Monthly Archives

June 2016

Pay Peanuts & you WILL get Monkeys!!!

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The old adage “Pay peanuts and you’ll get monkeys” certainly has merit! If the pay you’re offering for the role doesn’t meet the current market rates…. then GREAT candidates have absolutely no reason to come to you…. let alone stay!!!

Yes, you’re running a business and you have budgets….and you’re here to make a profit. But remember that you’re employing someone because you need additional resources to ensure that your business operates efficiently….and that your customers are happy.

You want to have someone within YOUR business who can tick your WISH LIST boxes…. You’re looking for someone with the capability to carry out all the key tasks required…. is awesome with your customers……and fits in with your team & work culture……therefore there is a CALCULATED VALUE associated with that.

The internet allows you to RESEARCH relevant salaries for roles that are similar to yours. The Robert Half Guide is a reputable and highly regarded source for current market pay rates (https://www.roberthalf.com.au/research-insights/salary-guide). You can also do some basic research via SEEK by conducting a search on key words for your position and salary range.

These things aside, I suggest you to recall your days as an employee, and what it was like…. MONEY MATTERED – money mattered a lot!!! So what does MONEY (i.e. salary/ remuneration) mean to an EMPLOYEE?

  1. First and foremost – A way to pay the BILLS…. MORTGAGE…. and to support/ provide for FAMILY.
  2. Feeling VALUED for the time, effort and contribution made to the business.
  3. Meeting PERCEPTIONS of SELF-WORTH.
  4. And of course, there is always EGO…. whilst ego levels vary based on individuals… EVERYONE has an EGO.

Therefore, if what you’re paying doesn’t tick these boxes for your employees……then they will be motivated to find a suitable role that does PAY what they need/ want/ expect……or in the case of trying to ATTRACT quality candidates…. you’ll wonder why you only have MONKEYS to choose from.

In the past, talking money and pays was somewhat taboo…. but times they are a changing. Being upfront and putting the salary range that you’re prepared to pay within the advertisement, shows potential candidates that you have a clear VALUE for the role.

I openly ask ALL of my “long listed” candidates – “What is your current/ most recent remuneration? What salary are you seeking now?”. I find that AT LEAST 95% of candidates not only answer this question…. but answer it honestly…. sometimes to their detriment (i.e. even though the advertised salary indicates $50-$60K – they will say that they’re looking for $70K).

This way, I can match a potential candidate’s PERCEIVED VALUE with my client’s PERCEIVED VALUE OF THE ROLE… rather than wasting people’s time… and avoiding difficult or even INSULTING conversations at the time of the Job Offer.

The remuneration you offer employees/candidates doesn’t necessarily have be restricted to a CASH offering!!! People also PERCEIVE VALUE in NON-MONETRY factors (PERKS)…… So it is important to consider how you can OFFER or provide these BENEFITS to your employees that results in a positive WIN-WIN OUTCOME. A few PERKS you can consider are:

  • Work Hours – flexibility, late start – late finish, early start – early finish, longer hours Monday to Thursday and a lunch time finish on Friday, longer work hours with 1 day off a month…. etc.
  • Work close to home – people are willing to take a small pay cut to save on commuting time and costs.
  • Provision of a Vehicle – providing a vehicle for commuting and limited private use that has your business branding on it, reduces the employees cost of getting to and from work…. while increasing your business branding…. and is tax deductable.
  • Paying for Professional Development – provide your employee the OPPORTUNITY of attending RELEVANT & WORK RELATED conferences, workshops, complete courses/ qualifications, etc. paid for by the company…. Apart from being a tax deductable, it is a great way to be in touch with the current trends in the industry. This not only ensures survival in the competitive marketplace, but also serves as a way of boosting the capabilities of the business.

There are several options…… don’t be afraid to TALK to YOUR existing EMPLOYEES and find out what they REALLY VALUE and PERCEIVE as BENEFITS……you may be pleasantly surprised!!!

My TOP TIPS for determining the salary you should be paying:

  1. Don’t be afraid of salaries.
  2. Do your research.
  3. Be realistic.
  4. Be open – you’ve done your research so you have confidence.
  5. Ask these questions to the candidates or your employees – What are you looking for? – Do you have any options or considerations for packaging “benefits”?

Make sure you’re following on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Acworth-Recruitment-185674054963527) as I’ll share some other great tips and information.

