5 Biggest Mistakes Employers Make When Attracting High Calibre Candidates and How to Avoid Them

5 Biggest Mistakes Employers Make When Attracting High Calibre Candidates and How to Avoid Them

A very enlightening article in the Arabian Gazette described some huge mistakes that recruiters make when seeking candidates for Middle Eastern firms.

Though some of these blunders are universal and not strictly limited to recruiters in that particular area of the world, some of them touch directly on the biggest mistakes employers can make when trying to attract high calibre candidates (usually described as executives but not limited to that role).

Interestingly enough, the filling of management, executive, and other key roles seems to be a struggle in the region’s firms. This is due to more than just employer mistakes during recruitment efforts, and includes:

  1. Telling and selling – A lot of effort goes into making firms appealing to job seekers. Known as an employer branding, this doesn’t always touch on the things that higher caliber employees will find important. A different strategy may be essential to attracting the appropriate candidate. 
  2. Positioning the work as an immediate need – Few experienced professionals are going to feel comfortable pursuing a position that is not a good fit to their overall career goals. If you are describing the work as filling a more immediate need rather than as one that can shape and steer the department or firm, you may not get attention from higher caliber recruits. 
  3. Not actually seeking the “best candidate” available – Hiring experts advocate always having face to face meetings when hiring upper level employees. However, there is a distinct trend in firms not talking to and meeting with enough of these high caliber candidates to allow quality to be accurately gauged. Noting that a “bell curve” must be created through the selection of candidates, one expert indicated that meeting with too few high level candidates does not give an accurate portrait of the very best.
  4. Hiring the best interview – High level candidates are bound to be persuasive and effective people. Unfortunately, this can make it too easy to hire the person who performs well in an interview, but who may not perform well on the job. In other words, be careful about evaluating only the personality.
  5. Avoiding specialized recruitment services – If you have access to a specialist recruiter familiar with your industry, niche, or Middle East location, you may find your recruitment efforts far more successful. They can help you refine job descriptions and even clarify goals that will allow you to identify and attract the most suitable candidates available.

Hiring higher level recruits is difficult, and particularly if you are going to hire non-domestic professionals to handle significant projects or jobs. Being aware of the mistakes listed above can help you and your recruitment team to avoid the biggest (and often the most costly) errors.

Though some recent statistics pointed out that corporate career websites are a popular recruitment tool in many Middle East firms, there is still a lot to be said for working with recruitment companies with well established relationships throughout the region.


How to Find and Secure the Best Talent for Your Business

How to Find and Secure the Best Talent for Your Business

Running a successful business in 2015 means having a great product and superior customer service and care. To do that, you need more than good quality control and company policies, though – you need the best talent in your industry.

Of course, so does your competition.

Every business owner in the world wants to find and retain the very best talent in their field, but how can you not only attract them but also keep them and maintain their loyalty?

Don’t Settle for Mediocre Employees

First of all, whether you’re running a startup or an established company, you should never settle for employees who don’t really impress you in interviews. If you hire mediocre employees, you’re going to get mediocre performance. Then your company will get a reputation for being, well, mediocre.

The best of the best won’t want to interview with you, and you’ll be stuck with the same crop of average or below-average talent to choose from. So, even if the hunt for new staff takes a bit longer, it’s always worth it to insist on talent that knocks your socks off.

Prioritize Your Employees

According to famed entrepreneur and billionaire, Sir Richard Branson, “If you take care of your employees they will take care of your business.”

Essentially, if you put your employees first and show them that they have your support in all of their endeavors, then they will put in the extra effort it takes to show your customers the best care and service possible. 

You can do this by maintaining an “open door” policy with your employees and letting them know that they can always come to you if they have recommendations or problems. If issues arise, work with your employees to maintain a positive company culture and to show them that they are your highest priority.

Show Gratitude and Appreciation

You can also build employee loyalty by showing gratitude and appreciation. When one of your staff members goes above and beyond, don’t hesitate to publicly show them that you appreciate their work. This can be as simple as a pat on the back, or you can choose to give incentives and/or bonuses for employees who really go the extra mile.

One thing to avoid, though, is punishing employees for a perceived lack of performance. If one of your employees is not performing up to the level you expect, handle it privately and positively. Find out what’s causing the issue and how you can help your employee fix it.

