Category: Posts

12 Reasons Leaders Need to Think About What They Are Doing Right Now

Content adapted from James Osborne

There is no doubt that these are very unchartered waters for leaders across the globe and whilst the current situation we are facing creates immense challenges for many of us, it does also generate some unique opportunities to create more productive, more profitable and more sustainable businesses that are truly fit-for-purpose in tomorrow’s market.

To set things up from the outset, you first need to…

Avoid the Sideshows

All that matters right now is survival. You simply have to be around at the end of all this, when the markets bounce back, to be able to fight another day.   

This means absolute focus on that, first.

Understand what sits outside your circles of control right now (you can’t control the markets, you can’t control the macro covid19 situation, you can’t even to an extent accurately control revenue coming in to your business) but instead align your thinking to just the things you can control (costs going out of the business, where you invest your time and / resources, low-risk revenue generating opportunities) and those things that that will have the biggest impact on assuring your survival and your ability to thrive on the other side.

Design your New Normal

There are too many people simply asking the wrong question right now – what will the new normal be after this? This is wrong. The question we should all be asking is what do we want our new normal to be after this?

This is an extraordinary opportunity for us all to take the lessons we are currently learning about ourselves, about our businesses, about what we value and proactively construct a future that we want.  Don’t let paralysis set in, waiting / hoping to find out what tomorrow might look like, but go out instead and build the future you want right now.

Look Way Back to See Way Forward

These past few months have been unlike no other. You can’t compare what we are going through to a typical downturn in a typical economic cycle. This is not typical. This is an event-led downturn driven by something that is impacting people’s lives in very deep and personal ways.

From both a health and economics perspective, we can certainly look back and get some pointers from similar historical events that have occurred before but the world evolves at such a fast pace that comparing the current economical cycle with that of the Global Financial crisis of 2008 is just not a like for like comparison.

Politics and global trade relations have evolved in the last 10 years, social demographics have changed, technology has moved on significantly. Imagine all having to work from home using the technology and broadband capacity that we had even just 12 years ago!

What we can learn from history though are trends and more importantly how certain trends will have both quickened as well as aligned because of this, thus creating new markets, new needs, new opportunities for businesses.

  • Have you mapped out the emerging trends in your markets that came out of the last downturn?
  • What do these trends show you about how your market evolves in situations like this?

But now is really not the time to let your thinking get anchored in the past. Instead, we need to look forward 3 to 5 years at what the current trends are telling us about your markets tomorrow and then work your strategies back from that.

This future trend analysis will then help you to start building out how you will…

Create your Own Recovery

Business leaders tend to be entrepreneurial, and entrepreneurs by nature tend to be optimistic. I am definitely an optimist, with a very heavy dose of realism, and personally cannot stand pessimism.

Not for once ignoring the terrible plight that many are facing right now, the reality of the matter is that for most people, we will get through this and good times will return. You don’t have to be an optimist to know that.

The bit that really separates the optimists and the pessimists, the part that prevents the realists from moving forward whilst the opportunists are picking up market share, all comes down to timing. When.

When will the recovery come? When will my markets come back? When will we start growing again?

The optimist in me, coupled with some very sensible data / insights from some of the best social economists out there, points towards a “V” shape downturn – the market drops off a cliff, as it has, and then fairly sharply bounces back again. 

Remember what we said above, this is an event led downturn – the recovery will be driven less by the traditional number analysis that the economists calculate and more by the social will of the people aching to get back out working, to get out of lockdown, to just get on.

However, what some leaders forget is that businesses do not have to necessarily follow the same trend as the markets. They will be influenced by that, of course, but a business can have its own “V” shaped bounce even if the market itself is on a “U” trajectory.

So, move. Move faster than everyone else and decide what type of recovery you’re shooting for by developing your…

Outside In Strategy

You must look beyond the walls of your business to build your future strategy.

It is easy to become too inwards focused at times like these, when in reality (once you are on top of your business survival plan) you need to look at the bigger picture and more importantly at the wider supply chains within your target markets. If you don’t, you might end up walking head on into a load of challenges that will negatively impact your growth plans or indeed a bunch of opportunities that will make them fly. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What exactly is going on right now in your markets? 
  • What parts of your target market will be decimated because of this, and similarly, which parts will grow?
  • Which companies are just about getting through this and which companies will be thriving? Why?
  • If those companies are thriving, which of their suppliers will also be doing well?
  • Which areas of the market will capitalise most on the ensuing upturn? Why?
  • If those companies start to do well, which of their suppliers further down the supply chain will also follow suit?

What are those supply chain trends telling you about where you should be focusing your sales and marketing resources, and also what products / services do you need to be developing right now that align to what your customers are going to want to buy (from you)?

