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Job hunters: What's your Employee Brand?


TC blog2

Have you built your personal brand? Your career path is integral to building your personal brand. Take our survey, learn about yourself and begin to build your personal brand. Take our career path survey and be entered to win 1 of 11 cash prizes. Take our survey here now.

Fostering your “employee brand”: Part 1

Starting today you are a brand.

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We all have a chance to stand out - to learn, and to improve our skills - everyone has a chance to better their individual “brand”. It's time to take a lesson from the big brands, in how to market ourselves effectively. 

To be specific, your personal brand is the collection of values, experiences and associations that people attach to you.  In short, it’s what peers and associates think about when they hear your name mentioned. It is what they'll say about you if they are called on a reference check.

We are all individuals, but unless we have a positive personal brand we will be invisible both to existing colleagues and to search executives, looking for the next bright star to fill a vacancy. We have to showcase what makes us special.  What are we famous for now?  What do we want to be famous for in the future?

Having a positive personal brand is also important to your team, your department and the wider organization.  You are the figurehead, the leader, and the main representative to the rest of the business. It is about your ability to build a personal brand which transcends your current job title and makes you an attractive prospect for internal promotion and to external companies.


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So how can you develop the kind of personal brand that leading employers want to recruit and retain? Here are some useful tips: 

1. Research your brand and determine what makes you different

Start by figuring out what your brand currently is, and where it needs to be.  Ask yourself: “What kind of employee am I?” and “What do I want to be known for?” 

Identify the qualities or characteristics that separate you from your competitors -- or your colleagues. What have you done lately -- this week -- to make yourself stand out? What would your past or present colleagues or customers say is your greatest and clearest strength?

Start thinking like a brand manager, ask yourself: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? Take the time to write down your answer. And then take the time to read it.

2. Enhance your brand

There's no limit to the ways you can go about enhancing your brand. Sign up for an extra project within your organization, just to introduce yourself to new colleagues and showcase your skills -- or work on new ones. Or, take on a freelance project that gets you in touch with a totally novel group of people. If you can get them singing your praises, they'll help spread the word about what a remarkable contributor you are.

Try teaching a class at a community college, or in your own company. Try contributing a column or an opinion piece to your local newspaper or try to get yourself on a panel discussion at a conference or sign up to make a presentation at a workshop. You’ll get credit for being an expert, you increase your standing as a professional, and you increase the likelihood that people will come back to you.

Part two will be released next Monday, in the mean time, take our survey and enter our personal branding survey.

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Are you a hiring manager? One retention tip you need to know


Employee retentionA couple of weeks ago we published data from our recent Workmonitor Survey, which looked at employee loyalty and what employees would leave their current positions for.

What we found was that Canadians, while content in their current jobs, would overwhelmingly leave their jobs for more money or for better opportunities for advancement. 

In an interview with the Canadian Press, Randstad Canada’s Manager of Human Resources, Shannon Young said something prescient that every manager should read.

"Don't wait until people leave to find out that they wanted to be a manager," she said.

"Have conversations early and often with your people, especially key people, to .... figure out what they want and then make sure they know that you're committed to help them get there."

You don’t know if you don’t ask. You can’t expect every employee to be forward about what they want and just because someone doesn’t ask doesn’t mean they aren’t perfect for the job or for the training opportunity.

Testing, training, discussions and development plans will build your teams up, increase their engagement and lessen the likelihood that they’ll leave you for a competitor.

Employer loyalty is not dead, it is sleeping

Retention is just as important as recruitment and most of the time discussions are free.

In our Randstad Award research we found that while compensation and benefits are there primary attractor for the majority of Canadians surveyed, work life balance and training opportunities were an important part of employer attractiveness and thereby retention.

With employee engagement, the question in many cases isn’t whether your teams are engaged at work, but whether the company is engaging the employees.

We’re told so often that our work should be about more than a paycheck – but there needs to a reciprocity to make the statement true.

Training, personal development and advancement opportunities is that reciprocity.

You can learn more about employee engagement by follow us on Twitter @RandstadCanada


If you are looking for help finding great people, or need advice on how to retain them contact Randstad Canada today.


