Category Archives: Global Leaders
Global Talent Deer

This article was first published on LinkedIn.

I need to get this off my chest before I start shouting it out loud: What is going on with global recruiting in 2018? On the one hand, we have a huge number of open positions in Zurich, we hear that companies cannot find the right candidates, war for talent, shortage of talent and all that. On the other hand, I speak to a large number of global talents, who cannot seem to get a foot in the door. We are talking about highly qualified, well-experienced and reliable GenX professionals with the right attitude and skill set. I blame the process, not the people.

We need to really up our recruiting game

Last week, I started to vent on Twitter. By the end of the week, I am more constructive. I did not want to touch the subject matter of recruiting but you are the evil twin sister of Global Mobility after all. We have so much in common. We came from the same womb of shared services. Today, we are both trying to get out of kindergarten of the center of expertise we were dumped into because we are considered “difficult to handle”. Take my hand and let’s walk this path together.

So, recruiting sisters and brothers, listen up. I am writing this post for you. I want to help my candidates have a better experience. I will share my client’s stories and we can always share our pink lunch box to discuss this further.

ATS – The Applicant Torture System

Most of the applicant tracking systems I currently see are a milder form of torture. Why do they never allow you to save a process in the middle? Maybe you did not yet write your cover letter. Maybe you get a phone call or you are interrupted during an upload. Also, they never give you enough space to upload your extensive collection of testimonials and certifications. They hardly ever give me a status update. That should be so easy to program. Here is where you are, then you get a drop-down or similar with a few status updates: We received your valuable application, one of our staff members has reviewed your application, we have forwarded your application to the hiring manager, you are in the pile of rejections, we might take a second look, we will call you for an interview, we will call you again. Maybe you could get an amazing copywriter to make it sound appreciative.

Going back to the 70ies with individual cover letters

Seriously? Do we need cover letters and do we have to make them several pages long? If you really want a well-written cover letter it will take the candidate at least 30 minutes if the person is a native speaker and good at writing. If not, it will take them an hour or two. Just to go into the black hole or to receive a robot response. If you want to get a candidate’s motivation it’s simple: We need to make a living in one way or another. We have studied hard, worked hard all of our lives and now we had to face a job loss/ offshoring/ burnout/ international move of the partner. You will not get a lot of additional value from the cover letter and if you must make it compulsory, can it not be a field where you can just write 200 words instead of an A4 Letter upload and all that?

The robot response

The robot response is a little bit disheartening even if you are packaging it nicely. With the GDPR I am not even sure if it is legal that you keep the candidate’s profile in your database. Have you considered writing a line that is a little more personal? In the old days, we used to give candidates feedback and give them a chance to call us by telephone. I guess that’s no longer possible since you are now based out of Wroclaw or Pune. But maybe you could give a hint, WHY the application did not match (especially when LinkedIn thinks you have 7(10) skills. Was it because the candidate seems too lazy as he did not write a cover letter? Was it because the candidate did not adjust his resume, because I told him not to do that? Did you maybe think he was too old, she was too expensive or too xxx? Give us an idea of what to improve next time.

Thanks for your interest in the role of (insert role here). After reviewing your details, we’ve decided not to progress further with your application. We’ll keep your profile in our database. If you are interested, we put new jobs on our careers website (xxx) every day. Thanks for your interest in working with us and we wish you success in your future job search.

The black hole

It’s hard for most of my clients when they receive a lot of robot responses but for many of us, a robot response is better than 0 response. I don’t understand how you can do this and still look in the mirror in the morning. A busy person is using 30 minutes to 2 hours of their precious life to communicate their interest to you and you do not even find it necessary to send a thank you note? Where you raised by wolves? Seriously, sisters and brothers, this is just not good enough.

The fake job

If you have just posted a job online you cannot tell a candidate 24 hours later that you have found an internal solution, changed the job profile or that you found someone from your network. It screams “fake job”. What were your trying to achieve? I don’t get it and I don’t think that posting a fake job all over the Internet will increase your credibility. You might raise your website’s ranking if you are a newly established recruiting company but who will come back to you a second time? You go back to play hide and seek with the kids in Kindergarten. I don’t think you are ready for school yet. If you must post a fake job for any political or whatever reason at least have the decency to check if the candidate matches other roles. Give them a call, try to see if you can work with them in the future. Maybe they would be great as freelancers.

The sick bird stays in his cage.
This is how a lot of global talents feel in Zurich.