If market share is going to start increasing, we now need to maximise our return by doing some…

Bottom Up Planning

Without doubt, one of the clear trends that is coming out of all this, is the extent that many businesses have actually been running fairly inefficiently in the past.

Now, when our backs have been put against the wall, and we have been forced to literally cut out as much as we can from our businesses (and quickly), we have all managed to do it across most areas. Whilst in some cases quite hard to do emotionally, it has been relatively easy to start spotting areas of inefficiency, unprofitability, and wastage that have slowly crept into our business over the years, especially when we were in the good times and business was booming.

What this period has made us all do (and we have had the time to do this), is to focus long and hard on cash generation and profit maximisation, perhaps more than we have ever done before. Turnover and GP is irrelevant if it doesn’t drop enough to the bottom line.

  • Where does the real profit in our businesses come from?
  • Which clients deliver the most contribution to the bottom line?
  • Which products and services that we sell create the most net yield?
  • Who, amongst our consultants, delivers the most ROI?
  • Do we have the right people, in the right jobs, doing the right things that generate profit?
  • What is the one thing we do above all else that really makes us money?

Over the past few weeks, my conversations with leaders has been firmly fixed on retraining and redeployment of people and re-engineering of business structures to, quite simply, create greater capability to generate greater profit margins.

This will of course impact everything within your business, from incentives and commissions to hiring plans and importantly culture. That is why a great leader will always put…

Purpose over Profit

How ridiculous is that! Profit should come before everything right? Wrong.

Profit is created by having products / services that your customers value and want (need) and a team of employees in your business who deliver an amazing user experience to get those products / services out to your customers efficiently. The whole process of profit generation falls down when one of those elements is missing.

Purpose drives the culture, that drives the behaviours, that drive the customer experience.

Deliver an incredible customer experience, backed up with a fantastic product / service and you will create both profit and growth. Focus too much on the profit and you will create a heartless business with limited commitment and a disengaged culture.

These past few months have been an incredible test of a company’s culture and whilst many organisations have stepped up and put their values and purpose at the heart of their strategy during this extraordinary time, many haven’t.

Our employees don’t just have financial concerns right now, they are also fearful for the health and wellbeing, they are being emotionally challenged, they have very real and personal worries, which is why this is so different from a typical economic downturn. The leaders in a business need to lead with far greater heart and demonstrate genuine empathy more than they have ever done before.

After this, we will all be remembered for what we did and didn’t do, which is why we should now…

Leave the Shutters Up

Never before have we had the most incredible opportunity to get as close to our customers as we have now.

We meet them in their lounges / bedrooms / sheds, our meetings are interrupted by their children and pets running in, we have to look them in the eyes and focus more intently on their words than ever before, we genuinely care about how they are, they genuinely care about us. The barriers between our clients as corporate people and our clients as just people have been removed and the shutters are no longer down. This changes everything about the business of business.

Look at what you offer your clients…  

  • Is it easy to buy from you?
  • Is it hard to get rid of you? 
  • Have you an embedded solution that makes you sticky?

Look at how you work with your clients… 

  • Do you deliver a truly celebrity user experience?
  • Do they value what you do?
  • Do you get paid according to that value?

Look at the output of your client relationships?

  • What is the typical length of a customer relationship?
  • How much of your new business is referred to you by existing customers?

If you can set your business up to reposition your offering more towards long-term, embedded partnerships and less towards contingent supply, then you can start to…

Feed the Machine

This is where marketing meets selling, and selling becomes a continuous part of your DNA, not an enforced KPI.

For years marketing has been kept independent from sales. It was about making us look good in print and online, about how much kudos you can get per social media post to feed your ego, about how much (often pointless) noise we can make above the competition. Now more than ever, people are online consuming content, seeking out ideas, watching brands and marketing has never been so important.

Sales on the other hand has always been about the phone, the meetings, the numbers game. It is equally as important as marketing, but when done badly can create huge wastage and inefficiency in a recruitment business (do we still think working towards the 80/20 principle makes sense?!) and negatively impact brand value (external) and consultants’ confidence (internal).

So both are critically important, but not in silo. These are not independent things but instead are two very joined up parts of your ability to create consistent sales pipelines – what we refer to as “the machine”.

All day, every day, the machine needs to be fired up and fed – not when we get time to do it, but continuously. All day every day.

The machine also needs checking every day for performance improvements (squeezing better conversion ratios at every stage of the sales pipeline) and it requires an automated process to sit behind the human effort to ensure efficiency can be made to improve conversion ratios at each stage of the pipeline process.

