The world of work is full of questions, misconceptions, myths and mysteries. To help shed light and answer these, the Randstad Blog, is starting the Advice@RandstadCanada Series, where we’ll endeavor to personally answer as many of your questions on employment related topics as we can.
Read our first reply to, whether to go back to school, or start your career to grow your skills.
Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter, or in a comment to this post!
Bluffing a new job offer when asking for a raise? No, don’t do it.
When you’re looking for a raise, you are entering into a negotiation. Relationships are built on trust, when you sit down with your manager and start speaking about a raise, lying to them to gain leverage is a terrible idea for three reasons.
You are helping your boss imagine living without you: The question is how valuable are you? If you believe you are worth X and they believe you are worth Y, if Y is less than X, then instead of getting a raise you risk being let go. Unless you’re a world leading heart surgeon, or someone with an extremely niched skill set you’re probably replaceable and your manager receives resumes all of the time.
Let’s say this bluff does work: Now you’ve lied to your boss and it worked. The question in their mind now is “Does this guy, really want to be here anymore”. The bluff might have work for a short term gain; it might drop you out of the running for a real promotion or future investment in training.
And then the bluff fails: You'd be surprised at the breadth and reach of your boss's network. Imagine how embarrassed you'd be if when you tell your boss that you have another offer, he asks with who? You can say "none of your business", you can lie and say the competition. In either case it doesn't look good for you. Take it a step farther, you have lied and he then asks you who you're speaking with at the competition, is it Bob or Jill? What are you going to say? What if he knows them?
If you aren’t able to get a raise by through your own merits it might be that you aren’t communicating your successes well enough. If you’ve gained new skills, or achieved something impressive and repeatable you deserve a raise; getting one is a matter of proving your continued value.
In the case you do have another job offer and you walk into a raise request and are bold enough to bring it up; be sure that job is a lock before dropping that bomb.
Don't lie to your boss; she probably has a better poker face than you do and if you’re threatening to leave in when the heat is on for your department, be sure to remember what goes around, comes around.
What have you done to get a raise? Share your stories with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada.
1 - Guaranteed way to get noticed in an interview
Interviewing for a job is hard, but there are ways to improve your chances and to gain from the experience. With honest advice coming from real personal stories, the Randstad blog presents our second real-life advice piece. Read the first, about one writer's worst interview ever.
Flexibility landed me my first job.
When I was 15, I attended the Ontario Education Leadership Centre, OELC. I’m not alone; I’ve met at least 100 people across Canada at various points in my life who have attended the institution at some point. The place is beautiful.
Students are invited to apply and attend by their high school teachers. One of mine thought it would help me grow as a leader. I applied and got in and I was to attend OELC for two weeks.
During the first week the administrators asked campers to apply for future positions as camp counsellors. I applied and I had to write my application letter by hand; my hand writing is horrendous I was sure I wouldn't even get an interview.
Of course, it being a leadership centre, they interviewed everyone who applied, lucky me. When it came time to be interviewed for one of the coveted positions there were at least 30 other bright kids in front of me in line; and at least 60 people applied for one of four positions. My interview was scheduled for 2:15 p.m., I arrived 10 minutes early and there were still those 30 other campers in line in front of me. I guess everyone had the same idea that I did. It pays to come early.
I could see nervous campers chatting in line, others returning from the meeting hall where the interviews were held. No one was crying and a few of the campers came and told us what the interviews were like.
I overheard one interviewee say “At the end of the interview, they asked me if there was one thing that I’d like to do or say, that they could remember me by ... I sort of froze.”
When it came time for my interview, I spoke to four adult camp administrators, they sat in a long lunch table, I sat in a white plastic chair about seven feet infront of them. It was a panel interview and it was nerve wracking.
I got through the basic questions about my leadership experience, it wasn’t very impressive. I made them laugh a couple of times making fun of my height and lack of a sports specialty outside of swimming and lifeguard training. All of the kids at OELC seemed like superstars to me.
At that point the question came to me.
“So James, how would you like us to remember you?”
Instead of saying anything I got out of my seat and did the splits. Not the side splits, not a strained awkward movement. I was basically Jean Claude Van Damme when I was 15. Not a muscle was torn, nor a grimace made.
