Executive search – ‘worst-case’ interview scenario?

Everyone gets nervous before an important meeting or interview. It doesn’t matter how much you may have prepared, there are some common intrusive thoughts that always manage to worm their way into your head the night before and cause you to think about possible escape routes should the worst happen. Through our executive search experience, we can help.

But worry not, you don’t need a getaway car parked around the corner to survive an awkward interview. There are tried and tested things that you can do to overcome these embarrassing moments. And who knows, if you flip the situation successfully it could work in your favour and become an example of how you have managed uncomfortable situations.

The person that you are meeting isn’t focused on you

If you notice that the other person is frantically typing on their laptop and hasn’t said in advanced that they may be taking notes or replying to a work email, then your brain may go into overdrive and wonder whether they are mind-numbingly  bored in your presence.

Read the situation and your audience, and if you’re still not confident that you’ve got their attention then politely asking questions to advance the conversation could resolve any worries that you may have. If they need to rearrange to a more appropriate time, then this gives them chance to do so

Being too early can be just as awkward as being too late

When travelling to an interview you can sometimes misjudge the traffic and end up an hour early…. It’s better than being late and although tempting, it might not be the time to show them how keen you are!

The chances are that whoever you are meeting is busy and won’t be sat waiting around for you an hour before (or after) your scheduled appointment, so if you know that you’re going to be too early go and grab a latte and steady your nerves. 15 minutes is plenty early enough to get there.

You forgot your presentation or interview materials

This problem can be easily resolved by planning properly. Try not to rely too heavily on paper materials, which can be misplaced or lost. Instead, ensure that you have an offline copy of your work ready and waiting on your laptop that you will be able to bring up regardless of the wifi situation.

And if your laptop dies, make sure that you’ve sent an email to yourself with all of the key documents on, so you can at least access them on your phone as a last resort. After your meeting, ask the person that you’ve been with if they would like you to email over a copy of any document that you’ve just used so they will be able to access them when reviewing your meeting.

Everybody has at least one awkward interview story, and how you deal with any embarrassment can say a lot about you and how successfully you manage situations. Also, a little bit of humour can go a long way, and we can all be united in our common awkwardness.

To have a chat about your executive search, contact me at carl@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professional’s specialist here.
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Career progression as an interim

I asked my network if they thought interim professionals could focus on their own development or if they were dictated by what was out there on the market and got a number of thoughts and opinions back…

A concern of many individuals in permanent employment is the perceived lack of career progression as a contractor. Some think that if you move into interim employment, you stay in that one position for the rest of your working life.

Sarah Cowley, Executive Coach, said, “Managing one’s career takes courage, and the confidence to say no… A successful career is dependent on personal growth which in turn results from spending time and money on learning.”

A key difference of the employment status of an interim (becoming a LTD company) is the mentality of not just being one individual carrying out an assignment (or a job) but actually thinking and behaving like a business. Just as any other successful business might do, you need to innovate and develop.

Steve Lungley, Interim Transformation Director, commented, “We will have had to (and continue to) define our services, identify the markets, sectors and environments in which we want to operate, develop marketing and channel strategies, sell our services and deliver them (brilliantly of course because our reputation depends on it) and manage all those other things like accounting, tax, VAT etc.”

Like any business understanding your routes to market is absolutely pivotal and developing both your personal and employer brand are key to finding that next assignment. Developing broader business management skills such as finance, sales and marketing are necessary to having a successful interim management business.

Barry Flack, Interim HR Director, said, “We have to supplement the assignment with a need to hone true business development capability – and personally – given that your proposition is everything. Then it requires a constant need to learn, adapt and stay relevant.”

To continuously develop your brand, you have to get your name out there through delivering successful assignments, communicating with key decisions makers and staying front of mind through social media channels (such as blogging, as well speaking and attending seminars in the relevant subjects and sectors).

Of course, all these activities take time and in the life of an interim this may be at the weekend, evenings or may even require you to take unpaid leave – so it’s not all plain sailing.

Although the activities outlined above certainly require additional time on top of the day job, they can bring increased opportunities.

