29 October 2013
You can’t have missed the recent furore over news that an estimated one million people across the UK are employed on zero-hour contracts - roughly 3-4% of the workforce.
Under the terms of such a contract, employers can keep their workers on call without guaranteeing them even a minimum amount of work. In addition, they only pay for the hours worked. The worker can refuse a shift, but critics say that can result in the employer “punishing them” by not offering them further shifts for a long period.
On the face of it, this sounds as if employers are exploiting jobseekers by cashing in on massive unemployment. However, in a climate where permanent employment is hard to come by, not all observers reckon it’s such a bad thing.
So what are the facts?
The extent of the issue
A survey released in August of 1,000 employers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that one in five used zero-hour contracts for at least one member of staff. This is considerably more than the 200,000 that the ONS figures suggested at the end of 2012.
For sure, it’s a trend that is on the increase. A Workplace Employment Relations Survey conducted by the UK government shows that the proportion of workplaces with some employees on zero-hours contracts has increased from 4% in 2004 to 8% in 2011.
Larger companies are more likely to use zero-hours contracts. They are used most frequently in the voluntary and public sectors, particularly education and healthcare, as well as the hotel, leisure and catering industries.
According to the CIPD, about 38% of those employed under zero-hours contracts considered themselves to be employed full-time, working 30 hours or more a week. Some, 16% of those on zero-hours contracts felt they did not have an opportunity to work enough hours. This, however, implies that the majority are content or would, in fact, like to work fewer hours.
Exploding the myth that it is unskilled workers who are being “exploited”, a recent Labour Force survey found that some 43% are managers, technical staff or other high earners, compared with 17% in semi-skilled jobs and just over one-tenth who were unskilled. Some 80% were not looking for another job.
There is, therefore, plenty of evidence that these contracts suit some workers as much as they suit the employers. If used well, for instance, they create flexible working opportunities that particularly suit women-returners, parents, carers and students.
In uncertain economic times it also means that employers can take on more workers to meet fluctuating demand without having to commit and it circumvents the need for costly temp agencies.
In short, they can open up opportunities for people who would not otherwise be able to work regular hours and easing the pressure on full-time staff.
The Unite union has called for the Government to halt these contracts in order to protect what they describe as an attack on workers’ rights. Several MPs have also called for zero-hour contracts to be banned.
Certainly, it results in some workers having an unpredictable income from month to month. In some reported cases, they don’t get the chance to earn a living wage as they have to be “on call” with that one employer. They might also have no sense of job security or recourse to their employer and in some cases sick pay is not included.
A particular criticism is that zero hour contracts allow employers to replace full-time workers, who are entitled to more rights. Companies such as Sports Direct, McDonald’s and JD Wetherspoon employ 80-90% of their staff on zero-hour. McDonald’s has argued all of its staff are given regular shifts and are not on call.
Should it be banned?
Understandably, there is a fear that the pendulum is swinging back in the employers’ favour and that zero-hour contracts are open to abuse.
No doubt in some cases they are. However, in this economic climate these contracts do serve a purpose.
Business secretary Vince Cable has ordered a review into the practice, but has said Government is unlikely to outlaw zero-hour contracts because “for many workers, as well as their companies, it’s a perfectly sensible arrangement.”
It certainly seems that workers and employers alike would be better served by improving the system rather than simply banning it. Not least, the crushing unemployment levels that have resulted from the inflexible labour market in Spain, Greece and Italy back this up.
22 October 2013
Job hopping is a common phrase that is used for workers who jump from job to job. As a candidate you have to be aware that recruiters are going to be looking for gaps in your work history and if your CV has lots, this will put you behind your competition. It’s best to make sure that, if you get through to interview stage for a role, you have valid reasons for why you left your places of work.
For instance, if you’ve had four jobs in the last two years then the interviewer is going to want to know your reasons for leaving.
Recruiting is a time consuming process and finding the right people to fit the role and company can be difficult – when someone leaves a job it can upset the balance of the company. Every time a job hopper leaves a company the HR team have to spend time filling the role, which is why interviewers will always ask for reasons why you left your previous place of work. If an interviewer suspects that you might not want to stick around for the long term they could disregard you straight away – always make sure that you are prepared with your interview answers as you don’t want to be put on the spot (and look like a proper job hopper):
The types of job hoppers:
•Necessary Hoppers: The necessary hoppers feel that they have served their time at their place of work and they have given all they can give. They have decided that they are leaving and that is that.
•Boredom Hoppers: Boredom hoppers tend to have short attention spans so feel they need to change their job regularly to keep it interesting.
•Opportunity Hoppers: Opportunity hoppers can’t resist a good offer, as soon as they smell the hint of something better, they hop!
•Career Hoppers: Career hoppers just can’t decide what they want to do. Their job history usually resembles a job board’s vacancy list (Chef for six months, Scuba Diving instructor for three months, Shop Keeper for four months).
The positives of job hoppers:
Usually, recruiters like us see job hopping in a negative light but there can be positives to someone who has job hopping tendencies:
•Diverse working environments: As job hoppers will have worked in a range of companies they will have usually experienced a range of diverse working environments, which can make an employee more adaptable to change. If an employee gets ‘set in their ways’ it can be very difficult to make changes within a company, someone that is already familiar with this would not be as fussed about adapting.
