Posted in Power Monday, The Career Life

Mistakes Recruiters Make-Part 2

Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions and a healthy dose of curiosity. What do you think is the most important factor when building your team_ For us, it's personality.Richard BransonFailure to understand the job description

The job description serves as a guideline to the key skills required in the candidate of choice. Failure to understand the value of the job description means a possible wrong and expensive hire.

A recruiter is a talent broker. Therefore you act as a go-between for individuals looking to fill roles and others looking for a new opportunity. Business needs and people vary widely for both hence have the potential to change at any given time. Before you set out to advertise the job, ensure you understand what your client/manager needs, where possible have a discussion on the key skills that must stand out in the ideal candidate.

This way you stand a better chance of sourcing a great candidate.

Waiting for the perfect candidate

It is important to have the ideal candidate in mind, you probably already have one! Sadly this can compromise the productivity of the team because they have to pick up the extra workload as you wait for your “ideal candidate”. A number of start-up organizations have fallen victim to this and missed out on the possibility of securing good talent.

In the words of  Wallace B. McClure, an experienced startup consultant, ( Startups will often recruit for a specific need. They need generalists. Startups try to act like they are big boys. No, they are little boys, don’t try to act like you are big. Maybe you don’t need to build things like google to get your idea off the ground. It sounds cool to say you are going to go do 5000 transactions per second. I bet that number is about 5000 transactions per second than you are doing today).

It is often advisable to hire someone who meets most of your key requirements, fits into your business culture and has outstanding soft skills. Focus on developing the remaining gaps once in the organization.

Relying too much on references

You cannot always rely 100% on the information provided in the CV. In most cases, there will be an exaggerated work experience if not a lie. While applicants have listed excellent experience and qualifications, you will likely need to check some of the details provided. Do not place too much weight on these references whether good or bad. It is common knowledge that some references usually not listed in the cv, but probably previous employers for personal reasons, will likely give a bad reference in the hope that the candidate does not secure the job. Additionally, a positive experience in one company does mean that the person will automatically shine at yours. And a negative reference from the previous employer does not mean that the person will not thrive on your team.

Interviewers bad behavior during the interview

Punctuality and professional etiquette are not just required from the interviewee’s side, but also from the interviewer’s.

Bad recruiter behaviour includes interrupting and rushing the candidate and not giving them the time to answer question, talking through the interview, not paying attention to the candidate been interviewed, answering phone calls and emails during the interview.

I once watched an expectant recruiter disrupt the rest of the panelists just to show them ” the baby kicking in her belly” needless to say my time there did not add much value. Such behaviour clearly displays a lack of etiquette and could greatly damage the company’s reputation. After all, if the interviewers themselves disregard professional etiquette, it’s not a big leap to consider that the business as a whole will behave in the same way. If a candidate gets through the interview and passes to the next level, there’s a good chance they will refuse the job anyway due to this kind of unprofessional behavior.

Rejecting an overqualified candidate.

It is tempting to reject an overqualified candidate because you worry that you may not be able to afford him or her, they may get bored and leave your company for a bigger challenge.

Look at it on the positive side by acknowledging that highly experienced candidates may possess the skills and abilities that could help you develop your team. Because of the possibility of a short stint, consider finding ways to keep them loyal. Such as opportunities for spearheading major projects that would add to their development, progression, and recognition.

Failure to understand candidates needs and motivation

If a prospective candidate is in a job they love, a great boss, good pay and have a great work-life balance, it is unlikely they would want to leave.

To succeed in getting a prospective candidate, as a recruiter you need to understand why that candidate may want to leave that job. The reasons could vary from looking for a wider scope of responsibility, honing specific skills and so on.

Making the interview process too long:

 I once interviewed with a company that said it would take 90 days (3 months) for them to complete the process and decide if I was an ideal candidate. Right then, I lost interest to proceed to the next steps. Companies and recruiters who drag out the process decrease their attractiveness and lose the best people.

Playing the ” our Company is the best in the world” card

It is a great thing to believe in your company, but some recruiters tend to overplay this creating the impression that the candidate must feel the same way even when they have no experience with the company. Sometimes this leads to “overselling” a company that results to unrealistic expectations. The recruiter’s role is to ensure that every employee feels that way when exiting the business rather than before they arrive.

Do remember- Candidates’ perceptions vary widely. Recruiters need to keep this in mind as it is often forgotten. Always remember that you and your company are also being interviewed. Any mistake in recruiting can lead to a bad review in Glassdoor, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. Make sure you cover the points above to hire your next candidate. People often remember how they were treated.

