You Don’t Climb Straight Up The Mountain

If you want to reach heights that few others have reached, you have to realize that the path will not be a linear one. There is no well-worn track to reassure you, and the ghosts of those who have failed dance in your footsteps. You have to be content to take two steps forward, a few steps sideways and one step back to ensure that you have a chance of success.

Man climbing mountain

When momentum stalls, your willpower is the only thing you have left.

Life is not meant to be spent at 100 miles-an-hour, careering from one amazing achievement to the next. It is an adventure, and, to my mind, it is very similar to scaling a mountain (or a series of mountains).

Unless you have a Yoda-like mentor, very few of us can be certain what is around the next corner. If it is a deep crevasse, the choice is to risk the jump over or walk to where it gets thinner? If bad weather is forecast, do you abandon the climb until it has blown itself out? Do you stop at the third camp for the night, even though the summit is tantalisingly in reach?

On a climbing expedition, you have to balance the risks and the rewards. Sometimes, the going will be easy, and the decisions will be clear. At other times, you will be tearing your hair out with frustration.

After a successful career in Engineering, many of my friends were surprised when I went into recruitment. I have always enjoyed the “people” aspects in my roles, and deep down, it felt right if not a little scary. When you start a new transition, it is almost like coming around that mountain pass, only to see a yet higher peak ahead of you. Daunting, but exhilarating.

Heading up the engineering division of Procore Solutions is the best thing that I have done in my career. It took a leap of faith, and yes, that faith is still tested daily, but I am still climbing. I am not sure that I will ever get to the “summit” – it would be boring to imagine that this is even possible. For me, the climb is the enjoyment.

man mountain

So many people are now making transitions to new careers, using their transferable skills to scale new heights. 20 years ago, this would have been unthinkable, but in the dynamic new world of work, it seems to me that breadth of experience is more valuable than depth of experience. No one trudges along the same boring career path for 30 years anymore. There are mountains to explore, and sometimes it makes sense to go backwards if you want to go forwards.

If you view every step of your journey as a step closer to your destination, then every step is valuable. Every mistake, every wrong turn, they are all part of your way to the top.

You don’t climb straight up the mountain. Simply make sure that you keep climbing, and you will get there!

Written by Lee Narraway edited by Paul Drury 

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925747712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway Website: www.procorerec.com

How to successfully ask for a raise

Asking your boss for more money isn’t always an easy conversation. And unless there is a well-structured review system in place, it’s likely that you’ll need to proactively broach this topic. It can be a tricky topic to discuss so to help you successfully ask for a pay rise; here are our top tips for preparing yourself for the conversation. man throwing money

 

Research the market

While it’s not advisable to openly discuss salaries with your colleagues, arming yourself with as much information about what others in your position earn is the best place to start.

Instead of prying into your co-worker’s earnings, look on comparison websites and job boards to get an idea of the market salary for your industry and experience level. This will help you decide on a number before speaking with your manager – you need to be specific about what you want.

Build your case

Think about why you’re asking for a raise. Have you recently had some big successes in your current job? Do you believe you’ve taken on some new responsibilities? Perhaps you’ve consistently delivered exceptional work since accepting the job.

Whatever your reasons, it’s important that you build your case by providing clear evidence as to why you deserve a raise.

Prepare specific examples and provide solid reasoning to prove that you deserve more of the business’ profits. Wherever possible, tie your successes to business results – increase in sales, solutions that save money, etc. Adding a monetary value to your success can provide irrefutable evidence.

Find the right time

Be strategic about when you speak with your manager – avoid catching them when they are busy, against a tight deadline or about to pack up for the day. Try and find a time when they will be able to give their full attention and really focus on the conversation.

If you can, set up a meeting in advance to ensure you manager will be available. This also gives you time to prepare your case!

Get to the point

When you finally do find the right time and have your manager’s attention it’s critical that you get to the point without going off topic or beating around the bush.

A couple of ways you can kick off the conversation include: ‘I’d like to talk about reviewing my pay’, or ‘In light of my performance at work, I wanted to ask you about a pay raise’.

Give your manager a chance to respond, and then tell them the amount you’re looking for – this is your opportunity to present your case and back up your request.

Focus on business

A raise might help you save up for a house, or buy a new car, but try not to discuss these during the meeting. Your personal reasons for wanting a raise are completely irrelevant.

Keep the conversation focused on your contribution to the business and why that warrants a higher reward than your current salary.

