Making the call

By Justine Eden, Director – Eden Ritchie Recruitment

Justine Eden, Director

Justine Eden

I’ve got a secret rule when I employ for a role at ERR. I will only consider those applicants who pick up the phone to talk with me about a role.  This is for a few reasons – I’m of the opinion that it shows a level of interest in understanding whether an opportunity is for them.  It shows an ability to engage over the phone and build rapport and it ensures a better understanding of the opportunity, rather than just reading an ad and hitting apply.

In recruitment the phone is a key work tool and if you aren’t able to effectively communicate over it then you have limited chances for success in the industry. Also, I really don’t want consultants who rely totally on email as their main form of communication.  Call me old fashioned.

In these days of electronic job boards it takes minimal effort to lodge a job application, so how do you make yours stand out in a saturated candidate pool? Calling is an ice break, as humans in a digital world we still seek that human connection at a fundamental level – even at work.

So what should you ask when you call?  Let me start by telling you what not to ask – Is there someone acting in the role? (more likely to be asked for a role in government but regardless don’t ask this), how much does the role pay? (leave this to second interview stage). Don’t use the call as an opportunity to talk totally about yourself.  Use the call as an opportunity to demonstrate your genuine interest in them and the role.

Your questions will be situational and will reflect the role, organisation, location and sector.  Your questioning will be different if you are looking at a commercial sector role as opposed to a government role. Do your research before you call. Critically dissect the ad and or the PD and use that as a basis for any questions. The size and make up of a team or the scale and scope of operations could form the basis of your questions.

Any media releases or publications are also key research avenues and can inform questions around how the organisation is responding to current challenges.  Where the organisation wants to be in 12-24 months could also form the basis of your questions. Whether they are in expansion mode or consolidation mode. You could also what they envisage the successful applicant will look like – experience, qualifications, industry experience, the scale and scope they have worked at.

This sounds like a lot of questions, and I would suggest you pick your top 6, keep the call short – 5-8 minutes and don’t impose too much on their time.  Have a strong close, thank them for their time and let them know you look forward to the opportunity of meeting in person in the future.  Good luck!!

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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.

The Perfect Resume

By Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

I usually spend less than 5 minutes reviewing a resume, and research suggests that recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before they make the initial decision on candidates. That means you have to win them over fast. So what makes a perfect resume? There is no perfect resume format, but some are closer to perfect than others. At the end of the day, your skillset and qualifications will get you the job. However a great resume will be the key to getting that job interview. So here are a few key points to consider.

A new idea of mine, given the growth of social media, is to make sure your resume includes a URL to your professional online profile. Employers and recruiters look up a candidate’s online profile, so why not just include your URL along 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 me to leverage my skills”. 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 elevator pitch” explaining who you are and what you’re looking for. In approximately three to five sentences, explain what you’re great at, most interested in, and how you can provide value to a prospective employer.

Use reverse chronological order. This means anyone reading your resume is able to see what you’ve been doing in recent years immediately. More space should be allocated to the more recent positions, since this is where your most important achievements are usually found.

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. Include your achievements, as it is not sufficient to simply state the roles and responsibilities that you have held. It is vital to illustrate and even quantify the outcomes you delivered. This is a testament to how you have added value to an organisation, and can include the money you saved or brought in for your employer, deals closed, 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 a number of times until it is right. It is part of your toolkit, to nailing that next job.

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

How to Build Your Professional Brand

How to Build Your Professional Brand

By Kate Broadley

This is all very new to me, but is probably old hat to many of you in the commercial world!!

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

So I am going to start with the basics!!! LinkedIn is your friend, so create a LinkedIn profile and start connecting. I know there is not always time, but make time to ask and answer LinkedIn questions to increase your visibility. Please, please put a photo on your LinkedIn Profile, how can you brand yourself, if others can’t see you?…and yes it should be a professional corporate image, not one of your favourite holiday happy snaps!

Those of you who are sensitive about what others can see about you on LinkedIn need to take a breath and relax. You should check your settings and make sure your personal information is only visible to those you chose to make it visible to. Even I have learnt that you do really want people to read your profile, so the more visible it is the better!!

