Your Offices DO Matter When Recruiting

Interviews are a two way process and you better believe that the candidates are evaluating your company during the interview and deciding whether or not they want to work there. If you don’t have a good working environment you could be losing out on the best candidates.  So here are a few things to think about:-

Office Furniture
Your office building and its contents are a reflection of your business and nothing will put potential employees off like old outdated office furniture and dilapidated rundown buildings.  Aesthetically pleasing large desks with good storage space and comfortable ergonomic adjustable chairs will have a really positive impact.  In fact studies show that employees are happier and more productive in a nice environment.

Lighting
A huge turnoff for potential employees is walking into a workplace filled with blinding fluorescent lights.  Fluorescent light increases anxiety levels and causes migraines in many individuals, Incandescent light bulbs are much easier on the eyes, so wherever possible let in natural light and introduce floor and desk lamps into the office.

Plants
Adding plants to the workplace is a great way to bring a little bit of the outdoors into the office.  Whether it’s a fern here and there or fresh flowers to welcome your current and prospective employees, a little green really does go a long way.
In addition to the beautifying qualities that greenery adds to the office, the oxygenating abilities of plant leaves are known to naturally reduce stress, increase positive feelings, relieve anxiety, and lower blood pressure.

Lunch Room
Often companies will give prospective employees a tour of the building, so you need to ensure that if you show them the lunch room or the break out area, that it is an appealing place where the candidates could imagine taking a break or having lunch.  A comfortable environment with good snack and drink options and an inviting ambiance, and comfortable seating, will help give the candidate a good feeling about your business, and make them feel that this will be a great place to work.

Motivational Pictures
Motivational pictures add colour and variety and have positive messages that can inspire your staff; they also break up the monotony of plain walls. These can be purchased at a low cost and can be colour co-ordinated to match your office furnishings.  Making an effort with your work environment will really help you attract candidates to your business, as well as helping you to retain the staff you already employ.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Posted in Company Culture

Top 25 General Interview Questions to Ask

Below is a list of the most common interview questions asked by Hiring Managers or HR Professionals at an interview.  These can be very helpful when you are new to interviewing or if you want to ask a range of questions that will ensure you gain an excellent understanding of the candidate’s ability to succeed in your business.
Additionally, we believe that if you score the candidates out of 10 for each question you ask, it means that at the end of the process you can add up all the scores to see which of the candidates came out on top.  This can be a helpful guide when making a hiring decision and means you are not having to rely on just your memory.

Tell me about yourself?
Advice:-This is usually the first question an interviewer will ask a candidate This question is sometimes used to put a candidate at ease but also to get an overall feeling about the candidate.  This same question can also lead the interviewer to ask other relevant questions regarding the candidate that they may not have previously thought of further enabling the interviewer to assess the suitability of the candidate for the role.

What are you passionate about?
Advice:-The answer the candidate gives the interviewer allows the interviewer to know if the candidate has interests that could this enable the candidate to perform the role well or could have an adverse effect in their performance. i.e. commitments that would not allow them to do overtime if required or physical sports that could result in injury that could keep them off work for weeks/months.

Tell me about something that’s not on your CV/Resume?
Advice:-This is a good question for the interviewer to ask the candidate to uncover a more comprehensive picture of the candidate’s background. The candidates CV/Resume states the facts, but the interviewer should want to know about the person behind the work history to determine whether they are a good match for the job and the organization.

What were your responsibilities?
Advice:-This will allow the interviewer to find out if the candidate has the knowledge, understanding and experience necessary to do their job well.

Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it?
Advice:-By getting a candidate to give an example and explain how they handled a difficult situation at work allows the interviewer to know if the candidate has the tactical and diplomatic skills to perform the job role well.

What is your greatest strength?
Advice:-This allows the interviewer to gauge if the candidate has the attributes that will qualify them for the specific job.

What is your greatest weakness?
Advice:-This question can sometimes catch a candidate off guard and can allow the interviewer to find a shortage of skills in the candidate that may hinder them from doing the job properly and help them decide on future training for the candidate if they got the job.  This is also a great question to see how a candidate reacts under the pressure of an interview.

