Question, Confused

How to Avoid Leaving a Recruiter with Questions about Your Resume

Question, Confused
How important is making a great first impression with your resume? Well, when you consider the volume of resumes recruiters receive, and the fact that they often have a maximum of two minutes to review each one and make a decision, it becomes pretty darn important.

Your resume may look fantastic and be free of typos, but did you know that there’s another key mistake many candidates make? In much the same way typos and poor formatting can be a deal-breaker, leaving your audience (the person reviewing your resume) with questions is a big no-no.

While resumes can sometimes leave recruiters with good questions (“That looks interesting, I wonder if…?”), more often than not, the questions are due to confusion and could ultimately result in your resume being disregarded.

Here are some tips on how to eliminate the possibility of unwanted questions arising from your resume.

Format Strategically

Resumes that look pretty but don’t include information that a recruiter needs to make a decision are not very useful. Your resume should be simple, clean, and well structured. As mentioned above, recruiters don’t have copious amounts of time to spend with each resume, so a format that makes them work too hard to find relevant information could hurt your chances of moving past the first stage of the hiring process.

Don’t list every single job you’ve ever had, and don’t list every minor task you were responsible for in previous roles. Think big picture. What are the most important things the recruiter needs to know about you as an employee, and what are the best ways of conveying that information?

Avoid using the functional resume format, which lists skills and abilities without including information about your chronological work history, as this doesn’t provide enough information about where you’ve built your experience, and for how long.

Read: “Resume Mistakes Accounting Candidates Make, Pt. I” and “Resume Mistakes Accounting Candidates Make, Pt. II” to learn what other resume mistakes you should avoid.

Use Specifics

Too many resumes include vague statements such as “great communicator”, “fast learner”, and “team player”. This really doesn’t tell recruiters much about you, since most people use these phrases when applying for a job. Instead, opt for brief descriptions about what makes you a “great communicator”, “fast learner”, or “team player” and include specifics wherever possible.

The best specific information to include is quantitative. Mention how many dollars you saved with an idea or initiative you came up with, how many clients you assisted on a daily basis, or how many people you supervised to build a clear picture of your strengths and responsibilities.

Read: “What Finance Recruiters Look for on Your Resume” for more ideas on how to make your resume stand out.

Explain Any Gaps

Gaps in a resume will undoubtedly create questions in the recruiter’s mind. If there are gaps in your chronological work history, be sure to address those as much as possible in your resume. Were you taking time off to go back to school? Were you raising a family? Did you have to take time away for a medical issue? Gaps in your employment aren’t always seen as a negative thing if there are good reasons for them.

Addressing these clearly in your resume can help prevent any questions about whether you take your employment seriously or are someone who has problems sticking with something. It’s also a good idea to mention any personal or professional development that resulted from your time away from work.

If you have worked contract or term positions, these don’t have to be left off of your resume completely. As long as you gained important experience and accomplished specific goals, these can be added along with full-time, long-term positions. Just be sure to spell out why these shorter-term positions are relevant, and specify that they were term positions (so there’s no confusion about why you were in the positions for a shorter period of time).

Show You Understand

One of the biggest questions you should be trying to answer with your resume is, “How does this candidate’s experience and skill set meet the employer’s needs?” By strategically formatting your resume to highlight the most relevant information, as well as clearly explaining what you bring to the table, you’ll be one step closer to securing an interview.

Pinpoint some of the problems the company is trying to solve, or some of the goals they have set, and use the information in your resume to speak to how your presence on their team will serve them well. This requires some research and a willingness to delve deeper into the company’s culture, structure, and needs.

Read: “Tailoring Your Resume” to get tips on how to show an employer you’ve done your research and have created a resume just for them.

Key Takeaways: Your Checklist

  • Use a resume format that is simple, concise, and logical.
  • Place important, relevant information strategically to highlight it.
  • Use specific information, especially numbers.
  • Address any gaps in your chronological work history.
  • Describe any personal or professional development that came from your time away from work.
  • Include relevant contract or term positions in your resume.
  • Show that you understand the company’s needs.
  • Have a friend or family member proofread your resume.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.


New to Canada

Gaining Canadian Job Experience When You're New to the Country

New to Canada
Canada attracts skilled workers from around the world each year, which boosts our economy and increases our talented workforce. But sometimes if you are new to the country, you may find that landing a job that matches your resume isn’t as easy as you might have expected. Even with multiple credentials, extensive work experience, and an expert skill set, you might find that getting a job similar to the one you held in your home country is difficult.

Companies want to see Canadian credentials and Canadian work experience on a resume, which can be an issue if you’ve just recently arrived. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make your resume more attractive to potential employers and increase the chances of you being selected for an interview, and ultimately, the job.

Get Assessed

You can have your credentials assessed by one of the various programs that provide such services, which will help you determine how your credentials match up with the Canadian equivalents. This information will be useful in deciding whether you must go through more training to meet the Canadian credential requirements for your industry. The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials has more information on programs that can provide credential evaluation.

Those who want to find work in the finance and accounting industry should consider getting a Canadian CPA designation, which differs from similar designations from other countries. Many companies see a Canadian CPA designation as a minimum requirement and look for candidates who have knowledge of Canadian accounting policy and standards. In a competitive market, candidates who have a Canadian CPA designation will stand out from others who might have similar experience and work history.

Not having a Canadian CPA can potentially impair your long-term earning potential, so even enrolling in the program can go a long way to boosting your desirability for potential employers.

