Friday, November 2, 2012

The Outsourcing Trend

Being a recruiter you can often feel like a glorified CV sifter, searcher or administrator. With the current market place being so candidate rich it is not uncommon to receive 1000's of applications for any one role, with information being drawn into databases at a rate no recruiter can keep up with. This often results in vast amounts of badly segmented data being left dormant and rapidly becoming out of date as up to 50% of candidates are never contacted. Outsourcing promises to take away all these basic web based processes allowing recruiters to do what they do best - recruit. This is not to be confused with offshoring, which is the relocation of processes such as production or manufacturing. Although outsourcing can also be offshore, it focuses more on third party service providers taking over business processes on a service level agreement, based in a lower cost location. RECRUITMENT PROCESS OUTSOURCING (RPO) Recruitment Process Outsourcing covers services such as: advert response handling, CV re-formatting, CV searching, first level candidate profiling, database cleansing/refreshing and internet research. This allows recruiters more time to focus on building relationships with clients and candidates and securing those all important placements. Outsourcing labour intensive tasks ultimately results in saving recruiters time, but beyond this it also has a number of other advantages including: 
• Greater ability for budgetary control 
• More efficient working for existing staff 
• Access to better technology 
• Access to trained staff, often called administrators 
• Faster turnaround of outsourced tasks

Yet with any business process, there are a number of disadvantages that need to be worked around. After the initial investment of time to choose an outsourced provider, you must then educate them about the intricacies of your business. For some small tasks this can often seem inefficient and when the costs involved are taken into consideration outsourcing is often not the right solution. Other concerns expressed include: 
• Loss of control 
• Confidentiality 
• Quality of output 
• Legal liabilities

When these processes are then routed offshore it comes along with the time additional advantages, allowing research for candidates to been done at evenings and weekends and ready when you come back to the office the next day. Good offshore companies will also not just offer an account manager but a dedicated team that ensure there is no down time on processes. The costs involved in offshoring are also considerably less. However there are the additional concerns about communication problems, language barriers and quality control.


A strong framework is required to get the best results from outsourcing. Vague briefs and unclear objectives can often result in varied results. By ensuring your outsourcing team really understands the intricacies of your business and the standards you require early on they can ensure no major misinterpretations occur. If you require candidate CVs to be formatted in a certain style make sure you present them with clear guidelines. Don't be afraid of giving harsh feedback if there are errors as it can only improve your working relationship.

Close monitoring can also vastly improve results. You will be saving hours by outsourcing these tasks, so taking just a few minutes a day to monitor outputs can ensure that any discrepancies can be picked up early and be rectified so that fewer errors will be made in the future. Make sure you push for a dedicated account manager you can liaise with directly making the monitoring process a lot easier.

Grouping tasks can make outsourcing even more efficient. If you are considering outsourcing CV searching, but why not also ask them to pre-qualify candidates over the phone. Data cleansing goes hand in hand with refreshing. Larger projects are always more efficient when outsourced, and can allow recruiters more time to focus on building relations and second stage interviews.

If you are still not sure if outsourcing is for you, most good providers now offer a free trial. These no obligation trial periods allow you to test the quality of outputs and work out how the logistics will work for you. With recruitment business around the globe all ready outsourcing their labour intensive tasks it appears that outsourcing is the way forward.

Five Biggest PR Stunts in History

There's no such thing as bad publicity, the old saying goes. If an action or event puts your brand's name in the forefront of your target market's minds, it must be good. Never mind if the event has absolutely no connection with the product you're selling. What matters is name recall.

Having said that, here are five of the most successful PR stunts that have made their brands and subjects household words:

1. The Guinness Book of World Records. Who hasn't heard of this book? We hear of it in the TV news, we read about it in the newspapers, and yes, a lot of us enjoy reading the book itself too. Children as young as nine years old are familiar with the name Guinness.

And what, you may ask, is it promoting (if you haven't guessed yet)? Why, Guinness beer, of course!

It all started when Sir Hugh Beaver, managing director of Guinness Brewery, went on a plover-hunting trip and failed to shoot a single one. He mentioned to his companion that the golden plover must be the fastest bird in Europe. The friend disagreed, and there was nothing to settle the argument as there were no reference books that did that sort of thing at the time.