How do you handle stress and pressure?
Advice:-Stress is a common situation at work and people can react negatively under stress and pressure. Asking this question and other questions such as “what was the most stressful situation you have encountered at work and how did you handle it?”.  This will help you understand whether or not the candidate could cope with the pressure and /or stress associated with your role.

What was your biggest failure in this position?
Advice:-Interviewers asking this question can not only find out what strengths a candidate has but also the level of expectations the candidate has in themselves and the role.

What was your biggest accomplishment in this position?
Advice:-Interviewers asking this question can not only find out what strengths a candidate has but also the level of expectations the candidate has in themselves and the role.

How do you evaluate success?
Advice:-This gives the interviewer a sense of the candidate’s work ethic, goals, and overall personality.

What did you like or dislike about your previous job?
Advice:-The interviewer will be able to gain insight into the candidate’s mind-set, which may provide information about the candidate’s ability to fit into their company culture and help the interviewer decide if this candidate is likely to succeed in their organisation.

Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
Advice:-From this question an interviewer is trying to understand from the candidate if they are a team player or someone that prefers to work on their own or if the candidate is more flexible and would do either depending upon the task at hand.  If your job requires a team player then someone who prefers to operate independently may not be ideal for your position.

How do you relate to your supervisors and co-workers?
Advice:-This question asked by the interviewer can determine if the candidate can successfully work as part of a team especially when working to deadlines or is able to successfully overcome any issue that require solving.

Who was your best boss and who was the worst?
Advice:-This is a great question to ask if you are considering the candidate for a leadership position, The answer to the “great boss” question is likely to show you the values the candidate would be likely to portray, and this can be used to help you make a decision about the candidates management style.

What strategies would you use to motivate your team?
Advice:-This is a question that is asked by the interviewer to understand how well the candidate will perform on a daily basis managing his new team and if they understand that different approaches work for different personality types.   It’s always a good idea to ask the candidate to give some examples of ways they have successfully motivated staff in their previous roles and the outcomes it achieved.

Describe how you managed a problem employee?
Advice:-The interviewer is asking this question to find out if the candidate is able to demonstrate that they are capable of bringing out the best in marginal performers.

Why are you leaving or have left your job?
Advice:-This can allow the interviewer to recognise if the candidate was successful and has the cultural fit to join their company.

What are your goals for the future?
Advice:-Interviewers asking this question should be able to assess if the candidate being interviewed is worth the investment or if the candidate is likely to move on to another job the moment another job comes up that fits their stated goals and aspirations.

What do you know about this company?
Advice:-An interviewer is asking this question of the candidate to find out if the candidate has prepared themselves by carrying out the necessary research of their company and this answer will give them a good insight into how much preparation they made before the interview and therefore how committed they may be to actually joining your company.

How would you adjust to working for a new company?
Advice:-Interviewers asking this question and discussing this scenario will be using the candidates answer to assess their adaptability to adjust to new situations and the demands that working in a new job and for a different company can bring.

Why do you want this job?
Advice:-This question demonstrates if the candidate has taken the time to research the job and the company giving a guide to how serious they are about working for your organisation. Crucially it will help you understand the candidate’s motivations and access whether your organisation can match the candidates hopes and expectations.

Why should we hire you?
Advice:-This will help you understand if the candidate has all the right attributes to make them the best fit for the position.

What were your starting and final levels of compensation?
Advice:-Apart from allowing the interviewer to know what package may be acceptable by the candidate if offered the job (compensation packages can vary with similar jobs within the same sector i.e. basic and OTE).  This also allows the interviewer to find out if there are any discrepancies on the CV and if the candidate is truthful.

What are your salary/remuneration requirements?
Advice:-This provides you with the details as to what package is required so that if you wish to make an offer to the candidate, you can structure it to ensure that it will be accepted.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Posted in Interview Information for Management, Selecting the Right Staff

Create Job Adverts and Descriptions that Will Attract Top Candidates

To attract the right candidate to your business can be challenging, it is probable that a candidate will look at many job adverts before hitting the “apply” button, so your advert has to be attractive to the people you want to bring into your business. It is imperative that you write a job advert that is clear, gets to the point, and highlights the rewards quickly in order to ensure they actually apply for your role in the first place. A poorly written advert can in fact turn off a high calibre candidate.

