“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]

feedback

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.

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No one likes receiving negative feedback! It can be a difficult pill to swallow even when posed in a constructive manner and when justified. We all receive negative feedback now and again be that in the form of an annual performance review, at the end of project or following a particular piece of work or incident.
While our natural tendency is often to focus our attention on all things negative and gloss over any positive and encouraging feedback, it is important to give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done when we receive compliments from our peers and leaders.

Likewise, we must acknowledge any negative feedback we receive and use it to help us perform better in the future. While it may be easier said than done, the way we deal with negative criticism can set us apart from our peers. Instead of dwelling on negative comments and letting them impact our attitude and performance, we should take ownership of any constructive criticism we receive and use it as an opportunity to grow professionally and personally.

Make the best of constructive criticism the next time you receive it by following our advice below.

Acknowledge it

In the first instance, you should acknowledge the individual or individuals who provided you with the feedback. It takes courage to provide negative feedback and in addition it can be time consuming to deliver. Show you appreciate their efforts!

Listen & Understand

Is the feedback accurate?

When deciding what weight to give to negative feedback it’s best to first consider if the comments are accurate. Are the comments based on fact or opinion? Perhaps they stem from some factual misunderstanding that is easily explained. Or perhaps they are the opinion of one lone voice in amongst a sea of positive feedback.

What are the motivations for providing it?

In most cases constructive criticism is delivered with the best of intentions but now and again you may receive feedback that you feel has a malicious intent or an ulterior motive. In these cases, it is still advisable to hear the person out however you can choose the weight you attribute to it.

Don’t just hear – listen!

It is easy to make a token gesture of hearing out a piece of negative feedback however to really learn from it we must truly listen to what is being said. Try not to get defensive! When we get defensive we tend to get distracted by arguing our case rather than focusing on the truth of what is being said. Perhaps the best way to deal with this is to listen and ask for time to consider your response.

Take some time

Constructive feedback delivered in a meeting or in a one on one session may come as a surprise if we aren’t expecting it. In such instances it is probably best to hear the feedback and ask for some time to think it over. This way you can avoid any heated arguments if you disagree with the comments. You can also take some time to evaluate what was said and process how you will deal with it rather than responding in the heat of the moment.

Plan your response

Once you have digested the feedback it’s up to you to decide the best course of action. If the criticism is something that could adversely impact your promotion and career potential if unaddressed, then it’s best you take the comments seriously and plan the steps you will take to deal with it. Perhaps this will mean additional training, taking a new approach to a task or handling a relationship with a colleague differently.
It may be worth asking for some examples of the behavior referred to in the feedback? You could also ask the sender for suggestions on how to deal with the points raised.

Learn from it

Having acknowledged the negative feedback and put a plan in place to address any weaknesses, you have really done all that can be expected. Your best course of action therefore is not to dwell on the feedback any longer but view it as means of self-development putting you back on the path to progression.

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So much of what we do at work, from giving and receiving performance reviews to learning to be a leader and coach, rests on being able to give and receive feedback. Although it can be scary, people actually thrive on criticism when it is constructive.

Good feedback is the quickest way to learn do things better and to change our behaviour. Yet we fear and avoid it, for good reasons to do with the way the human mind works. We find it threatening both to give and to receive criticism. It doesn’t have to be that way.

A colleague recently participated in a writing workshop and told me how much she had benefited from what others had said about the work she’d presented. ‘Well you’re good, so of course they would say so,’ I told her. ‘No, it was when they told me the things I hadn’t done well that I really learnt something’, she said.  ‘It hurt, and some of the group were pretty harsh, yet when I thought about it later, I was grateful. I reworked my story and it was a lot better.’ Then she told me how hard it had been to give constructive criticism, especially to people she didn’t like much or when she felt the work had few redeeming features.

I reminded her about using the ‘sandwich’ method we’d learnt in parenting classes: positioning a slice of negative criticism ‘cheese’ between two pieces of positive feedback ‘bread’. ‘I did that, and I felt like a fake’, she told me. ‘I could see they were just waiting for me to get to the bad bit, and didn’t really hear the good news. I was uncomfortable because I knew I still had to say that their dialogue was unnatural and their grammar was all wrong, and my unease made them uncomfortable too.’ It seemed the conventional wisdom wasn’t working.

She then shared with me how the group had agreed to a better method after that first awkward session. They decided to be transparent about how constructive feedback would be given, and all agreed to follow a process. My friend described how much better she felt about giving and receiving feedback when the emphasis shifted to making shared, informed choices about how to improve. Of course, sharing creative writing in a group setting is not quite the same as having a one-on-one conversation about workplace performance, but the principles still apply.

Giving criticism: the criticism sandwich v the transparent approach

Instead of: ‘The report is well written and interesting. However, there’s not enough detail. You’d better find the figures and add them in before the presentation at three. I love the layout though’.

Describe what you see, and agree on the facts

‘I’m concerned about the lack of detail in this report and how that might have affected our business case. I’d like to go through some details and see if you see the same things. I’m open to the possibility that I’ve missed something or that I’ve not explained what’s needed. Once we agree on the size of the problem, let’s decide what we can do.

