How External Recruiters Help with Diversity

One of the best ways to change up your work groups and increase the diversity of your company is to use external recruiters and I am not just saying that because I am an external recruiter.
When you work with someone outside your company, you are focused on describing what the new person is going to do and where they fit into the greater scheme of things.
Your talk about the activities and leadership style, their technical knowledge and priorities.

The external recruiter does not know that people in your organization all went to Stanford and all play broom ball.

So they hit the candidate marketplace and start talking about your company and the great things that are happening and within a few weeks, you have a new group of candidates who would not have applied to your posting or been a part of your employees’ networks.

There is going to be some fresh new thinking in that group. It can be a pretty interesting experience to interview someone who understands the role but is from a different environment.

They have credibility but none of the baggage. This can be a tremendous help with innovation based roles or where a group has become a bit stagnant.

The key is to keep an open mind when you are interviewing. Review your questions before hand. Be sure to remove things that contain company specific acronyms or personalities.

When you find the gem and hire them, make sure you have a very inclusive on-boarding process. Hiring managers and peers alike sometimes need to be reminded that even though someone can’t play broom ball, they can
still contribute some great ideas.


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Explore, Research and Discover

Spring is just around the corner and whether you are about to graduate or just itchy for change, there are many new and emerging roles and even, industries to explore.

Gone are the days where a job with IBM or a bank or the government meant you were set for life. Those institutions may have good pensions but that’s about it. The concept of a “job for life” no longer exists. Even if you have been with.a company for a long time, there are no guarantees.

So, let’s put that idea aside. For good. That gives us the freedom to explore all kinds of different options. And there are lots of options. We just have to throw away the blinders that cause us to ignore or dismiss jobs seem unfamiliar or could be short lived.

I toured a bread factory this week. It was fascinating. The company has invested $10 million in new equipment. There are new mixers and a flour transport line and five kilometers of conveyors. Think of how many people were involved in designing, manufacturing and installing all that equipment. Not to mention the number of people it takes to develop recipes for clients and actually make the bread. (Turns out those pretzels buns we love are quite the challenge to make!)

Or consider the nuclear industry. Ontario Power Generation is refurbishing the four reactors at the Darlington station and the mega project is expected to take 112 months. That’s a long time and will involve not just engineers and trades people (although there are millions of hours of those skills needed). They will need analysts, and accountants and public relations folks and they might even need a sandwich or two as well.

Which brings us back to bread……

Don’t be afraid to explore opportunities that you have not considered. There are so many things happening so quickly that it really is up to each of us to explore, discover and research the big possibilities for our careers.

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Work from Anywhere – the New Distributed Workforce

I heard a great podcast on distributed work yesterday.  The speaker was a CEO with three or four successful start-ups under his belt.

He said he never uses the term “remote” as it implies that that particular group was not part of the whole.  He prefers distributed because his whole force is spread across the globe.  Some of them work in clusters but most work completely independently.

There are people on his team are nomads and don’t even have a home base or a work base.   He says people can work anywhere as long as there is wifi.

That breaks with a lot of the traditions in the Canadian workplace.  Many companies are still struggling to create a “work from home” policy that says how many days people can work somewhere other than the office.   

But still, we need to pay attention to these trends.  As more people’s careers focus on service or knowledge jobs, working anywhere becomes practical and efficient.

Obliviously, you can’t fix cars remotely or perform a root canal virtually.  Consider that two years ago, you could only order pizza for delivery.  Now you can work for a fine dining restaurant and never see another customer drop a fork thanks to all the new food delivery apps.

Working with people in the same physical location will never be the same as logging into a video chat platform and meeting that way.  But there are many benefits – no commute, no need for pants, no enduring colleague’s smelly lunches.

You also get the chance to work with a broader range of people and that makes life way more interesting.

In fact, this is one of the CEO’s rationale for a distributed work force.  He can hire talent from all over the world without having to take them out of their home community.  He also does not have to compete for the small group of talent that might be available near his corporate office.

There are more and more jobs available like this.  Try it out. Ditch the pants and work from home or try working from another office. (Keep your pants on if you go with this option).  It might open up a whole new world.

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It’s a Funny Story…..

Over the last few weeks I have been asking candidates how they got into their professions. And more than two thirds start their answer with “well, it’s a funny story”.

Then they proceed to talk about the seemingly unrelated series of events that took place and culminated in them landing in that exact place.

This gives me great cause for optimism. I read a lot about workplace transformation and AI and jobs disappearing. And I worry. I worry about how people will change themselves to keep pace with the shifts in the workplace.

