Ace that interview and get the job

You are impeccably dressed, well researched and rehearsed, on time and waiting in reception before you are called in to interview. You know what to do. This isn’t your first time. But still, you’re nervous. You want to make a great first impression. And, right there, your nerves have caught you in their butterfly spin. We’ve got some insider tips showing exactly what goes into making a great first impression to focus your thoughts the next time you are waiting in reception.

The power of a first impression

It’s a scientific fact that human beings make decisions about strangers in the blink of an eye. Literally. We spend the next three seconds completing our opinion, around our perception of personality and competence. Once that decision has been made it is nigh on impossible to change it. The psychological advantage of making a strong first impression is significant; if you later make a mistake, you are most likely given the benefit of the doubt. There’s not a lot we can do to change these facts. We are funny creatures.

What influences first impressions?

This is where you can make a difference. Consider that the bulk of our communication is non-verbal. While it’s important to prepare what we would like to say, our body language is far more influential than the words we choose.

Make sure your gestures and body movements are congruent with what you are saying. For example: don’t describe a challenging situation where you had to fire an employee while smiling. While you might smile out of nerves or a desire to please your interviewer, the strong message you send is confused. Likewise the classic example of avoiding eye contact. It’s considered a negative gesture. You might feel intimidated, which is reasonable at a job interview, however what you are communicating is weakness.

Keep your body language open and relaxed. Communicate that you’re prepared and ready for the interview: you want to engage. Your tone of voice is another powerful influence. One way to settle your tone is to take a few deep breaths, making sure you breathe right into your stomach. A classic mistake is keeping the breath in the chest area which means your shoulders are hunched up and your breath trapped. Breathe deeply and your register will drop from its nervous higher pitch, down to its natural tone. Your tone of voice delivers your message – make sure it’s in your voice. Remember there are two factors at play here: the words you use and the way in which your message is received. Focus on your delivery.

Make a connection

Be kind and courteous to everyone. Think about how difficult it is to interpret someone’s behaviour and message when they are distracted. Any good interviewer will ask the receptionist, security guard and anyone you may meet on the way to interview what their first impression of you was. Make a conscious decision to switch on the moment you leave home.

Give your nervous energy something to do. Enthusiasm generates confidence. Allow yourself to be enthusiastic, confident and happy. Allow? Yes. Nerves have a sneaky way of imprisoning us in slightly robotic behaviour. Be authentic, enthusiastic, humble and kind. Allow yourself to shine.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For more advice on interview technique please get in touch. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

How to use social media to find a new role

When used correctly, social media is a powerful tool to help you identify that perfect role. An active and engaging social media presence is crucial for a variety of reasons. Your activity across social media platforms says so much about who you are and helps you to present yourself in this increasingly competitive market as the ideal, talented addition to an employer.

An engaging social media feed across a variety of platforms also highlights your ability to build professional contacts as well as showcase your skills. Recruiters respond favourably to active social media feeds; they gather information based upon the quality, frequency and professional relevance of your posts. Developing your social media skills is therefore vital and we have some strategic tips to help you maximise your opportunities.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn really is the go-to networking site for recruiters. But merely creating a LinkedIn profile isn’t enough to convince hiring managers to take a closer look at you. Recruiters seek superior content, such as testimonials and recommendations from your colleagues and clients. Rather than simply listing your experience and qualifications, take the time to include background information to provide context. The more time you spend curating engaging content, the better your chances of attracting the job opportunities you want.

Recruiters seek talented individuals to network with and to interview. Highlight your skills and experience, stand out from the crowd and use LinkedIn to build an impressive database of industry contacts. The more active you are on LinkedIn, the better it will reflect on you and your suitability for a particular role.

Twitter

Twitter is by far the chattiest of all social media platforms – but don’t let that fool you. It’s a powerful tool for attracting a new job. Twitter is also a helpful resource to discover what people are saying about the company you want to work for. When you are looking for a new job, focus your tweets and retweets on industry-relevant subjects. Use keywords and hashtags to group your content with industry-specific content. Engage with respected industry leaders through following and responding to their tweets. Use your experience to offer helpful advice to other Twitter users in your industry. Recruiters will take note of what you say and who you interact with; make the most of the opportunity and highlight your skills and industry knowledge.

