Recruitment & Selection

CVs & Résumés_ Get Them Right to Get the Job Infographic

CVs & Résumés: Get Them Right to Get the Job | Infographic

The first step in any job-seeking journey, CVs and resumés play a vital role in finding the right person for the right job.

For most employers, the CV/resumé will provide the very first impression of a candidate. Within moments of looking at a CV, they will know whether or not the candidate is enough of a “fit” to move on to the next stage of the hiring process. First impressions never get a second chance, so it is always valuable to put in a little extra time into reading applications.

With competition for roles so fierce these days, it is crucial that candidates invest extra time and care into their CVs and resumés to stand out from the piles of other CVs. Ayers Management have created a useful infographic which offers some great insights on why CVs get rejected, it also reveals the ten clichéd phrases that are a big no-no for recruiters.

Read the infographic and have a think about how you can tell from a CV if you have found the right person for the right job. Let us know in the comments below.


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Evaluate The Human, Not Only Their Education

We live in a country characterised by inequality. The Gini coefficient suggests we remain an unequal country in terms of family income distribution.

One of the most important drivers of income is education. Many South Africans count themselves lucky to get a Matric and a small percentage (11%) have achieved some form of post-secondary school qualification.

Does this mean the end of the road for your career?

Absolutely not!

There are many other drivers of success and when we look at the track record of a person, the following factors are also important.

Is there any evidence of:

  1. Involvement: in sport, NGOs, hobbies or any other activity that could reveal latent talent?
  2. Learning: short or certificated courses indicating technical competency
  3. Consistency: has the employee/candidate built some experience and competency in an industry or have they hopped from industry to industry? Tied to this: do the job titles make sense: junior to senior to supervisor to manager or is there no pattern: they consistently get a job, any job, anywhere? Then lose it.
  4. Tenure: besides industry hopping, is there evidence of sticking to a job for 2-5 years at a time or a pattern of job-hopping every 1-2 years?
  5. Progress: does it look as if the individual is making headway in their career or is their CV a patchwork quilt of unrelated jobs and industries
  6. Achievements: has the individual achieved anything anywhere? We can’t all be Elon Musk, but we can all try to achieve something somewhere.

So, education is important, but if we miss out on education for any number of reasons, we must build a career anyway. We shouldn’t dismiss people just because they’re missing one piece of paper from their CVs. We should look beyond the paper earned at 18 years old and evaluate the rest of the human being.

Especially in a country suffering such high levels of historical inequality, ongoing political stupidity and a massive leadership vacuum on all sides.

What do you look for in your employees or candidates? I’d love to know.

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Hiring on Experience, Firing for Behaviour

We hire for qualifications and experience and we fire for behaviour.

It’s extraordinary how often we ignore this maxim.

Think of your friends for example: how did they become friends?

  • Did you get buddy buddy with Fred because he has a BCom and 10 years of experience?
  • Do you go book clubbing with Thandi because she’s an advanced Excel user and a SixSigma Black Belt?

Probably not. You make friends on the basis that you get on with each other. This doesn’t mean you have to be personality, interest and character clones. Not at all. I have friends who are extroverted, noisy and drink too much (Ed – yes, we know who you are!). I also have friends who are thoughtful, reserved, patient and independent.

So why do we ignore this at work?

It makes sense for recruiters and people managers to sift through CVs for qualifications, experience and technical competencies. Then, after shortlisting, to have a deep and long look at behaviour and track record. If you hire, develop, promote and retain people who don’t fit their jobs and/or their teams from a behavioural point of view, you’re looking for staff turnover, frustrated teams and lower performance.

The good news, of course, is that we have the tools to measure behaviour in a simple and easy to understand format at R4,750 per person. How does that stack up against the costs of excessive turnover, dysfunctional teams, conflict and sub-optimal performance?

Let me know if you’d like to find out more. I work remotely via Zoom anywhere in the English speaking world. Just yesterday I worked in Johannesburg with a client in Cape Town on Zoom to define the performance and capability requirements for a new role in the business.

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Should You Employ Confident People?

It’s appropriate today to talk about ego.

Our President, finally, unwillingly, painfully, resigned last night, still unashamedly suggesting that he has done nothing wrong.

