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5 Things you learned in grade school you still use today


Back to school

Whether it was your years of arriving by school bus to the playground and with the ringing of a bell at 8:30 a.m. or your hard work on arts and crafts (with an autonomy unforeseen in high school) your years in elementary school were well served. 

It taught you the finer points of dress, the value of a good packed lunch and these five imporant things that you use to this day:

Getting up in the morning

Getting up in the morning is a big deal, sometimes it makes all of the difference in your career.

The job you do today is, and the one you look for on your job search is what you’ve trained for but if you can't get up and ready in the morning all is for not. Think about what you learned by getting up out of bed, taking off your Star Wars PJs and going off to elementary school.

You learned how to wake up! You got out of the house without a $5 a day coffee habit, in some cases you even packed your own lunch.

Daily commute

For those who are fortunate enough, elementary school involves a five to fifteen minute walk to school, typically on side streets with friends, discussing Pokemon or Poggs at some length. Your commute can be long and hard and that grind gets to you - the daily commute teaches the value of proximity. 

This is repeated on the way home.

For others, we waited for a bus. It was crowded, bumpy, sometimes it smelled bad, but you get where you are going and if you are lucky you’ve got a friend with you.

In cities not just in Canada, but across the industrialized world, the transit experience is not unlike a grade five school bus and you learned how to do it as a child.

Are you looking for help on your career path?

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Presentation skills

In elementary school we get our first hands at presentations. I’m still sore about my grade five presentation on the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s getting short shrift to a contemporary’s piece on Highland Dancing. Sure, my 42 minute presentation included liberal portions of MLK’s I Have A Dream, and no I didn’t dance during my presentation but I think I deserved an A+, I had speaking notes!

I lost marks for going over time you see. This is a skill we all need to develop. It takes time and practice to prepare for speaking to a group, even when you think you know the topic remembering to take your time to really practice and prepare is important.

Group work. Fun!

Later in grade six or seven, you are introduced to group work – which will in later years becomes your job and career.

You are given a project, with some limited direction and as a team you are to construct a presentation on a world event. You learn how to delegate tasks, how to follow up with your co-workers and in some cases drag them through the finish line to ensure you get a good grade.

These little negotiations that are made on these projects prepare you for the team work we do everyday in the professional world. 

Personal direction

Of course it doesn’t end there, you then get asked, “Why do you want to be when you grow up?” a lot of people are still asking that.

If you aren’t completely sure, or you want a little help later in the game finding your career path, take our personal branding survey and enter to win a $300 VISA gift card. The survey will teach you  a lot about how to market yourself and who to reach out to for career guidance.

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Fostering your Employee brand: Part 2




Here are three more keys to building a positive, engaged personal brand. Read the first two and the introduction to this piece, in Fostering your "employee brand": Part 1.

Get the message out

The single most important way of developing your brand is to be seen in person (in a positive light of course).  If you are a jobseeker, networking is an important way to sell yourself, but for those currently employed, internal networking is just as important. Make going out and meeting the rest of the business an objective in itself.

Your network of friends, colleagues, clients, and customers are the most important marketing vehicle you've got; try to continually find ways to nurture your network of colleagues. What they say about you and your contributions is what the market will ultimately gauge as the value of your brand.

Additionally, you can set yourself apart by regularly contributing and providing added value on sites such as LinkedIn, writing blogs, using Twitter. Your aim is to be known in a positive light as an expert on a particular topic.  It’s not about being online 24/7 for the sake of it; it’s about adding value to others through all of your communications. 

Have you built your personal brand? Do you have your career path mapped out? Answer these questions and more, in our career path survey and be entered to win 1 of 11 cash prizes. Enter our survey here now.

4. Radiate power and leadership

One of the things that attracts us to certain brands is the power they project. It's no different in the workplace. If, for example, your colleagues are having a hard time organizing productive meetings, volunteer to write the agenda for the next meeting. You'll not only be contributing to the team, but you’ll have the opportunity to determine what will go on and off the agenda. Most importantly, remember that power is largely a matter of perception. If you want people to see you as a powerful brand, you must act like a credible leader.

5. Be consistent

Brand building doesn’t happen overnight and it needs to be consistent.  When you're promoting your brand, remember that everything you do - and everything you choose not to do - communicates the value and character of your brand. Everything from the way you handle phone conversations and emails to the way you conduct business in a meeting. It’s all part of a larger message that you are sending about your brand.

Ultimately, you are in charge of your brand and there is no single path to success. And while there is no one right way to create and promote your individual brand, these tips will set you on the right path to becoming more attractive to leading employers who are eager to find and retain not just great candidates, but also inspirational employees, that they will be clamouring to work with.

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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.


What salary should you expect?



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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