- Prepare carefully. Research the company and the interviewers. Weave this knowledge subtly into the conversation. Try to interview at a time of day when you feel at your best and ensure that you have had a chance to take a rest from the day job beforehand. You must not seem rushed or exhausted
- Smile occasionally and appropriately (even if you are only on the phone) – it makes a huge difference
- ALWAYS talk about your previous employers positively. If they were crooks, you don’t have to call them that – understating the point and moving on is more powerful and expressive ‘I enjoyed the experience a great deal, however I felt that I had more to offer a business which prized integrity more highly’!
- If you are on a video conference, when speaking, look into the camera (make sure you know where it is!) and glance occasionally at your audience for your cues – it is much more engaging to attempt eye contact. Gesture and move normally, as long as you don’t move around in the frame excessively – animation is good. Think about your background (visually) and ensure there is no background noise. Remember mechanical noises particularly are amplified by AV equipment, so the washing machine quietly doing its spin cycle three rooms away may be deafening to your interviewer!
- Have your essentials documented simply and clearly – refer back to them when the opportunity arises
- Don’t shoe-horn points you want to make into parts of the conversation which are out of context, cover as a separate point, or AOB
- If you have something you are not proud of on your CV, find an opportunity to put it into a favourable context without highlighting it unduly. Don’t wait for the killer question!
- Everyone thinks they are body language experts – they are often wrong, so be positive and upbeat throughout and don’t second guess the outcome
- Don’t use ‘in house’ or cliquey language – it excludes others and makes you sound institutionalised
- Have a copy of your CV handy in case it is referred to and points need clarifying – if your CV has been reformatted by a recruitment business, make sure you have a copy of that as well, there may be mistakes
- Avoid using negative words. Practise talking about things you don’t like in a positive way
- Be clear on what are essentials or deal-breakers, but be open on the rest, you will be surprised what options evolve as a result
- Try to avoid referring to money face to face, but if an interviewer presses the point, be clear on your key (researched) figure or more broadly i.e. ‘I want to be valued on par with the market and other members of the senior management team’. Use you recruitment agency referrer as an intermediary if there is one
- In interviews, try to put your opposite number at ease, you will find out much more; show respect and be polite. Never interrupt or argue but be assertive – you are entitled to politely and gently but firmly make your point
- Take your time to think – interviewers appreciate you respecting the question rather than ‘shooting from the hip’. Make sure you have understood any points raised (ask if necessary), without doing so repeatedly, which can be seen as a clumsy way to play for time
- Make your point pleasantly and expressively – then STOP TALKING – silences are an easy trap to make you start waffling. If a silence is very long, ask if your interviewer would like you to elaborate or clarify any point you have made
- Use examples to illustrate your points and where permissible, figures
- Always respect confidentiality agreements and implied confidentiality. Gossips are useful but unpopular
- Understand the dress code, even for video conferences. If there isn’t one, err on the side of caution (more formal)
- It is critically important to RESERVE JUDGEMENT and properly evidence any opinions you develop
Super cycle or super-charged?
Cambridge House’s January conference in Vancouver in a new venue (the new and very large conference centre extension) – would it be parked in a small corner of the facility, embarrassingly tucked away? Not a bit of it. The conference was thronged with personal investors on the first day (Sunday) and hugely well attended throughout. Many reflected on the healthy cooling off of the gold price to a little over $1,200, but that has also since bounded upwards again, fuelled by depreciating major currencies and defensive buying of gold.
The bankers were out on force for Indaba, too, with brokers’ notes maligning new kids on the block who arrived with sharpened pencils and open cheque books come to take advantage of the popularity of commodity stocks. Partying in Cape Town was intensive too, with many taxing evening itineraries for most company executives. Toronto was no different, again record numbers to PDAC and the familiar jam-packed escalators into the bowels of the conference centre to partake of the feast.
Comments abounded of the lack of skills available, the momentary shortage of engineering skills and the perennial scarcity of geologists which is already increased in intensity. But let me reassure you, dear reader, that there are always the right people for the right job and it is not always necessary to pillage the competition to achieve such feats……. and yes, you do need the right partner to find them, so look no further!
Frothy or on the start of the next super-cycle? Time will tell……..
Talent mapping – an overview
Talent mapping is thought of as being one in the same (in the context of a single role) as the candidate identification and initial contact stages of an executive search (head hunting) assignment.
Your talent map is the identification of a group of individuals for one or more specific (normally key) roles in the business; there are always multiple options for each role and therefore it is important to identify a large quantity of good quality candidates as well as the means to quickly communicate with them once the need arises if there is no immediate need.
It firstly requires a business to understand how to measure and define (generically and role specifically) what a good prospective employee is. It then seeks to understand where the best talent is working. It establishes which businesses tend to have the best individuals and what working conditions and remuneration attract them to those businesses and keep them there.
In some cases the individuals who are identified as prospective employees by this process are kept in contact with on a speculative long-term basis, in other cases the person exists as a referral from a third party or from desk research which the company does not act upon by contacting the individual.
This means that the business has a talent pipeline and therefore the basis to build their succession plan whatever its future demands, whether through significant growth or organisational change.