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Receptionist Jobs: 3 Reasons Your Office Needs a Receptionist



Advantage #1: Receptionists Guard Your Staff

Time is money so they say, this means you have to be incredibly picky about who gets your ear. With only a few productive hours in a day, you and your employees can’t afford to have your schedules jam-packed by people, or other businesses that don't align with your current priorities.This is where a highly trained receptionist with strong communications skills comes into play. They are your “gatekeeper”, but a knowledgeable receptionist understands that it will take more than simply pointing to the door to get rid of time-wasters. He or she will also be able to understand how to firmly – but politely – deal with challenging personalities. It’s definitely a talent, and it’s one of the reasons that “must excel at people skills” is often part of the description on postings for receptionist jobs.

Advantage #2: Receptionists Can Help Manage a Team

Often, the receptionist is more than merely the point person for those who walk into a company. He or she is also the head of a team of administrators. In this type of leadership position, receptionists can ensure that office politics never get in the way of a smooth flow of operations.

In addition to personality management, receptions can take on administrative tasks and vendor management - helping teams coordinate mailing, travel or even event management. It is all dependant on the skills your receptionist has and how much they know about your company and processes. 

Advantage #3: Receptionists Provide a Face for the Company

Your brand's success depends on individual touch points from your team to the public and your clients. A great receptionist can embody your brand and deliver an engaging and informative introduction to your company, office, or team.

Even if you have been successful for years without a receptionist, it may be time to give a second thought to hiring someone to perform this position.

If you are looking for a new receptionist or any administrative support team members, contact Randstad Canada at anytime. Learn more about our recruitment services and apply to positions here today.

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What’s your system? Repeatable processes win the hiring war


hiring processGrowing up my parent’s had a great general contractor for our house. By general contractor, I mean a man named Jean who was capable of building an entire-house with his bare hands, a large double-double and a blue Chevy Astrovan filled with tools.

Chevy Van

On his hands and knees he’d lay tiles in the kitchen, with a sore back he’d put up dry wall, fixing the 1940s home.
Jean was a great contractor, with more skills than you could believe. He was his worst own enemy and his work destroyed him. His system for success was himself and he alone could do what needed to be done for the price he was charging.

With sore knees he had to move away from doing tile work, with a sore back he stepped away from putting up dry wall.

What is your system? What is your organization’s way of reducing labour required to recruit or retain talent?

Systems and your business

In terms of organizational development and team management, building systems and processes is key. It isn’t the business that is valuable, but the system that functions within it.

Think of a bakery. Baking bread is about careful measurement, the precise management of a process to produce the perfect loaf. You can’t have great sourdough without adherence to a strict process.

Processes are repeatable; you can have different teams in different places duplicate your successes. That way teams from across the globe can learn from each other.

If one team in the USA has had success reducing costs through a modification of a process they’ve tested and developed over a year, a team in Canada with a similar base system can gain from those advances – they can share knowledge – the DNA of the new process.

The creativity + process Boogeymen

Some people will say, “Process stifles creativity!” and they aren’t wrong, it absolutely can if the process is an unchanging, sluggish and awkward thing. Processes in management people and projects need to be fluid.

In business, process is the canyon that shapes the river. Well that’s the appearance of it. In reality over the long term, it is the river that shaped the canyon, digging into the rock and forming its path.

Creativity is the natural tool that erodes and shapes a great process – experimentation gives us the knowledge we need to find efficiencies and sell them to our teams and managers.

I use systems to complete projects, write articles and build presentations. Randstad uses systems to connect a network of over 3,000,000 candidates and 250,000 managers and businesses together. It is adherence to that system, while being creative within it and growing it over time that brings success. We let the needs of the market carve out our services and we share the load. 

Jean was a great contractor, if he had built a repeatable process that he could have passed on to a team he would still be laying tile today.

Are you carrying the burden of your hiring process? Learn more about systems that can help your recruit and retain your team on Twitter @RandstadCanada


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4 keys to summer workplace engagement


Workplace engagement

With statutory holidays, summer festivals and children being home from school attention at work can fade.  Mix that with a loss in productivity due to that heat your short staffed, overwarm teams’ efficacy can grind to a halt.

Can you beat summer vacation attention disorder?

Planning around the summer goes beyond keeping that AC on high, you need to think about what excites your teams and motivates them to work during the best days of the year or during oppressive heat while parts of your city are in full-blown celebration mode.

