedIn’s potential to market yourself? Private sector employers check candidates’ profiles online and it can be a strong networking tool.

Overall, your challenge, Alex, is to present your experience in such a way that a prospective employer can ‘slot’ you into their company. If you can do this, you’ll be well on your way to finding your next opportunity.


James Caan

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Why large organisations are using social media to recruit

Brand and recruitment 150x150 Why large organisations are using social media to recruitYou will have no doubt heard the word ‘brand’ bandied about a lot recently. Usually followed by the two biggest buzz words of the 21st century; social media.

There’s no getting away from the fact that social media has taken the business world by storm recently. Companies who have managed to harness its true potential for generating brand awareness are reaping the rewards; those who haven’t are losing out.

It really is as simple as that. What social media can offer, in the way of brand exposure, is unparalleled in terms of its cost and effectiveness. What’s more, you can make your brand accessible and build relationships with your fan base using minimal effort.

Once you have an established network of followers, you are in a position to boost your brand and bolster your company’s reputation. Not only that, but you are effectively building your very own talent pools with which to source candidates from.

The beauty of using social media to recruit in this way is that, not only is it easy on resources, but you are also able to vet your own candidates. LinkedIn is a prime example of this. Really, what you have is an online CV database with a myriad of additional extras.

You can instantly ascertain whether a person possesses the necessary skill-set for a certain role, but added to this you are able to see what other professional activities they partake in. It helps to give a far more rounded portrayal of a person and adds depth to your understanding of whether or not they would be suitable for the role.

It’s worth investing the time to have a presence on all of the major platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, so as to tap into each of the unique audiences they attract. This will increase your brands exposure and will allow you to make use of different techniques within your social media strategy.

Statistics from jobvite show that 80% of companies are using social media platforms to recruit and 9% of the remaining respondents said that they plan to begin. When asked whether or not they had successfully hired a candidate using a social network 2/3 (64%) answered yes. The trend for utilising social media as a hiring resource is certainly on the rise.

For companies, the incentives to go social are both rich and plentiful. It won’t have escaped your notice that our economy is suffering and so, with recession, comes cut backs. The biggest draw of social media is that it’s wallet friendly and fairly easy to implement.

What it requires is people and, more importantly, people engagement. To achieve this, companies need to provide a generous mix of high quality content and consistent interaction. Transparency is the key here. It’s no good a company trying to control every aspect of the message they are putting out. People just won’t buy it or bother taking an interest. What needs to happen is for people to make up their own mind and the company just to provide the back drop for people to say what they think.

A really good example of where this was effectively rolled out was when Ford decided to reinvent the brand’s damaged reputation. They gave out 100 free Fiestas to people who were big on the social media scene. This included popular bloggers and social networkers who were already documenting their lives online.

Their stories made for an authentic and compelling narrative which was completely organic and not at all dictated by Ford. It generated much respect for the brand, as it made it appear more personable and real.

5 ways to make Twitter work for your recruitment strategy

Twitter for recruitment1 150x150 5 ways to make Twitter work for your recruitment strategyWhen it comes to social media hiring, Twitter is sometimes seen as the unsung hero. On one hand you’ve got LinkedIn – a hugely powerful networking platform that has changed the way recruiters search for talent. Then there’s Facebook – a much more informal platform that’s just announced its move into the jobs arena.

On this basis, it’s fair to say Twitter tends to occupy the vacuum in the middle. So why integrate it as part of your recruitment strategy?

Twitter is a valuable tool if you’re looking to inject some personality into your latest job opportunities and direct audiences to your website or blog without seeming to ‘salesy’. That’s if you get it right.

There are a number of companies already successfully using Twitter as part of their hiring strategy, recognising early on that it gives a new dimension to the hiring process – one that can significantly extend the reach of your message.

Just look at companies such as KPMG (@KPMGRecruitment), ITV Careers (@ITVCareers) and Nokia (@NokiaCareers). A brief look at their profiles shows they’re engaging with the followers, increasing their reach and most of all, sharing their latest recruitment opportunities.

If you’re considering Twitter as part of your social media recruitment strategy, here are five ways to ensure you start on the right foot.

1. Optimise your profile

Optimising your Twitter profile is crucial if you want to capture the attention of prospective hires, yet many businesses neglect to complete it in full.

