Top 10 HR Technology Predictions for 2020

HR Technology As we enter a new decade, we’re also entering a new era of digital transformation – particularly in human resources technologies.

HR Technology

The market of HR technology continues to grow and will likely top $30 billion in the next five years. Capterra predicts that by the end of the year, 70% of small and medium-sized enterprises will be utilizing HR technologies.

From artificial intelligence to virtual reality training, the way we hire, manage, and work is changing at a rapid pace. Which ones will become an essential tool for HR professionals, and what fads should be avoided? Keep reading to find out!

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10 key HR technology trends

In this post, we’re going to try to predict what technology will make it big this year. Here are the top 10 technology trends HR leaders should watch in 2020:

  1. The continued growth of AI

  2. Increased use of virtual reality

  3. Expansion of cloud-based HCM tools

  4. Employee self-service

  5. Use of specialized HR tools

  6. Growing need for digital adoption tools

  7. Chatbots

  8. Virtual and remote work technologies

  9. Better integrations

  10. New wellness technologies

HR tech trend 1: Continued growth of AI

The use of Artificial Intelligence is expanding rapidly, and you can expect its application in human resources management to continue to grow in 2020 and beyond. So, where is AI being used in HR tech?

One of the most common uses is in the hiring process. What is the role of AI in recruitment? AI can help identify top candidates for a job opening. Does your software give you a candidate job-match score or help you analyze your recruiting efforts? AI drives that score.

Hilton, IBM, and GE use AI-driven algorithms as a part of their screening process for job applicants. The technology can analyze anything from work samples to social media posts.

In 2016, Unilever started using AI to screen all entry-level employees. Job applications first submit to a video interview, answering a generic set of questions. Their responses are analyzed using AI. Candidates will complete an in-person interview if they move to the next step in the process.

Although AI and recruitment are a perfect match,  artificial intelligence isn’t just for hiring. AI will also play a more significant role as more HCM systems expand their data analysis and information discovery tools.

HR tech trend 2: Increased use of virtual reality

In 2020, you can expect more companies to jump on the virtual reality training wagon. It sounds far fetched and futuristic, but many companies are seeing positive results. Walmart and FedEx started using virtual reality training and plan to expand their programs. The technology has actually been around for quite some time.

Pilots have been training on flight simulators for decades. The difference is the new surge in virtual reality products for consumers, like Oculus. The hardware is cheaper, and content production is easier, making it an excellent option for corporate trainers.

HR tech trend 3: Expansion of cloud-based HCM tools

Most companies are using some HCM software, but perhaps not the latest versions. As more companies look to upgrade their IT infrastructure, expect to shift to a newer cloud-based HCM system this year. Between 2018 and 2020, the percentage of HR leaders who said their technology was a cloud-based SaaS model doubled.

Many larger companies were slower to adopt cloud-based technologies out of concern they couldn’t support their complex needs. However, more technology leaders now view cloud technology as stable and mature. Making the switch to a cloud-based system will likely continue to be a top choice and priority for 2020.

HR tech trend 4: Employee self-service

Newer cloud-based systems also tend to have more options for employee self-service, decreasing the burden on HR associates for processing routine changes like address, tax withholding, or benefit changes.

Self-service is a popular feature with employees. Nearly three-fourths of full-time workers in the U.S. expect employers to provide high levels of self-service for HR tasks. More technologies will focus on self-service in 2020 because it helps companies save money and offers a better experience for employees.

HR tech trend 5: Use of specialized HR tools

Some companies are finding their legacy HCM systems are no longer a good fit and are opting to purchase separate systems for various HR functions. A system that excels in letting you process payroll and scheduling PTO might not be the best fit for recruiting top talent.

By focusing on a narrower niche, such as recruiting, newer software providers can innovate at a much faster pace. You can expect more frequent releases and better support for the modern mobile-driven workplace.

HR tech trend 6: Growing need for digital adoption tools

With the shift to newer HCM tools and an increased reliance on employee self-service, comes the need to show employees how to use the tools. Self-service tools will fail if employees aren’t adequately onboarded and guided through how to use them.

Digital Adoption Solutions, like Apty, help companies onboard new users to web-based applications faster. On-screen guidance shows users where to go and what to do next. The tools also can be used to walk candidates through completing your application process. Some of the benefits of a digital adoption tool for HR professionals include:

  • Decreased training costs,

  • Increased employee engagement and satisfaction and

  • Faster onboarding.

HR tech trend 7: Chatbots

You can also expect to see more chatbots in HR technologies as the emphasis on self-service increases. Many companies already use chatbots to interact with customers. Why not use them with employees or prospective new hires? Chatbots, when deployed correctly, can help quickly resolve issues and provide answers instead of waiting for a phone call or email.

AI-powered chatbots can solve many simple HR issues without tying up an HR associate. Updating personal information or making other data changes can be automated with the use of chatbots.

HR tech trend 8: Virtual and remote work technologies

As more companies expand their use of remote workers, you can expect to increase your investment in the technologies to make it possible. Utilizing remote workers requires you to change the way you recruit.

Your candidate pool goes from local to global. You’ll also need ways for employees to interact virtually, including video conferencing and other collaboration tools.

HR tech trend 9: Better integrations

One shortcoming of a lot of HR technologies is getting employees to use it. If an employee has to remember a separate login or go to a ridiculously long URL, they won’t use the tool. To solve this challenge, look for more tools that closely integrate with the tools employees use every day.

Employees are more likely to use something if they can access it from their Outlook inbox or in Slack. Through the use of APIs, more tools are opening themselves up to enhanced integrations. When you’re evaluating new technologies, look to see if and how it integrates with your existing tools.

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HR tech trend 10: New wellness technologies

More employees expect companies to offer wellness benefits. Employers and technology companies are paying attention. Nearly 80% of businesses say employee well-being is a critical part of their business plans.

There are new apps to help with fitness goals and virtual access to therapists and mental health professionals. G2 reports there are more than 30 major corporate wellness tools on the market.

But are they working? Several of the tools are too new to measure their long term impact on employee wellness, but the increased emphasis on wellness does appear to help. According to Aflac, about two-third of employees report making healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program.

