Objective champions & compassionate enthusiasts – Gendered wording in job ads

You might have heard that the way in which job ads are phrased might have an impact on how attractive they are to potential applicants. Some companies offered paid services on improving your ads, other tools are readily available online or you can just check out the original word list here.

And it sounds promising, right? Surely, erasing typical male words is not only an easy thing to do, it´s intuitive that this will increase your influx of female candidates. An attractive low-effort-high-impact recruitment intervention. Or is it?

In this post, I walk you through the original research and some of the media coverage done on the topic and give some tips on how to implement a more gender-balanced perspective in your job ads. I will also take a critical stand regarding if – from a bigger perspective of attracting talents and making them apply – working on your job ad wording is worth the effort. Maybe not surprisingly, my answer is “no” but I believe that in your context, it might be an interesting puzzle piece to consider.

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Big 5 or Big 6?

This essay will describe and evaluate Lee and Ashton’s (2009) 60-item HEXACO-60, a personality inventory which is a shorter version of the 100-item HEXACO-PI-R and is derived from the Big Five personality taxonomy. Firstly, I will briefly describe the HEXACO-60 and reason why it fits best with the trait approaches of personality. After this, I will interweave theory and application by describing why this test has been developed within this theoretical approach. Finally, potential criticism from the two other theoretical developments, namely the humanistic-phenomenological and the psychoanalytic perspective, within personality psychology is accounted for.

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Why “Due to the large number of applications, we are not able to provide individual feedback.” isn’t enough anymore

According to the Swedish Discrimintation Act (diskrimineringslagen 2 kap. 4 §) internal and external applicants have the right to receive written information on the qualifications of those candidates that have been invited to an interview or that have been selected for the position. Based on relevant literature and legal practice from the Swedish labour court, I analyse a couple of anonymised answers from employers which received a request based on DL 2 kap. 4 §. Replying to those requests can be a tricky undertaking if you don’t follow a competence-based and structured recruitment process. I elaborate on practical implications and provide suggestions on how to improve recruitment processes so that “DL 2 kap. 4 §”-requests don’t take you by surprise.

This essay is written in Swedish but automated translation to English usually works pretty okay. 

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Effective ways of reducing the number of competent (international) HR applicants (Swedish edition)

Feel free to copy this job posting blue-print for your next HR-professional opening for a Swedish company. You will greatly reduce the number of applications from competent (international) candidates and in addition severely harm your employer brand. All translations my work, originals taken from real job descriptions.

  • Du har en PA-utbildning och minst tre års erfarenhet av brett HR-arbete med HR-frågor. (= You have a ”PA”-qualification and a minimum of three years of experience from broad HR-work with HR questions.) [1]
  • Erfarenhet av att arbeta i process med ARUBA (= Experience from working according to ARUBA) [2]
  • Vidare är du en street-smart person. (=Besides that, you are a street-smart person.) [3]
  • Du älskar att vara spindeln i nätet. (= You love to be the spider in the web.) [4]
  • A sense of humour is greatly appreciated [5]
  • Swedish and English mandatory [6]

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2018: Knowledge & research, agility and neuroscience

Already in 2016 I reviewed my digital year that passed and now I am expanding this review beyond digital resources to my most valuable resources 2018 which helped me advance professionally and personally. Don’t have much time? These are the essentials of what I write about in this blog post:

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Using learning myths to dig into research

This sally has a double-function. Firstly, I want to bring your attention to common learning myths and secondly, how you can use these myths to start diving into the world of research. Earlier, I wrote about evidence-based and research-based HR work and how far we have come already. I still remember how hard it was for me (especially in the beginning) to embrace research papers. They were boring and I did not understand the lengthy parts about statistics which some of them entailed. Today, I am happy that I gave it a try. Because academia contributes a lot to the field of HR. There are great reviews on all kinds of areas within HR and also researcher challenges common beliefs and reveal myths. Learning more about how to read academic research give you the critical competence to be part of the discussion when other HR professionals call their practices research-based. Learning and development is an area where many professionals claim this. Unfortunately a lot of learning myths have nourished a questionable way of learning practice at school and in the workplace. It’s time to dig deeper into this.

digdeeper

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Workplace literacy and the influences of technology between implicitness and definition challenges – recruiting as a bridging position

This has been my final assignment for the first course of my Master’s studies about digital literacy (Winter 2014). I was fascinated by the interconnection of (adult) education and getting a job, as well as the discussion about what it meant to be workplace literate. It was an ambitious assignment which I still find interesting to read, even though it is a bit too lengthy and not straight to the point. Enjoy!

