Category Archives: Global Mobility

Who remembers “Sleepless in Seattle?”

Well, if you do remember when it came out in the movie theatre you probably have the same age as me. So what does that mean? It’s hard to find a new job. Anywhere. But if you are new in Switzerland and you do not speak one of the four national languages you are probably on the verge of a nervous breakdown right now. (Another awesome movie btw).

 

Jobless or at the brink of a nervous breakdown?
Jobless or at the brink of a nervous breakdown?

You have just unpacked your boxes, fixed the electricity in your apartment, got the stove running, know where to buy high-priced groceries at Migros or Coop and are ready to go on the job hunt. Computer in place, Google opened, jobs.ch found and (zack) you send out the first five applications before you start discovering Basel, Zurich or Geneva for the weekend.

 

Worst case: Less than 24 hours later you find a rejection (Email template along the lines of “we have received your documents but we have other candidates matching the profile better”).

 

Better case: After an instant “we got your documents please be patient” but then you don’t hear anything for two weeks…or three…or four. You call them nervously after three days. The reaction on the other end is less than friendly. “We will get back to you.” Then you get the rejection. Your application might have gone lost or it might have ended up in a pile of candidates the company kept as “back-up solutions”. But calling them and pestering them after less than three weeks they did not like.

 

Best case: After about three weeks a nice HR person calls you and invites you for an interview which will happen within a time frame of another three weeks.

 

You stomp your feet, you bite in your desk and you complain to your partner every night.

 

So you contact headhunters and recruiting companies and hope they will place you but the sheer amount of them overwhelmes you . You tell your story for the seventh time and all you get is a “There are tons of applicants with your profile in the market: I advise you learn German / French first. Then your chances will be higher to land a job.”

 

Yes, Switzerland has an official unemployment rate below 4% (3.5%) but all the EU job searchers, expat spouses, self-employed, freelancers and Swiss parents with children do not necessarily appear in this statistic. You need to receive unemployment benefit to be counted as “unemployed”.

Let me share the current three filters in the recruiting process

Filter#1: Global companies have split up Human Resources in factory-like process items.  Filter #1 is a computer that looks for key words. This computer does not care about your feelings.

Filter #2 is a very junior HR coordinator somewhere in Bratislava, Pune, Manila or Costa Rica. Outsourcing and offshoring has led to the creation of shared service centres in most global companies. (These are usually the companies you target first.)

Then the last filter #3 is an HR Recruiter who sometimes is also an outsourced service provider sitting in any location in the world responsible for one silo (line of service) of the organisation. The HR Recruiter often works on a mandate basis but does not necessarily know the hiring manager well nor does he or she know the people in the team.

The hiring manager has certain ideas about the “ideal” candidate and often looks for a more junior version of her self or him self. Hiring managers tend to forget that they are unique so that it will be hard to find the “ideal” match. Many candidates therefore do not even get to the hiring manager as the filter #3 HR recruiter does not want to be seen as not being able to select the right candidates not to come up with the right shortlist.

The process breaks down and everyone is frustrated!

The hiring manager starts talking to her or his colleagues about how “HR is wasting time” and colleagues start talking about the vacancies to the team members. They speak to their friends on Facebook and LinkedIn and suddenly by miracle a good candidate appears through the network. The referrer gets a referral fee and the desperate hiring manager is happy to lower the standards he or she earlier had as the position has now been vacant for a few months.

This is not the “War for talents”. It’s just bad recruiting.

We need to improve recruiting again and come up with better standards.

1)   In my opinion recruiting needs to change, processes need to be reviewed in global companies.

2)   Hiring managers need to open up to a wider range of candidates.

3)   Candidates need to expand their network and use various channels to land a good job.

4)   Cooperation and performance is not predictable in a recruiting process. Even though we have two or three step modular processes with tests, case studies and competency-based questioning we can still hire the wrong person.

5)   Headhunters and recruiting firms need to be more open to candidates and support them better through the process.

 

What is your experience in the Swiss market?

Share and retweet if you want recruiting to improve.

What do you do when you already have a bad day or you are not feeling up to your normal standards?Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

You start an emotional discussion on a chat until you want to smash your phone in the nearest shop window. The advantage is you can do this on the train. The disadvantage is that your conversation partner might not get the message. If you speak on the phone he or she will hear your tone of voice. I observed a woman getting engaged in a discussion using her other free hand to show her frustration. She seemed unwell. Yet, she went to a meeting. (I had done this so many times in my corporate life that I could relate to her feelings.) She was chatting with her boss and I could tell she was close to crying or shouting out loud.