5-Steps Recruitment Marketing Action Plan

Recruitment Need to create an effective recruitment marketing action plan? In this detailed, step-by-step guide you’ll learn how to create it – from scratch. Great recruitment marketing tips and tricks included. Are ready to put them in action?


Why do you need a recruitment marketing strategy?

If you’re an HR or recruiting professional in today’s candidate-driven job market then you already know how hard it can be to fill open positions with great candidates.

Candidates are now in demand. These days, they are in control and they get to pick and choose where they want to work.

And with so many other companies competing for these same candidates, it can seem impossible to get top talent’s attention.

But with a well-rounded recruitment marketing strategy, it can actually be quite easy to build your talent pool and keep it filled with a steady stream of great candidates.

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What is recruitment marketing all about?

It means using marketing methods to get candidates interested in your company and eager to apply for your open positions.

Recruitment marketing is focused on the first three stages of the candidates’ journey:

1. Awareness

In this first stage, your aim is to build awareness of your company and your employer brand.

2. Consideration

In this stage, your goal is to get potential candidates to start considering you as their next employer.

3. Interest

In this stage, your goal is to convince candidates to take action and apply for your open job positions.

Using proven marketing tactics, you can attract candidates attention and get them to apply to your open job positions.

In the following text, I will explain exactly how to create an effective recruitment marketing plan.

Follow my step-by-step guide and learn how to master recruitment marketing!

How to create a successful recruitment marketing plan?

Here is how you can create an effective recruitment marketing plan in 11 easy to follow steps:

Step 1: Define your recruitment marketing goals

Think about what you want to achieve with your recruitment marketing strategy.

Of course, your overall goal is to attract great candidates to apply to your open job positions.

However, you should also define precise specific goals that can be measured.

Some of the common recruitment marketing goals include:

  1. Get more job applicants
  2. Get more high-quality candidates
  3. Increase candidate engagement
  4. Increase employer brand awareness
  5. Get more career site visitors
  6. Get more applicants from social media
  7. Increase employee referral rates
  8. Increase offer-acceptance rate
  9. Increase the number of diversity applicants
  10. Increase the number of recruitment events attendees.

Step 2: Identify your candidate persona

Identify your ideal candidate by defining your candidate persona.

A candidate persona is the semi-fictional representation of your ideal job candidate.

Who is your ideal job candidate?

Think beyond your job requirements such as education, experience and skills. Dig deeper to really get a sense of this person.

Try to pinpoint their interests outside the work, habits, motivation and goals. 

Some of the characteristics you may want to think about when building your candidate personas are:

  1. Sex and gender
  2. Age
  4. Dislikes
  5. Hobbies
  6. Geographical location
  7. Motivations
  8. Frustrations
  9. Brands they may associate with
  10. Current job
  11. Family
  12. Personality type
  13. Introvert/extrovert
  14. Analytical/creative

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Step 3: Define your employee value proposition

An employee value proposition is a message you will target your candidate persona with.

Why should your potential candidates come to work for your company? What can you offer them that other companies can’t?

The employee value proposition is so much more than just a great salary.

It also includes opportunities for career advancement, challenging work, working on interesting projects and with cutting edge technology, great company culture, attractive workspace, etc.

Step 4: Create recruitment content

One of the best ways to attract your candidate persona’s attention is by presenting them interesting and useful recruitment content.

Great recruitment content will help you target the best candidates at the right time with the right message.

And no, your job ads are not enough – no matter how great they are!

There is a myriad of different types of recruitment content for each step of the candidate’s journey.

Here are a few examples of different types of recruitment content you can create:

  1. Blogs
  2. Emails
  3. Newsletter
  4. Videos
  5. Webinars
  6. White papers, case studies and eBooks
  7. Infographics, diagrams, flowcharts & graphs
  8. Checklists
  9. Mini-games and competitions.

Step 5: Optimize your career site

Your career site should be the hub of your recruitment marketing activity.

When potential candidates land on your career site, they should immediately find all the information they need to determine whether they want to work for your company.

perfect career site explains who your company is, what you do and contain information about your company culture, values and work environment.

It also invites potential candidates to browse your open job positions and makes it easy for them to apply.

Finally, make sure that your career site is mobile friendly and optimized for SEO.

You can find detailed information on how to optimize your career site in our guide Best Tips for Optimizing Your Career Site & Generating More Job Applicants.

Top 7 Recruitment Challenges to Tackle in 2020

Challenges we wanted to know what challenges will HR professionals face in 2020, so we did extensive research. We talked with our customers, CEOs’, recruiters’ and other HR professionals, asked around the talent acquisition community and consulted global talent acquisition studies and research.


From there, we have identified some of the major challenges in the world of talent acquisition and came up with this list of the top 20 challenges HR professionals will have to tackle in 2020. However, we didn’t stop there!

We also wanted to know how the most successful HR professionals plan to tackle these challenges. What are their best practices and expert tips?

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Top 20 hiring challenges and solutions

Here is the list of the top 20 recruitment challenges, followed by practical tips for solving them:

1. Building a strong Employer Brand

An overwhelming majority (75%) of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job, according to LinkedIn. And if they don’t like what they see, they won’t apply or accept your job offer. Corporate Responsibility Magazine has found that 75% of people would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation – even if they were unemployed!


💡 What?
In order to build your employer brand, you need to define and implement an effective employer branding strategy. You need to tell a compelling story about your company, showcase your company culture and get candidates excited to join your team.

✔️ How?
Create an attractive, responsive and branded career site and career blog, where you can present your employer brand and show candidates why your company is a great place to work. You’ll do that by presenting photos of your employees and your office, sharing employee testimonials and writing about the interesting projects and new technologies your teams are working with.

2. Lack of qualified candidates

The talent shortage is the No. 1 hiring challenge today. A study by the National Federation of Independent Business has found that 87% of HR professionals reported “few or no qualified applicants” for the positions they were trying to fill.

Unfortunately, this problem will only get worse. According to the McKinsey Global Institute study, in 2020 companies in Europe and North America will need 16 to 18 million more educated employees that are going to be available.