Paul Powell, Interim Head of Resourcing, provides his insight, “Some of my moves have been intentional, gaining functional or sector knowledge and have involved calculated risk. It’s often meant stepping outside of the confines of my comfort zone. As a result, I have gained some good experience and a portfolio of skills, plus it has allowed me to share some pretty powerful insights with some clients.”

The interim market provides a wealth of opportunities and challenges, short-term problems to fix, ideas to come up with and to deliver quickly. It can, therefore, be an exciting place for the right people.

Sheryl Miller, Finance Transformation Expert, commented, “My hunch is that there is potentially more opportunity for career development as an interim, due to the variety of projects and challenges.”

If one has the desire to push themselves out of their comfort zone, the opportunities to put into practice your ideas and previous experience are plentiful.

Hayley Proctor, Interim Head of Resourcing, supports this, “Being the interim allows you the freedom to be bold and disruptive with your ideas to drive positive change…you are also expected to be the master of your ideas so learning and experimenting become the norm, whilst you’re given far more freedom and autonomy than your permanent counterparts.”

As an interim, there is no forced structure to your development as there is in permanent employment. You are expected to provide your own advice and guidance in this respect, to take responsibility for your own career and your own development.

Sharon Green, Interim OD and Change Expert, added, “I set aside a budget each year for CPD, ask clients for feedback and want to keep developing my business”.

Regardless of whether an individual is a permanent employee or an interim, if that person wishes to continuously develop their capabilities, they will progress.

I had a recent conversation with a senior HR director, who has just been offered a year’s extension. (And turned it down for the right reasons!) The CEO couldn’t believe that they were leaving, to go to nothing…who in their right mind would do this in permanent employment?

I think the feedback is overwhelmingly positive regarding interim careers – however, this is very different from being a permanent employee and won’t be for everyone!

So in summary:

-Interims are often thrown in the deep end and need to learn new skills.

-Interims need to be responsible for their own development and need to ensure that they make it happen.

-Interims think of themselves as a business – building a proposition and delivering against it.

-Interims are adaptable and learning broader skills (rather than developing their career vertically).

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Why this whole Millennial thing gets on my nerves

Why this whole Millennial thing gets on my nerves
Why this whole Millennial thing gets on my nerves

Hi, my name’s James and I am not a millennial…you can tell this by checking out my picture on LinkedIn. Although I still think I’m 18 years old, I now know for a fact – after a recent visit to a well-known high growth sportswear brand in Birmingham, where I was the one sticking out like a sore thumb in middle-aged chino brigade outfit, whilst all the cool kids were dressed like a scene from Gucci crossed with Men In Black – that I am most definitely not!

But I just don’t get it? Why is there such a big deal being made about this generation, I don’t think parents have ever understood the generation below them have they? Whether it was rock music in the 50s or rave culture in the 90s, it has always seemed a bit different, hasn’t it?

According to Wiki – Millennials also knows as ‘Generation Y’ or ‘Gen Y’, are the generational demographic cohort following ‘Generation X’ and preceding ‘Generation Z’.

And if you happen to work in HR – this seems to be the second worst thing people like to talk about. (That is after why hasn’t HR still got a seat at the top table. DON’T START ME!)

The thing I think companies do need to consider when recruiting these days is that information availability and choice are greater than they have ever been. I recently posted a blog that I wrote following an interview with Simon Brown, around his experience of a recruitment process – the gist of it was that it was not a great experience. I think a lot of this comes down to trust. Employers still seem to be stuck in the dark ages – micromanaging people, not giving them any freedom and expecting lots from them, but giving nothing in return. Check out most job adverts and you will see what I mean.

There are so many things that are easily done to build a productive and happy workforce – whatever the ‘generation’. Trust is the missing ingredient in my mind… many employers simply don’t trust people to do the job they are paid to do. I remember a senior MD (at a firm I used to work) told me as a newly promoted Director “INSPECT rather than EXPECT”. Seems a bit archaic today, but many people still have this as their mentality.

I don’t think that labelling an entire peer group is particularly productive – instead, we could all treat people like adults regardless of their age. Whether that be through the recruitment process, the onboarding process or throughout their career!

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

Hiring an Interim Executive? You need to get it right! Discover the 8 step process you should follow, by downloading our free eBook here.

