It pays to check your candidate’s referees.

It pays to check your candidate’s referees. | CareerSupport365

 

Recently Australia's top rating radio hosts Hamish and Andy, known for their pranks, asked a random person (James) to act as a referee for a person (Tim Barnard) who James had never met. Tim was going in for an interview and needed someone to act on his behalf. James agreed.

The whole episode was captured on video while being broadcast live. It's very funny.

 

As Tim's 'referee', James was asked reasonably standard questions by the 'prospective employer'. They were all credibly answered and could be acceptable to less wizened recruiters and hiring managers:

  • You know Tim?
  • How long have you known Tim?
  • How did you become friends?
  • Tim will be dealing with higher-end businesses of million dollar plus: is he good with money?
  • Any other examples of him taking on responsibility?
  • How many languages does he speak?
  • What was the other language in addition to English?
  • Describe to us the best thing about him, appearance wise?

Concerning on a number of levels

Aside from the entertainment value, the scenario is also very concerning.

With all the legal ramifications around giving references, it has become increasingly difficult to get anyone to provide reference checks.

Often there are company policies that restrict employees to merely verify  that the person worked at the business, for a duration and in what roles.

But when someone does offer a reference it pays to be duly diligent. After all, you are bringing someone into your business who may have a positive or detrimental impact on performance, team cohesiveness, and morale.

Conducting due diligence on the referees

Many years ago, after I placed a fraud into a senior role (yes it happened), I learned to conduct due diligence on the referees.  I was duped by an HR Manager no less - who had arranged several bogus referees to sing her praises.

How can you avoid being duped?

1. Call the company and speak with Reception, Payroll, HR or the PA to the CEO.

(Here you are seeking to speak with an independent third party.)

2. Mention your name and role and that you are reference checking someone.

(Clearly, if the candidate is still employed in the business, you will need to be discreet.)

3. Ask whomever you are speaking with at the company whether the referee is employed or worked previously with the business.

(What you are seeking to find here is the extent of the overlap of time for acting as a referee with credibility. The shorter that period is, the lower the value of the referee.)

4. Ask for the referee’s title and verify this with the information you have from the candidate.

(Again, being discreet about the candidate if still employed in the business.)

5. Ask how long the referee has been in the role.

If there are any discrepancies in any of the information, check them with the person you are speaking with, asking along the lines of:

"I thought that Joanne (referee) held the title of Marketing Director. You say her title is Marketing Administration Manager. Can you confirm her exact title please?"

If there are any further issues, then the referee's gravitas and value may need to be questioned, and that you check with another department to confirm the exact title.

It may also be that you seek another referee from the candidate, and perform due diligence on that.  If a pattern of dubious referees continues, then in the worst case the candidate will need to be questioned and even red- flagged.

* * * * * * * *

About the author:

************

Greg Weiss is one of Australia’s most renowned career coaches. He is the author of “So You Got A Job, WTF Is Next”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7 step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/

He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.

Greg also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.

Applying Disruption Theory to Futureproof Your Career | CareerSupport365

Applying Disruption Theory to Futureproof Your Career

Applying Disruption Theory to Futureproof Your Career | CareerSupport365

 

Clay Christensen became famous by coining Disruption Theory – which concerns how a low cost or smaller industry entrant gains traction in a market and grows to dominance over time.

His colleague, Whitney Johnson applied Disruption Theory to her own career when she moved from being a Secretary for a retail sales broker to work as an Analyst with a major Wall Street investment bank. That move might have been big enough for most, but she disrupted it again from being a leading Cement and Construction Analyst to morphing in to becoming a leading Media Analyst.

How could you disrupt your career?

Develop your capability before you need it.

Almost every profession and industry has experienced some form of disruption.

Look at what is happening within the advertising and media industry. There is a downturn in demand for traditional media buyers. Yet, there has been an acceleration in opportunities for people with social media expertise.

Ask yourself:

  • Which functions are being replaced by technology, or are being outsourced or offshored?
  • Which job functions plateauing with little career progression being made by people in those functions?
  • Which job functions where people are progressing and careers are accelerating?

Answers to these provide clues for you to proactively develop new capability before you might need and therefore futureproof your career.

Are you stuck in your career but do not know where you should begin?

