“Thank for a great experience from the time I walked in the door”

Ellen-Maree Gadd
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For more information:
Stephen Crowe

Managing Director

Ph: 02 8042 8907

[email protected]

Behaviour

When applying for a new job via a recruitment consultancy, you will typically be invited in for an initial meeting to discuss the opportunity. You may view such meetings as an inconvenience and a procedural step towards securing your next role however we would strongly advise you not to view the meeting with complacency. The recruitment consultancy has been hired to put forward their best candidates for the job. If you fail to impress at initial interview this could very well affect your chances of securing a role, especially where the consultant represents a number of organisations in their industry of interest.

Read on for our advice on interviewing with recruitment consultants including what to expect from an interview, how to prepare for it and how to make the most of the relationship so that you are on track for securing a new role.

Time keeping

If you have an appointment lined up with a consultant, turn up 10-15 mins beforehand. If you are running late call ahead to explain. If you are early, find a coffee shop and take some time to relax before showing up for interview. You may think arriving 30-60 mins early for an interview shows you are eager however it can come across somewhat desperate and indicates poor judgement.

Dress appropriately

Treat the interview the same way you would an interview with a potential employer. Dress appropriately for the role you are applying for. Better to dress smart than underdress.

Treat everyone respectfully

It may sound harsh but you are being judged the minute you enter a recruiter’s office. Consultants will often enquire how a candidate has presented himself or herself to the receptionist or how they interacted with other candidates in the waiting area or prior to a group interview.

The recruitment consultant will want to know how you carry yourself in public and how strong your people skills are. So be polite, charming and smile!

Familiarise yourself with your CV

Your interview with a recruitment consultant is your opportunity to sell yourself and your experience. Know your CV inside out so that you can highlight your key skills by drawing on your relevant experience. Be open about any gaps in your CV or reasons for leaving previous roles.

Prepare yourself for interview style questions

The recruitment consultant will use your meeting to assess how you perform in a formal interview. Be prepared to answer some competency style questions i.e. Tell me about a time you had to deal with a complex problem or Give an example of a time you dealt with a difficult customer. Be confident and engaging in your answers. Also, don’t forget to take the opportunity to ask the recruiter any questions you may have. The meeting should be a two-way discussion!

Be aware of the roles you applied for previously

It’s advisable to be aware of the organisations you have applied to previously. This can be challenging when you have applied for a number of positions however, by making the consultant aware of the roles you have already applied for, they will gain a greater understanding of the roles you are interested in. In addition, they will avoid duplicating your application to an organisation that has already received your CV.

Take on board feedback & advice

Be open minded to feedback on your CV, appearance and interview technique. Recruitment consultants are there to help put you in the best possible position for securing a new role so it’s best to take onboard any feedback they give you. Good recruitment consultants will have a wealth of knowledge about the employment market, industry developments and their clients – all useful information to consider in your job search.

Keep in touch

Be pro-active and keep in contact with your recruitment consultant following your interview. It’s important to maintain a relationship with your consultant so that you are at the forefront of their mind when new positions become available. Don’t be afraid to follow up by email or telephone every week to check if new roles are available. If you were expecting to hear feedback regarding a particular role, follow up to check if there have been any developments.

We hope you found these hints and tips useful. Keep them in mind the next time you have a meeting lined up with a recruitment consultant.

Behaviour

A recent report by Deloitte Australia, has highlighted that jobs requiring soft skills are projected to grow 2.5 times faster than occupations where the need for soft skills are less in demand. It would appear that it’s no longer enough to impress employers with your extensive qualifications and technical experience; employers are increasingly expecting candidates to bring a strong set of soft skills to the table.

What do we mean by “Soft Skills”?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary “Soft Skills” are “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” These attributes or qualities typically include social and communication skills and emotional intelligence. Employers often find that candidates with strong technical skills and capabilities do not hold equally strong soft skills. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to develop new soft skills and strengthen those that we have already have through our experiences both inside and outside the workplace. Whilst hard skills may get you through an employer’s door, it’s your soft skills that will ultimately help land you the job!

To help you we have highlighted some of the most highly sought after soft skills that employers come back to again and again.

Communication Skills

We can’t emphasise strongly enough the importance of communicating confidently, professionally and articulately. Recruitment agents and potential employers will make an instant judgement on the strength of your communication skills. Don’t lose the job before you’ve started by mumbling, appearing disinterested or using poor language. Employers need candidates who can communicate with colleagues and clients and be strong representatives of their organisations. They want candidates who can communicate ideas and plans and drive their business forward.

