Thursday 13 September is the national R U Ok? Day reminding everyone to ask R U Ok?. If you notice someone who is struggling – start a conversation. Stay connected. Have meaningful conversations. Encourage people to ask R U OK? We all have what it takes to help someone.
By Kate Broadley, Executive Manager Employee Selection Panel Assistance, Eden Ritchie Recruitment
So why should I choose you? It’s a fine line selling yourself and not grovelling because that certainly is not a good look and it most certainly won’t get you the job. Even if you are not asked this in so many words, you should have an answer prepared and be looking for ways to communicate this throughout the interview.
My job, is to hire the best person for the job and let’s face it, most of the candidates shortlisted to interview are well qualified for the job. The successful candidate must be more than qualified, especially in a competitive job market and leave me with a lasting impression. In reality every appointment is a risk, your interviewer is taking a personal career risk in recommending a particular candidate to fill the role. So if the successful candidate performs well, we all look brilliant and get a pat on the back. The downside is, if the candidate turns out to be a dud, we all look like dummies and our professional reputation suffers.
So as a candidate, you do have to persuade me, why I should employ you. I call this your elevator pitch – remember I am looking for smart and capable individuals. Fundamentally you must be able to do the work, deliver exceptional results, and fit in beautifully with the team. No one wants someone who is going to be hard work (we have enough of them right). So note to self, you must possess a combination of skills and experience that make you stand out from the crowd and if I hire you, it must make me look good and make life easier for the client.
Like everything there is a happy medium, so don’t overdo it, 60 seconds is all you have. This is an opportunity to highlight your strengths tailored to the job description. I recommend including a combination of industry experience, technical skills, soft skills, evidence of key accomplishments and your educational qualifications. So next time wow me for all the right reasons and you WILL get that job!!
By Helen Chard
Recruitment Consultant, Eden Ritchie Recruitment
INTERVIEWS – either a punishment or a pleasure! Whilst some people thrive and excel at interviews, many of us – including myself would rather just skip this process because we shy away or find it difficult to sell ourselves (much easier to sell ice to Eskimos!).
During my recruitment career I have spent many hours coaching candidates on interview techniques, and yet for some reason it can all fall out the window at the interview stage. Be it the answers fly away, getting tongue tied, our mouths running away or plain and simple – not being able to think of the answers or responses or not being prepared. I would recommend knowing your CV inside and out and how you could apply your experience to any answer and researching some commonly asked interview questions such as:
1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
This question seems simple but it’s crucial. Think about your career as a synopsis of how you would want someone to describe you in a positive way. Start off with the 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences that you most want the interviewer to know about, then wrap up talking about how that prior experience has positioned you for this specific role.
2. How did you hear about the position?
A perfect opportunity to stand out and show your passion for and connection to the company. Whatever way you found out about it, the company will want to know, it shows that their marketing team are actually doing their job.
3. What do you know about the company?
Any candidate can read and regurgitate the company’s home page. So, when interviewers ask this, they aren’t necessarily trying to gauge whether you understand the mission—they want to know whether you care about it. Start with one line that shows you understand the company’s goals, using a couple of key words and phrases from the website, but then go on to make it personal. Say, “I’m personally drawn to this area because…” or “I really believe in this approach because…” and share a personal example or two.
4. Why do you want this job?
Again, companies want to hire people who are passionate about the job, so you should have a great answer about why you want the position. (And if you don’t? You probably should apply elsewhere.) First, identify a couple of key factors that make the role a great fit for you (e.g., “I love customer support because I love the constant human interaction and the satisfaction that comes from helping someone solve a problem”), then share why you love the company (e.g., “I’ve always been passionate about education, and what your mission is, I would like the opportunity to be a part of this”).
5. Why should we hire you?
This interview question seems forward (not to mention intimidating!), but if you’re asked it, you’re in luck: There’s no better setup for you to sell yourself and your skills to the hiring manager. This gives you the opportunity to sell yourself without pressure. Make sure your answers cover the following 3 factors:
- Transferrable skills that enable you to do the role
- That you can deliver great results – examples from previous roles will be required
- Team and culture – previous experiences.
6. What are your professional strengths?
You will need to think about this prior to the interview. What would someone say about you in your previous roles? What and how did you do your job successfully which was memorable and relevant to the role you are being interviewed for – for example, instead of “people skills,” choose “persuasive communication” or “relationship building”. Then, follow up with an example of how you’ve demonstrated these traits in a professional setting.
7. What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
They are not looking at the weakness as a flaw in you and whether you are capable of succeeding in the role, rather it’s about gauging your self-awareness and honesty. The majority of us find it is easier to recognise our weaknesses rather than our strengths! Turn the question around – recognise it and explain how you are working to turn this around for example: Public speaking – and that you have now volunteered to run meetings to “feeling the fear and doing it” or “turning the weakness into a strength”.
