Interview | Sam Boswell

Sam Boswell

Engineering Manager, CTO, IoT, security, geek.

Hi Sam. How are you?

Really well thanks Andy, good to chat to you today!

What are you working on at the mo?

Currently my 9-5 (ish) role is with Device Authority, where we build a platform called KeyScaler – a cyber security platform for IoT (internet of things) I look after the engineering team here as we build out the leading platform for IoT identity, security and management. We work across a ton of different markets, but currently focusing on medical (surgical robots, drug delivery systems), industrial (smart factories, CNC, robots), and automotive (connected vehicles, connected autonomous vehicles)

That sounds interesting. How does it help users?

The biggest issues for IoT security are that traditional models of identity and access control don’t scale with the volume of devices needed. This has led to a bunch of approaches such as default credentials baked into devices that can’t be changed, and this leads to issues such as the Mirai botnets, and leaking of sensitive data. KeyScaler automates the process of building trust to devices, delivering certificates for PKI and setting up ongoing device monitoring, updates and more! By automating this work, we reduce costs for our customers, and remove the ever vulnerable human in the loop!

What aspect of Device Authority are you most proud of?

The team! We’ve got an awesome collection of people with a wide range of specialities – in cryptography, security, embedded software and high level server side development. The team here and across the globe work so well together.

What do you see as the next phase for Device Authority?

A lot of our focus at the moment is building out further integrations to support our customers integrating in lots of different verticals. We allow customers to deploy on-prem, Saas, or in a number of cloud environments such as Azure – and it’s important that we get the benefits from all of these different routes.

What did you do before Device Authority?

Before Device Authority, I’ve worked in the startup world, and bespoke software, helping to grow and lead engineering teams on a number of projects, as well as maintaining my own presence under the Deciphered brand where I can do some consulting and code work to keep my hand in!

This work stuff is great but who are you outside of work?

Outside work I enjoy a fairly wide set of outdoor hobbies, climbing especially. A technology interest keeps me tinkering on the bleeding edge in cybersecurity and AI/ML, a bit of pc gaming thrown in and as an avid reader, my kindle travels everywhere with me.

Thanks for your time Sam. I’ll be following with interest!

Check out Sam’s personal website to see the cool chat feature! I really like it.

More information

Device Authority  

Deciphered 

6prog is a facilitator of freelance contracts and commentator on recruitment in general. For more information reach out hello@6prog.com

IR35 ‘cheat sheet’

Pete is a Senior Engineer and Business Director. Passionate about the AWS Cloud and its limitless potential. Motivated, professional and independent thinker that works best when faced with difficult challenges. Extensive experience of architecting, automating, and monitoring the full infrastructure stack to deliver best-practice DevOps culture to Public and Private sector business clients.
Reposted with permission
6prog is a facilitator of freelance contracts and commentator on recruitment in general. For more information reach out hello@6prog.com

Projects Delivered | Stephen Gallant

Stephen Gallant In-depth knowledge of FX, credit and rates asset classes, regulatory programmes, client on-boarding, system migrations, and financial crime. Complex banking systems, identify potential risks, and streamline operations through mitigation and optimum corrective actions. Excellent communicator, presenter, and problem solver with proven capability to establish beneficial relations with multi-disciplinary functions.

6prog consultants and work delivered – by Stephen Gallant

Steve, Certified ScrumMaster®

The Challenge I faced on joining the programme was to ensure that Global Custody FX process for all locations was documented and understood to enable a new global reporting solution to be delivered, which would provide evidence that the bank was fairly executing their FX orders  (both within documented timeframe and without front running).

The client was an International bank that was trying to get ahead of the regulators whom had previously fined other global custodians for their lack of pricing transparency within their FX execution businesses. 

The project plan was set out in order to complete the analysis / process flows primarily for the London office (where I was based) and to then use the documentation created for London as a baseline for the other global locations.

The first step that was taken was to complete a list of all areas / functions that were involved in the complete front to back process for the custodian FX business. Once this list had been verified  as complete, individual workshops were set up with each of the areas in the order of the process flow. Within the workshops, the process of the area was discussed and the systems used for each step of the process was confirmed.

Secondly, a process flow was drawn up for each of the involved areas and was sent for confirmation / sign off by the involved areas. Once each area had signed off their section of the flows, these were put together in order to create the full front to back flow and was presented to all involved areas so that any potential missing or ambiguous steps could be discussed and corrected.
Once all of the individual areas had agreed the full front to back flow, this was then presented to the senior management team for the final sign off. 

The final London document was then distributed to the other global locations for them to advise where their processes and systems differed to the London baselined document. Once the first feedback had been received from the global locations, conference call workshops were set up in order to be able to complete and confirm the process flows for each of the custody locations.

Once the process flows for each location was completed and signed off, the next phase of the programme was to enable the required reporting to be set up. The reporting required two different reports be be set up as from the process flow piece of work, as it was clear that the client operated two different pricing policies for the FX business across the regions, with the main difference being the execution windows that were used.

