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How psychometric testing helps employers make hiring decisions
Job interviewing
Interview questions and answers
Every one of us is different. We have different strengths, different weaknesses; some of us are more team orientated, some of us prefer to take more of a leadership role; some of us are risk takers, others more cautious, and so on. Understanding what makes a person "tick" by applying psychometric testing, can go a long way towards determining how well a potential candidate might fit within an organisation, and how suitable they may be for a specific position within that organisation. There are many types of psychometric tests that can be done. The majority involve both cognitive and personality assessments, and can be tailored specifically to the particular position. It is also important to note that personality tests do not consist of questions which have correct answers assigned to them. What they show are personality traits that are designed to provide a deeper understanding of the candidate, as opposed to a "gut feel" that may be formed in an interview process, or a biased assessment from a previous employer. Implementing both cognitive and personality testing complements and increases the validity of the assessment process. At the end of the day, there are only three questions the employer really has to answer during the selection process: • First, do you have the right skills and experience? • Second, do you have the required enthusiasm and motivation? • Finally, are you going to fit in, in terms of your personality, attitude and general work style? If the answer to any one of these questions is "no", the chances are that person is going to struggle down the line to fulfil their role within an organisation. Psychometric testing is a way of applying a level of objectivity to the process. While psychometric testing cannot predict, and never has predicted, "performance", it is a very useful tool that more and more companies are using. In America, for example, psychometric testing is now used by over 80% of the Fortune 500 companies in the USA and by over 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK. Most employers will probably not make a selection decision based solely on psychometric testing alone. However, what psychometric testing can reveal are core competencies of potential candidates that reduce the margin of error in the selection process.
Including key Achievements in your resume
Resume writing
Make my resume stand out
If I had a dollar for every resume I saw that did not include "key achievements", I would be a very wealthy resume writer! Failing to include key achievements throughout your resume is a recipe for disaster and will cause your resume to be put straight in the deleted folder and never to be seen again. The job market is competitive, and if you're going to prove to the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for a job, you need to show off every key achievement and skill that will stand you out against all the other job candidates. Remember the golden rule of resume writing - your resume is a marketing document and, as such, needs to market all the great things that you can bring to a potential job. Providing achievements that are backed up with quantitative evidence will guarantee that you will stand out from the other job seekers. The best written resumes adequately sell the person's achievements, skills and personality. Do this correctly and I guarantee that you will find success. What Types of Achievements should you include in your resume? Employers want to know the value you are going to add to the business and therefore want to see examples of your past behaviours to indicate your future behaviours. Types of achievements to include are: • Ways you saved the company money • Examples of how you reduced costs • Examples of new ideas or implementations that resulted in positive outcomes • Special awards or recognitions you received (e.g. voted #1 salesperson for two consecutive years) • Training, hiring, mentoring, leading, managing staff • Resolution of problems or issues that led to a positive outcome • Training courses, seminars, workshops that you successfully completed Tricks and Tips to turn your resume into a selling tool: Use strategic keywords throughout your resume to catch the reader's eye. Strategic keywords will ensure that your resume will be picked up by employers using software programs that help eliminate candidate resumes Go through the job requirements to find out exactly what the employer is looking for in the right candidate and incorporate these directly into your resume. For example, if the job is looking for someone with leadership skills, make sure you provide examples about the leadership you performed either in your past jobs or through community involvement or extra-curricular activities Including responsibilities and duties in your resume are important because it shows the reader what you actually do on a day to day basis. However, in order to take your resume to the next level and stand out against the competition (and get the highest possible salary!), you need to focus on value added achievements.
Five myths about job searching
Job search
Job seeking tips
#1: The smartest person always gets the job Definitely not true - companies these days are more interested in the complete worker. Having brains is always an advantage, but it's not the only thing that hiring managers are looking for. In today's economy, an employer wants to know that, if required, you are able to complete a wide range of jobs. Having transferrable skills, a can do attitude and a willingness to learn and be involved in all aspects of the business is key to nailing the job interview. #2: Direct experience is most important Transferable skills are key. In certain industries the job specification may require direct experience, but in many circumstances being able to show that you have the skills to succeed is just as important. Do not get discouraged if you feel that you lack the right skills to get a new job. Concentrate on the value added skills that you have and highlight these skills on your resume and in the job interview. #3: Dating a co-worker will lead to career doom An urban myth. I have even heard of stories where dating the boss has resulted in career success (not recommended!). Always remember to perform your role to the highest quality