Is the office becoming obsolete in the 21st century working world?

Siobhan QuinnBy Siobhan Quinn, Government Selection Panel Consultant, Eden Ritchie Recruitment

 

Gone are the days of the traditional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday in the office; with more and more employees demanding flexible working options, businesses have responded by offering work from home opportunities, amongst other initiatives. It begs the question – is the office becoming obsolete?

 

Often when thinking of flexible work arrangements, the likes of tech giants such as Google come to mind; but it may surprise you to know, several key players such as Yahoo and IBM have reversed their flexible work policies. In 2013 Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting, reasoning that while people can be more productive at home; they are more collaborative and innovative in the office. Collaboration needs a place to happen. When employees work remotely, it becomes more difficult for them to interact and share ideas. While there are some great tools to facilitate remote collaboration, it doesn’t quite replace a face-to-face conversation. Also, being in the same room as colleagues is crucial in developing social connections and building the culture of an organisation. Employees can virtually work together in an effective manner, but it’s definitely harder to build a rapport with someone over email, compared to someone you physically work next to. Working from home can sometimes be lonely, and most remote workers will want to come in and work from an office at least some of the time. This helps the individual to feel connected their peers, and as well to the business.

 

For those who enjoy the privilege of working from home, there is a level of trust placed in them to do the right thing. Of course, there are a small minority of individuals who will take advantage of the opportunity and not deliver the expected outcomes. But for the vast majority, remote employees are more productive. With many people commuting for over an hour each day, particularly those who work in the CBD; that’s at least 5 hours a week that could be better spent elsewhere. Generally, employees are more willing to put in extra time where required, but especially when they can do so from home. The same goes for sick leave; those who work from home are usually able to accomplish at least some work, in what would otherwise be a lost day. It can also be cheaper for the business to have employees working from home, for example in growing organisations where desk space is at a premium in the office. For managers who worry about reduced visibility over productivity, technology makes it easy to track output, for example programs which monitor screen activity. Many jobs have performance metrics that can show how productive someone is, and this is particularly so for task-based roles with tangible outputs.

 

In summing up, there are many jobs that can easily be performed remotely or from home. Employees have been shown to be more productive at home rather than in the office, and in many cases, work can be done more efficiently and for a lower cost. Conversely, staff can be more collaborative and innovative in an office environment. Not everyone wants to work from home, many people like the separation of work life and personal life. Working from home also won’t suit every employee or role, and it won’t work for every organisation. So, the office will likely never be obsolete but it’s important to recognise the benefits and changes technology has introduced to the way in which people can, and do, work.

 

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

It’s a matter of asking the right person the right questions.

Susanne FlahertyBy Susanne Flaherty, Government Selection Panel Consultant, Eden Ritchie Recruitment

Rather like how party goers ask a doctor at a Sunday BBQ for advice on a sore knee or chronic hiccups, the questions recruiters get at these events are about CVs that miss far more frequently than they hit and hints for the top 5 interview questions.

 

My top five responses always include that the staff on our Fasterr and IT desks are great at providing insights into the things they are looking for from CVs, and key experience and skills they are seeking from potential candidates. I overheard a conversation today where one of our awesome recruiters Jo, was talking to a candidate about the skills and experience to highlight in preparing an application for a role she was working. Similarly, Ben and Tiffany on the IT desk know exactly what they are seeking for their employer clients and how candidates can best present skills and experience to make it clear in a succinct and professional way. Working with a recruiter helps you get in front of employers and gets you insights into how to sell what you can do.

 

The other thing that I always say is that each employer is different and each role is different too, even if it is the same job advertised 12 months later. I recently worked with a panel who, due to unforeseen circumstances, were filling the same role we had worked on together to fill only 6 months earlier; same role description, completely different employment context with the team 6 months further into a major organisational change.

 

The key is to ask questions of the contact person or if there is no contact person ask around and look on the net for the organisations wider priorities, the statements and commitments they make their customers and clients and the language they use to describe their environmental and social context.