Brush Up on Your English

Employers will want to know if you can communicate clearly in English, which is one of Canada’s two official languages (along with French). Having a slight accent is never an issue. It is more about being able to communicate in and understand English clearly.  If you think you need to practice your English skills, look for classes available in your area.

Seek More Training

If you find out that your credentials don’t quite meet the requirements of the industry you’d like to work in, look for courses available that can help boost your hiring potential. Even short-term programs can provide a good basis for working in Canada and will be valuable information to include on your resume. Training programs can also be a great way to network with others who are interested in or are working in your preferred industry.

Be a Volunteer

A great way to gain some Canadian experience is to volunteer your time at a local non-profit organization. Those who want to work in the finance industry might find that they are able to volunteer their time helping as treasurers or bookkeepers for non-profits. This experience is great to add to your resume, will give you something interesting to talk about in job interviews, and could put you in contact with others in the industry.

Switch Gears

One way to get your foot in the door when it comes to starting your career in Canada might be to take a position at a different level than you may have been working at previously. This can provide you with valuable Canadian work experience that will help you move to higher-level positions in the future. Look for opportunities to move into other positions as you continue to gain experience.

This is also a fantastic way to look for mentorship opportunities. Actively look for someone in the company willing to mentor you, as not only will it provide you with insight into working in a Canadian company, but it will also allow you to learn more about the industry and the company you’re working for. It’s best to find more than one mentor, and even better to find a mix of sponsors, mentors, and coaches to provide you with the most comprehensive advice and guidance.

Gig work, which involves temporary positions that are often part-time, can also provide you with valuable work experience across a variety of companies and roles. Leverage the gig economy to build your experience by searching gig sites online and finding gigs that you can later list on your resume and LinkedIn page to gain credibility.

Attend Networking Events

Look for events that are open to anyone in your industry, regardless of their job title. Networking events provide a valuable opportunity to learn more about the industry, meet people who could help advance your career, and practice your English skills if they still need some work. Reaching out to others for advice and building relationships with those in your industry is a good way to jumpstart your Canadian career.

Finding people who have a similar background and are now in roles that you would like to be in is a great way to learn about various paths that people have taken to succeed. These folks will be more likely to help you because they have been there, and will be able to provide very useful information for you on what steps you can take to get where they are today.

Read: “15 tips for landing a job in Canada: A guide for New Canadians” for more ideas on how to boost your employability.

Observe Cultural Differences

You might notice that workplace etiquette in Canada is different in some ways from that of your home country. Learning some of the Canadian cultural expectations is important, especially during the interview process and working alongside others in your workplace. Don’t be afraid to ask co-workers or your manager for tips on how to carry yourself appropriately in certain work situations.

Make a Lateral Move

If you worked for a private company in your home country, and you can’t find similar work in a private company here in Canada, consider making a lateral move to a non-profit organization, public company, or government department. Not only is there additional job potential, but shifting industries slightly while doing similar work can also provide you with important work experience.

Read: “Accounting Career Tips: The Pros and Cons of a Lateral Move” for more information on how to make a lateral career move.

Key Takeaways

Starting a career in a new country can be exciting, but if finding work in your chosen industry is difficult, you may need to take a few steps to make the process easier.

  • Work with a recruiter who can see your potential and help you build up your resume, while also providing advice on which jobs/areas to target.
  • Find out if your credentials meet the requirements for Canadian workplaces, and if they don’t, look for training opportunities to bridge the gap.
  • Ensure you are able to communicate clearly in English, and look for local classes if you need to practice.
  • Gain some experience volunteering by doing something related to your chosen industry, and consider taking a position at a different level with a company for a while to gain Canadian work experience.
  • Look for networking opportunities and pay attention to some of the cultural norms that you might need to use going forward.
  • Keep yourself open to making lateral moves from one industry to another in order to access even more potential job opportunities.

 

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.


Insecure Interviewer

How to Win the Trust of an Insecure Hiring Manager

Insecure Interviewer
Candidates with extensive experience and a strong skill set usually feel quite confident going into a job interview. Those who have worked in industries internationally, held leadership positions, or solved a wide range of problems for various companies certainly are impressive on paper. Really, who wouldn’t want to hire someone like that? But sometimes those credentials and years of experience can actually backfire, particularly when the person interviewing you believes you might one day be a threat to their position in the company. They might make your interview uncomfortable in an attempt to trip you up. So, what can you do to win over an insecure hiring manager during an interview?

Spot the Insecurity

First, learn how to identify when someone feels threatened by your accomplishments. Ask yourself these questions: Does the interviewer act unimpressed by the answers you provide to their questions, even though you have strong examples and can explain things clearly? Does the interviewer continuously interrupt you when you’re trying to speak? Is the interviewer using a tone that comes across as rude, condescending, or belittling? Is the interviewer being aggressive with their questioning techniques or making undermining comments about your resume or answers to their questions?

All of these things can signal someone who is possibly insecure about their own experience and skills, especially in comparison to yours. If you are applying for a position that will report directly to the interviewer, or that will work alongside them, this could be a good indication that they are concerned about how your credentials and experience will make them look. This can certainly put you in a tricky and possibly awkward situation, but there are some ways you can take things into your own hands and show the hiring manager that you are willing to create value to help the team be successful, rather than trying to replace them.

Assess Your Behaviour

Take a step back and look at whether there is anything you are doing that could be making the interviewer uncomfortable or defensive. Are you coming across as though you know more than the interviewer? Are you using language that is too strong? For example, claiming that you are an “expert” can be one way to make an interviewer uncomfortable. Is your tone condescending or bragging? Are you somehow taking over the interview by being pushy or too assertive? Have you made remarks about the company that could be seen as negative?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, try to tone things down and make the interviewer feel more relaxed. If you aren’t behaving in a way that might make the interviewer feel threatened, it’s likely they are dealing with personal insecurity. Either way, keep in mind that being respectful, polite, and courteous will go a long way in keeping the interview a positive experience.