Outlining the Role – Getting the Position Description Right

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Hiring employees is based on your operational needs. You need the additional resources and support to ensure that your business operates efficiently and to ensure that your customers are happy and keep coming back. So it’s CRITICAL that you know EXACTLY what the job is.

Even if you’re needing to replace someone who is leaving, it is important to take a step back and review the role. Consider the tasks that need to be completed, how it sits and interacts with the other roles in the business, the required work hours and the salary.

Having a CLEAR understanding of these factors upfront is KEY to getting the right person for the role in your business. A good Job Description performs a number of important functions:

  • It describes the skills and competencies that are needed to perform the role.
  • It defines where the job fits within the overall company hierarchy.
  • It is used as the basis for the employment contract.
  • It is a valuable performance management tool.

Job Title

The first fundamental element of the Position Description is the Job Title. A good job title will address the following:

  • It accurately reflects the nature of the job and the duties being performed
  • It reflects its ranking order with other jobs in your business
  • It does not exaggerate the importance of the role
  • It reflects similar jobs in the industry for comparable pay and conditions
  • It is self-explanatory for recruitment and attraction purposes

A good example of this is Office Manager verse Office Coordinator or Office Administrator – An Office Manager is reflective of a medium to large sized business with 10 plus office based staff where “management” responsibilities are undertaken on a daily basis – and is likely to attract a salary of around $80K……..An Office Administrator is more likely to be the sole administrative staff member of a small business or perhaps works with a receptionist – to provide a broad range of hands on administrative and office support functions – and is likely to attract a salary of around $50K up to maybe $60K.

Duties & Responsibilities

The Position Description needs to contain a list of tasks, duties and responsibilities required as part of the role. This will define the differences between roles within your business and provide the basis for “who does what”.

The level of responsibility (ie. the level of accountability, authority, control, power, leadership, management or influence) you include within the role, needs to be considered carefully to ensure that it is accurate and is reflected in the salary (more on this on my next blog). Whilst this needs to be comprehensive – don’t make it too long as it isn’t meant to be an operation manual.

Skills and Competencies

It is best to list these separately from each other, as they are two quite separate things:

  • Skills are activities the candidate can perform based on what they have learned in the past, or from qualifications they have obtained (eg Professional level MYOB user). Skills can be learned through study and/or practice.
  • Competencies are the traits or attributes you expect the candidate to display in the role (Strong communication and interpersonal capability). This is an innate characteristic displayed by a person.

Qualifications and Licences

Often a formal qualification is required for the role – or preferred. These may range from a TAFE Certificate in Information Technology or Administration – through to a Degree in Architecture with Registration. However, it is important that you be REALISTIC about the level of qualification you REQUIRE for the role – Does your Finance Officer really need a Degree followed by a CA or CPA?

Other critical areas to consider and must be included are the Licences and Tickets that are ESSENTIAL for the role. These may include a Blue Card for working with children, Safety Inductions, a Civil Drivers Licence, etc. If the role REQUIRES the employee to drive to client premises, the supplier’s warehouse, etc. then you must include this in the Position Description as a requirement (eg. Current clean Manual Drivers Licence). If you don’t have this as part of the Position Description and the employee loses their drivers licence – you cannot dismiss them!!!

Reporting Relationships

It is important to include reporting lines and working relationships in your Position Description.

  • Reporting lines clarify the responsibilities of the position by showing whom the employee reports to and as to who reports to the employee. (Reports to the Finance Manager).
  • Working relationships are the people and departments the position requires the employee to work closely with. (Work closely with Production and Sales to provide accurate and timely reports).

Salary

The salary that you pay the employee is a VERY important consideration. It needs to be reflective of level of duties and responsibilities, competitive within the market and fit within the salary structure of other roles within the business. In addition, it has to fit within your budget. By its very nature, the notion of SALARY is a highly EMOTIVE subject, for both the employee and the employer.

My next blog will look at salary and remuneration options in detail….

Make sure you’re following on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Acworth-Recruitment-185674054963527) as I’ll share some other great tips and information.

Job Seeker Series – Post Interview Feedback – “You Can’t Handle the Truth”!!

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You want the truth?…..You want the truth?…….You can’t handle the truth!!!!

Over my many years in recruitment, I’ve obviously been asked by unsuccessful candidates for “feedback on why they missed out on the position” OR even “feedback on how they can improve for the future”……..Now this may surprise a lot of people…..But I DO NOT give “feedback” any more!!!

 

Why you ask?……It is ALWAYS a trap!!!…….human nature and psychology simply get in the way.

