Master Business Administration in Less than Three Months

Edited by Christine dela Cruz, Anonymous, Lynn, Graeme and 1 other

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Have you ever wanted to successfully run your own business? Do you want to try to earn a master's degree in business administration to be a better business person, but do not have the time or even the funds to go for it? You're in luck! A huge aspect of business administration can actually be learned on your own, most especially if you impose a certain discipline on yourself.

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The theoretical aspect of business administration can be mastered in less than three months. That's already more than enough to learn the foundational concepts. Thereafter, practice takes the limelight. There are a lot of people out there who are conceptually good, but lack the ability to effectively translate the concepts to actual business environment.

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This wiki will lay down most of the essential aspects of business administration that you can master independently.

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Elements of Business Administration and Corresponding Time frame to Master It

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  1. 1
    Market and Strategy Formulation:
    Three weeks
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    1. Competitive Analysis. This is among the most critical elements of a company's forecast and overall plan. Upon effective analysis of the competition that is out there, a company is able to establish exactly what products and services will be based out of competitive advantage.
    2. Strategy Formulation. This involves categorization of competitors according to functional groups and devising a specific strategy based on those categories. There is no such thing as a single strategy that fits all. This process looks into all aspects of competition such as:  
      1. Products and services
      2. Profitability and pattern of growth at least over the past five years
      3. Objectives and goals
      4. Attainment of goals
      5. Forecast of performance based on market assumptions
      6. Strategies, both past and present
      7. Organizational structure and corresponding fixed costs
      8. Bottom line profit margin
      9. Strengths and weaknesses
      10. Diversity of business
    3. Marketing Strategy. This is the planning the effective execution of conceived counter-action towards competition, to be able to launch and retain in the market the products and services. This includes:  
      1. Advertising and various methods of promotion
      2. Market communication
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  2. 2
    Management System and Process Design and Implementation:
    3 weeks
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    1. Project Management. This plans out how the business will be run, across departments, from forecasting until actual execution and then reporting of work.
    2. Installation of Management Controls and Information Systems. These systems are like oil to a running machine. It ensures that established processes are facilitated accordingly.
    3. Quality Assurance Systems. There always have to be checks and balances in place to ensure that processes bring about desired results. This combines both in-process and endpoint checks.
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  3. 3
    People Management:
    Two weeks  
    1. Desired Human Resources Profiling. Along with the strategies and processes in place, a company will need the right people to run it. It is important that a company clearly knows what type of people it needs.
    2. Establishment and Perpetuation of Desired Organizational Behavior. This sets forth how human resources are expected to work together, in a team environment, in order to achieve the goals of the company.
    3. Ethics. This is the philosophy behind a company's organizational behavior. It defines what is considered as right and wrong, based also upon the values of the company.
    4. Leadership. This is an equally important aspect of business administration in a way that a company defines how the rest should behave, based on reliable role models.
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  4. 4
    Finance:
    Three weeks  
    1. Economics. This should involve a relatively good amount of knowledge of local, national, and international economics that could directly or indirectly impact the business.
    2. Accounting. This is a systematic methodology of keeping record of transactions, taking care of financial records, conducting regular internal audit, dealing with tax-related matters, and ensuring transparent financial information is being reported to management and stakeholders.
    3. Finance. This deals more with fund management, specifically balancing the assets and liabilities of the company, considering both planned and unplanned occurrences in the business.
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Important Things to Note about the Business Environment or Market

  1. 1
    Fusion of both internal and external factors.
    Any business environment or market is influenced by both internal and external factors. There are always areas which can be controlled through careful planning and efficient execution. On the other hand, there are also areas which are simply beyond control. For these cases, what a business can do is factor these in into planning, and already implement a certain margin of error. This way, although there is an impact to the business, it is calculated somehow and balanced off by the controllable areas.
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  2. 2
    Integral function.
    A business and the market it belongs to have many aspects and factors to deal with. However, no matter how complex these factors are, they are all interconnected. Any movement in one area, whether positive or negative, will have a consequent effect on the others.
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  3. 3
    Dynamic behavior.
    Any business environment and the market surrounding it will always be dynamic. There is no such thing as lull time; activities always happen, whether they are helpful or not to the business.
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  4. 4
    Uncertainty.
    Business environments continue to evolve and therefore, change always occurs. Hence, it cannot be expected that business will always be certain. This is what successful business owners are able to anticipate and plan for proactively in order to be able to thrive in spite of challenges.
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  5. 5
    Intricacy.
    Businesses are unable to stand with just a single unit involved. It will always be an intricate network of processes that affect each other.
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  6. 6
    Variation depending on location.
    There is no such thing as similar business situations. Businesses will always be different from one another, primarily due to the different markets and industries that it belongs to.
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How to Create a Marketing Strategy