Read: 3 Words You Should Never Use to Describe Yourself in a Finance Interview” to learn what language to avoid in an interview.

Know Your Stuff

Researching a company ahead of time, knowing your resume inside and out, and having clear responses to questions will leave you well prepared and ready to take on even the most difficult interviewer. Knowing what you plan to say can be useful if you are suddenly caught off-guard by questions, comments, or behaviours from the interviewer that you weren’t expecting. You will likely gain more respect from the interviewer when they realize that, if you are going to be reporting to them directly, you are interested in supporting them and aren’t easily shaken by their aggressive interviewing techniques.

If you’re able to find out a bit about your interviewer ahead of time, this can also be a useful strategy in making the interview more pleasant, as it can give you some conversation starters to allow the interviewer to speak about themselves and their role a bit. This can create a more positive interaction, briefly taking the focus off yourself and letting the interviewer know that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say.

Read:How to Stand Out in Your Next Accounting Interview” for more tips on making a positive impression.

Take the High Road

If the interviewer is continuing to be impolite or defensive, maintain a positive demeanour by smiling and staying engaged in the interview. If they respond negatively about something you say, try to rephrase it to see if that helps, while also being mindful to keep the tone from being argumentative or confrontational. Do not raise your voice, insult the interviewer, or act unprofessionally. Stick to the information you want to share about your experience and skill set, and keep your cool by avoiding any emotional responses to what the interviewer is saying or doing. By staying calm and collected, you might find that the interviewer will eventually come around and realize that how they’re presenting themselves isn’t very professional.

Key Takeaways

Sometimes all of the great things about your work experience and resume can make an insecure hiring manager act aggressive or defensive.  Interrupting, acting unimpressed, or using belittling or demeaning language are all signs that an interviewer could be feeling insecure. If you assess your own behaviour and determine that there isn’t anything you’re doing to trigger this reaction in them, remember that it might just be that they have a problem with feeling threatened. Preparing in advance of the interview and knowing what you want to say will help you from feeling thrown off-track by any negative behaviour from the interviewer. Keep your cool during the interview, try to build a positive rapport with the hiring manager by framing your responses to show that you want to contribute to and support the hiring manager’s success, and leave them with the best impression possible.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.


Friends meeting at a table

Your Friends are an Important Professional Resource

Friends meeting at a table
We suffer through a lot of suboptimal weather in Canada, but when summer finally kicks in, it feels worth the wait. Some time ago, I found myself taking advantage of one particularly spectacular summer day by hosting a barbeque. Despite exasperatingly accurate comments that “potato salad should not be that colour,” the barbeque was amazing. The guests were all people I knew very well, though they didn’t know each other. This, I suspect was part of what made the event so enjoyable: aside from the comments about my potato salad, the most consistent feedback I got from my guests was how blown away they were by the other people they met. I take pride in surrounding myself with exceptional people, and I think you should too.

If you’re wondering what all this has to do with recruitment or finance jobs, I don’t blame you. It’ll probably help if you think of this as an oblique approach to the grey area between your personal and professional lives. That’s the crux of the issue right there – the concept of a personal versus professional life. Certainly, there are aspects of each that should remain compartmentalized. Your boss probably wouldn’t appreciate being greeted with a kiss on the cheek, and I doubt your spouse requires a ten-page memo outlining your upcoming grocery run.

But our personal lives do inform our professional lives, in finance jobs and beyond, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the people we associate with. Tony Robbins’ mentor Jim Rohn famously said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with – it’s something I’ve touched on before. If you have a partner, kids, parents, in-laws, etc., you probably spend most of your time with them. Since you can’t (or at the very least, shouldn’t) opt out of those relationships, we can view them as a baseline – they’re not really part of your five-person-average. This means that you get to choose the people in your five, and that’s not a choice to be taken lightly.

The impact of your friends can be limited to your personal life, if you so choose. And if all you want from them is to drag you out hiking or introduce you to your new favourite sushi restaurant, that’s okay. But your five closest friends represent greater potential for growth than just expanding your culinary horizons; if you let them, they can make you smarter. And as far as your career is concerned, your friends can bring you closer to the people and solutions that will give you a definitive edge.

The thing to remember is that you aren’t a finished product. Personally, I find that relieving: what would I do with myself if I had reached the limits of my personal growth? Maybe I’d take up knitting… Regardless, we should all strive for continual improvement, whether that means cutting down your 10k time or upping the ante at your finance jobs. Sometimes, that means spending time with people who are smarter or more interesting than you are; sometimes, that means viewing your network less as a phonebook and more like an encyclopedia.

For instance, when I think I’m about to revolutionize the way I and everyone else in recruitment do business, I reach out to my friend Ryan, who has worked in business development for years at some really cool companies. He’s better than I am at sales, so he can give me blunt but useful feedback, and ways to test the idea further. He’s also interested in developing himself, so I freely offer my help where I can.

If I begin to suspect that some of my methods are antiquated, I call Fenton. He works as an innovation consultant and has experience as a strategist, so he makes a living thinking outside the box. He can always help me see angles I never knew existed. He’s also interested in developing himself, so I freely offer my help where I can.