So Sir Beaver had the idea of publishing a book that would settle such bar bets, and the rest, as we all know, is history.

2. The Hollywood sign. It was the challenge of a lifetime for Harry Chandler. He built an expensive housing development in the middle of a dirty desert town, and now he had to sell it. Of course, people first had to notice it - and who would look at that place when looking for an expensive home?

His idea was to create a gigantic billboard. Billboards are effective ways of getting public attention, right? A 50-foot billboard should do the trick.

He was right. It did. That 50-foot PR stunt to sell overpriced real estate is now known all over the world as the Hollywood sign.

3. David Beckham's hair. Even people who don't watch football know David Beckham. What made this celebrity footballer's name a household word even if he's not the greatest football player the world has ever seen? (For people who disagree, please refer to the Guinness Book of World Records.)

It's his hair. Like Madonna in her heyday, David Beckham constantly reinvents himself by sporting a - shall we say "outrageous"? - well, let's call it "head-turning" new 'do from time to time, keeping himself in the media eye.

4. Dove's Real Beauty campaign. It may not exactly be a stunt, but it's one heck of a brave thing to do. Instead of using picture-perfect models Photoshopped to further perfection, Dove took real women with real body fat and used them as their models instead. Granted all that these models were still thinner than the average British and American woman, they were still meatier than the average ad model, and many hailed that as a step in the right direction. For one, it boosted Dove's sales by 700%.

5. Richard Branson, the Virgin bride. Richard Branson is, of course, the unchallenged king of PR stunts. He has driven a tank down Fifth Avenue to launch Virgin Cola. He mooned the world in the Canadian Launch of Virgin Atlantic. He went around the world in a hot air balloon to promote the Virgin brand in general.

But his most outrageous stunt to date was when he went out in drag as the Virgin bride to launch the Virgin Brides wedding venture.

Did it work? Not much, as far as Virgin Brides was concerned. The venture closed in 2007. But it certainly made Richard Branson and the Virgin brand quite well known.

Exhibitions Displays - How to Stand Unique in the Competition

Exhibitions, both trade and consumer has an edge over other forms of advertising. This is because exhibitors get large number of targeted audience and the opportunity to showcase their existing product and launch new product. Again, the most advantageous part is that buyers come to you if you can make it all attractive to them plus you get the opportunity to interact face-to-face with your customer, which is essential in building relationship.

With competition at the highest level and several competitors located around, it is vital for the exhibitors to draw business buy attracting potential customers to their stand with unique exhibition stand design and build.

The first and foremost important step is planning. Planning ahead would make things easier. You need to assign key responsibilities to appropriate person or department, that too with deadlines.

Exhibition stand design, when effectively laid out, contributes much to the success of the exhibition. Find out a design that fits in with your company brand. Many exhibitors now consider hiring professional architectural model makers to make high quality exhibition stand designs and models. For that exhibitor needs to contact a reputed model making company who will create an effective display that would communicate the nature of his business. An effective exhibition stand design and build draws potential buyers to your exhibition stand by capturing their interest. Remember, the first impression gets counted with the design of your exhibition stand. So, it better to leave it in the hands of experts. The skilled architectural model maker will use a variety and often the best resources to prepare the exhibition stand design and present it to the exhibitor in large format printing. Be selective in hiring a designer for your stand and hire only after checking his/her previous work samples. Using graphics and appropriate colors can create an everlasting impression.

Lighting holds importance when you need to make an impact. Using down lights can give positive results. Also, make sure that your products and graphics are seen in best light.

Posters and banners play a great role in attracting prospective buyers. So, it's better to choose banner stands for your exhibition. Banner stands are compact, cost-effective and do not require much space.

Often on-stand drinks service yield out great results. Cocktails, wine or coffee is served especially when businesses is within industries such as food, medical etc. this is because on-stand business deals fetch large revenue.

