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Brand – aligning personal with business

Regardless of whether you invest any time into it or not, we all have a personal ‘brand’. Simply put, a personal brand is how you are perceived by the people you engage with. It comes through in your conversations, the stories told about you, and even what you wear, so anyone you interact with will have some opinion of who you are and what you stand for. Because you are curating this brand all the time, either consciously or unconsciously, it is worth taking a step back to ensure that how you present yourself is truly aligned with your values and beliefs – and a good place to start is where you work.

Any brand, personal or business, should be created from the inside out. It isn’t about having the best logo, or the biggest following on social media – it goes much deeper. Values and purpose should be the foundation of any strong brand and informs everything from how teams work together internally, right through to the external initiatives the business supports.

While this is easy (or at least easier) to do on a personal level, it’s much harder as a company, but why? Businesses are an accumulation of people, all with their own values and beliefs, and sometimes these are misaligned from the start. Values are set by the senior team and when there is little buy-in from the wider business, these are diluted over time. This impacts the organisation as a whole and could also lead to damage to the brand from an external perspective.

As an example, a business can say that ‘openness’ is a value. This will form part of their external messaging and be promoted in their marketing materials. However, if the staff in the business conceal information from clients or are known to tell half-truths, the brand will be perceived as the opposite. This is why the values in your business must be representative of the values you hold, as ultimately, it is the staff that showcase them to the market.

Having an alignment between your business and personal brand matters – you spend a lot of time there, and the association alone will have an impact on how you are perceived. Let’s say, for example, you are a long-serving senior manager in a business with a poor reputation. How does this look to the outside world? People may assume that you, at least to some degree, align with the brand of the business. You have been there a long time, you have led the team, and you have had significant input into the business itself. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words – and what you do, or in this case, where you work, will have an impact on your personal brand.

We have covered the bad, but what are the positives of having alignment between brands? As cliched as it is – synergy. Synergy is working together to create a combined effect that is greater than the sum of their separate effects. When you align with your workplace, you become an advocate for them. You fit into the organisation, you feel connected and engaged with the values, and you support them wholeheartedly in their purpose. You work to create success, and this is shared together. Your personal and business brands will complement one another, and you can start to leverage their content to promote your own brand. It increases the reach of the business and, if you work for a strong brand name, you have an opportunity to utilise its status to enhance your own visibility.

So, what can you do to align your brand with the brand of your business?

Firstly, you should try to work with a brand that you believe in. You should hold similar values and feel confident that the way you do business is the right way. Of course, this is no mean feat if you are already in an organisation that you don’t align with, but it is worth considering the longer-term impact of working for a brand that you don’t believe in. When looking for a new role, it’s important to ask questions about culture and values to ensure that it is a fit for you. You should do your research into the company, look at the initiatives they support, and the messaging that comes from senior leaders in the business. At the end of the day, you can’t align your brand to a business if you don’t agree with anything that they stand for.

Secondly, you should tailor your message to suit your businesses brand. It’s unlikely that you will be an identical match to where you work – even if your values are the same, your priorities will be different. However, they will be similar and easily adapted to your style and brand. You should keep to the business’s tone of voice while adding your personality and views. Because your personal brand is just that, personal, it should always feel authentic to you. If you move to a new role, you will carry this with you, so you don’t want to appear like a carbon copy of the company LinkedIn profile. This might seem challenging, but if you are bought in to the organisation’s values and purpose, it will happen almost naturally.

Finally, be an advocate for your business. When you are proud of where you work, it is much easier to shout about it. It makes up a huge part of our lives, so we should be glad to share this with others. You can be an advocate for people to join your team, or for customers to buy your product. Either way, when everyone is working together and toward the same goal, success will be shared with all. Opportunities will also arise within your business that will benefit you in the long run. It could be to create new content, be the face of a campaign, or maybe lead a project. Regardless of what these opportunities look like for you, they will help you advance your career and bolster your experience.

Having a strong personal brand has its benefits – it can help you develop your career, get in front of potential clients and customers, and will give you more control over how you are perceived in the market. When this aligns with your business and is utilised for shared success, it can open up even more opportunities – not just for you, but for the wider organisation as well. And remember, your brand already exists, so make sure it’s true to you.


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Yellow Arrow

Does Culture Matter?

 

 

“How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything – for better or for worse.” – Simon Sinek

Having conducted a recent survey on why people leave, I found it interesting that culture was identified as the number one reason that people left their last role. With over 43% of respondents giving this as their rational for leaving, it is clear that company culture cannot be ignored.

The results of the survey pose a few interesting questions as a talent professional – What exactly is culture? How much does culture really matter and why? Is hiring a cultural fit the way forward? And if so, how can you measure and assess this?

So, what is culture and why does it matter?  

Firstly, culture is a loose term with hundreds of definitions – some see it as something vague which cannot be controlled, others see as something simple that can be managed. For me, it sits somewhere between the two.

