All Posts By


4 HR Resolutions for 2017

By | Employer Insights

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” Margaret J. Wheatley Life is full of transitions: moving, changing companies, accepting new positions, taking on new projects, initiating new relationships, establishing new personal routines, and starting a new year! Transitions allow us to look backward to learn and peek forward to improve. As we move from 2016 to 2017, it is useful to reflect on HR&r, past and anticipate resolutions for the future. 2016 has been a politically and socially volatile year (e.g., Brexit, Trump, refugees). It has also been a year with HR insights around technology, employee wellbeing, analytics for HR choices and HR information for business success, culture and its emerging role, leadership for investors, and so forth. So, what are some of my resolutions for HR for 2017?

  1. Continue to learn.  It is exciting and humbling to be in a profession that continues to progress. My personal commitment is to have 20 to 30 percent new insights every 2 years. That sounds easy, but is very demanding and requires constant observing, questioning, exploring, and experimenting. Just like my cell phone has evolved to a smart phone to a computer device and from a bulky instrument to something I carry in my pocket to something I could wear on my wrist, I know that some of the HR ideas that were right 10, 20, or 30 years ago have evolved. I resolve to learn by relying less on what has worked and more on the questions of what needs to work in the future.
  2. Focus on the business. This is not a new insight but it is so easy to define success through our own experience. I spent a day recently looking at everyone, shoes trying to see how many people wore the shoes that I thought were worth buying. Not one person!!! When I assume that my choices are shared by others, I live inside my personal cocoon. I need to see others through their world. Likewise, HR is not about HR, but about the business. I resolve to focus less on HR and more on business and how HR can impact business results.
  3. Build on the positive. Some prophets tell their followers they need to repent or they are going to hell. Others tell their followers how to get to heaven. I hope that in HR we can focus on the positive and help others find their way to positive personal and business impact. It is distracting and gets tiring to spend time arguing with the naysayers who bemoan what is wrong with HR. I hope to be among those who envision where HR can be a force for good and deliver value to employees, organizations, customers, investors, and communities. I resolve to be less distracted by naysers and shape a positive future about what can be.
  4. Navigate the HR paradoxes. In our research, we found that the personal HR competence most impacting business results was the navigation of paradox, or being able to manage the tension or two apparent contradictions.

In 2017, I envision some fascinating paradoxes that merit exploration:

  • Care for the individual (talent) and create competitive organizations (culture). HR needs to manage personal wellbeing and organization competitiveness. For 20 years, the profession has tilted towards talent and may need to rebalance to organization.
  • Use of technology for efficiency and connection. Technology (digitalization, robots, cloud) will continue to drive efficiency and innovation in HR. But, we should not forget the need for personal connection that binds us emotionally to each other and our organizations. Social isolation is more correlated with mortality than smoking, drugs, obesity or other behavioral problems. Technology needs to connect people who might otherwise be isolated.
  • Responding with speed and patience. No question that change requires response; but patience encourages judgment and wisdom of that response. HR needs to encourage rapid response, but also patience which may lead to better judgment.
  • Relying on both structured and unstructured information. Good HR relies on analytics, and much of the data for analytics comes structured data which produces statistical insights. But, research has shown that 80% of the data in our lives is unstructured observation and experience. HR needs to use both structured and unstructured data to provide insights.
  • Serve those inside and outside the organization. HR, value is clearly about employee wellbeing, but also about how that wellbeing impacts customers and investors.

I resolve to allow myself to live with paradox, to be willing to diverge when I tend to focus and to converge when I tend to ramble. I could go on, but that would be rambling. I have said and believe & this is a great time to be in HR&, but the greater time lies ahead. So, what are some of your HR resolutions for 2017? Let’s hope we can collaborate to make them happen.

Ten Questions To Ask When The Headhunter Calls

By | Candidate Insights

There are two kinds of recruiters. There are polite and professional recruiters, and then there are impolite and unprofessional ones. Because it is easy to start a recruiting business or start making calls as the newest member of a commission-only recruiting firm, there are more unprofessional and impolite recruiters than polite and professional ones. That makes things harder for the excellent recruiters who take great care of their candidates and their clients. These 10 questions will help you determine whether a recruiter who contacts you is worth your time and energy, or not.

