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!

The Perfect Resume

By Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

I usually spend about 5 minutes reviewing a resume in the first instance, and research suggests that recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before they make the initial decision about your suitability or not for a role… ouch!! That means you have to win them over fast. So what makes a perfect resume? There is no perfect resume format, but some are certainly better than others. At the end of the day, your skills and qualifications will get you the job. However a great resume will be the key to getting you in the door and securing a job interview. So here are a few key things to consider.

Given the growth of social media, it is a good idea to include a link to your professional online profile (I am assuming you have one – if not… I suggest you read one of my earlier Blogs). Employers and recruiters look at any potential applicant’s online profile, so why not just include your URL with your contact information in your resume.

Don’t include an objective statement, it is so yesterday. There’s no point in including a generic objective about “a professional looking for opportunities that will allow you to leverage your skills… blah.. blah”. It’s not helpful; it’s distracting, so just ditch it. Replace it with an executive summary, which should be similar to a “30-second grab” explaining who you are and what you’re looking for. In no more than five sentences, explain what you’re great at and how you can provide value to a prospective employer. In a nutshell, what makes you stand out from the crowd?

List your most recent roles first. This means anyone reading your resume is able to see what you’ve been doing in recent years immediately. More information should be provided about the more recent positions, since this is where your most important achievements are usually found.

Another good trick is to identify keywords consistent with the job advertisement or role description and incorporate them into your resume (assuming you have those skills).

Ensure you describe your past experience, skills and achievements. This should be changed for every job you apply for to ensure prospective employers understand why you are perfect for the job. Please don’t send a generic version of your resume for every role you apply for, it is obvious you haven’t taken the time to tailor it and does not win points with prospective employers. Include your achievements, as it is not sufficient to simply state the roles and responsibilities that you have held. Ensure you highlight and even quantify the outcomes you have delivered. This is a testament to how you have added value to an organisation, and can include the dollars you saved or revenue you created for your employer and projects delivered on time or under budget.

As I said in one of my previous blogs, “you get out what you put in”, so be prepared to spend some time on your resume and refine it for every role you apply for, “near enough is not good enough” in this competitive market. Your resume is a critical part of your professional toolkit, and will play a key role in you nailing that next job.

Resumes, I Have Seen It All!

By Kate Broadley

I’ve sent lots of resumes over my career and I’ve personally reviewed thousands.

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Some are fantastic, most are just ok, and many are just dreadful, sorry I know that hurts. The worst part is, I continue to see the same mistakes made over and over by candidates, who are then shortlisted out and eliminated from consideration for a job. What’s most depressing is that I can tell from the resumes that many of these individuals are really good and would offer much to the prospective employer. But in this fiercely competitive labor market (yes fiercely competitive is what I said) employers don’t need to compromise or even wonder if you might have the right skill set. All it takes is one small mistake and your resume will be rejected, there are many other well written resumes to consider.

I know this is well-worn ground, but I promise you, more than half of you have at least one of these mistakes on your resume. And I’d much rather see you win jobs than get passed over.

Typos. This one seems obvious, but it happens again and again. So please read your resume from bottom to top: reversing the normal order helps you focus on each line in isolation. Or have someone else proofread it for you.

Length. Some people believe that resumes should be one page. Some say two pages. Some say three. Many candidates for positions are frightened that if they don’t comply with some arbitrary length limit, their resume won’t get read. This is all nonsense as there are no so-called “rules”. You should provide sufficient detail so that employers and recruitment consultants realise that you understand the impact of your role, that you go about your work using a well-reasoned thought process, and you have the judgment, knowledge and other skills needed for the types of roles for which you are applying. The issue is not how long the resume is. It’s about whether it conveys enough information to differentiate you from the competition and gets you to that first interview. Once you’re in the room, the resume doesn’t matter much. So cut back your resume. It’s too long.

Formatting. Unless you’re applying for a job such as a designer, your focus should be on making your resume clean and legible. At least ten point font, white paper, black ink and a reasonable margin on both sides of the page. Consistent spacing between lines, columns aligned with your name and contact information on every page. Your head shot, no matter how good you look in it, is unnecessary… your LinkedIn profile will usually suffice for employers who are interested in you (and if you don’t have your photo on LinkedIn, refer to my previous blog “How to build your professional brand”).