The struggle for finding a superordinate definition of literacy can be retrieved regarding workplace literacy discussions (Mikulecky, 1988; Perin, 1997; Hull 2000; Belfiore, Defoe, Folinsbee, Hunter, and Jackson, 2004) and the influences of technology, being of interest for the workplace as a transforming key factor (Reinking, 1998). When literacy is seen as an age-independent continuum, distinguishing sharply between young and adult learners becomes hindering (UNESCO, 2009). In addition, the traditional dichotomy between literate-illiterate slows down the acknowledgement of lifelong learning (UNESCO, 2013). Rather, literacy is synonymous with “fundamental components of a complex set of foundational skills (or basic competencies), which require sustained learning and updating” (UNESCO, 2013, p. 17) to function as an empowering tool enriched by literate environments (UIL, 2010). The workplace connects various age groups with an enriched literate environment, where a social practice view of literacy is appropriate. When literacy is perceived as context-specific (UNESCO, 2005), a context definition backs the detection of skills and competencies for successful participation. Recruiting as a potential interface bridging literacy and context contributes by specifying required competencies to apply functional literacy in the work context. However, the expansion of literacy concepts complicates analysing it and distinguishing from “expressions such as knowledge, competence and learning” (Säljö, 2012, p. 6).

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You are invited to a video interview

Be it via Skype, Google Hangout or the like, video interviews are a great alternative for a first contact to interesting candidates. Compared to telephone interviews, video offers a more personal way to get to know each other. In addition, you don’t have to invite all candidates to personal interviews, which is more resources-efficient. But it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of applicants are still new to video interviews. Even though it’s a widely used tool for private conversations, job hunting via camera needs a different way of preparation.

VideoInterview
Me leading a panel discussion with Google Hangouts as an assignment for the course Human Resource Management in the Digital Age – What would you do if a candidate appeared like this?

Here are some ideas on how to support video interview preparation in the recruiting process.

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Draft: Fluent in Swedish and good communication skills in Japanese, other languages meritable

The challenge of defining proper language requirements

To establish some kind of strategy around language skills in a corporation does not seem to come naturally. Whereas larger, multi-national corporations might discuss an English language strategy, it is the local language of smaller firms which often acts as knock-out criterion for competent job seekers. Funnily enough, this also depends on the position to be filled. Where programmers might get along without speaking the native language, HR employees see themselves in the opposite situation. When you receive enough applicants, language can be a convenient and easy-to-apply gate-keeper. But does this gate filter for competent employees?

New employees need to do both, perform on the job and socialize with their colleagues. If they lack knowledge of the local language, they will never be able to do both, won’t they? Digging deeper, the answer does not seem as straight forward anymore. Defining, assessing and nurturing (not yet existing) language skills can be key to attract and retain long-wanted competence. This post analysis four scenarios. All of them line out challenges which can occur when language requirements are everything but not thought through.

What is a good command of German? – It depends.

As with all competencies, language requirements read differently depending on the role and the context of the job and the company.

How would you interpret “very good command of German” in a barista’s job description for a coffee-house franchise in Vienna compared to the same requirement for a corporate purchaser in a multi-national firm with their headquarter in Hamburg?

It all depends. The barista would need German to be able to read work and shift instructions and to communicate with (German-speaking) colleagues. For customers ordering in German, s/he needs to communicate with customers in a limited  and repetative context. Customers order a drink (mostly some sort of coffee), maybe a snack, might have their particular special (soya-free, low-fat, etc.), pay in cash or with card, and then wait for their order to be served. Someone with basic German knowledge (or even without any) would be able to learn the phrases needed within some weeks – as soon as s/he is motivated enough. The corporate purchaser has to negotiate with external vendors, has to understand terms and conditions as well as legal contracts. The vocabulary and communication skills are more advanced, also taking into account that some statements might be legally binding. Most likely, someone without basic German knowledge would not be able to do the job right away. The interpretation of the description “very good command of German” depends.

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