Unconscious bias

Prof. Dr. Gudrun Sander pointed out in a superb webinar last week that unconscious bias is still dominant in the recruiting process. She gave examples of how a name change from a Germanic name to a Turkish name reduced the number of invites from 20% to 14%. When the same candidate wore a headscarf the number of invites went down to 4%.

I had written a (German) post in 2015 about how important it is that we train our HR Professionals in recruiting in intercultural competence. It seems that we have not really made progress since then. Maybe we even went a step back when it comes to diversity and inclusion in recruiting. If you are wondering why you don’t have any female candidates, for example, you should implement the actions Prof. Sander recommends.

Companies complain about talent shortage. Maybe we would find more talents if we took a different route and asked talents more about their needs. Examples could be a four-day week (at 100% pay), decent pay and benefits, home office options and family time. And for heaven’s sake could you please eliminate age brackets and other discriminatory items from your job profiles.

Could you also consider that the requirement “native speaker” is discriminatory? In my experience, most of the positions you advertise do not require native speakers but fluency. Be careful how you advertise language skills and you could have a lot more qualified candidates.

LinkedIn Easy Apply

If you use this function, please make sure that it is understood by candidates and companies alike. I don’t know why “your job profile has been shared with the job poster” is less significant than a formal application. Is that not already an indication of interest? How can technology become a process enabler and not just an annoyance?

Is there hope?

Maybe, after all, there is hope. Maybe we should bond and not wait for disruptors in the field. We can be stronger together! Candidates and recruiters. You could be Ginger and Fred, going on amazing dates, dancing wonderful shows together if you just learned to speak each other’s languages better. Ask the candidates about their wishes. Apart from a job, they mainly want to be respected. How can you treat them with respect? What would you do if the candidate was your next date? How would you treat them? What if the candidate was your next manager, supporter or friend?

These are questions you should be asking yourself, my dear recruiters. Now, do your homework and then you can come to school with us in the fall.

Share this post with all of your friends who are frustrated with their job search. Tell them to book a call with me.

Angie Weinberger

PS: You can book a call with me here if you dare.

 

I stood in the traffic jam at the entrance of Zurich. It was a Sunday night and a lot of people seem to either have returned from the holidays or from their weekend homes. I had been in Germany to see my family and I noticed that on the left lane cars were moving a lot faster but I did not dare to change lanes for a while. At least fifteen minutes I followed the masses in slow track.

After a while, I thought I’d give it a try and despite all the cars coming at the faster speed I found a hole and could change lanes. Then I noticed that the traffic jam was not for the cars moving into the city. All the cars on my lanes had a different direction and did not manage to enter the lane on the right side.

When I finally was in the flow again and reached my target a little later than expected and noticed that we often do exactly that in life and profession too. We stay in a lane because we are scared to change, we follow people who have a different target than us and while we think about what to do lifetime and quality runs through our fingers.

We get stuck in thinking about change, in being annoyed at ourselves for not changing until we have invested too much to quit the lane.

I realized yesterday that once I overcame my fear, an opportunity came up. Other drivers also needed a bit of encouragement to change lanes, so you let them in and support their choice. It took a truck driver about ten attempts before anyone would give him a chance, but he (or she) persisted.

You have choices every day and you can change lanes a lot easier than you might think. Start small and if you need a little encouragement you join our RockMeRetreat and see me for coaching.

RockMe! Retreat
RockMe! Retreat

Guest post by Brooke Faulkner

An international assignment to Japan is one of the most rewarding achievements you could reach in business. Nothing feels better than to be wanted overseas for your talents and your accomplishments.

However, most of us, unfortunately, have a habit of acting culturally unaware when we visit new places, especially if we don’t have a lot of interaction with diversity within our home country. While that’s a broad generalization, it happens enough for us individually to be aware and check ourselves before traveling overseas.

I want to focus on business in Japan specifically right now because there is a lot of room to do international business with them. According to Alliance Experts, alternative energy, gaming, music, engineering, and healthcare are all fields thriving in that country, as well as ours.

Combining forces can be a really good thing. However, when you enter someone else’s home, you need to be aware and respectful of their way of life.

Careers in project management are highly sought after in the Western world right now, but to be a project manager in Japan requires cultural awareness, good communication skills, and a willingness to learn. For this reason, I want to cover some basics for those of you heading over there soon to manage projects. Stay ahead of the cultural curve so things go smoothly, and you’ll find yourself in a much better situation than if you hadn’t been able to!

Navigating Culture

Workplace culture is very important, and that can be hard to navigate even more so in a new country. The importance of respect transcends cultural differences. However what’s considered respectful and what isn’t changes from place to place.

For this reason, it’s important to know a little bit about Japanese culture before you get to Japan, especially if you, as a team manager, are working with and managing new people.

