New solar panel design could lead to wider use of renewable energy

Designing solar panels in checkerboard lines increases their ability to absorb light by 125 per cent, a new study says.

Researchers say the breakthrough could lead to the production of thinner, lighter and more flexible solar panels that could be used to power more homes and be used in a wider range of products.

The study — led by researchers from the University of York and conducted in partnership with NOVA University of Lisbon (CENIMAT-i3N) — investigated how different surface designs impacted on the absorption of sunlight in solar cells, which put together form solar panels.

Scientists found that the checkerboard design improved diffraction, which enhanced the probability of light being absorbed which is then used to create electricity.

The renewable energy sector is constantly looking for new ways to boost the light absorption of solar cells in lightweight materials that can be used in products from roof tiles to boat sails and camping equipment.

Solar grade silicon — used to create solar cells — is very energy intensive to produce, so creating slimmer cells and changing the surface design would make them cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Dr Christian Schuster from the Department of Physics said: “We found a simple trick for boosting the absorption of slim solar cells. Our investigations show that our idea actually rivals the absorption enhancement of more sophisticated designs — while also absorbing more light deep in the plane and less light near the surface structure itself.

“Our design rule meets all relevant aspects of light-trapping for solar cells, clearing the way for simple, practical, and yet outstanding diffractive structures, with a potential impact beyond photonic applications.

“This design offers potential to further integrate solar cells into thinner, flexible materials and therefore create more opportunity to use solar power in more products.”

The study suggests the design principle could impact not only in the solar cell or LED sector but also in applications such as acoustic noise shields, wind break panels, anti-skid surfaces, biosensing applications and atomic cooling.

Dr Schuster added: “In principle, we would deploy ten times more solar power with the same amount of absorber material: ten times thinner solar cells could enable a rapid expansion of photovoltaics, increase solar electricity production, and greatly reduce our carbon footprint.

“In fact, as refining the silicon raw material is such an energy-intensive process, ten times thinner silicon cells would not only reduce the need for refineries but also cost less, hence empowering our transition to a greener economy.”

Data from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy shows renewable energy — including solar power — made up 47% of the UK’s electricity generation in the first three months of 2020.

Originally published on Science Daily

Interview questions to expect during the pandemic

No matter why you’re looking for a new job, job hunting during the coronavirus pandemic is unique. Instead of attending in-person networking events, you’re likely attending virtual job fairs and tapping your network online.

Whatever you’re doing, though, it’s finally paid off. You’ve got a job interview! And while you’re prepared for the fact that it will probably happen online, you’ll want to be prepared for pandemic-related interview questions, too.

How to Answer Pandemic-Related Interview Questions

Like any interview, you know to expect the “typical” questions: “Tell me about yourself.” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” “Why did you apply for the job?” You are, of course, prepared for these questions.

In some interviews, you might also encounter some curveball questions. These could be as simple as “Tell me about a time when…” and you have to give an example of when you solved a problem at work. Or, you might get a brain teaser question, though that’s far less likely.

However, an international pandemic presents everyone with challenges and opportunities. Employers are using this historic time to assess how you face a crisis, and how well you pivot. In a sense, they are asking, did you make lemons out of lemonade? And if so, how?

Here are some tips for answering some pandemic-focused questions that you might encounter as you interview for new jobs during COVID-19.

How have you been managing yourself during this time, and how have you been staying proactive?

Employers are trying to find out how you balance your professional life with your personal life. Both likely changed considerably, so what have you done to manage everything? How did you pivot and stay connected to your job? Or, if you lost your job, what did you do in the meantime?

No matter your situation, focus on the positives, not the negatives. For example, many people were thrown into remote work but didn’t know how to use virtual collaboration tools. Talk about how you worked to become a better remote employee. Did you learn how to use Zoom more effectively? Did you master Slack or GoToMeeting?

If you’re unemployed, explain what you’ve been doing to improve your skills and stay connected to your field. Mention any self-study and professional development you did. Since most of it was probably online, what webinars, podcasts, or free tutorials did you do?

Can you or have you worked remotely?

The pandemic radically altered the work world. Many companies that were completely in-office shifted to entirely remote. Whether or not a company remains remote is not what matters, though, when it comes to your work-from-home experience. Employers have discovered that people with remote work experience have an easier time coming into a new position.

If you found yourself working remotely due to the pandemic, discuss your ability to thrive in a remote environment. Emphasize your ability to meet, and at times, exceed your goals and objectives and explain how you did that.

But if your job was never remote, that doesn’t mean you don’t have remote work experience. Many positions require remote work skills, no matter how informal. For example, if you worked for a large company with satellite offices in other time zones, talk about how you collaborated with team members in these offices to meet goals.

How do you organize your day when working from home?

Even though work flexibility is a huge benefit of remote work, that doesn’t mean that structure isn’t a necessity. The best remote workers are self-disciplined and still follow a routine. You’ll want to make it clear that you can still achieve high performance in a virtual setting.

Will you be okay returning to a physical office when it’s safe?

Hopefully, the job posting was upfront about the position’s location. Some jobs are going to be remote forever. Others may only be remote during the pandemic. And some companies may want staff back in the office as soon as possible.

We advise job seekers to be honest about their feelings no matter what they are. Being honest with a potential employer is important. If you are comfortable returning to a physical office environment, reiterate to the employer that you would support their health and safety protocols when in a physical location. However, if you are not comfortable returning to in-person work, it is best to be honest regarding your preference to work remotely.

How do you communicate with team members in a remote setting?

Give specific examples about how you’ve collaborated with team members to hit goals, and what the impact was. For example, have you created reporting dashboards that keep key stakeholders in the loop about performance, or have you utilized project management systems to manage deadlines? Do you send weekly updates to management about progress?

On the flip side, most people have experienced significant changes to their schedules during this time, requiring employers to be flexible with their working hours. Be sure to mention how you’ve notified your boss of this while maintaining productivity. Demonstrating your ability to proactively communicate and understand accountability is critical.

Searching for a new job can be difficult. During the pandemic, those feelings may be amplified while employers take longer than usual to respond to applications, schedule interviews, make the offer, and get you started.

Don’t give up! You can still find a great job during these uncertain times.

Originally published on Flexjobs

Ghosted by a top prospect? How to strengthen your hiring process

After a lengthy hiring process, you’ve finally found the right candidate for you and your company! There’s just one problem: they haven’t responded to your calls or emails. In other words, you’re being ghosted.

While ghosting is a term more commonly associated with relationships, it is happening more frequently during the interview process. Companies across different industries are experiencing radio silence from promising candidates at all stages of recruitment. From no-shows for scheduled interviews to prospective hires who won’t respond to job offers, this behavior can be extremely frustrating. Not only can it lead the position to remain unfilled, but in some cases, it could even require you to start the hiring process all over again.

While employers have traditionally been the party most guilty of ghosting or not following up with candidates, the tables have turned in recent years. With unemployment hovering at historic lows, job seekers will find themselves with more options. Their growing confidence in the job market can lead them to be more non-committal about new opportunities and not fear the repercussions of participating in this ghosting behavior.

If ghosting has started to take a toll on your company, it might be time to make some changes to your interview process. Although you can’t stop every candidate from disappearing, here are five ways you can keep ghosting in check:

Focus on employer branding

To help minimize your chances of getting ghosted, you need to ensure you are attracting the right candidates from the get-go. Since 59% of job seekers spend 30+ minutes researching a company throughout the hiring process, your employer brand is key.

Between your website, social media, press, and employee review sites, prospective hires should have a strong, accurate impression of your company before they even apply for the job. This will help create a sense of excitement and urgency about working for your company, which can help prevent ghosting at both the early and late stages of the interview process.

Shorten the interview process

With job seekers interviewing with multiple companies, employers who move too slowly in the hiring process risk missing out. If you are taking a long time to respond to applicants, schedule interviews, or make a final decision, your top candidates might ghost you for an employer who has a shorter interview process.

Be transparent and ask for feedback

A lack of transparency about where a candidate stands or why they are being asked to complete certain tasks during the interview process might lead them to vanish without a word. To help create a better candidate experience, be clear about the next steps at all stages of the interview process. Explain how many applicants are in the running, when a decision will be made, and how they can expect to hear from you.

At the same time, it’s important to make the effort to ensure professionals can be transparent with you. Even if you don’t have an update, keep in touch with your candidates and encourage them to give you feedback. Asking them how they feel about the role, whether they have any concerns, or need any clarification about the role, are easy ways to keep them engaged throughout the interview process.

Ensure all interviewers are on the same page

In order to decide whether to move forward with an opportunity, the candidate needs to feel that they got an authentic, well-rounded view of the role as well as the company. It’s impossible to do this if they are receiving mixed messages or inconsistent information at each touchpoint of the process. As a result, all parties involved in hiring and onboarding—from talent acquisition to human resources to the hiring manager—need to be aligned on the role, the vision of the company, and company culture.

Personalize job offers

With so many options in today’s market, some job seekers feel confident they can blow off an offer in order to find a “better” opportunity. That’s why it’s critical that you make your job offer feel personal and unique to the individual candidate. In addition to being able to emphasize why they are the right person for the role, you should also be able to explain why your company and this role matches their specific career needs and goals.

While these tips can help you proactively combat ghosting, you can’t prevent everyone from dropping out of your interview process. The silver lining is that candidates who do not have the decency to tell you they’re not interested are not the people you want to hire. The right person for the role will respect your time and be enthusiastic about moving forward in the process!

Originally published on Social Hire

First nacelle produced for the first French Offshore Wind Farm at Saint-Nazaire

This week, the first GE nacelle was produced for the 480-MW Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm that is under construction in the Bay of Biscay off the Loire-Atlantique coast in France.

The nacelle, which contains the generator, was produced at the Montoir-de-Bretagne production site in France and is the first in a series of GE Haliade 150 6-MW wind turbines, produced for the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm. The wind farm will be composed of 80 wind turbines spaced one kilometer (km) apart and located 12 to 20 km off the coast. The power it produces is expected to supply approximately 20% of the electricity consumption of the Loire-Atlantique region, according to the companies.

This project takes GE Renewable Energy, EDF Renewables and Enbridge into a new phase of French wind farm industry development, said the companies. Following three projects attributed to the consortium led by EDF Renewables in 2012, GE Renewable Energy was the first company to invest in wind turbine assembly plants in France. Over 500 GE Renewable Energy employees will participate in the creation of this first French offshore wind farm. Also, 200 new jobs are estimated to be added to the workforce when the Saint-Nazaire plant is at full capacity.

Installation of the wind turbines at sea will begin in 2021 with anchoring of the foundations and burying the inter-turbine cables. The electric substation will be installed in the sea during the following summer, said the companies.

Jérôme Pécresse, President and CEO of GE Renewable Energy and Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice-President Renewable Energies and EDF Renewables-Enbridge Representative, celebrated the announcement.

Speaking for the EDF Renewables-Enbridge consortium, Bensasson said, “This wind farm project off the coast of Saint Nazaire, which we have been working on for several years, belongs above all to the Pays de La Loire Region which has contributed greatly to the creation of a new French industry. Over 1,000 region residents will participate in this project. This offshore wind farm constitutes a big step forward for renewable energy development in France.”

The wind farm is estimated to be operational in 2022.

Originally published on Renewable Energy World

Recruiters : 5 simple tips to immediately improve candidate experience

Candidate experience can be described as the collective result of all interactions and engagements candidates have with your organisation during the hiring process.

Many of these interactions are technology-driven – such as your career site, job postings, social media interactions and the like – while other interactions, such as interviews, are more personal.

 Regardless of the format, it’s important to get candidate experience right. Consistently leaving candidates with a negative impression makes it much more difficult to hire great talent in the future.

Why candidate experience needs to be taken seriously

 As late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain once said:

If you have a good experience in a restaurant, you tell 2 people.

If you have a bad experience, you tell 10 people

 The same goes for hiring processes. If you make life unnecessarily difficult or complicated for candidates they’ll be pretty unhappy. And you can bet they’ll tell their peers about it.

According to an IBM report, more than 60% of candidates talk about their experience with friends and family. And with the explosion of mobile technology and social media, feedback – both good and bad – spreads faster than ever.

 Candidate feedback on websites such as Glassdoor.com impacts your organisations reputation, your ability to attract other candidates in the future, and your ability to retain candidates as customers or fans of your company.

 By taking proactive steps to improve your hiring process, you have the power to win or lose out on great talent. Offering a first-class candidate experience is a great way to gain an edge in today’s increasingly competitive job market. 

 5 tips to improve candidate experience

 Overhauling your recruitment process won’t happen overnight. It takes time to iron out some of the more complicated candidate pain points such as the UI design on your careers page and company brand messaging. However, there are still many quick and easy changes you can make right now:

1.Write a clear, engaging job description

 A job description needs to be appealing to encourage candidates to apply for a role. You should always aim to provide a clear and accurate explanation of the job and responsibilities. Its important candidates aren’t presented with a job description that simply lists a long set of requirements. This comes across as dry and boring and will likely put off many good candidates off before they even apply.

Candidates want to know about the salary range, benefits, and company values. They also want to know about opportunities for learning and growth, the kind of problems they’ll be working on, and the impact they’ll have at your organisation. Finally, all this information should be presented in an easy-to-read format e.g. making the text as concise as possible and using bullet points where appropriate.

2. Email candidates regularly

 Taking a few minutes to email a candidate to inform them of a delay or acknowledge receipt of an application isn’t difficult. But it has a huge impact on candidate experience. Candidates like to be kept in the loop and won’t be happy if you leave them guessing. Informing them of timescales helps manage expectations and crucially, reduces the chances that candidates will accept another offer as they haven’t heard anything from you.

This seems so simple but many companies don’t do it. The 2015 CandE Research Report by The Talent Board, found that 73% of candidates reported they never received any communication after submitting their application. This highlights the fact that a basic application confirmation email goes a long way. 

Even though a candidate might not be a good fit for your company right now, he or she might be suitable for another opening in the future. If you ruin the first candidate experience they have with you through lack of communication, they won’t be rushing back to apply again for another role.

3. Always provide feedback

 Offering useful feedback isn’t a big change. But again, it has a big impact on how candidates perceive your company. Feedback should be given whether a candidate is successful or not, as it makes a candidate feel appreciated and recognised. After, all they have taken time out of their own busy schedule to commit to your application process.

If you have another suitable vacancy coming up, a candidate who has received constructive feedback will feel empowered to apply. And in the ideal scenario, they will perform better second time around as a result of the advice you gave them.

In fact, research from Talent Board found that 64% of candidates who had a positive experience will increase their engagement with the company whether they were successful or not – and feedback is a big part of this.

4. Always collect feedback

You can’t improve without honest feedback on your current performance. So it’s important to ask candidates for their thoughts on your recruitment process. One effective way of doing this is to have all candidates complete a short feedback form. This helps to highlight any areas that could be improved. By collecting data in this way and actioning the findings, you can completely overhaul your recruitment process in the long-term. This is something most companies aren’t currently doing.

5. Give candidates a chance to meet the team

When candidates come in for an interview, you should give them a chance to meet the team they would be working with. This gives candidates an important glimpse of the life within your organisation. An informal chat with the team can also help the interview experience feel a bit less intimidating. If it then comes to a salary negotiation situation where you can’t beat a rival, the candidate could end up choosing you because your organisation feels like a better fit.

Originally published on Social Hire

5 things that could go wrong in an interview (and how to fix them)

You’re sure that you covered everything during your interview preparation and you go into the room convinced that everything will turn out fine. However, one dreaded and rather uncomfortable scenario is hard to anticipate: what happens when we start to feel the interview is going awry? If this happens, what can we do to try to get it back on track?

Professional careers are long and, sooner or later, you will come up against a problematic scenario that catches you off-guard. This also applies to job interviews. However much effort you put into your prep work, there can always be something on the day that does not go as expected. Among the problems that may arise during an interview, these scenarios are more common and easier to anticipate:

1. A BAD CASE OF THE JITTERS

It’s a classic scenario: you were all prepared to be confident and self-assured, but the pressure to make a good impression and for a positive outcome can mean that you end up letting nerves get the better of you. Feeling anxious can make you babble, misinterpret a question or make you come across as excessively nervous.

Nerves are something that can be worked on before the interview. Remind yourself that acting naturally and staying calm under pressure are desirable attributes that every company in the world covets in its employees. If you still end up being a bundle of nerves during the interview—to the point that it affects the quality of your responses—it’s time to act before it’s too late.

Be frank with your interviewer, who will surely be accustomed to nervous candidates. Explain that you are excited about the possibility of getting the post and because of this you are a bit nervous. On most occasions, they will empathise and try to help you calm down. It is also good for the interviewer to know how you’re feeling in case some of your previous answers were a bit shaky.

If possible, have a sip of water, then take a deep breath and make sure you’re sitting comfortably before continuing with the interview. When you’re nervous, it’s best to take your time and think about your answers for a few seconds, and then respond to the questions calmly.

2. THE INTERVIEWER PULLS A FACE

If the interviewer makes a face after one of your answers—or shows any other negative body language—put yourself in their position. Be honest with yourself and consider whether your answer really was adequate and whether you want to reformulate it. However, if your nerves on the day get the better of you, the best thing to do is to apologise and rework your answer. Play it down by blaming your moment of confusion on a common case of interview nerves.

You should also be aware that you might happen to get an interviewer who does not act kindly towards you: it’s either not in their nature or it’s part of their strategy to test candidates. One method sometimes used to determine which candidates are suitable for the position, and which are not, is to try to unsettle the candidate to see how they respond to pressure or confrontation. If this happens, keep calm and answer questions in the most assertive way possible.

3. YOU DON’T HAVE THE ANSWER TO ONE OF THE QUESTIONS

First, the best way to be prepared is to rehearse a lot. Cover common interview questions such as why you want to change jobs, what your shortcomings are, your salary expectations and so on, plus the usual ones related to your area of work. Also think about analysing your professional career to help you come up with possible topics that they might ask you about.

It is important to understand that not all responses have to be instantaneous. The interviewer will understand that you need to take a few seconds to think about your answer. If you still remain blank when faced with a question, buy yourself some time. For example, repeat the question, just to be sure that this is, in fact, what they asked you—“You want me to explain why I was promoted at my previous company, despite not having any financial training, right? ”

If there’s a question that you really don’t know how to answer, honesty is the best policy. A simple “I don’t know” or “the truth is that I don’t know the answer” will suffice.

4. YOU CAN’T THINK OF ANY QUESTIONS TO ASK

This is one aspect of an interview that you can definitely rehearse at home. In a job interview, particularly for a specialised position, both parties have a mutual desire to know what the other is looking for. In the same way that the interviewer will want to know everything about you, it is assumed that you also want to know more about the role and about the company that might end up hiring you. Not asking any questions could look like disinterest on your part. This means that thinking up some questions to ask about the company forms a basic part of interview preparation. The questions should focus on how you could fit into company culture and they should be related to the position you have applied for. For example:

  • What projects does the company have lined up for next year?
  • What is company policy regarding remote working?
  • Are there professional development opportunities within the company?

If you think that nerves might make you go blank, write down the questions you have prepared. Many candidates attend interviews with a notebook for jotting down essential information.

5. THE INTERVIEWER TELLS YOU OPENLY THAT HE HAS DOUBTS ABOUT YOUR PROFILE

During the interview, the recruiter may choose to be honest with you and express doubts about your candidacy. First, put this into perspective and take this honesty as something positive: it gives you the opportunity to prove that you are the candidate they are looking for. Ask the interviewer exactly where their doubts lie and try to alleviate any concerns by highlighting your strengths.

For example, if the interviewer tells you that they think your knowledge of a specific programming language is lower than what they need, you can argue that you have already mastered other languages, so it wouldn’t take a lot of effort to reach the same level in another one.

It’s important to put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and remember that nobody is perfect—neither him, nor you. Don’t be afraid to play on this point and reinforce the positive aspects of your candidacy.

Tips to redirect any negative situation

For whatever reason, if your job interview starts to go downhill, keep calm and follow these tips:

  • Don’t become aggressive. The situation will deteriorate if you get defensive or adopt a hostile attitude with the interviewer. Instead of looking for confrontation, use calm dialogue as a way to resolve conflict or counter the fallout from a poor response.
  • Prioritise communication. If you know that you gave a mediocre answer, ask if you can address the question again. If you are too nervous, tell your interviewer. If you don’t understand a question, ask for it to be repeated. Communication problems will not only go against you in an interview, but they also reveal a possible source of future problems.
  • Don’t assume you know everything. There’s always room for improvement or information that we don’t know. We all have our flaws and shortcomings—the important thing is our attitude when faced with different situations.
  • Be honest and talk about your weaknesses positively. We all have our faults and pretending to be perfect is counterproductive. If something is posing a problem in the interview, speak openly about a flaw, or about a skill you are lacking, but go on to explain how you plan to overcome this. For example, “I am aware that I reached this position with only a fair level of English, but I am already attending daily classes and I have started to use the language on both a professional and personal level.”
  • Show interest. If you struggle during the interview it’s easy to assume that you’ve ruined your chances. However, this attitude will reflect a total lack of interest in the position as well as a poor ability to respond to negative scenarios. Instead of disinterest, show that you are willing to make an effort to improve the situation.

Originally published on Welcome to the Jungle

Next GreenUnivers conference in partnership with Elatos

In partnership with Elatos, GreenUnivers is organizing an HR webinar on September 10th, from 9.00 am to 10.30 am, on the theme: “Recruitment / Salaries in renewables energies: trends for 2020”.

  • Presentation, with Elatos, of the results of the 2020 study on the salaries of managers in renewables energies.
  • Which renewable energy sectors are hiring the most? What impact Covid-19 crisis had on recruitment?
  • Young graduates, experienced executives, engineers… : which are the profiles most appreciated by companies ?
  • What are the career prospects in renewables energies?

With the participation of Jens Bicking, CEO of the recruitment agency Elatos.

Patrick Simon, Managing Director of EDP Renewables France & Belgium.

Laura Bleunard, in charge of Urbasolar recruitment.

Régis Olivès, school Director Sup’ENR.

Webinar animated by Romain Chicheportiche, GreenUnivers journalist.

Free registration before September 9th.

For more information and for free registration, click here

5 common but avoidable HR and recruitment mistakes

COVID-19 has significantly impacted the unemployment rate. Therefore, HR must expect to see an influx of applications listed on job boards.

As well as this, it is more important now than ever to hire the right candidate! It would be inaccurate to presume hiring a candidate is simple as there are many variables that affect a candidate’s suitability (such as hard skills, soft skills, cultural fit…), however the cost of hiring the wrong candidate could be detrimental to the business success.

With an influx of applications and more pressure on HR to hire the perfect candidate, hiring managers and recruiters must be aware of mistakes that are commonly made in recruitment.

  • Job description and job boards

It is the recruiters’ responsibility to post a job advertisement that accurately reflects the position they are hiring. Use the correct terminology, don’t be too fancy- keep it simple and neat. Often recruiters try to jazz up a job with jargon that makes it difficult for applicants to digest and analyse, which may result in applications that are not suitable.

Use the correct job boards! Don’t simply stick to one posting board, make sure you utilize your resources and post to a variety of boards to increase your chances of receiving quality applications. You want variety in your audience and applicants. Do your research and utilize boards that are best suited to your industry, business and requirements.

  • Waiting for the right candidate

Recruiters usually have an ideal candidate profile in mind prior to the hiring phase- which is understandably necessary in order to receive approval from their request to hire. The issue arises when those responsible for hiring will not budge on their ideal candidate profile. Let’s face it, you are never going to find the perfect match for your description! They just don’t exist- you can not create an imaginary person and then turn everyone away who does not quite suit the description. Do not hold out for someone you hope might apply, instead hire the best candidate you have interviewed for the position.

  • Relying on interviews

Speaking of interviews, there are a few recruiter behaviors that negatively impact the recruitment of a candidate. Make sure you are prepared and ready for the interview! It is not only the interviewee’s responsibility to be prepared, but it is also the interviewers! Prior to the interview, write down key questions you need answers to, and what you hope to achieve from the interview. Etiquette and professionalism are needed from both parties in order to have a successful interview.

Interviewees prepare for interviews in order to shine and seem as though they are the perfect fit. Sometimes, the perfect candidate does the opposite and completely flunks the interview! This is where your gut instincts need to come in, and you need to be objective and not rely entirely on the interview.

  • Unconscious biases and first impressions

Whilst you need to be objective and trust your gut instinct, you also must be subjective! Remember, it is human nature to have unconscious bias. It is not about ignoring it, it is about acknowledging it and being aware of your first impressions. Recruiters commonly choose to ignore the presence of unconscious bias instead of analyzing their thoughts logically and objectively, which results in suitable candidates being unsuccessful.

  • Waiting too long to complete onboarding

Let’s be realistic- if a candidate is applying to your position, he will also be applying to alternative positions… they are on a job hunt!

Some recruiters are impressed with a candidate, but take their time organizing their paperwork and onboarding documents (like their contract, letter of employment…). During this time, the candidate may receive another offer, who onboard him faster, and accept the other position! Therefore, slow onboarding results in candidate drop off.

Recruitment is not easy! Matching a person to a position is difficult, and although there are many tips and tricks on how to be a good recruiter, it takes practice and experience to develop your talent acquisition skills!

Whilst making mistakes is frustrating, it is a method of learning. So, if you have made one of these recruitment mistakes, do not beat yourself up. Instead, acknowledge the mistake, and adapt your strategies to avoid these common mistakes!

Originally published on Social Hire

4 advices for explaining your layoff to a future employer

Getting your mind around a layoff is both an emotional and a logistical undertaking; it is a loss that ushers in a flurry of tasks. It is essential to get the support and clarity you need with both sides of this life change.

First, you need some space to examine your feelings around this unexpected job loss, so that you can communicate about it honestly and strategically. The second part of the project is preparing your candidacy materials and kicking off your job search.

  • Mourn your loss

This is already a difficult time in our country. Losing your job on top of that makes a hard time even more challenging. Give yourself permission to feel that loss. Talk with a career counselor, therapist, or whoever can help you examine and neutralize your feelings around your layoff. Get your emotional work done so that you can understand and manage your feelings about this.

Then you can bolster your confidence and your candidacy package and start getting excited about your next role.

  • Fortify your narrative

A layoff is nothing to be ashamed of. In some cases, being laid off reflects negatively on the candidate if the interviewer does not know the difference between laid off and fired. Firing is being terminated for a cause that is under the control of the employee (behavior, performance, not living up to company standards) while a lay off is due to someone being let go for something out of his or her control. Examples of being laid off include financial, company merger, change in business direction, loss of a product or service.

The key to turning it around is to explain calmly and clearly why you are no longer with the company. This is why it is so important to work through your emotions as a first step. You want to be able to discuss your layoff in a concise, non-emotional way. Shape that message as part of your pre-search work.

  • Share your narrative

When it comes to your candidacy package, mention your layoff in your resume, cover letter, and in your interview. There is nothing to hide here. The details can be shared simply and concisely on the resume. The cover letter can include a brief mention. You want to accurately discuss your experience, but you do not have to get too bogged down in the details. As a candidate, you need to focus on moving forward.

During an interview, it is important to be prepared to calmly discuss the layoff. Make sure that you practice your response and that it is never tinged with any kind of negativity or animosity. It is important to remember that the layoff was caused by any number of reasons, including a business/financial decision. Rather, be prepared to discuss your accomplishments within this position and your other positions.

You have to consider questions like these to inform your narrative: Were others in your team laid off as well? How many? If it was just you, who was laid off, why? What was the business reason for the layoff?

  • Always build

Waiting is such an intricate part of a job search. Do not resign yourself to it. Continue adding to your professional profile as you search. Be prepared to discuss what you have been doing since being laid off. Have you attended a training? Have you acted as a consultant, a temporary staff member? Did you step into another position to gain more skills? Did you volunteer?

This way, you can move your mindset and your answers to future interview questions beyond the layoff conversation and onto what you want your next chapter to look like.

Layoffs happen. Be kind and patient with yourself as you work through this.
Do not take it personally; it is not you. You were a victim of a business decision, and no matter how long you worked there or how well you performed, that business is going to continue only this time, without you.

You will go on to do great things somewhere else!

Originally published on Glassdoor

Offshore wind energy investment quadruples despite Covid-19 slump

Global offshore wind investment more than quadrupled in the first half of the year even as the coronavirus pandemic triggered an unprecedented economic shock.

A report has found that investors gave the greenlight to 28 new offshore windfarms worth a total of $35bn (£28bn) this year, four times more than in the first half of 2019 and well above the total for last year as a whole.

The biggest half-year tally for offshore wind investment more than made up for a slowdown in investment for onshore wind and solar farm projects after the outbreak of Covid-19, according to the report by Bloomberg NEF (BNEF).

Albert Cheung, BNEF’s head of analysis, said: “We expected to see Covid-19 affecting renewable energy investment in the first half, via delays in the financing process and to some auction programmes. There are signs of that in both solar and onshore wind, but the overall global figure has proved amazingly resilient – thanks to offshore wind.”

The sea-based windfarms include some of the biggest investments in offshore wind ever made. The Hollandse Kust Zuid array off the coast of the Netherlands will cost the Swedish energy giant Vattenfall $3.9bn, and SSE’s Seagreen project in Scotland’s Firth of Forth is valued at $3.8bn. The number of offshore wind projects to receive a greenlight in China climbed to 17 in the first half of the year, led by the Guangdong Yudean Group’s $1.8bn plans to build the Yangjiang Yangxi Shapaat wind power project.

BNEF believes offshore wind projects are taking off despite the global economic gloom in part due to a two-thirds fall in cost since 2012 and a rush in China to finance and build offshore wind projects before the government’s subsidy regime expires at the end of 2021.

The growth in offshore wind powered a 5% jump in total renewable energy investment to $132.4bn despite a slump for onshore wind and solar power projects. Onshore wind investment for the first half of the year fell by a fifth to $37.5bn, while solar investment slipped 12% to $54.7bn.

China remained the world’s biggest market for renewable energy, with total investment of $41.6bn in the first half of the year, up more than 40% from the same period last year thanks to its offshore wind boom.

In Europe, renewable energy investment reached $36.5bn, up by 50%, while the UK’s renewable energy investment climbed to $5.7bn, more than three and half times greater than the total investment in early 2019.

Renewable energy investment slipped by 30% in the US to $17.8bn while India and Brazil recorded investments which were about 50% and 25% lower respectively at $2.7bn and $2.5bn.

Renewable energy is expected to be the most resilient area of the energy industry this year after the International Energy Agency warned that investment in global energy would fall by $400bn, the biggest slump in the industry’s history.

Angus McCrone, the chief editor of BNEF, said that a clearer picture of the impact of Covid-19 on green energy investment will come with the full-year 2020 figures.

“Renewables have been helped by vastly improved competitiveness and by investor appetite for assets offering secure cash flows. However, project developers face the challenge that key people, whether at the permitting, financing or construction stages, can’t meet face-to-face. And buyers of small-scale solar systems are sensitive to changes in consumer confidence.”

Originally published on The Guardian

10 qualities of a great recruiter

HR recruiters focus primarily on filling an organization’s job openings. Through research, interviews, networking and planning, recruiters work to find the right person for the job. An interpersonal profession at its core, recruiting frequently requires working directly with job applicants and hiring managers to assess a company’s goals and employment strategy.

While many employers hold a bachelor’s degree as the minimum education requirement for recruiters, others prefer master’s degrees – such as the Master of Science in Human Resource Development – and several years of experience.

Success in this vital and competitive career often depends on the presence of key skills and personality traits. Though it is certainly possible to work as a recruiter without all of these qualities, this list highlights important areas of interest for those who want to excel in this field.

  • Confidence

Recruiters need to show that they can perform their jobs well, both for their organization and for the jobseekers who may use their services. With confidence, recruiters will begin to develop the reputation that they can be trusted to deliver results.

  • Marketing skills

A great recruiter knows how to sell his or her services. As with the previous point, this concerns both clients and a recruiter’s employer. While a recruiter obviously has to market him- or herself enough to find and keep a job, it is also important to be able to sell compelling candidates to an organization’s hiring team.

  • Target-driven

Recruiting is a competitive field, and great recruiters need to be focused on achieving results. Often, this translates to focusing specifically on the number of people hired in a given period of time – a practice encouraged by offering financial incentives to recruiters who reach their hiring goals.

  • Relationship-building skills

Recruiters are often the first point of contact for jobseekers. As such, it is highly important for recruiters to have strong interpersonal skills. A recruiter needs to have the interest and energy to interact with people all day long, while showcasing their organization as approachable and interested in its prospective employees. Over time, the relationships forged with new employees can greatly improve a recruiter’s own career prospects, as word of a recruiter’s performance reaches higher levels of management.

  • Communication skills

Similar to the previous point, a recruiter needs to exude professionalism at all times. A recruiter must ensure that all conversation, whether in person, on the phone, or over email, is clear, mature and professional.

  • Multitasking

It is rarely the case that a recruiter deals with one candidate at a time. Rather, given the wealth of applicants for any one position, a recruiter will likely be in touch with many prospective employees and management simultaneously. Great recruiters can handle this correspondence load without becoming overwhelmed.

  • Time management skills

When an organization advertises an opening, it usually will wish to fill this position as quickly as possible. Recruiters need to be able to prioritize their efforts to ensure that this goal is met. From scheduling interviews to conducting internet searches, a great recruiter knows when to move from task to task in order to deliver results.

  • Speed

As with managing time effectively, great recruiters know that they must act quickly whenever an opening is advertised. Organizations today move fast, and any hesitation or uncertainty in the recruiting process is likely to lead to a position being filled elsewhere.

  • IT and social media skills

Many jobseekers now use social media to conduct their job searches, and rightfully so. Social media networks have become excellent ways to hear about new openings and advertise skills. Great recruiters are able to stay current with social media practices and reach out to candidates using these networks.

  • Leadership skills

While recruiting can often seem like a competitive, individualistic field, at the end of the day it is a team of recruiters that often delivers results to larger companies. Great recruiters know how and when to work with others and manage collective tasks in order to find the best candidate for the job.


Recruiting, and indeed human resources in general, is about people. In each quality noted on this list, the key point is that recruiters must be active, outgoing, friendly and engaging. Given the degree of energy a great recruiter must bring to his or her work, it is certainly the case that this is not the job for everyone. For those who feel they possess and enjoy utilizing these qualities, however, recruiting is an excellent way to provide a crucial service to companies and find satisfaction in helping future employees reach their goals. 

Originally published on Social Hire

5 Pieces of Job Searching Advice You Should Ignore

Between parents, friends, colleagues, and common “wisdom,” there’s no shortage of sources you can get advice from when you’re applying to jobs. The problem is, however, that not all of that advice is good advice. While our friends and family often mean well, the labor market changes rapidly enough that one job hunting best practice is no longer relevant a couple years later. And sometimes, advice-givers are just plain misinformed — I once had an acquaintance tell me that I shouldn’t even consider applying to a particular job without a graduate degree, which a recruiter for the position later confirmed would have been completely unnecessary.

So if you’re really looking for tips that can help you get your foot in the door at a new job, don’t rely too much on well-meaning friends and family — leave it to the experts. J.T. O’Donnell, Founder & CEO of career advice site Work It Daily, shared some of the most common misconceptions amongst job seekers, and what the truth of the matter really is.

  • “You need to stay at your company at least X years before you find a new job.”

Once upon a time, employees were expected to stay at their companies for years on end lest they risk looking flakey or unambitious. But today, the rules have changed. Millennials change jobs an average of four times in the decade after graduating from college, about double the rate of Gen Xers. And this happens for good reason — new jobs tend to be the quickest way to advance in title and salary. Besides, if you’re truly unhappy in your current position, you shouldn’t force yourself to stay — life is too short to be miserable at work.

“I still hear parents saying that you need to stay at least three years to earn credibility. But no, you don’t — not if it’s not working for you,” O’Donnell shares. “You need to go find your cadence and your stride and if it’s not happening [at your current company], you’re not helping them. You’ve got to find your own thing.”

Now, that’s not to say that you should necessarily quit a job you’re unhappy at without anything else lined up first. But if the main thing holding you back from exploring other opportunities is that you haven’t been there long enough, don’t worry. If you’re the right fit for the job, recruiters aren’t likely to write you off based solely on your previous tenure.

  • “If you want to find a job, you need to apply to as many companies as you can.”

You may have to apply to more than one company before you find the perfect fit, but that doesn’t mean that more applications directly translates into more opportunities. When it comes to applying to jobs, the key to success is working smarter, not harder. So rather than sending out as many applications as humanly possible, it’s better to get strategic and only apply to the companies that you feel are a great fit for your interests and experience. So how exactly can you identify those companies?

“One of the things we have job seekers do is create a list of 10 companies that you absolutely love — the product, the service, whatever it is they do, you absolutely love it. Don’t get hung up on whether you’d ever work for them or not, don’t get hung up that they’re not in your backyard. Just ten companies you love. Then [ask yourself], ‘What’s similar about these 10 companies?’” O’Donnell says.

From there, patterns will emerge, whether that’s companies with great customer service, a culture of innovation, a commitment to helping the less fortunate, or whatever matters most to you. “It gets a lot easier to find employers once you know what those are. And the beautiful part about going to Glassdoor is it tells me similar companies,” O’Donnell adds.

  • “Your resume should only be one page.”

Don’t worry — despite what you may have heard, submitting a resume that’s more than one page doesn’t mean that recruiters will automatically gloss over it. “The reality is that you can go to two pages as long as you create white space. When I see a one-pager but they’ve got half-inch margins, nine-point font, and they’ve tried to stuff everything on the page, it’s awful. So I’d rather see you go to two pages as long as you’ve really created that white space since it’s easier for me to read,” O’Donnell explains.

However, it’s a good rule of thumb to err on the side of concision.

“Under 15 years of experiences is a two [pager], in the rare instance you’ve had a killer career of 15+ [years] is a three [pager]. The exception to that is usually people in academia or science have a lot of papers and things that they have to cite and that can take up some bulk but aside from that… no more than two,” she adds.

  • “Your cover letter should summarize what’s in your resume.”

“In cover letters, people tell [job seekers] to basically summarize what’s in their resume,” O’Donnell says. But using your cover letter simply as a way to repurpose what you’ve already laid out is a waste of your time. “I’m not going to read your cover letter if I know that everything in [it] is what’s in the resume,” O’Donnell shares.

Beyond being redundant, using your cover letter as a resume summary means you miss out on demonstrating passion and culture fit for the company and role in particular.

“The cover letter is your opportunity to tell me how you feel connected to me as a company — I want you to tell me how you came to learn that what we do is different, special, valuable, important. The resume will speak for itself,” O’Donnell says.

This is especially important if you’re still relatively early on in your career.

“[If you] don’t have anything where you can say, ‘Check out my incredible track record,’ what you do have is that emotional connection. And that’s what every company… is looking for. They’re looking for your passion for them,” O’Donnell shares. “They know they’re going to have to train you, so tell them about how you learned that the medical devices they [make] saved your grandmother’s life, or how being in financial planning is what helped your parents pay for your college — whatever the story is that connects you, that’s what you tell those employers.”

  • “Don’t bring up gaps in your work history.”

It’s natural to want to avoid highlighting the parts of your application that aren’t so strong, but addressing issues head-on is a good way to assuage any doubts that a potential employer might have. And while you don’t want to necessarily make it front and center on your resume, recruiters and hiring managers will respect an honest, thoughtful answer if they inquire about why you took a break from the working world.

“What we teach people to do is answer that question using the ‘experience, learn, and grow’ model — what did I experience, what did I learn from that situation, and how did I grow. So if I didn’t do an internship and I goofed off for the summer… and they ask me what happened, my answer would be ‘That was a really great question. At the time, I had the summer off and I opted to not pursue an internship. What I learned from that experience is that I wasted an opportunity to really get some valuable experience for my career, and what I’ve learned is I’ll never do that again.’ That’s exactly what an employer wants to hear,” O’Donnell says.

On the other hand, if you’ve had a meaningful life event that’s gotten in the way of your work — whether positive or negative — you shouldn’t be afraid to proactively bring it up.

“If you were out of work because you took your sabbatical and traveled around the world… that would be noteworthy. If you stayed home and cared for an ailing relative or parent who passed, you may want to say [you were a] primary caregiver,” O’Donnell advises.

Originally published on Glassdoor

Virginia seeks to improve its solar policy with Virginia Clean Economy Act

Virginia is seeking to improve its impact on the environment with the Virginia Clean Economy Act. This act requires the state’s largest utilities to deliver electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2045 and includes a timeline for closing down old fossil fuel plants. Dominion, Virginia’s largest utility provider, praised the new legislation.

In addition, Virginia’s current PPA program is restricted by the cap set by the State Corporate Commission (SCC) in each utility district, which limits the number of people that can get into the PPA program.

A PPA, or Power Purchase Agreement, allows residents and businesses to buy the energy generated by the solar system installed on their property at a reduced rate compared to buying energy from the grid.

PPAs make solar energy affordable for residents and businesses giving them access to the benefits of solar with no out-of-pocket cost. With the current limit in PPAs, however, only a certain number of people can enjoy that perk. Luckily, the SCC seeks to increase that limit to allow many more people to get a PPA.

Dominion’s territory’s current limit has been hit already at 50 MW. The new cap of Dominion’s territory is now 1,000 MW and is evenly divided between jurisdictional customers, whose rates are determined by the SCC. In addition to Dominion’s cap being increased, Appalachian’s cap also increased from 7 MW to 40 MW.

The SCC is currently looking for anyone interested in participating in this improved program, which is set to be active on July 1, 2020.

Originally published on Renewable Energy World

94% Of Employers Have Been Ghosted: Why Job Seekers Do It, And How To Avoid Being Haunted

Most every job seeker has, at some point, either applied to or interviewed for a position only to be met by radio silence. Follow-up emails go unanswered, and the once-promising opportunity vanishes into the void. A few years ago, this might simply have been called part of the job hunt. Today, this disappearing act is referred to as “ghosting,” and it’s a practice that’s becoming more prevalent among applicants. Now the tables have turned. It’s employees who more and more often are ghosting employers.

“It’s a candidate-driven marketplace,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at recruiting firm Robert Half. “They have many choices.”

With the unemployment rate at a low 3.5%, job seekers are optimistic about the job market, so much so that 28% of job seekers have backed out of an offer after accepting it, with 44% of those doing so for another, more attractive proposition, according to a study by Robert Half. If multiple companies are pursuing one candidate, he or she may accept the first offer, set a start date and then receive and accept a second offer without letting the first company know, says McDonald. Research from Indeed found that of the 83% of employers who report having been ghosted, 65% say the candidate accepted their offer but failed to show up on day one.

Some 27% ceased communication after getting a counteroffer from their current employer and 19% after hearing negative feedback about the company, found Robert Half. 

And job seekers aren’t only ghosting employers after accepting offers, says McDonald, who has first-hand experience with this phenomenon. Some are bailing on interviews, while others are completing several rounds of interviews before shutting down the lines of communication. How can employers avoid this fate? McDonald advises that companies stay in constant communication with candidates to minimize the likelihood of them being a no-show. Once they accept, hiring managers should continue correspondence, whether through emails, texts, phone calls or even in-person meetings.

At the end of the day, though, it’s really up to the candidates. While Indeed found that 94% of job seekers who have ghosted say they’ve not experienced many, if any, negative repercussions, McDonald says it’s only a matter of time before their actions catch up to them. Once job seekers ghost, they burn bridges, ones that can be challenging to repair, and with every future job search will come the chance of running into someone from their past. He advises that candidates who are no longer interested in pursuing opportunities communicate that to hiring managers, whether in the form of an email or a phone call. When the average cost-per-hire is $4,425, the sooner, the better.  “If you’ve changed your mind, honesty is the best policy, no matter what part of the process you’re in,” McDonald says. “If you ghost, it will come back to haunt you at some point in your career.” 

Originally published on Forbes

4 personal branding tips for job seekers

Let’s be honest here! Job hunting has never been an easy task. It can become challenging if you don’t understand how to brand yourself for the employers to notice you. Those who understand the importance of personal branding tips know that it is the best strategy to beat the competition. Obviously, employers will receive an overwhelming number of applications when they post a vacancy. What are the chances of standing out from the rest? How will you attract the recruiters’ attention to make it to the shortlist?

Therefore, it makes logic to do self-marketing, what we are referring to as personal branding, to attract the employer. In an article published on The Entrepreneur, the CEO of Sourcify talks about the reasons for personal branding. In the publication, he says “there’s too much noise to be conservative”. Therefore it is important to make a good first impression to get noticed.

In this article, we focus on some of the tips every job seeker should have when it comes to personal branding. Think of the business marketing strategy. Marketers will spend working hours coming up with a marketing strategy for their brand. Job seekers can copy from the marketers, and also come up with specific personal branding strategies. However, it is important to first understand the best approach for personal branding. So, what are the top tips for personal branding that job seekers need to have? Scroll down further to find out.

  • Create Your Brand Identity

According to Shama Hyder a contributor on Forbes, You need to identify yourself as a brand in the market. Therefore, you should first consider the best brand identity that will suit you. What sought of a job are you searching for? What mark do you think should be created around your name? The brand name should identify your skills, values, and personality. A unique brand will help you own your space in the areas of interest. It is important that you perfect your skills and values to show/reflect what you strongly believe in. Of course, there is that strength that everyone says you rock at. This is where you need to build your brand around.

When you are creating a brand identity, you should first have a clear picture of your personal and the professional goals. These should be both the long-term and short-term goals. While coming up with the brand identity, you should ensure you identify something you will be comfortable doing. Make sure it is something you will be happy to spend hours doing every day. In order to create a brand identity you need to:

Determine your emotional appeal

What are your personal preferences? Would you like to be an accountant or a financial manager? It is necessary that you determine the best brand name that will get you to the best job. Most importantly, let it be a brand name that you will be happy to be referred to by. Therefore, take a moment and come up with a name that will best suit you. Pay attention to what interests you and your skill set.

Describe Yourself

After identifying your brand name, describe why people should seek your services and don’t forget to talk about the specific services you offer.

Showcase Your Specialization

Make sure you showcase why you are a master in the specific area. This should be in line with your personal and professional goals. Find your style to ensure you are a unique person.

  • Define Your Unique Value Proposition

A value proposition can be defined as a promise to deliver to the specific expectation of the recruiter. You need to communicate effectively to the potential employer that you possess the best skill set to meet the expectations for the role you apply for. In addition, you need to ensure it is a unique value proposition. If your value is not unique, it means you are offering the same value as the others. In business, the value proposition is what makes the customer want to buy a product. Therefore, marketers should think of the value proposition of their products and communicate the same to the customer. This is why before you add that item to the cart you first read the product description to determine whether it best meets your needs.