When I want to expound my thoughts, challenge my beliefs, or better understand ideas, I talk to Sohaib. Sohaib worked with the UN, is a master’s candidate at Harvard Kennedy School, and is a genius at dissecting big ideas. I was talking with Sohaib at a bar once, and watched as a provincial Liberal candidate overheard our conversation, joined us, and then asked Sohaib to work on his campaign. 

If you’re seeing a trend here, it’s no mistake. In areas of value to my life and to my career, I have people in my circle who push me to grow and improve. I know that even if we’re just out grabbing a drink, I’m going to come away with a few things to think about. These people aren’t just entries in my phone book to call on if I think they can help me get closer to a career opportunity; they’re extensions of my network who each offer a unique catalyst for my personal growth, just as I offer reciprocal opportunities for their personal development. Nobody likes a one-sided relationship, after all.

‘Recruiting friends’ is more than just collecting business cards – it’s something organic. Find incredible people who embody the aptitudes and insights you want to see in yourself, and make those people your friends. Since incredible people rarely have ordinary friends, each new connection you make reveals a new circle of compelling individuals and the opportunities they all represent.

Even so, no single person is going to turn junior finance jobs into top-level executive positions overnight. But by cultivating your friends with a specific set of goals in mind, you can steer your career in the direction of your choosing. There’s always going to be a new way to bring yourself closer to what you want and whom you want to be, but it’s incumbent upon you to keep making the right connections. It takes a village.

Growth comes from all sorts of places. Maybe that weekend you spent alone in the mountains really changed your perspective. But if you’re looking for ways to keep growing and achieving within your professional roles (and who isn’t?) try looking outward. Think of something right now that you wish you could do better. You know that friend-of-a-friend who’s always up to something incredible? Have your mutual friend make the introduction, and start growing. Don’t know that friend-of-a-friend that’s always up to something incredible? Tell your friends you want to expand your network and ask them to set you up with the smartest person they know. It’s almost criminal to be inside on these summer afternoons in Vancouver anyway, so get out there...together!

There’s always more to a story than can fit on a page. Get in touch today to learn more about my story, or to find out how I can help change yours for the better.

 

Shane Gagnon is the Director of Clarity Recruitment Vancouver, with six years of experience in the industry. This is his personal blog, where you can expect to find not only insights from his endeavour to disrupt the recruitment industry, but also a glimpse into his pursuit of a satisfying career for himself and the finance/accounting professionals of Vancouver. Join Shane for each new post, as he reveals the journey that brought him here, and where he plans to go next.


Millennial Employees

Attracting and Retaining Millennial Employees in the Finance and Accounting Industry

Millennial Employees
As more and more millennials enter the workforce, companies are learning that this group has expectations and needs that are far different from those of previous generations. Efforts to attract and retain talented millennial employees have meant that corporate culture in the finance and accounting industry has shifted into more of an employee-focused arena, and any employer that continues along at the same old pace might find themselves struggling to get the attention of the millennial talent pool. So, what are some of the best ways to ensure organizations successfully find and keep millennial employees?

Opportunities for Development

Millennials are often accused of not wanting to work their way up in a company, but that’s not necessarily the case. It’s more so that the amount of time they are willing to spend in any one position or level is often less compared to employees from past generations. Millennials look for professional development opportunities to keep up with fast-paced changes in technology and industry standards, and they value employers that are willing to help pay for these opportunities.

Companies that have clear, structured professional development programs (that include covering the cost of part or all of an employee’s continued education) are seen as more progressive in the eyes of millennial workers. This can be a huge competitive advantage when hiring. Just be aware that with additional education, millennials will expect their compensation to reflect their continued growth.

Read: “What Millennials Want from an Accounting Job” for tips on giving millennials what they’re looking for.

Feedback and Mentorship

Mentorship is also hugely important to millennials, especially as they work their way towards leadership roles. Millennials tend to have loyalty more towards their managers than towards the company itself, so developing a strong relationship between leaders and millennial employees is key to retaining this new generation of workers.

Rather than micromanaging/directive leadership, millennials prefer a more collaborative approach with plenty of one-on-one meetings that involve open discussions and feedback. Giving millennial employees room to figure out how they would like to complete a task and helping them understand how their work fits into the bigger picture are two great ways to make them feel involved and valued.

Read: “Why Millennials Quit Their Finance or Accounting Job” for more insight into how to retain millennial workers.

Work/Life Balance

Aside from financial compensation, work/life balance is the next most important factor in what makes a millennial employee accept and stay in a job, according to a 2016 survey conducted by Deloitte. Flexibility is attractive to the millennial talent pool, whether it be in work hours, role responsibilities, contracts, or work location. Companies that offer work arrangements that better fit into an employee’s personal situation and preferences are more likely to attract and retain high-talent millennials.

Finding ways to allow employees to have flexible start times, to work remotely from their home office, or to change role focus every so often will help your company present a progressive, employee-focused culture that many millennials will take notice of. As shared in the Deloitte study mentioned above, millennial employees surveyed who were working in high-flexibility companies were twice as likely as those working in low-flexibility environments were to say that flexibility has a “positive impact on organizational performance and personal well-being”.

Reflection of Values

Personal values hold great meaning to millennials, even in a work setting. The Deloitte survey found that “61% of senior millennials (those with higher ranking job titles) chose not to undertake a task at work because it conflicted with their values”. Working to understand what drives millennials and what values they incorporate into their daily lives is important in determining how to keep them engaged and satisfied in the work they’re doing.