What drives our politicians and leaders, in general, is twofold:

  • an unblinking belief in self and
  • a lack of concern for rules, detail, structure, process and risk

These 2 traits are not bad per se.

We want our leaders to be strong in the face of adversity, to make brave, risky decisions that successfully propel our organisations or countries in new and exciting directions.

It was this bravery that led Cyril Ramaphosa to establish the National Union of Mine-workers (NUM) in 1982 and gain bargaining recognition from the Chamber of Mines in 1983. No mean feat in 1983! His confidence in himself and his preparedness to challenge the rules of those in power were exactly the traits needed to get the job done. Regardless of the risk to himself.

But in the case of our ex-president, the Guptas and the leaders of so many reputable companies that have been named in multiple scandals recently, another ingredient is key:


When we recruit people who are confident, assertive, driven, impatient, fearless, prepared to challenge existing rules/norms AND they lack integrity, our organisations (countries) are at risk.

If you plan to recruit, transfer or promote people into key roles in your organisation, a thorough vetting of their credentials is key, especially when they are ego-centred and have less regard for risk, structure, rules and policies.

The good news, of course, is that we can measure these traits and understand them before we recruit, promote and transfer the wrong people into the right jobs.

Let me know if you’d like to find out more.

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What Are Your REAL Recruiting Costs?

When you make a recruitment mistake, what does it cost you? Well, let’s not guess. Google it. Take a look at this calculator.

I put in salaries at R400k, suggested 3 people had left and the turnover cost was calculated at R978k.

Can we afford to blow nearly R1m on turnover?

One hopes not unless you work for government and R1m is smallanyana1 change.

The simple way to prevent a chunk of your staff turnover cost is to spend more time at the front end.

I find that my clients are generally in a rush to fill a position. In the rush, we overlook little things that indicate bigger problems. By slowing down at the recruitment step, we save a lot of money, stress and time down the road.

I don’t offer traditional recruitment services but I do provide my clients with a simple 5-step method to reduce the chances of a bad hire. If ever you have candidates and you want to make sure that you have the right people, let me know and I’ll walk you through my process. It can be done entirely online for anyone anywhere in the world.

1 An expression used by a South African politician to suggest we all have small skeletons in our cupboards. In the case of our politicians, some big ones too!

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The Missing Step to Effective Recruitment

The Importance Of An Effective Recruitment And Selection Process

On your marks, go, get set …

effective recruitment correct stepsWhen we make coffee, we don’t pour in the water, stir, add milk, drink, boil the kettle, wash the cup and then add coffee and sugar!

You might … after a few at 3 am, but most of the time, we execute the steps in the right order: boil water / add ingredients to a cup / add boiled water/stir and drink. Not hard.


So why is it when we recruit, promote and transfer people, we mess up the sequence of the steps?

So often, the process works like this:

  1. Line managers explain the characteristics of the ideal candidate to the recruiting officer or external agent. Already we’re out of sequence. We’re adding ingredients but we haven’t switched the kettle on. The recruiter is already wobbling off course because he or she has started to subjectively interpret the needs of the line or client. When the client said “I’m looking for a friendly, strong, hard-working assistant”, the recruiter had a field day interpreting “strong”. Are we talking about a strong (physically) bodybuilder, strong (confident) personality, strong (experienced) CV, strong (technical competencies)? I can write all day on the subjective interpretation and cost of casually spent words …
  2. The recruiter writes a spec/advert for approval and the search begins.
  3. The CVs roll in. This is always fun: a clothing retail store service rep applies for technical service rep in an IT company. Go figure. Using the subjective spec from 1 and 2 above, we shortlist.
  4. The manager says indignantly “you can’t believe the CVs the recruiter expects me to read!”
  5. They choose the ‘best’ CVs and one of them wins the race.
  6. They start. With luck, performance follows. If not, the line manager complains to HR about the useless people HR finds (!) and wants to start a performance management process (remember, the kettle hasn’t been switched on yet).But against which criteria are we going to performance manage the staff member? Oops.Switch on the kettle.
  7. We’d better profile the job and get them to sign off on the JD and KPIs. But by now, trust is lost, relations are frayed, performance is costing money, morale and commitment. All because we got the sequence wrong.

