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  • It goes without saying that turnover of staff is a high cost, estimated, according to Harvard Business Review, to be anything from 100% to 300% of the replaced employee’s salary. This is, naturally, something that all businesses will want to avoid. We also know that, on average, unless processes are in place, around 20% of new recruits will leave within the first two months, 30% will be looking for a new job within the first six months and 23% are off before 12 months are up. Can this be reduced, or even avoided all together? One way is to have an effective onboarding process in place. But what is effective onboarding, and does it apply to all businesses? Despite us finding the ideal candidate for your vacancy, it’s said that without effective onboarding in place, it could take up to 12 months for a new recruit to settle in. However, put an onboarding process in place, and it’s estimated that recruits are 60% more likely to remain with the company for three years or more. In fact, businesses that invest in an effective onboarding process are proven to have reduced staff turnover and greater employee involvement and consequently increased profitability. How does it work? To start with, onboarding is much more that an enhanced induction scheme. In fact, it starts with the recruitment process. The more the prospective candidate knows about the company – its vision, goals and what makes it unique, along with your expectations of them, the more they will buy into the position from the start. The business that spends time and effort in ensuring the skills and attributes of the candidate reflect the culture of the business, the more cost effective the recruitment process. This means, new recruits hit the ground running, get up to speed quicker and start contributing sooner. As a result, they are 18 times more likely to be committed to the organisation over a longer period. As we said earlier, onboarding is not simply a one-day induction course, it starts as soon as you confirm the appointment, and can last for a whole year. It’s your responsibility to ensure they want to stay. Your task is to make them feel welcomed and special. If you remember your first day at work, you will know how daunting and exciting it was – both at the same time. Nothing has changed - it’s still a worrying time for most people, with many wondering if they have made the right choice. It’s our shared responsibility to provide the reassurance that they have Potential recruits can, nowadays, discover a great deal about your company from your website, social media postings and even job review sites. So, make it easy for them by sending links to your notifications. You might even have You Tube videos – once again send a link. It’s imperative that candidates can gauge the type of organisation they are joining from these pre-emptive messages. This could include a cheery personal welcome letter telling them how pleased and excited you are that they accepted your offer, possibly even a ‘welcome to the team’ video, and even a company branded item such as a pen or mug for their desk. Onboarding starts as soon as they sign the offer of employment Naturally, it will depend on the type of employment, but this pre-start package gives you an opportunity to outline relevant information such as nearest transport links / stops, parking arrangements, company address details, including your email and direct phone number. You may also want to include specific contacts such as HR / Union rep / Health and Safety etc. This will enable the candidate to make contact direct if necessary. In addition, a welcome pack might also contain details of what type of equipment they will be using, such as computers or manufacturing tools. This will enable candidates to familiarise themselves with specific features and once again reduce the time spent getting to know their environment. You may also use this opportunity to make them aware of social events, both past (link to photos / videos) and future (dates / venues). At the same time, you will also be preparing the formal paperwork such as contract of employment, payroll, first day induction programme etc. Set out your expectations The welcome pack should also clearly state your expectations, the company’s vison and mission statements, key company policies, as well as safety in the workplace (with health and safety being covered in more detail during on site induction). Therefore, the effectiveness of this pre-induction activity undoubtedly sets the tone for the future employee / employer relationship. The key is to keep it personal from day one. During the first few weeks of employment, it’s important that that they feel part of the team, are involved in discussing your future plans and know that they are more than just a number. On the first day, following a welcome briefing (and at the end of the day, a de-brief) that includes a formal induction (with H&S forming a major part) some of the time should be used to introduce new recruits to fellow work colleagues. It’s also a good idea to encourage social interaction with these colleagues. A team quiz always works well here, as it highlights the competitiveness of team members as well as specific interests of those they will be working with. It is also helpful, at this stage, to provide an aide-memoire of key players including their photo and job description. Some organisations already do this on their website – job done. Create a great first impression Their first day with you imprints the culture of the company on them. It should, therefore, be fun and enjoyable, not daunting and overwhelming - especially if you want them to turn up for work the next day. During this initial induction period, you may also encourage them to ghost or shadow other team members so they can obtain an honest feedback as to what the job entails. You may also use this as an opportunity to assign a ‘buddy’ to oversee them during this critical period. Positive onboarding is all about creating a mix of anticipation with results-based feedback (from both parties). It’s also a chance to discover what training needs may be required, and even encourage the adoption of a formalised Continual Personal Development (CPD) programme. This may also include on the job training (OJT) and structured ‘learning by experience’. How long should the induction process last? The length of the induction process is largely down to the size and type of organisation, and complexity of the role involved. And although it’s an ongoing