Of course, I shouldn’t have to mention it, but please, please don’t lie… you will get busted, its just a matter of time.

The good news is that if you can avoid these mistakes, you will be halfway there. In a future blog, I’ll talk about what you can do to make your resume stand out, other than the things to avoid!! Go on, review your resume and see if you can eliminate some of these mistakes.

Need help with your resume or want to know more? Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Post and Pray vs. Passive Candidates

So what does “Post and Pray” mean? This is where you place a job advertisement and hope that great candidates with the right qualifications apply. As recruiting experts, we tend to disagree. I would much prefer to have control, which is why I am so interested in passive candidates in the market place.

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

So what is a passive candidate? A passive candidate isn’t necessarily looking for work, but they may be interested if the right job comes along. Employers often actively seek passive candidates, especially when they looking for people with very specific skills and experience.

When employers proactively recruit candidates, it’s called candidate sourcing and companies may look for candidates via LinkedIn and social networking sites, as well as working with recruiters to find qualified applicants.

Naturally many employers still choose to use the “post and pray” approach. More fool you in my opinion, but even I would have to concede that if used correctly this can play a role in helping you find the right person for that job. To ensure you get a better match of applicants to your post, make sure you use strategic keywords, keep the job description relevant and brief, and set the right expectations from the start. This can mean the difference between sorting through hundreds of unsuitable resumes to receiving a steady flow of qualified talent.

Recently I shortlisted for an administration role which had been advertised as “post and pray” through an external source, and there were over 250 applications…from which I struggled to find 10 suitable candidates to interview. Surely there is something wrong here, so forget the “post and pray” and start marketing your jobs in a way that influences the calibre of candidates you get.

Remember to visit our newly launched website for all your career information – www.edenritchie.com.au and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter

“50 Shades of Grey” in HR

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By Kate Broadley

What did we do before the days of GPS or the soothing voice of Siri? Well many of us have spent some quality time driving around lost, as the map usually was no help, as it didn’t include the most recent streets and intersections. As daunting as this was, as a HR practitioner, this ambiguity is all part of a day in the office, as we navigate employment rules, regulations and issues, as well as the endless paperwork requirements.

But perhaps more daunting than that, is when we must deal with situations where there is no rulebook. For many, it’s those grey areas that are the most challenging. If you love logic and following rules, then this is not the job for you. Human interactions are, by their very nature, unpredictable and don’t follow any pattern. We as human resource practitioners must “reflect” to find the right solution to each specific situation, develop options and work towards an outcome. Hence, the principle that there are no right answers or standard processes that will generally hold true for all situations. So get comfortable with the “50 Shades of Grey”, if you want to be a truly good HR practitioner. Every single HR issue is unique and should be treated that way. But beware you need to be the sort of person who can jump in and treat each situation as unique without needing to apply the standard solution. Interested on hearing others thoughts on the “50 Shades of Grey” in the HR world.

Eden Ritchie’s 18th Birthday Celebration

Gallery

This gallery contains 15 photos.

On Wednesday night Eden Ritchie Recruitment celebrated a successful 18 years of business … we would like to take this opportunity to share some photos from the evening and say a very big thank you to everyone who took the time of their … Continue reading

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!

Time Wasters

Does technology mean more productivity or more opportunity to waste time?

With the increased number of people now using smart phones and/or tablets to monitor social media sites or access on line shopping, I often wonder if this is creating more opportunity for people to get distracted and waste time during work time?

smartphone2I recently caught up with a client who heads up a successful construction company, and after talking about staff productivity and performance, the discussion led to what employers can do to put some parameters or rules around people using their personal technology during work hours.

Admittedly a lot of professions rely on this technology to actually do their work and achieve success through prompt action, particularly in client service focused industries, making it difficult for employers to monitor this.