Facebook

Facebook’s reputation as an informal social media platform has caught out many a hopeful candidate. Don’t let this be you. Nowadays Facebook is also teeming with many helpful industry-specific groups and content. In addition to interacting with industry peers, be prepared for recruiters to peruse your profile to see how you engage with the world beyond your work environment. Who you are is your personal brand. If you prefer, create a separate profile to use as your professional Facebook page. It is, however, good practice to keep your content clean.

Social media is an effective channel through which to highlight your skills, experience and personality to potential employers, and confirm your suitability for a role. The opportunities available on social media to further your career are endless. Happy posting!

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. Please connect with us on social media to keep up to date on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders. You can also subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

 

The cost of making a poor hiring decision

Poor hiring decisions are a real threat to companies operating in today’s competitive market. Recently one of the UK’s leading job sites publishing its findings following a survey of 200 recruiters. The study focused on how poor hiring decisions affect companies. The fact is, bad hires are costing your business money with each poor decision estimated to cost £15,000 and much more for senior hires. The bad news is the crippling long-term effects of poor hires, but the good news is that everything can be fixed if you know what to look for and how to lead your recruitment process towards better days. Here we share some insights into how you can avoid making bad hiring decisions for your organisation.

Strategy is everything

The advantages and necessity of a crystal clear recruitment strategy are well documented. We’ll say it again anyway: you must develop a clear recruitment strategy to avoid making poor recruitment decisions. Research confirms that if you don’t have a solid recruitment strategy you risk 44.4% higher staff turnover, 22.2% financial losses, 16% decline in productivity, 8.3% lowered staff confidence and 6.9% negative branding for the business. Note that in addition to threats to the business success, there is also the pernicious issue of low staff morale to navigate.

Significant sums of money are invested in securing talent for your company, and a lot of that money is lost. In fact, 66.1% of recruiters say they’ve lost a large sum of money on poor hires; 19.5% confess they’ve lost between £15,000 – £30,000 and 14.4% confirm they’ve lost over £30,000. With competition for recruiting the best talent set to intensify, your company cannot afford to make bad hiring decisions.

Screen with purpose

Careful and focused screening of candidates needs to be introduced at the interview stage. The harsh reality is that people are being hired for roles they cannot do, or in some cases they may be taking advantage of the opportunities available and defrauding the company. Not only are these costly errors internally but they can also cost your company dearly in negative press.

Screen your candidates thoroughly, making absolutely sure there are no lurking convictions or exaggerated CVs and skills rendering them incompetent for the role. While the pressure to hire the best talent is real, make sure you’re not rushing candidates through the hiring process.

Welcome with support

After attentive screening and interviews, the recruitment process is far from finished. As we have previously emphasised, your recruitment process must culminate in carefully designed onboarding. Make sure that you continue to observe and engage new hires during your onboarding process to ascertain their personality and suitability for your company culture. Some candidates are economical with the truth because they want a job; it’s your job to make sure an informed decision is made prior to offering a candidate a role.

Think about it

It’s important to appreciate the damage poor hiring decisions inflict upon an organisation. For example, the last thing you need is a poor hire taking to social media to complain. You may find desirable candidates decline to be interviewed as a result of the negative press on social media channels.

Recruiters cannot afford to be complacent or careless. Given current pressures and circumstances, that’s exactly the impression that poor hiring decisions can create.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

Why digital print is a game changer in packaging

 

The digital opportunity in the packaging sector of the printed graphics market is valued at over $10 billion, and with projected growth rates of 14% to 2020, this sector is booming. To keep up, equipment, software, and ink manufacturers are creating innovative tools, unique packaging specific solutions, and chemistry to enable future growth in digital packaging.

