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PRIME Recruitment Blog

My 6.5 Latvia: Improving Fatal Stat's on Roads - Driving like Clowns


Advise for reading this: If you're a Law student this is peanuts to read but if in marketing and liking to express yourselves, other than in Court, it's trying. Still maybe it stirs such emotion we will see rapid changes and new thought patterns. I hope for the latter! BANZAI !

I have long thought we need increase the quality of life here for all of us to give people a better chance and put a smile on their faces, but for that to happen we need all pull together. Thus this article is an attempt at that by showing what needs more effort thinking on!

I don't know the statistics this year but it is not long since the fatalities on roads in Latvia were just second to Portugal, which is interesting as she is hardly considered over-populated and just as Latvia limited both in space and population. So there seems to be a negative correlation to size and population, but what about chance and opportunity? And new found freedom!! Aah, as the British and famous TV journalist Richard Qwest would say: Aaah, NOW THAT seems to have a ring to it...

-Coming from a very Germany-like-country like Sweden we have been in true socialistic manner indoctrinated for more than 50 years about road safety, anticI-pation of what could happen, pro active behaviour, having a foot on the brake pedal just-in-case someone jumps out in front of you in a densely populated or divine intervention - despite that most of us are not or behave like atheists. Numerous have been those intermissions on national television before the news showing us what a 'left-hand-turn' might cost us, so much to the fact they have been built away and we go right then underground or above to then go left. Costly in cement and project management, a life saver like no other. In fact there have been so many improvements some of them are quite far-fetched and may lead to rebellion as frustration builds. In the end its better to park the car and WALK.

-Well we're not going to have that much fun, but instead I will point out what everyone knows, which no one seems to compile or better even - do much about.... and Yes, I am a bl...dy besserwisser-foreigner, but remember one thing: -We are in need of road safety, less fatalities on the roads and an improved environment. But this means we all need improve and yes it starts with You & I, but also with the local police and how they are managed.. Hm..., I think it will be tricky to keep this short..-What do you think?...Let's hope I come to the end here before they jail me!


PRIME Recruitment Blog

In desperation to win - we bend the truth in applications - a recruitment dilemma...


Dear All,

...working out of Latvia or the Baltic states as a recruiter you just like always wish to bring out the best in people and then attempt to be fair in selection by giving all an equal chance.
These my best efforts are often hampered by persons having others write their CV, their cover letter - yes even their diplomas were written by someone else - at cost. (Telling this just to illustrate).

In an increasingly competitive world to win is seen as a success. To be head-hunted something you can tell others - and here status is more important  than ever, sad then in an effort to do so, we as humans try cosmeticizing our story. This can be accomplished by having someone write my cover letter so there are no spelling mistakes - giving the impression I am fluent. Which means when challenged at my next posting, clients ask for fluency but don't check on the level needed, if not found out - I am salaried for a job I cannot do. That may cost!

In a recent assignment I deliberately wanted to put forward both genders in a predominantly male dominated industry - knowing that the market elsewhere was ready for what locally was less applicable - put it that way. I did find, and it was a very competent person. I also know that some people work better and harder than others (ooh, this is sensitive stuff to write about here!), and in the documentation asked for, we asked for it to be written in English. It was the best application of them all! -However, upon calling up to book the interview I heard a hesitancy, it was a little quiet, there was a heavy accent and it did not match the ' first impression' I had. I decided to proceed knowing anyone having the other  fundamental qualities are a short good and we have to look at these other features too, and then TRAIN people if we want good staff. Compromising if the personality is right!

To me, and that is what I wish accentuate here, it destroys the best intentions of my work as I cannot evaluate until I see the person and hours go by while I try to fish out the 5 best, the 5 worst, or what they bring to an organisation for lack of vocabulary. Thus Dear Reader - I much more prefer spelling errors and gram-mar mistakes and a real effort made, than perfection (as it is perceived) in applications. Nothing is ever perfect, and to try, is what we need look at!

I wish to stress that this example is just an example, my candidates are super people competent in their fields - but when the job puts them in harm's way or in for challenges communicating out of the region in another language than that of the every day, if not found out and checked by the proper person (recruiter) it may spell disaster. And it is also about understanding the meaning of what is said to you on a level that is more than pure semantics. And if you don't have that experience, you will miss out on much more - especially when you have no eye contact - and sorry, skype will not save the day! In short: Make sure you get what you need when you buy services and don't ask for what you don't really need. This latter will also lead to fair chance and better pricing of those pursuing new jobs or holding the positions they have. -Why pay for what is not needed?

Any comments on how to change attitudes? -We wrote in the advertisement we wanted the letters written by the person - not copy paste of a language level they cannot hold. Nothing seems to help...:))
Press 'LIKE' , SHARE or COMMENT! What are your experiences? Does anyone recognize him- or herself?

