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The new world of work: why the Daleks have it nailed

The last few weeks have convinced me that we just aren’t coping with the realities of the new world of work. And the longer that goes on the more I fear for the future.

Last week I attended an interesting session on digital transformation. It confirmed all the thinking Chiumento has been doing about how to change the way we deliver outplacement solutions. Consumer expectation has changed for good and we will be responding by launching a very different solution later this year. However not everyone is reading the writing on the wall…

The Blockbuster story is hardly new – but the harsh reality is consumers will no longer troop down to the High Street in the pouring rain to hire DVDs. Not when those nice people at Netflix, Amazon etc will pipe the same content directly in to your nice warm front room.

How many other businesses will fall into the trap of the Blockbuster analyst who wrote that “investor concern over the threat of new technologies is overstated”? That was a year before Blockbuster declined to buy Netflix. No doubt his opinion was based on the fact that change was just too inconvenient and customers could be persuaded to stick to the “traditional way of doing things”.

As our speaker pointed out, the traditional music industry spent their energy trying to get the earliest music sharing sites like Napster shut down. While instead, Apple put their budget into developing iTunes – sharing the same content, but addressing the copyright issues. No prizes for guessing which was the right strategy! When it comes to changing customer expectations, the Daleks have it right: resistance is useless.

You can’t stop evolution. Let alone turn the clock back. Yet that’s exactly what some organisations are trying to do.

Our EU (at least for now) partners in France have decided to empower people with the “right to disconnect” from technology after work. So, let’s just think that through….

As our digital strategist reminded us all, consumers increasingly want instant gratification. They don’t switch off at 5, stop buying at weekends or on bank holidays. To thrive, no matter what you do, your customer experience has to be outstanding – acceptable response times to queries are increasingly measured in minutes not hours, let alone days.

If I was a Belgian, French speaking business I’d be rubbing my hands with glee. Suddenly those nice people in Paris have given me a competitive advantage. I’m open for business when those people over the border log off at 5.01. And don’t log back on until 8.59 the next day.

And that’s just the start of it. Other humans are the least of your problems…

Last week the TUC released a report saying Britons did £33.6 billion of unpaid work last year. However, I’d like to suggest there’s another way of looking at it… Especially when you consider that productivity is probably the UK economy’s biggest weakness right now. UK workers (according to the Guardian) are 35% less productive than their German counterparts and 30% behind the US.

That probably explains why UK businesses are increasingly switching to a view that people are employed to achieve outcomes. Not paid to work a set number of hours irrespective of whether the job gets done or not. The salary is to achieve the outcome. In accepting a job, you agree to a fixed amount of money to achieve the outcomes required. Or you walk away.

Those who are highly productive will achieve the outcomes more quickly. Those who are slow will take longer – but can’t expect to be paid more (e.g. overtime) for taking longer to achieve the same results as their more productive colleagues.

Now we get to the real crunch. Productivity and flexibility are crucial to long term success and job security in a 24/7/365 world. Make labour too expensive or inflexible and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is waiting in the wings. Ready to pounce while the TUC and others are “doing a Blockbuster”. Head in the sand, trying to turn the clock back to the good old days of being paid by the hour and doing a 9 to 5 day. And presumably re-introducing half day closing on Wednesdays and shutting all the shops on Sunday.

On which note, a well-known retailer has been in the news for ending the practice of paying enhanced rates for Sunday working. Why is anyone surprised? You can’t charge more for beans or bread on a Sunday than any other day of the week.

As our speaker pointed out last week AI is an increasing reality. Demonstrated by Chatbots that are now answering customer queries 24 hours a day. Queries that would once have been handled by a human. Chatbots are getting better and cheaper almost by the day. That’s the new competition. Not off-shoring or near-shoring using lower paid labour. The competition is now no labour at all.

By making labour more expensive or inflexible the risk is you make Chatbots and their even cleverer successors more attractive. One recent report estimated 250,000 public sector jobs will be lost to technology over the next 15 years. Ah, but I hear you say, people want to deal with people.

Sorry, the research doesn’t back you up. One recent research report suggests 69% of consumers are now happy to engage with technology if it gives them the right answers more quickly. They actually love the sense of solving their own problem.

I’ve said it before: we have to accept that the world has irrevocably changed. We can’t, with our consumer hat on, expect instant service 24/7/365 and then with our employee hat on expect to go home at 5 and switch off. The two aren’t compatible.