 

Most candidates that make it through to the interview stage, are highly invested in the role…..You genuinely want the role…..and potentially believe that you’re the best candidate for the role…..which is how it should be.

 

Therefore, the fact that you didn’t get the role is upsetting…..disappointing…..and frustrating. We spend more time at work then we do with our loved ones…..and employment is what pays the bills!!!

 

So receiving information that you PERCEIVE as negative and critical leads to an automatic response of DEFENSE…..this displays itself by arguing against that information (eg “but I have done exactly that in a previous job”), disbelief (eg “but I didn’t get any sense of negativity in the interview – it went REALLY well”) and desperation (eg “I can send you examples of my work…OR….if I could just speak directly with the Manager…”).

 

Over the years I have tried many methods to deliver CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK and INFORMATION to unsuccessful candidates in order to try and assist them…..I’ve always been mindful of my tone of voice, how I word the information….and even trying to put in in a “positive sandwich” (ie start with a positive…then the not so positive….and then another positive)….but nothing really works…..I ALWAYS end up with an agitated and sometimes aggressive candidate.

 

Having made the decision quite a number of years ago – not to provide REAL FEEDBACK to candidates any more…..I recently broke my rule as I felt that this particular candidate genuinely wanted it…..needed it….and was at a professional level to be able to handle it…..I was wrong.

 

In this instance, I let the candidate in question know that my client said that she came across well in the interview and seems to be a lovely person…..but they felt that she would struggle technically to keep up with the hectic nature of the work – which is what my client told me. This candidate argued with me, saying that my client didn’t say anything like that during the interview – and in fact it went really well…..so there must be another reason that I’m not saying. I assured her that this was not the case – and that areas of concern such as this are rarely raised during an interview. She sent me a follow up text message well outside of work hours – which I didn’t respond to – asking me to go back to my client to get more information. She then sent an email to my client directly with an EXTENSIVE outline of why she is right for the role. My client had actually taken that day off to attend a funeral, so was particularly disappointed to receive this email and simply passed it back to me. When I phoned that candidate again to reiterate my initial feedback and to express my disappointment that she had disturbed my client…..she was even more aggressive and blaming me!!! The conversation ended with me simply hanging up the phone after telling her that she wasn’t listening and I had nothing else to add.

 

So my tips to candidates who ask for feedback:

  • Do a double check with yourself and ask “do I REALLY want feedback – am I willing to listen and take on board the feedback – will I take action based on the feedback”?……if the answer to any of these is “no” or “maybe”…..then don’t……ask the question.
  • Listen to what you are being told…..don’t interrupt or argue……remember you asked for the feedback.
  • Stay calm and don’t allow yourself to become defensive……the Hiring Manager has no reason or agenda to try an insult you or put you down…..I guarantee that they would prefer not to have this conversation.
  • Ask constructive questions only…..Do not attack or barrage the person giving the feedback…..again…. remember you asked for the feedback.
  • Thank the person for their time and honesty.
  • Take time to process the information you received – put it into context for yourself – and find a way to apply it for the future.

Make sure you’re following on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RecruitLoop-Kim-Acworth-185674054963527/?fref=ts) as I’ll share some other great tips and information.

 

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Job Seeker Series – Interview Tips

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Congratulations – you’ve been invited to an interview following your job application…. now how to make a good impression…..

 

Do your research BEFORE your interview!

  • Review the advertisement again.
  • Research the company – Website, Facebook, LinkedIn.
  • Where are you going for the interview – Are you going to drive (what is the parking availability) or use public transport – How long will it take?
  • Prepare some questions that you may want to ask.

 

What should you wear?

First impressions definitely count – you can always dress down if you get the job – of course it depends on the role you are applying for.

  • Stick with basic colours and patterns – keep it simple and professional.
  • For manual labour and trades jobs – a button up collared shirt with basic trousers such as king gees and quality closed in shoes…. same for females in this field, though you may want to put on an appropriate blouse.
  • For general office jobs and professions – GUYS – Long sleeve button up business shirt, tie, quality trousers and dress shoes – GIRLS – appropriate business attire shirt (Not low cut or too tight!!!), simple business skirt or trousers (I think the pencil skirt is always the best way to go – Again not too tight), and mid height heels that are comfortable.
  • For Management and Senior Professional roles – same as in the previous point – but also wear a suit coat/jacket.

 

What should you take with you?