Some Twitter profiles can be perceived as quite static and dull (not including those lucky enough to benefit from a Twitter brand profile ) yet it is possible to create a profile that supports your recruitment strategy.

For instance, include keywords in your 160 word bio that directs audiences to your careers page. Get creative with your background; include snaps of your company culture and be sure to include links to your website in the background. Think about your audience, what do you want them to do?

2. Content really is king

Google’s algorithm checks the authority of every user that tweets, therefore valuable, relevant content will give you a great edge. However, people still struggle to come up with tweets that engage audiences.

If you sell too much in a tweet, you’ll may run the risk of alienating your followers. And if you don’t ‘sell’ enough, you may not see the returns you wished you had.

At least at first, I’d recommend allocating 1 in 5 tweets to the sharing of your jobs. The remaining updates/responses should seek to reply to followers, direct people to your website and share relevant content.

3. Mind your Ps and Qs

Adhering to Twitter etiquette can help you to gain much needed currency on the platform. To start, ensure to personalise content as much as you can. Thank people for RTing your content, and politely involve yourself in conversations.

Hubspot suggests that as much as 64% of users are more likely to purchase from businesses that answer their questions on Twitter. Why should this be any different when applied to your recruitment strategy?

4. Follow the leader

To increase your following, it’s important to identify and follow the ‘good’ tweeters – the influencers who can get your message out to the right people.

Experiment with keywords – what is your ideal candidate inputting into Twitter? What are they talking about? Don’t be afraid to look at what your competitors are doing. Apply the good pointers and improve on the bad.

As a side note – size isn’t everything. Remember, when it comes to Twitter, you’re measured on value. How much do you give back to the community? How often to do you respond to people? Influence is everything.

5. Integrate

Especially when using Twitter as part of your recruitment strategy, it’s important to direct visitors to your careers page. This will ensure your message is seamless; ensuring a smooth journey.

If, however, you do not have a careers page, why not create a landing page and collection form? For a relatively small price, this will ensure to enhance the audience’s journey and will speak volumes about your process. Include a straight forward collection form, and start building your talent pool straight away.

SMEs Using Social Media to Recruit: FAQs

smes using social media 150x150 SMEs Using Social Media to Recruit: FAQsAre you a small to medium sized business wondering if social media recruitment is right for you?

Once upon a time, it was only big organisations that were fully able to leverage the power of the internet as a tool for attracting and building talent pools.

But today, the rise of social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, has given SMEs a vital and cost-effective way of interacting with and identifying potential employees. And in addition to a candidate rich market full of far greater talent than there is demand; research has found more than half of UK job seekers now use social media to assist them in their job searches.

But how do SMEs take full advantage of this opportunity?

Here are the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions by SMEs when considering leveraging the recruitment benefits of social media.

We’re a small business, how will potential candidates find us online?

SMEs are in a difficult situation as they do not always attract the best candidates compared to well-know corporates and big brands.

Whilst there is no simple answer, there are a few things SMEs can do to help increase their online visibility. For example, you can use social buttons as a simple way for candidates to find and follow your social platforms when visiting your company website. You could also share keyword optimised content, such as blogs, to help raise your online profile.

What platforms are best for an SME looking to recruit using social media?

Choosing the right social platforms to spread your message is key to your success.

Consider the type of candidate you’re trying to attract. Do they spend more time on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn? Find out where people with specific interests, skills and experience related to your company are talking. What engages them? Online gaming, blogs, videos?

Whilst LinkedIn is an obvious choice of social network for recruitment, graduates spend more time on Facebook. Twitter works well for niche career specialisms through the #hashtag function.

Remember though, not everyone is signed up to every social media account. So combine your media to get your hiring message out. For example, integrate content and context using Twitter to share short sharp messages or links to your corporate blog, and Pinterest to expose your brand identity and share images of your company.

There are not enough hours in the day already, how will I find the time?

As an SME, you will have limited resources to dedicate to your social media strategy, and as such, it’s important to make the process efficient and financially viable. At a minimum, webrecruit suggests spending the following time on each platform:

LinkedIn – 2 hours per week

Twitter – Tweet twice a day

Facebook – Share three posts a week

Blog – Once a week

If you are unable to tweet regularly or struggle to find the time to share posts, there are tools available that can schedule your updates, such as Hootsuite. There are also sites dedicated to finding and recommending web content to its users, so if you need help with sharing your blog posts, you could try Stumble Upon.

