The final tick of approval – Are your referees up to scratch?

By Tiffany Kamotiffany

Think you have put in a good application, and nailed the interview? Congratulations on getting this far, but remember, it’s not in the bag!

References are not just a matter of process, they are a valued contributor to the overall assessment piece. You are not always the only one to progress to interview in a position, they could very well be used as a deciding factor so you want to ensure you are giving yourself the best possible chance at being the successful candidate.

I cannot stress the importance of preparing referees enough!

Always ensure you give your referees a quick call to advise not only they will be hearing from someone, but who it will be, and why. Provide them with a brief run down on the role you are going for so they can reply to questions asked with role appropriate scenarios. I see it time and time again where the referee has not been adequately prepared, and comes across disinterested, lacking any ability to provide detailed responses, and therefore it reads as a lack-lustre reference where it is potentially no real indication of how you performed within your position.

Is your referee related to this position directly? Just as you tailor a cover sheet, a resume or undertake selection criteria, make sure you also tailor your referees to your specific job application to reflect the position you are applying for.

And remember at the end of the day, your referee has taken time out of their day to help you secure your next position, ensure you follow up with a quick ‘Thank you’ so they know you appreciate their time and to keep the line open for them to provide you with future references.

Advertisements

Why don’t you call me no more?

By Justine Eden, Director – Eden Ritchie RecruitmentJustine Eden

As coined in the lyrics of one of the great Prince songs, the Master of Music (RIP Legend) laments the fact that the one person he wants to hear from can’t even pick up the phone.

Likewise, I am amazed by the number of executives who, when applying for roles, simply hit submit. Why don’t they want to talk?

Wouldn’t they want to get behind the position description (that is so often outdated – a story for another blog) and better understand the key aspects of this role and organisation? Wouldn’t this intel better inform their application and allow them to nail what it is that the hiring manager is looking for?

I agree that often the person listed on the ad is not always the most informed or helpful – but persevere. Make sure you have a few relevant questions to ask when you do connect with someone able to share key information with you. Use this as a key opportunity to connect and build rapport.

I get to work across a great number of organisations and with leaders from every technical specialisation. I can attest to the many number of times when people recall a phone conversation with an interested applicant and want to meet them in person.

It’s all you need – that foot in the door. The interview – isn’t that what the application is all about? Blindly applying for your next career role and winging an interview is not an effective tactic. I don’t understand how an applicant can sit in an interview and stress how enthusiastic they are about the opportunity when they haven’t done their research up front.

Also, the stock standard application is not effective. If you are serious about your career and your search, you have to invest the time into it. Tailor your letter to the specifics of this role and organisation. Pick out the key words in the ad and the position description and aim to include them (ensure relevance) in your resume.

And please check your work! Incorrect names, spelling errors, leaving the details on a letter relating to a different role/organisation – yes, sadly I see this a lot. I look forward to hearing from you.

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter, or call on +61 7 3230 0033.

8 Tips To Making A Good Impression At Interview

 By Ben Wright

So you’ve put in all the hard work of getting your CV up to scratch, you’ve applied for roles and have managed to secure an interview.

How well do you think you’ll perform at interview?

It’s a difficult process for anyone at any level, and I’ll try my best to guide you through some of the likely questions and situations you might find yourself having to deal with.

  1. First impressions

The obvious one – first impressions do count! You have no idea how true this is. You need to smile and make the right amount of eye contact, so keep your gaze just a few seconds longer than usual, without looking like a bit of a weirdo.

  1. Questions and answers

Let the interview panel lead the interview but remember that you don’t have to wait until the end of the interview to ask questions. While they’re telling you all about the job and the company, questions from you at this point will emphasise your interest in the position. They may start with the question “Tell us about yourself and your experience, and why you think you would be the best candidate for the job”. This is where it helps to have your pitch handy as a brief introduction to who you are and what you can do.

  1. Preparation

Before the interview you should consider how you handle situations like interviews. How will you answer a question like “What are your salary expectations”? A difficult one if you don’t know whether you are over or under selling yourself. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are – you need to be able to say what you’re good at with confidence.