The same happens before the recruiter dials or sends an email to you inviting you for the interview. Therefore, you have to know the best way to make it to the list of candidates to be contacted. Even before you get a chance for a physical interview, you need to show a promise of value to the recruiter. This is why you need to have a unique value proposition statement on your application. To build a compelling value proposition, you should follow the following steps:

Determine the requirements of the recruiter

When the recruiter advertises for a specific role, they give a set of functions that the role they are filling will be expected to perform. If you are applying for the specific role, then you need to understand what you are expected to do. If you are making a speculative application, then you need to determine what are the roles that interest you at the prospective company? Once you determine these, you can then proceed to step two.

How do your skills meet the requirements of the recruiter?

Now that you understand the job requirements, it`s time to determine how your skills will meet the expectations. You need to brand yourself with unique skills that best meet the expectations of the recruiter. This is what will show the recruiter that you will make the best fit for the job and attract their attention.

Determine your Competitive Differentiation.

In personal branding, you need to define how you are different from the rest of the people applying for the same role. The trickiest part of this is that you don’t know what skills the others possess. Therefore, you need to give a serious thought to what your best prospect needs and try as much as possible to meet the expectation. For example, make sure you list the highest qualification. Include a unique training and hobby that best matches the job and is rare in the market. You can also list the special goals you have and show a strong command of the language.

  • Create an Online Presence

In this day and age, recruiters will search online when looking for new employees. To connect with these recruiters, you need to be found online. Therefore, it is imperative to create an online presence. Make sure you have a profile on all the major job market platforms. Through the online profile, you will showcase your key skills and experience. Do not forget about the online freelancing platforms. These are becoming a preferred hiring platform for many employers.

Create a professional page on social media platforms. For instance, a professional Facebook page is an important tool in personal branding. Another way of achieving online presence is having a personal Blog. For instance, if you are an accountant, you can use a personal website where you blog about accounting practices. As a rule of thumb, try as much to blog about topics relating to your career interests.

So, what are the important things to focus on when creating an online presence?

Use a High Pitch in your “About Me” Page

In your online profile, your “About Me” Page should create an impression of who you are and what you do. Imagine this section as your three-minute chance to capture the interest of the prospective recruiter. Thus, you should focus on stating who you are and what you do. This should begin on a high pitch so that you attract the attention of the reader.

Use Unique Links on Your Profile

The online profile should take the reader on an adventure. Therefore, on the work experience section, consider linking to additional websites that illustrate where you have worked and the projects you have been part of. For example, if you are a web designer, add links to the websites that you have designed. Through this, the readers will get a chance to learn more about you. This also offers a chance for the recruiter to see what you can do. If you are creating a professional profile on LinkedIn, you should have a link to the personal website to make sure the recruiter gets as much information as they wish. Ensure that every link shows work that you are proud of being part of.

  • Network With Like Minded People

To build your personal branding make sure you network with people who share similar interests as you. The number one mistake that people make when pursuing career growth is failing to network with the right people. This includes both offline and online networking. Through networking, you will open doors for new jobs, and it also helps in getting new opportunities. There are different approaches through which you can start networking for career growth. These include the following:

Offering Valuable Content To Your Network

You can become a guest blogger on a popular website. This gives you an opportunity to tap into an already established network. As you share the content with a new audience, you should add your social media platform links so that they follow you on the different platforms. This brings them closer to getting to know your skill set. Dan Schawbel, a guest blogger on Americanexpress.com, talks about how giving before you receive helps you in networking. According to Dan, people expect you to ask for help when you first meet. If you change this the other way round and offer them something they value, you have higher chances of winning favor from them.

Ensure you are Active on Social Media

Follow the prospective employers, re-share, and like the content, they post on the social media platforms. As you show your interest, these companies will notice you and most likely follow you back. If you get a follow back from a prospective employer, then it means they will see what you post. This creates an interest in your skills.

With the above personal branding tips, it will be possible to establish yourself. In the long-run, you can compete effectively for new jobs and attract prospective employers. Remember that you want to stand out from the crowd. Therefore, uniqueness is important in personal branding.

Originally published on MentionLytics

How COVID-19 is impacting renewable energy

The massive, two-decade-long growth behind renewable energy looks to level off in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be flat for long. Here’s what we know.

In mid-January, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasted an addition of 13.5 GW to the total solar capacity in the U.S., almost doubling the previous single year high in 2016 of 8 GW. Projects in Texas, California, Florida, and South Carolina made up more than half of utility-scale solar capacity additions. Residential and commercial renewable projects were also set to see new highs with more affordable, more efficient solar PV and rooftop systems hitting the market. All of these predictions, despite inaccurate in 20/20 hindsight, is actually good news. The strong outlook at the beginning of the year is a remarkable indicator that renewable energy is growing in the U.S., which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Will we see this much renewable expansion in 2020? Probably not.

But let’s face it. This is an unprecedented time.  

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to run its course, its true effect on the globe has not yet been realized. There are still too many variables to say for certain how long the pandemic will last. But, when it comes to the future of renewable energy, it doesn’t look as though it will be impacted too negatively during such a critical moment in our history. Much like the initial 2020 outlook by the EIA, it doesn’t look bad. Here’s what has happened so far, and what we might expect in the coming months.

  • Delayed until further notice

As the U.S. ramps up its preventive measures, most construction starts have been paused indefinitely. Among them, many renewable energy developments. Although 2020 was thought to be a booming year for renewable energy, the recent outbreak is infecting the energy industry with uncertain skepticism.

Robbie McNamara, the National Renewable Business Development Manager at City Electric Supply, said, “People in the industry are exercising caution right now. Investors are holding onto cash, projects are being delayed, and that’s having a ripple effect all the way down to the subcontractors.”

Disrupted supply chains, paused procurement phases, halted production, delayed projects, the list goes on — and for good reason. If this is not taken seriously, millions of people could be affected by this outbreak. Delaying these projects is a healthier tradeoff. But what does this mean in the long term?

“Although renewables are seeing a lot of delays right now, there’s still contracted work to be completed,” said McNamara. “As soon as it’s reasonably possible, the industry will pick back up right where it left off and keep moving forward. Many companies are mindful of tax credits that are set to reduce at year-end. No one can say for certain if the ITC will get an extension at the higher rate through year-end, so, when work can resume normally, we’ll probably see a big push to get these projects completed.”

McNamara brings up a good point. With these delays, some renewable projects may not reach completion until 2021, which threatens their eligibility for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind. Even though these federal tax credits have not been extended in the latest $2 trillion aid package, this may change in the coming months as solar and wind advocates lobby for extension. But at a time like this, most are erring on the side of caution.

According to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, the U.S. was predicted to install nearly 20 GW of renewable energy, which would make up an annual growth rate of 47% this year alone. Although it’s safe to say that these predictions are now off-track, COVID-19 shouldn’t influence the trajectory of renewable energy over a longer time span.

Whether or not completed projects will qualify for the federal tax credits remain to be seen.

  • Outlook? Positive.

COVID-19, although a very serious pandemic that should receive attention to slow its progression around the world, won’t bring an end to renewable energy.

Even though this pandemic will undoubtedly influence the market, and the 100% clean energy goals of many countries in the immediate future, demand for renewable is still up.

Investors and banks still see renewable energy as a AAA investment.

  • Clean energy goals are still in place.

This doesn’t change the inevitable that more companies, more countries, and more consumers support renewable energy as a primary source of new energy generation.  

And with all of this in mind, developers in the utility and commercial markets see the writing on the wall. Right now, they’re locking prices in for future projects at very low interest rates. Despite the uncertainty of when new construction in the renewable industry will resume, renewable projects should pick up again later this year or in the year to come.

Colin Smith, a senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said, “Even going into a pandemic, the market is well-positioned.”

His cause for optimism isn’t misplaced. There’s over 30.4 GW of new solar already contracted. Whether the delays will last a few weeks or a few months, the demand for renewable is still driving the market.

  • Sourcing renewable materials

Countries like the U.S. and Australia source a lot of renewable components and raw materials from China. Even though the United States started to procure panels from other countries across Asia such as South Korea and Vietnam in 2012 due to tariffs, the process has been slow moving. And, according to GlobalData Energy, even solar manufacturing plants located outside of China are dependent on Chinese imports for raw materials such as aluminum framing and solar PV glass.

As China slowly brings back production and manufacturing in a limited capacity, prices for renewable materials and components are expected to increase before ultimately declining again by the year’s end.

To better handle any bottlenecks or slowdowns in the supply chain, developers, EPCs, and sub-contractors are requesting long lead time orders or asking to delay current projects if they haven’t been already. Not knowing if they’ll be on-site to take receipt for delivered material or even to install material is contributing to delayed project schedules and shipments.  

One benefit of the disrupted supply chain is that it forces the renewable industry’s hand at seeking a more diversified supply chain. Alternative energy sources could bring future stabilization to such critical renewable energy technologies, meaning more independence and more competitive prices.

  • The uncertain hand of the market

Material deliveries. Install delays. Labor shortages. COVID-19 affects every aspect of renewable energy from the supply chain down to the installers. However, corporate demand coming out of the quarantine will provide more immediate certainty about where the renewable market is headed.

It’s not a surprise that investors in the renewable market are holding cash on hand to weather this current crisis. Given all the global uncertainty, this is causing a downstream cash flow issue for subcontractors who rely on these investments to support their business.

McNamara notes that despite the uncertainty at this time, there are no other long-term solutions on the market that can generate new energy as cheap and as clean as renewable energy.  

“As long as capital can be secured for future projects and the interest rates remain at these incredible lows to promote price-locking, it’s not a matter of if renewable energy construction will rebound but of when,” McNamara said. “It may be faster than most expect.”

Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) announced in February that 9.33 GW of renewable energy deals has already been signed by large energy buyers. With tech companies such as Facebook, Google, AT&T, and Microsoft coming at the top of the list, their interest in achieving a zero-carbon energy future will be best served by bringing these projects to completion quickly.

  • Manufacturers focus on supporting hospitals and other essential businesses

With the increased demand for PPE gear and medical equipment for hospitals, medical professionals, and janitorial staff, manufacturers are focusing on the immediate needs of our healthcare industry. This includes major automotive manufacturers such as GM, Ford, and Tesla. At the moment, delaying production of non-essential products in favor of face shields, respirators, and ventilators are clearly a much more critical issue at hand. To see such collective support rallying around the healthcare industry is inspiring, but hopefully it leads to a faster recovery as well.

  • Residential contractors see rise in cancellations

Because of the contagious nature of COVID-19, homeowners are cancelling or postponing their current solar installations until quarantine orders are lifted. Although the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) considers solar to fall under the category of essential business, it’s much harder for a residential contractor to observe social distancing mandates as opposed to those who work on large, several-hundred-acre utility-scale solar farms.

Additionally, many inspection agencies haven’t been able to operate due to government-mandated shutdowns — no permits and no inspections means no project completions. However, the SEIA is trying to approach this historic moment with innovation in mind. Some jurisdictions are accepting inspections virtually, and the SEIA is currently advocating for a one-page permit application to simplify the approval process.

However, the SEIA isn’t the only one coming up with temporary solutions.Without any homeowner contact, contractors are able to continue working on any jobs that are exterior only. Any jobs that require zero inside access and interconnections are still moving forward and may help small residential installers stay in business during any potential slowdowns on the horizon.

  • Remote selling

As many Americans and companies work from home as a precaution, “remote selling” is becoming an innovative solution during this shutdown as well. Whether the selling takes place in Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or FaceTime, leaders in the renewable market are still able to educate potential consumers on the benefits of renewable energy and use the low interest rates as a way to lock them into quotes now and get them installed with solar panels later.

Thanks to remote selling and homeowners’ longer availability at home to focus on these investments, consumer interest could actually prove to be an important windfall for renewable energy in 2020.

  • It pays to be prepared

Installing solar panels goes further than just helping the environment or lowering utility bills. With such a heavy reliance on the grid, American homeowners are considering solar as a way to gain independence from our energy infrastructure. Even though essential workers are still performing critical maintenance services and our grid continues to operate well, this pandemic and overall uncertainty still weighs on the mind of the average homeowner and may make them more prone to invest in solar in the coming year.

Orignally published on Renewable Energy World

5 Tips for Writing an Effective Job Advertisement

As with the construction of any advertisement, you should begin writing your job description with your target candidate firmly in mind.

This will enable you to tailor the advertisement to suit what will be of most significance to them about the available role, while ensuring that it is posted in the most relevant places online. To give your recruitment process a boost, follow our 5 tips for writing an effective job advertisement.

  • Make an amazing first impression

The key to good advertising is grabbing the attention of the right people. If you are seeking a high calibre, hard-working and knowledgeable candidate then your job post needs to be more than just one more on a job board.

The more energy and careful thought you put into writing your job advertisement, the better chance you have of attracting the high-achieving candidate your vacancy requires.

  • Writing search-friendly content

Just as with a web page, your job advertisement should be easily found in the search engines by relevant candidates. Consider the queries your candidate will be using when job seeking online and tailor your language accordingly.

You can increase the searchability of your job advertisement through the inclusion of keywords relating to the job type, the rank of the role and the organisation in clear sentences within your advertisement. However, it is vital that you do not overuse keywords as this will appear unnatural to the search engines and may decrease your ability to rank well for those keywords, thus having detrimental effect to your achieving your goal.

  • It’s all in the formatting

An effective job advertisement is brief, clear and to the point. You can achieve much of this with the format you choose to use. As many of your prospective candidates for a role will be job seeking online using smartphones, tablets and their laptops during their commute or after work, brevity is key.

Your candidate will be scanning reams of job advertisements for key phrases – this is significantly more difficult to do when presented with a hefty paragraph. Instead use short, one sentence paragraphs and bullet points to convey your content. Try beginning each bullet point with a verb, as this implies to the candidate that you are getting straight to the point.

You may also consider using colour coding, graphics and interesting typography in order to alert a potential candidate to your advertisement. For instance, if the role requires the regular use of problem-solving and analytical skills, why not take a different approach and make the candidate work to find the key information by first solving a puzzle? This might be in the form of a word-search or a mathematical problem.

Not only will this capture the attention and interest of the right type of candidate, but you are immediately disqualifying anyone who cannot solve the puzzle and therefore does not fulfil the criteria for the role.

  • What does your candidate want to know?

Your job advertisement should engage your candidate and lead them to contact you about the role; in order to achieve this result you must identify what information is necessary to include. The structure of a job advertisement can differ according to industry, but generally your key facts should be presented as follows:

Line 1: Overview of the position

Line 2: What differentiates this position from other roles of its sort in the same sector?

Line 3: What experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications are required?

Line 4: Call to action

However, as discussed in point 3, in the appropriate context you can think outside the box when writing and formatting your job advertisement. Certain industries provide the perfect opportunity to let the creative juices flow, but it is vital to keep in mind the following:

The core elements that your candidate will want to know – such as the job description and title

The platform on which you are placing your advertisement – a job board is not the ideal place for the more creative job advertisements, while a relevant industry magazine or website is.

  • Make it interesting with visuals

Dependent on the industry you are recruiting for and who your candidate is, it may be appropriate and beneficial to include interesting visuals within your advertisement. This is particularly relevant to those within the creative industry and media – to whom a job advertisement with an eye-catching layout with visuals can make all the difference.

Originally published on The Undercover Recruiter

How to Get Headhunters to Find You

Headhunters are a great resource when it comes to finding a job. Here are some easy tips to help headhunters find and help you.

You might’ve come into contact with a headhunter before. Unlike the traditional type of hunter you might be picturing, these hunters aren’t clad in camo, so they’re easier to spot in the wild (and by wild, we mostly mean LinkedIn).

Headhunters might also be referred to as recruiters or hiring specialists, and they work on behalf of a company to fill open positions with top talent. Think of it like this: They’re a middleman, connecting potential candidates to a hiring employer. So, it’s simple to see how headhunters can become a job seeker’s best friend.

But the question now becomes: How do you get headhunters to find you? How will a headhunter know you’re looking for a job? Here are six tips to help you get on a headhunter’s radar.

  • Make your presence known

If you’ve already got a LinkedIn profile, you’re off to a great start.

Aside from referrals and internal hires, recruiters reported that social media networks serve as a top source for talent, according to the 2017 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report. That means if you don’t yet have a personal connection or already work within a company, your next-best bet is to tap into a social media network like LinkedIn.

Once you’ve perfected your LinkedIn profile, navigate to your dashboard. Find the “Career Interest” section and update your status to “Actively Applying.” This will let headhunters know you’re open to offers. While you’re exploring your preferences, be sure to update to reflect job titles and industries you’re interested in, location preferences, type of work, and preferred company size. This will help headhunters easily determine if you’re logistically a good fit.

  • Turn your LinkedIn profile into a target

Now that you’ve let headhunters know you’re interested, give your LinkedIn profile some extra juice by optimizing it with keywords. There’s no exact science to determining the perfect keywords to include in your profile, but think about experiences and skills recruiters might be searching for. You can also look through job descriptions in your desired field to find some hot-button buzzwords.

After you put this work in upfront, you’ll want to update your profile every six months or so with new job titles, promotions, or responsibilities.

  • Take stock of your surroundings

While you wait for headhunters to flock to you, feel free to do some headhunting of your own. By that, we mean seek out headhunters who might be able to help you. Finding and selecting the perfect headhunter can be time-intensive, but for now, just focus on making the right connections.

There are a couple of ways to hunt down headhunters.

First, if you want to work for a specific company, use LinkedIn or other tools to check and see if they have internal headhunters or recruiters. For example, if you dream of working for Bosch, the engineering and electronics company, search Bosch on LinkedIn. Click over to “employees” and then filter the 20,000+ results by typing in a keyword like “talent” or “recruit” in the title section. You’ll quickly find talent acquisition consultants and hiring specialists for the company.

Second, if you’re more interested in a general industry, such as media or marketing, consider turning to external headhunting agencies and firms that work with a variety of companies. You can connect with a national agency or see if there’s a local firm nearby.

  • Make meaningful connections

Whether headhunters are reaching out to you or you’re reaching out to them, it’s important to make meaningful personal connections.

One rule of thumb for job-seekers? Always respond!

A headhunter might reach out with the “perfect” opportunity for you, but upon reading the job description, you realize that it’s just not what you’re looking for. Instead of ignoring the inquiry, respond. Thank the headhunter and enlighten them on your career goals. You never know — there could be another position that is perfect for you.

If you’re itching to reach out to a headhunter on your own, follow the same etiquette. Simply introduce yourself, share your experiences, and make your intentions known. Consider offering a get-to-know-you phone call or a coffee meet up. The more personal you can make it, the more likely they’ll remember you when the right job comes around.

  • Take a step back and survey your situation

Like anything, there are pros and cons to working with recruiters, so make yourself aware of them.

One of the biggest things to keep in mind? While, a headhunter can be your best friend when it comes to searching for a new job, remember that they still make money when they successfully connect a candidate to a company. That’s why it’s essential to take a step back every now and then to make sure your best interests are front of mind. Sure, a headhunter made that job position sound amazing, but is it amazing for you? Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do some digging on your own.

  • Continue to flex your networking skills

Practice patience, job-seeking friends. Just because you’re not immediately approached by a dozen headhunters doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Be persistent and take initiative. Keep your LinkedIn updated and follow up like it’s (almost) your job. More often than not, it’ll pay off in the end.

Originally published on Top Resume

Denmark sets record by sourcing nearly half its power from wind energy

Almost half of Denmark’s electricity consumption was harnessed from wind energy in 2019, setting a new record.

The country’s grid operator Energinet announced that just over 47 per cent of energy was generated by wind turbines, up from 41 per cent in 2018. Power generated by wind turbines at sea increased to 18 per cent last year from 14 per cent in 2018, while onshore wind accounted for 29 per cent.

Denmark is a world leader in renewable energy and is way ahead of its nearest rival Ireland, which generated 28 per cent of its energy from wind in 2018.

Wind energy is the second largest form of power generation capacity in Europe, producing 14 per cent of electricity in the European Union, according to data by wind energy advocacy group, Wind Europe. The largest wind farm in Denmark and Scandinavia, Horns Rev 3, was opened in August and supplies power to 425,000 Danish homes. The offshore wind farm is based in the North Sea and contributed to Denmark’s higher wind energy production.

Denmark plans to launch an even bigger wind farm called Kriegers Flak in the Danish Baltic Sea in 2021 and is also working on three further offshore wind projects, reported renewable energy news site Recharge. The country’s left-wing coalition government raised their climate targets in July and aim to reduce emissions by 70 per cent by 2030.

Originally published on Independant

Here’s How to Check References the Right Way

Getting references from your top job candidates’ former employers isn’t as simple as it used to be. Because managers know that revealing too much or too little can have legal consequences, they are increasingly wary of what and how much they say about past employees and their work histories.

Some companies have been sued for not disclosing enough information about former workers, while others have paid enormous settlements because they provided a negative job reference — whether true or false.

Because of these difficulties, rushing through the process of checking references — or bypassing it altogether — in order to quickly staff a position may be tempting to hiring managers, especially those in danger of losing top candidates to competing firms. But even in a competitive candidate market, getting reliable information from a job seeker’s former supervisor is an important step to take before bringing someone on board.

Here are three pieces of advice on handling the frequently difficult process of checking references for job candidates you’re considering hiring:

  • Let the candidate know you check references. 

Be clear with candidates at the outset of the job interview process that your company will be checking their references. Checking references is perfectly legal as long as the information being verified is job-related and does not violate discrimination laws. Informing applicants that you’re checking references can help ensure that the answers they give you during the interview are truthful.

  • Don’t delegate it. 

If the prospective employee will report directly to you, you should perform the job reference check yourself. You know the position best, and you will likely have corollary questions that may not occur to others. In addition, calling someone at your same level may establish greater camaraderie that will prompt more honest and detailed answers. Checking references is also a great way to gain insight from a former supervisor on how to best manage the individual.

  • Start with the candidate’s responses. 

Asking candidates in the job interview what their former employers are likely to say about them can provide you with a good starting point for your reference checks. You can begin by saying something such as, “Joe tells me that you think he was a top performer known for being a consummate team player,” and have the employer take it from there.

Additionally, when seeking feedback from your top candidates’ former employers, be on alert for the following five warning signs:

  • Negative feedback. 

It should go without saying that if a reference doesn’t provide a strong assessment of a candidate, you should consider that a red flag. But don’t stop there. Ask probing questions to discover why. You may come to suspect, for example, that a former colleague or boss is giving a bad reference that isn’t really deserved, perhaps due to past personal conflicts. In that type of situation, conduct several more reference checks with different contacts to confirm or refute the feedback.

  • ‘Don’t call this one.’ 

If a candidate submits references and then hints that you should not get in touch with certain people on the list, that’s a bad sign. Likewise, if you try to connect with references only to discover you’ve been given a wrong phone number, the writing may be on the wall that something is amiss. Resist the urge to jump to conclusions, though. Give the candidate a chance to supply new, correct contact information.

  • Just-the-facts references. 

Some employers may supply factual references only — that is, just confirming the name, job title and dates of employment. This could indicate a less-than-satisfactory work history, or you may simply be dealing with an employer whose policies don’t allow further elaboration. In these cases, replace open-ended questions (“In which areas did they excel on the job?”) with more straightforward queries (“Would you rehire them if you had the chance?”). Sometimes a more direct question can get hesitant references to open up.

  • Inconsistencies. 

If at any point during the reference check a former employer tells you something that doesn’t align with what the candidate indicated in their resume or during the interview, that should set off warning bells. Ask the reference a few more direct questions to make sure you aren’t misinterpreting the response. Depending on the extent of the discrepancies, you may want to give the candidate an opportunity to explain.

  • Excessively glowing references. 

If the feedback you receive sounds a little too good to be true, it might be. Honest references will candidly share the strengths and weaknesses of their former employee or colleague, especially if you ask the right questions. If the reference can’t identify a single thing the candidate can do better, they may not be giving you a complete picture.

Despite the work involved, you shouldn’t shy away from conducting reference checks. The more time and attention you put into vetting a candidate up front, the better your chances of making a great hire — or avoiding a bad one.

Originally published on Robert Half

Top 10 Remote Online Interview Tips During Lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an interruption for businesses around the globe. It is an unsettling time for everyone as we are all unsure of when this will end. Although many businesses have stopped hiring people during this period of time, there are still many that are recruiting people for now and the future!

The primary change is that these interviews will be taking place remotely; so instead of going and meeting your interviewer, you will now be doing your interview online. Although this may not be ideal for either the candidates or interviewers, it is the new normal for now, so we will all just have to adapt. If you look on the bright side, without the travel time you can conduct multiple interviews in one day from the comfort of your home.

Here are the top 10 remote interview tips which will help you if you are preparing for an online interview soon.

  • Test your technology

This is the first thing you want to do to prepare for your interview. Don’t leave 5 minutes before the interview begins. The last thing you want is for the audio or screen to not work. Make sure you test the audio beforehand as well as making sure the camera shows you clearly. This is a very important thing to do as you don’t want to feel embarrassed and make a bad impression with your interviewer!

  • Dress the part

You still need to dress up like you would if you were to go in for an interview. My advice is you should dress up completely. Don’t just dress the top half of yourself as if you do need to get up and you are seen wearing pyjama bottoms—maybe they can’t see it but you will feel it. Instead, you want to dress like you are about to go and meet your interviewer in person. Wear a simple white shirt or blouse with either a skirt or smart trousers, keeping your look simple and professional.

  • Make sure you’re ready

Make sure you are at least 10 minutes ready before the interview. By this, you want to ensure everything is in place, including the equipment you will be using for the interview e.g. mobile phone or laptop. By being prepared before your interview, this gives you a chance to relax and show you are eager and ready to begin the interview!

  • Make eye contact

Although you are not present face to face with the interviewer, it is still important you maintain eye contact throughout the duration of the interview. This will show you are focused and confident and not distracted. The nature of the environment may feel weird for you however the principles of the interview are the exact same remotely or in real life. So, always keep that in mind.

  • Remove distractions

You need to be fully engaged with the interviewer throughout the interview, so remove all distractions. Ensure you are in a quiet space where you will not have anyone to disrupt your interview. You should also remove distractions like your phone, put it on silent so your eyes don’t divert to your screen. You want to make sure the interview goes as smoothly as possible and not have any awkward moments!

  • Keep your CV next to you

Have a copy of your CV next to you printed out, rather than on the screen. This is because it may look like you are distracted flicking between different screens throughout the interview, making it look unprofessional. Instead, have your CV by your side and make it aware to the interviewer that you will be referring to it if necessary.

  • Prepare and rehearse key questions

You want to make sure you are prepared for the key questions you may be asked throughout the interview. These questions can be found online as generic questions asked during the interview. By preparing various answers you will avoid those awkward pauses between question and answer.

  • Show that you researched the company and position

This is something you would have prepared for beforehand, however you want to make sure you display the correct knowledge about the company and position throughout the interview. This is one way to stand out during your remote interview as it shows you have taken the time to research and familiarise yourself and that you want the job!

  • Market yourself!

This interview is your time to shine, so make sure you show why you should be hired for this position. You want to showcase your skills including that you are reliable and dependable. Make sure you also answer all questions clearly and in detail, giving specific examples and explaining what you learnt from previous experiences.

And build your online personal profile so that if they look for you online, you have a digital footprint.

  • Follow through

Once the interview is finished, make sure you send an email simply thanking the interviewer for the interview and their time. This will show you are genuinely interested in the position and that you look forward to finding out if you are successful in gaining the role.

So you have successfully completed the remote interview, now you just have to wait! Although these are difficult times we are experiencing, you still want to make sure you take advantage of various job opportunities, getting a job may be a numbers game so take action and enjoy the experience whilst you can!

Originally published on Forbes

9 Do’s and Don’ts When Employees Work From Home

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, companies across a wide range of industries have employees working from home. In addition to being a necessary precaution for small businesses dealing with coronavirus, allowing employees to work from home can improve their loyalty and satisfaction, serve as a reward and motivation and even save you money on utilities and office space. But to maximize the benefits of remote work, it’s important to follow a few do’s and don’ts.

  • Don’t expect remote workers to be at their desks 9 to 5.

The whole point of remote work during the coronavirus crisis is to enable flexibility for your team while protecting their health. Be understanding of the fact that many employees have children out of school and range of new responsibilities to attend to at varying times.

  • Do set clear expectations for remote workers.

Remote workers should know what to expect in terms of job requirements. For instance, you may want remote workers to be available during certain “core hours” of the day to answer calls or interact with other employees and then give them flexible hours the rest of the time. Include expectations for remote workers in your employee handbook.

  • Do make a plan for regular communication. 

Communication is the key to the success of any remote work program. Choose how and when your team will communicate while working remotely. For instance, you may want to have a regular Monday morning conference call or a daily 10-minute check-in. Outside of that, will email, chat or some type of project management app be your preferred communication method?

  • Don’t micromanage remote workers.

No one likes to be micromanaged, and employees who are working remotely may feel you don’t trust them if you are always looking over their shoulders. Give remote workers tasks to do, make sure they have the tools to do them and let them handle the details of how they plan to accomplish those tasks.

  • Do occasionally assess your work-at-home program.

Don’t let remote workers drift without direction. While you shouldn’t micromanage them, you should check in occasionally to see how things are going and if they need help or guidance. Also regularly assess how well the work-at-home program is functioning, take suggestions from employees and make any needed changes.

  • Don’t neglect cybersecurity measures.

Working from home can expose your business to cybersecurity risks when employees use unsecured home computers or networks. Protect your business by making sure any cloud-based file sharing and storage apps employees use have security measures appropriate to your industry. Make your website secure, set up two-factor authentication to log in to your networks and use a virtual private network (VPN) for access to your business files.

  • Be mindful of first-time remote workers. 

This is a challenging time for many employees, especially those who are working from home for the first time. Stay in close communication with your remote workers and make sure they have the tools they need to be effective while working from home.

  • Do put the right technology in place.

From videoconferencing tools and project management software to chat apps, there are plenty of options to help streamline virtual communication with your remote workers (Zoom is one popular option). In addition to these tools, consider providing remote workers with up-to-date, appropriate hardware (such as laptops, headsets and mobile devices)—it will help boost their productivity wherever they are.

  • Make sure your website is up to date. 

Small business owners, in particular, should ensure that their website and related listings feature accurate information and function correctly. Look into upgrading your web hosting, or, if necessary, consider creating a new website that matches your requirements today.

Originally published on web.com

4 Myths About Job Hunting During A Recession

Whenever talks about a potential recession come up, it naturally puts some people on edge. Recessions can impact careers and make the job search process a lot more complicated. However, not all hope is lost. While getting a job during a recession isn’t easy, it’s not impossible. Here are four common myths about the job search process during a recession.

  • Myth 1: No One Hires During A Recession

There are some businesses that are greatly impacted by recessions that may implement hiring freezes, and others that will slow their hiring, but in general there’s always some need to hire people as a result of vacancies and retirements. In addition, there are some industries that continue to do well in a recession. However, while businesses are still hiring during a recession, the job competition will be greater and you’ll need to work harder to market yourself as an employee worth hiring.

  • Myth 2: No One Will Hire You After Getting Laid Off

But from a competition standpoint being laid off puts you at an initial disadvantage. Layoffs are common during a recession. This increases the competition because of the amount of people on the job market in need of work. If you’re laid off, you have to work even harder to market yourself to potential employees. But at the same time, you don’t want to come across as too desperate. Like with any job search, do your research and leverage your professional network whenever you can.

  • Myth 3: If You’re Over 50, You Won’t Get Hired

People over the age of 50 are staying in the workforce a lot longer but have to compete with millennials that make up more than half of the workforce. These millennials are highly skilled, tech savvy, and a lot cheaper to employ. This means that anyone over 50 looking to get hired needs to work even harder to get noticed. You need to clearly understand and sell what it is that you do well (you’re specialty). You also need to invest in yourself and be willing to upskill whenever you can.

  • Myth 4: You’ll Have To Take Less Money

Recession or not, you should prepare for a typical salary negotiation process. Do your research and have an idea of the competitive rate for the position you’re pursuing. If you’ve settled on a salary range, be ready to prove to the company why you would be worth the investment. You can do this by demonstrating why you’d be a valuable asset to the company and how your unique skills/experiences will make you the best fit for the role. It always comes back to marketing yourself. In many ways the job search process doesn’t change much in a recession. If you want to pursue a new career you have to work hard and be your own best advocate.

Originally published on Work It Daily

Elatos Information – COVID-19

Dear clients, dear candidates,

In the exceptional situation in which we are all living at the moment, and in accordance with the Government’s guidelines, Elatos’s business activities will continue to be provided in full by its team who are working remotely during this latest period of lockdown.

All of our employees can be contacted by phone and email.

Our priority is the health and safety of our employees, clients and candidates and we are doing everything we can to minimise the risk of infection, while at the same time guaranteeing uninterrupted support and continuity in the management of our recruitment assignments.

Since the 30th October 2020 all interviews with candidates have been taking place via videoconference; the entire team has all the necessary tools and security systems for remote working.

In the event of a face-to-face interview, the health-protection measures remain unchanged:

  • Wearing of a mask, provision of gel and direction to a water tap for washing hands.
  • Compliance with protective measures and social distancing (1 metre) during the discussion.

Obviously, these measures may be subject to change depending on the regular information which we receive from the government and the health authorities.

In these uncertain times please be assured that our team is available to support you and remains at your disposal for any further information you may need.

Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.

The ELATOS team

Anti-solar cells: A photovoltaic cell that works at night

What if solar cells worked at night? That’s no joke, according to Jeremy Munday, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC Davis. In fact, a specially designed photovoltaic cell could generate up to 50 watts of power per square meter under ideal conditions at night, about a quarter of what a conventional solar panel can generate in daytime, according to a concept paper by Munday and graduate student Tristan Deppe. The article was published in, and featured on the cover of, the January 2020 issue of ACS Photonics.

Munday, who recently joined UC Davis from the University of Maryland, is developing prototypes of these nighttime solar cells that can generate small amounts of power. The researchers hope to improve the power output and efficiency of the devices.

Munday said that the process is similar to the way a normal solar cell works, but in reverse. An object that is hot compared to its surroundings will radiate heat as infrared light. A conventional solar cell is cool compared to the sun, so it absorbs light.

Space is really, really cold, so if you have a warm object and point it at the sky, it will radiate heat toward it. People have been using this phenomenon for nighttime cooling for hundreds of years. In the last five years, Munday said, there has been a lot of interest in devices that can do this during the daytime (by filtering out sunlight or pointing away from the sun).

  • Generating power by radiating heat

There’s another kind of device called a thermoradiative cell that generates power by radiating heat to its surroundings. Researchers have explored using them to capture waste heat from engines.

“We were thinking, what if we took one of these devices and put it in a warm area and pointed it at the sky,” Munday said.

This thermoradiative cell pointed at the night sky would emit infrared light because it is warmer than outer space.

“A regular solar cell generates power by absorbing sunlight, which causes a voltage to appear across the device and for current to flow. In these new devices, light is instead emitted and the current and voltage go in the opposite direction, but you still generate power,” Munday said. “You have to use different materials, but the physics is the same.”

The device would work during the day as well, if you took steps to either block direct sunlight or pointed it away from the sun. Because this new type of solar cell could potentially operate around the clock, it is an intriguing option to balance the power grid over the day-night cycle.

Originally published on Science Daily

How to reject candidates without burning bridges

Rejecting candidates with grace is part of creating a positive candidate experience. When done right, it helps you build a healthy talent pipeline and improve your employer brand. That’s because candidates who leave your hiring pipeline on a high note are more likely to consider future job openings if you reach out, become customers or recommend your products/services and encourage people they know to apply for future roles at your company

  • Reject candidates as soon as possible

Show rejected candidates you value their time with quick communication. Candidates want to hear from you promptly, even if you’re sharing bad news, so avoid waiting weeks to send rejection emails. As a rule of thumb, let candidates know you’re not moving forward with their candidacy as soon as you know. Book a weekly time slot to remind yourself to contact applicants who won’t advance in your hiring process.

  • Personalize your communication

It’s best to reject candidates who reached your final hiring stage over the phone. You’ll get the chance to genuinely thank them for their time and give them constructive feedback. For candidates you reject during early stages, save time by sending emails. Add a personal note (e.g. “Good luck on your X project”) and invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn to keep in touch.

  • Give honest (but useful) feedback

Offer specific, personalized feedback to help candidates understand why you turned them down. To avoid legal risks, be tactful and stick to job-related criteria (e.g. “We were looking for more energetic candidates” may sound discriminatory to older candidates.) Use interview scorecards to help you refer to specific facts when giving interview feedback. If applicable, recommend skills they could develop to become more competitive candidates or ways to improve their job search. As long as your advice is genuine, candidates will appreciate your help and remember the effort you made to help them improve their applications to other jobs.

  • Open up lines of communication

Be available to candidates and be transparent about your hiring process. Offer details about your hiring time frame (e.g. how many candidates are moving to the next phase and when you expect to update them) and, in the meantime, let candidates know if your process or timeline changes. Make sure candidates have your contact details and encourage them to communicate their questions or concerns at any time.

  • Ask for candidates’ feedback

Use your rejection process to gauge candidate experience. Getting feedback from candidates is not just self-serving; it nurtures trust between you and candidates and shows that you value their opinions. Invite them to complete your candidate experience survey, leave a review on Glassdoor or simply share their opinion over the phone. Thank candidates who respond and use their feedback to improve your hiring process.

Originally published on Workable

No One Is Responding to My Job Applications. What Should I Do?

It’s a common feeling these days. You apply for jobs online and you rarely get a response. It seems almost like your resume just disappears into the ether, never to be seen by an actual person. You wonder: Is anyone on the other end reading these things?

We feel your pain. And while it may seem like there isn’t anyone on the other end of your applications, we can assure you, from personal experience, that there is. Not only that, but recruiters who post on job boards are—believe it or not—also frustrated by the process. Especially when they receive hostile emails from job seekers who receive a standard auto response.

“While I understand the frustration of someone looking for a job and either not getting a response or getting an automated response,” says Emma Logan, director of human resources and IT at Mother Jones magazine, “it is really counterproductive to lash out at the people doing the hiring. If you’re on a job hunt, it’s not the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, it’s the honey that catches the fly.”

Try not to feel hopeless and helpless. At least you can make sure that you aren’t doing anything to undermine your chances.

Here are some do’s and don’ts for applying online:

  • Follow directions. 

Read the job listing and follow instructions to the letter. Don’t send attachments if the ad says they’re not wanted. And don’t call if they explicitly say not to. This is not the time to take matters into your own hands. You want to demonstrate that you can read and follow directions.

  • Don’t apply for a job that’s completely out of your league. 

For example, a recent college grad shouldn’t toss his hat into the ring for a job that requires 3-5 years experience in a specific industry. This approach simply clogs the recruitment pipes and won’t land the job of your dreams.

  • Always write a cover letter. 

A resume will never be enough to represent you as a professional. Use your writing talent and communication skills to describe the experience most relevant to the job.

  • Cherry-pick your opportunities. 

Rather than firing off 30 applications in a single hour, spend the same amount of time writing one powerful and persuasive cover letter. Random spamming with the same cover letter and resume will not get you any closer to employment. Recruiters won’t consider you as a serious candidate.

  • Address cover letters to a person. 

More often than not, a specific contact person is named in the job description. Address your correspondence to him or her. In other words, avoid nameless-and-faceless salutations such as “Dear sir” and “Dear Human Resources.” In the rare instance a name is not provided, go with the old-fashioned “To whom it may concern”—and remember that only that first T should be capitalized.

  • Nail the tone. 

Writing informally is fine for emails to friends, but it doesn’t fly in a job application. On the other end of the spectrum, an overly formal approach is just as much of a turn off. Check this out: “At this time I would like to present myself as a candidate for employment.” A bit stilted, right? How about this instead: “I’m very interested in learning more about this position.”

  • Ask not what the company can do for you; ask what you can do for the company. 

A winning cover letter speaks directly to the needs of the employer. Write about your experience, but put it in the context of the potential employer and how your skills are relevant to the job. Here’s an example of what not to do: “The position you advertise is attractive to me.” Instead tell the recruiter why your resume should rise to the top. Try this instead: “After ten years as a copy editor for national magazines, I believe my experience is relevant to your needs.”

  • Proofread on paper. 

Before sending your email application, take time to proofread it on paper first. It is difficult to spot spelling errors, typos, extra spaces and superfluous words on screen. And show it to a friend—preferably a copy-editor friend. Check job titles as well. Little mistakes are the kiss of death.

Of course, it’s still tough, and there are still an awful lot of people applying for relatively few positions. You won’t necessarily get your dream gig, but hopefully you’ll at least start getting some callbacks.

Originally published on MediaBristo

Community-generated green electricity to be offered to all in UK

UK homes will soon be able to plug into community wind and solar farms from anywhere in the country through the first energy tariff to offer clean electricity exclusively from community projects.

The deal from Co-op Energy comes as green energy suppliers race to prove their sustainability credentials amid rising competition for eco-conscious customers and “greenwashing” in the market.

The energy supplier will charge an extra £5 a month over Co-op’s regular tariff to provide electricity from community energy projects and gas which includes a carbon offset in the price.

Co-op, which is operated by Octopus Energy after it bought the business from the Midcounties Co-operative last year, will source the clean electricity for its new tariff directly from 90 local renewable energy generation projects across the UK, including the Westmill wind and solar farms in Oxfordshire. It plans to use all profits to reinvest in maintaining the community projects and building new ones.

Phil Ponsonby, the chief executive of Midcounties Co-operative, said the tariff is the UK’s only one to be powered by 100% community-generated electricity and would ensure a fair price is paid to community generators too.

Customers on the Community Power tariff will be able to “see exactly where it is being generated at small scale sites across the UK, and they know it is benefiting local communities”, he said.

Co-op, which has about 300,000 customers, has set itself apart from a rising number of energy supply deals which are marked as 100% renewable, but are not as green as they seem.

Consumer group Which? has found that many suppliers offer renewable energy tariffs but do not generate renewable electricity themselves or have contracts to buy any renewable electricity directly from generators.

Instead, the “pale green” suppliers exploit a loophole in the energy market by snapping up cheap renewable energy certificates, without necessarily buying energy from renewables projects.

The certificates are issued by the regulator to renewable energy developers for each megawatt generated, but these can be sold separately from the electricity for a fraction of the price.

Which? warned that these suppliers appear to be greenwashing their energy tariffs, which could risk misleading customers. A survey conducted last year found that one in 10 people believe that a renewables tariff means that the supplier generates at least some of its electricity from its own renewable energy projects.

Ponsonby said the wind and solar schemes that generate electricity for the Community Power tariff “plough the profits they make back into their neighbourhoods or into helping other similar projects get off the ground”.

Greg Jackson, the chief executive of Octopus Energy, said being able to buy locally-sourced clean, green energy is “a massive jump in the right direction” which will help grow the UK’s green electricity capacity.

“Investing in more local energy infrastructure and getting Britain’s homes run by the sun when it’s shining and the wind when it’s blowing can end our reliance on dirty fossil fuels sooner than we hoped,” he said.

“Local people investing in local people means that we can all muck in and put the work in to decarbonise where governments and large companies are slow to.”

Originally published on The Guardian

9 social recruiting tips to attract top talent

Social recruiting (also known as social hiring and social media recruitment) is a method of using social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn to advertise jobs, find talent, and communicate with potential recruits about company culture.

We’ve reached the point now where social recruiting isn’t just a novelty – it’s a must-have for any successful recruiting strategy.

A full 94% of professional recruiters network on social media and use it to post jobs to an extensive community. And 59% of employees say a company’s social media presence was part of the reason they chose their workplace.

  •  Host a live Q&A via Periscope to meet applicants.

Periscope allows you to set up a live video stream from your phone anywhere you can connect, and give others access to that live stream. Besides Q&As, you could also use Periscope to share your company culture with potential applicants by broadcasting company events or a live video stream of your workplace.

  • Download Periscope on your phone.
    • Promote your Periscope Q&A.
    • Make sure you’re set up right on launch day.
    • Get familiar with the controls – You’ll want to set these to make it easy for the widest audience to participate, so share location, allow anyone to view and comment, and share to Twitter.
    • Do a practice run.
    • Broadcast! – Watch for questions to appear in the lower left corner of your screen and answer them.
  • Optimize your LinkedIn company page for search.

LinkedIn uses the text you write when you create your account to help people find you, and Google uses text from LinkedIn pages to decide where they’ll show in search results.

  • Write a brief main message – When your company page shows up in search, Google only shows the first 154 characters, so focus on what you want your message to be.
    • Fill out your description – All of this is searchable text for Google, so you’ll want to include keywords people would use to find your company in search, and you may need to balance it out with social media marketing needs – not just recruiting.
    • Lastly, fill out the “Company Specialties” section.
    • Check out our article on how to post a job to LinkedIn.
  •  Get employees to help share your culture.

The people who form your company are in the best place to share company culture authentically on social media. To help them get comfortable talking about your brand, create a social media policy. You can find some great tips for creating a social media policy here.

Once you’ve got a company social media policy in place, it’s time to use the most authentic social recruiting resource tool you have – your team. Encourage them to share honestly on social media about what your workplace culture is like.

  •  Monitor social media for brand issues and opportunities.

There are several tools out there that can help you monitor social media presence for opportunities to connect with employees and potential employees, look for relevant content to share, and look out for problems.

We think one of the easiest to use is Hootsuite. Here’s how to get started.

  • Register with Hootsuite and add your social accounts.
    • Create basic streams to monitor – In Hootsuite, click “AddStream.” For each account, you’ll see a list of instant options.
    • Create custom streams in Hootsuite – Click “AddStream” then “Search.” Create searches for all your branded hashtags, including your brand name, industry influencers, and topics that will be interesting to your audience.
  •  Create easy employer branding videos to share.

If you spend any time checking out social media branding for large enterprises, you’ll notice they have a lot of videos. This probably sounds like something you need to hire a professional to do, right?

Turns out the powerful little cameras on our phones, combined with the right light and sound, can produce surprising results. Watch this short video from Wistia – you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with just a phone and the right techniques.

  •  Make passive candidates and social recruiting work for you.

If you’re using social media to recruit, you’re going to end up with a lot of passive candidates, people who weren’t actively looking for a job. There’s considerable research that says passive candidates don’t fare as well as active ones.

So, if you’re considering a passive candidate, try to find out what is motivating them to consider your position. Are they passionate about the work? To avoid hiring candidates that don’t adapt, present them with an accurate picture of what it’s like. Don’t sugar coat the job.

  •  Attract candidates to your employer brand with Instagram.

Sharing on Facebook isn’t what it used to be. These days, it’s pretty hard to get attention on Facebook without paying for it. Instagram, on the other hand, has the highest user engagement of any of the top social media, with about 10X more than Facebook and 100X more than Twitter.

That’s 10 – 100 times more clicks, likes, shares, etc., per post. It’s a great place for building your employer brand, especially with the future in mind, as 67 percent of its users are under 29.

