Archive for June, 2013


tendering-a-resignation-the-right-way

 

By Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

For most people handing in your resignation is a difficult experience. There are plenty of things to consider if you want to have a smooth resignation that leaves you with a positive outcome and maintains your professional reputation. My advice relates to the scenario where you are leaving to join another company however there will be circumstances where this isn’t the case. If you are resigning without a job to go to make sure your CV is up to date and that you have researched the market thoroughly so that you are fully up to speed when you start your job search. Please see my previous blog on how to conduct your job search.

So what aspects need to be considered when resigning?

Are you sure?

It may sound obvious but it is a decision not to be taken lightly and you must be sure you are making the right decision. Your decision should be firm and final and you can then focus on navigating the resignation process. Before talking to anyone in your current organisation, you should first wait until you have your new offer confirmed in writing. Make sure you are totally happy with all aspects of the offer or contract and ask for further information if needed before you resign.

Timing is important.

You do not have to resign the second your offer letter arrives. Clearly, your new employer will be keen for you to resign quickly so you can start with their business as soon as possible but waiting 24 hours might be wise. You may need to think about bonus payments that are due to you and if so you may need to delay your resignation until the money is on your account (check your contract for clarity on this). If this is the case, make sure your new employer or the agency managing your offer is aware of this well in advance.

Wherever possible, your resignation should be done face to face, even if this means travelling to see your boss in person. This will ensure your notice period begins immediately and will sit more comfortably with your line manager. You should be very careful about who is aware of your intention to resign. A sense of betrayal will be felt in any case but for your boss to hear on the grapevine is likely to make things particularly difficult. The same is said once you have resigned – if it has not been announced yet internally it is probably best not to post it on Facebook!

Have a clear plan.

It is important that you have a strategy for what objectives you want to achieve. There will be some obvious aims, for instance ensuring that positive relations are maintained, that the door is kept open so you could return in the future and being seen to have dealt with the situation professionally. A key objective is the negotiation of your notice period and leaving date. One important aspect that people often forget is to dig out their contract to fully understand any obligations and restrictions. You may find that during your employment that you have been issued with a new contract and so it is important to review all these documents. I know of numerous examples where candidates have been wrong about their notice period which will not go down well with your new employer.

The resignation letter.

It is important that you give your employer a resignation letter when you verbally resign so that your notice period officially begins. Your letter should be short and to the point, stating that you are resigning effective on month/day/year in order to take another position. You do not need to provide any detail about the company or role you are moving to.

The resignation meeting.

It is important that you try and take the emotion out of the meeting and act professionally. Although you may feel a sense of satisfaction from telling your boss what you really think you have to analyse what there is to be gained from being negative. You should prepare yourself for a number of reactions ranging from congratulatory handshakes to out-and-out anger. Your line manager may take this news personally and knowing your departure will reflect badly on them could cause a negative reaction. Try not to point out the reasons why you are leaving but rather the reasons why you are taking on the new role. You should also be prepared that they may try and persuade you to stay. Generally it is not advisable to accept counter offers but of course there are occasions where this might be the right thing to do. Please see my previous blog When is right to accept a counter offer?

Depending on the type of role you hold within your company, you should be prepared that you may be escorted from the premises immediately and not be permitted to return to your desk. This is more likely in senior positions or when you are leaving to join a competitor. If you suspect this may be the case, you should clear personal details/contacts from phones and e-mail and discretely clear your desk of essential items before you resign. You should also be prepared to negotiate on your notice period. If you wish to reduce your notice you are likely to have to provide some commitment about what you will achieve before leaving (a structured handover or training your replacement, for instance).

Exit Interview.

In many businesses you will be invited to an exit interview. This may be quite different to your resignation meeting, as it will be conducted by HR and will probably be less emotive, designed to elicit feedback about what could have been done differently to retain you. As with the resignation meeting you should try and remain positive. Think carefully about how you can convey your views in a constructive and positive manner. Think about what you have to lose by being negative – it is great to give feedback and examples but also remember that sometimes things are better left unsaid.