Posted in Power Monday, The Career Life

Mistakes Recruiters Make- Part 1


Repeating the same mistakes is often a destructive process. The only way to fight them is to become aware of them and reflect on your work with a discerning eye.

Here are a few of the most common bad habits to look out for.

Getting candidates excited, then end up ghosting them.

Imagine you took the time to call a candidate because you felt that they were a good fit for a prospective position you are trying to fill but when they do not succeed. The truth is, there will always be a better candidate. As a recruiter, an unavoidable component of your job will be telling candidates that the client chose to go with another candidate. while this can be difficult, it has to be done. After all, you owe it to the candidate to give them clarity and closure.

Ghosting reflects poorly on you, your business and reputation. It also hurts the feelings of candidates who were hopeful including potential future applicants. Word spreads fast in this day and time, where social media has become a platform to expose the good and the bad. Most of all people remember.

Not keeping time.

The interview process begins at the time you make the call to the candidate inviting them for a session with you to establish if they are a good fit.  A recruiter who keeps the candidate waiting while they had dictated the time, displays a lack of organization and disrespect for other people’s time.  It is important to remember that potential candidates are also observing in the background and this could inform their decision on whether you stand out as an employer of choice.

Last-minute cancellation.

Imagine a case scenario, where a candidate has just arrived at your premises and you conveniently inform them that the interview has been canceled. The candidate spent time, money and energy and you have now deflated their efforts. Again this shows inefficiency and disorganization. Where it is absolutely impossible to proceed with the interview, accord candidates the courtesy of informing them as early as possible of any changes. It saves face.

Adopting a rigid hiring approach.

while creativity and adaptation are key to a successful recruitment process. Sticking with one strategy simply doesn’t work. A rigid approach dictated by the company policies and procedures sometimes will work to your disadvantage. Your approach should be guided by the position, situation, industry, and market. A little flexibility goes a long way.

Hiring people less qualified  than you

In today’s employment scene, it is common to find some managers who are afraid of taking on someone who is more confident or talented than they are because they feel that the person may become a threat to their position. Smart managers know that they need bright people to share their insights and bring their strengths to the team. Additionally, this creates a smoother succession plan transition. Hiring people who are better than you can improve your own skills and drive your business forward.

Failure to recruit from within

When a position falls vacant, it is often easier for a recruiter to look without, and find external candidates to fill the position. The problem with this approach is that it tends to exclude potential candidates that can be sourced from within the company. Such candidates would make a better target because they already have an understanding of the business operations hence the onboarding process would be shorter if not easy. Sourcing candidates internally also increases motivation because the staff is able to see recognition for effort.

Ideally, external candidates should only be sourced when the business requires special skills that it cannot find within or where a new position needs to be filled and no suitable candidate can be found internally.


Recruitment relies on your decision-making abilities, which means that you must avoid unconscious bias. You may unwittingly discriminate against certain candidates in favor of people who share your background, social class, ethnicity, age, or gender.

Been able to accept candidates regardless of any of the above characteristics means that you have a larger pool of talent to draw from, improving your chances of recruiting the best person for the job.

Not standing up for your process.

As a recruiter you will work with managers and clients who are unreasonable, they will contradict previous requests, make unkind statements, give unrealistic feedback or impede upon your process. Therefore you need to be confident in your process and know when to defend it.

Providing feedback to your clients on their feedback, advocating for yourself and reasoning with the respective parties. Ensuring that you document your discussions with your clients and getting their feedback on each important stage of the recruiting process will make the search go more smoothly. Deep down, you will always know when you have done your best and have the confidence to stand up for yourself.

Part 2…

Posted in Power Monday, The Career Life

Before Signing That Contract

Congratulations! you just landed yourself a new job. You are elated by the offer and its time for you to sign the employment contract. As a rule of thumb, it is always best to read and understand what you are signing.

Here are the top things to focus on before placing your signature:

  1. Job title and responsibilities: This is what defines the scope of what your role entails and duties assigned to you. Ensure the job description, correctly reflects the position you applied for and does not have additional responsibilities that you cannot do. It is also important for representing yourself to future employers.
  2. Location: The place of work should be clearly stated including the possibility of transfers and other alternatives such as work from home or remotely.
  3. Remuneration (Salary and other perks): ensure the salary stated is the one that you negotiated, how and when you will be paid. In most cases, it will be at the end of the month and through your bank account. The perks could include but not limited to an annual bonus based on performance, 13th cheque, medical cover  and pension
  4.  Period of employment:  The start and end dates should be clearly stated. However, for an open-ended contract, it does not have an end date since it is considered a permanent one. In the case where its a fixed or temporary contract, the conditions also need to be clearly explained.
  5.  Termination clause:  While this is not something you may be thinking about at present, the contract should be clear about the conditions to be fulfilled should either party decide to part ways. For example, if the employer decides to terminate the contract, then it should be clear whether it will be a notice or cash in lieu given or other action as per the company policy and employment law.
  6. Working days and hours: This will inform the hours you are expected to be at work on a daily basis and specific days. It could be Monday to Friday or an additional day like Saturday. It should also stipulate the designated breaks such as tea and lunch break. If expected to work extra hours, the condition of overtime hours should also be clear.
  7. Holidays and sick leave: This will include the number of leave days you will be entitled to in a year. How many leave days can be carried over to the next year and by when they should be exhausted. Sick leave may be stipulated on a monthly or annual basis but usually guided by the employment law. Additionally, the process of informing your employer about your illness should be stated.
  8. Policies and restrictive clauses:  This include competition and or conflict of interest, confidentiality as well as intellectual property. Detailed policies to guide your conduct while in employment should be provided. A competition clause may state that you are not allowed to work for a competitor of your former employer within a given time frame from the time of your exit while the conflict of interest involves the restriction or limitation to conduct outside business while in employment especially one that directly affects your employer. The intellectual property may state who owns the property and information you created during your stint with the employer including the information that can be shared externally.
  9. Tools of trade:  Depending on the nature of your role, the employer will assign certain tools or equipment to facilitate you in carrying out your tasks. Such would include but not limited to a computer, mobile phone, credit card, and car (if in sales).

After you have read it through, where it is not clear, write down any queries you may have so that you can discuss them with the hiring manager or a representative from the Human Resources department.

When all conditions are fulfilled remember to secure a copy of the contract for yourself. Most employers will have you sign the document in duplicate.

Always make sure you have reviewed and carefully understood what you are signing.

Posted in Power Monday, The Career Life

20 Ways to Improve Your CV


As a job seeker, your CV is the first point of contact with a potential employer. It is your selling point, your opportunity to get noticed and hopefully secure a chance to be invited for that interview.  First impressions count so make it worthwhile. Here are some great tips for improving your CV.

  1. Prepare well in advance: Success lies in a Cv that was prepared ahead of time because it ensures that you have captured all the important details. Even better, customize it to the specific job profile as often as the opportunities arise.
  2. Format and accuracy: Ensure the format used is one that is clear and easy to read, keeping in mind that the recruiter has several CVs to peruse through. Spelling, grammar, and clear writing are key to your CV getting noticed. Errors give the impression that you are not keen on detail. You can also have a trusted friend read through.
  3. Job profile match: Create a habit of rechecking your CV before sending it through, especially when you customize to a specific position. This will help avoid the embarrassment of sending your CV to the wrong company or job match.
  4. Align your skills with the selection criteria:  Every job advertised looks for specific skills and qualifications. To increase your chances of getting noticed, try as much as possible to feature those skills in the most visible way by using keywords.
  5. Profile statement: also known as a personal statement. While this is good to include in your CV, ensure that it is relevant in demonstrating your enthusiasm, commitment, and passion for the job.
  6. Key strengths and skills: If you struggle with identifying your strengths, you can start by asking those around you and have them offer their advice where possible. Additionally, you can take a free online quiz to get clarity on your skills and strengths. This way you are more confident on what to put in your CV.
  7. Manage employment gaps:  Whether you lost your job or had to take a break from employment, include the important activities you undertook and the skills you gained in that season. continuous Professional Development initiatives make a great inclusion.
  8. References: All names and addresses included need to be correct, current and aware that you have included them in your CV. It is important to have people that you know well, know how you work as well as on a personal level. However, relatives’ should not be included.
  9. Life experiences:  This come with many lessons and skills gained. Include them in a way that interconnects with other qualifications or brings out an additional skill. For example, a community project you were involved in and the role you held.
  10. Quantify your achievements: Numbers speak action. Use numbers and percentages to demonstrate your achievements and responsibilities. For example, reduced material wastage by 40% through the introduction of an automated system.
  11. Identify your target:  this is about matching your Cv to the role requirements. It also includes conducting research to get a better understanding of what the potential employer is looking for in terms of qualities, knowledge, and skill.
  12. Photos:  Unless you are applying for a modeling,  flight attendant job, or have categorically been asked to include a photo, do not add them to your CV.
  13. Personal hobbies:  this should not be included unless they relate to the job you are applying for. Separate the personal from professional.
  14. Prioritize the content on your CV: This is important especially when you are transiting into a different field after a long period of time. You will need to focus on the qualifications and experience that showcase your strengths for that role. Consider using a functional CV to help standout more.
  15. Pronouns: Avoid the use of pronouns as they create the impression of a “one-man show” for example ” I established a new policy for overtime hours.” instead consider rephrasing to ” established a policy that managed overtime hours better.” Remember to use short , clear sentences.
  16. Role duplication: Where you have a lot of similar positions in your CV, avoid the temptation of copy-pasting the responsibilities. Instead, find different catchy words and descriptions for each position.
  17. Contacts: Check and recheck your contact details.  The email and phone number need to be accurate. Also, include contacts that work and you can be easily reachable on. Do not put contacts that belong to a friend, spouse, who has to respond on your behalf or is unaware that you have used their contacts.
  18. Check and recheck: Rechecking your CV before pressing the send button could turn out to be your lifeline. Correct grammar and accuracy, speaks volumes. Do not tire of rechecking.
  19. Internships: Including internships helps a potential employer see that you have been active in the industry and have gained some skills especially if you are just starting out. Share the skills gained to strengthen your profile.
  20. Voluntary work and Extracurricular activities: Voluntary work can be a great stepping stone to your career. It shows you are willing to give back to the community which is an important part of social growth. Additionally, extracurricular activities, show the employer that you are well rounded. This activities also help to bring out key traits like leadership and teamwork.
Posted in Power Monday, The Career Life

