Ever asked a recruiter about their…. ‘package’? May 7, 2013Posted by UCL Careers Service in : The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at UCL Careers Service Blog
Our careers consultant, Trevor Bibic, has found 10 employee perks that standout from the norm.
The list of benefits is an important part of attracting the best candidates for recruiters, small and large alike. There are the obvious ones such as pay, prestige, private health care and career progression but there are some innovative and unusual perks to consider too!
So, whether you are looking for a job or starting your own business, here’s 8 of the more unusual perks. Would they be enough to win you over? Let us know in the comments or share one that you know of.
Management Consultancy Chemistry Group will teach you how to cook and have fully stocked kitchen for staff to make their own healthy lunches. They suggest a strong connection between a doubling in profits and the quality of their staff’s nutrition.http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2013/02/work-smarter/revitalise-through-nutrition
This is an interesting company if you care to dig around – they found that mostly the same amount of work gets done in 4 days as 5, so they made it a 4 day working week!
I think that their most interesting perk, if you can call it that, is remote working is considered normal and effective. What would that mean for your work/life balance?
Take as much holiday as you want at Hubspot. The only condition is that you make sure you get your work done! Seems like a pretty good trade off!http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2010/04/features/work-smarter-hubspot
Located 2 mins from a surf hotspot, the founder lives up to his business manifesto “Let My People Go Surfing”. Flexible working means that taking a surf when the swell is good is perfectly normal.http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/20110831/perks-surf-s-up-at-patagonia
Another advocate for the take as much holiday as you want (I hope this catches on), but you also have unlimited access to their movie rental service!http://mashable.com/2012/04/13/netflix-unlimited-vacation/
What If supports staff social initiatives. You create the benefits here, such as the Seriously Exciting Club! With innovation a key attribute here, I suspect that the perks will continue to be very interesting!http://careers.guardian.co.uk/employers-wages-employee-packages-secondary-benefits
Not the most high profile of Google’s perks (which are numerous) but they do like a slide in the office – here are 2 examples from San Francisco and Zurich.
The Zappos.com co-worker bonus scheme allows you to give $50 (every month) to another employee who you think has done a great job. You can only give one award a month but there is no limit to the amount you can receive! An example of cash rewards that have a very positive impact and isn’t just for the sales people!http://www.zapposinsights.com/cool-ideas/item/four-peertopeer-ways-zappos-employees-reward-each-other
Is your CV heading for the shredder? August 17, 2010Posted by Helen Curry in : CVs , 1 comment so far
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Recruiters are having their say about common CV mistakes to avoid in The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) LinkedIn discussion group – some useful tips here that I had to share.
Mistakes to avoid:
- Poor spelling and grammar (as ever – but they all say it!)
- Unusual formatting – it should be easy to scan.
- Hard-to-find contact details
- Targeting another company/job
- Too long – two pages is the standard for graduates in the UK, unless it is for an academic position. You can always put ‘references available on request’ instead of lengthy referee contact details
- Awkward copy and paste
- Not specifying the necessary grades when the position has minimum requirements
Stating they have four A-levels ranging from A* to C is of no help… I’ll cynically assume there were more Cs than A*s!
- Last-minute applications – tolerance levels go down when recruiters are swamped by a rush of applications at deadline-time
- Use of tiny fonts and slim margins to cram in more text – instead make strategic cuts to highlight the best, stand-out content.
- Cover letters that begin “Dear Recruiter”…
It is so easy to pick up the phone to find out the name of the lead recruiter – a personal approach is so much more powerful.
- Crazy fonts and colour schemes – often inappropriate for traditional corporate roles, though it can be good for creatives…
- Obvious template CVs – recruiters do get familiar with some of them!
Freebies – the only reason to attend a careers fair? December 1, 2009Posted by Helen Curry in : Uncategorized , 1 comment so far
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I spotted this diary article by student Duncan Robinson in the Independent, and I wanted to respond from a careers service perspective, as I think quite a lot of students have similar experiences. In fact, when I was a student my friends and I went just to compete to collect the most freebies. We were wasting our time. I now know how to get much more than chocolate at a careers fair!
Freebies are the only reason to attend a careers fair… There is very little in the way of actual information to be gained.
First of all, there is a lot of information to be had, it just depends what kind of information you are looking for! To get the most out of a careers fair, I would recommend you already have a good idea of what career path you want to pursue and what roles you want to consider.
