Is long Service worth Anything?

Often as our time with a company increases the true value of what we bring to the party is swept under the table. You may wonder what I am on about so let me explain.

Employee Tom is a fictional report writer for company CA. He has worked there for 3 years and knows the company inside out. He is a little bored with his job, but is reasonably happy with his salary. He started on 50K and because of small increments over the last 3 years is now on 58K.

Employee Tom notices a job that interests him greatly and is paying 60K (Not an unreasonable expectation in today’s job market.) He hands in his notice, is not going to be talked out of leaving so goes and works for company CB.

Now company CA have to hire someone to replace him. The job Tom was capable of doing 3 years down the track is roughly twice what he started doing, and he has soaked up extra work load over this time. As the backlog of work starts to pile up company CA start to panic and end up advertising the job at 65K per annum. The person they hire is of a good standard and picks up on the job quickly however it is still 12 months before they are even nearly up to the speed of Employee EA.

Lets look at what it has cost the company…

Recruitment expenses of hiring new employee $5000
Training and year of only 60 – 70 % productivity $20000
Extra amount of salary offered to attract staff member $7000

This is a conservative estimate and would of course vary between different job types and companies, however I do not believe it is over the top by any means. This adds up to a staggering $32000 over one year and I believe could have been avoided.

When dishing out pay rises if you are an employer have a look at the environment you are asking people to work in. If it is highly specialised and relatively complicated the cost of losing good staff is going to be immense. So when the pay rise comes around think about every year the staff member has been there learning your systems as a sizable investment. An investment that will probably go walkabout if it is not nurtured and taken care of.

A decent pay rise every year could quite possibly result in highly trained, capable and experience loyal staff that know your companies systems and policies inside out! Imagine that. Staff that don’t perform will need to be given notice that they are missing out, and they will either pick up the game or get annoyed and move on.

Something to think about anyway, if you are either an Employee or Employer.

Working, Studying and trying to make it Work

For many of us education is an ongoing part of our lives. When work takes up most of the week and family time the rest, how can one find the time to study? This article takes a look at a few methods that can help.

When looking at making a studying commitment it is better to start out small, and then after calculating how much time and effort has been required to achieve the results you are looking for, the workload can then be increased if necessary. It is important not to take on too much at once, particularly if you have been away from study for some time.

Most extra mural courses will let you sit one paper per semester and this is probably a good place to start, particularly if you are not certain of how much time you have to dedicate to it.

The following are pointers that will help you succeed in the work/study balance.

  • Set aside time regularly throughout the week dedicated to study.
  • Be aware of assignment and exam deadlines and don’t leave it until the last few days!
  • Participate with fellow students to share ideas, either in class or online. (forums)
  • Dont be afraid to ask questions of the tutors if you are struggling to understand a concept or idea, remember they are there to help you and are in fact paid to help you.
  • Take time out for family as well. The last thing you want is the pressure of study, full time work and a grumpy family that feel they are missing out on your time!
  • Night time is best for young families, wait until the kids are asleep, find a quiet corner and get into it.
  • If you take on to much, it is probably better to drop one paper, than to fail all 3 or 4.
  • Advise your employers of what you are up to, most employers will help out with study leave and/or aid with the costs of your courses, especially if it is related to your job.

Once you have started upon a course of study try and see it through to the end, obstacles will come up but nothing is insurmountable given the right attitude and frame of mind. Remember a better education will open up doors of opportunity that may have always been closed to you, it is also important to keep an active mind as we get older and there are not many better ways to do this – plus increase your earning potential at the same time.

Jobs Without a Degree

How often do you see a position advertised that reads something along the lines of..

“A tertiary qualification is expected..”

I do actually wonder why sometimes, after working in IT for several years now I have seen people that hold a Degree in IT and cannot fix a simple problem ( or even approach a basic problem with common sense). On the other hand I have worked with officially uneducated people that are technically brilliant however do not have a piece of paper saying they have a qualification.

I am sure other industries that also have an emphasis on qualifications must have similar issues, however I am not expecting something like the medical or legal professions to do away with education! If peoples lives are involved we want both experience and education to be equally important.

Yep, officially uneducated yet an asset to any business. Surely years of life and work experience must count for something? If someone leaves school at an early age and spends 5 years working through a low level job it must be recognised that what they have learnt in persistence, social communication ,work ethics, and practical skills may be in some cases more use to an employer than a University graduate that has spent the last few years attending lectures.

Just remember if you are trying to hire someone and you require a tertiary qualification, you may just miss out on the applicant that has everything you require but a tertiary qualification!