  1. Are you calling me about a specific role, or collecting information for your database? (You can decide whether or not you want to donate your time to populate the recruiting firm’s database, if there is no actual, relevant job opening for you to explore right now.)
  2. Tell me about yourself. How long have you been recruiting? How long have you been with your current firm? (You can look up the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile while you are chatting by phone. Read their profile to get a feel for the recruiter’s experience, subject-matter expertise and credibility.)
  3. How many employees did you place with this employer client this year? (You want to determine whether the headhunter who calls you has a real relationship with the client, or is just tossing resumes at the employer and hoping they’ll become a client by hiring one of the recruiter’s candidates.)
  4. What is the job title and what is the salary range for the position? (If the recruiter won’t tell  you the salary range, you can politely hang up the phone. Professional recruiters will tell you what the job pays. After all — they reached out to you! If they are coy and cagey with you about something as fundamental as the salary range for a position, you don’t have time to waste with them.)
  5. Where is the position located (downtown, west side, etc.)?
  6. What kind of background and which skills is your client looking for?
  7. I have certain requirements for recruiters who wish to represent me to their clients. I need to give you written permission every time you share my resume with a client or a prospective client of yours. I also need to hear back from you within two or three days after every interview that I participate in, whether the client has made a decision or not. Do those two requirements work for you?
  8. As you review my LinkedIn profile, how much overlap do you see with the job opportunity we’re discussing?
  9. If I send you my resume now, what will be the next step, and when will that next step take place?
  10. What else do you need to know about me?

Some recruiters will be happy to answer your questions, and some of them will try to wrest control of the call from you. They will be affronted that a lowly job candidate would presume to ask them about their background or their relationship with the client firm. They are used to treating job candidates like dirt, the way unprofessional recruiters have done for years. Those folks believe that candidates must  be kept off-balance by being reminded that there are lots of qualified people out there (false), that they are a ‘stretch’ candidate for the job anyway (obviously false — why would the recruiter have time to include them in a candidate slate if they’re not clearly qualified?) or that their salary requirements are really pushing the envelope (if you’ve done your research, false again!). They are used to making job candidates feel dispensable and small.

Your career and your precious mojo are too important to entrust to someone who doesn’t value them! Save your time and attention for the recruiters — and employers — who deserve them.

11 Things Top Recruiters Should Tell Candidates

By | Recruiter Insights

I’ve been talking about the need for recruiter branding for some time now. It’s a pretty simple, yet deeply powerful concept: When sourcing talent gets competitive, only the most reputable recruiters get the attention of the best talent. And, I predict in the next year, employers who aren’t pleased with their recruiting departments’ results will focus heavily on ways to improve the reputation of their recruiters, and only the best will make the cut. So, if you want to stay in recruiting, you better be building your recruiter brand now, or suffer the risk of being let go due to lack of credibility with candidates.

How to gain candidates trust and respect

Having studied the sophisticated job seeker in-depth for the last year, we’ve researched and analyzed what top talent needs from recruiters to trust them.

The 1,000,000+ job seekers who visit CAREEREALISM every month were very clear in what is required for them to respect a recruiter and their employer. Here’s what they want you tell them:

  1. How do you like to be contacted about a job. Do you prefer email, LinkedIn, or the company’s online ATS?
  2. What is the right way to follow up on an application. How long should they wait and what’s the best method of contact?
  3. What are some things that impress you in a candidate. Think about your most recent successes, what did those candidates do to stand out to you?
  4. What must candidates include to be considered. What makes your job easier so you can screen a candidate in, as opposed to screening them out?
  5. What can get a candidate disqualified from consideration. What makes you put a candidate immediately in the “no” pile and why?
  6. Can candidates apply to multiple job openings without penalty. Does your company frown on candidates applying to more than one job at the same time?
  7. What’s your favorite quote. What do you believe in and what quote sums it up best?
  8. What do you do in your free time. What kinds of hobbies and pursuits make you happy?
  9. Why do you enjoy working for the company. Why does this job satisfy you professionally?
  10. How does the company have fun. How do you and your co-workers enjoy yourselves on the job?
  11. How would you describe the people that work at the company. What characteristics come to mind when you think of your teammates at the company?