So what’s the right sequence?

An Effective Recruitment Process

In my opinion:

  1. Define job performance first: This means defining the core work to be done, the core reason the job exists in the first place. This reason is summarised in KPIs. Nonsense like: “Improving the Impact of HR” is not a KPI, it’s a wish with no measure. We need to focus on the outcome, the measurable outcome: e.g. %HR Cost of Revenue. There are many ways to achieve our KPIs. Let the staff member work that out. If you hired them for their (good) capability, they should know how to work it out. We’re looking for 3-7 KPIs, maximum 10.
  2. Define capability: Once performance is defined (kettle on), capability follows (put the coffee in the cup). For example: If the salesman must reach revenue and GP sales targets, achieve defined service standards and ensure that 97% of accounts are collected within 30 days, we begin to understand what kind of person will be successful. I use 5 categories to understand capability:
    1. Education and Knowledge
    2. Experience
    3. Technical Competencies
    4. Behavioural Competencies
    5. Track Record

Once you’ve defined performance and capability scorecards, you’ve taken a big step towards more objective recruitment practise.  Why? Because each candidate can be measured and their capability scores compared. If you have Candidate 1 at 42%, Candidate 2 at 58% and Candidate 3 at 67%, there’s a good chance that Candidate 3 is the right person. Now the game doesn’t stop there. Assume you hired candidate 3 and they failed/turned out average or succeeded, the data gathered at recruitment is invaluable. Over time, the scorecard is refined and improved. After a while, line and HR are completely aligned: both know what is needed and what capabilities are required for success.

We know what we’re looking for.

  1. Create Accurate Job Spec: Write the spec and advert based on Step 1 and 2. Far better than the line manager’s subjective thoughts and HR’s subjective interpretation. Sorry all, we’re human. We’re subjective beings. Best we focus on a more objective measurement than “I had a good/bad feeling about that candidate.” Or “I think we need …”
  2. Search for candidates and shortlist to 10
  3. Assess the candidates using whichever tools, processes you’ve chosen (They should be listed and scorable on the Capability Scorecard).
  4. Select the top 4 for an interview. Score these 4 as far as you can on the Capability Scorecard. Some items can’t be scored until after the interviews and checks.
  5. Interview, score and select the best candidate.
  6. Induct the new employee, hand over the unscored performance and scored capability scorecards to the line manager and define an improvement plan for their weaker capability factors. From Day One.
  7. Track the correlation between capability and performance over time.
  8. Improve the model and repeat the process until the capability scorecard becomes predictive of future performance.

Now, the coffee’s made. Efficiently and effectively.

Want to understand this effective recruitment process in more detail?

Please contact me at and I’ll do my best to assist. I can assist anyone in the English speaking world via email, Zoom, Skype or in person.

As we hit the beginning of summer, our friends and families in Europe say hello to winter. Sorry for you!

Thanks for reading this and remember: Capability predicts Performance.

Let’s measure the human factor more objectively to ensure we put the right people into the right jobs.

All the best until next week!

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HR: Tedious Bureaucracy Or Amazing Advantage?

HR should have a permanent seat at exco’s table. (And it shouldn’t report to finance!)

Sales is the most important function in any business: No Sales No Business.

Human Resources is the second most important function.

I can hear you laughing.

But why? Without people, no sales. Without sales, no business.

This is easy stuff.

Ah, but you don’t need Human Resources to get people?

Herein lies the rub.

You don’t need HR Administrators, but you do need HR Strategists.

They’re gold if they’re good.

“If they’re good …”

Why do CEOs allow HR to be a second class function? Whose fault is that? Why do HR professionals allow themselves to become administrators, running after managers and staff with compliance forms and other exciting pieces of paper, like mothers after babies?

HR is a second class citizen because HR allows themselves to be cast as such and line managers accept it.

So what is strategic Human Resources?