and it does not matter who you decide to date! (Note - public displays of affection are a big no no! - this type of behaviour is best saved for non-work hours). #4: Applying for jobs online is the only way to find a new job Job searching online is one of many different approaches you should take. Before you even begin to apply for jobs, ensure that you have a professionally written resume. No matter how many jobs you apply for, it doesn't matter if your resume is not selling your skills. With the growth of social networking online, sites such as LinkedIn can be a fantastic way to approach people who you typically could not just pick up the phone and call. #5: Writing a cover letter is a waste of time Every time you apply for a job you should accompany your resume with a targeted cover letter. The only exception is when the job specification clearly states not to send a cover letter. Most times a hiring manager will read your cover letter before opening your resume. If your cover letter does not shine, there is a good chance your resume won't even be opened. You may have the greatest resume written by a professional resume writer, but it means nothing if your cover letter is letting you down.
Why are Australian workers doing more hours?
Career management
In the work place
In a recent survey of almost 1000 IT workers, Balance Recruitment has found more than 50% of employees are working significant levels of overtime with no additional remuneration. Some employees indicated they were working as much as 40 additional hours per month over and above their standard working hours. Based on a Australian IT workforce of approximately 500000, and an average salary of $85000, it translates to businesses getting around $A2.6 billion of free work on an annual basis. Greg Pankhurst, co-owner of Balance Recruitment, cited economic issues as being a key driver for the increased pressures on IT teams. "IT is now a global business, and with the Australian dollar so high, outsourcing to China, the Philippines, the Sub-Continent or even Europe has never been so attractive financially. And while there are certainly challenges associated with offshoring your technical teams, the model is far more mature than it was a few years ago. If a company makes the decision to bear the additional costs and keep their IT based in Australia, their expectations around levels of service and delivery are going to be very high." "The rise of mobile devices has also been a factor. People are expecting to be available and on-line 24x7, and that in turn puts pressure on the IT team to be available 24x7". That increased workload is coming at a cost though. Balance also asked those same people what their biggest workplace stress was, and the standout was unrealistic workloads. Pankhurst went on to say it's important employers recognise and acknowledge the efforts of their employees. "As much as companies are under pressure, It's important to monitor the hours people are pulling and make sure that they are being recognised and rewarded for their time (be that time in lieu or additional pay). While people have accepted that they will have to put in periods of heavy work, it's very important that companies don't abuse that acceptance. It's a fine line between being a hard working environment and a sweatshop." Key Survey Questions: Have you been asked by your employer to work overtime/weekend work with no financial reward or time in lieu? Yes - up to 10 hrs/month - 23.1% Yes - up to 20 hrs/month - 14.8% Yes - up to 30 hrs/month - 3.9% Yes - up to 40 hrs/month - 2.9% (Total of Yes) - 50.7% No - 49.3% If you are not in a management position, what keeps you awake at night? Stability of my role - 38.2% My pay - 38.9% Workplace Culture/Management - 39.6% Workload - unrealistic deadlines - 51.8% Career growth/lack of challenges - 50.2%
What to do when you hate your job
Career management
In the work place
If you're not happy with your current job or the people you work with, don't put up with it! Begin to look for something else because you don't deserve or need to be unhappy at the workplace. We spend so much of our life at work that being unhappy will only begin to start impacting on all aspects of your life. Start to network (use networking websites such as LinkedIn to begin making contact), and if required prepare your resume so it's ready to send out to hiring managers and recruitment agents. It is always worth having an up-to-date resume on hand as you never know what opportunities will present themselves to you. Be proactive about finding a new job. It is very easy to get down about your job so ensure that you set an action plan to begin the process of finding a new one. Creating an action plan will also give you more guidance as prepare your exit strategy. Tips on what to do if you hate your job: Network The world has changed so much in last 10 years. With social networking sites such as LinkedIn (there are now literally hundreds of networking sites online) you actually have access to contact hiring managers or bosses directly where you would have previously never had the opportunity to do so. Utilise social networking sites, but remember to maintain a professional image. This includes a professional picture, professional resume and an overall "professional image". Work for yourself Working for a boss is not everyone's cup of tea (it's not most people's cup of tea!). If you believe you can provide a good or service that will make you money, then don't be afraid to take that daunting step and start working for yourself. Be your own boss and set your own rules! Exit Strategy Preparing an exit strategy is a key element to beginning the process of leaving your job. As much as you would like to walk into your boss's office right now and hand in your resignation paper, this may not be the wisest decision. Although you may hate your job, the last thing you need is to be unemployed and without an income. Set yourself a timeframe to leave the job and begin to prepare your job seeking strategy. It may take longer to leave your job, but at least you are making money in your current job while you look for a new one. If you hate your job, hate your boss or a mixture of both don't put up with being unhappy. Begin planning on leaving the job and find a new job that will put that smile back on your face!
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This month's top rated article
Top 5 cover letter mistakes