  1. Your reasons for wanting the job

Ask yourself why you want this job because you’ll likely be asked this on the day. Only you know the answer and you need to make it a good one. Just because you need a job isn’t a good enough reason for someone to hire you. Ask yourself what you actually know about the company. Are you interested in a long-term career or is this simply a stopgap for you? They might ask you where you see yourself in 6 months or 5 years’ time – how will you answer this. Easy if you see yourself long-term with the company, but not so easy to answer if you don’t.

  1. Dress Code

I can’t stress this enough – make sure that you dress professionally. Casual is not good and gives the wrong impression. Of course, this will entirely depend on what type of job you are applying for, but for a professional career position, get it right and rock that killer suit.

  1. Be enthusiastic!

You’ve been invited for interview because they believe you can do the job. It’s just down to you on the day to show that you can do it better than anyone else. Even if you don’t tick all the boxes for the job criteria, I’ll bet you have something just as good or even better to offer. The interview panel don’t know this yet, so you have to tell them. Don’t be negative about a past (or present) employer, working conditions etc., as this will give a really bad impression. Try to show that you are flexible and willing to take on responsibility.

  1. Timing is critical

Whatever happens don’t be late!  Arrive 10 minutes prior – and if you’re too early then take a walk around the block.  Just don’t leave it until 5 minutes before the interview is due to start, because the interview room might be some distance away from the reception area you have reported to.

  1. The evening before the interview

I’m not going to say try to relax the evening before because you won’t, but get some sleep! If you really want the job you’ll be pretty nervous… that’s natural – and that’s the best advice anyone can give, to just be natural and be yourself. That’s the person they’re looking for. Good Luck!

Do you respond or react?

I’ve been doing a significant amount of reading lately about managing emotions in the workplace, and the affect this can have on how the team and how your employer might view you.

Emotions are an important part of us all. They help fuel our drive, motivation, desire to succeed, and can also ignite our fears … of failing, making mistakes and losing the ability to concentrate and think rationally.

Stress is a reality in most workplaces, but what is it that makes some people thrive while others appear to fall apart at the seams.

I have noticed time and again that those who keep it together in stressful situations and don’t allow their emotions to take control are those who take the time to listen and then respond, rather than hear and react.

Without wanting to sound too ‘zen’ responding is about learning to pause, to take the time to wait for your ‘reaction’ to subside.

How many times have you wanted to just say your piece regardless of the consequences? How many times have you hit the send button and immediately regretted it? In the workplace this can lead to conflict, tension and can lose you respect from your manager or peers, which can be difficult things to overcome and recover from, not to mention the negative health problems it can cause you!

Responding is simply a conscious choice, and experts say that the responsive mode is the natural state that our brains rest in. It is our ‘happy place’. So why don’t we choose that instead? Because we are human beings with natural instincts and behaviours, we make mistakes and say things we regret.

Retraining our brain can takes years, but it all starts with awareness … so next time you feel that natural instinct to react to a situation, try waiting about 10 seconds before you say anything.

It may just save you from making a bad situation worse!

Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The Infrastructure Future is looking bright!!

By: Nikki ChapmanNikki Harding

So with the festive season now a blurred distant memory, we again begin to speculate what’s going to be different this year from last? What projects will magically appear to drag our current unemployment rate down from 6%  – the worst figures in almost a decade.

Well here’s some food for thought, currently in Queensland alone there is almost $5.5 billion worth of infrastructure, road and rail projects currently up for grabs with the ‘expression of interest’ or EOI’s being sent out, or tenders currently underway.

Some of these projects include:

  • Toowoomba second range crossing valued at $1.7billion
  • Gateway motorway upgrade valued at $1.2billion
  • Kingsford Smith drive upgrade valued at $650million
  • The Under River Tunnel valued at $2.2billion.

These projects although not beginning in some cases until early to mid 2015, will require numerous skill sets prior to construction, especially in the estimating, planning, contracts and procurement spaces as well as conceptual and detailed design and engineering, creating a flow on effect for other areas.