In my opinion, McKinsey & Company sum this up well, defining culture as:

“As the common set of behaviours and underlying mindsets and beliefs that shape how people work and interact day to day”

Because culture is created by a “common set of behaviours and underlying mindsets and beliefs”, the people who lead your business, and those who sit under them, have a huge impact on the culture throughout the organisation. Essentially, if those running your team have some bad behaviours or beliefs, this will trickle down and have a knock-on effect across the board. A good and bad culture alike can have various effects on your business, some of these are:

  • Correlation with high / low performance
  • Impacts employee engagement
  • Culture impacts agility
  • Research shows impact on long-term financial performance
  • Culture differentiates you from the competition
  • Culture is difficult to replicate
  • Strong Cultures attract the right people  

Finding a Cultural Fit

From a recruitment perspective cultural fit is often talked about – this is how someone fits into an organisations culture. Get it right and you can achieve remarkable things, get it wrong and the culture or subcultures can become toxic.

An article in the Harvard Journal describes Culture fit as the glue that holds an organization together”. That is why it is a key trait to consider when recruiting. The result of poor culture fit due to turnover can cost an organization between 50-60% of the person’s annual salary, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Cultural fit is important in any recruitment process and is even more critical when making senior hires. Over the years, it is something I have heard clients ask for repeatedly when discussing assignments. When we ask clients how they assess cultural fit the answer is often “it’s down to gut feeling” or “we get the applicant to complete a psychometric test”. I would argue this is too simple a view, and to truly assess cultural fit it must be a two-sided process. The required behaviours needed for a role, and by the company, should be assessed by both the client and the candidate.  

So, how do we assess cultural fit?

At Corvus, our Executive Search methodology, Corvus Assured, makes this a little more scientific and is based on leading research into behavioural assessments. We use several behavioural tools that use AI to check for alignment between the clients needed and expected behaviours and that of the applicants. The process considers both sides – firstly the desired behaviours for a role, and then the actual behaviours of the person applying.

The starting point for this is to look at client expectations of the role, by having the key people involved in the recruitment process undertake an assessment that shows the key behaviours they want in a role. This is also an opportunity to check that they are aligned internally on what their expectations of the person are. Sometimes this gives interesting results, where clients expectations differ between people internally, and ultimately are misaligned. Clients often welcome this feedback, and it gives them a clearer picture of different perceptions and allows them to consider these in their decision making. Making sure the key stakeholders are aligned before starting the process is key to its success, after all, how can you find a fit if you all are looking for different things.

Some questions to help assess cultural fit

  • What type of culture do they thrive in
  • What type of values are important to them and why
  • What do they know about our company culture
  • What type of working environment do they enjoy

There is no simple, unified, way to assess cultural fit but there are tools to make the process more scientific and robust. 

So, in terms of the question, ‘does culture matter?’ I would say very much so – the Simon Senik quote at the start of this sums this up very eloquently.

If you would like to talk to us about a different approach to recruitment or some fresh thinking for your next hire. Please feel free to reach out. Corvus is a team of highly experienced and passionate consultants who deliver recruitment and HR related solutions to companies in NI, RoI, GB and internationally.


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How to speed up your recruitment process

 

 

Finding and evaluating job applicants is often a time-consuming, multi-stage process. It takes time and effort, but did you know that hiring the right people, and fast, can save you money? Some of the costs to your business for not filling a vacant position quickly could include:

  • Dip in productivity within your existing team
  • Extra recruiting costs – for example, more time spent advertising means more costs incurred
  • Lost sales as a direct result of the unfilled role – for example, due to a lack of resource,  
  • The salary of hiring staff involved in the recruiting process, which would normally go toward other activities if the vacancy were filled
  • Any overtime paid to current employees making up the work

These are some of the short-term costs, but there may also be customer frustrations because of insufficient staffing, leading to longer-term impacts across the business. And even worse, should you hire the wrong person, you could find yourself rushing to replace them, and that means spending additional money.

So how can you overcome this? Preparation is key and will help you manage your time. Here are my top tips to help you prepare before your role goes to market:

Align your team on who you are looking for

At the start of any hiring process, you should sit down with the hiring team and decide what skills, qualifications and behaviours are needed for the role. You should know exactly what you would like the person to bring to your company, what their key skills are, and what their experience looks like. Leaving this to luck can lead to disagreements on who is best suited for the role, or a hire that wasn’t a good fit – neither of which are ideal.

Creating an advert that stands out

You want to make sure your job advert is targeting and resonating with the right people. Your advert should not just be about the company, and it should cover why THEY would want to work with you and the impact the job will have on their lives. Will it pay them more? Perhaps they will develop faster, or maybe they will get to use new technology or tools. Either way, simply listing their duties won’t do much to excite and attract, so make sure you have them in mind when writing the advert. Check out our guide to writing job adverts for some more tips on this.

Assess the candidate with more than just their CV

Finding a cultural fit for your business is vital to making the hire a success. You should be looking at more than just skills and qualifications and should use various assessment methods or behaviour-based competency questions to get a better idea of their true fit.  Some useful questions can be found here – Behavioural Interviewing Techniques and Strategies (thebalancemoney.com)

Schedule time to make decisions

If you want to keep the process moving, this is essential. Calendars get busy, and fast – often, those involved in hiring decisions are doing so on top of their ‘day job’, so time must be carved out at the beginning of the process to ensure availability. Create a schedule for the entire process and block out time in advance if needed.