Drifting into a crowded bustling environment and having random two-minute chats complete strangers is not the best way to make a career choice! If you visit your careers service in advance you can discover the details about what the job titles mean.
A careers fair is best used to find information like:
- which company is best for you
- tips for applications and interviews at that company – what makes a candidate stand out?
- what sort of work experience is needed?
- an insider view to help you choose between a couple of roles you find interesting
- which areas of the business are on the rise and which areas are suffering
Work out what information you need before you go to the fair and perhaps think of a few approaches you might try – what questions will you ask, what further contacts you might like to seek out e.g. a name and email in HR. It is all about preparation!
The brochures you receive rarely answer questions about what working for a particular company entails. There probably isn’t enough space between the pictures of the good-looking staff and inspirational headlines.
Company brochures will have a promotional slant. They are not aiming to produce a general guide to the profession, they are looking to inspire and to attract the best graduates to apply to them.
To them, the best candidates will probably have already done research into the details of the role, or will be self-motivated enough to research the role after learning about it at the fair.
When it comes to details like what working for that company is really like – you are really better off just asking the staff on the stand as you are more likely to get an honest and grounded perspective. With a few well-judged questions you can find out what the working hours are really like, how much time-off you get to study for qualifications, and build up the bigger picture from there. These aren’t always the kind of details that can go into the management-approved, nationally-distributed brochure.
Those running the stands were often just as unhelpful. I went in the afternoon and five hours of slack-jawed undergraduates asking the same questions had obviously worn them down. Most queries were answered with a resigned “take this brochure and look on the website”.
From personal experience I can say it is exhausting to man a stand at a fair all day. Employers often mention to us whether the students seem well-informed or not as it really affects their experience of the fair. If students are prepared, they ask the employers intelligent and varied questions; the students benefit by receiving unique information, and the employers enjoy reflecting on their work and feel valued. If students come with a blank canvas, employers are faced with the daunting task of summarising in a minutes their role, the graduate scheme, the training, the application process, repeatedly… all day… Of course they will be worn down and frustrated if students can get that information anyway from the website. It is a waste of their time.
How can you overcome careers fair fatigue? It is always a good strategy to get there early on if you can, when people are still fresh. If that is not possible, then think about how you can mark yourself out as different to the rest. It is always encouraging to see a student get out of jeans and into office wear, as it is immediately clear they have given the fair some thought. When you begin to ask questions, you could start by stating – ‘I read your brochure and I wanted to know more about…’ and ask specific questions rather than the dreaded ‘so what do you do then?’. If you haven’t read the brochure before, then go to a quiet corner, read it, and come back to the stand later!
In some ways, the fair seemed quite surreal. “What recession?” I thought. “There are thousands of jobs here”. Then I realised that this was the same fair that was going to every other university in the country. My university alone will be spewing out more than 6,000 graduates this year…
It is not the same fair at every university! It is not a travelling circus! Each university careers service will be seeking out employer contacts and trying to persuade them to come to their fair. Some employers will only go to the top-ten universities in the league table, some will aim to target specific regions where they have offices. Some recruiters will be at lots of events because they like to have a high profile and they are ready for hundreds of applications to sift through to find the best – yes these will be competitive. Yet others are there because graduates don’t tend to think of them or they offer unconventional roles, and they want to attract more applicants. If you are feeling more open-minded about your career, these can offer you better odds on a job.
When it comes to the recession – so what if that is increasing competition for jobs? There are still thousands of jobs out there, and the best graduates will get them. Make yourself competitive! And as my Dad likes to say – ‘if you don’t enter, you can’t win‘.
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Example questions to ask at employer networking events.
- What do you enjoy most and least about your job?
- How did you get your job?
- Did the job differ from what you expected?
- What degree did you do? Was it useful? Which aspects?
About the job
- Can you tell me about your typical day at work?
- Are there any many training opportunities?
- Do you get a lot of feedback on how you are doing?
- What sort of person fits in well at this company?
About job hunting in that sector
- Do people tend to change jobs and companies for career progression (how often?), or do they pursue promotions internally?
- Where are vacancies advertised? / Where does your company advertise?
- What sort of things make candidates stand out?
- Can you think of any courses or projects I could work on that would help me?
Asking for a favour
(After the above, if the conversation went well)
- Are there any opportunities for work shadowing/temporary work?
- Are there any projects I could help on to get a flavour of the job?
- Who else do you think it would be useful for me to talk to?
You might want to make some notes after a conversation to refer to later – names, tips, whether you got a good feeling that you would fit there?