Why you ask?!! Well I did ask…and now I do understand. Your LinkedIn profile is your opportunity to showcase your talents for potential employers, clients or the like. So many companies have used LinkedIn to recruit candidates for employment. Recruitment specialists like Eden Ritchie often use LinkedIn to identify passive candidates. You might just be the passive candidate these companies are looking for, if only you had a personal brand.

To have a personal brand people need to know about you and what you do. Comment on other people’s blogs, write some articles, go to events, and network with your contacts. Be sure that all your endeavours are focused and relevant to both your skills and your career goals. Writing a well-written blog focused on your area of expertise is another good addition to your professional branding package.

Personal branding is about knowing people in your industry, so while I would love to toil away hidden in the office, I have learnt that you do need to make the time to meet with people, either online or in-person. Send them an email or a message, I can’t believe how many great people I have met, many of them because I sent them a quick email introducing myself or vice versa.

Building your brand isn’t a one shot wonder. It takes time to build a solid presence and should be an ongoing activity, built into your daily program. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, stay in touch with your contacts, build and maintain your network, and work on your branding on a regular basis. What’s that saying…nothing in life worth having is easy…. Or is it you get out what you put in!?!

Need help with your LinkedIn profile, 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.

High Performers – How do you pick them? By Justine Eden

JustineIn a perfect world we would all have a high performing team, made up of experts in their field who constantly exceed expectations, all get on, never have sickies and constantly innovate.  This ideal and synergistic team delivers outstanding bottom line returns to shareholders, drives change while maintaining the status quo and are essentially self managing, allowing you, the leader to work strategically to drive the business forward.

But this is not a perfect world – as roller coaster stock markets and company collapses remind us daily.  And sometimes our “best people” resign.  And recruiting, as we have all experienced is not an exact science, it is challenging and fraught with danger.  How do you know whether you have recruited a corporate terrorist or a talented performer?

The fall out of a bad hire is well researched, the costs and the flow on effects run down to the bottom line, and across the corporate community more attention is being paid to it.  Read many of the business publications and the flavour is there, the link between strategic plans and the HR plan, the growing importance of the role of the HR Manager and the value of intellectual capital.

Being able to select for performance is often seen as a luxury by busy managers faced with replacing technical experts in candidate short markets.  As a business owner for 17 years and as a recruiter for many years, I have seen first hand the impact of this type of short term vision on candidate attraction, retention and overall company performance.  As a recruiter I commenced in accounting recruitment, a traditional, often risk adverse demographic, historically focused on matching a candidate’s technical ability to the job requirements.

So – What is performance?  And how do you pick it?

How do you characterise a high performer?

High performance varies from occupation to occupation.  But common qualities include drive, energy, integrity and creativity.

Generally high performers…

  • have a can do attitude,
  • failure is unthinkable,
  • they don’t accept excuses,
  • like to outperform the competition,
  • want to be the best in the business,
  • are quality focused,
  • consistently get the job done,
  • proactively suggest improvements,
  • normally a self starter who energises others,
  • acts as a role model/mentor for others,
  • a problem solver
  • and need minimal supervision.

They are not always high profile or always the high earners, but they usually have a big impact on revenues or profits.   It is a given that a high performer is technically competent, but it is their ongoing focus on building their base of technical expertise and a thirst learning that sets them apart.

They have a passion for renewal, taking an active approach to acquiring new skills, often completely replacing old ones over a 5-7 year time frame.  Often because they have mastered their “art” they have more time for creativity, innovation and quality – this is what gives high performers a competitive advantage.

They embrace change and technology and are not thrown by ambiguity; high performers are adept at multi-tasking.  High performers often have an established and nurtured network and they value what peers think of their work.

Selecting for performance is an initiative that needs to be driven from the top.  Organisations are continually pushed to find new growth opportunities, improve the quality of products/services, enhance employee/customer satisfaction, reduce costs, increase productivity.  Combine this with a greater reliance on intellectual capital, customers increasing expectations and the rapid pace of change.

I would encourage all leaders to factor in performance when recruiting and believe that those that do so will reap the benefits of increased productivity, engagement and retention.