Innovation and potential

Digital print’s potential is enormous and already proven to be disruptive in other print segments. Industry leaders are supporting this trend and are pushing their return on investment ever upwards. The beauty of digital is its innovation and power is not exclusive to technology. Digital focuses on harnessing technological prowess with any organisation able to embrace evolution and development as part of its operations.  While digital is already widely accepted in the tag and label sector and the short run pharmaceutical folding carton sectors, of the packaging segment, other segments are ripe for significantly digital adoption in the next three to five years.  Particularly, the packaging sectors of corrugated, narrow web flexible film, and direct to shape (metal and plastic containers) offers the next likely high growth areas for digital.

Consumer experience is everything

The digital evolution continues to offer improved usability. As a result, the importance of a consumer’s experience continues to increase. As consumers’ confidence in digital transformation has grown, they have aligned themselves with brands and products that cater to their ever-evolving needs.  While the initial driver for digital was to enable personalisation, on the fly customisation, short run profitability, and the enabling of quicker and easier design to print campaigns are driving the next growth spurt.  Consumer’s expectations for packaging in the digital bombardment age, is also changing, just as the way millennials see and respond to advertising is changing.

Why is digital print continuing to grow?

In addition to the reasons outlined above, the growth of digital print enables print providers to exponentially improve and increase the services they offer to their customers. In addition, digital empowers innovation and encourages an increase in revenue streams not easily achieved in traditional print methods. It’s expected that digital print will make the most of the high value short runs and provide quicker turnaround times for packaging sectors.

Interesting times ahead for digital technology advancements

Today, there are both electrophotographic (dry and liquid toner) technologies and inkjet ink types of digital.  Toner based systems, such as Indigo, Xerox I-Gen, and Xeikon, have gained an early foothold on the short run tag and label, as well as some folding carton sectors.  More recently, inkjet solutions are being adopted as they can often do more than electrophotographic systems at a lower cost of ownership.  The technology advancements in the inkjet print head, electronics, and ink chemistry has now reached a point of practicality, likely eclipsing electrophotography as early as 2019.  Beyond toner and inkjet are a number of what have to still be referenced as “yet-to-be-proven” digital technologies that, if they really work, will also be very disruptive in the packaging sectors, especially those food related packaging sectors.

Excitingly, the greatest changes expected over the next decade will be in packaging. Sectors that are most likely to employ digital production processes include corrugated (direct to board and pre-print liner), metal decoration (2-Piece, and flat sheet 3-Piece), flexible (films, bags, pouches, etc.), and rigid (direct to container) applications. The folding carton sector also has the potential to grow as digital technologies develop further.

Beyond graphics and packaging

Digital continues to break new ground in all kinds of industrial applications, forging applications including flat and round glass, textiles, ceramics,  tiles, wood, plastic composites, electronics, and 3D. The term “Industrial Digital Printing’ has come to represent a kind of catch-all descriptions for every type of decoration that does not already fit into a known segment or sector.

Better Together

Organisations which recognize the phenomenal growth and potential of digital packaging are often engaging strategic alliances or in joint ventures, sometimes for technology, sometimes for route to market. This approach enables companies to capitalise on a booming market with less risk and faster time to market. These types of partnerships often bring together technology components and brands, as well as system manufacturing and customer facing solutions to help drive the industry faster into the digital age.  Some examples include  companies such as: Xerox with Impika, Fujifilm working with Heidelberg, and Xerox( Primefire 106), KBA with their own subsidiary Kamman (Direct To Shape) and new projects with Landa (S10 automation) and Xerox, Komori and Landa (Impremia NS40). Flint Group have acquired the Xeikon business in a key strategic move.

On-demand printing

On-demand printing reduces waste and also means the latest design, product information or alterations to components do not create unnecessary clutter such as superfluous records. Electrophotography and inkjet’s continual evolution and development mean that on-demand printing is possible for the packaging industry. Specialised detail such as packaging specific to a particular region, demographic or specific interest is now a practical reality for the packaging sector. Exactly where in the supply chain that the printing is happening is also changing with Digital evolution.  Digital printing near or actually in-line with the packaging converting process is also a trend, further shortening the turn-around time for a package to market while offering the flexibility only digital can offer.