8. What is your greatest professional achievement?
I always tell my candidates to use the S-T-A-R method, this enables you to stay on track with the answer and not go off on a tangent. REMEMBER we start to switch off after 3 minutes of listening to someone talking if they start to ramble. SHORT and SWEET is always best, the STAR method is easy to remember and use.
S = Situation
R = Result
For example: “In my last job as a junior analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process”) but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result). For example, “In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 man-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 25%.”
9. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.
In asking this interview question, “your interviewer wants to get a sense of how you will respond to conflict”. Anyone can seem nice and pleasant in a job interview, but what will happen if you’re hired and then there is conflict with a co-worker? Utilise the S-T-A-R method, this will help you focus on how you handled a past situation professionally and productively, rather than emotionally.
10. Do you have any questions for us?
Please don’t say no! They may have gone through the company’s profile and background, talked about the role and the expectations, but use this opportunity to ask about their plans, what are the opportunities to grow within the company, what are the milestones and how are they measured? There are many questions to ask to show that you are interested in the role, google is your friend when thinking of anything that may not be answered during the interview process and will give you a clear picture of whether this will be the right role for you. REMEMBER this interview can be a two-way process. DON’T ask about Holidays, salary and benefits during this time.
To close the job and to get a clearer idea if they are interested in you for the position – questions can be: “Is there anything that has or hasn’t been clear that would prevent me getting the role?” – this can put them on the spot, but if there is a question lingering after you have left you may have lost a great opportunity.
“What is the next process?” – they will then let you know what to expect and when to hear from them, this also shows that you are interested in the role and if you are, let them know.
These questions can keep going – however when you start to utilise the questions and get familiar with yourself and your career, the questions will be easier to answer. Remember, just don’t jump on every question and if you are unsure, you are able to ask them to repeat the question, or breath and process the question so the answer comes out clearly.
One thing I always take with me to start the interview off is to ensure to give a firm handshake and acknowledge each interviewer. Remember they could be your future employer and first impressions DO count.
All I can say is: Good Luck and do your best.
By Michele Cameron
IT/ICT Recruitment Consultant, Eden Ritchie Recruitment
I’ve been reading articles saying that the resume will be dead in a few years. Hooray you cheer!! There’s nothing more frustrating than having to keep re-writing or adapting your work experience every time you change roles or seek a new change.
1. Video resumes – this is becoming a popular tool clients are slowly trialing or currently using. When you look at a traditional resume, there’s a clear disconnect between the job seeker and recruiter/reviewer. There’s no relationship that develops from a resume, no personality to consider and no obvious communication skills. It’s not until applicants reach the phone interview stage that the recruiter has an opportunity to truly get to know them and learn more about their qualifications. After all, some resumes can be vague.
2. One page infographic – in the visual world of marketing an infographic makes it eye catching, with easily digestible key information. After all a recruiter/ reviewer will spend less than a minute scanning your application. It keeps it simple, punchy and highlights the key details without the fluff. But on the flip side, the information lacks the details and current recruitment systems prefer word documents to scan and search key words when job matching candidates.
3. Online profiles (digital & personal brand profiling) – Clients and recruiters will search your online profiles, research your articles and written blogs, and compare your network/ connection reach. The best talent will be creating their brand value and attracting opportunities based on their perceived reputation.
4. Data job matching – new forms of technology from social media, big data, and analytics are building and profiling candidate’s information and becoming better sophisticated matching/ sending job alerts to candidates. After all, would you prefer to apply for less roles which matched better to your skill set. The downside is you become stereotyped based on your experience and doesn’t work if you want a change of industry or career.
5. Creating talent pools through social media – this is an interesting article about companies attracting new talent pools and making the candidate experience fun again through social media. Here are two takeaway tips clients can implement: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/07/23/the-death-of-the-resume-five-ways-to-re-imagine-recruiting/#4eb19c0978a9
a. Make it fair for all to apply – let candidates share ideas and contributions rather than the standard, one-dimensional credentials presented on a resume as it reveals aptitude rather than education or experience.
b. Give candidates a business challenge – bring ideas to solve a problem, create value through innovation.
As a recruiter, I hear too often the candidate’s pains of applying and your resume is sent to the big dark internet of abyss and then nothing. Technology is constantly evolving and we all need to be adapting, embracing and developing our digital brand value to attract the next opportunity. Ensure your professional LinkedIn profile, website or video sales pitch is attached to your resume to help personalize it. Don’t be stuck just relying on job boards and a standard resume as there’s a good chance it’ll be in the “no” pile.
All the best!
By Jane Harvey, Executive Search Specialist
Eden Ritchie Recruitment
Having worked in the white-collar/professional and Executive recruitment space for over 22 years I have seen a great deal of change within the industry in this time. I have seen many attempts for the ‘recruiter’ to be replaced by technology and I must say, I think that the job will continue to evolve, but I don’t think the recruiter (the person) will ever be completely superseded. While technology has the ability to store and sift through resumes based on desired skills, they alone cannot make final judgment calls about candidates.