1. Set realistic short term goals

Nothing flags peoples’ attention like an overly complicated project that requires the integration of multiple departments within a company and external vendors and lots of buy in.

In the summer, more people are on vacation, they are spending more time with their families. Before some holiday weekends even getting someone to answer their phone can be challenge.  There are some projects you can’t accomplish during this time – but there are elements of larger pieces that can be completed.

Break these tasks down into my manageable chunks that you know a project team can complete with few limitations. When attention wanes, smaller tasks can be completed more easily; this may require more project management on your part but it can go a long way in helping your teams keep at it.

2. Be flexible with hours of work

FlexibilityWith greater familial obligations and sweltering commutes home, giving your teams that opportunity to leave work an hour early, or come to any other work hour’s adjustment, can be a life saver.

This sort of flexibility has been seen by Randstad Canada’s employer branding research as a key metric for ensuring older workers’ stay engaged and can even keep them working with a company longer.

3. Leading by example - relaxation

This doesn’t mean you need to wear a Hawaiian shirt three days of the week but showing your teams that it is okay to work from home one afternoon, leave early to be with your family or yes, something as small as not wearing your three piece suit can help your team feel the summer without clocking out. This includes when you answer emails – try not bombarding your colleagues at night or on the weekends.

The summer is a time for regeneration and if your office can be a place where that process can continue to occur, your teams will feel less antsy when the sun is shining.

4. Help plan peoples' vacation

More Canadians are going without their paid vacation than ever before. That’s because they have too much work, they feel as though if they leave the office their world will fall apart. This is terrible! We’re going on vacation less than anywhere in the developed world.

While vacations pull elements of your team away they are integral to productivity. Plan around peoples’ plans, discuss what needs to be done to make those vital vacations work for everyone.

This will also help you plan your projects - knowing who is away and when is a big help.

Do you need some help this summer to fill long vacations? Message us on Twitter @RandstadCanada or tell us who you need here! 


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Job marketing, how should you do it; Job boards or the classifieds?


job boards

As an employer, where you spend your money on recruitment can be a minefield; there are so many questions to ask.

  • If I buy space in a newspaper how do I know who will see my ad?
  • What job board should I post my job on?
  • Should I trust people who find my job posting on Craigslist or Kijiji?
  • How do I properly vet a resume and do a background check?

The truth of the matter is every technique can work and every technique can fall flat on its face.

In the end your personal network is first and foremost your most valuable tool in recruiting. The people you know will likely know the people who you want to hire. Job ads are in effect, a tool for you to market your company.

They need to reflect as much your organization’s or department’s brand as it does the message of who you want to recruit.

1. Think about what audience you want to target

If you have a large network, both digitally and interpersonally that’s a great first start for your new-hire search because you know your network and its benefits.  Beyond that, demographics are your first hint at what audience you’ll reach.

Newspapers traditionally have an older audience; they may also help you reach the parents of people you are seeking to hire.

Craigslist and Kijiji are free digital classifieds that have an audience that represents a lower skill set than other paid job boards like Workopolis.

2. Your money and time matter

Taking calls, answering emails, fielding questions from job hunters and review resumes can be an enormous use of your time. If you put job ads in a newspaper you are going to be receiving resumes by email and taking calls. When you post on a job board digitally you might get resumes from everywhere that you’ll have to sift through.

Think about what amount of time and effort you are willing to put into finding someone and what format you’d like to receive applications in.

3. Quality over quantity  

One great candidate is leagues and bounds more valuable than 100 OK candidates. Keep track of where you’ve had success before – what job board or agency that has helped you in the past, or the person who was able to refer you to the best people. Remember that when you place your job ads, you don't need to be everywhere, you just need to be where your talent is hiding. 

Need help?

If you need help in your talent search, we know all of the ins and outs of job marketing. Whether it is job boards, or newsprint, open houses or direct recruitment we can help you find the people you need today. Contact  Randstad Canada by registering your vacancy here. 

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3 Reasons Canadians change careers + job market optimism


Who would think it, Canadians are becoming job hunting apex predators - seeking out more pay and greater opportunities.