process, the first ‘settling in’ phase will probably last around 3-4 months. During that time, it’s imperative that you have ongoing communication with the new starter and encourage them to give you honest feedback – especially in respect of the onboarding process. Within the probationary period, you should be able to assess how successful your onboarding has been and be in a position to consider the next phase. This will include regular review meetings, informal ‘water cooler’ chats, training success and ongoing work achievement results. With a mix of projects, assignments and goal setting, the final phase will then pave the way for a formal staff review, a discussion of future aspirations, the setting of further goals, as well as considering potential promotion opportunities. So, to summarise Recruitment is not just about attracting the best talent; it’s about keeping them. Employees who quickly leave of their own volition are not only expensive to the business but do nothing to promote a positive marketing message to the outside world. That’s why it’s so important to get onboarding right from the word go, and that means at the recruitment stage. We can offer advice on creating an effective onboarding process that is vital for attracting high calibre staff that want to grow with the company. Finally, it’s said that job satisfaction is 30 times higher for employees who have experienced a positive and effective onboarding process. They are the ones, after all, who stay and help you grow your business. For more information about effective onboarding please give us a call on 0845 478 5009 or email enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk
  • In these days of LinkedIn and Job Boards, is the traditional curriculum vitae still of value when it comes to getting a job? In this blog we take a look at how the CV or Résumé, as the Americans call it, came about and how to create a document that will help you become a stand out applicant. However, before we do that, as an aside, what’s interesting about the word ‘resume’ (without the accents for ease of typing) is that it’s French and means ‘summary’. Ironically, the French prefer to use the Latin phrase ‘curriculum vitae’ or ‘the course of my life’. So, who started the practice of producing a CV and how much notice do prospective employers take of the document today? Surprisingly, the CV has been around for over 500 years when Leonardo da Vinci outlined his skills, in a CV, to the Regent of Milan. It must have worked as he was employed there for 17 years, including his time spent painting ‘the Last Supper’. His angle, and it still applies today, was to ensure he wrote about what he could do for the city of Milan rather than making a list, as many do, of his achievements and employment in chronological order. Despite 16th Century itinerant workers, in Britain, using a form of CV to introduce themselves to the local trade guild was still largely, right up to the 1930s, just a set of notes, usually written at the interview stage. What changed all that was Napoleon Hill and his 1937 book, ‘Think and Grow Rich’ which some of our readers may be familiar with. Whatever our views on Hill’s methodology (we recommend researching his background) the success of this book should not be underestimated. Probably the most successful self-help book of modern times and still in print over 80 years later. The mantra is that we should visualise our desired future as if it was already real, and focus on one goal at a time. In our case – getting that job. In his book he refers to the CV as a ‘Brief’ to be prepared in the same way as a lawyer would. And as a prospective employer can take less than 60 seconds to consider if your CV is worth further reading, it’s clear that his views on creating a first impression are very relevant today. This is especially important when you take into account the increased competition in the current jobs market. Hill said then, and we repeat it constantly today, that before firing up Word on your laptop, be very clear about your objective. A CV is your gateway to securing an interview and subsequently landing that job. Visualise doing that job and, therefore, be very specific about why you believe you are the right person to fulfil the employment requirements – and more. Writing your CV So, stage one is to target the vacancy with a clear objective (from the employer’s perspective) and then compose a succinct summary of the benefits to the business of your experience and skill set. Remember you have less than 60 seconds to create a first impression! There is no doubt, a persuasive CV is a work of art and should be seen in the same way that a sales consultant, for example, uses psychology to persuade us to buy.  You are, after all, selling yourself to your future employer, and just like a product or service you need to stand out from the crowd. And just like a powerful advertising message, it should be short, punchy, and targeted.  Every CV should be specifically produced for the job you are applying for and not simply a bluster gun of repeated content. The best adverts are usually the ones that hit the target in the minimum of time. It’s the same with a CV. No more than two pages of A4 paper and we recommend getting someone who knows you (not family or close friends, but preferably work colleagues) to provide feedback. We tend to underestimate our achievements and personal attributes. Be relevant to the role Be concise and precise and don’t include stuff that’s not relevant to the position. Leave all that for your LinkedIn profile and summary. Also, and it might sound obvious, but you will be surprised at the number of people that don’t bother to spell check their content before sending, or consider how the document looks to someone who has never met you. Anyone who has watched the interview stage on the TV show the Apprentice will also appreciate the need for accuracy and honesty. We suggest keeping the content consistent throughout.  