By sharing a little bit about the recruiting process and the employment culture, you are giving top talent the information they need to feel more confident about their ability to apply successfully to your positions.

Additionally, you feel less like a stranger to them, and more like an approachable expert – which will lead to more passive candidates accepting your calls and responding to your proactive emails. In short, the more information you give them, the more likely they are to connect with you.

Afraid of getting slammed with applicants? Don’t be.

Our studies show job seekers, especially top talent, have “online application fatigue.” They are tired of applying online and never hearing back. In fact, 40%+ of our readers said they would never apply to a company again after they applied once and didn’t hear back. Why? They don’t like the feeling of rejection and assume the lack of a response means the company is saying “no” to them as a candidate permanently.

Thus, people are doing more research and taking a longer time to decide if they want to apply to a company. The result? Today’s job seeker is being more selective and applying to fewer jobs. Which means you need to really beef up and promote your recruiter brand to get the applicant traffic you need.

Brand or be branded – recruiters pay heed

Many recruiters will read this post and ignore the need to assess and develop their recruiter brand. The most common reason will be, “I’m too busy doing my job to do this.” To those I say, “Brand or BE branded.” Without a good recruiter brand your ability to do your job will only get harder. Moreover, building your brand doesn’t take a lot of time or money. But, the longer you wait, the harder it will be to catch up to those that recognized and seized the opportunity to build up their recruiting reputations.

Seven Counter-Intuitive Productivity Tips

By | Candidate Insights

It’s another 15 days before we close the year to welcome 2016! And this will be the final posting for 2015 about what’s important, urgent and really important but maybe not urgent – does this makes sense to you? We run from activity to activity, clients to customers, deadline after deadlines to simply clearing our emails. So here’s 7 really cool and practical productivity tips I recently read from Rohei. I can 100% identify most is about “DON’T START YOUR BUSY WORK BY CHECKING YOUR EMAIL RIGHT AWAY” because it’s got a terrible way of stealing your time. Have a blessed Christmas and A Blessed 2016!! You go to work, check your email while munching on a blueberry muffin. You spend the whole morning responding to requests and questions, and finally achieve Inbox Zero. Phew. By lunchtime you feel like you just ran a marathon. You worked at lightning speed, but were you productive? What if you forgot about a deadline because you were more preoccupied with answering not-so-urgent emails? Sometimes there are things we do instinctively because that’s what people do at work—check emails, go to meetings, write memos, update excel spreadsheets. But being busy is not the same as being productive. There are some things we can do that may make us appear or feel less busy, but actually translate to higher productivity.

Here are a few:
1. Don’t check your e-mail
Don’t check your e-mail right away. Checking your email puts you in response mode, addressing an assortment of demands and requests. Start the day instead by taking control of your time. Revisit your checklist and remind yourself of what the priorities for the day are. And get rid of the so-called frog— the task you perceive as most difficult, or the one you are likely to procrastinate on the most. Getting started on that dreaded task will give you a great feeling of accomplishment and will already be a big jumpstart to a productive day.

2. Choose paper over digital
We are all terribly reliant on technology for communication, organization and taking notes. But our Hospitality Consultant Ann Romey says, “I like to keep my phone strictly for messages and email.” She takes the classic paper route for planning, managing her calendar and making lists.” It allows me to focus,” she says, “when I try to do it on my phone, I get distracted by all the messages coming in.” Karen, our VP of Operations, agrees. “Papers and notebooks are the best for planning and processing ideas. When I go straight to software, I feel that I don’t process or retain the information as well.” Our Principal Consultant Helen takes all her notes from conversations, small meetings, and big meetings, in a binder-type notebook, with all the sections and notes labeled by topic and date, which makes it easy for her to access information about a particular conversation.

3. Stop before it’s perfect
“There’s no such thing as perfection,” Karen says. “Overanalyzing and overthinking can be very unproductive.” While we all work toward excellence and put our best into every task, there is a limit. There is always something that can be changed or improved, but the goal is not perfection. The goal is to meet needs and provide solutions to clients, and to each other. We should know when to stop and call a task done.