  1. 1
    Market segmentation analysis
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    1. Purpose  
      1. To manage the process of developing the business strategies
      2. To ensure that the business strategies developed will lead to success
      3. To assess the bigger market and see where your target product or service stands
      4. To break the bigger market into smaller categories to make the entry into market more manageable and targeted
    2. Process  
      1. Analyze the market in terms of participants and create a sense in terms of how they are similar and, at the same time, different from one another.
      2. Identify the subgroups based on certain categories set forth.
      3. Identify where your products or services and target strategies fit into.
      4. Assess the subgroup that you belong in and from there, analyze strengths that you can maximize on and weaknesses that you need to work on.
      5. Compare your company with the other members of the identified subgroup and see what your competitive advantages are.
    3. Example: Assume that you plan to setup a restaurant. The following steps must be done.  
      1. Identify target market as follows:  
        1. Mass market
        2. Students
        3. Family
        4. Entry-level employees
        5. Mid-level managers
        6. CEOs
      2. Look into available locations:  
        1. Nearby schools and universities
        2. Residential
        3. Commercial district
        4. Busy tourist area
        5. Countryside
      3. Consider what restaurant rating you belong into:  
        1. 1-star, cheap
        2. 2-star, relatively affordable
        3. 3-star, averagely-priced
        4. 4-star, high-end
        5. 5-star, luxury
      4. Depending on what category your business falls into, budgets and marketing strategies are better planned and implemented because the target market is more precise.
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  2. 2
    Competitive analysis
     
    1. Purpose  
      1. To fully understand the business activities within the same industry and segment
      2. To analyze business trends and identify the causes for fluctuations
    2. Areas to look into:  
      1. Competitors' activities
      2. Competitors' strong and weak points
      3. Competitors' improvement efforts
      4. Competitors' methodology in dealing with market shares
      5. Competitors' reaction towards market demands, including the lack of it in some situations
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  3. 3
    Development of marketing strategy
     
    1. Purpose  
      1. To serve as a blueprint for the company in terms of further steps to be taken
      2. To ensure that each of the steps in the implementation is geared towards profitability and that there is sufficient return on investment
      3. To ensure constant alignment to the overall goals of the company, across areas and functions
    2. Process  
      1. Define the goals of the company
      2. Identify bottom line target in terms of profitability
      3. Conduct a SWOT Analysis for each of the major steps
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Basic Sales Process

A company, no matter how good the marketing strategy is, will be unable to generate new business if its business development activities are not competitive enough. New business, along with the successful maintenance and growth of existing ones, is the life of a company. Also, it is important that the business development department follows certain standard processes in sales, which are proven to be effective. Sales strategy is not an undirected process in which you act based on the spur of the moment. In fact, business development should be a very systematic process. If you skip important steps, the likelihood of closing the deal decreases.

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The following are standard processes in sales. The depth and width of execution of each depends on the actual needs and strategy of a company.

  1. 1
    Identify needs.
    This serves as the foundation of all the other steps. Veteran sales people know very well that they must invest considerable time and effort to fulfill this step properly. Some of them even claim that this takes about 75% of their time and it remains to be considered a worthy investment. If this is done well, the succeeding steps will be much easier to implement and success is more likely to happen.
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  2. 2
    Confirm if identified needs are accurate.
    You must double check if your understanding of the client needs is in fact correct. There are some client needs that may not be very obvious and only when you probe deeper do you get what the real picture is. Make sure that before you take any action based on the information you have gather, you have confirmed all of them to be correct. Acting upon a wrong information is more detrimental to the business. It is also more difficult to fix later on, because you are not off to a fresh start. This confirmation is better done when you have established a relatively good relationship with your client, where he is already comfortable to tell you more about the business.
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  3. 3
    Offer solutions, in the form of products or services, based on identified needs.
    This is the right way to do it. Never offer your product or service without having any knowledge of what the client actually needs. More often than not, with that style, you would get no for an answer. On the contrary, if you have an armor of relevant information about the client, it becomes easier to sell the features and benefits of your products because these are perceived to be currently relevant. In other words, you put yourself in a light where the client perceives you as an angel sent from heaven to answer all of their needs.
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  4. 4
    Close the deal.
    It is fairly simple that when you have presented your solutions to the client's needs, you must endeavour to close the transaction right away. Attempts to close, however, should not only occur at the end of every discussion. You can divide it into phases, depending on the product or service that you sell. In other words, do it step-by-step and close your client in each of those steps. You would not want to close them after overwhelming them with too much information.
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How to Build a Trusting Relationship between You and Your Clients