References

By behaving in a professional and positive way you are much more likely to be able to call on referees to provide a reference in either a professional or personal capacity.

Notice period.

Having handled yourself in a professional and diplomatic way during the resignation process it is important that you maintain this attitude when working your notice period. Your behaviour and performance during this time will be scrutinised and you don’t want your previous reputation to be undermined by finishing on a low. It may well be this is the thing that people remember and not your achievements over the previous few years.

Resigning is a difficult process but handled in the right way you will maintain a strong reputation and ensure that you leave on the best terms possible. It is a small world out there, particularly where you work in specialist fields or sectors, and you never know when your paths may cross again with former bosses and colleagues.

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Shane Horn – Senior Partner, AdMore Recruitment – Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

The Competency Based Interview is now widely used and so you will undoubtedly face one as you move through your job search process. Ultimately, this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your skills and ability to do the job you are being assessed for. You can view a more detailed description here

So what is the best approach and how do you ensure that you walk away from the meeting confident that you have performed well?

  • Plan and prepare.

This may sound obvious, but interviews take practice. There will be a number of questions you will naturally ready for, but there will be many that are designed to challenge you. The key here is to have examples ready but you must deliver them in a natural way. A good interviewer will be able to spot a formulaic, pre-planned answer, and will ask you again if they want to challenge you further. You may be able to give an example of dealing with a difficult situation, but can you name three? Can you name one outside of a work situation? You can learn more here

  • Understand what the competencies are that you are going to be questioned on.

Most companies, unfortunately not all, will supply you with a list of core skills, or competencies that you will be assessed on. Most will appear on a well written job profile, but if you don’t have them, ask. A good agency will be able to help, as they will most likely have had candidates in the process before. A direct hiring manager will also have access to the information. If they don’t want to supply the information, try to understand why. I don’t know of anyone that hasn’t got a job offer because they wanted to be fully briefed.

  • Use the CAR approach

You may have the best examples to give, however if you can’t articulate them, you will fall down. You may have heard of STAR, but CAR – Context, Action, and Result is a lot simpler to remember. The easiest approach is to set the scene of the example, tell the interviewer what you did, and what the result of this was. This will allow you to tell a story in a natural style, and to talk through your situation in a clear way. It also allows the assessor to question you – this is a good thing! The more the interviewer questions you, the more engaged they are.

  •  Don’t allow the interviewer to put you off your game!

Some classically trained interviewers will follow the ‘script’, showing no emotion and won’t even ask you any questions. They may have a huge amount to get through in a short period of time. Don’t let this put you off! Be confident in your ability to answer the question. There should be an opportunity at the end of the interview to build rapport so use this time wisely.

  • Expect the unexpected

More and more clients are aware that many questions can be prepared for, so expect a few curve balls. Most recently, a client of mine asked “what piece of living room furniture would you be?” Not technically a competency based interview, but one that will make you think. Also, I have known interviewers to throw a role-play into the middle of an interview to show evidence of the example a candidate gave. So be prepared to be able to back up what you say! Some of the oddest interview questions of the last 12 months can be found here

We haven’t covered general interview tips, but you can find more information here and here

I would be interested to hear of any other key points you may have, or any testing questions you may have been asked.

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By Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

When asking candidates what type of business they wish to work for, one of the most common responses is that they are looking to work for a people focused business. On further probing, I often find that candidates struggle to articulate exactly what a people focused business means to them and a large proportion find it difficult to talk through what elements of culture they would look for in this type of business. I think in many instances, candidates tell me what they don’t want in an organisation rather than what they do want. They tend to focus on things that they don’t like about the organisation they currently work for as opposed to the desirable elements of a people focused business. What I also find very interesting is that they often don’t look at it from the perspective of cultural fit. Their desire may sometimes be a little ideological – that they want to work for a paternalistic company who treats it employees incredibly well putting them above any other objectives, without considering whether that is the culture that would best suit their own values and behaviours. The balance of these objectives against other business objectives will vary and businesses can be very different in their approach with different people suiting different cultures. What is clear and understandable is that individuals want to work in a culture where they are valued, feel empowered and rewarded for what they do.