4. Block out your time
In most workplaces, people are at their supervisor’s disposal. But at ROHEI, having a culture of trust gives us freedom to protect our time when we need to. For example, our Marketing Team blocks out time weekly for data analytics and reporting to ensure it is faithfully accomplished each week. Operations teams block out time to handle special tasks like creating SOPs, creating systems to facilitate flow of information, or re-grouping to clarify roles.

We also block out times to collaborate and delegate. Most people feel that they are faster working on their own, without a team to care for. But the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Initially a newly-formed team may take time to become a strong unit, but after a while the investment of time is reaped in increasing productivity.

Perhaps the most important time-blocking we do at ROHEI is on Mondays. Monday morning is staff discipleship time, in which our Chief Executive and leaders speak and share inspirational messages, give updates. The rest of Monday is spent on team communication, goal setting and planning. It’s almost a whole day of planning and discussions, but it ensures that the week is spent on the right things.

5. Limit meetings
Meetings help facilitate work and get consensus on important decisions. But meetings also create more work. So like everything else in life, meetings should have limits. Our batteries tend to drain, and attention span dissolves after 30 minutes to an hour of discussions. Meetings are also best done after lunch, to keep mornings free for people to do their most important work, as mornings are the brain’s peak time. Meetings also should preferably have food and coffee to keep everyone engaged and awake!

6. Take more breaks
There’s a story of an old man and a young man, both tasked with cutting as many trees as they can in the forest. Confident about his stamina, the young man cut trees all day, taking only one break. He cut down 25 trees. Meanwhile, the old man cut down 40 trees. “How did you do that?” The young man asked him. “I took 10-minute breaks every hour to sharpen my axe,” the old man explained. Though the young man had the stamina, the old man had the wisdom to take breaks—to rest physically and make sure his tools were in top form.

The same principle applies at the workplace. Breaks can be taken strategically—to recharge physically and mentally and also take a step back from our work and assess how we’re doing. Though it seems like you’re taking time away from work, it is actually more beneficial—it increases quality of work and productivity.

7. Sleep more
Have you ever experienced working all the way from 9am until about 10pm and you realize you’re working much slower, and then you stop and call it a day? The next day, you continue, doing the same thing and finish it 4 times faster.

The power of sleep is often underestimated in the corporate world. People trade sleep for a little more time to work. But that equation is out of balance. The more accurate equation is: proper sleep multiplies the quality and quantity of work.

We all have productivity hacks we discover along the way as we work, and let’s face it, doing some of them sometimes make us feel guilty, because they’re not the norm. Sometimes we feel like we have to work like machines because it looks like everyone else is. But in the right work culture, where we trust one another and know that each one has the company’s best interest in mind, we can choose the path of productivity that works best for us. When we see the bigger picture, beyond our desks, beyond the urgent and immediate, we take a broader view of our organization’s role and vision, and we work towards that vision. We view ourselves as a team and if we aim for productivity for the sake of the team, we are being good stewards of our time and are serving others well. And this makes our quest for productivity all the more purposeful and meaningful.

Questions to ponder on:
1. Have you discovered any counter-intuitive practices that help you be more productive at work? Perhaps waking your mind up with a video game before starting work?
2. Are you able to practice your own productivity techniques? Why or why not? How might you be able to introduce productivity practices in your workplace?

4 Mentalities That Are Killing Your Career

By | Candidate Insights

AWAS is the Bahasa word for BEWARE which you will commonly see the roads in Malaysia. So do you have AWAS alerts you can apply in your work? The AWAS sign is a good reminder of 4 common categories of “mindset” that could hamper our career growth. The biggest fear is we could potentially be our worse enemy for growth. I like this article by J.T. O\’Donnel highlighting 4 categories of mindset to watch out against which may hinder our growth.