  •  Learn about your Facebook audience to improve.

You can use Facebook’s own, built-in insight tools to learn what content is getting traction on your Facebook page. If you created a Facebook page just for employer branding this will give you data specific to people interested in employment, rather than your company’s general followers.

  •  Use social recruiting software.

Sometimes the easiest way to streamline all of the recruiting that you do through social media is to make use of a software program that can simplify the process.

You can use social recruiting software to sync all of your company’s social media accounts, schedule posts, automate responses, and more. 

Originally published on Better Team

Top 10 Job Interview Questions With Best Answers

Are you ready to ace your upcoming job interview? It’s always important to be prepared to respond effectively to the questions that employers typically ask. Since these questions are so common, hiring managers will expect you to be able to answer them smoothly and without hesitation.

You don’t need to memorize your answers, but you should think about what you’re going to say so you’re not put on the spot. Your responses will be stronger if you prepare in advance, know what to expect during the interview, and have a sense of what you want to focus on.

  • Tell me about yourself.

What They Want to Know: The interviewer wants to know why you’re an excellent fit for the job. Try to answer questions about yourself without giving too much, or too little, personal information. You can start by sharing some of your personal interests and experiences that don’t relate directly to work, such as a favorite hobby or a brief account of where you grew up, your education and what motivates you. You can even share some fun facts and showcase your personality to make the interview a little more interesting.

  • Why should we hire you?

What They Want to Know: Are you the best candidate for the job? The hiring manager wants to know whether you have all the required qualifications. Be prepared to explain why you’re the applicant who should be hired. Make your response a confident, concise, focused sales pitch that explains what you have to offer and why you should get the job. 

  • What is your greatest strength?

What They Want to Know: This is one of the questions that employers almost always ask to determine how well you are qualified for the position. When you are asked about your greatest strengths, it’s important to discuss the attributes that qualify you for that specific job, and that will set you apart from other candidates. 

  • What is your greatest weakness?

What They Want to Know: Another typical question interviewers will ask is about your weaknesses. Do your best to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee, turning seeming “weaknesses” into strengths. You can also share examples of skills you have improved, providing specific instances of how you have recognized a weakness and taken steps to correct it.

  • Why do you want to leave (or have left) your current job?

What They Want to Know: The interviewer wants to know why you want to work for their company. When asked about why you are moving on from your current position, stick with the facts, be direct and focus your answer on the future, especially if your departure wasn’t under the best circumstances. 

  • What are your salary expectations?

What They Want to Know: The hiring manager wants to know what you expect to earn. It seems like a simple question, but your answer can knock you out of competition for the job if you overprice yourself. If you underprice yourself, you may get shortchanged with a lower offer. 

  • Why do you want this job?

What They Want to Know: This question gives you an opportunity to show the interviewer what you know about the job and the company, so take time beforehand to thoroughly research the company, its products, services, culture and mission. Be specific about what makes you a good fit for this role, and mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you most.

  • How do you handle stress and pressure?

What They Want to Know: What do you do when things don’t go smoothly at work? How do you deal with difficult situations? The employer wants to know how you handle workplace stress. Avoid claiming that you never, or rarely, experience stress. Rather, formulate your answer in a way that acknowledges workplace stress and explains how you’ve overcome it, or even used it to your advantage.

  • Describe a difficult work situation or project and how you overcame it.

What They Want to Know: The interviewer wants to know how you respond when faced with a difficult decision. As with the question about stress, be prepared to share an example of what you did in a tough situation. It’s important to share details to make the story believable and engaging. 

  • What are your goals for the future?

What They Want to Know: This question is designed to find out if you’re going to stick around or move on as soon as you find a better opportunity. Keep your answer focused on the job and the company, and reiterate to the interviewer that the position aligns with your long-term goals.

Originally published on The Balance Careers

The European Union aims to be the first climate neutral continent by 2050

The European Commission has presented The European Green Deal, its policy roadmap aimed at making the climate policy the new growth strategy for the European Union and at making the continent climate neutral by 2050. The European Green Deal covers all sectors of the economy, notably transport, energy, agriculture, buildings, and industries such as steel, cement, information and communications technology (ICT), textiles and chemicals. It will focus on improving the efficient use of resources by achieving a clean, circular economy, on stopping climate change and on cutting pollution.

Reaching net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 will require to raise the GHG emission cut target from the current 40% goal to 50-55% (55% target subject to a cost-benefit analysis). The European Commission aims to boost energy efficiency (including by doubling or even tripling the renovation rate of buildings), to interconnect energy systems, to better integrate renewables to the grids, to decarbonise the gas sector and to develop the full potential of European offshore wind.

Where investment needs are concerned, the European Commission will present a Sustainable Europe Investment Plan in early 2020, to help finance investments in climate action, as it estimates that achieving the current 2030 climate and energy targets would require €260bn/year of additional investment, representing about 1.5% of 2018 GDP. It plans to dedicate at least 25% of the EU’s long-term budget to climate action. It will implement a “Just Transition Mechanism” to support regions relying on carbon-intensive activities and will benefit from the financial support of the European Investment Bank through the “InvestEU” programme.

The Commission plans to present the first ‘European Climate Law’ by the end of the first quarter of 2020.

 

Originally published on Enerdata

The most common recruiting challenges and how to overcome them

If you had to name one thing as your biggest hiring headache, what would it be? It’s true that your answers might vary depending on the size of the company you work with or the type of roles you’re hiring. But, most recruiters would gravitate to a few common recruiting challenges.

Here are the 8 common recruiting challenges we hear most often, and solutions to overcome them to make your hiring more effective:

  • Attracting the right candidates

If you’ve ever tried to discover the right candidate in a pool full of unqualified talent, you’ll know that your options are limited. You’ll choose the best person you can find at the time—not the best fit for the job. But it’s not always about the number of candidates who apply; the best way to hire the right people is often from a smaller pipeline of more qualified talent.

Tip: Be clear about the requirements in your job ads and give a concise view of the role. Use an application form with ‘knock-out’ questions to directly address your key concerns. For example, need someone with a clean driving license? Include a yes/no question asking candidates if they have one. It’s a fast way to screen out people who aren’t right for the role.

  • Engaging qualified candidates

Good candidates are often contacted regularly by recruiters, making it harder for your own email to stand out. In addition, candidates with hard-to-find skills are often considering several job offers at the same time. You need to put extra effort into persuading passive candidates to choose your company over your competitors.

Tip: Before contacting a passive candidate, research what motivates them and what makes them happy in their job. With this knowledge, personalize your sourcing emails to describe what you can offer them instead of what they can do for your company.

  • Hiring fast

Hiring teams want to hire as fast as possible, because vacant positions cost money and delay operations. Yet, depending on your industry, making a hire can take several months putting pressure on recruiters and frustrating hiring teams. A long time to hire may be a byproduct of a shortage of qualified candidates. The hiring process may be too long or hiring teams might struggle to reach a consensus, resulting in the best candidates finding jobs elsewhere.

Tip 1: Look at your hiring process and ask yourself: are all the hiring stages really required? Are we looking in the right places to fill our candidate pipelines? Do we communicate quickly with candidates and with each other? All these questions can be answered with the help of recruiting metrics from your Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Tip 2: Sometimes long time to hire is natural when you’re hiring for hard-to-fill roles. Explain that to the hiring teams and set expectations early on. Let them know what a realistic timeline is and highlight the importance of hiring carefully for roles where a bad hire could cost a lot of money.

  • Using data-driven recruitment

Companies can use recruitment data and metrics to constantly improve their recruiting process and make more informed decisions. But collecting and processing data can be a hassle. Spreadsheets are one way to track hiring data but they require manual work, are prone to human error—and they’re not compliant. This makes it hard to track data and trends accurately. Hiring teams need ways to compile and organize data in an efficient and streamlined way.

Tip: You can store data and export helpful reports using systems like an ATS, Google Analytics or recruitment marketing software. You don’t need to track every recruiting metric there is. Have a conversation with senior management to settle on a few metrics that make sense to you and your company.

  • Building a strong employer brand

A good employer brand helps you attract and engage better candidates. Organizations that invest in employer branding are three times more likely to make a quality hire. Yet, it’s a complex process that includes anything from ensuring a positive candidate experience to promoting your culture on social media. It’s a continuous, collective effort that requires you to step out of your usual duties and secure buy-in from your coworkers.

Tip: Always reply (courteously) to online reviews – bad and good. Give your coworkers the means to tell their story about their work and what they like (for example, through blogs and videos). And above all, be a good employer and it’ll show.

  • Ensuring a good candidate experience

Candidate experience isn’t only important for employer branding, but it’s also a factor when your best candidates are evaluating your job offers. The way you treat candidates during the hiring process mirrors the way you’ll treat them after hiring. If they had a bad experience, they’re less likely to accept. Conversely, positive candidate experiences can enhance your employer brand and encourage good candidates to apply and accept your job offers.

Tip 1: Set expectations for communication: tell candidates when they should expect to hear from you and, if you have an ATS, set reminders and use email templates to follow through with that promise. Don’t leave them in the dark throughout the hiring process.

Tip 2: Coordinate well with candidates. If you’re scheduling an in-person interview, give them all necessary information (like who to ask for and what to bring). Explain what they should expect from the interview and what the next steps are. Inform reception they’re coming and don’t let them wait in the lobby.

  • Recruiting fairly

Many companies struggle to attract and hire diverse candidates and unconscious biases are often the reason. Apart from your legal obligations to provide equal opportunities, hiring objectively is good for business because it helps you hire the best person for the job without stereotypes interfering. This will result in an inclusive workplace showing potential candidates that you’re a meritocracy and allowing you to benefit from diversity’s positive effects.

Tip: Implement objective hiring techniques like structured interviews and ‘blind’ hiring software like GapJumpers.

  • Creating an efficient recruiting process

Hiring teams need to communicate fast, evaluate candidates easily and know what’s going on every step of the way. Recruiters are tasked with coordinating all this communication and it’s not always a breeze. Especially if recruiters’ relationship with hiring managers is strained. Also, administrative tasks (like scheduling interviews) often take away valuable time that recruiters could have used in coordinating the hiring process and ensuring good candidate experience.

Tip: Consider investing in an ATS that helps your team coordinate and see the status of the hiring process at a glance. This system will let your team leave evaluations and view each other’s comments. And, it’ll ease some of the administrative tasks via built-in email templates, calendar integrations and more.

 

Originally published on Resources Workable

10 tips on writing a successful CV

When it comes to applying for a new job, your CV could be just the ticket to get you that initial foot in the door and secure an interview – but how do you ensure your CV is added to the interview pile rather than thrown straight in the bin?

Putting together a successful CV is easy once you know how. It’s a case of taking all your skills and experience and tailoring them to the job you’re applying for. But what if you don’t meet the right criteria? Well, I’ve put together the following tips to help you get started in creating a successful CV and securing your first (or next) arts job.

  • Get the basics right

There is no right or wrong way to write a CV but there are some common sections you should cover. These include: personal and contact information; education and qualifications; work history and/or experience; relevant skills to the job in question; own interests, achievements or hobbies; and some references.

  • Presentation is key

A successful CV is always carefully and clearly presented, and printed on clean, crisp white paper. The layout should always be clean and well structured and CVs should never be crumpled or folded, so use an A4 envelope to post your applications.

Always remember the CV hotspot – the upper middle area of the first page is where the recruiter’s eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there.

  • Stick to no more than two pages of A4

A good CV is clear, concise and makes every point necessary without waffling. You don’t need pages and pages of paper – you just keep things short and sweet. A CV is a reassurance to a potential employer, it’s a chance to tick the right boxes. And if everything is satisfied, there’s a better chance of a job interview. Also, employers receive dozens of CVs all the time so it’s unlikely they’ll read each one cover to cover. Most will make a judgment about a CV within sections, so stick to a maximum of two pages of A4 paper.

  • Understand the job description

The clues are in the job application, so read the details from start to finish. Take notes and create bullet points, highlighting everything you can satisfy and all the bits you can’t. With the areas where you’re lacking, fill in the blanks by adapting the skills you do have. For example, if the job in question requires someone with sales experience, there’s nothing stopping you from using any retail work you’ve undertaken – even if it was something to help pay the bills through university. It will demonstrate the skills you do have and show how they’re transferable.

  • Tailor the CV to the role

When you’ve established what the job entails and how you can match each requirement, create a CV specifically for that role. Remember, there is no such thing as a generic CV. Every CV you send to a potential employee should be tailored to that role so don’t be lazy and hope that a general CV will work because it won’t.

Create a unique CV for every job you apply for. You don’t have to re-write the whole thing, just adapt the details so they’re relevant.

  • Making the most of skills

Under the skills section of your CV don’t forget to mention key skills that can help you to stand out from the crowd. These could include: communication skills; computer skills; team working; problem solving or even speaking a foreign language. Skills can come out of the most unlikely places, so really think about what you’ve done to grow your own skills, even if you take examples from being in a local sports team or joining a voluntary group – it’s all relevant.

  • Making the most of interests

Under interests, highlight the things that show off skills you’ve gained and employers look for. Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team or anything that shows you can use your own initiative. For example, if you ran your university’s newspaper or if you started a weekend league football team that became a success.

Include anything that shows how diverse, interested and skilled you are. Don’t include passive interests like watching TV, solitary hobbies that can be perceived as you lacking in people skills. Make yourself sound really interesting.

  • Making the most of experience

Use assertive and positive language under the work history and experience sections, such as “developed”, “organised” or “achieved”. Try to relate the skills you have learned to the job role you’re applying for. For example: “The work experience involved working in a team,” or “This position involved planning, organisation and leadership as I was responsible for a team of people”.

Really get to grips with the valuable skills and experience you have gained from past work positions, even if it was just working in a restaurant – every little helps.

  • Including references

References should be from someone who has employed you in the past and can vouch for your skills and experience. If you’ve never worked before you’re OK to use a teacher or tutor as a referee. Try to include two if you can.

  • Keep your CV updated

It’s crucial to review your CV on a regular basis and add any new skills or experience that’s missing. For example, if you’ve just done some volunteering or worked on a new project, make sure they’re on there – potential employers are always impressed with candidates who go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience.

 

Originally published on The Guardian

Waste storage at Africa’s only nuclear plant brimming

Spent fuel storage at South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant will reach full capacity by April as state power utility Eskom awaits regulatory approval for new dry storage casks, the company said on Monday.

Storage of high-level radioactive waste is a major environmental concern in the region, as South Africa looks to extend Koeberg’s life for another two decades and mulls extra nuclear power plants.

Koeberg, Africa’s only nuclear facility, is situated about 35 km (21.75 miles) from Cape Town and was connected to the grid in the 1980s under apartheid.

“The Koeberg spent fuel pool storage capacity is currently over 90% full. (These) pools will reach (their) capacity by April 2020,” Eskom told Reuters in a statement.

Koeberg produces about 32 tonnes of spent fuel a year. Fuel assemblies, which contain radioactive materials including uranium and plutonium that can remain dangerous for thousands of years, are cooled for a decade under water in spent fuel pools.

Three years ago Eskom paid an estimated 200 million rand ($13.60 million) for an initial batch of seven reinforced dry storage casks from U.S. energy company Holtec International to help keep Koeberg running beyond 2018.

Eskom now has nine new unused casks on site, each with an individual capacity of 32 spent fuel assemblies, with another five expected to be delivered soon.

“These casks are presently stored empty on the Koeberg site while Eskom is in the process of applying for a usage license from the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR),” Eskom said.

The 14 casks should ensure there is sufficient storage in the spent fuel pool until 2024, Eskom said, ahead of a tender for an extra 30 casks.

The NNR said Eskom only had permission to store four dry casks at Koeberg and that the power utility had applied for a license change request justifying the use of 14 additional dry storage casks.

“Eskom indicated that the safety case will be submitted to the NNR in 2020,” said regulator spokesman Gino Moonsamy.

Anti-nuclear lobby group Earthlife Africa said South Africa could not afford the social, environmental and economic costs associated with nuclear waste.

“We have a ticking bomb with high-level waste and fuel rods at Koeberg,” said Makoma Lekalakala, Earthlife Africa’s director.

Originally published on Reuters

How to Hire the Best Candidate (Not Just the Best Interviewer)

You’ve screened dozens of applicants, vetted a select few through multiple stages of your hiring process, and now you’re down to the final two candidates. First there is Sarah. Interviewing her is like playing a great game of tennis. You serve the question and she smashes it right back with a well-crafted answer. At times your conversation is like the perfect rally. You cannot fault her game.

And then there is Kate. On paper she looks great. But she is stumbling, struggling to find her feet. She is just not giving you any kind of game. You think she can do it, but she is not convincing you.

So who do you choose? Sarah, I assume. But is Sarah the best candidate or just the best candidate at interviewing? “In many cases, job interviews are entirely disconnected from the reality of people’s day to day job,” says Ron Friedman, author of The Best Place to Work.

Of course, there are roles that you may want to judge in an interview setup. Sales or customer service employees may well have to be on their top game in similar situations. But the payroll administrator or the software developer? You don’t necessarily need them to excel here.

So how can you improve your chances of hiring the best candidate for the job, as opposed to the best interviewer?

Two things:

Be really clear about what you need from the person you are hiring for this role – in terms of both behavioral traits and skills. (This will help you filter out what is not important.)

Identify the best way for your candidates to demonstrate if they have what you are looking for. (Interviews may not be the best approach for every role.)

So how do you know what to look for? “Before you get what you want, you have to know what you want,” says workplace expert Cameron Herold. He suggests two steps to help figure it out:

Identify the five core behavioral traits you want employees to have for this role.

Consider the skills they will need to perform the job. Don’t just think about what you have on the job description – think of the five primary tasks you need them to accomplish in the first year.

So what are the best way to determine if your candidates have the behavioral traits and skills needed for the role? Here are five ideas to get you started.

  • Give them a problem to solve.

Start this off by making it part of the application process. Describe a problem they would be likely to face in their role and ask them to respond with how they would solve it in no more than 1,000 words.

Ask those you have shortlisted to discuss their response. By discussing their thinking behind their solution, you’ll verify both their skills (the steps they would take to fix the problem) as well as their behaviors (how they would approach each step).

  • Give them a project to complete

Ron Friedman calls these job auditions. Prior to any formal interviews, successful applicants are asked to complete an activity that they would do as part of their job. This shows you what your candidates are capable of before (potentially incorrect) judgments can be made at interview.

Possible job auditions might be:

Sales executive: deliver a sales pitch to you – selling your product

Web designer: design a landing page for you

Project manager: write a project plan based on a project scope

Customer service manager: analyze customer service statistics and plan out next steps

This is their field. This is what they should be good at. See how they do in their comfort zone.

Online entrepreneur Melanie Duncan shared that she’s found success in taking this approach one step further. The projects she assigns take about a week to complete. And she throws two additional tests in the mix:

She doesn’t give them a due date. She asks them to submit the project as soon as possible to the best degree possible. She will compare work that was completed by one candidate in three days to the work completed by another in ten. (There may be 8-10 candidates in play at this stage). Her business is fast-paced and she needs to get stuff out the door fast. She worries about hiring perfectionists that would find this hard.

She will allow them to ask questions but makes it clear that the quantity and quality of questions will form part of the assessment. She’s a not a hand-holder and wants to weed out needy candidates.

With Melanie, candidates could go through three to five projects BEFORE they get to the interview phase. Phew! If you can devote the time, and your candidate demonstrates the patience, then you can feel pretty certain you’ve made the right hire.

  • Take them out of the “interview zone”

An easy way to do this is to take your candidate out for lunch with the team to see how they interact. Think about which team members you invite. The dynamics will be different if all the attendees at the lunch are senior to the candidate. The candidate may take pains to be on their best behavior in this situation, and you won’t get an accurate reflection of who you’ll be working with day-to-day.

Determine the behaviors you want to observe and pay attention accordingly. Does the candidate listen when people speak? How do they interact with the waiting staff? Are they interested in learning about others or just talking about themselves?

Don’t shy away from more creative ideas. Management consulting firm Grant Thornton invites final candidates to a cooking class, for example. Choose an activity that really aligns with your company culture to see how your candidate will fit in.

  • Listen to them talk about something that’s important to them

This is one I’ve used frequently. Ask candidates about what they’re passionate about and sit back and listen. I’ve learned so much about prospective employees through stories of being a foster parent, youth worker and professional jockey. And then there was the candidate from Poland who spoke of her love of cooking food from her home country, and came fully armed with samples to taste. A smart candidate, that one!

  • Get feedback from people they meet outside of the interview

Eyes and ears when you’re out of sight can be invaluable. Find ways for other team members to interact with your candidate. Tell them (but not the candidate) that you will be looking for feedback. Here are three possible ways to go about it:

Ask a team member that wasn’t part of the interview panel to give the candidate a tour of the office.

Ask another member of the team to meet the candidate in the reception area and escort them to the interview room. (I’ve done this frequently and it was interesting to see how often the candidate who was charming in the interview room didn’t even smile at my colleague he didn’t think he had to impress.)

Invite the candidate to sit with someone to see what they do, and find out what questions they asked.

These recruitment tactics will not just help you to hire the best candidate, but the best candidate that is the most likely to stay with you for the long-haul. You’ll not only see a more relevant side of your candidates, you’ll also give your candidates a far clearer view of what’s involved in the job and what your business feels like. And don’t be worried about putting candidates off: If the role isn’t the right fit, you want them to decide now, not in three months’ time.

By making your recruitment process relevant to the role, you’ll know how to hire the best candidate – not just the candidate that performs the best at interview.

 

Originally published on Recruiter Box

How to Get Hired: 9 Steps to the Perfect Job Interview

Whatever your reason, if you’re interviewing for a job, you want to land the job. And that means preparing to do your absolute best. Interviews can be tough. If you want to stand a chance of landing the job, you have to be well-versed on the industry and company, and command a deep understanding of the value you’re bringing to the table for your potential new employer.

  • Research the Company.

Did you know that 47 percent of hiring managers have eliminated candidates after an interview because they had little to no knowledge of the company? Nearly half of professionals are going into interviews without having a well-formed understanding of the company and what they do. Take the time to do your homework on the company’s website, blog, social channels, Glassdoor, and Wikipedia, and be sure to check out their competitors and make a mental list of what differentiates them.

  • Find Out Who You’re Interviewing With and Research Them, Too.

With 43 percent of hiring managers reporting that cultural fit is the single most influential factor in determining which candidate gets the job, how you come across in your interview is a big deal. Based on your research and email conversations ahead of time, be sure you have as clear an idea as possible of how well you’re going to relate with the people you’re interviewing with, and prepare accordingly.

  • Prepare Creative, Insightful Questions and Craft Your Personal Story.

Sure, some of the standard questions like, “Where do you see the company in five years?” can be useful in some cases, but make sure that the act of asking them doesn’t compromise your own credibility. Depending upon your potential role in the company, the person interviewing you likely doesn’t want to hear you asking about what the day-to-day activities will be–they want to hire an expert in your field, so act like one. Be sure to refresh your memory on your most relevant recent experience and craft an engaging story that effectively communicates your employment journey. Focus on how your experience will benefit your potential new employer.

Here’s an insightful statistic: Over 33 percent of hiring managers say they know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they’ll make a job offer to the candidate. That makes your interview prep even more important.

  • Dress for the Job.

Should I wear a suit or play it more casual? The real answer is, it depends on the job you’re interviewing for. If you’re not dressed for the job you want, you’re not doing yourself any favors. A whopping 70 percent of hiring managers say they’ve eliminated candidates after an interview because they were too fashionable or trendy. Don’t be afraid to ask how you should dress ahead of your interview.

  • Use Confident Posture.

Some 33 percent of hiring managers say they’ve eliminated candidates after an interview because of bad posture. As you’re waiting in the lobby, standing, and walking around the office, be mindful of how your posture looks to the people around you. Are you slouching, or confidently arching your back? Take a launch stance while standing, and keep your back arched while sitting down for conversation.

  • Ask When to Expect a Decision and With Whom to Follow-Up.

If you’re interviewing with multiple people, be sure to ask the hiring manager (or last person you interview with) when you can expect to hear back on next steps. There’s nothing worse than leaving an interview feeling left in the dark about when the company is looking to make a final decision. If you’re paying close attention, how they respond will also tell you a lot about how they felt the interview went.

  • If You Want the Job, Say So!

Don’t allow there to be any ambiguity about whether or not you actually want the job. If, by the end of your interview, you’re still feeling excited about the opportunity and want to move forward with the company, you need to say it! Never leave anything up to chance with the interview process.

  • Send a Follow-Up Thank You Email.

Before you go to bed on the date you had your interviews, be sure to send a brief, personalized thank you email to everyone you met with earlier in the day. Make sure to mention a small personal detail, mutual interest, or topic point you discussed with each person, and it’ll solidify your great impression in their minds. Bonus points for sending a handwritten card, which has become a much-appreciated lost courtesy.

  • Follow-Up If You Don’t Hear Back Soon (One Week).

If you don’t hear back within four or five business days of your interview, it’s completely acceptable to follow-up with either the person who’s been your point of contact throughout the interview process or the hiring manager for the position. Keep the follow-up very short and seek to provide value, rather than coming across as pushy or as trying to nudge them toward making a decision.

Will this be the year you land your dream job?

 

Originally published on Inc

Renewable electricity overtakes fossil fuels in UK for first time

New offshore windfarms opening in third quarter mark milestone towards zero carbon. Ten years ago fossil fuels made four fifths of the UK’s electricity supply. Renewable energy sources provided more electricity to UK homes and businesses than fossil fuels for the first time over the last quarter, according to new research.

The renewables record was set in the third quarter of this year after its share of the electricity mix rose to 40%. It is the first time that electricity from British windfarms, solar panels and renewable biomass plants has surpassed fossil fuels since the UK’s first power plant fired up in 1882.

The new milestone confirms predictions made by National Grid that 2019 will be the first year since the Industrial Revolution that zero-carbon electricity – renewables and nuclear – overtakes gas and coal-fired power. A string of new offshore windfarms built this year helped nudge renewables past fossil fuels, which made up 39% of UK electricity, in a crucial tipping point in Britain’s energy transition.

Fossil fuels made up four-fifths of the country’s electricity fewer than 10 years ago, split between gas and coal, but the latest analysis by Carbon Brief shows that coal-fired power was less than 1% of all electricity generated. British coal plants are shutting down ahead of a 2025 ban. By next spring just four coal plants will remain in the UK: the West Burton A and Ratcliffe-on-Soar plants in Nottinghamshire, Kilroot in Northern Ireland and two generation units at the Drax site in North Yorkshire, which are earmarked for conversion to burn gas. Gas-fired power makes up the bulk of the dwindling share of fossil fuels in the energy system at 38%. Nuclear power provided slightly less than a fifth of the UK’s electricity in the last quarter, the report said. Wind power is the UK’s strongest source of renewable energy and made up 20% of the UK’s electricity following a series of major windfarm openings in recent years. Electricity from renewable biomass plants made up 12% of the energy system, while solar panels contributed 6%. The world’s largest offshore windfarm, the Hornsea One project, began generating electricity off the Yorkshire coast in February, reaching a peak capacity of 1,200MW in October. It followed the opening of the Beatrice windfarm off the north-east coast of Scotland over the summer.

Together these schemes almost doubled the 2,100MW worth of offshore capacity which began powering homes in 2018. Kwasi Kwarteng, the minister for energy and clean growth, said the renewables record is “yet another milestone on our path towards ending our contribution to climate change altogether by 2050”. He said: “Already, we’ve cut emissions by 40% while growing the economy by two thirds since 1990. Now, with more offshore wind projects on the way at record low prices we plan to go even further and faster in the years to come.” Luke Clark, of Renewable UK, said the industry hopes to treble the size of its offshore wind sector by 2030 to generate more than a third of the UK’s electricity.

Under the Labour party’s plans for Green Industrial Revolution the offshore wind industry would grow five-fold in a decade, with the addition of an extra 37 giant offshore windfarms and 70,000 new jobs. According to Renewable UK, the growth of the renewables industry is good news for energy bills, as well as the environment, due to the steep fall in the cost of wind and solar power technologies over recent years. “The cost of new offshore wind projects, for example, has just fallen to an all-time low, making onshore and offshore wind our lowest-cost large scale power sources,” Clark said.

The next generation of offshore windfarms is expected to cost about £40 for every megawatt hour of electricity generated, less than the average market price for electricity on the wholesale energy markets. “If government were to back a range of technologies – like onshore wind and marine renewables – in the same way as it is backing offshore wind, consumers and businesses would be able to fully reap the benefits of the transition to a low carbon economy,” Clark said.

 

Originally published on The Guardian

Top 10 most common recruitment mistakes (and how to avoid them)

The stakes of good versus bad recruitment have never been so high. You’ve probably seen some of the statistics : losing a great employee can cost the company 1.5 to 2 times the employee’s annual salary, for competitive markets like IT in Europe, over 500,000 jobs are currently unfilled and there’s an increasing trend in people leaving jobs voluntarily without a job lined up after.

These are only a few of the trends that are making it hard to identify, attract, and retain great talent even when you have a well-oiled recruitment machine. But of course, no hiring process is perfect. And many teams suffer the consequences of more than a few common recruitment mistakes.

Time to weed these common hiring mistakes out of your process! Here we’ll give you a brief overview of the most common pitfalls. Don’t worry, we’ll also offer a few recruiting tips to fix, avoid, or ditch them!

  • Emitting radio silence post-offer

You’ve signed your dream candidate and they’re all set to join your company. The only thing left is for them to work out their one month notice period. Your work as a recruiter is done! Another successful hire, signed, sealed, and delivered… right? This is one of the most common recruitment mistakes, and it’s one that’s easy to make. With so many hires on your plate, it’s easy to jump from one process to the next. Unfortunately, just because an offer has been signed, it doesn’t mean the candidate will make it to their first day on the job. Many candidates continue field interviews and may even receive calls from recruiters. Just because they’ve signed your offer doesn’t mean they won’t receive more enticing ones. Radio silence on your end post-offer compounds the issue by creating doubt and uncertainty on the candidate side. Understandably, you may lose some candidates during this wait period if there’s no contact.

Recruitment tip: Start your employee onboarding early and make sure to engage your candidates post-offer. Give them some homework: documents to review, tools to download or learn. You may even consider inviting them to company gatherings so they can get to know the team before joining.

  • Canning rejected candidates

It’s hard to justify spending more time on rejected candidates when you’re still trying to hire someone in that position. And more often than not, candidates are rejected and forgotten about. While they may not have been the right fit at the time, some rejected candidates have great potential. This is especially true in processes where you have to choose between two great candidates. They’ve already expressed interest in working with your company and depending on their skills, they may be a great fit for another position. Discarding candidates who are qualified, interested, but not good at this particular time is a huge recruitment mistake.

Recruiting tip: Ask qualified but rejected candidates if you can stay in touch for future opportunities. You can do this either by managing a list manually or adding them to talent pools where you can engage them easily.

  • Relying on standardized hiring processes

Every talent acquisition team worth their weight should have a recruitment policy on hand that details their standard hiring procedures. Standardized hiring processes can help your team deal with high volumes of job requisitions. They will also guide them in the right direction when it comes to creating a good candidate experience. But people change, companies change, and so do roles. Relying on fixed, standardized hiring processes can, in some instances, become more of hindrance than a help. Think of the scenario where you have difficulty finding the right candidate- it seems that every candidate you interview quickly receives an offer from another company. If you have too many steps in your process (phone screening, technical test, in-person interview, executive interview), you may be missing out on talent. This is a situation where you may need to be flexible on your processes and perhaps deviate from the standard.

Recruitment tip: Standardized hiring processes exist for a reason, but don’t let them make your job harder than it needs to be. Meet with your recruitment stakeholders regularly to determine which standardized processes work and which ones don’t. Remain open to updating and changing processes for the greater good: hiring the right talent.

  • Using a limited recruitment team

Traditionally, HR and recruitment teams have tended to work in relative isolation. They receive the details of a vacancy from a department. Then they get to work trying to find, qualify, and hire the right person for the job! No recruiter needs to be a lone wolf. And keeping recruitment as just an “HR thing” is limiting your potential!

Recruiting tip: Make staff recruitment a team activity. Get your team more involved in the recruitment process. Use their skills, industry expertise, and team knowledge to identify the right talent. Make sure to invite them as users into your talent acquisition platform or ATS so that they can be more involved in the process. As on boarded users, they’ll be able to help you screen CVs, schedule interviews, leave feedback, and more.

  • Avoiding candidate feedback

It’s hard to reject candidates and even harder to receive feedback from them after. But it’s a common recruitment mistake to believe that the feedback will always either be negative or useless. You’d be wrong on both counts. Candidate feedback has the potential to take your candidate experience and hiring to the next level. And while you may be tempted only to receive feedback from your successful hires, it’s more important to gather it from the unsuccessful ones.

Recruitment tip: Build a candidate experience survey in your recruitment process. In Recruitee, you can use integrated questionnaires or you can use an external service like Typeform to gather responses. Make sure to regularly report on satisfaction, experiences, and interview feedback from your candidates hired or not

  • Giving equal attention to all job promotion channels

In the rush to get your job out on the market, you may be tempted to cover all your bases. Posting your vacancy on every platform, social, premium, or niche, may help you feel like you’ve done your best and you’re reaching the most candidates possible. In reality, however, posting on all job promotion channels is not only unaffordable but may waste your time when it comes to managing the postings. Not all job promotion channels will be relevant for your vacancies, so don’t spend the same amount of time or effort managing postings on them.

Recruiting tip: Use your ATS or talent acquisition platform to start tracking your best-performing channels. Tag candidates by acquisition channel or application source as they come into your system. This way you can generate a report later on that reveals the source of your highest volume of candidates but also the highest quality.

  • Letting interviewers “freestyle” it

Many people prefer to “freestyle” interviews. After all, that’s sometimes the best way to get to know candidates. You don’t want to sound like a robot. However, if you at least tailor the questions to the candidate at hand, you’ll be able to dig deeper into the candidate’s skills, qualifications, and experience. Unstructured interviews aren’t necessarily bad. But the consequences of unconscious bias can lead to some pretty serious recruitment mistakes, which is why this mistake is in the top five worst.

Recruiting tip: Set up your own easy-to-follow structured interview question set within your ATS and invite your hiring manager as a user. While you want to allow for a certain amount of flexibility within the interview, ensuring that certain questions are answered will only help you later in the selection process. Include structured interviews into your recruitment policy and make sure to create your templates within your talent acquisition platform for everyone to access.

  • Taking too long with referrals

Employee referrals are an extremely powerful tool in any recruiter’s belt. They have the power to speed up your recruitment process, boost employee engagement, and improve employee retention. Despite these benefits, some teams struggle to manage employee referrals appropriately amid other hiring priorities. One of the biggest recruitment mistakes is mismanaging employee referrals. Not treating the referral with care or urgency can erode any trust that was built with the employee.They’ll be unlikely to make another referral, and it will be difficult to engage that employee (or others that are in the loop) in the recruitment process going forward.

Recruiting tip: Build a referral system into your recruitment process, and write it into your recruitment policy. Detail how employee referrals are managed, including: What the referee needs to do to refer a candidate; Who the point of contact is for any referrals; What HR will take care of and how they will keep the referee updated; Timeframe for response and candidate qualification; Any reward scheme (and conditions) for referrals. Detailing a system in your recruitment policy will help avoid any confusion and speed up your process.

  • Not pushing back on hiring managers during the job spec

In the traditional hiring model, recruiters play the role of order takers. During the job spec with a hiring manager, the recruiter will get all the information they need to go out and find a selection of potential hires. In this sort of relationship with a hiring manager, it’s difficult for many recruiters to push back on unrealistic requirements. After all, the hiring manager knows what they need, who are you to question them? Not pushing back on hiring managers when there are unrealistic requirements is the second biggest recruitment mistake you can make. Not only will trying to fulfill unrealistic expectations for a candidate set you back in the hiring process, but it can easily double your time to hire. Without a good working job spec, you’ll likely need to double back to re-qualify the position with the manager. Poor job descriptions stemming from the job spec will receive little attention from qualified candidates or too much attention from unqualified candidates. Blunders and time lost from this flawed process can deteriorate your relationship with the hiring manager and any buy-in you built with them. A good hiring manager and recruiter relationship is one of the foundations of a successful hiring process, which earns this hiring mistake a place at the top of the list.

Recruiting tip: Establish trusting and consultative relationships with your hiring managers. And this starts with pushing back during the job spec and sharing your knowledge on the job market they’re operating in. Are they looking for a hard to find skillset? Or experience that may not be currently available in the candidate market? Tell them! It’s important to work as a team: they have the business-know-how and you have the recruitment knowledge required to find their next hire. Make sure that you share your knowledge and experience with them from the beginning in order to work towards your common interest: finding the best candidate!

  • Using spreadsheets to manage (even parts of) the recruitment process

Many businesses, especially smaller ones, manage their recruitment processes to some degree using spreadsheets. They’re seemingly a quick, easy way to manage your candidate information including contact details, CV information, hiring process steps, reference taking- the list can go on. Spreadsheets can be a diverse tool, and certainly one you should use… just not to manage your hiring. Why? Well, there are a couple of deal-breakers.

Accessibility: Spreadsheets pose a major risk when it comes to accessibility of processes and records. Unless you share these sheets with the relevant team members, the team may be left in the dark if the recruitment lead is off unexpectedly. The reality is that many teams save spreadsheets containing hiring process details on desktops- it only takes one sick day or an unexpected computer crash to lose valuable data.

Personal data: The most common use of spreadsheets in hiring is to keep track of candidate details. Even when you collect this personal data (phone number, name, email address, etc) with consent, it still falls under the GDPR if it belongs to an EU citizen or is stored on an EU server.

This means that it is not only a security risk- if your laptop gets stolen or server hacked- but it will also need to be maintained according to GDPR. Without automatic deletion of candidate data, you may wind up storing data longer than necessary. Ultimately, keeping candidate data on spreadsheets is not only a hassle but also a risk.

Efficiency: Spreadsheets are a lot of things, but they are not a full-fledged recruitment system. You need to constantly update spreadsheets, which can add countless hours of admin for you or your team. Additionally, if someone is referring to outdated information, it may be the interaction that costs your business a great candidate. With all of the options out there at various price points, there’s no reason to use spreadsheets as a talent acquisition system.

Spreadsheets are a great tool- just not to manage something as important as your recruitment. Recruitment is complex and requires a lot of dedicated attention. Choosing a tool that is designed for mathematical calculations and not really made for this purpose will wind up costing your team as you grow (if not now)- whether that’s in time, money or great candidates. Using spreadsheets in recruitment earns itself its position as the worst recruitment mistake because it is so common and so easy to make. Often teams start out with spreadsheets, as they’re not ready to invest in an ATS or talent acquisition platform. As we all know, old habits die hard. Once you establish a system that works, it’s hard to let go- even when it starts to break at the seams.

Recruiting tip: Invest in a tool that is designed to track your hiring process and engage candidates. Many businesses don’t do this from the start as these tools can cost a lot of money. But the truth is, many ATS or talent acquisition platforms are now affordable for even small businesses. Spreadsheets will wind up costing your team time and your business great candidates. Find a tool that is fit for your purpose and actually facilitates your hiring rather than bringing it down.

 

Originally published on Recruitee 

14 ways to use LinkedIn to get a job

It’s no secret that LinkedIn is the top professional social networking site with 133 million users in the U.S. alone and reaching 200 countries and territories around the world. Per the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey, 87 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn as part of their candidate search. As a professional or student, it’s the popular place to network and look for job opportunities; even former U.S. President Barack Obama once joked during a TV press conference that he would join LinkedIn to help him land a job after his term was up!

The issue is that if you’re only updating your profile now and then, you’re not fully utilizing all LinkedIn can do for you, which includes taking hours off of your job search. Below are some tactical tips on how you can leverage LinkedIn to its fullest to expand your professional network and land your next job.

Here’s 11 actions you can take to leverage LinkedIn for maximum efficiency in securing your next position. For the sake of this article, let’s say your favorite company that you just can’t wait to work for is called Gone Bananas. Follow these tips on how to leverage LinkedIn, and you’ll be an employee of Gone Bananas soon:

  • Keep your profile up to date.

LinkedIn members with a profile picture are 14 times more likely to receive page views, while those who post skills are 13 times more likely to have profile views compared to those who don’t, per LinkedIn’s blog. There are more than 45,000 skills to choose from on LinkedIn to beef up your profile, so if you want Gone Bananas to notice you, make sure to regularly update your profile, add a profile photo, and include your notable skills.

  • Be comprehensive about current skills and objectives.

To ensure you’re using LinkedIn to find a job correctly, don’t leave anything out about your current skills and objectives. Use your headline to share your main objective if it makes sense and add all of your skills to your page. You don’t want it to look like you haven’t updated your page in a while, as recruiters and companies might pass you by if it does.

  • Highlight recent experience.

You want your recent experience evident to anyone who views your page, especially when you’re actively engaging with connections and companies to land a job — which is the reason you’re likely reading this post, after all.

  • Update your headline.

Your photo, name, and headline (which is listed below your photo) are the only items people see when they do a search. Your headline should stand out and highlight what you do or what type of position you’re looking for. “HR professional connecting employees with management” are examples of headlines that are clear and might grab attention when compared to plain-Jane headlines like “Chemical engineer in the public sector.”

  • Let people know you’re available.

If you can announce the fact that you’re looking for a job, do so. Use your headline to make the announcement. For example, “Writer seeking businesses in need of a friendly ghost (or ghostwriter)” and “Petroleum engineer ready to strike oil and make you rich” might catch a recruiter or hiring manager’s attention.

  • Build your network to the 1st degree.

Your connections can exponentially increase your exposure and access to other connections. LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with people you know by importing your contact lists from sites such as Gmail.

  • Research the companies you’re interested in and follow them.

LinkedIn makes it easy to find and follow companies. If you haven’t already done so, make a list of the companies you’d like to work for and follow them on LinkedIn. This will help you stay in the know about company news and new positions as they become available.

  • Use the Advanced Search.

Use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search option and do a search on your favorite companies. Find out who of your connections is associated with Gone Bananas, for example, and make a list. You can reach out to these people depending on their connection with the company. If they work there, you can ask questions about the company culture. If they are a client or service provider, you can ask what it’s like to do business with them. Get creative and have fun doing your research so you can navigate how to best approach the company for a job when you’re ready.

  • Ask for an introduction.

Once you’re ready to reach out to Gone Bananas, you can ask your connection(s) to make an introduction to someone they’re connected to within the organization.

  • Look for alumni associated with your college or university.

Doing a search for your college or university is a great way to connect with alumni who went to the same school as you. You can reach out to them and share this common interest to help you land your next job. Entrepreneur, trainer, speaker, consultant, and author, Shelley Roth, has been “helping individuals, organizations, and teams improve their effectiveness and results by changing the way they think about social media and business.” When I asked her what advice she gives to help others leverage LinkedIn, utilizing your alumni network was key. “I would suggest that one of the best, easiest ways to leverage the power of LinkedIn is through using the Alumni tool. You can first join [or follow] your alumni college and then search for past alumni at companies or places of employment you are interested in,” she elaborated, “You also can input any college and search to see how many degrees of separation you may be from alumni at any school.”

  • Be more than a wallflower.

Be active on LinkedIn, and as Weiner suggests, be authentic and current. Post any articles you write, videos you post, and so on, as updates. Get involved with groups and interact with others on LinkedIn. The more you interact and post as a professional, the more you’ll be noticed and build recognition.

  • Get involved in LinkedIn Professional Groups.

Do an Advanced Search to identify professional groups in your area and get involved. This will help expand your network, show your expertise (when you engage in online conversations and answer questions that come up), and possibly connect you to the organizations you want to work for in the future. When researching groups, you want to participate in groups that have recent activity. Otherwise, you might be wasting your time if a group doesn’t have daily or regular interaction online.

  • Research your future boss and executive team.

Before going in for an interview, you can use LinkedIn to research hiring managers and interviewers to find out about their likes, interests, and more. You can leverage this information during your interview to create relatability and show that you’ve done your homework.

  • Network after business hours.

According to Mashable, statistics show that only 8.33 percent of Americans use LinkedIn during working hours compared to other social media sites, such as Facebook (with almost 30 percent of people using it during work hours), indicating that you might get more interaction and exposure if you update your status, network, and connect with people and companies after business hours on LinkedIn. Test this out at different times of the day to see what works best in getting responses and other interactions.

 

Originally published on TopResume

Oil and Gas Investor EnCap Muscles Into Energy Storage Business

EnCap Investments has directed about $37 billion in venture investment into oil and gas companies over its 30 years in business. Now, it’s making its first investments into clean energy, with a goal of developing up to 2 gigawatts of utility-scale energy storage, either on its own or linked to solar, wind and peaker plants.

This week, the Houston-based upstream and midstream oil and gas industry investor announced that it’s “pursuing opportunities created by the global transition to a lower-carbon energy system.” To get there, it has hired an all-star team, including Jim Hughes, First Solar’s CEO from 2012 to 2016, and Tim Rebhorn, First Solar’s former senior vice president of the Americas, along with former Pattern Development senior director Kellie Metcalf and former Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners head of North America Shawn Cumberland.

On Wednesday, EnCap joined energy-focused private equity firm Yorktown Partners in its first “energy transition” investment in Broad Reach Power. The newly created independent power producer has already acquired a portfolio of small solar projects in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s primarily targeting California and Texas for a much bigger push into lithium-ion battery energy storage systems, CEO Steve Vavrik said in an interview.

With its undisclosed investment from EnCap and Yorktown, Broad Reach intends to develop more than 2 gigawatts of capacity by 2021, including both standalone storage power plants and combinations with wind, solar or existing natural-gas power plants.

“Certainly standalone storage is part of our pipeline. But we see more immediate opportunities in hybrid projects,” said Vavrik, who has spent the last two decades developing and managing more than $4 billion of investments with companies including GE, Enron, First Wind, SunPower and Apex Clean Energy.

This could include large-scale solar-plus-storage projects of the kind that have been cropping up at increasingly competitive prices across the country’s key solar markets such as California, Nevada and Arizona. It could also include pairing wind farms with batteries in key markets, although these are more challenging to finance, given the lack of a clear tax credit mechanism to include batteries with wind, as exists with the federal solar Investment Tax Credit.

But the most immediate opportunities Broad Reach is considering involve adding batteries to existing natural-gas peaker plants, Vavrik said. “You think of a peaker that runs at only a 5 to 10 percent load factor. If you combine that with a battery, you can make that peaker run more efficiently.”

This approach to pairing the fast responsiveness of a battery with the relatively low cost of an efficiently run natural-gas plant was pioneered in the U.S. by AES Energy Storage, the business unit of utility and power plant owner AES Corp., which has since launched the Fluence joint venture with Siemens. But Vavrik sees “dozens more targets out there that we want to pursue.”