Strategic HR is (among other things) ensuring that:

  • the right people are in the right jobs
  • jobs are structured correctly to support the achievement of performance required by the departmental business plan
  • departments and their processes are defined and structured correctly to support the achievement of the company’s business plan
  • being in the room when a strategy is developed and a new business plan written
  • recruitment and selection policy and practices allow only the best people to join
  • training and development policy and practices ensure only the most functional, relevant and measurable training and development is implemented
  • performance management tracks and drives performance, rewards the best performers and isn’t a tick box compliance exercise
  • retention and succession policy and practices engage and keep the best people

Does your HR team provide this for you? Or do you, HR professional, offer that service?

If so, great. But it’s not what I hear in the corridors of business.

I’d love to hear your comments. If I’m being unfair, shoot me down. If not, let’s fix it. We spend a fortune on people. Our HR functions should be brilliant and more important than finance and ops. Because without people, what is the organisation?

Empty and pointless real estate.

I assist clients to put the right people into the right jobs. From recruitment to transfers to promotions and internal job/person fit analysis.

Thanks for reading this. It’s always appreciated.

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Stopping The Sabotage – Here’s How To Get The Most From Candidate Interviews

In a fascinating article published in the Psychological Bulletin, skilled researchers Schmidt and Hunter analysed over 85 years’ worth of data to identify which employee selection methods were the best and worst predictors of job performance. Although the article was published in 1998, it still holds water today as it used a method called meta analysis to reveal the overall patterns revealed by the weight of evidence rather than the particular idiosyncrasies of individual studies.

What their research revealed, in a nutshell, was that in general, job interviews are pretty poor predictors of the future job performance of the person being interviewed. This conclusion was later backed up by two other respected researchers, Higgins and Judge, who, after following 100 university students trying to get their first job, found that the main deciding factor in whether or not to offer students jobs was if they appeared to be nice people!

Managers don’t appear to be making the most of their time spent on candidate interviews. A pity as interviews, when conducted properly, are great opportunities to really get a feel for whether a candidate has what you’re looking for.

So how can we stop the sabotage? What can managers do to get the most out of an interview?

Fight The Fatigue

Relentless rounds of interviews are taxing for even the most seasoned interviewer. After the fifth interview in a row, it’s natural that the shine will have gone out of your day and you’re increasingly less likely to give the next candidate the proper attention they deserve.

Fight interview fatigue by taking advantage of Skype, FaceTime and simple telephoning to streamline large numbers of applicants, reserving only a pared down shortlist for physical, face to face interviews. This pre-screening also makes it easier for working candidates, as they don’t have to keep finding excuses to take time off work.

Consistency is Key

Candidates interviewed in the morning when managers are still fresh are often viewed more favourably than the later applicants. Potential employees interviewed over lunch rate differently to those interviewed in a conference room.

It’s very important to keep interview styles, techniques, locations and times as consistent as possible in order to be able to make accurate comparisons between candidates.

Remember You’re Not a Psychologist

Well, most interviewers aren’t, anyway! Yet all too often, they act like psychologists, asking probing, irrelevant questions and making snap but inaccurate judgments about candidates. They might, for example, reject someone because they seem shy or nervous, using their perceived psychological expertise to decide that this is indicative of an underlying weakness – even though the job doesn’t require the opposite behaviours.

So less psychology by focusing less on a subjective ‘fit’ assessment. There is little to suggest that untrained managers can accurately access a candidate’s cultural ‘fit’ within the confines of an interview situation. And check your ego at the door – giving preference to applicants who remind you of yourself is a common trait, but one that may well ignore the best candidate for the job.

Steve Rogers is a recruitment specialist who is passionate about helping you find the right people for the right job. His data-driven techniques take the guesswork out of finding the best candidates for your company, and he would welcome the opportunity to work with you to solve your recruitment or capability development challenges.

To find out more, please email Steve or call him on +27 82 308 7627.

Thanks once more for reading this article. It’s always appreciated!

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Is It Time To Retire Commission-Based Recruiting?

There are some jobs we didn’t dream about at school.

Used Car Salesman.

Insurance Salesman.

Call Centre Agent.

Recruitment Consultant.

No, we wanted the glory jobs: entrepreneur, inventor, surfer, game ranger, doctor, lawyer, film/rock or sports star!