How do we ensure our talent pools are engaging?

By using what others crave most – compelling, rich and engaging content – social media can have a massive reach creating tremendous value when it comes to recruitment. As such, it’s your company’s job to create a compelling environment where people frequently want to go.

If all you have on your social platforms are corporate videos and job descriptions, you are not moving beyond traditional recruitment. Think of exciting ways to drive engagement, such as crowdsourcing and gamification, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.

Get your own employees involved in your social platforms so they are visible and accessible to potential candidates. Answer questions about the company honestly and openly and don’t hide unmoderated comments and discussions. All of these are real engagement activities that strengthen relationships because they demonstrate an organisation’s ability to offer positive responses and extend trust.

I’m not getting the response I was hoping for, what should I do?

If you’ve posted a link to a job in a LinkedIn group or tweeted it and you haven’t had the interest you expected, look at how and why you are using that particular channel. Perhaps the type of candidate you are seeking doesn’t use it?

To overcome this, set clear, realistic objectives, monitor the response and evaluate the resources you have invested in. You may find you have to take an integrated approach. For example, use Twitter to share your latest job posting, but write a follow up blog that is keyword-rich to source candidates using those particular words.

As more SMEs begin the process of transitioning into social media recruitment, it’s important to remember that it is of course, only one more channel. People will still search for jobs on Google and use job boards, but the social arena is growing fast. And when this new way of working is wholeheartedly embraced, social media could provide a genuine opportunity to identify the best talent for your SME business.

Ask James Caan – Issue 103

Dear Member,

Have you ever considered what you could do differently to make yourself redundancy-proof? When Monster asked this to 1,281 workers throughout the UK, the results surprisingly revealed that only 57% would look for opportunities to shine and show how they add value. 25% said they won’t be taking any actions and 9% said they would get up early and stay in late and make more effort.

These findings show now, more than ever, the importance of demonstrating your worth and putting in the extra effort to help safeguard a company’s future. Particularly as businesses are forced to downsize, those that don’t feel they need to make any extra effort to hang on to their jobs, could be exposing themselves to redundancy.

This leads me on to an email I received this week from Nat. She tells me the jobs she has held during the last year were all short term, typically as a result of redundancy.

Despite involving herself in volunteering and keeping her skills up-to-date with online courses, she finds herself back in the job market searching for her next opportunity.

So how can she demonstrate her value within the work environment and avoid facing redundancy again?

Nat, redundancy, or the prospect of it, is something that many people have thought about over the last year or so, and unfortunately, your situation reflects many others across the country. I’m pleased to hear that you are being proactive in developing your skills and participating in voluntary work – there is no time to waste and competition is tough.

You have already amassed some terrific experience exposing you to a variety of industries, in addition to your voluntary work and qualifications. The fact that you have been landing opportunities – even if short term – illustrates that your CV is working. But how can you ensure that once you’ve landed the job, you will remain recession-proof?

First and foremost, make sure you stand out from your colleagues by taking an active interest in issues and making constructive suggestions during meetings. Prove you are a valuable team member, make sure your boss is aware of your achievements and take a positive approach in getting to know people. Even if it’s voluntary work or a short-term contract – these people are valuable connections and could help you with finding full time employment.

By building up a network of valuable connections, if you do unfortunately find yourself facing redundancy, you can get in touch with former bosses or colleagues and find out whether there are any job opportunities out there. That way, you are more likely to have something to fall back on should you lose your job.

It’s fantastic to see you are keeping your skills up-to-date. Not only will this increase your employability, but in the work environment, you’re much better placed against your colleagues. If you see an area within the business where your skills could be of benefit – offer to help and take on some more responsibility.

As an employer, I look for those who go above and beyond the call of duty and can demonstrate their business value. I don’t mean turning up early and leaving late – whilst it’s great to see you working so hard, this could just mean you’re not managing the work you already have. Instead impress me by knuckling down and getting a good job done to the required deadline.