As for markets, Broad Reach is looking for opportunities across the United States, but the company sees “California and Texas presenting the biggest opportunities. What we’re seeing in California, and more and more in ERCOT, is this need for energy-shifting. But the ancillary services” — or grid services that require resources to react in minutes or seconds — “are going to be the exciting products in those markets.”

Broad Reach’s executive staff includes Vavrik’s former renewable energy developer partner, COO Mark Klein, as well as CFO Josh Prueher and CTO Doug Moorehead, who previously developed a battery system now in use at U.S. military forward operating bases, now commercialized for oil and gas industrial backup power.

Originally published on Green Tech Media

4 Tips for Recruiting Better Candidates

For recruiters and employers alike, there is nothing more gratifying than finding a candidate whose skills fit the open position and also aligns with their company culture. On the flip side, that also means there is nothing more frustrating for a recruiter or employer when they get it wrong. When companies make bad hiring choices, they’re making costly mistakes. Not only does it impact their bottom line, it also affects their office productivity and employee morale. While there is no guaranteed method for completely avoiding bad hires, there are ways to significantly reduce your risks of choosing the wrong candidate while ensuring you’re attracting the best candidates for your positions.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of four tips for fine-tuning your recruiting initiatives.

  • Write Accurate Job Listings

This may seem pretty basic, but it’s a step that often gets overlooked. Read over your current job postings to ensure you’re describing the job accurately and in a way that’s easy to read. A great job posting should describe what the job entails (think loosely day in the life) and describe who would be successful in that role. Even slight changes, like listing key job responsibilities, can help improve your results.

  • Create a Painless Process for Applying

If your prospective candidates are forced to fill out several pages of information before even submitting a resume, there’s a good chance you’ll lose them before they apply. The candidates you’re looking for are highly-skilled, which means they probably have many other employment options to consider. If applying for your jobs is complicated or cumbersome, your best candidates may just give up and go elsewhere. Plus, once they’re gone there is little chance they’ll ever be back or recommend you to their peers. Your recruiting/hiring process is a reflection of your company. Make sure it shows that you’re sensitive to candidates’ needs.

  • Manage Relationships

There are many occasions where recruiters will come across a candidate who doesn’t fit the job opening but could be a great prospect for a job in the future. For candidates like this, create a system that helps you stay in touch. By keeping close communication with key prospects, you can help make sure your employer is the candidate’s first choice when looking to make a career change. Send your best candidates current openings and company announcements to help keep prospects engaged and interested in your company’s opportunities

  • Direct More Attention to Social Media

Take advantage of social platforms where job seekers already spend most of their time. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are great tools to leverage when sourcing for candidates. If your company already operates a Facebook page, don’t forget to post job openings there! Even if your fans don’t identify with the position, providing a link will encourage them to share the job with someone who they know who may be a better fit.

Obviously, it’s difficult to avoid ever making a bad hire, but the goal is to minimize the frequency by taking the right steps to prevent it. Pay attention to your job descriptions, provide easy apply tools, nurture candidate relationships and invest in social platforms. Each step will help improve your candidate selection and ultimately your chances of landing that next great hire.

Originally published on Recruiting

How Does an Employer Decide Who to Hire?

As a job candidate, it can be very helpful to consider just how employers make hiring decisions as you plan your strategy. Employers will draw up a job description early in the process which will incorporate the required and preferred qualifications which they are seeking.

How Does an Employer Decide Which Applicant to Hire?

How does an employer decide who to hire? It starts with determining who would be a good candidate for the job. Typically a prospective supervisor will work with a Human Resources professional to make sure both departmental and organizational perspectives and requirements are represented in this document.

Applicant Screening: In some cases, the hiring manager will arrange a screening committee to review applications and interview and evaluate candidates. The hiring manager will usually hold a meeting to review the ideal candidate profile and to charge the committee.

Each member of the screening committee will have their preferences for the qualifications and qualities of the candidate, given how they intersect with the position. You should find out the composition of the committee, if possible, before your interview and try to anticipate their vested interest in the job.

Evaluating Candidates: Once interviews are completed, most employers will seek input from all parties who have encountered candidates during the interview process.

Keep in mind that even seemingly lower level employees like administrative assistants who greeted you and set up your interview day may be asked for their impressions. Treat everyone respectfully and be your best professional self at all times, including informal lunches or dinners with prospective colleagues.

It is hard to anticipate what each employer will be looking for as they make final decisions about candidates, but it is useful to consider some common factors.

Selection Criteria Used By Employers

Here are some criteria employers frequently use when they decide which candidate to hire:

  • Would the individual fit in with the colleagues in their department?
  • Does the finalist have an appealing personality? Would we enjoy working with her?
  • Does the candidate possess the skills necessary to excel in the job?
  • Does the individual have the appropriate depth and type of prior experience?
  • Does the candidate have the technical proficiency to get the job done?
  • Does the applicant possess the licenses and/or certificates required for the job?
  • Does the individual have the knowledge, expertise and information base to carry out the job effectively?
  • Does the finalist have the required academic background?
  • Does the candidate have a positive, “can do” attitude?
  • Does the applicant have a strong work ethic and a high energy level?
  • Does the candidate have the confidence and experience to be a leader?
  • Has the applicant proven that they have added value, made improvements and positively impacted the bottom line?
  • Would the individual be a good team player?
  • Can the finalist communicate clearly and effectively?
  • Is the candidate a good long-term prospect to fill higher level jobs?
  • Is the applicant likely to stay in the position for a long enough period? Will she be happy in the role? Is she overqualified?
  • Does the individual fit in with the corporate culture?
  • Can the candidate cope with the pressures and stress of the job?
  • How enthusiastic is the applicant about the job?
  • Can the finalist innovate, think outside the box, and creatively meet challenges?
  • Is the individual aware of their weaknesses, comfortable with constructive criticism and motivated to improve themselves?

How to Enhance Your Chances of Getting Selected

Even though some of the selection processes are out of your control, other parts are not. You can use your resumes, cover letters and interviews to make the case as to why you’re the best candidate for the job:

  • Take the Time to Match Your Qualifications to the Job Description: You’ll be able to show why you’re a strong candidate and make it easier for those who review your application materials and who meet with you to come to a positive decision on your application. It will also up your chances of success.
  • Keep It Positive and Promote Yourself: Employers love upbeat and positive applicants because they will bring that mindset to the job with them. Even if you are thinking negative thoughts about your past employers, keep them to yourself. Nobody wants to hear them. You don’t want to come across as overbearing or too arrogant but do promote your qualifications for the job. Share examples of how you succeeded in prior positions to help make the case as to why you’re the best applicant.
  • Write a Thank You Note After the Interview: reiterating your qualifications for the position and adding anything you wish you had brought up during the interview. It’s one more way to pitch your candidacy for the job.

Originally published on The Balance Careers

Are regional transmission organizations the future for renewables in the Southeast?

Renewable energy, particularly solar, is poised for significant growth in the southeastern United States. The Southeast has also mostly retained a vertically integrated utility model, and most utilities in the region have not joined a Regional Transmission Organization or Independent System Operator (collectively known as, RTO). Recent developments have led stakeholders and policymakers in the Southeast to rethink whether it is beneficial for some utilities to join RTOs – something that is generally seen as a positive development for renewable energy.

However, not all RTO rules are beneficial for renewables, and some utilities in the Southeast have taken recent actions to support renewable energy. Accordingly, it is important for all stakeholders and policymakers to thoroughly analyze how the prospect of RTO expansion may impact the growth of renewable energy in the Southeast.

 

What are RTOs, and why are they important to renewables?

RTOs are overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), administer “deregulated” wholesale power markets, and operate and plan the bulk power system for about two-thirds of customers in North America. In RTOs, utilities typically own transmission and distribution assets, but are generally barred from owning generation assets.

Further, rather than being set by state commissions through rate proceedings, prices for electricity are set via competitive wholesale electricity markets in which a multitude of entities participate, including independent power producers that own renewable resources. Figure 1 below shows a current map of RTOs in North America.

Much of the Southeast is not in an RTO, meaning that it retains the traditional vertically integrated utility model, in which monopolistic utilities own generation, transmission and distribution assets. A general criticism of vertically integrated utilities is that they have not historically been open to competition from renewable resources.

Indeed, much of the development of renewables in the Southeast to date has been driven by the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), a 1978 law that, among other things, requires utilities to purchase power from renewable resources under certain circumstances. PURPA was originally passed in an effort to open the United States’ power sector to competition. In comparison, renewable energy asset owners in RTOs are able to compete alongside other resources in open and competitive markets and have not needed to rely upon PURPA to get projects built in most cases.

“It is baffling to me how, in some states, ‘we’ suspend capitalism in support of the integrated vertical monopoly business model,” said Steffanie Donn, Director of Government Relations for Southern Current, a solar developer based in South Carolina.

“In these states, this model has created a dependency on PURPA to get renewable projects built. An RTO model would remove this, and other barriers inherit to this antiquated business model by opening up markets and allowing independent power producers to compete and sell their electricity on the open market.”

“Solar now is the least expensive source of new power generation, having these resources compete in an RTO will increase the amount of renewables on the grid, lower the electricity prices and minimize risk for consumers”, she explained.

 

RTOs in the Southeast

Recent developments have led some policymakers to question the vertically integrated utility paradigm in the Southeast. For example, in South Carolina, the collapse of a planned nuclear resource saddled South Carolina ratepayers with billions of dollars in associated costs that will need to be recovered for years to come. This event in many ways was a catalyst for South Carolina’s passage of the Energy Freedom Act, which is aimed primarily at promoting solar in the state.

Still, others in the Palmetto State believe that additional action is needed in order to further open competition and provide greater benefits to consumers. Most notably, South Carolina’s Senate recently agreed to form an RTO study committee to learn how residents and businesses will benefit from a competitive market structure (although the committee did not get approved in the state’s final budget for this past term).

Similarly, in North Carolina, which already has a small portion of the its territory in PJM Interconnection, the nation’s largest RTO, there is growing discussion among some stakeholders and policymakers about the need for an RTO.

“A growing number of legislators in both North and South Carolina want more wholesale competition in the electricity sector”, says Chris Carmody, executive director of the North Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance. “This is a bipartisan issue, with Republicans focused on ensuring market competition and Democrats pushing for more green energy. It’s a win-win politically”.

 

Are RTOs really the answer for renewables in the Southeast?

While there is growing interest in the prospect of an RTO in the Southeast, there remains a question as to whether RTOs are the best path forward for renewables’ growth in the Southeast. This is because RTOs present their own set of challenges for renewables. RTO market rules and operations were not designed with widespread renewable penetration in mind, and accordingly most RTO rules do not fully value renewable energy resource capabilities.

For example, most RTOs lack proper incentives for services from flexible, fast responding resources such as wind, solar and batteries. This discounts the fact that these resources can respond more rapidly to grid disruptions relative to slower-moving resources, such as coal and nuclear resources. A report last year by the Wind Solar Alliance outlines many of these challenges in detail, and makes several recommendations for how a technology-neutral RTO market, as well as planning and operational changes can create fairer opportunities for renewables in RTOs.

Furthermore, a recent article authored by the Natural Resources Defense Council critiques PJM for lagging behind other RTOs in terms of promoting renewables. This is especially important because PJM is the closest RTO to many utilities in the Southeast, meaning that if any Southeastern utilities were to join an existing RTO, PJM would be the most likely destination (especially for utilities in the Carolinas).

Importantly, vertically integrated utilities and state regulators in the Southeast have recently shown more willingness to deploy renewables. For example, in early 2019, Florida Power & Light announced plans to increase its portfolio of solar energy to 20% of its energy mix by 2030, up from the current 1%.

Additionally, earlier this month regulators in Georgia ordered Georgia Power to double the amount of solar it was planning on installing over the next five years. Whether actions such as these represent the beginning of a broader trend of Southeastern utilities and regulators embracing renewables remains to be seen, however, they are positive developments for renewables in at least the short term.

Conclusion

As stakeholders and policymakers continue to grapple with the question of whether expanding RTOs in the Southeast is the best path forward for renewables, they should be aware that not all RTOs and their rules are necessarily compatible with widespread renewable deployment, and that vertically integrated utilities can also provide opportunities for wider renewable deployment under the right set of circumstances and with proper regulatory oversight. Whether RTOs expand in the Southeast remains to be seen, but this is an important issue that all renewable energy stakeholders and interested policymakers should continue to follow closely.

 

Originally published on renewableenergyworld.com

6 skills you should look for in every CV

As a recruiter it’s vital to be able to pinpoint relevant skills from an applicant’s CV, looking not only for industry-specific requirements but those strengths that can transition into any position.

A recruiter needs to be able to go beyond the skills listed in an applicant’s CV, reviewing the candidate’s achievements, experiences and the results they have documented to uncover core skills that are fundamental for any role.

These are 6 skills you should be looking for in any candidate’s CV.

  1. Drive
    A candidate’s drive will be reflected in all aspects of their CV, through the way they detail their previous experience, their ambition to progress and develop as well as their motivation to achieve in any role they undertake.
    Look for result driven examples that document how they have contributed to company goals or achieved as an individual previously. This drive will not only be limited to work examples so also assess their educational or extra curriculum performance.
    You want to find a candidate who is passionate to deliver so look for highlights of previous accomplishments and how the applicant plans to replicate these types of results within a new role.
  2. Teamwork
    The ability to work effectively in a team will be featured in a candidate’s CV through examples of how they have contributed to teams and assisted colleagues or clients to reach a shared target.
    Look out for a candidate’s aptitude to not only express their own responsibilities or achievements but instead link these to how their actions affected the overall team or organization.
    Don’t just consider direct examples of group projects, work within a team or club involvement to identify this strength but instead evaluate how any work they have undertaken as an individual has supported the team or impacted other team members positively.
  3. Relationship building
    Rapport building is a strength that is easy to assess in a phone or face to face interview, but you don’t have to wait until these stages to detect whether an applicant has the talent to build successful relationships.
    When searching a CV, look out for times in which the candidate has formed relationships that have in turn been able to benefit them and their career, this could be through formal networking or through working across departments or teams.
    If the candidate has provided a link to their LinkedIn profile as part of their CV, also consider reviewing testimonials or endorsements to verify their ability to forge productive relationships.
    Observe how a candidate has used these relationships to enhance their career or to gain further exposure to new fields or ways of working. Collaboration is central to any position so as a recruiter it’s important to be discovering applicants who have been able to demonstrate this proficiency.
  4. Strategy
    Whether planning actions for a team or at an individual level;  a candidate being able to plan their own workload and develop actions to ensure the success of goals or targets is crucial, and a skill you should be looking out for.
    Pay attention to examples of project work where a candidate has devised strategies and exhibited a clear timeline of results or potentially teamwork where they have implemented a new process.
    Thinking strategically and the ability to work in line with a dedicated action plan should be evident throughout an applicant’s career and educational history.
    Consider situations where a candidate has shown their capacity for individual growth in their career and ways in which they have evaluated this long-term strategy.
  5. Problem-solving
    Problem-solving can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, so as a recruiter you need to recognize how an applicant has shown this characteristic, review occasions where a candidate has worked through challenging factors to provide a solution.
    For example, in instances where an applicant has identified a problem and been able to bring forward new methods or ideas to overcome the issue.
    A strong problem solver will also be able to effectively define goals, assess alternatives and evaluate situations so you should be considering this when examining an applicant’s CV.
  6. Negotiation
    Negotiating isn’t a skill just reserved for sales roles. Whether a candidate can negotiate with clients, suppliers or internal staff, the capacity to negotiate is a sort after skill. Identify occasions where the candidate has been able to bring a discussion to a successful conclusion whether this has taken place in team meetings, presentations or consultations with a client.
    Although, most candidates may not directly add this skill to their CV, especially if they aren’t applying for sales related positions, look for examples where the candidate has worked to find solutions or has overcome obstacles to obtain a required outcome.

Stop what you are doing and check your Linkedin profile

It’s a common scene: a busy recruiter thinks, “Wow, think we’ve got a keeper here,” as they scan your lovingly crafted CV or application. To get more background on you, they check out your LinkedIn page, only to shrug their shoulders and move on to the next candidate. What’s going on?

Recruiters, whether agency or in-house, have a very low appetite for risk. Any inconsistencies between your CV and your LinkedIn profile stand out like the balls on a bulldog, and they don’t make for a pretty sight. Employers look for exciting candidates. A great CV lifts the reader’s heart rate, but if the related LinkedIn profile is a yawn, their pulse flatlines. The majority of problems stem from candidates having a poor understanding of the difference between how a CV and a LinkedIn profile should each work.

Your CV is effectively a one-time use document, tailored to a vacancy or company. When a company says, “We’ll keep your details on file,” it begins to die as the world, your experience and your capabilities all change over time. Setting up a LinkedIn page can help cover the interim period, but you absolutely can’t treat it as a static document. Simplistically, a copy of your CV talks to one person, on one occasion, whereas your LinkedIn profile talks to many people, and on multiple occasions.

A great LinkedIn profile will engage the reader and show a much richer picture of you as a person than a CV ever can. Maintained correctly, it’s a live document in an active world and it should expand and grow in pace with your experience and capabilities. Used as a social media platform, it can show your underlying character and how you inter-relate with people and situations. Used as a publishing platform, it can give you a real voice in your industry. What’s not to like?

5 major turn-offs

A profile that hasn’t been updated since your last job-change tells a potential employer nothing about who you are now and what you could do for them, given a chance. The implication for a recruiter is that you’re gasping for oxygen in the bleak and stagnant pool of what can’t really be called your career because it hasn’t gone anywhere recently.

Many profiles don’t serve the reader’s needs. Recruiters want a quick overview of your strengths, skills, experience and achievements. Vast tracts of turgid text act as a barrier and end up delivering less information, not more.

Many profiles show lack of attention to detail, if not outright confusion. Incorrect spilling; punctuation and grammer by Potential Candidates be jarring in the extremely. Autocorrect is a tool, not an excuse. Lack of proofreading is a demonstration of stupidity, not the sign of a fast mover. Lurches between the first and third person and the use of mixed tenses are both particularly horrific to behold.

LinkedIn profiles lacking clarity collect dross. You have the means to comment and interact, but that’s not an excuse to bang on about anything and everything. Sharing salacious stories, bigoted opinions and ‘Only a genius can solve this’ postings creates the impression of an unfocused individual.

At a certain level of your career development, recruiters want to see more structured examples of your focus, thinking and opinions via articles you’ve written. An absence is a lost opportunity to show serious interest in your field.

How to strut your stuff

Wake up

Read your LinkedIn profile now. Identify what would make it demonstrate that you’ve blossomed rather than stagnated since the start of your current role. Update it accordingly.

Grow

Your career is ahead of you, not behind you. Every week, without fail, re-examine your profile and update any new capabilities or significant achievements. If there aren’t any, think what you’re going to do next week to change that, because standing still is sliding backwards.

Engage

If you don’t do it already, start to comment on discussions and share relevant articles. Don’t just pass the time, or consume space for the sake of it, aim to add incisive thought to any discussions or topics. Stay on-message with the main thrust of your career.

Network

The more you do, the easier it will become – honestly. Start to connect with the people you encounter, both online and in the real world. Seek connections that will create the foundations of a springboard for the next stage of your career.

Contribute

Become a mover and a shaker. Work-wise, what do you care about? What affects you and your industry? Share your analysis and thoughts by writing an article. Take a low-risk approach until you find your feet and your voice.

Essential quick tips

  • Proofread your whole LinkedIn page every single time you alter anything at all.
  • Make your qualifications, dates and positions consistent between your profile and CV.
  • Don’t merely repeat what’s already on your CV and stop there.
  • Shorten your commentary on older roles.
  • Check and update your contact details regularly, to avoid losing opportunities.
  • Go loud and proud. Add a link to your email signature and other public profiles.
  • Ask for recommendations. One or two from each period of employment looks good.
  • Have a call to arms. If you want people to get in touch – ask! It works.

Do you want proof? Find me on LinkedIn, send me a connection request and mention this UCR article. It would be nice to meet you.

If you truly embrace the LinkedIn platform, it can provide you with the means to proactively drive your career forward. Staying focused on what you’re going to say next is a great motivator. Keeping in touch with a growing professional network can not only increase your chances of winning any role you apply for, it can generate entirely unsolicited job opportunities for you.

 

Originally published on Theundercoverrecruiter.com

Kovačica becomes Serbia’s largest fully operational wind farm

After almost three decades, a completely new large power plant – the 104.5 MW Kovačica wind farm, has been connected to the electricity transmission system of Serbia. Developed under a EUR 189 million project, Kovačica is the largest fully operational wind farm and new renewable energy power plant in Serbia.

The Kovačica wind farm launched the trial run at the beginning of the year and has been fully operational since July 12. The other 4 operational wind farms in Serbia are the 500 kW Devreč 1 (2012), the 9.9 MW Kula (2016), the 6.6 MW La Piccolina (2016), and the 8 MW Alibunar (2018). About 370 MW more of wind farms are under construction or in the trial production phase in the country.

The Kovačica wind farm has obtained the status of a privileged power producer as the first completely new power plant facility connected to the electricity transmission system after almost three decades, New Energy Solutions said in a press release.

According to the official data, the last completely new power plant connected to the 400 kV, 220 kV, and 110 kV transmission system was the Pirot hydropower plant (HPP), which was put into operation in 1990.

By obtaining the status of a privileged power producer, the project has been fully developed and the exploitation of the wind farm has commenced, New Energy Solutions said.

The Kovačica wind farm comprises of 38 General Electric 2.75-120 type wind turbines.

  • Israel’s Enlight acquired ownership of the project in 2016

The development of the Kovačica wind farm started in 2012. The building permit was obtained in 2014, while the temporary status of a privileged power producer was obtained in 2015. The ownership of the project was acquired by Israel’s Enlight in 2016, while project management, project development, and construction were entrusted to New Energy Solutions.

New Energy Solutions will conduct operational management and maintenance.

The project is financed by the consortium consisting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Erste Group, and Erste Bank Serbia, covered by Euler-Hermes ECA, New Energy Solutions said.

The project will contribute to achieving the country’s goal of producing and consuming 27% of renewable energy by 2020 and reducing CO2 emissions.

 

Originally published on Balkan Green Energy News

How to be a successful recruiter

Screen, interview, hire and repeat. That could be the shortest job description for a recruiter. But a glimpse at a recruiter’s typical agenda shows that their day-to-day tasks are not as simple as you might think. Here are recruiters’ top responsibilities broken down by stages of the hiring process, along with advice on how to be a successful recruiter at each stage:

  • Meet with the hiring manager

Intake meetings with hiring managers kick off a smooth hiring process. For an effective recruiter-hiring manager collaboration, make sure you:

Agree on qualification criteria. Separate must-haves from nice-to-haves and decide on deal-breakers early on, so that you’re both on the same page.

Communicate regularly. Whether in-person or via email, communicate during all hiring stages. Keep hiring managers updated on how many candidates you interviewed, how many you’ve qualified and when candidates complete assessments.

Be consultative, especially to less experienced hiring managers. Offer advice on how to evaluate candidates and make sure they steer clear of illegal interview questions.

  • Write job descriptions

A clear job description will attract qualified candidates and reduce the number of non-qualified applicants. To write a good job description:

Use job description templates as an inspiration. You can customize job duties and requirements based on the scope of responsibilities of your role.

Revisit job ads you’ve published in the past. Update old job descriptions for the same role and modify them with new tasks and benefits, if they have changed.

Double-check role-specific terms with hiring managers. Buzzwords and jargon fail to describe what the position is about and may turn candidates off. Instead, use clear phrasing to help your audience understand the job’s requirements.

  • Publish job ads

Once your job description is ready, you will need to upload your ad to job boards and your careers page. To do this, make sure you:

Set up accounts with job boards. Enroll or renew your subscription to job boards and follow necessary guidelines for publication approval.

Make your ads social media-friendly. Customize your job ads for posting on social media (use less text and more visual aids and link to full job description.)

Use niche recruiting channels. Consider local job boards and industry-specific platforms to narrow down your audience, like Dribbble and Stack Overflow.

  • Source passive candidates

Proactive candidate sourcing brings you in front of potential hires who mightn’t be actively looking for a new job opportunity. It can also help you reduce your overall cost and time to hire. Here are some sourcing tips:

Set aside time to source. Book timeslots in your schedule (e.g. two hours per week) to focus on candidate sourcing. Browse LinkedIn profiles, search on professional networks and craft personalized recruiting emails to potential candidates.

Diversify your sourcing. Mix up your sourcing channels depending on the role. For example, Github is a good place to look for developers, while you can use Behance to evaluate designers’ portfolios.

Invest in software that makes sourcing easy. Consider tools that help you find potential good fits online and manage candidates’ profiles all in one place.

Looking to find passive candidates fast? Workable’s all-in-one recruitment software offers an industry-leading candidate sourcing tool to help build your talent pipeline. 

  • Screen resumes and applications

Resume screening can be time-consuming, especially if you receive many applications for a role. Here’s how to improve your efficiency with this task:

Use knockout questions in your application forms. They’ll help you eliminate candidates who lack minimum requirements.

Set – and stick with – an ‘apply by’ date. Schedule a deadline for applications to be submitted by, and start reviewing them after that date. This way, you’ll resist the temptation to show favoritism toward people who applied early in the hiring process.

Speed up the hiring process by using a mobile ATS. Review applications on the go and contact the rest of the hiring team from anywhere, so you can reach a hiring decision more quickly.

  • Ask for referrals

Employee referrals help you hire faster and better. Here’s how to make the most out of your referral system:

Get everyone involved. Send a “Refer a friend” email to all employees to announce an opening and enable them to upload referred candidates’ profiles directly into your ATS.

Offer incentives. Consider implementing a referral bonus program to motivate your current employees to recommend qualified candidates.

Cast a wider net. Don’t limit your search to your existing coworkers. Ask for referrals from your external network, including clients and former colleagues.

  • Interview candidates

Interviews are at the core of recruiting. They help you understand if candidates who are good on paper are also qualified for your open roles. To improve your interviewing skills:

Come prepared with questions for each stage. Depending on your company and your role, you may be involved only in the first interview or in more interview rounds. Make sure you have appropriate interview questions for each stage that will help you understand whether your company and the candidate are a good match.

Set aside extra time to research candidates and schedule interviews. Job interviews require more time than the actual interview duration. First, you need to schedule the interviews, then prepare for them by reviewing candidates’ applications and finally, keep notes and provide feedback to the hiring team after each interview.

Make interview scheduling easier with email templates. If you find yourself sending similar emails to candidates to arrange or confirm interviews, use email templates to save time. Use pre-written messages with attachments when necessary (e.g. directions to your offices.)

  • Prepare and send job offer letters

When the hiring manager and the CEO have made a hiring decision, it’s time to let the candidate know. Here’s how:

Cover all the important points. A well-structured job offer email clarifies all employment terms. Include compensation and benefits, working hours and if applicable, contract length.

Be prepared for negotiations with candidates. If candidates want to negotiate their salary in the offer letter, talk to your Finance department to learn about your budget limit.

Help the hiring manager personalize the offer. If you prefer to have your hiring manager extend the job offer, help them write the email or advise them on how to share the good news over the phone.

  • Contact rejected candidates

A rejection email or call mightn’t be a pleasant task, but it will go a long way towards leaving a good impression on candidates you might want to consider for future roles. A few pointers to help you reject candidates with grace:

Customize your rejection emails based on hiring stage. If you turn down candidates after the screening phase, opt for brief yet polite messages. For candidates who reached the final stages of your hiring process, personalize your emails to maintain good relationships.

Respond to requests for interview feedback. If candidates ask for interview feedback, explain why you didn’t select them. Stick to job-related criteria to avoid legal risks and, if applicable, suggest staying in touch for more suitable job openings in the future.

Refer back to your interview notes. Interview scorecards will help you remember candidates’ answers and overall interview performance. This will come handy if you interview many candidates on a daily or weekly basis.

  • Help onboard new hires

Although the hiring manager and HR usually do the heavy lifting of onboarding, you can help them transition smoothly from candidate to employee. Here’s how:

Enter the employee’s data into your HRIS. Or, provide new employees’ information (e.g. contact details, starting date, etc.) to the HR team so that they update internal databases.

Let staff know about the new hire. Send a new hire announcement email to inform employees about their new colleague. Make sure that the IT team creates software accounts for the new hire, as needed. Also, contact the Accounting department so that they add your new hire to payroll.

Schedule a meeting with new hires after their first week and month. Check in to see how they are adjusting to the role, whether it lined up to their expectations and get advice on how to improve recruiting processes in the future.

  • Review recruiting metrics

Recruiting KPIs, like time to hire and source of hire, can reveal areas of improvement:

Take a look into metrics two or three times per month. This will help you understand hiring trends and identify potential issues (e.g. the number of candidates for X role you evaluate in each stage.)

Take action on trends. Simply tracking metrics is not enough. Interpret and act on data in ways that make sense for your recruiting strategy. For example, suggest re-adjusting your recruitment budget if you notice that one sourcing channel brings in more qualified candidates than others.

Consider candidate-related metrics, too. Online reviews and candidate experience surveys can also prove insightful. Read what candidates have to say about your hiring process, as their opinions affect your employer brand.

  • Build talent pipelines

Good relationships with past and potential candidates may help you fill future job openings. Here’s how to build talent pipelines for your hiring needs:

Never stop networking. Always respond to potential candidates who reached out to you on social networks with queries about your job. And, proactively connect with people who might be good fits in the future.

Meet people in person. Network in conferences and job fairs. These events offer you the chance to meet potential candidates en masse and promote your company. You could also consider hosting recruitment events when you’re actively hiring.

Create a talent pool. Keep high-potential candidates who you don’t have an immediate role for warm. Create a database of past applicants, complete with their profiles and a detailed history of your interaction, and let them know you’re going to consider them for future roles. This will come handy when you decide to contact them again.

 

Oriinally published on Workable

How to Impress a Manager During an Interview

If you have an interview scheduled, you’ve almost made it to the job offer. Your resume stood out beyond the tens or even hundreds of resumes submitted. You’ve probably had a phone interview or conversation with a human resources person that you’ve also passed. Now, you need to prepare yourself to perform well at your interview and impress the manager with whom you’re meeting. The best way to impress your interviewer is to be professional and to be confident in your qualifications. Be prepared to answer any question he may ask with solid answers that demonstrate your skills and abilities.

 

  • Professional

According to a study by Frank Bernieri, a psychology professor at the University of Toledo, your interviewer will decide within the first 30 seconds whether you’re right for the job. And, the first thing your interviewer will notice is your appearance, so dress professionally. Your speech habits and patterns will also be important. Take a video of yourself answering interview questions. You might notice things about your speech or body language that you never realized. This is your opportunity to practice avoiding stumbles or distracting body movements you might have. Watching a video of yourself talking might be uncomfortable, but it’s an effective way to improve your speaking abilities.

 

  • Previous Work Examples

Bring examples of previous work to discuss during the interview. It’s easier to evaluate your work by seeing what you’ve done rather than hearing about it. If you work in marketing, you can bring marketing literature that you’ve worked on. If you work in engineering, bring products you developed or pictures of your work. But, do not take anything proprietary from your previous employer, since this can create legal issues for you.

 

  • Company Knowledge

Research the company prior to attending your interview so you know the basics about the company’s products or services. Go through the company’s website and read as much as you can about the business. Try finding news coverage or press releases to learn about its recent activities. Your knowledge about the company will show the interviewer that you made an effort to learn about the company. The interviewer will really be impressed if you can speak knowledgeably about the business.

 

  • Ask Questions

Asking questions is important, because it shows interest and engagement. Prepare a list of questions about the company’s products or services. You can also ask about the company’s culture or what it’s like to work for the company. You should avoid asking about pay or benefits — not during this interview. The main goal is to stay engaged in your conversation with the interviewer. The questions you ask will provide a basis for additional discussion beyond the interviewer’s questions for you. Impressing the interviewer with your knowledge and interest in the position will improve your chances at getting a call back.

 

Originally published on Career Trend

Dubai Explores Feasibility Of Floating Solar Projects

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has expressed its intention to set up floating solar power projects in the Arabian Gulf. The company has issued a Request for Proposal to study the feasibility of such projects.

In a press release, DEWA announced that it had issued a request for proposal ‘for appointing consultants to study, develop and construct floating solar photovoltaic plants in the Arabian Gulf’. While the RfP document was not available on DEWA’s website at the time of publication, the press release does give a few details.

The terms of the RfP require a consultant to study the feasibility of floating solar power projects over seawater, conduct an environmental impact assessment, and other studies related to marine requirements and transmission network for power evacuation.

DEWA is already developing what it claims to be the largest single-site solar park in the world, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The park is expected to have an installed capacity of 5 gigawatts by 2030 at an investment of $13.6 billion. DEWA has already auctioned 1.95 gigawatts of capacity of the planned capacity with another 900 megawatts tendered.

While most of the floating solar power projects are planned over reservoirs of large hydro power projects, there are examples of operational floating solar power projects over seawater.

Austria-based Swimsol has commissioned 500 systems with a cumulative capacity of 100 megawatts using its patented SolarSea product. The product consists of floating platforms whose arrangement can be customized as per requirement. Each of these platforms is equipped with 25 kilowatts of marine-grade solar panels. The company claims 5-10% higher production from these systems compared to the equivalent rooftop solar power systems due to the cooling effect of seawater and additional reflective radiation.

Another developer, Sunseap, was planning to set up a 5 megawatt project over seawater in the Johor Strait between Singapore and Malaysia. The project was supposed to the commissioned by the first quarter of this year, however the company has not reported the same so far.

The World Bank, in a recent study, reported that there is nearly 1.1 gigawatt of floating solar power capacity globally. However, in the study’s authors also agree that floating solar power over seawater poses specific challenges, including long-term reliability, high operation and maintenance cost and bio fouling, among others. However, such power plants may also be of strong interest to populous coastal cities and perhaps the only viable option for small islands to generate solar power. 

Originally published on Clean Technica

7 Daily Habits of an Effective Recruiter

What makes a recruiter successful?

While the descriptor is rather subjective (each person defines success differently), there are a number of commonalities among effective recruiters.

At the end of day, you need to provide your company and clients with candidates that are going to make an impact. So how do great recruiters achieve this? Each story may be different, but we think you’ll find this list of seven key habits sums up what it means to be an effective recruiter.

1. Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Have a clear company strategy in mind that you can reference to whenever you’re looking to fill a position. Keep it on a sticky note, typed in your phone or simply commit it to memory. When learning about a potential candidate, identify if their skills, character and experience are the best fit for leading your organization to growth. Ask yourself, “Will this person help my organization reach our ultimate vision?” If you can’t confidently answer yes, it’s time to keep sourcing.

2. Dig Deeper

We all know that possessing the right skills is not enough to qualify a candidate as the right hire. Your job as a recruiter is to find the candidates who are not only qualified for the job, but who also fit the company culture. Ask the right questions and don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper in the interview process. Identify which characteristics or values your successful employees commonly possess, and then create interview questions that help single out candidates with similar attributes.

3. Think Outside the Box

When possible, emphasize the job need rather than the skills. If a candidate has previously performed a similar job, they probably have the skills (or the ability to learn them). So instead of listing every skill that candidate should possess, clearly explain the key job expectations.This will help enhance your talent community by including a more diverse group of candidates with varying experience and backgrounds without sacrificing the quality of hire.

If you want to engage passive candidates, you need to figure out how to target effectively for a career move. Try to imagine the career story of your top three ideal candidates. What roles did they fill before? What skills did they possess that made them a good fit? Once you’ve answered questions like these, you’ll have a better idea of how to make your job postings resonate with passive candidates.

4. Continually Self Improve

Master and strengthen all of your sources for candidates. This includes boosting the yield and quality of candidates coming in via your job posting efforts. To do this, relentlessly study what makes a job posting effective, try new marketing tactics, test your actions and apply what you’ve learned to strengthen your job ads. Also, stay up-to-date on the latest recruiting news and best practices so that you can leverage the information.

5. Nurture Your Talent Community

Periodically reach out to candidates in your Talent Community to see what’s new with them, if they’ve acquired any new skills, or if they have referrals to share from their personal network. You can keep in touch with new and old connections via the phone, email, message system, or physical gatherings. The amount of input you invest yields a corresponding amount of output. That’s why it’s so critical for recruiters to build and maintain relationships with their Talent Community, past clients and alumni.

The main takeaway is that you need to initiate conversations to boost awareness for your positions. Become an exceptional networker, and become proficient in passive candidate recruiting.

6. Track Metrics

Identifying the results of your efforts each day is the best way to improve your recruitment practices. Utilize analytical tools that help you understand your recruiting initiatives from a high-level perspective. By reviewing critical recruitment metrics, you can decipher which recruiting tactics are working and which are not. Then, you can readjust your actions to maximize your ROI.

7. Be Proactive

Instead of focusing entirely on current open reqs, start thinking about the future hiring needs of your organization. Are certain departments growing? Are any leaders planning on retiring soon? Based on your company’s expectations, start building a strong talent network of prospective candidates who would excel in the roles that may become available. As a result, you’ll be prepared to source once the company decides to hire for that position.

Becoming a great recruiter takes persistence, strategy and the passion to connect organizations with the right candidates. If you have the will to succeed, coupled with the right tactics and tools, you can start aggressively honing your recruiting skills today. Try incorporating these seven recruitment best practices into your day-to-day functions to improve your actions and produce great results.

Originally published on Recruiting

10 Unconventional (But Very Effective) Tips For Job Seekers

In the market for a new job? You’ve probably been urged to “pursue your passions,” “leverage your network,” “tailor and tidy up your resume,” “do your homework,” and “dress for success”—among other things.

“These are foundational aspects to job seeking that are timeless,” says Teri Hockett, the chief executive of What’s For Work?, a career site for women.

David Parnell, a legal consultant, communication coach and author, agrees: “Much of this has been around long enough to become conventional for a reason: it works,” he says. “If you take a closer look, things like networking, research, and applying to multiple employers are fundamental ‘block and tackle’ types of activities that apply to 80% of the bell curve. They hinge upon casting a broad net; they leverage the law of averages; they adhere to the fundamentals of psychology. It’s no wonder they still work.”

But some of it “does get old and overused, because job seeking is as unique and creative as an individual,” says Isa Adney, author of Community College Success and the blog FirstJobOutofCollege.com. “When you ask any professional who has achieved some level of greatness how he or she got there, the journey is always unique, always varied, and rarely cookie-cutter. Most have, in some capacity, followed their passion, used their network, and had a good resume–but those things are usually part of a much bigger picture, and an unpredictable winding path. Instead of always following the exact by-the-book job seeking formulas, most were simply open to possibilities and got really good at whatever it is they were doing.”

We’re not saying you should discount or disregard traditional job seeking advice altogether. But it can’t hurt to mix it up and try less conventional approaches until you achieve your goals, Hockett says.

“Times are always changing and while it’s always good to follow the basic advice, we also have to get rolling with the times,” says Amanda Abella, a career coach, writer, speaker, and founder of the Gen Y lifestyle blog Grad Meets World. “For instance, group interviews are making a comeback, we’ve got Skype interviews now, or you may interview in front of a panel. All this stuff didn’t happen as often before–so while the same basic stuff applies, we have to take into account all the new dynamics.”

Hockett agrees and says if you are going to try some unconventional job seeking methods, you should “always be grounded with solid research and a clear direction of your intentions; then you will be ready for any opportunity to make a connection resulting in a positive impact on a hiring manager.”

Parnell says generally speaking, unconventional methods should be used sparingly, judiciously and only when necessary. “And when you do decide to use them, factor comprehensively by recognizing things like industry standards, personalities involved, and the general ilk of the position’s responsibilities, before strategizing.”

Here are 10 unconventional (but very effective) tips for job seekers:

1. Be vulnerable. It’s okay to ask people for advice! “Too often we think we have to sell ourselves as this know-it-all hot-shot to get a job, but I have found the best way to build relationships with people whom you’d like to work with (or for) is to start by being vulnerable, sharing your admiration for their work, and asking for advice,” Adney says. “I recommend doing this with professionals at companies you’d love to work for, long before they have a job opening you apply for.”

2. Don’t always follow your passion. “Follow your passion” is one of the most common pieces of career wisdom, says Cal Newport, author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love. “It’s also wrong.” If you study people who end up loving their work, most of them did not follow a pre-existing passion, he says. “Instead, their passion for the work developed over time as they got better at what they did and took more control over their career.”

Adney agrees to some extent. She doesn’t think job seekers should completely disregard their passions–but does believe that “challenging this conventional wisdom is vital, especially since studies still show most Americans are unhappy in their jobs.”

3. Create your position. Don’t just sit around waiting for your “dream job” to open. Study the industry or field that you’re looking to move into, and determine a company or two that you’d like to work for, Hockett says. “Then figure out their challenges through relationships or public information. With this, you can craft a solution for them that you can share directly or publically through a blog, for instance. The concept here is to get noticed through offering a solution to help them with no expectation of anything in return.”

4. Learn how to listen. Job seekers are so caught up in conveying a certain message and image to the employer that they often fail to listen.

“Powerful listening is a coaching tool, as well as an amazing skill to have in your life,” Abella says. “The art of conversation lies in knowing how to listen– and the same applies to job interviews. Know when to talk, when to stop talking, and when to ask questions.”

When you practicing for interviews, don’t just rehearse your answers to questions like, “can you tell me about yourself?” “why do you want this job?” and “what are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” Practice listening carefully and closely without interrupting.

5. Start at the top and move down. We learned from Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) in The Pursuit of Happyness (the biographical film based on Gardner’s life) that you need to start from the top and move down. “Why approach human resources in hopes that your resume makes it to the hiring authority?” Parnell says. “Just get it there yourself. Be careful to use tact, respect and clarity during the process, but nevertheless, go straight to the decision maker.”

6. Build a relationship with the administrative assistant.While you want to start at the top (see No. 5), you’ll eventually want to build strategic relationships with personnel at all levels.

“A terribly underutilized resource is an employer’s administrative assistant,” Parnell says. “As the manager’s trusted counterpart, there is often only a slight social barrier between the two. They know the manager’s schedule, interests, responsibilities and preferences. Making friends or even engaging in some quasi-bartering relationship with them can make all the difference in the world.”

7. Don’t apply for a job as soon as you find it. The worst part about job hunting is the dreaded scrolling of an online job board, applying for job after job, and never hearing back, Adney says. “When you find a job online that you’re really interested in, applying is the last thing you should do. Instead, research that company and the professionals who work there, and reach out to someone at the company before you apply for the job, letting them know you admire what they do and would love their advice.” Then, ask questions via e-mail or phone about what they like and find challenging at their job, and ask if they have any tips for you. “Most likely they will personally tell you about the job opening (you should not mention it) and then you can ask them about getting your application and resume into the right hands,” she says. “It is a great way to keep your applications from getting lost in the black hole of the Internet.”

8. Focus on body language. You’ve probably heard this before—but job candidates don’t take it seriously enough. “Body language is incredibly important in job interviews,” Abella says. “Watching yours (posture, your hands, whether or not you’re relaxed, confidence) will help you exude confidence,” she explains. “Meanwhile paying attention to the interviewer’s body language can let you gauge whether or not you’re on the right track.”

9. Don’t focus on finding a job you love now. Don’t obsess about how much you’ll enjoy a particular job on day one, Newport says. Most entry-level positions are not glamorous. “The right question to ask when assessing an opportunity is what the job would look like in five years, assuming that you spent those years focusing like a laser on developing valuable skills. That’s the job you’re interviewing for.”

Adney agrees. “When choosing a job early in your career or early in a career change, focus less on how much you would love doing the functions of the job and focus more on where you will have the greatest opportunity to add value to the company, network with top people in your industry, and have the ability to get your foot in the door of a company that mostly hires internally.”

10. Become their greatest fan. Once you find a company you’d love to work for, become their biggest fan. “Becoming a brand loyalist may lead to becoming an employee,” Hockett says. “But of course, you have to establish or participate in a forum where you’re constantly communicating that message; one they will see.” Organizations ideally want employees to love their company and be enthusiastic about their job. Loyal fans are passionate as consumers, and often make great employees because of this, she concludes.

Originally published on Forbes

China Invests In Renewable Energy In Cuba

Cuba began investing in renewable energy in 2014 and is ramping up its efforts in a push to make renewables its principal source of electricity by 2030. According to Xinhua News,China is one of the leading investors in Cuba’s renewable energy program.

The goal is for Cuba to derive 24% of its electricity from renewables such as sugarcane biomass, solar panels, wind farms, and small hydroelectric plants by 2024. “Photovoltaic solar energy is the one with the most progress, and there are 65 parks built throughout the country and another 15 are in process that will increase the installed power to 42 megawatts,” says Tatiana Amaran Bogachova, general director of the Electricity Department at Cuba’s Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Ovel Concepcion, director of renewable sources at the island’s Electric Union, says his organization expects to install 700 megawatts of renewable solar power by 2030. “We will also set up some 688 MW in wind farms, 56 MW in hydroelectric plants and provide electricity through photovoltaic panels in all remote homes that have no access to any other source of energy,” he says.

Electricity from solar panels costs 95% less than electricity from traditional thermoelectric facilities. Solar also has the advantage of bringing electricity to remote areas of the island that have no access to the utility grid. Today there are over 17,000 solar panels that serve those underserved areas.

“Today there are four projects in different construction phases of solar energy parks with international investment for a total of 200 MW,” Conception says. “One of them is the first park with 100 percent foreign capital located at the Mariel Special Development Zone.” Four experimental wind energy parks with an output of 11.5 megawatts of renewable energy are under construction, financed in large part by investment from China and the UK. The La Herradura 1 and 2 wind farms in eastern Las Tunas province will have 54 turbines that feature Chinese technology.

Cuba has a lot of sugarcane. The biomass remaining after the sugar is extracted from the plants will be used to power electrical generating plants. “The electrical surplus after the sugar manufacturing process will be sold to the Electric Union for the nation’s energy system,” says Barbara Hernandez, head of power generation at the state-run sugar producer Azcuba. “It’s a way to recover the investments of bioelectric plants and use this model once the harvest is over.”

The country’s first bioelectric plant is being built in central Ciego de Avila province, about 450 km east of Havana, with a joint investment between the island and companies from China and Britain. “This plant will generate around 157 KWh for each ton of sugar cane processed by the adjacent Ciro Redondo sugar mill. It’s now at 41 percent of its construction plan with the aim of starting operations by the end of the year,” says Francisco Lleo Martin, general director of Zerus, a Cuban holding company for foreign investment in the sugar sector.

China is flexing its economic muscles in dozens of countries around the world. Its philosophy is “business is business.” The United States, on the other hand, refuses to engage economically with any nation that doesn’t hew to its ultra nationalistic politics. Exceptions are made only for countries that purchase enormous amounts of weapons from America’s armaments manufacturers.