The use of modern audio-visual equipment often helps to make your stand unique. An audio-visual presentation of the product has better impact on the audiences. It not only grabs the attention of the customers but convert them into potential buyers. It is a better tool for the marketers to explain their services and products to their targeted consumers.

Always remember work doesn't stop after the show. It is necessary to follow up all leads as these may transform into possible customers. Exhibitions allow touching, seeing and hearing the services or products one offers. As an exhibitor bringing the service or product to life is likely to create more impact on the visitors.

No Balance - No Life - No Job

Don't blame the work. That doesn't help. If you don't know how to balance your life then don't blame your job. It's not the job or the boss, it's your process that stinks.

If your work process was designed about 3 years ago, and you still do things the same way that you did 3 years ago, then you are on the edge of becoming a Neanderthal.

Once, it took a thousand years to see change on the planet. Now it's daily and soon it'll be hourly. If you're not evolving your process the first sign will be "Work Life Balance will go out the door."

Working harder to get things done went out about 10 years ago. If you are still working long hours to get your work done, you're a self proclaimed antique even if you're 18.

Here are a few modern day suggestions to evolve your process.

1. Work in chunks

If you have a 5 hour job to do, eat, drink and then go to it. Lock yourself away. Don't stand up or pee (joking) until the job is done. Einstein used to lock himself away for three days to do inspired work. He knew that it takes about 30 minutes to get totally into something and about 10 seconds for an interruption to send you right back to the uninspired state.

2. Don't Edit

Head thinkers edit everything. Head thinking leaders edit what they write, what they say, what they feel, what they think, what they do - they even edit their strategies over and over and over. Editing means "not inspired" - or "not in the Zone" Modern work practices don't edit. They spend time getting balanced, healthy and in a good space and then do it once, and do it un-edited.

3. Don't Kill Yourself Yesterday

If you blew a fuse yesterday it's going to cost you heaps today. So, instead, either don't blow a fuse yesterday or accept that you blew a fuse yesterday and don't expect too much today. Don't be blindsided by tiredness that makes your decisions and thoughts today absolutely crappy - don't trust yourself the day after the night before... go home and take a jog instead.

That's it. And if you are an employee rather than a self employed individual, then this balance thing is going to be even more critical because unlike an entrepreneur you don't have the luxury of choosing to work odd hours to suit your balance process. You'll need to be even more disciplined.

Threading Through Oakville

Every Canadian province carries its own distinct history. If you have yet to be lucky enough to step foot into every province, or thread through every Canadian town or city, be sure to anticipate a sense of wonder every time you visit a new corner in this vast country.

Case in point: Oakville, Ontario. The province of Ontario has the highest population in the entire nation, hovering just below thirteen million people (The highest population density, however, goes to Prince Edward Island, with a density of 24.7 people per kilometer square. Now that is a tight squeeze!) Still, anyone who lives in any other province will most definitely notice the population difference in Ontario compared to their home-province.

Oakville has a population of 180,000 people. Seems like a small number compared to Toronto's 2.5 million. Nonetheless less, Oakville is still very much a bustling and robust town. With arts and jazz festivals, museums, libraries, and annual corporate events in Oakville, the town has grown to be its own, albeit smaller, metropolitan. Frankly, Oakville (and the rest of the principle areas of the GTA) can function quite independently from the city of Toronto. That is not to say that they should, but only that they could, further illustrating Oakville's self-sufficiency.

Although each of the five areas within the GTA function somewhat independently from each other they are still close enough to each other that the citizens can cross over and enjoy the different events, facilities and services that each have to offer. In fact, each area runs on their own transit system. Oakville, in particular, runs on Oakville Transit, which offers above-ground (no subway) transportation services. The multiple transit systems across the GTA can seem confusing at first, but when looked at from a practical perspective, they do offer a level convenience that residents would have otherwise. Those who opt to drive their car through the GTA will also find it relatively easy, seeing as how major highways interconnect the GTA regions. For example, a resident of Milton wouldn't see an issue in working in Toronto or being a guest at wedding in Oakville. The areas are so close to each other, and are connected by transit systems, that it is very easy to get from one end of the GTA to the other.

It's All About Impact

"The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."

You will hear those words quite frequently if you watch The Dr. Phil Show, but they're just as true for resume writing as they are for marital counseling. When he or she is reading your resume, a recruiter or potential employer is searching for the way you behaved at your previous job. That reader wants your resume to answer the key questions: Why did you get hired? Why did the company keep you? What impact did you have on your previous position?

It's important to realize just how important impact is to your job search. You could have rebuilt the Space Shuttle, or taken apart and reassembled a Sikorsky helicopter blindfolded, yet if your resume is full of duties alone, it will never make it onto the hiring manager's desk.

To get noticed, your resume must show the kind of accomplishments that had impact on your prior employers. As author, speaker, and executive coach Jay Block puts it: "A resume without accomplishments is like a report card without marks."

Consider the following:

Janet Jobhunter has been pursuing a career in the aerospace industry as a mechanic. She has 20 years' experience assembling and disassembling helicopters and airplanes. Who wouldn't want someone with that kind of experience, right? She even tells the reader on her resume:

* Assembled and disassembled helicopters and diagnosed and repaired jet engines for airplanes. Tightened bolts to exact tolerances.

To her surprise, however, Janet gets no responses from her resume. Nothing at all. Not even so much as a letter acknowledging receipt.

On the other hand, we have Patricia Professional. She's also done the same things Janet has, and for exactly the same length of time. But Patricia's resume says the following:

* Troubleshot consistently recurring failures occurring in twin helicopter motors. Traced problem to inadequate wiring between pilot's controls and engine. Facilitated all corrections, and established permanent fixes for the manufacturing stage, which reduced the failure rate to 0.

Based on their resumes, which of these two would you hire?

Give this some thought and think about this example when you're writing your resume. Because a resume is not a simple, dry listing of your daily job duties; a resume is a commercial for you. And just like any other commercial, whether for soap, gasoline, toothpaste, or shampoo, you need to show the employer the ways in which you have had an impact.

Improve Customer Loyalty With POS Software

When most people hear POS software, they think of stock control, quick customer checkout and other retail administrative tasks. However, they are missing a critical piece of the puzzle and that is customer relationship management. Any retail EPOS systems that are worth their salt include comprehensive systems that allow retailers to manage customer relationships and boost customer loyalty through various marketing strategies and tactics.

The Importance of Customer Loyalty

It's a proven fact that a repeat customer improves profitability significantly. Repeat customers tend to spend more and cost less per sale than a new customer. This is why it is imperative for any retail operation to build a relationship with their customers.

The better your relationship with your customer and the more they enjoy their experience in your store, the more money they will spend with you and the more people they will recommend your store to. In other words, you win on two fronts, namely increased revenues as well as free word-of-mouth advertising which is the most effective type of advertising in existence.

Using POS Software to Understand Customer Behaviour

Understanding your customers and their purchasing habits is essential to improving customer loyalty. The more you know about your customer, the more you will be able to create offers based on their purchasing habits. This not only increases the chances of them making a purchase but it also increases their loyalty towards you because you make them feel special and important by customising an offer particularly for them. You'd be surprised how such a small thing can have a massive impact.

Good POS software will allow you to gather data about your customers, including what purchases they made and when they made them. The easiest way for you to gather this data is to use branded loyalty cards. Every time they use their card they will be rewarded and you will know exactly who purchased what and when. Additionally, when applying for the card, they will have to enter their personal details, allowing you to reach them via email with various offers and other incentives to bring them back to your store.

And everyone loves getting something for nothing, even if it's just their perception, which is why you won't have a problem convincing people to sign up for your loyalty program. However, you need to make sure that customers are rewarded and that it doesn't take forever for them to receive those rewards or they might find another store more to their liking.

POS software can help you keep track of all this information and generate detailed reports, allowing you to effectively tailor an offer that will entice your customers back to your store. Additionally, high quality retail EPOS systems also come with integrated email marketing features, allowing you to manage contact lists and reach your customers with a few clicks of the mouse.

Customer retention is critical to the success of any retail store. While it isn't a deal breaker, it can certainly take your store's performance from mediocre to outstanding and all it takes is the implementation of a quality POS software solution.