Black Tuesday – Takes Me Back…

Justine Eden, DirectorBy Justine Eden

The recent Black Tuesday articles got me thinking back to 30 years when I was working in the dealing room for a share broking firm on that day that the market crashed. It was chaos and very apparent that things were going to change.

Having just left school I spent 2 years of working in finance, one year as a chalkie at the stock exchange and one in share broking. For me the ‘87 crash crystalized my plan to go to university full time. I could tell my job would no longer be there in a few months. Now of course the chalkie is also a relic of the past!

The recent Weinstein revelations also got me thinking. Sexual harassment was rife back in the day in share broking and I had my fair share of unsolicited advances from married men more than double my age, particularly when their wife was out of town. Did I want to come over tonight and have a hit of tennis? Did I need a lift home in the flash euro sports car? No thanks.

I remember sending out statements for shares purchased days, or just hours before the October 87 crash hit, for highly inflated shares now worth less than 5% of what was owing. People now desperate to sell and losing their homes because they had speculated on shares with money they could not afford to wager.

I had forgotten a lot of all of this and now it seems like a life time ago, but those insights back then cemented in my mind a kind of determination and clarity. That was to get an education, to build a career, to invest in shares with money that did not cost me the family home if they failed. To be independent and create my own business and to be able to stand up to anyone that made me feel uncomfortable or compromised in any way.

The power to choose, the ability for independence is something I have always valued greatly and it is what I hope my own daughters will experience. Cause let’s face it power is and always will be an aphrodisiac and independence is a great liberator.

As Abraham Lincoln said “..if you want to test a man’s character give him power”.

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The Importance of Effective Recruitment & Selection

By Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Your employees are your most valuable asset, they’re also your greatest cost, so it’s important to hire the right people. So why then do employers have so many difficulties recruiting staff. Employing the wrong person for a role is not only time consuming but will affect morale and productivity and is a costly mistake to make.

Before determining who to attract and select for the role, it is essential that you have a clear idea about what the job requires and the attributes of the person needed. Some people look for the ‘best fit’, the individual who will aspire to the culture of that organisation and one who will understand the needs of the business. Traditionally, job descriptions have been devised to enable the organisation to effectively decide what skills are needed to fill the position. By doing this, the candidate has some knowledge of the type of role they will undertake and from this will enhance job performance as clear ground rules have been set from the beginning. Conversely, the lack of a competent job description will in effect, attract the wrong candidates.

Some tips to adhere to when recruiting include:

  • Develop and design a proper job description, listing the actual skills needed.
  • Design an advertisement that outlines what you are looking for and what the job will entail. You get much better results, if you advertise specific criteria that are relevant to the job. Include all necessary skills, and a list of desired skills that are not necessary but that would enhance the candidate’s chances of success. If you fail to do this, you might end up with a low-quality pool of candidates and limited choices to fill the position.
  • Select the interview panel carefully – make sure they understand the role, their responsibilities and are provided with the skills to participate fully. In my opinion further training should be provided to panel members to ensure this.
  • Fully prepare for the interview, as it provides a vital opportunity to focus on what candidates can offer your organisation. The interview process is an opportunity to express your vision, goals and needs and it is vital that the interview elicits responses from applicants that can be measured against your expectations for the position. If you don’t use the interview to effectively eliminate applicants who don’t fit into your culture, you might find yourself dealing with turnover, confusion and disgruntled employees.
  • When you choose, a candidate based upon the qualifications demonstrated in the resume, the interview, employment history and background check, you will land the best fit for the position. Base your decisions upon specific evidence rather than any gut instincts. If you hire people who can do the job instead of people you merely like, you will have higher productivity and quality in your products or services.

When you effectively recruit, and select the right employee, there is a domino effect. Your new hire will do their job well, employees will see that you make wise decisions. You will gain respect from your workforce, which in turn results in higher productivity.

Finding your happy place

By Michele Cameron

Have you ever reached that point in your career where you hit a wall and you’re unhappy? I knew I had come to a cross road and had to make a change. It has been a few weeks since I’ve started with Eden Ritchie Recruitment, and I know I made the right move. I’m very happy! It has taken a few months to find the right company and a great team that aligns to my expectations. Overall both parties want the “right team fit” match.

How do you find this?

Lots of research! Here are my tips when you’re looking at a new opportunity.

  1. Learn about the company – How are they performing and profitable? What do they offer? What are the values, and do you agree with them? This information you’ll find through their company website, news media links and their financial report.
  2. What is their reputation? Do you have connections who work there you could ask or someone who worked their previously? What does the current staff say? Ones who’ve left? What do the client’s say in the testimonials? This information you’ll find through LinkedIn or Glassdoor.
  3. Who are the Managers/ team you’re part of? You might find this on the company site, LinkedIn or social sites. How long have they been part of the business? Do they have years experience or are they new? How is the team structured? Will you be mentored and supported? What’s the average tenure in the business?
  4. Does the opportunity excite you? Will the new role give you challenges? Improve your skills and future employability? How will the company provide you training in your first few weeks? What will be their expectations for you to deliver in this role short term and long term.
  5. Does it align to what you truly want? Don’t forget what is most important to you which makes you happy at work.

