We find ourself busier at present than we have been since 2007 with turnover up by over 100%. Estate agents are in high demand. indicative of the renewed surge in property prices. Likewise planning and residential development roles are beginning to take off again and we find a similar market to the beginning of the recession, where good people are in short supply.
As with all senior positions we are most interested to pursue people who have established a name and track record in their niche. We are seeking high performing individuals whose contribution to the bottom line of their business is measurable and ideally transferable.
Candidates are once again moving for a premium.
Many people have soldiered on through the last few years with small or non existent payrises and I sense a momentum building for change. If you are managing a team in any of the sectors above it would be worth reviewing salary and incentive package to make sure they are not vulnerable to enticement.
There are definite green shoots out there at present...
Residential agents tell me they have some of the best instruction books they‘ve had for some years and Planning clients are forecasting growth. Although the commercial sector continues to lag behind others in recovery , developers are making moves and those who havesat tight in their roles for some time are beginning to put their heads above the water and consider whether now is the time to make a move.
Most of those who have kept their jobs over the last few years have seen pay cuts and pay freezes the results of which are beginning to bite. I anticipate money being a major motivator for some of the moves we will
see in the next six months.
One thing for certain is that careers in the sector are going to take a number of years to settle back down.
We’ve seen number of senior and qualified people in their late forties and fifties lose their jobs in this recession through no fault of their own and I believe they may struggle to find permanent paid employment again. Students are coming out of university, armed with degrees but poorly prepared for the more cut throat profit driven market in which we now operate. How to approach the new market and looking at alternatives to permanent employment are two key area we are targeting in the career consultancy work we do. I see this continuing forward as part of a new work pattern.
In terms of Executive Search , those who have an established contact base and strong client relationships are still sought after and we are seeing premiums being paid to move people who will bring an income stream with
them. At senior levels some clients are requesting a business plan/presentation for the impact an appointment will have on the bottom line.
We sit on the edge of a precipice. More bad news from the middle east or the euro zone could tumble us one way. The uplift in sentiment crated by the Diamond jubilee and the Olympic games may carry us
confidently in the other direction. Anybody willing to take bets on which way things will fall?
This recession is delivering some hard kicks. Hands up if you know or are related to someone who has previously held a senior level job but is now out of work and wondering where and when they will find that next role.
I am seeing a new phenomenon - a raft of well qualified and extremely able people in their late 40's or 50's who may never find permanent employed work again.
I know it is illegal to be ageist in Britain today but I have to say that many employers, however subconsciously, are acting as if they are. They may say they are recruiting for succession and they dont want someone who they percieve will be gone in 5 years (The rational argument that many people move jobs after five years anyway will fall on deaf ears) Or they percieve people as overqualified, or are concerned that they may be used as a stop gap until the market improves and then the well qualified person will move on.
There is also the upwards push of eager (and cheaper) graduates banging at the doors and looking for their first break. Which we all agree they deserve.
My advice on this is contra-cyclical and is only my own opinion (but after working in the employment market for over twenty years it is an informed opinion)
In this day and age of computerised vacancies and job boards and mass mailed CVs I strongly suggest you take the opposite approach.
The one thing you have to do is get highly personal
You need to become a person rather than a CV or a candidate or applicant in the eyes of your future employer.
Who you know is more important than ever. Cultivate personal relationships, be out and be seen. If you are using agencies take the time to visit them personally
Call before you send your CV. Thank people for their time in meeting with you. Be of help. be flexible and make it easy for people to say yes to you. A short term contract or a temp to perm vacancy I really dont think any opportunity should be overlooked.
Alternatively and to look on the bright side, maybe now is the time to move abroad/emigrate to Australia or downsize and look at an alternative career.
There are truly hundreds of options available- take some time and energy to think laterally and open up your mind and thought process - if we can help in any way please let us know.
Finding it difficult to find a job?
