How important is Talent in your mind?

 

The term ‘talented’ when used in respect to anyone, gives an idea of a ‘high-performance’ individual. It is the skill that someone possesses to perform a task. It is the ability that someone is born with. However, here we want to look at talent from an Organization’s perspective. So, when an Organization recognises talent, it wants to attract, develop and retain the ones that reflect its long-term objectives.
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How to hire Interns for your Organization?

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Thousands of young boys and girls take the decision to apply for internships every year for a learning and corporate experience. Internships are in very high demand across established companies and Start-Ups alike. For small businesses and Start-Ups, to attract qualified college students to their company, or to save a little money by eliciting entry-level help—an internship program can be a beautiful thing.

However, it is important to consider a few questions before you go ahead with hiring an intern.

 1. Is it going to be a paid Internship?

This is the starting point of planning to hire interns. As a small or growing company, it is suggested that you pay your interns. Interns that go unpaid are usually reserved for companies that think they’re so awesome (read BRANDS) that these kids are lucky to work for them for free. As a growing company you may not be having this luxury yet!

And besides, paying someone their worth is the right thing to do, and it will attract more qualified talent. The money you save by hiring an unpaid intern will probably be lost in the time you’ll spend teaching them things a more qualified paid candidate would already know.

2. Do you have a Task-list for Your Intern?

Make sure you have a plan for the Intern. Define a list of tasks that you are looking to get done by your Intern. This will help ease your workload, as well as allow them to gain valuable experience without wasting time to figure out what are they doing in the Company. Consider all possible stumbling blocks and chalk out a plan way ahead. What do you expect them to do? Who do they turn to for questions and doubts? How often should they expect a review? What procedures would you prefer them to adhere to? Where do they find the “this” or “that” required for the job? Etc.

 3. Do you have a detailed Training Plan in Place?

Training and mentoring a college intern requires significant time and effort, more than regular hires because of the simple reason that they are usually not aware of a corporate environment. You would need to develop skills that you take for granted (in case of a seasoned employee), such as writing professional emails. Do not underestimate the time commitment involved here. The best internships provide a structured training and evaluation program overseen by a supervisor or mentor.

4. How long do you need your Interns for?

If you want value from an internship program, make sure your interns stay long enough so that you see some benefits out of the investment you’ve made.

I would suggest you hire them for a minimum of 4 months. You just start to see things working at the end of 2 months, and then they leave. Four months gives you a chance to reap and quantify the benefits something they fly the nest.

Last but not the least, Do not seek out an intern just because you could use help a couple of days a week. It is important to mention here that an internship is a professional development opportunity for the student and not some free or cheap labour for the employer. A student joins you as an intern with a dream of starting their career with a stable and mature organization. They are looking to hone their skills in a professional environment.  And they could very well do with some step-by-step direction from you.

How to answer the “Salary” Question?

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This is a scenario almost all of us are familiar with:

“What are your salary expectations?”

We dread this question the most in an interview because of two reasons; we don’t know how much we are worth in the eyes of the Recruiter, and, how much should we bend (or not bend) to in terms of our compensation to get the job. Hence we don’t want to answer this question. However, it must be asked. And even worse, it must be answered.

Let’s then break this scenario and make it a little easy for you to manage this very apprehended question.

Why do Prospective Employers want to know what we want?

Companies want to know if they can afford you before they invest their time and resources luring you to come and work for them.

Another reason is also that they are trying to gauge whether you value your work. Whether you are confident enough to ask what you deserve or you simply accept what whatever you are offered.

How do we avoid answering this question?

You don’t.

Each time you deflect the question, the interviewer will come back to it later.

What is the work-around?

Avoid answering the question very early on in the interaction. It makes no sense to talk about the salary at the beginning of an interview before even talking about your roles and responsibilities.

You may be very tempted to sell yourself short at this stage to move forward in the selection process. But what you may be missing her is that the Interviewer may be just doing a comparison shopping at this stage. Stalling this question till the latter half of the interview will give you a better leverage to negotiate. So it serves you best to avoid naming a specific number too early.

Focus on understanding your roles and responsibilities on the job. Understand which goals you are responsible for; or whether you will bring in revenues. Try to determine if there is anything you will do that you have not done earlier. Ask questions.

By doing this you are leaving an impression that you’re not desperate and expect to be compensated appropriately for your time and talent.

How/What will you finally answer?

STEP ONE

Well there is a little bit research that will have to go in before you go for that interview. Go online to sites like Glassdoor to find out the ‘going rate’ for jobs in your field and in your job market.