Keep in touch with your candidates

Once you have begun the hiring process, keeping in touch with your candidates will help build relationships and manage expectations.  It isn’t always possible to get back to everyone, but where a candidate has been interviewed, it is important to let them know rough timelines. If you don’t, you run the risk of your ideal candidate going elsewhere. Poor communication, at any stage of the recruitment process, can also impact your employer brand – potentially having a longer-lasting effect. Even once the offer has been made and accepted, you should aim to touch base a few times before they join – this is particularly important if they have a long notice period.

Act with urgency

As we all know, working with people can be volatile. If you have a role that is critical to the business, you should aim to act quickly to minimise disruption. Candidates who are active in the market could find another job before you have responded to their application. It is also important to keep in mind potential notice periods, which depending on the candidate, could be up to 6 months. Ensure you are setting realistic time frames for your own business and from the perspective of a candidate. Once you are past the interview stage, and sure of your candidate of choice, make the offer promptly and follow up with official documentation on the same day. It provides confidence to the candidate and allows them to make the necessary arrangements with their current employer.

Being prepared is key to keeping on top of the process, so implementing the above will make sure your search gets off to the best start. Hopefully, some of these tips help you with your next hire – maybe even saving you some time, money, and unnecessary headaches.


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It’s a match! Using the rules of dating to ace your next hire

 

 

It seemed odd when a few of my clients started to refer to me as the Cilla Black of recruitment. Recruitment and dating appear worlds apart, but the comparison got me thinking. I decided to pop up a poll on LinkedIn to see if others felt the same, and interestingly enough, 80% of respondents agreed that there were similarities. Like dating, recruitment happens in different stages – some of these are time-intensive and don’t always go our way. Could applying the rules of dating to your recruitment process help you find your perfect match?

Our Executive Search methodology, Corvus Assured, breaks down the stages in a similar way. So, in true Cilla style, I wanted to share our inside secrets on how we help businesses find their ideal candidate.

Stage 1: Figure out what you want 

Much like dating, it’s good to go into the process with a clear idea of what you are looking for, however, this can be more challenging when there are different viewpoints to consider. Imagine asking your mum, dad, brother, and best friend all to agree on your next love interest – I am sure we all cringe at the thought. 

It goes without saying how messy it would get, and this is why aligning your stakeholders before you begin the process is key to success. According to Forte One, companies that lead with culture and alignment tend to drive strong business results over time. That is because alignment within the Senior Management Team (SMT) leads to a clear and focused strategic plan, which trickles down to the rest of the organisation. 

So how do we ensure that our client’s Management/Leadership teams are aligned and agree on the ideal candidate? 

Along with taking the time to fully understand the business, we ask stakeholders to individually complete a short online behavioural assessment. This allows us to get a clear picture of the ideal candidate from each perspective and establish if the Management/Leadership team are on the same page.  Often this is not the case and provides an excellent opportunity to discuss individual perspectives and gain consensus on what a ‘fit’ looks like. 

This stage goes deeper than skills and qualifications and looks at the behavioural requirements to ensure a fit with the business culture. A colleague recently completed a poll on LinkedIn, asking participants why they left past roles. Coming in as the top reason was Company Culture at 43%, so getting the fit right is crucial to creating a successful placement. Like the client survey, we also ask candidates to fill out an in-depth behavioural assessment. Matching these to the desired profile makes for a strong cultural fit and leads to higher retention rates.

With critical hires, some of our clients have been on the search for quite some time. Often enough, the reason they haven’t secured their perfect fit is that, without even knowing it, the SMT don’t agree on who they are looking for. 

Stage 2: Find your Soul Mate 

According to Tribepad, eHarmony claims to be the dating site most likely to deliver happy long-term relationships because they prioritise compatibility. Similarly, once your SMT is aligned, it’s time to start the search for compatible candidates. 

As part of our Corvus Assured offering, key stakeholders get access to our portal, which is not that dissimilar to an online dating page. Here, you can access behavioural profiles, key competency questions/answers, CVs, and video covers (essentially the video alternative to a cover letter). We all know romantic relationships won’t last long if someone feels the other person isn’t being true to themselves, so this gives a holistic view of the candidate and makes it easy for the team to weigh up their options. 

Keeping in touch and ensuring clients and candidates are in the loop helps avoid the dreaded “ghosting”! We all know how it feels – you’ve been on a great date, all appears to have gone well, you have been messaging and then bam, you don’t hear from them again. It can certainly pinch! Just like traditional recruitment, we have all fallen for the “perfect” candidate, just for them to drop off the face of the earth without warning. Along with access to the portal, our candidates are prepped on our process and proposed timescales. This provides clarity and ensures their commitment to the role in advance of any interviews. 

Stage 3: The Dating Scene 

So, you have worked out what you want and created a list of a few who caught your eye. Now it’s time to start the dates interviews!

Before any candidates meet with our clients, we do preliminary interviews to ensure the fit is right – a bit like meeting through a mutual friend. We know you both, and we know that it could work. We do the groundwork in informing the candidate about your business and its culture, helping give them a better picture of what it would be like to work there. 

While the pressure is normally on the candidate, the interviews are an opportunity for you to sell your business further and give real-life examples of how they will fit into your team. According to Glassdoor for Employers, 94% of UK job seekers want to know about all aspects of a company before accepting an offer, so the more authentic the experience the better.