In reality, hiring managers and recruiters are all too aware of the cut-backs many businesses are facing. Short-term jobs don’t have to be a red-flag to employers and, with your experience, you are clearly an attractive candidate. It’s ensuring you differentiate yourself, showcase your talents and prove your commercial value in the workplace.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

LinkedIn targets the market

LinkedIn targets the market

Posted under featured, social networking on Monday, July 9, 2012

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LinkedIn official 150x150 LinkedIn targets the marketOn the 20th of June LinkedIn rolled out an exciting, new feature which allows organisations to post targeted updates to specific company followers.

LinkedIn company page administrators are now able to send custom messages to members based on company size, industry, job function, seniority, geography and including/excluding company employees.

Once the update has been posted to the selected viewership, access is then given to detailed analytics of the users who see and engage with the content. It marks a move forward for the site which, as the largest professional network on the internet, is clearly trying to drive increased user engagement.

For hiring managers the new function is a very valuable tool, as it allows them to be able to deliver highly personalised content to the relevant followers. For example, job opportunities can be shared solely with followers from the appropriate industry and level of seniority.

Targeted Status Updates are a sure fire way of increasing brand awareness and upping the game when it comes to extended exposure. To gain maximum effect when delivering a message you want to be able to tailor it for the desired audience. Now that you can target content to those who match a specific criterion, you instantly increase loyalty and engagement to your brand.

It means that you can put out a far more refined and tightly packed message on a more regular basis; without having to be conscious of it becoming like spam when clogging up follower’s news feeds.

Once content has been submitted it can then be chartered and the effectiveness of it tracked. This is done via a follower insights page which gives administrators access to the demographics, growth and levels of interaction of company followers.

Below is a screenshot of where it has been used:

LinkedIn screenshot 12 LinkedIn targets the market

Monday, 9 July 2012

Firms must look outside the recruiting box

WHILE making a name for herself as founder and head of indigenous recruitment and consulting firm LBF Consulting, Lani Blanco-Francis moved to Sydney to prove herself on a bigger stage. "I come from a small community in far north Queensland," Blanco-Francis says. "Born in Mossman, north of Port Douglas, raised in Weipa. I was the kind of girl that wanted more than just Weipa, and to get out and explore other opportunities. So I applied to study dance with the Aboriginal and Islander Skills Association in Sydney."

TA can't recruit enough 'quality troops' for plans

Plans to radically restructure the British Army which make it more dependent on part-time soldiers are “fundamentally flawed”, senior officers have warned.
Plans to radically restructure the British Army which make it more dependent on part-time soldiers are “fundamentally flawed”, senior officers have warned.
Plans to radically restructure the British Army which make it more dependent on part-time soldiers are “fundamentally flawed”, senior officers have warned.  Photo: PA

They spoke out as figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph showed that the Territorial Army (TA) could be as many as 6,000 troops short by 2020 – the year when the reservists are supposed to comprise a quarter of the Army.

Last week’s decision to cut the regular Army from 100,000 to 82,000 troops, a plan known as Army 2020, is based on the TA taking an increasing role in front-line duties.

Under the restructuring, the TA will expand in number to 30,000 part-timers, and will be expected to fight in battle with the regular Army.

However, over the last two years the TA has failed to meet its recruitment targets by 20 per cent.

The TA experienced a 20 per cent shortfall in recruits in 2010-11, when 4,800 troops were required but only 3,800 joined. The same shortfall was repeated in 2011-12 when 5,100 recruits were needed but only 4,200 civilians volunteered. The TA will need to recruit around 4,000 to 5,000 troops a year for the next eight years to have a fully trained, deployable force by 2020.

Critics of Army 2020 say the Government mistakenly bought into the idea of using reservist troops because the United States military has successfully incorporated the use of part-time soldiers, marines and pilots into the regular forces. But the US National Guard has a multi-billion pound budget, enjoys huge support from employers and provides a range of benefits for troops.

A new TA recruit is paid £35.04 a day, which rises to £43.54 once basic training has been completed. All soldiers who complete a minimum training commitment, 19 to 27 days depending on the unit, will also receive a bonus of £424.

While some TA units are run very professionally and produce high quality part-time soldiers, others have been called “drinking clubs” for aging senior non-commissioned officers. One officer said Army 2020’s flaw was that the TA “simply can’t recruit enough high-quality individuals”.

There are also concerns that businesses will be reluctant to employ reservists, in light of potentially long deployment periods.

