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I had my interview...Now what?

One of the worst things that can happen when interviewing a candidate is never staying in touch with the candidate once the first contact has been made. I am certainly not suggesting that it is the recruiter's responsibility to call a candidate on a daily basis once you have met with them. However, there is a certain amount of onus on the recruiter to ensure the experience the candidate has had was a positive one. Positive enough for the candidate to come back when the need arises again, either for them or for the company they are working for.

It all comes down to customer service. Now you have heard me speak of recruiting as a "Sales" job, but it is also a Customer Service job. When you think about it (taking the HR process out of the function) you are truly left with a Customer Service type relationship. On the one hand you have the Recruiter [Supplier] and on the other hand you have the Candidate [Customer]. As in any Customer Service type relationship people like to be remembered. You know what it's like when you go to a store and spend an exorbitance amount of money and you go back to the store a month later and they don't even remember you. How insignificant does that make you feel? Well, think about being a candidate looking for a career, you are trying to make yourself stand out from the crowd of all of the other candidates looking for a career. They come in to see you, the top recruiter in town, have a great interview, feel like they have bonded with you because they have shared with you some of their deepest fears and apprehensions. But then after meeting with you they don't hear anything from you for weeks, sometimes months, maybe ever.

What do they tell their friends and former colleagues when asked how the job-search is going? "Well, okay, I went to see the top recruiter in town, spent almost an hour with her and she never called me back. I wouldn't recommend going to see her if you are looking for a job, or if you are looking to hire someone, Who knows if she would ever call you back..."; And there sets the tone of your reputation as a "top recruiter who never calls people back".

I know lots of recruiters, and admittedly I am one of them, who are honest with their candidates and tell them up front that they will be contacted only if an opportunity matching their skills and qualifications arises. Until then it is their [candidate] responsibility to maintain contact with me to ensure if there are any opportunities that may arise they are considered for them.

Remember, only you know what you do and how well you do it. While logically candidates do understand they are not the only one in the world looking for a job, they can loose sight of the fact that you have a database or a desk full of thousands of resumes of candidates who are just as qualified as they are.

Customers (candidates) can be a wonderful source of information, even if they are not the right fit for the job you are trying to fill. Let's say for argument sake that each Customer you meet knows 10 people. They can introduce you to 10 other people who may lead you to the right one. In the process you will get to potentially come in contact with hundreds of other people who may be the right fit down the road for something else, or get you in touch with the right fit. Not to mention the resource of information this new network you have just developed can become! Just think of the wealth of knowledge and know-how these people have, and how it can be of use to you and what you do.

Remember if the service is bad, the Customer will not return. Worse yet, they will tell 2 people, who will tell 2 more and so on and so on...

Shalini Richards, RPR, CMP, CHRP. SR-HR Consulting. Shalini may be reached at

Sharing Your Wisdom Through Written Words

Many individuals store within their brains a wealth of knowledge. The art of writing is an opportunity to share your expertise with a broader audience. By now you must realize that this wisdom is of no use till it is given away.

Since I became a free-lance writer and co-author, I have discovered a whole new dimension and avenue to travel with my business. Similarly, others with various expertise can grow their business. Writing is a great way for individuals to gain exposure and credibility. It is not uncommon for readers to think that the author of the written word is an expert in a particular field. A perfect example of someone who might be considered an expert is the author of a business article that appears on a regular basis in your local paper. Topics can range from financial reports, daily living, entertainment, sporting or letters to the editor (just to name a few). There are no limitations.

Where and how does one become a writer? For me, my first attempt at writing was totally exhausting. I had to really dig deep into my brain for the words. It’s a whole different process from speaking. I found that the words that were transmitted freely from my head to my mouth were somehow getting lost when they had to be rerouted to my fingers. No longer did I have the advantage of body language or speech to communicate my message. As I searched for each word, I became aware of the importance of the correct use of verbs, adjectives, nouns and other grammatical forms. With a little research I was able to start.

A friend of mine who is a professional writer was very generous and supportive as she shared how she started her writing career. It is through her inspiration and encouragement that I continue to write.


  • Start by writing small articles for your family, friends, local papers and newsletters etc.
  • Decide what is the key message / topic you want to share and know your subject well. Do not try to fake it.
  • Set a specific time frame to start and complete this project.
  • Set aside a specific time to write.
  • Start by jotting down key words and notes relating to your subject.
  • Organize your thoughts – do they flow into one another?
  • Answer the five ‘W’s’ – who, what, when, why and where.
  • Define your topic in the first paragraph, then build from there. Last paragraph should summarize your article/book etc.
  • Be prepared to do rewrites – this is an exercise of patience, tenacity and focus.
  • Note: have at your right hand at all times a dictionary and thesaurus.

