Career Tips / Blog

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45 Questions To Ask In A Job Interview

Posted by | March 11, 2021 | Career Tips / Blog

Male designers meeting and brainstorming in conference room
Job Interview

It was the middle of July 2008, and I had just bought an expensive power suit for a job interview. After being laid off during the height of the recession and unemployed for about six weeks, I was feeling desperate and willing to spend money on anything that might put my career on track.

Surprisingly, the train was running on time that day, which gave me the opportunity to take my new jacket off, sit back, and prepare for this meeting one last time. At my stop, I realized I was so intently focused that I didn’t notice a robbery happening right under my nose. The jacket was gone.

With nothing but an inappropriate tank top on, I was mortified but decided to go for it anyway. I proceeded to meet all of the organization’s department heads, during which time my thoughts repeatedly returned to my improper attire. But believe it or not, I ended up getting the job.

Even though my story had a happy ending, there’s no doubt the pressures of the interview process had me unnerved. Anything can happen before or during an interview, which is why it’s crucial to walk in feeling prepared — even if your jacket has just been stolen.

Interviewers will be focused on finding out if you’re the right fit for the position, but it’s also important to decide if the company is the right fit for you. Have a list of questions to ask in a  job interview.

Your role

Be careful not to ask questions already answered in the job description. It’s important to go beyond those general duties to understand everything the job entails.

1. Can you offer specific details about the position’s day-to-day responsibilities?

2. What would my first week at work look like?

3. How does this position contribute to the organization’s success?

4. What do you hope I will accomplish in this position?

5. How does the company culture affect this role?

6. What job shadowing opportunities are available for an applicant before they accept an offer?

Proceed with caution: If rather than going into detail about the primary responsibilities listed in the job description, the employer rambles off many more duties — they may be asking you to take on more than you initially thought. How to Read a Job Description

Getting to know the interviewer

Most likely, the interviewer is the first contact you’ll have at this company — they could even be your future boss. Asking questions can help you understand their attitude, company values, and where the company’s future is heading.

7. What do you enjoy most about working here?

8. Why are you working in this industry?

9. Can you walk me through your typical work day?

10. What is your greatest accomplishment with the company?

11. What is your team’s greatest accomplishment?

12. What goals do you have for the company, yourself, and employees over the next five years?

13. What hobbies do you have outside of the office?

Proceed with caution: Be wary of leaders who have trouble opening up or don’t seem passionate about their company and team. How to Find the Perfect Company

Management’s style

What type of management style do you need to reach the height of your potential? Now’s the best time to see if the company’s leaders align with your expectations.

14. How do leaders encourage employees to ask questions?

15. How do leaders set employees up for success?

16. How does employee feedback get incorporated into day-to-day operations?

17. How does management deliver negative feedback to employees?

Proceed with caution: Employers who can’t list how they encourage employees and set them up for success may not deliver the support you’re looking for in a company.

Company culture

From benefits and perks to the ways employees interact with each other, not meshing with a company’s culture can put a roadblock on your path to success.

18. What is your work culture like?

19. How would you describe the work environment here?

20. What benefits are focused on work-life balance?

21. What benefits and perks does the company offer?

22. What is the outline of your telecommuting policy?

23. How frequently do employees make themselves available outside of normal working hours?

Proceed with caution: Listen closely to how the interviewer describes the company’s benefits and environment to be sure it’s the right culture for your personality and working style. What Aspects of Company Culture Matter Most for Your Next Job

Company reputation

After doing some research, you should already know a few things about the company’s reputation. Now it’s time to dig a little deeper to make sure this is a place where you’ll thrive.

24. What’s your mission statement?

25. How often is a new hire the result of a previous employee quitting?

26. Why do most employees leave the company?

27. How would employees describe the company and its leaders?

28. What are the company’s biggest problems? How are they overcoming them?

29. What do you want the company to be known for among employees — past, present, and future?

Proceed with caution: Quality leaders will be the first to admit that their company isn’t perfect. Interviewers who claim they would change nothing might be failing to grow and make positive changes.

Performance measurements

Knowing a company’s expectations and how they measure goals before accepting a job offer helps you decide if their style matches with what motivates you.

30. How are employees recognized for their hard work?

31. How involved are employees in the structuring of their own goals and tasks?

32. What are your views on goals, timelines, and measuring success?

33. How often are employees expected to provide status updates on a project?

34. How often do you evaluate employee performance?

Proceed with caution: Wanting constant updates and control over employee tasks are warning signs of a micromanager.

Future co-workers

The employees at this organization could be your next team. Make sure you’re positive this is a group you want to be a part of.

35. Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?

36. How competitive are your employees?

37. How do you develop teamwork skills among employees?

Proceed with caution: A competitive environment can be fun and motivating, but a lack of teamwork in the office could point to a cutthroat company.

Opportunities for growth

What is your ultimate career goal? Set yourself up for success by finding out how far this new position could take you on your career path.

38. What type of mentor system do you have in place?

39. What type of educational/training opportunities does the company offer?  

40. What advancement opportunities are available?

41. How do leaders promote employee growth and success?

42. What does it take to be a top performer at this company?

Proceed with caution: If an interviewer is unable to share how you can advance within the company, chances are you might not be able to grow at the rate you want.

Moving forward

Don’t leave the interview with any questions unanswered — for you or the interviewer. This is your final opportunity to make sure you’re both on the same page before you walk out the door.