For some guidance, I pulled some information from E-Diplomats and Business Insider, who point out some cultural differences regarding workplace conduct and respect in Japan. Here are a few notable ones:

  • Business cards are often used the way Americans use handshakes.
  • Group work shows no pride in different members: you’re all in this together.
  • Treat your employees like their work is important, and show as much pride in your work as they do in theirs. Pride in your work and efficiency in the work process are very important. This is roughly translated with the word “shokunin.”

You can check both resources for more information, but workplace respect doesn’t stop at workplace specific differences — not by a long shot.

Communicating Past a Language Barrier

Body language is of the utmost importance when traveling to a new country. This is especially true if there is a language barrier like there probably is if you’re a typical white American. For instance, Japanese culture tends to be less touchy than American culture and values personal space differently. Eye contact and staring are similarly regarded as personal and rude if overdone. Another example that you may have heard of: When you enter someone’s home, always take your shoes off.

Keep in mind that silence is natural and is considered to release tension — as opposed to the U.S., where it builds tension. These things are important because not only should you understand how to communicate effectively with your team but how they’re communicating with you! Read up on Japanese culture so body language and social cues can speak for you when your mouth can’t. Things will go much smoother for you in doing so.

Willingness to Learn

Not to sound too redundant, but the Japanese tend to value learning and education. You won’t know everything going over there for the first time. If you show respect for the different cultural cues and customs, your team members and colleagues will appreciate you.

You may “mess up” here or there, but if your intentions are good and clear, you will hopefully avoid mistakes that are difficult to come back from. It requires an open mind.

You need to understand this because, at the end of the day, some things are just different. The public transit system, the food, the media, the social cues — they all differ due to a different place and culture. But that doesn’t mean these differences are bad or that you’re bad for not knowing them right off the bat. If you’re willing to learn about different cultures and how to respect them, your experience may thank you.

Have you ever worked overseas in Japan? Have you ever managed a team over there? What was your experience like? We’d love to hear about it — please share in the comments below!

Brooke Faulkner
@faulknercreek

About the author:

Brooke Faulkner is a writer in the Pacific Northwest who has conducted business all over the world. You can find more of her writing on Twitter via @faulknercreek

 

Editor’s Note: In my experience, an open mind is helpful, but not enough. Moving into another culture requires focused learning and intercultural coaching too. If you wish to work on your global competency right now you might want to work with our RockMe! App right now.


So you got the job as the new manager. Congratulations! Scared? Of course, you are.

Entering a new company in a senior role is one of the most daunting experiences you can undergo during your career. You may experience feelings of intimidation and apprehension due to the heavy duties and relationship building coming your way. Knowing how to behave and getting your team on your side is one of the most crucial elements to surviving as the new manager in a new job. You also want to prove your skills in your chosen field. With our comprehensive guide – we’ll show you the skills and attributes you need to make joining as the new manager a breeze.

Common new manager mistakes

Making the leap to a managerial position (whether as a new employee at a firm or through progression) takes a whole new skill set to ensure your team and seniors trust you. Whilst most managers grasp not bragging about their skills quite easily there are still some subtle mistakes most new managers make which can lead you off to a bad start.

Here are the common mistakes a new manager needs to be aware of:

Leading from a position of power or ego

A new manager who feels the need to dominate all decision making and fellow employees is a manager who feels the need to lead by fear. This can encourage bad practice such as micromanagement – a management style that is often very autocratic and decreases morale. By constantly being the dominant character, especially in a self-promoting manner can come across arrogantly. You might be giving your team the impression you lack the ability to recognize the achievements of other people or let them make decisions of their own.

Not listening to your team and others

Listening isn’t just about hearing what others have to say, it’s being able to respond in the best way possible that takes their ideas into account. By not actively listening to your employees you encourage a lack of respect, which can come back around two-fold. By not listening to your team you decrease your approachability – which increases the likelihood of miscommunication amongst your team.

Not providing feedback

Feedback should be constant with every project you work on. Waiting for a bi-annual review can leave your team in the dark and discourage them if they’re told to improve in areas they assumed they were excelling at. It’s also worth noting that there’s a very fine line between criticism and actionable feedback. By telling your team what’s not working as opposed to how you can fix it is highly discouraging – the last thing you want your team to feel at the workplace.

Not making time for employees

You’ll be stretched thin trying to learn the ropes as the new manager, however, if one of your employees requires help then schedule a date and time you’re free to train them as opposed to refusing the offer to help. In terms of being approached for personal issues – it can be hard to relate to every single situation going on in someone’s personal life, but simply being there to listen and offering your time can help an employee feel listened to and will increase your approachability.