If you can connect with someone from The Company of a similar profile, try and get a range from him/her.

However, if you don’t, understand the market salary range for the position, size of the company you’re interviewing with, location, and your experience level and match it with a company with a similar profile.

Remember – Your goal is not to arrive at a Ball park figure. You want to arrive at a reasonable salary range that seems fair, based on market value and your current or most recent salary.

STEP TWO

DO NOT quote an absolute figure. You have your research in place. You know the range that this position deserves. Hence, try to get the interviewer to tell you the range for the position. Say something on the lines of –“I would appreciate if you could give me a range based on what you have budgeted for the position.”

I am not saying this will work. But at least it will let you know what you are about to expect and prepare you to work around the figure you have in mind.

If it doesn’t work, You need to give the range that you have found out.

When you do provide a range, make sure the bottom number is one you can live (and work) with.

Providing a salary range also gives the employer the impression that you’re flexible – a trait they often prefer in employees.

How will you close the offer?

Be positive.

Don’t be stubborn during the negotiation.

Be prepared with a counter offer one that is fair, well-reasoned, and thoughtfully presented.

Keep in mind that some companies do have a cap in terms of salaries they can offer to their employees. But that doesn’t mean they can’t offer compensation in other ways like, performance bonuses, Future pay raises, Signing bonuses etc. Explore these options before closure.

Having said that, you know what you are worth. And only you are capable of determining your priorities. It is tough but be prepared to be willing to walk away if the offer isn’t right for you. Salary Negotiation is tricky waters. Keep these tips in mind to help you keep your head above it next time you walk through that door for that interview.

4 Ways to Research Companies online before that Job Interview

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Once you have landed yourself at the door for the first face-to-face interview, it’s critical that you have significant information about the company for two reasons; make a good impression on a potential employer and to check their credibility. On a much broader level, a proper research   also helps you decide whether you are fit for the job or not.

While much of the information will be readily available on the Company website, there are few ways you can always tweak the internet to extract the relevant information.

ONE – WRITE-Ups

Along with the Company Website, dig deeper to read Press Releases, Publications and Blogs to know about the Company’s history and progress; innovations, key milestones etc. This will also help you with the almost inevitable interview question “Tell us what you know about the company” or “Why are you interested in working with us?” Look at their ‘Work with us’ page – not just to find out about vacancies or the typical application process, but also an idea of what they look for in employees, in terms of technical skills or personal attributes.

TWO – SOCIAL NETWORKS

Use LinkedIn to build a network of people who can share information and enable you to build relationships with other industry professionals and with those who have hiring authority. Use Twitter to follow people within companies you’re interested in, and the company pages on Facebook to find out more about their working culture. Review sites like Glassdoor, Indeed,  CareerOneStop, Monster etc. may be useful internet resources that can be used for research purposes.

THREE – INDUSTRY INFORMATION

Get a handle on the competitive nature of the industry (or industries) that your list of companies operates within. It is within the competitive environment that you might be able to spot trends that are either opportunities or threats for your prospective employers.

FOUR – KEY POINTERS

Few important information that you might want to look up are:

  • How many employees does it have?
  • What is the company history?
  • Who are its clients?
  • What type of culture does the company foster?
  • What are their services and products?
  • What is their online reputation?
  • What is its mission statement?
  • What does the company do?
  • Who are its main competitors?
  • Are they a public company, family-owned company, start-up firm or venture-capital-funded business?
  • What do analysts project in terms of growth for the market the company serves?

 

 

Top 4 Time wasters at work? What do you do?

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“Does anybody do any work around here?” is a question we are either subject to; or find ourselves subjecting others to practically every other work day. So what is it? Do we really get distracted at work so as to let our work hamper? There’s an interesting survey report around this.

About 57% of interruptions at work resulted from either social-media tools or switching among various stand-alone apps. According to the Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers’ 2013 Internet Trends report, the typical user checks his/her phone approximately 150 times every day. Now that’s really overwhelming, isn’t it?

Let’s look at a few more distractions that we otherwise tend to overlook.

1. Over-reliance on emails – While we all have been taught only and only to rely on written communication at work and to not consider anything otherwise; you need to reconsider this if that is taking too much of your time. A study revealed that workers spend more than a quarter of the day reading and answering email.

Fix it: To increase productivity, turn off notifications for short periods of time during the day. It could be 20 minutes or an hour, but during that time, you’ll find you’re able to make a serious dent in your to-do list by minimizing distractions.