I replied, “I want you to remember the kid who made you laugh, then did something you’ll never forget.”
With that I got up gingerly, shook a few hands and walked out of the room.
By dinner time I had an envelope with an invitation to be a counsellor. It included a note, that if I completed the two weeks with a group of 11 and 12 year olds, I’d get $500 as an honorarium.
That happened to be my first pay cheque.
Sometimes it isn’t just what you say, but what you can demonstrate that will make a lasting impression y on your interviewers. That impression matters.
Think about what makes you different, what can you share of yourself that will help your interviewer remember you? Of course, you can always just do the splits in a meeting room and see how that goes for yourself.
How did you get your first job? Share your experience with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada
5 - Things you didn’t know before starting the job
To help new workers find jobs, this is the second in a three part series, on ensuring you're ready for the roles you're applying to. In part two, we’ll introduce five things you might not have known before entering the workforce.
Part 1: 3-Questions you must ask yourself before applying to a new job
School can prepare you for a lot, a university or college education can teach you how to learn, how to structure your thoughts and how to grow as a person. I replied to a question last week about the value of education over work experience and I wanted to expand on what might surprise someone entering the labour market.
1. Excel can be your best friend or your worst enemy
Depending on the field of study you chose you might already know this; spread sheets rule the world. Not only do these linear mathematical juggernauts help you make attractive graphs, they let you store vast quantities of data and make it manageable. If you confident in your skills using Excel, or have no skills using it whatsoever, consider following some tutorials online, or taking a course at a local college. Your local municipality may even have free basic skills courses through employment services.
2. People still use fax machines
Faxes are twentieth century technology that has wormed its way into the twenty-first. If you haven’t used a fax, learning how doesn’t take that long. They have limited memory capacity and feeding pages into them can take a great deal of time and patience. However, if the Internet is out and you need to send a proposal to a government your fax machine will still work (and yes many governments still require proposals and contract to be faxed in, or mailed as a hardcopy).
3. Time zones matter
Mountain, Pacific, Eastern, oh my! Depending on where you live you might be waking up two to three hours later than everyone else. That means if you live in Vancouver, and you’re getting up and going to work by 9 a.m. your colleagues in Toronto, Ontario will be on their lunch break. This sounds simple, but being conscious of the time constraints and realities in a global, or national company can make or break important projects.
4. Change is good, don’t fight it
If your department or employer has planned a major change a great deal of thought and planning (may be for years) has been undertaken. Change can be a scary thing, but standing in its way at all can bulldoze your young career. When you’re involved in the planning stages of major changes and you have all of the information required available to you, what might have seemed arbitrary or onerous to you previously will seem sound and efficient.
5. Packing a lunch saves you thousands of dollars
Brown bagging can save you $40 a week. Yes, making food takes time and you have to clean up after you make said food, but what comes out of your kitchen will be healthier and cost you less. If you’re eating out at lunch every day, five days a week, for a year it will cost you $2,600. Brown bagging can pay for a down payment on a condo after a few years.
What have you learned by getting into the workforce? Share your experiences with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada.
Is it better to go back and study, or go into the career, and learn the skills along the way?
Introducing Advice@RandstadCanada – Advice for Canadian Employers, Employees and More
The world of work is full of questions, misconceptions, myths and mysteries. To help shed light and answer these, the Randstad Blog, is starting the Advice@RandstadCanada Series, where we’ll endeavor to personally answer as many of your questions on employment related topics as we can.
Please submit your questions to email@example.com, we’ll try to get back to everyone with some advice and will publish questions and answers that are of the greatest interest to the public.
Our first question comes from a Linkedin user: Is it better to go back and study, or go into the career, and learn the skills along the way?
Education versus experience is a constant question for Canadian employees, employers and students. It is more than a philosophical debate about paying for education to learn opposed to being paid to do work and learn.
In a survey of 400 Canadians this past July, the 84% argreed to the following statement, “I believe experience weighs harder than education in finding a suitable job,” 84% of Canadians agreed or strongly agreed."
There are simply some skills and habits you can’t learn in class. If you’ve ever worked in an office before, there are cultural idioms, work reporting habits or knowing how to have your voice heard in a board meeting that you can’t necessarily learn in college or university.