Although some information about a company and their needs might be available from a third party, or even online, majority of the crucial information will still come from your direct conversation with your client. Of course, the major challenge here is how to build this kind of relationship where the client is comfortable enough with you and tells you more about his business. It requires both technical skills and tactics to be able to get to that point.

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One of the best ways in order to do this is to imagine yourself in the position of the client. If you are the CEO of this company, what might be the things that you ask yourself when you engage with a business development person? What is in your mind before you decide that you can trust this person?

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  1. 1
    Do I like this person?
    Is he worth respecting? This is the first thing that a client would ask himself before even proceeding further in doing transaction with you. Therefore, it is very crucial that at this stage, you present yourself in a very professional manner. You do not have to go dig into business right away, as a little bit of front talk would put your client at ease with you. It might be good to talk about some interests like golf, travel, and other light things like these. This will cause your client to see that he has similar interests as you, or that you have enough respect for his interests. He is more likely to respond the same way to you.
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  2. 2
    What can he do for my situation?
    How can this person benefit me? This is reality. In business, people are not motivated to transact with you if there is no perceived benefit. Therefore, at this stage, it is good that you start probing what the clients might need and then offer solutions based on that. This way, your client will feel that you have a particularly customized solution for him that is directly beneficial to his situation. Of course, prior to this meeting, you should have already collected some information about the client. Therefore, when you probe, you are not starting from scratch, but is merely confirming some existing information already.
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  3. 3
    Are his claims true?
    Does he have evidence that his proposed solution is effective? On top of presenting solutions that are suitable to the needs of the client, it is equally crucial that you support with tangible proof whatever it is you are proposing. This is where testimonials and previous background become handy. No matter how good your relationship is with a client, the bottom line remains to be the fact that a client will only patronize products or services that have been proven to be worthwhile in terms of business. This means your client is just being smart in making an investment.
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  4. 4
    Is it a good decision to proceed with this transaction now?
    When the client starts to ask himself this question, this is when you should start to attempt to close. Explain to the client about time frames and how beneficial it might be to him if the acts upon this now.
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  5. 5
    When is the best time to finalize a decision on this.
    When the client has reached this point in the conversation, that means he already has a buy in of what you are selling. All you need to do is be firm in terms of time frame to act.
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Elements of a Management System