America’s infatuation with the illusion of greatness is leaving the door wide open for other countries to forge economic and political ties with a neighbor just 90 miles away. Such short sighted policies will hardly get reactionaries what they want most — the adoring embrace of the world community.

Originally published on Clean Technica

11 Common Mistakes That Recruiters Make

It’s a full time job to recruit top talent. The people you choose to hire will ultimately shape the future of your company. They are directly tied to your company’s success. Don’t mess up.

It’s your job to do whatever you can to select the right people. When you read resumes, interview job candidates, check references, run background checks, and screen candidates via social media it’s pretty easy to sift and sort through the applicant pool and find a solid new employee. Do your job and you’ll hire the right person.

But recruiters are human and humans make mistakes. When it comes to recruiting, these are some of the most common mistakes that recruiters make:

1. Complacency – It’s easy to grow complacent and stuck in your ways. To attract the top recruits to your company you need to be on top of your game. Be ready to adapt to changing trends and to embrace the latest technology.

2. Always Trusting The Resume – Resumes are like a job candidate’s highlight reel. Don’t be fooled though. There is more to a job candidate than what they can put down on paper.

3. Not Running A Background Check – While a background check may seem unnecessary, it’s an important part of the hiring process. You never know what a candidate has done in their past and what might come back to haunt you because you didn’t check.

4. Making A Desperate Hire – When you feel the pressure to hire someone immediately, beware. You never want to hire someone just because you need them. It’s better to wait and find the right person for the job.

5. Writing A Poor Job Description – If you don’t spend the time to write a solid job description, you’ll waste a lot of time later on either sifting and sorting through resumes of unqualified candidates or wondering why no one applied for the job. Nail down the specifics of the job so that you can attract the right people.

6. Poor Communication – Communication problems plague all sorts of businesses. It’s your job to communicate all of the necessary information to a candidate including important times and dates, necessary job information, and even follow ups.

7. Waiting For The “Perfect” Candidate – It’s unwise to make a desperate hire, but it’s also a poor decision to hold out for the perfect candidate. The perfect candidate unfortunately doesn’t exist. Instead, hire the best person for the job.

8. Not Screening Candidates On Social Media – You’ll be amazed what you can find with a simple Google search or social media screening. Always check to see if the person you meet on paper and in a job interview matches the person that the world sees on social media.

9. Lacking Preparation At The Interview – All recruiters judge a job candidate by how prepared they are at the interview. As a HR pro, you also need to be prepared so that you can properly evaluate the job candidate.

10. Not Trusting Your Gut – Sometimes you just need to trust your gut.

11. Assuming Someone Can Actually Do The Job – While a candidate may appear great in person and on paper, it’s your job to determine if they can actually do the job you need done. If the candidate can’t produce high quality work, they might not be the best choice.

If you make a recruiting mistake that leaves you holding your head and wondering what in the world happened, be sure to learn from your error. Grow from that experience and it will make you a better person and a more well rounded recruiter.

Originally published on Job Monkey

7 Tips to Make Interview Nerves Disappear

You’ve landed an interview for your next big career move – a goal you have been working towards for a long time. You have all the experience required and you know you’d be a great fit but there’s one problem – your interview nerves are setting in. Believe me when I say you are not alone.

If not dealt with effectively, interview nerves can leave you lacking confidence and feeling anxious- they take up so much time and energy that would be better spent researching and preparing for the interview itself. Like most common fears, interview nerves are generally irrational and at best, misplaced concerns. Here are the tips you should follow to make those nerves disappear

1. It’s not all about you

As the interviewee, the focus is on you and it’s absolutely your chance to shine. But remember, the interview panel is under pressure too. Pressure of interviewing well. Pressure to recruit well. The company is investing a lot of money and resource recruiting for this position, if they recruit the wrong candidate, it doesn’t reflect well on them.

Every candidate is in the same position as you so let that ease the pressure you’re putting on your shoulders. Have compassion for the interview panel and trust them to bring out the best in you. Never underestimate the skill and concentration required to get the best out of an interviewee.

2. Know yourself, your motives and your strengths

Take the time to understand what you offer. What skills, experience and knowledge do you have that are huge assets to this role? Understand clearly what your motivation for the role is and why you’re the best candidate. What strengths do you have that would complement this company and role well? Once you are clear on what you have to offer you can walk in to the interview confidently.

3. Trust Yourself

If you have researched the company/industry, know what skills/experience you have to match the job requirements, are driven and motivated, can recount your key career successes, know what points you want to get across and what ideas you can bring to the role, you’re good to go. You’ve prepared well, you know you can do this role well, now it’s time to relax and trust yourself.

4. Reframe the situation

In your mind the interview is a situation you’re not going to be comfortable with, so it’s no wonder you’re nervous. Time to take a step back and think about when you excel – what type of situations do you do well in?

Do you enjoy group discussions? See the interview as one big group discussion. If being centre-stage is your thing – be the main act.

5. Understand it’s not a pass or fail situation

Whilst the aim of an interview is always ultimately to get the job offer, it’s not a pass or fail situation.Recruitment processes are subjective, you don’t know who you are up against, what personal expectations beyond the criteria of the role the interviewers have (it might even differ from interviewer to interviewer) and you don’t know what situations they’re facing that could affect their decision.

With these factors being out of your control just do your best, show them why you will be great in the role and let the rest go. Hopefully you will get the offer but if you don’t, you never know where that interview might take you. They could offer you a different role or it could end up being great preparation for another interview in a better role.

6. Have contingency plans

If you do forget to mention some points you think are key as the interview progresses, don’t worry about it. Have a contingency plan – how will you get that information in? If you realise three questions in that you forgot a vital point in your answer to question one, wait for the right opportunity and say “Would it be possible for me to add to my answer to the first question? There is a key point I didn’t get across; would you mind if I talk through that with you now?”

If you have a couple of points you want to bring up that didn’t fit in to any of the questions, use them in your questions at the end. For example; “I find xxxx fascinating and the effect it may have on the industry could be a game changer. I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.”

7. Comparison

Finally, don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself by comparing yourself to other candidates – whether you know them or not. Keep your focus on you, what you have to offer, why you are a great investment and how much value you will bring them.

When you find interview nerves taking over, make a conscious effort to steer your mind back to reality.  You will be having a conversation about yourself (your expert topic), why you can do this job well, your professional attributes and your thoughts on the role, company and industry. You have a lot of great insights to share which the interview panel are keen to hear; you wouldn’t be sitting in front of them otherwise.

Breathe, trust yourself and show them what you’ve got.

Originally published on The Undercover Recruiter

Social media recruiting : 5 mistakes to avoid

As more people use social media, HR specialists and hiring managers are increasingly  incorporating tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn into their recruiting strategy.

Some job candidates invite  employers to view their profiles on social networks, hoping the information will help hiring managers see a more complete view of the real person beyond the resume and cover letter. And recruiters may do some scouting on LinkedIn and Twitter by searching for keywords related to the position they’re trying to fill, then reaching out to top talent who may be passively searching for a job.

Although these  networks  can help hiring managers  find  new employees, there are definite pitfalls to avoid when developing a strategy for social media recruiting. Here are five common mistakes hiring managers make when using social media to evaluate job candidates:

  1. Thinking social media recruiting is risk-free
    When you look at candidates’ profiles, you might become aware of protected information that you wouldn’t dare  ask  about in an interview, such as gender,  age, race, religion, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. Candidates have sued companies because they believe they were rejected for a job based on content posted on their online profiles.
    When searching for talent online, make sure that you do the same searches for every candidate, and consider waiting  until after you’ve done an initial face-to-face interview. Your legal department can also provide insight on navigating potential issues in using social media tools and applications in the hiring process.
  2. Thinking it can outweigh interpersonal interaction
    This is one of the biggest mistakes of all. Social media efforts should augment, not replace, traditional one-on-one contact, such as outreach to potential candidates through in-person networking events and relationships built with reputable recruiters.
    The quality of a candidate’s interpersonal skills are increasingly important to businesses,  even in non-customer-facing positions.  Teamwork and the need to communicate with others throughout the company has risen in importance even in the digital age. As a result, hiring managers need to understand how individuals will mesh with the organization and its workplace culture. These aren’t attributes an employer can accurately evaluate on a Facebook or LinkedIn page.
  3. Being quick to judge
    Managers who judge potential hires too harshly based on what they discover online run the risk of unintentionally eliminating skilled candidates. You wouldn’t hire someone based solely on the fine prose of a well-written cover letter, so you shouldn’t  reject a candidate just because you raised an eyebrow at the content posted on his or her profile.
    Generation Y and Z  candidates, who are particularly active on social media,  tend to be comfortable with having their personal and professional lives overlap on the Internet. Hiring managers need to be aware as they engage in social media recruiting that some job seekers may share personal information about themselves online more freely than other professionals.
    It’s also important to be aware that some people spend more time on networking sites than others. Passive candidates who aren’t currently looking for a job but would be open to discussing new opportunities with the right company may not look like they’re job hunting on LinkedIn. Don’t disregard a candidate just because their profile is minimal or not up-to-date.
  4. Not recognizing the time commitment
    Networking sites are communities, which means it can take months to build relationships with users. Keep in mind, too, that the language and customs used by members might be opaque to outsiders. Hiring managers and HR recruiters who go into Twitter, Facebook or other social media without considering the time commitment involved in forming useful relationships may not get the results they hoped for.
    Especially when making cold contacts with talent located online,  recruiters  should be aware it isn’t a one-and-done situation. Taking time to study how people interact and prefer to be contacted is essential when recruiting.
  5. Forgetting to  update  your own social media profiles
    Social networking  is a two-way street. Is your company keeping its profiles up-to-date? At the very least, your company’s pages on LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites should include accurate contact information and confirm that you are an  Equal  Opportunity  Employer. You could also take the time to share information about your company culture and the benefits of working there.  If your industry is one where professionals are active online, you should post your job listings on your page  — that lets qualified candidates come to you.
    While joining  the social media space is relatively easy, it is not the magic bullet many hiring managers might have hoped. The most successful recruiting efforts  rely on a combination of resources that include both high-tech and high-touch approaches.

 

Originally published on Robert Half

10 reasons you are not getting the job

Sometimes everything just falls into place. You hear about a job, have a couple of interviews and get the offer in a few short weeks.

Most of the time, that’s not the case. If you’ve been job hunting for a while without much success, it’s time to review what you’ve been doing to find the weak spots in your process.

Of course, much depends on factors from your location to your level to your industry, but if your search is stalling, make sure you aren’t falling into these common traps.

  1. You don’t use keywords in your resume.
    If you apply to jobs online or through HR departments, you absolutely need to sprinkle keywords through your resume. Your social profiles and cover letters should contain pertinent key words as well. When applying to a specific job, tailor your resume to be sure that it includes some of the keywords that appear in the job description.
  2. You apply to hundreds of jobs online.
    So much is wrong with trying to find a job this way it might deserve its own list. With hundreds, even thousands, of people applying to every job, your odds of getting one by throwing your resume into the black hole are pretty darn low. Some other problems with this approach: If you are applying for that many jobs, you probably don’t know what you want, other than a new job. You probably aren’t customizing your resume and cover letter. You are fooling yourself into thinking you are doing a lot to find a job, when the truth is you aren’t doing enough. You may soon get discouraged, too. Every job seeker should use a wide range of tools to find a gig, including recruiters, networking, answering ads, and social media.
  3. You don’t like to network.
    When people say this, and many of them do, it usually means they network only when they need a new job. Of course that feels awkward and forced. You feel uncomfortable and you probably make other people uncomfortable as well. Take a long-range view of networking and regularly make the time to help others in your industry through referrals and recommendations, sharing articles and research, and attending panels and events. If you are among those who say they hate small talk or aren’t good at meeting new people, learn to be. Master a graceful way to introduce yourself and then take the focus off yourself. Ask questions. Be curious about other people and the world and you might even start to enjoy networking.
  4. You don’t keep in touch with former colleagues.
    Companies love to hire people referred by their own employees, so staying in touch with people you worked well with in the past can be the best thing you do for your career.
  5. You don’t write cover letters.
    No matter how many people tell you that no one reads cover letters anymore, write them. Sure, some managers might not care about them, but that’s impossible for a job seeker to know. More important, a good cover letter can set you apart. No one expects you to be Shakespeare, but craft a few paragraphs that explain what you can do for that company. Keep it short—three paragraphs are fine. And spellcheck.
  6. You don’t write thank you notes.
    As with cover letters, many people say they don’t matter anymore. I disagree. Following up with a short email after an interview shows respect for your interviewer and for yourself. Why would you allow other people’s bad manners to determine your career path?
  7. You think you deserve a job.
    You may be smart, or well educated, or hard working, or highly experienced, or have good hair, or are breathing. But no one is entitled to a particular job. That kind of thinking will leave you bitter and angry, so don’t go there.
  8. You talk too much about yourself at interviews.
    Wait—aren’t you there to sell yourself? Yes and no. A successful interview is a conversation. You both are trying to determine if you are a good fit for the job. Really listen to what your interviewer is saying so you can frame your responses correctly and ask insightful follow-up questions. Obvious? Well, it should be, but most people are too busy planning what they are going to say next to carefully listen, much less read between the lines. Listening attentively will allow you to tailor your questions to specific problems or issues your interviewer is discussing or implying. And that’s the best way to sell yourself.
  9. You haven’t learned something new in years.
    The world is always changing and expanding, and you should be, too. Learn to code, learn a new language, learn to take better photos—just keep learning. Check out online classes or take an evening class or weekend workshop. Keep up with industry news. Companies are looking for people who can change and innovate in a complex world, and the more you know the more ideas and information you will have to contribute.
  10. You spend most evenings sitting at home.
    Building informal networks can expand your career options and help you become a more interesting and well-rounded person. Volunteer, coach, mentor, go to local events and get to the gym. The more you stay engaged in your community and with other people, the more likely you will build a network that supports your success.

 

Originally published on Ivy Exec

3 strategies for building solar and wind energy systems on potentially contaminated lands

Building solar and wind energy projects on potentially contaminated lands can be a golden opportunity, both effective and cost-effective, for developers. The 120-acre Reilly Tar & Chemical Corporation Superfund site was recently redeveloped with a utility-scale solar farm and is a prime example of the reuse potential inherent in thousands of Superfund sites, brownfields, retired power plants, and landfills.

Corporations continue to drive demand for sustainable energy, with 170 businesses to-date pledging to go 100 percent renewable as part of RE100. States and local governments are also establishing policies that prioritize and incentivize sustainable energy development. In Illinois, the legislature is seeking to pass two bills, the Path to 100 Act (HB 2966/SB1781) and Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB3624/SB2132), which would incentivize renewable energy development and bring the state to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Other states, including New York and California, have proposed or passed similar laws.

Redeveloping potentially contaminated lands offers a host of potential benefits to developers and community stakeholders:

  • Better Bang for Your Buck and Time: Developers can significantly lower project costs and decrease timelines, because contaminated sites typically have existing infrastructure in place, like power lines, substations, and access roads — all of which would otherwise need to be constructed. Often, contaminated sites are also already zoned for commercial or industrial use, which means that the proposed project likely poses fewer zoning and permitting hurdles. Costs may also be lower than developments on agricultural lands or other open spaces because (1) contaminated properties cost less; (2) programs specific to the procurement of renewable energy credits from brownfield projects may be available; and (3) developers may be able to take advantage of federal and state brownfield tax incentives.
  • More Support from the Community: Siting renewable energy projects on potentially contaminated lands means that agricultural lands are kept in production and open spaces are kept as is; abandoned, blighted sites are cleaned up; surrounding property values are boosted; tax revenues are increased; and energy needs will cost less. Local communities may be quicker to support the renewable energy projects as a result.
  • Open Space Preservation: Large, utility-scale renewable energy facilities developed on potentially contaminated lands can help to preserve agricultural lands and other “greenspace” that may otherwise be displaced or impacted by development.

Even with all these benefits, developers often choose to build wind and solar energy systems on agricultural lands or greenspaces, and not on brownfields, because they are worried about potential liabilities or site contamination. Fear no more. Here are three strategies that developers can consider using to help quell concerns and work toward constructing successful renewable energy systems on potentially contaminated lands.

 

Evaluate Sites to See Whether They Have Renewable Energy Potential and Make Financial Sense

It’s important to take a hard look at potentially contaminated properties to determine whether they can support your renewable energy project. For example, a prospective property must have enough usable space and be close enough in proximity to transmission or distribution lines to support development.

Confirm that a site is not subject to land-use exclusions or restrictions that would prevent the use of solar or wind energy. Ensure your renewable energy project is in line with, or at least doesn’t conflict with, the community’s vision for the site. Take a look at whether the site has been assessed for contamination already. If so, review those environmental assessments and determine what remediation is needed. If not, you will need to investigate the site to see whether your project development is appropriate.

It’s also important to inspect the property for visual signs of contamination, like piles of debris or soil surface staining. Site-specific screening considerations will also vary depending on the type of contaminated property you’re assessing. For example, if you’re looking to develop a project on a landfill, you’ll need to confirm that the landfill has settled or is expected to settle uniformly.

Also key to the success of a project is choosing a site that makes financial sense. As part of this assessment, see whether the state in which you’re seeking to develop has strong policy support for renewable energy development and specific incentives. Whether you buy or lease a property, it’s important to consider whether the specific site ownership structure at play will impact the incentives available for your project, which may impact the overall cost of your renewable energy system significantly.

The EPA has published decision trees to help prospective developers screen potential sites for solar and wind energy compatibility.

 

Assess and Protect Against Liability Exposure

Many prospective developers, purchasers, and lenders are concerned that redeveloping contaminated properties may subject them to liability under federal or state cleanup laws. This often won’t be the case if you do your homework on the liability protections that may be available at the site screening phase.

State cleanup programs often provide liability protections for new owners or lessees who did not contribute to the existing contamination at a site. In addition, federal environmental law generally limits your potential liability at qualifying brownfield sites, called “eligible response sites,” where a party is conducting a response action in compliance with a state cleanup response program. Lawyers with expertise in environmental law can help you assess and take advantage of the liability protections available to you, and it will be important to work with state and local governments early on in the process.

The EPA may address other contaminated properties under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The agency has published guidance to help prospective developers protect themselves against potential liability. When developers and others acquire contaminated property but did not cause the contamination, they can take advantage of various self-implementing liability protections afforded by CERCLA, like a protection for “bona fide prospective purchasers” (BFPP). Plan ahead and take the necessary steps to qualify for the BFPP protection. Among other requirements, you’ll need to engage an environmental consultant to conduct a Phase I environmental assessment to qualify for the BFPP protection.

CERCLA also offers liability protections for qualifying lessees of contaminated properties. If leasing a property is part of your plan, ask a lawyer to help you cut off any potential lessee liability concerns at the pass. You’ll also want to carefully review any proposed lease because it may try to shift liability to you.

 

Synchronize the Renewable Energy Development with Cleanup

While you can develop a renewable energy system at any stage of site cleanup, you would be well served to start your renewable energy project when the cleanup process is just getting underway. Doing so allows you to engage the governmental agency overseeing the site, community stakeholders, and other interested parties, like potentially responsible parties, from the start of a project.

You’ll also be able to coordinate and integrate renewable energy development and site cleanup decisions. For example, you might be able to fold design requirements for your renewable energy system into the remedial design, rather than being left to build your structures on top of and around the completed remedy.

Coming to the cleanup early also helps to ensure that the renewable energy project is compatible with the remedial design, engineering controls, monitoring activities, and institutional controls.

 

Originally published on renewableenergyworld.com

Ireland: $35 million floating wind project gets green light

A 31 million euro ($35.32 million) floating wind project off the west coast of Ireland has been granted approval.

In an announcement Wednesday, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) said that plans were in place for the deployment and testing of a “full-scale floating wind turbine.”

The turbine will be located at a Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) test site near the town of Belmullet, County Mayo, by 2022.

EMEC is leading the project, and partnering with the SEAI, Italian business Saipem, and several other organisations in Germany, France, Ireland, the U.K. and the Netherlands. The project has secured funding from Interreg North-West Europe to speed up the uptake of floating offshore wind technologies.

“Over the past 15 years EMEC has hosted more ocean energy technologies at its real sea test berths in the U.K. than any other facility in the world,” EMEC’s commercial director, Oliver Wragg, said in a statement.

“We have developed a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can now be transferred to the testing and demonstration of floating offshore wind to help it make the most cost effective and rapid transition to commercialisation,” Wragg added.

European offshore wind capacity increased by 18 percent in 2018, according to statistics from trade body WindEurope. Europe installed 2.6 gigawatts of new offshore capacity, with 15 new offshore wind farms coming online.

Europe is already home to the planet’s first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland. The 30-megawatt facility is made up of five turbines and started production in October 2017.

 

Originally published on Cnbc.com

Gone in thirty seconds how to review a resume

The best way to review a resume

The work of resume review starts well before the applicant resumes fill your inbox. Reviewing a resume starts with a job description or role profile so that you know broadly what the job entails. Part of the job description, in an effective job description, details the qualifications and experience of the candidate you seek to fill the job.

Using the key qualifications and experience you identified for the role, develop your online and offline job postings, post them on your recruiting website, and make them available to contacts and employees for referrals

Determine a salary range

Then, determine the salary range by using a market pay study and the additional salary research materials you have on hand. Better candidates will inquire about the pay range before they invest a lot of time in your company. Be prepared with an appropriate response so as not to lose your best candidates.

This issue is a long-term controversy for people who work in Human Resources, but it is a matter of respectful treatment of candidates. Your best potential candidates are not going to waste a lot of time applying for positions without knowing the salary range.

Develop a key qualifications list or candidate profile

This process gets you started. The next key is for HR staff and the hiring manager to narrow down all of this information. Create a list that spells out your most important candidate selection criteria. This is often called a candidate profile. You’ll want to list:

  • the key characteristics or traits,
  • the most important skills,
  • the most relevant experience,
  • the desired educational level, and
  • the other most important factors that you will consider in candidate selection.

You now have distilled the job information into a list you can use to write ads, post jobs online, or highlight on your recruiting website. This list is the essence of the candidate you seek to fill your open job.

This candidate profile is a list of key experiences, skills, traits, and education and is essential for reviewing resumes. It forces discipline into the resume review process and gives you valuable criteria to use in resume review, and later, in candidate comparison. The list also serves as the basis for the job interview questions you will use in screening and in-person interviews with candidates for your job.

Job posting example

Here is an example of an actual job posting that was created from a list of key qualifications. Notice that the candidate’s qualifications are carefully defined.

Marketing Specialist
Company X, an award-winning global leader in the xxx, xxx and xxx of xxx seeks a motivated, proactive, Marketing Specialist to develop marketing materials and website content, design ads, and generally, support the work of the marketing function. The successful candidate has a degree in marketing, and 1-3 years experience in advertising, website development, and Internet competitive research.The successful candidate is an independent self-starter, creative, customer service oriented, and writes well, Must be familiar with web design software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Company X offers a competitive salary and a generous benefits package. Please send resume with salary requirements to the HR Recruiter.

This posting enables you to screen resumes and evaluate potential candidates. The job posting ensures that you don’t settle for a person who is less qualified than the individual you were seeking. Or, you may occasionally decide that you underpriced the market in terms of the qualifications you seek at the salary you want to pay.
In a recent search for a Planning and Scheduling Supervisor, as an example, a manufacturing company found that the $60,000 they wanted to pay the chosen employee, will not attract the qualified person they had hoped to find for the job. Their best applicants already make $75,000 as stated in their cover letters and on their resumes.All of this information helps you scan resumes more quickly. The information and preparation help you narrow down the many resumes to the chosen few resumes with greater accuracy. This preparation makes resume review relatively painless.

Preparing to review resumes

The preparation for resume review enables you to get down to the serious job of applicant resume review quickly. Set aside a block of time whenever possible. Part of resume screening is comparing one candidate’s qualifications and credentials to those listed in the other resumes you have received. Additionally, with the use of electronic applications and recruiting websites that accept applications, resume screening has taken on new dimensions. Some of the traditional devices used to screen resumes no longer bear the weight they once did. These include the quality of the stationery, the design of the actual document, and the envelope in which the documents arrived. Still viable for mailed-in resumes, these are useless for electronic applications, especially applications from job boards that can lose their formatting.

In a typical website job application, you will fill out a form to apply and then the company supplies a button that allows you to attach your resume and cover letter. Employers can read these applications online and forward the link to members of the screening committee. Some employers and screeners still print the application; others read the resumes online.Other resume screening techniques never go out of style, including the search for proper spelling and grammar. Your quick, first skim of the resume should yield an overall impression of your candidate’s carefulness and attention to detail.

Potential employees, who make careless mistakes in application materials such as resumes, do not warrant the attention that a more careful candidate deserves. Assuming the candidate’s resume passes an initial inspection, this is the recommended process for reviewing resumes.

Steps in the resume review

  • Read the customized cover letter. Look especially for a flawless presentation, correct spelling and grammar, and the applicant’s attention to detail. What—there is no cover letter? This is the downside of electronic resume spamming. Receiving countless, usually unqualified, applicant resumes, occurs following every job posting. The tip-off? Usually, unqualified applicants fail to write a cover letter. Worth noting, too, is the fact that advice to job applicants has changed in recent years. Disagreement exists about whether a cover letter is still a necessary component of an application. Supporters contend that it is a wonderful opportunity for an applicant to demonstrate that their credentials are perfect for your job requirements. Then, choose, or choose not, to continue your resume review at this point.
  • Scan the resume to obtain an overall impression of the applicant. You’ll want to see at a glance that the applicant fulfills your key expectations. experience, and qualifications of the person whom you would hire. Look especially for a flawless presentation, correct spelling and grammar, and their attention to detail. Paper resumes must pass the “feel” test.
  • In the first skim, look for the easy-to-find qualifications. (As an example, if you are requiring a college degree, does the applicant have one?) If not, reject the resume or place it in your “maybe” meets qualifications pile or electronic folder.
  • Read the description of what the candidate says they are looking for in their next job. Is the statement customized to your job or does it describe any job in the world? For example, generally reject resumes that make statements such as, “I seek a challenging opportunity to utilize my skills with a progressive employer who will provide opportunities for growth.” Honestly, you’ve got to do better than to offer this type of generality to pass the resume screen.
  • Look for a summary statement of qualifications and experience. If the candidate has taken the time and customized their summary for your job, this enables you to quickly find the characteristics you seek from your role profile. These resumes quickly hit the “further review” pile.
  • Applicants also need to recognize that more and more, larger organizations are scanning resumes into databases. When a job becomes available, resumes are scanned for relevant keywords. Make the keywords easy to find.
  • Review the most recent employers and the applicant’s stated experience, accomplishments, and contributions. At this point, you must have found significant cross-over between the applicant’s resume and your requirements. Place the resume in your “to be reviewed further” folder unless you have encountered problems.
  • Red flags at this point in your resume review, that are unexplained on the resume or in the cover letter, include: employment gaps, evidence of decreasing responsibility, evidence of a career that has reached a plateau or even gone in the wrong direction, short-term employment at several jobs, and multiple shifts in career path.
  • Review your selected resumes against your criteria and each other.
  • Telephone screen the seemingly qualified candidates. Schedule interviews with the candidates who pass your initial screen.

The more you review resumes, the better your resume review will become. With practice, you may begin to refer to your resume review as gone in twenty seconds, or even, gone in ten seconds, while your resume review continues to yield great candidates.

 

Originally published on Thebalancecareers.com

The best answers to the 7 worst interview questions

Interviews can be very discomforting. Of course, the interviewee wants to put forward the best possible answers to even the toughest questions. And answering difficult questions on the fly can be problematic.

Fortunately, great answers to troublesome questions can be rehearsed and considered long before that important interview

1) Tell me about yourself

Here you want to squeeze in every possible strength and potential contributions you can make to the company without being long-winded. The interviewer is far more interested in how the question is responded to, that is, whether or not the answer is said with sincere enthusiasm. Begin with a quote from a person you admire that sums up what you believe to be true about yourself to answer the question quickly and concisely .

Encapsulate the answer into a one-minute presentation of your professional achievements. Did you have a job that relates to the position you are seeking? Hit the interviewer with your unique achievements and contributions to the company’s bottom line. If there are no comparable jobs in your past, explain why you are interested in the position.

2) Tell me about an instance where you failed or did something you are ashamed of

Among the many questions that can be asked, this is one of the most dreaded. The fundamental key here is to turn that failure into a success. Take a moment to reflect as if you weren’t expecting the question. Say that as a human being you are as prone to mistakes as anyone else; however you have no regrets—even if you do (and most of us do), don’t admit them. This is not a confessional.

Tell the interviewer that in those instances where you have made a mistake with a coworker, you have admitted your mistake. You went back to the person and apologized and started again. Say that you prefer to keep things out in the open and you, personally, make a point to communicate about any experienced problems on both sides of the table.

3) What is your biggest weakness, that’s really a weakness, and not a secret strength

This is a gotcha question if there ever was one. No chance here to flip the question to a strength, such as, “I’m a workaholic” or “I tend to take my work home with me.” What to do? Instead, show that you recognize your weaknesses and make every effort to address them. For example, “I tend to be very demanding of others, but I am learning that everyone has their own unique gifts.”

Now is the opportunity to address any gaps in your resume. Tell the interviewer that you may not have direct experience in an area, but related experience such as fund-raising in place of sales experience. Say that in recognition of your weakness at say, public speaking, you have volunteered to come forward in team leadership roles.

4) Have you ever been fired? If so, why?

Refrain from making previous bosses or companies look bad. You come off as being bitter, blaming of others, and irresponsible. None of which you wish to convey to a new company. Make an admission, such as, telling the interviewer that you were inexperienced in communicating with your boss about teamwork. This way you acknowledge what happened and that you learned from the experience.

Say that you simply were not a good fit for the company, and before you had the opportunity to excel, you were let go. Or inform the interviewer that you didn’t fully understand your previous boss’s expectations and you both agreed that it was time to leave. Or, perhaps a new manager came on board and he wanted to bring in member from his old team before getting to know you.

5) Why are you willing to accept an entry level position at this point in your career?

The interviewer can’t or shouldn’t point directly at your age as a reason not to hire you. So the question may be asked in this manner. Tell the interviewer that it is the broad experience outside of the field that makes you the right fit. Your career experiences have prepared you to begin a career again in a brand new field.

Emphasize the quality that you enter the field with fresh new eyes and perspective. This opportunity also provides you with the advantage of learning about the company from the inside-out and the ground up. Tell the interviewer that the salary cut is worth it to you to start anew. Say that your experiences have made you reliable and prepared to go all out in the new position.

6) How do you explain the gaps in your resume?

It’s almost a surprise that this question still comes up. Especially in light of the fact that companies have not been hiring for the last few years or that a person may have taken time to be with young children or an illness may have prevented someone from working. This is a good time to refer to your references—people who can verify that you were perhaps, self-employed for a time or otherwise disengaged.

Be honest, but again, turn the weakness to a strength. Say, “In the time I have been out of the marketplace, I have better honed my skills in communication.” Emphasize that while you have been unemployed you have been far from idle, but have been keeping up with the job market or your profession in other ways.

7) Tell me about a time when a co-worker was not doing their fair share of work. How did you handle the situation?

The way that you have dealt with a difficult co-worker is emblematic of how you deal with difficult people and potentially hard-to-handle customers. Cast the problem in the best possible light by suggesting that the co-worker was dealing with a particularly bad personal situation and that you were glad to step in and help as you were able.

Let the interviewer know that you talked with the co-worker, in order to clear the air and avoid hiding resentment. This clearly shows that you are willing to deal with the difficulty, instead of suffering in silence. The example also clearly exemplifies the fact that you are a people person and willing to work through a very difficult situation.

 

Originally published on Lifehack.org

Nordex enters Luxembourg with first order

Nordex has won its debut order in Luxembourg to supply seven turbines for a 23MW project by a local developer.

The German manufacturer will supply its N131 3.3MW turbines to Luxembourgian developer PW34’s Wincrange wind farm in the northern municipality of the same name.

Construction has already begun at the site and foundation construction is due to start in April, followed by turbine installation at the end of the year. Wincrange is due to be connected to the grid in February 2020.

Moderate IEC Class IIIa winds prevail at the site, the manufacturer stated. After commissioning, Nordex will service the wind farm for 20 years.

Its turbines will run in sound-optimised mode to ensure noise levels do not exceed 103dB (A), Nordex stated. This upper limit is roughly equivalent to the volume of a jet flying 1,000 feet overhead.

When completed, Wincrange is set to be Luxembourg’s biggest wind farm, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.

The country has nine operational wind farms with a combined capacity of just under 120MW.

Italy

Nordex has also received an order from an unspecified developer for a project in Italy.

The manufacturer will provide seven N149/4.0-4.5 turbines for an unspecified wind farm and also service them for two years as part of the contract.

The capacity of the project has not been confirmed, but the turbines’ power rating suggests this would be between 28MW and 31.5MW.

 

Originally published on Windpowermonthly.com

10 job interview questions to stop asking candidates

When I get a job interview, there’s a lot to prepare. I diligently research the company and my interviewers, pore over Glassdoor interview questions, and print out copies of my resume and portfolio.

When I interview someone else, it’s easier to prepare. I don’t have to put together the perfect outfit, I don’t have to worry about how to find the restroom, and at the end of the day, I don’t have to worry about if I got the job or not.

A quick Google Search for job interview questions brings up some of the most common asks you might have already answered 20 times over the course of your career. They’re popular, but that doesn’t mean they’re good questions. In fact, they could be hurting your chances of the candidate accepting an offer.

Nobody wants to feel stressed out, put on the spot, or tricked during a job interview. After all, you wouldn’t want to experience that in your day-to-day job, so why do we demand it of candidates?

Be mindful of the different personality types, cultures, and backgrounds that are applying for open roles at your company, and consider retiring some of the more common interview questions in your arsenal. Instead, try these alternatives that might give you more helpful information about the candidate — without making them feel awkward in the process.

10 Job Interview Questions to Stop Asking (and What to Ask Instead)

1) What can you tell me about yourself?

You might be surprised to see such a traditional interview question at the top of our list, but it’s not as great of an opener as you might think. In fact, from the candidate’s perspective, it might tell them that you haven’t read their résumé, browsed their portfolio, or checked out their LinkedIn profile. Candidates don’t want to brief you on their entire job history during the short time they have to make a first impression — they want to have a conversation.

Instead, ask a question based on what stood out to you most from their resume and application. Show the candidate you’re taking them seriously and want to learn more about them, beyond what’s on paper.

2) Why are you leaving your current job?

This question could lead to an awkward answer that doesn’t cast the candidate in their best light. The answer could be highly personal, and it isn’t that helpful for learning more about the candidate.

Instead, ask them about their favorite part and biggest challenge of their current role. You’ll learn more about their priorities, dealbreakers, and culture fit — without the conversation becoming too negative.

3) What’s the project you’re most proud of?

It’s useful to learn what projects a candidate enjoys working on most, but you could take this question further by asking something broader.

Instead, ask them to talk about how they produced a piece of work with multiple different teams. The answer will reveal how they work dynamically and as a project manager — useful traits for most marketing and sales teams.

4) What’s your biggest weakness?

Simply put, it’s presumptuous to assume that you understand what a candidate’s perceived weaknesses are. The answer could exclude candidates from other cultures or industries who aren’t familiar with yours, and it puts candidates in a negative state of mind.

Instead, ask them to describe a challenge they faced in a role and how they handled it. The answer will teach you more about their problem-solving skills, without putting them in the awkward position of personal self-reflection.

5) What’s your five-year career plan?

HubSpot Inbound Recruiting Manager Hannah Fleishman has made more inclusive hiring her mission, and she suggests replacing this interview question. “It can be a loaded question, especially for women, professionals who are thinking of starting a family, and even aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a company one day.”

Instead, Fleishman suggests asking candidates a more specific question: “How does this role fit into your long-term career plans?” The answer will give you the information you’re really looking for — if the role and your organization present opportunities for them to grow.

6) What makes you passionate about your work?

Candidates don’t have to be passionate to be successful in a role. Sure, it helps — but passion is such a subjective topic, it’s not necessary for a job interview.

Instead, ask them what makes them passionate about a company. The answer will tell you about their culture priorities and if they’ll fit with the larger team they’ll be working with.

7) Are you a team player?

Generally speaking, we advise against asking yes or no questions. Open-ended questions are more conversational and will give you more information about the candidate.

When it comes to this question, the answer is valuable, but a candidate is unlikely to self-identify as an individual worker. Likewise, your company probably doesn’t have any roles that are completely solitary — everyone has to attend meetings or work on campaigns at some point.

Instead, ask the candidate what their ideal team dynamic is. You’ll get the same answer you’re looking for — if they work well with others — while allowing them to elaborate on their preferred working environment.

8) How many people do you think flew out of JFK Airport last year?

Brain teasers might be entertaining to ask — and they might teach you a thing or two about a candidate’s problem-solving abilities — but brain teasing questions like this one create too much stress for the candidate. They’re usually ridiculously hard to solve and put the candidate on the spot — without revealing a ton of helpful information.

Instead, ask the candidate how they’d solve a problem that’s common on your team. The answer will be more useful, and it won’t take the candidate by surprise.

9) Sell me this pen.

If you’re hiring for a sales role, you should know: “Sell me this pen” has become such a frequently-asked question, it can be easily answered in a quick Google search before the interview. It might not give you the candidate’s true selling abilities — something you need to know before investing time and resources in training them.

Instead, ask them how they would handle a common roadblock your sales team faces. The answer will prove if they’ve done their research, and it will give you an idea of their persuasion skills if they were on a call.

10) What’s your salary history?

Fleishman also suggests avoiding questions or discussions of salary or benefits until an offer has been extended to the candidate. “Salary history shouldn’t determine what a candidate’s offer package is,” she says. “This question can actually discriminate against minorities who are more likely to be under-compensated compared to their peers — which is why cities in New York and Massachusetts have banned it from interviews.”

Instead, scratch this question from your list altogether.

The interview is only one piece of the puzzle for the candidate, but by asking more thoughtfully-phrased questions, you could be doing yourself and the candidate a favor.

 

Originally published on Hubspot.com

 

4 tips for writing a resume that will get you the interview

If you’re tired of meticulously writing, editing and rewriting your resume, only to send it off and never hear about it again, you’re not alone. The reality is that it’s possible no one ever saw your resume at all. Over 90% of large companies use applicant tracking systems that scan your resume and determine if you are a fit for the role or not by looking for keywords. Keywords are those that are essential to the role, and the systems use them to filter the applications coming in, narrowing down the pool of applicants recruiters or hiring managers need to sift through for consideration.

To learn more about keywords and how we can use them to help our resumes stand out, I spoke with LT Ladino Bryson, CEO & founder of vCandidates. Known as “The Employment Therapist,” Ladino Bryson has been an executive recruiter for six years, and has placed over 600 candidates at companies such as Tesla, Sharp Business Systems and MSC Industrial Supply. Not only did Ladino Bryson have advice on how to get past the applicant tracking systems, but she also gave some helpful insight on how to make your resume stand out by conveying personality.

Here are her four best tips on writing and formatting your resume to get the interview.

  1. Describe your experience using keywords from the job description you are applying to
    Ladino Bryson describes keywords as “a tool used to help find candidates that are relevant to a position.” She advises candidates to prepare their resumes by looking at the terminology used to describe the role and requirements in the job they want. Then use that same terminology to describe their own experience.
    “Some people say, ‘I was a maintenance technician.’ Well, that’s great. But if it’s a job is for a janitor and you don’t have janitor in your resume, it’s not going to show up. Likewise, if you have it listed as a janitor and they’re looking for maintenance technician, it may make sense to also put maintenance technician so your resume is pulled up.
  2. Put the keywords at the top of your resume.
    Ladino Bryson suggests to many candidates that they adopt the LinkedIn style headline under their name that gives a short description of who they are and their best qualities as an employee. If you’re applying for the right roles, the words you use as a headline should easily reflect the keywords for those positions. Putting them right at the top of the resume can be impactful in getting the hiring manager’s attention.
    “When we look for those filtered words, there’s a yellow highlighter that shows every time the words shows up in your resume. If [the keywords are] in your title, it is going to pop immediately.”
  3. Avoid listing irrelevant experience.
    Ladino Bryson named this as the most common mistake she sees; Candidates list outdated, irrelevant experience that isn’t necessary for the job they’re applying for
    “Anything that is over 10 years ago, unless it is completely relevant to the position you’re applying for and shows a natural progression, I would take off.”
    If you’re using your past experience to apply for a variety of roles and industries, make sure your resume is geared to each of those roles specifically.
    “What I like to tell candidates is to simply have different versions of your resume. If I’m going for entertainment roles, I can have one that just speaks to my experience as an entertainment executive.  If I’m going for recruiter roles, it would speak directly to that.”
    If you’re early in your career, not all your work experience may be completely relevant to your next job. In that case, Ladino Bryson suggests that you make your experience tell a story. Whether that is your ability to commit to a job for a long amount of time, or simply the experience you gained through jobs during school, it needs to prove a point.
  4. Use your hobbies to show your personality.
    Candidates commonly have a section on the bottom of their resume to describe what they like to do in their free time. Instead of using that space to just list some of your part-time hobbies, use it to show more about who you are rather than what you do.
    “I had a situation where a guy told me that he collected and painted miniature horses. It was his way to sit and just focus on something else after a stressful day. I said, ‘Let’s put avid horse lover in your resume.’  When he sent it, the hiring manager asked him in for an interview within  30 minutes of receiving the resume.” As it turned out, the hiring manager was a big equestrian fan.
    If you volunteer or have another important part of your life, describe it, and say why you’re motivated to spend your time on that activity. Give the hiring manager a better picture of you as an employee by using this section to indirectly describe your personality.“People make hiring decisions based 60% on skills and talents and 40% on likability. They want to know that they’re going to get along with you and that you’re going to get along with others.”

 

Originally published on Forbes

Energy storage: next game changer

With the rise of variable renewable generation, storage is poised to become big business

Everybody agrees that storage is turning into big business, and soon, but exactly how big and how soon? According to a report released in Nov 2018 by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) the global energy-storage market will surge to a cumulative 942 GW by 2040 requiring a hefty investment of $620 billion. Sharply falling battery costs is a key driver of the projected boom, as is the pressing need to smooth out the output of renewable generation. BNEF says the capital cost of utility-scale lithium-ion storage systems is likely to fall another 52% by 2030.

But like much else in electricity markets these days, cost isn’t the only or even the main driver of future demand growth – it is the mandatory rise of renewables. Governments the world over are requiring ever higher percentages of renewables while pushing for more electric vehicles (EVs) and solar PVs.

According to BNEF’s Yayoi Sekine, “Costs have come down faster than we expected. … Batteries are going to permeate our lives.”

The implications of cheaper batteries are far-reaching, upending multiple industries and helping spur technologies necessary to help fight climate change. Batteries will power the EVs while also boosting the value of solar and wind power, both inherently variable resources.

BNEF highlights two important storage markets:

  • China, which is investing in massive battery manufacturing capacity; and
  • California, which has a mandatory 100% renewable electricity target for 2045 as well as a number of other measures such as storage capacity.

In places like California and Hawaii, both moving towards a 100% renewable future by 2045, massive new storage capacity will undoubtedly be required along with other means of shifting midday’s sun to evening hours or for cloudy days. Wind, the other major renewable contender, is equally variable.

Among other highlights, BNEF says:

    • Cumulative energy-storage deployments are forecast to exceed 50 GWh by 2020, a significant acceleration from last year’s projection;
    • By 2040, storage capacity may reach 7% of the world’s installed capacity;
    • The Asia-Pacific region will be home to 45% of total installations on a MW basis by 2040 with another 29% spread across Europe, Middle East and Africa with the remainder in the Americas;
    • The majority of storage capacity will be utility-scale until the mid-2030s with behind-the-meter applications at businesses, industrial sites and residential sector overtaking utility-scale thereafter; and
    • Leading the pack will be China, US, India, Japan, Germany, France, Australia, South Korea, and the UK. South Korea, currently a dominant market player, will be overtaken by the US early in the 2020s – both to be eclipsed by China.

Storage is likely to penetrate the African market as everyone recognizes that the combination of solar PVs, diesel, and batteries in remote sites is cheaper than extending the power grid or building a fossil-only generator.

 

Originally published on Clean Technica

12 bad and outdated job-hunting tips you should stop believing

  • There are job search tips that you might still receive that are just… bad.
  • Some tips are simply outdated. For instance, you don’t necessarily need to wear a suit to an interview anymore.
  • Don’t listen to advice that tells you to follow your passion no matter what. Think about how your interests can change, or how you can help the world.

Gone are the days where you could send your resume to a few dozen companies, pour yourself into your best suit for the interview, and have a steady, 9-to-5 job with benefits and a pension.

Now, you’ll have to be a bit more inventive to get your dream job, said The Muse expert career coach Evangelia Leclaire.

“Job seekers need stop believing that a linear and congruent career path and long term employment at one or a few companies is what will give them a competitive edge,” Leclaire, who is also founder and chief evangelist of Ready Set Rock Academy, told Business Insider. “That’s just not the norm anymore.”

When you’re looking for a job, you don’t need to wear a suit to an interview or ignore opportunities that appear outside of your comfort zone. Plus, the advice “follow your passion” isn’t always the best.

Here are some more outdated job tips to discard:

“No matter what, follow your passion!”

You quit your job to open a cupcake bakery, because you love cupcakes. But then it doesn’t take off — so you give up and go back to the cubicle mines.

It didn’t have to be like that. Following your passion doesn’t always mean turning your most beloved hobby into a job.

Instead, think about why you enjoy baking cupcakes. Is it because you enjoy the chemistry behind baking? Serving others?

As Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson put it: “The important point is to not just follow your passion but something larger than yourself. It ain’t just about you and your damn passion.”

In other words, did the world need another cupcake store? Or could your “passion for cupcakes” be expressed in a more constructive fashion that could help others while being fulfilling for yourself?

“You really SHOULD get your MBA.”

We all know someone who insists that they should learn Chinese or get an MBA or start writing a novel.

Career and wellness coach Joanna Echols calls it “should-ing all over ourselves.”

“It starts with an assumption that somebody else knows better what’s right for you and what you should do,” Echols told Business Insider. “Claim back your personal power and let your own choices and decisions guide your job hunting process.”

And, above all, even if you think you should go into business, you probably won’t be very good at it if you’re just there because you think you should do it.

“All you need to do is make your résumé better, then you’ll get any job.”

Leclaire said you can re-design, beef up the key words, and edit your résumé all you want. It’s not going to make or break your career.

“That’s just a small sliver of the pie,” Leclaire said. “It’s not what moves the needle.”

She added: “Look at the big picture and take a holistic approach to your job search. Work on discovering and pursuing opportunities that fit you. Focus on your mindset, building relationships, networking, LinkedIn, job search strategy, your communication, maximizing your time, and more.”

“Networking is so awkward. It’s better to just avoid it.”

