Talent Development Centre

All posts by Cameron McCallum

The Workplace of the Future? The Answer is Probably Somewhere in the Middle


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+
Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

There are a number of generally accepted theories as to what the workplace will look like in the near future. With the advent of new and more powerful technology, change is inevitable. And while it is fun to imagine a world of AI, advanced robotics and other marvels of the future which will make our lives so much better, the truth probably lies closer to the middle in that for every potential win for humanity, there is likely an offsetting loss and which side you are on might be as simple as the circumstance and geography to which you were born. Here are some of the most common predictions with a cold, hard look at what it might really mean.

  1. The Rise of the Freelancer

Much has been made of the fact that today more than at any other time, the use of freelancers is expanding. In the information technology field, independent contractors are seen as an essential part of the labour mix. They bring specific experience not available among client’s employees or they help to shore up a project that requires a temporary increase in manpower. But ideas like the “Taskification” of work whereby companies tap into a global pool of freelancers who perform work or “tasks” for a fee is also seen as a growing trend. Taskification allows for employers to tap into a global pool of workers but with no obligations to those individuals. Simply hiring the lowest-priced labor with no concern for their well-being or the conditions under which they deliver their labor is potentially no different than the existing issue of the sweatshops of developing countries.

  1. The Disappearance of the Bricks and Mortar Office

The downfall of the corporate office workspace and traditional employee has been predicted for years. I can remember during the dot.com boom everyone talking about the new economy and how a much more flexible workplace would mean that more and more tech workers could work from home or from random geographic locations. “Co-working” and “Digital Nomads” offer two solutions and address both the problem of isolation that freelancers experience working from home as well as the wander-lust that more and more workers exhibit. The benefits of co-working seem obvious, a “social” space whereby individuals work on their specific assignments while networking and sharing ideas sounds great. But individuals using these spaces report frequent interruptions, difficulty in locking in on their tasks and constant chatter about new and exciting opportunities…which just might be better than the one they are currently working on. And having a workforce, spread across the globe working off their laptop, probably on a beach in the tropics sounds idyllic. But even with the most disciplined worker, is it unfair to suggest that they might just be more inclined to disengage from work when presented with a constant temptation of leisure and recreational activities?  We are already in the middle of a trend that sees workers move jobs more frequently than at any time in history. The effort that goes into acquiring, training and retaining talent is already daunting. While co-working and digital nomads might not exacerbate the trend, I’m not convinced that it is the answer to productivity and retention.

  1. Driverless Cars

This is not so directly related to work but I was struck by this while I attended a presentation recently at the faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta. The topic was driverless cars and looked at a future of networked, people movers which would move citizens and therefore workers to their destinations seamlessly and without accidents or other human-induced glitches. While the idea of relegating gridlock to the pages of history and reducing the human carnage of vehicle accidents is vastly appealing, the presenter mentioned that networked vehicles would also give the worker of the future a “work pod” connected at all times to their place of work while they travelled throughout the day. As we already know, it is getting harder and harder to disengage from work and the thought of a vehicle designed around my desk at work tends to make me cringe. Sure, we’ll also use the vehicle for fun…

 

  1. Retirement will be a Thing of the Past

For some, the ability to continue to work well past their retirement years is an attractive proposition. If you are in a job you love, retirement may not be something you aspire to. And with advances in health care and medical treatment, people are living longer. Demographic changes and an aging workforce may mean more opportunity for our seniors to stay gainfully employed. But for those who are looking forward to retirement their choices may be considerably more limited. Personal debt is at an all-time high and for many workers, the cost of living in large cities where the jobs are presents a massive strain on their budgets. People are living longer, putting more stress on their savings and the same advances in health care and medical treatment mentioned above, means that individuals will have to plan for longer lives. Seniors may very well represent a viable labour force, and for many of them, that may be a good thing. But for those who dream of a life of travel or fishing after their work years, those dreams may be out of their reach.

The future as always, holds the promise of fascinating advances in technology and with these advances, opportunities for humans to experience the world in new ways. Work is and will continue to be impacted by these changes and many of them should be positive. But we also need to be aware that none, in and of themselves, will work for everyone, nor solve all challenges and that the answer, probably does lie somewhere in the middle.

BC Technology Jobs Aren’t Only in Vancouver


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+
Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

Vancouver Victoria, Canada’s Newest Tech Hub!