43. What’s the next step of this process, and when can I expect to hear from you?

44. Is there any other information I can provide you with?

45. Would you like to see more examples of my work?

Proceed with caution: Interviewers who don’t have a lot to offer on next steps may already have another candidate in mind or might not be in a big rush to hire. Remember to stay positive and continue to job search until you’re officially hired.

Courtesy: Glassdoor

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Managing Resistance to Change in the Workplace

Posted by | February 25, 2021 | Career Tips / Blog

Employees Brainstorming on Resistance to Change

Change is the adoption of new idea or behavior by an organization (Daft, 1995). Change in an existing organization is meant to increase its effectiveness in achieving its corporate objectives; it is the bedrock of industrial and organizational effectiveness. Change means to alter, replace, substitute, exchange etc. Whatever form it takes, differences could be spotted between the former and present when it occurs. It is ‘an activity of transformation or modification of something … with the objective to make improvements”.

Change is unavoidable in our socio-economic, political and technological lives, Davies (1983) defines “Work Change” as any alteration that occurs in the work environment. Work change can occur in men, machines, policies, methods, and even location. Change could be from  Internal or External source.

Internal Sources: This change could occur in structure, training, interpersonal and intrapersonal change (e.g. self growth and self development), leadership change etc.

External Sources: These are changes occasioned by outside forces like government policies, pandemic, consumer behavior, inflation, increase or decrease in people’s purchasing powers, religious upsurge, technology, war, natural disaster etc. It should be noted that most times the external pressures  are so powerful to the extent that they have great powers to ignite internal organizational changes. Changes could be destructive or constructive.  

Effects of Resistance to Change

Reasons for Resistance to Change: As important as change is in organizations, some employees still resist it and hate it without pretence. I remember on occassions I was brought in to inject fresh ideas to revive a failing organisation and the fierce resistance received. Infact, managing resistance to change in the workplace could be herculean

The resistance could be as result of:

  • Parochial self interest.
  • Lack of confidence in the changer.
  • Bad communication strategy,
  • Fear for Loss of job, 
  • Disruption of social life, 
  • Poor timing,
  • Fear of unknown,
  • Cost of Change,
  • Level of Preparedness for Change,
  • Disruption of Known Relationships,
  • Lack of Trust,
  • Lack of Reward
  • Loss of Support System
  • Loss of Control
  • Lack of Competence
  • Experience from former change
  • Lack of Human face in the aspect of change
  • Poor Planning
  • No clarity
  • Out of comfort Zone
  • Denial
  • Resistance as Normal
  • Loss of identity

Quide on Managing Resistance to Change

  • Proper Education/ Explanations to employees
  • Change agent(s) must be honest/ trustable persons
  • Change implementation should be sincere/ gradual
  • Right Timing
  • Effective communication necessary
  • Employees should be prepared psychologically
  • Change agents must be selfless and competent persons
  • Good knowledge of change objectives
  • Good reward system
  • Openness, Clarity and objectivity should be the watchword
  • All grey areas should be addressed

These quides will assist in change management in your organizations and if effectively managed, will be a source of strength to the organisation and improve the bottomline.

Written by: Agolo Uzorka, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited

Managing Resistance to Change in the Workplace
Agolo Uzorka
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Performance Appraisal: A Critical factor in Human Resource Management

Posted by | December 8, 2020 | Career Tips / Blog

In real life situations, performance appraisal is a daily activity as it is also to organisations. We evaluate our activities daily, weekly, monthly or yearly to see our achievement and, challenges, correct our mistakes and set new targets.

More so in organisations. The continued success of organisations is dependent on its employees who in all thinking is the primary resource.  Their development and retention is a critical success factor if it must meet with its present and future requirements and surpass same.

Performance appraisal sometimes referred to as performance evaluation or personnel evaluation, is very important in Human Resource Management, a tool that places high in people Management. Other factors / functions which contribute to employee development are staff orientation and career development and all these add-up to enhance organizational effectiveness.

Infact, performance appraisal is a fulcrum on which major HR activities revolve.  Many informed decisions such as promotions, wage hikes, transfers, terminations, job rotation, job enlargement, succession planning etc emanates from this. Again, allocation of organizational resources is facilitated by performance appraisal too.

What is Performance Appraisal?

“Performance appraisal is the process by which an organization obtains a feedback about the effectiveness of its employees”. It is the evaluation of employee’s job performance and contributions to the organisation. In other words, it is a mechanism through which employees and the organization obtain feedback and provides organisation with assessment data for present and future use. It is the measurement of performance against set and agreed target over a given period of time so as to obtain to obtain feedback.

The purpose of Performance Appraisal stems from the need to improve organizational efficiency by ensuring that employees perform to the best of their ability and also develop their potentials for improvement. A good performance appraisal or management system is designed to serve two (2) main purposes:

  1. Evaluative purpose and
  2. Developmental purpose

Evaluative Functions: This function helps to promote or reward higher performance while at the same time assists to determine low performance.

Development Function: On the other hand, this performance appraisal function is useful in determining training needs of the subordinates while at the same time motivates them to higher performance.

Unfortunately, many people lay more emphasis on the evaluative function to the neglect of the developmental function.

A good organization should have a well laid down policy on employee performance management and the potential of each employee to access his/ her future development.

Performance appraisal must be seen as a result-oriented machinery for the growth of individual and company and not as firing squad or punitive measure. You should note that organisations decide on what performance appraisal system to be adopted based on its laid down policy, suitability and operational modus.

Performance appraisal is either open or closed. The open system is profound in the private sector while the closed system is more practiced in the public sector.