•Range of skills: Working for a wide range of different companies can increase a candidate’s skill set, this diversity could prove a very useful asset for your company. Often job hoppers will have worked with a range of professionals, this will have increased the variety of skills that they have as they will have learnt from these people.
•Larger network for contacts: Generally job hoppers will have more business contacts than someone that has been in the same company their whole life. Employees with a large network of contacts could also prove useful for your company.
•Experience of different size companies: Different size companies often have unique ways of working, an employee that has experienced first-hand what has worked and what hasn’t worked could prove extremely useful.
•Drive and enthusiasm: Often job hoppers can add a boost to a company’s productivity, as everyone wants to make a good impression when they first start a new job. Although, there are some exceptions some job hoppers can be extremely lazy which could be the reason for the job hopping.
•Fearless approach: Job hoppers are usually not afraid to try new things, in some situations this fearless approach could prove quite useful for your business.
How to avoid job hopping:
If you are a job hopper and you are wanting to find a way to stay satisfied within your job for a more than a few months then you might want to pay attention to some of the pointers below:
•Get promoted within your company: Why move to another company to start all your hard work all over again? You could boost your enthusiasm within the same company by taking on more responsibility and being promoted. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities within your company, when they arise approach the relevant person about the opportunity.
•Take on new challenges in your role: Ask to take on new challenges within your role, this will stimulate your brain and also show that you like to be challenged. If you impress your employer this could lead to a promotion, which is also a good reason to challenge yourself!
•Keep yourself busy within your work: If you are busy within your role you will not be thinking about your next job hop, keep yourself motivated by setting personal and achievable goals within your role. Making job lists can also help keep you on track and organised.
The grass is always greener on the other side, except when it isn’t. In reality every job has its ups and downs. If you are in a difficult position at work, make sure that you’ve weighed up every aspect, good and bad, of your job before rushing into any final decisions. If all else fails and you have tried your best, it’s probably time to move on.
Source: Undercover Recruiter.com
22 October 2013
Of all the vitriol directed at recruiters, the most anger is often reserved for the fees that recruitment agencies charge. Most agencies work to a contingency model, meaning they only charge a fee upon a successful placement. This fee is typically a percentage of anything from 10-30% of the salary that the employee is hired at. “How can you possibly justify charging that”, the furious layperson cries, “when all you do is send a CV across?!”
This is a fair question, and it deserves a fair answer. Charging a company thousands of pounds for simply providing an introduction to a candidate does seem ridiculous, and, for those outside the process, it can seem that a huge amount of money is changing hands for very little work. How on earth can these fees be justified?
To answer this, let’s compare recruitment agencies to another common agency model: the estate agency. Estate agents make their fee by charging commission on the arrangement and management of the sale of a property. This fee is typically a low percentage, made lower by the fact that most sellers will negotiate a sole agency agreement to get a reduction in fees. For the sake of argument, let’s assume a fee of 1.75%. If estate agents can work to 1.75%, why can’t recruiters? Well, firstly, houses are typically worth a lot more than salaries. The average house price in the UK at the moment is around £170,000. At 1.75%, that works out at £3010 in commission. The average UK salary is around £27000 – at 1.75%, that would be £472.50.
However, at this stage you may rightly say, “but if recruitment agencies typically work to 15%, then the fee for the average UK salary is £4050 – over £1000 more than the fee for the average UK house!” A fair point, and this is where an explanation of placement ratios comes in handy. The placement ratio is the number of roles worked on that are successfully placed, against the total number of roles worked. This varies depending on a number of factors, including industry, typical roles worked etc. Even a successful agency is unlikely to have a high placement ratio: the majority of the roles a recruiter works will not result in a placement. There are a number of reasons why this is, but a major cause is that clients will typically engage multiple recruiters to work on each role. It is not uncommon for a client to use six agencies. In contrast, in the UK, most estate agencies work to sole agency agreements, meaning that they are the only agent under instruction to sell the property. Sure, selling a property is a far more convoluted process than hiring a candidate, and a client can easily take their house off the market, but who is more likely to charge less for each job – the estate agent who will sell 6 out of 10 houses under instruction, or the recruitment agent who will only place 2 out of the 10 roles being worked?
From this, we can infer that a recruitment agent’s fee is comprised of two separate charges; a charge for the time, expertise and effort put into the role, and a charge for the risk the agent assumes under a contingency model. Because there is a very high likelihood that the time and effort a recruiter puts into a role will not result in a fee and placement, then it makes sense that a recruiter has to charge a higher fee for a successful placement – simply because most of their work will not result in a fee. This contingency model is actually pretty unusual when you think about it; if engaged to work on a job, most types of agency get paid for their work regardless of the final outcome. For example, if you engage a digital agency to design a website, then they will get paid for that work even if you don’t end up using that website (for whatever reason). If you engage a business consultancy to advise your firm on strategy, and you fail to use their advice, you still have to pay them for it. However, if a recruitment agency finds three superb candidates for a role that they are engaged to work on, and the client decides not to hire any of them, the agency cannot present the client with a bill for time and services rendered.