Adaptability

Having the ability to be flexible and adapt to changing requirements and circumstances is an essential soft skill in any employee who wants to succeed especially within a fast-paced workplace. Employers are looking for employees who are resilient in the face of change and competing demands.

Self-Starters

The best employees don’t need to be spoon fed everything. Whilst employers are happy to provide training and development opportunities they are also looking for potential employees who have initiative and a drive to seek out answers, opportunities and add value. They want candidates who have a strong work ethic with motivation to give their best at all times.

Stakeholder Management

The ability to manage your time and workload under pressure is a fundamental soft skill. Equally as important and perhaps more demanding however, is the ability to effectively manage stakeholders. By understanding requirements, setting boundaries and negotiating or pushing back when necessary, you will be able to effectively manage expectations and deadlines. This is very much a soft skill that develops with knowledge and experience however employers will most certainly be looking to see your potential on this front!

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to read situations and people and react appropriately is a highly rated skill by employers. Whether that be cheering up or calming down colleagues, choosing the correct moments to speak or be silent or being able to deescalate a confrontation – these moments require you to manage your emotions and often the emotions of others. Having strong self-awareness and self-management and applying these to your interactions with others will allow you to successfully navigate the workplace.

 

Behaviour

As we approach winter, and the days get colder, flu season approaches. Just as a bout of flu can decimate an office so can the Affects of a toxic employee.

Toxic employees are like a contagious sickness that spreads through the workplace. Like a sickness, if not addressed, more and more people are affected.  The costs of this behaviour are detrimental to your business.

Each day at work we all have many interactions with others.  These interactions have a bigger affect, either positive or negative, on another’s emotions than we may think. Harvard professor Nicholas Christakis and political scientist James Fowler discovered that an emotion does not just spread between the people directly involved in an interaction.  The interaction has a ripple effect, where this emotion from people spreads to their friends, to their friends’ friends and so on. So, one person’s toxic behaviour affects many others directly or indirectly.

Toxic employees create a negative and unhealthy working culture among the team. The negative atmosphere generates an imbalance in the team.  Instead of focusing on work, a disgruntled employee’s cognitive resources are likely to be spent on analysing their de-energising relationship with the toxic employee and how best to navigate around the issue. As a result, employees experience more conflict among each other, less cohesion and trust, which decreases the ability to solve problems and overall team performance. This level of disruption can be difficult to resolve if the negativity is prolonged or is not addressed.

One of the major ripple effects from toxic employees is employee turnover, where the sense of dissatisfaction in the workplace, not only reduces motivation, but can increase people’s intentions to leave. Top performers are more likely to exit, because they view negativity as a roadblock to their progress. According to a 2015 study by talent management company, Cornerstone on Demand, 54 percent of high performing employees are more likely to resign when they work with a toxic employee.

Toxicity not only affect’s current employees, but also prospective ones. Prospective employees can be deterred from working for an employer if they do their homework on the employer’s working culture (via sites such as Glass Door) before applying or accepting a job offer. Additionally, the hiring and training costs involved when employers inevitably replace the toxic employees is something to be considered. The maintenance of the employees who have been affected by the toxicity is also an additional cost that will take time to restore.

Hence, it is vital that employers attempt to quickly rectify any signs of toxicity in the workplace.

Behaviour

By Alison Hill

You are in your one-on-one meeting with your boss, and she asks you to take on a project. You hear yourself say, ‘Sure, I can do that’. And then the voice in your head says, ‘I’m already overloaded. How will I fit in one more thing? Maybe if I work back all week. Oh no, I have to do that other thing too. Why did I say yes?’

Sounds familiar? It seems we all have an inbuilt desire to please, and that means we often say yes when we really should be saying no. The project is just not a good use of our time right now. How do we say no to those up the hierarchy without sabotaging our prospects? We want to shine, to be noticed, to get that promotion. Can we learn to say no in a way that makes us look better than saying yes?

Do the groundwork

Work to your goals. It’s no good saying yes to everything that comes along until your plate is full, and then regretting that you genuinely have no capacity to do that one thing that will really help you to shine. You should have a good understanding of your personal, team and organisational goals. If what you are being asked to do is not in accordance with those goals, you need to say no.

Say something like, ‘That sounds really good, but it’s not in line with my priorities right now’.

Use the power of no to gain respect

Think about when you have offered somebody an opportunity and they turned it down. The chances are that if the refusal was polite and unambiguous, you respected the fact that the person was busy, and didn’t say yes and then fail to deliver. It’s a far better situation for both parties. The person asking for your time is not left frustrated when you delay or do a sub-standard job, and you free up your time to focus on the tasks that are aligned with your goals.