Does your organisation have a policy for staff using their personal devices during work hours and if so does it drive better productivity? I personally think it would be a difficult policy to monitor and keep consistent for all staff, and if people are still meeting their KPI’s and producing outcomes whilst having access to their personal devices then what harm is it really doing?

Do you yourself waste time during work hours using these devices for accessing non-work related sites?

It got me thinking about how many hours per week are actually wasted with non work related issues and tasks, and how many other distractions there are in the workplace to take us away from the job at hand.

This article “How you waste time when you’re at work” questions how much time we do waste at work, and whether distractions such as websites or social media are just an avenue to give ourselves a quick break before tackling the next task. It also has some interesting survey results highlighting the most common days and times for wasting time at work!

I’m going to sign off here and let you get back to work now… hopefully I haven’t wasted too much of your time!!Linda Parker

Innovation in Healthcare

Last week our Health Recruitment team at Eden Ritchie Recruitment successfully planned and launched our first ever round table event for healthcare professionals. Held in conjunction with Medical Journal Australia (MJA) Jobs, who recently launched their new careers page, we could not be more happy with the outcomes and the environment we helped create to allow like-minded healthcare professionals share ideas and network with their peers.

Our clients and the continual range of questions and conversations we heard across all the industries we work with drove this event and led us to the theme of ‘How to deliver safe and quality healthcare in the current financial climate with a health system focus.’

There has been much media lately in regards to the commercialisation of government assets as well as the move to a national health system structure that it seemed logical to include this topic, and we thought correct with 3 of the 4 tables focusing on this broad topic.

A further challenge for the healthcare industry has and will continue to be is the issue of workforce, which includes recruitment and retention especially in remote and regional locations and in a changing workforce landscape. This became our second topic and proved to reveal some of the most interesting insights and innovations of the night (i.e. Nurse wants a farmer).

Eden Ritchie Recruitments Health division and MJA Jobs team invited over 100 people and at final count on the night we had 35 people attend. Proving that even with the challenge of national budget night we still managed to draw quite a crowd, Again this made us realize the topic and concept to connect the health industry together to bounce ideas and generate discussion in a facilitated open forum is the right direction.

We really need to thank our facilitators for their passion and commitment on the night to guide each of the groups. Firstly for working with the tables to think up creative ideas, before working them towards a unique or innovative approach to the problem of ‘commercialisation and workforce in the current financial climate with a health system focus’.

All of our clients who attended on the night have spoken fantastically about the night and are looking forward to both the follow up report that will detail the ideas and table summaries as well as our next event to build on these ideas and connections further.

SueTTo find out more follow us on LinkedIn and look for our Health Innovation group in LinkedIn as well.

It’s a Tough Market – How Are You Selling Yourself?

When you apply for a job, whether it be with a recruitment agency or directly to a company, you are being shortlisted or put in the unsuccessful pile based on what you’re resume is telling us.

Recently I’ve been working on a permanent financial accounting role, for which I received 86 applicants. You need to make sure your resume stands out!

I don’t mean you need to pay hundreds of dollars for a Graphic Designer to create you something – all we look for is a neatly formatted resume, that is easy to read and clearly defines your experience, relating to the role you’re applying for.

So, you’re on Seek or looking through the paper and you see your ideal role, you love the sound of the company, the responsibilities, location and money are perfect… don’t miss out on being called up about this role because of a bad resume! Double check that the responsibilities this dream role is requiring are clearly defined throughout your resume. You need to prove you have the expertise we are looking for.

In the next few weeks, take some time out to review your resume and read it from an employers perspective… would you employ you, based only on what is in your resume? Does it clearly define your skills, not leaving room for assumptions? Give your resume to a colleague or relative and ask them what they think – is it easy to read, is it neatly formatted?

We read resumes everyday, if you need assistance with making your resume the best it can be, please contact us.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s going to be an advantage to you in the long run.

Culture Fit or Bigotry?

As discussed in the blog ‘Technical Skills VS. Cultural Fitthree weeks ago by Tom from our office, Culture Fit is an important part of the selection criteria when searching for an employee. However, the lines between culture fit and bigotry can tend to become blurred, often despite the best efforts of the employer.

