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Candidate Brand Management

Posted By AgileCareers , Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Updated: Monday, November 21, 2016

Candidate Brand Management

Hiring patterns for professionals have changed. An average employment longevity is three to four years. Plus, candidates like you are consistently looking for the next opportunity for advancement or to acquire new skills. As a result, jobseekers are creating their unique brand. This is especially true for people who are drawn to contract and project work.

Why brand management

As a jobseeker using online portfolios sites to show off your talents, you know that your profile isn’t 100 percent “complete” without the headshot, personal website, work products, and favorite charity. Some candidates are going a step further by branding their resumes with graphics, photographs, websites, and portfolios to increase visibility and awareness.

From a marketing perspective, it makes perfect sense for you to add “curb appeal” to your resume or profile. Making an impression and standing out in a crowd is the goal.  Recruiters and hiring managers assess hundreds of resumes and applications a week. You want to be the one who catches their attention for a closer look and the interview.

Creating the brand

Your brand is the best version of your public image. But it must still be you rather than just what you think hiring manager or recruiter are looking for this season. Branding yourself as someone else will, at best, lead to a career that doesn’t resonate with you. At worst, inauthentic branding won’t even land you an interview.

  • Creating your brand starts with digging in and truly identifying who you are:
  • What service, resource, or special ability do you offer?
  • What are your core values?
  • What are the things you are passionate about?
  • What is it that you do better than anyone else? Where do you excel?

You have the basics, now you need to craft this base material into the story you want to tell about yourself. This means blending these facts about you into a narrative that catches attention and holds it. Start with your top skills/talents and show how these are driven by your passions and values to deliver you, the “product.”

The short versions of that story is a tagline that encapsulates your talent, passions, values, and area of expertise. The long version becomes your profile.

Branding your presence

Once you create your brand, you’ll want to make sure your public presence reflects your carefully crafted image. Here are some areas where you may want to revisit the way you present yourself:

  • Revamp your resume and jobseeker profiles to share your “story” with potential employers
  • Audit your online presence to make sure your social media posts match your brand.
  • Think about what you share online before you share it. Is it valuable? Does it reinforce the image you would like a future employer to see? If not, you may want to rethink that tweet.
  • Create a personal website that showcases your talent or portfolio and gives people an easy way to reach you.
  • Write for online resources in your area of expertise or about your passions.
  • Engage with people who share your values. Converse with individuals in your industry or the industry you are trying to break into. Become involved in conversations via social media and at in-person events.

Some of these ideas will make sense for you and your values, and some may not. This is your branding.

Staying consistent

You’ve added branding to your resume, created a polished online presence and you are grabbing the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. Now you need to bring the same polished brand to the interview. You have their attention. It is time to show them you are more than just slick packaging, and you can deliver on the promise of your brand.

Candidate brand management requires more than adding sparkle to the resume. It is about highlighting the experience, skills, and education that make you unique and able to add value in your next role in person as well.

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Gamification of Talent Acquisition (Agile HR – Q&A Series Part 1)

Posted By Meghan Robinson, Thursday, November 17, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Gamification of Talent Acquisition (Agile HR – Q&A Series Part 1) 

This post is part of the Q&A Series: Agile Leadership Webinar «Agile HR | People Operations». 

We recently hosted Agile HR expert Fabiola Eyholzer for our Agile Leadership Webinars. In response to the high interest, Fabiola is answering an aggregation of the great questions we received from participants during the webinar. Click here to watch full webinar. 

In this part, Fabiola is answering your questions on hiring for Agile teams. If you have a question you would like featured in our Q&A Series, please submit to chudson@scrumalliance.com

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How do you encourage recruiting managers to "go agile" with their hiring approach?