Performance appraisal can be classified under two broad systems: Individual and Multi-Person Appraisal Systems.

Individual Appraisal Method:

In the individual appraisal method, employee’s performance is studied over a given period. This is aimed at identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Examples of these are Annual Confidential Reports, Essay Evaluation, Management by Objectives (MBO) and Check List Methods.

  • Confidential Reports:

Perhaps, this is the oldest method. It is a report prepared by employee’s senior/ supervisor wherein he/ she highlights the subordinate’s strength and weaknesses in the past year. The flaw about this method is that the feedback on the report prepared is not disclosed to the employee for whom this has been written because every report is kept confidential.

  • Critical Incident and Checklist Techniques:

In the critical incident technique, the superior studies and analyze the subordinate’s best and worse incidents of behavior in the past year; analyzing the most critical incidents while in the checklist method, the supervisor is given a paper that has set of statements that are expressive and purpose in nature, and the answers to which are either YES or NO. Here, the usual and typical questions are whether/ or not the performance was satisfactory and whether or not the standards were met.

Multiple Persons Appraisal Methods:

The multi-person appraisal method compares the performances of the employees in a particular department and are pitted against one another to identify the best performers and the worst performers. Examples of multi-person appraisal methods are Ranking System, Paired Comparison, Forced Distribution, Performance Tests and 360-Degree Appraisal.

  • Paired Comparison Method:

In this technique, the superior compares each individual to all the other individuals working in the team and the subordinates are all ranked on the basis of criteria and traits analyzed. The comparison method could be from the best to the worst or the worst to the best.

  • Management by Objective (MBO)

The Management by Objective (MBO) is the well-known technique for setting goals, then judging how they are met; it emphasizes on tangible and measurable goals. The Key Result Areas (KRA) and the means to attain maximum results are concentrated upon. This system gives the superior the opportunity of knowing his/ her team’s KRAs and the results expected at the end of the year/ or given period. In this method, the job is delegated and the authority, responsibility and relationship is defined.

In this method, both the supervisor and the subordinate discuss, negotiate and agree the goals to be attained over a period. The objectives/ target are expected to adhere to the SMARTER rules – Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound, Ethical and Recorded.

  • 360-Degree Method:

The 360-degree appraisal method involves various stakeholders – the employee’s immediate supervisor, other supervisors who are not the bosses but comes in contact with the employee/ appraisee on a daily basis, the top management, and the employee’s subordinates as all provide data/ information on his/ her performances.

All 360-degree of employee working and working styles are analyzed involving the whole cycle of individuals with whom the employee comes in contact or interacts with on the course of work. The feedback from the appraisal is passed on to the employee for increased performance.

Why do we conduct Performance Appraisal?

Performance appraisal aims at regularly assessing and reporting on subordinate’s performances, attainment, abilities and potentials for future development. It further seeks to:

  • Clarify the Key Result Areas (KRA) of the job and provide basis to agree on targets and standards of performance for a given period;
  • Assess performance of employees and agree on how to foster continuous improvement;
  • Provide opportunity for a formal recognition and documentation of performances (the subordinate has opportunity to bring certain achievements or constraints being experienced on the job to the attention of the boss, his/ her career plans and aspirations);
  • Generate information for management’s decision-making on issues like promotion, transfers, succession planning, job rotation, job redefinition, disengagement etc;
  • Determine employee potentials and provide guided development;
  • Provide opportunity for identifying individual training and developmental needs;
  • Take stock of skills and talents available, strength and weaknesses of employees in the organization
  • Provide feedback to employees on how organization view their (employee) performances;
  • Improve communication by compelling superiors and subordinates to hold periodic dialogue/ meeting and provide feedback;
  • Provide basis for reward decisions – merit increases, reassignment and expatriation
  • Generate data/ information upon which workplans, budgeting and HR Planning can be based
  • Inform job distribution/ redesign, job enlargement, career planning and development;
  • To provide a ready tool for evaluating the effectiveness of selection and placement decisions;
  • Identify training and development needs for individual employees and entire teams/ divisions within the organization;
  • Provide a good criteria for assessing the success or otherwise of previous training and development efforts
  • Help in determining salary related decisions;
  • Serve as a counseling forum;
  • Emphasize the strength and weaknesses of employees;
  • Improve motivation

Conclusion:

Without mincing words, it must be stated that performance appraisal is key to the success of organisations as managers constantly make judgments about their subordinates based on performance appraisal and are expected to provide periodic feedbacks.

To make feedback a powerful instrument in performance appraisal and in improving the level of satisfaction, performance appraisal must not only be based on an objective criteria, but such criteria should have been jointly put in place and agreed between the supervisor and subordinate as employees who are involved in actually setting their own goals tend to perform at higher levels.

Contributed by Agolo Uzorka, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited

Agolo Uzorka
Agolo Uzorka
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How SMEs can Reposition Businesses for Growth amid COVID-19

Posted by | November 6, 2020 | Career Tips / Blog

The pandemic may not leave anytime soon, best way to go about it is to find ways to leave with the virus for the foreseeable future.

SMEs, business, COVID-19: Here’s how to manage remote teams for your startup

The increasing cases of the COVID-19 do not only present an alarming health crisis to Nigeria but also come with human impact, the significant economic, business and commercial impact being felt across the nation, especially among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

These and how to reposition businesses for growth either Post-COVID or in the new normal were discussed at the recent PwC Nigeria webinar tagged ‘Repositioning your business for growth

At the webinar, Taiwo Oyedele,  Fiscal Policy Partner, West Africa Tax Leader, explained that the pandemic may not leave anytime soon and the best way to go about it is to find ways to leave with the virus for the foreseeable future.