We often view networking as a bunch of people in a room being “fake.” But that’s only if you make it so.

“Share a concise and transparent version of your story, ask questions, and actively listen,” career coach Marc Dickstein told Business Insider. “Authentic curiosity is your ticket to a worthwhile conversation and a meaningful connection.”

Leclaire underlined curiosity, as well. She said you should try asking people, “What are you focusing on?” or, “I’d love to explore how I can support you.”

“These simple phrases take the pressure off of feeling like you need to sell yourself or have some polished elevator pitch every time you connect with someone,” Leclaire said. “Go about connecting with people from a place of curiosity and contribution.”

“You majored in Spanish, so clearly you’re not really a numbers person. Better stay away from those business analyst roles.”

People who believe that their abilities and interests are permanent are less likely to be interested in new information and fields, Business Insider’s Shana Lebowitz recently reported.

For instance, you may have concluded that you could never go into programming simply because “your brain doesn’t work like that.” But you don’t know if you would like coding, art, or some other field until you try it.

“If you apply to 30 places, for sure you’ll get a job somewhere.”

This is also called the “spray and pray,” Dickstein said.

It seems smart: you increase your odds by just increasing the number of recruiters who have your application in their pile. But alas, recruiters can usually see through this — and they won’t be calling you in for an interview.

“It’s easy for recruiters to identify thoughtful applications that are tailored to the opportunity,” Dickstein said.

“You should end your cover letter by saying, ‘I will call you on the 12th to schedule an interview.'”

You may have been told that you should end your cover letter with a “call to action” — or, tell them that you’ll be calling them to schedule an interview. It seems like a way to appear passionate about the position, while also guaranteeing an opportunity to explain yourself beyond the written word.

But don’t do it.

According to The Muse’s Lily Zhang, this cover letter line will make you seem “egotistical and possibly delusional.”

“I have no idea where this (threatening) advice originated from, but ending your cover letter like this will not give the impression that you’re a go-getter who takes initiative,” Zhang wrote.

“Hard skills are most important.”

There’s no denying that hard skills are important — but they’re not all that’s important. Maybe you know the right programming languages, speak Italian fluently, or can plow through projects.

Dickstein said those are all givens when you’re applying for highly competitive roles. The next step: Showing that you’re passionate, have the right social savvy to be a great leader, or are an amazing public speaker.

“You better buy a suit before your interview.”

It’s no longer the 1960s! You might not need a suit for every job interview (depending on your industry).

“Some of the most common mistakes people make when dressing for an interview are following old and outdated advice or not taking the time to do their research and ask questions about the company culture ahead of time,” Marc Cenedella, CEO of Ladders, previously told Business Insider.

If you’re interviewing at a start-up where flip-flops are more common than heels, it only communicates to your interviewers that you’re not a good cultural fit if you appear at your interview in a suit.

So, Cenedella advised you call the company, your recruiter, or a contact there before your interview. Ask what the standard interview attire is.

“That job hasn’t been posted online yet, so you probably shouldn’t apply.”

Maybe you caught wind that your dream company is opening a position that’s right for you.

Don’t hesitate just because there isn’t a link online to apply, Dickstein said. In fact, that’s really the opposite of what you should do — ask a contact or who you think is a hiring manager about the opening and how to apply.

“Hiring managers often know about functional needs and opportunities before they are made public,” Dickstein said. “In many cases, recruiters begin to fill the pipeline early and even begin to screen potential candidates.”

“Make sure your application is full of buzzwords!”

Lavishing on the buzzwords won’t make you look in-the-know. It will just annoy whoever is reading your application.

Buzzwords have become so overused that they’ve lost all meaning, Mary Lorenz, a corporate communications manager at CareerBuilder, previously told Business Insider. So, even if you are a “social media influencer” or someone who “thinks outside the box,” that really doesn’t mean much.

“Using some of these words won’t necessarily disqualify you, but make sure that you’re telling your story — not decorating it for the holidays,” Dickstein said.

Go for action words that actually communicate what you did. Dickstein recommended words like “achieved,” “negotiated,” “budgeted,” or “improved.”

“It’s just a job. Find something that pays well, even if it’s not all fun and games.”

You’ll spend around 90,000 hours of your life at work. If you hate every passing minute of your job, that adds up to a lot of misery.

Looking for a new job can be the perfect opportunity to seek out something that aligns with what you want to do with those 90,000 hours. Don’t just seek something that pays well — look for something that fulfills you.

“Your career choices can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing,” Echols said. “Lack of job satisfaction or work-related stress are major causes of anxiety, depression and other mental and physical disorders.”

Originally published on Business Insider

5 mistakes bosses make when onboarding new hires

Baptism by fire. Sink or swim. To the wolves!

Call it what you want, but—generally speaking—this isn’t the most effective method to train a new employee. Really.

For one thing, it does little to build trust between you and this new person, much less inspire confidence in your company’s overall leadership strategy.

No one wants to feel hung out to dry from day one. And as the boss, you play a critical role in ensuring your new employees are set up for success. Failing to train them properly can cost your organization an immense amount of money. Not to mention the excruciating emotional cost to you and your team when there’s turnover.

With that in mind, here are five mistakes bosses most commonly make when bringing on a new team member:

  1. Not Preparing Your Team for Their New Co-worker
    No one likes to be surprised, and no one likes to be “forced” on other people either. The team you have working for you are as important as the new members you acquire, and tending to both makes the difference between a strong team and high turnover. So, it’s important both sides feel well-informed before the new hire’s first day.
    Fix It
    Keep your team in the loop during the hiring process. If possible, invite them to meet the final two candidates one-on-one, and be part of decision-making. This way, they’ll feel more ownership over the outcome.
    Another useful tactic is a light but meaningful questionnaire. Ask questions that get to the heart of the new person’s personal interests, office pet peeves, and quirks. This makes them more relatable right off the back. Collect the same from your team and provide this information to the new team member—it’s only fair they know what they’re coming into, too.
  2. Not Defining the Boss-Direct Report Dynamic
    It’s almost impossible to fully trust someone you don’t know. In the same way you’re trusting a new hire with their responsibilities, they’re trusting you to lead them to success.
    You’re a very important part of their career journey. What story do you want them to tell in the future? Do you want to be the terrible boss that taught them everything not to do, or the one who showed them good management was possible?
    Fix It
    Host a one-on-one “welcome to the company!” meeting at an offsite location (or, take them out to lunch on their first day). Design an environment where both of you are free to talk about what you need from the other in order to experience a successful working relationship.
    This is a great opportunity to ask your new hire what worked and didn’t with past bosses, how they want to be managed, and how they don’t. This is also a great place for you to tell the new team member about the rest of the team and office culture, answer any looming questions, and discuss their career goals (and how you can help them reach them).
  3. Not Setting Clear Expectations of Performance
    You hired the new person to do a specific job based on their experience, so you assume they’ll automatically nail it from day one.
    Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s critical that you clearly articulate what you expect from them and how their success will be measured. If you make it a guessing game, everyone fails.
    Fix It
    Schedule weekly check-ins with an agreed-upon agenda, including time for the new hire to ask questions about how best to navigate a new team and seek feedback on their work. Not only does this go a long way in establishing and maintaining a dynamic for the two of you, it makes it nearly impossible for someone to fail because they didn’t understand their role.
  4. Not Acknowledging and Planning for a Learning Curve
    Regardless of their past success, a new position and team presents an altogether new job. So, you can’t expect them to immediately get ramped up and work as fast on projects as you or your team does.
    Fix It
    Create a standard onboarding process for use with every new hire, including programming tailored specifically to their role (this worksheet can help!). Make sure they spend some alone time with each team member over the course of their first few weeks and are properly trained on all the aspects of the business before they’re required to go into “business as usual” mode.
  5. Not Training Them on Company Etiquette
    Getting used to a new company culture often breaks new employees more so than getting adjusted to their new role.
    Soft skills, like understanding how decisions are made across departments, don’t come naturally to everyone. While new hires learn as much from doing as they do through observation, it’s important you bring them in on the company story, why it exists in the first place, and the reasons it does business the way it does.
    Fix It
    Part of the new onboarding process you design should also include a “how we work” section. This could include everything from official office hours to remote work rules. It could also factor in company traditions and unspoken office rules.
    The point is to soften the employee manual and fill the new hire in on all of the nuances they won’t get from HR. They’ll learn plenty on their own, but at least point them in the right direction with the things you can obviously address outright.

All of these moments are your responsibility as the manager, and neglecting them will lead to failure for the new employee, or for you as their boss.

And just think how great it’ll feel to help a new employee grow into a star—all because of you!

 

Originally published on The Muse

Europe’s electricity market rules get ready for the energy transition: provisional agreement between Presidency and Parliament

The Presidency of the Council and representatives of the European Parliament today reached a provisional agreement on a directive and a regulation on electricity. The two files set out the future functioning of the EU’s electricity market and are cornerstones of the clean energy package. The agreement still has to be endorsed by the Council and the European Parliament.

I am very happy that we have reached an agreement with the European Parliament on these two key files. This means that – provided member states confirm this result – we now have a political agreement on the entire clean energy package. It is an important step towards the completion of the Energy Union and puts us firmly on the path to deliver our contribution to the Paris Agreement.

Elisabeth Köstinger, Minister for Sustainability and Tourism of Austria and chair of the Council

Electricity directive

The aim of the directive on electricity is to ensure that the EU’s electricity market is competitive, consumer-centred, flexible and non-discriminatory. The agreement gives more rights to consumers while protecting vulnerable customers and defines the roles and responsibilities of market participants.

A key element of the agreement is the ability of electricity providers to set their own prices. This will limit market distortions, lead to more competition and result in lower retail prices. At the same time, the Council has ensured that vulnerable customers will continue to be protected by allowing member states to apply regulated prices to vulnerable household customers. The directive also allows Member States to apply public interventions in price setting for the supply of electricity for other household customers and micro-enterprises for the purpose of a transition period to establish effective competition between suppliers and to achieve fully effective market-based retail pricing of electricity.

In future, customers will be able to participate directly in the market as active customers, for example by selling self-generated electricity, participating in demand response schemes or joining citizens energy communities. The directive also ensures that customers have access to price comparison tools, smart meters and dynamic electricity price contracts. By no later than 2026, customers will be able to switch electricity suppliers within 24 hours.

The electricity directive also sets out the regulatory framework for transmission and distribution system operators.

Electricity regulation

The electricity regulation revises the rules and principles of the internal electricity market to ensure  it is well-functioning, competitive and undistorted. It also aims at supporting the decarbonisation of the EU’s energy sector and removing barriers to cross-border trade in electricity.

New rules on trading and balancing responsibilities ensure that the variable electricity generation from renewable forms of energy can be accommodated, without creating discriminatory provisions or market distortions.

The regulation lays down the conditions under which member states can establish capacity mechanisms and the principles for their creation. These mechanisms aim at ensuring that the supply of electricity is sufficient during times of peak demand by remunerating resources for their availability. They have to be temporary and designed to address an identified resource adequacy concern.

An emission limit of 550 gr CO2 of fossil-fuel origin per kWh of electricity is put in place. New power plants that emit more than that and which start commercial production after entry into force of the regulation will no longer be able to participate in capacity mechanisms. Existing power plants emitting more than 550 gr CO2 of fossil-fuel origin per kWh and 350 kg CO2 on average per year per installed kW will not be able to participate in capacity mechanisms after 1 July 2025. The new provisions will help the EU reach its climate targets and at the same time protect investment security thanks to a grandfathering clause for capacity contracts that were concluded before 31 December 2019.

Another key element of the agreement is the establishment of Regional Coordination Centres, which support regional coordination of transmission system operators. They supersede the existing regional security coordinators, but have additional tasks related to system operation, market operation and risk preparedness. The regulation also creates a European entity of distribution system operators.

Next steps

The agreements on both files will now be discussed by EU Ambassadors, who have to endorse the deals. The files will be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council at a later stage.

 

Originally published on Consilium Europa

13 essential etiquette tips for today’s hiring managers

Every company has its own unique hiring process. Sometimes, even individual departments within the same organization can have differing steps and procedures.

Despite these differences, there are some crucial pieces of etiquette that every hiring manager should keep in mind when recruiting new talent. Members of Forbes Human Resources Council shared a few for your consideration.

  1. Make the candidate feel welcome
    All candidates should leave an interview thinking the company is a nice place to work. Even if they are not suitable, they should be given enough time to feel they have demonstrated their skills and obtained information about the company. Interviewers who treat it as a one-way process only need to be trained on the benefits of creating a good candidate experience. – Karla ReffoldBeecherMadden
  2. Just reply
    Too often, even for more senior positions, HR departments fail in terms of simple follow-up with unsuccessful candidates. We would never treat a paying customer this way. – Matt BurnsJYSK
  3. Prepare for the interview
    There is nothing that derails the interview process more than a manager who isn’t prepared. When a manager fumbles through the conversation because they don’t know what they want to ask or they ask inappropriate — or worse, illegal — questions, the interview will be a waste of time for your company and the candidate. Good people are hard to find. Don’t blow the opportunity due to lack of preparation. – Tracy Bittner, SPHRIonic Security Inc.
  4. Exhibit gracious professionalism
    Recruiting etiquette impacts employer brand, so it affects both current and future talent acquisition efforts. The one custom that rises above all for me is professionalism. In this case, professionalism means being responsive, honest and thankful for the candidate’s time. Doing so makes your company an employer of choice, which has long-standing implications for the candidate and company alike. – Dr. Timothy J. GiardinoCantata Health, LLC
  5. Treat a candidate like a customer
    If a candidate doesn’t feel good about how they’re engaged during the hiring process, then they may lose interest or enthusiasm about the opportunity. It just takes a little courtesy, preparation, care and punctuality to create a good experience. After all, candidates are customers, too. – Candice McGlen, The Rinker Group
  6. Involve the stakeholders
    Although hiring managers assume ultimate responsibility for a new hire, it is likely that this new person will be interacting with other departments and team members. To increase the chances that a team will embrace a new hire and feel confident in them, hiring managers should get the biggest stakeholders involved with the on-site or in-person interviews and take their feedback into consideration. – Angela NguyenAd Exchange Group
  7. Remember that you’re being interviewed, too
    I once interviewed a phenomenal candidate and forwarded her to the hiring team. After two weeks, the hiring manager indicated that they wanted to extend an offer to her. She politely declined and said we were not the right environment. From irrelevant questions to uncompromising scheduling conflicts, we did not do our best. Candidates are interviewing us as much as we are them. – Lucy Rivas-EnriquezUnion Rescue Mission – Los Angeles
  8. Model what you expect
    Hiring managers should never overlook that their actions model the acceptable behavior in the workplace to the potential employee. If a hiring manager is not knowledgeable of the job they are hiring for, demonstrates poor communication skills in the interview and fails to follow-up post-interview, they should not be surprised if a new hire demonstrates similar behavior. – Bridgette WilderWilder HR Management & EEO Consulting
  9. Uphold the organization’s brand and communicate its value
    Hiring managers should uphold the organization’s brand and communicate the value it delivers to its target audiences. That way, they can put into perspective how candidates will help fulfill the organization’s brand promise through their role. Helping candidates feel like part of “something larger” will differentiate the organization and aid the overall negotiation process. – Genine WilsonKelly Services
  10. Lean on your recruiter
    Recruiters are professionals at recruiting while hiring managers are professionals in their respective areas. Regardless of recruiting processes, one thing will always remain a constant: your recruiter. Lean on your recruiter, trust them, accept their consultation and advice. They are there for one purpose — to hire the best possible candidate while keeping the hiring manager and company safe. – Adam MellorONE Gas, Inc.
  11. Attract, evaluate and inspire
    We first need to attract candidates to consider our opportunity, then we have to evaluate their experience and skills to determine a fit. But then we need to inspire them, regardless of the fit. If you do this right, candidates will always remember the opportunity and talk very highly of your company. They will want to keep in touch and become your external sales/reviewers to attract more. – Abhijeet NarvekarThe FerVID Group
  12. Get beyond the transactional mindset
    Get beyond the transactional mindset of job, candidate and filling the role. Engage talent in dynamic conversations and high-touch relationship cultivation that reveals company culture through behavior and attitudes. High performers don’t want to be treated like motivated candidates. – Julie ChoiPointr
  13. Set clear communication expectations
    For job candidates, the most frustrating piece in the hiring puzzle is waiting for a response from the company. In some instances, they can wait for weeks before hearing back from a hiring manager. Be clear by communicating with job candidates that they are still in the running for the position, or if you have decided to move forward with other candidates. – Michele MarkeySkillPath

 

Originally published on Forbes

How to avoid common job inteview mistakes

Have you noticed people turning down job offers or second interviews? You might be making some very avoidable interview mistakes. This might not seem like a big deal, but in fact, it can damage your employer brand, and affect your bottom line: 69 percent of candidates are less likely to buy from a brand if they have a bad interview experience.

So, if you’re having trouble filling roles, take some time to reflect on your interview etiquette. Can you make some easy changes?

Here are eight interview mistakes hiring managers sometimes make.

  1. Not being on time
    Being on time for a job interview is rule number one for interviewees, but hiring managers will often leave a nervous candidate sitting in the lobby while they answer a few more emails. Let’s put it simply: don’t let your candidates wait. Fine, things happen, and if there is a crisis, people will often understand, but don’t make it a habit. The interview should start on-time, every time. “When we talk about employer branding, it often starts with these kinds of experiences,” says Shawn D’Souza, a talent acquisition manager in Toronto. “Don’t forget that the interviewee is also trying to decide if he or she wants to work for your company, so if a hiring manager shows up late, it can really create a negative impression,” he says.
  2. Not paying attention
    Yes, your to-do-list is two pages long, but when you’re in the interview room, that’s where your focus should be. Checking texts and emails is incredibly rude, and can interrupt the candidate’s train of thought. It also makes it harder for you to pick up on subtle but important cues that can help you figure out if the applicant is a good fit for your organization.“Would you like it if someone started looking at their phone while you were in the middle of saying something? Probably not, so make sure you don’t treat applicants the same way. Remember that everything you do reflects the brand,” D’Souza says.
  3. Having unrealistic expectations
    One of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to fill a job opening is to load the posting with unrealistic demands and requirements: four degrees, 10 years of experience, and fluency in three languages. But you can also bring these kinds of expectations into a job interview. It’s fine to have standards, but you should be realistic and give everyone a chance.
    For more job posting tips and templates, download Workopolis’ free Practical Guide to Writing Job Postings.
  4. Not understanding the role
    If you haven’t written the job description, you should know what’s been listed there. More importantly, you should the details about what the role requires (on a day to day basis) and how it will fit into your team. Ambiguity in any way is a major red flag for a lot of candidates – remember that they are also trying to understand if this is a good fit for them.
    “The same way you’d expect an applicant to come prepared and to have researched your company, you should be well-informed about the role. An interviewee should leave wanting to work for your company, and this can only come when they have a clear sense of what the day-to-day looks like, and how they would fit into the overall structure,” D’Souza says.
  5. Asking “quirky” questions
    This can be many things. It can involve not catering questions to the specific job (asking about past examples of teamwork makes sense for a manager, but not a truck driver). It can also mean asking strange questions. Yeah, that might give you a sense of a person’s character, but if you’re not careful, you can also come off as unprofessional.
    “I don’t doubt that it’s fun asking a person if would rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses, but I think it’s debatable how valuable that answer is to your hiring decision,” D’Souza says.
  6. Not coming prepared
    Nothing is worse for a job seeker than a hiring manager sitting down in front of them and admitting they have not looked at the candidate’s CV. This can send a bad message to the job seeker about you and the company, but it can also hamper your hiring process.
    “Again it’s all about being prepared. The more time you look at the applicant’s qualifications and background, the better the interview will be, and the easier it will be to determine if they are the right fit for your company,” D’Souza says.
  7. Being too tough
    Hiring is a serious business, but the candidate isn’t on trial. A smile and some work appropriate humour can break the ice, and sets the tone for the workplace – an extra-important consideration when it’s the candidate’s first time in the office.
    “In the end, a job interview is really just a conversation. You want people to be relaxed and honest, so remember to keep it friendly,” D’Souza says.
  8. Forgetting to be polite
    This might sound obvious, but it’s surprisingly common for a hiring manager to fire off questions as if the interview is an interrogation. This can make candidates clam up – which means you might miss out on a superstar.
    While these interview mistakes are the most common, there are others that are far more serious. Ageism, sexism, racism, and all the other nefarious isms that are prohibited by law can worm their way into our psyches without constant vigilance. Remember to enter every interview with an open mind.

Originally published on The under cover recruiter

European commission calls for net-zero greenhouse gas by 2050

The European Commission announced on Wednesday that it had adopted a new long-term strategy that will aim to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through investing in “realistic” technological solutions, empowering the citizenry, and aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, and research.

Announced just days ahead of the 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), informally known as COP24, the European Commission — the legislative body of the European Union — announced a new strategic long-term vision for what it is describing as “a prosperous, modern, competitive, and climate neutral economy by 2050” known as “A Clean Planet for all.”

According to documents published by the Commission, the aim of this long-term strategy is “to confirm Europe’s commitment to lead in global climate action and to present a vision that can lead to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a socially-fair transition in a cost-efficient manner.”

“The EU has already started the modernisation and transformation towards a climate neutral economy,” said Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete. “And today, we are stepping up our efforts as we propose a strategy for Europe to become the world’s first major economy to go climate neutral by 2050.

“Going climate neutral is necessary, possible and in Europe’s interest. It is necessary to meet the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. It is possible with current technologies and those close to deployment. And it is in Europe’s interest to stop spending on fossil fuel imports and invest in meaningful improvements to the daily of all Europeans. No European, no region should be left behind. The EU will support those more impacted by this transition so that everyone’s ready to adapt to the new requirements of a climate neutral economy.”

Oddly, however, the new strategy does not intend to launch any new policies or revise any 2030 targets. Rather, as the Commission explains, “It is meant to set the direction of travel of EU climate and energy policy, and to frame what the EU considers as its long-term contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement temperature objectives in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals, which will further affect a wider set of EU policies.” That being said, the Commission intends to ensure that the European Union adopts an ambitious climate strategy by early 2020, as defined by the UNFCCC.

In addition to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the new strategy calls for at least 80% of its electricity to be secured from renewable energy sources (combined with a nuclear power share of around 15%).

Responses

Unsurprisingly, given the scope of such a policy for the world’s fourth-largest emitter, responses have been mixed.

“We’re already feeling the first effects of climate change here in Scotland and around the world and the clock is ticking if our political leaders are to step up and stop the worst effects,” said Robin Parker, Climate and Energy Policy Manager at WWF Scotland.

“This new strategy from the European Commission points us towards a climate neutral future.  It’s yet another example of a major global institution outlining the urgent economic, social and environmental need to up the ante on climate action, and showing that it is not only possible, but desirable to do so. If Scotland is to play its full part in achieving this then MSPs must strengthen the Climate Change Bill so Scotland can continue to lead and live up to its proud history of climate leadership and innovation.”

“Today is a defining moment in the fight against climate change,” said Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate & Energy, WWF European Policy Office. “With this strategy, the EU becomes the first major player to respond to the recent stark warnings from climate scientists and to take action to implement the Paris Agreement. However, we need to reach zero net emissions faster — by 2040 — and we can achieve this with the solutions that are available to us right now.”

“As to how we get there, only the 8th scenario is viable,” added Lübbeke. “Relying on bioenergy coupled with yet unproven carbon capture and storage technology at large scale is high risk, and a better and safer approach is the rapid deployment of technologies that are already at our fingertips: energy efficiency, renewable energy, circular economy principles and nature-based solutions to CO2 removal, such as the protection and restoration of forests, wetlands and other ecosystems.”

“With communities already feeling the effects of climate breakdown, today’s suggestion by the EU to go ‘net zero’ in 2050 is simply too late for Europe to stop burning carbon,” said Clémence Hutin, climate justice campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe. “Europe is largely responsible for the carbon pollution in Earth’s atmosphere and must do its fair share of action – meaning we must massively and speedily transform our society to phase out fossil fuels in the next decade, not thirty years’ time.”

“This is our moment of truth and the Commission’s plan throws us a lifeline,” added Greenpeace EU climate and energy policy director Tara Connolly. “People in Europe and around the world are making changes in their daily lives to reduce their impact on climate change. But they can’t do it alone. With twelve years left to save ourselves and our planet, it’s time for European governments to stop talking about climate leadership and to take the action needed to be climate neutral by 2040.”

 

Originally published on Cleantechnica

Top 10 questions to ask an interviewee

When it comes to job interviews, preparation is key. But, that doesn’t just apply to the candidate—it’s equally important for you as the interviewer.

This conversation is your chance to determine whether that applicant is a solid fit the position, your team, and your company in general. However, that information is really only revealed if you know the right questions to ask an interviewee.

So, what should you be sure to ask? Here are 10 good interviewing questions to put to work in your next sit-down with a potential employee.

 

  1. What one skill makes you the most qualified for this position?
    While things like culture fit are important, your focus first and foremost is to find someone who possesses those necessary cut-and-dried qualifications to fill that open position.
    That’s why a question like this one is so important. Not only do you get to hear more detail about what that candidate considers to be his core competencies, but it’s also a chance to confirm that he has the appropriate understanding of everything the role entails.
    For example, if he touts a skill that’s impressive—but totally irrelevant—that’s a red flag that you’re not on the same page about the major duties of that job.
  2. To date, what professional achievement are you most proud of?
    Candidates show up to interviews with a goal of impressing you. So, chances are, that applicant is armed and ready with a few major accomplishments up her sleeve.
    Whether it’s an award, a certification, or a big project that went exceptionally well, asking the interviewee what in her professional history she’s proudest of will give you a better sense of where her strengths really lie.
    Plus, this question offers the chance for her to expand on something she feels good about—which can ease her nerves and help to boost her confidence going into the rest of the interview.
  3. Can you tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge?
    You know that most job seekers absolutely dread these behavioral interview questions. But, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re an effective way for you to gain a better understanding of how that person’s experience translates from paper to the real-world.
    This specific question is a popular one, and for good reason. Starting a new job isn’t a walk in the park. And, even after that new employee is established, he’s bound to deal with some roadblocks every now and then—whether it’s a conflict within his team or a project he doesn’t quite know how to get started on.
    Getting a grasp on how that person copes with—and, more importantly, tackles—difficult circumstances will help you zero in on the very best fit for that open role.
  4. How would you describe your own working style?
    While you don’t want to build a completely homogenous team, you do need to make sure that new additions are able to work in a way that doesn’t throw a major wrench into the way things already operate.
    For that reason, it’s important that you ask each candidate about her working style. Does she take a really collaborative approach or would she rather work independently? Does she perform well with a lot of direction or is she more of a self starter?
    This insight into how each applicant prefers to handle his or her work will be invaluable in determining not only the right match for that job—but for the entire team.
  5. What three words would you use to describe your ideal work environment?
    In a similar vein, it’s smart to ask what that candidate prefers in terms of atmosphere to ensure you find someone who can not only survive—but thrive—in your existing culture.
    Perhaps he states he likes a quieter environment with lots of heads-down work. If your office is extremely fast-paced and high-energy, that could cause some friction. Or, maybe he explains that he prefers a lot of structure and predictability—which there isn’t a lot of in your laid-back startup where everybody wears a lot of hats.
    For better or for worse, this question will at least help you determine whether or not that applicant would feel comfortable in the work environment you’ve already fostered.
  6. If hired, what is the first thing you would tackle in this position?
    This is a great question to ask in a later interview round, when you’re choosing between the final candidates that you’ve narrowed down.
    This one is effective for a couple of reasons. First, it’s yet another opportunity to confirm that the interviewee has the right understanding of all that position will be responsible for. Secondly, it gives you the chance to understand her priorities. What does she believe should be at the top of that position’s to-do list?
    Last but not least, a question like this one means you can extend beyond the generalities that often come along with interviewing and get some insight into how that candidate would actually perform in that role.
  7. Why are you leaving your current employer?
    Here it is—yet another question that is sure to make every job seeker cringe. Nobody wants to seem like they’re bad-mouthing a previous boss or employer, which makes this one tricky for applicants to answer.
    However, posing this question will give you some greater insight into that person’s professional history—as well as help you to identify any red flags (ahem, complaining endlessly about his boss, for example) that might indicate that candidate isn’t the best one for the job.
  8. What one skill would you like to improve and what’s your plan for doing So?
    If you’ve previously been relying on that cliché “what’s your biggest weakness” question, give this one a try instead.
    Rather than asking an interviewee to point out her flaws and poke holes in her own candidacy, you can turn the tables by focusing on areas of improvement.
    Additionally, the second half of this question gives that applicant a chance to redeem herself, so to speak, by explaining what action plan she has for continuing to grow and develop within her own field.
  9. What excites you most about this position?
    Skills can be taught, but there’s one thing that can’t be: enthusiasm. When an interviewee is truly excited about an opportunity, that typically translates into excellent work and greater longevity with your company.
    Ask that potential employee about what initially attracted him to the position. What makes him most excited about the prospect of working there?
    Doing so will not only once again confirm his grasp of the duties of the role, but also give you a chance to figure out what aspects of the job interest him most.
  10.  What do you like to do outside of work?
    This isn’t one of the most common interview questions. But, it’s important to remember that you’re hiring an entire person. You want someone who will be able to connect with you and your team—not a robot who is incapable of forging bonds, sharing interests, and building relationships.If you feel uncomfortable asking a question like this one in the formal setting of the actual interview, work it into small talk before or after your sit-down. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with that candidate on a more personal level, while also getting a more holistic view of what makes her tick.

While the job seeker is on the far more nerve-wracking end of the table, job interviews are enough to inspire some anxiety in you as well. You want to make sure you ask the right questions to really zone in on the best candidate for that open job.

While there are plenty of interviewer tips out there, you want to have some handy prompts in your back pocket that you can use to get the most valuable information out of that short conversation. So, remember these 10 interview questions to ask, and you’re that much more likely to find the perfect fit.

3 things you’ll be tempted to say to compensate for a lack of experience (that you just well, shouldn’t)

Awkward interview moment #409:

You’re relatively green for a position you’re pursuing, yet you somehow landed the interview anyway. No sooner than the pleasantries have been exchanged, the interviewer goes right for the, “So, you seem to be a bit light on experience for this role. Can you tell me how and why you think you’re a good fit?”

What now? How should you respond? Is there a way out of this moment? Why were you even brought in?

Admittedly, this is a tricky moment for any job seeker, especially if you’re not prepared with a darned good explanation of why you make perfect sense for this role, in spite of the lack of experience.

Here are three things that you’ll be tempted to say, and why you should refrain:

 

1. I’m a super-fast learner

Oh, if I had a dollar for all the times I’ve heard someone (who wants a job outside of her experience level) bust out something like, “I can pick that up really fast” or “I’m totally trainable.”

Unfortunately, more often than not, employers aren’t looking for someone who can pick that thing they need you to do up lightning fast; they’re looking for you to walk through their doors already knowing how to do it. Even if you argue this, and insist that the employer’s going to miss out on an amazing employee by not being open to training you, the fact remains that most hiring managers want people who can hit the ground running.

 

What can you do instead?

If you lack experience for the type of role you’re pursuing and you keep coming up against this question, consider either looking for a similar role that’s maybe one rung below the one you’re eyeing, or specifically seek out companies that pride themselves on training and grooming people. The more solid a company’s training program, the better the odds that they’ll be willing to invest in you.

 

2. I’ll work really hard

This one reminds me of those American Idol auditions, when the performer gets three “nos” from the judges yet still continues to plead with them to take a chance on him or her.

“I’ll work harder than anyone you’ve ever seen if you just give me a chance.”

“Please give me a chance.”

“No, really. Please. I’ll work so hard. I’ll show you.”

And so on, and so forth.

Now, let me ask you. How often does this appeal work for the contestant? That’s right, zero percent of the time. That’s because the judges have already decided it’s not a fit and, when that person starts groveling, it comes off as desperate and unappealing.

Same goes for interviewing for a job. If the person across the desk from you has decided your lack of experience is a deal breaker, it’s probably going to do you little good to insist that you’ll work hard.

What can you do instead?

If you think the interviewer’s ruling you out on account of experience, consider asking her what role(s) she might recommend you pursue at that organization, given your background. Enlist her as an ally and ask for advice.

The worst that will come out of it is she has little to offer. The best thing that’ll happen? She’ll point you toward a couple of other options (and maybe make an introduction or two) at that same company. She brought you in for a reason, so there’s no harm in digging into a conversation and trying to find where she sees you excelling.

3. But, I have better experience than ….

This may be the granddaddy of them all. The employer is asking for one thing (that you don’t have) and you walk in and swiftly announce that the experience that you do have is, in fact, superior to what they are seeking.

I see this happen with some frequency among corporate people trying to transition into nonprofit roles. They alienate the decision makers in 10 seconds flat by informing them how, even though they haven’t worked in a nonprofit before, they’re going to take their business experience and light things right up at the joint.

Now, don’t get me wrong. These candidates may well have perspective and experience that would be incredibly valuable to that organization. But if you hit on this too hard and fast, the interviewers may think you’re saying that they don’t know how to do their jobs. And that’s never a good first impression.

 

What can you do instead?

If you feel like you’ve got transferrable experience that the interviewer maybe isn’t factoring in, start by asking questions. Inquire about that organization’s biggest challenges, top goals, and immediate priorities for the person they hire. Be genuine and curious.

And then, if appropriate, present your background or ideas in a way that doesn’t make people feel like you’re ripping on how they operate. Instead, it gently leads them to that spot at which they can see how your tangential or complementary background may be of genuine value to the overall organization.

 

Of course, you’re not always going to win when an interviewer calls you out on lack of experience. But the more elegantly you can navigate your way through this line of questioning, the better the odds are that you’ll move on in the process or—at the very least— leave feeling like you gave it your best shot.)

 

Originally published on The Muse

Wind of change sweeps over renewable energy sector

In the long-term interests of its soldiers, a US military base is turning itself into a knowledge hub on renewable energy.

Fort Benning military base in Georgia, United States, is blazing a trail with an innovative windmill. The US military has long been interested in renewables for bottom line and energy security reasons, and the Navy’s top brass frets that climate change-induced sea-level rise could impact naval installations. The Army has been quick to realize the operational advantages of renewables, as well as the importance of sound environmental practices for the health of its soldiers and the community at large.

Solar has been the military’s preferred source of renewable energy and Fort Benning already had a 30 MW array installed by 2016. But wind energy is where the jobs are these days, and Fort Benning now has turbines fully housed in low-rise structures: the innovation is that they are designed to run on the updraft from an air-conditioning system, not on ambient winds.

The Army is doing its bit to help turn soldiers who have finished active duty into sought-after technicians. The project at Fort Benning is part of a wider scheme to set active military personnel up with specific, in-demand career skills before they leave the Army, rather than discharging them without any solid prospects.

The US military’s biggest base on American soil has been drawing nearly half of its power from renewable energy since last year. Fort Hood, in Texas, has shifted from fossil fuels to wind- and solar-generated energy to shield the base from its dependence on outside sources. Its 63,000 solar panels, located on the base’s grounds, and 21 off-base wind turbines provide a total of some 65 megawatts of power.

Similar clean energy projects are popping up in unexpected places: last year, the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum converted to solar power to save money in the long term.

Meanwhile, the employment of solar photovoltaic installers is projected to grow 105 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

California commits to carbon-free energy by 2045

The state of California has passed a law committing to exclusively carbon-free electricity sources by 2045. By that date, all Californian electricity must come from carbon-free or renewable energy. Under the terms of the legislation, all utility companies must get 60 per cent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030. It has become the second US state after Hawaii to commit to carbon-free energy.

This is a significant development because if it were an independent country, California would have the fifth largest economy in the world.

Renewable energy is expanding rapidly across the globe as costs come down and communities and governments understand its value. A few weeks ago, the world’s largest working offshore wind farm opened off the northwest coast of England in the United Kingdom.

Renewables are a key prong in the fight against climate change – a battle we are losing, according to UN Environment’s 2017 Emissions Gap report.

UN Environment works to promote low-carbon approaches, improve energy efficiency, and increase the use of renewable energy. It engages with non-state actors and seeks to increase partnerships with the private sector, in line with the objectives of Sustainable Energy for All and Sustainable Development Goal 7 on Energy and Goal 13 on Climate Change.

For further information, please contact Niklas Hagelberg: Niklas.Hagelberg@un.org

Originally published on UNenvironement.com

15 common mistakes found in job descriptions

When scrolling through job advertisements it’s often easy to get a feeling that they are all the same. This happens because job descriptions are generic and usually bland.

Top talent aren’t attracted by this. They are looking for something exceptional and worthy of their skills to grab their attention. Unfortunately, most job descriptions look like they were written in a template. To attract the best candidates, you need to avoid these common mistakes.

  1. Setting a confusing job title
    With more and more young people entering the job market – especially in the most popular industries – companies have started using confusing but trendy-looking titles.
    You have probably seen them everywhere. ‘Data Ninja’, ‘Growth Hacker’, ‘Rockstar Copywriter’ and so on are some of the most common job titles today.
    In addition to being meaningless, they are also confusing to the candidates. Use regular titles that describe their future position.
  2. Using gender-biased language
    Certain words can come off as too masculine or too feminine. In either case, it’s not good. You might scare away excellent candidates this way.
    Instead of making this mistake, focus on using a neutral language. Avoid words like strong, competition, dominant, fight etc. – these lead women to think that they are not well-suited for the job when they actually might be more qualified than any male contender.
    You can also scare away men from traditionally female-oriented occupations with words like nurturing, caring and so on.
  3. Using third person language
    Using third person language is common in job advertisements yet it’s a huge mistake. It puts distance between your company and the potential candidates. It doesn’t feel personal or friendly but rather cold and too formal.
    It’s best to stick to first and second person with plenty of ‘you’ and ‘we’ in both the job description and the job advertisement.
  4. The job description is too long
    Even though job descriptions should be detailed and specific, job descriptions shouldn’t be too long.
    You don’t have much time to impress your candidates. Create a compelling job description with enough information but keep it concise. No Fluff is necessary, just facts and important data.
    Candidates want to see if the job is worthy of their attention and you need to help them find the necessary information as quickly as possible.
  5. The job description is too short
    Job descriptions can be too short as well. This simply means that you didn’t include enough detail. The best candidates don’t appreciate a lack of information. One or two sentences is not enough to encompass everything that they need to know.
    Even a paragraph is not enough.
    Instead of making your job description too short by cutting out the details, try to make it concise.
    “Being concise and being too brief is not the same. Concise means not adding unnecessary detail but being too brief can cost you a lot of left out information”, – says Alex Park, a recruiter at Writemyx.
  6. Including negative words
    Writing a job ad or a job description is, in essence, copywriting. Copywriting comes with certain rules. One of them is not to use negative words. These words are not just those that come across as negative at first, but also those words which have an underlying meaning – one’s that can ben interpreted as you telling your candidates what to do.
    Some examples are ‘must’, ‘never’, ‘always’, ‘strict’, ‘can’t’ and so on.
    Instead, try words that don’t feel absolute or like you are giving orders.
  7. Being vague
    Another thing you can’t afford to do in job descriptions or job advertisements is being vague. You don’t have much space and you have to use that space wisely. Say everything that needs to be said about the position without leaving important details out.
    Candidates are drawn to detailed job descriptions. They want to see exactly what they are applying to – they don’t want to guess.
  8. Posting the ad in the wrong place
    A high quality job advertisement will do nothing for you if you post it on the wrong platform. Research your audience and see where the best candidates gather to seek employment. Don’t post on a site where you can mostly find writers if you are looking for a web designer.
  9. Not making it readable or accurate
    You don’t have much time to engage potential candidates. If your ad or job description isn’t readable, they will bounce quickly. Format it so it has a lot of bullet points, short paragraphs and plenty of white space. Avoid making spelling and grammar mistakes as well – these only deteriorate your public image. You can use tools like Originwritings or 1Day2write to avoid such a situation.
  10. Too much jargon
    You may think that using jargon is acceptable since you are trying to attract professionals. However, every professional is a bit insecure and big technical words and abbreviations can scare them, make them feel incompetent.
    Use regular, simple words instead, for a better response.
  11. Not mentioning your company by name
    It may seem like a good idea to craft a job description which solely focuses on the candidates but you should also add some information about your company. Include benefits about at your company and describe how you value your employees.
  12. No salary information
    While this is not always required, most candidates do expect to see at least a wage range in your job description / advertisement. This gives them a bit more insight into what kind of a company you are and helps them figure out if you are a good match for their desired salary.
    If your candidates can’t see a salary, they would probably rather apply for other jobs which are more transparent about remuneration. Even though this may not be important for you, it’s extremely important to your candidates.
  13. No unique voice
    Just like your branding should be consistent across various media platforms, so should your job advertisements. The candidates will probably read the job description to see if it matches their skill but also to find out more about you.
    Use your brand voice to communicate your employer brand. Present a happy, driven community and your values. Introduce them to your world.
  14. Missing details
    If you notice high turnover around a single position, re-read your job description to see if accurate information is included. Maybe you left out an important detail about the job or a responsibility that candidates don’t know about or the description is misleading in a way you may not have realised.
    This can seriously change the perception of the job that the candidates have and cause all the wrong candidates to apply.
  15. Having unrealistic expectations
    You can’t necessarily expect to get a candidate with 15 years’ experience in web development but a young energy and a great design sense. This can scare away the right candidates. Instead of doing this, prioritize your requirements and highlight only the most important responsibilities related to the job.

 

Originally published on TheRecruiterLoop

How to ensure your resume goes in the trash

There aren’t any ways to guarantee that your resume will get read, picked and set aside for an interview. However, there are a few ways to guarantee that it will go straight to the slush pile. It’s still an employer’s market and the competition is fierce. The recession might not be at the lowest point, but there’s still no room for sloppy job hunting skills.

Keep in mind, especially for larger companies, resumes are usually sorted by software before a human even reads them. That means key words that match the job description and SEO-rich words on the company web site have to be included. This will require tweaking a resume every single time it’s submitted. However, it doesn’t stop there:

Keep it personal:

There’s no way to know if a program will receive the resume first or a human, so err on the side of personalization. Whenever possible, find the name of a real person and avoid “Dear Manager.” Some software programs might even scan for key personnel names to gauge just how much effort applicants put into the process. Oftentimes for small companies, it’s pretty easy to find the name of the HR director.

Always address the key points of the company. For example, if someone is applying for a position, the interviewee should do a lot of research on the company online. Just like teaching to the test, it’s important to write for the job. Visit the company’s website, get familiar with their products or services, read about what awards they’ve won or events they’ve attended, and really get to know the people and atmosphere of the company. Highlight your experiences and talents that you feel would fit in well with the company, and downplay or remove unrelated items.

Proof, proof, proof!

Even Pulitzer Prize-winning writers make grammar mistakes. Proofread like mad every resume and cover letter. Whenever possible, get someone else to do grammar checks, too. People naturally fill in the blanks and correct mistakes in their head — although not on paper — because the brain is just trying to be helpful. Sometimes this causes needless mistakes.

An easy way for an HR recruiter to sort applications is by putting those with glaring typos in the slush pile. The result? Proofreading takes some extra time and work, but it’s worth it. If a person can’t bother to make their application perfect, what does that say about their work ethic? Think from a recruiter’s perspective.

Play it cool:

It’s perfectly acceptable to call or email to check in with a hiring company, but no more than once per month. It’s even more acceptable if you’ve already scored an interview. Bullying someone into ponying up a job never works, and you’re more likely to be put on the no list if you annoy them. Instead, stay polite and professional while still in their line of vision.

Recruiters might be bogged down with a lot of applications, so understand that they’re busy. A nice hand-written note post-interview or a follow-up call one week later is essential; daily emails are not. Playing a little hard to get works both ways when it comes to job hunting.

Apply to the right positions:

You might think you have what it takes to be a marketing manager, but does your resume reflect this? Many skills are transferrable, but some aren’t. If you’re looking to get into a new sector, figure out how your current skills and background play into what’s required. If you need a little boost, sign up for a related class, volunteer for a complementary position or consider going back to school if you want a total career overhaul.

Job hunting is partially a numbers game, but not totally. There are almost always more qualified people out there, so the trick is to play up your skills as they relate to the job at stake. There’s nothing wrong with getting creative, hiring a professional resume writer or even seeing a consultant to figure out your angle. However, simply sending out as many resumes as possible probably won’t work.

Maintaining perspective:

Job hunting is a more than full-time job on its own and it takes patience and skill. However, avoiding little mistakes can help make the difference between an interview or not. Take your time and create an application you’re proud of, because that will shine through. You might find what you think is your dream job, but there are plenty of fish in the job hunting sea and the one that’s right for you will eventually emerge.

The most important thing is to keep trying and send out a set amount of resumes every day. Choose as many as you can handle, whether it’s two or twenty — just as long as quality and research doesn’t suffer. Keep track of your applications on a spreadsheet so that you know the appropriate time for a follow up email or call. By practicing your organizational skills now, you’re already prepping for the perfect job.

 

Originally published on Theundercoverrecruiter

Renault will transition french island to renewable energy

Tesla is not the only company that is bringing the wonders of renewable energy to the islands of the world. Last February, Renault helped electrify the Portuguese islands of Madeira and Porto Santo, located hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco.

Islands present unique challenges when it comes to electricity. Either they have to be supplied by undersea cables, which are expensive to install and expensive to maintain, or they have to use fossil fuels — typically diesel — to power generators on the islands themselves. Either way, residents pay some of the highest electricity prices in the world.

Now Renault has agreed to make Belle-Île-en-Mer, an island off the northwest coast of France near St. Nazarre, a “Smart Island.” What does that mean? It means a fleet of electric vehicles to help people get around the island without tailpipe emissions. It means solar panels on as many roofs as possible. And it means using recycled EV batteries to store some of that solar power for use after the sun sets.

According to The Drive, the vehicles will be a mix of Renault Zoe 5 door hatchback sedans and Renault Kangoo ZE vans. They will provide ride-sharing services for island residents and visitors. Newly installed EV chargers for the vehicles will be powered by solar panels installed on the roofs of local buildings. A digital control network will shift power to where it is needed. Panels on a school will light classrooms during the day and EV chargers on weekends and at night.

EV batteries that are no longer suitable for use in vehicles are still capable of storing electricity to power the electrical grid. Renault will install a number of so-called “second-life” batteries to collect renewable power and store it for use later.

While the new “Smart Island” system will make a big reduction in carbon emissions possible, it is also a testing laboratory for microgrid technologies that can be applied to other situations on the mainland. “It will be possible to carry over the Belle-Île-en-Mer system not just to other islands but also to cities and suburban areas,” says Gilles Normand, senior vice president of Renault’s electric vehicle division.