If you're going to take the extra time to write a cover letter that you include along with your resume, you might as well write it properly! We talked to a few recruiters and found out that they frequently find mistakes so annoying that cause them to immediately discard some applications all together. Here's a sample of some of the mistakes they mentioned:

Letter addressed to the wrong person or company: It doesn't annoy hiring managers that you're probably applying for other jobs, but it does annoy them when you don't take the time to check that your cover letter is addressed properly. Sending it to the wrong person or company will get your application deleted immediately.

Spelling and/or grammar mistakes: You're probably tired of being told to check and re-check your work, but it is extremely important! When spelling or grammar errors show up on your cover letter, the person reading it is going to think that you either don't know how to write properly or that you didn't bother to check it over. Either way, it's bad news for you.

It's too long: Cover letters should be short and to the point. They should provide some basic information about how you are specifically qualified for the job in question. That's pretty much it. Anything longer than a few paragraphs starts to look more like an essay, and it's an immediate turn-off.

No contact details: It happens quite frequently - people forget to include their name, let alone a way to contact them. While your details may be on your resume, no one wants to take extra time to fish for information that should have been provided for them right away.

No cover letter: This is the worst mistake of all. You're competing against dozens of other applicants who have instantly shown that they took more time to apply than you.

At the end of the day, you just want to give yourself the best chance possible to be called for an interview. Think about what a potential employer wants to know most about you, and try to convert this into a cover letter.

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Popular questions
What should I include in my Australian resume?

A well written and properly presented Australian resume can be your ticket to finding an Australian job. The Australian job market is different to job markets around the world and it is important that your resume is presented in the "Australian way"

Responsibilities, achievements and duties need to be written clearly and backed up with supporting evidence. If these are not present, it is assumed you do not have any experience at all

Use British English ONLY in your Australian Resume - words such as "specialise" and "realise" need to be spelled with an "s" not a "z"

Ensure you tailor EVERY application to suit the job for which you are applying. If you are going to stand out from the crowd, you have to make sure that your application is outstanding

No picture is necessary on your Australian Resume

Do not include personal information such as marital status, date of birth, number of children, occupation of spouse, gender, religious affiliation, colour or race on your resume. It is true that in certain countries (South Africa, for example) personal information is included and is required, however it is not necessary or needed on your Australian Resume

Spend as much time as possible ensuring you address EXACTLY what the Australian employer wants. For example, if the job advertisement lists certain duties for the job, make sure you incorporate these duties into your current resume. If the job requires excellent customer service skills, provide examples about how you have provided excellent customer service

Get the edge on other job seekers and save yourself enormous amounts of time and stress by ensuring your resume ticks all the right boxes.

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