On the Couch With The Chairman: Attracting talent – how to do it when writing adverts?

Here’s a starter for 10 –

‘Two hands are a lot – we’re hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos…’

Dominic Cummings is making a statement not only about the staff he wants but he’s telling us that he is not looking for a ‘type’. He goes on to say that SW1 needs, ‘True wild cards, artists, people who never went to university and fought their way out of an appalling hell hole..’

Of course his blog is not just about Dominic Cummings and 10 Downing Street, but it’s about attracting a different ‘type’- people out of the ordinary who would rarely look at working in government because they do not fit the profile of a Downing Street civil servant or researcher.

Of course, it’s bold copy, but then, when attracting talent, are we too conservative (small c!)? Let’s remind ourselves what David Ogilvy, the bard of advertising, tells us when writing advertisements:

  • When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it creative, I want you to find it so interesting that you want to buy the product.
  • On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.
  • The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.

So, maybe 2020 should be the year to sharpen your ad copy!

Here’s Dominic Cummings blog: https://dominiccummings.com/2020/01/02/two-hands-are-a-lot-were-hiring-data-scientists-project-managers-policy-experts-assorted-weirdos/

So, what’s keeping you?


Job Hunting? You May Not Know That …

While a lot of people start looking for a new job in November and December, ahead of the new year rush, January is also one of the best months to search for a new position. There is a backlog of jobs from the end of the year that need to be filled, with the 7th January being the most popular day to apply.

Did you know that …

  • According to a recent article from Crunch, British workers are most likely to quit their jobs on 31st January, hanging on until the first payday after Christmas, with 46% saying that this was their main reason for waiting this long.
  • 75% of CV’s are rejected before they even reach the hiring manager. That’s why it’s so important that your CV is relevant and easy to skim. We bet you didn’t know that if you include a photo on your CV, there’s an 88% rejection rate and that 76% of CV’s are rejected because of unprofessional email addresses!
  • 54% of employers have rejected candidates based on their social media profile. Make sure yours is professional
  • 45% of job hunters utilise job boards but only 14.9% of company hires come from candidates found on job boards and 80% of jobs never get advertised, so you need to actually talk to people.
  • The typical length of a job search is 16.9 weeks and it takes an employer an average of 52 days to fill a job opening. Don’t be disheartened if it feels like the process is dragging on forever – it’s not just you.
  • The average length of an interview is 40 minutes and the average time it takes for a hiring manager to know if they will hire that candidate is 90 seconds.
  • 55% of interviewees get rejected for the way they acted, dressed or behaved; including lack of eye contact.
  • Companies prefer employed candidates. If you’ve had an extended period of employment, consider a voluntary or part time, casual role until you secure a full-time job.
  • More people are also now deciding to work for themselves – 18% starting their own business. “The number of British people working for themselves rose from 3.8 million in 2008 to 4.6 million in 2015 – an all-time high and an increase of more than 20%.” As well as this, 15.1% of the labour force were self employed in 2017 according to the Office for National Statistics.

On The Couch With The Chairman – Plans for 2020

Have you started planning for next year?”, asks Hugh Joslin, Chairman at Media Contacts.

If so, how about putting the some new year’s resolutions into the mix…
Set yourself goals — ensure these are realistic so they relate to your skills and financial aspirations

  • Use training to your advantage — this might seem obvious, but many of us see training as something else to do rather than a process that you can gain from. Tip – write notes on how you can incorporate this training into your job as soon as you’ve completed the course.
  • Take up a hobby — as well as being fun, hobbies can open your mind and present yourself with new challenges. These in turn can act as a refresher to your attitude in the workplace.
  • Take responsibility — use your skills as a friend. Before asking advice, ask yourself how your manager or senior colleague would answer the question – you will be surprised how often you’ll be able to solve the problem yourself.
  • Communicate! – We often use electronic communication as a crutch rather than as a way to develop a commercial relationship. Networking and socialising will open doors – make a plan based around who you know and who you want to know.
  • Be bold — Success will not come to you – you need to go to meet it. Be inquisitive, challenge yourself – this means going outside your comfort zone.

Good Luck for 2020!

7 Tips to Beat Blue Monday Syndrome (The Most Depressing Day of the Year)

Blue Monday falls on the third Monday of January each year, which means it’s only around the corner. Depression and feelings of low motivation after the festive season really kick in when the fun of Christmas is over. The weather is bleak, and the ‘new year new me’ feeling has worn off. We’ve put together some tips to help prevent Blue Monday and give your mental health a boost …

  • Physical activity – exercise may be the last thing you want to do in the cold winter months; however, it is a great way of increasing your energy levels and raising your mood. Research has shown that outdoor activities such as jogging, and cycling have the same effect in curing depression as anti-depressants. January is also the best time to start exercising as many gyms have discounts and special offers on.
  • Set realistic new year’s resolutions – better to make one small change you can keep to than 10 you fail at.
  • Focus on your work – throw yourself into your work to make your days more productive and worthwhile. Take on more projects, go on development training courses, get to know your colleagues better. If you’re working in sales or client services, check up on your clients and build on your relationships. If you’re looking for a job, enhance your search by looking on alternative websites and making changes to your CV – ask a friendly recruiter for tips.
  • Try something new – go on, we dare you!
  • Socialise – if you are doing dry January, for example, its all to easy to go to ground, so make sure you still spend time with your mates.
  • Be different – you are in control here. You can either choose to believe blue Monday will be grim, in which case that may well be what you get, or you can believe it will be a nice day, in which case you’re more likely to notice the good bits
  • Day off – if all else fails, book this Monday as a day’s holiday and make a long weekend of it!

Competency-Based Interview Advice

Interviewers use competency questions to find out how a candidate may act if employed and as a way of fairly assessing people with differing levels of experience.
To prepare you need to start by identifying which skills, knowledge and behaviours the employer is looking for. The obvious place to look is on the job description, but you can also ask the person arranging the interview for more information, for example, do they have a competency framework you can see? Then think hard about situations where you have demonstrated these skills and be prepared to elaborate on your answers

Here are 5 of the most common competencies you might be asked about:

  1. Communication – “Tell us about a time when you had to adjust your communication approach to suit a particular audience.”
  2. Decision Making – “Give an example of a time when you had to make a difficult decision.”
  3. Teamwork – “Describe a situation where you were working as part of a team. How did you contribute?”
  4. Trust worthiness – “Would you report a colleague who you knew was taking money from the company illegally?”
  5. Leadership – “Describe a situation where you took on the role of the leader. What were the challenges and how did you address them?”