Here are 6 tips to help you move forward:

  1. Ask what are your key strengths?
  2. Ask what do you do well that others in your profession do not?
  3. Ask what are the things that uplift you?
  4. Ask whether you are applying these uplifting things day-to-day at work?
  5. Ask what frustrates you that you believe you could do better?
  6. Ask what compliments you receive from people that you dismiss?

Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work by Whitney Johnson

Answers to these questions can help you disrupt your own career and have you develop capability to futureproof your career.

See links to Whitney Johnson’s book, “Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work". Click here for Kindle Edition and Hardcover.

* * * * * * * *

About the author:

************

Greg Weiss is one of Australia’s most renowned career coaches. He is the author of “So You Got A Job, WTF Is Next”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7 step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/

He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.

Greg also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.

How to build buzz ahead of your next planned career move | CareerSupport365

How to build buzz ahead of your next planned career move

How to build buzz ahead of your next planned career move | CareerSupport365

image credit: http://goo.gl/f5IR8N

 

Rather than being in the same queue as every other job seeker and candidate, it makes a lot of sense to take a proactive approach to plan your own career change.

But it can be daunting to build some buzz with the constant barrage of noise on the internet and competition for the attention you  want to attract from recruiters and hiring managers.

The good news is there are clever ways you can go about this. None of it has to be expensive.

The first and most critical step in promoting YOU as a product or brand for your next career move, is articulating your value.

In essence, no amount of buzz building tactics will save you if you cannot demonstrate value.

1. What impact or value do you provide? (Start thinking about this immediately.)

What value do you offer? What can you tell your likely target market (future employers) what you offer?

Answers to this question may be how you saved your employer money. Or how you made your employer money. Or how you improved their productivity. Or how you helped your employer grow their business.

Work out specific examples what impact you have made and be able to articulate this with clear outcomes.

Want more help to do this? Then follow my Specific, Measurable and Time-bound (SMT) article here and see my Problem, Solution and Proof (PSP) article here.

This value step is core. It's your launch pad. Until you are clear about the value you create and for whom, then all other steps that follow do not matter.

In summary: Be clear. Articulate what you do, and clearly tie that to the value and impact you have created. This is the essence of your personal brand.

Once you have done this effectively, then your future employers will probably take notice. They may even get excited to meet you.

2. Your social proof strategy. (Commence working on this at least 6 months from when you want to create a pipeline of career move opportunities.)

So now that you have articulated the value you created, then it's time to let people know about you. This is called creating a buzz.

What are the right conditions to reach out and start letting people know that you might be looking around?

An important indicator might be how many quality LinkedIn and genuine networking connections you might have.

Ask yourself, how warm are your connections to you? How much social proof do you have from your connections?

Ensure you get social proof including recommendations, referrals, and testimonials attesting to the value and impact you created in your current and prior roles.

As a rule of thumb, with your LinkedIn profile alone, I'd suggest a minimum of 3 recommendations for your last 2 roles and your last 10 years.

3. Get connections and influencers on-board. (Commence working on this at least 4 months from when you want to create a pipeline of career move opportunities.)

It's important to rely on your own network. It also makes sense to share your value with "influencers". This creates even more buzz.

While you own connections are obvious, who are influencers? These are people who are known in their own fields or people who can open doors with their own connections.

You need to get your value or impact message in the minds of as many of your connections and influencers as possible who in turn have connections with your relevant target market of employers.

If you are wondering where to start, invest the time to search your connections on LinkedIn and in turn, who they might know. This will take time, but it's worth developing a warm connection base and influencer pool.

Approaching these connections and influencers requires panache, great interpersonal and written skills, and patience. Your agenda is a big one to you, but a small one to them.

As a suggestion, try posting an original article to your LinkedIn profile. Then via email or social media, link your connections and influencers to that piece.

Want to do even better, than this? Link your influencers to a piece where you were quoted in a trade publication or the general media.

In short, by creating a buzz through value in content, it separates you from other people and builds your personal brand. 

Your goal is that when you meet face-to-face you will have warmer and fresher relationships with your connection base and influencer pool.

If you can, build solid momentum by personally connecting or meeting with at least two influencers or connections per week to ensure they are familiar with the value and impact you have to offer.

In summary: The more connections and influencers who know you well, the more likely it is that a lead funnel of career opportunities can be generated.

4. Getting others to believe your message.

You have to ensure that everyone you meet in your connection base or your influencer pool knows how to articulate your value and impact too.

