Article 1: THE TRUTH: What We REALLY Get Up To ‘Working From Home’
Before we get into that, the caveat to this story is that the study we refer to wasn’t conducted by a recruitment industry body or a global HR firm or even a local recruiter, it was carried out by online bed retailer Time4Sleep….
The option to work from home makes a job more attractive to 42% of the 1,000 surveyed and the study considered how factors including being able to sleep at work (!), flexible hours and home working play a part in making a job seem more attractive.
BUT…. what do your employees REALLY get up to when they’re ‘working from home?’ Let’s have a peek through the keyhole –
- 20% of females admitted to working from home to nurse a post-office party hangover
- One in 10 worked from the sofa to watch major sporting events like Wimbledon
- A secret shopping day accounted for 17% of 18-24 year olds
- Almost half worked in ‘lounge wear’, aka pyjamas
- 40% had a lie-in
- A third fell asleep at some point during the day
- 32% watched TV and the same number actually worked from bed
Being allowed to sleep during the day proved to be the biggest draw for those who took part in the study. Over 20% said ‘they would be more inclined to take a job if staff were allowed to nap during the day’; 23% felt that ‘having the option to start work later would make a job more attractive’ and 15% said ‘said they would feel more productive at work if they could nap mid shift.’
Hold the front page – RECRUITMENT SHOCKER! If people could sleep at work, jobs would be more attractive!
Isn’t that a bit like saying a job would be more attractive if they were paying a Ronaldo-esque salary and throwing in a Lamborghini and a La-Z-Boy recliner with a built-in beer fridge….
As we said, the study was from a company that sells beds.
Article 2: Think, Think and Think Again….
It will come as no surprise to learn that demand for the very best candidates remains high but in true Freakonomics style, supply is low. So, what do we do about it? Some are ditching perm staff for temp and contract staff on a ‘per project’ basis but hiring for a particular project is harder than hiring for an all-encompassing role….
That’s why you have to up your interviewing game.
Every now and again you’ll hear stories of interviewers pretending to be asleep, or eating lunch, or talking on the phone to gauge the reaction of those sitting in front of them but Joe Wiggins, Trends Analyst at Glassdoor suggests that difficult job interviews are statistically linked to higher employee satisfaction rates throughout the six countries they examined – US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany and France.
Curveball questions test strength of character, the ability to think quickly and logically and how a person reacts under pressure and while the answers are largely irrelevant, if the candidate talks the interviewer through how they got there, it’s as good as getting it right.
Here are ten of the hardest interview questions from the Glassdoor database:
‘Can you calculate how many tennis balls are used during the course of Wimbledon?
Analyst candidate, Accenture
‘Estimate the total number of cars in the UK’.
Trading Analyst candidate, Barclays Capital
‘How would you sell a fridge to an Eskimo?’
Temp Sales Associate candidate, Harrods
‘How many calories are in a supermarket?’
Product Manager candidate, Google
‘What would you take to a lonely island with you and why?’
Sales Assistant candidate, Urban Outfitters
‘Is Batman a superhero?’
Support Engineer candidate, AlphaSights
‘You have 17 red and 17 blue balls, and you remove two at a time. If the two are the same colour, add in one extra blue ball. If they are different colours, add in an extra red ball. What colour is the final ball removed?’
Software Engineer candidate, Geonomics
‘What cartoon character would you be, and why?’
Admin Assistant candidate, ASDA
‘What’s the wildest thing you’ve done?’
Teller candidate, Metro Bank
‘What was your opinion of the film The Blair Witch Project?’
Data Analyst candidate, Jefferies & Co
Article 3: What Does ‘Cultural Fit’ Even Mean?
When we get mandates from companies to fill jobs, not only do we learn about the role and what it entails so we can promote it in the best light to candidates but we are also asked, on occasion, to promote the company’s culture. This ensures the ultimately successful candidate knows what type of environment they’re walking into.
A successful cultural fit is more important than you think. In fact, it’s become a ‘hiring necessity’. A poor cultural fit only ends one way – high staff turnover rates, the subsequent low morale and an additional 50-60% of salary in the first year meeting all sorts of financial obligations.
According to new research by cloud-based HR and benefits platform Hibob, a staggering 47% of those who have rejected a job offer have done so based on the company’s culture or after meeting their potential new team!
As for what ‘cultural fit’ means, the generally accepted standard definition is ‘a candidate adapting to, and reflecting, the core beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of an organisation’.
But, asserts award-winning psychologist and author of ‘5 Myths of the Workplace’ Ron Friedman PhD, ‘if all the people in an organization are very similar to one another – in personality, attitude, values, thinking style, background – it can lead to complacency, overconfidence, and a lack of creativity, and that it can become an excuse for hiring to fulfil existing prejudices.’
In the opposing corner sits Mark Hoplamazian, the President and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation who explains that an important element of the hiring process of his business focuses on looking for these ‘soft’ cultural skills.