Control your nerves

If your manager isn’t entirely warm to the idea it’s likely that a negotiation will come to life – negotiations around money can often be tense so it’s important to keep your nerves in control.

Don’t back down under pressure, never take back your request, or suggest a lower amount. Stay calm and wait for your manager to respond to your initial request.

Whatever you do, do not leave the meeting without knowing the next step. If your manager says they cannot talk to you at this time, or they’re not the best person for you to be having the conversation with, ask them directly what the next step will be and when you can expect this to happen.

About the guest author: 

Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.

Please leave your comments.

Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters!

Your attempts to build a professional presence on Social Media are at risk! Don’t worry, Slimer isn’t about to burst out of your laptop or smartphone and cover it in Ectoplasm. That would be mildly amusing, if not a little scary.

No, I am talking about the Social Media “ghosts” who lurk in the shadows. The people who view your profile anonymously, the false profiles which decide to troll your blog and ruin your credibility, the competitors who set up false profiles on feedback websites to bring down your ratings.

These are just a few examples, but as your social media profile becomes even more central to your business, these “ghosts” could turn from a mere annoyance to something far more serious.

Let’s turn on our proton packs and tackle them in turn:

The anonymous viewers

Firstly, the anonymous viewers. Some people (especially recruiters) would argue that they don’t want to be seen “stalking” prospects. Others (maybe jobseekers) could say the same about checking out a hiring manager.

This is understandable if there is likely to be an element of repetition, but otherwise, why would people do that? I am fascinated by who has viewed my profile and their possible motives for doing so. I always check out their profiles and this in turn gives them more visibility.

Surely that is a good thing, both for recruiters and job seekers. There are some LinkedIn users that even use viewing lots of profiles as a growth tactic – they know that they will get the reciprocal views.

Faces of anonymous groups

False profiles trolling your blog

Now, to the false profiles trolling your blog. This is a tricky one. I have just started blogging and have not been the target of a troll just yet, but I can imagine how powerless you must feel.

It is very easy to set up a false LinkedIn profile, and as soon as one is banned, you can set up another one.

This is perfect for the cowardly trolls, and there may be a future where trolling comes out of the shadows. That is a worrying thought. “Hire me, I’m a professional troll – your competitors won’t stand a chance.” Some scumbags will find that attractive.

Websites

Thirdly, websites, which measure customer satisfaction are still worryingly easy to influence. The plethora of small businesses that are springing up at the moment will rely on these sites for new clients, and again, leaving nasty comments is not so hard. These sites will develop means to weed out the ghost comments, but they should not mass delete the negative ones, or their credibility is lost. The ghosts will find their way around any restrictions.

It is about time that something was done about online anonymity. Yes, there will be huge concerns about hackers accessing personal details, so I doubt that there will be extensive changes in terms of having a “personal” login, but there should at least be a orchestrated campaign to name and shame those caught.

Someone should set up a website with the details of the culprits….

Ghostbusters.com would be a great name, but I’ll leave that one to Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston.

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

A Case Study in Automotive

I've written a case study to share with you from one of our projects, this particular project continues to add significant value to our client and it is one that we are particularly proud of. Manufacturer auto industry car

 

The challenge we faced:

Our client is a global Tier One manufacturer within the automotive industry, turnover in excess of $25 billion annually and they design, manufacture and test a diverse range of automotive systems, assemblies and components for the OEM market and have over 250 sites manufacturing globally as well as many R&D and development sites.

One of the groups UK site had been loss making for a number of years and had picked up a bad reputation within the automotive sector as being a “revolving door,” with new employees coming in and leaving quite swiftly. This didn't reflect the ethos of the company, or other sites. A change of management and site culture was needed.

Senior directors from the company came over to the UK to look at the site and to consider all options for its future. They quickly realised the potential the site had and truly believed they could turn it around to become profitable. They noticed that some processes and behaviours within the site needed to be changed and a new senior management team was required to make this happen.

Manufacturer auto industry car

 

The most important things needed for the new team were structure, process, and a background within the automotive industry; individuals that had turned non profitable sites into profit making sites and sustaining that change. A belief in the culture and ethos of the group was essential. They consider themselves to have a very dynamic and employee led culture.

 

The difficult thing the client acknowledged was going to be the issue of trying to sell opportunities to potential individuals in the sector as they would probably be aware of the problems at the site, and would likely be stable within their current positions.

The obvious concern was that candidates could view moving to a company that had a bad reputation and perceived job insecurity, and the potential that the site might not being there in the next 12-18 months very negatively.