PRIME Recruitment operate in the Latvian market and the Baltics since 1997, trailing back to 1994/5. Most fields are covered and we don't hesitate to go the extra mile, also in helping people up and forward and making ideally the perfect match. MATCHED recruitment is our BRAND and it starts when profiling the features of the person with our Client and securing that idea by asking applicants to produce their own profile. In combination with the THOMAS system, this delivers the best overview of a person as it allows everyone's interaction and with the interviews and ref checks we should arrive at our destination: SUCCESS. may just be the right option for you. TRY iT!


PRIME Recruitment Blog

Due Diligence in Recruitment - Who's responsible? Or: Being paid for a lie?


Claiming to know and being found out to not know is one of many things that takes out a candidate in an interview. In the past weeks I have seen this especially on the proclaimed competence in Languages and frankly it might be time we all went and took a proper test now and then to ascertain what is what. Sometimes the whole application was written by someone else...

-International companies, and also local THINK they have competent staff and rely, and have to, on local recruitment companies to check - the sad thing is it does not happen. One reason certainly being the competence on/of the Recruiter is simply not there - the other, maybe just as much - if the fee for recruitment is too low there is neither time nor interest to do your job to check. Interviewing in English should be standard procedure where needed, Latvian & Russian too. Tell the client to check too! Or tell if you haven't...

Recently in a process I ran, ENGLISH was crucial to the position - frankly most could not hold a conversation in it, let alone in their area of competence! One of these who failed us later sailed on to a position where I know the Management should but apparently don't know that the person can't - and it lies on the responsibility of the Manager in charge including the HR-person to find out - especially when the head office relies on it. In a company that otherwise has to live up to all international standards to be able to export there! I leave it for you to draw your own conclusions..... but I sense this is rife here. In a country that asks of everyone to be a good academic...

Another example was of an HR person running the recruitment for a very large company. I am an advocate of people having had another job after their degree or before as they will work and deal with people many years their seniors, and it is important to understand people's lives also outside the factory. Being a good administrator fresh out of university you need at least 5-6 years in different roles to even know yourself let alone 'administer recruitment' or that of actually employing people. A looming danger here are the numbers of people returning from work overseas said to have worked with recruitment and no one ever checking the WHAT's and HOW's...and it seems both recruitment companies here and the management s don't care. This means that fair English skills impress as well as location and the few months  spent in the function in the U.K., as in this example... but who actually knows if it was about sorting papers, interviewing or what? For one, advertising there and inviting people when you yourself are challenged in that language I find hard to believe is going to be of any substance. Yet, for lack of experience people are taken on, on assumption! To one of the most critical positions in a company! Imagine then having a foreigner who runs the show, who probably does not know the local languages is poor his her awareness of the 'culture' - they can largely be fooled! And do you what, people get away with this...  And are overpaid for what? -Shocking!

Yet another phenomenon is a fresh degree from you-know-where, no life experience but a sexy diploma from a leading university and there and then, whisked off to lead a company!
Without a clue about life! And with Management in no better shape - well-educated on paper, but experience in life.... -Still an Enigma, to You? But here good English probably sealed the deal. (Or chronyism Radi&Draugi = nepotism). I bet you, THAT made the recruitment company smile! The 'Let's scratch each others backs'-syndrome..

Checking a person's de facto competence is not an easy one and that is why it is so important to have consistency in the process, people who know what they are doing. A bad example of this was when I picked up that a recruitment company phoned the person in question, a very competent financial officer. A few questions were asked in the local language, the next day, a Saturday -which is fine, came without warning 4 questions of which the most intelligent was: '' If Johnny has two apples, Ieva 3 and if the answer is 7, how many does Janis have''? The others were not much better!  -Having completed these she was then deemed the RIGHT person for the position a Latvian company just out of town, recently set up which had just fired their current manager after two months, having totally been in operation for five.  What is needed are means to test people really, another that the Managers are more involved in the quality part, both in  the said recruitment company but also as buyers! In this case if this is recruitment, then someone has been royally screwed.. If this was a 2-2500 EUR job it makes the industry come out as fools...

I am by now aghast to see how selection happens, especially on how little time is put to find out and query further. (Seen from that point of view the industry is over-paid! ...and others...too little!).  I know fully well that a lot of degrees here are not real! Including the final paper written! It has not seldom been written by a person paid some 800 EUR or more for a Master's paper. Years ago I found out that answers to tests had been gotten from teachers because they badly needed to make money! I hope at least that is history now, but what I have found is that when I ask people how cost is calculated and they have a degree in business administration - they don't know!  It is not a matter of English. The understanding for some what is Economics and what is Business Administration is also largely unclear. That was told us both in the English courses at university, as well as the courses in Macro economy the second term at university in an education that spanned 4 to 6 years!  Thus I encourage managers on all levels to CHECK  and see if people actually make sense!