2. Un-Meet in Meetings – Believe it or not, meetings are often cited as major time-wasters at workplace. Yes, you heard it right! According to a Harvard Business Review study, the Outlook calendars of multiple workers at a large company found that one weekly executive meeting consumed 300,000 hours each year. This included the meetings with unit managers to prepare and the meetings those unit managers had to have with their staff.

Fix it: Try and sum up the discussion points in an Email or go and take a step ahead by creating groups on Whatsapp and convey your message. While keeping a tab on who is reading your emails might be difficult at times, Whatsapp does away with that challenge.

3. Chuck the To-Do List – We spend too much of our time preparing a To-Do List. And often the list stays as it is by the end of the day and leaves us wondering – “what is it that I did all day if I didn’t finish any of this?”

Fix it: Try making a ‘Stop-Doing’ List instead. Program yourself and your team to come up with a ‘Stop-doing’ list once a month or at suitable intervals. This will enable you to find out hidden non-value adds in your day-to-day routine and chuck them out.

4. Delegate – You don’t need to do EVERYTHING. You might think no one can do a job as good as you. But professionally, that may not be the best approach. A lot of priorities might be taking a back seat in your rigidity to do it all.

Fix it: Delegate stuff that you don’t need to do personally. It helps groom your team/employers to come up the curve, take charge and be accountable.

We live in an overwhelmed world with more than what we can handle at times.Workplace distraction is almost always inevitable. But it’s important that we take note before it takes us over! These pointers can take you a little more towards that effort; if not all the way.

Get Hired through Facebook

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While a lot has been written about finding a job through LinkedIn, not many people have consolidated the facts together about Facebook aiding in job search. The numbers are in fact pretty striking. According to a study, 67% of people looking for a job say, they use Facebook in their social media search. With 1.39 billion monthly users, Facebook is more than four times the size of LinkedIn. Hence it becomes all the more important for job seekers to tap Facebook’s professional networking power.

One could use the following 4 ways to use Facebook for a job search.

  1. Let your Profile reflect your Professional History- Facebook has an easy way to let you add your work credentials. Just click on ‘About’. There is a section which reads ‘Work and Education’. This is the place where you can list not only your current but your past employers, your job title, a description of your role and the years you were with the organization. For starters, you could cut and paste it from your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Segregate your Professional and Personal Friends – Go to your List of Friends and for each person, click on the rectangle that says “Friends.” Then from the pull-down menu, select “Add to another list”; and create a work group for people you know through work or professional network. Try and share your personal posts with only your personal friends and family. You can share work-related status updates to the other group. When a recruiter looks up your profile, this will tell him/her that you keep your work and personal separate.
  3. Activate your Groups – The groups on Facebook are similar to LinkedIn groups; a platform to discuss, share and post updates about a particular topic, industry or interest. Join the group(s) relevant to your area of work/interest and participate in discussions, post links and other resources to the wall, moderate or manage sections of the group and so on. Once you have had a few conversations with people, send a friend invitation and they are likely to accept as you now know each other, albeit online. The goal here is to network with and get noticed by others in your industry, this could lead to you being considered for upcoming job opportunities even before they are posted.

Since most of us are on Facebook, it is only realistic to leverage the visibility this platform gives us; and go ahead and add Facebook in our social media job search strategy. It is not going to hurt after all.

How can you use Twitter for Job Search?

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I love Twitter; More than Facebook. And while I do not want to offend anyone, the reason is simple.  Twitter lets me interact with people real-time and seems like a more active form of communication. It is more conversational. It is like this huge party where you don’t necessarily know the person but yet are able to have a conversation. Probably this is the reason Twitter gives you followers instead of Friends.

Another important feature about Twitter is, there’s lot to learn from your peers; in whatever discipline you’re in. It’s a wonderful platform to share content as well; ultimately positioning you as a thought leader. Since you are connected to your peers sharing the same skill-set; it is also a fantastic place to look for career opportunities. Without further delay, let me chalk out few ways in which you can engage yourself on Twitter for a job search.

  • Follow your industry and participate in communities you care about.
  • Don’t just retweet; create meaningful content that people care about.
  • Use Twitter as a platform to point to your more detailed online profiles — a personal blog or LinkedIn profile, for example.
  • Many companies have job-related Twitter handles. Following those is a great way to keep tabs on job openings.
  • Build your network around people who do what you want to do.
  • Don’t be overly professional. Twitter is a great way to showcase your personality and talk to people about your interests.
  • Demonstrate your passion; give recruiters an idea of your personality and interests outside of your career.
  • Recruiters believe that if they hire you, they also inherit your network. So make sure to build a solid network of people both inside and outside your industry.
  • Don’t simply follow your friends on Twitter. You are on Twitter for job search. You have Facebook to connect with your friends on a more personal level.
  • Share Industry news and updates, valuable links etc to engage your followers.

