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Posts from the ‘Career Advice’ Category

Canada Ranks 13th in the 2017 Global Talent Competitiveness Index

gtci-2017-full-reportThe Adecco Group has once again partnered with INSEAD and the Human Capital Leadership Institute to produce the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) — an annual benchmarking report that ranks 118 countries according to their ability to grow, attract and retain talent.

Launched for the first time in 2013, The GTCI provides a tool-kit for governments, businesses, organizations and personnel throughout the world to prepare them for the future of work. Its wealth of data and analysis is intended to help countries overcome talent mismatches and be competitive in the global marketplace.

Why is talent so important?

Talent has become the ‘currency’ of the global labour market and therefore something that decision makers in business, policy and academia need to understand in depth.

Talent is increasingly becoming the subject of intense debate, and these arguments are not simply about skills shortages. Talent competitiveness lies at the heart of important societal issues, such as unemployment, immigration, education and economic growth — whether in the context of restoring post-crisis prosperity, creating jobs for the young, maintaining momentum in high-growth economies or lifting entire nations out of poverty.

The global workforce must recognize the skills they will need for the future, governments must understand how they can secure the right to work for their citizen and countries need to ensure they remain competitive in the global economy.

What global talent trends have emerged?

The 2017 study focuses on how technology is affecting talent competitiveness and the nature of work, exploring both significant challenges and opportunities, and important shifts away from traditional working approaches.

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Hackathons: An Innovative Trend That Can “Shortcut” IT Recruitment

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laura-tarrant_headshot_finalLaura Tarrant is a Senior Account Executive for Roevin Technology— Adecco’s specialized IT division. Laura’s focus on IT recruitment and career coaching has led her to become a true expert in the field. Her monthly blogs dedicated to the IT field receive 2,400 followers from within the technology industry.  She understands that talent is more than just a skill set; her innovative and engaging recruitment strategies minimize inefficiencies of the recruiting life cycle while delivering stellar IT talent to her clients.

Below, Laura provides Adecco Lēad Blog readers with cutting edge IT recruitment trends.

Many innovative companies—particularly those in tech—rely on hiring big-picture thinkers to propel their organizations forward and keep them on the cutting edge. Many, unfortunately, are experiencing a technical talent shortage. In order to capture talent that thinks outside the box, employers need to implement creative recruitment tactics to match.  One such method that has proven incredibly successful and popular in recent years is the hackathon!

What are hackathons? They sound sinister…

Despite their name, there is nothing dubious about them. Started in Silicon Valley, hackathons are usually two-day (or sometimes week-long) networking events where like-minded people gather to solve development or organizational problems, grow their knowledge and produce impressive technology.  Many are hosted by think-tanks, tech companies, incubators, NGOs or major corporations. Brilliant young developers, designers and systems architects take part while industry veterans judge their work. Savvy recruiters and employers can take advantage of these events by connecting with both sets of attendees.

Why are they useful for recruitment?

They are an inexpensive recruitment strategy which can give you access to on-a-dime interviews with a variety of brilliant technical talent, let you see their soft skills and problem-solving abilities “in the wild” and get a sense of how they will perform on the job. In fact, many participants take part precisely to impress recruiters or employers who may be monitoring the event. Often, a job position or internship is marketed as the “prize” for taking part!

In addition to the recruitment and networking opportunities these events offer, hackathons can be held internally to introduce fun, creativity and competition into otherwise non-stimulating workplace processes.

Below is a peek into the types of hackathons that have become popular, tips for tech candidates on taking part and advice for employers and recruiters on sponsoring existing hackathons or organizing their own.

Virtual Hackathons

Virtual hackathons take place online and often for the purpose of sourcing international talent.  During these hackathons, participants are given programming concepts to contemplate or a programming challenge to solve—allthewhile competing for the overall title of “champion” and a spot on the leaderboard.

Recruitment Perspective: Organizations are given an inside look at how developers, scientists, students, entrepreneurs and educators from around the world approach problem-solving and compete against each other. If you are a small team with a limited budget—but have the ability to advertise and create brand awareness overseas—this recruitment ‘hack’ is highly recommended for your recruitment efforts.