In my view, a people focused business is one where the ideology of the organisation is that by hiring, engaging and rewarding great people you will be able to more effectively achieve the company objectives. Surely all businesses act in this way? As we are all aware, this is far from the truth.

So what exactly does a people focused look like and what are the signs to look out for?

  • A supportive culture. A people focused business is one where people are truly at the centre of its actions. One where the individual gets out as much as they are putting in. It will be a business where people feel listened to and this may manifest itself through forums and surveys as well as the openness of the culture.

 

  • Strong internal communications. High levels of communication are important in ensuring you are engaging and motivating your workforce and should lead to a greater sense of belonging and working towards a common goal. Again a great step in maximising the potential of your people.

 

  • A training and development team. Many businesses talk about the development they provide but when you ask about specific programs that are in place or budgets allocated they can provide little evidence. Truly people focused businesses will invest in people with the belief that this will increase productivity, aid retention and lead to stronger long term profits.

 

  • A structured appraisal system. Linked to the development of people is having a structured appraisal system that provides a sense of purpose, clarity of expectation and provides transparency and structure to Line Managers about how they manage their people. Again, this is a good indicator about the focus the business places on its development strategy.

 

  • Strong benefits and conditions. It is not only about how you treat and manage your workforce but also how you reward them. To attract and retain the best people, it is important that the benefits package is designed to support the individual.  This is not about necessarily offering the highest salary in your sector but is about what else you can do to provide the individual with a work/life balance to try and ensure you get the best out of them. This could range from gym membership to time off to support a local charity. All these elements are designed to improve the emotional and physical well being of the individual with the view that this will improve their productivity and contribution to the business.

 

  • A Wellness policy. The more cutting edge people focused businesses may have gone a step further and have introduced a Wellness policy. This area is growing in popularity and involves taking a more holistic approach to the care and well-being of your employees. The advocates of this philosophy believe that taking a more involved and caring approach will have significant benefits longer term not only in terms of the loyalty and motivation of the workforce but also in productivity.  Businesses introducing such schemes are likely to have a strong people focus.

 

  • Effective performance management. A people focused business isn’t about having a soft culture where poor performance is tolerated. It is about having an open, transparent culture where expectations are clear. Again, it is not about what is said but the actions that are taken.

 

  • A robust selection process. Placing importance on recruiting the right people who culturally fit the organisation and share the right values is a sign that people are really at the heart of the company’s strategy.

Many businesses will describe themselves as people focused but are they really? Whilst the list above provides some indicators, ultimately it is about culture and about behaviour.

I saw one business recently describe itself as a people focused business that does what ever it takes to deliver. So, what does it do when these elements conflict? What happens if getting that result has a negative impact on their people?  To really understand if a business is people focused you need to talk to their employees and focus on not what it says, but what does it actually does. A useful website to visit is http://www.glassdoor.co.uk which provides employer reviews by existing and previous employees.

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By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

We wrote previously about the importance of maintaining your Linkedin profile to ensure a consistent brand message as employers are increasingly reviewing candidates’ social media presence. We have compiled the following points for those of you who are less familiar with the functionality or indeed what recruiters look for. There are a couple of key points to remember as you build your profile; Firstly you should have a clear idea of what your personal brand is ahead of writing the profile and secondly to ensure you are easily ‘found’, you need to optimise your use of key words.

  • Customise your Linkedin URL

Set your LinkedIn profile to “public” and add a unique URL to your profile (for example www.linkedin.com/in/jezstyles). To do this click on ‘edit profile’ and next to where it says ‘public profile’ click edit again. This also makes it easier to include your LinkedIn URL in your email signature, which is a great way to demonstrate your professionalism. It will also ensure you rank higher in search engines such as Google.

