Archives for September 2017 | Collins McNicholas

How can I ensure my boss gives me a fair reference when she is unhappy I am leaving?

How can I ensure my boss gives me a fair reference when she is unhappy I am leaving?Question: I’ve been working in the marketing and sales department of an engineering firm for the last three years. I meet all my quarterly targets; I am a good team worker and have exceeded the expectations required of me. My pay is substantially below the market average, so recently I asked for a pay raise and a promotion. I was turned down and my manager also refused to review my salary further down the line. Since then I have started to look for a new job and have been open about my search with my boss who was not happy. I had an interview with a firm which went great. However, I am worried my boss will give me a bad and unfair reference. How can I prevent this? Answer: There appears to be a ceiling in your organisation preventing you from advancing further and from receiving a salary increase. This may or may not be down to your manager’s influence. Strategic plans, budget or established processes may also have an impact. According to your outline above, your approach to date has been quite positive and open. Although your situation at your organisation is becoming increasingly difficult, it is in your best interest for your future career to continue this approach and leave the organisation on a positive note, or without burning any bridges. However, making the transition from one organisation to another can be difficult; balancing the move away from your employer with your move to a new role requires a sensitive and professional approach. Hopefully any concerns regarding your manager providing a negative reference are unfounded but you should work to manage the situation to the best of your ability. 1. Research your organisation’s policy on providing references. If you have not already done so, ascertain your organisation’s policy regarding the provision of references. Many organisations no longer provide detailed telephone or written references and instruct all managers to direct such requests to human resources departments. Basic details around your length of service and job titles may be all that are shared with a potential new employer. If this is the case, your concerns are automatically void. If your assertions regarding your performance are true, there is a much larger ethical and legal concern in your manager providing an untrue negative reference. There may be grounds for legal recourse should your manager lie when asked to give an honest account of your performance. 2. Consider a different referee. In supplying referee details, you are in control of the information you share. Is there another individual who would be better placed to provide a reference for you? If there is a more senior manager or indirect manager with whom you have frequent interactions, this might be a better choice. However, you must then be prepared for the question of why you have not chosen your current manager as a referee. Keep the message as positive as possible and outline the reasons why an alternative referee is a better choice. 3. Keep the narrative around your reasons for leaving the organisation positive. Don’t “bad-mouth” your manager or organisation during the interview process or in outlining your referee details. Employers will naturally identify with your current manager or organisation and may become fearful that a similar situation may arise when you are in their employment. 4. Maintain positive lines of communication with your manager. Although your relationship with your manager appears to have deteriorated somewhat, keep the lines of communication open. Try to discuss your reasons for leaving in more detail; outlining the opportunity to develop and access a higher salary level. You may find that your manager is simply disappointed that she was unable to retain and is taking that disappointment with the organisation or the market out on you.           Caroline Ward HR Services Manager Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group This article was originally published in the business section of The Sunday Independent, on 24th of September 2017, and the original version can be found...

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Top 10 Phrases to Avoid on Your CV and What to Write Instead

A study conducted by the New College of Humanities in 2015 reveals that on average, recruiters make their mind up about a CV in less than 60 seconds. While they spend on average only three minutes and 14 seconds reviewing an application. These findings come after researchers interviewed over 860 recruiters, 20% of which have admitted to discarding a CV before they finish reading it. However, don’t let this information dampen your spirits, as the main reasons for a recruiter’s lack of interest in applications, and tips on how to make your CV stand out from the crowd are discussed below. The study found that the biggest turn off for employers when reviewing CVs are typos and grammatical errors. Followed in second place by the use of an overly casual tone, this includes using terms such as ‘you guys’ or signing off an email with ‘cheers’. Other turn offs include using jargon and clichéd quotes. The research identified the top ten most over used phrases most likely to put employers off potential employees: Can work independently Hard worker Work well under pressure Good communicator Enthusiastic Team player Good listener Excellent written communication skills Proactive Problem solver According to Mary Lorenz from CareerBuilder, the problem with using buzzwords, is that they have become so overused that they have lost all meaning, and don’t differentiate the applicant from other candidates. It is advised that job seekers should speak in terms of accomplishments, show the employer their qualities rather than just tell them. In order to stand out from the crowd, an applicant should avoid the use of overused phrases, and alternatively...