This will show that you care about your employees, and it will encourage better performance much more than any punishment. As the old saying goes, you’ll attract more flies with honey than vinegar. 

When you treat your employees with respect and show them that you care about them and their job satisfaction, your business will gain a reputation for being a place where people want to work.

Soon you’ll have the top talent in your industry seeking you out, and if you continue with this philosophy you’ll have no problem retaining them.

Source 1 | Source 2 | Source 3

How to Effectively Manage Teams

How to Effectively Manage Teams

No matter what industry your business is in, you are going to need to learn to manage teams effectively. The fact is your employees make up one large team that should work together in harmony to improve your business.

And, within that large team, you should have smaller teams of individuals who work closely together to achieve specific goals. To work efficiently, those teams need good management. They need individual and group attention, and they need guidance to push them in the right direction.

Get to Know Your Team

First of all, it is absolutely essential that you get to know each member of your team. You do not have to become best friends with them by any means, but you do need to get to know their work habits and style. You need to understand what kind of supervision they need and what styles of management they react best to.

Getting to know the members of your team will help you delegate tasks properly, resolve conflicts when they arise, and find the best solutions for interpersonal challenges.

If you know that one team member prefers to check in after every task is complete while another prefers to be given the freedom to work through an entire project without regular check-ins and updates, you’ll know how to craft compromises that will work for both of them when they work together.

Be a Part of the Team

If you approach managing your team as if you are not a part of the team, you are going to have trouble. If, however, you roll your sleeves up and dive into challenges and projects with your team, then you will gain their trust and loyalty.

That doesn’t mean that you’ll have to take on every task that your team is assigned – you should still delegate and supervise – but it does mean that you shouldn’t be afraid to work closely with your team instead of simply telling them what to do and walking away.

Be a Diplomat

No matter how much effort you put into pairing the perfect members for your team, you are going to run into personal conflicts among them. This is inevitable, but it does not have to be a major problem. If two or more of your team members are having a conflict, invite them to meet with you. Listen to each side objectively and work with them to find a compromise that everyone can live with.

The more diplomatic you are in your approach to your team, the more effective your management will be. Remember, you want to do your best to ensure that no one walks away from a conflict feeling defeated. That kind of feeling will affect your team’s dynamic and productivity.

Whenever possible, try to show everyone involved that the decisions you’ve made are for the good of the team and the business and that they will result in a better work environment for everyone. The more approachable and communicative you are with your team, the easier this will be and the more effective you’ll be as a manager.

Source 1 | Source 2 | Source 3

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Ten Steps for Work Success

Many of us learn that career success and advancement can often be a matter of not “what you know but who you know,” and yet it is not always the case. There are also those shining stars who reach the top positions due to proactive behaviors, positive attitudes, and a “can’t fail” mindset.

How do you develop this in your career or workplace?

There are ten steps for work success most commonly suggested. Let’s first look at them, and then at a few additional steps.

Standard Recommendations

  1. Set Goals – Be clear on one, three and five year goals. Create obtainable and realistic milestones that you update frequently and as you gain experience or knowledge.
  2. Mentors – Finding a mentor is often key to success in your career. Identifying someone in your field from whom you can seek career advice is remarkably empowering. Refer to them when you have questions or challenges, or even major decisions. Alternately, count on them to help you with the basics.
  3. Know Yourself – Many of us are not honest about our personal strengths or weaknesses. When we are, it sets the stage for growth. It also helps us to see ourselves through our peers’ or colleagues’ eyes, ensuring wiser and more productive career or workplace choices.
  4. Company Goals – Treating your company as your key client is often an unspoken key to success. Never losing sight of the company’s mission is one way to ensure you perform at optimal levels and get noticed.
  5. Learn – Invest in yourself and become a lifelong learner, no matter how well-versed you are in your field. Updating or upgrading your skills is an invaluable step, and one that makes you increasingly valuable to your company or clients over time.
  6. Network – Whether it is through professional associations, social media/marketing sites, and workplace gatherings, there is a huge significance and value to networking. Increasing your sphere of influence can alert you to new opportunities, jobs, clients, ideas and more.
  7. No gossip – It is far too easy to bad mouth a peer or even an employer, but this is a step in the worst direction and may cost you in terms of advancement or even your job! It destroys trust, even if you do not work with the person you are discussing any longer, it reflects badly only on you.
  8. Position yourself as an expert – If you seek to become a true professional or “star player”, become an invaluable resource. Give 100% to each task, and employers notice. However, you can also do this through networking, publishing, and projects outside of your day to day work. This keys into the networking and learning encouraged above.
  9. Be sure you are passionate about the work – Doing a job because it pays is not the same as loving the work or the industry. If you choose an area in which you feel genuine passion, you are far more likely to have success. Clients, co-workers and others will recognize this, and when they are equally passionate, they gravitate towards you.
  10. Team player – No matter what you do, working well with others allows you to enjoy optimal work success. Cooperate, be willing and eager, and always pitch in to make any project succeed.