To get the most out of the “date”, asking the right questions is vital. Tailoring the interview questions to the desired behavioural profile will make sure you are delving into the detail and helps to remove any blind spots once the start date comes around. We work with our clients to create bespoke questioning, making sure you are in the know about your potential new hire.

Stage 4: It’s official 

After we have poured our hearts and souls into finding your perfect match, and you have gone through the numerous interviews to make sure it feels right, it’s time for the final stage – making an offer.

Offering your candidate the role can be a make-or-break situation. You need to get it right and make sure they feel valued from the start. Low-balling with pay, or taking overly long to decide, can leave the candidate feeling underappreciated, which isn’t a great start in any budding relationship. 

We work with our clients and candidates from the beginning of the process to ensure expectations are clear from all sides. It gives peace of mind that everyone “wants the same things”. 

Oh, and let us not forget the dreaded ex. Approaching with a counteroffer – please stay, we swear we will change. It’s an unlikely story, and unless the only reason to leave is salary, it’s seldom a good idea to take a counteroffer. We understand our candidates’ motivations before shortlisting them, helping to ensure anyone at the offer stage is serious and ready to move. 

If you feel your business needs a Cilla, one of our team would be happy to have a discovery chat with you. We’ve completed over 70 assignments using our Corvus Assured method, so you know you’ll be in safe hands.


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Over the last two weeks, the team and I have been putting some focus on our Corvus Assured Executive Search methodology. We are all genuinely bought into the value of this service, but after some great chats, we identified an opportunity to develop our communication of this to clients.

The team volunteered, or rather voluntold, me to take the lead on the role plays, and after ten sessions (one person as the client and the other as a silent observer), we finished this round of the exercise.

This is the first time we have used role plays as a training technique. Initially, I was sceptical about the benefits.  I don’t have fond memories of my only other experience.  Many years ago, in a previous career, I had to make a pitch in front of 10 people who sat with their arms folded throughout. If this wasn’t bad enough, the whole thing was recorded. We watched the video back and the assembled group pointed out the positives and negatives. I still have flashbacks. 

Thankfully, this experience has been an infinitely more positive than the last. Not only did everyone stick brilliantly to their characters, but the learnings and takeaways from the experience have also been fantastic.  We have developed our listening skills, built confidence, and learnt about our communication styles. 

The sessions were enlightening and involving from both an emotional and a cognitive perspective, and the debriefings at the end always brought new insights and perspectives along with collaborative problem-solving. 

The reason I called it an exercise is due to the similarities between training and physical fitness. We do not stay fit automatically, we need to work at it.  The same goes for continually honing our communication and commercial skills. 

We are building role plays into our ongoing training and plan to bring external actors/friends of the business to give them an even greater ‘real life’ feeling.  

Learnings

Interested in including role plays in your learning and development strategy? Below are my top 5 tips to help you implement successful role plays with your team.

  1. Frame it correctly. People need to have a genuine appetite to participate and understand the value of it for them. 
  2. All participants should prepare beforehand and behave in the role play as if it was a real-life situation.
  3. Be prepared to be uncomfortable.  We genuinely have a great bond in the team, but to get the most from it you must be prepared to commit to the exercise and expect the unexpected.
  4. Make it a safe space for honest feedback and set out the rules for engagement before you begin. It should not be an opportunity for someone to settle a score or show off how smart they may think they are.  Thankfully we did not need a ‘safe word’! 
  5. Having an observer makes the sessions much more valuable – they are not under pressure to be thinking about their next question or answer and can pick up on subtle nuances including tone of voice and body language.

When it comes to role plays, what you put in is what you will get out. Committing to the process will make the experience the most valuable for your business – and who knows, you might even enjoy it!


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Agency v Executive search – why you don’t have to choose

I get asked about this a lot. Agency recruitment works – it is the recruitment model that many companies use, and successfully so. You have a Preferred Supplier Agreement (PSL) where you release roles to agencies, get CVs back, interview and hire.

It works, so why fix what isn’t broken?

Around 90% of your recruitment is filled using either Agency, internal referrals, or direct applicants. For the remaining 10%? They are a headache.

It could be because it requires a niche skillset, or it is a strategic hire for your business. In these cases, suitable candidates generally aren’t searching for new positions, making it difficult to reach them.

You have likely tried your PSL and direct advertising, and it just hasn’t worked. At this stage, a different approach should be adopted for a successful outcome.

When and why to use Executive Search?

When you have tried other avenues, and this has been unsuccessful. Or if the role is critical to the business, niche, or difficult – then you need someone who works with you to solve your specific problem.

What makes an Executive Search different from Agency recruitment? When chatting with clients who have gone through our Executive Search process (Corvus Assured), the same three areas keep coming up.

The first area is Alignment. Picture this – you have gone through the recruitment process – you’ve reviewed some CVs, interviewed a few people, and finally found someone you think is perfect for the role. You and your fellow stakeholders engage in a final interview, but at the end you find yourself confronted with opposing opinions from the group. It’s a nightmare.

Some companies go to market repeatedly, never hiring the right candidate – stuck in a cycle where they can’t please everyone. But how can you find the right candidate when there is no agreement on who the right candidate is?

This is where aligning the team is critical, and failure to do so could lead to the breakdown of the recruitment process – which would be an enormous waste of everyone’s time.