Victoria, Canada’s Newest Tech Hub!Who knew? Ask anybody about Silicon Valley North and they will very likely mention Vancouver and the well-established and recently emerging tech sector that is driving a great deal of the city’s business environment. And they wouldn’t be wrong. But Victoria — “home of the newly wed and nearly dead” — is not just managing to sneak into the conversation, they are earning bragging rights of their own with nearly 900 tech companies, 20,000 workers and close to 4 billion generated in economic impact. While they won’t challenge Vancouver when it comes to sheer size and muscle power, Victoria is punching well above its weight.

On a recent trip to the provincial capital, I had the opportunity to speak to a number of clients who talked about the importance of the industry and how it has helped to revitalize the city, including the reestablishment of the downtown core area and the development of tech nodes such as the Vancouver Island Technology Park which shares space with Camosun College and Fort Techtoria. Fort Techtoria is the brainchild of VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council whose stated mission is “to serve as the one-stop hub that connects people, knowledge and resources to grow and promote the Greater Victoria technology sector”. A visit to the webpage gives the following quote from Dan Gunn, Executive Director of VIATEC.

Fort Tectoria Logo“We built Fort Tectoria to support entrepreneurs, creators and innovators throughout Greater Victoria. Much more than just well-appointed offices housing 35 early-stage tech companies on the upper floors, our main floor was designed to provide a gathering place for hackers, makers, movers and shakers to host meetups, workshops, networking sessions and events. We look forward to hearing what you have in mind.”

Why Victoria? A few common themes came to light. First, Victoria isn’t Vancouver. The cost of doing business reflects life in a smaller community. Space is certainly cheaper and workers who can’t afford or are otherwise allergic to the price of real estate in Vancouver, find Victoria to be a bit easier on the paycheck. Accordingly, demand for new office space from within the tech sector has now outpaced government in the downtown core, and interestingly, in a city as old as Victoria, this demand has specifically targeted older character buildings giving new purpose and life to the city’s historical assets. The sense of support in the community was also mentioned. The idea that VIATECH exists to help get industry together to solve problems and share ideas is a powerful magnet for startups and tech enterprises. And what about attracting applicants for work? It is a challenge but the same sense of community, decent weather by Canadian standards and a conglomeration of tech business means the word is getting out and the same workers who may have once targeted Vancouver are now starting to take notice of Victoria.

Are you interested in working on the island? If so, Eagle is always looking for great candidates for a variety of roles with great clients in Victoria.

The “Taskification” of Work


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+
Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

“My father had one job in his life, I’ve had six in mine, my kids will have six at the same time” – Robin Chase, Co-Founder of Zipcar.

The “Taskification” of Work It would seem that up until recent times, human ingenuity focused mostly on increasing the efficiency of work. Improvements of basic tools and machines, completely new inventions and the change from mostly rural, agrarian economies to large-scale, urban-based capitalism changed forever the kind of work we did and how we did it. And through all these changes, workers have had to adapt. Globalization, free trade, off shoring and automation have all impacted workers.

So what are the new or next big disrupters? Lots has been written on the future of automation and the outsourcing of work to machines. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning is fascinating. And the “Gig Economy” is already here. Studies vary but some are saying that by 2020, upwards of 40% of Americans will be involved in some sort of freelance or contracted work (a “gig”). Uber is a great example of that new model. But this model is being refined even further. “Crowdworking” refers to websites or “apps” where users/employers can advertise simple or repetitive tasks and gain access to thousands (millions?) of potential “employees” around the world who undertake the tasks advertised. Sites such as Amazon Mechanical Turk or Microtask act as the gathering point for requestors and workers. Instead of hiring employees or negotiating complex freelance contracts, anyone who needs a job done that can be done on a computer can simply go to the market and instantly pick from any number of willing workers. Need a group of photos labelled “Scotland”, or the contact information for businesses in a specific area confirmed or a set of images described in French, there are countless workers who will do it.

The idea of breaking down a job into simple or micro components is not new. Think of the classic assembly line with each station responsible for a specific repeatable task. Off-shoring used this logic to remove the more “mundane” tasks of customer service and call centers or even computer programming from high cost labor centers to countries with a well-educated and populous workforce where wages were low. And while these workers were expected to learn about and be connected to the task owners business, in the case of crowdworking, the workers have no relationship with the task owners at all, except as a point of revenue.