He said, “SME sector plays a vital role with about 40 million of them operating in all sector of the Nigerian economy, employing over 60% of the country’s workforce and providing a livelihood for the majority of homes.

“Some estimates have it that millions of MSMEs have shut production and they may not be able to open again, as they suffer from lack of liquidity, credit, income among others.”

Back story: Last June, Nairametrics had reported that an overwhelming 94.3% of businesses surveyed reported being negatively impacted by the pandemic particularly in the areas of Cashflow, Sales and Revenue.

“Financially, a good number of the businesses were doing poorly as about 13% reported having enough cash flow to stay operational for 1 – 3 months while about 33% had enough cash flow to stay operational for only 1 – 4 weeks and about 27% for only 1 – 7 days. A number of jobs were also impacted as 82.8% of the businesses reported that they were likely to lay off 1 – 5 employees,” a Fate Foundation report stated.

While almost 50% of the businesses were able to identify opportunities despite the negative impacts of the pandemic along the lines of creating new products and services, expansion and diversification etc, most businesses reported needing support with cash flow and sales and would like support in the area of funding, access to markets and business support.

Recovery opportunities for SMEs

As far as Tara Durotoye, CEO House of Tara International is concerned SMEs owners should be strategic by dissecting the issues affecting their operations into two i.e What they have control over and what they do not.

According to her, Nigeria does not have a government that supports the reality of the challenges the SMEs are going through, advising business owners not to look up to the government but rather find ways to work around issues and find the solutions.

She said, “This is the time to be closed to your customers, time to call them and find out what they want as the pandemic has created a new normal. For instance, in the makeup industry, findings revealed that customers demand products like powder and lipsticks have dropped. What customers want now is to take care of their skin and not just to cover them,  we would not have known that except we engaged our customers.”

Technology has become an important part of SMEs operations and operators have to think of the current resources they have and what they can do more about the resources in terms of skill set. There are people who were in makeup that is now doing consultancy, others in Agro and now doing logistics.

She cited an event centre in Lekki corridor, who due to COVID-19 have not been engaged for social gatherings as usual. spoke with its customers using social media platforms and decided to meet their needs by turning the centre to an open market on Saturday.

“It realised that some women in the area were not comfortable going to Balogun or Mile 12 market during the pandemic and decided to create that open market for them.

“Also, there is a Game Centre that has started offering video conferencing services to its clients. It observed a gap in the video conferencing space and explore it. They created a video conference app that would not require much space like Zoom to download and that works on small phones,” Tara said.

She added that this is the time for all business owners to create a will to forge ahead and understand that they do not have a government like Canada or US that would meet their needs as expected.

However, Abubakar Kure, MD NIRSAL MFB in his presentation explained that the Federal Government introduced the TSF and other loans to cushion the effect of the pandemic on SMEs and households when it realised business owners lack the required cash flow to survive the shock arriving from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kure agreed with Tara that SMEs have to think out of the box and not wait for the government but explained that despite the fact that the government has limited resources, it has introduced several facilities across sectors to cushion the effect of the pandemic on businesses.

Shortly after the July Monetary Policy Committee meeting, Nairametrics had reported that between April when the TSF loan was launched and July 12, 2020, the Central  Bank of Nigeria has disbursed N49.19 billion out of the N50 billion Household and SME facility to over 92,000 beneficiaries.

Also, the apex bank disbursed over N152.9 billion to the manufacturing sector to finance 61 manufacturing projects and another N93.6 billion to the Healthcare sector, amongst many other sector-specific facilities.

He said, “The facilities are token but SMEs need to strategies and think out of the box as suggested, The facilities are actually subsidised because they are between 1 to 3 years at 5% for 1 year and 9% subsequently.”

He added that the facilities are actually subsidised for businesses to survive and for people to retain their jobs and for the economy to recover from the shock created by the pandemic.

In conclusion, PwC made in-depth recommendations for government, SMEs and stakeholders on policy and strategies to cushion the effects of the pandemic on the nation’s ailing economy.

Written by Abiola Odutola

Comments Off on 6,252 Students Graduate From Skill Acquisition Centres

6,252 Students Graduate From Skill Acquisition Centres

Posted by | September 24, 2020 | Career Tips / Blog

6,252 Students Graduate From Skill Acquisition Centres

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has advised youths and women in the State to engage themselves in vocational skills to be employers of labour rather than depending solely on government and private organisations for job opportunities.

Speaking at the Year 2019 Graduation Ceremony for 6,252 students of the 18 Skill Acquisition Centers in Lagos State, held at the Isheri Skill Acquisition Hall, Governor Sanwo-Olu advised the graduating students to use the skills they have acquired in the last few months to create platforms for themselves to be employers of labour.

The Governor also urged them to be persistent, persevere, focused and not to give up on their dreams, adding that they should take advantage of the free online business registration channel provided by the Federal Government for the first 250,000 small and medium scale enterprises.

He said they should use technology, especially their data to add value to their lives and not for things that would not contribute positively to their growth and development in life.

The Governor who disclosed that government cannot provide jobs for everybody based on the population of people in the state, said that what government is meant to do is to create an enabling environment for people to be employers of labour and become entrepreneurs who would create businesses and opportunities for themselves, families and others.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed that he was a plumber about 30 years ago, said the graduating trainees are on the right path and therefore encouraged them to be determined, persevered and committed to achieve desired success in their respective skills for them to be successful CEOs in the future.