So, whilst an individual fee for a successful placement may seem excessively high, it has to be considered within context: in order to make that placement, the recruiter had to work a large number of roles which did not result in any fee at all. The second charge to answer, that recruiters do almost nothing for their fee, is easier to refute. Imagine the following scenario: a client calls a recruiter with a vacancy. The next day, the recruiter sends over 3 excellent CVs. The candidates are promptly invited into interview, all of which go well, but one is outstanding. He/she is promptly offered and accepts, and starts the following month. Seems easy, right? Well, what’s the more likely scenario – that recruitment is a really easy job, or that the recruiter used their expert knowledge of the industry to find the right candidates, their extensive network to find the best fits for the role, and their management skills to ensure a smooth and easy process, up to and including ensuring the candidate turns up to work on their first day? We’ll leave that to you to decide.
Source: Undercover Recruiter.com
8 October 2013
1. Recruiting alone: Share the responsibility of hiring a new employee with other members of your team. This helps avoid personal bias, the candidate is considered by potential co-workers, and ensures a thorough analysis of the candidates attributes and fit. It also means that if you make a recruitment mistake, you can share the blame!
2. Not listening to the candidate: Remember that an interview is your opportunity to find out about the candidate. If you spend most of it talking; telling the candidate about the role, the agency etc., you won’t gain an insight into whether or not they’re a fit. In fact you could be feeding them what you want to hear. Listen carefully so you don’t misinterpret the candidate’s information; don’t skew what they say to fit what you hope to hear.
3. Only focusing on skills and experience: The process of shortlisting candidates for interview should result in a selection of potential candidates all with the right skills and experience for your role. The interview is a chance to verify that they have these attributes; but more importantly ascertain whether or not the candidate is a cultural fit for your company. Avoid a poor cultural fit by hiring candidates in line with your organisation’s goals, ethos, work ethic, expectations and company culture.
4. Not checking references: However impressive the candidate, however persuasive they were when interviewed, however much you want them on-board: don’t overlook references. This means contacting referees; don’t just rely on references provided by the candidate, after all they’re going to be good. As with the interview, this is an opportunity to see whether you have a cultural fit as well as the right skills set.
5. Lack Of Support After The Candidate Is Hired: You may have stated in your job description that you want someone who can “hit the ground running”, a “self-starter” or someone who can “work under their own initiative”. But is it reasonable to expect a new employee to turn up on their first day and really do these things? Whatever the role, realistically you need to allow a certain amount of “settling in” time, support, and perhaps training, before your new employee can really show you their stuff.
Fixing Recruitment Mistakes
But what happens if you make a recruitment mistake? How do you resolve a situation if your new employee is not the perfect fit you thought they were? In line with your HR department, employment contract and company protocol, here’s 5 tips to extract yourself from a bad hire:
•Act fast: Don’t let the situation get worse, impact on other staff or your business; take action immediately.
•Be sensitive: Your new employee is maybe feeling a bit insecure having just moved to a new position, being told that they’re going to lose their job is not going to help. Show some compassion.
•Remember it’s your mistake: Although your new hire may not be coming up to scratch, don’t take it out on them. It’s your mistake for hiring them in the first place.
•Be transparent: Let your new recruit know the real reasons for losing their job. This feedback will help them in their future roles.
•Offer help and support: Where possible help them make the transition to another job. Perhaps you have a more suitable role for them within your organisation, or can recommend them to an outside agency. Offer references if this is helpful.
1 October 2013
Here are 10 interview questions every recruiter needs in their armoury….
1. What circumstance brings you here today?
One of the best opening questions ever, where candidates reveal problems with their current employer, potential insubordination, and both positive or negative character traits.
2. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Studies indicate that people who take risks are generally more successful than those who do not. But too many mavericks in one organisation can be disruptive…Discussion on this can be very revealing.
3. Describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why?
This question identifies motivations and affords personality insights.
4. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your life and how have you overcome it?
The candidate is forced to open up and be honest, whilst allowing the interviewer an opportunity to explore how the candidate handles challenges.
5. What’s your favourite animal and why?
Sub-consciously most people consider an animal they believe most accurately personifies them. This is a good question to identify personality traits.
6. When I call your old boss what will they say about you?
Other than asserting the point that you will be taking references, this question asks the candidate to think about how they feel they are perceived by their previous (or current) employer, testing their ability to think on the spot and align the answer to the job they are interviewing for.
7. What makes you angry?
Helps understand personality traits and motivations.
8. If you inherited an acre of land what would you do with it?
This question helps explore the candidate’s personality and creativity.
9. What are you most passionate about?
The answer doesn’t really matter but the way they answer does. The best candidates respond very quickly, sit forward slightly and are usually very animated. Never hire anyone without a passion for something.
10. If you could be anyone else who would it be?
Provides the opportunity for further analysis of personality traits and creativity. Also a great way to end the interview – usually a bit of a chuckle and a ready-made nickname when they start!
Source: REC UK Recruiter
|< Previous archive page||Next archive page >|