This would need to be carefully addressed and the genuine future plans, resources and commitment of the client effectively communicated at the very earliest stages of the search.

OUR SOLUTION

After a further meeting with the senior directors, we set up a plan of action and prioritised the positions they were looking to recruit, with the General Manager being paramount. We took details briefs from the directors to understand each of the roles in more depth, as well as the company culture.

We then went to the market to find relevant individuals for them. We used the ProCore four way methodology to full affect, as we knew we would have to approach the passive market to find the right people.

Once we had identified a long list of potential candidates through our research team, our consultants then contacted them confidentially and headhunted the relevant individuals, qualifying them against the roles in great detail.

Within a couple of weeks a short list of thoroughly vetted candidates was presented to the client; after a round of interviews the General Manager was hired, with other key individuals added to the team over the next couple of months.

Manufacturer auto industry

As part of our engagement we also helped the company draw up organisation charts, establish future vacancy requirements and to implement a structured recruitment process. For a short spell one of our consultants spent a day each week with the company to help embed these processes and concepts.

THE RESULT

The client was exceptionally happy with the quality of the candidates we provided, and the manner in which we worked. They particularly commented on the professionalism and the discreet way we handled the process, separating the ‘wheat from the chaff’ and the way in which we positioned the client’s plans and objectives.

With the new senior management team in place, the site quickly moved to profitability, the first time in twelve years, and staff attrition rates dropped dramatically. We are very proud of our involvement with the site and were very excited to learn that the GM we placed had been promoted to a wider more responsible role with the company and we wish him very well for the future.

If you would like to discuss this short article in more detail then please connect with me and let's chat.

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

The Future of the CV…Another Dimension…

The workplace is becoming more creative. Personality and cultural fit matter more than ever. A business lives and dies by the strength of its relationships. Work-life balance has become work-life blend. For some people, their colleagues are their family.

Photo of a video job interview

It has never been more important to dig deep into someone’s personality in the recruitment process. You want to get a window on their soul, their motivations, their hopes and dreams. The twinkle in their eyes is what sells them to you, that extra “je ne sais quoi” when they talk about their passions. They are the sort of people that you want to work with for the foreseeable future….

All this great stuff is the gold dust of recruitment; this is why we do our jobs.

I would argue that this cannot be reflected in even the best CV.

There is currently something deeply wrong with the first stage of the recruitment process. During that infamous 10-second “scan” of your resume, there is no way that the reader can understand what sort of a person they are dealing with. They may be able to read the words, try to decipher the meaning behind the adjectives, but there is no way of seeing the person behind the words.

There is another way. There will be a real alternative at some point soon.

https://youtu.be/XJICiQPjSfw

Before I go on to outline my thoughts, I would like to mention something about the nature of change. Sometimes it takes years or decades for an idea to replace an accepted practice, but when circumstances conspire, the change can come swiftly.

People are now getting more open to sharing their lives on social media. They are uploading videos onto YouTube, sharing selfies on Facebook and writing blogs on LinkedIn. The next stage of the technology revolution is wearable technology. People are happy to share themselves with society like never before.

Now finally getting to the recruitment angle….

Video interview

 

I can see a world where impromptu video (taken from their phone or watch) will form a key part of the recruitment process. The perception of video as an impersonal and inflexible medium is starting to disappear. Companies could request a Snapchat style introduction based on a couple of key questions, they could view introductory videos on LinkedIn profiles, or entire interviews could be conducted via their smartwatches.

 

This won’t replace the CV completely, but the smarter companies will quickly realize the value of this interactivity. The video interviewing industry is growing quickly. It has not yet reached the mainstream, and I expect that there will be a good few sceptics responding to this article, but it is definitely the successor of the CV in my view.

What do you think?

If you would like to discuss this short article in more detail then please connect with me and let's chat.

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

Top 5 Interview Tips

There isn't any exact science when it comes down to interviewing, but you can stack the percentages in your favour by following these simple tips: job interview candidates

number one

 

Dress well! Now, I don't mean Mickey Mouse Ties (yes, I’ve had one of these) and bright red and green socks I mean a clean, tidy business suit, plain shirt / blouse and a matching tie - follow this simple rule a little bird once told me; 1 plain and 2 stripe or 1 stripe and 2 plain.

 

number two

 

Make sure you prepare well, it’s no surprise that the candidates who prepare the best get the best jobs, it’s a fact and it’s something that there can be no excuse for. The internet has been around long enough to ensure that there is information about the company and sector you're working in, so instead of watching the TV get busy reading and researching.