Don’t forget to adjust your selling styles to fit the market and…

Be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

  • We miss opportunities because we don’t explore deeply enough into the customers’ real challenges.
  • We try and sell products and services that aren’t applicable because we don’t understand their real needs.
  • We focus too much on short term, quick wins and less about building long term solutions.
  • We still talk about price and not value.
  • We sell the same “product” as everyone else keeping our competition always relevant

These are of course generalisations, but I am sure ring true for many if we honestly look back on what we were all doing pre-covid19.

Selling is not one dimensional, but nor should it be complicated.

It should be consultative, truly consultative, helping customers to understand their future needs, to challenge their perceptions of what is possible and working collaboratively with them to reengineer talent processes to drive efficiencies and outputs that make a very real and tangible difference.

It should start with a blank page, a bunch of data and a load of questions – where it ends up is anyone’s guess, but it will more often than not end up far deeper and further down the line than traditional selling does. Let the conversation decide, let the problems be discussed, let the solutions flow.

Enjoy the Journey

I’ll start this by going to back to the beginning – these are unchartered waters for leaders who are meant to know all the answers right now. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you have done and how you have responded so far, and more importantly give yourself a break.  

Leaders have concerns about the economy, about families, about personal health as everyone does, but they also have to keep an eye on how the overall businesses are faring, about how they are faring as leaders, about the team, about just about everything! Emotionally, this is tough and our resilience is being tested.

But it doesn’t have to be.

The start of every new day is a new opportunity to drop in the next building block of our future. Throughout every day we have wins, however small, that we must celebrate with our teams. We also have challenges that ultimately we somehow overcome, that should also be celebrated.

The end of every day is an opportunity to celebrate another step closer to a new and better normality.

As an observer, I find the whole thing fascinating, watching how people are responding to all this, from those who have buried their heads and hope it will all just go away, to those who just want to ensure they…

Don’t Waste a Good Crisis

Winston Churchill said this in the mid-1940s, referring to the emerging US / Russia / UK alliance that would go on to become the United Nations and the opportunities that were coming out of the crisis that was the Second World War. And his words were as right then as they are today.

These are challenging times for sure. 

Be an observer of everything right now – the good, the bad and the ugly, inside and outside of your sector – and look for the opportunities that change creates.

Don’t look at this time as being “difficult” and instead see it as being “different”.

Learn. Adapt. Compete. 

  1. Avoid the Sideshows
  2. Design your New Normal
  3. Look Way Back to See Way Forward
  4. Create your Own Recovery
  5. Outside In Strategy
  6. Bottom Up Planning
  7. Purpose over Profit
  8. Leave the Shutters Up
  9. Feed the Machine
  10. Be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem
  11. Enjoy the Journey
  12. Don’t Waste a Good Crisis

Adapted from:

It’s well known that recognising and rewarding employees for excellent work helps to ensure they feel valued for their efforts; creating a culture of high performance, increasing employee engagement and improving recruitment and retention.

However, as with salary and benefits packages, an organisation’s approach to reward and recognition may need to evolve to ensure it remains appealing. For example, a recent survey by Sodexo revealed that millennials would rather receive experiential rewards for hard work over financial gifts. While a study by Reward Gateway highlighted that recognition is just as, if not more important, than financial reward. It found that 59% of people would rather work for a business where they received recognition over a higher salary job where they felt they weren’t recognised.

If this has made you think it’s time to review your approach to reward and recognition, here are some things to consider.

How often do employees receive rewards or recognition?

We are seeing a shift towards employers creating a more continuous culture of reward and recognition. Instead of focusing on rewarding staff on an annual basis, or during performance reviews, employers are looking for innovative ways to thank, praise or reward employees as and when they do good work.

Are you offering what your employees really want?

Staff surveys are a useful tool for monitoring what employees would most appreciate and find engaging. It also gives you the chance to check if what you are currently providing is still appealing. Rewards often work best if they contribute a little something extra to everyday life. This could be money, shopping or experience vouchers, or travel incentives. Or it could be extra time off to spend with family or to enjoy some additional leisure time.

Are rewards available fairly and is the criteria understandable?

All employees should understand the criteria behind any reward system in place and there should be equal opportunities for all team members – without it becoming overly competitive. If it’s perceived to be easier for those working in roles with obvious goals and objectives to earn rewards, those in less target-driven positions or support roles won’t be engaged or motivated in the same way.  

Are you making the most of ‘free’ rewards?

Simple and sincere acknowledgments still go a long way. We’ve seen lots of companies find ways to reward their teams with inexpensive treats, which also bring people together, from cakes on a Friday to breakfast rolls on a Monday. Other incentives which don’t necessarily break budgets can be based on time. For example, an extra day’s holiday in December to get all the festive shopping and planning sorted, or to attend a child’s school play. Or, time outside of the office to spend volunteering or fundraising for local charities.

Do you have a recognition culture which spans from the top level down?

