A Head of HR talks about today’s challenges, employees’ demands and candidates’ requirements.

We asked a Head of HR with extensive experience to answer a few questions about the main challenges they face in their profession today, how has the covid-19 pandemic affected the workplace and employees’ demands, as well as, what are the key things to be considered by candidates looking for a new job role.

What are the main challenges you face at work every day?

The main challenges nowadays are the talent attraction and retention of high performing employees. Looking at the latest unemployment rate statistics, the unemployment rate in Cyprus in June 2022 was 5.1% compared to 8.8% in June 2021. This is also supported by the opening of many job roles in the past year. The increased number of job opportunities in the market, makes attracting and selecting the best talent more and more challenging.

At the same time, another challenge is keeping employees motivated and engaged. HR personnel have to continuously find new ways to drive employee job satisfaction and productivity.

Have employees’ demands changed over the last two years?

Definitely they did. The covid-19 pandemic has driven higher demands for remote work arrangements and increased focus on health & safety in the workplace. Additionally, the recent economic inflation has led to a higher demand for improved remuneration packages.

How has the pandemic affected the work environment?

The pandemic led to a shift towards remote business arrangements. On the one hand, remote arrangements such as work from home or online meetings have increased the employees’ flexibility, however, if these arrangements are used for too long they could lead to a disconnection from the team and the company. Therefore, employers should take extra care on how to keep their employees connected and engaged when it comes to long remote arrangements.

How has the pandemic affected employees?

Although stress is something that always existed, stress levels and anxiety increased even more during the pandemic due to the uncertainty and fear that the pandemic brought. Also, the pandemic made people to reconsider their priorities, with work-life balance getting higher on the list.

How has the pandemic affected new talent attraction? 

Definitely recruiters had to consider new and non-traditional ways for talent selection, such as online interviews and tests. Additionally, the health & safety as well as flexibility arrangements adopted by certain organisations, proved to be a plus in the candidate’s decision of their preferred employer.

Have you introduced any new employee benefits in the last two years?

Yes, remote working arrangements have been introduced on a permanent basis as flexibility is considered to be a must have by many employees and candidates.

What do you think about new trends such as 4-day week, fully remote work, hybrid workplace?

In my opinion any such arrangements that increase the feeling of flexibility and self-control will define the future workplace. Employers who want to attract and retain key talent should follow and implement such trends, always of course depending on the nature of each job.

What are you looking for in a prospective candidate that is non-job specific?

The main characteristics that we look for in a prospective candidate are good communication and interpersonal skills, being able to work both independently and as part of a team, demonstrate motivation and enthusiasm, be flexible and adaptive to the multiple changes that businesses continuously face.

What are the key things not to be missed for a good CV?

A good CV should be short and to the point, highlight the most important skills of each candidate and be tailored to the job role. For candidates, having another person to go through their CV before it is submitted, can save them from careless mistakes that could cause them the job!

How can candidates best prepare for an interview?

Candidates should become well aware of the role requirements they applied for, by carefully reviewing the job advert. During the interview process, they should be able to demonstrate that they are a good fit for the position. Additionally, doing some research to learn more about the company also demonstrates that the applicant is more committed to the role. A job interview is the candidate’s opportunity to sell and differentiate themselves from other candidates; highlighting their strengths using examples will definitely add value in the selection process.

What are the ‘No No’ things to mention during an interview?

Blaming previous managers/employers or highlighting negative characteristics could definitely cause candidates to lose the job!


The opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not in any way reflect the views of my current or any previous employers.

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