Getting The Most Out of a Recruiting Agency

February 24th, 2012

As a job seeker, you’re only as good as the employment agency you use. In order to get the most out of your agency and ensure that you land your dream job, there are a few rules that must be followed.
The first step, of course, is selecting an agency that is capable and has a track record that you can rely on. Going with an agency that doesn’t specialize in your field, or if they do not have a good reputation will only end in frustration and decreases the likelihood of your finding work.
Once you have a list of agencies that are suited to the jobs you are seeking, make the first contact by sending them a copy of your resume. It’s perfectly fine to send out a resume to more than one agency and this will help maximize your results and cut down on your waiting time.
The agency will review your resume and get in touch with you. At this point, it’s a good idea to schedule and in-person meeting with one of their recruiters. This will help you get a better feel for the agency and the individual recruiter. Be candid with them and ask for the same in return. This will help you build an honest relationship that will benefit you in the end.
Go through the interviewing process with your recruiter. They will provide you with invaluable coaching. Be professional and treat this trial just as you would a regular interview. Take notes, you’ll be learning a lot in this process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, this is your chance to get an expert opinion. The same is true with the resume/ CV review process. Trust in your recruiter and remember that they have your best interests at heart. The stronger your interview approach and your CV are, the more likely it is you will both succeed.

What Employees Really Want

February 17th, 2012

In today’s competitive market, unhappy employees can easily find a job somewhere else. If your retention rates are suffering, or you simply want to ensure that you retain your employees, enacting a strategy to keep them happy is the first step.
It may surprise you to learn what it is employees want from their employers. The most obvious answer, more money, is actually ranked quite low. There are many things that employees consider to more valuable, both now and long term.
1. Recognition. Recognizing and appreciating employee efforts is a key way to keep them happy. Employees want to feel as though they are a vital part of your organization and that they are being recognized for the work they do. Consider enacting a reward’s based recognition program for employees who meet certain goals, or for those who go above and beyond.

2. More Say. When employees feel as though they actually matter and are part of your company, chances are they are going to want to stick around longer. Ask your employees for their opinions on operations and what your company should be doing. Select the best ones and take steps to implement them. Not only will your employees appreciate it, but you’ll be getting some very valuable input for your business.
3. Room to Grow. No one wants to feel as though they’ve reached the end of their employment arc. Offer continued training to help your employees develop more skills. Encourage them to attend seminars that are related to your field. Consider setting up a program to reimburse continuing education for your employees.
4. Focus on Teams Not Individuals. While an individually based success program motivates employees on the short term, this motivation tactic can backfire long term. Focus on team building and rewarding teams, not just individuals. Make sure teams are supportive of one another and that you are supportive of them.

With a little effort and creativity, you can give your employees what they really want, and ensure that they stick around for many years to come.

Overcoming Negative Organizational Politics

February 10th, 2012

Whenever you have an environment where there is inner-competition between departments or even between different job levels, you’re going to experience organizational politics. Most of us associate this term with negative images, such as gossip, back-stabbing and a stressful work environment.
It is only natural for employees and managers to want to compete with each other. It’s part of our innate human nature to want to better ourselves. The key is finding a way to do that so that it is not done at the expense of others.

When employees and managers begin using organizational politics in a positive way, the entire company benefits and they reap their own personal benefits as well.
Let’s take a look at just a few ways to turn negative organizational politics around.

1. Treat everyone fairly. Across the board, everyone should be treated alike. Removing favoritism helps cut down on inner-office squabbles as well as gossip and makes employees feel as though the playing field is level. This also has the added benefit of reducing work-related stress.

2. Establish merit based rewards on a team level – not an individual level. Again, singling out an employee may have unintended consequences. It is better to focus on the team aspect, rather than individual performance. This pulls everyone together and eliminates the desire to succeed at the cost of others.

3. Hold team building workshops. Helping employees and managers to recognize traits that go against the team will, in the long run, help you build not only a better team, but also team players. While some may look at team building exercises as a waste of time, they do help bring everyone together as a unit, rather than having them focus solely on their own performance.

Pay attention to your workforce, or assign someone in human resources to monitor the situation. If you’ve had problems with negative organizational politics in the past, the time to do something about it is right now. Nip these issues in the bud and work on turning your team towards the positive.
It may take some time, but you will see results.

Computer Science Makes a Comeback

February 3rd, 2012

Although in recent years, degrees in computer science waned in popularity, incoming college freshman are being lured into this program by the promise of high-dollar salaries and plenty of jobs. 2012 is set to have a record amount of applicants for this degree program, and the figures from last year are already looking positive for job placement.
According to Mark Stehlik, the assistant dean for undergraduate education at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science, “One hundred percent of our seniors were placed last year. About 15 percent went to graduate school. The rest had jobs. We saw the return of the six-figure offer.”
Those are impressive figures, but what does this mean for your IT department?

1. Broader field of choice. If you’re looking for new hires in your IT department, chances are you’re going to have a broader range of choice in 2012 and the years to come. This means that finding the right candidate for the job will be easier than ever. Schools are being picky with their applications and only the best are making it in these degree programs. That means you’ll have a better class of highly qualified applicants.

2. Higher expectations. This new boom in computer science also translates into applicants wanting a little more, and an increase in competiveness in hiring practices. This may mean having to offer higher salaries and better benefit packages in order to attract the right candidate for the job. Spurred by high-dollar dreams, many candidates are going to expect a hiring bonus as well as some stock options. Be prepared to do what it takes to get the right candidate – it will pay off in the end.

A greater interest in IT jobs and computer science can spell great success for the years to come for your company. This is an ideal time to stack your IT department with today’s best and brightest new hires.