While managers are often best placed to spot good work and give praise and thanks when it happens, they should also be recognised and rewarded by their own line managers and senior leaders for doing so. Senior leaders can also make a big impact by providing praise and thanks directly to employees. Recognition which comes directly from the top can really help to paint a bigger picture. Those in more senior positions are better equipped to share the direct impact a project or success has had on the overall business and why employees should feel proud of their contribution.

Does your reward and recognition fit with your culture and values?

Aligning rewards and recognition with company culture and values will have more impact on increasing engagement. It can also influence cultural change by sending out important messages about the value of employee contributions, the positive behaviours valued within the organisation and empower employees to bring company values to life.

Are you making use of social platforms?

Social media can be a great platform to give ‘shout outs’ to employees for their hard work or to share praise they’ve received. This not only shows employees they are valued and worth posting about but also highlights the organisation as a place where efforts are recognised and rewarded. Internal social platforms such as a staff intranet or internal newsletter can also be used to recognise and share employee successes, or as a hub to run peer-to-peer nominations for recognition awards.

Most companies just jump into their hiring process without a real plan.  This often leads to a disjointed process that can take longer than necessary to complete, and time often kills the deal.  Companies that don’t have a well-defined process may find themselves losing out on the candidates they want to hire.  These 5 tips will help you shorten the distance between candidate identification and start date.

  1. Establish Requirements and Goals

It’s critical to layout in writing the job description and the salary requirements prior to starting the recruitment process.  Having it in writing will give your team a clear understanding of what you are looking to accomplish with this hire.

2.      Share the Goals and Expectations with your Executive Recruiter

Including your executive recruiter in your hiring plans will help ensure that the candidate understands your process.  Conveying the details of your interview process and timeframe can eliminate the risk of losing candidates due to drawn out uncertainties in your process.  Open communication also allows for flexibility, particularly when you’re dealing with an active candidate who is being courted by your competitors.

  1. Quickly Set Aside the Time to Interview

    Sometimes organizing an interview panel is like herding cats!  Don’t let the fact that one executive on the interviewing team is out of the office postpone the whole process.  Getting the bulk of your face to face interviews scheduled and completed in a timely fashion could be the difference in getting your top candidate an offer in time for them to make a decision in your favour.

    4.      Give Timely Feedback

    One of the worst things a company can do is not provide timely feedback after a candidate has invested their time on-site interviewing.  If you liked the candidate, but will need some time to wrap up the process, it’s important to let them know where they stand and what the timeframe is for next steps.  Lack of communication and feedback is a sure-fire way to turn off the candidate.  It’s just as important to close the loop on candidates who will not make it to the offer stage.

5.  Be Decisive

Decision making is not always easy.  Creating and following a replicable process as outlined above will put you in the best position to make a timely decision.  In your post interview debrief with your team, candidates should be classified in one of 3 categories: not a fit, moving on to the next round, or making an offer.  Keeping it simple will allow for quick decision making.

Retaining High Caliber Employees

Out of 10,000 respondents in a recent UK survey only 16% of those asked, said that there wasn’t a salary figure which could lure them away and that they were happy where they were.

To try and prevent high-caliber employees from deciding to leave, organizations should ensure that their salaries remain attractive, especially if inflation continues to create a squeeze on pay.

In today’s market, employees may also feel more confident to negotiate their pay, yet overall people are still reluctant to move on a salary alone. A happy and fulfilling place to work relies on much more than just how much people are paid. People-focused employers are striving to create the highest standards in excellent employee conditions and getting creative in terms of motivating and inspiring their teams to retain the talent they need to grow their business. There are many other factors which can be considered, including:

Flexibility and work-life balance

Research by Investors in People (IIP) revealed that just under one-third (31%) of employees would rather have a more flexible working environment, such as the opportunity to work remotely, than a 3% pay rise. A lack of work-life balance is one of the biggest factors for people choosing to leave a job. Reviewing your practices around flexible working and looking for opportunities to support employees in striking the delicate balance between work and home life can have a big impact on staff retention.

Career progression

Don’t risk losing your best employees by neglecting their professional development needs. Let employees have a say in what they would like to achieve by encouraging a two-way dialogue to openly discuss aspirations and further training required. Development plans don’t have to involve additional costs, training could be provided by more experienced colleagues. Where promotions are not possible straight away, look for sideways moves which provide more variety and new experiences.

Reward and recognition

A 2017 survey by Reward Gateway found that 59% of employees surveyed would rather work for a business where they received recognition, over a higher salary job. Try to find ways to regularly remind employees that they are valued and play a key role in the business. Instead of focusing on rewarding staff on an annual basis during performance reviews, look for innovative ways to recognize and reward employees throughout the year.