Gen Sir John Kiszely, a former senior commander, said: “It is going to be a hell of a challenge to achieve this. You need to find enough people to double the reserve and train them to a high standard and get employers to be far more flexible about suddenly losing staff for long periods. You have to ask whether this can seriously be achieved.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “We don’t underestimate the challenge of achieving a trained Army Reserve of 30,000 but we are investing £1.8 billion over 10 years to enhance their capability and strength.

“In autumn we will carry out a consultation that will look at how we can create a new relationship between the Armed Forces, individual reservists and employers so it would be wrong to use past recruitment statistics to make assumptions about the future.” He said the MoD was confident more people would join the TA under the plans.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Crowdsourcing: Harnessing the web for what it was built for what it was built for

Crowd sourcing 300x300 Crowdsourcing: Harnessing the web for what it was built for

Designing a strategy that services an organisation’s talent needs has become an increasingly complex task for the hiring manager. Not just because of the unpredictable shifts in the economic climate, but also the constant introduction of new technologies, paving paths for new talent channels.

Recently, Matthew Jeffery described a relatively new concept – recruitment 4.0 and crowdsourcing. It involves using social communities to outsource tasks traditionally performed by internal employees.

How does it work? A company posts a problem online and a large number of individuals offer their opinions and ideas as to how to solve it. The winning idea is rewarded in some form, and the end result is the company adopting the idea for its own benefit.

Often described as a win-win solution – crowdsourcing is cost-effective for businesses and fosters innovation among their social communities. In fact, Amazon, Cisco, Facebook, IBM, Pepsi and Starbucks have already used crowdsourcing techniques to generate ideas that have already or are expected to turn into new products and service innovations.

Whilst there is still a way to go before we see a scalable crowdsourced recruiting solution, key elements can already be incorprated into companys’ social communities, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Here are some of the basics for businesses considering leveraging their social communities to crowdsource.

It’s an additional resource, not a replacement:

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that crowdsourcing is not being used to replace any human decision making processes.

It is a form of attraction, a platform to promote your brand and encourage your social followers to send you suggestions and ideas that can be used within your company, and ultimately create a pool of talent.

If you want to attract talent, you must make yourself attractive:

Building an attractive culture and work environment that will encourage star potential to your social communities is the basis of getting the most out of crowdsourcing.

The only way you’re going to be able to build these communities is if you build an incentive structure that will attract them to your social platforms – whether that’s through gamification, a place to share videos and photos, or offering exclusive access news.

Outsource clearly defined tasks to achieve your goal:

Crowdsourcing is best suited for simple tasks such as a new logo, website or product name.

Be specific. Make a detailed list of what the person is supposed to do. For example, if you’re looking to re-launch your company website, you could ask people for their feedback regarding layout, the readability of text and attractiveness of the design. From there you can get inspiration.

Align Incentives:

To those who develop a winning solution to your problem, you must offer some type of reward, whether that’s financial, a holiday or an iPad.

In return, each person who takes part in the challenge is focused on doing their best work so that they might win. And as such, the ideas and solutions you receive should be pretty fantastic.

Overall, it seems fair to say, keeping talent engaged and interested in your brand and business is not going to get easier. The influence of social media, it’s ease of access and the desire it creates to connect on a global level, makes crowdsourcing, simply another natural progression of time.

Ask James Caan – Issue 101

Dear member,

In these turbulent economic times, businesses have taken the brunt, with many being forced to go under. Subsequently, this often means that the owner has to go out and find a less prominent role within another company.

The transition can be a difficult one to make, however, it doesn’t have to be. When executed properly, it can bring about refreshing change and open up new, exciting opportunities.

Last week I received an email from Jackie, who has owned her own business for the past 5 years. Changing circumstances, however, are forcing her to look at returning to employee status.

She asked:

“Being a business owner is it harder to get back into main stream employment? What challenges may I face?”

Firstly, thank you Jackie for getting in touch. Your situation is not uncommon; especially in the current financial downturn we are experiencing. Rather than being daunted by it though, you must ask yourself how these shifts in the marketplace are opening up new opportunities for you to tap into.

The key here is to stay ahead of the game. You have already accepted a big turning point in your career, so you are in a prime position to now go ‘whole hog’ and diversify completely. Everyone needs to be chameleon-like in a recession and be able to adapt well to change.