That means, same typeface, same line spacing etc. And, we believe it’s a good idea to avoid the temptation to emphasise key points in bold or colour. Admittedly it does depend on the type of job applied for (such as the creative sector) but in most cases, it just irritates the reader, which is the last thing we want. One area that you will need to give great thought to, while admitting it does depend on the company and the position applied for, is personal information. We don’t just mean your contact details. For instance, you may wish to include a personal statement indicating how your hobbies, interests and personality relate to the job application. Extra-curricular activities For example, you may wish to talk about your charity work and the rewards that brings, or the enjoyment of travelling and learning about other cultures, or even out of work pastimes such as playing sport (always a good shout on a CV) or socialising with friends (remember, all work and no play makes Jack (and Jill) a dull boy (girl). This will show to the prospective employer that you have a broad outlook on life and can act as a team player and / or enjoy a challenge. A prospective employer will, naturally, want to know about your previous employment and your educational achievements. With regard to employment, start with your current or last employer and work backwards. Include job titles but more importantly your responsibilities and achievements. And make sure you back up those achievements with figures. For example, rather than saying you increased sales or efficiency, say by how much. A 40% increase in sales over 12 months or a cost saving of 30% during my time in that role etc. It’s also a good idea to include the reason why you left. Better opportunity (say what), closer to home (explain why this is important) or more money (explain further). In addition, if you have any employment gaps, say so with reasons and then explain what you did during these ‘free periods’. This could be where your personal statement (charity work / travelling etc.) comes in. Education As with your employment record, highlight your education in reverse chronological order. Start with your most recent qualifications and awards, making sure you include all relevant diplomas. Also, if you are currently studying for a qualification, say so. Today, technology plays a major role on our lives and this is further emphasised when creating your CV. For example, if you have not been totally honest it can now take just a matter of minutes to check using the Internet and Google. Once again, if you are not sure how easy this is, refer back to the ‘Apprentice – interview stage’. Also, with the advent of streaming platforms such as YouTube, it is now becoming increasingly popular for clients to submit a video CV.  However, it really does depend on the industry and age group. We’ve seen a positive response when applied to younger candidates looking for jobs in the creative sector. If unsure, ask us first. Your online CV Also, many recruitment consultants, such as ourselves, will ask you to upload and send your CV online. Here, therefore, is an opportunity for you to include keywords in your content. For example, if applying for a management position in the construction industry you might want to include relevant words that will be picked up by a search engine. If you are not sure what to include, once again, we can help, or just Google the job title and see what keywords are commonly mentioned. So, there you are, a few ideas that we hope, will help you create a ‘killer CV’ and secure that all important first interview. Good luck and if you feel we can help you in the next stage of your employment journey, please give us a call on 0845 478 5009 or email enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk
  • It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when the local newspaper would increase their number of pages on a Thursday because of the volume of jobs being advertised. In those days, job seeking was fairly straightforward, you scanned the ‘situations vacant’ pages of the paper and applied directly to the employer. If you were lucky, you were granted an interview, and if you were very lucky secured the position. Oh, happy days. Or were they? The scatter gun effect was just that. Applying for numerous vacancies in the hope that you would be noticed and manage to obtain an interview. Today, it’s all very different. To start with, searching for a job has changed beyond recognition. Local newspapers have all but disappeared, online job vacancy boards have proliferated, and recruitment has become more of a science than just potluck. So, how does it work today? As a result of the Covid pandemic, there are many people who are currently re-entering the recruitment process, probably for the first time in many years. There are also others who, having had a prolonged period of working from home or practicing office social distancing, are re-assessing their future career opportunities, and looking for an improvement in their work-life balance. This is where a recruitment consultancy can truly come into their own. To start with, they have a good working knowledge of the current employment market and can advise on what skill sets employers are searching for. This is especially important if candidates have been out of the job market for some time. Well established consultants such as ourselves, have also built up an extensive network of employers and applicants. This means we can quickly pinpoint the specific vacancy requirements and match these up with a registered pool of suitable candidates. What a recruitment consultant can do is ensure your skill sets are identified and matched to the current needs of the jobs market. We can also help candidates focus on what it takes to land that ‘dream’ job. How do we do that? If you are currently in the job market, we strongly recommend registering with a reputable recruitment consultancy. This is especially important if you work in, or want to work in, a specific sector or industry. For example, we have three specialist recruitment divisions. Our Technical and Trades recruiters have a great deal of experience in recruiting both permanent and contract, blue collar positions, such as gas engineers, electricians, and plumbers in sectors including building services, social housing and construction. Our Support Services team, on the other hand, devotes itself to placing both temporary and permanent office and field positions such as sales and marketing, administration and customer service particularly in the Building services, local authority and environmental services sectors. We also have a team looking after white collar professional recruitment. They have many years’ experience in identifying suitable vacancies for project managers, estimators, and quantity surveyors. Choose your recruitment partner wisely We, therefore, suggest that it’s worth identifying a recruitment partner that has experience in your chosen employment sectors and focus on them, rather than using scatter gun tactics. We are very much aware, that looking for a job at the moment comes with its own set of challenges. There is no such thing as ‘normal’ anymore, and for many professionals in sectors that have been hit the hardest, it could even mean moving out of the industry - forever. This is where a recruitment consultant can offer the first line of support. They have an up to date knowledge of the broad market as well as an in depth one of their specific specialities. They will be able to advise on how to quickly get back into work or what steps to take if looking for a career move. The UK employment market is undoubtedly in a state of instability.  