Skills and attributes needed to survive as a new manager

Build decent relationships with your seniors

Like any job you pursue – having a good relationship with your seniors is important for relationship building, career development, and job satisfaction. By setting a good impression earlier on you’ll be highly remembered for being a positive, hard worker and inspire trust amongst people within your workplace.

Get to know your team on a personal level

Dismantle the wall between employee and boss by asking your employees about their day, exciting things outside of work, friends, and family. When new managers take the time to do this it eliminates the strict persona that comes with being a manager and helps people feel at ease.

Clarify your expectations from your team (and your boss)

By setting expectations of your role and what you aim to achieve – you give your boss an idea of how to direct you and go about progressing in your new role. Your boss will understand how daunting managing people can be and can help diffuse your worries.

Adam Chapman

Adam Chapman is a Marketing Executive for Armstrong Appointments – a leading South African recruitment agency with over 10 years in the field. They recruit for roles ranging from Engineering to Mining and are passionate about placing the right talent with the right companies.

 

PS. Editor’s Note: If you are a new manager and struggle with your international team talk to us.

I sat on the train from Switzerland to France and my stomach gave me a signal. The four border officers who checked passports and went through passenger’s luggage seemed odd. I was on a different continent. In a different setting. I was in a novel. I wondered if I could explain myself in French. But no one wanted to know about my travel habits. I look white. I look the part even though I travel like a bag packer sometimes.

What was going on? I did not want to turn around. Probably this was an uncomfortable situation for the person who was questioned. I assumed it was a refugee or someone who looked like one.

When I go to “Europe” now, there is often a slight anxiety and feeling of worry when I am traveling on public transportation. Switzerland is not part of the European Union even though it is in the middle of Europe. Many people travel through Switzerland to get to Italy for example. In Switzerland, public transportation is clean and effective. Everyone uses it. We don’t really need cars. In other European countries, public transportation is for the underprivileged and the regular commuters.

The grass seems greener in France

Early February I thought that the grass looked greener in France than in Switzerland. In the literal sense. It was an observation. In Switzerland, I felt a few small signs that spring was approaching but in hindsight, this was an illusion created by flower shops around Valentine’s day. Spring was in the air but we were still not there yet. One reason why I could have perceived the grass greener in France was that I did not have WiFi and in Switzerland, I tend to read emails or check my social media on the train. I am usually too busy to see the grass outside. Has that occurred to you lately? And it is such a shame that we run on our robotic mode, are in our head most of our days and do not see the beauty of the nature around us anymore. This morning I sat on lake Zurich, watched the mountains and a Swan family. It was magic. And even though I could go to the lake every day I hardly take the time to actually see.

Perception versus Reality

On another trip to Munich I saw police officers circling a man. I thought that maybe he was a refugee without papers but when I observed the scene a bit longer I noticed that he got up with the help of the policemen. They held him so he could walk properly. Maybe he attempted suicide or maybe he was just dizzy and unwell. What this experience reminded me of was that we tend to make fast judgment calls. We don’t take time to observe. We prepare to run. We are on hyper-alert most of the time. Like / Don’t like / Comment / Don’t comment / Buy / Don’t buy.

This is a sign of the times. And it is a trap. Be mindful when you notice it.

Constructivism and Confirmation Bias

Our perception is influenced by our inner landscape. If you are already alerted and if you are expecting a terrorist around the corner everything your experience will be tainted by this idea. You will suffer from confirmation bias.

When I was out of Zurich I experimented with perception. In Munich, I was nice to everyone I met and people were nice to me. They were supportive and understood my requests and wishes. Or I was under pressure and apologized for being pushy explaining that I was delayed and would get nervous around presenting. I noticed first resistance and I could have been in an egotistical complaint mode but then the receptionist softened when I explained that I tend to get nervous before a talk if I don’t have enough mental space.

Training my observation skills changed my perception over the last 10 years. Being able to communicate my needs and wants (and a fair bit of self-discovery, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation) helped me to stay calm and friendly in formerly stressful situations. I learned those skills and methods during my coaching education and working with many clients over the last years.

Now, I would like to teach you those skills and methods in our RockMe! program and especially in the RockMe! Retreat.

The RockMe! Retreat 2018

The RockMe! Retreat helps to change your inner landscape. I will work with you towards broadening your perspective. I will teach you practices and methods to move out of the reactive mode. This will improve your leadership capability and also your relationships at work and at home.

Sign up here for receiving more insights about the RockMe! Retreat.