If they are able to feel that the work they’re doing is for the greater good, is fair, and is meaningful, millennials will be much more motivated to perform their best. Companies should consider how the corporate goals established by the organization match up with the values their millennial employees hold as important. Things like sustainability, integrity, community contribution, and customer care are all areas that could be reviewed.

Key Takeaways

The changing face of the workforce means that companies need to make changes to adapt in order to stay competitive in the millennial hiring game. Creating a more employee-focused environment, with professional development opportunities, mentorship and feedback offerings, and greater flexibility when it comes to work hours and location, can help an organization attract millennial talent and encourage it to stay. Learning more about the values millennials hold can also help a company align its operations with things that will motivate and inspire the newer generation of employees.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.


Rejected Man at Computer

Why You Should Ask for Feedback After Not Getting the Job

Rejected Man at Computer
You walk out of a job interview with a spring in your step, certain that you’ll get an offer in no time. You wait, check your messages, wait some more, and finally it comes – that important call or email from the recruitment agency. But the news they have for you isn’t what you’d been hoping for. The company has decided to go with a different candidate, or they’re not going to hire for that position after all, or they didn’t find what they were looking for and are going to repost the job.

Rejection is never an easy thing to deal with, but rather than focus on how terrible it feels, it could be useful to take this opportunity to find out whether there was anything you could have done differently. Many recruitment agencies will offer feedback after the interview process, but knowing what to ask and when to ask can provide you with some very insightful reflections on your interview etiquette.

Why Candidates Should Ask for Feedback

Getting insight into why you were passed over for the job could help you perform better in future interviews. Weak spots in your resume, issues with the way you carried yourself, lack of experience, missing skills, unimpressive answers to interview questions, coming across as being unprepared, or even just not being a good fit for the company culture are all possible reasons for winding up in the ‘no’ pile. Sometimes we are so caught up in the interview that we fail to realize what others see. You might be surprised to find out that the way you thought you were presenting yourself and the way your interviewers saw you presenting yourself are two very different things.

Read: 4 Ways to Impress a Hiring Manager Before Your Interview

Asking for feedback can also be a signal that you are someone who is open to change and willing to grow. Just because you weren’t right for that particular position doesn’t mean that the potential employer would automatically write you off for another position. Having a conversation with your recruiter about what you could have done better or differently can create a positive impression that could be helpful in building a relationship with them. This way, next time you apply for a role that could be a better fit, your recruiter will be able to act as your trusted advisor when presenting your profile to a hiring manager.

The type of feedback you get from your interviewers will likely depend on a variety of factors, including how far into the interviewing process you progressed (were there multiple rounds?) and whether the company has legal policies in place that prevent them from offering certain types of feedback. However, you may find this useful to know that it is a recruitment company's responsibility to reach out to clients' hiring manager, probe for actual root causes, especially because recruiters need to present a better fit to client in the next round of interviews. Hence, if you want to know more or have concerns about a particular area that wasn’t touched on, you should feel encouraged to ask for additional information in a respectful and professional way.

When you receive feedback through the recruitment agency, listen carefully and try to avoid feeling defensive or personally attacked. Truly consider the information and decide how you can apply this newfound insight to your interview strategies and techniques. If there are skill and knowledge gaps you can fill, take some courses. If you have a tendency to get too nervous during an interview, practice and maybe seek out some professional advice from a career counsellor. If your resume doesn’t stand out enough, read up on what you can do to improve it.

Use the feedback you receive to make yourself a stronger, more confident, and more well-rounded candidate.

Read: What You Need to Know Before Your Next Finance Interview

Why Most Companies Are Open to Providing Feedback

Recruitment agencies make the exchange of information between candidates and companies during the hiring process easier and more efficient. In interviews, candidates are often gathering information about a company just as much as a company is gathering information about them. Most companies are interested in making a good impression during the recruitment process, especially in the age of social media, where information and opinions are often shared openly. Review sites such as Glassdoor, allow both candidates and employees to voice their opinions on their interaction with specific companies. They understand how both positive and negative reviews can influence their brands reputation. Additionally, when an employer provides feedback to a recruitment agency, the more accurately a candidate fit can be found for the role.

Key Takeaways

Finding out that you haven’t been selected for an employment opportunity isn’t a great experience. But seeking feedback from your recruiter allows you to understand some of the reasons behind the decision, and prevents you from racking your brain and coming to your own (possibly inaccurate) conclusions. Be respectful when requesting any additional feedback through the recruitment agency, and be prepared for the potential employer to decline providing more information. Make positive changes using any feedback you do receive.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.


Blue Diploma

Making Time for Professional Development

Blue Diploma
Being in the workforce for years is a major advantage when it comes to experience, but it can also make you a bit too comfortable. Performing the same tasks, dealing with the same problems, and interacting with the same people each day means you could likely operate on autopilot after a while.

The reality of today’s working world is that continuous learning and improvement is necessary to ensure your skillset remains relevant and that you offer more than just experience. Seeking out professional development opportunities not only increases your knowledge in a particular area, but also shows your current (or future) employer that you are open to learning and are flexible when it comes to changes in your industry.

That being said, many of us have so much going on in our personal and professional lives that it can be difficult to know how to carve out time for continuous learning opportunities. Here are a few tips on making time to explore professional development options that can boost your confidence and your career.

What is Your Focus?

The first thing you need to determine is what area requires your attention. Are you looking to brush up on skills you already have? Is there a new area or skill you’d like to add to your repertoire? Your focus could be as general as “I want to know what’s new in my industry”, or as specific as “I need to learn how to write proposals”.