  1. 1
    Forecast.
    Any management system should begin with a clear idea what the overall goals of the company are. This includes:  
    1. Business development. A company's life depends on how well they are able to develop new businesses and maintain existing ones. A good forecast should include the following key performance indicators in terms of this:  
      1. Percentage of increase in new clients
      2. Percentage of existing business maintained
      3. Percentage of repeat businesses
      4. Percentage of current business expansions or extensions (more work)
      5. Percentage of client fall outs
      6. Percentage of improvement in market share
      7. Overall client satisfaction rating
    2. Profitability. With the corresponding goals in business development come the relevant target in profitability. This should anticipate the following:  
      1. New order value. With any new client coming in, there has to be a relatively good approximation of its overall value. In most cases, this cannot be exact, especially depending on the nature of business. Clients cannot always anticipate exactly how much they need over a lengthy period of time. For example, if your product is auto parts, your clients can only give you an approximation based on their forecast orders from their own clients as well. In case there are major changes in demand in the market or in case there are sudden fall outs of their own clients, this too would impact their approximation. Therefore, this may not always be exact, but depending on the skill of your business development specialist, you can secure the closest possible figure to put in your books. The better the relationship with the client is, the more the client would be willing to provide constant information about their business.
      2. Maintenance of current order value. Existing businesses are always easier to forecast because you have a more direct idea of the customer's business development behavior. However, yearly forecasts should also factor in a corresponding increase or decrease of current business. For instance, there are companies who may be subcontracting certain product parts to different companies. On your first year of contract with the company, they may just be giving you a small percentage of the business. However, upon satisfactory performance on your first year, the client may decide to allow you take on more of their business. The skill of the Account Manager here reflects clearly on how he is able to persuade the client to entrust more business.
      3. Additional profit with additional sales from existing clients. This is with the assumption that repeat orders or additional orders are usually cheaper in terms of cost because there are no costs incurred from business development anymore. Usually, this should just balance off further investments on business development for new accounts.
      4. Productivity. This is defined as output as compared to input. For example, if there are 2 carpenters building exactly the same size and type of house and one of them spent 40 hours to complete the work while another spent 30 hours, the one spending only 30 hours to complete exactly the same output is considered to be more productive. However, this should also take into consideration if there are losses incurred along the way, such as using more materials than what is required, or the overall quality of the output as well.
    3. Finance. Aside from operational financial objectives such as ensuring profitability with each and every transaction, there are other financial goals that need to be considered:  
      1. Sales revenue. This pertains to any income generated as a result of primary business activities. For example, if you are distributing books to bookstores, each invoice you charge to the bookstores would make up your sales revenue.
      2. Expenses. This includes both fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs are incurred from the overall operation of the business such as office lease, electricity, office supplies, head office salaries, and the like. Variable costs on the other hand are those incurred mainly from a specific project or account. For example, an airfare incurred to attend to a sales meeting to close a deal in another country is a variable cost that must be allocated to that specific deal.
      3. Break-even point. This reflects how long a particular investment is going to be generated back once the actual transaction or project is ongoing. For instance, if your business is construction, you would look into what week of the project you would be able to generate back all your initial investments in the first part of the project, such as purchase of materials, machinery, design, human resources ramp up costs, etc.
      4. Gross / net profit. Sales revenue, no matter how huge it may seem, should be not be used to judge how well a company is doing financially. There are times when only a small percentage of the sales revenue is actually considered as net profit. Net profit is defined as the net amount generated after all costs, both fixed and variable, had been deducted.
      5. Retained profit allocated for growth. During the initial years of a business, 3 years to be exact, the business earns and spends equally. This literally means that a company is just within break-even point. It is even worse during at least the first year when net profit is commonly negative. However, once a company overcomes this stage, at the end of every business year, there has to be an agreed portion of the profit that must be allocated for further growth. This allocation could be in various forms such as:  
        1. Expansion of current factory operations, by adding more operation lines
        2. Diversification in terms of opening another business within the same group
        3. Investment in machinery that will be able to produce other types of products
        4. Human resource development through acquisition of new knowledge that will be able to sustain further operational growth
    4. Client Satisfaction. This ensures that clients are continuously satisfied and that there is promise to keep on doing business with them. Here are some examples of areas in which you can base your forecast on client satisfaction:  
      1. Overall feedback on quality of product or services. Most companies would do seasonal gathering of feedback from clients to ensure that none of these are being overlooked through the course of providing the product or service. This is very important to ensure that at the end of a period of contract, you don't just get surprised with a client who just wants to pull out their account and stop doing business with you. That only happens when not much interaction has been done with the client to ensure they are constantly happy. Customer service is indeed very important, sometimes even more important than the service provided during business development stage.
      2. Ratio of number of repeat customers over total number of customers. This goes to show how satisfied clients are that they are more than happy to do regular business with you.
      3. Ratio of number of new customers over total number of customers. This reflects the good reputation that you business has in the market that you are continuously able to attract new business.
      4. Percentage of complaints as compared to total number of transactions. Usually, companies allocated an average margin of 2% for complaints. Anything within this range is usual. A company is never perfect and there will always be complaints no matter how good your products or services. However, anything more than 2% indicates that there are areas that need further improvement the soonest possible time.
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  2. 2
    Plan.
    Once the forecasts have been set forth, these have to be further broken down into Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that are then eventually detailed into an action plan. Only when forecasts are translated to KPIs do they become more attainable, because they are converted into formats that are controllable.
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  3. 3
    Assignment.
    Once a detailed plan is in place, the next step is to ensure these are assigned to people accordingly. The roles and responsibilities of an employee should coincide directly with assignments given to him. Likewise, his key performance indicators should directly link to his assignments so that his performance can be measured fairly.
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  4. 4
    Follow up.
    A great company not only forecasts, plans, and assigns work accordingly, it also devises a good follow up system to ensure that assignments are executed as planned and generating the desired results. These follow ups are normally done in shorter intervals, depending on the nature of work, so that in case there are variances between plan and actual, action is taken the soonest possible time. It is easier to resolve a problem the sooner you are able to see it.
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  5. 5
    Report.
    To sum this all up, a good reporting process is equally crucial in any management system. Reports should clearly reflect how actual execution compares as against the plan and what were the factors that caused the variances, if any. Ultimately, a good reporting system should be able to show if the forecast had been hit based on time lines that were set forth. There may be various types of reports depending on the area or field of work, but in essence, it should show what the forecast figures are and what came back as a result after operations. Whatever the results are, whether positive or negative, it should be able to lead the company what the next steps in the following years would be.
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The Power of an Organization