  • Use an informative and accurate Profile Headline

The default setting is the last position you held. There has been much debate on various forums and there are two opposing views; your headline should reflect your last position; Or, your profile should reflect where you see your ‘brand’ being positioned ie “Operations Director for FTSE 250 Retailer.” You will often see “Looking for opportunities.” While this may reflect your employment status it creates a negative impression. Andy Headworth, at Sirona Consulting wrote a great blog about this – read here.

  • Upload an ‘appropriate’ Photo!

This may be obvious but do keep this professional. It should also reflect the brand you are keen to portray. Fashion candidates should ensure they are dressed in a manner that reflects their current or target market. An ex colleague of mine recently, and to be fair temporarily, uploaded a picture of himself sporting a rather impressive pair of spectacles despite the fact that he rarely wore them (you know who you are!). It is best to ensure your photo reflects what you look like in real life!

  • Provide Contact Information?

You can provide contact information on your profile (either on the summary page or in the specific communication fields) so that people can get in touch with you outside of the parameters of LinkedIn. It is worth doing this if you are active in your job search and you wish to reduce the barriers to simple communication. If you are nervous about doing this you can amend your privacy settings so that this is only visible to first degree connections.

  • Add relevant websites

You can add up to three websites and it is worth utilising this function. I would suggest adding your company website particularly if you work for a niche brand, your Twitter link, your blog or any other website that you are personally invested in.

  • Complete your Education

Get as much detail in here as you are comfortable with and do not be shy about including any summer courses or distance learning. If you work within a functional specialism such as property, it is worth mentioning that you are chartered and the year you qualified.

  • Develop a professional Summary & Specialities statement

Your statement should incorporate a short paragraph summarising your experience to date. It is worth highlighting some unique experiences, what differentiates you from your peers or any outstanding awards or achievements. Overall, it should be a clear and concise representation of your ‘brand message.’ It has also become common place to add a list of keywords or phrases to the bottom of this section. The keywords are crucial as this is often what recruiters search for when looking for prospective candidates ie. if your job title is not an industry standard term you could add appropriate key words to ensure you can be easily ‘found’.

  • Ensure your Experience (Career) is fully complete

As we mentioned in our previous blog, recruiters are beginning to cross reference LinkedIn Profiles with CVs. It is essential that the dates and job titles are consistent. It is worth detailing responsibilities, accountabilities and achievements where possible. This is another opportunity to add keywords thus ensuring you optimise your search position. However…your LinkedIn profile is not a replacement for a CV, so if you are looking for a new position you will still need to put one together.

  • Languages

Don’t be shy about adding languages. British retailers are increasingly expanding overseas and language skills are increasingly in demand. Similarly, international retailers looking to move in to the UK will be very keen to identify candidates that can communicate in their native language.

  • Add Applications

It is worth checking adding useful applications (via settings) such as WordPress (for your blog if you have one), Box files (any documents you may wish to add such as a recent presentation) or Slideshare for any presentations you may wish to upload. These applications will often reveal a side of you that your CV does not such as how you think or feel about certain topics. Again, ensure that anything you add is consistent with your ‘brand message.’

  • Ask for recommendations from a diverse selection of contacts

This doesn’t come naturally for some people however it adds a high degree of credibility. I found myself, by accident rather than design, looking at two candidates last week for a position I was recruiting for. Instinctively I was more interested in the candidate with good quality recommendations from people I respect than the individual who had none. It is worth including at least one recommendation per position.

It is also sensible to call your contacts to let them know you are planning to send a request and giving them some steer as to what you would like them to focus on, once again to ensure a consistent brand message.

  • Join ‘Groups’

It is worth joining a number of groups on LinkedIn, particularly groups that are relevant to your Industry, Specialism or Job function. Not only are the groups useful in terms of information but they will also add to the brand message you are keen to portray. They will also provide you with a vehicle to further develop your profile over a period of time (further blog to follow!). You can find our group here

  • Add Skills & Expertise?

