Friday Professional Group

Kimberley Dart

Halloween in Canada by the Numbers

By: Kimberley Dart

Thank you Statistics Canada for compiling these numbers.  As a self proclaimed number junkie I live for this stuff!

  • 3,734,401 — The estimated number of children in Canada of prime trick-or-treating age—5 to 14 years old—in 2012, up 0.2% from 2011.
  • 2,743 hectares — The approximate land area (6,778 acres) on which pumpkins were harvested in Canada in 2011.
  • 112.2 million — The number of tickets sold at cinemas (including indoor theatres, drive-ins and film festivals) in Canada in 2010, down 1.9% from 114.4 million in 2009.
  • $355.9 million — The value in monthly sales of candy, confectionery and snack foods at large retailers in October 2011. December, however, was the month with the highest monthly sales in 2011, at $465.3 million.
  • There is a general increase in the number of criminal incidents reported to police on October 31, compared with October 24.

Places in Canada that may give you the creeps:

Axe Point, Black Cape, Black Water, Bloodvein, Bloodvein River, Bone Creek, Bone Town, Burnt Arm, Burnt Church, Burnt Head, Burnt Hill, Butchers, Coffin Cove, Dead Creek, Dead Islands, Deadman's Bay, Deadmans Cove, Dead Man's Flats, Deadmans Harbour, Deadtree Point, Deception Lake, Destruction Bay, Devil's Gate, Devils Island, Devils Kitchen, Giants Glen, Goblin, Ghost Lake, Ghost Pine Creek, Ghost River, Gore, Gore Bay, Grave Flats, Hatchet Cove, Hatchet Harbour, Hatchet Lake, Hidden Valley, Hitchcock, Isle aux Morts, L'Anse-au-Diable, La Roche-du-Diable, L'Île-aux-Fantômes, Lonely Lake, Lost River, Peekaboo Point, Phantom Beach, Pirate Harbour, Point au Mal, Point Enragée, Poison Creek, Pumpkin Point, Rapides-du-Diable, Rivière-Windigo, Ruisseau-Noir, Salem, Serpent River, Shadow Lake, Skull Creek, Sleepy Hollow, Sleepy Hollow Road Trailer Park, Snake River, Spirit Lake, Spirit River.

Disengaged Employee Vs. Zombie

By: Kimberley Dart

I've talked a lot about the cost of a disengaged employee to a company. Since today is Halloween, I found a great Infographic on the topic:

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Job Hopping - You Know it's Bad, So Why Are You Doing It?

By: Kimberley Dart

When talking to job seekers whether at career fairs, networking events, or just in general, everyone seems to agree that job hopping - the process of regularly changing jobs is a bad thing.  So why do we still see so many resumes that say other wise?

Job hopping is bad for the job seeker because it screams to recruiters and hiring managers "I won't stay in any job for more than a few months!"  Or "I am not committed!"  HIring managers and business owners don't like to rehire when they fill a positions.  Recruiting and training a new employee is a costly venture.  When reviewing resumes for an open position, they are most likely going to avoid any resumes with a pattern of job hopping.

Don't believe me?  Read the lovely Infographic created by the folks at Bullhorn Reach:

So Who is Responsible for Career Planning?


By: Kimberley Dart

The other day I had the privilege to write the NKE exam in pursuit of my CHRP designation.  Of the 150 exam questions, one in particular stuck in my mind.  Now I’m kind of technically not really supposed to reveal any of the exam questions, however, since I’m paraphrasing it I hope that they won’t mind. 

The question went something like:

Who is responsible for career planning?

a)      Line manager

b)      Employer

c)       HR Manager

d)      Employee

This question made me pause and think, realistically any one of the answers could be true.  I hummed and hawed quite a bit on this one.  I did a bit of debating on which one was the best response.  I narrowed it down to 2 possibilities.  I marked it to go back to later.  Finally, I decided on what I think is the best response given our employment market.

The answer that I chose was D) Employee.  I chose that knowing that it probably is not the answer that they are looking for.  In fact, I’m still not sure what the answer that they are looking for is.  I still chose D.

Why did I choose the Employee?

It’s true that HR, the company owner, and your direct supervisor should all definitely have a hand in your career planning.  But for any of them to be the answer, the question should have been asked about succession planning.  Because they asked specifically about “career planning” I feel that ultimately the onus is, and always will be, on the employee.

Let’s face it; we are no longer in a culture where people stay at one company for their entire careers.  Definitely, people rarely stay at the same job for their entire careers.  If you have career goals and aspirations, and I hope that you do, you need to develop a plan and then take the steps needed to reach your goal.

Your career goal may happen to be the same as the one your manager has in mind for you, and that’s awesome, but for many that is simply not the case.  If you want to advance or improve on your career, you need to take the steps to do so.  That may include taking extra classes, asking for more challenging work, polishing up your resume, or applying for jobs.

Who do you think is responsible for career planning?