The flip side of this is that university courses teach you methodologies for sharing, sourcing and organizing knowledge and thoughts in a more constructive and legible way than flying by the seat of your pants. There are also distinct career benefits when entering the workforce for having a degree. Yes a piece of paper (along with 4+ years of demanding at times gut wrenching hard work), will open doors for you if you know where to look.
The question is however, should I go back and study, or go into the career and learn the skills along the way.
If you already have a backbone of the required education, you should have the baseline skills you need to do the job and it is a matter of confidence in those skills and having evidence in applying them to the industry you’re seeking to work.
If you aren’t confident in those skills yet, that’s okay. Most people when they embark on something new are a little fearful of their abilities. Great writers, business people and athletes have a constant fear that they are in fact lying to the world while performing their work, it is called Imposter Syndrome.
I’m not suggesting that’s what is plaguing you at the moment, all I’m saying that is that fear of the unknown and some level of self-doubt is natural.
If you need new skills, or a certification go back to school. If you need to build your confidence up, apply to an internship or a temporary role and begin to demonstrate your skills, not only to your employer, but to yourself.
Do you have a question for Advice@RandstadCanada, please submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or ask us on Twitter @RandstadCanada.
We’ll try to get back to everyone with some advice and will publish questions and answers that are of the greatest interest to the public.
Are you looking for work?
Do you need more help in your job search, or developing your career? Register with Randstad Canada and get your job search started today.
Digital Marketing Series for Job Hunters
To help you manage your online brand, Randstad Canada has produced a series of personal digital marketing tips and tricks.
- Managing your personal brand online
- A good Linkedin profile can get you hired.
- Linkedin job search strategy
- How to find a job using Twitter
3 - Questions you must ask yourself before applying to a new job
Whether you are new to the job market, or have recently upgraded your skills applying to jobs for the first time, or the first time in a long time can be a challenge. To help new job seekers reenter the workforce, this is the first in a three part series, on ensuring you're ready for the roles you're applying to.
Everyone is capable of anything they put their minds to achieving. With experience, networking and hard work you can attain your career goals.
The question is, what are those goals and how are you going about achieving them?
Building work experience is key to growing your career and whether you are looking for your first job or a new job, or a new job in Canada it is important that you are putting your job hunting energies in the right place.
Before you apply for a job ask yourself these questions, and then think about the resources available to you.
1. Have you ever done this job before?
If you have, then you are a probably ready to do it again. We’ve all made mistakes and learned from them so focus on the positive and get ready to talk about your success and failures. If you haven’t done this job before find out everything you can about the position you are applying to and try to see if there are similar work duties that you’ve performed.
Really think about if you are ready for the position you are applying to, employers don’t read every resume, they certainly don’t interview everyone after reading their resume. If you want to get a job you need to have a plausible experience set, or a very good story to explore how you are ready and able to do the job you are applying to.
2. Do you know anyone who does the job you're applying to?
The best way to know about a position is to speak with someone who does the job. Search your network for someone that does the job and speak with them. If don’t know anyone who does the job, search online forms for stories from team members or people in similar roles and get a picture for the work realities of the role.
If you are excited about the prospects of a role, getting some first-hand knowledge is valuable in resume writing, interviewing and will help you learn if the job is actually for you.
This will give you insights into the path that your friend or the post writer has taken to get the job and the experience required to get it. There might be qualifications you don’t have that have not been written in a job description but are generally accepted as standard. There also might be screening methods you should know about like drug tests, credit checks or reference requirements you can’t meet or pass. Look into it and don’t apply to a job that you can’t get based on these requirements. You can add experience or fix your credit before you drop a resume off, not after.
3. Do you have the experience required for the role you're applying to?
There are a few basic things you need when you are applying to a role. Every role will ask for some amount of the following;
Education: You need some sort of education for almost any role in the Canadian marketplace. If you don’t have a high school education you need to consider taking an equivalency. There are resources in your region that can help adults get certificates that are certified as high school equivalency. This can help you get into a college and can help you grow you skills, abilities and confidence
Experience: We all have experiences, but sharing the ones that are applicable to the job you’re applying to is important. If you have no professional experience and no training then you should be applying to a job where training is provided and experience might not be nessessary. If this is your first job time applying to a job and training is provided that’s amazing, otherwise you may need to find training externally, from an educational institution or through an internship.