In this current climate of high unemployment with some employees finding their jobs under threat of redundancy, many professionals are wondering how and where to job seek. With the knowledge that even with sector specific qualifications and skills guaranteed jobs are hard to come by, the ‘should I stay or should I go’ dilemma is ever prevalent.
But it far easier these days to find jobs if you know where to look.
Many jobs in the UK are filled without ever being advertised, so as well as regularly checking recruitment websites for advertised vacancies, candidates should also create a check list of target sectors, skills and where appropriate companies. By keeping up to date with sector news; and company updates via news sites, online trade publications and also Social Media sites like Twitter, prospective employees will learn about opportunities ahead of any jobs being advertised.
In addition regular job searches on recruitment sites like Guardian jobs. Property Week and Estates Gazette will keep candidates abreast of advertised job opportunities. Job hunters should also consider working their alumni – reconnecting with former colleagues, co-workers, student and graduates.
Why is it difficult to find a job?
Basically it’s difficult to find a job because there are less jobs than there are jobseekers. Certain industries, retail, banking, local government and in some cases healthcare have been hit hard by the recession suffering funding or revenue cuts. In these industries candidates may be advised to consider how transferable their skills, experience and qualifications may be to other industries or roles. Again recruitment sites and trade news sites can be good sources of career change ideas and routes into emergent employment markets – where new job opportunities may be coming from.
Tips to help you job seek - Set job goals
• Have a clear goal of what your next job role will entail.
• What are your current strengths? List all prior skills, achievements, and experience on your CV, and sell yourself on application forms and cover letters.
• If your ideal job were unavailable, how could you change things? Eg your commute or sector?
• Measure your milestones. Are you receiving feedback from potential employers or recruitment agencies?
A lot has been written about the concept of following one's passion. It's an ideal I suspect many of us would like to embrace during those moments when we are thinking and dreaming about a life plan.
Find something you love, work at it and success and riches will follow. or so the theory goes.
But what if you are not actually that good at it? The audition stage during X factor shows us many examples of people who are passionate about singing but are never going to make a living from it.,.
What if there is no market demand for your services?
My personal opinion is that , if you want to succeed financially, it is too great a risk to blindly follow your passion unless you have a private income or some other means of support.
A more sensible way of considering things might be to look at what the market needs and see where that interfaces with the natural talents and interest that you have.This is what is known as the entrepreneurial sweet spot.
It's a very fine but important distinction to think about. If predictions are right and we are in for a tough 12 months, keeping focused on where you can add value is the way to succeed, whether employed, self employed or contracting.
Having worked with thousands of people making career changes I have been surprised at how blind we all can be about what it is we actually do well and what our clients find value from.
It is always interesting to do a mini audit and ask people around you that you trust for feedback on what they think you are naturally good at. Ask clients why they prefer to use you. Ask your colleagues what is the one thing they value most in you as a team member. You may be surprised at the answers.
We are in an era of individual capitalism . A time when due to the internet most knowledge is out there for the taking and when knowledge workers are becoming less valued than those who can take action and add value with their knowledge.
This year in your career, determine your own sweet spot. Begin to differentiate yourself by first checking what your market finds of value and taking regular massive action to deliver it.
Remember ACTION and RESULTS. In the new economy knowledge or superior process are no longer enough.
Working with your Natural Talents
When writing this blog I was inspired to go back to my initial impetus for starting the company and naming it Natural Talents.
It was a book by Marcus Buckingham called ‘First Break all the Rules’ and if you haven’t read it, I warmly recommend it.
First, Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham
What I believe this book says in a nutshell is that we should concentrate less on overcoming our shortcomings and concentrate more on the unique abilities we each have. The greatest managers know how to do this and to’ Recruit for Talent and focus on Strengths’ two underpinning philosophies which I strongly believe in.
What is a Natural Talent? As defined by Buckingham it is ‘a recurring pattern of thought feeling or behaviour that can be productively applied.’