An organization typically consists of four levels of people:

  1. 1
    Executives
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  2. 2
    Mid-Managers
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  3. 3
    Supervisors
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  4. 4
    Staff / Workers
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Problems in an organization occur when these four levels are not functioning accordingly. It should be noted that these titles are given to employees not just for the sake of the title, but because of the key roles that it must play in a company.

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These levels are expected to operate as follows:

Executives

Executives carry the role of taking care of the whole company. They execute overall processes and systems on how the entire company should run. They look ahead even before a certain process occurs and foresee what might happen even when the current plan has not even been executed yet. They have full accountability for the company.

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Mid-Managers

Mid-managers carry the role of taking care of the 4Ms of a company:

  • Manpower
  • Materials
  • Machinery
  • Money

They take full accountability for the productive utilization of these tools of work. They translate company goals into departmental or area goals and take full accountability for the achievement of these in their respective areas. They also embrace the fact that in order for them to achieve their departmental goals, they must align how they take care of the 4Ms to how other departments do so. Not all the time will it be a smooth coordination with the others, but good mid-managers will ensure that communication occurs all the time so that no details will be missed out and that everything is transparent.

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In essence, mid-managers are the bridge between top management (executives) and line management (supervisors). Without this bridge, company goals are too big for supervisors to digest. On the other hand, without managers, the work of the supervisors will be too small in terms of details for executives to deal with.

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Supervisors

Supervisors are supposed to supervise activities. They are at the point where work is just being executed. They see exactly how staff or workers spend their time and if the workers are executing the work based on instructions. They are at the point where they can immediately see if an error occurs in the process. Therefore, it is important that they are well-immersed at work and that they see everything that occurs. They are very specialized in terms of scope and function that they should be able to address issues as they occur and do not let a long time pass before they resolve it.

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Strategic versus Transactional Human Resources Department

Because human resources are among the biggest assets of a company, the way the Human Resources department function is crucial. The Human Resources department has now evolved into various forms and companies pertain to it differently as follows:

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  1. 1
    Personnel Department
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  2. 2
    Human Capital Department
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  3. 3
    Human Resources Business Partner
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  4. 4
    People Power Department
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  5. 5
    People Asset Management
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Indeed, companies have changed in terms of how they consider a Human Resources department. It now operates under two major functions:

  1. 1
    Strategic Human Resources.
    This refers to the involvement of the Human Resources department in more business functions, such as forecasting for the year, preparation of budgets, business planning, project management, account management, development of management systems, and similar functions.
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  2. 2
    Transactional Human Resources.
    This refers to the involvement of the Human Resources department in more administrative and clerical functions, such as timekeeping, calculation of payroll, issuance of pay slips, facilitation of company benefit claims, and the like.
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Most companies have managed to keep these 2 different functions completely separate to avoid any distractions in terms of performance. Strategic Human Resources would normally require Human Resources Specialists who have a good amount of exposure and experience in overall business management. On the other hand, Transactional Human Resources normally require people who are more methodical and organized and who do not mind dealing with a lot of paperwork.