Say something like, ‘Although usually I would jump at the chance, right now I have too much on my plate to do it justice. But another time I would welcome the opportunity to do it.’

Keep your options open

If you really are saying no because you don’t have the time, say so. Goals change over time, and perhaps you will be able to work with that person or take on a similar project at another time, so don’t close the door. If a project is irresistible, ask your manager to go through all your tasks with you and see if some could be delegated to another person or put on hold while you work on the high-priority project. Your ability to plan and prioritise will be appreciated, and you may be surprised at how flexible you both can be.

Say something like, ‘I would really value the opportunity to work on the project. Do you think I could make a list of the tasks I have to do in the next [week/month/quarter] and go through them with you? I’m hoping you can help me to reprioritise so that I can fit this in
as I really want to do it.’

Stop and think

Last, but perhaps most important: stop and think before you answer. It’s okay to say, ‘Can I get back to you on that?’ Give a deadline;  be it in 15 minutes or by the end of the week. You gain respect by giving your considered answer rather than saying yes and then backtracking. It shows that you have thought about not wasting the other person’s time too. Your answer can be ‘not now’ rather than no. But remember to get back to them by the deadline, demonstrating that you value their time and that you are able to manage your own.

Say something like, ‘That really appeals to me. Can I check my schedule and get back to you
by the end of the day?’

Do you have an example of when saying no worked out really well for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Behaviour

By Alison Hill

October is Mental Health Month, when we are all encouraged to think about our own mental health as well as the mental health of those around us. Given that we spend an average of 40 per cent of our time at work, mental health in the workplace is clearly important. As a result of spending so much time together, our colleagues may know us better than anyone else, and we may be best placed to support them.

Beyondblue has published these astonishing statistics about mental health at work in Australia.

  • One in five people will be experiencing a mental health condition at any one time
  • Six million working days are lost each year as a result of untreated depression
  • Untreated mental ill-health costs the Australian economy $10.9 billion each year in absenteeism, reduced productivity and compensation claims.

During October, make it your priority to focus on mental health. Start by becoming more aware of the issues. The ABC’s ‘Mental As…’ initiative is presenting television programs, radio shows and podcasts about mental health issues, and has a dedicated website. Being more aware of mental health conditions and how they affect people is an important first step in getting rid of the stigma attached to mental illness. The most prevalent mental illnesses in our community are depression and anxiety. Start by informing yourself about them.

Unfortunately, the workplace itself can put mental health at risk. Research by beyondblue and others has shown that these factors make mental illness more likely:

  • Long hours and/or shift work
  • Fly-in/fly out work arrangements
  • Demanding deadlines and targets
  • A heavy workload
  • Lack of role clarity
  • Lack of appropriate recognition and reward
  • High emotional or intellectual demands
  • Poorly managed change
  • A low level of control over tasks and responsibilities (see our last blog post about job crafting)
  • Bullying and discrimination

It’s up to everybody in the workplace to create a mentally healthy workplace. Heads Up, a mental health organisation dedicated to giving individuals and businesses free tools and resources to take action, recommends that we:

  • increase awareness of people’s responsibilities relating to mental health
  • reduce stigma
  • build the skills and confidence to approach someone who may be experiencing difficulties
  • encourage staff with mental health conditions to seek treatment and support early
  • support staff with mental health conditions to stay at or return to work
  • monitor and manage workloads
  • increase input into how people do their work
  • prevent bullying and discrimination

Research by professional services firm PwC has shown that for every dollar spent to create a mentally healthy workplace, the return is $2.30. That seems like a good investment.

For the rest of October, Challenge Consulting will focus on resources that will help you to create a mentally healthy workplace.  Here are two to get you started:

 

Behaviour

‘The secret to great work is being passionate about your job’, said Steve Jobs. The problem is that sometimes it’s hard to keep the passion alive. So what can you do when you’re faced with challenges like conflicting demands on your time and energy, internal politics and a general lack of job satisfaction? Quitting is an option, but not always the best one. Another option is to take action to ignite your passion using these five awesome techniques:

  1. Look for meaning

We all want to feel like we’re doing something meaningful that will make a difference but sometimes we get so caught up in the daily grind that we lose sight of why we’re there. The secret to finding meaning in your work is to align it with your values. Write down your top five values. Here are mine – family, good health, challenge, creativity and curiosity. What are yours? How does your work help you to live according your values?

  1. Do more of what you like

You might not like every aspect of your job, but you probably like parts of it. Maybe there’s an opportunity to do more of those parts you like. Do you enjoy helping others learn new skills? Are you a natural organiser? Do you like working with words to make something sound just right? Build more of anything you like and see how your job suddenly becomes more interesting.