So whilst the market may seem bleak at present, there is a silver lining on that cloud of skepticism, and whilst I don’t have a crystal ball I do believe that with a sense of renewed confidence we can optimistically look forward to what looks to be a much better year for those looking to grab hold of the next challenging role in their career.

Success in 2014 …

Jane Harvey

By Jane Harvey

It sounds so basic but many a great motivator over the years has stated that the whole secret of personal success is to find out what your calling is, and then do it. Sound easy?? The great question for success has always been, how do successful people get there? Why is it that some people naturally think in a positive way, while others don’t? What determines your success or lack of it??

Many successful people I have interviewed and spoken to over the past (too many) years, have been asked the simple question, “What do you think about, most of the time? And where do you see yourself in 10 years” Their answers are so simple yet so profound. In short, they either choose to be positive… or they don’t.  They either think about what they want, and how to get it or they think about the obstacles in their path.

Successful people all think the same… and I think that if you look at people who seem to have come from nothing and succeeded. They are not super heros or even always academic. The common denominator is almost always the power of positive thinking and self belief. Your self-concept plays a prominent role in almost everything you think, feel and accomplish in life. By looking at and learning from the habits of successful people and by remaining positive in your thought patterns, you too are sure to become a successful person!

We have just come through a couple of years of uncertainty in Australia and it has certainly been an up and down year in QLD alone but 2014 is looking to be shining bright on so many fronts. As you would all be aware, the employment space is a key indicator to the overall economics of not only QLD but the whole of Australia. It impacts what people buy, the housing market, the tourism sector and even the not for profit space, basically it is the catalyst for so much of what happens in our life.

So I was so happy to come out of a hard year in 2013 and into the throws of what, by all accounts is destined to be a big year on the job front. Some of the most exceptional candidates I have met with in my career have just entered the job seeker market and some of the most interesting jobs we have worked on recently seem to be pouring through the doors. So I can only come to one conclusion. The future of 2014 is looking so bright! I feel optimistic after a turbulent few years and I am also feeling that optimism from clients and candidates alike!

Bring on 2014… Lets get started!

How to shine at interview

By Kate Broadley

KateFINALA job interview gives you a chance to shine. Remember, what you say and do will either move you forward in your career or knock you out of contention. Seriously …it doesn’t take much to make an impression – good or bad. If you haven’t taken the time to dress appropriately or if you say the “wrong” thing, you have probably blown your chances before you even say a word…

My advice is take the time to prepare for your interview and don’t think you can wing it, I have certainly seen many people make this mistake. Make sure you know what’s on your resume, you would be surprised at the number of people who don’t outline why they are qualified for the job. Be able to talk about why you are interested in the company, and practice staying calm and focused. No matter how good you think you are, I am yet to find anyone who actually enjoys the experience. It’s important to remember that the image the interviewer has of you when they first meet you is the one that is going to last.

Know the Facts

I’ve been surprised when applicants weren’t able to tell me their dates of employment or what they actually did on a day-to-day basis in their job. Make sure you review your work history prior to interview – and ensure what you say matches what’s on your resume. Take the time to research the organisation and the job you’re applying for.

What You Don’t Say

What you don’t say can – and will – be used against you in a job interview. If you come to an interview chewing gum or drinking coffee, you will already have one strike against you. Not being dressed appropriately or having scuffed shoes will give you a second strike. Talking or texting on your cell phone or listening to an iPod while waiting to be called for the interview may be your final strike and you could have ruined your opportunity, before you have even said a word.

Verbal Communication

Your verbal communication is so important. Please don’t use slang and make sure you speak clearly. Remember, if you need to think about a response to an interview question, that’s fine. It’s better to think before you talk than to stumble over your words. Most importantly practice does make perfect, so practice answering some interview questions so you’re comfortable responding to the basics.

Listen

It can be easy to get distracted during a job interview. It’s stressful and you’re in the hot seat when it comes to having to respond to questions. Do your best to listen to what the interviewer is asking, it will be easier to frame appropriate responses.

 Non-Verbal Communication

What you don’t say during an interview is as important as what you do say. What’s important is to appear professional and attentive throughout the interview.

So with that said, I hope your next interview is a positive experience, remember, even if you are not successful, you can learn from the experience.