At the beginning of a Corvus Assured project, we work with the stakeholders to identify the requirements of the role, but this goes deeper than just the skills and qualifications. We use behavioural assessments to look at the ideal candidate from each of the stakeholder’s perspectives and work with them to align these views with their peers. This gives us the ability to find agreement on the desired candidate.

Once the assessments have been carried out internally, we use this profile as part of the recruitment process for candidates. This helps ensure that the cultural/behavioural fit is right. For one of our repeat Corvus Assured clients, this is their reason why. They opt for an Executive Search because they know that the stakeholders are all on the same page going into the process.

You have likely seen it before – hire for experience but fire for culture. You can teach some aspects of a role, but you can’t teach someone how they behave. In my experience, especially at a senior level, if you are aligned with your company, you will thrive. You feel connected to your peers, have the same ethics/viewpoint, and are easily bought into the company’s guiding principles. It’s easy because you know you are in the right company for you. That’s what aligning the team will deliver.

The second area is a robust recruitment and attraction process, tailored to the role and candidate profile. I once had a client who didn’t want to be involved in the long list, an initial list of candidates that are considered a fit for the role. Why would they waste their time when that’s what they pay us for? Here’s the thing – you know your business better than we ever will. You know your competitors and their reputation in the local marketplace. You know the companies you don’t want to recruit from. Years’, potentially decades, worth of knowledge that we just don’t have. Investing more time in the initial process will help us to attract the candidates you are looking for and produce a suitable, qualified shortlist.

To create these custom approaches, we work together with our clients to get a deeper understanding of their business. This requires an investment of time from both parties at the beginning of the process, but it ensures every stage, from the initial phone calls to the interview process, is bespoke to the role, the business, and the candidate, helping to secure success.

And finally, is partnership – not a transactional ‘send me some CV’s’ relationship. We problem solve and work together to find solutions. No recruitment process is without issues, because let’s face it, we are dealing with people. It’s working with someone with the experience and expertise to provide you with options and solutions that you potentially haven’t considered previously.

We have a depth of experience in recruitment, so we work together with our clients to decide how we deal with any situations that occur during the process. Salaries outside of the range, perceptions of your business, specific candidate requirements – there is a myriad of situations that I have seen arise. We deal with them together.

So, now you know when to choose Executive Search, but does this mean guaranteed success? In short, no.

If your role is impossible to fill from a skills, remuneration, or location standpoint, then we have no problem telling you – sometimes the person you are looking for simply does not exist. However, at that point, we will work with you to explore the options available, so that you can make an informed decision in terms of where you go from here. 

It has happened to me once in the past when we took on a Corvus Assured assignment and in the end, we did not fill the role. My client, an amazing local brand which had gone through explosive growth over the last number of years, pivoted mid-process and changed the entire focus of job role and job title.  High growth typically means a dynamic environment where change can come rapidly.

Was I still happy to take payment for the first stages of the process? Yes, because a great deal of time and effort was invested into the process. Did I shrug my shoulders and move on? Absolutely not. I have never felt so disappointed and deflated. I know it’s hard to believe, but when taking on a Corvus Assured assignment, we make a commitment to fill it – it’s personal. We trust our process and enjoy delivering unique and complex assignments. We are passionate about what we do. We care about our reputation and our relationships with clients and candidates. This applies to Agency and Executive Search, so you don’t have to choose. Your recruitment partner will guide you as to what works best for your business and the role. If you ever need some assistance, feel free to reach out. Our team of experts are always happy to help.


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Creating job adverts that stand out

Have you ever wondered why the right people don’t apply to your job adverts? I did too.

Back when I was a teenager, I was super creative, but when I joined the recruitment industry in my early 20s, it was quickly trained out of me. Somewhere along the line, it dawned on me that a lack of creativity almost always equalled a lack of interest from candidates.

After wondering how we could inject some originality back into the world of recruitment, I decided to attend a Copywriting for Recruiters course by Mitch Sullivan and Jackie Barrie. I have to say, this training was one of the best I have ever been on. It gave me permission to be creative again and proved that decent job adverts do work.

So how did I go from a job ad zero to a job ad hero?

Ultimately, it comes down to this: A job description is not the same as a job advertisement.

Don’t get me wrong, job descriptions are useful. They’re an excellent tool to explain how the position fits into an organisation – it tells a candidate about what the role entails, and the skills they need to do the job.

But what exactly is wrong with using the job description?

Picture some flat pack furniture. Ikea wouldn’t use the instruction manual in their advertisements – they don’t plaster it on billboards or bus stops, or have it front and centre at their stores. What they do instead is include the furniture in their showrooms. It sparks the imagination of their audience and gets them thinking about how it would look in their home or how it could improve their lives.

The same principles apply to job averts. It should explain how this role is different from similar roles out there. What impact will this job have on the candidate’s life? Will it pay them more, will they develop faster, will they get to use cool technology or tools, will they get cracking benefits, are the projects bigger & better, will it offer them a better work/life balance? 