The last thing you want is for someone to give a vague or lame recommendation because they really don’t understand the value and impact you make.

Spend time educating your target market and meet anyone who can leverage your personal brand and in turn refer you to what might become your next employer.

A word of advice: Getting the message out there is one thing, but also know your relative remuneration. Clearly the more value you can prove that you provided to your employers, through publishing original content, having recommendations, testimonials, etc., the more you may also be able to negotiate your remuneration package (within reason).

By being proactive, you can create buzz around you, enhance your personal brand, and create your own career opportunities, rather than wait in line like most other career movers and job seekers.

* * * * * * * *

About the author:

************

Greg Weiss is one of Australia’s most renowned career coaches. He is the author of “So You Got A Job, WTF Is Next”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7 step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/

He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.

Greg also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.

There's a cost to not being friendly to ex-employees | CareerSupport365

There’s a cost to not being friendly to ex-employees

There's a cost to not being friendly to ex-employees | CareerSupport365

Employees can make or break your business. Photo: Bloomberg

 

This article appeared originally in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age on Thu 14 July 2016.

Mitch Joel, the author of Six Pixels of Separation famously wrote,

"Your brand is not what you say it is, it's what Google says it is."

Nowhere does this apply more than to an employer's brand and reputation in this digital age with current and former employees empowered to rank the employer on the internet.

The No.1 jobs board in the country, Seek, has recently joined the company review business. The company claims that more than 90,000 current and former employees have already posted ratings of employers on its website.

Regardless of whether the comments and ratings are accurate or not, Seek and other employer rating sites play on the adage that "perception is reality".

A professional services firm I know had previously enjoyed the reputation of being a great first employer for top-flight graduates. But with the loss of a major client, many of the bright graduates were retrenched without thanks or outplacement support. Enough of the internet-savvy former employees publicly vented their anger and disappointment stating what it was really like to work for the company. The next graduate intake saw the firm failing to hire good graduates (who had apparently read the harsh criticisms online). Within a short while, the firm also lost out on projects it would normally have expected to win.

Think this can't happen to your firm? Think again.

What is very apparent from research by CareerSupport365 is that it's just as important to look after employees that you are letting go, as it is when your company employs them.

CareerSupport365 gathered responses from more than 700 people who had lost their jobs, with some interesting findings.

• 93 percent of Australian workers who lost their job were very likely to visit Seek in the first week they were made redundant or were retrenched

• 89 percent of those laid-off employees said they would have felt "much more positive" towards their employer had their former employer provided them with outplacement or career transition support

• 88 percent of former employees felt more likely to still talk poorly about their employer within 13 weeks of losing their job

• But if they had been provided with outplacement or transition services, 95 per cent would have felt "far less inclined" to talk poorly about their own former employers in person or online

Offering some form of outplacement support to redundant or retrenched employees may significantly help mitigate the potential damage to your employer brand.

According to Dr Leslie Gaines-Ross, author of Corporate Reputation, it takes more than three years on average to turn an employer brand around if it is damaged.

Treating employees with dignity, regardless of their seniority, is not only morally and ethically right, but it makes sound business sense.

People don't think twice about ranking a restaurant or hotel online or through a phone app, and equally people are known to be reluctant to buy a food or service if it has been rated below four out of five by other users. If your business was rated under four by current and former employees, don't you think future staff might think twice about being employed by you?

* * * * * * * *

Greg Weiss has been consulting to the human resources profession for almost three decades. He is founder and director of outplacement firm CareerSupport365.com.

* * * * * * * *

About the author:

************

Greg Weiss is one of Australia’s most renowned career coaches. He is the author of “So You Got A Job, WTF Is Next”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7 step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/

He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.

Greg also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.

10 Tips on How to Treat Surviving Employees After a Round of Layoffs

10 Tips on How to Treat Surviving Employees After a Round of Layoffs | CareerSupport365

Here are 10 best practice tips I advise employers when they are faced with the unpleasant task of retrenching or making their employees redundant.

These tips will help to preserve a healthy employer brand and reputation which are critical to the ongoing sustainability of any employer.

1. Treat all exiting staff well on the way out.

My firm conducted research that showed that 88 percent of employees were still likely to talk poorly of their former employer 13 weeks after being laid off - especially if they had not been treated well on their departure.

There is an old marketing adage, that people are more inclined to complain and moan, than praise. If you are peeved, you will post. Peeved former employees post to Seek and Glassdoor and others. You don’t want that.