The success of the model means that larger businesses are investigating the usefulness and utility of posting jobs to these sights. The “taskification” of jobs might mean that companies start looking at any number of simple tasks that make up a full-time or part-time employees’ day which could more economically be carried out by a worker in Bangladesh who has a master’s degree and is chronically underemployed vs the North American worker earning $50,000 a year.

And as was demonstrated by off-shoring even traditional knowledge worker roles can be “taskified” into smaller fragments. This on-demand, task-based approach offers companies the ability to tap into an unlimited network of resources including technical experts, seasoned professionals, robots or simply human labor to complete a wide variety of tasks. What this means for the future of work will be played out soon and one thing that we can count on is that new generations of workers will once again, be forced to adapt.

Is the Information Technology Industry as “Open” as We Think?


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+
Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

Is the Information Technology Industry as "Open" as We Think?

I work in as culturally diverse an industry as can be imagined. The candidates and clients that Eagle works with on a daily basis have origins that span the globe. Eagle itself is a company made up of a conglomerate of languages and cultures. We celebrate our diversity and inclusion almost daily with email bulletins which tell us what days of significance and celebration are occurring. And our work on this front has made us a better company. We are one of Canada’s Best Managed, Best Workplaces and just recently we were named One of Canada’s Best Workplaces for Women. I’ve personally experienced how being a part of this kind of a workplace can create challenges, but I can also attest to the strength of an organization that takes this approach.

At the same time, when I see the current state of politics in the US, I am saddened by the examples xenophobia being expressed by a vociferous minority of Americans. The reality is that this expression of distrust and bigotry is nothing new, instead just choosing a time and place to reemerge in a consistent and persistent manner. Travel bans, patriotic chants, racist actions are not new although headlines from all media sources seem intent on making us feel like they are. And I don’t believe that as Canadians, we are somehow immune to these emotions and, in fact, we share historical and modern similarities with our American neighbors when it comes to discrimination and bigotry.

These actions aren’t limited to national politics, but frequently affect us in our daily lives, including the workplace. As noted above, in the IT industry we have the privilege of working with a diverse group of people, but it’s not to say racism doesn’t exist.  This CIO article written last week by Sharon Florentine asks the question of whether the IT industry is really as open as we think it is and it contains a sobering message. We need to be aware of and take action against systemic discrimination. While outward appearances infer that all is well, there is ample evidence to suggest otherwise.

Referenced Article
Racism in tech runs deep
Sharon Florentine, Senior Writer, CIO
March 9, 2017

Discover Vancouver and Its Job Opportunities


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+
Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

The Insiders’ Guide to Moving to Vancouver… Plus a Tip to Find Work When You Get Here!

The truth about the Canadian economy is that while some regions may be booming in job opportunities, others continue to struggle. Even in those cities where careers thrive for one trade or skillset, an expert in another field may not be getting the same luck. If you’re considering a change in venue to find a new career opportunity, have you considered moving to Vancouver?

Is Vancouver the Right Place for You?

Downtown Vancouver Sunset
Downtown Vancouver Sunset” by Magnus Larsson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

We all have our perspectives on what a city must be like, even when we’ve never set foot in it. Vancouver is one of those cities that evokes a lot of different feelings amongst Canadians. It gets its fair share of press, both negative and positive, which feeds into the stereotypes we all have. For example:

  • We’ve all heard of the “crazy” Vancouver housing market — it exists, but both the City and Province are taking steps to make renting in Vancouver or purchasing a house or condo more affordable.
  • The rain — there is a lot in the winter, but winter is soooo short!
  • The beauty of the city — oceans, mountains, parks… what’s not to like?

The truth is, if you want to live in a city with access to an endless selection of outdoor activities, a thriving arts and culture scene, more international restaurants featuring ethnic and sea food than you will find anywhere, great post-secondary schools, and an airport that gives you access to the entire Pacific Rim, Vancouver is it!

The Job Market and Opportunities in Vancouver

Vancouver has a thriving economy. Already considered one of the most livable cities in the world, businesses are flocking to the city in record numbers and that is driving a lot of opportunity. Companies like Google, AOL, SAP, Amazon to name a few, have decided that Vancouver is a great place to put down roots. Access to Engineering grads and a lifestyle which attracts potential employees from all over the globe has made the city increasingly attractive. And with this “boom” the spillover effect is that other areas of the economy have to respond to the need for increased services and infrastructure. And that leads to more and greater job opportunities, which is where we are at today.