The 6,252 graduands were trained in fifteen different skills such as; Hairdressing and Cosmetology, Catering and Hotel Management, Computer training, Barbing, Textile Design, Hat Making and Bead Stringing, Shoe Making/Leather Works, Fashion Design and Dress Making.

Others are Welding Fabrication, Vulcanising/Wheel Balancing and Alignment, Refrigerator and AC Maintenance/Repairs, Aluminum Fabrication, Screen/Transfer Printing Technology, Tile Laying/Pave Lock Making, and Carpentry and Future Making.

Governor Sanwo-Olu urged the 6,252 graduating students to do all they can to make learning a life-long venture, by constantly seeking ways to improve their skills and grow their businesses.

He assured them of government’s support for them to achieve success in their various vocations, noting that the State Government has resources to help them accelerate their growth. He the newly inaugurated Eko MSMEs Fashion Hub and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund can provide opportunities for the students to tap into.

The Governor therefore implored the graduating students, especially those in fashion design line to take the opportunity of the Fashion hub in Ikeja, to enhance their works, adding that his administration was committed to build and open more fashion hubs at Obalende, Somolu and Oshodi within the next six months as parts of the administration support for MSMEs in the State.

Speaking at the event, First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, expressed the incumbent administration’s commitment to empowerment and skill acquisitions for Lagosians, especially those who are interested in vocational trainings.

Source: Todayng

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Talent Acquisition and Retention Strategies

Posted by | September 21, 2020 | Career Tips / Blog

Talent Acquisition and Retention Strategies

Talent Acquisition, also referred to as Human Capital Management, is a fast evolving concept in Human Resources Management and it is a critical activity with prime focus on enabling and developing people. It is a “methodically organized process of getting the right talent on board and helping them to grow to their optimal capabilities keeping organizational objectives in mind”. Talent acquisition begins with hiring, deploying people, retaining and nurturing talents.

In other words Talent Acquisition is about recruitment and selection, employee placement, learning, training and development, competency management, succession planning etc. It is also marketing your employer brand to individuals with the appropriate skills and experience irrespective of whether you have vacancies for them or not.

Talent Acquisition entails tracking and selecting the right people for the organization which is a great challenge for many organizations, as the quality of an organization is primarily determined by the people it employs. Talent acquisition and Management is aimed at creating a motivated workforce that would stay with the company for a long time. The exact way of achieving this will differ from company to company.

Invariably, talent acquisition encompasses many HR responsibilities and it is not enough to say you manage HR and then you are managing talents because, it entails having a designed strategic plan to gain optimal results and maximize the value of employees.

Talent acquisition in some ways is different from recruitment. While talent acquisition is an ongoing process of engagement across many platforms with the type of people your company intends to attract, recruitment is a short-term exercise that is aimed at finding suitable candidates to fill an existing position.

HR Surveys reveal that organisations globally are faced with shortage of talented employees and it’s often more difficult to retain them. In view of this, effective talent acquisition is a critical factor that enables an organization to compete favorably and stand out in the market-place.

Important Issues in Talent Acquisition

In talent acquisition, it is important to:

i). Understand every aspect of your business:

For effective talent acquisition, it is important that you understand every aspect of your business and devise an employer brand that aligns with the company culture and vision as it is an essential ingredient in attracting the type of talent you want to employ.

ii). Constitute Effective Hiring Team:

Recruitment has gone beyond one-man show. To limit the errors in your recruitment process and minimize the incidence of bad hires, you need to involve skilled people who would identify candidates with potentials during the hiring exercise as they eliminate bias and are more open to hiring a diverse workforce.

iii) Adopt data-driven methods:

Talent acquisition that worth its salt should not be done manually but involve gathering of HR metrics and analyzing same.

iv) Composition of Your Post:

In placing a job advert, you should also understand the key arguments of your company, employee value proposition and translate same into the campaign and communicate it effectively to your target audience.

Job vacancies are composed and posted in different platforms including the social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc and shared to friends. There are basic information expected of a good advert- the background of the Company, job and its requirements because it communicates the right candidates expected by the recruiting companies as companies display her adverts showing the reasons why they are employers of choice and keep below the requirements for the job position as to attract more applicants, emphasizing more on why the job is attractive.

The way your post is composed or structured and worded, projecting your employer brand, determines to a large extent, applicants responses. If your post does not get good and expected responses from great applicants, try review your post and platforms/ medium.

Job adverts contain most or all of the following:

  • Background of the employing company
  • The job
  • Job ID
  • Location
  • Tasks and Responsibilities
  • Requirements (Education, age range, competencies etc)
  • Address to forward CVs to (e-mail address, address of company or postal address etc)
  • Closing date of advert

v) Engagement with applicants:

Your engagement with applicants / candidates most importantly have direct consequencies (negative or positive) and the applicants see the company through you.

vi). Always Review Your Talent Acquisition Strategies:

Review your talent acquisition strategies at intervals. Do not believe that you have arrived with the best talent strategies as the world is fast evolving at an alarming speed. Constitute team and always meet to review your strategies to be ahead of others.

vii) Continually Carry out Research:

Always carry out research to see what is new and to see what your competitors are doing differently and how you can be ahead of competition.

Talent Retention Strategies

Talent acquisition may be informed by several factors which could result in several activities culminating in the need to hire from within (internally) or without (externally) depending on the policies of the organisation and other variables as they both have their merits and demerits.