There’s no doubt about it. The inclusive effects of digital development, particularly on the consumer, has changed the way in which the market interacts with packaging. Everyone wants to jump aboard this rapidly expanding sector, flourishing beneath digital technology’s ingenious gaze.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. We are excited about Digital Print and recruit for companies at the cutting edge of this sector. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

 

How to attract passive candidates

One of the main pressures bearing down on Print and Packaging organisations around the world is satisfying the constant demand for talented staff. It’s unrealistic to expect the most talented candidates to be looking for a new role at the same time you are hiring. Often the most talented candidates are happily engaged in employment elsewhere.

We call these candidates “passive candidates”. A passive candidate is someone who is employed and not looking to change their job, but who may be open to being approached. Approximately 45 percent of the current workforce are considered passive candidates who are happy to have discussions – with the right people. Let’s examine the most effective methods of attracting passive candidates.

…it’s who you know

Using an in-house employee referral programme is one of the most effective methods of recruiting passive candidates. An employee referral programme also increases in-house talent retention, because existing staff are actively promoting the company to friends, family and networking contacts. Passive candidates respond well to referral programmes, in no small part due to the credibility of their in-house contact. Also find a good specialist recruiter who knows your sector and has a good network. They will be an invaluable source of passive candidates if they have authority in their marketplace and will give you access to the very best passive candidates.

Strong branding

One of the first things approached passive candidates will do is Google your organisation and look you up on social media. Make sure your recruitment page is up to date, easy to navigate and shares the strength of your branding and company culture. Your recruitment page also needs a clear call to action, and your current career opportunities must be easily visible. Remember, talented candidates are looking for more than an attractive remuneration package. They’re looking for a company they connect with. Updating your social media feeds with information about company culture and branding creates a dynamic landing platform for the passive candidate when they look you up.

Trust is everything

Professional discretion and rock solid reliability will ensure a passive candidate discusses their possibilities with you in greater depth and detail. It can be stressful discussing a possible – and unexpected – new career opportunity. Make it clear to your candidate up front that you’ll never ring or email using their current work contact details, and you are of course happy to meet and interview outside normal working hours.

Network, network, network

A clever on-going, strategy is to ensure that you attend networking events and build up a steady stream of passive candidate contacts, to be used at a later date. It’s good policy to network whether you are recruiting for a particular role or not. If you use networking as a long range plan of action you build contacts slowly and establish trust with each of your candidates. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are a great way to stay in touch.

Know your candidates

When you find an ideal passive candidate, make sure you do your homework. Taking the time to research a candidate properly is worth its weight in gold. It’s extremely flattering for a passive candidate to be approached, particularly with some visible progress already made into understanding their current circumstances.

First impressions are powerful. If you want to win the war for talent in the Print and Packaging sectors, carefully thought out strategies such as these make all the difference.

Athena Executive Search. If you are serious about attracting and retaining the best talent in the Print and Packaging sectors Athena can help. Our 7 Step Recruiting System is designed to ensure that you can recruit and retain the top 15% of candidates in the Print and Packaging market, candidates who are motivated by much more than money. We work in partnership with our clients to fully understand their requirements and ensure that newly recruited staff are joining for the right reasons and looking to develop a long-term career.

Book in for a Client Discovery Call today by clicking on this link https://athena-executive.acuityscheduling.com/

Why Your Print and Packaging Job Advertising Isn’t Working

If you are struggling to fill your Print and Packaging roles, you need to take a good hard look at the possible reasons why.

There could be several factors which are holding the right candidates back from applying for your positions, or it could be a simple case of you not advertising with the right methods or in the right place.

Maybe you shouldn’t be advertising in the first place!

According to a recent survey by LinkedIn only 12% of candidates are actively looking for a new role with a further 13% casually looking. This leaves 75% of candidates not actively seeking a new role who would be unlikely to respond to a job advert. No wonder your advertising isn’t working! Consider asking around your network for recommendations and using a specialist Print and Packaging recruiter. Advertising may well be the wrong way to attract candidates and certainly the top 15% who will be very happy in their present roles.