 

number three

Have plenty of questions written down for the inevitable "do you have any questions" bit. It will happen and you know it will so make sure you’re ready for it. This bit is so easy and you generate the questions from your preparation time. Don’t forget – Interviews are a two way thing. Asking questions you want to know the answer to is the perfect way to get to know the employer and the interviewer! Make sure that you have enough company information so that you feel comfortable, confident and excited going forward!

 

number four

Use the STAR method for delivering your answers to questions you’re asked: Now many of you will have heard of this and it’s a common thing. The beauty of this is it allows you to elaborate in context and it opens the door for further questions about the topic you have chosen to respond with. It’s a clear, structured and concise method and the best way of minimising the amount of questions that you just "don't know" so here is a recap:

  1. Situation: The position I was in
  2. Task: What I was asked to do while in that situation
  3. Action: What I did after I was asked to do what I was doing in the situation
  4. Result: What end product of the action.

number five

DO NOT BE LATE FOR WHATEVER REASON IN THE WORLD APART FROM NUCLEAR DISASTER. If you're going to be late then it would probably best to rearrange the whole thing! A minute here and there I guess isn't going to kill you or the interviewer, but it may be the difference between two equally matched candidates and it’s just not worth the risk!

Written By Lee Narraway and Edited By Natalie Whaley

If you would like to discuss this short article in more detail then please connect with me and let's chat.

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

Just How Important is Honesty?

With a few notable exceptions, our film industry (and society, in general) loves to play on the stereotype of the bad boy in business. From Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone to Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, we cannot help but be charmed by their seemingly boyish disregard for the rules.

Recruitment pic for blog men women

 

Life often imitates art and vice versa. Big businesses the world over have “bent” the rules wherever possible for their personal gain. Whether it is offshore tax evasion, sweatshops in the Far East or overstating your profits to your shareholders, there are many opportunities to play the bad boy and win at the expense of others.

For a big, faceless corporation, if it is seen as the “done thing”, then the individuals involved practically absolve themselves of responsibility and go with the flow. This is morally reprehensible of course, and some of the biggest tragedies of the last 100 years have come about for exactly this reason.

People need to stand up and be counted. Otherwise our societies will slide deeper into the mire. If the individual moral compass starts to slide, then we have no more hope for a just and fair society or business climate.

You cannot control others or tell them what to do – they will make their own decisions. However, you can be true to yourself. If you feel that something is wrong, why shouldn’t you speak up? If enough of you speak up on a regular enough basis, that is enough to engender change higher up the hierarchy.

There was a case recently at the UK Retailer Tesco where they routinely misreported profits over a significant length of time. The CEO and a number of Trading Directors were involved. I won’t even speculate as to the origin of this deceit, but the aftermath has rocked a UK corporate giant to the core. The Directors involved have all left the business, and their names will forever more be associated with the scandal.

Not doing the right thing is often an easier choice to make than doing the right thing. However, the consequences of this could be with you forever.

honesty word

Working in recruitment, being honest with clients and candidates is something that should be second nature, Patrick Broderick the first trainer I had in recruitment once said to me “all you have in recruitment is your ethics”.

We are dealing with the hopes and dreams of people – they deserve a truthful opinion. Our clients rely on us to find the best possible candidates for their roles. In a candidate-led market, we ensure that they find the best-fit person for them and never overpromise like many of our competitors.

If a candidate has certain weak points, I will tell them. If they are over-ambitious, I will tell them. I will give them feedback as to why they may not have got a role and help them to make the best career choices.

Collage pics core values recruitment

 

If a client is unrealistic with their expectations, we will set them at the right level. If they don’t understand the nature of the market, we won’t sugar coat it. If they insist on perfection, we will even walk away. We’ll do our best, but, in our industry, perfection is a pipe dream.

With an honest person, what you see is what you get. No frills, just plain old common sense. When two honest people are working together, the optimal result is always possible.

 

 

If you would like to discuss this short article in more detail then please connect with me and let's chat.

Lee Narraway Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

Want To Get Your CV Noticed? Then Read On

I get asked quite often what the best format for a CV would be, in truth there isn't any one standard I would say is better than another but there are a few things you can do to help. Curriculum Vitae picture with hands

Firstly you have to think what you are trying to achieve, in essence you're trying to get noticed and to do this you have to touch on the things that are important to the reader. The main things in any situation are centred around the four main buying motives:

man with calculator

 

Make money 

Save money

Save time

Improve reputation

 

 

So how can you translate this into your CV, maybe you're in a role that you think doesn't touch on these four statements? Well you would be wrong! If you work for any company you do it for a reason and I promise you it will be related to one of the four above.