Comparisms between internal and external hiring:

Internal Hiring                                                       External Hiring

  1. Cost effective                                              Expensive
  2. Creates disaffection amongst               Does not create disaffection Managers/ employees
  3. Takes lesser time to fill                             Takes more time to fill
  4. Options are lesser                                      More options
  5. Faster integration                                      Takes time to integrate
  6. Higher cost of training                              Low cost of training
  7. Boosts employees morale
  8. Could result to favouritism                      Best candidates emerge
  9. Easier to manipulate                                 Not easy to manipulate
  10. It is a closed system                           It is an open system  
  11.  Low turnover                                             Turnover is high
  12.  It is motivating                                           Injects fresh blood and new thinking
  13.  Proof of the organization’s willingness to develop employees’ careers
  14. Contributes to implementation of equal opportunities policies

Retention Strategies

These are some of the strategies to retain your best talents:

  • Ensure that your salaries are internally equitable and externally competitive;
  • Implement quality supervision and management
  • Develop equal opportunities policies
  • Promote career progression opportunities
  • Review at intervals your recruitment and selection policies to reflect current Company thinking
  • Monitor competitors to be ahead of them in your people management
  • Improve and offer quality training and education to employees
  • Offer better choice of benefits to employees
  • Improve job designs and introduce flexible working practices

It is an open secret that the best job candidates available in the job market are employed and they are passive. Most people who attend career fairs are students, the unemployed and they are the desperate ones. These are certainly not the people companies are expecting to meet; they are the people companies don’t want to spend more than 2mins talking to.

Talent Acquisition is therefore is essential for attracting passive candidates but not necessarily for recruitment.

This piece was written by Agolo Uzorka, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited

Agolo Uzorka
Sewing Mistress

Starting A Small Business could be an herculean task. To most, it takes a lot of courage to brace and to others, they continue to procrastinate. Some others only think about it when the going gets tough; others contemplate on it when they are frustrated at their employed places of work or are out of job. Whilst many others take years to dream, ruminate and, talk about it, and discuss it, a number of others plan it, research it and hope to see when the best opportunity presents itself.

The wise ones start the plan when the going is well and good – they begin the process of self-dependence, planning for their exit as my former boss once told me that he planned his exits from organisations he worked the day he resumed duty. I bought his idea and learnt from him when he explained that he never wanted to be caught unawares.

I talk about it because I have travelled on that same terrain and I pity many when they lose their jobs and have nothing to hope on. You need not say or feel you can not own a small business. Believing that you can not own or set-up a small business is as good as saying you have nothing to offer to life!

I tell you, without mincing words that with authentic self-audit, sufficient experience, good planning and adequate financial understanding, the dream of owning a business can come true.

Consulting with experienced brains in your choice-field could also assist at the early stage of the business.

Learning also from this crop of entrepreneurs will help you avoid the most likely pitfalls and put you on a good pedestal.

In this wise, one is required to diligently research the business ideas and its market before embarking on it to avoid regrets. You are enjoined to also attend seminars, training, conferences where you could be afforded the opportunity of learning and asking salient questions on bordering issues on the intended business. Here you come in contact with experts and captains of industry who would be of support and be there to allay your fears. They also will advise you on how you can get financial supports too.

Moreso, it affords you the opportunity to meet with entrepreneurs from other markets who may not be your direct competitors. This could be very, very beneficial to you both in the short and long term.

My Candid Advice:

First, you are advised to follow your passion as Warren Buffet once said that, “passion is what keeps you going when the going gets tough”.

Going into a business that has great potential is good, but it is better to go into a business you are passionate about as most times things don’t go the way we had planned. I had watched many jump from one business to another because they have bluntly refused to audit themselves and follow their passion! That also do not understand that businesses are like tides.

Visualize the biggest businesses in the world today: Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, MacDonald’s etc. The common factor amongst these businesses remain the fact that the businesses were built around the passion of the founders.

Secondly, trying to establish a small business, entrepreneurs must look at the bigger picture. Most times they focus only on the product(s) they intend to sell and ignore market forces! It shouldn’t be so.

Thirdly, they should also seek out financial advisors for a proper financial guide as they will assist you in data and information generation and also fine-tune your business plan. You require their professional support to succeed.

You must be able to choose an advisor who will be willing to support you to succeed. You don’t need one who will always concur. He/ she should be able, in your discussions, to tell you the two sides of every option you so plan to adopt and the potential risks inherent.

The advisor should be experienced to be able to assist you to review and refine your business plan as this is extremely important in the planning/ formation stage, intended to reduce the error margin.

As soon as the business plan is put in proper perspective, you can then request for a guide on the implementation plan – start-up cost estimation, bank account opening procedures, criteria for obtaining business loans etc. Your financial advisor should be able to connect you to an HR Consultant, Accountant, Legal Counsel and others who would be relevant to you as a small business owner. The Legal Counsel would assist you with registering a business name cum company and other sundry issues.

You should also learn more to understand your niche market, client and competitors and put up good marketing plan for your business because marketing is an essential tool in any business.  In this wise, think also about on-line marketing too.

At this point, you need to set target and goals for yourself which should be SMART compliant: – Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Relevant – Timely

Reduce Your Expenses: You are expected to consider ways to reduce your expenses – administrative/ running cost etc.