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How to Assess a Curriculum Vitae (CV) to Match with a Vacant Role in the Company

These are commonly items in a curriculum vitae that you should look at in order to know whether it is worth proceeding in the recruitment process with a candidate. The initial contact is usually in the form of a call, either to do an initial telephone screen or to invite the candidate for an employment examination or interview.

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  1. 1
    Skills which are relevant to available opportunities in the company.
    It is important that a curriculum vitae indicates specific skills that will be useful to the execution of functions.
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  2. 2
    Previous relevant experience.
    This is very important because it indicates familiarity in a certain position as well as reflects the career progression that a candidate desires.
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  3. 3
    Industry background.
    There are functions in a company which require experience specifically in a similar industry. For example, if you are a Technical Sales Engineer, it would be worthwhile to know which industry you have practiced it. The knowledge and skills required in an IT company may be different from what is required in a garments factory. On the other hand, there are roles which benefit from a diverse background in various industries, such as Finance Manager, Human Resources Manager, IT Manager, etc.
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  4. 4
    Key achievements.
    This indicates the competencies of a candidate. It does not only say what particular skills or knowledge he has, but also reflects the areas that he is very strong at. It also manifests a candidate's drive at work, that he prefers not to become average and aims to achieve more than the usual employees.
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Although a CV can tell you a lot, it must be noted that:

  1. 1
    CVs or resumes only show the tangible background of a candidate.
    It does say anything about the candidate's personality, which is an equally factor to consider when recruiting a candidate. Although assumptions might be made based upon the candidate's preferences, it may not always be an accurate assumption. A face-to-face meeting will be able to augment gaps in your assumptions and clarify further other important points.
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  2. 2
    If a candidate does not fit in one role, it does not automatically follow that there are no other opportunities for him.
    This is even more relevant these days when flexibility and well-roundedness are given importance at the workplace. If a candidate shows a lot of potential and a good level of willingness to learn, he may be taken on for other roles and then just further developed within the company.
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  3. 3
    There are cases where a candidate would be exaggerating or expanding some parts of his profile to make himself look better in front of the employer.
    Therefore, your entire assessment should not be fully depending on what is written in the CV.
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How to Distinguish between a Good and a Bad CV?

As a potential employer, you should be looking at a CV more like a term paper in school. There are CVs which are really good and realistic enough in terms of what it contains. On the other hand, there are simply CVs which are copied and pasted and do not realistically represent the candidate.

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Good

  1. 1
    Progress in a role as well as the development of his skills and knowledge through different roles are clearly presented.
    This indicates that a candidate is focused in his career and that he has a clear direction in mind in terms of how he'd like to be professionally.
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  2. 2
    Level of experience is clearly reflected in each of the roles listed down.
    The candidate is able to articulate in writing the particular scope of his work that allowed him to gain as much experience as possible.
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  3. 3
    The overall layout of the CV is organized.
    The assumption is that, the clearer the layout is, the more honest the candidate may be. This is because this kind of layout gives the impression that a candidate is not trying to conceal anything through cover ups in the CV.
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  4. 4
    The details in the CV are organized in a logical manner.
    You see consistency in terms of format. The flow of the CV creates a picture of how the career of the candidate had been.
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  5. 5
    The CV is both comprehensive and concise.
    It gives details in terms of the scope of the background. At the same time, it is concise enough in a way that only more important information is included. There are no fillers just to make the CV look impressive.
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  6. 6
    The CV is produced using the computer.
    In this day and age, use of the computer is inevitable in any role. Therefore, candidates should demonstrate their skill with the computer by using it in writing up their CV.
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Bad