Canada today has a relatively low unemployment rate at 7.1 per cent, despite a poor month on month jobs' number from Statistics Canada the job market continues to creep up quarter over quarter. Like a tortious it has been beating the hare of the global banking and jobs market for the past four years.

One thing that a recent survey we conducted of 400 Canadians shows is that while some parts of the job market may be tepid, Canadians as a whole are willing to leave their jobs for new opportunities. 

That isn't the recessionary fear that would make an employee feel indebted and joyful at the idea of having a job. We're absolute sharks right now.

Canadian Job HoppingWhat this graph shows is that Canadians overwhelming willing to leave their current workplace for a new job if the pay is better or they have more opportunities for growth. You can read more about these numbers in our press release here.

Paradoxically 56 per cent of our respondents said they have the perfect job, so may be the grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence, but there is a house down the street with a trampoline and a hot tub. 

Read more about this story in, Employer loyalty - it's not dead yet!


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5 Soft skills IT teams need today


IT Recruiters

IT teams today play a role as innovators and in many cases business drivers. Businesses today move too fast for the traditional model wherein a plan was made and then IT is brought in to see how it can be delivered - that's why it is so important for IT leaders to begin to grow the soft skills of their teams to help organizations get the results the need.

Are you looking for other ways to develop your career, check out these 3 Career Fitness Tips. 

Project management

Being able to do something is great, having the skills to see it is done with accuracy and efficiency is incredibly important - but can you direct people to do the same. Project management is about following through on your promises, following up with your team and keeping everybody on track. IT teams have more projects, with tighter deadlines than ever - building the skills of your teams so they can take some of project management burden off your shoulders will improve your department.

Long tail thinking

Knowing what impacts will be made from your efforts downstream, farther up the chain of work can be a real benefit. Having foresight the foresight to know that if A occurs, then B, C, F will likely occur as well and planning those eventualities shows that you’re not only smart but you have the best interests of your department or the organization.


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Know your audience and get acquainted with PowerPoint, table making and the brand guidelines of where you are working. Knowing your audience is key, whether you are speaking with your manager, a colleague or may be the VP of the company you will be speaking a bit differently to each.

A VP wants to know top line knowledge, your manager about the assignments they’ve assigned you and your colleagues may be about the game. It is okay to have different types of conversations with different people.


We’ve all heard enough World Cup analogies, so here’s a cricket one. There couldn’t be a bowler without a wicket and a batsman. Working well with others sounds easy but it is a more complex. You need to know how long something will take for you to do, you need to know when to ask for help and when to make yourself available to help others. This take intuition, it is more than the idea of a group project, because every day when you are at work you are cumulatively working toward the corporate goal.


Leadership is the backbone of good project managers. It is easier to get people to do what you need them to if they believe in you, if you inspire them and there is a positive connection of both energy and work ethic between you and those you are directing. Leadership doesn’t need to be a top-down thing - you can show leadership by being an example of work ethic, by being a social connector within your organization and by even knowing when to pick up the cheque.


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Calgary’s hottest jobs part 2: employment growth and Calgary


Calgary gains 1/3 of the population of PEI every year

Remember when you were a child and every six months your parents had to buy you new shoes? Your feet would grow to fast, your jeans were always too short - that's what has been happening to Calgary but for the past 100-years - Calgary has been having another growth spurt and it is shooting to play as a gaurd in the NBA.

Year on year, Calgary's growth rate in population is around 4.3%, the City of Calgary is adding about 45,000 residents every year. In context that's a large community in the City of Toronto, or a third of the population of the entire province of Prince Edward Island. 

To get a hold of what that growth means in employment I've built out two graphs made from Statsitics Canada Data.

The first is employment growth by industry, by per cent of the size of the industry. It doesn’t come to much a surprise that between 2009 and 2013, Calgary’s oil and gas and resources extraction industry saw enormous gains with an increase of over 30%. That's impressive over a decade and mind blowing in four years. Over this period of time Calgary’s working population grew by almost 10%. That’s like adding a city the size of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, and sending them all to work – I mean everyone, children and all. 

EMP GROW resized 600

Source: Statistics Canada

The second gives you the full picture; it shows you what that growth actually represents in people. While the growth in the oil and gas industry is impressive, the 20% growth in the professional, scientific & technical services sector has been the leading driver of Calgary’s employment growth. These jobs support the oil and gas industry and are seeing a real boom todate. Last week we shared a piece on some of the other support jobs in the oil and gas industry in Calgary's hottest jobs: part 1. Below this graph is part 2.

