Monthly Archives: June 2016

Skilled workers? No thanks! 42 percent of the candidates break off from application processes.

Applying is complicated. So complicated that almost half of all candidates have canceled application processes. This and many more striking facts were revealed by a recent study.

You know this? Probably, you made this experience, too: You are on the “Careers” page of a company and fill in the online application form. Unfortunately, your PDF is too big. Unfortunately, you have not scanned certificates and cleanly sorted them in a document. The other day, you would like to use the travelling time conveniently for applications. Unfortunately (again), the career page is not “responsive”, not adapted to mobile devices. You cannot even reach the “Submit” button. Who can still say that this never happened to him?

In this context it is no wonder what a study by Indeed revealed this week. Indeed is the world’s largest job portal. They interviewed over 500 HR managers and more than 1,000 applicants. The result: 42 percent of all surveyed candidates have interrupted application processes at least once. Nearly 25 percent have even refused to take a job offered because they did not feel sufficiently appreciated in the application process. But why?

One reason is the cover letter. Half of the candidates see the most stressful part of an application in writing the draft. And the recruiters? Nearly 70 percent absolutely expect these letters to get an idea of how a candidate can “express himself”. 45 percent even see it as a “necessary laborious task!”.

Which ways of application do the candidates prefer? They like to use the more innovative tools than those offered by the HR managers. 63 percent of all candidates would like to be able to apply directly using the online job sites (and really be able to use them. Not as described above!). Around 20 percent want mobile channels and social media pages as application tools. And the businesses? They still prefer the classical ways by mail or email. It does not look very much like these expectations are compatible.

Even more: In the effort of creating the documents, the personnel departments see how—as they think—motivated the candidates are! Incidentally, the HR professionals estimate the time needed for this completely wrong with 51 minutes. In reality it’s 74 minutes, as the study says. The candidates, however, think that only 42 minutes are appropriate. A little more than half of the time they actually need. What a discrepancy!

What about the feedback to the candidates? 60 percent of all companies do not inform their candidates regularly about the status of their application. Although … 99 percent of all applicants want this! No feedback, however, leads candidates to quit and apply elsewhere. Who wants to blame them?

All this would not be dramatic if we had an oversupply of candidates and the HR people could pick and choose. But wherever you go today you hear nothing but complaints about “skill shortages”! There is a glaring mismatch between traditional HR-expectations and candidate wishes. In a job market with several options for each candidate, the applicant’s needs are as important as the needs of the most sacred of cows, His Majesty King Customer.

In short: Employer branding begins with candidate friendliness and convenience. Only those who realize that have understood and a shot at the most skilled. Yes, Indeed.

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Generation Du

In many German companies, people go away from addressing each others formally (“Sie”) and use the more casual form (“Du”)–from interns to presidents, decreed from above. Is it to win the coveted, qualified professionals of Generation Y?

Du? Sie? Both means “you” in English. But germans distinguish just like the french or spanish (tu / vous, tu / usted). Sie is formal and usual among adults and young ones addressing the elder and higher people in hierarchies. Du has been what peers, friends or kids say to each others. But in times of Facebook friendships, things are about to change.

In January this year, the mail order company Otto has introduced Du as general form across the enterprise, between all levels. The Chief Executive Officer Hans-Otto Schrader describes this as part of a “cultural change 4.0” in allusion to the digital world where applicants today are recruited from. And right: Inn particular, Otto is looking for several hundred experts in IT, BI and e-commerce this year, as the marketing trade magazine w&v published this week.

Why Du? Employees of all levels shall communicate at eye level with bosses and colleagues, as the Otto-protagonists are cited in the journal. Applicants can also choose whether they use Du in the interview and even in the letter. The hiring managers expect to gain more relaxed candidates. By the way: Otto’s applicants don’t even have to write any old individual letters anymore. They simply fill in the online form, that’s all. If they want, they can answer so-called motivational questions. On their profile they follow the progress of their application as by a tracking feature. In a trainee blog they exchange opinions and information. Otto even throws out the fishing rod on the net: Some potential candidates to have been led from their social web profile directly to the company’s sites.

The deeper motivation comes clear with the intention behind it: Otto wants to make it as easy and comfortable as possible for candidates. And that is understandable, considering that companies must compete for the best heads of today. “Du” is the usual form of a generation that doesn’t like to adapt old conventions and structures.