 

Don’t turn up at the interview without knowing the type of person being sought for the role or what the priorities for the first three months will be. Make sure you try your best to know that before you start typing.  Tailor your application to that role and make sure you reference what you found out. I read a lot of awesome lists of great stuff people have done but few awesome written applications that describe the great stuff the applicant is going to do for the potential employer.

 

Eden Ritchie Recruitment can help you many ways from getting great candidates in front of terrific employers to working with you one to one on your interview style and approach to writing your CV and your application.

 

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

Love your Guts!

By Linda Parker, Executive Manager, Eden Ritchie Recruitment 

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The age old saying “I just had a gut feeling” … most of us have experienced it at some point in our lives, that urge to trust your gut when making a decision, whether it be as seemingly inconsequential as whether to go out this Saturday night, through to more significant life altering decisions.

There is a myriad of published articles on the science behind it, but how does it work when the decisions you are making need to be supported by evidence?

I am hearing more and more about the use of intuition in business, rather than just personal circumstances. Perhaps we have all become paralysed by over-analysis and are turning to other methods to support the decision-making process.

It is often said trust your gut; it won’t let you down.

My question is whether corporates or government departments can afford to take this risk in their decision-making process? What are the consequences when, for instance, an unsuccessful applicant is looking for constructive feedback on their interview?

I’m sorry Ms Smith, but the panel had a gut feeling that you would not be able to deal with the leadership challenges this role would bring.

Articles refer to cognitive biases when intuition is at play … in this instance it could mean that Ms Smith reminded the interview panel of someone known to them in their career that exhibited all the wrong behavioural traits and without consciously realising it, they made a decision based on something that they could not quite put their finger on.

I know when I have trusted my gut in the past (in personal decisions) that it has usually always been the right path … even if it is painful at the time. But how do we harness this for business in a way that can be justified?

To quote Author Valerie van Mulukom (Research Associate in Psychology, Coventry University) … do we simply see it for what it is: a fast, automatic, subconscious processing style that can provide us with very useful information that deliberate analysing can’t.

Perhaps the kombucha manufacturers are on to something!

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

 

A Quick Reference Guide to Project Management

By Ben Wright, IT Senior Recruitment Consultant, Eden Ritchie Recruitment

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Working in IT, we are exposed to a number of Project Management methodologies, which at times can be a little daunting understanding the difference. There are so many methodologies in the industry today, each with their own set of rules and processes. So, which one should you choose?

Below are the Top 5 methodologies, we see used by our clients today:

  • Agile – a methodology used in software development, using short cycles of work that allow for rapid production and constant revisions if required. This encourages both developers and business people to work together throughout the entire project.
  • Waterfall – a methodology made up of cascading steps, hence the name. Waterfall is made up of 6 different processes; requirements, analysis, design, coding, testing and operations.  This methodology allows for early design changes and is suited to a milestone focused development environment.
  • Prince2 –  an acronym which stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. This framework requires projects to have an organised start, middle and end. This allows for better control of resources and better business and project risk management.
  • PMBOK – deals with the project management lifecycle from start to finish. It describes 47 processes that managers would typically undertake when tackling a project and organises them into 5 groups of processes; project initiation, project planning process, project execution process, project control process and project closure process.
  • Scrum – one of the most popular agile frameworks in use today. Scrum refers to brief meetings where team members come together to talk about their successes and what the next steps are. Scrum follows a “do, check and adapt” principle.