The biggest issue you, and others, face is the art of re-packaging your skills. This is so as not to scare off potential employers, whilst at the same time remaining truthful. Although it is a case of survival of the fittest, rather than being focussed on yourself, you need to think carefully about what a potential employer is looking for.

Having owned your own company you will have acquired a wide and varied skills set. While you may need to play down how you applied some of these skills, you certainly shouldn’t omit them completely.

For example, it is likely that you will have managed a team of people. But, instead of playing up your managerial experience, make the focus more on ‘effective teamwork’. The main concern an employer will have when hiring someone who is moving ‘down’ the career ladder, is whether or not they can adapt to being in a less authoritative position.

You need to make them believe that this is a transition you want to make. Thinking of not having that ultimate responsibility anymore and being less stressed should help with this.

All the very best Jackie,

James Caan

Question? Email me at for the chance to appear in next week’s column.

Monday, 2 July 2012

An Administration Professional’s Guide to using LinkedIn

LinkedIn for Executives 150x150 An Administration Professional’s Guide to using LinkedInWhen the recession hit, businesses nationwide shed their administrative personnel in a bid to save costs which cut thousands and thousands of jobs. As a result, there is a huge pool of support personnel, not only seeking jobs, but looking at ways to add further value on top of their existing skill set.

There are a growing number of tools available to those looking to secure work in administration. Job boards, online communities and forums to name a few. Perhaps the largest untapped resource for some jobseekers however is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has made a big impact in recruitment, and continues to aid jobseekers to identify new opportunities. With hiring managers using it to get closer to their ideal candidate, those who do not use it as part of their job hunting tool kit could be losing out.

So how do you, as an administrative professional, make your LinkedIn profile stand out?

Your LinkedIn profile needs to contain as much relevant information as possible, laid out in a cognitive fashion. Take 5 – 10 minutes out of your day to try and improve your profile or update some information, it doesn’t seem much but, after a week have a look and you will notice a significant change.

An administrative professional’s CV usually offers a constant and steady work history, loyalty to a handful of companies and a track record of excellence and (hopefully) over-achievement within your role. And learning how to translate this onto your online profile is much easier than you think.

7 LinkedIn tips for administration professionals:

Complete your LinkedIn profile
Ensure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete to maximise your chances of marketing your skills. Fill in the fields on your profile, use the right key words and indicate how you have added value.

Pick the right keywords
Keywords are used by recruiters and hiring managers that trawl LinkedIn’s vast reach to find candidates. Use well-know, jargon-free phrases that reflect your remit whilst making it easy for the audience to understand.

Join groups and follow companies
Join relevant groups focusing on administration and follow companies which you either having an interest in working for, have worked for or feel are interesting and relevant to your career. Make sure to take an active role in groups; participation in discussion threads and offering to help or advise others will help market your abilities.

Status updates
Set interesting headlines and status updates which will make viewers want to follow links to find out more about you. This will include blogs, industry information, statutory changes or other relevant information. It is essentially a way of selling yourself and making your profile more visible to second and third level connections.

Write an administration-relevant CV
You can use your LinkedIn profile as an online CV. Work to your strengths , if you do not have many qualifications, focus on your work experience and vice versa. Also focus on other skills you possess such as touch typing and personality traits, such as highly organised and a great attention to detail.

If you have done any voluntary work or extra-curricular activities, make sure you mention these. Many admin roles require flexibility and team work, volunteering and social activities show off these qualities.

Connect with colleagues, other administrative professionals and people you consider interesting and who will bring something to your network. Try to achieve over 100 connections over the course of a few months, that way your news feed will have new and fresh additions regularly and, to the outside viewer, you will come across as an active member of LinkedIn.

First impressions count
Your LinkedIn profile must appear professional, yet interesting, and that is a tough balancing act. Having a strong profile will help to attract connections and, after all connecting with people is what LinkedIn is all about.

As an administration professional, how have you made your LinkedIn profile as visible as possible? Please share your tips below.

Coming soon – Career Advice Live!

Aimee Bateman 150x150 Coming soon – Career Advice Live!webrecruit is teaming up with Aimee Bateman, who is widely recognised for her expertise within the recruitment industry. Her success has seen her featured on TV and in the national media, including the BBC.