How do you get the most out of networking?

Tips for networking

Networking is something that gets talked about a lot in the market. Many HR professionals know they should network to further their careers but always find an excuse to shy away from it and often say they have never really benefited from it.

Others have openly admitted that they either lack confidence in large groups of strangers, have never attended a good networking event or just see if as a pointless task that takes up too much time.  At a recent event, someone said to me that they found networking difficult because from an early age, ‘they were taught that they shouldn’t speak to strangers!’.

I’ve attended many networking events over the years, some were really good and some, well, could have been better.  I must admit in my early days, networking meant pointless conversations with people that were only interested in selling to me.  I often left these events feeling a little unaccomplished, wondering why I had bothered going.

My perception has changed over the years and what I have learnt is that networking is actually a really useful and effective business tool – when used in the right way.

 

Networking effectively

We all know that networking is fundamental to good business but how can you take the pain out of it and make it work more effectively as a business tool for you?

1 ) Re-frame the situation

If you get put off by the word networking, then call it something else! After all, it’s merely a tool to meet new people. Networking has moved on a lot in recent years and is no longer just about attending a formal event, vying for attention, exchanging business cards and selling, selling, selling.

It has evolved to be more about providing the opportunity to meet new and passionate people. So, for me, it can be something as simple as going to see someone in another department instead of sending them an email or meeting someone for a coffee instead of the usual conference call.   It doesn’t have to be formal.

2) Confidence

Lots of people say that confidence is a major deterrent to networking and can often mean that they are stuck for conversation.  If you’re attending an event it’s natural to feel a little nervous, but you can turn nervous energy into a positive. Just remember these key things:

Relax and be yourself; you’re networking because you chose to, and everyone is probably feeling the same, so relax and remember networking is merely a tool for meeting new people.

Be prepared; do your research, take a look at the delegate list and see if there is anyone you’re keen to talk to. One way to start a conversation is through a shared connection, so research what they’re interested in and their experiences/background.

3) Set an objective

Why are you attending the event? What do you want to get out of it?

Admittedly many people only network so that they can sell and, while this may be your end goal, remember no one wants to be sold to at a networking event, this has happened to me numerous times and I was very much put off.

The real benefit of networking lies with the relationships that can be forged as a result. Remember relationships are developed over many months and years, so follow up is key.

Also, always remember the golden rule…give before you receive. Ask yourself how can you help that person and add value before you ask for anything.

4) Conversation

Networking events can be full of outgoing, confident people that love to talk, so use it to your advantage and ask open ended questions. This way people will tell you all about what they do, what they are there for and what they are looking to get out of the event. I don’t mean that you only ask one question then listen to someone waffle on forever, it’s more of an introduction to get the conversation flowing.

A good friend of mine once told me that you need a story to engage with people, a great piece of advice that has stuck with me ever since.

Think about why you are there, what’s currently happening in your market and your thoughts on it. But the most important thing is to make eye contact and smile, no one wants to speak to a miserable stranger.

Don’t forget the basics: (it’s not cool to be fashionably late!)

  • Be sure you know where you’re going and plan your journey, there’s nothing worse than turning up stressed out because you got lost on the way there.
  • Turn your phone off, concentrate on the people around you, that’s the reason you’re there after all.
  • Try not to plan anything straight after the event. This way you are free to leave whenever you want and you won’t feel under pressure.
  • Finally, make sure you follow up with anybody that you met with. If you had a good conversation with someone suggest you meet for a coffee to keep the relationship fresh.

This is not an exhaustive list, merely tips and tricks that work for me. Over time you’ll find what works for you, but hopefully, you’ll be able to adopt some of my tips to work to your advantage and get you started.

If there is one thing I have learnt from networking, it’s that it’s all about building relationships – give and enrich the experience people have with you and this will go a long way.

 

To have a chat – or if you are passing through Birmingham and want to meet for a coffee you can contact me at carl@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professional’s specialist here.

 

 

Nice guys finish last…or do they?

Being kind is important
Being kind is important

It’s nice to be nice, right? I always try to help people out – in both my personal and professional life. I recently read a blog by Gary Vaynerchuk about kindness and why it’s so important in business.