 Trust your instincts

Armed with all of this information, it’s important to go through the interview process with an open mind.  Look, listen and ask. There will be clues you see and feel around you: What is the office vibe? Does the staff look happy? How does the Manager speak and engage you? Ask lots of questions in the interview. After all, an interview process is a two-way street! Candidates don’t forget this!

I wanted to find a company with a good brand, strong reputation and consultative, customer service approach. There’s a lot of recruitment agencies who promise great, customer service but actually don’t. Luckily, I saved myself from jumping from one frying pan to another.  

 Making the decision to accept?

 Maybe all of this information might overwhelm you in making a decision? At the end of the day, you need to weigh up the pros and cons, and sometimes take other’s opinions with a grain of salt. Ultimately, it’s your career path you are building for yourself.  In the first month you’ll know if you made the right choice. In any on-boarding process the first week is critical for a new starter. If you’ve made the wrong decision, you have the option to voice your concerns with your Manager or start the job process again. I hope you don’t wait too long being unhappy in a role.

 Happy work days

When you’ve made the right choice – work becomes the easy part! I found strong leadership, great clients who value our service, candidates who continue to return to us and a collaborative team with strong expertise. I feel energized knowing I belong.

My Pet Hate – The Unedited CV!

By Helen Chard

When asked to write this blog – I started to wonder what was worthy of writing – the answer, what takes up most of my time when searching for the ideal candidate.

Over the past 7 years I have spent thousands of hours poring over CV’s. From CEO’s and professionals with Masters and Doctorates – many being from the most prestigious universities (I spent time in Cambridge!) to the unemployed.

It amazes me that someone can produce a tidy Facebook page but when it comes to a CV, it can be a jumbled mess – a complete enigma that we recruitment consultants continually decipher.

There are no two ways about it – condensing all your skills and experience into one slick document can be challenging. You’re not born knowing how to write a great CV, so it’s up to you to find out for yourself how to get the basics right. From font size and format to photos and filling in the gaps, there is a certain etiquette that should rarely be broken. Recruiters and employers receive constant streams of applications don’t let a basic mistake send yours straight to the bottom of the pack.

How long should a CV be?
When it comes to length, try to think of your CV as a tasty appetiser that will get people coming back for more. It should be around 2 pages long to ensure that you get your message across quickly, without dragging on like an old encyclopedia, boring employers and recruiters.

If you feel your experience is as good as gold (and listing it all will make you a shoe-in for the job), don’t worry too much about going over. Just be sure to keep it at 3 pages or less.

What do employers look for in a CV?
They want someone who has the right skills and knowledge to do the job at hand, so this need to come across in your CV. If you have the exact experience they are looking for, make sure it is clear – don’t make them read between the lines or join the dots. Spell everything out for them. If you don’t have the perfect profile for the role but know you can do it, highlight your transferrable skills. It’s always important to research your target roles beforehand to find out exactly what they are looking for in an applicant.

What font should I use in my CV?
The saying ‘keep it simple stupid’ exists for a reason and is a principle that applies here. Forget cursive text that makes your CV look like a Disney picture, and best you steer clear of colour altogether. Nice symbols, though. Use a simple font that looks professional and is easy for recruiters and employers to read. Size matters too – you can’t go wrong if you stick around the 10/12pt mark.

Should I include a photo on my CV?
Your best selfie needn’t grace its presence on your CV. There is no need to include one on your CV. It will take up space that could be better used with text that demonstrates the value of hiring you. Show them how you’re so much more than just a pretty face.

Do I include all my experience on my CV?
You should include all your experience on your CV for transparency, but older or irrelevant roles can be shortened down to brief summaries. All your previous roles were NOT created equal. It is important to bring out the most relevant points and let other bits take the backseat.

Should I include my date of birth on my CV?
Age is only a number, right? Employers should not make recruitment decisions based on a candidate’s age, so there’s no need to include your date of birth.

Should I hide employment gaps on my CV?
Take the guesswork out of your CV. You don’t want recruiters or employers scratching their heads trying to fill the gaps themselves, so if you have long periods of unemployment you should be up front and explain them. Keep this short and sweet, after all, it’s just to let them know what was keeping you occupied during that time. Ideally use constructive reasons such as personal projects, study or travelling.

Do I need a cover letter?
Typing a personalised cover letter shows you are serious about your career and the opportunity.  It should paint a clear picture of who you are and what you are looking for, and why you want to engage in further conversation.