Tip: For step-by-step instructions on attending and setting up a virtual hackathon, visit: http://www.the-hackfest.com/tips-virtual/

Interactive Hackathons

Interactive hackathons are conducted at pre-defined locations and begin with a presentation about the rules and theme of the event. Attendees are giving an opportunity to brief participants on a project they are working on with an obstacle they need help overcoming. Talent in this battle-of-the-brains ranges from “junior” to “subject-matter experts” who join together to unlock problems and suggest ideas while working in teams based on their individual interests and skills. At the conclusion of an interactive hackathon, a collaborative wrap-up session gives each team a chance to present and explain their findings, execution and achievements.

Recruitment Perspective: Let’s face it—traditional interviews with developers don’t always reveal how a candidate will fit into a company’s culture or if they will succeed in a real-time work environment. Interactive hackathons not only offer the ability to discover these unknowns, they are a less intimidating approach to recruitment and give employers the opportunity to perform on-a-dime interviews while networking with upcoming talent.

Tip: For a step-by-step guide on successfully running an interactive hackathon visit: https://hackathon.guide/

In-House Hackathons

As mentioned, hackathons are not exclusive to external recruitment efforts. They can be a great way for your staff to tackle an organizational problem together, solve development challenges or address your clients’ issues.  Your employees can also use them to prove their skills, management abilities and try out new roles. It’s no wonder that internal hackathons are increasingly being used by major corporations such as Manulife, Deloitte and many others.

If you’d like to administer your own internal hackathon, start by coming up with a project collectively and then setting up small teams of 2-5 employees.  Deliver the challenge and watch as the creative juices begin to flow. Fight the temptation to direct your team on how to do things during this event. While it may be hard to resist, you will boost participation by allowing your team to have a hand in every detail along the way to the solution.  By utilizing internal hackathons, you will foster a work environment that breeds innovation and challenges employees to build things creatively without a specific roadmap.

HR Perspective: Never underestimate your ability to unleash the hidden talents of your internal teams. Hackathons work as a tool for getting one’s feet wet into new ways of thinking.  They spark innovation, foster trust, engage employees, strengthen communication, encourage interaction and build strong collaborative teams who work towards a common goal. When a solution is constructed together, it is much more likely to stick.

Tip: For a step-by-step on running your first in-house hackathon visit: https://stormpath.com/blog/running-your-first-internal-hackathon

In today’s “Talent War”—in which people change jobs frequently, competition is global, salaries are competitive and opportunities are everywhere—smart, tech-savvy, agile workers are highly in demand, yet hard to recruit. Companies want to hire the best and brightest but rarely devise an innovative hiring process to make them stand out from other potential employers.  Hackathons can be a great tool in your arsenal to get you the forward-thinking IT talent you’re seeking.

Get more IT recruitment tips from Laura on Twitter @Recruiter_4_You and LinkedIn.

Employment Allies: How Recruiters Help Shape a Positive Impression of a Candidate

When working with a recruiter for the first time, it’s common for applicants to feel a little hesitant or unsure. Many job seekers are used to traditional ways of applying for jobs—hand-delivering resumes, searching job boards, applying online and following up with Hiring Managers. While these may be perfectly acceptable methods for landing a great job, there are ways of making your job search more efficient—and using a reputable Recruitment Agency is one of the best approaches out there. In an ever-increasing online landscape where employers have access to qualified candidates across the country (and often—the world), you need a personal advocate to shine a spotlight on your unique profile, skill set and fit for a company.

An experienced and specialized recruiter is an invaluable asset for your job hunt. They can help shape an employers’ positive impression of you through myriad ways:

They know how to “sell” you to their clients

Recruiters have strong and long-standing relationships with their clients (the very organizations with whom you’re looking to secure a job). They understand exactly what Hiring Managers look for when reviewing an applicant—the keywords that jump out at them and the deal breakers that make them turn away. This allows the recruiter to recommend small adjustments, diction and format changes to your resume and profile to ensure they meet their client’s expectations and starts their impression of you off on the right foot.

Employers trust their recommendations from previous successes

It’s a recruiter’s job to intimately understand the types of candidates their clients are after, the skill sets that lead to success in their roles and the personality traits that are needed in their organization. Based on previous hires, the client has good faith in a recruiter’s ability to know their business and company culture, and secure lasting candidates that fit within it. Employers take a second look at a resume they would otherwise pass on when presented by a recruiter they trust.