He says, “I want to build big businesses and buy the Jets, but I want to do it by being a good guy. I have zero interest in building the biggest building by tearing other people down.”

And it really resonated with me – being kind and helpful is at the core of re:find and how all of us here think and work. It’s important for us to do a good job and help people. There is a stereotype in business that ‘nice guys finish last’, but I just don’t believe that’s true. We can’t physically place all of the candidates we meet, but we can help, give our expertise, or even just point someone in the right direction and this costs nothing!

Being kind is important

I think being kind is important for lots of reasons:

  • It’s nice to be nice! It makes you feel good to be kind and help people out.
  • People don’t forget your kindness. If you look after someone, they remember it – which could end up helping you out in the future.
  • Most of my clients are candidates I have worked with previously and built long-standing relationships with through being helpful and kind.
  • Employees/colleagues like and respect you. If people like and respect you, they’ll work harder, do a better job and the team will be happier and more productive.
  • It’s rewarded – someone is always watching. Even when you think something hasn’t been noticed, it probably has.

When you strip back the titles and status

When you strip back titles and status, we’re all just people – and who wants to deal with someone who’s a bit of a t***!? Being kind gets people on side, which is important in business. Whether it’s dealing with clients, candidates or team members. If you get on well with a client, they’re more likely to continue using you. If you look after a candidate, they’ll remember your kindness. If you look after your team, they’ll work hard and be loyal – people don’t leave their companies, they leave their managers.

Ultimately, we’re all human and we all appreciate someone being decent and looking after us. So, I’d encourage everyone to be kind – you get a lot more out of it than you might think!

If you would like to discuss further, email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

How to lose friends and alienate people…

How to lose candidates and alienate people
How to lose candidates and alienate people

We are in the 21st Century and candidates SHOULD be at the centre of what we do. Let’s be real for a moment. Candidates are key to our success – they are the one thing that stands between success and failure as a recruiter.

But I would be bold and say 40% of recruiters treat their candidates like shit. Treating a candidate badly can destroy the reputation of you/your business. Any press isn’t always good press and trust me candidates talk. And they talk even more when they have had a bad experience.

 

So, here’s what not to do:

1.   Sell them the dream…

I get it…recruitment marketing is a hot topic right now, everyone is getting training on how to write engaging job adverts, how to be witty and get candidates attention etc. That doesn’t mean you have a to be a billy bullshitter. Don’t sell the candidate the dream – unless of course, the job is Chief wine taster at an exclusive hotel in the Bahamas – because who would turn that down?

Anyway, my point is, be honest with a candidate when talking about a role. Yes, tell them all the good things about the role, but tell them all the bad things too! Talk them through the client’s challenges and shortcomings.

Jobs aren’t all about flexible working and table tennis tournaments, sometimes companies are in a bad situation, don’t have the best brand etc. and that’s ok, in fact, some people like that about a job!

 

2.   Force a candidate into a role they aren’t sure on

Picture this. After hours of searching on LinkedIn and your job boards, you come across the holy grail of candidates. Your purple squirrel, glittery unicorn, whatever you want to call them. They are the perfect candidate for your role.

You pick up the phone, excited to tell your candidate about their dream job. But to your shock, they aren’t keen.

Newsflash. Just because they are perfect for the role, doesn’t mean the role is perfect for them. Respect their decision.

Don’t try and push them into going for an interview. Don’t even push them to apply if they aren’t keen. You look desperate and pushy.

You risk them being offered the job and turning it down, or worse, you risk them leaving in that elusive rebate period. You also risk them thinking you are a bit of an idiot and that you only care about your fee.

 

3.   Drag your candidate into an ownership war with another agency

It is the most frustrating thing in the world when you spend time qualifying, meeting and briefing a candidate on a role, send them over to your client…only to get the dreaded email response.

‘ We have already received this CV from Cowboy Recruitment, sorry’.

The candidate has not been spoken to by Cowboy Recruitment about the role (they claim!) so doesn’t know how her CV is already in the process.

There are two ways of dealing with this:

–       Politely step away from the situation and allow the candidate decide how they wish to proceed in the process.