Talent mapping has the following peripheral benefits:
- Organisations that talent map are proactively managing their reputation as employers in the market – this improves reputation and provides excellent responsive feedback
- It seeks to understand what the industry’s top quartile is and its relationship to the business’s measurement of what is the best (they may not be the same)
- It is a great snapshot of competitor and market activityIt benchmarks compensation and benefits packages
- It encourages all employees to keep a ‘watching brief’ for future employeesIt makes sure that the company is clear on its message regarding prospective employees and because that message is being used and therefore being tested constantly, it remains under open review by the company
- The company and its employees are proactive in communicating that messageIt is able to act decisively and quickly when a need arises
Before you consider a talent mapping exercise consider:
- It is indeed a specialist task to undertake talent mapping and many companies do outsource to search companies. However, it should not be underestimated that talent mapping is a desk research and initial contact exercise and much of the hard work is undertaken after the talent mapping is done, i.e. the proactive contact of all likely candidates to attract them together on a timely basis to a series of interviews with the business.
- This is proactive reputation management – a poor message or one that is portrayed inconsistently by executives using it can have very damaging effects
- The logistics, administrative backup and tone of communications must match the overall message
Context for a great recruiting process
The company must recognise that the recruitment process is a partnership with the head-hunter and opening a shop window to the company; therefore:
1. Be clear internally on what attributes are essential – but be open minded as to the rest, you will be surprised what options may present themselves as a result
2. The company should consider its reputation for professionalism (whether that be current or aspirational) which it will be communicating by its choices and actions in structuring the process, therefore:
· Carefully consider its choice of recruitment partner (and be prepared to be assessed by them for ‘fit’); with this in mind, be informed by them as to what your ‘needs’ might be, as distinct from your stated ‘wants’
· Strongly consider awarding exclusivity to a single recruitment partner for senior roles to ensure there is no unseemly behaviour in a rush for results. No everyone in the sector is an angel
· It is critical that trust is established from the start and maintained with all parties. Information should be shared with clarity but with consideration to legal and moral confidentiality
· Carefully consider what steps are appropriate and necessary for a full and incisive process including interviewers, interview stages and manner of assessment. Remember economy of effort – there is no merit in prolonging for the sake of it, if you feel inclined to do so, it may be that you need to examine weak points in the process
· Ensure that there are no conflicts of interest i.e. incumbents or managers who may favour a choice incompatible with the company’s goals
· Interviewers should be trained – your recruitment partner will normally provide this service gratis
· Conduct interviews brilliantly
· All measurements, tests, techniques and interviewers should be appropriate to the level of candidate to be interviewed and the role to be interviewed for
· Be clear in writing what interview expenses will be covered by the company and ensure that this is circulated to each candidate
3. There should be a clearly identified client lead (they must be empowered and motivated to make decisions) to deal with the head-hunter, preferably the recruiting manager
4. The company should consider clarity and openness to be key reputation management issues. It should therefore:
· Clearly definite process timescales; make best efforts to keep to them; let all process stakeholders know as soon as it is clear that it is not possible to keep to them. Clearly define the process, filtering tools, measurements and feedback; let people know what they are committing to
· Have some clearly stated skills and behavioural attributes which you are seeking and share them with your candidates so they know what you are looking for and can provide appropriate evidence – guessing and surprises are for children’s birthday parties
· Be scrupulously and conspicuously fair
5. It is always useful to have an administrator, like a PA, as an administrative liaison for interview slots etc, with access to all the client interviewers’ diaries – and the mandate to commit the time!
6. Unsuccessful candidates should have feedback given to them verbally by an individual of appropriate seniority and involvement to discuss in detail – that may be a commercial manager or recruitment partner
7. Always thank a candidate for investing their time
8. Don’t relax when an offer has been made; consider and cover off: buy-backs from current employers; alternative offers a candidate has received; remember to induct properly and consistently with the recruitment process, ensuring that your senior new starter has appropriate communications, IT, office equipment and briefing without having to ask
9. There should always be follow ups as part of the recruitment process to at least six months after the start date by the company and its recruitment partner to resolve teething issues
People for projects? A bespoke solution
If you are an individual with access to an excellent project or commercial opportunity, perhaps we can help. For several months, we have been looking at project ideas in their infancy, sometimes even with only one individual driving the establishment of the business.
We have contacts all over the world which we indeed use typically to fill conventional search assignments. However, for such projects we are very happy to work with a project initiating individual or team to ‘wrap around’ a balanced board and senior management (when the timing is appropriate) which will be able to assess and promote a project. We will behave as a people partner to the new business in return for equity in the start up business. This is on a success only basis, there is no obligation for either a consultation or our assistance unless specially agreed in writing. If you have a project and are seeking to find the people and funding to go with it, please get in touch privately, we may well be able to help. Likewise, if you would like to privately suggest any refinements or other complementary ideas, please let us know.
If you have an interest in this as an idea as a topic of discussion, we welcome your comments on this page.
Lunch discussion in House of Commons, UK, 13th October 2009
Lunch discussion in association with Global Rock Exchange, House of Commons, United Kingdom, 13th October 2009
A big thank you to Julian Dawson for hosting a thought provoking lunch at the House of Commons and leading a discussion about the future and structure of junior mining company boards.
A skilled and professional facilitator, Julian invited an open forum debate which identified many questions and concerns amongst corporate officers.
It was of personal interest to hear that despite increased corporate governance, independent directors can still feel isolated amongst their fellow board members. When their experience and views may well prevent strategic or statutory mishaps in the future, it seems a pity we still hear occasionally that these very experienced corporate officers are not used as they were intended. It would be interesting to hear how many Non-Executive Directors think they are fully and correctly utilised.
There is no shame in admitting that the board is not working as a cohesive team. The shame would be in not recognising it and sweeping under the carpet. It is often a relief to introduce a third party to review executive matters.
Julian will no doubt be working with more directors, in the future, to create strength and experience in the content of their board of directors.
Copyright: Janet Bewsey, jobs4mining.com (published with permission)