Some sectors are buoyant while others are in the doldrums. And it’s not going to change soon. Even with an impending vaccine and an easing of lockdown, the predictions are that it will be at least spring 2021 before we start to see any light at the end of the tunnel. Having said that, there is no doubt some employers are keen to bolster their workforce due to an upsurge in business while others are looking to recruit staff with a specific skills mix as the business moves into new commercial areas. How do you gain an interview? As they say in the Scouts, ‘Be Prepared’ Sit down and make a list. Start with the role you are particularly looking for but, at the same time, aim for some flexibility, especially if the industry or sector is going through stages of mutation. And then match that to a recruitment partner that has experience in the particular industry or sector. The next stage is to identify what skills and qualities you can bring to the position. Make two lists here. One with skills and qualifications and the second with what other benefits you can offer a prospective employer. These could, for example, include languages, technical skills, voluntary work, networking connections etc. And then prioritise them. This means putting them in an order that reflects the current market conditions. This is where a recruitment consultant can steer you in the right direction. The more information you can supply, the better your chances of creating a strong employment brief. In our opinion, choosing a recruitment partner that not only ticks all the boxes, but is prepared to work closely with you to prepare you for work is crucial in you securing the ‘right’ position. Consultancies like ourselves will get to know you and understand your expectations. They will also help you update your CV and advise on the kinds of extra qualities employers want. This is especially important for those who are re-visiting the jobs market for the first time in some years. For example, we will help you prioritise your skills set to match the expertise that employers are now looking for. This could be technological, customer facing or niche specialisms. In other words, extra qualities that, we feel, will benefit a prospective employer, and distinguish you from other candidates. Once you have an updated CV that responds to the current state of the employment market and you have chosen a recruitment partner that operates in your field of experience it’s time to prepare for the interview. Under the current lockdown conditions, the chances are that any interview will probably be via an online video conferencing platform such as Zoom or MS Teams. However, it’s also good to be prepared for a face to face meeting especially if the position is considered key. Upon reaching the interview stage, we suggest a few hours practicing both virtual and actual interviews is time well spent.  Be familiar with online video techniques and rehearse your ‘on camera’ persona, possibly with friends and colleagues. We will make you aware of which platform the interviewer will be using as well as provide you with expert tips on how to sell yourself on camera. For face to face interviews, should the current Covid restrictions still apply, then it’s worth considering what effect social distancing could have on your performance. No shaking hands for example and the real possibility of having to speak while wearing a face mask, and having to contend with your glasses steaming up. Building a relationship with your recruiter It’s a fact that recruitment consultancies currently have a busy workload. Demand in certain sectors and for specific skills is high. Therefore, don’t expect them to be constantly chasing you. Make sure you know how frequently they will contact you and when rather than regularly calling them on the off chance. Having said that, it’s a partnership and the relationship you have with the recruiter is incredibly important. This means ensuring you provide updates, any changes to your circumstances or whether you have honed your skills set during lockdown. In fact, anything you feel will give you that competitive advantage. We recommend signing up for job alerts with your recruiter. This not only enables us to match your profile with relevant jobs tailored to your specific skills set, but also means we are not sending unnecessary emails that can be off putting. We also recommend you keep in regular contact with your recruiter over the phone where possible. Having a chat with us means we can get to know each other better, and you are not just a CV on paper. Building a relationship with your recruiter is key to the consultant advising you as well, as they will look to match you with the best organisation that fits your personality as well as your skills. Don’t forget, we can also advise on CV presentation, helping you to highlight your skills, or make relevant additions that will be eye catching to prospective employers. Communication is key Make sure you are available. Interviews can be called at very short notice so make sure your mobile phone is to hand (and charged). And after the interview, let us know how you feel it went. Also, be aware that it may be some time before we receive formal feedback from the client, especially if there are others being interviewed. Rest assured, however, we will provide you with constructive feedback and your suitability for the role. And should you not be offered that particular position, don’t despair, as it’s not uncommon for employers, who were impressed with a candidate’s interview, to re-contact us and offer the interviewee a different position in the organisation. So, to answer the question, ‘what did a recruitment consultant do for us?’ In a nutshell, they streamline the whole recruitment process. If you are ready for a career change or looking for a job, have a look at our specialist areas and if they fit the bill, give us a call on 0845 478 5009 or email enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk