In the World of HR - On Avoiding the Hire of the Disgruntled Worker

By Karen Shackman, Senior Consultant of Xpand Group

SO! I have been asked to write my first Blog for Xpand, in fact my first blog ever. I’m not a blogger, I figure that I talk enough to everyone and anyone who will listen (at least I think they are listening!) as is! However, I have been given the opportunity to increase my audience so why not? I thought I’d give it a go.

I was reading with interest an article is yesterdays SMH by FairWork Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson (http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/clarity-respect-avoids-a-poisonous-workplace-20120325-1vsg7.html) about the effects a disgruntled worker can have on a company, particularly for the HR team. Mr Wilson identified that lax management practices when an employee starts their new job can be the instigator to these issues and provided some excellent advice for employers engaging new staff.

I wanted to take this further and look at how my whole team (as recruiters) could also assist in preventing issues occurring further down the line. Having worked in recruitment for 11 years I have heard many of my clients talk about poor experiences they’ve had with other recruiters in securing the right talent for their organisation. Personally, I believe a lot of these issues could have been prevented very early on.

The best placements I have made throughout my career have been those where the relationship with my client has been exclusive, transparent and committed. In order to ensure I am able to provide the candidates with all of the information they require (to make sure it really is what’s right for them,) I need to have very open and clear channels of communication with my clients.

Working exclusively with a recruiter in a specialist field ensures you are going to have access to the best talent available. Remember specialist recruitment consultants are speaking to the talent in their niche market 5 days a week 52 weeks a year! Which means you will be receiving the highest possible quality of service.

There are a lot of benefits in working with one recruiter. You can invest a lot more time in providing them with all of the necessary information including job specifications, time scales, salary details etc. to ensure the candidate is fully aware of all expectations. This approach prevents any unfortunate ‘surprises’ further down the recruitment-process-track.

I truly believe that both as clients and recruiters, we need to forge much stronger working relationships to be able to make the best decisions and secure the strongest talent available for every recruitment process. This, in turn will eliminate HR having to deal with the dangers of a disgruntled worker.

Ask Xpand! Rob’s Top Tips For Job Seekers

By Rob Smith, General Manager (NSW) of Xpand Group

Looking for a new position can be a full time job on its own so you need to help yourself get the most out of the process and experience.  The job market is full of other great talent looking for work, busy hiring managers who are struggling for time to recruit, recruiters with a million candidates to get back to (not to mention the stacks of jobs to deliver against!) As well as jobs being pulled because of headcount freezes….. It’s tough out there!

So, with all of that in mind I’ve highlighted a few tips that will help you overcome some of these obstacles and finally make that dream career move.

1.     Pick up the phone and sell yourself!   Don’t rely on just sending your CV, it may get lost amongst the 10s or (in some cases) 100s of other applicants.  As a recruiter, managing to personally review and get back to every applicant is one of my biggest challenges.

What really helps is when a candidate follows up their application with a phone call. It’s great because it gives me the chance to get to know the personality behind that CV. Try to remember that “Culture Fit” is a HUGE factor in finding the right person to join a company. 

Pick up the phone, be front of mind, and demonstrate that you have the personality as well as the skill set to do the job! 

2.     Prepare for your interview.   This “tip” sounds obvious but you would not believe the amount of candidates that don’t prepare properly for interviews. 

Set yourself apart from the competition by looking at the company website, reviewing relevant news articles and preparing some questions for the interviewer. It’s important to review your own CV so that you can give really specific examples of why your background is relevant. Oh, and PLEASE, please, please work out how to actually get to the interview ON TIME! 

3.     Listen to your recruiter.  The benefit you have as a job seeker working through a recruitment agency is that your recruiter will know how to navigate the company’s hiring process. They have been through it all before and will know specifically what you need to do to successfully secure the position. Listen to their tips; it could make all the difference! 

Best of luck with finding your dream job!

Life as an Xpander!