Numbers are your friend that you turn to first, if you made money then again how much was it ££££$$$$? How did it compare to your target %%%%? Who were the beneficiaries in this case? Why did you do it?

logo saving money

 

If you saved money then how much ££££$$$$? What percentage improvement did it give %%%%, who benefited from your work?

If you saved time then how was this reflected? How did this make the process more efficient? How much time did you save ££££$$$$? How did this compare to how it was done before %%%%? Did the time saving save any money? If so how much? and who benefited from this?

With regard to improving the reputation of a company, many candidates get a little confused on how they maybe impact on this. There are many ways in which this could happen, one reason could be an accreditation to a ISO standard or a safety governing body, another could be connecting with the local community in a way which improves local relationships. It could be charity work or social agenda items. You may have saved the environment!!

The real key is to stop and think how and what you do impacts positively on the company you work for as this is where the value is that you could bring to a new employer, it is also the value that they see in you for remuneration negotiations.

numbers picture

 

Believe me when I say this but numbers will be there for you in some way so go and find them and highlight them in your CV.

 

If you would like to discuss this short article in more detail then please connect with me and let's chat.

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

Try the Disney Way……

The Diversity of Disney

Workers in Disney diversity

Going to Disneyland is a magical experience.

Much of the enjoyment comes not only from the wonderful settings and characters but also from the people that work there. There are a wide variety of people from all over the world, at all age groups, all doing a mixture of activities with a common thread. They all try their best to give great customer service in whatever role they are involved with.

I am unfortunately not party to the Disney recruitment criteria, but you can be sure that diversity is high on their agenda. As long as you have the right “you’re going to have a great day today Sir” attitude, you’ve got the job, no matter whether you are 18 or 80, Chinese or Mexican, male or female. One thing is for certain, I bet being a “recruiter” for people at Disneyland is a lot of fun….

They have a laser focus on people who will give great service, and all the other criteria (such as age, gender and ethnic origin) come a distant second.

It made me think.

Workers in Disney Mickey

Working in the technical recruitment market as I do, a common issue that I come across is how to open the market up to source more candidates for a particular position. In the technical space, we are very niche in the way we view the skill sets required and the sectors we chose from. From an experience point of view, my clients are looking for very specific competencies, which makes it even stranger that the “older” professionals sometimes do not get considered as often as they should.

We have to be more focused on the requirements of the roles and let the other criteria fade into the background. An ambitious 25-year-old who only stays for 18 months would not be as good a hire as a 55-year-old who can utilise his experience not only in his role but also in a mentoring capacity for others. The lack of hiring boundaries for Disney was a real eye-opener for me.

https://youtu.be/hLmyFiN0TRs

What is also clear is the level of trust that Disney put in their workforce. It was very evident in everybody I met who worked there. From the guy who seemed convinced he had been born and raised in Fantasyland to the lady who was encouraging me to dance with the parade. They all operate freely and have obviously been trained very well and had the vision of the organisation expressed very clearly to them. Irrespective of background, you felt that they were part of the Disney family.

I agree that the skills required to work at Disney are more generic than many businesses, but the Disney “cast” are a shining example of true diversity in action.

Industry could learn a lot from the organization, training and culture that exists at the most magical place on earth.

Written by Lee Narraway and edited by Paul Drury

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

How Often Have You Lied at Work?

The Perils Of Lying At Work man face lie work

It’s just too easy. I’m sure that we have all done it. The door of “the easy way out” beckons and you tell that little lie. You tell yourself that no one is honest all the time, as you simultaneously hatch a plan to cover it up. There are conflicting views on the value of “white lies”, but for those people whose work lives are ruled by deceit and subterfuge, their lies can only cause harm.

In a piece of research in 2014, Kim Serota, a professor from Oakland, carried out a revealing study on lying. He found that 60% of the subjects reported not telling any lies on any given day and that 5% of the respondents told half the volume of lies. This suggests a tendency towards “prolific lying.” He found that the average number of lies in the UK was four per day, with “prolific liars” telling significantly more than four lies per day.

According to the data, prolific liars are younger, are more likely to be male and have higher occupational status. Senior managers seem to be more likely to be prolific liars than junior managers and non-management employees. This trend opposes the broader finding that people tell fewer lies as they get older.