I was tasked with defining and setting up the report that would be required for the execution model being used by the London custody business. Working closely alongside the development team, a report was defined whereby the internal system timestamps and execution rates were compared to the mid market rate (being pulled in from a market leading data company) at the time of execution.

This enabled the client to provide evidence that trades were executed within the pricing policy guidelines and definitions and also showed the execution rate compared to the mid market rate at time of execution. Within the reports, tolerances were set up in order to flag up any trades which were outside a set percentage of market rate and any trades which were executed outside of the execution window set by the time the order was accepted.

The final piece of work was to setup and implement a new operating model to work alongside the new reports. Working alongside all of the involved business areas a new TOM was set up and implemented including set timelines for report creation and distribution, exception management, ownership and record retention.

Overall, I left the client after 12 months with a new report and operations model around it, a complete set of global location process flows for the FX custody business and a reduced risk of a regulatory fine for lack of transparency in FX execution.

At time of publication Steve is available for work.

6prog is a facilitator of freelance contracts and commentator on recruitment in general. For more information reach out hello@6prog.com

6prog consultants | PRIIPS delivered – by Rupert Clewley

Hi Rupert – how are you? And what is this Priips?

Hi Andy, it stands for Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products

Got it. Can you take me through a project on this topic?

PRIIPS implementation for fund linked derivatives.

The client, an international bank, was under severe pressure to be able to continue to offer their full suite of derivative products in Europe to its client base. Unfortunately their chosen 3rd party Key Information Document (KID) provider had been unbale to commit to the support the KID generation for more complex payoffs in time for the regulatory deadline.

Over a period of 4 weeks I developed a remediation plan to address all products and payoff combinations prioritised by the business for end of year delivery.

https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/priips-disclosure-key-information-documents

This involved stakeholders across five functions, a collection of systems that made for a unique architectural challenge and staff who were distressed with the lack of engagement and support provided by the 3rd party solution.

  • First: I engaged the quant department to Python script the scenario simulations and risk indicators.
  • Second: Engaged internal, external legal counsel and the structing department to draft the KID templates for each product and payoff combination.
  • Third: We advised stakeholders weekly on our progress thought the project updating them on progress and providing feedback on the challenges as they arose.
  • Finally: I provided a regulatory white paper that was presented at the European industry regulatory forum on appropriate treatment of cost and charges for underlying funds for fund linked derivatives

I finished the project after 8 months with a solution and structured plan to integrate the full product suite and payoffs into the strategic solution. In the first two months after the regulation went live the business were able to issue in excess of £250 million notional of product using this solution.

Get in touch if you would like to talk to Rupert about your programme needs.

hello@6prog.com
6prog is a facilitator of freelance contracts and commentator on recruitment in general. For more information reach out hello@6prog.com

Making it cheaper to recruit permanent staff

How can I de-risk my hiring?

Having worked in the ‘people’ sector for many years I have seen multiple models for companies to recruit staff.

These include: day rate contractors, fixed price consultancies, apprenticeship programmes and in house recruitment and external permanent hires.

I have not seen anyone making a play that makes this cheaper so I have done it myself. I will explain further down in the article.

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash
First here is a table of each of the above styles of staffing:
CostsBenefitsDisadvantages
Day rate
contractor
Fee plus agency margin (approx 15%)Focused on one deliverableKnowledge handover
Consultancy
[fixed price
deliverable]
Total fee
[capped and on delivered work]
What you pay
for you will get, or at least it
won’t cost more
Work must be
well defined in
advance. 
The people you hire may have a sales target to
meet.
Consultants will have days off for training.
Consultants
may be swapped
during project.
ApprenticeLow costsKeen to learn,
no baggage,
open to trying
new ideas
May make
‘obvious’
mistakes, will
need training by the experienced members of the team
Permanent
[in house]
Salary plus cost of internal
recruitment
manager
Your in house
recruiter knows your culture
Possible they
have a limited
network.
May also use
agency which increases costs
Permanent
[agency]
Salary plus
agency fee
(approx 25%)
Agency will help you screen.
Usually a fee
refund available if it goes wrong
Quite a high fee to pay and
agencies do not really understand your business so you still do
the screening.
Potential to
miss out on
good people

There are compromises to be made

Really? Must we?

I agree wholeheartedly that each of the above had specific reasons for choosing and businesses should hire accordingly. However, let’s look at combining two of these strategies…

Hire a day rate contractor for three months, and then go perm.

Why would I  do that?

Combining the benefits of these two methods also removes the disadvantages.

Once you have worked with someone for three months you (and they) know if you are a fit. You can plan training and long term progression to keep work interesting. You know you can rely upon them and what their quality of work is like.

Can I do that?

No. Consultancies, Contract agencies and Apprenticeship scheme contracts are usually designed to effect a ‘buy out clause’ when you convert to perm. This is justifiable based on the effort those businesses have made upfront to recruit and train that individual.