He says ‘We hire more for personality and growth mindset than specific skill set. We believe curiosity, passion and a love of learning together can be greater than a person’s previous experience.’
Both positions carry validity so where do you stand? Does having a set of similar people breed complacency in the workplace or does it make for a productive environment? Let us know on Facebook & Twitter.
Article 4: Recruitment & Brexit – The Challenges
Article 50 has been signed and it appears there’s no turning back, but what impact will leaving the EU have on the recruitment industry and the day-to-day operations of the 24,000 agencies in the UK?
On one hand, the Prime Minister wants to significantly increase trade deals with ‘the fastest growing export markets in the world’ – many of which are outside the European trading bloc and on the other, she doesn’t want to turn her back on those closest to us, saying ‘There should be no reason why we should not agree a new deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU that works for us all.’
So, no mixed messages there at all then, but what are the major challenges facing us as we sail through this unprecedented period of national turbulence?
- Talent Acquisition
As part of the EU, workers from Europe were entitled to move freely between member states, however that picture will remain unclear until a new deal is negotiated and this uncertainty will have a negative short-term effect on recruitment. With EU citizens unsure of their rights, agencies up and down the country can expect a hefty drop in the number of EU applicants.
Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC said, ‘In sectors such as healthcare, education, hospitality, construction and manufacturing, workers from the EU are vital and any change to our immigration system needs to recognise that.’
- Cost Reductions
According to research from PwC, the UK’s GDP could be between 3-5.5% lower by 2020 outside the EU than within it and this type of uncertainty is bound to have a knock-on effect for businesses. Imports will cost more to us and exports will cost more to the EU since the trade subsidies we had may not exist.
This is a slightly more indirect challenge to face but again, cost cutting may be necessary as agencies adjust to a lower influx of EU applicants.
- No-one Knows…
The biggest challenge facing the recruitment industry is the uncertainty. At its most basic, no-one has ever left the EU before so there’s no template for transition out of such a massive trading bloc. Businesses, including some of the worlds’ biggest, are going to be faced with years of uncertainty.
Usually with articles like this there’s some sort of conclusion, rounding it all off with a nice soundbite but this time, we have nothing…just years of ‘not sure what’s happening.’
Article 5: This Week’s Funny Recruitment Stories, Part 1
What’s a recruitment newsletter without funny recruitment stories? Not one that we’d consider sending out, that’s for sure, so here’s part one of a two-parter (keep reading, it’s there). Some are classics, some have a happy ending and some are plain odd but for every clanger we’ve dropped (and we’ve all dropped them), there’s always someone – recruiter, hirer or candidate – happy to steer the good ship recruitment way, way off course….
Billy Big Bo**ocks Makes a Boo-Boo
A new employee was dropping some very big names about who he knew in the industry, making out he was bessie mates with all of them and hiring him was a wise move as it would open doors to the big players.
One of the names Billy Big Shot dropped just happened to work in that office and he was brought it to say hi to a ‘close friend’…Suffice it to say that the bullshit-o-meter went bonkers and the pitiful employee walked out, staring at the floor in dejected shame.
Clean, and Ye Shall Be Rewarded
‘I went into the office (in a trailer) on a construction site looking for my first job in the industry. As I walked in, the guv’nor threw a bit of rubbish towards the bin but missed. I picked it up and put it where it was originally intended to go.
Turns out I was hired for exactly that. I worked for him for ten years and I now have my own construction business.
Up Close and VERY Personal
A digital agency interviewed a software engineer whose CV was very impressive. During the (far from outstanding) interview he seemed distracted, visibly irritated and largely uninterested. It seemed he wanted to do the interview his way.
Out came a manila envelope and he started with his birth certificate, kindergarten finger paintings, every merit badge from 11 years of school and a full life and family history. After refusing his social media advances, he resorted to a LinkedIn death threat and was blocked for good!
A ‘Glassy’ Move…
‘I happened to be in the vicinity when a well-known, board-level candidate was brought in for interview which was about to take place in a huge glass office, the walls of which were the same size as the door…
Correct, he faceplanted right into it, leaving an identifiable print! He was hired and was a huge success at our business but his image on the glass was forever immortalised with a bright red circle. It lasted about six months!’
The Secret Code
‘We once advertised for a Web developer exclusively within the source code of our website. We didn’t receive many applicants – but we did receive a few.
The best thing about advertising this way was that we only attracted those who already had curiosity – after all, they went so far as to open the source code of the page. We actually hired the guy we were looking for this way!’
Article 6: To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo, That Is The Question
It’s amazing to think that in this day and age, tattoos are still regarded as having a negative workplace impact.
Long gone are the days of ‘Love’ and ‘Hate’ on the knuckles and the spider’s web up the throat. Today’s tattoos can be symbolic, beautifully intricate and considered works of art, so why do 64% of respondents in a study by CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development) course providers DPG plc still think tattoos were undesirable features in candidates?