The term ‘culture’ when used in this context does not refer to a person’s race, sex or religion – it is used to describe the overall mentality and atmosphere of a particular workplace. If you are rejected for a role because of culture fit concerns, it has nothing to do with your country of origin, your gender or your beliefs and everything to do with your demonstrated attitude and it’s incongruity with the potential workplace.

Are you tearing at your hair in frustration and crying out:

What does it all mean, Basil?!

Then look at it this way – you apply for a role, which, on paper, is you all over. You’ve got the right skills, the money looks good and you’d be comfortable performing the duties. You interview briefly but excellently, dazzling the panel with your technical skills, rich experience and musky odours, and succeed in obtaining the role.  Then, several weeks into your new role, you find yourself at odds with your colleagues and disagreeing with the company ethos. You continue to do your work superbly, but there’s a growing dissatisfaction in you and suddenly, you want out. Why work for someone or something you don’t agree with?

It’s not okay because if they take my
stapler then I’ll set the building on fire…

You resign, leaving your employer with an empty role and the prospect of another lengthy recruitment process, and you with a worrying blip on your resume that you have to explain to the next company you apply to.

The above scenario is not ideal for either party, and could have been avoided, had culture fit been taken into account during the recruitment process. Despite this, there is a belief floating around that ‘culture fit’ is just a convenient way for employers to disguise rampant discrimination in their hiring policies. This could very easily be true, and in some cases, sadly is. But if a company chooses to discriminate against candidates because of race, gender or religion, they are doing damage solely to themselves. Bigotry and bias in a recruitment process can make employers miss out on the perfect candidate for the role, leaving a person who has the ‘right’ skin colour but second rate skills to perform the work. And if a company is found to be actively discriminating against persons, then all hell will certainly break loose.

However, if a company does not discriminate and also chooses to recognize culture fit as a key selection criterion, then they will wind up with a technically ideal employee who also enjoys their work environment and co-exists happily with their colleagues. These combined factors lead to increased employee satisfaction, higher staff retention rates and open collaboration between staff members.

Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only A Recruiter

You know what’s fun to do? Walk into a room full of people, say the word ‘Recruitment’ and watch as 30 people simultaneously imitate the facial expression of someone getting a tooth pulled without anaesthesia.  This is, in fact, one of my favourite pastimes. Or, try calling a company and see how quickly the phone answerers tone changes from “Hi! I’d love to help you!” to “For Christ’s sake, GET OUT OF MY FACE” once you say you’re calling from a Recruitment agency. The perception seems to be that Agencies are colonies and Recruiters are lepers.

“Half a shekel for an old ex-leper?”

What makes me cranky is that this perception is not entirely unwarranted – Recruiters who do shoddy jobs are pulling the carpet out from under their own feet. But at the same time, people are willing to write off an entire industry based on the wrongdoings of a few individuals. If a Recruiter lets you down, it is the individual’s transgression, not the industries. And, believe it or not, dodgy recruiters are disliked just as much, if not even more so, by recruiters themselves.

The main issues people cite as the reasons for their aversion to recruiters are:

No contact, no follow-up: If you’re looking for a job, you want to know as soon as possible what’s happening and whether or not you’ve been successful. You don’t want to spend your time waiting around on the middleman to find time to get back to you. Bear in mind however, that recruiters don’t know if you’ve been successful until they’ve heard back from the client – someone can’t tell you something that they don’t know. And if they don’t know, it’s not for lack of trying. Don’t forget that there is another party behind the scenes and that efficiency is, in this case, interdependent. And also that recruiters are not responsible for a singular role, often they’re working a couple at a time – it’s a business after all. This doesn’t mean they aren’t giving your role their full attention (it’s in their interest to keep everyone happy).