By Rina Lee, Consultant (Media & Communications) of Xpand Group

I am honored to be the first Xpander from Singapore to share my thoughts on the exciting times of Life as an Xpander.

Having been with different recruitment companies from big multinationals to small boutique firms in my recruitment career, I have felt that at one point in my career I was getting a little jaded with the volatile nature of recruitment. I thought, “Is this really what I signed up for?”

About a year ago when I knew I wanted to move on from a previous company, I met up at Xpand and was pleasantly surprised by how different Xpand was as a recruitment company. It was a simple business proposition - to provide the best service we can, to both candidates and clients alike, and give them the best experience when working with us.

That first meeting was all it took to show me that tiny ray of light in my bleak recruitment journey. And now, I can honestly say it has been a very blissful 8 months with Xpand (boss if you’re reading this, hello Luke!) and I am going to tell you why Life as an Xpander is pretty awesome.

I’ve been in an environment where everything I did was heavily monitored; I might as well have been Lindsay Lohan on house arrest.  The number of calls made to clients and candidates, number of emails sent, number of CVs sent and the number of hours on the phone were all monitored on a DAILY basis.

At Xpand, we are under a management strategy called ROWE- Results Oriented Work Environment (www.gorowe.com) where we are evaluated based on our performance – and not based on our presence by sitting in the office. It is truly empowering to be given that kind of freedom and autonomy – to be able to make decisions and work out what works best for you. Xpand recognizes that every recruitment consultant has a different recruitment style, so instead making us go through military training and impose strict rules, the company nurtures every consultant, making us embrace the different qualities we have as a recruiter.

If I am having a bad day and need to grab a cup of coffee to de-stress, I can do that anytime without having to feel guilty about it. This is definitely a breath of fresh air compared to the boot camp I was in before!

I like the Xpand brand and value. It is a simple formula without all the fluff – just be real people and provide the best client/candidate experience we possibly can.  Instead of making quick placements with any clients, we pride ourselves in being industry niche specialists (digital media, communications and technology) by building long-term partnerships with clients within the industries. As a consultant, I’ve been encouraged to see that we have turned down business opportunities when we felt was not in line with what Xpand does, and to know that we don’t accept just any job that are thrown our way.

Having said all that, the best part of coming to work every day is being able to work some of the best colleagues I’ve ever had the chance of working with. Being a small group, the surmounting team spirit we share in the office really makes it feel like I am working with some really good friends, and not just colleagues.

So, as you can see… life as an Xpander is pretty awesome.

Xpand your horizons!

Xpand your horizons!

What’s Roaring in the Lion City? - Singapore Swings!

By Luke Partridge, Managing Director (Southeast Asia) of Xpand Group

Lion City

Having moved to the tropical city-state 2 years ago to experience living and working in a new continent the last 24 months have passed by in a blur. An exuberant, fact-paced, sultry, food/career-enriching and busy blur!

With the global economy on a perceived slide as countries do everything they can to balance their nation’s ledger with various austerity policies and belt tightening measures let’s just say I’d prefer my current local dish to be Chilli Crab rather than Spaghetti Bolognese, Souvlaki or even Fish and Chips (and as a Brit that is hard for me to say!) right now.

Singapore is booming and certainly has a recent energy that is dispelling the antiquated stereotype of “you can not chew gum” to “It’s really a huge shopping mall with an airport attached” or my personal favourite..”Marmiteland (a brown savoury spread to those that are unaware of this delicacy)..you’ll either love it or hate it!”

For those with a geographical or athletic bias, let me give you some dimensions of this thriving island. Singapore is approximately a Marathon (42km) east to west and Half-marathon (21km) north to south. With the annual Singapore Grand Prix (the only night GP in the calendar),The World Gourmet Summit when Michelin-starred chefs come to town for a gastronomic two week festival, new casino and entertainment complexes, Singapore has reinvented itself as a standalone destination rather than simply a stopover to break a long journey.