One way to figure out where to focus your energy is to consider your work reviews. Have there been any areas your boss has said could be worked on? Reviews offer a glimpse into your skillset and potential opportunities to make you an even more well-rounded and valuable employee.

Looking at job postings in your field and area of expertise is also a good way to determine if there are gaps in your skillset. Are employers now looking for experience with technology? New processes? Networking with others in your field can also help you understand what areas you might need to work on and what your competition is offering that you currently cannot.

What Can You Spend?

Finding time is a major consideration for professional development, but so is finding money. Does your employer have a professional development budget for their employees? If so, you might not have to worry about covering the cost yourself. Many workplaces offer this benefit to their employees, especially when the training pertains to the employee’s actual job. If your employer doesn’t offer professional development funding, consider speaking to your boss about whether this is something that could be implemented in the future.

If you’re going to have to cover the cost of a course, workshop, or other training opportunity yourself, be realistic about what you can spend and know that there are plenty of options out there that won’t empty your wallet.

Where Can You Find Opportunities?

With the amount of technology at our fingertips now, the answer is everywhere. Once you’ve pinpointed what you’d like to focus on and what you can spend, you can start to look for specific learning opportunities that fit your budget. The beauty of today’s technology offerings is that traditional classroom learning is far from the only option you have.

If you have a small or non-existent budget, don’t despair. There are plenty of free learning opportunities online. YouTube is a great source of information when it comes to the basics of just about every field, and can be a good place to start. There are also sites like Alison, which offer various course formats on many topics, free of charge, and with expert-produced content. Your local library is also a goldmine of information, from traditional book formats to online journals to e-courses.

Those who have a bit more to spend, or whose employer is footing the bill, can explore lectures, seminars, courses, and workshops offered by post-secondary institutions, industry associations, and field experts. These are great short-term or longer-term options that provide more in-depth information and expert insight. Another option is to discuss with your employer whether they would be willing to have experts or trainers come into the workplace to train you and your coworkers in a group setting.

How Can You Fit it Into Your Schedule?

The key to making professional development work for you is finding the time to devote to it, and sticking to it. Take a look at your current schedule, both work and personal, and consider whether there are any activities or time-wasters that could be removed. Use that time instead to learn or improve a skill. Schedule learning time the same way you would any appointment or event, and make sure you’re consistent.

Technology has made it possible to learn just about anywhere, so find short periods throughout your day to sneak in some professional development time. Listen to audiobooks during your commute, do coursework on your breaks, or attend a workshop over lunch. Instead of zoning out in front of the TV in the evenings or on weekends, take half an hour to an hour to learn something new.

Key Takeaways

It’s important to focus your energy when you have limited time to devote to professional development, so determine what your needs are and work on those specifically. Consider what kind of budget you’re working with, and if your employer doesn’t offer professional development funding, it might be time to have that conversation. Choose opportunities that fit your needs, budget, and available time. Look for non-traditional options that allow you to learn anywhere, at your own pace, if time is an issue. Finally, replace time-wasters (like TV or obligations that don’t interest you) with learning opportunities, and reap the benefits of a stronger skillset and increased confidence.


City through a camera lens

How Will Recruitment Navigate the Future?

City through a camera lens

As everyone always seems to be, I found myself discussing the future with a few of my colleagues. Specifically, we noted that while every other industry seems to be reeling from the rapid march of technology, but inside the recruitment industry we don’t seem to have noticed yet. My coworker Andrew Seeley had some interesting thoughts on that matter.

“You are going to change the recruitment industry by needing less people and giving them better technology,” he said.

Fewer people – that goes against some of the core practices and beliefs of our industry. As Andrew pointed out, “The typical recruitment model suggests that you can just throw bodies at the market and you’ll bring in revenue through sheer force and volume. The future will not allow that. You will not be able to provide the candidate and client experience consistently with large head counts.” The future will provide the kind of tech that empowers self-direction, placing greater control in the hands of individuals.

But why will we need to focus on reduced numbers and increased efficiency? Well, let’s look at the value of recruiters in the first place: time is a finite resource, and from an opportunity-cost perspective, hiring managers’ time is better spent executing against their deliverables. That doesn’t mean that hiring managers don’t have the ability to do their own recruiting – if anything, good hiring managers may actually be able to achieve consistently better results than recruiters. But even assuming a hiring manager can achieve the same quality at the same speeds as a recruiter, that manager’s time is better spent elsewhere.

And the recruitment process really can take a lot of time. Have you ever looked through a stack of ten or so resumes that a recruiter selected for you? That alone can begin to feel endless, especially if they all seem like great potential employees; now multiply that endeavour by ten, even 100, and the process of finding relevant candidates from a broader pool of talent can consume a truly troubling amount of a hiring manager’s time.

Creating a software augmentation solution that would bring even 75 percent of a recruiter’s efficiency to the hiring managers would be huge, and I think it’s inevitable that we’ll arrive at that point. If hiring managers gain that kind of competitive edge in the recruitment space, I suspect that Andrew will have a satisfying ‘I told you so’ moment as the need for volume and headcount-based firms rapidly dissipates. That isn’t to say that recruitment will vanish altogether, but those firms that stick around will be different. The remaining firms will have even more advanced technology that allows them a greater capacity for prediction, and to provide authoritative assistance in the area of judgement.

Of course, providing candidates with amazing service will always be critical, but even that may be augmented by tech. Will the next generation of chat bots find a home in recruitment? Will advances in natural language-processing (NLP) technology allow for more robust models of candidates, and more accurate assessments of optimal placements? I believe so. We’ll still want to meet people as we always have (and find value in that face to face interaction), but recruiting methods will require technological augmentation.