–       Demand that the candidate calls the other recruiter immediately and tell them how terrible they are, whilst simultaneously emailing you to confirm that you have the right to represent them on the role.

I advise the first. Step away and allow the candidate to decide how they process. Naturally, there is some subtle influence you can have on this, but doing the second option makes you look like a petulant teenager.

Candidates also don’t need the reminder that they are simply just a fee to you – it makes you look greedy. Show them you are supportive and have their best interest at heart.

 

4.   Call your candidate in the morning on the day they are due to start their new job and then every day for the next 3 months

Your candidate isn’t an 18-year-old teenager who may or may not turn up to work, depending on how pissed they were the night before (apologies to any sober, reliable 18-year-olds).

You don’t need to ring them the day they start their job. A simple call the afternoon before, to check they have everything they need or the following day will suffice.

Candidates are intuitive, they will sense that the fact you are calling them every day means they are a flight risk. Also, their first few weeks are really full on. Give them some space and allow them to settle in, then check in with them.

 

5.   If your candidate doesn’t get offered the job….ignore them

In my opinion, this is the worst possible thing you could do to a candidate and it is the most damaging thing for your reputation.

Nobody really likes to tell a candidate they didn’t get the job…but it is not acceptable to ghost them. Other unacceptable ways of delivering feedback include emailing, leaving a voicemail, or getting your resourcer to give the feedback instead.

Don’t be a terrible human being. Your candidate has worked hard for you, they have understood the brief, done their research, spent 2-3 hours of their time with your client to represent you to the best of their ability. The least they deserve is some honest feedback.

 

6.   Give vague feedback

Almost as crappy as giving no feedback, is giving vague feedback. If you are giving feedback on your opinion to a candidate, don’t be afraid to tell them the truth.

Think their CV needs some work? Tell them.

Don’t think they interview well? Tell them.

They don’t have the right skills for the role? Tell them.

You get the gist.

A separate challenge is when a client gives vague feedback about a candidate. It is ok to push back on your client and ask for further detail or examples of what the candidate did.

Feedback should be constructive. Tell them what they did well, where they fell down and how they could improve.

Candidates may not always agree with the feedback, but they will be appreciative of the feedback nonetheless.

 

7.   Only communicate by email

If you are afraid to pick up the phone to speak to a candidate, you are in the wrong job. Pick up the phone and speak to them, what is the worst that could happen? It takes as much time and effort to speak to someone on the phone as it does to type out that email.

Contacting people exclusively by email is impersonal, impractical and to be totally honest, just bloody lazy! I don’t care if your candidate isn’t based in the UK and there is a time difference, or if they are travelling, or you are ‘super busy’…pick up the phone!!

Now I’m sure some of you are reading this, thinking it all seems pretty obvious. I’m also sure a lot of you reading this are guilty of doing one of the above things.

We are all guilty of letting standards slip from time to time, but let’s do our best not to become one of the clichés in those recruitment bashing posts we see on Linkedin!

 

 

For all things interim management, change & transformation, get in touch with us via the info form below, and if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on kate@refind.co.uk.

 

You can view more about Kate Wass our executive interim specialist here.

Insider Story – Resourcing Transformation at Gowling WLG

For August’s instalment of Insider’s Story, I met up with not only one of my favourite HR professionals, but one of my favourite people in general, to talk about ‘resourcing transformation’.

The wonderful Jo Franklin, Head of Resourcing for Gowling WLG, agreed to sit down with me and have a chat about the huge ‘resourcing transformation’ journey they have been on.

She explains how they have transformed their resourcing strategy and well and truly stepped out of the ‘Wragge & Co shadow’.

Gowling WLG has been on quite a ride over the past few years…

What was once Wragge & Co, then Wragge, Lawrence Graham & Co, (before joining forces with top Canadian law firm Gowlings) and finally Gowling WLG was born.

Jo joined the business post-merger in the early part of 2016. They had gone from being in the Top 25 to overnight becoming a part of a major international law firm. As a result of this, their resourcing and talent strategies needed some serious development and she was in responsible for resourcing transformation.

“ It was a testing period”, Jo admits “as I joined, three of my most experienced team members were going on maternity leave. All of that knowledge and experience leaving at a time of considerable change!”