Commercially, Singapore continues to build his global reputation as a key business hub with an increased flow of both large multinationals and exciting new start-ups deciding to based their regional or global HQ here. As such, business remains robust and whilst conscious and inextricably linked to global financial markets Singapore has a very well managed economy that bounced back strongly from the Global Financial Crisis and continues to provide challenging and exciting career opportunities….which is good for us!

Given Xpand’s focus in Technology, Media & Communications and Digital markets, and Singapore’s attractiveness for a range of these types of business, there is a good synergy here. We are seeing a consistent level of work across both our practices not just in Singapore, but across South East Asia and other parts of Asia-Pacific. As businesses look to grow their reach into previously untapped ‘emerging markets’ with huge potential, such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, recruitment businesses like ours must build networks and a strategy that continues to broaden our reach.

So the Singapore Lion continues to roar. As a recruiter and workplace destination, we remain optimistic about the outlook. Certainly there is more to this small island than shopping and chewing gum…much more! Come and see for yourself…

What’s Happening Down Under? - Xpand Adopts a Candidate-First Model

By Allen Russell, Managing Director of Xpand Group

Xpand has always been first to market with many ideas throughout our eleven year history, but changing our business model to be candidate first means we continue to innovate in the way only Xpand knows how.

Throughout the last few months there have been a couple of agencies and one man bands trying to adopt a candidate first approach to market. Interestingly one of the agencies is charging candidates up to $15,000 for a range of introductions to companies and boards (which just doesn’t quite seem candidate first to me,) while others are trying to pitch the approach in a way that they don’t work roles but only do contingent search based recruitment (which again, is not really a candidate first approach.) The problem with this model is that it’s driven by client demand rather than service to the candidate market.

From our Xpand point of view, candidate first means something completely different. For us, it means that we work proactively on behalf of our candidates to secure them the best opportunity. We make sure and we do this by providing a range of career opportunities and not just a “live role” that is being recruited by many other agencies.

I’ve been doing my research lately and have spoken with a whole bunch of people about the model to find out whether or not it would be seen as valuable in our market at the moment, especially when you bring into play the prominence of tools like Linkedin, large internal recruitment teams and recruitment process outsourcing.

The feedback on our model from all different kinds of people in the market has been really positive, but I had my very own “Ah-HA!” moment the other day while I listened to Alec Bashinsky and James Elliott from Deloitte talk about how they recruit and what they need from their recruitment partners. Suddenly, it really hit home for me that Xpand is running on the right track.

  Their recruitment team acts as an agency internally and if I may paraphrase his words, he said: ‘We have 6,000 recruiters in our company who are constantly on the lookout for good talent (With a $5000 referral fee too!) They provide as much brand experience as possible to prospective employees through facebook, LinkedIn and youtube and also contact passive candidates the same way recruitment agencies do.’

  As I was listening I thought to myself… If every corporate had such a mature talent acquisition strategy then there would definitely be a lot less recruitment businesses out there but would we have a place in this market? The answer is yes. Why, you ask? Well… Deloitte need recruitment providers who:

·         Can access talent they can’t (having a deeper level of relationship than they currently have within a specific niche candidate market)

·         Have ‘job ready’ talent communities

·         Can provide market insight and knowledge within specialist candidate markets

·         Can validate insights into the candidate (they usually know the names of people but aren’t too sure on the details)

·         Can provide lateral thinking & advice to broaden the talent pool as well as influencing their business leaders as a part of their partnership

This just proved to me that Xpand is in a great position right now with a business model that is current, relevant and appropriate for today’s climate. We’re really moving in the right direction and by continuing to add great people to our business, our success comes down to one thing only, and that’s the execution of the plan!

2012: What to Expect in the Year of the Water Dragon

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Here’s what Xpand had to offer in January 2012 for TechnologyBanking, Financial Services & InvestmentMarketing, and Public Relations!


Gong Xi Fa Cai!

“The digital workforce is growing quickly”

Luke Partridge, Managing Director, South East Asia, Xpand Group, a leading talent acquisition and management company in the region talks to Digital Market Asia about the growing manpower trends in the digital media segment.

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