In a nutshell, Aimee is a successful entrepreneur, ambassador for jobseekers, motivational speaker, TV presenter and author. Her website,, is a free resource dedicated to helping passionate people succeed in their chosen careers.

On the first Tuesday of every month (starting in August), she will be hosting a live video stream providing you with all the nuggets of advice you need to secure the job of your dreams. Her wealth of top-tips covers all career angles, whether you are in employment, or not.

The exciting new sessions will work on an interactive basis; whereby, Aimee will be fielding questions via Twitter. She will then respond to your individual queries on all issues work-related.

But, we need your help. The feature has no name and we want you to come up with a catchy, little hook-line for it. Visit our facebook page to enter the competition and be in for a chance to win a signed copy of James Caan’s book.

How to Create an Engaging EVP

Amid the downsizing and economic downturn, employee disengagement has risen to be a critical issue across a variety of organisations. One of the main causes of this disengagement is as a result of the massive changes employees have experienced when it comes to their employment value proposition (EVP). To put it simply, the value that employees gain by working for a particular organisation has altered dramatically as companies struggle to stay afloat. An EVP is the commonly used term to describe the characteristics and appeal of working for an organisation. It’s more than just salaries and benefits; it reflects the entire employment experience from culture and management style to career development and reward. It is the deal struck between an organisation and employee in return for their hard work and performance. But as companies begin to emerge from the global crisis, particular attention must be paid to their EVP. Even more so, as organisations compete to secure and attract the best talent in an increasingly candidate-rich market. Here are some tips to help you create an effective and successful EVP. Understand existing views: To develop a strong, realistic EVP, you must first understand what perceptions existing staff have about your company brand and culture. Brain storm with employees and find out what attracts potential candidates to your company? What do existing employees value most about working with you? Why do they stay? Why do they leave? Differentiate your EVP: Differentiation is crucial if an organisation wants to stand out from the crowd. Consider what makes your company unique and what you stand for. Determine the aspects of your business that people value most and use this to draft an EVP. When identifying your USPs, consider whether you have painted a realistic picture of what it’s like working for your company. Does it appeal to different groups? Are you able to clearly differentiate your company? Creatively Communicate your EVP: Once you’ve defined and differentiated your EVP, find ways to communicate it to the people you’re trying to attract. It’s particularly important to ensure your EVP is conveyed within your hiring channels, including company website, social profiles and the interview process. You also want passive candidates to form a positive perception about the value of working for your company. As such, additionally communicate your EVP through PR, marketing and branding. Cultivate Brand Ambassadors: Existing employees are your most powerful source of promotion. Not only will they play a key role in helping to attract talent, but they will also ensure that such talent has the right culture fit. Bearing this is mind; ensure your employees can see consistency in the image you sell externally, and in the day-to-day reality of working for your company. Monitor Your EVP: Companies are constantly evolving, so remember to review your EVP annually to ensure that it continues to reflect the changing employee experience. When used and communicated effectively, an EVP becomes a powerful tool in connecting employees’ desires with what the employer provides. Those organisations that do invest time and energy to rebuild their EVP will not only benefit by employee performance in their current environment, but will also benefit from improved retention and star attraction

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Improving the candidate experience: A guide for hiring managers

Have you ever given serious consideration to the impression being made on candidates during the hiring process? Have you ever thought carefully about the affect it could be having on your brand’s reputation?

It’s natural for hiring managers to be concerned with filling roles using the most effective resources. What some employers may fail to see, however, is that there may be factors within their hiring process that can have a negative effect on both fill rates and the candidate experience.

On the other side of the coin, we regularly hear from jobseekers frustrated about the lack of response, or even acknowledgement, after they have submitted a CV. Another source of frustration stems from the omission of any feedback after they have invested time and effort to attend an interview.

All these factors combined can leave a bad taste in the mouths of candidates, and it doesn’t stop there. In a recent survey, we found that over 70% of applicants will tell others about a bad experience with a company during the recruitment process.

Word of mouth is a powerful source of brand awareness. If people are talking negatively about your company, it can cause irreparable damage to your brand. As people say, ‘it can take years to build up a strong brand and just minutes to destroy it.’ And it’s absolutely true.

Want to know more? Request our free guide on how you can improve the candidate’s experience of the hiring process. After all; today’s candidate – tomorrow’s client.