Pitfalls to Avoid:

i) Don’t be in a hurry to make it – avoid falling into the hands of fraudsters (online and offline), occassioned by inordinate plan to excel above others, greed, recklessness etc

ii) Work hard to earn your niche in the chosen field

iii) Don’t be fixated on one definite strategy; exploit other methods both in marketing, sales etc and accept changes where necessary as the world is dynamic;

iv) Passion is key as it is the great driver that will assist you in times of challenges and create your career path;

v) Learn to use social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Whatsapp etc) depending on your area of business;

vi) Your customer service is also important as satisfied customers return and unsatisfied ones tell many others the bad services he/she had received from you.

vi) Be polite in your approaches;

vii) Make provisions for publicity- learn from Coca-Cola who despite her popularity still invests in publicity/ advertisements.

In Starting A Small Business, you are seriously ADVISED to avoid the temptation of dipping your hands also into your finances for personal reasons.

You should be able to manage and keep records of your financial transactions for periodic audit and analysis as this is expected to reveal your performances over a given period.

Again, avoid providing services or sales on credit, if possible, to friends and relations as most businesses are crippled by these.

While the list of pitfalls are inexhaustive, if these are adhered to and implemented you will experience exploits in your new business start-up.

Contributed by Agolo Uzorka Eugene, CEO/ Lead Consultant, Eugene + George Consulting Limited (www.eugenegeorgeconsulting.com)

Unemployment in Nigeria

Being unemployed is no fun. Today’s economy is a challenging place to find a job. It’s a difficult job market with tons of competition in nearly every job and every industry. It’s tough. We know.

There are still jobs out there. The Job247sure.com Job Board has thousands of job listings that are updated daily. After you find the perfect job listing, you still need to tweak your resume, craft a cover letter, apply correctly, and cross your fingers for an interview. It’s a long tedious process.

Finding a job is hard. Here are a few reasons why you’re still unemployed:

  1. Poor Interviewing Skills – The interview is the first opportunity to make a good impression in person. If you don’t shine in the interview, you most likely won’t get the job. Take the time to prepare, research, and give off the impression of excellence.
  2. Lack Of A Professional Network – Most jobs are found via your contacts. If you don’t spend more time building a reliable, professional network, you will eliminate yourself from the entire hidden job market.
  3. Unprofessional Appearance – Most companies have an image to uphold. If you come in looking sloppy with tattoos and piercing all over, it may affect your chances of getting hired.
  4. Overqualified – If you’re overqualified, employers will assume that you will be bored and feel entitled to something bigger and better.
  5. Underqualified – If you have no experience, certifications, or related job skills, you most likely are not going to get hired.
  6. Bad Attitude – Positivity is contagious. If you’re a negative person, turn that frown upside down. Being positive will make a huge difference in every stage of the job search.
  7. Disregard For Directions – Every job listing and application process has specific instructions. Follow them exactly. If you don’t, an employer will not be impressed.
  8. Being Unprepared – Preparation is key. Have your resume ready to go. Research the company. Be prepared for the interview.
  9. Lack of Communication Skills – Most jobs rely on effective communication. If you forget to return a phone call or reply to an email, that will not make you look good.
  10. You Don’t Stand Out – There is a lot of competition for jobs right now. If you don’t make yourself memorable, you won’t stand out. That hurts your chances of getting hired.
  11. Typos And Errors – Your resume and cover letter need to be error free. Proofread it until it’s perfect. Then proofread it again before you apply for a job.
  12. Negative References – Many employers require references. If you’ve burned some bridges in your past professional roles, beware of how that may affect you during the hiring process.
  13. No Web Presence – Every employer does a Google search for you to see what you’re really about. A web presence can help you  or hurt you. Create a website or blog that highlights your professional experience and get rid of any scandalous images of you on social media.
  14. Applying To The Wrong Jobs – Have a plan. Apply to jobs that match your goals, personality, and experience. Avoid the ones that don’t.
  15. Holding Out For A Job That Doesn’t Exist – We all have the ideal  perfect job. (Maybe one that pays you huge sums of money just to play and be alive?) Most awesome jobs require that you work toward your goals through experience, raises, certifications, etc. It may not be wise to hold out for the ideal job because it may not exist. Or if it does, you may not be qualified.

Is it time to readjust your job search to be more employable? Everybody has to put the time and effort in to the job search before they get hired. With a few small adjustments to your job search, you might become the ideal candidate. Are you ready to say goodbye to being unemployed?

Contributed by Derek Lennon

Being visible to headhunters is a great way of ensuring you don’t miss out on the best career opportunities. Here are three top tips on how to ensure you’re firmly on their radar.

Commuters walking over London Bridge on way to work in the City of London
 Even when you’re not looking for a job, it’s important to be contactable. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

The mechanics of headhunting are more firmly based in the prosaic than the clandestine. More often than not, a successful headhunt project will be founded upon the use of internet search engines, network recommendations and candidate databases.

Because of this, ambitious professionals can take a number of practical steps to ensure that they are firmly on the radar of headhunters and don’t miss the best career opportunities as they come on to the market.

Here are three top tips on how to be headhunted:

Be visibly good at your job

Companies don’t hire headhunters to find them also-rans; they want a shortlist of the very best talent available. Thhe first step to being headhunted is being good at your job; but just as importantly is that you need to be seen to being doing a good job too.

Headhunters will often ask reliable industry sources for recommendations of who’s good, who’s a rising star and who’s being talked about, so hiding your light under a bushel is a no-no.

Build a credible reputation in your sector, find some industry awards you can win and get someone to nominate you. Always ensure you push yourself forward when it comes to profile in the company and industry journals; shy bairns get nowt, as they say in the north.

Be connected

The old maxim, “it’s not what you know but who you know” needs updating. In today’s market “it’s what you know and who you know”, or rather who you tweet, like, poke or follow as social media plays a massive role in how headhunters operate.