References: You need someone to vouch for your abilities and character, they can’t be family member or a spouse; that’s the foundation of it, but it goes deeper than that. A reference can be a professor, a valued community member or someone of authority. You don’t necessarily need a letter of reference, but it doesn’t hurt to have one on hand if you’ve got it. Remember to contact your reference in advance of applying to the job to ensure they are available and ready to provide your reference.
“Denver over Seattle, but my heart breaks either way.”
Tom Turpin President of Randstad Canada, makes his Super Bowl XLVIII prediction.
I love football, I love football, I’ll say it again I love football.
What you get with football, especially the Super Bowl, is a game of incomparable complexity, where power meets precision and speed is matched only by sheer cunning.
You can have a strong offense, or a strong defence but you can’t win it all in the end without the other. It is a symmetry of forces.
A player can make a difference, absolutely, but what he can’t do is do it on his own. No one player dominates, you need the players to your left and right. Peyton’s a hero and he’ll be a legend for a century to come but if he doesn’t have his left tackle by his side he’d knocked out before he’d even thrown one of his much loved ducks downfield.
Look, you have two interdisciplinary teams working together against and a comparable opposing force; they’re prepared, motivated and have crossed all the same roads as you have, to get where they’ve gotten to.
Some players are great at blocking runners, others catching balls; the difference is they are all the highest performers in their respective fields. Punters, running backs or linemen they are the best of the best; unquestionably tested by the rigours of a decade or more of gruelling practice and play. They put it all on the line, maybe even cutting their life expectancy short to compete. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmoveable object? That’s the gridiron, that’s business, that’s life.
My heart goes out to the Seahawks and I’m rooting for them with everything but my wallet.
If I had to put skin in the game I’d go Denver, strongest offensive effort in the history of the game this year and they have a respectable defence to back that up.
The Super Bowl is a great way to cap off the start of a great year and from everyone here at Randstad Canada I hope you all have an exciting and safe Super Bowl weekend.
President of Randstad Canada
Is your salary too low? May be it is time to move.
Salaries in different cities vary. What someone makes as an accountant in Levis, Quebec, isn't the same as someone in the same role in Montreal. The same goes for a warehouse worker or Barrie, Ontario or Toronto. Where you live affects how much money you make – and while that says nothing about quality of life, it is good to know.
If you’re curious about the bottom line made by your contemporaries in different cities across Canada, or in different professions, Randstad Canada’s National Compensation Survey has the information you need to start your career, or move into another.
We have two ways for you to review this data – one is a set of infographics, which scope out some of Canada’s most actively hired roles in cities across Canada and the other is the a series of salary guides which include our full data sets.
With the maps you can quickly scan the country and give yourself a picture of the differences between Vancouver, British Columbia to St. John’s, Newfoundland.
The guides give you a more comprehensive look at roles and salaries in 57-cities for roles from information technologies, finance and accounting, sales and marketing, human resources , office administration, manufacturing and logistics.
Either way, before you pack your boxes, or your desk, review our guides and give yourself the information you need to make a wise career move.
Looking for a job?
Read our 2014 Job Hunt Checklist to give yourself a head start this spring.
1. How to dress for inteview success
2. Three keys to acing the this year's interview
3. Learn from past mistakes with the Randstad blogger's worst interview ever.
4. Trends in Resumes for 2014, the Dos and Don'ts
6 – Things Great Employers Do While Interviewing Candidates
Interviews aren’t easy for anyone. They can be fun, incredibly awkward, highly engaging, or complete wastes of time.
It isn’t just how an interview is conducted that matters, but what happens afterward that has an impact on whether the interviewing process was valuable or not, for both the interviewer and the candidate.
So what do Canada's best employers do during the interview process?
1. They follow up with great candidates who don’t get the offer
The strongest candidates, the top two or three will be considered for a job. The one or two who aren’t offered the role, still have strong qualifications but for some reason they haven’t been selected. This shouldn’t immediately disconnect an employer from a candidate.
Following up is great protocol and as a candidate expands their experience, education or improves in other ways, they become more valuable to an organization. When an employer is hiring for a similar role again, calling up previous strong candidates should be a best practice. They might also know other strong candidates who are available.