The Transformation

The vision was clear; to make Gowling WLG a recognised brand in the marketplace, to compete against the top law firms and to secure the best talent across lateral, business services and early talent.

The perception that the resourcing team was very much an administrative support function was something that Jo wanted to change. As around 60% of the team’s time had been spent on recruitment admin, they wanted to adopt a business partnering approach and get more stakeholder facetime.

Jo says, “We wanted to have a position in the market where we could source directly, because of our reputation.”

To put this into perspective in the legal sector, agency hire rates sits at around 60-70%. Jo had set herself a target of direct sourcing at 60%.

In order to achieve this, the team needed to look at a number of things including Employer Brand, EVP and Internal Engagement.

How did you do it?

One of the key pieces to landing any big transformation is to engage with your people and to take them along on the journey. They wanted to focus on their people, rather than the work they do.

Gowling decided to undertake 360-degree feedback to determine their true employer values.

This consisted of 12 workshops with people across the brand, from trainee to partner level. It also involved leadership interviews and market research to understand what made working at Gowling WLG different and unique.

From this developed an employer value proposition (EVP)framework upon which the new careers site would be based.

Headed up by the team members returning from maternity leave, they employed the service of two specialist agencies to convert their EVP into attraction messaging and built their careers site around this.

In order to meet their own challenging direct sourcing targets (60% of all offers), their social media and direct hiring activity needed to be supported by a creative, informative and content-rich careers website.

This is Gowling WLG’s first full careers site. For several years, the firm has had an early talent website, but the offering for fee earners and business service professionals was limited, and the team was keen to promote their new enhanced apprenticeship programme. Now they have detailed information on the firm, its culture and all the different job families in one place, which is presented in a creative and engaging way.

‘You can’t just tell people what your values are’

A common mistake that many organisations make is just announcing what their Values and EVP are, rather than engaging with people, which can alienate people and leave them feeling unsure of their identity.

Rather than just announcing firm values, it is far more effective to live and breathe them, and they slowly infiltrate into the business as usual.”

There must be a mindset change for any transformation to be implemented successfully.

Jo and her team did this through empowering the people around them.. Rather than focussing on what was wrong with the current approach, they demonstrated how great things really could be by sharing knowledge and helping people to understand that there are other ways of attracting great candidates…

Jo says, “Don’t tell people, let them experience it”

Developing a ‘Dream Team’

Jo recognised that in order to truly provide a value-add service to the business, developing her team’s offering was key.

At the time of joining, their agency spend was substantial…

Due to previously having a limited view of forthcoming requirements, the firm had become used to a reactive approach to recruitment and this was going to be a huge change for them.

Proving the model worked and providing tangible results in the first few months was vital, both in the quality of candidates introduced and time to hire.

One of the key hires to the team was Chris Lake, who had an exceptional track record in direct resourcing, having worked for a legal agency for 6 years prior to joining Gowling WLG.

Jo empowered the team to start taking a more forward-thinking approach. They began to identify and map the key markets within the firm’s key sector areas, understanding the active candidate market but more importantly building a picture of passive candidates that could be developed into a talent audience for the future.

The resourcing advisors started to build trust with key stakeholders and taking time to understand their business objectives and working with managers to plan for skills gaps and provide competitor insight and analysis to build credibility.

‘This wasn’t an original solution’

Now Jo, whilst undeniably fantastic, isn’t a part of some kind of secret recruitment magic circle!

The direct sourcing model isn’t an original solution, however, it’s usage within the legal sector is limited within the Top 100 law firms. In addition to this, varied results and methods are evident across the sector – i.e. direct sourcing limited to business services/non-fee earner roles or paralegal level recruitment in some firms.

What is clear, however, is that Jo has opened her stakeholders’ eyes to ‘what could be’ if they trusted in her and her team.

By really engaging with your people, being armed with knowledge and taking a genuine interest in your stakeholders, you can build fantastic relationships.

This doesn’t necessarily happen over-night. Jo herself will admit it has been in huge part down to her teams’ sheer persistence, determination and energy to truly add value that this transformation has been such a huge success

Where are they now?