Are You Advertising in the Right Way?

If you are going to advertise a role the most important part of finding the right candidates for your vacancies is formulating and placing the most appropriate adverts.

First, you should ensure that the advert you are circulating is perfect in every way. You’re not going to get the best people applying if your advert is full of spelling mistakes and doesn’t contain the correct information.

Your advert must have the correct job title, an accurate location, details on salary and any other benefits, a brief but informative job description, requirements (such as qualifications or experience needed for the post) and full details of where and how to apply (for instance, if you want a cover letter, ask for one).

Have You Placed It Appropriately?

Once you have the perfect advert, you need to position it in front of the perfect candidates – and that means making sure it is placed on the right job boards, websites and social media channels.

When advertising Print and Packaging jobs, for instance, you should make sure the details are circulated in specialist Print and Packaging publications / websites. Using the most popular general all-purpose ones is also a must.

Make sure to promote it via your own website and social media channels, too, and remember to include keywords to enhance your chances of reaching more people.

Is Your Application Process Too Complicated?

If you are asking every candidate to fill in a five-page competence-based application form and produce a thousand-word essay on their skills and experience, you may well be putting people off applying in the first place.

Keep your application process simple and relevant. And make sure you respond to everyone who meets your criteria promptly and appropriately – leaving candidates waiting around for weeks could mean you lose the chance to even interview them.

Are You Expecting Too Much?

Hanging around waiting for the perfect candidate who meets all your criteria to apply may just end in disappointment. You will probably have to compromise: the right person for the job may not have as much experience as you would like or possess all of the qualifications you are demanding.

And don’t expect hundreds of people to apply for every job – some more specialised roles will only see a handful of applications.

Is Your Brand Strong Enough?

One more rather harsh reason your job advertising isn’t doing as well as you’d hoped could be that your company’s reputation isn’t as good as you thought it was.

It’s a fact that people are reluctant to apply for a position with a firm they have heard bad things about.

Unfortunately, the only way you can change this is to become a better employer. Start by looking up employee reviews of your firm online, and then ask your current workers how you can improve. If you have a high turnover of Print and Packaging staff, this will be well worth the effort.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

Top tips to win the war for talent in the print and packaging sectors

 

We are all aware of the current recruitment challenges facing our industry. It’s not surprising that many organisations are feeling the pressure. Here are our insights as to how you can win the war for talent in the print and packaging sectors.

Take a good look inside

Evaluate current employee satisfaction. One way in which you can achieve an authentic snapshot of current staff sentiment is by creating a simple in-house survey. Share your company’s direction and focus. Engage your team; find out what they think. Successful organisations examine how they can improve the experience of talented teams. Often the most effective improvements centre around employees feeling valued, acknowledged and a central element of the organisation’s future.

Recruit smarter, not harder

Nowadays, referring to the “war for talent” highlights global challenges in recruiting talented staff. With digital technologies evolving at light speed, there is a burgeoning need to attract the best candidates available to help you keep up or – better still -stay ahead. The first key to success is recruiting smarter, not harder. Consider the critical difference between merely looking for replacements and recruiting the right talent to grow your business.

Do what you do best

The global talent deficit, coupled with increasing demands for your time, means you need to play to your strengths. Trawling through piles of CVs is almost certainly not the best use of your skills. Identifying an engaging recruitment strategy particular to your organisation’s short and long term needs, however, is a great investment. Take an active role in the recruitment process. Encourage robust discussions on recruitment criteria, both within your senior management teams and with your chosen recruitment firm. Make sure everyone is on the same page and understands exactly what your organisation is looking for – and why.

Planning and communication are key

Once you have your recruitment strategy in place, turn your attention to planning. For example, it makes no sense recruiting over notoriously slow periods such as Christmas. Taking the time to plan when you are going to recruit can make all the difference. Communicate with your candidates. Be transparent; let them know when they can expect to hear from you after an interview. Don’t leave them guessing. Put yourself in their shoes. Talented candidates are looking for an organisation they can connect with.