2. They will let strong candidates meet the team, or at least see the office
Letting strong candidates meet parts of the team can help make team members feel involved in the hiring process; they can also tell an employer right off the bat their team doesn't feel comfortable with the candidate. If an employer doesn't want a candidate to meet the team, that might be saying something. Giving a candidate a tour of the office can help them imagine working with a company and will give them the opportunity to judge if the atmosphere they’ll be asked to work it is really for them.
3. They'll be curious about the long-term aspirations and goals of candidates
More and more, workers are looking for employers who have values that support, or run parallel to their life goals and values. When an employer is looking to hire, it should be about more than a question of whether can they do the job, but whether they will thrive and grow in the position. Broad but important questions like “Where would you like to be five years from now?” might seem difficult to answer and to some unfair, but a hiring manager is honestly trying to gauge what a candidates goals and dreams are.
4. Quick turnaround between offers and interviews
Interviewing a strong candidate and hiring are two different things. Companies have procedures to follow regarding on-boarding and recruitment. Sometimes this can take months; and in that case, they often lose the strongest employees to their competitors.
The quicker an employer can conduct their due diligence and make an offer, the greater the likelihood they’ll get their first choice. if they can't make an offer quickly, they are upfront with their candidates about the recruitement process, what it entails and how long it can take. If the candidate really wants the job, it will be worth the wait.
5. They’ll ask questions relevant to provided experience and based on interview responses
When interviewing candidates, it is important to listen to them. This sounds simple, but when a decision has already been made and a role has already been filled attentions and can wane. Think of interviews as opportunities to ask someone any question. It is like a free outside consultation. Everyone’s time is valuable all side during an interview should make the most of eachothers'.
6. Most of all, they make informed respectable offers
Finding a balance between what a candidate would like and what a company can afford is a matter of respecting the candidate’s skills and the potential value they’ll bring to a department or role. The whole compensation plan comes into focus, what are the benefits provided? How much vacation time is being offered and of course what is their requested salary range? If there isn’t as much room on salary, but there is flexibility on vacation time, or may be a higher valued job title great employers will provide candidates offers that excite them and will make them feel respected.
How has a company impressed you? Share your experience with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada
For help making better offers today, download your copy of the Randstad Canada 2014 National Compensation Survey.
Youth Talent Search: What Does it Take to Recruit and Retain?
Every generation has a habit of grumbling about the one that comes after, yet every business has no alternative other than to work with younger employees. Youthful workers are the destiny of the company’s future. It’s imperative to recruit and retain the generation known as the Millennials.
The Millennial “start date” isn’t as solidly defined as those for Generation X members, or Baby Boomers. Most people consider anyone born in about the early-to-mid 1980s until around the year 2000 to be Millennials. Now, those individuals are graduating from universities and tackling the adventure of beginning a career path. The best and the brightest are ready to contribute today, but it takes a very savvy business to attract them.
When I attended Jerry Zhang’s live session on this topic at the HRPA 2014 Conference in Toronto, I was captivated by his messaging and starting realizing how lucky I have been to work with and mentor many youth entering the workforce. I definitely learn a lot by working with this passionate crew and their fresh outlook can be insightful and inspiring. I agree with Jerry’s key points about the benefits and advantages to hiring youthful workers who are fresh out of school, including:
7 - Keys to engaging talented youth
Their positive perspectives. They haven’t been around the block 1,000 times, so they often see old problems in new lights.
Their cost-effective salary expectations. The Millennials will work for less money than you might expect. Yes, they should be compensated, but they aren’t asking for six-figure starting salaries and they often value ongoing learning and growth opportunities more than salary.
Their ability to absorb information rapidly. Maybe it has something to do with all the electronic gadgets they grew up with, but younger workers seem to grasp ideas quickly and then run with them.
Their inherent energy levels. Remember when you were 23? You could pull “all-nighters” without suffering week-long consequences. Millennials have that kind of go-getter attitude, and they’ll work hard if they believe in a cause.
Their dreams and beliefs. The hopes of young people always fuel innovation. Today’s youth are no different than the youth in decades past. Millennials want to change the world, so companies need to have passionate visions to woo them.