Then reality hits home when our academic success, looks, competencies and interests lead us to realise that some of these jobs are not quite what they seem or they’re simply beyond our reach. We can’t all be Elon Musk, Bryan Habana or Candice Swanepoel!

But back to sales people: arguably the most important job in any business: no sales, no business.

What do accountants account for if there are no sales?

What do manufacturers make if there are no sales?

What do administrators administrate if there are no sales?

Yet we pay sales people peanuts, expect them to perform in 3 months or they’re out and pay them a decent commission if they sell something.

Imagine saying that to the financial manager? We’ll pay you peanuts, check your work at 3 months and if isn’t good, we’ll fire you and if it is good, we’ll pay you a commission?

So why do we do that to sales people?

Because we don’t expect them to be successful. We expect failure, so we motivate failure by making it difficult to succeed. How does a salesman look professional when he can’t afford smart clothes, a decent haircut and a reasonable car?

How does a sales person build self-esteem when he parks his car around the corner so the prospect doesn’t see it? How does the sales person explain to the prospect that he can’t do him a favour after the meeting and take him to the dealer where his car is being serviced because he doesn’t have enough petrol and in any case, the way he starts his car will be embarrassing!

Recruiters also work on a commission basis and the common refrain is:

“How do recruiters justify their 15% commission when all they do is send me completely useless CVs?”

Let’s think about this for a moment.

When you go to the doctor, they charge you a consultation fee, dish out some medicine and send you on your merry way. If you don’t get better, do you ask for a refund? No, you go back, they charge you another fee, sell you some more medicine and off you go.

Yet, when you call in the services of a recruitment agency, you have a group of slaves at your disposal until you appoint someone. And even then, you’re offered a pro-rata refund if the person does not work out in the first three months; an element of the hire over which the recruiters have little or no control.

Before any of this has happened, the recruiter should have (among many other activities) defined a job specification with the client, searched a candidate database, advertised if necessary, reviewed CVs, interviewed candidates, shortlisted a few, set up interviews for the client, referenced the final short list, performed ID, criminal, credit, employment and qualification checks, assisted with salary negotiations, motivated both parties to go ahead and start unravelling the administrative ball of string involved in a new hire … only to be paid nothing if the candidate refuses the offer or is counter-offered by his employer after acceptance. Or the role is withdrawn.

And yet, the issue of recruiter’s commission is a hot potato.

Why are recruitment consultants and real estate agents deemed to be undeserving of a fee and yet the plumber pops in for 5 minutes and earns a fee for arriving, never mind fixing the problem?

In fact, an interesting comparison can be found in the role of a real estate agent. They, too, have a good deal of vitriol directed at them for their commission-based structure, with many homeowners bewailing the enormous cost of selling their property.

However, a good real estate agent will close 6 out of 10 sales that they have a mandate for, many of them enjoying a sole mandate and total control of the sale process. A recruiter may be one of six agencies dealing with a role, and successfully placing 1 or 2 out of every 10 positions.

Is it any wonder that HR and line managers receive a flood of CVs from recruiters, hoping that one of them will fit? All the while the recruiter endeavours to remain professional and make the most efficient use of their time, knowing that this merry-go-round could carry on for months without a placement. And without a fee.

The commission charged for a successful placement usually equates to a month-and-a-half of the person’s annual salary. Considering the above, it’s clear that this fee is made up of a fee for the time and expertise of the recruiter, as well as the fact that they are working on a contingency-based model. Most roles will not result in a placement, yet the work still has to be done. The risks are ubiquitous.

This payment model is rare in a world where most people prefer to be paid for the work done. And especially problematic when the ultimate decision leading to a successful placement is out of the control of the recruiter.

The commission-based recruitment model needs urgent restructuring.

It’s high time that recruitment companies become professional service providers who work for a fee. The work that a good recruiter will put into ‘sending along a CV’ is mostly unseen and largely undervalued. Alternatively, the recruiter doesn’t put the effort in and simply forwards CVs hoping for a hit. You get what you pay for.

Companies should expect more from their recruiters, but recruiters should be considered partners to their clients. To earn their fee, they need to be privy to information which affects the hiring decision, to assist in creating viable job specifications and not impossible wish-lists, and lend their expertise to hiring managers during the interview and selection process.

