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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Making the move from public to private

Significant changes and restructurings going on in the public sector have a lot of employees considering a move into the private sector.  But how should you go about making the move and how do you market your skills so that they are transferable?

1.      Make a plan.  Pinpoint an area of the private sector that you are interested in and try to think of different roles and environments that might work well for your interests.

2.      Consider your success.  Think about your full range of skills and strengths and how you accomplished your greatest successes.  These could include functional, personal and professional skills and should be showcased in your resume.

3.      Be informed.  You have already discovered which part of the private sector interests you—now go out and talk to people about it!  Take the time to research the private sector and learn about the different cultures and expectations that will accompany your move from public to private worklife.

4.      Create personal goals.  Identify goals that will help you make the move with ease.  This could include learning new skills, networking, or researching different sectors. 

As long as you are clear about your goals, create a plan, and work hard while keeping an open mind, making the move from public to private does not have to be a daunting cautionary tale.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Specialization of Search

When I tell people I'm a recruiter, they generally ask: "so, what do you specialize in?" I know the customary response is something like: I specialize in financial services with a focus on the senior/executive level, but what exactly does this suggest beyond the fact that I know a lot of finance people and have some understanding of what skills are required to perform finance roles? The short answer is not much and the reality is that there are thousands of people this description would aptly describe. They wouldn’t all make good recruiters though; and that’s why my instinct is always to respond differently.
The truth is that I specialize in interviewing people and determining whether they are the right fit for my specific clients. Unfortunately, this concept is a bit abstract for a short conversation, and besides, it is surely not what the asker was looking for.

My skill-set as a recruiter is much less about Xs and Os and much more about the perplexing stuff in between. The question I always ask is what should my clients really expect from me? Is it more important that I have a big network of contacts or that what I really excel at is understanding when I’ve found the right piece to complete a distinct puzzle? Anyone can throw proverbial darts at a job description (and in some cases they even stick), but fewer have the training and curiosity to make sense of the nuances beneath.

If search were a physical science, an assembly line of resumes would suffice. The reality is however, that recruitment at its core is much more of a social science. Each mandate is a pursuit to understand people, their motivations, professional capabilities, and underlying character. Search Consultants must always rely on their inclination to dig deep into every story and then use their intuition to make sense of the content. I know this is my greatest value-add to the search process. I want to understand who people are and what makes them tick because I know it is the most defining factor in determining where they are going. My curiosity drives me. For this reason, when I meet with new clients or candidates, I much prefer to listen than to speak. Ironically, they're often most interested in hearing about what I specialize in.

Aaron Collins, Associate Director

Friday, 8 March 2013

Mastering the Art of Meetings

There are several benefits to meetings; one benefit that often gets over-looked is the social aspect that accompanies meetings.  Socially, they can create stronger connections and bonds between coworkers.  In many offices people will sit side-by-side in cubicles and not actually get the chance to know the person who sits in such close proximity to them 40+ hours a week.  Meetings give a chance for co-workers to meet face to face and actually converse.  They are credited for boosting office morale and unity amongst different divisions.

Meetings are also very convenient for when you need to get something done.  It can be time-consuming to create memos only to have others disagree with their contents, and have to send revisions back and forth.  Meetings can help to get rid of the middle stage and allow you to start your work on the right foot.  The question you need to ask yourself is “how do you ensure you get the most out of your meetings”?  Here are some tips for mastering the art of meetings and make the most out of your time:

1.      Make a decision first.  Don’t call a meeting to make a decision; it is better to make a decision first and then get the input of others to make sure that the decision is on track and to figure out how to execute it.

2.      Smaller is better.  Invite only the people who are necessary and will add value to the meeting.  If a person has no interest in the outcome and are not part of implementing it, then they probably should not be there. 

3.      Be prepared.  Whoever organizes the meeting is responsible for putting together an agenda for everyone to read through before the meeting starts

4.      Time it just right.  Don’t disrupt the most productive hours of the day; instead, hold a meeting in the afternoon as a break in the day.

5.      Avoid the one-way conversation.  Encourage people to exchange ideas rather than conducting a one-person lecture.  This also helps to bring a sense of informality to the meeting; a sense of humour can usually help energize meetings and make them a welcome break in the day.