DPG Managing Director Paul Drew said ‘Dress codes can be an important part of how a business is perceived, but features such as tattoos can be problematic. With such a large amount of the population possessing tattoos, discrimination represents a very real problem that threatens to limit talented workers from entering the workforce. Moreover, it’s sad to see such a superficial feature being used as a valuable way of assessing a candidate’s attitude and performance.’
The study threw up some interesting (stereotypical, derogatory and horribly old-fashioned) stats:
- 43% of decision makers regard visible tattoos as being a valuable marker for determining a person’s character
- Around a third thought that visible tattoos were a perfectly good barometer of a person’s predicted performance
- In all areas of the study, male hirers were more discriminatory
- Unsurprisingly, the age range most likely to see tattoos as undesirable features were the over 55s. Surprisingly, the next age range on that particular list was 18-24
In a sweet twist, 13% of hirers would take the tattooed candidate over the non-tattooed candidate when having to make a straight up-and-down choice and 33% said it would make no difference whatsoever.
One of the most interesting elements of the study was the fact that should a tattooed candidate or employee feel genuinely discriminated against, there is currently no legislation protecting the rights of the inked. This means that there’s no legal recourse if they think they’re being unfairly treated on the basis of their body art.
The perfectly-aptly named Paul Drew has the last word: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a large discrimination case soon – potentially leading to increased protection for tattooed workers, similar to the recent developments in obesity legislation.’
Any thoughts either way on visible tats? Appropriate in the workplace? Couldn’t care less either way providing they do what they’re employed to do? Will only employ people with teardrops and forehead art? As always, let us know on Facebook & Twitter.
Article 7: Article 5: This Week’s Funny Recruitment Stories, Part 2
Here’s part two of our ‘why does this stuff never happen to me’ trawl through the ups and downs of the recruitment process!
The Email We All Want to Get
Dear Mrs X,
I last contacted you on 20th Feb 201* seeking work. Normally, someone of my experience and skill set would be employed immediately but I would like to disclose the reason I am still on the market to prevent wasting anybody’s time.
I am a convicted felon in California, Georgia, and in Federal Courts. I am the victim in each case. My non-violent felony pseudo-crimes include escape, tax evasion, and resisting an executive officer. My actions in each case were justified by failures of individuals who represent the justice system. In each case, I did the right thing and was maliciously prosecuted.
Let my recent and past work speak for itself.
It’s About Give and Take
A potential hire was at a lunch interview and she’d only eaten half her spaghetti. When the meal was done she asked for a doggy bag and the waiter brought out the remains of her meal in a Styrofoam container placed in a big paper bag. She took a half-eaten piece of bread from her side plate and put it in the bag along with the three remaining pieces in the bread basket.
As the payment was being taken, she looked around and put a few of the tea bags that came with the tea she’d ordered into the bag, quickly followed by the rest. It escalated to all the sugar and sweetener and then they started walking out. She made an excuse she’d forgotten something, made sure her back was between her and her potential boss and put the salt and pepper shakers into her bag! She didn’t get the job…
‘As a job seeker looking to move into a larger agency role in pay-per-click advertising, I created a Google AdWords campaign to demonstrate my skillset. With a small amount of research, I could geofence each agency office I was interested in working at. Then I placed search ads on any searches originating from the agencies’ offices during business hours, which included bids on the agency names, C-level employees, and the hiring manager’s name.
When clicked, each ad led to a landing page targeted to the agency designed to emulate a true lead-generation page with a value proposition, supporting copy, testimonials and a lead form allowing the agency to schedule an interview with me. In less than a week, I caught the attention of the agency I’m now happily employed with.’
Autocorrect Is Rarely Your Friend
An applicant came in for a typical interview. After she left, she sent a message saying, ‘Thank you for meeting me today. As mentioned in the interview, I have strong people skills. In my previous job, I copulated with many staff members on a daily basis to take the company to the next level.”
Of course, she meant ‘cooperated.’
She was hired because she was qualified, and who among us hasn’t fallen foul to the devil that is autocorrect?
Article 8: Video of the Month!
It will come as no surprise that video is a fantastic way to engage with potential hires, to tell the story of the company and of its culture and stats say that job ads with videos are viewed on average 12% more than those without. But, they must be done right, otherwise you’re on your way to viral video hell from which there is no escape…
In the last newsletter, we showed one of the most horrifically bad recruitment videos ever made courtesy of the Australian Department of Health but in the interests of fairness, we think you ought to see a rather very good recruitment video, courtesy of Innocent Drinks.
If you follow them on Twitter you’ll know that aside from being ridiculously talented and creative, they’re cheeky young scamps, good for a laugh without taking themselves too seriously but also committed to making first-class products. This recruitment video does exactly what they need it to do – confirm what a cool brand they are and make people want to work there.
This is the Innocent Glee Club performing Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. You won’t see a better recruitment video all day.
Thanks for reading and we’ll see you soon!
The Asset Resourcing Team