  1. 1
    There are too many gaps in between work.
    It shows that a candidate tends to quit too often or that he is not able to secure more long-term jobs. Too many gaps also disturb momentum at work. Therefore, oftentimes, candidates with this kind of a background get easily distracted, mainly because they have never experienced actually developing themselves further in a company. In addition, having too many gaps but no freelance or other side jobs in between indicates lack of resourcefulness as well as overall drive and motivation towards work.
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  2. 2
    Information is presented inconsistently.
    It is a clear reflection of a candidate's thought processes. If a CV is presented inconsistently, it shows that a candidate is like that as well at work. He tends to have disorganized thoughts and unable to look at the big picture of a matter and then carefully break it down into different points.
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  3. 3
    There are overlapping dates.
    While this is not always bad, especially if a candidate tends to engage himself in many worthwhile tasks like business and other freelance or part-time work that help him gain further experience, sometimes it creates a totally opposite impression. The candidate may be involved in too many activities at the same time which might cause him to be rather distracted. Also it might be that he is not really able to do well in each, and it is more of a touch-and-go type of work because he is spread too thinly across different jobs.
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  4. 4
    There are way too many information, which are not all related to the role.
    It might be good to have a few more points on top of what is required, but too much is not good. It comes across as the candidate trying to make distractions so that certain weaknesses are not noticed.
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  5. 5
    Some uncommon abbreviations or terminologies are used.
    There are abbreviations which are not widely used by everyone, and if these are included in a CV, it may cause confusion. This only says that a candidate was not putting himself in the role of the employer when he was writing his CV.
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Some Assumptions that You Might Get in a CV

Although a company should not fully rely on a CV to make hiring decisions, it helps to somehow have some objective assumptions about a candidate prior to proceeding to further steps in recruitment. These assumptions help in developing an interview checklist that will lead to understand a candidate better.

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Here are examples of some good assumptions that you might get when reading a CV for the first time:

  1. 1
    Candidates are organized and creative enough if they turn in really appealing CVs.
    They seem to know how to package themselves well. This particular candidate may be ideal for front-line positions, or any position that might require transactions with customers. He seems to understand the value of creating a good impression. What you then need to check during the interview is how his actual personality matches this.
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  2. 2
    Candidates who have taken on roles for short period of time and are overlapping seem to be the type of people who are not very picky in terms of the details of the job.
    They appear to be the type of people who is willing to do anything just to gain experience. On the contrary, they may actually be hard workers as compared to quitters. This can be a good trait because more often than not, these people are reliable during times of tight deadlines.
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  3. 3
    Candidates who indicate in their CV that they would be making a followup on their application later on might be good sales people.
    They don't just leave their prospects hanging. They value the importance of being able to build relationship and continuous communication with a client. Oftentimes, for cases like this, it is being interpreted by employers as desperation. However, this may not always be the case and this is something worth probing further during the interview.
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How to Deal with Unsuccessful Candidates after Prescreening of CV

All candidates know that there is always a high possibility of rejection when they apply for a job. In fact, job hunting is more like a numbers game. The more applications you send out, the higher the likelihood that you will get an invitation for further interview. In other words, candidates know that only a small percentage of their targets would actually end up successful.

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Inspite of this, it is still best to devise a system within the company that would professionally handle rejections. It is always best when candidates are updated with regards to the status of their application. It is simply professional to do this. If a candidate bothered to send over his profile to a company, then the company owes it to the candidate to at least give him information about his application.

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Here are steps to ensure that the application process is clear enough to candidates and that they are in the loop with regards to results:

  1. 1
    When advertising for a position, indicate how you would handle applications.
    It is good if you give them an estimate time for initial screening. After which, if the candidate has not heard from you, he can assume that he has not been successful. You have to make it clear that you handle applications as follows:  
    1. The company is professional, therefore it only commits to transactions that have high probability of success. The company will not waste a candidate's time if there is no match in the first place.
    2. The company is employing an organized system in recruitment. Therefore, candidates are expected to comply with this.
    3. The company is professional enough not to leave applicants hanging. Assure the candidates that you value all applications received. Therefore, each application will be treated with respect.
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  2. 2
    Setup a automatic response to your email address.
    This should acknowledge that the company has received the application and that it is being reviewed. Again, indicate the time frame that you think you would need to process applications. In case the candidate did not send his application via email, make sure that someone within the Human Resources department is tasked to send out an acknowledgment email to indicate receipt of the application.
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  3. 3
    Prepare 2 types of standard letters that you would send to candidates after initial screening:
     
    1. Further invitation. This is for successful candidates. You would inform the candidate that based upon initial screening, you are interested to invite him over for further processing. This letter should also outline what the next steps might be like so your candidate knows what to expect.
    2. Rejection. You have to tell the candidate directly that he had not been successful in his attempt this time. However, you would be putting his profile on active file in case there are requirements in the future.
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Review your process and check whether you are fulfilling these:

  1. 1
    Be honest with the candidate.
    You should have been honest with the candidate as to the actual results of his application. Make sure that you really have a valid reason for turning down a candidate, and not a personal dislike only.
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  2. 2
    Impart something useful to the candidate.
    Although the potential cooperation with a candidate did not work out, make sure that the transaction that took place is something that the candidate can learn something from as well.
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  3. 3
    Help the candidate to remain to feel good about himself.
    When turning down a candidate, you should not make them feel like they are so undesirable. Make sure it is clear that it is merely an objective decision and it does not have anything to do with disliking the person that the candidate is.
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  4. 4
    Never make decisions out of discrimination.
    Be a fair employer and evaluate applications based solely on the requirements of the job. Make sure you are not violating any law in fair labor practices.
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These are areas which the law declares as illegal to discriminate against:

  1. 1
    Race.
    It is believed that a person's ethnic background should not affect a company's impression whether he will be suitable or not.
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  2. 2
    Gender and sexual orientation.
    Gender is a very typical stereotypes, but roles should not really differ in terms of who actually performs the job.
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  3. 3
    Religion (or beliefs if the person has no religion).
    Keep religion out of the picture and this should not influence an employer's impression of a candidate. Take it as a personal detail that should not be getting in the way of recruitment.
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  4. 4
    Age.
    Although it is a common impression that older candidates are more experienced, hiring should not be solely based on this. The main criterion should be experience, not the age by which they got the experience.
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  5. 5
    Disability.
    As long as the candidate is capable to fulfill the requirements of the role, disabilities should not be considered against the candidate. Of course, you would not be hiring someone paralyzed to be a construction worker, but the ability here was the main reason for saying no to the candidate, not the physical condition per se.
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  6. 6
    Membership in workers' union.
    This should not in any way influence rejection decisions. Membership in these worker unions is a right and people should not be deprived of it.
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Indicators that a Candidate Might Not Be Suitable for a Role

  1. 1
    The candidate does not have the level of experience required for the role.
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  2. 2
    The candidate's experience does not include the core areas of your business.
    In other words, he has limited knowledge in terms of handling the crucial aspects of your business.
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  3. 3
    There are actually more suitable candidates.
    This means that the specific kind of talent required is actually out there and that there is no reason for the company to lower their standards just to accommodate a candidate.
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Benefits of Conducting Face-to-Face Interviews

  1. 1
    Better understanding of the candidate's personality.
    There are simply some things that you would not be able to see from a CV, even from a phone interview. One of these is body language. A person's body language during the interview would say a lot in terms of a candidate's personality. Even a candidate's confidence in answering a question would tell you whether the candidate is honest or not.
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  2. 2
    Opportunity to expound further on some items in his profile.
    There are things which you cannot capture completely in a CV. The interview is the best time to clarify these things. You can ask further questions in order to gain better understanding of how the profile comes together.
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  3. 3
    Hint about the candidate's loyalty.
    The way a candidate handles a relationship with a potential employer will tell you a bit about his loyalty level. If you talk to him today and suddenly tomorrow he cannot be reached anymore, then it tells you a big deal of his loyalty level.
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  4. 4
    Establishing a long-term relationship.
    In case an applicant becomes successful and gets hired by the company, the interviews are somehow an opportunity for the Human Resources department to build relationship with employees. It is very important that the HR department develops a comfortable yet professional relationship with all employees of a company.
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How to Prepare Prior to an Interview

  1. 1
    Review the candidate's CV.
    You would not want to face the candidate looking like you have no idea at all about him or that you have confused him with another candidate. You should a relatively good knowledge of the candidate at this stage, especially after you've done initial screening and made the decision to proceed in the succeeding steps.
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  2. 2
    List down points that you would like to clarify further.
    After reviewing the candidate's CV, it is not uncommon that you would have further questions about his profile. Make sure you make a list of these so you do not forget them.
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  3. 3
    Make sure you are professional in your outfit.
    You would like to convey a good image of the company to the candidate. If you yourself are poorly dressed, it does not convey a professional impression to candidates.
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  4. 4
    Prepare all relevant documents that you might need during the interview.
    You would like to be focused on the candidate during the interview, instead of wasting time shuffling through papers looking for some documents.
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Recent edits by: Graeme, Lynn, Anonymous

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