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I was horrified to learn I am paid less than male colleagues – how do I reduce the gap?

Question: With all the talk about the gender pay gap in the news recently, I started to wonder if my pay was on a par with my male colleagues so I did a bit of asking around. I was horrified to find out that not only was my pay substantially less than my male counterparts, it was also fairly significantly less than one more junior male member of my team – a person who I manage. I have found it hard to bite my tongue, but I have no idea how to tackle the issue as we do not have pay scales in work and I only found out the differences as I started asking. How should I broach this with my boss? Answer: I can imagine this was a great shock and I would hope that, in this day and age, you are in a minority as many companies have started to address gender pay differences and are being proactive in ensuring that pay scales are in place. There should be no discrepancies between male and female workers in the same role and I would suggest all companies review pay to ensure there are no obvious gaps. The safest way is to tie in pay scales directly to market value for the role at hand, which leaves a narrow range for negotiation and addresses unfair pay gaps. Organisations should conduct annual pay-equity analysis to ensure pay is in line with relevant variables such as market value, employee experience, annual performance reviews, etc. Some companies are introducing total ‘pay transparency’, which allows everyone to be aware of what their...

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Guest Blog: Mid-West Relocation – Limerick’s Donegal Catch

LAST May, I was boarding my transatlantic flight at Shannon Airport. It was a busy morning, three of the metal detectors were open, and two people in front of me as we arrived at security. We each had a metal detector! And woosh I was through security – This sums up the “mid-west experience”. Welcome to Limerick, my adopted home! Not everyone is looking to “move back” to limerick and the surrounding area. Some of us, the “blow-ins”, have moved here purely for better opportunities, socially and financially, and so far, we are thriving! I left Donegal in 1995. I came down here to go to University. I completed my Physics degree and ultimately my Doctorate. I thought that I would move onto other things and other places, but as opportunity lead to opportunity, I’ve chosen to stay and avail of those opportunities. I have seen the city undergo a huge, yet silent, transformation. You would expect me to be working in a multinational, but I don’t. I’m working for one of the many smaller high technology companies that cluster around Limerick. We float under the radar. We don’t make the headlines, but we punch above our weight. Many of “us” work with some of the leading fortune 500 companies. There’s a whole community here of companies, big and small, and we exchange ideas, tips and coffees. We meet each other on flights to the US, Europe and beyond. From this part of the world we can support Asia in the mornings, straight through to California in evenings. And, more important, I don’t dread the eight-minute commute home if...

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I’m worried about how I’m going to make my mark as a young first-time Team Leader

Question: I’m in my early 30s and nearly 10 years into a successful IT career. I’ve recently been given the responsibility of managing a team of junior staff. If all goes well, I’ll be offered an official management role. However, this is my first time taking any kind of team leader responsibility and I’m worried about taking on such a big responsibility. I’m determined to be a good mentor and a strong team leader but I don’t know where to start. How can I approach this new role and start off on a strong note? Answer: First of all, congratulations. It is great to hear that you understand the gravity of the change that you will be undertaking in your role. High-potential individuals, having displayed exceptional skill in their role, are often promoted to the very different position of team leader or manager. While seen as a natural “next step”, the skills required in managing people are often very different to the qualities and actions required in the day-to-day role. For example, delegation, empathy, planning, negotiation may all be demanded daily of a team leader. In order to approach the role with confidence, take some time to think about how you are going to approach this new opportunity. Here are some items that you should consider. 1. Examine the key characteristics or skills of a leader or manager you respect or admire Take some time to contemplate the qualities and actions of a current or former leader, which you have seen as being particularly effective. Focus on the areas that you believe makes them successful, rather than just what makes them...

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