Decide how the work could be improved

‘So you agree there should be more data and explained that you needed more time to do the research. I’ll have Tom cover your client calls for today and you will find the data and add it to the report before the presentation.’

Commit to implementing the feedback where appropriate and sharing the results

You’ll get the revised report to me by two, so that I can check the figures. Next time I’ll be more realistic with timeframes and you’ll be clearer about your process and ask for help if you need it, so there are no last-minute surprises in future.’

How did implementing this transparent approach work in my colleague’s writing workshop? And how can we apply what she has learnt to the workplace?

She now feels more genuine in the feedback she gives, and less defensive about receiving it in return. The group as a whole feels confident and comfortable about sharing the good and the bad aspects of each other’s work. She’s preparing her manuscript for a publisher – a step she said she would never have taken without the constructive and transparent criticism of her peers.

Managers have to give criticism regularly, and it can be tough. Employees are bound to receive it, and in a healthy workplace giving and receiving feedback from peers can present growth opportunities too. Practicing good feedback techniques will stand us in good stead no matter where we are. So describe what you see, negotiate a mutual solution and commit to implementing good feedback.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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Leading teams requires great commitment and looking outside of yourself to meet their needs. We have provided some tips below to help set you on the right path to a great leadership experience: If you are new to a leadership role they might help guide your way and if you have been at it for a while they may serve as a useful reminder.

1. Brush up on Your Communication Skills. Having clear and precise communication is important, and being honest and open with your team helps build a level of trust. Making sure all staff understand what the goals and expectations are and giving them the opportunity to contribute their thoughts and ideas for feedback is important.

2. Be Committed to Your Goal. Not only should you be explaining the importance of the company goals to your team, but you need to show by example that you support the goals as a leader. This involves setting out the tasks, having follow-up meetings and making sure that your team is on track with what needs to be achieved.

3. Give Verbal Recognition. Verbal recognition for efforts and praise show your support towards the staff member’s accomplishments. It also boosts morale and positivity that encourages a mutual support among team members.

4. A Team Leader Should Lead by Example. A great leader is someone who shouldn’t be afraid to get their hands dirty or dig in to help when the team requires additional support. Someone who can encourage team members to take risks and support them when they do.

5. Invest in Staff Careers. To ensure your staff are up to date with the skills they need for their role, you may need to invest in training, invest time mentoring or finding the right mentor, invest time to discover what they really need and want in order to do a great job.

6. Resolve Conflicts. Any conflict within the workplace needs to be handled promptly and assessed by leaders as soon as it arises. Appropriate measures need to be taken to find resolution or negotiate a mutual agreement. Whether it is conflict in a task or between co-workers, leaders must step up to the plate to take action and problem solve the best way that they can.

7. Teach Adaptability. The effective team manager should teach adaptability and flexibility to all their team members. This results in better communication, a greater sense of empowerment among staff and a faster exchange of information.

8. Build Pride in Your Team. Positive reinforcement on success is a proven way to keep staff motivation high and build pride in your team. It will increase productivity amongst the team and encourage drive towards goals. You are also creating a positive working environment that employees are happy to be a part of.

9. Give Your Staff New Responsibilities. Just as you have developed into your role of leadership, your team are looking for development opportunities. It is important that you help them by giving them the opportunity to take on new responsibilities as the opportunities arise.

Have you lead teams during your career? What were your first experiences when it came to leading teams? What did you find was most successful? What did you learn from the experience?

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You have worked hard to get your promotion, now you have to set yourself up for success in your new role. Preparing to take on more responsibility will make the transition process run smoothly and will help set you up for future success.

So what are the next steps after you receive the promotion? What can you do to keep yourself on track?

1. Get clear expectations. The first thing you need to do is really understand your new role. What does the organisation expect of you? What does your manager expect of you? And what do you expect of yourself? Clarifying these expectations sets up a path to follow.

2. Set your goals What do you want to accomplish and why? Set personal and career goals both short and long term so you can measure your progress on the path. Don’t be afraid to share your goals or vision with management and get their buy in as well,

3. Talk to your boss. Get to know your manager and determine how you will work together. How and when will you communicate and what will help you succeed beyond the job description. These things are critically important to your mutual success.

4. Focus on building relationships. You may have moved to a new department with new peers or report to and a new manager. The relationships with the people around you are part of that job! Invest time in building relationships with your new peers, people in other groups, your boss, your customers, and if you are a leader, your team. It makes your working environment more positive and productive if you have a level of rapport with your team.

5. Learn what you need to learn. Remember you are new to this position so you cannot know it all on the first day! It is part of our development to learn new skills. Take notes, ask questions, request feedback to make sure you are heading on the path towards success. The earlier you set yourself up to understand the requirements and expectations of the role, the easier it will be to settle into the position and start delivering.

6. Celebrate! Of course you deserve the time to celebrate your promotion and share the excitement with others. Take some time for yourself and those closest to you to celebrate your progress and accomplishments. Celebrating builds your confidence and awareness, and it sets you on the right path for even better performance.