An Inside Scoop on Project Management Jobs in Vancouver!

Eagle is one of Vancouver’s leading employment agencies and we offer a number of IT job opportunities, both contract and full-time. Today, we’re fortunate to be partnering with BC Clinical and Support Services Society (BCCSS) to assist them in hiring a large number of permanent employees with IT Project Management expertise, including Portfolio Managers, Infrastructure Project Managers and Project Manager Team Leads.

Not only is this one of the largest initiatives that I’ve ever been part of, but it has to be one of the largest in Vancouver’s history! And it is not just the volume of recruits needed. The opportunity to work in the health sector, delivering services to mission critical staff and systems in a challenging and dynamic environment, is a rare opportunity that does not come along often. Fantastic Benefits, Pension and other perks all add to the attractiveness of these roles.

So if you’ve been thinking about moving to Vancouver or always had a question in the back of your mind as to what would it be like to live there. Stop thinking about it and act… now is the time.   Feel free to leave your questions in the comments section below.

Vancouver: North America’s Newest Tech Hub


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+
Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle
Vancouver: North America's Newest Tech Hub
Vancouver Sunset by gags9999 Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Mention Vancouver and a few things come automatically to mind: Gorgeous landscapes, Stanley Park, laid back people, rain and pricey real estate, to name a few. And while a lot of people know about the Technology industry here, most of you probably have no idea just how big the industry is.

In fact, Vancouver has 3 “Unicorns” or local startups listed at over 1 billion dollars in value (Hootsuite, Avigilon and Slack) and major players like Microsoft, SAP and others have set up shop in trendy locations around Gastown, Yaletown and other interesting Vancouver locations.

While we are yet to approach the scale of IT hubs like the San Francisco Bay area, Washington D.C. or Seattle, Vancouver continues to be an increasingly attractive place for tech companies to do business. Great universities and a rapidly growing millennial population provide a steady supply of talent. Liberal immigration laws provide an even deeper labour pool. Add in relatively cheap commercial real estate compared to U.S. locales and it is easy to see why more and more industry players are locating to Silicon Valley North.

Check out this article from Vancouver Economic Commission for a better understanding North America’s newest tech hub and why you can expect it to be the best city for technology job opportunities in the coming years.

What’s Really Going to Happen to the Price of Oil?


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+
Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

The Edmonton Branch of Eagle held a Contractor Appreciation event just last week in Edmonton and I always enjoy the opportunity to meet those who share the front line of the IT contracting world. And as usual, while much of the chatter involves getting to know everyone just a bit better, there comes a point in the conversation where the inevitable happens and the discussion turns to the market and what our predictions are for the short and long term future of the economy. And a big part of the discussion this time around centered on the situation in the oil patch.

First off, Edmonton is not Calgary. Edmonton’s economy is more diversified and less directly impacted by the low price of oil. We have a large public sector that spends massively in health care, infrastructure and education. There is a thriving small to medium business sector that provides all kinds of products and services and employs a large number of Albertans. But also true is that the funds that the public sector uses to fund its projects comes from revenue directly related to the resource sector and many of those small to medium sized business’ products and services are directly targeted at the oil industry. So it was no surprise that the question being debated amongst a number of attendees was just what was going to happen to the price of oil.

What's Really Going to Happen to the Price of Oil?This article written by Peter Tertzakian for OilPrice.com uses the analogy of the fashion world to describe why oil prices might just be ready to ascend.  Given how interesting and relevant it is to the discussions I had just last week with independent contractors in Edmonton, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share it with all of our readers on the Talent Development Centre:

Why Oil Could Head Back To $90 Sooner Than Thought

First Understand, Then Be Understood


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+

Then to Be Understood: A Habit of Highly Effective Independent Contractors

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

Seek First to Understand…Then to Be Understood: A Habit of Highly Effective Independent ContractorsSo says Habit 5 of Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. I am struck by just how much this simple rule might change the world for the better would we all decide to practice it just some of the time. And of course it applies to all phases of our lives, be it personal or professional. The beauty of it lies in its simplicity and seemingly utter complexity in putting it into play. So how does it impact you as an IT Consultant trying to make a living in the complex world of independent contracting and dealing with staffing agents and their myriad esoteric processes and procedures?