Read on for the full details about:

  1. Overthinker
  2. One-track-minder
  3. All-talker

Job security no longer exists (and that’s not a bad thing)

One of the most important ah-a! moments we can have today is to accept that employment stability no longer exists. Every job is temporary. The sooner we embrace and adapt to this mindset, the better. Unfortunately, many professionals are still working with outdated assumptions. Things like, “My goal is to get a good job with benefits that I can stay at for a long time.” Or, “A college degree will ensure I get better job opportunities.” And even, “If I work hard, keep my head down at work, and just put in the time, they will see my effort and I will be rewarded.” If you believe any of those right now, you’re setting yourself up for a let-down. Today, there are no guarantees when it comes to career advancement.

4 career mentalities you can’t afford to have

A recent survey by LinkedIn of over 10,000 job changers shows that more than 53 percent of them made the change for better career opportunities. While money was important (it ranked second), the need to move to a job that could give them the chance to increase their skills was their primary reason for making the switch. These successful job changers focused on making sure their businesses-of-one stayed employable by keeping their career moving forward. Unfortunately, not every professional will succeed as these job changers did. Why? They have one of four career mentalities that hold them back.

  1. Overthinker
    The person who thinks about every career option as a scary risk, finding flaws and roadblocks to each one. Such people spend hours, days, weeks, and even years pondering what they should do next. Meanwhile, time marches on in their dead-end jobs. They don’t build any new skills. Eventually, they find themselves part of a “corporate restructuring”–they get a month’s severance and get thrusted into an unexpected job search.
  2. One-track-minder.
    The person who knows exactly what he or she wants to do and has no desire to consider any alternate options. Convinced they’ve got the perfect master plan, they work like crazy, often to the point of exhaustion. Over time, their intensity works against them. Co-workers and managers see them as too rigid and controlling, which often gets them passed over for promotions–and, in some cases, let go for failing to be a good team player.
  3. All-talker.
    The person who loves to talk about his or her career, but never really takes action. Such people are full of ideas and sound very convincing that they’ll be a huge success. They seem to have it all figured out. However, as time passes, you notice they aren’t moving along in their careers. They always have an excuse, and it’s usually someone else’s fault they aren’t where they should be. Eventually, they lose credibility and find people actively try to avoid career conversations with them.
  4. Open-roadster
    The person who feels fate will guide him or her on the career journey. If they just keep an open mind and let the opportunities present themselves, they believe they’ll find the careers they were meant to have. Over time, they drift from career to career, never really establishing any particular skill or specialty. They claim they’re enjoying the process, but as the years pass, they find themselves with diminishing options and not a lot of money saved for retirement. Looking back on your career, can you identify with any of these mentalities? If so, it might also explain why you aren\’t where you want to be professionally.

If you’re thinking, “That’s not me,” consider this.

Studies by CAREEREALISM show that 88 percent of professionals feel unsatisfied with their career success. While you may not have a severe case of any of the mentalities above, even possessing one of them to a small extent can hurt your ability to move forward. Ask yourself, “Am I guilty of a career-limiting mentality?” The sooner you recognize what’s holding you back, the sooner you can make changes and take action to eliminate it.

Dressing For Your Next Interview

By | Candidate Insights

First impression does count! When you step into an interview, the interviewer(s) forms certain perception about you in the first 10 seconds. How should you dress for your next interview? You can either dress in a formal attire or a business casual attire when you attend an interview, depending on the nature of job/career that you are being interviewed for.
For example: if you are being interviewed for a Relationship Manager in a bank, formal attire is required. If you are being interviewed for a Software Engineer role with a Software solution provider, then business casual may seem appropriate.

Do your research on the company that you are going for interview, know the nature of their business and the culture in the company. You can ask the HR/secretary or the recruiter who is helping you to arrange the interview, what is the appropriate dressing of the company. When you are unsure of what to wear, it is better to be a little overdressed and look professional than to be underdressed for the interview.

  • Wear long sleeve shirt (white or light blue colour) with tie and pants.
  • You can wear a suit if you are being interviewed for a management position.  A suit means a matching jacket and pants, shirt and tie.  Dark coloured suit and light coloured shirt is your best option.
  • Wear a pair of clean and polished shoes with dark coloured socks.
  • Avoid loud colours and flashy tie.  Disney themed tie is a no no!
  • Clothing should be neat, clean and pressed.
  • Your hair should be neat, clean and conservative.