So what was the point of this article?

When we developed 6prog we realised that with platform recruitment there would be no benefit in us ‘protecting’ the freelancer population who wish to work with us. Indeed we actively hope that companies will use our services to hire permanent staff because, guess what, when those managers progress they need help to come in and our flexible model is there to help.

I’ll break down the costs:

 Day ratecontractorConsultancy
[fixed
prive deliverable]
ApprenticePermanent
[in house]
Permanent
[agency]
6prog
Day Unit Cost
(annual 220
days)
500/day 950/day 250/day7500075000500 for 3 months then 75,000 salary (9 months)
Additional Costsplus 15%N/aTraining from
colleagues
estimate
20000
Estimate in
house
costs 5000 allocated 
(assume 10 hires/yr) Use of external agency [rare]
20000
18750Plus 3% (for first 3 months)
TOTAL
(year 1
costs)
126,500209,00075,000£100,00093,75028,325 + 56,250 = 84,575

Note that through the article I have not included any currency or made allowances for tax. Clearly these vary country to country. However, I hope I’ve shown that through combining hires initially as contract and then converting to perm you could be realising benefits previously confined to one or other strategy AND it might save you a few pounds, euros, dollars etc in the process!

ABOUT

6prog was started by friends from Brighton, UK and Los Angeles, USA. We had all experienced recruiting, being recruited and working as a recruitment partner and felt that these tasks would benefit from a single solution. We discussed various propositions with a large number of people in our own networks and summarised the following characteristics with this multi billion dollar industry.

• Recruiters spend too much time doing paperwork when they should be networking.
• Freelancers spend time chasing updates which can just be messaged directly.
• Clients want multiple levels of recruitment expertise but would rather not have multiple suppliers.
• Project Managers don’t have the time to read through multiple online profiles (the reverse job board service? “no thanks”).
• Everyone wants clearer communication.
• Everyone wants fair payment and fair charges.

So we designed a workflow that allows members to deliver their function most effectively. Recruiters can be anyone with a book of contacts (it’s more valuable to a PM if you can recruit from people via experience or word of mouth). Project Managers and Freelancers can talk to one another. It’s fine – it really is! Recruiters are paid a fixed fee agreed per opportunity. Also margins should not exist (too many reasons to list!) and therefore the software is funded by the low transaction fee. 

Importantly, our ethos is membership driven. All members are charged in the same way at the same fee. Finally we decided to get a team together in order to build a modern solution for project managers, freelancers and recruiters. We launched in April 2017. 6prog is pushing it’s platform to do even more than it already does today. Become a member and help us on our shared journey to revolutionise how projects, recruiting and on boarding get better.

How can 6prog help what you need to do?
make your valuable network valuable

Actually, are you a contract recruiter?

When developing our plan for 6prog, foremost in our mind was one question.

How can we make working easier?

One way to start answering this, was to evaluate what the service actually is that a contract agency offers, and we saw that the main substance of their work was administrative. Really? How is that useful to their clients?

Surely the focus of a recruiter would be meeting people and matching them to clients and vice versa, to ensure managers were getting strong candidates from their recruiters – not being encumbered by administration.

The 6prog platform is engineered to remove any need for duplication. It is a golden source of data because it is shared, securely, between those parties where access is given.

The platform makes it possible for recruiters to leave their desks behind and spend time talking to people; after all, people are what makes businesses, not admin.

https://www.6prog.com/home/recruiter

This has generated an additional area of interest for us. If being a recruiter no longer entails chasing paperwork and tracking candidates, perhaps ‘anyone’ can do it?

It has been suggested to me that the key attribute of a good contract recruiter is their contact book; that being the case then I shall be going ‘to industry’ when I need to hire. I will be asking the people doing the work who they know that will be good.

Indeed I can use 6prog.com as my operations and back office while I get on with the interesting and exciting bit of business; meeting people.

https://www.6prog.com/account/register

6prog partners with Crunch to give users access to Accountancy Support

Crunch is the official ‘go to’ partner for 6prog members who need advice on tax, expenses, savings and more…

From the 6prog FAQs you can find free information and access a free consultation.

“It is part of our roadmap to offer a full solution to freelancers and for them to be able to access independent advice easily [and] from a company as qualified as Crunch is it very pleasing for me. Clients using the 6prog platform can be assured that freelancers have the support needed so they can focus on the task in hand.”

Andy Barnes – 6prog CEO
Crunch is an online accounting service that supports freelancers, contractors and practically anyone who’s self-employed. They understand that the self-employed life isn’t your standard nine-to-five, and tailor their services to make your life as easy as possible.

Whether you’re a sole trader, a limited company or a freelancer, their simple online software, expert advice and accessible support makes managing your finances easier than ever.
Crunch is an online accounting service that supports freelancers, contractors and practically anyone who’s self-employed. They understand that the self-employed life isn’t your standard nine-to-five, and tailor their services to make your life as easy as possible.