Industry ignorance: People often say that recruiters don’t understand. It might be that they don’t understand the resume they’re looking at, the job they’re trying to fill or the industry they recruit for. It can often be that this perception stems from candidates who have been rejected from a role they feel they were eminently qualified for. This can potentially breed ill feelings for the recruiter that gave them the information that they’ve been unsuccessful – even if the person who applied for the job had only previously worked at McDonald’s but had applied for a Business Analyst role. If you feel the recruitment agency you’re working through doesn’t understand your industry, then look around for a niche agency that specialises in particular industries – agencies that focus on specific industries/sectors will always have a better understanding of the needs of their particular markets than agencies that stretch themselves too thin over broad spectrums.

Are you a recruiter? Afraid to tell people you work in recruitment? Or do you represent the opposite side of the argument?

2011: THE YEAR THAT WAS

Coming into 2011 in the middle of the Queensland floods, was a very nervous time for business in Queensland.  Having just recovered from the 2008/2009 down turn, everyone was talking the market up late 2010 and we were all very confident going into the New Year.

Then bang, just like that things changed, or so we thought. Like most people in Brisbane we returned from xmas holidays early, preparing for another down turn and strategising about how we would work through it.  But I am very pleased to say we were wrong.  By late January market confidence was back up on track, the phones started ringing off the hook; organisations and government entities alike were back to the business of running their businesses.

The media still talk about recession and economic uncertainty but within the recruitment industry it is more “recession, what recession?” but we have had to work harder and smarter than ever before.  In the sectors we consult in – I.T., Accounting, Executive and Health – candidates are once again in the driving seat.  Whether this is a reflection of what is happening in the mining and resources sector or not, we are seeing candidates in the position of having multiple choices about which role to accept.  This in turn started to push salaries and hourly rates up further as companies became desperate to secure staff for the positions, but I believe in recent times common sense has prevailed as employers have remained budget conscious and paying what the role and experience is worth.  Thank god we have not reverted to the craziness of 2007 when people were being counter offered $30K plus just to stay put.

The I.T. division has experienced outstanding growth in 2011 – with many major projects still kicking along, the demand for Project and Program Managers, outstanding Business Analysts and high-level technical experts has never been as good.  BUT, what we have seen happen this year, is government entities making the decision to stop projects that are not progressing and deciding to put the $$$ to better use.  So candidates assuming that a long-term project is an easy ride are now being kept on their toes to deliver results or risk that they may not have a contract at all.

Whilst the Accounting market is not the resilient market it once was there have been many large projects that have kept us and our candidates busy throughout the year. With a push by organsiations to employ technically astute candidates, CPA/CA/CIMA qualifications are becoming a minimum rather than a desired requirement, so candidates take note, push a little harder and get your qualification, it makes you so much more sought after in the current market.

Our newest division Health has had a great year, this area has seen a move for us into clinical and broader health roles.  This has been exciting and challenging for those involved, with the successful placement of the Chief Nurse for Qld and numerous Executive levels roles across both the private and public sectors we believe 2012 will be an even greater year for Eden Ritchie’s Health Division.

Not surprisingly recruitment in the North Queensland and Bowen Basin has been very busy, whilst the companies and positions on offer have been great, the challenge has been the lack of residential housing and cost of living associated within his region.  If the mining boom continues, the next couple of years are going to be challenging for businesses to attract people to the region, as not everyone wants a FIFO option.  Additionally, the pressure on Local Governments to fix and build further infrastructure to support the growth is essential.

With both Local, State and potentially Federal government elections looming you can be sure a lot will be promised to fix this but what actually is delivered is another thing.  I would be interested to hear other’s opinions on this as the tide is turning at all levels of government and I believe we are in for a turbulent year in politics.  Hold onto your hats it is about to get nasty.

So where do I think we will be in 2012 – ever the optimist, I believe the economy is stronger than the media portray, that may be naive as we are living in the 2nd busiest state after WA in the country, but that is the position I will continue to take.  We spend a lot of time going into organisations and government entities and talking about the future with the Executives and whilst some are cautious due to elections, Europe, the Australian $ etc. most are taking the view that we have work to do and no matter what governments are in office commerce still needs to keep moving along.

I for one have had a great 2011 and would like to thank our staff, candidates and most of all loyal and long-term clients who continue to work with our business.
Bring on 2012, we are all ready to hit it hard.

Written by Kim Ritchie