However, with its so-called cultural transformation 4.0 Otto not revolutionary. In many startups and e-commerce-companies people have always been greeted informally with Du. Even the digital chief of Volkswagen, Johann Jungwirth, thinks about generally introducing Du. The magazine mentioned above quotes him in another article with the words: “I would love to abolish the Sie”. As former years-long executive of Apple in Silicon Valley, he could not make friends again with formalities such as Du or the usual German suit or tie. These things would create distance and trenches, he thinks.

Certainly the Sie may still have a future in classically conservative industries such as banking or insurance. But in many places, encrusted structures get replaced by more modern and informal ways.

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Application today: digital, different—but still like once

Apparrently, digitisation leaves no stone unturned in the world of work. But no mattter how fast the recruiting world has turned: The fundaments of the application process have not changed that much to this day.

Well, there are headhunters poaching employees. And there are companies that actively approach potential candidates—in skill shortages even more frequently. But still the most job changers or job starters have to search on their own. They need to watch the job boards just as once the job advertisement sections of newspapers. Applications have to be written and interviews are to be held. Technology does not replace the work of the candidate. But it makes it easier and opens up new possibilities.

Today, a lot of information sources can be used by anyone who is interested in the job in a particular company. On the web and on social networks there is more “glasnost”, openness, than ever before. Thoroughly surfing on the company web site should therefore only be the start for searching. A company does not only produce, it also has a corporate culture. And it has bosses and employees with individual preferences—both professionally and personally. On networks like LinkedIn or perhaps even Facebook, one can often read postings about what the people of the company think or do. They can also be contacted directly. Genuine interest and insider knowledge is ultimately a strong strike and a very good start when presenting.

What about the CV and professional experience? The procedure follows the same rules as ever. If you write that you meet requirements which you don’t acutally do, you will be measured at the claimed and fail in your daily work. In addition, a new entrants need not seek a position with executive directorship after just one year of experience. What matters is to outline actual personal core competencies. If you are no specialist yet, will not benefit from the skills shortage.

What remains essential in many industries are case histories or examples, especially in media or creative professions. The advantage in today’s online world is that no thick wallets with dozens of copies must be created and sent by post anymore. Everything can be deposited on the homepage or social media profiles. But beware: if you send links to your work sites or homepage, everything must have to be top-maintained. And above all, it must be accessible. A link to the dead end is a debacle in the digital age.

At last consider two things. First, a candidate should offer a test working day, if he has the opportunity. The future employer will not expect perfect performance. But the applicant can prove his ability to think into new tasks. Second: Always be up-to-date. Read relevant media and newsletters, attend trade shows. Deal with technical terminology. If possible, attend trainings. To be able to “have a say” in an interview on the subject rather than to just listen clueless may be the ticket to the dream job.

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Weighed and found wanting

Bosses and managers in Germany are worse than their reputation. Much worse—in the eyes of their employees, according to a recent survey.

Nice. Even as a blogger you always get overtaken by developments. Just last week we had the issue that in many companies there is a bad feedback culture with autocratic bosses who can not be criticized. And this week? A new representative study became known. It revealed the Infallible on the executive chair as misdirected in the eyes of their employees. Once again.

The study is called “Emotional Leadership in the Workplace”. It was carried out by the HR company Rochus Mummert which it interviewed 1,000 German workers. The result: Bosses have a lack of expertise (actually!) and of leadership, humanity and motivational ability.

Competence? Just 37 percent of all employees attested their immediate supervisor that they were professionally suitable for the job. Only 37 percent! Even a few percent less rated their boss as being the right character to the task.

In terms of leadership it looks accordingly bad: Only one third of all employees stated that their leaders recognize achievements and are a reliable partner when problems turn up. Also the vast majority believed that their bosses did not promote them in their profession. However, more than half of all workers want a leader who promotes their personal strengths and who coaches them. Only about 20 percent felt encouraged in this way by their bosses.

As the study found out, still in one in four companies working instructions sound like commanding tones in a barrack where order and obedience prevail! Everyone can imagine how popular those bosses are. Employees hardly go to work very motivated. The results will never be more than the minimum and the company can develop very little.

Especially when it comes to changes such as the introduction of new methods, supervisors should—according to their workers—motivate instead of shouting commands. In fact, this rarely takes place. Three quarters of all employees felt they were much more often “ordered” but coached.

And now back the last week’s core issue: the ability of bosses to take criticism. What did the study find out? Even in those companies where employees principally felt coached and promoted, less than one-third rated their boss as being able to deal with criticism. Does that fit? Not at all. Bosses, most of you failed.

Why is there no dual vocational training with a final Chamber of Commerce examination “Executive”? Candidates who fail after regular training must be kept in.

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