2. Clearly explain the rationale for the redundancies – that the decision is not personal to the redundant individual, but instead it’s business issues.

According to the USA Department of Labor, the average person will switch careers (not just jobs but entire careers) 14 times in their work life and 15 – 20 times according to Forbes. So  help your employees who have just been told they have been made redundant or retrenched that it’s not personal. This alone will make them feel better about themselves, their situation and the speed at which they can move on in their careers.

3. Give assurances to the surviving staff that the business is expected to improve by taking difficult measures and that their jobs are safe.

We suggest that you don’t make any promises to surviving staff that this is the end of the round of layoffs. However it is important you have a clear outline of the plan and genuinely communicate that the business is doing everything it can to not have further redundancies or retrenchments.

Having treated your departing employees with dignity and support, it also assures your surviving staff that they will also be treated with dignity and support in the event they may also face a layoff in the future.

4. Assure the survivors that management has been instructed to escalate cases of any increased workload that cannot be handled and capacity/process remedies will be considered where appropriate.

As a result of a round of layoffs, it’s often the case that the remaining staff are burdened with extra work that their former colleagues used to do. Surviving staff often feel a sense of overwhelm. This is further compounded by the survivor’s fear that if they were to say anything, their job may be put in jeopardy.

By giving staff permission to vent and communicate, the business can clear blockages and get on with business. If you do not provide the opportunity to communicate or vent,  it will inevitably cause presenteeism, bad mouthing, disengagement or worse still, harm to others or self harm.

5. Offer outplacement support to all departing employees.

According to CareerSupport365 research:

  • 90 percent of departing employees do not receive any outplacement or career transition support upon being laid off.
  • 89 percent of those laid off employees said they would have felt 'much more positive' towards their employer had their former employer provided them with outplacement or career transition support.
  • 95 percent of people would have felt ‘far less inclined’ to post adverse comments about their own former employers.

Knowing this, it just makes good business sense to offer outplacement services to all departing employees and letting survivors know that their former colleagues were provided with career transition support.

6. Pre-empt any adverse impacts on staff, morale, and productivity.

In case there is adverse publicity, have a communication plan that rolls out to staff. Think of having regular 'brown bag' lunches, videos issued by the Executive, Department staff meetings and so on.

Ask staff that they can safely state how they are feeling, have their comments heard and acted upon by management and the Executive Leadership Team where possible.

7. Consider team building activities to form new and productive relationships.

New relationship need to be built, replacing old relationships that have ‘passed on’. Put together team activities so as to build trust, respect, new know-how and lines of communication.

8. Ensure that social media and traditional media channels are given enough information to reduce the impact of gossip, threats, from poaching recruiters and even taunts from former anonymous staff.

Make sure that your communications team is feeding relevant and platforms with your news and message. If you want the message to be what you want it to be, then you need to drive the content.

9. Appoint resources to monitor social media and employer review sites like Seek and Glassdoor and respond openly, authentically, and immediately.

Wherever possible, in dignified and respectful ways, answer adverse comments - rather than let them fester and at worse case spread unanswered.

Employer review sites like Seek and Glassdoor are  very well known for encouraging employees - past and present - to review their employers. They do impact your employer brand and reputation.

You need to drive your employer brand and not leave it to employees to do so uncontrolled!

10. Constantly inform surviving staff and other stakeholders how the company’s performance is improving.

Whether it may be good and bad news, it’s all important. Let all the staff know how the company is performing so there are no surprises. The more transparent you are, the less surprised people will be and the more creative many will become in helping its performance improve, especially when they are positively engaged and feeling like they are all in this together.

These 10 tips will enrich the engagement of surviving staff and improve sustainability of your business and help to preserve a healthy employer brand and reputation which are critical during these uncertain times.

* * * * * * * *

About the author:

************

Greg Weiss is one of Australia’s most renowned career coaches. He is the author of “So You Got A Job, WTF Is Next”. The book prescribes a proven, practical 7 step guideline for new employees so they succeed, rather than fail their probation periods and beyond. Find out more about the book at https://www.wtfisnext.wtf/

He is the Founder and Director of Onboff an online training and coaching platform that helps HR specialists, coaches and recruiters to deliver exceptional onboarding and offboarding experiences for employees.

Greg also hosts The Keep: The Employee Experience podcast and runs CareerSupport365.