    Other Helpful Tips:

    Upon completion of your essay, article or book, proofread it several times before you submit it to be published. If necessary seek the assistance of a professional person/s to assist you (editor, publisher, proofreader or co-writer, graphic artist, marketing specialist etc.).

    Find a market for your product. Inquire about their policies, fee structures and guidelines.

    Enjoy the luxury of setting your own hours and writing from home. Always remember writing is a business. As a writer, imagine being paid for something you love to do .The time seems to escape me when I write, as I seem to get lost in a whole new world. Oh my goodness…I’ve been writing for hours - how time flies when I’m having fun! What an exhilarating feeling!

    Joan Kulmala is an image coach and is president of Totally-U Image Communications in Thunder Bay, Ont. She can be reached at

    Journal keeping “The Write Way”

    Did you keep a “secret diary” as a child? Have you maintained that habit as an adult? Or was it thrown out with your favorite album or Barbie doll? If not, let me remind you how instrumental it can be in your professional and personal life.

    Committing your thoughts to paper can be very effective in problem solving, organization of thoughts, establishing goals and overcoming grief, fear or anger. Writing your thoughts and feelings, helps you to focus better and solutions become more apparent.

    When we try to work out problems in our heads, we tend to think in circles and end up more frustrated trying to find a solution. Likewise when we speak with someone about a problem or challenge, generally we feel better and often a solution will appear.

    Journal keeping can be used in a variety of ways -

  • Make a list. Write down the pros and cons and when you review the list, the answer should become more apparent.
  • Goal setting. SMART Specific, Motivational, Attainable, Realistic and Track able. By writing your goals it makes them more credible, real and obtainable.
  • Problem Solving. Write down the challenges and obstacles. When a problem is clearly laid out, options become more apparent.
  • Brainstorming. Don’t hold back and write down your thoughts and ideas. Sometimes the best ideas come from the pathways of the not so good ones.
  • Communication. Treat your journal keeping as source of daily exercise for your language abilities. Explore using new words in your vocabulary and find new context with old words.
  • Commitment. The very act of writing is more powerful than speaking. When reviewing your journal, you may see patterns that can help develop new habits and break the old ones.
  • Confidence. Create a “ good for me “ section and log positive attributes such as accomplishments, nice things that people have said about you, and the things in life you are grateful for. We all need a pat on the back at times and especially well deserved when we may be feeling a bit low.
  • Health. It has been well documented that writing is an excellent release that can help us to manage our emotions and prevent them from being bottled inside. The end result is less stress and therefore a stronger immune system.

    Keeping a journal is not only functional but is therapeutic for the body and soul. A journal is truly like a map of our ideas, opinions and beliefs which can be explored immediately or saved for later. Take a moment and use your journal for useful reflection and re-discover yourself for the first time.

    Shrek and Modern Leadership Management

    As adults there are certain things we don’t voluntarily talk about to others. One of them is about watching children’s movies. The one which blew my mind – Shrek – I was introduced to by my grandchildren. Amazingly, the movie demonstrates all the elements of modern leadership management in the guise of a fairy-tale.

    Yet, I never heard from others what an outstanding management tool this story is. I wondered about that. So I started asking managers in my seminars if they had ever seen Shrek. Eight out of ten always said yes, and they all loved it.

    The main difference between a manager and a leader is that a manager follows the rulebook. The leader knows the rules, but has the ability to listen to his or her intuition.

    I have always believed that leadership is based on five elements. Shrek demonstrates every one of them in a way that leaves one laughing and nodding in agreement.

    Know Yourself. It’s the first and most important element of leadership. We all grow up being led or falling into occupations through the guidance of parents, teachers, and religious leaders. What you end up in might be the right occupation for you – or not. But I guarantee that if you want to be successful and happy you must be in an occupation to which you were born, or which has chosen you.

    Shrek knows that others perceive him as a monster, but he also knows that like an onion, there are a lot of layers to his personality. He doesn’t anguish about his looks overwhelm him. He understands himself.

    Integrity and Honesty. If recent corporate events say anything, these qualities are more honored in the breach than in the observance. Yet integrity to yourself, your people, your company, and your country are all important. If you really look at integrity you will see that it, too, comes from within. You can mislead people, the company, the country and get away with it. But if you mislead yourself, sooner or later you will pay the penalty.

    Shrek never had a problem about being true to himself, his king, or his friends. He was clearly focused on the task ahead, and was honest with everyone around him.