Transparency is the new currency

You are being appraised too. Offer a glimpse of the values and culture that exists beyond the job description. Breathe life into the role. Engage candidates with your honesty. Let candidates know what it’s like to work for your company. With so much competition between organisations, candidates are reassured by a clear perception as to who you really are. Your transparency encourages candidates to communicate with greater transparency too. This offers a rare insight beyond whether the candidate can do the job, allowing you to gauge their development potential.

Now that’s recruiting for talent.

If you are serious about attracting and retaining the best talent in the Print and Packaging sectors Athena can help. Our 7 Step Recruiting System is designed to ensure that you can recruit and retain the top 15% of candidates in the Print and Packaging market, candidates who are motivated by much more than money. We work in partnership with our clients to fully understand their requirements and ensure that newly recruited staff are joining for the right reasons and looking to develop a long-term career.

Book in for a Client Discovery Call today by clicking on this link https://athena-executive.acuityscheduling.com/

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How to succeed at your print and packaging interview

Interviewing for a job you really want can be stressful. In fact, the more senior your position, the more adept you are expected to be at juggling the various facets of human behaviour and professional experience. We’ve put together a selection of suggestions to help you nail your next interview.

Preparation

Beyond the essential choices such as being suitably presented and arriving at the interview at least fifteen minutes early, you will need to know everything there is to know about the company, the recruiter interviewing you – and your own CV.

Why would you need to know anything about the recruiter? A good recruiter will evaluate how well you build rapport during the first few minutes of the interview. Nothing quells nerves like preparation: arm yourself with an understanding of the hiring company, so you can lead the conversation if required.

It’s easy to forget to re-read your own CV. It’s natural to think you know it. Never underestimate the power of nerves, especially if you particularly want the job. Mapping your strengths to your employment history showcases your ability to maintain clarity under pressure. At this stage of your career, this is exactly what you need to demonstrate.

A great attitude engages and elevates your answers

An expert recruiter assesses a candidate in the context of a variety of verbal and non-verbal communication skills simultaneously. They are looking to see whether you are capable of handling the role and how well you will fit in to the company management team.

How you present your character and disposition is crucial, because in leadership roles these qualities affect how well you fit in to company culture. Authenticity, humility and confidence in yourself are key. A great one liner pep talk to give yourself is: “I am the solution for this company”. It’s a positive and empowered statement that eradicates any unnecessary anxiety about other candidates and focuses your attention.

Tell us a story…

Anyone can list leadership qualities and management strengths. Offer concrete examples of how you embodied those qualities and strengths in previous roles.

Stories enable you to navigate tricky questions such as the classic, “What’s your greatest weakness?” or being asked to describe an experience where you clashed with a superior. A saccharine answer will not satisfy. Interviewers are looking for an experienced leader with development potential, someone who is able to cope with the inevitable challenges of working life, how you deal with confrontation, whether you can admit accountability and how effectively you process and apply feedback.

You may also be asked to discuss a project that failed. In addition to the above, you’re being evaluated for the degree of responsibility you held, how you made decisions, how you rallied after a mistake was made, what you learned and what you considered your role in the failed project to be.

End on an uplifting note, confirming that you applied the lessons learned as you moved forward and how the company benefitted. Highlight how your strengths complement any challenges facing the company.

And lastly give an example of what interests you about your specialist area within the print and packaging industry. Thread your natural enthusiasm for your work throughout your interview.

Good luck!

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. We promise to make our interview with you as enjoyable as possible! For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

Restrictive Covenants – what do they really mean?

The sense of achievement you experience when you secure your new job is immense. And rightly so. You look forward to a positive and productive future with your new employer. This is quite possibly the least opportune time to think ahead to what may happen when you leave. However, protecting yourself for that eventuality is good practice and, some employment advisers would say, essential.

What are restrictive covenants?

Restrictive covenants are clauses in your employment contract restricting your activities post-employment for a specified period, in order to protect your employer’s business interests. While your employer’s desire to protect themselves is understandable, you are entitled to do the same.