  • Generally, you should wear a suit with a skirt or pants.  When in doubt, be more conservative.
  • For business casual, you can wear a neatly ironed long sleeve shirt/blouse with a skirt or pants.
  • Skirt should be knee length.  Keep those super mini and tight skirt for social outings!
  • Anything tight, bright, short or sheer should be avoided.
  • Light make-up is better than no make-up. If you have nail polish on, shades that are neutral to your skin colour are advisable.
  • Wear a pair of fairly low-heeled shoes, clean and not worn-out heels.  Save your 4-inch stiletto heels for party!
  • Keep hair accessories to a minimum, tie up your hair to a pony tail or bun if they are frizzy.  The idea is to look polished and professional.

Not forgetting to make sure you have fresh breath when you attend interview.  Brush your teeth before the interview if you need to. Use cologne/perfume with light fragrance, you do not want to “choke” your interviewer(s) or worse if it causes an allergic reaction! Lastly, allow extra time to travel to the interview venue so that you will not be late or rushing. When you arrive early, you will have time to compose yourself and walk into your interview confidently with a smile to leave a good impression!

2005 to 2015 – Reflections from my Career time capsule

By | Recruiter Insights

“Change is Inevitable. Progress is Optional” ~ Tony Robbins A lot can change in ten years. If I look at my own life of being at the beginning of my career as an IT Recruitment Consultant in 2005 to today working for LinkedIn, my career has changed quite a bit. In a few weeks I’ll be experiencing one of the biggest changes to come yet, the arrival of my first child. In preparation for the arrival of who we refer to as “Baby Mac” my wife set me the task of going through boxes I have had stored in a cupboard since god knows when. While taking a rather enjoyable trip down memory lane (I found my old Nintendo Game Boy) I came across some notes from the Carman White Training I did while at CCS Technology Recruiters (now Clicks IT). For many Recruiters who cut their teeth in the mid-2000’s, training from David Carman and John White was a standard experience when learning the recruitment trade. I’m sure a fair few of you reading this would still have binders full of colourful pages of notes from these courses. From a training session in 2005 I found some notes I had made on the current market and the implications it had for our business.
In the Recruitment industry most of us would agree that not much has changed in ten years when it comes to these trends. Recruiters are constantly on the search for good candidates and in a consolidating market the importance of brand and reputation is greater than ever. Thinking broadly though a lot has changed in 10 years. As a society we are more connected than ever.

  • Over 60% of all internet traffic in Australia is on mobile devices, which is never more evident than on the commute to and from work where most people have their heads down over their phones or tablets.
  • In 2005 the newspaper was still king and “The Age” was still a broadsheet. Now most of us consume our news online or through a number of apps and blogs.
  • We also make decisions differently. Ten years ago I would call my travel agent to book a holiday. Today I will almost certainly search Trip Advisor and other social platforms to gain the information I need to book a holiday or even choose a place for dinner.

The question I started pondering, as an industry how much have we changed our methods and approach to align with changes in society?
Speak to any Recruiter and they will tell you that top talent is hard to find. With the advancement of technology candidates also have many more options they can either identify through their own networks or with employers directly. Yet a large part of the industry still relies primarily on talent finding them through adverts on Job Boards and their website. In today’s connected world, should a core part of any Recruitment strategy really be hoping for top talent to find the job we posted, put together a CV and apply? Every Recruitment firm works tirelessly to demonstrate as best they can why they should be the recruiter of choice, but how have Recruitment firms changed the way they tell this story? I’ve heard from many Recruitment firms this year that 2015 is the year they will be redesigning their website. An engaging corporate website is as important today as it was in 2005 but what else are firms doing to reach their audience besides waiting for people to check out their website? There’s no silver bullet to success and I’m sure firms& have used a mix of strategies to keep themselves at the top over the last decade. As an example, we recently had Lincoln Benbow from Halcyon Knights speak at an event in our office and he said one of the first things he and his business partner did was hire a Marketing Manager to build their brand as marketing was not something either of them had experience in. If you look back at the last ten years what are some of the things you have you done to find the best talent and make your business the number 1 choice for your industry?