12 months after Jo and Chris joined the business, Gowling WLG had succeeded in reducing its cost per hire by 41%. The time to hire for the new direct talent strategy 30% lower than for previous hires through recruitment agencies.

The success has continued with the team meeting their direct hire targets year on year, producing real and credible savings on agency spend, whilst still focusing time on building relationships with their key agencies to help with niche roles. By April 2018, they had exceeded their initial 60% goal.

The team were also delighted to receive a prestigious HR in Law award in May for their careers site, which they are now extending out to their international offices, the first being Dubai.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jo Franklin for taking part in my Insiders Story series! To find out more about life at Gowling WLG, visit their careers page at: https://gowlingwlg.com/en/careers

For all things interim management, change & transformation, get in touch with us via the info form below, and if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on kate@refind.co.uk

You can view more about Kate Wass our executive interim specialist here

Shared Services, want to attract the best talent to join your business?

Shared services
Credit: The Office, NBC

I recently published an eBook called “Why Top Performing Shared Services Talent Won’t Join Your Business & What To Do About It”. In this eBook, I explain why it is that big reputable brands (which have world-class shared services centres) still find it difficult to recruit and retain the best talent. Even though these brands may believe that “everyone loves our brand and it’s a nice place to work…” this isn’t necessarily the truth.

Is that the message you are giving off to a passive candidate market?

With over 75% of shared services professionals passively looking (and not actively seeking) a new role, then it’s no wonder that it’s difficult to attract and retain the best talent!

Delivering the right message to shared services professionals

Candidates are being increasingly selective over their future employer, and considering that Monarch Airlines, Carillion, Toys R us, House of Fraser, and Maplin (just to name a few!) have gone into administration during the past year, why would you want to leave your cushy job where you’ve worked for years, and where Betty knows how to make the perfect cup of tea, for somewhere that isn’t as secure and may be at risk of joining all of the companies mentioned in the previous sentence?

It’s important that shared services give off the right message, follow the right process and keep up with their competitors when it comes to recruiting.

The most desired Shared Services assignments in the past 12 months that I’ve managed have been within newly created roles. But why is this?

Is it because there isn’t an expectation there, or because they feel the company are performing well by creating these new roles?

Newly created positions offer a chance for candidates to put their stamp on a role and make it their own. As these positions are created due to demand for a certain skillset within a business, they also provide candidates with a sense of feeling wanted and allows them to see these roles as a challenge and the chance to pursue something new.

It’s all about how you deliver the message, and how this message is perceived by your potential future employees!

So the big question is, how do you excite people to work for your shared service centre if the role is replacing someone who lacked motivation, was bored and didn’t enjoy coming into work….

It’s all in your message.

How you get this right in your Shared Services team!

And I have just the thing that can help you with this… In my free eBook, I examine the steps you can take to stay ahead in the field.

If you would like your free copy, email me at sam@refind.co.uk

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here

What makes a successful HR business partner?

A HR business partner as successful as batman and superman
What makes a successful HR business partner?

HR has seen quite a change over the past few years, thanks to the introduction of new technologies and changing cultural attitudes. So it makes sense that the qualities of a successful HR business partner may have gone through a similar metamorphosis since Ulrich first introduced the concept.

 

These days more focus is needed on how they add value to a company. But you can’t just go from being traditional HR to HR business partner overnight, as a completely different set of attitudes, beliefs and skills are required to pull off this role.

So, what exactly makes a successful HR business partner (HRBP)?

  • A well-rounded knowledge base. As the job description for a HR business manager has become all-encompassing, the knowledge base of a HRBP must be as well. Similar to a typical HR manager, a HRBP should have a sound understanding of the law so that the company they work for understands their legal obligations to their employees. Additionally, a basic understanding of psychology is also beneficial as the role now entails more interaction directly with employees.
  • Business-minded. Originally the key characteristic of a HRBP is that they were someone who understood a company’s financial goals and worked to create solutions for HR-focused issues. This characteristic still remains highly important in a modern day HRBP, as without a clear business focus and understanding, a HRBP is not adding value.
  • People skills. Now that this role involves more interaction with employees, it means that a HRBP needs engaging social skills. There’s no point in having great ideas if you can’t sell them and communicate them effectively. If the right person is in the role, then they will be able to enable employees to feel safe and motivated in their workplace and more open to change.
  • Self-belief. If you don’t believe in the impact that HR can have on a business or your own influencing skills, then why should other people? If a business is going to reach its targets, everyone in that business needs to believe that they can make a difference. And those differences start with HR!