    Protect others. Concern for others is the hallmark of a modern leader. In the olden days managers were first-class blamers, grabbers, and egotists. They were quick to blame their failings on others. The only thing that counted was the profit they made. They took without conscience. We used to call them “Robber Barons”.

    If you look at the modern leader, you will see a more sharing, caring approach and Shrek is a perfect example. When he was in peril, his first concern was for his companions. He didn’t escape to freedom alone. He took his friends with him. This is the trademark of any great leader.

    Communicate. In the past top management related with top management, middle management with middle management, and workers with workers only. Occasionally, orders would come down through the ranks, and workers were expected to obey without understanding. There are, unfortunately, still lots of companies and countries working on this model, but today fear motivation is being replaced by teamwork.

    In Shrek there is a perfect example of how miscommunication can screw up a budding relationship. Shrek overheard part of a conversation that was not meant for his ears. He drew conclusions which he thought were justified, but which turned out to be completely wrong. He fell victim to the grapevine instead of reading the memo or asking to hear it from the horse’s mouth.

    Take Risks. When did you last scare your pants off? If you can’t remember, think about doing it soon. To make changes in your life, department, or company, you have to take risks. They don’t guarantee success, but if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

    Shrek is a risk-taker. He has the mentality of a daredevil. In his adventures he encounters dozens of obstacles, some in which he risks his own life. But he comes up smelling like a rose.

    After reading this, rent a kid and watch the video and take a look at how well Shrek’s philosophy fits into aspects of modern leadership. The world is changing. The big question is, are you changing with it?

    Peter Urs Bender is one of Canada’s most dynamic and entertaining business speakers. He lives and works out of Toronto. He is the author of five best-selling business books: Leadership from Within, Secrets of Power Presentations, Secrets of Power Marketing, Secrets of Face-to-Face Communication, and Gutfeeling.
    To read excerpts from his books visit

    Bidding Wars: Are Counteroffers the Right Move?

    Anyone who has ever experienced a counteroffer — regardless which side of the situation they’re on — likely has been left with a bad taste in their mouth.

    Counteroffers are happening more often, partly due to some firms’ “no replacement hire” edicts. For everyone’s benefit, employers and employees alike should try to avoid the complications caused by the counteroffer. But, before automatically reacting with the thought of throwing money at an employee who has said they’re ready to leave, there are several questions for the HR professional to consider:

  • Is this employee fairly compensated now?
  • If so, what is the justification to over-compensate?
  • If not, why?
  • Was something missed in the last review?
  • Have responsibilities or performance drastically changed?

    Regardless of whether an organization has a clear policy about counteroffers, HR professionals can proactively work with line managers to avoid being put in a tough situation. Counteroffers may look good to line managers at first, but it’s important to warn them of some potentially dangerous and unintended consequences, such as hard feelings among the employees who have not threatened to leave and the communication that the compensation program can be manipulated.

    It’s important to evaluate all of the potential costs of making a counteroffer against the potential costs of failing to do so, and to evaluate long-term costs, even while managers may be pressing for quick action.

    Avoiding the Counteroffer
    Don’t let circumstance dictate a panicked counteroffer. Employers can take steps to prevent such situations:
    1. Be Prepared
    Have a succession plan in place so no single employee is so essential that his or her absence is devastating.

    2. Compensate, Recognize and Motivate
    Even with good succession planning, organizations still have “most valuable performers.” Ensure they are well compensated, recognized for their major accomplishments, and participate in an incentive plan that encourages and rewards high levels of performance.
    Compensate. Does the compensation structure allow for a “key player” designation to provide creative incentives and rewards for top performers and critical role players?
  • Recognize. Does the recognition program go beyond the standard plaques and handshakes?
  • Motivate. For critical projects, consider announcing a type of incentive completion bonus for the whole project team at the beginning of the project.
  • Communicate. Performance reviews should include a discussion of the employees’ career goals, both short- and long-term.
  • Conduct exit interviews. Employers should ask why employees are leaving, what could be improved and what the mood is among other employees. Go back six months later and ask the same questions to the ex-employee to possibly receive even more candid responses.

    If all of this has been done, what could a potentially departing employee find so unsatisfactory that a counteroffer would change? If that employee still wants to leave, the company should be prepared to let him or her go.

    If a counteroffer is deemed necessary, don’t discard guidelines. Treat the offer as a normal promotion or merit increase and ensure performance measures are adjusted appropriately not only for the grade level, but also for the expectations of the employee.

    This article is an excerpt of a piece that was originally published in the April 2003 issue of workspan, the monthly magazine of WorldatWork. Reprinted with permission from WorldatWork, 14040 N. Northsight Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, 480 951-9191, Copyright 2003

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