  • Obviously if you have been asked to take anything in particular to the interview – do it.
  • Generally speaking, you feel rather strange and unprepared if you go to an interview completely empty handed – I always recommend that you take an appropriate professional folder with a copy of your resume, relevant qualifications and written references – the interviewer may not ask for copies of details but if they do, at least you’re prepared.
  • If you are going for a role that would benefit from examples of your work such as Architects, Graphic Designers, Florists, etc. – then take your well prepared and presented portfolio that shows your breadth and quality of experience.

 

Arriving for your interview

  • ALWAYS allow more than enough time – DON’T BE LATE!!!
  • Don’t be too early – 5-10mins early is a good rule of thumb – but DO BE EARLY.
  • Be extremely polite and respectful to the receptionist or person that initially greets you – some appropriate professional small talk would be a good idea if they aren’t too busy – such as “Are you having a busy day”? followed by “How long have you been with the business”? They will report back to the relevant Manager if they have a particularly positive or negative view point…. and the Manager will often have a quick chat with the receptionist and ask their opinion.
  • Anything you have with you such as a portfolio, satchel, etc.  – hold it in your left hand – you can then shake hands in a professional manner without fumbling.

 

During the interview – Answering their questions

You will usually be asked a combination of general background questions (why did you leave your role with company X?), case scenario type questions (If you were asked to trouble shoot an issue by a customer, how would you approach this?), or behavioural interview questions (Tell me about a time when you had a very difficult customer – what was the situation, what did you do and what was the outcome?)

  • Always make sure you are listening properly to the person asking the questions – if you don’t understand the question or need clarification…. ask.
  • Take your time to think about your response – DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE SILENCE – don’t rush.
  • When responding think about your tone of voice and refrain from nervous inflections…. Don’t speak to quickly.
  • Ensure you make eye contact – with everyone in the room if there is more than one person – you need to demonstrate high level communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Give concise answers with sufficient detail that ACTUALLY ANSWERS THE QUESTION – Don’t waffle!!!
  • Usually you will be invited to ask questions at the end of the interview – ALWAYS have some prepared questions that show you’ve done your research and are genuine questions – Usually 2 or 3 questions.

 

Wrapping up and exiting the interview

  • Thank them for their time and the opportunity.
  • Express your strong interest in the role and working with them.
  • Smile!!!
  • Acknowledge the receptionist on your way out “Have nice day” and smile.

 

Now you get to go home and play the horrible waiting game until you hear back!! You will always think of things you should have said during the interview but didn’t…. or better examples…. that’s completely normal. Tuck them away for future improvements and as learnings.

 

Make sure you’re following on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RecruitLoop-Kim-Acworth-185674054963527/?fref=ts) as I’ll share some other great tips and information.

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Job Seeker Series – Should I contact the company directly or take my resume in?

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With the current employment market being so tough, proactive and motivated job seekers are looking for ways to get an edge on their competitors……..so maybe taking your application directly into the Manager is a way to stand out…….???

 

Let’s first of all have a quick walk in the shoes of the Manager who is trying to fill the role……A Manager’s day is ALWAYS busy…..the To Do List is constantly requiring reprioritisation with bush fires and unexpected issues…..lunch breaks rarely exist….and the fact that they are needing to hire someone is a pretty good indication that they are short staffed!! So unexpected and unnecessary interruptions are not viewed favourably.

 

If the Manager and business has decided to outsource the recruitment process to a Professional Recruiter……this has been done for a reason……most likely because they don’t have the time or resources to do it themselves. They are very comfortable handing over the advertising and shortlisting while they get on with running their business.

 

So what happens when you email your application directly to the company via an email address you found on the website……it gets forwarded by the receptionist who monitors the enquiry emails to the person she thinks may be looking after the job…..when it eventually makes it to the right manager after a couple of days – it then gets forwarded straight to me simply saying “this came directly to us”. So in fact, you actually held your own application up by sending it directly to the company.

 

To be honest, it can sometimes have a negative result……I’ve had Managers reject such applications simply because “you can’t follow the instructions in the advertisement”…..and they want an employee who will follow procedures.

 

Whilst you feel that you’re being proactive……showing enthusiasm……and trying to gain a positive advantage………the Manager is likely to see it differently.

 

Even if you’ve had negative experiences with Recruitment Agencies and Professional Recruiters in the past…..remember that the Manager/ Business Owner has chosen to work with this particular recruiter and you need to respect their decision.