  1. Start in Neutral – How we respond to others is so often conditioned on our preconceptions of what we think is about to occur. I know that when I answer the telephone around dinnertime, and there is a significant delay before the other party speaks, that I’m likely about to engage with a telemarketer, and that brings about a whole set of responses, including how I’m going to disengage. But how many times have I been surprised to learn that when I just stopped and really listened, there was something valuable to be gained. When a recruiter calls, listen carefully to what they are telling you, about their client, about their requirement, about their practice. Instead of thinking that you know the game and this call will be the same as others you have received, it might pay dividends to start the call in neutral and determine next steps after you’ve had a chance to hear what is being said.
  2. Stop Planning Your Response – The single most common listening error is planning your reply while the other party is speaking. The aforementioned Telemarketers, especially the smart ones, often know exactly what you are planning to say and have a ready response to attempt to overcome your objections. It pays to be prepared for certain types of discussions but don’t hijack a discussion because you are too busy planning your comeback. You may be risking an unnecessary misunderstanding because you couldn’t stop your mind long enough to listen. Successful contractors learn to listen to what the client is saying, what is important to them and what they are trying to achieve…and your part in the process. Careful listening prevents risking prescription before diagnosis!
  3. Practice Reflective Listening – Repeating or affirming what you think you heard is the surest way of ensuring you understand completely what is being said by the other party. This is a skill so often talked about but so rarely used effectively. Part of it has to do with numbers 1 and 2 above… we have already planned the conversation out in our minds that we believe we know the outcome. Take a step back, listen carefully to what you are being told and then simply repeat it. Not only will it help you to gather the information you need, but it will act to slow down the process, something we could all use in our busy and hectic work days.
  4. It’s a Two-Way Street – If you listen to someone, and are fully engaged and respectful, it should be that the other person owes you the same. Did you ever notice how off putting it was when a person you were meeting with glanced at their watch, or worse yet checked a phone email right when you were speaking. Negotiations go off course all the time simply because neither party really hears what the other person is saying. Mutually respectful discourse and working hard to listen and understand what the other person is saying is integral to any discussion.  You owe it to yourself as a professional to practice your listening skills.

Japanese Customer Service and Independent Contractors


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+
Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Japanese Customer Service and the Independent ContractorI recently had the opportunity to visit Japan, a country that I had the good fortune to spend 4 great years of my life during the early 1990s. Many things had changed of course, especially with the advancement of technology and the ease at which a traveler can book flights, hotels and sightseeing excursions. But so much hadn’t changed. Tokyo was still the crazy, frenetic city that I remembered, the people as polite and helpful to a tourist as ever and there remains an infinite number of ways to entertain yourself. Something else hadn’t changed and, in fact, stood out even more than I remembered; customer service is alive and well in Japan and it didn’t matter the product, service or industry.

The fanatical desire to make sure that the customer’s experience was positive extended from the bullet train staff who bowed to their passengers each and every time they entered and left a car to the security staff at ANA Airways who made us feel that they were in possession of valuable merchandise every time they handled or touched our carry-on items. Employees perform their duties with pride and the consequence is that the customer is willingly conducted into a process of cooperation with a mutual desire to achieve harmony. Well maybe that last part is a bit much but the experience still lives with me and so I want to remind everyone just how good it feels to receive… and give great customer service.

So, what does this mean to you as an independent consultant? Once rates are negotiated and term fixed, make it a primary focus to make your client’s experience with you a positive one. How do you provide customer service as an independent IT contractor? Here are just a few ways:

  1. Anticipate your client’s needs – In Japan, I never, ever had the feeling that I was imposing. If I needed something, it was like my thoughts were being read and magically, someone would appear, once with a plastic bag for my wet umbrella. While situations can get complex in the work world, the Japanese taught me that if you pay attention (or listen) you can often anticipate problems and challenges your client is facing. And if you are there to try and help without them even asking, think what a powerful message that sends about your commitment.
  2. Show appreciation – I was thanked more times by Japanese staff for just walking into or leaving their place of business than I can remember. At first it felt excessive, but by the end of my trip, I understood how integral it was for them to establish that they “saw” me when I came in and equally when I left. How often do we forget to “see” our clients? Really establish that you are paying attention, listening and are there to help.
  3. Go the extra mile – If anyone reading this has ever been to Japan, you will probably remember a time when you innocently asked for directions from someone on the street, and then watched in embarrassment as that individual made it their life’s mission to get you to your destination, including personally escorting you there. Buying a gift for a Japanese friend in a department store, I watched in amazement as the item was wrapped with care until it was a thing of beauty, something I would be proud to give. Professionally, there are limits to how much you can and should do above and beyond what is expected, but where possible, going the extra mile for your client will leave a lasting impression.
  4. Politeness – If you thought Canadians were polite, Japanese take it to the next level. Much of it revolves around a historically, rigid hierarchy that determined an individual’s place in society but a lot of it is also associated with the desire to cause no discomfort to your fellow citizens, especially in a country with very little personal space. Politeness is just one more way of acknowledging others, seeing them and establishing a connection. I know my parents raised me to open doors for others, to say please and thank you, to respond to a correspondence in a timely manner and it is a nod to civilized society that you extend that to your relationship with the client.