If this talk of tech seems bleak and cold, it’s not. On the company/client side of recruiting, we will be able to enhance hiring decisions from a cultural point of view like never before. There’s always a lot of talk in recruitment about hiring for a ‘cultural fit,’ but the focus needs to (and will) shift towards a ‘cultural contribution’ as Adam Grant would say. Why hire more of what you already have, when we’re able to tell you what kind of traits your company needs to boost its culture? Look at it another way: we can create an algorithm for anything, provided we have the right kind of data to fuel it. If data-gathering tech can give us the input, we can make algorithmic decisions about which candidate will make your office a better place to work. It’s this multifaceted approach that will give hiring managers and HR professionals the tools to build a better team, and with greater confidence.

Big companies will struggle in an age when the effectiveness of their scale is challenged by technologically augmented hiring managers/HR professionals/smaller recruitment firms as well as self-directed job seekers. If they use their current stature to invest in the tech now, it could be a different story. But if they don’t, Andrew suspects that these companies “will be purely transactional and will slowly vanish. All that’s left will be a few really good companies (with 1/4 the headcount that some of these large players currently have) that leverage really great technology, and build meaningful relationships with clients and candidates, providing more than just access to jobs and people. A differentiated customer experience will win the market.”

In the future of recruitment, those who have a mind to create their own path forward by investing and innovating will be able to serve their clients and candidates dramatically better than ever before. As well, these recruiters will have made themselves better job seekers and better hirers. Clarity devotes a third of its operating budget to technology like this, and to research that gets published in some of the most renowned academic journals in the world. We’re constantly working to shape the future of the industry on behalf of our clients and candidates… it’s a brave new world.

There’s always more to a story than can fit on a page. Get in touch today to learn more about my story, or to find out how I can help change yours for the better.

 

Shane Gagnon is the Director of Clarity Recruitment Vancouver, with six years of experience in the industry. This is his personal blog, where you can expect to find not only insights from his endeavor to disrupt the recruitment industry, but also a glimpse into his pursuit of a satisfying career for himself and the finance/accounting professionals of Vancouver. Join Shane for each new post, as he reveals the journey that brought him here, and where he plans to go next.


Pay Scale

What Ontario’s Proposed Pay Transparency Bill Could Mean for Recruiters

Pay Scale
A recent proposed bill in Ontario aimed at closing the gender wage gap and bringing more transparency into the realm of salaries and wages could change the way recruiters work in the near future. The legislation, called Then Now Next: Ontario's Strategy for Women's Economic Empowerment, or more formally, Bill 203, Pay Transparency Act, 2018, was introduced by Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne last month.

What does the bill include?

The focus of the bill is on pay transparency, and it would include a number of changes if passed, including:

  • Requiring publicly posted job ads to include a salary rate or range
  • Prohibiting employers or recruiters from asking about a candidate’s past salary or wage
  • Preventing punishment for employees who discuss or ask about compensation
  • Requiring large companies to track and report back to the province on wage gaps based on gender, as well as other diversity factors
  • Allowing compliance officers to conduct workplace audits
  • Fining companies who do not comply with the Act

The changes would first affect Ontario public service employers before then being rolled out to companies with more than 500 employees. Later, it would extend to companies with more than 250 employees.

Where are bills similar to this being passed?

The bill was based on similar legislation from countries such as Australia, Germany, and the U.K. The U.S. has also seen a number of state bills passed in the last several years that advocate for pay transparency and the elimination of wage gaps based on gender and race. States including California, New York, Oregon, Minnesota, and Michigan have added their own state laws dealing with pay transparency and equal pay, which provide additional protection alongside federal legislation implemented during President Obama’s time in the White House.

The proposed bill in Ontario is expected to be passed in May, and would come into effect in January 2019. It would be the first provincial legislation of its kind in Canada.

How will this affect candidates?

One of the major issues the bill is meant to address is the cycle of low wages that certain groups tend to get caught in, usually women and minorities. Employers and recruiters will often base their salary offer on what a potential employee was paid before, so there is a never-ending pay rate loop that these groups cannot escape, regardless of how much experience they gain or how much their skillset grows.

Knowing what the job pays upfront allows candidates to determine whether they are interested in the position in the first place and whether they feel they would be fairly compensated for their skills and expertise. Not having to disclose previous compensation to an employer or recruiter means candidates can potentially move up the pay scale; something that in the past might have been impossible.

Transparency when it comes to salaries and wages can also provide candidates with some reassurance that the employer is being fair and honest with its employees. This can make a company a more desirable place to work. It allows potential candidates to feel free from discriminatory practices and gives them a positive experience right from the beginning.

How will this affect recruiters?

Even if the bill isn’t passed, changes in the way we communicate about work and compensation are starting to force employers and recruiters to think more about pay transparency. Social media is a common place for employees to discuss work-related issues and concerns, and sites like PayScale and Glassdoor make company and salary information readily available to anyone.

Those who say the bill will negatively affect the process see such legislation as the government meddling in a system that is already working well for recruiters. Having access to information about a candidate’s past employment, including how much their previous or current employer was/is paying them, provides important details on which to base a job offer. Without that information, there is concern that the salary offered could be more than what a potential candidate’s skillset and experience would warrant.

There is also the issue of scaring away potential candidates with a posted salary that they think is too low. Some recruiters make the case that there are sometimes exceptions to a base salary or set range, such as when a candidate has a unique work background or exceptional skills that would prove more valuable to the company than what the average applicant could bring to the table.