Changing your approach can be challenging, so here are my top tips to give your ads the best chance of success:

  • Avoid clichés like an exciting opportunity, hit-the-ground-running, passionate, team player, award-winning etc. They’re everywhere, we have all seen them, and ultimately, the candidate is likely coming from a role that was described in the exact same way
  • Talk directly to your audience and use words like you, you’ll, you’re – this gets the candidate imagining themselves in the role
  • Look at the perspective of your target candidate. What would they like to know? What’s likely to be frustrating them about their current job? What makes your job/company better? 
  • Follow the AIDA structure – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
  • Be honest, talk about the challenge or goal that the role will overcome/achieve
  • If you make a claim/statement, follow up with evidence – if you’re proud to be “award-winning”, mention what award you’ve won and why you won it.

All in all, writing a job advert can be difficult. It’s hard to get to the crucks of what makes your business different, and as ever, time is short for hiring managers. However, the positives will always outweigh the negatives, and getting the job advert right could be the difference between landing the perfect candidate or chasing your tails for applicants. If you need any assistance with creating impactful job adverts, reach out and one of our team will be glad to help where they can.   


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Managing Stress In The Workplace

Stressful working environments can be a huge factor leading to high staff turnover and high levels of absenteeism. As a business owner, it may have become more difficult to recognise and manage stress with larger amounts of the workforce working from home.

What Is Stress?

HSE defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’.

Employees essentially feel stress when they can’t cope with pressures and other issues. It is encouraged that employers attempt to match demands to their teams’ skills and knowledge. Also, providing planning, training and support can reduce pressure and bring stress levels down.

There are a number of ways of identifying stress in your team, for example, employees may feel or suggest that they:

  • are not able to cope with the demands of their jobs
  • are unable to control the way they do their work
  • don’t receive enough information and support
  • are having trouble with relationships at work, or are being bullied
  • don’t fully understand their role and responsibilities
  • are not engaged when a business is undergoing change

Stress affects people differently – what stresses one person may not affect another, with factors such as skills and experience, age or disability potentially impacting whether an employee can cope.

There are six key areas of work design which can affect stress levels:

  • demands
  • control
  • support
  • relationships
  • role
  • change

Employers should assess the risks in these areas in order to manage stress in the workplace.

What Are The Signs Of Stress?

Although not an illness, an unmanageable level of stress can make you ill. Recognising the signs of stress can help employers to take steps to reduce and manage stress in their workplace.

If workers begin acting differently, it is often a sign they are stressed. Managers should look out for signs of stress in teams and workers and consider whether the stress could be associated with work pressure.

Stress in teams

  • arguments
  • higher staff turnover
  • more reports of stress
  • more sickness absence
  • decreased performance
  • more complaints and grievances
  • Employers must assess the risks of work-related stress in their workplace and take action to protect workers.

Stress in an employee

Changes in the way someone acts can be a sign of stress, for example, they may:

  • take more time off
  • arrive for work later
  • be more twitchy or nervous

Changes in the way someone thinks or feels can also be a sign of stress, for example:

  • mood swings
  • being withdrawn
  • loss of motivation, commitment, and confidence
  • increased emotional reactions – being more tearful, sensitive, or aggressive

Acting early can reduce the impact of pressure and make it easier to reduce or remove the causes. If managers are worried that a worker is showing some of these signs, they should encourage them to see their GP. These signs can be symptoms of other conditions. If there is something wrong at work, and this has caused the problem, managers should take action.

If you are feeling signs of stress at work, it is important to talk to someone, for example, your manager. If you talk to them as soon as possible, it will give them the chance to help and stop the situation from getting worse.

If the pressure is due to what your line manager is doing, find out what policies are in place to deal with this. If there aren’t any, you could talk to your:

  • trade union representative
  • worker representative
  • HR department
  • worker assistance programme/counselling service if your company has these or
  • GP

Many workers are unwilling to talk about stress at work, because of the stigma stress has. But stress is not a weakness and can happen to anyone.

What Your Employer Must Do

Your employer has a legal duty to assess the risks to your health from stress at work and share the results of any risk assessment with you. Your employer may follow HSE’s Management Standards approach, which helps identify and manage the main causes of stress at work.

Stress risk assessment

Employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by performing a risk assessment and acting on it.

If you have fewer than five workers, this does not have to be recorded, however, it may be useful in order to. Once you have five or more workers, it is a legal requirement to write the risk assessment down.

Any paperwork you produce should help you communicate and manage the risks in your business. For most people, this does not need to be a big exercise, but rather noting the main points about the significant risks and what actions have been decided upon. There are a number of risk assessment tools and templates available from the HSE.

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For help outside work, the following organisations have useful websites or helplines you can phone for advice in confidence.


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The Essential Guide to Delivering An Effortless Executive Candidate Journey

Finding a new job is challenging, as is finding the perfect employee. Your senior hiring team, along with any potential candidates, need to go through different stages of the hiring process. The most pressing issue is, defining how this tailored candidate journey should look to ensure that you are attracting and selecting the right people?

The immediate impression you provide to any new candidate will be representative of your employer brand and the culture your organisation present. It is imperative that you provide a great candidate experience and hire the right person for the job, which essentially comes down to the hiring journey —from attracting candidates to onboarding them into their new position.  

So, what exactly is the candidate journey is, why is it important, and how can you utilise it to pave the way for future employees.

What is a candidate journey?

A candidate journey is comparable to a customer stepping into a shop to buy something. 

Before they decide to buy, a customer will think about if a product is right for them, make an effort to learn about the brand, read reviews of the product and the brand, and ultimately decide whether they want to buy.