Building a vigorous workforce starts with identifying, attracting, and hiring the right people. But finding top people is increasingly demanding: 8 in 10 organizations already have difficulties finding great talents and unfilled positions cost the economy around US$ 160 billion a year. [Source: Insight Foresight 2015, Bounty Jobs]

Hiring professionals are familiar with these challenges. That is where Agile comes in: Agile is the new way of working - and the success rate of Agile speaks for itself. That makes Agile a strong magnet for talented people; and a company can build on that to create a strong employer brand and a high-quality recruitment process.

What is the difference between a job ad and a value description and why is it important?

An agile team is an interdisciplinary team that thrives on people from different backgrounds and characteristics working together. They bundle their collective strength and embrace diversity of thought. It is their experiences, skills, and mindsets combined that make them successful. The team becomes more important than the individual player and that must reflect in the way we advertise a job.

Traditional job ads focus on individual tasks as well as the individual and their background and skills. Agile value descriptions are different: They focus on the purpose of a team and tell the story why it was created. They talk about contributions and value; and reflect the behavior and attitude you are looking for.

How do you interview candidates for agile teams?

We have all heard (or even had to answer) traditional interview questions like these: Why should we hire you over the other applicants? If you were a superhero, who would you be? How honest are you? Etc.

The problem is: None of these questions help you understand how the attitude and cultural fit of a candidate – nor does it give them a good sense of your organization and what you stand for. Instead make sure to use questions that give you a better understanding of their agile fit and shows them what you care about. Here are some examples:

  • How successful have you been at partnering with others to generate creative solutions and plan collaborative strategies for success?
  • How did you course-correct when encountering roadblocks?
  • Were you able to flex your behavior when you realized the path you were on was not working?
  • What have you learned from success and failures in your career?

 How can we assess if a candidate has an agile mindset?

Professional expertise is important. But Agile teams prosper when they hire candidates with the right mindset. After all, their success depends on the collective and collaborative skills of the team.

The best way to test that, is by getting the team and the candidate together and have them work together. Hiring hackathons (with or without coding) are a great way to see your talents in action and experience first-hand what it will be like to partner up with a candidate.

And if you have several teams looking for new hires, join forces and organize something on a larger scale. This helps team building and boosts your employer brand. Because participants (internal and external alike) will leave (exhausted, but) energized and tell their friends about it.

Why do you suggest the hiring decision to be taken on team level?

Hiring in an Agile Enterprise is no longer about finding people with the right resume, but the ones who can match their expertise with the ability to thrive in a self-organizing responsive team. Talent acquisition must become a highly interactive and team-based approach.

That means, no hiring decision should be made without the backing of the team. After all, no employee can thrive without team support. It must be a shared responsibility; and the team must actively be involved. Or in other words: Agile is a team sport; consequently, recruitment must be a team sport too.

When the hiring authority is at the team level, what does HR do?

Creating a winning workforce is a core HR assignment. And even though they are not making the final hiring decision, HR guides and supports a hiring and onboarding process that is in line with agile thinking. They create a strong employer brand and act as people liaison to candidates.

As talent scouts they proactively (and continuously) connect with internal and external talents. HR has a deep understanding of the organization and its changing needs; and knows about upcoming vacancies and opportunities and match that with the talent pool.

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Fabiola Eyholzer (CSPO, SPC 4.0) is an expert and thought leader in Lean | Agile People Operations – the 21st century HR approach – and CEO of Just Leading Solutions LLC, a New York-based consultancy for Agile HR.
Feel free to connect with Fabiola Twitter (@FabiolaEyholzer) or LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/fabiolaeyholzer). 

Tags:  Agile HR  Talent Acquisition 

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In Agile, It’s Not Just Whom You Hire, But When You Hire Them

Posted By Gez Smith , Wednesday, November 16, 2016

In Agile, It’s Not Just Whom You Hire, But When You Hire Them

In the traditional view of the world, there’s an uncomfortable truth that we try to shy away from. As much as we talk about the people we hire as real people, with real feelings, emotions, goals, and dreams, and try to treat them as the individuals that we all are, at a resourcing level we often think of them as, well, resources. You even see it writ large in the very name of the department that gets involved with managing these people: human resources. 