This functionality was added to LinkedIn in the UK last year (2012). Essentially you are ‘self coding’ yourself in the way recruitment firms do within their databases. The only drawback with the functionality is that there is a temptation to add skills that are aspirational rather than experience led. Having spoken to a few colleagues and other contacts in the industry it would seem that the search functionality which accompanies this is rarely used. On the flipside it will improve keyword searches. In my opinion this is not essential but perhaps worth doing to once again strengthen that all important brand message.

  • Honours (Honors) & Awards

This section allows you to highlight specific achievements. It is worth adding one or two elements to this section although it isn’t essential!

  • Privacy Controls

You can find this under ‘settings’ via a drop down box from your name in the top right of the screen. Depending on your account type you can set varying levels of privacy. Bear in mind that if you go for the highest settings you will be difficult to find, although clearly, this is not a problem if the purpose of the account is to stay in touch with colleagues etc. Via the settings function you can also become a member of the ‘openlink network,’ this enables other non first degree connections to send you direct messages. This is of particular use if you are actively looking for a new position.

  • LinkedIn Today

The news function on LI Today has changed quite dramatically in recent months with a greater influence being placed on Influencers and the larger news sites. LinkedIn are automatically opting people in to following specific influencers. If you find your timeline is filling up with articles that are not of interest you can amend who you follow by; click Interest from the top toolbar, click influencers, click all influencers and then click the tick button to ‘unfollow.’

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By Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

Having recently read a number of blogs on this subject I feel compelled to write this as I believe most articles are very one sided in their viewpoint. Most are focused on outlining to candidates the many reasons why, when they resign, they should not be tempted to stay by a counter offer. I don’t think I have read anything explaining the reasons why you SHOULD accept a counter offer but here’s the thing – there are times and there are circumstances when the right thing to do is to stay put.

To me it all comes down to the individual’s motivations for leaving the organisation in the first place. Often individuals are very happy in their careers, working for a company they respect, where they are paid well for the job that they do, where they are culturally aligned and where they feel valued. Sometimes the missing piece and hence their desire to move on is purely driven by their ambition to take on a more senior role with more responsibility. If the counter offer entails gaining that promotion and taking on that responsibility then why not accept?

You can ask why had the promotion not happened already however sometimes (particularly in the current market) there has to be a reason or a rationale to make things happen. Your resignation may just be that catalyst that makes things happen.  Only you as an individual will know how well you have been looked after and how genuine your employer’s intentions are.

As has been well documented, I would also caution people from accepting a counter offer based on either pure promises  or increased salary alone. This is an important and difficult decision for people to make, often with two competing parties putting you under significant pressure to stay or to accept the other role.  Certainly, these situations are rarely as clear cut as many articles suggest.

My advice if you are unsure is to talk to people you trust who are impartial to the situation and who will try and make you see the situation in a balanced and unbiased way.

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By Sophie Mackenzie, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

I was recently asked for some advice by a friend who had been headhunted. The salary on offer constituted a significant uplift and, although he didn’t know a great deal about the company in question, he was understandably intrigued enough to attend an interview. As the process progressed, he started to weigh up his options and subsequently came to me for my perspective as a recruiter. As is often the case, his head was spinning as the approach had come out of the blue (he was not actively looking for a new role) and what he needed was a reality check so he could consider the offer rationally.

So, here is the advice I gave him which I hope will come in useful if you ever get the call!

  • Firstly, I must clarify what I mean by headhunted. Being headhunted in its purest sense is when you have been specifically targeted by an organisation (usually a competitor) for a specific role, usually based on a recommendation or based on research which indicates that you are a proven top performer. The approach could come from the company directly, indeed some blue-chip companies are now hiring ex-headhunters to join their in-house teams to set up their own internal ‘search’ function. Most likely, the approach will be made by a search firm that has been engaged by the company. This is different to being contacted by a recruitment agency who have identified that you may be suitable for one of their client’s vacancies.