An inspiring workspace

Arriving at a welcoming and inspiring environment every day will have a positive impact on employee engagement levels. Our physical working environment also affects our ability to work, so spending time and effort on creating a great office space, where people want to be, is a worthwhile investment for productivity. Look for opportunities to create areas where people can break away from their desks to think, problem solve and come up with new ideas, as well as spaces for relaxation and fun.

Overall company culture

The overall culture of the place in which employees spend their time will naturally influence how they feel about coming to work every day. While there are many different elements to developing a successful workplace culture, organizations which have achieved this are all ones where employees feel a real sense of belonging. They understand what the organization is trying to achieve, are inspired by its mission and values and recognize how their role plays a part in achieving overall success. Leadership teams keep employees informed about what is happening and adopt a collaborative approach to fuel discussion and engage teams in a collective vision.

Article adapted from:

Onboarding refers to the process of inducting or integrating new hires into the company, preparing them for job success and helping them to become productive, committed and engaged employees of the company and also a genuine ‘team member’. Missing out on this vital part of the hiring process can be a recipe for disaster.

Onboarding / Induction programs:
The list below suggests the bare minimum in terms of what an onboarding / induction program should include:

·         Introductions and meet the team

·         Getting to know people and spending some quality time with key employees/management

·         Company structure, knowing who is who in the zoo

·         History and background of the company

·         Company vision and values

·         Review of all lines of business and company offerings to its markets

·         Company policies and procedures, OH&S

·         Review of the new employees ‘Position Description’ and setting expectations

·         Role specific training, including setting out any formal/external training plans

·         Overview of employee annual appraisals/reviews, what to expect.

·         Systems overview including any internal intranet sites or role specific systems

·         Payroll and personal details

·         Site / office tour.

This whole process should not be completed in a few hours on the morning of their first day.  It should be planned and executed over the first few days, weeks and even months of the employee’s tenure within your company. Plan ahead, fill their diary with invites to sessions covering all of the above.

Questions to consider concerning your onboarding process:

  1. Day One – When your new hire heads in for their first day, are they aware of what time, who and where to report to? Are they aware of the appropriate dress code for the job? Have they been told what they should bring with them on the first day?
  2. Does your company make new employees feel welcome? Do you take time to introduce them to the business by having a special sign, welcome messages or a welcome lunch? That first day is a critical moment – it’s important that your employee feels like they are being properly and formally welcomed and valued from the outset.
  3. Have you established who will be responsible for the delivery of the induction for the employee? Is the employee’s manager (you) looking after this or is an HR professional taking responsibility? Or both? How long will the induction last and what will be covered? Have you planned all the parts in to their diary?
  4. Does your onboarding program inspire company pride? – Your onboarding process should make employees feel like they made the right decision in choosing to join the company. Do you inspire pride in your employees? Show off what makes your company great, and involve those individuals who accurately represent all the positives you have to offer
  5. Do you show that ‘new hires’ matter? – Inspiring company pride is not enough. You also need to show employees that they really do matter to your business. Taking an individual and tailored approach to this process will show that they aren’t just on a merry-go-round of new employees, but are individually of value to the company.

Having a solid, structured onboarding program will make a difference and engage your new hires from the start. When you show you’re willing to invest in your employees, you’ll make them feel that they are joining a great team, making them more likely to stick with the job.

The Importance of Appraisals

The Importance of Appraisals

An effective appraisal and performance management process can have a significant impact on an organisation’s culture, staff morale and employee engagement levels – all of which enhance employer brand and support the retention of key talent within a business.

There is debate as to whether traditional appraisal systems are still effective for the needs of an evolving workforce. Organisations such as Deloitte have announced that they are moving towards more ongoing discussions and feedback with employees. Whether it’s traditional six-month reviews and appraisals, or ongoing one-to-ones and performance catch ups, the important element is that there is a clear and consistent approach to performance management and reviews.

A commitment to having appraisal conversations with employees can help to improve the bottom line by aligning individual performance with business objectives. It also supports the creation of a more people-focused culture and an environment in which employees will want to stay, progress and thrive.

Employee recognition and rewards

Appraisals provide the opportunity to recognise and reward employees and to ensure they feel valued for the work that they do. By monitoring performance and progress against objectives employers can assess whether to reward staff with salary increases, promotions or bonuses. It’s also a chance to say thank you and to provide verbal feedback and praise. Rewarding any successes highlighted doesn’t have to be financial. Although money still holds considerable importance, and salaries should be regularly reviewed to ensure they remain competitive and in line with performance, simple and sincere acknowledgements still go a long way towards maintaining employee engagement.