Employment Growth NUmber

 Source: Statistics Canada

Want more insight into Calgary, book a meeting with one of Randstad's Western Market Experts and benefit from our valued experience and insights.


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3 Roles that are booming in 2014

Business Analysts

Business analysts straddle the worlds of digital and business – connecting data to decisions that can have close-to-immediate impacts in all types of industries. Between 2009 and 2013, Calgary saw a growth in the number of companies in the information and cultural industries of 12.7%, as well; the scientific, professional and technical sectors grew by 17.8%.

With more businesses hiring more people the demand for these roles will continue to be strong in the coming years.

Project Managers

Project managers are helping coordinate the construction of the skyscrapers being erected in the city of Calgary, or working within the oil and gas sector planning new extraction projects.

Projects managers are consistently in high demand in Calgary; Randstad Canada’s internal numbers have shown consistent growth in these roles since 2009 with growth in demand for these roles by about 20% by year – so far in 2014, that growth has accelerated faster than in previous years, with growth being closer to 40% indicating more projects are being started; more shovels are in the ground.

Financial Analysts

Support this growth are financial analysts, helping companies position themselves and assessing the financial value of their activities. Calgary is seen as an attractive place to invest and is considered the third Canadian financial centre, after Toronto and Montreal – and the mainstay representative of the oil and gas industry in the country.

Because of the size of the market, jobs for these roles are projected to grow in the future. The City of Calgary’s own projections foresee growth in the finance industry by 13% between 2014-2018, so while in the previous four years total growth in this profession was slow, it will be making a greater impact in the coming years. 


Calgary  hot jobs

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5 Reasons Canada’s Workers Are the Best


Happy Canada Day

Jared Grove

Today is Canada's 147th birthday, well to be precise it is the anniversary of Canada becomng a new federation with its signing of the Constitution Act - formerly known as the British North America Act.

To help celebrate, we took a look at 5 Reasons Canada's Workers Are the Best.

Canadians are among the longest living and hardest working people on Earth surviving on average into our 80s, so when we looked at data from our latest Workmonitor survey which asked Canadians about their fitness and who’s responsibility is it to maintain it – we weren’t surprised that 96% of Canadians said fitness and wellness was their own responsibility.

Canada is the second largest country and it is filled with dedicated, creative and incredibly well trained people. Here are the 5 Reasons Canada’s Workers Are the Best.

1. Canadian’s are the best trained in the world

Canadians are rated highest by; meaning college level or higher post-secondary degrees with 51% of our population receiving graduation papers beyond high school. What is even more impressive is that scales predominantly female, as almost 80% of female students who enter post-secondary education complete their degrees.

2. Longer working hours

Canadians work almost 40-hours a week and have ranked among the hardest working, and most productive workers in the world for the past decade. May be it is because Canada is the second largest country in the world and we only have a population 34.8 million; we're compensating.

3. We have great companies to work for

Being a great worker takes having great companies to work for, it is a team effort. Through generations of consistent management of our banks and governments, Canadian workers can work for almost any company in the world here at home. Canada consistently ranks in the top 10 best countries to work in; this gives Canadian workers the chance to gain international experience and the job mobility to build amazing careers.

4. Multicultural, multilingual and multitalented

Through decades of aggressive immigration Canada has one of the most multicultural populations in the world. Toronto, Canada’s most populous city is represented by almost 50% first generation Canadians, or people who were born outside of Canada, meanwhile Toronto is one of the most economically robust cities in North America. The cross cultural connections forged by immigration foster a culture of inclusiveness in our workplaces further benefiting that average Canadian worker.

5. We’re optimists at heart

It might be the winter that makes us this way we’re always hoping for spring, but Canadians are optimistic about their work, job prospects and the companies they work for. Earlier this year when we asked 2,000 Canadians  (89%) of those polled expected their company/employer to perform better and more than 50% said they expected to get a raise this year.  

How has working in Canada made you a better employee? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada.


Are you looking for a job in Canada?

What salary should you expect?  


Happy Canada Day!





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