In addition to the above methodologies, we are starting to see an increase in the following:

  • Kanban – in Japanese, the word “Kan” means “visual” and “ban” means “card”. This visual system manages work as it moves through a process. Kanban follows a set of principles and practices for managing and improving the flow of work. It promotes gradual improvements to an organisations processes.
  • Scrumban – a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban, Scrumban provides the structure of Scrum with the flexibility and visualisation of Kanban, which makes this methodology a highly versatile approach to workflow management.
  • Lean – a popular approach to streamlining both manufacturing and services processes through eliminating waste while delivering value to customers. A lean culture is based on continuous improvement.
  • XP – another agile project management frameworks used in software development. XP advocates frequent releases, iterative development and a high level of customer involvement. XP is very similar to Scrum, but with an added layer of coding best practices.

One thing to keep in mind, while there are a number of methodologies to choose from, there is no such thing as the “right” one.  Different projects benefit from different elements of each and quite often a hybrid of multiple methodologies are used to manage a Project.

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 Basic Art of a Good Resume

By Rachael Peters, Recruitment Consultant, Eden Ritchie RecruitmentRachael Peters

It didn’t seem that long ago when I decided to change career paths and it came time to update my resume. I spent so much time on the layout – the font, the font size, bold, underline – the list goes on … It took days to get it just right. Unfortunately for me, although it looked great, it was so generic, and it didn’t really specify any of my skills or stand out in a crowd!!

Being a newbie to the recruitment industry, I now understand that most employers and recruiters are looking for specific skills to fill a role, and often receive hundreds of applications for one job. We all have our strengths and capabilities but how you put that down on paper is imperative on how you will succeed. When applying for your dream job, you don’t want your resume to be lost in a sea of applications because it is too long, too short or just boring.

Try to keep your resume to two to three pages and focus on your key selling points – it’s a career marketing tool, not an autobiography. Because we live in a fast-paced world with tight deadlines,  hiring managers and recruiters may give your resume a 6 second glance before making the decision of whether or not you go on the maybe pile. Your short story should capture attention and leave the reader wanting more! (That being said, a more substantial resume would be expected for senior level positions or those from technical or academic backgrounds)

The first page should always be a career summary section, to define you as a professional and cover areas most relevant to your career level and job target. A career summary should provide a brief, but detailed version of your qualifications, experience and what you can bring to the table with the use of keywords and skills to help categorise you as a stronger candidate.

Your resume should be visually appealing, uncluttered, and have substance. Use of bullet points is a great way to add emphasis, but limit them in some areas to increase impact, and make your position descriptions results-based rather than task based. This means write down what you achieved rather than what you did.

And finally – there is no need to include your home address, marital status, age or gender anymore, but always have a phone number and relevant email address. If you have an old email address that may look unprofessional, it may be time to set up a new one while job hunting!

Remember your resume is a marketing tool – First impressions begin with your resume, not at the interview door. A well written and presented resume can get you that interview, which could be the beginning of a brilliant new chapter …

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

Does a looming Election weigh on your mind…?

By Jane Harvey, Executive Search Specialist, Eden Ritchie RecruitmentJane Harvey

Don’t let fear of Election fallout stop you from making important decisions. It’s that time again in Australia and another Federal Election is looming.

If previous experience is anything to go by, we can’t help but fear the societal upheaval that can come, in a variety of ways, from such an event.

Many of us may have been considering making some life changing decisions.

New Job?  Decisions on who to hire or fire? New House?

These types of large decisions have been scientifically proven as being some of the most stressful experiences in life – actually ranking right up there with the death of a loved one.

Throw in a looming election, and the possible economic instability that can follow, and suddenly we might find ourselves a lot more wary about moving forward in making those decisions. Despite any previous feelings we might have had, that these choices could be a good idea.

Why? Because when it comes to elections, we are conditioned to know that this is a time of instability for our country.

We can see Reserve Bank interest rates rise and increased debt for our country, while countless amounts of money are wasted on advertising that show our politicians fighting like kindergarten children and backstabbing each other.

None of it provokes feelings of comfort and trust for us as citizens of Australia, in the people who are running our country

What can we do about this?

Is it really a good idea to hold off on our decision making, or to second guess a decision already made, simply because we are feeling nervous about what the future holds as a result of the election?