New challenges and clear objectives

Organisations with a great workplace culture are ones where employees feel a real sense of belonging. They understand what the organisation is trying to achieve, are inspired by its mission and values and recognise how their role plays a part in achieving overall success. The discussions which take place during appraisal meetings will help employees to understand how the individual objectives set for them will play a part in the wider business plan. This helps to give employees a sense of ownership within the collective vision and to empower them to achieve the results needed. It’s also a great opportunity to regularly review objectives and to provide ongoing challenges to ensure employees remain motivated by new goals and experiences.

Continued progression and development

Organisations which provide clear progression opportunities are attractive to new recruits and are more likely to be able to retain talented employees by mapping out a career path for them. Regularly looking at performance will help to identify when employees are ready to take on more responsibility. Setting aside the time to discuss an employee’s individual ambitions will also help organisations to spot and develop potential talent and build a strong succession pipeline.

Culture of trust and openness

In today’s fast paced business world, it’s more important than ever to maintain a meaningful, two-way dialogue with employees to help keep talented people within your organisation. One of the key enablers for achieving employee engagement is to ensure that employees have a voice and appraisal and performance review meetings can help to fuel discussion and empower staff to share their opinions. They will feel encouraged to influence innovation by feeding ideas upwards and the relationship which develops from open communication within appraisal systems will help employees to feel more able to approach and discuss any ideas or issues outside of these meetings as well.

Support and training

Open discussions on performance can help to identify any problems early and provides the opportunity to explore positive solutions. Managers can look at what additional training and support could be provided to enable the employee to achieve results which they would feel proud of. High performing employees can be supported with further training to help them to progress to the next level in their careers.

Prevention of long-term dissatisfaction

Issues can usually be nipped in the bud before they escalate to the point of someone leaving if they can be raised through appraisal meetings. It is a great opportunity for an employee to raise any worries or concerns, or to discuss any barriers which they feel are holding them back. Taking the time to listen to employees and address any concerns helps to create a happier workforce and will continue to fuel a culture of openness and trust.

About Gill Buchanan

Gill is a founding Director of Pure Resourcing Solutions has worked in the recruitment field since 1988, Sydney, Australia.

5 Reasons to Feedback after Interview

Research has found that 83% of candidates interviewed directly by the employer, claim that they have never received any feedback following an interview. This might be due to a worry by the employer over potential legal risks if they give feedback in the wrong way, or they might be concerned about causing offense.  However, not only does feedback aid the candidate’s future job search, it can also provide a positive spin / image for the organization.

Here are the top five reasons why you are encouraged to give feedback after every interview:

  1. A PR opportunity

Word of mouth and personal recommendations are some of the most effective marketing tools for an employer’s brand. As unbiased candidates share positive recruitment experiences – regardless of whether or not they were successful in securing the role – clients could attract even more applicants for future positions.

On the flip side, instances of individuals using a public platform to air grievances about an organisation are increasingly common. If a candidate is left in the dark, organisations risk having to field negative comments on social media, which can be extremely damaging to a brand.

  1. Candidate courtesy

We all know how much time it takes to prepare for interviews, in addition to any tasks or tests that the organisation may require you to complete. It is important that this is recognised and that the candidate is thanked for the time they spent on the application process, because these individuals are already investing in the role. This will also help to boost the client’s reputation. Sharing constructive feedback following any tests is advisable, although overly negative comments could have an adverse effect.

  1. Repeat jobseekers

Candidates might miss out on a role because they lack certain skills or experience in a particular area. However, with a few more years’ work experience they could be a perfect fit. If you offer constructive feedback, it is likely that a candidate will return when they have acquired the requisite skills, securing the employer a tailor-made future employee.

  1. Economic boost

As well as having a positive impact on the individual organisation, feedback will eventually lead to a better-equipped labour market. High calibre candidates will generally be easier to come by if individuals know where their strengths lie and the areas in which they need to improve. As a result, future hiring for all employers may become significantly more efficient.

  1. It’s not time-consuming

Many clients say they lack the time to provide detailed feedback following an interview, but it needn’t be as burdensome as they expect. Notes are often taken during interviews and then circulated. These can be easily repurposed for the interviewee, ensuring that the comments are constructive. Failing that, a quick call with your recruiter can easily be translated into constructive and considered feedback on their behalf!

Adapted by article written by: David Morel,  CEO/Founder of Tiger Recruitment, one of London’s leading secretarial/administrative recruitment agencies.

You probably already know that the most expensive aspect of recruitment is the replacement of lost talent that leaves the business for preventable reasons.

When a good person leaves we lose knowledge, it disrupts the harmony of the team, impacts negatively on production levels and incurs the replacement costs, that continue until the new individual is fully up to speed.

Here are 8 tactics that all businesses should encourage in order to improve staff retention.