We have many years’ experience in this and knows what makes a good job description or advert. The advert is normally a shortened version of a full job description, and prior to an interview the candidate should be furnished with a full job description. This means that the candidate will be clear about exactly what role they are applying for, the remit and objectives or that role and exactly what is expected of them.

So Where Do You Start?
At the start of the recruitment process all the managers/directors involved in the recruitment of the position need to be involved in identifying and defining the full job description in writing that way there is no misunderstanding of the key attributes of the job role between the management who are to conduct the interviews i.e. if this is a sales role is it purely a new business development role or an account management role or a bit of both?

Job Description Main Purposes

Candidate Attraction
Describe the job role and required track record and qualifications with the purpose of attracting a response from the best internal or external applicants for the job.

Role Definition
For the management and individual performing the role to understand the scope and level of responsibility expected of the position and to have a reference point for their responsibilities and required level of performance, especially at appraisal time or when a promotion is being considered.

Job Description Key Attributes
Exact job role title
Location and travel requirements
Where the role sits within the team, department and overall business
Who the role reports to, and other key interactions
Key areas of responsibility and the deliverables expected
Short, medium and long-term objectives
Soft skills and personality traits necessary
Required education and training
Convey the company culture and identity
Progression and promotion opportunities
Remuneration range and benefits available

Job Description Advice

Using Internal Terminology
Don’t use terminology / abbreviation that may not be understood by potential external candidates as this may put off potentially excellent candidates that may have applied for the role. Keep to well-recognised requirements to appeal to the widest possible audience.

Relevant Management Not Involved
The most accurate job descriptions and requirements are produced with the involvement of all management involved in the recruitment of the position. When defining or refining what the job role involves and what experience and qualifications are required it is also advisable to involve the input from employees in a similar function.

Unrealistic Requirements
Every job description should be an accurate representation of what is to be carried out in the job role and the relevant experience and qualifications required to perform the role at its best. This should not be an impossible wish list of every skill that may come in useful as you will put off potentially excellent candidates that may have applied for the role.

Using Discriminatory Language
Although this is frequently inadvertent, the use of certain words and phrases in a job description can be construed as discriminatory and can limit the diverse group of potential candidates that organisations are trying to achieve.

Not Reviewing Job Description Regularly
Organisations are continually evolving, so for job descriptions to accurately reflect changing requirements they should be reviewed, ideally annually, and amended as appropriate.

What Is Different About The Job Advert?
Once the job description has been created should you wish to “advertise the role” you should create an advert from a subset of the key points in the job description to cover:- what the company does, the remit of the role, the skills and qualifications required from the candidate and the remuneration and rewards including any potential for career development. This should be short, sharp and to the point and highlight the “benefits” for the candidate in order to attract the best people.

Taking the time to create an accurate job description / advert can be invaluable to contributing to the ongoing attraction, hiring and retention of the best possible employees.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Posted in Attracting Top Professionals, Creating Job Adverts

How to Attract High Calibre Professionals into Your Business

When you are trying to attract high calibre professionals to your organisation, it is important to understand what motivates and inspire candidates to work for certain companies.

Proactively promoting your company’s unique values, culture and career opportunities will help prospective candidates have an understanding what it would be to work in your company and if their skill sets, type of personality and career aspirations would suit them.   There are various reasons why high calibre professionals are attracted to certain companies.  Below are some of the more common attributes in a new employer high calibre professionals are looking for when they are in the job market.

Cultural Fit
High calibre professionals are looking to work for companies that have similar corporate values to their own personal values i.e. forward thinking, commitment to customer service, green policy, creative and innovative, etc.  Does the company’s culture reward teamwork or competitiveness? Individuality or conformity?  Promoting your company values will help you attract like-minded individuals and will increase your chances of successfully filling your roles with the right people for your business.