Why I Loved My “McJob”


By: Kimberley Dart

Sunday marked 10 years since I first started at FRIDAY.  I feel old just saying that.  Prior to this, my longest job tenure was when I was a teenager working at McDonald’s – I lasted there just over 4 years. 

Say what you will about having a “McJob” those 4 years did more to shape my work habits and perceptions than anything else. 

Looking back I now recognize many of things that I am constantly preaching to my clients about.  These are the key elements to a successful organization:

·         Onboarding

My first memories are of the hiring & training process.  I was interviewed on site by a restaurant manager, and before I left, I met the head manager.  Once hired I attended a team orientation at the head office.  This was my first experience with Onboarding, even though this was not my first job.

·         Training

After the initial orientation, all training was held on site and new employees were paired with a trainer for 2 shifts on each station.  If the trainer didn’t feel that the employee got a good grasp of that station, they received more training.  At first you learned 3 stations, and for the first couple of months you would work on them exclusively.  After that, you would be trained on other stations.  At any time you could tell them that you were happy and didn’t want to learn others, or the reverse.  Their system is such that new employees are set up for success.

·         Reviews & Expectations

We would receive regular performance and salary reviews: every 6 months in fact. I can’t think of another job (before or since) when the review process was as precise.  But, more importantly, before that we received regular, on the job feedback so we always knew where we stood and there were never any surprises at the review.

·         Growth Opportunities

If you wanted to move up and learn more, all you had to do was ask.  Things have changed since I’ve been an employee but back in my day you would first learn every station, then you would be promoted to a “Crew Trainer”, then “Crew Chief”, then “Swing Manager”, and eventually to Manager.  The head office in my city was staffed fully by former restaurant employees as well (reception, accounting, PR and marketing).

·         Recognition

There was a lot of employee recognition as well.  The employee of the month earned himself a Ronald McDonald trophy and watch (I still have mine), for each year of service you were awarded a collectable pin, and if you managed to stay until your 10th anniversary you received a crisp, new $1000 bill along with a gold signet ring.  At your 15th anniversary, they added a diamond to the ring.  In addition to the tangible recognition, there were annual parties in both summer and winter and all employees were encouraged to attend at no charge (they would have employees from other locations staff your location so that all staff members were free to go).


In addition to the above, I learned about teamwork, and finding productive ways to keep busy when things get slow.  I learned to appreciate the customer’s point of view and what true customer service is.   And I have a great collection of pins and toys that I hope will be considered collectible one day.

Like any job there were the downsides too, but the memories of those have faded.  Now I tend to remember the good parts of the job and am able to appreciate the experience that much more.

What was your first job?  Do you have any fond, or maybe not so fond, memories of it?

Do You Have A Love/Hate Relationship With Recruiters?


By: Kimberley Dart

I read a lot of industry blogs and news sites daily.  This is how I stay informed on what’s happening in the world and, more importantly, the staffing industry.  I’ve been in the industry since 2002 so I’ve seen a lot of things change.  Unfortunately one thing that hasn’t changed, and may have gotten worse because of social media, is the negative perception that many people have towards recruiters and staffing companies.

Here at FRIDAY we have always strived to be professional, honest, and to act with integrity in everything that we do.  Some of the stories that I have heard (both on the web and directly from our candidates) about our competitors really upset me.  A bad experience with a staffing company will often leave someone with the impression that all are the same.  This is simply not the case.

So why do some people have a distrust of recruiters?  The number one reason that I’ve come across is the “Fake Job Posting”.  That’s when a company puts up an ad seeking candidates when they don’t actually have that position to fill.  So candidates take the time to create a cover letter and to send their resume, only to be told that “sorry, this job has been filled.  But we have other jobs that might interest you.”  How frustrating!  Yes, we need to maintain an active database of candidates so that we can fill positions for our clients at a moment’s notice. No, we don’t need to lie to candidates.

Another strike against recruiters is that not everyone who applies will get a call.  I wish I could fix this, but it’s just not physically possible.  There are only so many hours in a day and there are hundreds of resumes to screen so, unfortunately, not everyone will get a phone call.  Is this fair?  No.  But unfortunately it is what it is.  The good news is that we do keep your resumes filed based on job type and when a position opens up we go back to that folder.

This final example of why many people distrust recruiters really makes my blood boil.  Unfortunately it’s not a onetime occurrence either.  I’ve heard/read on several occasions of candidates applying for a position on their own, i.e. not through a staffing company, and then find out later that their resume was presented to the hiring manager, without their knowledge and unsolicited, by a staffing company.


So how does this happen?  The staffing industry is fiercely competitive.  Here in Calgary there are over 100 listed Staffing and Employment Agencies, plus over 100 private consultants that offer staffing services.  Many of these companies (FRIDAY included) work on contingency - which means that we only get paid when an employer hires our candidate.  Many of our competitors only pay their employees a commission with no salary.  And that means that there are many recruiters out there who are desperate.  So desperate that they will search job boards for your resume and send it unsolicited to an employer in the hopes that the employer will want to hire you.  These people are not good at their jobs and they give all of us a bad name.