  •     Recruit the right cultural fit
  •     Align work with behavioural preferences
  •     Provide proper support & Training
  •     Provide and support a career road map
  •     Review regularly
  •     Provide independent creative time
  •     Demonstrate you are listening to what they say
  •     Influence your own environment

Recruit the Right Cultural Fit

Research and statistics prove that more than 80% of people that leave a job in the first year of employment leave because of cultural or behavioural issues, not because they couldn’t do the job. It stands to reason then, that we need to get better at understanding what our culture is and recruit people that fit into it better. After all, these people are more likely to be happier, healthier, more productive and will subsequently stay longer. This for me is by far the biggest influencer on staff retention you can have and if you get this bit right at the very start, you will see measurable differences in attrition, for those in their first year of employment.

Align work with behavioural preferences

Do you actually know what tasks your staff prefer doing and do you capitalise on this, by giving them more of that type of work? People work harder and smarter when they are doing work that they are culturally aligned to do. Give people the wrong type of work and they become frustrated, disillusioned and can become a distraction to the people around them. If you take the time to discover what type of work someone is motivated to do, then you have the potential to get more out of them or potentially move them into an area where they can be more productive.

Provide Proper Support and Training

Employees like to feel valued and one great way to demonstrate this is to invest in them. Helping people to feel like they are developing, growing and extending their capabilities, will keep staff engaged and satisfied that they are not stagnating in the job. Encouraging staff to embrace training opportunities also helps the business by extending the capabilities of staff and widens the available skill sets available to the business.

Provide and Support a Career Road map

Research proves that by providing clear goals and direction to individuals, especially in the early days of a person’s career, will not only help those people to stay focused and productive, but also contributes towards retention. The best people will naturally rise to the challenge of working towards the next step on the corporate ladder. Research into exit interviews has established that over 20% of all people leaving a job indicated that career progression opportunities was the primary motivating factor in deciding to move on.

Review regularly

Monthly reviews or appraisals are an essential element in staff retention. They are a great opportunity to review the work completed in the previous month, contribute to work that they are currently involved with and help to plan, prioritise and strategize the work in the month ahead.

Constructive critique and positive appraisal of good work costs the business nothing and yet contributes more towards job satisfaction than most other elements.

A quarterly appraisal of the individual’s progress against their annual business plan also ensures that good staff not only meet the requirements of the business as well as achieve their individual targets and meet their true potential.

Provide independent creative time

If you have never watched Daniel Pink’s animated video on The surprising truth about what really motivates us, I can recommend it as essential viewing. There is a section in this video that talks about the logic and the advantages of giving staff creative time to express themselves. Having done this ourselves for the last few years I can confirm that not only do the team enjoy this creative time, but they also come up with some really cool and innovative ideas.

Pink talks about the 3 primary motivators that lead to personal satisfaction as 1/ Autonomy, in order to drive engagement and self-direction 2/ Mastery, in order to drive and encourage personal development and learning and 3/ Purpose, to drive an individual through the belief that they have in what they are doing as meaningful.

Demonstrate you are listening to what they say

You do not have to act upon every suggestion that your staff make, but it is vitally important that you listen intently. When we speak of company culture, I believe passionately that your company culture is exactly what your staff say about you. Given the right conditions your staff can drive the positive cultural identity of your business.

Many companies demonstrate their appreciation for ideas that are subsequently implemented with rewards or public acknowledgement.

Influence your own environment

It sounds ridiculous to even say it, but Management and the business itself have the power to influence the environment that they want to create. Establish where you want it to be and then establish what will motivate the staff to help make it happen.

It is important to get the existing staff’s input on what environment and culture they would like to work in and if it is realistic and practical a compromise can sometimes be reached to work towards this in return for meeting the businesses goals.

About the Author

Mark Stephens has worked within the recruitment sector for nearly 20 years both in-house and agency side and more recently within the technology environment.

Mark is a serial entrepreneur and is the founder of Smart Recruit Online, the Recruitment Alliance and The HR & Recruitment Resource Library.

Mark has dedicated his time since 2007 researching the online recruitment sector from a user, technology, and candidate perspective and is regularly published and quoted by leading industry publications for his research and personal opinions.

Connect with Mark Stephens on LinkedIn. 

Most students on work experience will never have been exposed to the world of work and most of their knowledge about the world of work will be classroom-based.  Work experience tends to mature individuals allowing them to make more informed choices about their future career.  Therefore the main benefit of providing a student with work experience is to assist them in making the transition from the world of studying to that of work.

But how can this benefit your organisation?

  1. It helps your other employees

Placing a student with an employee helps to boost your team’s morale as it shows them that you trust them enough to be responsible. It also helps your employees develop their own supervisory skills which will help you and them should a senior position arise that they could be considered for.

  1. It’s good branding for the company

Word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing out there – and it’s free. Your company’s reputation for investing in young people will be ranked quite highly.