The lessons learned on Belle-Île-en-Mer will help show how electric cars, storage batteries, and renewable energy can best be integrated into the electrical grid in more situations. Companies like Tesla maintain that batteries for energy storage need different chemistry than batteries intended for automotive service. Projects like this one can help resolve any issues and lead to a better understanding about how to bring distributed renewable energy to more people for the least amount of money.

 

Initially published on Cleantechnica.com

Top 3 hiring mistakes to avoid

As a recruiter, I speak so often to candidates about the importance of being clear about their personal brand statement. It is critical to know your strengths, the sweet spot of your skillset, and how to explain your background to a potential employer. Without this clarity, you may be overlooked in the screening process.

I am also seeing companies that are not clear on what they want. Thousands of jobs are going unfilled and hiring processes are going on for so long that companies are losing perfect candidates simply due to a lack of clarity around what they want and need.

Clearly, hiring managers want to ensure that they are thorough and hiring the right person. But the answer is not a job description that reads like an engine part specs sheet— packed with a litany of skills, obtuse requirements like “hit the ground running”, and culminating with a subpar salary.

Rather than continue with an approach that keeps employers with vacant positions and qualified candidates out of work, here are three hiring mistakes we’re seeing and our suggestions for rectifying them:

  1. Overwhelming and unrealistic job description:
    At our creative staffing firm we require our account managers to collect in-depth, detailed job descriptions. At first, there can be pushback, especially if there is already a formal job description in place. The first mistake is to take the “everything but the kitchen sink” job description at face value and not ask questions. Our job is to decipher, analyze, and probe deeper to uncover the most important aspects of the job – the better job order we can take, the better candidate we can provide.
    Hiring managers need to think about what they cannot live without. Those are the requirements that should be the first bullets of a job spec. It should describe a day in the life of what this person would be doing. It should consider where the ideal candidate comes from. It should include a salary range and “nice to haves.” The clearer and more honest you are in the description, the more likely you will be to attract the best candidate, whether it is on your own or through an agency like ours.
  2. The never-ending interview process:
    I recently heard of a candidate going in for a seven-hour interview. Seven. Hours. In the end, she did not get the job and what an absolute waste of time for both parties. If you bring the village to meet a potential candidate, you are making a big mistake. Limiting the interview process to two to four people should be plenty.
    I had a creative director tell me he interviewed at a company where the interview process went on for three months. During this time, he interviewed at another company where the interview process was a couple of weeks. Both companies offered him a job, and the one with the drawn-out process offered nearly 30K more. Ultimately, he chose the lesser-paying role at the company where the process moved quickly. He said he was so turned off by the decision-making of the slower moving firm and how they treated him along the way, that he felt like this was a precursor to how they did business in general.
    A candidate’s time is just as valuable as the client looking to hire. It doesn’t matter if you are hiring an 80K copywriter or a 200k VP of Creative. A company’s hiring process can affect their brand and street cred with other executives and recruiters.
  3. Not taking a risk:
    In this post-recession climate, we’re finding that many companies simply refuse to pull the trigger and make a hire, blaming the “shortage of good talent” and “poor candidate pool” for their inability to fill an open requirement. Some would rather continue to burden existing staff versus hire someone who has 90% of what they are looking for. The remedy for this is for employers to move beyond a recession mentality. Keeping staff flat and never taking the plunge with a new hire might sustain your business, but it certainly won’t help it grow.

Conclusions:

By all indications, we are seeing the signs of economic recovery, and employers ready to hire would be wise to become more realistic in their approach and expectations. A longer description won’t produce a miracle and a six-month interview process won’t uncover a superhero. However, clear, concise job descriptions, an efficient interview process, and realistic expectations of the job market will put you in the best position to uncover the person you need.

Author: Joyce Bethoney is the Director of Recruiting for Communications Collaborative, the marketing and creative staffing division of pileandcompany.com.

 

Initially published on The Undercoverrecruiter.com

9 sentences you should never say in a job interview

It’s easy to be general about your background in a job interview. It’s also easy to focus on selling yourself — and fail to develop rapport in the process. You want to make yourself look good, of course, but if you took high school English, you probably heard “show, don’t tell.” It applies to the interview, too. Whether you follow this advice can make the difference between landing a job or not.

Below, coaches from Forbes Coaches Council help steer you away from generic statements that don’t set you apart from the competition. We asked members to name one sentence job candidates are saying in interviews that is making employers disengaged. Here is what they said:
Nine Sentences You Should Never Say In A Job Interview

Clockwise from top left: Charlotte Weeks, Laura Powers, Carol Camerino, Julie Kantor, Emily Kapit, Kim Monaghan, Jessica Miller-Merrell, Tracy Repchuk, Cheryl Lynch Simpson. All photos courtesy of the individual members.

  1. “I Have XYZ Skill”
    “Telling It” instead of “Selling It” statements. Just saying that you have a skill is not interesting. Offering proof that you have a skill is interesting. Giving examples of past successes in a “Challenge-Action-Result” format is an easy way to sell the interviewer on your experience. – Charlotte Weeks, Weeks Career Services, Inc.
  2. “I’d Be Happy To Recite My Resume To You…”
    When hiring managers ask you to “Tell me about yourself,” that is not an invitation to recite your entire employment history. Your answer needs to be focused on them and their needs. Develop a response that addresses the question behind the question: “Are you someone who will be a good fit within our organization’s culture and who has what it takes to succeed?” – Laura Powers, Powers Career Coaching, LLC
  3. “I Didn’t Visit Your Website”
    Prospective employers are keen to hear candidate questions as they often telegraph interest and initiative. However, if the answer to your question is easily found online, it may indicate a lack of preparation or initiative — potential negatives that are easily avoided by reviewing a company’s website, social media sites and news mentions in advance of the interview. – Carol Camerino, Camerino Consulting, LLC and Job Seekers – Lookin
  4. “What Do I Have To Do To Get Promoted, And How Long Does It Take?”
    When a candidate immediately asks about future jobs, it is a red flag that they aren’t interested in the job that is open. A good hire, for both the candidate and employer, is when there is a match between the employer’s needs, job responsibilities, culture, etc. and the candidate’s competence, work ethic, work style and desire for the job. – Julie Kantor, PhD, JP Kantor Consulting
  5. “This Is A Never-Ending Sentence”
    Want to see an interviewer’s eyes glaze over? Start a response and continue for a period extending over 45-60 seconds — without re-engaging the person — and you’ll have a bored interviewer on your hands. Most questions will not require lengthy responses and, if they do, do some mock interview work to practice re-engaging with the hiring manager periodically to keep the conversation going. – Emily Kapit, MS, MRW, ACRW, CPRW, ReFresh Your Step, LLC
  6. “I’m A Team TISI +NaN% Player And A Hard Worker”
    Don’t offer hollow, rote responses to common interview queries. Rather, address strengths-based questions by articulating how you took action, channeled your talents and gained positive (and hopefully quantifiable) results for former employers. Be brief, yet specific, and ensure your answers illustrate how your strengths will translate to profit-generating value. – Kim Monaghan, KBM Coaching & Consulting LLC
  7. “No, I Don’t Have Any Questions About The Position Or Company”
    When a candidate doesn’t have any questions about the job, company or work environment, this sends a message to the hiring manager that the candidate hasn’t invested time into researching their company. It also tells them the candidate is not assertive. A candidate who has no questions about the job is an open invitation for a recruiter to mentally check out from the interview. – Jessica Miller-Merrell, Blogging4Jobs
  8. “How Much Vacation Time Do I Start With and What Are My Hours?”
    A good, direct marketing copywriter can take the text and spin it to make sure every “I, me, us and we” becomes “you,” because the reader only cares about what’s in it for them. So when you go in saying things like “how much vacation time do I start with” and “what are my hours,” it turns off the interviewer. Remove yourself from the equation and come from a place of service, and the job is yours. – Tracy Repchuk, InnerSurf International Inc.
  9. “Tell Me About the Salary and Benefits”
    He or she who mentions money first loses. Thus goes the old adage… and it’s still true much of the time. Asking salary and benefit questions too early in the interview process is deadly. Not only does it send the message that you’re only interested in what you can get from the company, it also devalues your experience and your brand. Confident professionals negotiate from a position of mutual trust and exemplify a win-win-win approach. – Cheryl Lynch Simpson, Executive Resume Rescue

Initially published on Forbes.com

A Recruiter Shares The Best Way To Follow Up On A Job Application

Yes, there is a way to do it without being annoying.

 

Are you the kind of person who carefully researches a position and company before you submit an application? Or do you look up job titles in your field on Glassdoor and desperately wish there was an “APPLY ALL” button?

However you enter into the application process with a company, submitting your application is not the end of your work. In fact, it’s just the beginning of a long and hopefully fruitful relationship – which makes it extra frustrating when you submit your information and don’t hear back for days and days, or even weeks and weeks.

Should you follow up? And if so, should you email or call or show up at the company’s next all-hands meeting? These are the questions we’re answering today with the help of Glassdoor’s expert recruiter and Talent Acquisition Partner James Parker.

Whether you’re passively targeting one or two specific opportunities or peppering your field with inquiries, here are the most important things to think about when you follow up after a job application:

Try email first

In today’s highly structured world, few professionals have time on their calendars to field anonymous phone calls. Emailing recruiters and hiring managers shows greater respect for their schedule because they can process and respond to your note on their own time.

“Since I frequently recruit for sales positions, I often get candidates who cold call me to showcase their skills,” says Parker. “But since almost every minute of the day is accounted for, cold calls go right to voicemail. For most jobs, emailing is the safest way to follow up after a job application without ruffling any feathers.”

Be specific about your fit

Focus and relevance are the two most important pieces of communicating with hiring managers and recruiters during a job search. Beyond individual preference, it’s not so much the format you use but what you say. A boring and generic, “Hey, I applied!” or “Look at my application and let me know if I’m a fit!” email is just as bad as pestering your contact with unwanted phone calls.

“Look at our positions, find one, do research, and do the work of letting me know how you’re a good fit,” says Parker. “If you’ve been proactive and you can show me how your background in XYZ fits the XYZ role we’re hiring for, that’s meaningful, and I’ll want to talk to you.”

This strategy works especially if you’re applying for a job that’s different from your background: “When you explain your fit for the role for me, showcase how you’ve developed the skills you need,” explains Parker. “If you’re bringing camp counselor experience to an entry-level sales role, tell me how you’ve talked with parents and overcome objections and managed multiple conversations at the same time. Connect the dots for me, or I won’t be able to justify spending time on your application when there’s a large pool of more traditionally qualified candidates.”

Let company culture guide you

“The type of company and the type of role should guide how you follow up to a job application,” says Parker. “In the case of Glassdoor, we’re not a cold calling company, so calling your contact out of the blue wouldn’t be as welcome as, say, a meaningful follow-up email or reaching out through one of my social media channels.”

Whether or not you’re applying for an open position with Glassdoor specifically, the job search tool is so detailed that you never have to approach a company blindly. It’s up to you to use the research at your disposal to get a sense of what is and isn’t in line with the company’s culture and build a follow-up plan based on that information.

Display your skills

Every interaction you have with a recruiter or hiring manager is part of the interview process – email, phone call, voicemail, or in-person meeting. So however you choose to follow up after a job application, treat it like the opportunity to display your communication skills that it is. Carefully proofread your emails and make notes in advance of calls so that you can always speak with poise.

“Part of the interview process is assessing a candidate’s communication skills as we exchange emails,” says Parker. “In the past, if I’ve been on the fence about a candidate and then see they respond with poor grammar or bad English – especially if they were born and educated in an English-speaking country – I start thinking that that’s how they’ll communicate with clients. If it’s not a good email coming in, then it won’t be a good email going out to clients or coworkers.”

Be considerate of your contact’s time

If your contact welcomes the attention, a being slightly more aggressive when you follow up after a job application may show that you’re passionate about the job. However, if you aren’t very careful, it may also show that you’re oblivious to the needs of others.

“In one situation, I chatted on the phone with a candidate and determined this person was not a good fit,” explains Parker. “After I send an email explaining the situation, this person showed up at the office to ‘prove me wrong’ and insisted on meeting with me. Because I pride myself on customer service and being attentive to everyone I speak with, it put me in a difficult position of fitting in an unexpected 1-hour meeting into a packed schedule. This move ended up solidifying my original decision not to pursue this person.”

If you feel strongly that you need to show up to make your case, do so in a way that shows your interest without burdening your recruiter or hiring manager with a long visit. Deliver a handwritten note in person and leave after giving your contact a quick hello, or send a small treat like coffee and donuts with a short note responding to any feedback you received throughout the interview process. These methods still may not change the fact that you simply aren’t a good fit for the job, but they’ll give you one more contact point without damaging the relationship you have.

Customized all of your correspondence

It’s always appropriate to send a thank you note after an interaction or a meeting. But if you copy the same note to everyone you interact with at the company, you’ll undermine your efforts to show how thoughtful you are. Make sure your interviewers won’t be disappointed when they compare notes by customizing your message for the recipient.

“If you speak with three recruiters, email each of us with a unique message based on our background or a particular part of our conversation,” says Parker. “If you interview and send the same follow-up email to each of us, it’s a missed opportunity to make yourself stand out. Taking the extra three to four minutes to write a unique email could be the difference in the next three to four years of your life.

There’s a reason the post-application phase of a job search is so confusing: there are as many different ways to follow up as there are recruiters and companies. If you want to confidently follow up after a job application, the most important step you can take is to understand the company’s culture and align your actions accordingly. Good luck!

 

Originally published on Glassdoor.com

12 Powerful Recruiting Trends Affecting Your Time to Hire

Most articles on the main recruiting trends frequently refer to the obvious approaches that many companies already apply. However, in this post I would like to zero in on unique, advanced techniques, which are seldom used and accepted and yet they are some of the most important recruiting tools impacting your time to hire time.

Some of these trends may surprise you.

  1. Since the candidate holds the power, many current techniques will stop working
    83% of recruiters believe that the market has shifted from employer to candidate. In a market managed by candidates, “active recruitment approaches” simply stop working.
    Now that candidates are in control and the best candidates have many job offers to consider, recruiting should shift from “assessment” to a “selling candidates” practice. Once candidates start to understand that the market is on their side, they will ask the question “Why should I work for you?”
  2. The dominant role of mobile platforms in every aspect of recruiting
    Companies need to understand that applicants should be able to apply for a vacancy directly from their mobile phone. And for market leaders, it has become obvious that the mobile platform, unlike any other communication means, due to its universality and speed should dominate in every area of hiring.
    The mobile platform can become the main mechanism for building communications with candidates, disseminating messages aimed at promoting an employer brand, viewing recruiting videos and job descriptions, and publishing relevant job vacancies in communities with candidates.
    Ultimately, it can be used for sending notifications, professional evaluation of a candidate, and candidate interviews. Therefore, recruiters and hiring managers should understand how to post job offers from their mobile phones, upload videos, confirm applications, view CVs, schedule interviews and do other administrative tasks. In turn, candidates should be able to apply for a job from their phone and do all the accompanying administrative work from the palm of their hand.
  3. Encouraging a candidate to accept a job offer
    During an economic downturn, candidates would accept almost any job offer. However, in the market in which candidates receive numerous offers, the recruitment process changes dramatically. This means that the focus will shift to interesting offers in terms of remuneration packages, as well as to individual criteria of a particular candidate.
  4. Deficiency of effective recruiters
    As the amount of work increases, companies will begin to experience a significant shortage of talented recruiters. As a result, a real war will break out for professionals in the field of hiring. Due to the low qualification of recruiters, the deficit for professionals becomes even more acute.
  5. Videos play a predominant role
    Online video accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic. Today watching a video (rather than static pictures or reading text) is most preferable for an audience, and hence it should be used in every aspect of recruiting, for example creating video descriptions of vacancies, or employer brand videos.
  6. The ability to quickly hire rare professionals who suddenly appear on the market
    The best specialists, if they enter the labor market, are an extremely rare find. Traditional recruiting models designed to attract candidates in such cases do not work. This means that recruiters need to look for other approaches that would allow them to hire each time a new professional who is suitable for their company.
    Once a candidate submits an application, it is necessary to immediately start the hiring process and make an offer quickly, even if there are currently no open positions in the company. Yes, you might end up hiring a person a few weeks (or even months) before you need them, but you will not have to be stressed out by the inability to find a competent person when you really need one.
  7. Social network pages will replace CVs
    The reality is that very few candidates have time to update their resume. And while you are employed, you do not update it at all. It turns out that it is impossible to become a candidate in principle until you update and send out a current resume. However, today in place of a resume, it is enough to look through profiles on LinkedIn and find open vacancies. LinkedIn profiles are usually more specific than a resume, and they are viewed by a large number of people: if there is some kind of inaccuracy, friends and colleagues will quickly point to it.
  8. Emergence of “find examples of their work” component in talent acquisition
    Sometimes even experienced professionals have a weak resume. Fortunately, using social media as key recruiting tool, it became possible to find work samples for many professionals. And this is good because work always gives much more insight into a worker’s abilities than their resume. Recruiters should focus on finding actual examples of the work of “hidden” professionals in the labor market, which can not be found solely on the resume.
  9. Boomerang recruitment strategies
    Hiring boomerangs, it turns out, can be one of the most effective methods for quality hiring. A valuable candidate pool can be formed from previous employees. Moreover, today it is much easier to track down corporate graduates thanks to LinkedIn and other social media. Hiring boomerangs is characterized by speed, low cost, and high quality.
  10. The importance of predictive analytics
    Today the most important business decisions are based on data. Such decisions have a strong impact on recruiting: they are at least 25% better than intuitive solutions. Therefore, it is time to forget about meaningless metrics and start focusing on predictive analytics. If you need additional financial resources, consult your CFO to analyze how the results of hiring will increase a company’s profits.
  11. Referrals are more important than ever
    Employee referrals should never stop. Referrals provide quality hiring not because they know someone, but because the best employees can often even outperform recruiters in building relationships, evaluating and “selling” highly qualified professionals who are not active in the labor market. In top companies, more than 50% of employees are hired through a referral program.
  12. Personalised outreach will become the trend
    Highly sought after candidates no longer respond to a generic recruitment approach. They expect a unique and personalized approach (in many respects similar to what is used when a candidate for a managerial position is employed). We call this a “manual” approach.
    Furthermore, don’t be surprised if a top candidate expects the job to be tailored for them. Providing topnotch candidates with a choice (with whom to work, where and when) will become a more common practice. And since this approach is impossible to apply in every workplace you will have to prioritize. This will allow you to distribute your resources to important positions and candidates.

Originally published on Recruitloop.com

US Renewable Energy Sources Surpass Nuclear In First Half Of 2018

US renewable energy sources accounted for nearly 20% of the country’s net electrical generation during the first half of 2018, according to new figures from the US Energy Information Administration, and narrowly beat out that provided by nuclear power.

According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest “Electric Power Monthly” report, and highlighted by Ken Bossong and the Sun Day Campaign to journalists via email, renewable energy sources accounted for 19.867% of the country’s electrical generation during the first half of the year, while nuclear power accounted for 19.863%.

The figures representing renewable energy include biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind, and solar — both utility-scale and distributed.

The latest EIA report showed that solar and wind both saw strong growth through the first year, with utility-scale and distributed solar combined expanding by 27.6% and wind growing by 11.2% compared to the first half of 2017. Together, wind and solar accounted for nearly a tenth of the country’s electrical generation.

Most importantly, however, is the closing gap between renewables and coal.

According to EIA data, coal only contributed 26.93% to the country’s energy mix, well down on traditionally historical trends. In fact, when adding up all fossil fuel sources, they only account for 60% of domestic electrical generation — where only five years ago the figure stood at 68.6%.

The half-year figures match up with what we saw from the EIA’s figures for the first four months of the year. In the first third of 2018, renewable energy sources accounted for 19.5% of total electrical generation, while nuclear accounted for 20.3%, coal accounted for 27%, and natural gas 31%.

 

Originally published on CleanTechnica.com

Careers for women in Solar – potential in a growth industry

According to the 2017 Solar Jobs Census from The Solar Foundation, solar labor increased by 168% in the past 7 years, from about 93,000 jobs in 2010 to more than 250,000 jobs in 2017. Yet women in solar make up just 27% of the workforce. Women have a considerable opportunity to make careers in solar energy and join in on the highly skilled, well-paying solar jobs. C’mon, gals — join in!

In the US, women still make 78 cents to every man’s dollar. The gender disparity in wages could become more equalized if women select some of the fastest growing career paths within the renewable energy industry. Solar, specifically, is forecast to rise exponentially over the next decade. Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), says of women in solar, “Muscles are not the prerequisite. Brains and work ethic are the prerequisites.”

In 2017, the US Department of Energy reported that energy sectors employed roughly 6.4 million Americans, up nearly 5%, or 300,000 jobs, from the prior year. Electric power generation and fuels technologies comprised most hires at 1.9 million. Of those, about 374,000 hires work full- or part-time in the solar industry.

women in solar

Solar power is one of the most promising renewable energy technologies, allowing the generation of electricity to be derived from free, inexhaustible sunlight. Many homeowners have already begun adopting solar electricity, large-scale power generation facilities have started to offer solar’s advantages to thousands of customers, and companies are turning to solar in quests to call upon 100% renewable power.

Overcoming Barriers and Creating Opportunities for Women in Solar

The solar industry offers long-term and challenging career opportunities for both men and women, although many gaps in fully embracing women in solar employment existed in the past decade. Many women exited the industry in search for more supportive career environments.

Early hurdles for women to gain fair access to solar careers are not as evident for this next generation of women with STEM aptitude, however. As with many male-dominated spaces, female objectification, constraints, and isolation are still found, but Hopper of SEIA said it’s important to note that women are making headway in many areas that not so long ago were considered for men only. Because both male and female leaders are prioritizing diversity in the workforce, she knows the progress did not happen by accident.

For example, The Atlantic describes how, with a “gender lens” approach to energy access programs, the millions of dollars flowing to initiatives around the globe can have a greater impact on women’s empowerment. Of course, access to technology and employment in the energy sector is only the beginning. Research indicates that women can gain optimal traction from employment in the energy sector only if there are wider socially progressive policies in place, including state intervention to create a robust social infrastructure and accessible, high-quality, public services.

A Toolkit For Solar Industry Labor

For an industry expanding at such a rapid clip and promising to transform the energy landscape, having a still male-dominated workforce means the solar industry is missing out on opportunities to expand and deepen its impacts across multiple sectors of society. But there are strategies to infuse gender differentiation into the solar workplace.

One text that helps is The Solar Workforce Development Toolkit, which fills in the clear need for solar businesses to engage with the broader industry and other workforce development stakeholders. It outlines ways to better align education with regional job markets, streamline training and hiring practices, and increase public awareness of diverse solar career opportunities. Employers interested in bringing in more women in solar and women who are considering a career in solar should review this toolkit.

Careers in solar include construction managers, industrial production managers, electricians, plumbers, steamfitters, pipefitters, sales reps, welding/ soldering/ brazing workers, solar voltaic installers, human resource managers, and marketers — among others. As an example of one of the many successful women in solar, Tanya Strickford grew up through the ranks of SunPower by Positive Energy Solar to COO, progressing from a field installer to crew lead, crew manager, and operations manager. Strickford wants to bring her peers to the industry by leading through example, showing women how they, too, can be building large-scale solar arrays in the desert or hauling and installing residential rooftop panels.

“I don’t think the power of this can be overestimated,” Strickford said, expanding upon the impact that role models have for women in solar. “Women applicants see themselves represented and likely feel more motivated and welcomed. As a company, we’ve hosted Women In Solar Energy (WISE) events to introduce women to the vast opportunities within the industry and show a familiar face. Positive Energy Solar has also had a strong commitment to our community, supporting STEM education throughout New Mexico and encouraging women to get involved.”

Seeing a Solar Installer Position through the Eyes of a Female

Kristin Underwood, co-owner of Planet Earth Solar, was working for the EPA when she realized she couldn’t work behind a desk for the rest of her life. She likes how solar allows her to be outdoors, be physical, and see what she has accomplished each day. She encourages companies to hire and mentor a diverse workforce that includes women in solar.

“Men and women come at problems differently, and, by having other viewpoints and perspectives, you give your company an advantage by having more solutions to all the challenges that can come up in a typical day,” she said. “But just hiring women is not enough. I would encourage company leaders to also look out for them and encourage and mentor them. This industry can be hard on women, so women in solar need both women and men to champion their success.”

So what is a typical series of job responsibilities for a woman who likes to be physically active in a job? For example, what does a solar installer do?

Solar installers design and develop solar panels based on customer preferences and building restrictions, paying close attention to details in order to install functioning panels. With the need to be knowledgeable about mechanical and electrical tools, newer (women?) installers will build the support structures, while (male?) veterans do more technical tasks such as connecting the panels to the electric systems.

The job of a solar installer has many components which speak to women’s skills, worldviews, and dispositions.

  • Communicating with customers efficiently and comfortably is essential to relate the scope and length of a residential project.
  • Having good problem-solving and decision-making skills leads to completing jobs on time and producing good customer reviews.
  • Traveling to job sites, arriving on time, and establishing consistent work routines creates repeat business.
  • Being strong and physically fit is a must, as panels can weigh up to fifty pounds — but there are lots of women with sturdy stature who can stand for long hours, climb up and down ladders, and keep their balance on roofs.
  • Demonstrating detail-orientation, dependability, and knowledge is a constant cycle in solar installation. Once panels are installed, the workers check that systems are functioning properly prior to departure and return to perform routine maintenance.

Quality training of all employees — female and male — can save solar companies money. Additional site visits to correct residential installation errors may cost solar companies up to $7,500. Improved training procedures for both gender diversity and skills expansion could lead to a 1% decrease in the rate call-backs; it could save the solar industry more than $10 million per year.

Learning on Solar Worksites with Mentors

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, renewables will supply most US energy needs by 2050. There are many women leading the way for other women in solar, whether through traditional business routes or nonprofit, advocacy avenues like Women in Solar Energy. Sometimes it happens that one position leads to another, especially from within a company. That’s what happened to Ivy Gilbert, who worked as a business consultant when she was asked to help a solar start-up. Fast forward to today, and she’s CEO of IQ Power. Gilbert said it’s important for solar companies to allow female employees to explore new jobs and discover unknown passions and skills.

Gilbert remembered how a female marketer of solar products showed interest in transitioning to installation. “We immediately set her up for training with our installation and service department, where she went on installs and service calls until she was competent enough to handle service calls alone,” she said. “She enjoyed the work.”

STEM educational backgrounds and industries are viable and fulfilling paths these days for women to professional and personal development. “Solar is important work for the future,” Gilbert added, “and it feels good at the end of the day knowing your efforts are reducing the carbon footprint of our customers.”

Then there’s Kathy Miller, who co-founded Yes Solar Solutions. She prefers working in customer-owned solar because she gets to see the difference it makes in people’s lives and businesses. Miller tries to share that passion with her interns while giving them real-world experience in solar.

She advises companies to look past the gender and race/ ethnicity of applicants and to think about building a successful team first. “If I get a good resume, I interview that person, even if we have no openings.”

Shout-out to Solar Power World Online for featuring powerful women in solar in their recent issue.

 

Originally published on Cleantechnica

Germany produces enough renewable energy in six months to power country’s households for an entire year

Germany produced enough renewable energy in the first half of 2018 to power every household in the country for a year.

The nation’s combined wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric power output hit a record 104 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) between January and the end of June, according to energy firm E.On.

The figure is 9.5 per cent more than the same period of 2017 and a third more than three years ago, the company said, citing in-house analysts who supply data to its sales teams.

“This shows how renewables become increasingly important for our energy supply,” said Victoria Ossadnik, head of Munich-based Eon Energie Deutschland.

Wind power accounted for 55 billion kWh of Germany’s renewables output, with 21 billion kWh of generated by solar, 20 billion kWh from biomass energy and eight billion kWh from hydroelectric plants.

E.On said the supply would be enough to power every household in the country consuming an average of 2,500 kWh.

It is the first time the country’s renewable energy supply has topped 100 billion kWh in six months.

The increases reflect the expansion of wind and solar power installations under Germany’s long-term drive towards a low-carbon economy, as well as the exploitation of storms.

The highest input of renewables into the country’s energy grid came on 3 January, when Cyclone Burglind pummelled Europe. Powerful winds accounted for much of the 1.1 billion kWh energy generated, more than 71 per cent of the Germany’s electricity consumption that day.

 

Originally published on The Independent.co.uk

7 signs you may be hiring the wrong candidate

To be or not be, that is the question.” These are the famous words the indecisive Hamlet moaned. They are also the words that many recruiters ask themselves when interviewing a candidate.

Is this candidate the right one? Here are some unpromising signs. Remember, these are just signs, (and candidates must be evaluated in totality).

  1. Punctuality problems
    Being on time shows that a prospect is reliable. And reliability is what you need in the workplace. If someone’s work is late, it often stops other people from doing their work. This will bring down the morale of the whole office.
    Punctuality is a tricky element to grade. Sometimes, emergencies happen. Sometimes people get flat tires or dead batteries. So, while being late for the first interview is far from a positive thing, occasionally it can’t be helped. A candidate’s misfortune shouldn’t be held against them.
  2. Grammar issues
    Email copy can tell you a lot about a candidate. As a matter of fact, some employers won’t hire people with bad grammar (unless there are extenuating circumstances such as dyslexia or the candidate is an ESL learner).
    Here’s what researchers found after years of hiring people: prospects who pay more attention to grammar are more likely to pay more attention to detail in general. There’s something appealing about people who are dedicated to doing things the right way- even the little things. The idea is if you can be faithful in small things, you can be faithful in big things. Yet, here’s a warning: don’t worry too much about the length of email copy.
    Some people write short emails; that doesn’t mean they’re disinterested. There’s virtue in short emails  provided they answer the question – as they’re often penned by efficiency aficionados.
  3. Social media miscues
    From the human standpoint, judging people about social media almost seems unfair. Is it really fair to eliminate Candidate A because he posted pictures of last weekend’s trip to Vegas? The answer is, it depends. Your personal life is your personal life, and your professional life is your professional life. Just because someone engages in rowdy behavior on the weekend, it doesn’t mean they won’t put in the spadework in at their job.
    On the other hand, there are social media miscues you can’t afford to ignore. For instance, if someone admits to having a substance abuse problem that affected attendance at their last job, you need to weigh that info very carefully. Or if someone posts about illegal activity on social media, then you need to stop and take notice. You shouldn’t expect everyone to be a teetotaler, but there are some activities that are just plain inappropriate- these should affect your analysis.
  4. Fashion miscues
    Candidates with good instincts just seem to know what to wear. They don’t overdress or underdress for the initial interview. Here’s a fascinating (loose) quote from the book 1984, “Party members not only had the right attitudes but the right instincts.” The idea is people with good instincts tend to fit in better almost anywhere, even in cruel futuristic totalitarian governments that don’t respect the rights of their citizens.
    Clothes are important, but they’re not everything. Sometimes key skills are sacrificed at the altar of good instincts and foppishness, and you don’t want that.
  5. Lies on the resume
    There’s tremendous value in an honest candidate, someone who’s willing to forego dissimulation, even at the cost of potentially not getting a job. Major resume lies are the ones you need to watch out for. For example, a major resume lie would be a candidate saying they worked at a place that never existed. Or another major resume lie would be for a candidate to say they have a degree they don’t have. Honesty really is the best policy. Of course, you should try and put yourself in the candidate’s position too.
    For instance, let’s say they have WordPress experience, but they are by no means masters of the software. It’s understandable the candidate would list the software on the resume, showing you they have some experience, showing you they won’t be starting from zero.
  6. No references or sub-par references
    Do references really matter? It’s an age-old question, but an important one. Oftentimes, employers fall in love with a candidate. Yet, when they check their references, they find out they were a headache at their last position, and their previous employer wouldn’t hire them again. However, that opens up another line of discussion. Why would a candidate list a reference that won’t speak of them favorably?
    Most candidates know that it’s a labor-intensive process to properly vet references. Hiring managers and small business owners are busy people, and they often don’t have time to do that kind of spadework. Keeping that in mind, it’s a good idea to check on references when you can. One way to cut down on the contact time is by sending them an email. It doesn’t have to be long and you can even make a template if you hire a lot of people. The best references are people who can speak on candidates as professionals. Friends and neighbors are better than nothing, but they aren’t ideal.
  7.  A Lack of enthusiasm
    This is the most important point of all. You want someone who is enthusiastic about your company. For example, there’s a lot to like about a candidate who researched your company before coming in. If they know your rivals, your history, and your specific core values, that shows they are excited about the interview.
    Hiring people is a numbers game. You cast your net far and wide to get the best candidate. Likewise, the people who you interview have likely applied to many other jobs. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself. Yet, you need to know they’re excited for your position. A great question to ask candidates is, “What about this specific position makes you excited?” If they give you an impressive answer, you should give them a few brownie points.
    Another great question to ask them is, “Do you have any questions for us?” If they ask some intriguing questions about your company, that’s a positive sign. Additionally, it’s a good idea to take special interest clients who send thank you notes, and other types of follow-up correspondence. These people are more enthusiastic about the position, and enthusiasm is a top-tier trait of effective job candidates.

Are these danger signs hypercritical?

Yes, they are. Someone with bad grammar may not have an opinion on the Oxford comma, but they could be a social media whiz who speaks three languages. Someone may have posted pictures of a rowdy bar fight in Vegas, but they may have never been late for work in the last nine years. Someone may not wear a tie, but they may be a salesman with a silver tongue. Someone may not appear to have much enthusiasm, but they could have been a leader in team building activities at their last job.

The list goes on and on. The word to take away from this article is nuance. Hiring is a nuanced process. Practice everything in moderation. Don’t ignore these warning signs, and don’t overvalue them either. That’s the secret to navigating the often tempestuous seas of hiring talent.

 

 

Originally published on Recruiterloop.com

4 ways to answer “what’s your biggest weakness” that actually are believable

A job interview is all about presenting your best self—which is why answering “What’s your biggest weakness?” is pretty difficult. There’s no other question that feels like more of a trap.

If you’re too honest, you might scare the hiring manager and blow your chances of getting the position. But if you’re not honest enough, you’ll lose credibility.

Well, the first thing to keep in mind is why the question’s being asked—and it’s not to trip you up. Instead it’s to see if you’re self-aware enough to recognize a flaw, and then self-motivated enough to fix it. Today’s feedback on your weakness is tomorrow’s feedback on an important team project that’s not coming together.

So, to help you out, I’ve rounded up the most common, cliché, and fake-sounding “biggest weaknesses,” along with some suggestions for what to say instead.

  1. Instead of “Perfectionism,” Say…
    “I tend to get caught up in the little details, which can distract me from the ultimate goal.”
    You might be a perfectionist, but your interviewer has heard this answer a billion times (and from plenty of people who aren’t actually perfectionists, I might add).
    However, by presenting the symptoms, rather than just naming the affliction, you’ll sound much more sincere.Follow this answer with an example, such as:
    When I was a junior web designer at Harold’s Hats, I was asked to revamp our size guide and make it more fun and visually interesting. Unfortunately, I became so fixated on finding the perfect font that I missed the deadline.

    Next, describe how you’re working to solve the issue. (Hint: This answer will work for almost every perfectionist.)
    These days, I break each project down into mini-tasks, each with their own deadline. If I spend too long on an individual thing, I set it aside and move on to the next one. Usually, by the time I come back to the imperfect piece, I can be more objective about whether or not it needs more work.

     

  2. Instead of “Overly High Standards,” Say…
    “It can be difficult for me to gauge when the people I’m working with are overwhelmed or dissatisfied with their workloads.”
    Saying that you expect too much from your team will score you an eye roll or two from your interviewer. Instead, explain how your delegation skills could be better.
    After providing an example, say something along the lines of:
    To ensure that I’m not asking too much or too little from my subordinates, we have weekly check-ins. I like to ask if they feel like they’re on top of their workload, how I could better support them, whether there’s anything they’d like to take on or get rid off, and if they’re engaged by what they’re doing. Even if the answer is “all good,” these meetings really lay the groundwork for a good and trusting relationship. 
  3. Instead of “Workaholism,” Say…
    “I need to get much better at knowing the difference between working hard and working productively. It’s easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that long hours in the office mean I’m getting a lot done. But unsurprisingly, I actually do my best work when I’m not super tired or stressed.”
    Let’s face it: In today’s office, workaholics get pats on the back, not admonitions to take it easier. Claiming to be one (whether it’s true or not) sounds like you’re bragging.
    Next, tell your interviewer about a time when you pushed yourself too hard and the results weren’t good.Then, prove you’re managing the issue by saying:
    I’m making a huge effort to work smarter, not longer. I’ve begun responding to emails in batches so I don’t waste hours every day sorting through my inbox. I write down five goals every morning so that I’m focused on the priorities. I try to take my meetings outside so that I get some fresh air and exercise while we talk. These productivity changes have helped me compress the amount of work I accomplish into fewer hours—which also means I can produce higher-quality work.

     

  4. Instead of “Public Speaking,” Say…
    “I’ve heard that more people are scared of public speaking than death. Well, I wouldn’t say my fear is that extreme, but I definitely find it challenging to present my ideas in front of a crowd. As you can imagine, this has proven to be a career obstacle.”
    Public speaking didn’t used to be such a common answer, but it’s definitely getting more popular. You can still use it, but flesh out your answers with examples so that your interviewer knows you’re being truthful.Then explain what you’re doing to get better, like so:
    I recently joined the local Toastmasters club. We meet every Friday night, and it’s actually become one of the things I look forward to each week! In addition, I regularly volunteer to speak at team meetings. Even though they’re small, they’re definitely helping me feel more comfortable sharing my ideas. All of this experience has made it far easier to explain to a room that, say, we need to invest in big data software.

With these genuine alternatives to over-used answers, you’ll never have to fear the “biggest weakness” question again.

 

Originally published on TheMuse

2017 Was Another Record-Busting Year for Renewable Energy

2017 Was Another Record-Busting Year for Renewable Energy, but Emissions Still Increased

The global power sector had a banner year, while clean energy gains in transportation, heating and cooling remain minimal.

Renewable energy once again achieved record increases in capacity in 2017, according to a report out Monday from the Renewable Energy Policy Network of the 21st Century (REN21), a policy organization with members across national governments, industry and divisions of the United Nations.

The power sector, and specifically solar PV, led the results with 9 percent growth in overall generating capacity — 55 percent of which came from new solar. But other energy-consuming sectors such as heating, cooling and transportation saw marginal if any gains in clean energy uptake. And for the first time in four years the decoupling of emissions and economic growth faltered, with energy-related carbon dioxide emissions growing by an estimated 1.4 percent.

“We see a very positive uptake of renewable energy in the power sector, which is really an indication that, in principle, the energy transition is possible,” said Rana Adib, executive secretary of REN21. “This said, the big challenge we have in the overall energy transition is that renewable energy for power only represents 20 percent of final energy demand.”

Heating and cooling accounts for almost half of total global energy consumption. Transport accounts for almost one-third. In both those sectors, penetration of renewable energy is low: just 3.1 percent in transport in 2017 and 10.3 percent for heating in 2015.

Even as those sectors temper results, though, Adib said the power sector is reaching a “second tipping point” in some areas, where renewable energy is not only more economic than new fossil fuel construction, but also existing fossil fuel plants.

In 2017, the world added 98 gigawatts of solar PV capacity — more than fossil fuels and nuclear capacity together. That’s an increase of about 29 percent compared to 2016, which was also a record-breaking year.

Those records are especially noteworthy given the policy uncertainty in the United States. While growth was somewhat depressed in the U.S., China ran away with the strongest rate of expansion. REN21 notes that although more and more governments and corporations are relying on solar power, most global demand is still tied to policy.

Offshore wind also had a record-breaking year, growing capacity by 30 percent even though the industry at large lagged behind solar with 52 gigawatts of added capacity.

China continues to dominate in clean energy

Overall investment grew modestly last year to a total of $279.8 billion compared to $274 billion in 2016. Once again that was led by what REN21 categorizes as “developing and emerging economies,” which grew their investments by 20 percent to $177 billion, compared to money from developed countries, which fell 19 percent and added up to $103 billion.

Much of the investment in the developing and emerging category was led by China, which, it’s safe to say, is neither developing nor emerging when it comes to clean energy. China’s dominance and aggressive clean energy growth is a theme threaded throughout the report. The country accounted for a record 45 percent of global investment last year, up 10 percent from 2016.

Adib said China is investing in a holistic approach toward renewables by paying for the infrastructure that allows clean energy to integrate into the grid, and setting up incentives for high energy-consuming industries to locate facilities in regions with proximate clean energy.

She also said the country is pushing the pack on transportation electrification. Though electric vehicles still account for a miniscule portion of light-duty car sales globally, at 1 percent, China is the world’s largest market.

The United States, on the other hand, is lagging. It’s true that the Trump administration’s solar tariffs had less of an industry-halting impact than a chilling one, but on most barometers of clean energy progress, “They’re ripping us left and right,” as President Trump would say.

While China’s investment grew, U.S. spending fell 6 percent. The $40.5 billion accounted for 14 percent of the global total, making it “a distant third” to China. Europe accounted for 15 percent of investment.

China now has over 3 million jobs in solar. The U.S. has just over 230,000 according to REN21, although the Solar Foundation’s latest job census put that number closer to 250,000.

The U.S. still came in second to China on total renewable power capacity, but its 161 gigawatts of capacity is less than half of China’s 334 gigawatts. In 2017, China added more solar capacity than the entire world added in 2015. According to GTM Research, China’s demand is driving global growth.

Source: REN21

Non-governmental actors take the lead

Adib said it’s not all negative for the U.S. Much like in the rest of the world, bodies aside from national governments are increasing their focus on clean energy.

“In the U.S., the positive thing is we see new players stepping up even though the national government is quite critical of renewable energy,” said Adib. “The fact that new players, like corporations and subnational governments, are stepping in is quite a good sign.”

This progress should be placed in context, though. Non-governmental actors represent a small portion of overall energy consumption. Adib said “there is no way that we will reach Paris goals or the sustainability development goals” if countries don’t make advancements on electrifying sectors aside from power generation.

 

Initially published on Greentechmedia.com

How to tell if a job candidate i lying in the interview

Do you ever find yourself suspicious that an applicant is lying during a job interview, but you’re not sure how to uncover the truth without resorting to over-the-top interrogation techniques? The science of textual analysis tells us that truth-tellers actually speak differently than truth-stretchers, and you can apply that data to make better hiring decisions.

In a research study called “Words That Cost You The Job Interview” we discovered that interview answers rated poorly by hiring managers contain very different language than interview answers rated highly.

 

Vague responses, where the candidate responds to questions by speaking in generalities rather than specifics, is one of the biggest linguistical tips offs that someone may not be telling the truth.

During interviews, candidates are typically asked about situational experiences and they are expected to respond by telling about ‘a time when.” Qualified high performers are stacked with detailed stories about their great accomplishments and are eager to share those stories. They have no reason to lie, and this is apparent in the specific nature of their words.

Consider, for example, this candidate’s response to the interview question ‘Could you tell me about a time you worked as part of a team?’

I was asked to help develop a professional services model with a team of my peers. Each of us provided our thoughts and ideas and shared our professional experience. I remember how we were all huddled in a room with a big whiteboard walking through the exercise step-by-step. I went home that day thinking how much fun it was to work with great people in a dynamic, free-flowing, brainstorming way. I felt really lucky to be part of a team where we all applied experience from our past, respected each other, and stayed on task until our deadline was met.”

This response is full of specifics including how the candidate thought and felt and how the team interacted with each other. The memory of huddling around the whiteboard sounds like an impromptu detail (as opposed to pre-rehearsed) lending even more credibility to the response.

We also hear the use of first-person pronouns (I, me, my) that reveal personal ownership (even when talking about teamwork). Collectively, these specifics are strong indicators that this person lived this experience and is telling the truth.

On the flip side, a candidate who lacks any situational experience working on teams but wants to lie about it, or who is trying to hide an unsavory truth about teamwork abilities, has no real-life story to roll out. This person will have to construct a story, and the cognitive strain of this often reveals itself in a lack of complexity, where explanations about events (that didn’t happen) sound unrealistically straightforward or vague.

Liars will often try to compensate for this by throwing in a few qualifiers to amp up their story. In addition to truncating their speech, people looking to omit or hide something (like a bad attitude) tend to use second and third person pronouns which give them psychological distance from their lies.

Here’s an example of what a less than truthful response sounds like:

There was a really great team at my last job, they were really smart people. We met all the time and we were always coming up with lots of great ideas that could have short and long-term impact.”

We hear no specifics that link the candidate with having lived this experience. We do hear second person pronouns, qualifiers (‘really great’ ‘really smart’ ‘all the time’ and ‘always coming up with)’ and hypothetical language (‘could have’), all of which are strong indicators that this response is more fiction than fact.

Let’s take a look at another suspicious response, this time in response to the question ‘Could you tell me about a time you faced competing priorities?’

This happened daily at my last job. Usually our leaders would very clearly communicate the priority, but in the absence of that, the thing to do would probably be to default back to overall goals outlined previously by leadership or prioritize actions based on the near term or long-term ROI to the company.”

If this situation truly happened daily, then surely there are specifics to share about a ‘time when’ as the question demands. Note the use of ‘would’ and ‘probably that introduce a hypothetical instead of actual response to the situation, and the lack of first person pronouns. There are no details here that tell us “this is what happened to me and what I did about it.”

Now, could it just be interview jitters rendering these candidates taciturn, and couldn’t we maybe draw out some specifics with a bit of probing? Yes, possibly, but the first probe I would use would be silence. I’d let this person’s response sit and I’d slowly and silently count to three. And if the candidate didn’t start speaking by the time I got to three, I’d count to three all over again, all while wearing a calm and neutral expression on my face.

Probing with silence can be painful to do, but it’s going to be twice as painful for your candidate. So painful that they will start talking, and the words that they choose to use will be entirely their own, which will allow you to continue your scientific textual study.

The problem with verbal prompts is that they often lead candidates to give a more truthful sounding response (e.g. ‘Tell me what it felt like to be part of that team?’ or “Tell me what you did next?’). This is when candidates say to themselves “Whew! I didn’t have to keep talking and they just told me what I’m supposed to say so now I don’t have to give that next layer of information that might reveal I’m telling a lie.” Using silence to force the candidate to keep talking is a simple technique that really works.

As we know from our Hiring For Attitude research, 89% of hiring failures come from attitude rather than from technical skills. And where does attitude manifest itself in a job interview? In the language that candidates use. So stay silent, listen to candidates, and if you’re not getting sufficiently specific answers, you may very well have a liar (or at least a withholder) on your hands.

Mark Murphy is the CEO of Leadership IQ and the author of Hiring For Attitude.