On one level this is just a name, but on another, it’s a mindset that holds real problems for successful Agile hiring. 

In other areas of life, we usually imagine a pretty linear relationship between resources and results. When you’re boiling a pan of water, if you turn the heat up, the pan will boil faster. More heat resource in, faster results out. Hit a nail harder, and it goes into the wood deeper. Work hard, we are told, and we will achieve our goals. Given how many of us are taught science at school, I suspect this sort of “more resource equals more outcome” thinking is ingrained in our minds. The problem is that when it comes to Agile recruitment, very often the opposite is true, for a number of reasons. 

The first part of this involves a law thought up by Fred Brooks, which states, “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”

Now, Brooks admits that this statement is an oversimplification of a complex set of phenomena. After all, if you’re working in an area that’s simple and allows people to follow standardized, repeatable processes, then adding more people is a pretty simple and effective thing to do. If each worker on a production line just has to do one task over and over again, then teaching them that task is a quick and simple thing to do, and you can then just slot them into the production line with little issue. In this instance, Brooks’s law probably doesn’t hold true.

However, Agile is all about working in complex, fast-paced, and uncertain environments, so anyone new joining the team has a lot of different things to learn, and these things may even be changing as fast as they can learn them. So if someone joins the team, it can take a much longer time for them to start becoming productive. Their addition may even slow the team down, as they have to take time out of being productive to get the new person up to speed. Which is why Brooks specifies that adding more people specifically to an already late software development project makes it later. Software development projects are generally complex, fast-paced, and uncertain, which is why Agile is used for delivering them in the first place. 

There’s another problem with adding new people into an Agile team. Bruce Tuckman came up with the idea of four stages that a team can move through in relation to each other over time, commonly known as “forming, storming, norming, and performing.” You can read more about this model online, but, in essence, when a team first comes together, it will spend some time forming. This is generally a pretty happy stage, when everyone gets along, even if they’re all working reasonably independently of each other. After this, though, comes the storming stage, when people start to form opinions, good and bad, about each other and voice those opinions to others. This leads to a drop in team cohesion and productivity, and the team needs to get through it in order to get up to the better delivery stages of norming and performing. 

The issue you get with this is that every time you add a new “resource” or person to the team, you risk tipping the team back into forming, meaning they have to go back up through storming again in order to get to norming or performing. I’m sure you’ve seen this yourself at work. The team’s going along fine, then suddenly some new person joins, and perhaps through being keen to make a good impression early on, they decide that some of the things the team does can be “improved.” So they start to criticize the way things are working, and productivity slows right down as the team has to revisit all its old arguments. I’ve seen teams get stuck in storming for ages due to situations like this. Like the previous problem, it’s often less pronounced in teams working in simple areas with codified, repeatable processes, as the new joiner can just be told the way things are done around here and get on board. But if you’re using Agile to work in complex, fast-paced, and uncertain environments, then the potential for debate and argument about the “right” way to do things is much greater, thus so is the potential for long, drawn-out periods of storming. 

The third and final problem you get with adding new resources to an Agile team is around the issue of self-management.

In traditional teams, the team is managed by a manager, and this manager will do things like make resourcing decisions, deciding whom to hire and when to hire them. However, an Agile team self-manages. So if you take away the ability of the team to decide whom to hire and when to hire them, you’re reducing their self-management. The result is that everyone will suffer all the hard-to-see but hugely damaging problems you get from reducing a team’s autonomy — like reducing their intrinsic motivation, trust, collaboration, and discretionary effort. 

So there we have three big problems that can be caused by adding new “resources,” or people, to an Agile team. You slow things down, you tip the team back into arguments and uncertainty, and you take away their self-management and all the benefits that come along with it. So how do we solve these problems? 