They act as a “live” cover page for candidates

Have you ever submitted an online application and wished you could have a direct conversation with the Hiring Manager about why you are the perfect fit? Well, that is exactly what recruiters are hired to do! Recruiters spend their time getting to know the candidates they work with—above and beyond checkboxes on an application—and have an ear with the client when it comes time to advocating for a good match. Recruiters present clients with complete candidate profiles and make personalized recommendations of best-fit candidates. They can speak to your education, experience, professionalism, presentation and personality traits, and mitigate any shortcomings you may have “on paper”. This makes all the difference for getting talented candidates through the door.

Career Builder, 2016

Career Builder, 2016

Additional benefits that recruiters provide to job seekers include:

  • Knowledge of company culture: Based on previous placements, site visits and communication with Hiring Managers, recruiters are able to give you an inside look into an employer’s culture and values—information otherwise not available to candidates.
  • Interview tips: Recruiters can prepare candidates on commonly asked interview questions, go over employers’ priorities, recommend appropriate attire and suggest which documentation to bring to the interview. They’re also a dedicated point of contact for all your interview questions and concerns. When you come prepared and dress like you already belong, it helps employers envision you working there. And recruiters can help with that prep!
  • Salary negotiation: Recruiters from leading Staffing Firms have access to the research reports, national salary guides and internal pay databases their companies put together. Top firms even offer their recruiters training on professional negotiation techniques. They study fair market compensation and go to work to negotiate a salary that meets both your expectations and their client’s pay range (and as experts, can even successfully persuade clients to raise it).
  • Assistance on job preparation & training: Based on the position’s requirements, recruiters can administer testing that identifies your strengths and weaknesses, your personality profile and your work style in a team environment. Recruiters can then offer online training or refresher courses to strengthen your knowledge. At Adecco, we provide free online training course to all our Associates on various software, customer service & office skills, health & safety, and many others. Your resume gets a boost from these new courses and you come off as an expert when it’s time for the interview.
  • Feedback from previous placements: Recruiters can share insider tips and tricks they learned from past candidates they’ve placed with a company. This can help you have a smooth transition into your new role and company, and set you up for success.

Recruiters are experts at cutting through a slurry of applicants and identifying the most suitable handful who will exceed expectations, gel with the company culture and excel in a role. For all these reasons, recruiters are true allies of both candidates and employers alike.

The Permanence of Temporary Labour: Learn the Benefits & Advantages

Temporary workers. Contractors. Freelancers. Associates. No matter what they’re referred to, contract workers are a large and important part of many businesses, industries and Canada’s workforce as a whole.

Let’s take a moment to consider the benefits and importance of temporary labour to Canadian families, businesses and the economy.

Temporary labour:

  • Helps industries meet production quotas and seasonal ramps. Many industries (including Agriculture, Hospitality, Logistics, Manufacturing, IT and the Broader Public Sector) rely on a mix of permanent and contract workers to meet seasonal peaks and ramp ups based on client or market demand, as well as to hire for project-based assignments. Without temporary workers, entire industries and businesses wouldn’t be able to meet these demands. High volume hiring during peak periods creates jobs for over 2 million Canadians and lets businesses grow and compete—further creating employment opportunities when businesses are able to expand.
  • Provides flexibility all around. Not only do businesses require flexibility in scheduling to accommodate periodically extended hours, shift-work, off-hour projects, fluctuating production plans and changing demands, but workers increasingly prefer flexibility in work schedules as well. Study after study has found that younger workers favour flexible work hours, but employers are learning that employees of all ages prefer more flexible schedules too! Parents need the flexibility to schedule their work around PA days, school vacations, doctor’s visits and extracurricular activities. Freelancers love the option of working periodically in between personal or side projects. Many employees are also pursuing continuing education and training, and need the flexibility to accommodate class times, work and school assignment deadlines. And Gen X’ers know far too well the demands that come with being the sandwich generation; taking care of children and aging parents while working a typical 9-5 has many feeling strained. Employees of all generations want flexible work hours with the ability to ramp up and down as their needs change, achieve work-life balance and choose their own schedules. And businesses need the flexibility to meet their varying scheduling and seasonal requirements. Contract hiring fulfills both of their needs.
  • Exposes employees to varied workplaces and industries. When looking at a stack of resumes (or results from a keyword crawler), Hiring Managers focus on 3 sections: the applicant’s experience, technical know-how, and their “soft skills”. Working for different employers, across varied industries and holding several job titles is a fantastic way to strengthen all 3! Accepting contract roles gives employees a first-hand feel for diverse businesses and roles—all the while growing their experience and skills, and reducing “employment gaps” on their resumes. Taking on a contract assignment also lets first-time or transitioning workers “try on” different positions and responsibilities before deciding which fit their needs best. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with unique and sought-after skills who want to try out multiple employers before committing to one that will give them exactly what they’re looking for. It also allows workers an opportunity to get in with a particular employer who may not be hiring on a permanent basis at the time. When that employer does have an opening for a permanent position, the contractors who have already proven their skills and know their operations are often thought of first to fill the role. In fact, over 1,200 of Adecco’s temporary Associates were hired on a permanent basis by our clients last year alone. Temporary employment lets job-seekers prove their skills and gives employers an opportunity to evaluate the best candidates before hiring the most suitable for longer term assignments.
  • Offers employees skills training, experience, mentorship, and benefits. When the temporary labour that businesses need is supplied by a staffing firm, the benefits to both clients and temporary staff are magnified. Temporary staff receive expert guidance from professional Recruitment Consultants on their resumes, cover letters, interview tips, personal branding and presentation skills. They act as the human link between clients and candidates in a sea of online applications. Once candidates are on or between assignments, they get access to not only on-the-job training but also online training seminars and software tutorials they can complete on their own time and upgrade any skills they want—all at no cost to them! Adecco offers 400 of such training modules online to our Associates, ranging from technical software courses and customer service skills, to Health & Safety legislation and procedures. Our Associates can continue to work while they complete courses that strengthen their skill sets and resumes. In addition to the complimentary benefits mentioned above, our Associates can also participate in our robust Group Benefits Plan (once they’ve completed the required number of hours), which entitles them to extended health, dental, drug and insurance benefits. The benefits of working with a staffing firm extend beyond the job experience and skills development temporary workers receive.  Hiring managers can focus on business while the firm takes care of employer responsibilities, oversight, payroll and guidance of their temporary workforce.
  • Presents employment opportunities to vulnerable populations. Contract and temporary employment gives new Canadians an opportunity to land respectable work opportunities, gain work experience and start providing for their families quickly. It gives motivated parents re-entering the workplace after parental leave or life changes an opportunity to start earning a salary once again and edge into longer-term positions. It lets seniors find part-time work, graduates land their first jobs and students get supplementary work while they’re in school. Temporary employment positively impacts every generation, demographic, and facet of Canadian life.
  • Gives Millennials what they’re looking for. Millennials make up over 37% of the Canadian labour force, and they’re increasingly more open to jumping between projects, companies, and industries for experience and variety. They’re also much more likely to pursue “side-hustles” and passion projects—such as graphic design, baking, yoga instruction or writing. Temporary positions fit in nicely with their varied schedules, changing priorities, love of travel and a strong desire for work that fits in with their lives. And when young job seekers or recent grads are challenged in finding a permanent job in a timely manner, working on a temporary or contract basis fills in the gap of not working at all.

With all the benefits that temporary labour provides to business and the economy, employees and their families, it’s no wonder that it’s the preferred career path for millions of Canadians. A large contingency of temporary or part-time workers in Canada voluntarily choose part-time work due to all the reasons discussed above, including a preference for added flexibility or seasonal work, better scheduling around classes for students, and greater work-life balance. In fact, a CareerBuilder/Inavero survey (presented at the 2016 ACSESS Conference) found that 76% of temporary employees work temporarily by choice! Canada’s businesses and industries need temporary labour, and Canada’s workforce loves its advantages. We hope that’s a permanent match.

 

How to make a good first impression in a new job

We’ve all heard the old adage that you will never get a second chance to make a first impression. When you’re starting at a new job, it’s even more vital that the impression be a positive one.

When you set off at a new workplace – whether it’s at a manufacturing plant or a Fortune 500 firm – there are always new names to learn, new processes to understand, new technologies to master and new teams to work with. On top of all the novelty, there is added pressure to impress your boss, forge relationships with coworkers and pass the probationary period. Every workplace is different and job expectations vary from employer to employer, but there are good judgments you can exhibit to ensure you get off on the right foot no matter what your role, including:

  • Arrive on time and work full days
  • Introduce yourself to everyone you meet
  • Have a positive attitude and open body language
  • Dress professionally and appropriately for your new position
  • Ask questions, take notes and seek training
  • Take initiative and prioritize tasks
  • Respect company time
  • Proofread your emails
  • Keep your desk area tidy and observe kitchen etiquette.

Along with the common sense behaviors listed above, there are also steps you can take to not only make a good first impression, but also excel in your new role!