 

  • When you receive a headhunt call, it is worth establishing the credentials of the person calling. By nature, if you are not active in the market, it can be hard to track you down and so search firms may need to take a cloak and dagger approach in order to make contact, often calling you at your workplace. They should say who they are and which search firm they work for, even if at the initial stage they cannot reveal the name of their client. Bear in mind that you may also be asked to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) if the brief is confidential.

 

  • A search is generally done in response to a specific role so the company should be able to give you a detailed brief, if not a copy of the Job Description. The top search firms will produce a detailed overview of your experience, skills and behavioural qualities which they will submit to the client if you are included in their shortlist and as such they will need to meet you face to face.

 

  • Usually you will be headhunted because of your specific skillset/client base/black book/track record and the approach will probably come from a competitor who knows about you. In this case, you should know a lot about the company but it is still really important that you do your research. This is even more important if you do not know the company. You need to find out what their market is, how they are performing financially, who their clients/customers/major accounts are, what their growth strategy is and most importantly (and harder to find out), what they are like to work for, how they treat their employees, what opportunities there are to progress internally. This is where you need to hone your research skills. Use the internet to find out company information and to read latest press releases, news articles etc. Scour the company website for latest annual reports. Glassdoor.co.uk is a useful source of information about company culture as it collates reviews from current and former employees (although generally at low to mid levels). The most powerful method of finding out about them is to speak to your network – do you know anyone who has worked for them recently or who works for them now?

 

  • Keep your ego in check! It is hugely flattering to be properly headhunted, particularly on the back of a specific recommendation of your work. It is easy to get swept away as you are ‘wooed’ by your suitor showering you with compliments, offering you all manner of riches and generally making you feel very special. This will be all the more powerful if you are feeling a little disgruntled in your current role – perhaps a promotion has been promised but not delivered or the company is not paying out bonuses. It may be a fantastic opportunity but you should still do your due diligence before you make any decisions. Equally, be careful not be too aloof – just because you have been approached doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed the job – you are merely entering the selection process and so you will still have to prove your worth.

 

  • In the words of Jessie J, “it’s not about the money, money, money”! If it is just about the money then be very careful indeed. If you heart starts to race thinking about the salary on offer, stop and think. Then, get a blank piece of paper, a calculator, your P60, current contract and details of your benefits package and start to do your sums. You need to compare the new offer and your current package like for like. Separate each element of your package out and work through them line by line. How do the car allowances compare? Does the new offer include personal mileage? What about health cover – does it include cover for all the family or just you individually? How are bonuses calculated, when are they paid and how much has typically been paid out in recent years? What impact will a move have on your pension, share scheme, equity? Only by doing this exercise, will you really have an accurate picture of what this move will mean for you financially.

 

  • If you currently work for a large organisation and the headhunt has come from a smaller company, weigh up the relative opportunities presented by staying in your current company (strong brand on your CV, more opportunities laterally, more security) versus making the move to a growing business (more rapid progression, bigger role).

 

  • “Discretion is the better part of valour”. ON NO ACCOUNT, feel tempted to tell your current boss/colleagues that you have been headhunted. While this may give your ego a gentle stroke in the short term, it could plant the seed of doubt in the mind of your employer. Equally, breaking the confidence of the search firm may seem inconsequential, however be aware that reputational integrity, once lost, is almost impossible to recover. These firms have the ears of the most senior HR and Line Directors in your industry and it is prudent to maintain a positive relationship, even if you decide not to pursue the approach.

 

Clearly, this advice is equally relevant whether you have been headhunted or have applied for a role however the big difference with a headhunt call is your state of mind. If you apply for a role, you will have spent time preparing your CV and generally getting in to the mind-set required to find a new role. You will be ready to leave your current company and chances are you will have drawn up a list of your target employers.

A headhunt call, by its very nature, will catch you unawares and you need to understand the steps you need to take if you decide to proceed so you can ultimately make the right decision for your career.

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