How to use LinkedIn to recruit…

For seasoned recruiters LinkedIn has been a part of their go-to tool kit for many years. As the world’s largest professional network with over 400 million users across the globe, there are a lot of potential candidates out there.  But just like being able to read between the lines of a CV, finding the people you need takes time and effort.

Here are our insider tips to get your recruitment off on the right track..

  1. Preparation – before you start to use LinkedIn to attract candidates make sure you’ve got the basics in order. Does your organisation have a company page and is it up-to-date? This is your chance to showcase your organisation not only to clients but also to potential employees.  Remember it is as much about selling your company to candidates as it is about them impressing you.  So make sure you have relevant and current information about your products, services as well as an insight into your company culture.  It is a good idea to encourage current staff to follow and connect with your company profile.
  2. Look further – use the advanced search function to narrow down the number of potential candidates by location, job title, or specific key words. If you want to filter it further, those with a business account can access a greater number of filters to help produce a more targeted short list.  This should allow you to have a manageable list of people that you can then assess and potentially approach about your vacancy.
  3. Shout about it – your network of 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections are your best advocates so tell them about your role. There are a number of ways you can promote your vacancy. A simple status update or a post is free and will appear in the news feed of your connections or for those with the budget to do so you can officially post a job and if required upgrade this to a sponsored job. This means it will be ‘suggested’ to suitable applicants and appear in their inbox.
  4. Join relevant groups – if there a specific group for your sector, profession or industry. Join them, this will not only give you an insight into what is happening,  you’ll be able to see who are the most active participants and give you a ready-made list of potentially suitable future employees.
  5. Research – the most obvious use of LinkedIn is the ability of researching possible candidates without needing to speak to them or have a copy of their CV.  In fact, this ability is a double-edged sword for many organisations, as although you can see, and approach those working for competitors. They can also poach your best staff.

At Chiumento we’re experts at finding that all elusive diamond in the rough and can help with your recruitment, whether it’s simply creating a pipeline of CVs that you can manage yourself to a full consultancy service that includes pro-active headhunting.  Our cost effective modular recruitment service starts at just £850 with a maximum combined fee of £2,550 for our Attract, Select and Search modules.

For more information on how we can help please do get in touch with Tom on 077111 99816 or email info@chiumento-recruitment.uk


How to read between the lines of a CV

So you’ve placed the advert and the hard part is over right?  Now you just wait for the applications to come rolling in before you quickly pick the top 10 candidates for interview…

But with the majority of roles receiving around 40 applications and some receiving in excess of 100 CVs, how can you whittle it down.  What can you do to try and read between the lines of a candidate’s CV and find the needle in the proverbial haystack?

Here are a few simple steps we follow in order to pick out the genuine star candidates.

  1. First impression – it sounds simple but does the CV look good? Does the information flow in sensible manner that allows you to follow the candidate’s education and career? Is it error free?  Can you find all the information you need, including contact details? Do they have a professional sounding email address? If the answer to any of the above is no, then it is likely that the candidate hasn’t given their CV the time and thought it requires, so they most probably aren’t the right person for you.
  2. Do they have the right skills and experience – many candidates will apply for a job even if they only reach 50% of the criteria. If there are elements mentioned in the job advert that are essential, such as specific qualifications, sector experience etc then you can quickly discount anyone that doesn’t show this in their CV. You’ll be surprised at how quickly this helps to reduce the pile of CVs on your desk.
  3. Can you tell if they’ve read the job advert? – tailoring a covering letter to highlight how you are right for the job is common practice, but has the candidate put the same thought into their CV?  Can you easily see that they have what you are looking for?  The extra effort taken to tailor a CV to showcase relevant experience, shows that the candidate is willing to go the extra mile.
  4. Any worrying gaps or behaviours? – if there are any unaccounted-for gaps in employment, or a lack of dates all together, suggests that the candidate perhaps has something to hide. Historically those that have a record of ‘job-hopping’ have been quickly rejected by many hiring managers. However, a job for life is now a thing of the past and while anyone moving every 6-12 months perhaps requires further investigation.  You shouldn’t discard those that have spent at least 2 years in post before moving on.  If you are concerned speak to the candidate, as at times there can be a justifiable reason for any gaps or frequent movement.
  5. Do they include their achievements? – a CV is more than just a list of jobs and responsibilities. It should show specific achievements and the role that candidates played, whether this is a 50% growth in sales or a 10% reduction in staff turnover. In today’s data driven age the majority of candidates should be able to add facts and figures to enhance the experience listed on their CV.