Remuneration and Rewards
High calibre professionals are looking to understand what is it that makes your company different from the rest. How do you recognise achievement? How is it rewarded? What opportunities are available to high achievers? What else do you have to offer? What kind of culture do you promote? Examples of these can be career development opportunities, competitive pay, work/life balance initiatives and company stability. Promote these attributes through your company website, public relations, advertising and word of mouth, so that prospective candidates will be attracted to becoming an employee within your organisation.

Business Reputation
Are your employees brand ambassadors or critics? High calibre professionals are looking to work for a company that has strong brand recognition and a reputation for excellence in their market. They will use their network of contacts to gain an insight into your company’s culture internally and externally. Work to engage and motivate your existing employees is critical in attracting high calibre individuals in to your company, as they are one of your most powerful sources of advertising and testimonials.

Career Development
The opportunity for high calibre professionals to develop both personally and professionally is crucial for job satisfaction. They are looking to work in a company that can help advance their career and enhance their existing skill sets. Do you offer on going training and development? A clear and defined roadmap for growth and promotion? Challenging projects? Recognition and Financial Rewards? Cultivate a culture of continual learning and career opportunities?

We speak to literally thousands of candidates a year, and as an employment agency we know that candidates are attracted to companies for a variety of reasons. However there is a common theme in that candidates will definitely be attracted to companies with a good reputation, excellent remuneration and rewards packages, on going training, career development opportunities and what they perceive as a good cultural fit.  Candidates usually have 2 or 3 job offers under consideration, so if you company ticks all or most of the boxes discussed they are far more likely to accept your job offer.  If you make it a policy to advertise the benefits that your company brings to employee’s on your website, via social media and by ensuring your employee’s are “Brand Ambassadors” you will increase your ability to attract the very best candidates to your business, which in turn will ensure your success.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Leave Unsuccessful Candidates with a Good Impression!

Benefits of Candidates having a Good Impression of your Company
After you have interviewed a strong shortlist of potential candidates for a position within your organisation, you are only able to offer one of them the position within your company. So how do you ensure a positive impression for all the unsuccessful candidates who were being considered, once the position has been filled?

The professional manner is to thank all your candidates for applying (particularly those who reached the final interview stage) and provide them with constructive feedback as soon as you have decided they are not right for the role. Keeping them waiting, or not notifying them at all reflects badly on you personally and your organisation, and there’s a chance it may put them and others off wanting to apply for future roles within your company.

Avoid Negative Press on Social Networking Sites and Industry Blogs about your Company
Your reputation as an employer of choice can be easily tarnished by negative comments posted on a blog or social networking site by candidates that feel aggrieved at not receiving adequate feedback following their interview and could put off other people applying for future roles within your company.

Timely Interview Feedback is a Must
In comparison, interview feedback can be used as positive employer/company branding as this will allow your company to build on their name’s reputation by leaving candidates certain they are valued and that they will be kept in mind for future job opportunities.

5 step guide to leaving candidates with a good impression of you and your organisation

  1. When you have interviewed a candidate and know they’re not right for the role, let them know as soon as possible and don’t keep them waiting because you dread making the rejection phone call.
  2. When you have interviewed a candidate and think they’re good for the role but have other interviews to conduct, contact them and let them know they’re still being considered. If candidates haven’t heard from you they might accept a job offer elsewhere.
  3. Keep all of your candidates updated on your interview process i.e. when each round will take place and how many rounds there will be etc.
  4. When you have made your decision and offered the position to your chosen candidate/s, once the successful candidate has formally accepted the role inform the other candidates that they have been unsuccessful as it is bad practice to wait until the successful candidate starts the job.
  5. If additional feedback is requested from unsuccessful candidates then you should provide it, be constructive in your criticism and if you thought they performed well then you should tell them.

The rejected candidate could have future power / influence over your company?
The rejected candidate is likely to be associated with your industry and may in the future move into a position of power e.g. could become your boss in the future or be a decision maker / influencer on high value bids that your company is trying to secure. If this person feels your company or you have acted unprofessionally this could be difficult for you personally and costly in terms of lost business for your company in the future.

