Careers Blog | Collins McNicholas

Careers Blog

Dealing With The Difficult Task of Making a Close Friend Redundant

Dealing With The Difficult Task of Making a Close Friend RedundantQuestion: Last year, a promotion came up at the IT firm where I work. A colleague and close friend pushed me to put myself forward. When I got the job she was the first to celebrate with me. Now, due to budget restraints, the company is downsizing and I have been tasked with letting a number of staff go. I was gutted to see my friend’s name on the list and have no idea how to break the news to her. Can you advise me on how I can approach this situation without losing her friendship? Answer: This is no doubt a very challenging time for you both personally and professionally. Supervising a friend can have its benefits if they are a loyal follower of yours and ensure that at no time they let the side down. But it can have its challenges when tough discussions must take place such as terminations. You have to consider how to have this uncomfortable discussion with the hope of minimal damage to the personal relationship. Planning the conversation and the following pointers will help you to approach it in a more professional light. Be prepared for an emotional response. How you handle this will determine the future status of your friendship. 1. Make the conversation brief: Be brief when having the ‘manager’ conversation and offer yourself for the ‘friend’ conversation after work. Keep the actual conversation brief and isolate your friendship until this is delivered – this is important for both your own state of mind and for the way your friend perceives the action. 2. Don’t procrastinate: Be direct about the decision. Beating around the bush or using humour will not soften the blow and can give the false impression that things can be turned around. 3. Plan your points: Consider writing down some pointers. Lay out the course of action succinctly and honestly – the same as you would for any employee. Present the reasons for the redundancy and offer your sympathy. “It’s not our call to make, as the business needs have changed. I wish there was another way, but my hands are tied.” 4. Anticipate the reaction: Any employee will feel hurt and shocked after losing their job and may say things out of anger. The fact that a perceived friend is delivering the news will obviously complicate the matter. You need to understand that your friend might try blaming you as a member of the management team, so prepare to deal with that response. 5. Reiterate the value of your friendship: Make it clear that the friendship is a separate issue and that the company is also losing out here at a time of uncertainty. The redundancy situation is a purely economic issue. Soften this reality by explaining that as far as you’re concerned, your work situation will not interfere with your social relationship and reassure them that your friendship will remain on the same footing as always. 6. Use the opportunity to comfort: Approach the process as an unfortunate opportunity but use your knowledge of your friend to make the delivery of the redundancy news as smooth and as painless as possible. 7. Be there, but don’t be pushy: Your friend may be hurt and upset, so continuous texts or calls might make things worse. Let them know you are there for them and are available to meet but let it be their decision. This is not the time to be overly pushy about meeting up. 8. Offer your ongoing support: Explain the severance package, help them plan finding their next job, offer an excellent reference and to work through cover letters, CV updating, and interview preparation. Perhaps use your network to see what is going on in the market and make some introductions for them. Tough business decisions can be hard to deliver. If you clearly point out the reasons behind the business change, and back this up with data to highlight to your friend that all avenues were explored before the decision was made, then hopefully – with your support and guidance – it will make the initial impact a little easier.           Michelle Murphy Director Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group This article was first published in the business section of The Sunday Independent on the 15th of October 2017, and the original article can be found...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

It feels like the time to spread my wings, but should I heed fears about the role on offer?

Question: I am a senior manager in the medtech industry and, after 20 years with my current company, I feel it is time to seek new challenges. I’ve been for several interviews and I’ve been offered the perfect role with another firm. But I am concerned, as I heard the last person in the role damaged staff morale and several team members left as a result. Should I accept the position despite this? How can I go into this new role and invoke a positive working environment for everyone? Answer: Making a change in your work life is a difficult and brave decision to take at any point in your career development. You should balance both your feelings for your current role, as well as the potential development beyond. While you might have heard rumours about your potential new role and the state of morale, there are other things that you need to consider before you even tackle that issue. Be sure about the move for your own reasons first and then you can look forward to how you might address any internal issues. Here are a few things you should consider before deciding if this is the role for you. 1 The organisation Have you looked at the overall structure and culture of the company? The organisation’s position and reputation in the market should be taken into consideration. How does this match with your expectations for your career? Are their ethics, the product or service they provide as well as their ideology in keeping with your outlook? 2. Role content How would you prefer to spend your time...

Read More

Jobseekers Guide – Managing Your Job Campaign

Jobseekers Guide – Managing Your Job Campaign What is a job search campaign? A job search campaign is a structured and consistently employed plan to promote a positive self image and enhance your career opportunities. Key Steps in a Job Search Campaign: • Apply yourself fully to your job search campaign; your job now is to get a new job • Research the market, evaluate possible options and opportunities. • Generate a list of companies to target in your region and research how to target these companies. • Set daily, weekly and monthly targets. • Organise your job search and establish an efficient record keeping system. Succeeding in Today’s Job Market Over half of vacancies are filled without being advertised, this is what is known as the Hidden Job Market. There are many different routes to market, both advertised and hidden: Routes to market 1. Recruitment Agencies Select agencies that best suit your needs. It is important to build a relationship with the recruiter. The onus lies with you to keep in contact with the agency and to follow up regularly. Try and arrange a meeting with the agency and treat it as an interview. Continue to review websites for suitable positions, and if you locate a position that is of interest to you discuss this role with your recruiter and seek their advice. 2. Start Networking Networking events include; Open Coffee Mornings, Chamber of Commerce Meetings, College Seminars, public networking events at local sports / communities / parishes, etc. It is vital to use these opportunities and to be proactive while attending. Attending networking events gives you the opportunity to...