On the flip side of this, some recruiters will see the pay transparency changes as a good thing. Clearly stating the expected salary or salary range should attract the right candidates for the position and required experience level. This could make conversations about compensation easier during the recruitment process.

Although recruiters would no longer be able to ask specifically about a candidate’s previous compensation, changing the discussion slightly to ask about what they are expecting salary-wise would be perfectly acceptable under the proposed legislation. Using such information, combined with industry-standard salary data, would help recruiters understand where a candidate feels their compensation level should be in comparison to the reality of their particular field of employment.

Key Takeaways

While the proposed transparency bill still needs to be passed, changes in how people discuss and share information about employers and compensation mean that pay transparency is becoming more of a social expectation, even if it isn’t legally implemented in all provinces just yet. Many other countries have passed laws to help create a work culture of transparency, and similar laws passed here would break certain groups out of a frustrating trend of being underpaid. While recruiters would need to look for new ways to have discussions with candidates about salary, there is plenty of data available to determine what candidates should expect to be paid. Starting to think about how pay transparency will alter the recruitment industry and making some initial changes even before legislation is passed can put recruiters ahead of the game and prepare them for the future of the industry.


How to Promote Yourself When You’re an Introvert

How to Promote Yourself When You’re an Introvert

How to Promote Yourself When You’re an Introvert
If you prefer to spend time by yourself, feel drained by social interactions, think deeply about the world around you, and sometimes have trouble selling others on your merits, you’re probably an introvert.

While introverts bring many important skills and qualities to any field, the popularity of open office environments, interactive team building activities, and never-ending series of birthdays, showers, and other celebrations means introverts can sometimes feel a little overwhelmed or alienated in the workplace.

So, here are some ways you can make your voice heard, stand out from the crowd, and create an impact, without having to change your personality completely.

In Job Interviews

Try to schedule your interview at a time that works best with your natural energy and that fits in with the rest of your day. If you have a lot going on that particular day, arrange things so that you aren’t flustered by the time you make it to the interview. Try to leave some space between the day’s activities to ensure you have time before and after the interview to recharge and regroup. Even just half an hour can allow you some time to mentally prepare yourself beforehand, and reflect on the experience afterwards.

Practice makes perfect. Go over important points you’d like to make, answers to commonly asked questions, and any small talk topics that might be useful, and do this over and over again until you feel confident with the material. You won’t be able to completely prepare for everything that will be asked in the interview, but at least you’ll have some solid groundwork to keep you on track.

First and last impressions are key in any job interview. Your first minute or two of interaction with your interviewers sets the tone for the rest of the interview, and your last few minutes will likely be what they remember best when they debrief after you’ve left. Go into the interview with high energy, smiling and shaking hands, and leave with high energy, thanking the interviewers for their time, again smiling and shaking hands. Let the moments that will be most memorable to the interviewers be the ones in which you focus the majority of your energy.

Talking to people can sometimes be daunting when you’re an introvert, especially when you’re trying to make a specific impression. Mirroring the tone and body language of those interviewing you can help create a great impression as well as calm your nerves. If the interviewers are formal and serious, it’s probably a good idea to match that energy rather than trying to be super bubbly.

Make your introverted personality a desirable trait. Talk about your strengths as a great listener, a strategic thinker, a reliable researcher, and someone who is detail-oriented. Sure, extrovert qualities are often celebrated as being more team-focused, but the qualities that introverts bring to the table can be just as important to team needs and goals.

In the Workplace

Meetings can be challenging for introverts when they’re up against extroverts who sometimes hog the spotlight. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Much like preparing for job interviews, gathering what you’d like to say in a meeting ahead of time can help prepare you to get your point across clearly. If you find yourself being interrupted by others, be willing to jump back in when necessary, but also don’t be scared to interrupt those who have interrupted you. Your voice is just as important.

When working on group projects, introverts can sometimes be treated as the workhorses, while extroverts receive much of the credit because they’re so willing to talk about their input. Never be afraid to share with others what your contribution has been and feel free to speak up when a project isn’t headed in a direction you feel comfortable with.

Despite what some might think, introverts can be great people to have in leadership positions. They are often willing to listen to what others have to say and are open to implementing ideas that aren’t their own. Introverts are also often compassionate and empathetic people who can build trusting relationships with their direct reports. If there are extrovert-like leadership traits you think you could improve, working on these traits will help balance your leadership style.

In Networking Situations

Networking is another arena in which introverts often would prefer not to find themselves. However, it is an important aspect of career building and personal development, so should be part of everyone’s schedule at some point.

Look for networking events that will give you the most bang for your energy buck. Maybe an all-day conference is just too much socializing, and you don’t feel you’ll get much out of it past a couple of hours. Selecting events that are held over lunch or in the evening, that are short and sweet ways to make connections, might be your best bet.

Taking advantage of networking opportunities online is a great way to promote yourself and your work, particularly when you’re an introvert. Many introverts prefer to express themselves in writing, which provides time to think and edit what you’re going to say. Social media platforms and online networking sites like LinkedIn provide a comfortable space to let the world know what you have to offer, so use these wherever possible.

Key Takeaways

Being an introvert can present some challenges in today’s workplaces, but using your specific skills to promote yourself where you can is important. When it comes to job interviews, being strategic about scheduling, preparing, using your energy, and promoting your skill set will help you feel more confident. On the job, don’t let your accomplishments and ideas drift into the background. It’s OK to speak up and be honest about your contributions. Finally, choosing networking events that will prove to be most fruitful and using online networking opportunities like social media platforms will help you spread the word further about what you have to offer.