Why not be different, make your job advert stand out from the rest and raise a few eyebrows..

“A tertiary qualification is not expected..”

Job Interview – How to give a great one

Once you have applied for a job that interests you the next step is normally a recruitment consultant or hiring manager of the company that you have applied to will want to interview you (if you are a match for the position they are aiming to fill).

From a job interview a potential employer is trying to discover whether you have what it takes to do the job that they have advertised, they will also be thinking about how you are going to “fit” into the company culture.

Most employers are hoping that when they hire someone, that person will end up making valuable contributions to the company they have joined. Get it wrong and the consequences can become very painful for everyone involved.

More often than not the first interview is just one small step in the process. A 2nd or even 3rd interview is very normal these days. Prepare yourself for psychometric testing, and skill verification tests.

The following are points that will help if you are looking to make a great impression..

The Dos

  • Research the company, visit the website and find out everything you can about the history, management structure, size and every other aspect you can think of.
  • Dress in a professional manner relevant to the position you are applying for.(better to overdress than under-dress if you are not sure)
  • Be on time for the interview, but not too early, 5 minutes early is perfect wait in the car if you are any earlier.
  • Be courteous and respectful to whoever you come across before the interview starts and after it has finished. (e.g PA, receptionist etc)
  • Politely decline a drink if offered one.(Unless of course they are having one)
  • Be prepared for the usual questions e.g tell us about yourself, why do you want this job, tell us about a time you were challenged etc.
  • Highlight your positive strengths
  • If asked for your weak points use strong weak points. e.g Sometimes I don’t know when to give up and go home etc.
  • Ask sensible questions about what a typical day would involve, major responsibilities things like that.

The Donts

  • DO NOT bag your previous employer, whatever the situation. This is never a good option under any circumstances no matter how justified you may think it is.
  • Dont bring up any negatives about yourself at all
  • Do not swear, say yes instead of yep
  • Do not flirt with the interviewer even if you think it will help you get the job!
  • Do not ask about the salary especially at the first interview, it will come up by itself sooner or later.
  • Dont ask silly questions like how often the breaks are, or how many times you can go out for a cigarette.

Follow the above tried and trusted basics, and you will certainly not do your job chances any harm. Remember they are looking to find the right person, you should also be in a way seeing if the employer is going to fit your requirements. You may spend a significant portion of your life working at this place.

Interview horror stories..

Disclaimer This is just one persons opinion and anyone should use their own judgement and carry out extensive research before applying for jobs and going to job interviews!

Time to Change Jobs

The idea for this article came from one of the topics in the jobhunters forums, basically the forum talks about when the time is right to move on from the job you are currently at. You can check out the original forum posts here.

Some of the answers to when is it time to move on were quite intense. Check out this comment..

You read the classified job section in the smoko room at work and rip ads out in front of your superiors.

This is an emotional comment, when jobs go wrong it pains us at the very core of our souls. This can be one of the most major stress factors in a persons life. Another posters comment..

I think that when you truly dread Sundays because it is only 1 day from Monday

Why do we put ourselves through this grief? Is it so hard to say enough and resign? We are only on this planet for a very short amount of time, don’t waste it doing something that is not enjoyable. If you have enough motivation you should be able to retrain yourself to do any job that you want.

Don’t put obstacles in your way, set the goals that you want and make it happen.

After saying that, a weeks holiday is coming to an end for me, and I am struggling to find the motivation to go back to work. But that is normal right? Or is it? How many people can actually say that they love their jobs?

Are we as humans simply victims of our own intelligence? Does it not seem a little strange that a highly developed species as ourselves spends most of our time doing something that we dislike?

Quit your Job now – show your commitment

After reading an excellent article by the Asia Pacific headhunter regarding people from abroad trying to get work in NZ, (you can view the article here), thoughts started to run through my head about showing commitment.

What I mean by this is that often when we are looking at making a major change in our lives e.g Moving to another country or another town, changing careers, or even changing jobs there always seems to be a safety first approach. We will not move overseas or quit our present job until we have firmly secured our future.

A year or so ago, due to it becoming time to move on from the job I had at the time, I actually resigned before I even started looking for a new job. Although it was a risk this ended up being a great option for the following reasons..

  • I could go for job interviews whenever, as I had told my Employer so did not have to make up excuses
  • Potential employers knew that I was serious about getting a new job (Commitment)
  • At job interviews I could use this as an example of honesty and integrity

My employer at the time, whom I have a great deal of respect for was quite happy for me to continue working until I found another job, and together we worked on sorting out the breaking up of my workload.

