Archives for posts with tag: jobs

So let’s discuss the job centre.  I’m not sure if I’ve posted my thoughts on it before but let me be reasonably clear about it.  It’s bloody awful.  It’s a cesspool of misery and there’s a complete lack of hope and encouragement.  How did the government get it so wrong?  I’m not blaming the staff, though I’m not about to champion them either but basically the job centre might as well be called the ‘sign on’ centre.  This isn’t a rant about benefits either it’s an essential safety net, it’s about how the job centre has become much more about compliance, form filling and dole claiming than it is about getting people into meaningful work.  Now what I don’t want to do is drone on about it’s dreadfulness without putting forth solutions, that would be pointless.  I’ve been giving this some thought and I think there’s some obvious ways to make the whole thing so much better.  

Firstly separate out benefits from the job centre, I don’t mean build a load of new places for you to sign on before being told to go somewhere else to actually find a job, have them in the same place but different employees.  The benefits and signing on side is a compliance function, have a group of staff whose sole job description is to help people fill in the said forms as quickly and efficiently as possible, have them become expert in what people are and aren’t entitled to and have the process quick and efficient so people aren’t wasting their lives filling in a small oak trees worth of paperwork.  

Now onto the most important function, the JOBS.  Firstly the people should be professional recruiters.  Yes I say this as a headhunter.  What they shouldn’t be is a jack of all trades who help with the above mentioned form filling.  Their sole function should be find these people a job.  Now let’s talk about the types of people you’re finding a job for, there is no point whatsover in going here if you’re a professional, read accountant, lawyer etc.  If your job earns you £30k plus, don’t even bother looking in here, it’s not for you, go to Reed, Michael Page, Hays etc, they’re paid far more and incentivised to find you roles.  Go to the job boards, network round old colleagues, you’ll find a role.  

Now if you aren’t in that lucky category of people you should be able to go to the job centre and find a decent reasonably paying job.  The people there should be professionals at what they do so let’s get to my next point, remuneration.  At present, let’s be honest, it’s crap.  I’ve no problem with their basic wage but why on earth are we not having a decent performance related bonus? It should be easy enough, next time you find Joe Bloggs a job you get say £50 extra in your pay packet.  That’s equivalent to one weeks JSA but look how much the government are saving not having Joe on the payroll anymore!  Now, let’s do the maths, £50 per person you find a role for, how tough would it be to find 5 people a week a role?  If you manage it that’s £250 a week extra, potentially a wage rise of 50%.  Think of the calibre of people you can now attract to work in the job centre.  If you’re getting £50 a pop imagine how much more motivated those chaps are going to be to get you into a job pronto.  Now let’s make it even more enticing, if you find someone a job who’s been on benefits long term, let’s say over a year you make £100 or even £150, how much more motivated to these people become to find you a job?  Not only that if it’s quiet and there’s not much happening because they’re incentivised they’ll actually get on the phone and find jobs, they’ll ring back companies who’ve hired recently and see if they have needs for other stuff, they’ll stop simply being reactive and become proactive.  They’ll make damn sure peoples CV’s look good as well, not to mention they’ll advise people how to dress, how to interview and how to behave because their cash depends on it.  

Let’s lose all the nonsense, there are jobs out there, there are unemployed people.  The job centre is awful at best in terms of finding people roles.  Pay some proper rewards to professional people, lose the admin, the form filing and the despondency and it’ll go a long way to getting more people off benefits and into jobs.  

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Networking, what a horrible word it is.  Perhaps a more apt way of describing it is socialising professionally so that you raise your own personal profile and gain valuable professional contacts. It’s not an easy thing to do and after several recent meetings discussing this recently I thought I’d do a bit of a blog on it. 

It’s fair to say that my job is all about networking, I meet people for a living and talk about lots of intangible things such as the ‘markets’ and trends we’re seeing within it.  I hope I’m reasonably good at my job though I fully expect that if ever anyone reads this I could have several naysayers!  With this in mind I thought I might give a few tips as to how to do this without seeming over eager or desperate.  The worst thing is to be the type of chap who is at every industry event and hands out business cards like confetti.  

Ideally you want to be in contact with people who are relevant to you, in other words the people of the right level who ultimately make decisions which could affect you in some way.  Be it your next job, your next non-executive position, your next client or your next sales target.  The problem with this is of course that these people are in demand, so how do you get to them without sounding like everyone else who’s trying to get to them?  In short, how do you stand out?

Without a doubt the best way to meet people and to network is by referrals.  If someone gives you a personal recommendation that is gold dust, people are far more willing to chat with someone if they’ve been referred to them by a friend or trusted colleague.  So the question becomes how do you get referrals?  Well that’s a little tougher but I believe there are two main areas to concentrate on, one is being damn good at what you do, whatever that is and do it for a long time, it builds word of mouth.  The second is to be an open networker yourself, by this I mean be generous with your own contacts.  Introduce people you know in similar fields, if for instance you know a pensions consultant very well and an in house head of pensions, why don’t you introduce them? It doesn’t cost you anything except a couple of minutes but it builds your credibility, of course assuming both your connections are good!  Ultimately both these people will be that little more willing to do you a favour and introduce you to someone they know when the time comes.  I’m a firm believer in what goes around comes around and if you share your time with others, help them with no thought of reward for doing so, ultimately others will come back and do the same for you.  

The more we all learn this skill and do it better, the more generous we are with our connections, then the more business will be transacted, new roles found and friendships formed.  It’s a valuable skill and one that benefits us all ultimately.