Whether you’re a sole trader, a limited company or a freelancer, their simple online software, expert advice and accessible support makes managing your finances easier than ever.
6prog was started by friends from Brighton, UK and Los Angeles, USA. We had all experienced recruiting, being recruited and working as a recruitment partner and felt that these tasks would benefit from a single solution.

Become a member and help us on our shared journey to revolutionise how projects, recruiting and on boarding get better.

6prog Partners | Open Orbit Technology

SaaS platform for improving process improvement

Six Sigma SaaS platform, Open Orbit, re-engineers the way Process Improvement (PI) is delivered, taking the enterprise to PI 2.0. It dramatically increases the effectiveness and efficiency of investments in process improvement.

Open Orbit turns up the knob on all the dimensions of a transformation project by applying Lean Six Sigma to project definition, process modelling, measurement, root cause analysis, solution hypothesis and benefits tracking. It provides an active Diagnostic Workbench that reduces the effort and time required to get results, a live and context-sensitive Open Knowledge Base of insights and best practices, and a connected Community Forum to drive sustained benefits and engagement. It is the thinking place of choice that practitioner can turn to, so it naturally becomes the system of record for improvement projects.

It enables Agile and Anytime governance at a project as well as process levels, accessible organisational memory and standardisation of approach – without having to mandate usage from the top. Instead of depending on adoption driven from the top, it entices the Lean Six Sigma practitioner directly by making their job easier and time more effective.

More information? Login to 6prog and click Partners under the menu [top right]

Why modern platforms can service businesses better than ‘heritage’ one customer type businesses.

Why modern platforms can service businesses better than ‘heritage’ one customer type businesses.

Technology has infiltrated our lives in a huge way since 2000. I say ‘infiltrated’ as if it has somehow carried this out without our knowledge, perhaps ‘invited’ would be a better word.

Whilst tech often seems made to frustrate, it is, undoubtedly better when it works.

I have been working in recent months to bring the MVP for 6prog to market. We have done it but it has not been with out hiccups and I’m certain there are more to come.

When setting out on the journey of starting my own business one friend said to me (whilst looking into a crystal ball) “whatever you do, don’t start a technology business” 

Sage advice but how many traditional businesses are there that can work with the absence of tech? 

6prog stops a number of traditional issues with contract recruitment such as 

free sign up

1/ QUEING 

Client or candidate, your agency will only work as fast as it can depending on what fees you negotiated and where you are in the list [how valuable you are to them.

2/ MARGINS 

Get rid of them. Let’s work to service fees that are consistent and transparent

3/ TIME or TIMEZONES 

Recruiters are asked to work before and after work and ‘call me back at lunch’ … why? this simply pushes up the cost of recruitment. Let’s work sensibly and use technology to communicate in time slots we have available.

4/ NETWORKS

Whether you have a shortlist of approved suppliers or an in-house agency you have immediately limited your pool of resources. Use platforms to capture the whole market. Sorry – another ‘tech beats humans’ point!

5/ CONSENT 

Utilising a members only platform means that all members are consenting to maintaining contact with you. 

6/ DIVERSITY

Platforms that are open to all to join and use have been shown to be preferred to tight verticals or industry specific sites. Open your options to many industries, open your hiring criteria to many talents from sectors and enrich your teams.

6prog : make your valuable network VALUABLE.

Seven percent

How much is 7% worth to you? 

What is the most expensive part of running your business? 

People?    Yes – they are a lovely and very necessary part of making a business.

We often use temporary resources to manage peaks in demand and the cost is typically their day rate plus ten percent.

6prog : make your valuable network VALUABLE.

6prog thinks that is too much. 

Through automation, platform technology and efficiency driven recruitment, the price for delivery of your temporary resources is 3% on 6prog.com.

Continue reading “Seven percent”

6prog members

A Financial Services Transformation specialist with over 20 years experience within Markets, Banking and IT, across JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and HSBC. Always specialising in change & transformation, roles have included IB COO & CAO functions, M&A Change, Head of HR IT, IT programme management, Middle Office, Finance & Operations Change, and Data Governance.

Effective at managing local and global programmes from inception to live, he has a unique capability to work with both small and large businesses and help them realise the power of block chain. Additionally, he acts as a non-exec director of a number of startup companies (incl. Tectra, WorkGaps, +), as well as managing Crypto portfolios and coin mining.

For more profiles like this see 6prog.com and contact hello@6prog.com if you are interested in talking to the above consultant. Click the logo below to register.

Why 6prog is industry agnostic.  

“Industry knowledge is invaluable however transferable skills are too.” 

6prog enables you to filter between different types of connections whether you are looking for work or looking for workers.

It is likely that you will initially look for people you know and you may have already invited your immediate contact group. Great news that your People are looking strong and you have enough talent in the pipeline for your foreseeable needs.