Remember, negative impressions last a lot longer than positive ones.
It only takes a few minutes to treat someone fairly. We are a Consultancy that speak to hundreds of candidates about new roles continually, it never ceases to surprise and disappoint us how often a candidate will turn down the opportunity to even interview with a company because they have “heard bad things” about them and how they treat people. This means that the company is losing the opportunity to hire the best people in the market, because of reputational damage.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Your Sales People are your Competitive Edge

Your sales people are your competitive edge, so ensuring your recruit the best in the market is what really matters in business. You can have a state of the art factory, produce the most fantastic products, but if no one actually sells your product, if you don’t have any customers then your business will fail.  The only thing that really matters in business is making profitable sales, because although it is important to have great workers in your factory or excellent accountants and administrators, if there are no orders for your goods or services you are dead in the water.

Who is Selling the Vision or Articulating the Benefits?
Technical brilliance and unique selling points that set you apart from the competition are also wonderful, but without the people in the business “selling the vision or articulating the benefits” of these fantastic technical solutions, and ensuring they are heard by decision makers over the noise of your competition, sales won’t be made.

Why Partner with us?
We are a consultancy with over 14 years’ experience recruiting sales professionals, one of our founders was an award winning sales professional winning both top sales and summit awards in blue chip companies like GKN and IBM.   We have clients in the FTSE 250, Fortune 500 and the “Times 250 fastest growing companies list”, our recruitment process for sales people is so effective we even guarantee our candidates for 6 months! They really are that good!

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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Managing Disruptive Employees

In an ideal world all your employees would be motivated, productive and fit in really well within your company culture. However, in the real world, one of the most challenging situations a manager can face in their career is how to deal with a difficult and disruptive employee within their business.

Evaluate the Working Environment
When trying to improve an employee’s overall attitude, assess the working environment of the department they are working in.
How do the other employees work within the department / company?
Do all your employees collaborate and work together as a team?

If the answer to this is no, then you may need to look at how you can improve the department culture.

If the answer is yes, then we suggest you may take a look at the options below to help you manage this difficult employee better.

Act fast and don’t ignore the situation
If you do have a difficult employee, you need to be aware of it and deal with it fast.
If you ignore the situation this can disrupt other employees and reduce office morale and in return have a negative impact in productivity throughout your company.
The longer you take to resolve the issue with this employee, the less likely the problem will disappear and the more likely you will have a more serious situation to deal with.

View the situation from your employee’s perspective
Ask your employee for their input into the why there is a problem, what they think is the cause and what they believe needs to happen to resolve the situation.
Try to view the situation from your employee’s perspective and understand their thought process as this will provide you with an insight to why they are behaving in this way and prevent them from becoming defensive towards your resolution process.
You must adopt a diplomatic attitude with this employee and always remain neutral and calm to the situation, if you lose your temper you will only be adding fuel to the fire and will do more harm than good.

It’s not just what you say but how you say it
You want to be assertive and at the same time supportive to your employee, you never want to come across as threatening.
Make sure you make eye contact with your employee to demonstrate that you are listening to what they have to say.
Be aware of your tone of voice as you need to show that you are in control of the situation and that you do want to rectify it.
Be aware of what your body language is suggesting to your employee?

Find a resolution
You need to determine what their issue is with their role and work together to improve it. Work with your employee to improve your relationship and their work ethos.
What is the underlying problem?
Are you pushing them enough?
Is their role too stressful?
Are they under too much pressure?
Is time management an issue?
Do they have too much responsibility?

Finding the answers to these questions will enable you to create a plan that will improve their behaviour, and ensure that they are getting the most out of their role?

It is extremely important that you evaluate your employee’s worth in your company and work together to be able to move forward.

Written Records
Keep written note of your discussions so they can be referred to again, should the employee continue to be difficult.
This way you will have written confirmation of what was discussed and the steps you have taken to improve your employee’s behaviour.
This will also be beneficial should you feel the need to terminate your employee at a later date because their progress or attitude didn’t improve.
Having proof of your employee’s unacceptable behaviour will prevent an unfair dismissal tribunal or any similar issues with their termination.

Clearly it is in everyone’s interest to resolve the situation and move forward in a positive manner, however if this is not possible, it is very important that you can demonstrate that you did take reasonable steps along the way to properly deal with and turnaround the disruptive employee.

If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.

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