Surely the same kind of concept would apply if for instance you lived in the UK and wanted to get a job in NZ. Make the commitment to get here and at least a potential employer will know you are serious about it.

Another example would be changing careers, if you have retrained yourself, why not quit the job you have now and fully concentrate on getting the job you have set yourself up for.

It is never easy making that big decision but more often than not success will be the reward. However as with everything in this world their are no guareentees, so if you can not afford to survive for a couple of months without a salary I would strongly suggest that you do secure another job before resigning.

Disclaimer This is just one persons opinion and anyone should use their own judgement and carry out extensive research before quiting their jobs!

When a few employees ruin things for the rest

For many employees having time off work can be a hassle, e.g forms to fill out, managers to approve and other obstacles to overcome. What happened to good old give and take?

I’ll tell you what happened, once again as is so often the case, trust has been eroded by a few lazy employees that believe in taking more than what they are prepared to give.

This has ruined the basic principles that so many of us live by. Simple things that are hard to put into a policy, but end up being fair to both parties, with little or nothing needing to be said.

In the world of averages the mistakes of so few, should not upset the natural balance to much, however when money is involved (e.g salarys, wages) this tends to bring out the worst in people.

An HR department can be both a blessing and a curse, I will give you an example. A long term employee requires a couple of days leave, however they are not currently owed any. Now a junior HR advisor may tell them that they will need to take this time off with out pay (As the company policy states) not realising that in the time spent with the company this employee has probably given up weekends, evenings etc for the company, what harm would it do to forward them a couple of days of extra leave? Do you think after 9 years with the company they are going to run off with 2 days pay?

These are the kind of issues that HR departments face each and everyday, when in some respects a lot of these kind of decisions should be made by the employees immediate manager. Mismanagement of this kind of situation can cause irreparable harm to what used to be a fine employer/employee relationship.

Trademe Jobs – A Quick Review

NZ’s most popular website is now in the job market. Trademe makes up approximately 68% of NZ’s web traffic, and is around the 411th (Ranking fromĀ Alexa ) biggest website in the world. A quick check of the jobs available returns 6196 results from all corners of the country – certainly a large selection. and no small amount considering they have only been in the job market for a short amount of time.

They are fairly well priced compared to other job sites to, with an employer being able to place an advert for $49 for 30 days.

With NZ’s biggest audience, why wouldn’t you want to place a job advert with them? Trademe seem to have a winning formula that just works. Their site is simple and quick to use, which is a godsend for most web surfers. I have been a member of Trademe since 2003 and have always found the site to be extremely quick and easy to use.

Trademe Jobs

Trade Me

Over the next few weeks join us as we check out some of the other big players in the job market in Australasia.

How much is your Job Worth?

This is a question that I often ask myself, and it is not an easy one to answer. I have always been of the mindset that if I got another job paying more and my present employer offered to match it, I would be upset and in fact even more eager to leave.

Why? you may ask, well the reason is, that if your employer is willing to pay you more than they are already, they must be ripping you off now! Because they obviously think you are worth more than what they are paying you.

So employers, if you are thinking about how much you should be paying your staff, to get an idea of how much they are really worth to you, think about how much you would pay them to stay…

You may be lucky to get the opportunity to save an employee however if they are that keen to leave you are probably only postponing the inevitiable. (and you should have paid them more in the beginning!)

Overtime – Working Long Hours for Little Return

Today’s working environment appears to accept working overtime as the norm, rather than the exception. In the company I work for you can apply for time in lieu if you are asked to work overtime by your Manager.

The problem with this is that the conscientious employee who wants to get something finished (maybe because they like delivering on what is expected of them), will inadvertently need to do overtime and will not get time in lieu for it. This is a lose lose situation for the employee, if they do not deliver to the time frames specified, their professionalism will be questioned, if they work overtime, they are are in essence going to be working for free, however maybe the satisfaction of achieving objectives will counter this for some anyway.

So the question is maybe a certain amount of overtime should be built into a salary? e.g an employee could get paid an extra 5% and be expected sometimes to do a couple of hours extra work? This would be hard to police from a sticklers point of view, but could make the majority of employees feel a little happier about staying that little bit later sometimes, when the workload is at a peak.

The problem is that with no incentive, the clock watchers amongst us are out the door at 5 o’clock, and as is often the case the more conscientious employee will do more work and end up getting paid less for it….Be careful employers as this could cause bitterness and resentment in even a well balanced team.

As an employer it is your job to notice this when it is happening, if it is not required tell your diligent employee to go home. If it is required then make sure they are remunerated for it. In today’s world good staff are hard to find.