Continue reading “Why 6prog is industry agnostic.  “

six ways to communicate and work smarter with your team

When you have worked with someone for a while it becomes easier to communicate as we can make assumptions about the nature of requests or intention behind statements they make. 

However, in projects we are often thrown together with a new team of people and the need to become a cohesive delivery machine quickly is of paramount importance. 

1/ Set expectations of the high level end game that the team is aiming to achieve. In 6prog projects this is easy as all of the freelancers hired can see the same outline and key deliverables.

2/ Regular meetings. We have a scrum every 48 hours. It’s so valuable to see if what was planned is actually achievable – and understood -before too much effort is undertaken. It means we can be more agile and change deliverables without major impact on timescales. Try out Teamretro to help your team retrospectives flow with ease.

3/ Commit verbal changes to writing. Within projects chat, simple status and notes can be made to confirm agreed steps within an engagement.

4/ Use the same language. Call a widget a widget and stick to it. 

5/ Limit the number of locations where written conversations take place. I have found myself checking through multiple channels in slack, teams, WhatsApp, messages and then finally finding the relevant data was shared in another location to be the most troublesome ‘benefit’ of modern communications. There are so many practical comms channels, just choose a few and clarify for what purpose each is going to be used. 6prog will be using a Slack api for our projects soon! 

6/ Utilise low cost collaborative project tools such as one Figura Associates demo’d to me recently. Figura have a free trial here

Continue reading “six ways to communicate and work smarter with your team”

How did 6prog start?

6prog was started by friends from Brighton, UK and Los Angeles, USA.

We had all experienced recruiting, being recruited and working as a recruitment partner and felt that these tasks would benefit from a single solution.

So we designed a workflow that allows members to deliver their function most effectively.

 

  • Recruiters can be anyone with a book of contacts (it’s more valuable to a PM if you can recruit from people via experience or word of mouth).
  • Project Managers and Freelancers can talk to one another. It’s fine – it really is!
  • Network Recruiters are paid a fixed fee agreed per opportunity.

Importantly we were keen that variable and hidden margins should not exist (too many reasons to list!) and therefore the software is funded by the low transaction fee.

Importantly, our ethos is membership driven. All members are charged in the same way at the same fee.

Continue reading “How did 6prog start?”

The CV is Dead – part 8. So if we don’t use CVs, what then? By Lee Lam

 

If we agree that the CV is no longer a suitable method of selecting people for roles, that it endorses a lack of diversity within our organisations and that it has no ties in with talent management once in the organisation, what is the alternative?  It is a fundamental shift in culture and thinking away from a process-driven recruitment process to a more holistic approach.  This approach will not fit in neatly to the machine – it’s not a bolt-on that allows you carry on as before but with recruitment 2.0 – and it is a change that will impact not just recruitment but performance and talent management, project management, how people get managed by their line manager – everything.

But, it will encourage personal accountability, higher levels of employee engagement, improved loyalty and commitment to the organisation(as part of the enhanced psychological contract between employer and employee) and will help organisations identify the people who they need to take their organisation into the next decade and beyond – not based on what they have done before but what they can envision for the future and the energy and vitality they are prepared to use to make it happen.  Maybe that’s where the mountain climbing will come in useful.

 

 

www.ditch-the-cv.com

0203 865 2877

The CV is Dead – part 7. It doesn’t help with Career Progression either. By Lee Lam

 

Senior leaders identify those for promotion not based on the activities they do, but the attitude and tenacity with which they do their job. And by job, I am talking about not just the day to day to do list, but their approach to building networks, making connections, building relationships with key stakeholders – all of those aspects that senior leaders will look at for those who they feel are ready to make a jump up.  I’ve never heard of someone being put forward for a promotion within their organisation and the manager basing their decision on their CV (HR will always require the manager to bring in a CV because it is part of the process – but realistically, the decision is made on the assessment from the manager and any other interviewers – the CV is just part of the paper trail).  The paper / online CV is a stale representation of what you can achieve as soon as you get into the workplace which is why they get out of date so quickly, and why they are so painful to update as and when you need to.

So if we don’t promote or grow our employees based on a constant assessment of their CV aptitudes, why do we hire on the basis of them?  I would argue it is because we still see the ‘machine’ of an organisation and because of that we can’t imagine what business could look like without it – we are looking for the faster horses.