The collaborative nature of our working life is such that it is easy to get caught up in someone’s web of deceit. If you accept their lie as a truth and then act on it, you are allowing it to become part of your reality and the responsibility for the consequences now partly lies with you. There is also the feeling that if someone has told a white lie to you, it is almost acceptable to lie to them in return. This is an extremely slippery slope. If you are being told a lie, in many cases, the best course of action is to question the facts and get to the truth of the matter.

https://youtu.be/ZrWJN_SjGt8

People lie for various reasons – not all of them are malicious, so be delicate and forgiving when you uncover the lie. “I’m sure that you were mistaken” or “you may not quite have understood” are much better approaches than aggressively accusing them of being deliberately misleading. The liars will often be relieved that their lie has been “rumbled” in such an understanding manner, and they will be unlikely to do it again with you anytime soon.

The dilemma comes if someone’s lie does not directly affect you. It may be seen as “meddling” if you get involved, but everyone has a different view. The fact is that most lies will come to light in the end. Living the life of a fraud is never a long-term option, and once one lie is discovered, all the others will be sure to unravel.

To give a recruitment example, there have been lots of high profile examples where the simple matter of lying on a CV has been discovered decades later, yet the outcome has been the same. Loss of trust, loss of reputation and often loss of employment. That person may have been promoted instead of you. How do you feel about their lie? Would you still tell “little white lies” like this yourself?

All lies catch up with you in the end.

Written by Lee Narraway and Edited by Paul Drury

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

Can You See the Light? The Danger Of Hope

Hope is a complicated feeling

It can keep you going through tough times, a ray of light behind the clouds to hint at a brighter future. It helps you to overcome obstacles and learn the painful lessons that lie on the path to your goal. Your belief in your hope inspires others to believe in their dreams – it is contagious, and one of the most uplifting feelings that you can experience.

Lights recruitment

However, not wanting to burst the bubble, when hope is irrational, it can also be one of the most limiting feelings that you can experience. It can hold you back at the vital moment when you need to change something, and paralysis can swiftly ensue. Just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best makes you feel good, but sometimes, unless you act to make things happen, your desired outcome is unlikely to come to pass.

Hope is not a strategy when something needs to change

Don’t get me wrong, persistence and hope are still the source of much that is good in the world. However, after a certain number of attempts, when persistence seems to be failing, experimentation has to kick in.

Edison famously invented the light bulb after 10,000 “successful failures.” I might doubt the number involved, but I don’t doubt that he made slight changes to the formula after a few attempts at each iteration. He might have sat in his lab, crossing his fingers for every individual attempt, but it won’t have been his only strategy. It was a scientific certainty that if he tried for long enough, in enough different ways, that he would eventually achieve success. He did.

So, in short, I agree that there is virtue in “try, try and trying again” but the wisest people understand the point when the same action is not going to bring about a different result.

It takes real courage to abandon hope in a certain direction and place your hope in a new one. When you have done this (successfully) a few times, you realise that changing the focus of your hope does not make it any less powerful – with every “new” hope, your resolve becomes stronger.

The danger of hope is when it becomes tired and weak. That is when hope can become destructive. If you have spent years “hoping” for a certain outcome, but never changing anything to make it happen, it can have a knock-on effect on the rest of your life. You stop believing in hope altogether, and the other areas of your life start to suffer. A person with no hopes and dreams lives a life of emptiness.

Candidates jobs

Every now and again, I see a candidate come into the room who is obviously on the verge of giving up. They have often been “hoping” for too long, but not doing enough about it. I try to help them with a different course of action.

In a job search, as in life, you have to invest your hopes wisely.

Written by Lee Narraway and Edited by Paul Drury

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

Is Your Boss Holding You Back?

No matter what we do in life or at work, there is nearly always an amount of headroom for further growth. It is human nature to want to become better versions of ourselves – the question is whether our bosses are happy to facilitate this. Maybe they feel that their position may be threatened? Maybe they are just so comfortable with you in your role that they don’t want to let you spread your wings?

Boss with employee

The responsibility to do the “right thing” by an employee is a great one, but for a certain type of employee, the irreplaceable type, for some bosses it is tempting to keep them in the fold for as long as possible. Of course, these are among the worst types of bosses, but I hear more than my fair shares of stories like this.

Sometimes the boss gets too comfortable. They know that you do a good job and wish to maintain the status quo. The hassle of replacing you and training the new starter would be significant, so they use a number of tactics to stall proceedings.