Some popular hashtags for your Job Search:

#Hiring or #NowHiring

#Jobs

#Careers

#TweetMyJobs

#JobOpening

#JobListing

#JobPosting

#HR

#Graduate Jobs

Industry Specific hashtags could include:

#ITJobs

#TechJobs

#Marketing

You could also use self-promoting hashtags like:

#HireMe

#MBA

#BTechCandidate

#JobSearching

#Hire(insert college nickname or mascot), This is a less popular but effective trick for getting employer attention.

#Freelance (in case you’re looking for quick or temporary jobs while the main job search continues)

There are sites like Tweetmyjobs.com which deliver custom-tailored job leads directly to your Twitter feed. It is a trusted recruiting tool for many big companies that utilize social media for finding candidates (and all of them do in some capacity now).

So..Are you ready to land your next job interview with this awesome tool called Twitter? All the Best!

What happened to the Resume?

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I was amazed at the number of articles I saw on the internet on whether an online presence was more important than a resume. How is that even possible? How can what I portray on Social Media replace all the achievements on my resume? Wouldn’t the recruiter just get one part of the story? So, I decided to delve deeper. And guess what; according to some people, your online presence search will soon become as common as a drug test!

Let’s understand why.

Social Networking has shot up and Emails are plummeting. People are now increasingly using social media to send and receive messages. Whatsapp is being used by many Companies as the official mode of addressing each other. Both prospective and present employers continuously review your profiles on social media platforms to see how you conduct yourself outside office or what kind of company you keep. They all give clues how well you fit into their corporate culture. A recent study by Office Team shows that more than 1/3 of companies feel that online profiles replace traditional resumes. And with companies increasingly checking social profiles before making hiring decisions, resumes will become decreasingly important over time.

For anyone in an executive role, a social media persona via LinkedIn, company blogs or Twitter is almost mandatory. Executives these days are expected to have an online presence not only via LinkedIn but also on Facebook and Twitter, which are not professional social media platforms. Employers are now keener on judging if the person can be casted as a thought leader and as someone who is passionate about what he does to inspire others.

Another reason is, traditionally there were niche jobs which would never appear on company websites or job boards and was available only to select few. Now, anyone can be tapped for any kind of job through online presence and personal branding. Communities and groups on LinkedIn give an employer access to people with similar interests and skill set and could just be a prospective talent pool for your next hire. Additionally, Professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, XING and Viadeo let others recommend or comment on the skills you have listed on your CV or resume. Your network connections are also shared. Many employers use these comments and feedback to give them a deeper sense of candidate qualifications.

One will still need a resume. A resume is what will take you through when you are sitting across the table with your prospective employer; but a strong social media presence will definitely help you to get you in that room.

HOW TO ACE A JOB INTERVIEW?

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Plenty has been written about tips and tricks to ace a job interview till now. There are do-s and don’t-s that one has to follow to make sure that they don’t let the interview or the job slip through their fingers. There are dress codes and body language and elevator pitches that need to be considered before appearing for an interview. This article however, talks about the less-talked about stuff.

  1. GROUNDWORK – Don’t miss the research. Recruiters worldwide lay a lot of emphasis on how well you have researched about the Company and base their hiring decisions on it. Lack of knowledge about the company where you’re applying for a job is a huge turn-off for them. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the history of the Company, current product or service lines, number of employees, market share, Competitors etc.
  2. YOUR LIST OF QUESTIONS – Based on your research, you will then find it relatively easy to answer the last question in the interview,- “ Do you have any questions?The kind of questions that you can ask will demonstrate your interest in the company and the profile. However, avoid questions on Salary and benefits at this stage.
  3. POSITIVE ATTITUDE ABOUT PREVIOUS EMPLOYER – You may have had a terrible experience in your previous job. However, refrain from saying anything negative about your previous employer. Hiring Managers want to see positivity. It helps them judge your mental demeanour.
  4. CONFIDENCE Vs ARROGANCE – Talk about your achievements confidently but not arrogantly. Be truthful but not overtly modest. Even if it means admitting you handled a professional situation badly, it is okay; as long as you present how well you were able to manage the situation and learnt from it.
  5. EMPHASIS ON CONTRIBUTION – Emphasize on how you can help the Company. Your role in shaping the Organization is important to the recruiter. Tell stories that illustrate your accomplishments. Make a note of achievements in your mind that can help you stand out from the rest.