  1. It doesn’t cost you financially

That doesn’t mean you can take advantage of a free workforce and exploit them, but most people understand that work experience is just that – experience. Some companies do offer to pay for travel expenses or provide lunch vouchers.

  1. Enthusiasm

Most people on work experience come with a bag full of enthusiasm and positivity and often brimming with new ideas.  And this in turn can rub off onto existing employees.

  1. It’s a great recruitment strategy

It’s easier to spot talent when you can see them in the work place.  There is nothing stopping you from eventually offering them a permanent role.  Young people are also like sponges and will soak up what they learn at your company. This can reduce your cost of bringing in more experienced, skilled professionals.


Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, a sales and marketing executive search firm based out of New York City. He is also a writer for Forbes. Follow Ken on Twitter @Ken_Sundheim.


The theory that recruiting great employees is highly difficult is true, but what if your firm was making the recruitment process more complex than it had to be?

Almost 1 out of every 4 decisions that a small to mid-size company will make during a recruitment process will hinder their chances at staffing competitive talent. The consequences of these actions can result in a myriad of ill-fated outcomes ranging from higher salary costs and wasted time to losing competitive applicants altogether.

Firms that are unable to streamline the staffing process on a regular basis are probably prone to committing one or more of the following 6 deadly sins of recruiting:

1) Not Following the Google Rule of 5:

Up to a few years ago, Google would have employees go through a 12 – 14 meeting process. This would result in dreadfully long staffing cycles, loss of top talent to competing internet companies and overall inefficiency when attempting to recruit employees in the masses.

In 2011, Google switched its recruiting approach to limit each applicant to 5 interviews. If Google can hire an engineer in 5 interviews, there is no reason why your firm should not be able to hire your personnel in 3 or 4.  Prolonged time is the enemy of great recruiting.

The more time an organization lets a candidate linger, the more time that individual has to get another job offer, receive a raise or go back to school. Also, when you let a candidate at the final round of an interviewing go out to other companies, they tend to interview with more confidence and become more desirable. When you find an apt job seeker, losing hiring momentum is a sin.

2) Searching for that Perfect Candidate:

We tell clients that shopping for candidates is like shopping for cars. The more requirements they have, the more you pay and the fewer choices you have.

In 10 years of recruiting, I’ve never seen the perfect candidate. I’ve seen a solid candidate write the perfect resume, but am yet to see the “perfect” candidate. Perfect candidates are not hired. Rather, they are molded through leadership and training.

Look for potential today and determine whether they can be the perfect candidate tomorrow. We recommend you analyze the future earnings power of that individual rather than where they stand at the given moment. What an individual achieved yesterday will not yield any revenue. What they can do tomorrow can make all the difference in your organization.

3) Crossing the Line from Under Compensated to Under Appreciated:

Some clients whom we work with have a corporate culture of making low initial offers to candidates. This is intended to cushion any financial blow that a counter offer may bring. While this sounds good in theory, there is a breaking point. Once an offer dips below a certain number (typically anything equal to or less than they are currently earning) that candidate feels under appreciated, under valued and highly insulted.

The psychologist and philosopher William James once wrote to a student:  “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

You can’t renegotiate someone’s ego.

4) The First Choice or Nothing Scenario:

Whether it’s football, business, chess or just about anything else, life needs contingency plans. A mistake that our recruiters often prevent companies from doing is to not pick a second option. When hiring, firms aren’t always going to get their first choice – the smart ones have a 2nd place.

The companies who have trouble are the ones who start the search process from the beginning hoping to find another #1. Often they come up short and waste an extra 3 months while doing so. It’s a fact: Candidates will get other jobs, decline offers or stay where they are. Nothing ever goes 100% smoothly when recruiting and sometimes your contingency plan will turn out to be a gem.

  1. Not being able to sell the job:

Part of recruiting is selling. If a hiring manager can’t make a job enticing, they won’t attract top talent. We’ve had clients that have tried the approach where they attempt to scare an applicant by telling them every undesirable aspect of a job only to find that the candidate doesn’t want to stick around for the good parts.

When staffing employees, you should be selling in an honest manner, touching on the negatives, but also focusing much on the positives of the job.

7) Using too many recruiters:

Often, firms will go out and hire a dozen contingency recruiters to represent their firm. From their perspective, the more the merrier.

What’s alluring is that they only pay on performance which seemingly mitigates risk. Sounds great until a firm realizes that they have 30 or 40 cold-calling recruiters whom they don’t know nor have they spoken to poorly representing their company to potential talent in the open market.


Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies and sometimes it’s the small mistakes that make all the difference. Since recruiting is an imperfect science, we must strive to extract any additional difficulties from the process.  Have a plan, keep in the mind what you should not be doing and enjoy a more productive, intelligent and competent workforce.


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