💡 What?
You will have no other choice than to enter the war for talent and compete with other companies to snatch those candidates that are qualified.

✔️ How?
92% of people would consider changing jobs if offered a role with a company with an excellent employer brand, according to CR Magazine. The problem is, all your competitors will be bombarding the same qualified candidates saying they are the best employer. How can you stand out? The answer is – through employee referrals! Qualified candidates trust their friends more than your recruiters.

3. Expanding candidate reach

Due to the lack of qualified candidates, employers who want to fill their open positions with great candidates will have to look beyond their employees’ social networks and local communities. They have to find a way to expand their candidate reach in order to find those rare hidden gems.


💡 What?
In order to reach a wider pool of talent, you’ll have to extend your presence across all the possible channels and places. In other words, you should start building a multichannel recruitment strategy.

✔️ How?
Make sure that job openings will be advertised across different places and channels, including multiple free and paid local and global job boards, different social networks, internal and external employee referrals, your career site, career events, college and professional networks’ newsletters, forums, etc.

4. Targeting passive candidates

The way things are going, soon there will be no job seekers – only passive candidates. According to LinkedIn’s research70% of the global workforce is made up of passive talent who aren’t actively job searching and the remaining 30% are active job seekers. Scary statistics, ain’t it?

The good news is that most (up to 90%) of these passive candidates are interested in hearing about new job opportunities, as reported by LinkedIn.


💡 What?
Since passive candidates aren’t actively looking for a job, you won’t find them checking out your career site or job boards. Instead, you have to go where they are – on social media. According to the LinkedIn survey, half (49%) of all professionals are following companies on social media with the intent to stay aware of their jobs.

✔️ How?
You need to utilize the power of social media and start promoting your employer brand on social media. This doesn’t mean just posting your job openings across different social media networks. You should also share stories, photos and videos that present and promote your company as a great place to work. You should also organize different recruiting events (such as meetups, hackathons, workshops, etc.) and invite potential candidates to attend them.

5. Attracting the right job candidates

As reported by Glassdoor, 76% percent of hiring managers admit attracting the right job candidates is their greatest challenge. They are wasting their precious time by going through tons of applications from candidates that are not a good fit for their open positions.


💡 What?
You need to refine your hiring process in order to attract the right type of candidates from the start. You need to attract the right job candidates to apply, and discourage all the rest from applying!

✔️ How?
Start by stating clear and precise job requirements in your job descriptions and job advertisements. Use your career blog to write about your company culture and present everyday life at your office. That way, potential candidates will be able to select themselves in or out of your hiring process by themselves. You should also add qualifying questions to your application form. It is a simple, but effective way to weed out candidates who are not a good fit for your job opening.

6. Building talent pools proactively

talent pool is a database of candidates interested in working for your company. By building a talent pool, you can fill your job positions in less time with less money, because you already have candidates to choose from. The question is – how to build a high-quality talent pool filled with great potential candidates?


💡 What?
Invite potential candidates to join your talent network and learn more about your company as an employer and stay up to date with your company’s open job positions.

✔️ How?
Create a simple (and short!) application form for your talent network. Add “Join our Talent Network” form to different places (for example: top of your career site, end of your career blogs, social media posts, Facebook career page, LinkedIn company page, next to your job openings, etc.) to reach potential candidates and ask them to join your talent network.

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7. Inefficient talent sourcing

The right candidates are out there. However, without an efficient talent sourcing strategy, HR professionals spend countless hours and invest a lot of effort trying to find them, but with poor results. Recruiters find it very difficult to find high-quality candidates and obtain their resumes and contact information.


💡 What?
If you want to find high-quality candidates, you need to apply advanced talent sourcing strategies and proactively reach out to your potential candidates.

✔️ How?
Stop wasting time on manual sourcing and invest in powerful sourcing technology.

How to Recruit on Reddit : A Beginner’s Guide

Guide Reddit is a massive online community forum where users share news, images, and video content so other users can comment and vote on the content. Popular content rises to the top, while content that is downvoted becomes less visible on the site.

If you’re not already familiar with Reddit, it might surprise you to learn it has 330 million active users (that’s 100 million more than LinkedIn, by the way!). Reddit is the sixth most popular website in the world – falling only behind giants like Google, YouTube and Facebook.

Let’s take a look at some reasons why you should be recruiting on Reddit if you aren’t already, plus some tips on how to get started.


3 reasons to recruit on Reddit

If you still need a bit more convincing about the benefits of using Reddit in your recruitment strategy, here are three major bonuses that should do the trick!


1. It’s full of highly skilled passive candidates

In this candidate-driven market, anything that gets you in front of top talent before other recruiters is a real blessing.

As mentioned, Reddit has a massive audience (1.6 billion visits in July 2019 alone) but it also has a busy, text-heavy layout that’s confusing enough to put a lot of recruiters off using it – making it an untapped candidate goldmine!

Reddit’s userbase also tends to be pretty well-educated. The majority of Redditors have a degree or some higher education.

With this in mind, Reddit is the perfect place to find top passive candidates that haven’t been approached by other recruiters – essentially, because they don’t even know they exist.

2. It’ll help you get to know Gen Z

Gen Z (candidates under 25) have started entering the workforce and they’re very different to the candidates we’re used to working with. They have different needs and desires, and the more you get to know them now, the easier your job will be recruiting them.

To attract this newest workforce, you need to be authentic and show you understand the things they care about. Reddit is a perfect platform to do this as it actively promotes authenticity and gives you the chance to interact with other users on any topic imaginable – whether.

As much as 34% of Gen Z in the UK are active on Reddit, meaning there’s an untouched pool of Gen Z candidates that you can dip into and nurture good relationships before other recruiters get to them.

3. You can learn a lot about niche industries

There’s a huge tech audience on Reddit. And you’ll find these candidates spending time in tech-related ‘subreddits’ (what Reddit calls discussion pages) out of office hours, sharing memes, opinions and inside jokes about their industry.

These subreddits are the perfect place to brush up on your industry lingo and familiarise yourself with the kinds of challenges that would make candidates in your industry look for a new job (and what would draw them to a new opportunity!)