Read More

Will passing up a promotion when my children were younger ruin my chances this time?

Question: I am trying to move up in my career but am worried past decisions may come back to haunt me. Five years ago, when my two children were quite young, I passed up a promotion as it would have meant working longer hours. The same position has opened up again recently and I now feel ready to take on this role. I am worried that because I refused in the past, I will be passed up by my employer this time. How do I approach going for this promotion? Answer: Try not to worry as it is unlikely your previous refusal of the role will impact your career path at this stage. There is no doubt that your choice to prioritise your home life in the past should not be held against you in this process. Under the Employment Equality Acts, your organisation must not discriminate against you on the grounds of family status. This means that, all things being equal between your application and that of another candidate, legally your organisation cannot choose another candidate above you on the basis that you have a family. However, be careful not to let your concern impact your application negatively as this will result in you approaching the process in a more negative light. It can often happen that more experienced candidates are so concerned with a potential difficulty – such as the possibility of being discriminated against because of their age – that they fail to communicate their competency for, and their genuine interest in, the role to the best of their ability. Focus instead on preparing your application...

Read More

Jobseekers Guide – Interview Tips

Introduction “You only get one chance to make a first impression” First impressions do count, and research has shown that the average person can make up their minds about somebody within the first 30 seconds! A job interview is no different. Preparation, presentation and attitude are the key ingredients to be successful. What to Expect? From the employer’s perspective, the purpose of the interview is to evaluate you and your capabilities, to assess your ability to contribute to the organisation and to see how well you might fit into the organisation. The Stages of an Interview There are 4 stages in a typical job interview: • Breaking the ice – introductions and ‘chitchat’ designed to help you relax and feel comfortable. • Exchanging information – questions that focus on the organisation, the job and your interest in both. • Expanding the focus – specific questions about you and how well you will be able to do the job. • Wrapping up – time for clarifying, asking questions and final comments. Interview Preparation Preparing yourself properly for an interview will help you relax and give you the confidence to answer tough questions. Thorough preparation will dramatically improve your chances of getting the job. Research the Company & the Role Firstly make sure you read through the job description carefully. If you are dealing with a recruitment consultant they should also be able to tell you about the company you are going to see, and about the person who is interviewing you. You should also conduct your own background research on the firm and the individuals you are meeting. You will...

Read More

Jobseekers Guide – CV’s

WRITING YOUR CURRICULUM VITAE What is the purpose of a CV?  A CV is the first thing you think of when applying for a job, and people often wonder what an employer looks for in a good one. Your CV gives you the chance to tell the employer all about yourself and what you have achieved before you even met them. It is important to structure it carefully and include relevant detail. Here are our tips. YOUR CV SHOULD BE: Clear – organised and clearly presented. Concise – not too long and not too short – just get the message across. Consistent – all formatted in the same manner, using the same fonts Complete – tailored to the industry in question – all information must be relevant Current – CV must be fully up to date THE STRUCTURE OF A CV CVs are made up of a number of different sections that contain different kinds of information: Personal Information Your full name, full address, telephone numbers (home and mobile) and email address. Some people also include their place of birth, age, gender and a photograph – but these are optional. Personal Profile (Optional) Include a brief paragraph that gives the employer an insight into your personal qualities, skills and experience. This need only be about 3-4 lines. Education List your academic history in reverse chronological order, include dates, names of colleges/institutions and location. Subjects and examination results should be included if they are directly relevant to the position to which you are applying. You can also include memberships of professional bodies here. Further Training (if appropriate) Depending on your...

Read More

Jobseekers Guide – Cover Letters

Jobseekers Guide – Cover Letters Cover letters are a basic requirement for most jobs, which is why it is so important to know exactly what a good one looks like. There are many examples on our website but here is a brief guide to prepare the perfect cover letter and CV for any job: Writing a Good Cover Letter A cover letter enables you to express your interest in a particular job and organisation, to highlight your main skills and attributes, and to match these to the employer’s selection criteria. You can explain which opportunity you are seeking, express your enthusiasm for the role, and demonstrate how you will make a contribution. Keep a draft copy of your cover letter and change it for each job you apply for. Here are a number of tips for writing a good cover letter: Avoid rewriting your CV in your cover letter. Highlight specific things about your experience and how it relates to the position you are applying for. Keep it simple. Avoid long, drawn out sentences with complicated vocabulary. Limit your cover letter to one page with three to five targeted paragraphs. Use some of the words included in the job description when writing a cover letter. Proofread your letter. Have colleagues/ friends check for mistakes. How to write the cover letter Salutation, Name, Title, Address, & Date Put your name and address, at the top right hand corner of your cover letter. Put the recipient’s name and address further down the left hand side of the page. Address the person by name, rather than using ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. Underline the position you are...

Read More