But if that many people fall into jobs that they never imagined when they were in school then I guess there is a certain amount of hope that they will continue to follow new paths.

I have read about journalists who are working in digital marketing, an English grad who is working in software development and the music student ended up being a great project manager.

Many of the initial opportunities came from networking. A former colleague or a former manager reached out or made a key suggestion.

The takeaways:
Keep your network warm. Make sure they know who you are and what you care about. (Not just your title and company).

Be open to listening to ideas and evaluating them as you go. If you are always “way too busy” to consider a new opportunity, they will cease to come your way.

Read a lot. Read about your industry, the tools you use, the news of the day and a bit about the economy. Keep your world broader than your desk.

Basically, if you keep your eyes open for ways to explore and learn about the future, you will be ready when it arrives.

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How to Prepare for a Skype Interview

Skype interviews are becoming more popular.  They are frequently easier to coordinate and they have the added benefit of avoiding traffic jams and  exorbitant parking fees.

A Skype call sounds easy and it is – if you are prepared.  Take a few minutes the day before to get everything set up and checked.  Otherwise you will end up with the same sweaty armpits you would have in  a face to face interview.

Decide what device you are going to use.  Make sure you have the latest updates and a strong internet connection.  Pixelated faces are only funny in Snapchat.

Think about where you are going to take the call.  If it it is going to be lunch time and you will be in your car or truck, that’s okay just tell the interviewer that before hand.  Otherwise, find a neat spot with a flat surface and no distractions.  Art in the background is okay but sitting in front of  your bookshelf of romance novels might not send the right message.

Don’t hold the device in your hand.  Put it on  a book or stand it up on a table.  It is extremely nauseating (for me anyway) if the phone moves every time you scratch your nose.

Do a dry run with a friend.  Ask them where you should look and what they see.  I spent an entire hour this week looking at an Adam’s apple.  Not the best.  Check the angle and the height to make sure you are putting your best face forward.

Log on about 10 minutes before – just like you would arrive a few minutes before your appointed interview time.  Check you hair and your teeth and have a great conversation!


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Stay Warm by Learning New Skills

Friday will be the end of the first week of February. Yes, the first month of 2019 is done. We have wrapped up 2018. It’s been reviewed, analyzed and picked apart and plans for 2019 are coming together.

Lots of people are waiting to see how their bonuses are going to shake out or how company plans will affect or improve their jobs. Looking at new opportunities is not really at the top of the list.

And that’s all well and good but this is not the time to let your career stagnate. Keep things fresh and lively for the best opportunities both inside your company and outside your company.

One of the things you can do is to take courses. There are lots of options. Gone are the days when you had to rush to a course on some far away campus two evenings a week.

There are lots of organizations that offer virtual courses where you login for a specific time with other students. There are also on-demand courses where you can login anytime you want and go at your own pace.

Skillsoft – leadership development, health and safety, business and management training
General Assembly – web development, data, digital marketing
LinkedIn Learning – business, technology and marketing

These are just a few of the places. They all have different price points and different platforms. Some offer free trials or demo events.

Take a look. This is the kind of development that shows at work. People notice when you are learning new stuff and you are excited about it. It shows. Sometimes people even think you are taller.

Let’s face it….at minus 30 degrees, we are not going out jogging. Let’s stay in and learn something.

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Looking for a New Job? Start here.

It’s new year.  I am not one for resolutions, but I know it’s popular to spend the time between Christmas and the New Year drinking too much and dreaming of better days.

For a lot of people, that might include a new job – one that’s closer, pays more, has a better boss or a better mission.

Canada has a pretty strong economy right now and the employment market is tight which means that number of vacancies is up and the number of candidates is down.  According to the federal government, 94,000 jobs were filled in November giving us the lowest unemployment levels since 1976.

This does not mean that anyone who wants a job can get one.  As always, there are pockets where there is a greater demand and pockets where it is shrinking.

For example, you could be the best customer service person alive, but if you want to answer the phones for Pizza Pizza, it will be tough.  Their ordering app for mobile phones is terrific and has a high rate of adoption by customers.

If, on the other hand, you are the person who made the Pizza Pizza app, you have it made in the shade.  Lots of prospects for you – as long as you can network and let people know about your successes.

Other areas of growth:

  • Health care
  • Social Assistance
  • Construction
  • Transportation and Warehousing
  • Cannabis

There are a lot of good possibilities to explore in this list.  If you want to spend some time thinking about these industries, you can start with

You can search for occupations and read about their longer term outlook, wages and education requirements.  It’s pretty dry but it is reliable information that will give you enough to decide what you want to pursue.

Happy looking!

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