I am writing this article to shine a light on a few of these measures, and if you feel that you are in a similar situation, you need to give your future with this boss some serious thought.

They belittle you

They will only praise you up to the point that they fear that you might leave. Then little by little they will start to plant seeds of doubt in your mind.

Any opportunity is taken to magnify your weaknesses and tell you how lucky you are that they are so forgiving. Classic bullying tactics.

They limit participation

Where before they may have maximized your impact on their department and ensured that you got involved in as many projects as possible, now they attempt to take you out of the limelight. If you are less visible to the business, then you are less likely to be promotion material.

If you don’t work with anyone outside of your core team, you won’t be building any relationships that could provide leverage for an upwards move.

Reduced responsibility

They will ensure that your job responsibilities are limited to what suits them best. You will stop developing, and your career will come to a standstill. It will be enough for your boss, but it won’t be enough for you.

It is not that they don’t trust you; they are scared to trust you.

Your reviews get worse

Suddenly, on paper you don’t seem like the ideal employee. Your boss uses every opportunity for constructive criticism, and there is seemingly little to celebrate. You know that this doesn’t reflect reality, but his view still carries a lot of weight.

If one of more of these things start to happen and you feel that your boss is unjustly maneuvering to keep you “in your place”, you have two choices. Mention the situation to HR or a higher power, or think about leaving the company altogether.

The one thing that you definitely shouldn’t do is nothing.

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

So Have You Met Shrek?

Don’t Judge a Book By The Cover

I shook him by the hand, but something didn’t feel right.

As a recruiter, I am used to listening to my gut feelings, but on this occasion, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I have changed some of the details in this story to protect the individual’s identity, but it was one of the biggest eye-opening interviews that I have ever conducted.

Shrek

I was in my first year of recruitment. At that time, interviews were still as nerve wracking for me as they were for the candidates, and I was admittedly a little green. Nonetheless, I prided myself on my intuition (gained from my previous career in industry) and had made a decent start in the profession.

Then, one day, Steve (name amended) walked into the room. He must have been the largest guy that I have ever met. He avoided my eyes as he walked in, and, with a sweaty handshake, he slumped in the chair, muttering something about the traffic under his breath. He couldn’t have seemed less interested to be there if he tried.

However, he had a perfect CV, so I set about trying to get some sense out of him. Any reply that I did get was delivered in a monotonous voice, and he kept looking at his watch. Something wasn’t right, but I continued the interview for the next hour, getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of communication.

I did the worst thing possible. I made the assumption that he didn’t have the right personality for the company that I was recruiting for. I didn’t think to dig further into the circumstances of his mood, and I switched off, discounting him from any of my possible searches. I judged him based on minimal evidence, but with absolute certainty.

If it hadn’t been for his email the next day apologizing and telling me about his serious personal problems that day, I would have been none the wiser.

Job interview candidates

I felt like an idiot. Why didn’t I care enough to dig that little bit deeper under the surface? It was obvious that something wasn’t quite right, but why did I judge him without understanding the bigger picture?

We do this all the time - making snap judgments based on someone’s appearance, gender, nationality, religion, etc. The media fuels this suspicion, which all too easily can turn to hatred. Walking down the street, every Muslim is a terrorist, every youth in a hoodie is a drug dealer. There are so many people, who don’t get their fair chance in life because they are a victim of these unfair prejudices.

If Shrek walked into my interview room, I’d like to think that I would hear him out. Not sure what sort of an Engineer he would make, but you never know unless you dig a little deeper….

Written by Lee Narraway and Edited by Paul Drury

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

7 Tips To Deal With Sensitive People

According to research, 20% of us are “highly-sensitive.” This seems high, but the majority of us (especially the men), won’t always want to advertise it. Actually, those people who are more sensitive than others can be a huge asset to any organization – they are astute influencers and are always the first to react to changes.

Workers office

 

However, in order to get the best out of them, there are a number of things that the caring manager should bear in mind:

1. Modify your language

You can be sure that they will read into every word you say, so make sure that you are clear about your message. Take the time to explain the context behind your words so they cannot be misinterpreted and be as direct as possible.

Ambiguity might lead to them drawing all sorts of conclusions.

2. Ask them to set their emotions aside

No one can ignore their emotions, but it is sometimes necessary to point out that they can get in the way of making solid business decisions. By asking them to focus on the logical facts of the matter, they can actively manage their emotional response.