The “Other” Steps

While these are universally wise steps to work success, we all know that it often takes a lot more. Sometimes it can seem like luck, but usually it has to do with issues like patience, understanding and even strategy.

Consider what one business website said about business and work success in the Middle East:

doing business in…GCC countries is about planning, influential connections and above all, patiently working the deal…The typical sales cycle…is protracted and one must be patient. Newcomers to the region can protect their interests in the context of an unfamiliar business environment by a) becoming as familiar as they can with Gulf business culture and ethics; b) acquiring a basic understanding about Islam; c) thoroughly researching the companies they do business with in the Gulf (in particular, the company’s track record in dealing with foreign companies); d) securing a reliable local partner or intermediary to guide you early on…

Interestingly, what we find here is really just an expansion on those ten basic principles. After all, you are setting goals by planning and using your patience, willingness to learn, professionalism, and other skills to function best in a somewhat unique business climate. While those who are creating and/or conducting business transactions may feel this advice is not as relevant, do reconsider.

Why? As an ideal illustration of the point when you take time to learn your environment, the culture of the company or the people running it, the other companies and related industry areas, and then identify and obtain a mentor, you are doing all of the steps advised!

Success begins with good plans, and using these pointed tactics can help you reach your career goals in any field. After all, the most effective steps for work success are a blend of common sense, intuition, and applied practices such as those listed here. Use them, and you will see your career grow exponentially.

Source 1 | Source 2

Placed Candidates Feedback

Placed Candidates Feedback


On the 13th of February, our directors Barry Prost and Jamie Groom attended a seminar held in Ireland by ISABC discussing the fantastic opportunities for businesses in Saudi Arabia.


Mr. Abdulaziz Alghifaili – who is newly appointed as the international office director of SAGIA in London for northern Europe gave an insightful and informative presentation during the seminar.


Looking forward to continuing our ties for future development


Bahrain ireland saudiarabia riyadh ISABC SAGIA opportunities propelconsult


The diversity agenda is receiving strong government and social support in Saudi Arabia. Demand is strong for Saudi females and firms are struggling to source local female talent and have approached Propel Consult for support in finding these workers.

The country’s current talent pool is likely to grow thanks to educational provisions from government and Vision 2030 targets to increase female participation in the workforce from 22% to 30% across all sectors. The most in-demand female professionals are HR, while IT and in particularly e-commerce / finance is an incredibly busy area for hiring. Female candidates are receiving positive feedback from employers in terms of their attitudes and behaviors.

In our experience with expatriate female candidates, work visas/iqamas are difficult to secure as visa/ immigration processes have not caught up with the diversity agenda driving female employment.

Where we see some success in placing expatriate female candidates would be in the ‘government’ sector. These roles include: Finance Manager, Head of Legal, Architects, Senior Engineers and Project Engineers.

We have placed Saudi female candidates in our client companies in the following disciplines:

·        Urban Design

·        Urban Planning

·        Landscape Design

·        Interior Design

·        Architect

·        Civil Engineer & Project Engineers

·        Project Managers

·        Document Controllers


  • HR – all levels
  • Executive / Personal Assistants
  • Finance – junior and intermediate

In summary, demand is growing and supply is still the critical issue. While there is a growing talent pool  at a junior and intermediate level, there is a significant skills gap for Saudi females with 10+ years’ experience.