The answer is NO.

We need to keep moving forward with our lives. Despite what fears we may have about who will be running our country and what mistakes they might make while doing that.

Why?

Because despite the image projected by society that something like a Federal Election, and the results thereof, will have a massive impact on our lives, it’s not strictly accurate. When it comes right down to it, the main person you need to focus on, who has the greatest impact on your life, is YOU.

Forget the election and any impact it may have on the decision at hand, because it all starts and ends with you.

If you are considering a career change, a job change, you need to hire – or even fire an employee, the problem that is there … will still be there when the uncertainty is a distant memory. When it comes to decision making, stress and anger on any level are not going to assist you in making a good decision.

Whether the stress and fear about making your decision is coming from the concept of an upcoming election, or you desire to change jobs because you have a boss or workmate that you simply can not get along with, you must release it all in order to make a good decision.

If you make the decision to move jobs from the standpoint that you don’t like your current boss or a work colleague, you will likely find that even if you change jobs you will encounter the same problem in the next job.

So what is the answer, the key to all of it?

Do anything and everything you can to relax and feel good.

Then… stick with the decision, don’t second guess yourself, or worry that you have made the wrong choice. Stand by the decision you have made.

Know that no matter what comes, whether you agree with the government or not, everything will work out. If history is anything to go by, it will all change again in no time… and we will all go about our lives.

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

Social Media and Social Screening

Kate copyBy Kate Broadley, Executive Manager Employee Selection Panel Assistance, Eden Ritchie Recruitment

Social media is a term for the online platforms that people use to connect with others, share media content, and form social networks. Some of the most popular platforms include Skype, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, YouTube, Viber, Snapchat, and Reddit. Social screening of these online platforms is now an increasingly crucial part of the recruitment and selection process, although data in relation to its actual use is almost nonexistent and it is certainly not something formally recognized, as part of organisational recruitment policy or procedures. But what we do know, is that what you post online stays there forever and is accessible by everyone.

So how can you ensure you have an appropriate social media footprint?

Firstly, do a Google search of your name and see if there is anything inappropriate associated with you. I decided to practice what I preach and did a Google search of my name – fortunately I have nothing inappropriate to report on – rather boring in fact. Apart from my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts which I expected, what I did find, were some articles about me as the mother of my son Jack Kibble, who was Runner Up on Junior Master Chef some 8 years ago, and a presentation I co-delivered at a conference some years ago, which I had forgotten about and most certainly don’t have a copy of – but I now know a copy is accessible on Google.  I then did a Google search of both my sons who are part of the (“Generation Y and The Millennial Generation”) who have a strong social media footprint, and while again there is nothing inappropriate (thank goodness) – there is a complete history of what they have achieved to date. In their cases, this social media presence may in fact be important and advantageous for their careers, however they still need to closely oversee the content of this wherever possible.

My boys have blocked me for years on their social media, so I have no idea what they post, but of course like any parent, as they were growing up, I have warned them about loading inappropriate content like embarrassing or provocative photos or videos of themselves on social media. Bottom line – if you don’t want your boss, work colleague or prospective employer to see it, don’t post it in the first place or if its already in the social media realm – remove it – it’s just that simple.

You can also change your privacy settings on your social media accounts and make sure it is personal to you and your friends and not the masses, something I would recommend doing, if you have not already done so. Remember your friends can still tag and copy photos that you thought were private and post to the public realm. Of course, there are privacy laws which cover the unauthorised publication of private material. Even so, once the information is posted, your reputation might not be recoverable, so be careful and think twice before sharing anything in the digital sphere. Bottom line, if you wouldn’t share it face to face don’t share it digitally.

So, the message is simple, be careful what you post, manage who has access to your posts and review your social media history and make sure it is representing the person you want to be portrayed as in the public realm. Remember social media can enhance your status in the market but equally it can be “an albatross around one’s neck”.

Best wishes, Kate

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