  1. Learn something new

To be happy at work you need to find the sweet spot between being under challenged and over challenged. If you feel that your job only needs half your brain then you’re bored and it’s probably time to learn something new. Challenge yourself by learning more about the industry you work in and learning new skills. You’ll not only quell your boredom but you will also be adding to your worth as an employee.

  1. Get clear about expectations

If you’re faced with conflicting demands, ask your boss to clarify priorities for you. Be upfront early about the possibility of not completing a task on time because another task has taken up all your time and attention. You don’t want to be faced with having to tell people that you didn’t complete the task by the due date, so flag obstacles early so others can plan ahead.

  1. Keep away from the moaners

Are you hanging around with the cynics and whiners at work? Negativity breeds more negativity. Work will never be perfect, but when you spend your time with people who love to hate the workplace and most of the people in it, you won’t be happy. Seek out people with more balanced views and you’ll find that your views about work will shift dramatically.

Behaviour

FOUR TOP TIPS FOR REACHING YOUR GOALS

It’s great to set some goals for the future – they give you a sense of purpose and a roadmap for where you’re going. But setting goals is just the beginning – you also need to achieve them. Here are our four top tips:

  1. Lay down plans

Well-laid plans are well played plans. Break your goal down into milestones to give you a sense of control. Milestones are the steps to your goal and can be further broken down into tasks.

Let’s say your goal is to find a new job. Ask yourself, what do I need to do that? You might decide to start with updating your resume – that would be your milestone. Then ask yourself, what do I need to do that? Maybe you can start making notes on some of your recent achievements or research on the internet for some tips on resume writing – they would be your tasks.

Write down all of your milestones, their corresponding tasks and a definition for how you will know when you have completed them. Give yourself a timeframe for each and tick off each task and milestone as you go.

  1. Create new habits

Very often the process for coming closer to your goal means doing a particular task on a regular basis – it’s like building up a muscle. Each day you work on it, it gets a little stronger. If you’re looking for a new job, a regular task might be to keep checking job sites and honing your skills in writing engaging cover letters.

Make a habit of doing the necessary tasks. They say it takes three weeks to form a habit, so stick with it safe in the knowledge that it will get easier. When you’re starting out, put aside some time each day, then tell yourself that you only have to do your task for fifteen minutes and then you can stop. Nine times out of ten, you’ll find that you’ll be happy to keep going.

  1. Focus on the process

Research has shown that our brains tend to focus on the most difficult part of any task. Consequently, we’re often tricked into thinking that it’s all too hard and finding excuses for putting it off. And if we put it off for too long, we can give up on the goal before we even start.

To help us, we frequently hear advice telling us to visualise having already achieved our goal. Unfortunately this type of visualisation often results in fantasising about a future and procrastinating about doing anything about it. Better, more motivating advice is to visualise doing the processes you need to go through to reach your goal.

  1. Commit to the weekly weigh in

Each day ask yourself, what did I do today to get me closer to where I want to be? This question makes you accountable for your actions towards your goal and will help to keep you on track.

Another way to make yourself accountable is to tell someone what you are going to do over the week towards your goal. Be careful who you tell though because some people won’t be interested. You need someone who will give you a hard time if you’ve procrastinated about following your goal plan.

When you get to the end of your week, write a summary of everything that you achieved. If you’ve kept yourself accountable, you’ve probably achieved quite a lot and you’ll feel energised for the next week.

Behaviour

Performance reviews are an opportunity to get some feedback on your work over the past year, but they’re also your chance to have your say on how you think you could become a better professional. Here are eight ways to do so:

  1. What you like about your job

Tell your boss what you like about your job. It helps them to understand who you are and how to keep you motivated and happy. Happy employees are more productive and contribute to a healthy workplace culture.

  1. What you want to learn about

Let your boss know what you’re interested in learning about. It helps them to plan where you might fit in a growing company. Employees who are continually learning continually increase their value in a business.

  1. What you would really like to work on

If there is an upcoming project that you want to be a part of, tell your boss about it. It shows your interest in what is happening in the business. Employees who work on projects that they are interested in are more passionate about their work.

  1. Where you see yourself in the future

Tell your boss where you see yourself in the future with the company. It shows that you are goal orientated and are keen to be a part of the business in the long term. Employees with a vision for the future are motivated towards achieving their goals.

  1. How you would like to contribute to the company’s success

Let your boss know what you would like to do to contribute to the company’s success. It shows that you are a team player and that you’re dedicated to common goals. Employees who want to contribute have a high morale.

  1. What support you need to do your best work

Tell your boss what support you need to do your job well – be it training, new technology, better communication, an extra pair of hands or anything else. If you don’t tell them, they may not think to offer support. Employees who speak up about what they need are more likely to get help.