 

www.ditch-the-cv.com

0203 865 2877

The CV is Dead – part 6 Experience is more than a list of achievements – by Lee Lam

 

 

So am I saying that your experience doesn’t count for anything – far, far from it.  We all hate creating CVs because we know that it is the worst way of trying to convey who we are and what we can do – its why CV writing businesses are always so busy – we assume they have the secret formula for making you sound more interesting.   Your experience is far more than a list of activities – what about the times you stayed late in the office to help get a project over the line?  When a massive outage destroyed a database, and you and others gave up your weekend to re-key in all of it?  The countless conversations you have had with colleagues talking through problems in their work and helping them to make the call or have that difficult conversation?  This is the true experience of work – how we work with others and how we – as a team – succeed.

www.ditch-the-cv.com

0203 865 2877

The CV is Dead – part 5 Gender and Diversity Gaps – by Lee Lam

 

Currently all initiatives created to increase a more diverse representation of society within organisations, are trying to fit within this broken system of hiring via CV.  As with young people trying to get their first role, many groups are excluded not because of their diversity but because of the ‘rule’ that says you have to have done the job to do the job again.  The only way for these groups to get better opportunities is for someone to disregard the CV and lack of experience and ‘take a chance’ on them – I’m not entirely sure that having someone tell you they are taking a risk taking you on would be very motivational, unless you hope to prove all of the nay-sayers wrong.

We need to get away from having targets to hit for increasing representation, and focus instead on what qualities we need from people – regardless of past experience – that could help them take the organisation to the next level.

Even if we were able to say that overnight, we have eradicated the gender gap, that we have solved the diversity issue – we would still have the same problem of how do you get experience for a job you haven’t done before?  That is the real issue – and it affects everyone in equal measure. If you are looking for true equity in the treatment of employees – look to how we assess people based on their CVs.

 

www.ditch-the-cv.com

0203 865 2877

The CV is Dead – part 4. New Employees – by Lee Lam

A study by Ernst & Young in 2016 (pre-referendum) states the following (Mark Gregory):

“Youth unemployment rates have fallen from the peaks we saw during the recession, when 40% of the UK’s 16-17 year olds were facing unemployment. However, a stubbornly high number of young people remain excluded from the labour market,which could be further exacerbated by a period of weaker economic growth in these uncertain times ahead. History has shown us that young people are more exposed to economic volatility and industry restructuring than the population as a whole.”

“The skills agenda is fast becoming one of the biggest priorities for UK business, with Brexit also likely to impose some restrictions to the free movement of labour in the future. It has never been more important to ensure the UK has the right mix of skills and talent, both nationally and locally, and young people are core to this.”

The reliance on the CV to tell us what we need to know about someone is impacting our ability to get new people into work – you can’t get a job for a role that you haven’t done before (and no amount of mountain climbing and abseiling can get over that).  We tell young people to strive for academic excellence, get a broad range of experience with travelling or sports – then assess their ability to do a job based on work that they have never done before and the experience that they do have is dismissed or seen as irrelevant.

Our young people have grown up in a world of growing technology, and are far more comfortable with the concept of a changing world than we ever were.  We do them a great disservice to give them a set of aspirations that then we immediately dismiss as they try to enter the world of employment.  It is impacting our ability to grow our economy, and our ability to help our younger generations identify and enhance their potential. The system of CVs is not set up to find the next big Thing – just the old Thing repackaged again and again.

Taking business into the future is not going to happen by doing what we did before, but by approaching business in new and truly innovative ways.  And while we are concerned with making what we have already work better or faster (Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”), it is the up and coming generations who are freed from the shackles of ‘status quo’ to think of new and disruptive ways of achieving greater growth and profitability.  It is no coincidence that all of the major disruptors in industry – Google, Amazon, Facebook and Virgin in its infancy – are all concepts of younger people, who – precisely because they haven’t been involved with it before – can think more freely and more optimistically about what can be achieved.  We talk about wanting to find the future leaders, the future talent, the future game hangers, yet the recruitment process based on CVs does not help us achieve any of that.

 

www.ditch-the-cv.com

0203 865 2877

The CV is Dead – part 3. Skills Gap – by Lee Lam

 

In 2011, the UKCES (UK Commission For Employment and Skills) found that 38% of ‘hard to fill’ vacancies were due to lack of candidates with the required skills, and year on year this problem has been growing (by 2015 it was reported to be 69% of the ‘hard to fill’ vacancies).  And last year it was stated by the LGA (Local Government Association) that Brexit could exacerbate this issue by as much as £90bn in our economy.  It is a known problem – part of the LGA’s frustration is that there are too many different initiatives to help people learn the skills that are needed that it is now “confusing, fragmented, untargeted and ineffective”.

I suggest we are looking at the problem in the wrong way.  Instead of focussing on the skills that you can add to a CV (that will then get ignored by employers who are looking for experienceas well as skills), put the focus on teaching people howto learn new skills, howto adapt their learning to keep up with changes in the world and in business.  It is guaranteednow that any knowledge-based skills that you have are out of date almost immediately, given the rate of change we go through as the world becomes more and more online.   When I was a trade floor support engineer, I had to be able to support hundreds of different software applications, both in-house (written by the organisation) and third party software such as Microsoft Word or Powerpoint.  If I had to list every piece of software I have ever supported and all of the different versions I’ve supported, the CV would just be a long list of applications – and if you look at the CVs of a lot of support engineers, that is what they all do.  But, the reason I was good at my job was my most under-represented skill on my CV – that of troubleshooting.  I knew roughly how all applications worked, because the defaults of many applications are essentially the same (there is a menu, there is a settings option, you can make changes via an edit function etc.) so my real skill was in deciphering what I could from what I was given.  Then as a hiring manager into those teams, I didn’t want someone who knew the last three versions of Microsoft Outlook – I wanted someone who I could put in front of a customer and who could fix their problem right there and then, without thinking that because it was a different version, they didn’t know it.