A change in the role of HRBP

There has been a huge change in the role of HRBP’s today compared to the same role a few years ago. HR was previously considered an extra department that was nice to have a security blanket for everyone else. Now, HR is essential, and businesses are missing out if they do not adopt this new approach.

Convincing people that ‘HR business partner’ is more than just the latest buzzword means being able to demonstrate value in your work, and with the correct skills and attitudes, the benefits that you can bring to a business are truly limitless.

There is still plenty of debate around what makes a successful HR business partner

There is plenty of resource to help you form your own opinion:

Hiring commercial HRBP’s can be especially difficult, if you are having issues please contact me to discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk

You can view more about James Cumming our HR, Change and Business Transformation specialist here

Don’t Judge a HR consultant by their CV

Don't judge a HR consultant by their CV
Credit: New Girl, Fox

How often have you read an amazing HR consultant CV only to find that the candidate is much better on paper than they are in real life…

 

Or maybe you’ve had the opposite experience – where you’ve decided to give a bit of a rubbish CV a chance to then be blown away once you’ve met the candidate!

 

I was recently talking to a client who, after recruiting for a number of Interim HR roles, has come to the decision that you can’t judge an interim on their CV. They had interviewed a range of candidates and actually found that the candidate they offered the role to was the least attractive on paper.

 

While CVs can be a great indicator of a candidate’s potential, it’s important to recognise other factors as well in order to give a complex and more rounded view of the individual you’re putting forward for a role.

 

I think it is also important to recognise that more often than not, HR professionals are very modest folk. They tend to downplay their experience and not really shout about their achievements. By contrast, I also know a number of interims whose CVs are ‘all singing, all dancing’, but having met and probed that individual, there is little substance to back up the experience.

 

There are certain traits that don’t really translate onto a CV that are often crucial to a position, such as how well they deal with change, how well they interact with large groups of people, and of course the ever elusive ‘cultural fit’.

 

It’s only when you meet a person and have the chance to talk to them that you will get a sense of these things.

 

A CV can only really be used as a checklist to tick of the skills someone has against the requirements of a role, however, it’s important to recognise that you don’t interact with a CV every day in the office. It’s not a CV that offers to make you a cuppa – it’s a person!

 

People are much more than a one-sided word document. It’s difficult to give a flare of personality to a formal record, especially if you work within a traditional industry. Meaning that often the true character and spirit of a person can get lost during the early stages of the recruitment process.

 

The standard job application practice that includes a CV and a cover letter can be very weak and doesn’t really give you much to go on regarding the quality of a candidate. Very few people thoroughly read a cover letter and most are likely to simply scan your CV for key areas of experience they are looking for to suit the role they are recruiting.

 

It’s also common for candidates to have their CV ‘proofread’ by multiple people before sending it off to a recruiter, so it’s more likely that your CV is a reflection of your mates’ clever editing rather than your rich career history.

 

It’s important for both candidates and clients to trust their recruiter and see this process as a collaboration and a partnership. A CV should be seen as an effective ‘first touch’ in the candidate screening process. And they do still have their place in recruitment, as simple things such as spelling and grammar errors can be a clear indicator that someone isn’t right for a role.

 

I can recall a number of occasions where…in true Love Island style, I have said to a hiring manager, ‘Now this guy doesn’t look like your type on paper, but…’.  The hiring manager has gone on to hire the HR consultant because ultimately they have trusted that I have done my job properly and I am confident that they are right for the role.

 

But of course, this topic begs the question – if you can’t judge a HR consultant by their CV…how do you decide who to speak to and qualify? Whose CV do you send to your stakeholder and who’s do you reject?

 

For all things interim management, change & transformation, get in touch with us via the info form below, and if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on kate@refind.co.uk

 

You can view more about Kate Wass our executive interim specialist here