What can you do to avoid these recruiter pitfalls?  Stay tuned.  My next post will be focused on how you can get the most of out of your relationship with a recruiter.

Do you have any recruiter experiences that you would like to share?  Please leave a comment!

Is A Social Media Policy Necessary?

By: Kimberley Dart

This article first appeared in my March 2012 newsletter.


I love social media.  I can't think of the last time when a day went by that I didn't connect with my friends on Facebook, my colleagues on LinkedIn, or with complete strangers on Twitter (recently I've become quite fond of Pinterest).  Even so, I still believe that there's a time and a place to use social media.

As our corporate cultures evolve to become more social media friendly, more and more companies are using Facebook as a marketing tool.  Recruiters often use LinkedIn to source for passive candidates, and many service companies even hire staff whose job it is to watch Twitter for any offensive "tweets" about their company.  So how do you draw the line on what is acceptable business use and what is not?

Think about when your employees are using social media - for example, is it acceptable to update your Facebook status during your lunch break, or not at all during working hours? 

Is it considered work-related to connect with a supplier or client on LinkedIn?

How much time are your employees spending on the Internet for personal use?

Is social media / Internet use only a problem if the work isn't getting done?

The decision on whether or not to create a social media policy is yours to make.  Here is an article that notes 5 Noteworthy Examples of Social Media Policies

Here is another article on 5 Social Media Policy Mistakes to Avoid

And here's one more link from on How to Create a Social Media Policy.

Personally I think that it's understandable to expect that some time is going to be wasted at work by employees.  That time may be spent on social media sites or it may be spent visiting with coworkers at the water cooler.  Having a strict "no social media" policy will probably not be effective as most people now have smart phones and can easily check their friends Facebook statuses from there.

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Using a Personal Relationship to Gain Employment

By: Kimberley Dart

We all know the term “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.  To a degree, that’s true.  Knowing someone can often help you to get your foot in the door, or at least move your name to the top of the list.  However knowing someone is not a guarantee that you will find a job.

One of the blessings (curses?) of working for a recruitment firm is that people will approach you to help them find new employment.  It’s not unheard of for friends, family members, neighbours, or even clients to send me their resume asking me for help.

I received the following e-mail from an old acquaintance.  From what I know of her I would say that she is very hard working, determined, with a sunny disposition.  Based on her e-mail I formed a new opinion.  Look for yourself:

can send a recent redume.
Looking for work as Executive Assistant

Where to start?  Lack of a greeting, punctuation, capitalization, contact information, and a spelling error is what jumps out at me first.  Second, she wants a job as an Executive Assistant?  How could I possibly recommend her to one of my clients based on this?  All it took was eleven words for me to form a new opinion.  That has to be a new record!

Just because you have a personal relationship with someone who may be able to help you find a new role doesn’t mean that you can leave your professionalism at the door.

If you would like to use your network to help you find a new position I would suggest approaching it like this:

  • Call the person directly and explain what you are looking for.  Find out if s/he can even help you out (or if s/he knows who can)
  • Ask if you can send your resume for his/her review
  • Be professional.  Spelling and punctuation is ALWAYS important!
  • Do not treat this as a casual conversation just because you know the person.

Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression!

Can your internet presence lose you the job?

By: Kimberley Dart

Help Wanted


It’s a whole new world out there.  Just recently I was cleaning out the drawers in an old desk that my mother gave me and I came across 5 job ads that were cut out of the classifieds of the newspaper.  These ads were about 20 years old – so really, not THAT old.  One posting actually asked for a handwriting sample.  Times sure have changed.  Back then to learn about a job applicant you had to scrutinize the resume and really grill the references.  I know of one company owner who even took a course on handwriting analysis to try to get the inside scoop on a potential employee.

Today all an employer has to do to learn more about an applicant is to type his name into Google (or another similar search engine).  Most people today (my mother included) have an online presence.  It may be as simple as a Facebook profile, or they may have several links.

Have you ever “Googled” your name?  Go ahead and try it, you might be surprised at what comes up.  Whatever you see is exactly what a Recruiter or business owner will see. 

In a recent blog post, Alison Green of Ask a Manager addresses how your online presence may actually end up hurting your career prospects.  She received a question from a reader about whether or not to tell a candidate that they were not going to extend an offer of employment because of the questionable content of the applicant’s MySpace page.  You can read the post by clicking here.

So remember, when sending your resume to an employer, before you click “send” be sure to look at what comes up when you search your name.  You might be surprised at what you find.  If you don’t have an online presence, start a LinkedIn account, as some online presence is actually better than none at all (plus LinkedIn is a great way to network). 

We're Back!

By: Kimberley Dart


Back in October 2009, the first FRIDAY blog was born (go check it out, the articles are really good, I promise).  But after a maternity leave, a few staff changes, and a lost password, it was eventually abandoned.  But  now we are back!

I'm excited to get our blog started again, just in time for our 25th anniversary!

As before, articles will be for both the Job Seeker and the Employer.  Your input and feedback is welcomed and encouraged.  If you have an idea for a topic please leave a comment below.

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