Contact Barry Prost, Director – barry@propelconsult.com with your comments or queries.


By Barry Prost

How to Achieve Your Full Potential

Have you ever gone home after a long day of work feeling like you are underachieving and not knowing how to reach your full potential? Every normal person has the desire to improve and achieve success in every area of life however we most people are unsure what their life goals and therefore feel like they are wasting their potential. Sometimes these goals exist, but they seem almost impossible to achieve. Reaching your full potential means making the most out of the life that you are living and seizing every opportunity that comes your way. This article will introduce a few steps that will help you achieve your potential.


Embrace who you are:

Self-awareness is an essential skill. You will never be satisfied in life if you are constantly trying to become someone else. Reaching your potential requires acknowledging your true self and trying to become the best version of who you are by defining your strengths as well as your areas of weakness and seeking progression.


Set Micro Goals:

Scientifically proved, setting goals makes it easier for people to get what they want to achieve. Write down a list of realistic goals and commit to it. Your goals need to be specific and small as it is easier to notice improvements and see results. Ticking off these small goals will also keep you motivated and lead to bigger achievements.


Be confident:

“There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do”. Self-confidence is a key to everything in life. This is not only limited to believing in yourself, but also to being optimistic. Negative thinking will slow down your progress and demotivate you. You should also never compare yourself to others as everyone has their own great potential. Instead, let those who have chased and achieved your dream be a role model for you and follow their path.


Do Not Give Up:

Nothing great in life comes easy, hence you should stay persistent and focused. There will be hard times and sometimes success may seem impossible but one thing to remember is that hard work pays off.


By Eman Al Mansoor

Basic CV Structure


  • Contact Information

It’s important to include the contact information at the beginning of the CV at the top of the first page, this information in including the full name, Email, Address, Mobile and land line number.


  • Education information

The Education information must be written after the contact information and Its presenting the name of the University/Institute you were educated, location, and years of graduation


  • Languages

List of Languages if you speak more than one language and the level of fluency.


  • Computer Skills

Computer Skills must be added with a list of programs that person is good at using.


  • Practical Experience & Expertise

It is necessary to include in the CV the work experience volunteer work, and it should be ordered from oldest to the current including the month /year of joining and ending.


  • Member Ship

The names & dates of member ship in which they participate, should be added.


  • Personal Interest
  • Interest and activities that person is good at, should be included.


By Aysha Ebrahim

How to develop your soft skills

Even if you possess the practical knowledge required to pursue a job, there is a big chance that you may not be chosen due to your lack of soft skills. Studies have shown that 75% of long-term job successes mainly require upon mastering soft skills and only 25% is dependent upon technical skills. The importance of soft skills has been increasing nowadays as the job market is becoming more competitive and everyone seems to be in possession of the hard technical skills. Therefore developing and training these soft skills are essential for one to achieve professional success. Fortunately, soft skills do not require talent, they are trainable and their development is limitless. Some of the soft skills employers seek in a candidate include leadership, teamwork, communication, adaptability, problem solving and work ethic. This article will introduce ways by which you can enhance and sharpen these must-have skills.


Stay positive:

Always remember that on one wants to hire someone that complains 24/7 and spreads negativity in the work place. Therefore you need to eliminate the negative thinking and always keep a positive attitude. Even when things get hard, remember that they always can get worse and try to motivate your colleague by being optimistic and reminding them to do so.


Have a sense of humor:

Humor is very important even though employees may not see it as important as the other skills. Having a sense of humor and being able to make a laughter every day will not only keep the stress away but will also make you more likeable by people at work. Thus always find the funny side in everything and make business-appropriate jokes every now and then.

Be an effective team player:

Keep an open mind and try your best to show support to your team member’s ideas even if you do not fully agree with them. Being an excellent team player says a lot about your ability to work with others and also leads to achieving the best possible outcome by working together as a team. Split the work among the team members evenly and do not try to do everything on your own as it is important for others to feel included.

Accept criticism:

It can be hard to react positively to criticism, but always try to listen carefully as sometimes you cannot tell where you went wrong and those giving you feedback have the best intentions for you. Try to learn from this person instead and improve your performance. Also be thankful and appreciate their time and effort helping you identify these mistakes.


By Ahmed Albarni