 

If you decide that putting an application in directly with the business is definitely something you need to do then here are some tips on handling it with RESPECT:

  1. If emailing your application through – be clear where you saw the position advertised, what the position is and that you have also applied through the Recruiter as per the advertisement instructions.
  2. Still apply to the Recruiter…..and let them know that you have also sent an application directly to the client.
  3. If you take your application in person to the business, then be VERY respectful and friendly to the Receptionist – advise that you saw the advertisement for the position and sent an application to the Recruiter as per the advertisement – but as you live locally and like to be proactive, you decided that it would be a good opportunity to see where the business was and provide a copy of the application directly as well……”Would you mind passing this application onto the relevant Manager for me”?……..DO NOT ASK TO SEE THE RELEVANT MANAGER!!! If the receptionist thinks it would be appropriate…..and is impressed by you…..then she will offer.

Make sure you’re following on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RecruitLoop-Kim-Acworth-185674054963527/?fref=ts) as I’ll share some other great tips and social media pages you can follow later this week

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Benefits of using a Resume Writer (Guest Blog)

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Think about anyone that has ever told you not to bother paying a professional for help with your CV. What kind of comments are coming to mind?

 

Here are a few of the most common I’ve heard thrown around: 

  • If you need a resume writer, you must not be good enough for the job anyway
  • You don’t need a resume writer; they don’t know your experience any better than you do
  • Don’t pay someone to write your resume, my wife is awesome on computers and stuff. She’ll do it for you!

 

Let’s break these down.

  1. You must not be good enough for the job, if you need your CV written.

 

Let’s consider Suzanne. Suzanne is an awesome Senior Administration Assistant. She has been for more than 10 years, and has received endless praise and recognition from managers, executive assistants and even CEOs. She’s great at her job. However, Suzanne wants something more. She’d love to be an Office Manager, but there’s no way her current business can offer that opportunity, and all she could do is wait years until the current Office Manager moves on. Is that any kind of career plan?

 

While Suzanne knows her current business, her current role, and her industry well, she hasn’t got a great commercial understanding of the wider sector. Therefore, she will struggle to present herself in a way that appeals to other businesses, commercially. The CV should not be about how good Suzanne is, but focus more on why Suzanne’s knowledge and experience holds any value to a different business. Suzanne has never even considered that, and has no idea where to start or how to compete in an already challenging market.

 

  1. A resume writer doesn’t know your experience any better than you do.

 

Absolutely true! But have you ever considered that your experience doesn’t actually matter? Well, not all of it anyway. Too many people believe that a good CV is a document that contains information about everything you’ve done, and a great explanation on why you’re good in a few core areas. However, that’s a mistake.

 

Your CV needs to be written for the reader. To be able to attract and excite somebody enough that they want to give you a phone call, and consider you over and above other people, you need to present a compelling case. When you’re too close to your own experience, your own desires, your own needs and your own ideals, your CV writing ability is tainted. It becomes difficult to fully focus on what the reader wants to see, and a 3rd party is often the best answer to that universal problem.

 

  1. My Wife is awesome on computers. She’ll do it for you!

 

Just because someone can type, has no bearing what-so-ever on their ability to write a compelling CV. A CV needs to trigger an emotional response. It must appeal to the commercial benefit of the company, while also ticking the boxes for building a logical case as to why you should be considered. Above all, your CV has to provide some kind of answer to the employer’s issues.

 

The only people that are able to do this well enough are those with experience. People in recruitment and HR can often be the better choices, but ideally, the best people for the job are those that have intimate experience of the hiring process. People that have worked internally, with company management teams, side-by-side in decision making processes, and who have run recruitment campaigns to find the right people for a business. They’re experts in understanding what an employer needs to see from potential employees, because they are the employer.

 

Some other benefits of working with experienced resume writers:

  • The only person’s interests they have in mind, is yours. They’re not working for a company, they’re not trying to find a better person for a role, and they’ve got no reason to be dishonest with you about any aspect of your job search.
  • They speak to a lot of people and are plugged into the job market. Therefore, they’ve got knowledge and contacts that you’d otherwise struggle to come by.
  • They can help you improve your communication skills, specifically around your value to an employer.
  • The best writers have written hundreds of CVs. They’re experts in the field and can do so much better than you’ll ever produce on your own.
  • They’re far cheaper than paying for a course or certification, and will almost certainly do a better of of opening up an opportunity.

 

To connect with me, go to my LinkedIn profile here and connect! Follow me on Twitter here, and check out our new website (live on 6th June 2016 www.careercartel.com.au ). Join our private members group on Facebook here, and ask any questions you need to get ahead in your career.