Many businesses today talk about customer service but it often feels like they are paying lip service to a crucially important concept. The Japanese demonstrate that good customer service stands out and differentiates the consumer’s experience in a very positive way. As an independent contractor, you too can demonstrate good customer service with both clients and recruiters, simply by anticipating needs, showing appreciation, going the extra mile and always being polite.

Closing the Loop with Your Recruiter


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+
Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Closing the Loop with Your RecruiterAs an independent contractor, you probably work with any number of Recruiters whenever you need assistance in finding your next IT contract. The complaint I hear most often from contractors is that after having any number of discussions with an agent, the line of communication suddenly goes cold and they are left wondering what happened… were they really being considered for the job, was their resume submitted, has the client seen their resume, what are the timelines etc.

There is nothing more frustrating than not knowing the status. We hear about the concept of “closure” as being important for humans after traumatic incidents. It gives us the ability to move on, start anew and leave the past behind. Closing the loop acts in much the same way and is an important part of any business relationship. The following concepts are essential to creating an atmosphere of trust and continuity when dealing with the staffing industry:

CLEAR EXPECTATIONS

Setting expectations is the key to setting the stage for the final step of closing the loop. What are the steps involved, what is the timeline and what will be the final outcome? When dealing with a Recruiter, you might ask them, when will you decide whether you are going to submit my resume to the client? What happens once you’ve submitted? When do you expect interviews to take place? Will you call me if I am not selected? Remember that the loop is an ongoing process and so not all of these questions may be asked or answered the first time you speak. As the process moves forward, other questions will be generated but the key is that clear expectations need to be set and ultimately, the final stage of closing the loop will take place.

COMMUNICATE APPROPRIATELY

Sometimes trying to set or negotiate expectations can be perceived as one party being demanding. This is especially true when speaking to a person who resists being tied to specific expectations. This might be because they fear they won’t meet them or they don’t want to be bothered having to meet them. That’s why you need to constantly listen to what people say and confirm that you are on the same wavelength. Setting expectations with a Recruiter doesn’t have to mean that you are being unreasonable or that it has to be a huge time commitment. It may mean that one or two emails are exchanged before the final step in the process… closing the loop.

NOTE EXPECTATIONS

The single most important action to take is to reiterate expected actions or timelines both by repeating it prior to the end of your phone call or in-person meeting. And to add strength to the process, you may want to send a quick email outlining your understanding of the process and expectations. This may seem like a lot of work but it creates a process map and helps you to manage your job search ie. Where you’ve been submitted, what was the role or what is the timeline for specific action to be taken. Sending out a meeting note creates a natural follow-up point that can then be leveraged to close the loop on various actions throughout the process.

DO UNTO OTHERS…

If you want your recruiter to follow up promptly and as promised, then you had better reciprocate. By demonstrating that you are on board with the process and a professional in your actions, you will help establish the protocols for your interactions with the Recruiter. Send required documentation as needed, respond promptly to email or phone messages. Nothing tells someone that it’s important to close the loop like doing everything you can do make it easier for them to do so.

DON’T GIVE UP

Just because you believe you’ve reached agreement on a set of actions leading ultimately to a closed loop, does not mean that it will happen automatically. Repeating the above steps until you reach the resolution you want is essential to the process. And even if the other party is not cooperating, don’t give up.  But if it does happen that you don’t gain closure and the loop is never fully closed on a particular opportunity or with a particular Recruiter, then you might want to re-evaluate your working relationship with that person. After all, it only makes sense to work with those whose goals reflect yours.

Closing the loop is the penultimate stage of any requested action. Whether it is a part of your professional business life, being a parent, a coach, it only makes sense that this final step in any request for action takes place.