Should I include references in my CV?
Employers shouldn’t contact references until they have intentions of potentially offering you the job – it has however been known to happen. You don’t need to list them on your CV, instead a one-liner like ‘references available upon request’ will do the trick.

And if in doubt – GOOGLE – there are templates, job specifications and information at the touch of a button. So, if you can use Facebook you can certainly compose a CV which is legible and flowing.

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.

The world we live in has changed …

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           Jane Harvey

Job seekers need to be more savvy and careful than ever when it comes to social media. Gone are the days of turning up for an interview in your Sunday best, providing details of a couple of referees who would be sure to sing your praises and then turning up to your new job the following Monday!

Social media can both advance and hinder your career depending on how you use it. As the Internet and social media grow increasingly important, particularly in business, most future employers and recruiters explore candidate’s social media profiles including Facebook before making hiring decisions.

 And this is the very reason you need to be extra careful with how you use social media, how you portray yourself in this medium and how you set up your privacy. After all, it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to provide an unflattering social media image to future employers.

So, before you apply for your next job, take a good look at your online presence in some of the following ways:

Google yourself

Yes, this is the first thing anyone will do to see if you are who you say you are! Search your name and see what comes up? If there is something there that you would not be comfortable with a future employer seeing … take it down or get in touch with whoever published it and request that they remove it. This is not always possible and some things will remain for a very long time … so think before you post!

Check your privacy settings

Most people think that their privacy settings are sufficient and only their chosen ‘friends’ can see what they post… but in actual fact most people allow friends of friends to view certain content and it just goes on from there. If you go into Facebook and in your profile click “view as public” you will get a better understanding of what anyone in the world can see – including a future employer. If you can see too much … change your settings and get rid of anything that may cause damage to your professional image.

Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date

LinkedIn is one of the most important tools you can utilise as a job seeker or even as an employer. Often referred to as a professional Facebook, LinkedIn is your opportunity to get noticed and to stand out from the crowd, so make it work! Make sure your content is accurate and informative and that you include a snippet from your past few roles on the cover page. Make sure you keep it up to date and most importantly, include a professional and current photo, not one of you and your children or partner or best friend on a park bench or in a pub. Keep it up to date! If you don’t have it, then get it! If you are going for an interview, look at the profiles of the people interviewing you, it will show you are interested and doing research into them and their business.

 In all honesty, prevention is better than trying to fix social media disasters. Everybody has a life outside of work but photos of partying hard, can and will tarnish your professional image. If you must post, make sure your pictures are private. Future employers and recruiters do not need to see them.

Lastly, limit your work related comments on social media such as Facebook, particularly anything that may be seen as derogatory, and limit your social related comments on mediums such as LinkedIn – they are very different and you need to draw a very distinctive line between them. Open your LinkedIn profile so that almost anyone can access it, and your Facebook, Twitter etc. so that almost no-one can, and you should be on your way to that great new role without the worry of skeletons in the closet!

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Is the Cover Letter dead??

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By Angela Ng

Some think that in the new transactional world, where shortlists are formed by keyword searches, that the cover letter is dead, but I have news for them. The cover letter remains a key tool for the candidate to differentiate themselves from the crowd, to personalise their application for the role, and to get the recruiter’s/hiring manager’s attention sufficiently to make them want to turn over and review the CV.

A good cover letter has the following:

1. PROOF THAT YOU’VE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK

Recruiters and hiring managers want to see that you know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s important in the early sections of your cover letter that you refer to the job, its title and the company in some form.

Bonus points if you can impress your potential future boss with an acknowledgement of a major company success. Triple points if that success relates to the team you’d be joining.

2. AN EXPLANATION OF HOW YOUR SKILLS RELATE

Your cover letter is also the written explanation of your resume as it relates to the job at hand. So it’s important you explain in the letter what exactly it is you can do for this company and this role based on your previous experience.

You could use, what’s called a “T-Letter” to effectively present this section. This is a letter with a two-sentence intro followed by two columns—one on the left headed, “Your Requirements” and one on the right headed, “My Experience.” Bye-bye big, boring blocks of text.

Using the job description, pull out sentences that express what they are looking for and place those in the “Your Requirements” column. Then add a sentence for each to the “My Experience” column that explains how your skills match those.

It’s an aggressive, bold approach—but one that could set you apart from the rest.

3. YOUR EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE POSITION

Here’s an exercise: Think about yourself in the job you’re applying for. What do you feel? You’re probably pretty pumped, huh? Now harness some of that excitement and put it down on paper.

For example, if you were applying to a web design or UX job, you could write, “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in how the digital world works and how users interact with websites. Website design is not only my career, it’s my passion, which is why I hope you’ll consider me for this great role on your team.”

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.