This gives great clue to what to look for in ourselves and others when selecting for and working with talent. Many of the things we are naturally drawn to and feel at ease doing are indicators of where a talent lies. At school we all have favorite subjects which seem to be easy to engage with. We may be inclined to create lists and be highly organised or we may be naturally artistic and create vibrant and interesting living spaces around ourselves.
Every role performed at a level of excellence will involve natural and repeated patterns of behaviours. Compare a data entry clerk with a high performing sales person.
An excellent data entry inputter will be happy to sit in the same office in the same place on a daily basis and systematically enter data accurately and steadily. They will become unsettled by rapid changes to their routine and unclear and changing goals.
A top sales person will naturally enjoy travelling to a variety of venues and meeting different people They will enjoy a role where no day is potentially the same as the next, and it is quite likely they will resist having to fill in the feedback forms and other methods of measurement imposed upon them. They will become demotivated if stuck in an office with little people contact and a routine to perform on a daily basis. The excellent thing is that there are people naturally suited to each of these jobs and if selected well they have the potentially to be outstandingly good at them. I will tackle how to recruit for talent in my next blog.
When I first read this book some years ago it resonated strongly because it referred to a lot of the things I was seeing in the recruitment market and reflected many of the reasons I had trained to be a career coach.
Firstly I had begun to see a pattern with many of the people we were recruiting into senior management positions. As part of our recruitment process we use DISC profiling and began to notice that, even though coming from different companies and backgrounds, the candidates shortlisted for key roles often shared the same personality profiles and key strengths. We began to try to predict what someone’s DISC profile might look like and what DISC profile would suit a role well, with increasing levels of accuracy.
The other indicator of interest was that excellent performance in one environment was not necessarily replicated when people moved- which promoted the career coaching and on-boarding work that we do.
What are assessments really all about?
There is no right and wrong when doing any form of psychometric assessment and they should never be used to hire or fire.They are simply a tool to give a more detailed understanding of the person you are dealing with.
Rather like buying a car, you may like the appearance and performance of the car but you would also take a little time to check the engine out before you buy.
The psychometrics we use work to show two things:
The personality profile shows how a person sees themself, how they may be adapting to fit into their current work situation and can give indicators for behaviours and signs to look for when they are under stress.
The more interesting part is when you combine this analysis with EI and Ability testing,These are the more static traits within a person which support or fuel their surface behaviours.
Many senior candidates are extremely hard workimg.Things that a full assessment may help indicate are what is driving the behavior- is it driven by a sense of insecurity or a need to work harder than average because their ability to process at speed is at the lower end of the spectrum?
What about those with superfast processing powers? This is not always the strength people perceive it to be. It is all relative to the role being carried out and other unique personality traits.
Would you want your fast thinking accountant to have a strong streak of empathy or might you prefer them to be more emotionally detached when weighing up business decisions?
Some people's personality traits may suggest that they are not naturally dominant but if their EI feedback show them to be strongly assertive with good emotional expression you will ascertain that they are not a walkover.
Feedback should involve the exploration of what the results means to the individual and their interpretation in the round of all available knowledge.The person being tested should take centre stage and the assessor is there to guide through well posed questions. That is why psychometric testing makes an excellent grounding for coaching work as people discover snd explore their natural abilities and make-up.
I would emphasise again there is never a right or wrong answer when being assessed and all assessments are just a tool to use alongside many others at the interviewer's disposal. Psychometric Assessments need careful analysis by a trained profesional- to suggest otherwise is not doing justice to the person who has completed the assessment. In general I find them a good tool, that can add balance and pertinent information to the interview process.
Who are you looking for?
When recruiting for excellence, be guided by natural talent and inherent ability rather than the fact that someone has done the same job in a similar organisation.Take time to consider the person you want to recruit, then work your campaign to appeal to their needs, not the list of duties you want fulfilling
Recruiting raw intelligence, excellent brain power and attitude of mind should be central to your thinking and your recruitment process should be geared to pick this out. Alan Sugar hadn’t manufactured in the electronics industry before he started Amstrad and no one had made satellite dishes before Sky subcontracted them the work. They had the raw skiils not necessarily the industry background, but they were a huge success.