Their philosophy of life integration. Millennials believe in balance in all areas of their lives. They seek out workplaces that value them as people as well as employees. No wonder so many of the Millennial-heavy companies have onsite fitness and gym areas, ping pong tables and generous personal time policies!
Youth today must be inspired. They want to work, and will give an employer their all if they feel they are respected and needed. By offering young recruits a culture that appeals to their intrinsic natures and general characteristics, businesses can expect to grow a loyal, passionate and engaged Millennial workforce.
Did you know?
According to Millennials around the web, some of the best companies to work for include: CareerBuilder, Orbitz, Dell, St. Jude’s Hospital, Walt Disney World and Starbucks. Ironically, the list of favorite employers spans across all industries. This reveals just how versatile Millennials are when it comes to their preferred skill sets and talents and, more importantly, that any company has the opportunity to inspire their next generation of employees and win in the youth talent search.
By Social Media & Employer Brand Strategist Lauralee Guthrie
How do you engage younger talent? Share your ideas with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada.
If you enjoyed this article, read 6-Tips for Networking at Conferences, and 4-Management Lesson you Can Learn from Hollywood.
5-Tips for Asking for a Raise
With more than half of Canadians asking for a raise this year, arming yourself with the tools and a plan that will benefit your request are key. Be prepared to discuss the value you add to the company and if you have that value in a tangible dollar figure, even better.
In the second part of an eight part series on Randstad Canada’s Labour Trends Study 2014 -Demanded Skills and Expectations, we take a look at how to ask for a raise in 2014.
Part 1: Canadians are optimistic on the economy
In our study conducted by Ipsos-Reid on behalf of Randstad Canada, Canadians said they were optimistic about their opportunities to get a raise. Asking for a raise isn't easy and if done wrong can delay or even scuttle your career. Of those polled more than half (51%) of those polled said they expect to receive a raise in 2014, with those in Quebec (58%) and Alberta (57%) feeling much more confident in receiving a salary increase than those in Ontario (46%) or British Columbia (48%).
Here are 5-Tips for Asking for a Raise
1. Be prepared with numbers to back up your request: One of the strongest ways to prove yourself to your boss and their superiors when you begin discussions about receiving a raise is to include your key performance indicators or KPIs in your argument. If you can say that because of your superior work you’ve helped the company achieve more, it is easier for you to argue that you deserve to be paid more. If your role doesn’t include data-based metrics try to get creative in how you communicate your value to the company - even if it is just communicating your division's broad success and touting your stellar attendance record.
2. Come with a plan: It isn’t enough to just prove that you’ve done great work in the year prior to your meeting, you need to have a plan for how you’re going to continue to improve those numbers, benefit the business and grow personally as an employee. Include a quarterly and year-long plan for the programs you are developing, or ideas on how you are going to continue to add value to the programs that your managers are conducting.
3. Self-learning, certifications and new skills: If you’ve developed new skills and you’re able to demonstrate them, or you are using skills that are outside of your job description this is the time to remind your employer that you’ve grown in your position and you contribute a lot. If you have new language certifications, can perform new digital tasks, or have displayed the ability to conduct media interviews or public relations, or anything new that has business value; this will be a great discussion point to bring up with leadership.
4. Brand ambassadorship: Marketers often say that the greatest tool a business has in marketing its wares, or services is word of mouth. That word of mouth starts from your brand’s best ambassadors, who should be their employees and partners. Showing that you are a positive brand advocate and your voice has helped grow the brand within your networks and community shows that you’re not only a good employee, but that you are a dedicated and influential brand ambassador; loyalty is important.
5. Update your Linkedin profile, build new connections, network: There is nothing wrong with continuing to network for your career even though you’re happily employed. Networking has many benefits, it shows your employers that you aren’t complacent, you can build contacts that can benefit your current role and it is a tidy way to remind your employer that you’re a desirable employee without have to flat-out saying, “other companies are looking to hire me,”, which is something you shouldn’t’ say to anyone. Businesses rise and fall, your network is your safety net, it can be your future.
Randstad's National Compensation Survey
If you are aiming for a raise it is important to know where your salary stacks up against the competition. To help you gauge what to ask for as your raise this year, review Randtad Canada’s National Compensation Survey. Download your guide today.
Do you expect to get a raise this year? If not, why not, share your thoughts with us on Twitter @RandstadCanada
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