For more help on writing engaging ads for niche candidates, download our job ad templates for hard-to-fill roles here.

How to get started recruiting on Reddit

So, now you know why you should consider using Reddit to attract those gold dust candidates, how do you actually get started?

These three initial steps will help you get the ball rolling!


Step 1 – Set up your profile

Set up your Reddit profile using the ‘sign up’ button on the homepage using your personal email. Your first stop will be choosing a username – it should go without saying, but don’t choose anything that hints to your recruiting background!

Anything that implies you have a motive to use the platform for personal gain will get you seriously down-voted – or even blocked! – so choose a generic name to be safe.

Unlike other social networks, Reddit encourages anonymity, so you can’t upload your favourite selfie to let people know who you are. Instead, you get your very own ‘Snoo’ (Reddit’s alien mascot) to use as your alias.

Step 2 – Find your threads

No matter how obscure you think a subject is, people will be talking about it on Reddit – that’s the beauty of this platform!

Posting and engaging is the only way to build up your Karma (points assigned to your profile based on how active you are on the site) so taking part in the community is essential to prove you’re legit and build up your credibility.

Your ‘Cake Day’ (the day you joined Reddit) is also visible on your profile for everyone to see, so be aware that seasoned Redditors will know if you’re a fresh newbie just joining to scope out the talent.

Which is why you need to provide some value before you jump straight into sourcing…

Step 3 – Provide value

Reddit’s culture is all about giving before you can expect to get anything back, and this is something you should practice across all social media platforms when building your personal brand as a recruiter.

So, once you’ve set up your profile and taken part in some high-brow meme-sharing, take a look at some subreddits like r/GetEmployed or r/resumes, where you can provide your industry knowledge and expertise (without being salesy) and start adding value to the community.

You might even get some gold (a special reward that allows you premium features) from a grateful Redditor if you’re lucky!


Things to avoid doing on Reddit

Redditors don’t take kindly to rule-breakers, so those candidate goldmines could quickly turn into landmines if you don’t behave appropriately.

Follow these dos and don’ts to make sure you stay on the right side of the Reddit community.



Reddit is strictly against any form of spamming – whether that’s sending unsolicited messages, posting irrelevant content into subreddits or linking out to promotional content.

Moderators are everywhere on the platform, keeping an eye on your posts to ensure they are following the rules and there are even bots sweeping through threads looking for misbehavers – so don’t try your luck!


Redditors are not afraid to block any users who break the rules or appear to have ulterior motives for using the platform. In some threads, you even need to have a certain number of Karma points before you’re allowed to post!

Unlike LinkedIn, promoting your company or newest vacancy is seriously frowned upon – unless you’re on subreddit that explicitly allows it.

Beware: If you get caught out, you’ll be hung up to dry and no one’s exempt! Even tech tycoon Elon Musk had a job offer ruthlessly declined by a Redditor for not following the rules.

Tips for success

Follow the rules

Each subreddit has its own set of rules determined by the OP (Original Poster). So before you dive in, make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with the specific rules set out for that thread, and respect them at all times.

Tap into an existing resource

Building your credibility on Reddit can be an extremely time-consuming process.

However, it’s possible you already have some experienced Redditors within your company! If you’re looking for a new developer, why not see if someone in the team with a well-oiled profile would be interested in helping you fill your jobs.

And most importantly… be patient

Recruiting on Reddit is a slow-burning strategy, and it’s important to take the time to find your way around the platform and really understand what makes this community tick. If you do it right, it can bring some serious rewards.

Start building relationships and your Reddit authority first by posting your ‘two cents’ in a relevant subreddit, and build a solid reddit candidate hit list before making any moves.

How to Win an Unhappy Recruitment Client Back

Client Back When your job is entirely about providing a service every day, it’s inevitable you’ll be faced with an unhappy client somewhere down the line. But whether it’s something in your processes they don’t like or they’re not happy with the way you’ve handled a situation, don’t worry – you can still turn things around.

Here are some things you can do to save, mend and potentially even improve your relationship with an unhappy client, so you can both move forward and continue doing business together.

Address the issue ASAP

Hiding from your client because you know they’re unhappy in the hope that they’ll eventually forget is a cowardly move that won’t go unnoticed.


So pick up the phone to your client as soon as possible, even if you know it’s not going to be a pleasant conversation. Your maturity in approaching the problem head-on will put you in a much better position than if you try to put it off in the hope that they’ll eventually ‘cool off’.

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Let them talk

Listening is an essential step towards improving a damaged relationship, so allow your client some space to vent their frustration. Resist the temptation to cut them off and defend yourself, as this will only make things worse.

Use active listening techniques – like repeating back what the client says to you and maintaining eye contact (if you’re face-to-face) – so they know that they have your full attention. If they think for even one second that you’re not listening, you could lose your chance to salvage the relationship.

Empathise with your client

Empathy is key to rebuilding the relationship, so put yourself in your client’s shoes and try to understand the situation from their point of view.

Recruitment 1

If the client doesn’t feel like you understand their point of view, the issue will only escalate, so try using statements like “I completely understand why you think that” or “I understand your frustration with this”.

Empathizing with your client like this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re accepting any blame – it just helps defuse an escalating situation.

That said, if the fault does lie with you, always put your hands up, admit that you’ve made a mistake and tell your client that you’ll do everything in your power to fix it.

Be the proactive problem-solver

It’s possible your client is unhappy because of an issue that’s occurred somewhere down the line during the hiring process. Adopting the role of problem solver is a great way to show you care, prove you’re a trustworthy recruiter again and get back in their good books.

Ask the question “How can I solve this for you?” or “What do you feel would be the ideal resolution?”. Again this doesn’t mean you have to deliver what they ask for, but it’ll buy you some time to decide what you’re able to do.

This proactive approach will also allow you to start moving things forward and get your client thinking about working with you again.

Be specific with your apology

Offering a blanket apology or saying “I’m sorry you’re unhappy” will just add fuel to the fire as it gives the impression you’re only apologizing for the sake of business and you’ll come across as insincere.

Recruitment 2

You need to offer an apology that demonstrates you understand why your client is unhappy, and unfortunately, this can involve taking responsibility for things that were out of your control.