Think personailty, attitudes. energy. talent and approach rather than years of relevant experience, relevant industry background and already doing the same job for two reasons. Number one this will increase the number of potentially excellent people you can recruit from. Number two offering senior level talent the chance of a new challenge is very motivational.
Why work for you?
A lot of companies in the market today are very aware of what they do and what they stand for but they are not really able to stand back and consider themselves from an external parties perspective. With the rise in social media, branding is becoming a buzz word and is becoming increasingly important. I think you would agree that most people would take a call from a headhunter offering a job with Virgin. Apple or Google. Think about what these brands represent. They represent success in their field but they have also positioned themselves to represent other intangible feel good factors if you work there, such as: fun, freedom to think and act and the perception that you will be working with interesting, likeminded people.
Are you properly aware of how you and your company are portrayed in the market place? Do you know if you pay above average or below average salaries? What constraints on recruitment does your geographical base cause? What is the market gossip about your company? How do your website and other forms of social media portray you ? What do ex-employees say about you? What do employees say about you on linked in or facebook? How would you rate yourself in comparison to your key competitors?
The smallest details about the way you handle your recruitment campaign DO count. Do you acknowledge all responses? With an automated reply, or a more personal approach? Do you treat people with courtesy at interview or do you use aggressive techniques? Are you personable, and are you prompt to pay travel expenses? Do all of your management team adopt the same interview techniques and follow up procedures?
If your hiring managers aren’t trained in handling exploratory discussions with top prospects, or aren't very good at selling your company and therefore attracting the best people to work for them, this type of talent-driven strategy will be far less effective. This is the biggest, and weakest, link in the top-talent hiring chain that is frequently ignored or overlooked .
Assessing Key talent
Believe what people show you.
In the same way that your branding says a lot about you as a company take note of the small details that people inadvertently tell you about themselves during the recruitment process. Poorly presented Cvs ,constant rearranging of meetings, failure to call back when they have said they will, slightly scruffy presentation. All these things happen at senior level and sometimes because the person interviews well clients want to overlook them. Overlook them if you will but 99 times out of 100 there will be a reason for them that you must acknowledge and address or be able to handle . It will not go away.
"The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them." Maya Angelou
Put performance in context.
A top performer in a large well branded organisation may have a high fee earning history by virtue of where they work. Doe your recruitment process take note of this? Alternatively someone in a smaller organisation may be achieving what looks less on paper despite a lack of resources .Consider how their potential might increase with the backing of a larger organisation. If you are a smaller organisation be sure you have understood the support / marketing budget and deal flow the candidate you are appointed has been used to, in order to achieve.
Stay involved and use emotional intelligence.
Research indicates that one of the worst moves business owner/director can make is disengaging from the hiring process. If you look at top organisations you'll find that communication up and down the ranks in these companies is more open, and more frequent, than in other companies. Top management is more accessible, which makes employees at all levels feel engaged in meeting the company's goals Passing down your passion for the recruitment using your own contacts and network or working to elicit input from other team members, fully briefing your headhunter and maybe appearing on video to present the opportunity from the horse’s mouth, are all ways to ensure your involvement in the process.
And when you're in the process of hiring a new senior level employee, remember to carefully assess your applicants' emotional intelligence (EI) along with their intellectual capability. Research shows that an ability assessment doesn't predict job success nearly as accurately when used alone as it does when combined with assessments of the cognitive and social abilities that comprise someone's emotional intelligence. An EI evaluation offers a strong indication of how well an applicant may fit into your organization.
People give clues about themselves during the interview process. Pay attention
Put everything in context. Top performance is only relative to others within a similar circumstance
Use more than one method of assessment and use emotional intelligence as part of the process