It also reminded me of my own behavior the day before. I had agreed to do a resume update for a friend but was frustrated because he needed it the same evening and in print. My day was already a bit annoying and then I got angry at myself for lowering my standard and not attending my weekly brain & body remedy (a Bollywood dance class). I skipped the class, went home, did the updates and brought the print-outs to my friend. He was happy. My evening was ruined and my mood as well.

Sometimes we feel that we let other people (relatives, friends, clients) take over our schedule. We do not set clear boundaries and then we are angry. We often cut corners because of “time pressure” or “external circumstances” and then we hate ourselves for not saying “No” earlier.

With clear principles and a bit of distance we can work this out better:

1) Take care of your health first. If you are sick or unwell stay at home and turn off your communication devices. Distance yourself from the stress.

2) Once you feel better see what damage has been done. Was the conference call really that urgent? Did the presentation really save the world?

3) If you know you tend to express your emotions in emails use the “draft” function. Re-read what you wanted to send a few hours later. Tone it down.

4) Delete apps that encourage you to chat unless you want to develop an ulcer or remain in this condition for the rest of your professional life.

Let me know how this went.

Angie

 

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailInspiring clients and communities

Recently, I co-hosted an event with around 80 women in Zurich and surrounding areas. One of the speakers almost made me cry because she has made such a leap since we met first in this community about 1.5 years ago.

Why is this group so inspiring?

It has to do with all of us. How we are when we are together. How we connect.  It’s not really important “what you do”, if you are a mom or not, if you are married, single or divorced. We just like each other and give each other credit. That’s why I love to work for this cause. It’s pure love.

Social Media helped us build the community spirit

Contrary to common opinion we started a group on Facebook (after we already had a LinkedIn group) believing we need a shared space that is only open for members. I know that some members still prefer LinkedIn but let’s be honest: When did you last post a discussion in a LinkedIn Group without being worried that you make an idiot of yourself?

Have you never worried that your peers would look down on you? I am constantly worried about what I can say on LinkedIn and what I can’t. On Facebook it’s less critical, more honest and a different circle.

Social Media is the real world.

We need cheerleaders. We need tweeps who love what we tweet, we need friends who share and overall we are not successful unless we put in a lot of time and / or money.

For my business I have outsourced Social Media because I know I can get lost in it. I want to focus on my clients and the least thing my clients need is to follow me on Twitter. They have enough stress to adjust to Switzerland, learn German / French and search a job. They get one or two posts per week (to their email account).

Don’t worry too much about Social Media. If you focus on serving your community and your clients you will work it out along the way.

Child psychologist

This is Clara. She moved to Basel in 2012 from the UK. Her husband had received a very good job offer and they both decided to move here together. Clara was not aware that her degree in child psychology would be less known in Switzerland plus she had to learn the German language before she could function here. After one year she felt rather useless and depressed.  In one moment she focused on your job search, the next moment she was playing with children. In another minute she opens her email account only to find that she was rejected for all the jobs she applied for the previous week.

Sounds familiar?

  • You feel disappointed and angry.
  • You blame Switzerland.
  • You blame the fact that your German is not fluent
  • You hate your partner for exposing you to this situation.
  • You might even feel like you do not know who you are anymore.
  • You stand in the line at Migros and a person barks at you and you stop to care.
  • You do not get that the cashier asks for your “Migros Card” because of his or her funny foreign and Swiss accent.
  • Maybe this is the day you called the handyman to fix a light bulb only to discover that you cannot communicate with him or her.

You are exhausted, tired, emotional and you just wish to pack up and go home. You certainly do not want to meet another Swiss person tonight. Then your wife calls to cancel the dinner you had planned for both of you.

This is the typical expat spouse experience. What often happens is that you have a “culture shock” a bit later than your (working) partner as in the beginning of the international assignment you are too busy to organize the home and settle in everyone. You are too busy supporting your children and your partner. One day, you notice that you have your own needs too. Some expat spouses therefore only have a “culture shock”  late in the first year of assignment or even the second year.

What can you do to overcome “culture shock” and focus on your job search again?

1) Develop a regular routine.

2) Go for a short walk of 15 to 20 minutes per day.

3) Practice a relaxation method such as progressive muscle relaxation.

4) Write a diary or blog to digest your experience.

5) Go on a weekend trip with your family.

6) Reconnect with friends and family.

7) Build up a social circle.

8) Meet professionals through structured networking groups.

9) Watch your eating and drinking habits.

10) Invite one person you do not know well for a coffee per week and get to know this person better.

What happened to Clara?

Clara took a course and rebranded herself. She also built up her network in Basel and continued to study in her field. Today she is working as a freelance teacher working with global children at the International School in Basel.