This can be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the best way to show the client that your apology is genuine and sincere – which is essential if you want to convince your client to continue working with you. So just think about the long-term pay-off for taking this short-term hit!

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Demonstrate how you’re going to ensure it won’t happen again

It’s absolutely essential that you reassure your client that the situation is a one-off. hank them for highlighting a flaw in your approach or process and explain what you’ve put things in place to ensure you can continue working together without the threat of more problems.

This can also work as a bit of an ego-massage technique for your prospect as they’ll feel like they’ve helped you become a better recruiter.

Just make sure you continuously follow up with your client after you’ve resolved the issue, even when you’re confident you’ve put things right. Your client will appreciate your diligence and it’ll help ensure everyone’s on the same page moving forward – after all, communication is the key to both personal and professional success!

Do you want to avoid dealing with an unhappy client again? This eBook will teach you nine good habits that’ll make you a more effective recruiter and help you build better relationships with all your clients moving forward.

Fraud Management in the Energy Industry

Fraud Management has become a chief concern for governments and companies. In fact, it is estimated that losses from fraud in organizations can be as much as 5% to 9% of their annual profit. To better understand the different fraud management frameworks, it is necessary to have an understanding of what fraud is, its components and the various forms it can take.

Fraud Management

In the business world, fraud is associated with an action that goes against truth and integrity, damaging the organization against which it is perpetrated. Fraud can compromise a company, whether it is committed externally by clients, suppliers and other parties, or internally by employees, managers or shareholders.

Some characteristics of the current environment and the opportunities it has to offer are as follows:

  • Growing availability of data on customers, employees, suppliers, etc., their interaction with the company and behavior patterns. Availability of techniques to analyze and quantify the likelihood or probability that fraud events will occur.
  • Advanced methodologies and systems to fight internal fraud through the segregation of duties (SoD).

The value added by these management mechanisms is reflected in economic terms (according to an ACFE study, losses from fraud at the global level fell by 54% thanks to the adoption of proactive data monitoring measures), and also in reputational and compliance terms. Both these two aspects are particularly relevant given the current regulatory environment, which encourages companies to invest in and implement fraud management methods.

The purpose of this document is to share some insights on the concept of fraud, as well as on the key elements used to manage fraud and the opportunities for optimization that arise as a result of technological advances such as Big Data and Analytics. These are based on the availability and analysis of large data volumes as well as the implementation of profiling and segmentation methodologies.

With a particular focus on the Energy industry, this document describes fraud events specifically for this industry which, due to their representativeness and the fact that they drag on the resources of companies, require specific treatment and for which detection techniques and the integration of these techniques into the management process are even more relevant.

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  • With regard to external fraud, energy companies that distribute electricity and/or natural gas are exposed to energy theft through fraudulent network connections or access. Managing this type of fraud requires the support of methods that will quantify the probability of a meter reading not reflecting the actual amount supplied. Different methods are used (such as logistic regressions, neural networks, decision trees, etc.), which are embedded into machine learning schemes and focused on discriminating between “reasonable” and potentially fraudulent supply amounts. These techniques use variables that characterize the customer, the customer’s energy consumption profile, behavior patterns, etc. in order to identify profiles or behavior that may indicate a propensity for energy theft (e.g. recurrent behavior). This document will not go into detail regarding the treatment of cyberattacks. However, cyberattacks do pose a threat in relation to identity theft and communication interference, for instance generating supply interruptions.
  • As for internal fraud, the main concern is the loss associated with fraud events in processes that are critical for the company, such as the commercial cycle of an energy distribution company. These events normally take place in the invoicing and collection processes, in which the possibility to alter usage, amounts, purchasing processes or bank details may result in theft of company revenues. This type of fraud is managed through the use of methodologies oriented towards the segregation of duties, controlling access to commercial and financial systems and defining indicators and reporting schemes to warn companies about any breaches to the segregation of duties.

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In addition, this document will show how the modeling, profiling and segmentation methods complement the implementation of a methodology for quantifying the economic usefulness of actions, a methodology that discriminates the quality of the segmentation performed for fraud detection purposes (the effect of the segmentation models), from the appropriateness of implementing the actions (or the effect of the detection campaigns themselves), with the aim of separately assessing the cost effectiveness of investing in modeling techniques and investing in theft detection inspections. In this sense investment in fraud management is considered as just another company investment.

These techniques are supported by modeling platforms that combine mass data processing components with statistical software and tools for both access control and the management of roles, incompatibilities, etc.

Finally, this publication includes some examples to illustrate the implementation of energy theft detection probability modeling techniques (a specific case of external fraud).  These models are based on the characterization of the point of supply using variables that identify the factors underlying fraud, such as the physical characteristics of meters, commercial and socio-demographic characteristics of customers or users, usage and behavior history in relation to theft, other transactions with the customer, customer engagement, claims, the result of inspections, etc.

What is shown is therefore the added value of data, of information on costumers and transactions (hourly consumption, customer data, access to systems, etc.), in quantifying the probability that fraud events will occur and the use of this calculation to optimize both preventative action (e.g. segregation of duties and system access control) and mitigating action (e.g. implementation of inspection campaigns and segmentation of profiles according to their propensity to theft). Thus, action can be prioritized under an economic and profitability rationale based on the estimated probability that a theft event will occur or the possibility that fraud may be committed in the commercial cycle, as well as the materiality of the potential impact (energy defrauded, amounts stolen, etc.).

In fact, according to data made available by one of Europe’s main electricity distribution companies, following their use of data collected from intelligent meters, the percentage of fraud cases affecting the company that were detected went from 5% to 50%.

Tips and Tricks for Success in a Panel Interview

Panel Interview The fear of public speaking (glossophobia) is real. And, most of the advice for overcoming that fear centers on knowing the topic, preparing the speech in advance, and practicing a lot. Most of this advice sounds very similar to the advice for preparing for an interview. You need to know your topic (you), prepare in advance, and practice—a lot.

Talking about yourself in an interview is something every job seeker will have to do at some point. And, as scary as that might sound, at least you don’t have to talk about your accomplishments and achievements in front of a group.