In this way, the tug-of-war that currently exists can relax into a partnership where both parties win.

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Behavioural Recruiting: Uncovering The Human Element

Arte Nathan once said, “You can’t teach employees to smile. They have to smile before you hire them.

And he should know.

Arte, President of Strategic Development Worldwide, boasts over three decades in HR and people development. He is recognised as an innovator in high-volume recruitment and hiring, labour relations, and training and development.

The focus on behaviour and habits as part of the hiring process has never been more important, or more overlooked, by leaders and managers.

What do most people look for when they recruit?

They focus on:behavioural recruiting techniques

1. Qualifications.
2. Experience.
3. Industry and function background.

Let’s unpack that idea:

Our new candidate for Finance Manager at ABC Manufacturing is Bill. Bill has worked in the manufacturing sector for 15 years. He has a lot of experience in finance within manufacturing. He was Assistant Finance Manager at DEF Manufacturing for 4 years. He has a BCom Finance and is currently studying an MBA currently. At GHI Foods, he worked in and then led creditors and debtors for 4 years. Before that he articled at a big 5 consultancy (JKL) before moving across to the manufacturing sector.

He sounds perfect: He is qualified, experienced and has relevant industry knowledge. Hire him!

Bill starts work, management is thrilled …

However, management didn’t know that Bill is arrogant, dictatorial, task-oriented, brusque, impatient, by-the-book and “my way or the highway”.

What next?

Staff morale plummets. People leave. Innovation shrivels up and dies as “Hitler” throws the rule book around and stifles free-flowing ideas and conversation.

And Bill? Well, Bill gets angry and becomes even more dictatorial. He’ll show them! And he does.

The staff vote with their feet and opt for the door.

This little tale gets played out over and over again in business today. It’s almost a cliché. Yet, this problem is often overlooked for one simple reason.

People think they are good judges of character.

They get a vibe.

They can sense when a candidate will fit or not.

How good are you at assessing character after knowing someone for an hour?

In terms of behaviours, one of the most common areas for mistakes is in sales.

The bizarre, old-fashioned recruiting method of hiring them and throwing them in to see if they drown, is still common-place. If they don’t drown, make them swim as hard as possible.

The recruitment, training, management and exiting costs are a) mind boggling and b) normal.



Without sales, there is no business.

Why would you use guesswork as a recruitment strategy?sales behavioural recruiting

Ironically, because of behaviour.

Sales people and sales managers are famous for their gift of the gab, their intuition and the ability to make it up as they go along.

What they are less famous for, however, is data analysis, problem-solving, attention to detail and following a well-researched methodology to do anything – especially recruiting.

We’ve asked sales managers and sales directors in the past why they tolerate the high cost of staff turnover.

Their answer?

“It’s just the way it is.”

So, they bump up the numbers of recruits to compensate for the high rate of attrition.

The truth is, it doesn’t have to be this way.

We need to understand the basic behavioural requirements for a role and then test for those behaviours.

For example, in a sales role, you want; confidence (not arrogance); a relationship-building orientation; a drive to achieve and meet targets; attention to detail, process and formality. Therefore, we can assume that if we hire people who don’t possess these behavioural qualities we can expect their sales effort to fail in the shorter or longer term.

We can stop the wrong people joining the company, and save them, and ourselves, a whole lot of time and money.

What if we already have a large sales force?

Then it makes sense to ‘weed’ the sales team as a gardener would weed a lawn. Sure, the lawn looks okay with weeds … but boy it looks great without them. And the time and stress we save!

Most companies tolerate poor performance from a third of their team, average from another third and good to excellent figures from the final third?

Imagine, for a moment, how your company figures would look if we replaced the bottom third with average to good sales people?

What would happen if we developed the best average people based on their behavioural potential and turned them into great sales people?

What would happen if we took your best people and built on their strengths to create superstars?

The answer is easy: Sales productivity could be improved by 15 – 30%.

For most companies, this should be manna from heaven.

If your business needs help with hiring the right people or to ‘weed the lawn’, we’d love to help.
Contact us on 083 308 7627 and we’ll do our best to help you.

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