Michael D. Watkins — author of  The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter — spoke to Forbes about impressing managers and colleagues during the crucial first 3 months of a new role. Book: The First 90 Days

Watkins recommends that you place as much emphasis on building relationships with coworkers and managers as you do focusing on technical job skills. Networking across departments and roles will help you fit into the company culture, find a mentor and connect with people who can help you as you’re learning the ropes. It will also give you a head start on forming lasting and beneficial work relationships.

Some of Watkins’ other important suggestions are:

  • Do not brag about your accomplishments at your past company.
  • Build trust by delivering on your commitments.
  • Consider temporarily rearranging your work-life balance while you prove yourself and gain speed.
  • Know your weaknesses and try to strengthen them through training. Offer a skills exchange to someone who can teach you.
  • Prioritize the tasks that will let you succeed in the job, not necessarily the ones you like to do the most.
  • Work within your boss’s managerial style and expectations – especially in the first 3 months. Communicate honestly and frequently. Ask him or her for advice when needed. If a problem arises, approach your boss early and be prepared with solutions.
  • Be flexible and adaptable. Your skills and ways of doing things from your past role may not be what is needed for success in the new position.
  • Try and secure “an early win”. Take on a project which you can lead or be heavily involved in. Include and learn from the relevant stakeholders. Try to make demonstrable improvements or success in the project within your first 90 days.

First impressions are essential and can often be lasting. A good impression can lead to a thriving career, whereas bad impressions may unintentionally make your new role harder and keep you from future opportunities. The mindful steps above will help build a good rapport with colleagues and gain respect from mangers as you undoubtedly become more comfortable and confident in your new position.

How to Start a Career in the Skilled Trades

If you’re looking for a rewarding career where you can apply practical skills and theoretical knowledge in an environment outside of the office, consider a career in the skilled trades.  Tradespeople build and maintain our roads, bridges and our infrastructure. They also keep our lights on, water flowing, roofs over our heads; develop our Energy sector by building refineries and upgraders. They can also compose culinary masterpieces for us to enjoy. There are many hands-on career options to choose from, in fact there are at least 300+ opportunities out there.

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Trades in Canada can be divided in compulsory and optional, depending on the province you reside in.

Please always check with your apprenticeship and industry provincial office to make sure.

To work in a compulsory certification trade, a person must hold a recognized trade certificate or be a registered apprentice in the trade. For voluntary trades instead, actual certification is not mandatory to practice the trade, as long as the employer deems the individual to have the skills and knowledge expected of a certified journeyperson in that specific trade. Please note that in some cases certification for voluntary trades is possible and offered as well.

Typical Compulsory Trades examples include the following:

  • Auto-body Technicians
  • Boilermaker
  • Crane Operator
  • Electrician
  • Gas-fitter
  • Heavy Equipment technician or operator
  • Ironworker
  • Rig Technician
  • Steamfitter-pipefitter
  • Plumber
  • Welder

Typical Optional Trades examples include the following:

  • Carpenter
  • Chef
  • Concrete Finisher
  • Glazier
  • Instrument Technician
  • Insulator
  • Machinist
  • Parts Technicians
  • Roofer

In order to jumpstart your career in the skilled trades, you need to apply for an apprenticeship.

What’s an Apprenticeship?

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Apprenticeship programs are post-secondary training options that offer on-the-job training in combination with classroom training, which in the end equals to paid time working while learning your relevant skill. Each trade has a certain requirement of the total number of hours needed before someone is eligible to write their certification examination. Depending on where you work (location and trade wise), different processes are in place, so be sure to look into the certification requirements for your province and trade to find out more.

Quick facts:

  • Approximately 80% of an apprentice’s learning occurs during work or “on the job”
  • 20% of time or the remaining is completed through post-secondary establishments such as a college or technical training institution
  • Apprentices are required to successfully pass an industry examination at the end of each training period.
  • An apprenticeship program typically lasts 1-4 years depending on the trade.

So, for example, time can be broken down into working for 40 to 44 weeks a year and then heading off to school for a six-to-eight week period of classroom training. This allows tradespeople to have the best of both worlds: textbook and practical applications of a trade.

Next Steps

Do your research. Programs are offered at a number of institutions, so find one that fits for you and start applying. Plus, the Government of Canada is heavily supporting the trades – offering apprentices up to $4,000 in grants to pay for tuition, travel, tools, or other expenses so keep your eyes peeled for these perks that come with training for the trades.