These holistic skills – troubleshooting, customer service, rapport building, analysis – are incredibly difficult to put on a CV in a way that truly reflects how proficient you are at them.  The nearest thing we have is the “Key Achievements” section that lists out all of what we achieved using those skills – but the emphasis remains on what you didrather than howyou did it.  Ask many recruitment agents and they will say that, based on the job descriptions given out by organisations, their ‘keyword search’ is based on skills not aptitudes.

The skills gap is not going to be filled by focussing on how we have done the jobs in the past, we need to focus on how we help people do the jobs of the future, and that is not going to come from looking at a CV to tell you the best person to hire.

 

www.ditch-the-cv.com

0203 865 2877

The CV is Dead – part 2. Why Do We Use CVs? – by Lee Lam

The CV was born as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, the point in history where manual jobs were taken over by huge machines with even bigger engines to run them.  The production line mentality of the factory translated over into all manual and non-manual work, with the concept of having a machine that ran with a particular set of cogs (roles) that were shaped in a particular way.  If a cog broke (or resigned), you simply tried to locate another one that looked and performed exactly the same – maybe if you were feeling ‘innovative’ you would select someone who had slightly ‘more’ experience, or even better, had been that cog at one of your competitors, and they could tell you how they had run their machine.

Now engineering and technology has moved on – we now have tiny machines running huge production lines, and robots taking over the roles that many humans once did.  Yet our concept of how to hire for the humans we dostill need hasn’t updated along with it.  We still look for the cog that fits.  We use the CV as our way of assessing whether they can do the same job they did for someone else, but do it for us in the way our particular machine works.

This has left us with a few issues which we will cover in subsequent blog posts.

 

www.ditch-the-cv.com

0203 865 2877

The CV is Dead – part 1 by Lee Lam

As I applied for my university degree, I had a problem.  Although my academic work was at the required level for the subjects that I wanted to study, I was struggling with my ‘Hobbies and Interests’ section.  I had spent so much of my time studying to make sure I got the grades that I didn’t have time to do anything other than lounge around in front of the TV, sometimes read a book or maybe go out to the cinema.  And I’ve read enough CVs of other people to know that this sums up a lot of our shared experiences: ‘Reading and going to the cinema’ appear on nearly all CVs that I have read!  I say nearly all because there is that otherset of CVs, those who somehow also managed to do really exciting and adventurous hobbies – water-skiing, mountain climbing, ultra marathons, trekking the Inca Trail, swimming with dolphins.  AND they managed to get the grades.  How was I ever going to compete with that?!

The need to make your details on application forms and CVs stand out has never diminished, throughout my post-University career and beyond.  We tell school leavers and graduates that these show a depth of character, it reflects a broader representation of their personality – I tell them (along with many other recruiters and agents) that nobody even reads them.  For many of us this is a relief, as we don’t have to come up with exciting ways that we don’tspend our time; but think about anyone who took up those activities, who were encouraged to take up those activities, because “it would look good on your CV”.  I’m not saying its everyone, some do actually like skiing, mountain climbing or lacrosse, but I suspect there is a large proportion of people who have interests on their CV that they really hope the interviewer doesn’t spot and ask questions about.  In fact I know this – and I know many interviewers who deliberately look for the ‘awkward pause’ question – usually lurking in this section – that makes the interviewee squirm.

This section forms such a small part of your CV, why am I referencing it in an article called ‘The CV is Dead”?  Well, I happen to believe that the ONLY part of a CV that is useful for anyone is the part where you talk about what you do outside of work – the rest of the information looksimportant until you actually pick under the skin of it and you realise that it has no relevance, no importance and no indicator of how well you will perform in a role.

 

www.ditch-the-cv.com

0203 865 2877

the best freelancers I have met

 

 

 

I often talk with freelance suppliers who every 6-18 months run, a proverbial gauntlet, chasing jobs on job boards and reaching out to clients, agencies old and new with the aim of securing their next engagement.

I’m interested to know what works for them and they are equally curious to know if a refreshed CV or a different [lower?] price will make the difference.

Actually in my experience nether of these makes the key difference. What does help is personality. Smile, laugh and ask how people are: build a relationship. Freelancers who work purely on the basis of a transactional relationship will win work, of course they will. But their engagements will also be purely transactional too.

Let’s face it, we all want to enjoy our working hours and it’s much easier to build trust in working relationships when time is put into building the relationship.