Well, the answer is in the title of the blog post. It’s not just about whom you hire, but when you hire them. 

Adding more people to a software development project doesn’t always make it later; it just makes it later if the project is already late. So if you’re adding a resource, then do it much earlier on in the project, not as you get closer to the finish line and realize that you’re going to miss your delivery date. Similarly, if adding new people risks tipping the team back to the start of the forming-norming-storming-performing cycle, then limit the number of times you add people into the team. Rather than adding one new person every two weeks, build up your pool of people you want to add into the team, then add them all in one go, after giving everyone plenty of notice. This gives the team a period of stability with no new joiners, in order to get themselves back through storming and up into performing. Finally, let the team itself take on these decisions about when to add new people. The team will have the best view of when it’s easiest and of most use to add in new people, so listen to them and let them guide the decisions in this area. If the team says now is not the right time, then now is not the right time. 

No matter how much your upbringing may make you feel like adding new people to a team will get you out of the delivery deadline hole you find yourself in, it almost certainly won’t. However, collaborate with the team on some clever thinking around when to add people in, and you’ll be hiring in an Agile context as well as going a long way toward getting the results you want. 

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Gez Smith is Lead Agile Coach at HSBC and he runs www.agileforrecruiters.com, teaching recruiters and HR people all about great Agile hiring practices.

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Thank You for Attending the AgileCareers Virtual Career Fair

Posted By Meghan Robinson, Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It was a wonderful opportunity to network with many of you at the 3 November AgileCareers Virtual Career Fair. We had more than 550 in attendance and 721 total conversations. View the infographic below for highlights from the Career Fair.

 

 

AgileCareers is built on best-in-class, enterprise-grade job board technology. Job seekers will gain a massive increase in relevant job opportunities, as the AgileCareers job board will be fueled by JobTarget’s large network of the top career sites around the world.

Job seekers, upload your resume by 10 December, and you will be entered into our sweepstakes to win a $100 Visa gift card!

Be sure to visit the AgileCareers blog for the latest happenings as we continue Transforming the World of Work®!

Tags:  Agile Jobs  Hiring  Recruiting  Virtual Career Fair 

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Q&A Series: Agile Leadership Webinar «Agile HR | People Operations»

Posted By Fabiola Eyholzer, Thursday, November 10, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Agile teams deserve amazing people solutions aligned with their values and principles. That challenges Human Resources to rethink their people approach and become “People Operations” instead.

We recently hosted Agile HR expert Fabiola Eyholzer for our Agile Leadership Webinars. She outlined the top 10 issues Agile teams are most frustrated about when it comes to their HR practices. And she shared how to approach traditional HR practices with an Agile mindset. Click here to watch full webinar.

In response to the high interest, Fabiola is answering an aggregation of the great questions we received from participants during the webinar. We will publish them in a series of Q&A blogs, covering the following Agile HR topics:

#1 Gamification of Talent Acquisition

#2 Shifting to Iterative Performance Flow

#3 Rethinking Reward and Recognition

#4 Meaningful Careers and Growth

#5 Supporting Agile Leadership

#6 Role of HR in an Agile Enterprise

#7 Agile HR Transformation

The topic-specific blogs will be posted over the next few months. Check the Scrum Alliance AgileCareers Blog for new posts from this series.

If you have a question you would like featured in our Q&A Series, please submit to chudson@scrumalliance.com

 

About Fabiola:

Fabiola Eyholzer (CSPO, SPC 4.0) is an expert and thought leader in Lean | Agile People Operations – the 21st century HR approach – and CEO of Just Leading Solutions LLC, a New York-based consultancy for Agile HR.

Feel free to connect with Fabiola Twitter (@FabiolaEyholzer) or LinkedIn

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AgileCareers is dedicated to connecting Scrum and Agile organizations with qualified, passionate Agile professionals. We strive to Transform the World of Work by offering a platform that has the resources and technology to help build those professional synergies.