Unless you end up in a panel interview.

While not a common interview format, there is always the possibility that you’ll end up in a panel interview at some point during your career. And, though the idea of talking about yourself to a group of total strangers may be absolutely panic-inducing, take a deep breath. In many ways, a panel interview is no different than a one-on-one interview. If you plan, prepare, and approach a panel interview like any other interview, you’ll be a panel interviewing pro in no time.

Panel Interview

What Is a Panel Interview?

A panel interview is when two or more interviewers interview you at the same time. The panel can consist of a mix of people. It may be the supervisor and several team members. Or, it might be an HR representative and several colleagues. The panel might include people from teams you work with, but that you aren’t assigned to. It could even include direct reports if you’re interviewing for a supervisory position.

But don’t confuse a panel interview with a group interview. In a panel interview, multiple interviewers are interviewing you at the same time (meaning you are the only candidate in the room). However, in a group interview, while there may be multiple interviewers, there are also multiple candidates interviewing at the same time.

Why Employers Use Panel Interviews

One of the reasons employers use panel interviews is that they are more cost-effective and efficient for the company. The company can “get it done” at once and interview more candidates in less time.

An additional advantage for the company is that each interviewer is able to form their own opinion about the candidate without it being “filtered” through second-hand information. Everyone can see how you handle the questions and hear your actual answers instead of getting the replay from another interviewer later on.

A panel interview is also more cost-effective and efficient for you. It involves fewer interviews. And, while it’s no guarantee, the hope is that won’t have to answer “tell me about yourself” as many times. An additional advantage is that you’ll get a sneak peek into group dynamics. You’ll see how this group of people interacts and possibly get an idea of how different teams work (or don’t work) together.

However, there are other less economic reasons why employers conduct panel interviews. It can be intimidating—downright scary, even—to be the lone person answering question after question after question from a group. And that’s the point. By conducting a panel interview, the company can see how you perform in a real-world stress test.

And, for some positions, a panel interview is much like the job. For example, in a sales job, you’ll likely spend most of your time trying to convince a group of key decision-makers to buy whatever you’re selling. This is very similar to a panel interview in which you’re spending your time trying to convince a group of key decision-makers to buy what you’re selling: you.

How to Prepare for a Panel Interview

In some respects, a panel interview is no different than a one-on-one interview. An interviewer will ask you a question, and you will answer it. However, the dynamics of a panel interview are different than a one-on-one interview, and mastering these differences can give you an edge over other candidates.

Get an Agenda

Hopefully, when you are invited to an interview, the company will tell you that you are going to have a panel interview. However, if the company does not tell you who you will interview with or what the interview format is, ask for the information. Even if you aren’t able to determine the interview format, at least you will know who you will meet and can research them on LinkedIn or the company website.

And, if you can’t figure out if it’s a panel interview or not, again, no worries. Most of the techniques you use to ace a one-one-interview you can use in a panel interview without any major adjustments.

Bring Enough for Everyone

It’s always wise to bring extra copies of everything you want to share during an interview. This includes not only your resume, but also work samples or your portfolio. Since you never truly know what’s going to happen during an interview, it’s better to over prepare with extras of everything. While it may not be possible to reproduce everything you want to share, try to have enough so that no more than two people would have to share (just in case).

Treat It Like Any Other Interview

When you know you’re facing a panel interview, don’t sweat it. Prepare for a panel interview like you would any other interview. Review your resume, practice your answers, expect the unexpected, and you’ll be a perfectly prepared candidate.

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How to Handle a Panel Interview

Whether you knew beforehand and prepped for a panel interview, or you walk into a room and discover that you’re in a panel interview, there are a few tips you can use to help you handle a panel interview like a pro.

Treat Everyone Equally

Start the interview off on the right foot and treat everyone equally. When you walk into the room, take a minute and introduce yourself to everyone, making sure to get their names and titles (if possible).

When the questions begin, engage everyone when you answer. Maintain eye contact with the person asking the question. But, once you get past the beginning of your answer, make eye contact with other panel members. Doing this will help draw the other panel members in, and demonstrates your ability to hold the attention of the whole room, not just one person at a time.

And, if there happens to be a “ranking” member in the room, don’t only address your answers to that person. Treat everyone the same, no matter their title. Just because someone is the CEO doesn’t mean they have any say-so over hiring decisions, so make sure you include everyone in the conversation.

Ready to Receive

Unlike a one-on-one interview, there often isn’t any “break” between questions. In a one-on-one interview, the interviewer might take notes and need to finish writing down your answer. Or, the interviewer may need to read their notes to find the next question. And sometimes, they want to follow up on an interesting point you made. In any of these cases, the odds are pretty good that there’s a back and forth during the interview, and that includes normal pauses in the conversation.

However, this likely isn’t the case in a panel interview. Because there are multiple interviewers, more than one person is probably taking notes, which means that while some people are writing things down, others may not be doing the same. This means that when one person finishes a question, the next person fires a new one.

Just like in a one-on-one interview, don’t rush your answers. Take a moment and pause before answering to help organize your thoughts. A deep breath can clear your mind. Or, a “What a great question,” can help buy you a few moments before diving into your answer. If one of the interviewers cuts you off before you’re finished answering a previous question, figure out if what you were going to say is critical to your answer then decide if you need to drop it. If the information you were going to add is crucial, try asking, “Before I answer that, can I finish my previous thought, please?”

Watch Your Body Language

Of course, body language is important in any interview. However, body language may be even more important in a panel interview. You may not have a table or desk in front of you. It may just be you in a chair in the middle of the room facing the panel.

So, while it may be easy to hide certain ticks under a table, you may not have that “cover” in a panel interview. Make sure you aren’t engaging in any “nervous” activities, like tapping your feet or drumming your fingers. Sit up straight and engage with the panel like you would in any other interview.

Speak Up

While we’re talking about body language, let’s talk about volume, too. In a one-on-one interview, you’ll likely use your “inside” voice. Since it’s just you and one other person, there’s usually no reason for you to speak up—especially if that’s not your natural speaking voice.