These are from what you can see now, far from separate cases - as most of us cover several industries it is important to do your footwork and constantly follow up on this. There are courses for professionals to attend in the U.K., too which I sent people over the years - but when these are not in place, senior management must take out its staff and 'air them' . A good example of this is when a business friend of mine took out his younger sales staff to mingle among foreigners in a chamber run event. This allows to see others, learn what is needed to live up to, train ability to hold a conversation in a foreign language, take in new ideas, see yourself in contrast and also probably enjoy a good meal with others. This would, where needed in the individual case,  improve your eating techniques, such as the use of fork and knife..:) In this person's case the latter is not an issue, but otherwise  often is among locals as well as foreigners as they look like miniature excavator plunging through the food!

The purpose of this article is just like to enlighten us all that things need be improved and we are all part of it and it concerns us all and our delivery. It is skills like these that a seasoned manager is looking for, and if they aren't their it may become a very expensive exercise. When I myself have short-coming I call to people who have, I can also bring in expertise, I also enter into a dialogue where I ask my candidates to explain and show with examples. By the years in recruitment you develop a feeling for what is and what is not and may read so much more even at a moment's glance and the first few minutes that the rest of the interview does. However it is still wise to not ever assume but actually find out - this told me many years ago by my expert trainer in THOMAS  -Mats Lewin, whom helped turn round not only my sales but that of Unibanka / Uniliizings = today's SEB, Volvo Trucks's HR and Astra Zenecas results.  It just leaves to show we can never learn enough!

Do your DUE DILIGENCE, it may well be NO ONE else did!

If this was useful, then maybe a 'LIKE' is due? Or a SHARE or maybe a COMMENT?

PRIME Recruitment runs processes in Matched recruitment for local and international companies in Latvia and Pan Baltic since 1999, trailing back to 1997 and as early as 1994-5 via the Manager. A large part of the job is to never rest and never take anything for granted and thus spend many hours on the selection mainly in meeting people more than once. With a testing profile developed with the client we achieve well together, but break that chain, by saving cents we might lose sight of the goal altogether. Don't!  To WIN, You and I need team up, invest time prior, by doing our home work together and to complement each other where best needed! Let's get it right the first time!

WELCOME to the World of PRIME Recruitment!

PRIME Recruitment Blog

What FIVE.5 Qualities a Recruiter Should Have!


Over the years in the profession you look out in the world and think to yourself how do I wish these men and women should be for me, if I should arrive there? In more junior times I looked for literally hundreds of jobs - and yes, grew tired of it - but I also saw what I didn't like. I remember going to one of Stockholm's best companies as I wrote them spontaneously asking to work for them. I was of course a complete novice - and although we met one evening in a very dark hall-way, with a man probably in his mid 60's correct but very grey and most ordinary I had my doubts ... and no, nor did I get a job. Never forget them - frankly I was too young and had very little, much too little, to offer - THEM. Years later they had recruited a major person who had been caught out in the previous job for sexual harassment...and this was a death knoll for such an agency. Perhaps younger blood in good time could have made them see other values? You see in Stockholm, mistakes are not forgiven and here it was first-page-news in the second largest daily.... and there are large values lost (a GM position would easily have cost 100,000 EUR to fill, if not more.... Makes you wonder...what should you be looking for...?

Another time I represented as one of three, a delegation on behalf of 40 high-level unemployed, in an effort to put Uppsala on the map as a source for finding good candidates. We got on the train early for the 50-minute-ride south to Stockholm and went to meet another high-ranking firm and as it turned out one of the board member-owners. I have forgotten most of the visit except that the man obviously was a perfectionist, very direct and frankly rash. I left thinking that with someone like him none of us faced a chance and he had no understanding for that the world was changing and the day of full employment was over - frankly he lacked under-standing.

I yet again met with a large milk producer's that was something of a dream com-pany to me due to a great trainee program spanning two years - when I came in through the entrance I was directed to a room, they issued me a test and I was out again within 30 minutes. Later I found out I did not fit the profile and I was OUT. Nice. No feedback, no nothing. Sad. Bastards, in fact!