One big change I have noticed, even championed, has been the shift from the old ‘post and pray’ methodology (where a role comes in, it is advertised and then we wait with fingers crossed for the perfect person to apply) to a more refined and much more precise method of going out and looking for the perfect candidate for a particular role …. matching actual skills and experience to a client’s needs … tapping into a completely passive audience as well as the more active job seekers. And I have seen this work … well!
BUT how easily can you be found?? Are you the perfect candidate?? Are you highly visible or invisible??
It is therefore important for a passive or active job seeker to understand some of the other ways recruiters search and how you can be ‘found’ for your perfect job without the slightest need to apply for an advertised position or trawl through countless job sites!
Along came professional networking sites such as LinkedIn which become your evolving electronic employment profile and assists Recruiters to find candidates who would otherwise be near impossible to find because they aren’t actively looking to change jobs.
So, make sure your networking profiles accurately represent what you’re looking for, what you have done, your achievements and even what people have to say about you. Make sure you have key words in your CV or profile that will draw the right people to ‘find’ YOU. Update your profile – even if you are not looking for a job right now, as it is a great tool for keeping in touch and growing your professional networks — and there is always a chance that you will ‘be found’ for your perfect role… your perfect next step – and you may not even realise you were looking for it!
By Nigel Baker, Group Manager, Business Development
Eden Ritchie Recruitment
My role is essentially that of the ‘middle man’. It is a role that I genuinely enjoy and a skill which is becoming more desirable across many industries, in many organisations. When a new recruitment process starts we are looking for the skills that are not in the position description that will make the successful candidate stand out from the crowd, more often than not we hear phrases such as “strong stakeholder management/engagement”, “ability to translate technical requirements for the business”, “ability to manage change”, “build a roadmap and take people on the journey”…. You get the idea.
Managing the disparity and frustrations between the client and the candidate is the most difficult and often most enjoyable aspect of my role. Here are five of the most common themes we deal with on a day-to-day basis:
- Rates of pay
- Employers will often come with a budget that is not realistic for the level of skills and experience they are looking for.
- Candidates will have an expectation/salary level that is absolutely right for their level of experience, however they are probably over qualified for the role on offer. Yes, you may be better than the person they employ but the employer has to be commercial.
- Permanent vs Contract
- The general belief in candidates is that there is less and less differentiation between the two and, less value is placed on the traditional ‘benefits’ of sick pay, holiday pay, long service leave etc.
- Employers often do not think that they are competing for talent with the contracting market. For the above reasons they are….the two markets are merging.
- Competing timeframes
- Interview processes taking too long.
- Candidates are taking alternative offers.
- Notice periods are too long.
- Probity checks adding 2-6 weeks onto the recruitment process.
- Wish list position descriptions
- Employers often have position descriptions that cover multiple roles, therefore they list everything that needs to be covered in all the roles.
- Position descriptions often focus on skills/qualifications rather than deliverables.
- The interview was for a different role than advertised
- Candidates often complain that the interview was not relevant for the role that was originally advertised, and clients will often decide that a candidate is no longer suitable because their expectations changed mid-way through the process.
- Clients do allow the interview process to define the final role and responsibilities based on the people they meet and expect candidates to be flexible.
Often it is not black or white, there is no right or wrong, we are dealing with people and emotions. Decisions are sometimes made on pure speculation about something that is very subjective. This is why recruitment and the recruitment process is one of the most frustrating and satisfying challenges, often at the same time, no matter if you are the employer, candidate or recruiter.
By Justine Eden
This week Eden Ritchie Recruitment celebrates 22 years in operation. Reflecting back on the journey – we and the business have changed and experienced so much. It’s a great time to be in recruitment right now, we can’t keep up with demand, and that is business wide across all of our divisions.
Recruitment is one of the leading economic indicators – it rises and sinks and can turn with rapid momentum. At the moment we enjoy the up-swing; how long will that last? You would need a crystal ball to predict, but all the indicators are good for the moment. Personally, I can’t believe it’s been 22 years, and that I am still doing this. It is the variety of what I do that keeps me engaged.
I am extremely grateful for the support I have from my Eden Ritchie Family. We are blessed with a number of really talented individuals who care about what we do and totally get what we are trying to achieve as a business and service provider. I talk with many business owners and more often than not it is the staff aspects that undo you; that sometimes make you really question the fabric of what it is you or your business represents.
We have had our fair share – without doubt. But outweighing that are the bloody legends on our team who drag themselves in, even if not feeling the best, who always have a smile in the face of adversity and will never tell me that they aren’t able to do something for me or a client. I hope they know how proud I am to have them on our team, I know I probably don’t tell them enough.
It’s also an honour to work with the candidates and employers that we have the opportunity to assist. For me it is a chance to make a small difference, to guide a good decision, to challenge perceptions, to get some lateral thinking happening and help to build businesses and careers. Their trust, encouragement and continued support (we still have our foundation client that gave us our first order!) mean the world to me.
I am passionate about Queensland, I am passionate about maximising opportunities, and I am excited by the future – there is so much potential.