Sometimes we tend to rush from one project to the next without fully understanding what we have achieved. Every accomplishment is a stepping stone on the path towards your future. Show appreciation towards those who helped get you get to that next stage.

If you have been through a promotion recently, what steps did you take to continue to perform at your best and show that you were the right one for the job?

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Performance reviews can seem intimidating and can make you feel anxious, but at the end of the day they are important in helping us develop and improve our performance. Whether you have been in an organisation for a few months or a few years, the performance review is inevitable. With correct preparation though, they don’t have to be scary.

  1. Be Prepared

There is no harm in asking your manager ahead of time what to expect from the upcoming review. You can also ask fellow colleagues who have been at the organisation longer what they have experienced. Make sure that you are recording your work progress and achievements so that you also have something to present to management during the review process.

  1. Be Honest

This is an opportunity for you to share with your manager your honest thoughts and opinions on your current workload and working environment. This means acknowledging if you are struggling in some areas and working with management on ways to resolve or delegate certain tasks. This is also an opportunity to shine and really show your manager where you are excelling (as long as you can back it up with examples).

  1. You are Part of a Team

Remember that your performance review should not be just an opportunity for your manager to point out all of your failures. You should both be discussing how you are performing as an individual and a team member for the overall success of the company. If you have ideas or feedback to put forward on possible improvements or incentives for the team, now would be the time to do so.

  1. Know Your Accomplishments

Don’t sell yourself short. A manager may not always be present during the time of an accomplishment and may ask you what you have contributed to the company so far. Don’t let it fall under the radar, even get a colleague or witness to verify it if it was a team effort or if it helped another person significantly. If you are a facts and figures type of person, present it to management with the data necessary to support your review.

  1. Be Open to Constructive Criticism

These periodic assessments are provided to everyone in your team to help you improve. It is important to not take constructive feedback as though it is a personal attack or react in a defensive manner. Take the time to listen carefully to the feedback your manager has provided, and once you know they have stated all of the details, take the time to ask any questions about anything you may be unsure about. You can also ask what steps you can start taking to improve this area of feedback.

  1. Give Feedback

There should be a point in the review session where you’re asked if you want to give feedback on your colleagues, your boss, or the projects you’ve worked on. Be honest, but professional with your feedback, especially about co-workers or the way a certain project has been organised. Don’t leave anything out, but at the same time provide value by offering suggestions for improvement instead of just complaining.

  1. Ask Questions

Show that you were attentive and have initiative by asking questions at the end of the review on the next steps and areas of improvement. Be open to answer any questions provided by the reviewer as well. It’s a lot better to reflect on questions while the conversation is still fresh and even take notes on responses to reflect upon afterwards.

If you’re honest and assertive in your performance review and know what to expect, you’ll leave your review with more positive motivation than ever.

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What do you tell an employer when they ask you what your strengths are? Do you provide them with leadership examples from previous roles, outline key skills or educational achievements that could be valuable for the role? Do you know what skills the employer is looking for to fulfill the role?

A recent study by LinkedIn reveals that when it comes to interviewing and hiring early-career professionals, employers aren’t just considering education, experience and job skills. They are also looking for specific soft skills and personality traits — and how these characteristics rank may surprise you.

LinkedIn defines early-career professionals as those with zero to three years’ experience. Understanding these skill sets will give you a better indication of how you can be considered in today’s job market.

Specific skills
The two most important skills employers look for are problem-solving skills (65 percent) — defined as the ability to see and create solutions when faced with challenges — and being a good learner (64 percent) by learning new concepts quickly and being adaptable in new situations.

Employers also look for candidates who have strong analytical skills: 46 percent of the employers surveyed said early-career hires need to be able to use logical reasoning.

Communication skills are essential. The ability to clearly communicate ideas while speaking plays a much more important role than doing so in writing, however. The study revealed that 45 percent of employers want to hire people with strong oral communication skills, whereas only 22 percent consider strong written communication skills to be crucial.

Furthermore, creativity, the ability to think outside the box (21 percent), and being tech-savvy (16 percent) are also pluses for employers.

Personality traits
The most important personality trait employers look for in early-career professionals is the ability to collaborate. Fifty-five percent of employers put a premium on the ability to work well with others. A close runner-up was the ability to work hard, with 52 percent of employers preferring candidates who have strong work ethics and go above and beyond.

Having a positive attitude also goes a long way for 45 percent of employers, while 31 percent said being passionate by demonstrating enthusiasm for their work and the business’s values is also important.

Additionally, employers look for candidates who are organised (twenty nine percent) and resilient (twenty one percent).

Role-based skills
The types of skills employers are looking for also depends highly on the position and industry they work in. LinkedIn’s study found that hiring managers look for these specific skill sets when interviewing and hiring for sales, marketing and consulting roles:

For sales roles: Candidates should possess strong oral communication skills and a good attitude that shows optimism and maintains positive energy.
For marketing/PR roles: Creativity, passion and strong written communication skills are key to a great hire.
For consulting roles: Employers look for candidates with strong analytical and written communication skills.

Hiring managers, do you agree with the above statistics? What other skills sets are important to you when it comes to the ideal employee for your office team?