Winning Tips to Successfully Manage Your Boss.

11-112010_managing-the-boss-managing-the-bossA happy boss makes the workplace a better place to thrive. It, therefore, takes intentionality to know how to manage your boss well. Here are some tips to make your work relationship great.

  1. Understand how your boss likes things done: Every boss has their preferences on how they want the job done, take time to ask them or use observation and regular feedback to help you identify their style.
  2. Know his/her values: Values are the beliefs of a person in which they have an emotional investment in. What do they believe in? know it and accommodate it in your role.
  3. Know your boss’s Expectations: there is a common acronym used mostly in relationships DTR (define the Relationship) the same applies to expectations (DTE) Define or lay down the expectations, as well let your boss know your expectations since managing is a two-way process. It’s always easier to get the job done when you have a clear picture.
  4. Current and expected pressures: It easy to assume that your boss does not have other pressing matters at hand. For example, the senior management will require accurate reports which you may be part of, in the preparation stage. Part of your role is to understand some of this push and shoves, ensure accuracy and timeliness in delivery of your task share. Even better, be 3 steps ahead, your boss will thank you.
  5. Strengths and weaknesses as a Manager: Everyone has a share of both. Strengths are there to be built upon and weaknesses can be improved on, however, if you identify a weakness on your boss that is a strength on your part, it is important to use that strength to boost their success. Remember to remain objective and not get personal about their weaknesses.
  6. Know what drives them: Everyone is motivated by something, for example, the position, the pay cheque, passion. Know and understand what drives your boss, it truly will help you do your work well.
  7. Keep your Manager posted: Bad surprises are costly and embarrassing. Keep your boss informed on everything that is happening or at least the important issues so that he/she is not caught off-guard or unprepared.
  8. Be a solution provider not a problem dumper: Problems arise at and during work from time to time. The wise move is to identify the problem and attempt to come up with solutions. This will show a level of great initiative and responsibility; even better try to sort things on your own as far as you can without breaking any rules.
  9. Volunteer to take some of the load: while this can be a relief to your manager, ensure that you can get the task done in time. If you have too much on your plate, do not take up any extra assignments.
  10. Always do what you said you will do: delivering on the promise is key to maintaining your credibility. If you cannot do it in time. Ensure that you communicate and renegotiate a timeline.
  11. Support your manager in public but act as a critical friend in private: Most managers will appreciate a “heads up” on what is happening, as well as an area they could improve on. Remember the approach you use, is key to them being receptive to your feedback.
  12. Keep accurate records: leave a paper or email trail that would help in clarifying or resolving a critical situation as well as for future reference.
  13. Handle matters professionally and objectively: Stick to the facts, use examples and any other supporting evidence you can offer when handling issues, avoid getting personal.
  14. Know the boundaries: your boss will likely have some level of confidence in you, especially when your work is excellent. This is also likely to lead to a great working relationship. Do not cross lines or boundaries by becoming complacent or disrespectful.
  15. Make your boss a success:  This should be your top priority irrespective of your job description. Make him/her look good. Invest time, energy, and creativity into making them happy, show your best self, and create the habits in yourself that cultivate trust. If your boss does not reciprocate, make it your top mission to find a better boss.
  16. Prepare exceptionally well for meetings: Know the Agenda, share it in advance to all attendees, have the meeting room ready, do your research thoroughly and have the facts at your fingertips. Most of all ensure your boss has everything he/she needs for a successful session.

Was this helpful? do you have additional tips to share?