Here in the Baltics, I learnt of a large company with Nordic owners who sent the finalists to Stockholm for testing. I heard later it became a disaster and wasn't surprised. Filling out intelligence tests in high-level English is probably the smartest you can do, without knowing if people understand or how they interpret coming from an environment so unlike what we as Nordics can even start to imagine, as can we understand the motivators as people have a totally different set of an agenda in the Baltics coming from much tougher situations physically and mentally than we ever have.(They have been deprived of everything and had their freedom taken away!). Thus THAT, with a few other blunders made on part of the company, the choice of Recruitment company by local staff who do not know what they are buying, and a recruitment agency that does not put down their foot, is all too typical as they prefer to chant along! It's a consultant's job to TELL (it may not be pleasant, you may lose business but it's your job) and the result, after their almost a year on the assignment was zero! (The 'usual assignment takes 3-8 weeks).

-Imagine the cost for 'production loss', over-work and other jobs not being done? Compromising in decision-making, but also the throwing out the 'baby with the water' (which was finally done) is part of modern management! It took the leader to do so, and for me it worked, I was brought in instead and had a solution based on the mistakes of the others involved after digging deep, and learnt this lesson.... but I see others didn't. It took me two days to get it right another month to run and present.

Recruitment is about judgement, nuances, bias sadly not always fairness, subjectivism good and bad -and in the former a 'feeling' for who fits and how they may develop. Often in the new emerging economies we see it is about money, prestige and placing one's chronies and who will buy from you, and fitting in not who is best, no. As a result of what I have seen, heard and been part of, here are my five-o-five:

1/ Imaginative - able to see along other thought patterns and able to suggest the Client necessary changes and adaptations, and being a bit more out-of-the-box than is mainstream. So there should be like a marriage between Client & Recruiter where both add to the table.

2/ Think ahead into the future and by experience anticipate future needs and being able to suggest clients suitable candidates early - if only personnel departments here were empowered to think and decide and hire - thus the Recruiter need be in direct contact with the GM and not get stuck in the staircase...

3/ Non Corrupt. Non accepting of this and the guts to be different, as in non-complacent in a market where this sort of thinking is a novelty. We need people who are different, not always part of the pack and who as company managers dare hire and fire without checking with London e.g., first. Employing the RIGHT people, appropriated the financial means needed, not employing those who 'suddenly show up recommended by some ''agency'' or other' and who speak good English and just have a foreign degree. For this to happen we need pay Recruiters better so they can afford to have integrity and as candidates understand that using professionals to place you is a job where ROI also is counted and it not being a social service free-of-charge! Some recruiters actually have families...some:)

4/ A Coach who cares, who can put you forward, still retaining professional neu-trality and working for each one of us equally but also able to sell into new non-seen jobs with his / her clients and even be on such good footing that discussions take place long before they actually are thought of. In Sweden this works very well and makes transition smooth and swift.

5/ A friend to be respected for his her special abilities and who is used by his customers also in between assignments (managing directors don't change very often), who can be there come heaven or hell but not taken for granted. Instead supplied more opportunities and why not be part of your active board and remain as an active advisor from the market to secure long term quality and better internal dialogue. This would ensure the Recruiter is up-to-date and allow for an even better job done as would his/her market sense improve and benefit many more - at very affordable costs to the Client/-s. Recruitment is not a smart career move for the CV, consistency is and clients want knowledge and that you know them.

5.5:) / Able to suggest, solve at speed but be rewarded correctly not cheaply - which offsets positive thinking. A lot of love goes into organising solutions and 'thinking on our feet' because we KNOW what we are doing and sense how you are is due to accumulated experience and interest in solving challenging issues as that is what we are asked to do for every not appreciated in kind.Thus Dear Buyer - appreciate your BEST friend! We aim to create you a Com-petitive Edge!

PRIME Recruitment is operating in it's 19th year in the Latvian and Baltic market. Covering all sectors most probably and still a learning organisation we get it RIGHT with you and our THOMAS (DISC) to match right person to right mission! Neither of us can afford mistakes, let's avoid them better TOGETHER!


PRIME Recruitment Blog

HONESTY in applications & openness - What do You think?


Dear Reader,

It is not often I run into this but last year in a process we ran we had a candidate who would not disclose the name of the current employer. I tried my best to ask this person to budge on the issue and disclose to me - but no. This highly irritated also my client whom later asked the same question and was met with the same answer - that this was 'confidential'. Now is it really? My client felt it was distrust in him and his organisation - which has a very god name- and told me frankly - this person is 'out'. And I can agree with him. Also.

It would be interesting if anyone here on LinkedIN could share their point-of-view what they think or would do?  You see the person has an excellent background otherwise - experience, education - and names of previous employers.

In the country we are gossip is rife, confidentiality is often tredded on, rumours travel fast and yes, it can put a person out of a job. Still the person obviously wishes to leave....and I thought that a year would have given time to reconsider.

I am glad for any opinion - both from anyone in general or professional recruiters such as myself.

Henrik Mjoman
PRIME Recruitment, Riga, LATVIA


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