Sites such as Linkedin is a boon for our researchers as they can mine the data according to industry, qualifications, seniority, company names etc and create useful lists of potential targets extremely quickly depending upon the client brief. But researchers will also use less formal sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and FourSquare to locate candidates with specific skills and knowledge, or discussing certain topics.

It’s also important that you combine this online networking with more traditional networking activity such as attending conferences, industry forums and working groups. Headhunters will often buy attendance lists or search meeting minutes to see who has been to specific meetings or events and cross reference this with other data to build target lists.

Be contactable

It’s all well and good that you’re the best in the business and everyone knows it, but if the headhunter can’t get to you then you run the risk of being passed over for a more contactable candidate.

Even when you’re not looking for a job, take time out to have a regular coffee or two with the best headhunters in the sector. This helps you place yourself on their radar for future opportunities, find out what’s happening in the market (ie specific skills or qualifications seen as must-haves) and swap contact details.

Having an online profile is also a useful way to make yourself contactable. Use the social networks mentioned above and perhaps start a blog to give headhunters a way of seeing who you are, what you do and how they can contact you.

Also, if you have a secretary or PA that screens your calls and emails (what the industry call a gatekeeper), make sure you brief them on the types of approaches you are willing to accept. For example, if the email or call is professional, relevant and specific in what it requires as an action (e.g. email reply or scheduled telephone call) you may want to take note. Also explain the approaches you are not willing to consider, ie rude, aggressive, sly, irrelevant, vague or spammy.

In conclusion, when the headhunters call and the approach feels right, take time out to respond positively and professionally. Note what the headhunter is hoping to discuss and schedule a time to properly assess the opportunity being offered. Sometimes the approach will go no further as one or both parties will conclude this isn’t going to be the right fit, but at least a connection has been made and can be of use in the future. Of course, it may well also transpire that the approach is the right one, at the right time and an unlooked for opportunity presents itself and leads to a new chapter in your career.

Contributed by Robert Wright, a recruitment consultant for NRG Executive.

Ten Reasons Why People Lose Their Jobs

Millions of people are unemployed. Some have given up looking for work altogether. Many more are underemployed, working shorter hours in a job that may not fit their education, training, and experience.

So many of these people who lost their jobs are the victims of a poor economy or a struggling company or both. They are capable and hardworking, and their unemployment is not due to their lack of effort or desire.

Some people, however, lose their jobs due to factors they could control. I recently polled a number of leaders and asked them to tell me the top reason or reasons people lost jobs in their organizations. I asked them not to include those whose jobs were eliminated due to economic or financial reasons of the company. I was able to group their responses into ten categories. Although my poll is not scientifically validated, I think it is nevertheless instructive. Below are ten responses, listed in order of frequency, and realizing that there is some overlap in the categories.

  1. Failure to keep current in their field. “Rapid change” has almost become cliché. One leader said he had to dismiss some people who were acting like it was still 2007. In other words, if you haven’t kept current or updated your skill set in the past five years, you are incredibly behind your coworkers. Other leaders said they expect their employees to reinvent themselves regularly.
  2. Poor relational skills. Those deficiencies include an inability to work well with others, poor self-awareness, and a self-centered attitude. I note the latter issue separately below because it was mentioned frequently. One leader told me that he let go of two of his smartest employees because their attitudes were toxic to the organization.
  3. Moral failure. I expected this response to be near the top and it was. Some of the most promising workers have been fired for actions that could only be described as stupid.
  4. Failure to carry out assignments. Some of the leaders expressed amazement at the number of people who failed to carry out an assignment and offered no explanation why they failed to do so. “One former leader on my team,” a CEO told me, “ignored my assignment for months without explanation. I guess he thought that the task would just go away.”
  5. Failure to take initiative. Some of those who responded to me were leaders in mid-size to large organizations. Their direct reports were brought into the organization with the expectation that they would be highly motivated workers. But when they failed to take initiative, their value to the organization diminished. “I need people who can come up with ideas and strategies on their own,” one leader said. “I don’t need to be giving them assignments with specific instructions every time.”
  6. Negative talk. Some people lost their jobs because they were the sources or carriers of rumors. Some were incessant complainers. And even others were simply negative people. Their dispositions and conversations made the workplace unpleasant and discouraging for others.
  7. Laziness. “Most lazy workers do not realize that everyone in the organization knows they are lazy,” a midlevel leader told me. “You can’t hide poor work hours and poor work ethic from others. I have to deal with lazy people in my division before that attitude permeates the entire division.”
  8. Attitude of entitlement. We did go through an era in America’s employment history where adequate work and sufficient tenure guaranteed some employees a lifetime job, benefits, and retirement. That era exists no more. Those who still have an attitude of entitlement may soon find themselves on the sidelines of employment.
  9. Failure to demonstrate productivity. Workers in organizations should regularly ask if they are being treated fairly for the work they do. If not, they should pursue other options. Workers can likewise be certain that now, more than ever, they are being evaluated in the same manner. Are they productive? Do they truly “earn their keep?”
  10. Self-centered attitude. More and more workers are evaluated by their attitude as well as their direct work. Are they team players? Or do they always and obviously act in their own self-interest? Do they demonstrate humility? Or do they demonstrate hubris?

The workplace is changing. In many ways, all of us are more free agents than career workers. We have to demonstrate our worth each day. Those who do so will have many options before them. But those who don’t may find themselves in the ranks of the unemployed.

Contributed by Thom S. Rainer

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