Think ahead

It is vital that you understand the range and claim restrictive covenants have over your ability to function professionally post-employment. While this may not feel like the best time to question your employer, this is probably the last opportunity you’ll have to negotiate your rights.

Make sure you understand exactly what is being said in your contract regarding your rights post-termination. For example, how long are you precluded from working for competitors? Do restrictive covenants extend to your social media accounts and connections? You are the best judge as to how you operate professionally. Think about the contacts you brought with you to this role. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are prevented from working in your chosen industry.

What are the main areas covered by restrictive covenants?

Your employer will be keen to protect themselves across three key areas: competitors, clients and employees. You can be prohibited from competing with or working for a known competitor within a fixed radius of your employer’s location or across certain territories, for a fixed period of time. You can also be prohibited from luring employees away from your employer and working for existing clients for a fixed period.

Often restrictive covenants are not upheld because they are too vague, too lengthy and the employee in question is not senior enough to pose a credible threat to the business. The key to restrictive covenants being upheld is that they are specific and realistic. The courts will uphold what they believe as reasonable. It’s important that you understand how much leeway your employer has in restricting you.

Loyalty Obligations

Check your contract for the wording regarding the calculation of your bonus figure. In some cases, a percentage of your bonus rewards your performance but the majority is to reward your loyalty. There may also be terms advising that payment of your bonus is discretionary and potentially deferred to encourage you not to leave. Payments may also extend to commission, shares and any agreed long-term incentives. Pay particular attention to how these restrictive covenants affect your loyalty obligations and the timing of your departure.

Climbing the corporate ladder

Sometimes as part of your progression and promotion, you will be asked to agree to additional restrictive covenants commensurate with your increased seniority. It’s vital that you employ the same forward thinking with any such amendments.

We strongly advise you to seek independent legal advice prior to entering into any legal agreement.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1

The importance of career strategy

A career left solely to chance is an unwise gamble. Without the implementation of a clear and workable career strategy, there is a real risk of missing any opportunities that come your way, or even stagnating at a particular point you were hoping to move on from more quickly.

Work hard

During the early years of a career, you quickly climb the ranks by being the sharpest, brightest and most capable team player. You make sure you are the one who answers emails the quickest, the one who always volunteers for overtime and regularly comes up with ideas which far outshine those of your peers. But as your career progresses and the top of your game is in reach, the importance of a defined career strategy remains. Undertaking large projects which deliver time or cost savings – or other financial gain – carry more weight at senior manager or director level.

Plan

With plans come goals, with goals come motivation – and with motivation comes results.

Your career strategy will change and evolve over time, and will need constant review and consideration. In a world where there aren’t enough hours in a day and work is constantly piling up, months roll by unnoticed. But force yourself to regularly set time aside to assess where you are and where you’re going.

Be Specific

Work out specifically what you want to achieve in your career and by what date. Also consider whether there are gaps in your knowledge, in any technical practices or legal requirements for instance. Even as a senior manager or director, some new business concepts or procedures can require the acquisition of new skills and understanding. If so, consider what degrees or accreditations you may need to pursue, and what path you’ll need to take in order to get there. Study can require a large investment of your time and if a Masters or PHD is required for a position you want in three years’ time, you would really need to start applying now.

Get noticed

A recent study has shown that hiring an external candidate into a company means they’re paid 18-20% more than internal workers who are promoted upwards. Although unfair, it does point to the idea that professionals are often taken for granted inside their own companies. Whilst that doesn’t mean you constantly need to move around between organisations, if you do stay at the same company, it’s important to cultivate a strong external reputation. Get networking and get yourself noticed. Not only will you potentially open doors for yourself further down the line, you’ll also reduce the risk of blending into the background. You’ll remind your boss and colleagues that your abilities are appreciated – and sought after.

Athena Executive Search specialise in recruiting senior leadership positions in the Print and Packaging sectors across Europe. Please get in touch if you are contemplating a career move or looking to recruit. For access to more articles on industry topics, recruitment and retention strategies, and our upcoming webinar series with industry thought leaders please subscribe here: https://athena50147.activehosted.com/f/1