If you have read as far as this paragraph five, you probably already do it. Good on ‘ya.

 

http://www.6prog.com

5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Consulting

Originally published > www.inc.com/brenda-della-casa

5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Consulting

Take note: If you’re afraid to offer a contract, you shouldn’t be in business.

 

There are few things more fulfilling for new business owners than signing that first client and having the chance to do what they love under the structure of their own business and brand. Freelancing is an exciting venture, and in today’s market, it’s big business. A 2016 study by Upwork showed that there are 55 million freelancers in the U.S., making up 35 percent of the American work force.

If you’re thinking of joining the consulting club, let me be the first to congratulate you. You’re in for one of the most rewarding experiences of your professional life, but only if you do the work to ensure that you protect yourself. Ignore this important step and you’ll set yourself up for a lot of unnecessary stress and possible burnout.

Here are five tried and tested ways to avoid some of the more common mistakes made by new consultants.

1. Mistake: Not setting the right tone.

Because most freelancers are usually so excited to have their first one or two clients, it’s not uncommon for them to fall into the trap of doing a little extra (read: free) work here and there. They will eagerly respond to messages and emails immediately and take calls when they really should have been scheduled. They think they’re being generous and accommodating (and they are), but the clients see this as setting a tone for the rest of the contract. This tends to backfire as clients become accustomed to having responses in real time, all of the time. Before you know it, confusion ensues. The consultant is overwhelmed and both parties are frustrated and resentful.

Protect yourself: Put your guidelines in writing — and stick by them.

Have a very clear discussion laying out your professional boundaries and ask your client to do the same. Come to an understanding about working hours and response times and agree on how you will schedule calls, meetings, and Skype sessions. Once you are in agreement, put all of this information into your contract (see below) and have both parties sign it. If you are going on vacation or going to be unavailable on certain days, let your clients know as far ahead of time as possible. Ask them to do the same.

2. Mistake: Being afraid to put a contract in place.

I recently asked 15 consultants if they offered their clients contracts and was surprised to find that only three had one in place. The most common reason for not offering up a formal agreement? Consultants were worried that doing so would cost them a gig. The best way to move past this costly concern is to understand that quality contracts are put into place to protect both parties, not for one to strong-arm the other. This is done by making responsibilities and timelines clear, securing payments and fees, and putting a formal agreement in place if the relationship does not work out.

Protect yourself: Make it legal.

For most professionals, a contract is a basic step in the process of doing good business. Put bluntly, anyone who is unwilling to put his signature where his mouth is isn’t someone you want to be in business with. In fact, several business owners I spoke with claimed they would steer clear of a consultant who didn’t offer one, out of fear that that consultant would be unprofessional or untrustworthy. Paying a few hundred dollars to have a lawyer look over your verbiage (to ensure that you have covered everything properly and are fully protected) is a worthwhile investment.

3. Mistake: Not holding clients accountable.

Whether it is allowing clients to hand in deliverables late, jumping through hoops to complete tasks by unreasonable deadlines, or working with an unpaid invoice, many freelancers help create a culture of chaos by not drawing a line in the sand when clients behave badly.

Protect yourself: Create consequences.

Though revisions and delays are inevitable on most large-scale projects, there needs to be a clear understanding as to who is doing what and when it is due. I personally like to use a task-management system to manage to-do lists and follow-up with a weekly email outlining what is being worked on and what is outstanding. It is also important to remember that accountability goes beyond checking items off a list. If a client schedules a call and goes MIA, doesn’t pay an invoice on time, or crosses a line, you need to have a system in place to deal with it. Charging the client for a percentage or the full amount of time you set aside for the call is not inappropriate and stopping all work until an invoice is paid is acceptable. Just be clear to have these guidelines laid out in the contract beforehand. Once they are in place, it is up to you to abide by them.

4. Mistake: Allowing them to treat you like their employee.

One of the biggest struggles freelancers face is forgetting that they are in a professional partnership with their clients. You are doing work for them, not working for them. The distinction is an important one.

Protect yourself: Remember that boundaries are a good thing.

As a consultant, you are not privy to the benefits of a full-time employee, nor are you involved in the day-to-day running of the business. You have been contracted to do a specific job because of your talent, not to get caught up in office politics or drama or to feel anxiety about the mood or shifting decisions of your client every day. Additionally, when on-site, you are not there to “jump in and be a team player” on tasks that are not outlined in your contract.

5. Mistake: Getting too friendly with clients.

We all want to work in a friendly environment, but getting too familiar with a client will inevitably blur the line between the personal and professional relationships. This can make objective decision-making and clear communication difficult in the long-run.

Protect yourself: Keep a professional distance.

No one is saying not to open up a little bit or that you need to turn down every cocktail invitation, but it is important to know what to share and when to leave. This is where that age-old advice still rings true: Do not open up about or do anything you’d be embarrassed to have in print. Simple.

PUBLISHED ON: MAY 8, 2017