These simple steps should help to make the task of selecting which candidates you wish to take to the next stage a little easier and less daunting.  However if you’d like help, we like to think we’re experts at finding that all elusive diamond in the rough.  Our cost effective modular recruitment service starts at just £850 with a maximum combined fee of £2,550 for our Attract, Select and Search modules.  So whether you need help with simply creating a pipeline of CVs that you can manage yourself or require a full consultancy service that includes pro-active headhunting, we can help.

For more information please get in touch with Tom on 077111 99816 or email info@chiumento-recruitment.uk

Brexit: time to take work to talent, not bring talent to work?

I have had some very interesting discussions this week around the potential implications of Brexit on the supply of talent to UK businesses. There are certainly a lot of nervous companies out there anxiously waiting to hear the implications for both EU citizens already working in the UK and individuals who might want to come here in future.

What is clear is that changes to UK immigration policies will have widely different impacts depending on your business. Living in Lincolnshire – which includes the constituency that recorded the strongest Leave vote in the whole UK – you can’t avoid thinking about the impact on farming.

As was pointed out in a Guardian article last year, over 90% of UK British fruit, vegetables and salad are picked, prepared and packed by overseas workers. Without that supply of labour, so my farming contacts tell me, growing many crops will become uneconomic. Instead they will have to turn to produce that can easily be mechanically harvested. Goodbye salad – hello spuds and sugar beet.

If lettuces are in short supply now, then trying to buy a British one in a decade’s time could be tantamount to a unicorn hunt (unless you are prepared to pay a super-premium price). According to the Telegraph there’s already a “salad black market”.

As one commentator suggested this week the salad growing industry will undoubtedly be losers in the great immigration game. No points system (which seems to be the likely regime) is going to favour unskilled workers entering the UK while unemployment is still well above 1 million.

Farming, manufacturing and many other industries heavily reliant on heavy machinery have no option but to bring people to jobs. However, many others have the real opportunity to send work to people. Could this be the moment virtual working really takes off?

As many will know, I have championed virtual working for at least a decade. Get the culture right, develop great leaders (rather than micro-managers) and put in place reliable technology and the idea that people have to physically congregate in a single location to work effectively and efficiently is exposed as the myth it has always been.

Now is the time for problem reversal: taking work to talent, not bringing talent to work.

The very simple truth is that most knowledge and administration based jobs can be done anywhere you can get access to the internet. What’s got in the way up until now are managers without outdated ways of thinking (eg who believe that if they can’t observe what staff are doing they are likely to be skiving) and the right economic incentive. Brexit might just provide the shove many businesses need.

I’m no longer a home worker – I’m a mobile worker. If I wanted to, I could do my day’s work tomorrow from Lisbon, Leipzig or Lesotho. It wouldn’t make one jot of difference to the quality or effectiveness of what I produce. Yes, I might have to work rather unusual hours to synchronise with colleagues and clients but actually I might find a break from 9 to 5 rather liberating.

Pierre or Lisle may no longer be able to come physically to the UK to work. However, nothing will stop them doing exactly the same job from home in France or Germany. Whether they login from Bayonne, Ludwigshafen or Tumbridge Wells they can access exactly the same systems.

Your talent pool isn’t just the UK or EU. It is the entire internet connected world.

They may have to Skype into meetings rather than walk through the door. But if George and Mildred in the UK are working from home too, then you don’t need a door – or a meeting room come to that. Or even an office building in an expensive city centre.

Of course, any CEO or Finance Director worth their salt is now doing the sums. No physical offices means lower overheads. Lower overheads deliver more profit and/or makes you more competitive. All you need to make it work is those nice people in HR to develop a cadre of leaders to replace the micro-managers you have today…

However, the benefits don’t stop there. What you now realise is that your talent pool isn’t just the UK or EU. It is the entire internet connected world. When Pierre leaves, his replacement could as easily be Lucy in LA or Manjit in Bangalore. The work moves around the planet. Nobody goes anywhere. Which is great news for the environment as people stop travelling long distances to work. Fewer cars, fewer planes, less emissions. It’s a green solution.

So, you now have a world where the need for long stay work permits drops dramatically. Instead you just need visas that allow your team to pop over for a couple of days now and again to catch up. If you even need to do that… I suspect, as a result, immigration would cease to be as much of an emotive issue.