Originally published on Forbes

Top 10 things NOT to put in your CV

There can be no denying the fact that we live in an increasingly tough world nowadays. Increasing populations across the world and rising rates of unemployment mean that more and more people are applying for the same types of jobs you are interested in. This means it is truly imperative for you to take the matter of your CV as seriously as possible. There are certain things that should not show up on a CV in order for it to be an effective reference piece, as opposed to a document that has the employer run in the other direction from you. The following are 10 things you should never include on your CV:

  1. An objective that makes no sense or is completely insane:
    A crazed objective will have the employer not take you seriously and in the end have your CV lying in the comfort of a rubbish bin.
  2. Irrelevant job experience:
    Having times of the past that you truly enjoyed is a nice memory to cherish.
    If it has nothing to do with the job you are applying for, it’s best to leave it out and focus on the jobs that have direct experience with your current interest for work.
  3. Achievements that are not exactly achievements:
    Because you were the Secondary School Team Captain is not an achievement relevant to the job you are applying for! Professional achievements or even community service are notable achievements.
  4. A physical description:
    A description about what you look like or even images of yourself should never be included on a CV. It isn’t professional and will be viewed as a mockery if it includes this information.
  5. Proper hobby listing:
    If you have hobbies that will have you viewed in a strange light, they might be better kept to yourself. Common hobbies of reading or writing, even working out are acceptable choices. Hobby lists should be kept short and precise.
  6. Private information:
    Whether it is your religious belief or your sexual orientation these are things that are irrelevant on a CV and are best kept to yourself. There is no reason to put this information in the open for observation.
  7. Bad grammar:
    Bad grammar immediately shows carelessness and laziness. The last thing you want a potential employer to feel you are will be verified immediately once a mistake like this is found.
  8. Contact information that will raise flags:
    If you have an inappropriate email address then simply don’t use it. Or if it is essential to have this information included, create a new one via the use of Google to have an appropriate one on hand. An inappropriate email will only bring you attention and not the kind that will contribute to a path of success.
  9. Social Security Number/National Insurance Number:
    While in the world of information this is the biggest factor that can lead to endless scams, this is not the information that you supply on a CV ever. It could be left out or disregarded and if the wrong person should get this information then you could be in quite a bit of trouble. Have it on hand for the employer, don’t feel the need to hand it out initially.
  10. Colourful text and creative fonts:
    No employer wants to have a staring match with your CV to try and figure out what it says. Nor do they want to have a potential seizure due to the colourful daze you have compiled in your information. Keep it simple and normal and stick to the pure facts.
    So there you have it. There is a general guide of what no to do when you are truly pursuing a job. It is all for the most part common sense, but sometimes common sense can be overlooked.

The first impression you set for your potential employer is what will get you in the door, the CV will get you inside to make an impression, and from there it is entirely in your hands to make it happen.

Don’t feel intimidated, the world is a place of vast personality and profession, go for a job that suits you, and make the impression that is needed to make it happen.

 

Originally published on Theundercoverrecruiter.com

French court slams renewable energy schemes

FRANCE: Renewable energy support schemes are not effective in driving the country towards its climate objectives, despite their significant costs, according to a new report from France’s Court of Auditors.

The report by auditors was to a finance committee meeting at the French senate last week.

It noted the spending on mechanisms to support renewables was estimated at €5.3 billion in 2016 and is set to grow in the future.

The vast majority of this spending (€4.4 billion) backed renewable electricity, while a total of €567 million went to renewable heat, although this sector is key to achieve France’s climate targets, according to the auditors.

The report said without a “clear strategy and stable and coherent support mechanisms, the French industrial fabric has had little benefit from renewables development”.

It explained there is a disparity between cost, production volumes and share of different renewable sources in the energy mix.

Recent Eurostat data shows that France, Ireland and the Netherlands are furthest away from their 2020 renewable energy targets.

While the portion of renewables in final energy consumption has increased from 9.2% in 2005 to 15.7% in 2016, France still needs to achieve a 23% national target by 2020 and 32% target by 2030.

Ahead of the updating of France’s multiannual energy programme in 2018, the auditors said there should be a more “concerted and coherent energy strategy”, with the calculation of costs associated to the development of an energy mix that meets the country climate targets and support mechanisms designed accordingly.

The parliament should be more involved in the process as well, auditors said.

Speaking at the French senate meeting, Jean-Louis Bal, president of French renewable energy association SER, said past commitments should be seen as an investment rather than just a cost, as they led to lower costs for renewables today and helped create jobs.

Originally published on windpowermonthly.com

These 7 email mistakes could cost you that job offer

When you’re job hunting, you’re on high alert for every mistake you can possibly make: you run your resume by every friend you have, carefully craft a cover letter, scrutinize every detail you put into the job application and spend hours preparing for your interview.

But did you ever stop to think that you could make it all the way to a final interview only to lose the job offer to something as small as an email?

Jennie Ellis, founder and CEO of Recruiting Bandwidth, tells recruitment specialist, Glassdoor, that she wants job hunters to understand that every interaction they have with a prospective employer reflects on them, and that goes for the highly visible parts of a job hunt (like a resume, cover letter, application, and interview) and the behind-the-scenes communication that goes on in an email inbox.

If you want to make sure you’re presenting yourself professionally at all times, make sure you’re not making these nine common email mistakes, notes Glassdoor:

  1. Writing misleading email subjects
    The way you communicate should express respect, and that starts with being accurate and honest. Make sure you’re using email subjects that convey exactly what you mean, not clickbait email headlines that encourage the reader to open but leave them disappointed in the content.
    “I don’t appreciate an intrusive, alarmist approach,” said Ellis. “For example, in email subject stating someone has an urgent need to speak to me, but when I open it, it’s just a solicitation [for] a job. Simply be transparent — include the position title in the subject, or if you were referred by someone who knows the recipient, state that.”
  2. Using the wrong name or title
    In the Internet age, addressing an email ‘To whom it may concern’ or an incorrect name often shows a lack of initiative — more often than not, that information is available online. Furthermore, out-of-touch salutations can be a clue for recruiters and hiring managers that you may not fit in with the culture.
    “For example, [some] women don’t typically like being addressed as Ms. or Mrs. in email,” said Ellis. “If someone did this to me I would think they were old school and [did] not get our informal tech culture.”
  3. Not getting to the point
    One danger of communicating with prospective employers by email is that you have plenty of time to linger on your draft until it expands into a mini-treatise on why you should be hired.
    Skip the long correspondence and try to keep your emails to 3-5 sentences or less.
    “Long, rambling emails when I didn’t ask for one in the first place assumes that I have nothing better to do than listen to a candidate go on about themselves,” explained Ellis. “Instead, think about what is the most important thing you need to convey and be clear and concise about it.”
  4. Cutting corners on language
    You don’t want to treat an email like a 10-page term paper, but you also don’t want to treat it like a text to your best friend.
    No matter how informal a company culture, you’ll always need to write with full words, full sentences and good grammar and spelling.
    “I cannot stand it when people use text acronyms in email messages in something that should be as formal as a cover letter,” said Ellis. “It shows an immaturity and disrespect for a job seeker to be that informal to someone they don’t know.”
  5. Not customizing your note
    Recruiters get it — you may be a very busy, in-demand candidate trying to coordinate interviews and follow-up materials with several companies at a time. But that’s no excuse to send everyone the same content.
    “Sending vague emails that are clearly part of a massive blind copy blast is a big mistake,” said Ellis. “Many recruiters are screening your emails to see if you pay attention to details, and getting obviously copy-and-paste responses without any personal details is a big red flag.”
  6. Using an unprofessional email address
    Your email address should be some combination of your first name, initials and last name. Anything else should be reserved exclusively for personal use.
    “Using an inappropriate personal email address to apply for jobs is really unprofessional and it may affect whether or not the hiring manager takes you seriously,” said Ellis.
    “For example, I once had an email from ‘stoner54@’ come through the ATS once, and I thought it was a joke.”
  7. Following up too aggressively
    In a competitive job market, there’s a lot of pressure to express your interest in a position. Unfortunately, this can lead a lot of candidates to be more aggressive than they should be, which runs the risk of turning off the hiring manager.
    You’re better off directing your energy to following directions for applying for a job and carefully reading all of the instructions you receive throughout the interview process — and nothing more.
    “Emailing too often in the course of an interview process — especially if you’ve been told to expect a reply in a couple of days — can be very frustrating for a recruiter,” said Ellis. “Likewise, not responding in a timely manner to an email that necessitates a response from the potential employer can take you out of the running for a job.”

 

Originally and fully published on Businesstech.co.za

7 mistakes to avoid when conducting interviews

Recruiting new team members is an important challenge for any CEO to address. Whether you’re scaling your company and looking to hire 10 people in one month, or need to quickly identify a replacement for a departing team member, it can be easy to forget effective interview practices in the face of a shortened timeline.

It is important to align your recruitment process with your business strategy. It can be easy to simply go through the motions of interviewing candidates without clear goals in mind. Here are seven mistakes to try to avoid when interviewing people who have applied to join your team:

  1. Interviewing without a planµ
    Given that the interview process can be time-consuming, it might be tempting to only interview those candidates who look the best on paper. Try to avoid this tactic – instead, consider a broader set of candidates to ensure you truly understand the skillsets that are available for hire. Try to enter each interview with a specific plan to identify key characteristics, experiences, and core skills. At Varsity Tutors, for example, we maintain a checklist of characteristics to look for when we interview potential managers. It is helpful to read each person’s resume and cover letter in advance so you can choose questions that will complement your checklist. Their resume should allow you to generate specific questions for the candidate based on their past experiences.
  2. Focusing only on the past and present
    It’s all too easy to only ask about prospective team members’ past experiences, as well as how they believe they would fit within your business at the current time. Consider extending the scope of your interviews by asking questions such as: “Can you share two or three ideas that you have for our company on how we can better position ourselves for long-term success?” and, “Where do you see our entire industry going in the short- and long-term?”
    Questions like these can allow you to evaluate how much each candidate has researched your company. If he or she has done so effectively, chances are this person is invested in the outcome of the interview. In my experience, the extent to which a person seems engaged during the interview and interested in the position and company is highly indicative of future performance.
  3. Failing to prepare questions
    Try to prepare a core set of questions that you can use with everyone who interviews for a given position. This does not rule out follow-up questions or questions you choose to ask in the moment—instead, it provides you with a baseline tool to measure applicants’ responses against one another. This is particularly useful if multiple people are interviewing the same candidates. Behavioral questions can be especially helpful, as they shed light on key moments when candidates encountered certain challenges. How did they respond? Would they change their approach in the future? Such questions also enable you to measure a candidate’s ability to think critically on the spot.
  4. Noting only what is said aloud
    Often, unspoken aspects of an interview can be just as revealing of a candidate’s traits as what is actually said. Did the prospective team member arrive on time? If he or she was late, was it by five or ten minutes, or longer? Did he or she offer an explanation and apologize? How was the applicant dressed? Appearances can be deceiving, but they also show how a candidate chose to present himself or herself to you. Namely, did they make the effort to appear presentable and ready for the interview?
    Does the person project enthusiasm and an eagerness to join your organization? How an applicant speaks can be just as important as what he or she says. Note his or her demeanor and tone of voice. Is the person keenly interested in this position, or is he or she viewing this as one of many employment opportunities?
  5. Providing only a single interview or interviewer
    Multiple interviews or interviewers can minimize confirmation bias (i.e. hiring a person simply because he or she seems like you). When more than one member of your staff interviews the same candidate, you can increase the reliability of your assessment and gain one or more fresh perspectives.
  6. Arriving under-prepared mentally and physically
    More than likely, you will be conducting multiple interviews on the same day. To ensure you are mentally and physically prepared, remember to take care of the fundamentals: eat right and get enough rest the day prior. You might also consider scheduling breaks between your interviews. Relax and rest your mind, and then reflect on your day so far. How did your morning interviews go? Are there any adjustments you would like to make for your afternoon interviews?
    Breaks are also a great opportunity to refocus your attention. We are all prone to biases, including the first and last applicant bias (where your first and last interviews stand out the most). You might wish to take notes during your interviews, if only to make sure that you do not overlook strong applicants in the middle of the queue. Also, remain aware of cognitive biases that may be relevant when evaluating potential staff members. For example, fundamental attribution error can lead you to under-estimate situational factors when understanding others’ actions.
  7. Forgetting to give or opting against giving a final decision
    Your final decision can be as simple as, “Thank you for your time, but we’ve hired another candidate,” or, “We’d like a second interview.” Providing a response to each applicant is the most basic of courtesies. This becomes challenging to keep track of as you start doing dozens of interviews per week, so create a standard system as upon to relying on your memory. I have accidentally forgotten to follow up with candidates to let them know that we selected another applicant and it certainly caused resentment. Whether you believe the interview went well or not, try to acknowledge the effort and time each person put forth to meet with you.
 The individuals you hire will ultimately affect your business in numerous ways. Careful interview practices can help you streamline the overall process, as well as identify great candidates to help your business grow.

 

Originally published on Forbes

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy to deliver 39 megawatt wind farm in Vietnam

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) is to install and commission a 39 MW (megawatt) wind farm in Vietnam.

Located in the southern province of Ninh Thuan, the Dam Nai wind farm’s development has been divided into two phases, SGRE said in a statement Wednesday.

During the first phase, which took place last year, SGRE installed three turbines, which are already operational. The second phase, which has just been signed, will see the business work on 12 more turbines, due to be commissioned by October. SGRE said that it would also be responsible for the operations and maintenance services on the project over the next 10 years.

“We are committed to Vietnam as a market and we want to be our customers’ preferred partner in developing wind power projects,” Alvaro Bilbao, CEO of Siemens Gamesa in the Asia-Pacific region, said in a statement.

Wind energy is becoming an increasingly important source of power. Over 54 gigawatts (GW) of wind power were installed globally in 2016 and cumulative capacity grew by more than 12 percent to hit 486.8 GW, according to an April 2017 report from global trade association the Global Wind Energy Council.

 

Originally published on cnbc.com

9 information not to miss when reviewing a CV

Aline Lerner, one of my favorite recruiting bloggers, has devoted a few posts to how resumes are ineffective predictors of candidate success. I’m not as data savvy as Aline but I would tend to agree with her. Resumes, as a general rule, stink at telling what the candidate is capable of doing. But, they are usually the only thing you have on hand to tell you about your candidate.

So how do you derive value from one or two pieces of paper that were written by a subjective, error-prone human being?

My rule-of-resume-thumb is to consider the entire story. You can’t look at just one factor of the resume and learn about your candidate. You have to look at the entire document as a whole.

What’s the Story?

Consider the entire work history. When scanning a resume, look at where the person worked and for how long. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the industry? If you are a SaaS software company looking for sales executives, you should probably stick to candidates who have sold SaaS software before. Even the best sales candidates from pharma or hardware may have a hard time learning the SaaS model.

  • Who does the company sell to? Try to ascertain the ACV (Average Contract Value) of the product. If the candidate has only sold to large enterprise companies, you can bet she has sold only 5 figure or 6 figure deals. Contracts of this size have a much different sales cycle than smaller deals.

  • What is the tech stack at each company? If your candidate has only ever worked at traditional Java shops on backend systems, she will likely not be a fit for a front-end based role at your company.

  • What is the release cycle? Quite a few large, older companies are still using waterfall and/or a long release time. What this means for you, especially when considering engineering or product resumes, is your candidate may never have experienced the fast release cycles common at startup companies. This may be fine for individual contributors, but team leads or managers need to understand how to engineer software at a faster rate.

  • Given the company size, what do you think the candidate contributed given his or her title?  A VP at Google is a much different candidate than a VP at a 5 person startup. This is an extreme example but it shows that you can’t always rely on titles to tell you what the candidate has done.

Keyword Jargon

Focus on what they’ve built, not on the keywords they’ve added. Keywords are a way to beat the search algorithms that large companies use to filter the thousands of resumes that they get every day. When I see a big chunk of text in a resume I assume a few things:

  1. The candidate may have only ever worked at and applied for jobs at big companies

  2. The candidate may be inexperienced

  3. The candidate doesn’t know how to write a resume

All in all, I don’t rely heavily on keywords. Just because a candidate writes Java on a resume doesn’t prove he or she actually worked with it. Instead, look for bullet points that explain how the candidate used Java to build a product.

M & A

Mergers or acquisitions are especially useful when looking at VP or C level resumes. A VP or executive who was at a company for two to three years prior to a merger or acquisition most likely had a hand in the successful outcome of the deal. A person who joined the same year this deal went down probably had little impact on this event. This matters when you are considering senior leadership. For more junior or individual contributor roles, this matters less.

Ramp

Ramp is another thing to keep in mind when reviewing VP or C level resumes. A candidate who joined a company at $10M with a Series C, is much different from a candidate who joined a company at < $5M. If you need a VP, Marketing to ramp your company from $10M-$25M, focus on resumes from candidates who were at companies during this ramp period. A VP, Marketing from Yahoo, post IPO will not have the right experience.

Job Hoppers

Be careful with rejecting resumes based solely on job hops. Sometimes there are good reasons for these: maternal/paternal leave, personal illness, care for an aging parent, or other factors outside of the candidate’s control. And some candidates, especially junior ones, may have had bad luck in their first few jobs, either choosing two losing companies in a row, or choosing two opportunities that weren’t a fit.

Objective Statements

A slight digression – I think these are the absolute worst. When reviewing resumes for my friends, I tell them to leave these statements off.

Now what to do if you see one of these on a resume? Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. If the candidate is a new grad searching for his first job, he probably does not know any better. In this case, I would take the objective statement with a grain of salt. If this resume is a submission from a seasoned sales executive, I reconsider. My assumption when I see bland objective statements on resumes is that the candidate doesn’t really care where he or she is applying. This is where the cover letter can be a huge help; I’ll overlook a bland statement if it is paired with a meaningful cover letter.

One caveat: Max, an engineer I tried, and failed, to hire at my first job, had one of the best objective statements I’ve seen. Instead of writing a generic sentence, Max quoted Edsger Djikstra. This single sentence stood out and gave me a sense of what Max wanted to achieve. Well done.

Speaking of College Grads…

To me, where someone went to school and what her GPA was are not strong indicators of future success.

For most roles, I find it’s better to look for students who have taken a full course load and had one or two internships in their chosen field. For students applying to entry sales or customer support roles, I like to see school work + work in customer-facing jobs.

So that student from an unknown, small state school with a 3.2 GPA and three internships under her belt? Probably worth a shot.

Typos

Sloppy? Yes. Should you regret resumes solely on the fact that someone misspelled aesthetic? No.

Cover Letters

When viewed together with the resume, these can be a very handy tool for assessing your candidate. If a candidate takes the time to write a genuine letter that specifically references why she is interested in Greenhouse, I take the time to read it. And usually, it’s these cover letters that push me to overlook a resume that is too junior, contains mistakes and/or isn’t a perfect fit.

The thing that stinks about resume reviews? You will definitely make the wrong call on a resume. I’ve reviewed thousands of resumes during my career and I know I’ve passed on some great candidates. Resumes just don’t give you enough information to have a high degree of certainty that the applicant will be a great hire. And it doesn’t help that resumes are written by humans and are subject to human error and subjectivity. But recruiters need to optimize for time (we can’t speak to all 500 sales candidates who apply for a role), so make sure to pay attention to the entire story.

 

 

Originally published on greenhouse.io

How you can get caught when lying on your resume

Honesty isn’t the best policy, at least according to some job seekers. People often stretch the truth on their resumes and cover letters in an attempt to land work, new research by OfficeTeam has revealed.

Nearly half of workers surveyed by the staffing company say they know someone who lied on their resume. That’s a 25% increase from 2011. Fifty-three percent of managers have a sneaking suspicion that candidates are often dishonest, and 38% have said no to an applicant after discovering their lies.

Employers are clearly clued into the fact that some applicants are either exaggerating their experience or handing over resumes that are more fiction than fact. But that doesn’t appear to stop some people from telling a few whoppers as they attempt to weasel their way into a job. Giving in to the temptation to lie when applying for a job is risky though. You could miss out on a job offer, damage your reputation, or even get fired once your fibs are revealed.

Plus, it’s easier than ever for a hiring manager to discover you’re not telling the truth about your past. Here are 10 ways employers discover the truth behind your resume lies.

1. Your alma mater can’t confirm you graduated

Claiming to be a Harvard graduate when you really have a degree from a no-name state school is one of the worst things you can lie about on your resume, according to hiring managers surveyed by Hloom. And while some employers will take you at your word when you say you went to a fancy school, others will check on your educational background by calling the school directly or using a service, such as the National Student Clearinghouse.

Sometimes, it’s interested third parties who clue an employer into a lie, such as the student journalists at a Kansas high school who discovered their new principal had inflated her educational credentials.

2. You can’t pass a skills test

It’s easy to say you’re proficient in everything, from conversational French to coding, on your resume. But proving you actually have those skills is another thing entirely. Employers realize how simple it is for people to exaggerate their skill set, so don’t be surprised if you’re asked to demonstrate your talents.

An interviewer might ask you a question in the language you claim to be fluent in or give you an on-the-spot quiz. Failing such a basic test is a sure sign that you’ve either stretched the truth or overestimated your abilities, both of which are likely to take you out of the running for a job.

3. Dates don’t add up

Roughly a quarter of resume liars are fibbing about their employment dates, according to OfficeTeam. If you’re tempted to cover up a resume gap by fudging employment dates, don’t do it. A quick call to your past employer is all it takes for someone to find out that you got laid off back in January, not June.

Trying to cover a gap by listing your job history by year, rather than month and year, is also suspicious and might prompt a hiring manager to do some further digging. If you’re worried about a resume gap making you look like a slacker, fill it with volunteering or consulting work, not lies.

4. Your resume and cover letter don’t match

A sparkling, error-free resume paired with a messy cover letter is a red flag that a candidate is not being totally honest. Such a discrepancy suggests you got a helping hand with your C.V. or maybe even stole another person’s work history to pass off as your own. Being unable to recall key details of your past experience and jobs during an interview is another huge giveaway that you’ve fabricated your past employment.

5. Your job titles are too good to be true

Two years out of college and already sitting in the C-suite? Expect an interviewer to ask some pointed questions about your responsibilities to make sure you’re actually telling the truth about your title. Inflated job titles will also come to light if the prospective employer calls your ex-boss to confirm your past employment. That’s when the promotion you gave yourself from marketing intern to senior marketing manager is going to be revealed.

6. You’re vague about your skills and experience

Job candidates might stretch the truth by using vague terms to describe their skills and experience. Perhaps they reason that as long as they’re not spouting an outright lie, it’s OK. But savvy interviewers will spot people who aren’t quite as knowledgeable as they initially appear. “Using ambiguous phrases like ‘familiar with’ or ‘involved in’ could mean the candidate is trying to cover up a lack of direct experience,” noted OfficeTeam. In other words, claiming to be familiar with event planning because you sometimes pick up doughnuts for the weekly staff meeting isn’t going to fly.

7. Your body language betrays you

You might think you’re an impeccable liar. But subtle body language cues in the interview could be giving away your resume lies. “A lack of eye contact or constant fidgeting may suggest dishonesty,” noted OfficeTeam, though those behaviors aren’t guarantees of dishonesty.

Touching your nose, looking down when you’re answering a question, and turning your body away from the interviewer are other ways you might inadvertently signal that you’re not telling the truth, according to the Los Angeles Times.

8. Your references don’t back you up

If you’re a skilled liar, you might get away with embellishing your skills or past responsibilities in an interview or on your resume. But you won’t necessarily be able to count on your references to back you up. An honest reference will reveal the real extent of your job responsibilities or the truth about your so-called accomplishments.

Even if you find a reference willing to go along with your charade, the interviewer might do some extra digging on their own, reaching out to mutual connections or independently contacting your old boss or co-workers to find out what you’re really like. And remember, there are no laws restricting what an ex-employer can say about you, despite what some job seekers might think.

9. A Google search reveals the truth

Seventy percent of employers snoop on candidates before offering them a job. You better hope that what HR finds on social media or as part of a basic Google search matches what you have on your resume. Of employers who decide not to hire someone after researching them online, 27% did so because they discovered the candidate had lied about their qualifications, CareerBuilder found. A little Nancy Drew-style sleuthing is all it takes to discover that your alma mater is a diploma mill or that the company you claimed to work for last year went out of business a decade ago.

10. The employer conducts a background check

Not all employers conduct formal background checks. But if you encounter one that does, it will sink you if you’re being untruthful. If a prospective employer conducts a background check and discovers you’ve lied (either directly or by omission) about your work history, criminal past, education, professional certifications, or other key facts, don’t expect a job offer.

 

Originally published on Glassdoor

8 tips not to lose your candidate with salary negotiation

You encounter lots of eager and excited people as you interview for open positions. Anyone who takes the time to come in and meet is going to be interested in the opportunity. But candidates not only want to get the job. They also want you to pay them the salary they have in mind.

 

Negotiating a salary that is acceptable to your company and new hire can be tricky. In this guide, you’ll learn how you can determine what to offer and the approach you should take to negotiating salaries with different types of candidates.

  1. Money isn’t everything
    Happy employees do their best work. Employees who are concerned about money lose motivation and explore other job opportunities.Negotiating a salary with a new hire isn’t the same as negotiating for a used car. Your goal shouldn’t be to get the candidate to settle on the lowest possible number. Strive to come to an agreement that works for your company and pleases the candidate so they’re inspired to do great work everyday.Having a little money on payroll likely won’t affect your company much. But convincing a great person to join the team can have a lasting impact.
  2. How the modern job seeker thinks about salary
    Everyone goes into a job interview with a salary range in mind. The bottom end is the bare minimum they’ll accept and the top end is often an optimistic number they hope to get but aren’t counting on. When asked about desired salary, candidates will usually respond with a number that falls somewhere in the middle of their range.A candidate’s salary range can be influenced by a number of factors. Most people will use their current (or previous salary) as the bottom number. They’re hoping to move onto a job that will pay slightly more or may be willing to accept the same compensation with a different company.µThey’ll then research what similar positions pay in their industry and area. Between professional social networks and the various websites that provide salary data, today’s job seeker is more informed than ever before.
  3. The rare birds who don’t prioritize salary
    From time to time, you’ll encounter a candidate who values other qualities in a job over salary. They might be looking for work-life balance, an appealing culture or simply a fresh start with a new company or career. These candidates will still have a desired salary in mind but it won’t be the deciding factor in whether or not they accept your offer.
  4. How companies should determine what to offer
    Like your candidates, you should also have a salary range in mind when the hiring process begins. The obvious starting point is to offer what you pay employees who work in a similar role. You never want to pay someone significantly more or less than their counterparts. The reality is people get to know each other in the workplace and pay rates are eventually shared.If you’re hiring for a new position, determining a salary range isn’t so simple. You should first get familiar with the market and learn what the going rate is for the skills and experience you are seeking. You can do similar research as your candidates, as well as ask for insight from knowledgeable people in your company and network.Then you should consider your budget. Can your company afford to pay what a reasonable candidate will ask for? If not, you should probably reevaluate the position’s requirements.
  5. Ask about salary sooner than later
    If you do have the budget to pay someone what they’ll likely ask for, you can proceed with interviews. Since both you and your candidates have salary in mind, it’s often best to address the elephant in the room right away. You can ask about desired salary during your first communications with a candidate or even include the question on your online application using your recruiting and hiring software. If someone has an unrealistic number in mind, you can move onto other candidates early in the hiring process.If you do your research, you’ll often find your salary range aligns with your candidates. Negotiations will be quick and painless since both parties will be working toward a similar figure.
  6. Coming to a mutually-beneficial agreement
    The interviews are finished and everyone agrees on the best candidate. You reach out and make an offer within the salary range you set at the beginning of the hiring process. Some people will accept the offer, while others will negotiate. If you receive a counteroffer that is still in your range, it’s often best to say yes and end the negotiations right there. You don’t want to lose someone bartering over a small amount of money.But what if the candidate wants more than you budgeted for? In these cases, honesty is the best policy. If you interviewed other good applicants, you can tell the candidate they’re your first but not only choice and they’re asking for more than your budget allows. If you have wiggle room, you can offer a bit more but don’t go outside your range when you have other options.
  7. Pleasing an ideal candidate
    If the candidate is clearly your best option, you should make an effort to come to an agreement with them. Again, be honest and tell them their desired salary is outside your budget but don’t immediately say no. Meet with your team and attempt to come up with an offer the candidate will accept. Perhaps you can free up some funds that can be used to be meet the candidate’s number. If not, get creative and sweeten the deal with stock options, a flexible schedule, or other perks that won’t break the bank. Making an effort to meet your candidate’s desired salary can often be enough to convince them they’re being presented with a great opportunity – even if your final offer is a below what they asked for.
  8. A solid plan makes for easy salary negotiations
    Some people negotiate and others don’t. If you make a fair offer, most the time it will be accepted. Research standard pay for the position you’re hiring for and budget accordingly and your offer will likely be exactly what the new hire had in mind.

Originally published on recruiterbox

Do not forget those 3 types of skills on your CV !

A CV ought to demonstrate all of your skills. Ideally, you will be able to link your key skills to workplace experience, but if this is not possible then try to cite ways in which you have used them outside of employment situations.

Most key skills fall into one of three categories:

  • Transferable skills. These are skills which have been acquired in one setting but can be used in many different sorts of businesses.
  • Job-related skills. These skills are specific to a certain line of employment or trade and may require you to have received training to perform.
  • Adaptive skills. These sorts of aptitudes are sometimes less obvious and harder to quantify because they rely on personality traits rather than learning.

Let’s look at each of these in turn and see how you might address them in your CV.

Transferable skills

Everyone has transferable skills even if they don’t recognise them as such. Sometimes, your current employer won’t make it obvious that the skills you have acquired with them are transferable because they don’t necessarily want you to realise how employable you are elsewhere.

Typical transferable skills you may already possess are:

  • Reading or writing related skills. This means being able to digest written information and present it in written form as well.
  • Computer skills. If you have aptitude with computers and common office programmes then consider this to be a transferable skill.
  • Management experience. If you have managed people before then you could transfer this experience to benefit another type of employer.
  • Commercial skills. People who can negotiate and handle figures like turnover and gross profit often possess the sort of business acumen which is sought after in many organisations.
  • Deadline success. Being able to work to deadlines is something that doesn’t happen in all jobs, but if you are used to it then this is a key transferable skill desired in many companies.
  • Of course there are other types of transferable skill. Think of them as aptitudes that can function equally well in multiple industrial sectors. Mention them in your CV as you have picked them up throughout your employment history.

Job-related key skills

More specific than transferable skills, job-related ones can get you work with another employer who needs them. Despite this, transferable skills won’t necessarily be of use to employers outside of the sector you already work in.

Examples of job-related skills are:

  • Brick laying. Although many construction firms need brick laying skills, it is unlikely you will be able to use this skill to find work outside of the building sector.
  • Nursing skills. Being a qualified nurse shows you have certain transferable skills like being caring or organised, but nursing itself is a job-related skill which only really works in the healthcare sector.
  • Mechanical engineering. Being able to work and repair engines is a job-related skill. It may mean you can transfer into related sectors but probably only within similar roles unless you have other transferable skills to offer.
  • Accountancy qualifications. Bookkeeping and accountancy roles are on offer within a wide range of organisations which presents plenty of job choice. However, this job-related skill narrows down that choice to certain types of jobs only.

Although there are nearly as many job-related skills as there are jobs, try not to think of them as restricting what you can do. If you do feel trapped by your job-related skills and have trouble breaking out into new areas of work, then acquire some new ones by enrolling on a training course.

Remember that many job-related skills imply transferable ones so they are always worth mentioning. It is best to add any courses or qualifications that are pertinent to your job-related skills in education section of your CV.

Adaptive skills

Ideal skills for CV personal statements or even a cover letter, adaptive skills can also be listed in your work experience if you prefer. Think about the sort of personality you have when discussing your adaptive skills. Some of the key ones to look out for include:

  • Team working. Not everyone is a team player, but team working is an important adaptive skill that many employers are looking for.
  • Loyalty. Been in your job for a long time and seen it through thick and thin? This is an adaptive skill to mention on your CV.
  • Positivity. If you are the sort of person who sees the glass as half full and not half empty, then this shows your positivity. Employers tend to favour positive people so mention this as an adaptive skill.
  • Creativity. Some jobs cry out for creative people. If you paint, play music or are even good at telling jokes, then this may show off your creative skills.
  • Adaptability. Being flexible is something we all need in the workplace from time to time, but some are better at it than others so don’t discount your adaptability as a skill.
  • Tenacity. Taking ownership of problems and seeing them through is a key skill in many organisations. If you can demonstrate this from your past career, then include it on your CV.
  • Although adaptive skills may seem like the least important ones to mention because they are not specific to the job you are applying for, they can often mark you out from another candidate. Don’t overlook the importance of your blend of adaptive skills which is as unique as you are.

Be proud of the skills that you have and see each and every one as a way to progress in your career.

 

Originally published on monster.co.uk

GE to develop world’s largest wind turbine in France

PARIS (Reuters) – General Electric plans to invest more than $400 million over the next three to five years to develop the world’s biggest offshore wind turbine, which will have a capacity of 12 megawatts and stand 260 meters (853 feet) tall.

With 107-metre blades, longer than a soccer field, the Haliade-X turbine will produce enough power for up to 16,000 households, GE said in a statement.

“We want to lead in the technologies that are driving the global energy transition,” CEO John Flannery said.

GE Renewable Energy will develop and manufacture the new turbine largely in France and aims to supply its first nacelle, – or power generating unit – for demonstration in 2019 and ship the first turbines in 2021.

The firm will invest close to $100 million in a new blade manufacturing plant in Cherbourg, western France, which will open in 2018. It will also invest close to $60 million over the next five years to modernize its Saint-Nazaire factory, where the nacelles for the Haliade-X will be built.

GE, already a major global player in onshore wind, entered the offshore wind turbine market through its takeover of France’s Alstom in 2015.

GE said the new turbine – which will have a direct-drive power generator rather than a gearbox – will be 30 percent bigger than its nearest competitors.

In June 2017, MHI Vestas, a joint venture between Vestas and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, launched a 9.5 MW offshore turbine, currently the world’s most powerful wind turbine.

Standing 187 meters tall and with 80-metre blades, it is an upgrade of MHI Vestas’ 8 MW V164 turbine, which is already in operation at the Burbo Bank Extension and Blyth offshore wind farms in Britain.

MHI Vestas has also been named preferred supplier for Britain’s Triton Knoll and Moray East offshore wind farms for a total of 190 of the 9.5 MW turbines.

An MHI Vestas spokesman declined to comment on future turbine development.

The size of offshore wind turbines – which unlike onshore turbines is not limited by overland truck transport – has grown rapidly in recent years as bigger turbines capture more wind and reduce maintenance costs and capital spending.

Onshore wind turbines in Europe have average capacities of about 2.7 megawatt, less than half the 6 MW average capacity of offshore turbines, according to trade group Wind Europe.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Mark Potter

 

Originally published on reuters.com

Two countries are the reason the EU is hitting its ambitious renewable energy targets

The EU now gets more than 30% of its electricity from renewable sources, up from 12% in 2000. At the current rate of growth, the European bloc can increase the proportion of renewables in its electricity mix to 50% by 2030, according to a new report (pdf) published by think tanks Sandbag and Agora Energiewende.

Even if you don’t live in the EU, how the bloc goes through its energy transition is worth paying attention to. The EU is big, rich, and plural. And though the European Commission provides an overarching structure for the behavior of its 28 members, those countries largely operate independently. The messy ways the EU achieves its ambitious climate change-related goals will provide a blueprint for other blocs, such as the African Union, and large countries like India and the US.

Here are five main takeaways from the report:

Renewables now produce more electricity than coal or natural gas

In 2017, wind, solar, and biomass combined to produce 20.9% of all electricity in the EU, compared to 20.6% for coal and 19.7% for natural gas 19.7%. (Hydro provided another 10.9% in 2017.) “This is incredible progress, considering just five years ago, coal generation was more than twice that of wind, solar and biomass,” the report says.

But growth in renewables is uneven

Germany and the UK alone accounted for 56% of the EU’s overall growth in renewables in the past three years, even though the two countries generate less than 30% of the bloc’s total electricity. They’re far outpacing other EU member states in the effort to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.

Electricity consumption rose by 0.7% in 2017

That marks the third consecutive year electricity consumption increased in the EU. One way to reduce emissions is to consume less. That means EU’s energy-efficiency measures aren’t cutting electricity use as much as they should, and electricity demand is expected to rise even further in the near future as more and more electric vehicles replace combustion-engine vehicles on the road.

CO2 emissions continued to grow in 2017

Carbon-dioxide emissions in the power sector didn’t change between 2016 and 2017, but overall CO2 emissions increased, due to rising industrial emissions, especially from steel production. Meanwhile, the increased contribution of wind and solar weren’t enough to make up for growing industrial emissions, especially as 2017 saw a decrease in nuclear power and low production from hydro (likely due to natural fluctuation).

Western Europe is phasing out coal, but Eastern Europe is sticking to it

The result is that Europe’s air quality is also divided across east and west, with countries in the east suffering because of coal use.

Other key facts about the state of electricy in the EU

  1. In the past seven years, the UK has increased the share of wind, solar, and biomass in its total electricity portfolio by 20 percentage points, going from 8% in 2010 to 28% in 2017. The only country that’s done better in that timeframe is Denmark, which achieved an incredible 42 percentage point increase from 32% to 74%. Both the Brits and the Danes can thank wind power for their, er, windfall.
  2. The UK reduced the share of coal in its electricity makeup from 28% in 2010 to 7% in 2017—22 percentage points—helping to sharply reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions. Again, only Denmark had a more successful seven years, achieving a 23 percentage point drop from 44% to 21%.
  3. Since 2010, the UK has seen a 9% reduction in electricity demand, the largest of any EU country. In the same timeframe, the UK’s economy has continued to grow. By comparison, electricity demand fell 2% in Germany and 5% in France. Poland had the largest increased demand, growing 9% in the seven-year period. All of these economies grew in from 2010 to 2017.
  4. Germany performed relatively poorly. The proportion of the country’s electricity that came from coal fell from 42% in 2010 to 37% in 2017—just five percentage points. Germany now has the fourth most coal-intensive electricity mix in the EU. There are at least two reasons for the poor showing: First, Germany is phasing out zero-carbon nuclear power. Second, it has been exporting increasing amounts of electricity, while domestic demand remains high—forcing the country to continue to rely, to a significant extent, on coal.

Originally published on QZ.com

6 ways you’ll instantly ruin the excitement of a job offer

Getting a job offer after a long search (or even a short one) is such an exciting experience. Unfortunately, there are actually quite a few things that companies and candidates alike can do to seriously dampen that excitement.

Whether you’re the hiring manager or a job candidate, in an effort to keep job offers as thrilling as they should be (a fresh start! a new employee or a new beginning!), take note of the following mistakes.

Mistakes Companies Make

1. Making an Offer—3 Weeks After Interview #5

Long interview processes are a pain for job candidates and should be avoided if possible, but they can be a necessity depending on the situation.

Here’s what’s not a necessity: waiting around for a couple more weeks after the final round interview to get together a job offer for your top candidate. No one likes feeling second best, and you don’t want to give the impression that you only gave him or her an offer because you weren’t able to secure your first choice. On the other hand, if you get your offer out quickly and make your top candidate feel sought after, you’ll maximize your chances of getting the offer (happily) accepted.

2. Lowballing the Job Candidate’s Salary

Bottom line: Pay candidates what they deserve to be paid. Policies that limit salaries based on a candidate’s previous salary are ludicrous. And losing the ideal candidate for a job over an archaic salary policy or because you didn’t want to push the salary a little higher is absurd considering the high costs for running another search or the even higher costs of dealing with a subpar employee.

Along similar lines, even if you do make a fair offer for the skill set the candidate brings to the team, have an open mind if the candidate wants to negotiate. A couple thousand dollars can be a big deal for an individual but will barely make a dent in the budget of a large corporation.

3. Giving an Inflexible Response Deadline

Strong-arming a candidate into accepting a job offer before he or she is ready is a recipe for disaster. It’s understandable to want to get a response as quickly as possible, but sticking a three-day turnaround time on a job offer is not the way to do it. After all, you don’t want your new employee to have a what-if feeling brewing before day one even rolls around. Giving a job candidate ample time to make a decision means that you’ve done your part to ensure that he or she has weighed the pros and cons and made a decision with a clear head.

Mistakes Job Candidates Make

1. Taking Too Long to Accept or Decline

Companies aren’t the only ones that ruin job offers. As a job candidate, being indecisive and taking advantage of a generous response deadline to a job offer is a great way to turn a stellar first impression into a lukewarm reception on day one. It’s fine for you to take the time that you need to make a decision, as long as you’re keeping the company in the loop. Ask to meet with some more of the team members if you’re having trouble making a decision, but don’t go radio silent for a month. It’s just not cool—or professional.

2. Getting Greedy When Negotiating

Negotiating the terms of your job offer is definitely something you should consider before accepting, but don’t go nuts during this process. If a recruiter accepts your higher salary request quickly, take that as evidence that he or she really wants you to take the offer, not that you didn’t request enough. You don’t want to be that candidate who keeps trying to negotiate a higher and higher salary or more and more things in the offer—it’s not a flattering impression to make, and I’ve definitely seen companies rescind offers from overzealous negotiators.

3. Pushing for Something Nonnegotiable

Speaking of overzealous negotiating, some things are just plain not negotiable. If something is very important to you, it’s worth bringing up, but if the company policy is not to, say, not pay for employee parking then that’s that. Fighting for a perk that just isn’t part of the offer is a losing battle and is usually not worth it. Instead, consider the monetary value of the perk you’re seeking, and add it to the higher salary you’re trying to negotiate if that makes sense.

Job offers should feel exhilarating, but any of the bad behavior mentioned before can easily ruin that spark. Whether you’re the job candidate or represent the company, be thoughtful about the other party during this process. After all, this is just the beginning of a new relationship—and some care and attention will help the magic last a little longer.

 

Originally published on The Muse

5 ways your cover letter lost you the job

When it comes to cover letters, I’ve seen—and tried—it all. I’ve written stiff, formal documents (“Dear Sir or Madame”), overly casual notes (“Hey guys! Cover letters suck, huh?”), and everything in between. One time, I even composed one entirely in rhyme. (Yes, I did. And no, I didn’t get the job.)

They’re are a blessing and a curse. They give you some elbow room to discuss your qualifications, which is a welcome relief from the crunched bullet points of a resume. But because of that freedom (and that intimidating blank page to fill), it’s easy to veer off in the wrong direction and make some common mistakes that can pretty much guarantee you’re not getting a call back.

If you’re in my cover-letter-writing boat, chances are you’ve made some of these blunders before. Read on to learn five of the most common cover letter mistakes—and how you can turn them into successes.

1. You Didn’t Listen to the Advice Everyone Gave You

You’ve heard all the basic dos and don’ts. But somehow, rookie mistakes still make their way into even experienced job seekers’ writing. If, for example, you address the cover letter “Dear Sir” when the hiring manager is a woman, you fill three entire pages with your every achievement since kindergarten, or you forget to proofread and let the opening line read: “I absolutely love you’re company!”—it’ll go straight into the trash can.

Next Time

You’ve probably heard this advice time and again, but unfortunately, job applicants keep making these classic mistakes, so it bears repeating: Keep your cover letter to a single page, pay attention to details (e.g., address the letter specifically to the hiring manager by name), and most importantly proofread, proofread, proofread. And then, proofread again.

2. You Regurgitated Your Resume

Your cover letter’s meant to complement your resume—not reiterate it. So, it won’t do you much good if you simply take the best bullet points from your resume and repeat them in your cover letter. If your cover letter and resume are replicas of each other, why submit two documents in the first place?

Next Time

A job application is supposed to be a representation of you as a whole, well-rounded potential employee—so between your various application materials, you should aim to convey a variety of pertinent information. Instead of just repeating yourself (“I was in charge of reviewing invoice disputes”), use your cover letter to describe additional details that you weren’t able to squeeze onto the single page of your resume:

“By resolving invoice disputes, I gained a deep analytical knowledge—but more importantly, I learned how to interact calmly and diplomatically with angry customers.”

A cover letter gives you the freedom to use full sentences—instead of bullet points—so use them to expand upon your resume and tell the story of why you’re the perfect fit for the company.

3. You Used a Canned Version

You may not love the idea of composing a unique cover letter for each job you apply to, but it’s worth it. When a recruiter reads, “Dear Hiring Manager<, I am so excited to apply for the open position at your company, where I hope to utilize my skills to progress in my career,” she immediately recognizes it for what it is—a stock cover letter that you’ve mass-distributed to every place in town. And that’s not going to fly with a company that wants employees who are truly excited about its unique mission and vision.

Next Time

Write a cover letter that’s specific to the job and company you’re applying to, explaining why you’re interested in that particular position. If you take the time to write something thoughtful (“I’m a daily reader of your company’s blog. Your post about personal branding actually inspired me to start my own blog—and that has given me the perfect experience for the open role of Marketing Content Specialist”), you’ll instantly convey that you are genuinely interested in that particular company.

4. You Highlighted Your Weaknesses

If you don’t meet the basic requirements of the job, your resume will clearly indicate that—so you don’t need to begin your letter by stating, “I know I don’t actually have any coding experience or know much about computers, but…” That simply shines light on the fact that you’re not qualified. And once the recruiter realizes that, she probably won’t make it to the part of the letter where you try to convince her that she should hire you anyway.

Next Time

Focus on explaining how your past experience—regardless of how irrelevant it may seem at first—will translate to this new role. This is the beauty of cover letters: Resumes barely allow enough room for a few bullet points of duties and accomplishments—but cover letters let you more thoroughly explain how those experiences will make you a perfect fit for any position.

For example, perhaps you were a manager of a bakery in the past, but want to apply for a writing position. The experience doesn’t seem to correlate, does it? But, when you highlight the fact that you composed, edited, and published your previous company’s training materials and employee handbook, you suddenly do, in fact, have that required experience.

5. You Focused on What the Company Can Do for You

When you apply to a job you’re really excited about, it’s natural to want to convey your enthusiasm to the company: “I’ve wanted to work for your company since I was little—this would be my dream job, and it would mean so much to me if you would grant me an interview!”

But when a hiring manager reads what you wrote, she wants to see what a potential employee would do for her company—not what the job would do for you. She wants to hear about the unique skills and expertise you’d bring to the team and how you’ll help the company grow and succeed.

Next Time

While it’s fine to convey that you’re excited about a position, use a slightly different angle—one that shows how your enthusiasm will directly benefit the company: “I was very excited to find this open position because I’ve been following your company since its startup phase. My thorough understanding of your company’s background and mission means that I can jump in and make contributions to your marketing team right away.”

Now you’ve shown that the relationship will be mutually beneficial: You’ll have a great job with a company you love—and the company will have a valuable, skilled, and enthusiastic new employee (who, coincidentally, is also an amazing cover letter writer).

 

Originally published on The Muse