  1. What isn’t working

Be honest about what isn’t working – be it a process, procedure or a type of technology. Managers who aren’t working with the systems may not be aware of inefficiencies and appreciate insights from the ‘trenches’. Employees who give feedback can help to streamline business processes.

  1. What ideas you have for improving practices

Suggest solutions for what is not working. It shows that you’re creative and insightful. Employees with ideas for improving practices show their leadership potential.

Behaviour

Leadership takes on many responsibilities; it can be very busy and even tiring at times and therefore motivation levels can fluctuate. However, in this role you need to be able to keep yourself motivated because in turn it keeps the rest of your team motivated and thriving in the business.

It starts with keeping in check your own personal motivation – your passions, continuing to challenge yourself with various projects and remembering why you committed to these goals in the first place. What you are trying to achieve?

Sometimes the quickest way to lose motivation or even exhaust your level of motivation is to spend all of your time and energy trying to motivate and please the needs of your team. The truth is motivation is personal and you cannot force it upon others. Instead, leading by example through your own motivations, you can inspire others to motivate themselves and drive them to perform better. It’s showing the way towards success.

Methods for self-motivation can include:

• Learning new skills – What is needed for your current role? Where can you obtain these skills? Is there anyone who you can consult with for direction or advice?

• Taking appropriate leave breaks to relax & rejuvenate – Clearing your mind of distractions (and resting), taking the time to find out more about yourself or pursuing a personal goal or hobby.

• Spending time developing a self-improvement plan and setting goals – Where do you see your role developing in line with your business goals? Where do you see your team going and what do you need to do to help guide them there?

• Investing in courses and training that can lead to growth and development – Are there any conferences within your local area that are providing information on areas of development? Have you looked into local educational institutions and what courses they provide? Are there any online resources that you could review outside of business hours?

Building your own motivation by developing our skills and abilities also provides the knowledge and insight to pass on to others. If others within your team are seeking your advice or direction, you can provide recommendations and information on what you have looked into previously, helping direct others toward their future success.

Make sure to also keep following up on your personal progress and what motivates you, whether it is every month or six months. That way you can help keep your motivation levels consistent and on track.

If you are currently in a leadership role, what motivates you? More importantly, in what ways do you keep your drive and motivation consistent?

Behaviour

When you look up the term ‘leadership’ or ‘leadership roles’, you will find many articles on what to do to become a great leader. It is also important to be aware of bad habits that can hinder progress.

I know I have been guilty of at least two of the items listed below, but the first step is being aware of these habits so that you can find the ways to improve your leadership performance:

  1. Taking credit for others’ ideas and contributions – We all know the famous term, there is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’. It is very exciting when members of your team make a contribution that takes the organisation in a positive direction. However, the biggest failures one can make as a leader is to neglect to recognise and acknowledge individual and team contributions. If you are taking credit for someone else’s work, chances are you will start to notice your team working against you and not for you because they do not feel appreciated or valued.
  2. Using a position of power to control and intimidateothers — This autocratic style of leadership will often leave the team with a low level of autonomy. This can prevent creative ideas being presented as team members feel they do not have the right to contribute.
  3. Blaming others when things go wrong – It is important to recognise with the team when mistakes are made and that they have negative consequences in order to assess better solutions for the future. However, singling people out, pointing fingers, or making others carry the full weight of the failure is not reaction a leader should take. A leader needs to stand by their team no matter what, accept responsibility of when things go wrong, keep track of team members and progression, and have an ‘open door’ for team members to approach if they are experiencing struggles on tasks.
  4. Clinging to traditional methods and old ideas –In order to thrive in society most leaders need to think outside the box, take risks when needed and use innovation to be one step ahead of competitors. While traditional methods may have worked in the past, if you find you are constantly using the same strategy when the rest of the world is changing, you may fall behind. This includes those that refuse to learn new skills and tools to keep up with today’s market. If you are not trying to learn and adapt, you will fall behind.
  5. Failing to keep promises – Leaders who make promises but do not follow through risk loss of personal credibility, trust and the goodwill of others. If you have let down your team more than once, it can often take a long time to earn that trust back.
  6. Actingalone – Leaders who do not consult, collaborate or solicit input from others often fail to make enlightened decisions. Leaders also need to make sure they delegate tasks within the team appropriately so that they can stretch their teams’ abilities.

Failing to effectively manage issues – Leaders who dismiss the need to address, manage and resolve issues, place themselves and their organisation at risk.

What are some of the experiences you have learned in a leadership role? What were the learning curves that you have experienced?