The journey to purchasing a product mirrors the journey a candidate takes when they’re looking for a new job. A candidate will look for a job that’s right for them, research the company, and make a decision based on the treatment and actions towards them during the hiring process. 

The candidate journey can be described as the experiences a candidate will encounter during the job-hunting process. For a candidate, the journey starts well before they apply for the job, and it doesn’t finish until after the company has made the hiring decision, and they have gone through their initial onboarding.

The simple fact is a candidate’s experience while going through your company’s recruitment process matters. The impact of a poor journey can have a detrimental effect on an employer’s reputation, “of candidates who have had a poor experience, 72% have shared that negative experience online or with someone directly.” – CareerArc

Touchpoints on a candidate’s journey

A candidate’s journey can be mapped out through touchpoints, which makes it easier for both job seekers and recruiters to envision how the process will work.

There are a number of online & offline company touchpoints a candidate will experience during their hiring journey, which includes:

  • Viewing your job ads
  • Visiting your career site
  • Visiting your company social media pages
  • Interactions they may have had as a customer
  • Talking to a company representative at an event
  • Proceeding with a job application
  • Pre/Post-application emails
  • Receiving feedback on their application, etc.

Every touchpoint on your candidate’s journey plays a crucial role in their decision on whether to proceed with their application. That is why your recruitment process must make sure every touchpoint gives candidates a positive experience.

Candidate Journey Touchpoints

The difference between active and passive candidates

Everyone you encounter could potentially be a future candidate for your company. However, these candidates can be divided into two categories—active and passive.

The majority of Executive level candidates are passive as they are not actively looking for a job, whilst active candidates are searching for a new employment opportunity. 

The problem companies often face is, if they are only focused on attracting active candidates, they are missing out on a huge opportunity to attract the best people for the job.

Whilst passive candidates might not be actively applying for jobs, 91% of people in employment look at job opportunities at least a couple of times a year. Therefore, if recruiters don’t have a plan to capture passive recruits, they will likely miss out and it will work against them when they are looking to fill a position on their team.

The good news is, by building a more polished candidate journey for your company, you will not only capitalize on each touchpoint but also capture active and passive candidates. 

Tips to ensure a smooth candidate journey:

Place the candidate in the centre of the process 

The journey needs to be consistently candidate-centric at every stage, otherwise, you are at risk of alienating job seekers. To create a candidate-centric recruitment model, the focus needs to consistently be on the candidate’s needs and overall experience.

However, the goal of candidate-centric recruiting is not only to provide a great experience and make it easier to pick the right person for the job, but to build long-term relationships with them, so they continue to interact with your company, even if they aren’t hired. 

Talent Management expert Dr. John Sullivan claims that creating a candidate-centric approach means altering the overall design of the recruiting processes, including the application process, interview scheduling, and the information provided to candidates, to put the applicant’s needs first. 

Your application process should be short, engaging, should help manage your candidates’ expectations by offering them an authentic representation of the job, and should provide timely feedback to all parties involved.

Consider the pre-application stage 

More often than not, the candidate journey begins long before they even apply for a role.

In reality, 3 in 4 job seekers take into account an employer’s brand before applying for a job. Unsurprisingly, recent studies have suggested that 69% of people would not consider taking a job with a company with a bad reputation, even if they were currently unemployed.

It is crucial to reflect on what candidates see in your company before they choose to look at whether or not they would want to work with you. An applicant’s journey begins as soon as they encounter one of your touchpoints, whether that’s viewing your company website, reading your reviews on Glassdoor, receiving an email, or browsing your social media channels.

To deliver an effortless candidate journey, you need to understand how people are interacting with your company and how you can rely on it to attract high-quality talent.

Each of your company’s touchpoints that a possible candidate interacts with may potentially turn them into active job seekers. Therefore, making a positive impression is the first step in attracting the right candidates.

That’s why building and managing strong employer branding is essential to ensuring a smooth candidate journey.

If you would like to find out about how Corvus can assist you with your Employer Brand Strategy, contact our team at hello@corvus.jobs or click here.

Identify Your Candidate’s Needs & Priorities

Hiring is much more than simply filling a position in your company. It involves deciphering what precisely your candidates are looking for in their ideal job role.

It is essential to be transparent and to consider what do your candidates need to know to help them engage with your company? 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs provides an insight into what some of your candidate’s needs and motivations may include, thus enabling you to communicate how your job position could fit into your candidate’s life and career goals, and further how it can fulfil their needs.

Recent studies have discovered that above all else, employees are looking for flexibility, work-life balance, a sense of purpose and opportunities in their job roles. By identifying and answering the needs early in the process, it creates a pathway for a smoother candidate journey. 

Simplify your application process

How easy are you making it for candidates to apply for your job roles? The best way to understand this is to go through your own application process.

If you need to answer too many questions, make it difficult to apply on mobile, or can only upload necessary documents, such as a CV, in a specific format, your application process may ultimately be deterring candidates.

There are a number of actions which could be introduced to make the process more user friendly, such as minimizing the time it takes for candidates to apply for a job, cutting out unnecessary fields on your forms, and by offering control as possible to your candidate in steering their application process, such as introducing self-schedule interviews for candidates.