3. Talk about the consequences

The more that they understand the various possibilities; the more innovative they can be as they clearly see the ramifications of each choice.

A lack of information can make a sensitive person nervous, so share as much as you can with them.

4. Identify what causes them stress

If you can move them to a quieter area of the office, ask them if this would help. Give them time to reply in the clamour of a meeting. Ask them about how they prefer to work.

Every now and again, a day working at home can help to recharge their battery and bring the best out of them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDmFBhyyXf4

5. Take care with criticism

They will often be much more aware of their shortcomings than the rest of their colleagues. Often, you won’t need to explain a criticism to them. They will be perfectly aware of it already. Also, take criticism from them on the chin – given their attention to detail, they will often try to make constructive suggestions to improve a certain situation.

6. Be honest about your feelings

They will often be able to tell if you are hiding something, so best to be honest in what you say. If you are having a bad day, don’t say “I’m fine” – best to let them know what is going on, or they may wonder about the reasons why you obviously aren’t fine.

7. Don’t interrupt their focus

They focus best when they are in tune with their own thoughts, and can sometimes lose track if they are pulled from one project to another. Set expectations for timeframes on projects and give them the space and time to deliver the best possible result.

Getting the most out of the sensitive people in your team can make them the barometer of your business. Accept that they need to be handled in a slightly different way, and you will allow them to flourish.

Written by Lee Narraway and edited by Paul Drury.

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

Top 5 Common CV Mistakes

cv curriculum vitae for blog

So last week I offered a free review on Engineering CV's...........

Yes, there was a common thread as to the structure and type of things missed off of the CV. Remember that the CV is your first opportunity to impress, so don't let it slip by in a blur of words and pictures. So, here goes the top 5 common mistakes:

1. Leave out the dodgy picture! Especially the ones that were taken a few years ago on a polaroid and have a few creases on them, they don't scan well or do you any favours.

2. The hiring manager wants to know what you can bring to the table and how you can benefit their organization, so it's always best to get into the nitty gritty early on, please don't waste page after page with acronyms.

It's likely a HR partner will look at the CV first so they may not be a subject matter expert.

3. You have an immediate opportunity to let the reader know how highly qualified you are, so tell them!

Put your qualification letters after your name, for example: Elizabeth Windsor CEng MSc BEng so there we are, the Queen is a chartered Engineer with a masters and a first degree (you heard it here first).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ygx9fF5AlQ

4. Ok so your home is important to you and you probably paid a lot of money for it but guess what?  The hiring manager really doesn't care where you live until they think they want to see you so put this information at the end of the CV.  It's also the first piece of information a recruiter will remove.

5. And last but certainly not least........

Remember the main buying motives, the reasons why anyone buys anything ever!!! You must relate what you do and what you have achieved to....

MAKING MONEY

SAVING MONEY

SAVING TIME 

IMPROVING COMPLIENCE OR IN OTHER WORDS...LOOKING GOOD

There you have it, don't make these common mistakes and your world will get infinitely better, well, at least your CV will.

Please leave your comments and share your opinion here.

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

Should I Quit my Job?

picture quote about quit your job

NO well not yet anyway.

Obviously in my role within recruitment this is a common question that many of my friends and associates ask me.

I always answer with the same response.

Take some time to think about how you feel and write a list.

Look at the black and white elements of your thoughts but more importantly list the 'grey' elements that are maybe not so obvious, the things that make the days and hours pass happily or the reasons for the gloom you may feel.

Following this have a think about what the common causes are, is it you! by leaving and joining another company are you just moving the problem?

And I guess the most important part, think about how you feel on a good day AND a bad day as you may just have the Monday blues.

https://youtu.be/7e2XDB7Ksu8

Changing jobs is not something to take lightly, you spend a whole lot of time at work and it has to be something you enjoy as much as possible after all the secret to not working is finding a job you love.


If you're speaking to a recruiter then make sure they earn their money by talking in detail about how the potential job will benefit you and your family, what's in it for you and the employer?

What is the potential culture like and how will I fit in to it as there is nothing worse than starting a job and having huge regret.

I left one of my jobs after 18 years, it hurt....a lot. This was to be expected really as having been in one place for 18 years I was never going to have the same relationship with a new company so make sure you think in context about the future and the role you may be looking at.


When I look back it was absolutely the right thing for me to do but I shouldn't have been surprised that I had regrets at the time, its natural to an extent but can be mitigated by taking the time to think.


Good luck and if you need help making that decision then give me a call and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712

Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/

Website: www.procorerec.com/