You now have a world where the need for long stay work permits drops dramatically.

You don’t have to spend huge amounts relocating not just Lucy but her extended family to the UK. Where her partner may or may not be able to work – which might have stopped her coming anyway. Her children can stay in their school in Glendale or Hermosa Beach too. So you avoid all those problems of ex pats whose families can’t settle in a strange distant land.

Of course, what an economist will point out is that Pierre will be paying his taxes in France and Lucy in the US. Their spending power as consumers will be invested somewhere other than the UK. Set against that though is the realisation that they won’t create even a blip of demand on the NHS or UK public services in general. And, of course, those more profitable virtual businesses will all be paying significantly more corporation tax.

None of this of course immediately helps the company in Wolverhampton that needs to hire engineers for their factory. Or the NHS Trust that urgently needs more nurses. However, I have a suspicion that just as technology has made my job mobile so it will make even more jobs virtual in future.

I watched a fascinating documentary recently about how many technologies envisaged in Star Trek have now come to pass. Captain Kirk’s communicator for instance bears more than a passing resemblance to a 90’s Motorola flip phone. And is the iPad really that far from the tri-coder? How long before the Emergency Medical Hologram is realised in the form of the virtual GP?

If your business is worried about the impact of Brexit on the supply of talent then virtual working has to be part of your strategy. We’d be happy to share our experience of going virtual – just drop us an email to info@chiumento.co.uk and we’ll show you the future.

Written by Ian Gooden, CEO of Chiumento Group.

Top tips for a successful telephone interview

With some jobs receiving in excess of 100 applications, the use of telephone interviewing as an additional stage, prior to any face-to-face interviews is becoming more common.  Whether it’s with a recruitment consultant or direct with the hiring manager, you should treat it as you would a face-to-face interview.  If you don’t impress during a telephone interview, you will not be called to the next stage and you’ll wave goodbye to your chances of securing that job.

To help you succeed, here are our quick tips to mastering a telephone interview:

  1. Be prepared – In the words of the Scouts – Be prepared. Treat it as you would a face-to-face interview.  Have a copy of your CV handy, research the company, make a note of any questions you may have and have a pen and paper to hand.  Don’t forget the simple things, do you know who you are going to be talking to, their name, job title?Go through your CV, skills and experience have examples of your successes and achievements.  For example, when you managed a team or project, how you helped achieve a team goal etc.  Make sure you have key facts and figures in front of you, so you can quickly quote them should you need to.Before the call starts, read the job description and advert again. Make sure you’re fully aware of what the key responsibilities and requirements are for the role.  This way you will have it fresh in your mind and can tailor your answers accordingly.

    It’s a good idea to have a glass of water ready as lots of talking, especially while nervous, can dry your mouth out.  But don’t eat or worse chew gum while speaking.

  2. Location, location, location – while technically a telephone interview can happen anywhere, walking down a busy street, sat on a commuter train, or hiding from your colleagues in the cleaners’ cupboard aren’t the best options. A quiet room/location where you are free from distractions and able to talk freely will give you the best chance of success.  If you’re able to take the call at home, make sure you turn the TV or radio off and ask any family members/friends/flatmates to leave the room.   If you do have to take the call while out and about, leave yourself plenty of time to find a suitable quiet spot.It is preferable to use a landline so there are no reception difficulties. However, if this isn’t possible, make sure you have good reception before starting the call and that your mobile is fully charged. You don’t want to risk getting cut off while you’re on a roll.
  3. Don’t forget body language – it might sound silly as the person at the other end of the phone can’t see you, but how you act, what you’re wearing and how you sit etc will all have an impact on how you feel and how you come across on the phone. So, while it might not be necessary to be suited and booted, make sure you are dressed in a professional manner.  It will make you feel the part and you’ll be more focused if you’re wearing office attire, rather speaking to someone in your pj’s.Same goes for where you are sitting, if you are at home try to sit at a table as if it were an interview, rather than curled up on the sofa.  This, along with simple things such as smiling while talking, will all have an impact on how you sound to the person at the other end of the line.

Taking all this on board and treating it like you would any other interview will give you the best chance to succeed and make it to the next stage.  On a final note, don’t do as one of our candidates has done in the past, finish the call with ‘I love you’…

If you’re still hunting for your ideal role then have a look at our latest vacancies or get in touch