Visualise your ideal candidate journey 

It is imperative that you have a visual of how your ideal candidate will engage with your company from the beginning of their journey.

Plot out what you consider to be the key stages that they will go through in their candidate journey, from brand awareness to onboarding, and create a chart.

Charting your candidate’s journey will enable you to see what touchpoints a candidate might be hitting on each stage of their journey, not to mention, it will support you in determining which factors most impact candidate behaviour, experience, and attitude.

By charting what the ideal candidate journey looks like, it makes it easier to build a plan to make it a reality. 

Showcase what it’s like to work at your company

One of the key elements of any candidate’s journey is whether or not they can envision themselves working at a particular company. 

A role may appear perfect on paper, but unless a candidate can get a realistic idea of what their day-to-day life will be like at the company, it’s hard for them to picture themselves in the role. The most effective way of achieving this is through realistic job previews or virtual job try-outs.

Besides giving candidates a clear picture of what the role entails, your company will be able to communicate what your core values are, what your team is like, and what your culture represents.

The simplest way of achieving this is by creating purpose-built career pages to channel the message to future candidates. There are some fantastic examples of career pages that clearly and effectively communicate core values, responsibilities, culture, and expectations from Global entertainment organisation Netflix to Northern Ireland founded software company Kainos.

These company careers pages provide an extensive amount of information on the company’s inclusion & diversity stance, work/life balance, and philosophies, through a range of Employee Generated Content, blogs, podcasts and videos.

Another example is McDonald’s, who partnered with Harver to create an engaging, fully digital candidate experience.

The application process incorporates a series of pre-employment assessments that help recruiters find the candidates with the right skills while showcasing the company culture and work environment.

Be Transparent and Always Deliver

Nothing is more deflating to a candidate during the job process than a lack of clarity and poor communication. Once a candidate has to begin chasing information, updates, feedback or experiences unprofessional processes, their overall perception of the company will be somewhat tarnished.

Each job listing should be considered as a marketing campaign rather than just a job ad, where your company is being represented. With 72% of job seekers airing their feelings about a company online on platforms such as Glassdoor, the consequences of providing a poor candidate experience can impact on your future applicants.

Automation can be a huge benefit to many companies when it comes to streamlining the application process, whereby actions will be automated based on candidate status or level of engagement, such as following up with candidates on your shortlist or after an interview

Don’t forget about Pre-boarding

It is essential to remember that a candidate’s journey does not end once they have accepted your job offer. This is the perfect stage of the candidate journey to get them excited about working for your organisation and start building their commitment to you.

This process is pre-boarding.

Start by building a relationship with your new hire, letting them know how excited you are that they are going to be joining your company. Building the foundations of these relationships can prevent you from losing an employee in just a couple of months after spending so much time, effort, and resources on the recruitment process.

LinkedIn’s Onboarding in a Box states that pre-boarding increases new hires’ excitement and fosters a relationship with them even before orientation. The guide recommends putting together a new hire checklist for your recruiter to complete, along with a welcome email with clear instructions to help candidates feel welcome and included.

Final Thoughts…

The hiring process has changed significantly over the past 18 months. Providing a simple interview and job offer is no longer adequate for either candidate or employer. Hiring managers need to be thinking more about what their employees’ needs are, their impression of the company and channelling a message that goes beyond the salary.

Today’s employees are looking for the complete package. Outlining and planning the hiring process allows companies to see what a candidate is thinking and feeling at each stage of their journey, and how they can improve it every step of the way. 

It is not just simply you interviewing your candidates. They are also interviewing you. Your obligation is to make sure you are providing a transparent and authentic representation of their expectations in each step of the candidate’s journey.

If you are looking for the perfect candidate to join your team, get in touch with Corvus for a no-obligation discussion to see how we can help.


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Does Culture Matter?

Nov 28, 2022 | Corvus Assured, Employer Branding, Employers, Recruitment

Having conducted a recent survey on why people leave, I found it interesting that culture was identified as the number one reason that people left their last role. With over 43% of respondents giving this as their…

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<strong>How to speed up your recruitment process</strong>

How to speed up your recruitment process

Nov 23, 2022 | Employers, Recruitment

Finding and evaluating job applicants is often a time-consuming, multi-stage process. It takes time and effort, but did you know that hiring the right people, and fast, can save you money? Some of the costs to your business…

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It’s a match! Using the rules of dating to ace your next hire

It’s a match! Using the rules of dating to ace your next hire

Nov 09, 2022 | Corvus Assured, Employers, Recruitment

It seemed odd when a few of my clients started to refer to me as the Cilla Black of recruitment. Recruitment and dating appear worlds apart, but the comparison…

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Role Plays – cringeworthy and unrealistic or a valuable learning tool?

Role Plays – cringeworthy and unrealistic or a valuable learning tool?

Oct 24, 2022 | Corvus Assured, Employers, Recruitment

Over the last two weeks, the team and I have been putting some focus on our Corvus Assured Executive Search…

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Agency v Executive search – why you don’t have to choose

Agency v Executive search – why you don’t have to choose

Oct 20, 2022 | Corvus Assured, Employers, Recruitment

I get asked about this a lot. Agency recruitment works – it is the recruitment model that many companies use, and successfully so. You have a Preferred…

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