However, in a panel interview, you may find that you need to speak louder than normal. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it’s better to be loud and heard than have to repeat your answers. Or, worse, have interviewers tune out because they can’t hear you.

Take Notes

Also, don’t forget to take notes! While you may find this a little tricky to do if you don’t have a table, balancing your notepad (or clipboard or whatever you use) in your lap will get the job done. You made find it harder to sit up straight, but taking detailed notes will help you during and after the interview.

How to Start a Consulting Business

The dictionary defines a consultant as “an expert in a particular field who works as an advisor either to a company or to another individual.” Sounds pretty vague, doesn’t it? But unless you’ve been in a coma for the past decade, you probably have a good idea what a consultant is.

Businesses certainly understand what consultants are. In 1997 U.S. businesses spent just over $12 billion on consulting. According to Anna Flowers, spokesperson for the Association of Professional Consultants in Irvine, California, the association has recently noticed an increase in calls for information from people who want to get into the business. “The market is opening up for [the consulting-for-businesses] arena,” Flowers says.

Melinda P., an independent consultant in Arlington, Virginia, thinks more people are getting into the consulting field because technology has made it easier to do so. “The same technology that has helped me to be successful as a consultant has made it easier for others to do the same,” she says.

A consultant’s job is to consult. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s that simple. There’s no magic formula or secret that makes one consultant more successful than another one.


But what separates a good consultant from a bad consultant is a passion and drive for excellence. And–oh yes–a good consultant should be knowledgeable about the subject he or she is consulting in. That does make a difference.

You see, in this day and age, anyone can be a consultant. All you need to discover is what your particular gift is. For example, are you very comfortable working around computers? Do you keep up with the latest software and hardware information, which seems to be changing almost daily? And are you able to take that knowledge you have gained and turn it into a resource that someone would be willing to pay money for? Then you would have no trouble working as a computer consultant.

Or are you an expert in the fund-raising field? Maybe you have worked for nonprofit agencies in the field of fund-raising, marketing, public relations or sales, and over the years you have discovered how to raise money. As someone who has turned a decade of fund-raising successes into a lucrative consulting business, I can tell you that fund-raising consulting is indeed a growing industry.

Things to Consider Before You Become a Consultant

  • What certifications and special licensing will I need? Depending upon your profession, you may need special certification or a special license before you can begin operating as a consultant. For example, fund-raising consultants don’t need special certification, although you can become certified through the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. And in some states, you may need to register as a professional fund-raising consultant before starting your business.
  • Am I qualified to become a consultant? Before you hang out your shingle and hope that clients begin beating your door down to hire you, make sure you have the qualifications necessary to get the job done. If you want to be a computer consultant, for example, make sure you are up to date in the knowledge department with all the trends and changes in the computer industry.
  • Am I organized enough to become a consultant? Do I like to plan my day? Am I an expert when it comes to time management? You should have answered “yes” to all three of those questions!
  • Do I like to network? Networking is critical to the success of any type of consultant today. Begin building your network of contacts immediately.
  • Have I set long-term and short-term goals? And do they allow me to become a consultant? If your goals do not match up with the time and energy it takes to open and successfully build a consulting business, then reconsider before making any move in this direction!

Top 20 Consulting Businesses Thriving Today

Although you can be a consultant in just about any field these days, the current top 20 consulting businesses include:

1. Accounting: Accounting is something that every business needs, no matter how large or small. Accounting consultants can help a business with all of its financial needs.

2. Advertising: This type of consultant is normally hired by a business to develop a good strategic advertising campaign.

3. Auditing: From consultants who audit utility bills for small businesses to consultants who handle major work for telecommunications firms, auditing consultants are enjoying the fruits of their labor.

4. Business: Know how to help a business turn a profit? If you have a good business sense, then you’ll do well as a business consultant. After computer consulting, people in this field are the next most sought after.

5. Business writing: Everyone knows that most businesspeople have trouble when it comes to writing a report–or even a simple memo. Enter the business writing consultant, and everyone is happy!

6. Career counseling: With more and more people finding themselves victims of corporate downsizing, career counselors will always be in demand. Career counselors guide their clients into a profession or job that will help them be both happy and productive as an employee.

7. Communications: Communications consultants specialize in helping employees in both large and small businesses better communicate with each other, which ultimately makes the business more efficient and operate smoothly.

8. Computer programmer: From software to hardware, and everything in between, if you know computers, your biggest problem will be not having enough hours in the day to meet your clients’ demands!

9. Editorial services: From producing newsletters to corporate annual reports, consultants who are experts in the editorial field will always be appreciated.

10. Executive search/headhunter firms: While this is not for everyone, there are people who enjoy finding talent for employers.

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11. Gardening: In the past decade the demand for gardening consultants has blossomed (pun intended) into a $1 million-a-year business. Not only are businesses hiring gardening consultants; so are people who are too busy to take care of their gardens at home.

12. Grantsmanship: Once you learn how to write a grant proposal, you can name your price.

13. Human resources: As long as businesses have people problems (and they always will), consultants in this field will enjoy a never-ending supply of corporate clients, both large and small. (People-problem prevention programs could include teaching employees to get along with others, respect, and even violence prevention in the workplace.)

14. Insurance: Everyone needs insurance, and everyone needs an insurance consultant to help them find the best plan and pricing for them.

15. Marketing: Can you help a business write a marketing plan? Or do you have ideas that you feel will help promote a business? If so, why not try your hand as a marketing consultant?

16. Payroll management: Everyone needs to get paid. By using your knowledge and expertise in payroll management, you can provide this service to many businesses, both large and small.

17. Public relations: Getting good press coverage for any organization is a real art. When an organization finds a good PR consultant, they hang on to them for life!

18. Publishing: If you’re interested in the publishing field, then learn everything you can and you, too, can be a publishing consultant. A publishing consultant usually helps new ventures when they are ready to launch a new newspaper, magazine, newsletter–and even websites and electronic newsletters.

19. Taxes: With the right marketing and business plan (and a sincere interest in taxes), your career as a tax consultant can be very lucrative. A tax consultant advises businesses on the legal methods to pay the least amount of tax possible.

20. Writing services: Anything related to the written word will always be in demand. Find your specialty in the writing field, and the sky will be the limit!

8 Qualities You Need to Look for Business Coach

Business Coach Every entrepreneur needs a coach, because the fastest way to learn any business is to study someone who has been successful at it. This person has already paid the price of experience. You must absorb all of the information that you can out of him or her!

Over the years, I’ve met many people who desperately want to be successful but who are ultimately unwilling to invest in themselves. They think, “I can teach myself. I can learn this on my own.” I’m always dumbfounded by this attitude. If I can avoid making a few mistakes, I’m going to.

Business Coach

However, it goes without saying that some coaches are better than others. There are so many people these days offering their services to entrepreneurs online. Before you leap into a new relationship, take some time to get to know a potential coach. The following qualities are what you should be looking for.

1. Experience

The number-one thing to look for on someone’s resume is his or her experience. What exactly have they accomplished? Is it what you want to accomplish? Your coach must have walked the walk.

I feel strongly about this. Find someone that has truly paid their dues and can speak to their real-life experiences. Ideally, this person will have failed and succeeded. Their insight will help you avoid making costly mistakes and increase your chance of success immensely.

The devil is in the details. Ask for testimonials. What are former mentees saying about him or her? Is what’s being said personal and detailed? Always remember to Google for complaints as well.

2. Attitude

In my experience, having a great attitude comes with time and experience. The right coach will have been through it all — and come out the other side knowing a sense of humor goes a long way in business. They are able to see the big picture. They understand it’s all a numbers game. They don’t get too upset. An ideal coach is very patient, but also persistent and determined.

3. Willing to share

A great coach is willing to share all of his or her experiences with you — the good and the bad. Do you get the feeling this person is holding back? That’s not a good sign. You’ll learn the most from someone who is willing to be radically transparent.

4. Expertise in their field

Does your potential coach regularly give lectures? Has he or she written a book? Do reporters interview him or her? It’s impossible to be everything to everyone, and nor is it desirable. If this person offers a long list of services, exercise caution.

5. Accessibility

You must be able to reach your coach. A good coach will be willing to customize a program for you, because they know one size doesn’t fit all. Does this person care about your problems and concerns? Specifically ask them how much time they have to offer you. What is their schedule and availability like? How many other projects and commitments do they have? Discuss these very important details up front.

Related: 5 Signs a Consultant Is a Waste of Money

6. Connections

A great coach will have longstanding relationships with people who could benefit you. Ask him or her if they’re willing to open doors for you. Sometimes, it is about who you know.

Business Coachs

7. Expectations

Ask your coach what they expect from you. A good coach will keep you accountable. They will outline what they need from you, time and action wise. If they don’t ask how much you’re capable of, that’s a red flag. I would never take on a mentee who told me he or she didn’t have as much time as I thought they should dedicate to a project.

8. A love of teaching

Teaching is a skill that people get better at over time. Good mentors love to help other people. They enjoy the act of teaching. How a potential coach treats you from the very beginning of your interactions is a good indicator of how he or she will act over time. Are they late to the first appointment you set up? That’s not a good sign. You need a coach who is considerate of your time.

5 Signs a Consultant Is a Waste of Money

Consultant  In business, there are roadblocks that an outside perspective could help you overcome. Spending a little bit of money on training could be what you need to take your business to the next level. The money spent could be returned to your business tenfold if what you learn is properly implemented.


The Internet has given us unparalleled access to knowledge. Online, we can take courses or hire professionals from all over the world. Social media and marketing are necessary today to carve an audience from the 2.5 billion people who log onto the Internet every day.

The potential for business has driven entrepreneurs to pay for “professionals” who market well but only deliver hype. In the journey to build my business, I have spent $5,000 on services that disappointed. Here are five questions to ask before hiring a coach or consultant to avoid being in the same position.

1. Is the person/company using “marketing speak?”

Every day when you log onto Facebook you’re bombarded with ads about “living the laptop lifestyle,” or “use this cheat sheet to make six-figures.” You see the programs and courses that tell you to have your “expert positioning,” or “funnel optimization” in place.

There is a lot of marketing speak that sounds good and valuable but has no practical value in your business. Those terms are merely used to sell you on the program or service. When you start seeing these phrases or hear a professional try to sell you using this talk, an alert should go off in your mind. Proceed with caution.

2. Are the testimonials suspect for the person/company?

Sadly, testimonials don’t hold the weight they used too. These days, it’s easy to fake them or get testimonials from people who have partially used the service. Be suspicious if you can’t contact the people listed or see how they’ve gotten said result.

Smart entrepreneurs do their homework and research before they spend money. They investigate the testimonials and, if they turn up fake, they don’t do business with that person.

3. Is the person/company relying on past success?

Changes happen quickly in marketing. Past success is not an indicator of present or future success, especially if the person is coasting on their name. There are lots of big-name entrepreneurs who haven’t had success in years but still command higher prices because of when they did.

Related: How to Start a Consulting Business

4. Are the strategies still relevant?

There are a lot of strategies that worked years ago but are ineffective today. For example, if you’re an author, publishers used to handle all of your marketing and book sales. Today, the bulk of the marketing falls on the author, publisher or self-published. I was at a writer’s conference last week talking to former New Times best-selling authors who don’t know how to sell books today.

This vortex of past opportunities has given rise to a modern-day gold rush. Old and useless strategies get passed around as the only way to succeed. Don’t pay someone to teach you what used to work. Pay to learn what works now.

5. Is the content designed to upsell you?

There are courses and services that are specifically designed to give you just enough and then upsell you. They give you the first few steps, and when you purchase the entry services, you’re upsold on the big daddy program.

Webinars seem to be the new fad. You’re marketed on why you need to join the webinar and get just enough information. You’re then sold on the “must-have” course. I have no problem with webinar marketing, but if the webinar doesn’t give you any useful information, you’ve paid for a useless service.

I’m a firm believer in investing in yourself, but only if you’re going to get what you paid for. With today’s access and technology, there’s no need to overpay for services. If the value is there and if the value is proven, don’t hesitate. The right services can be invaluable. Do your research.