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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
How to handle the telephone interview (and reach the face-to-face interview stage)

So you've found an ad for your dream job and submitted a thorough and thoughtful application. What's next?

If your application makes it through the screening round, the process of securing the job is likely to involve a series of interviews, initially on the telephone, followed by a number of in-person, face-to-face meetings. Many people underestimate the importance of the initial telephone conversation: the recruiter's goal is to determine your suitability for the role, so if you don't make a great first impression, you're unlikely to proceed to the next round of interviews.

Most of the time, you'll receive a phone call from the advertiser (this could be a Recruitment Consultant or someone from the company's HR/Recruitment team). There's usually no warning of the call, so be prepared to shift into interview mode quickly. If you happen to miss the call, it is common courtesy to return the call promptly (which is also likely to help your application).

While the phone interview is relatively informal, this is still an interview. A few points to consider:

1. Be proactive. You could consider contacting the advertiser proactively - either from the details in the advertisement or through your own research into the company. This leaves no doubt about how keen you are about the role. Not all advertisers encourage this approach, particularly for roles which are likely to attract a large volume of applicants. Be prepared to be told to apply online and don't be overly pushy if this is the case.

2. Don't rush. You won't be judged for taking the time to consider the question and answer it properly. Stay calm, composed and think your answers through. If you've reached this stage, it means the recruiter genuinely wants to understand who you are and discover why you're suitable for the role. This means that even if you have a lot to say, the recruiter is unlikely to hang up on you and you don't need to worry that you're wasting their time.

3. Be direct in your answers. Being cagey or not giving the full answer doesn't help your cause. Remember that you are competing with other candidates and will likely to be asked the same questions as they are. Listen carefully for clues about whether your answer is on the right track. For example, if the recruiter needs more detail or is confused about your response, she may try to ask the same question in a different way.

4. Listen. As the saying goes: "You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice more than you speak."

The conclusion of the call will usually be close when the questions end, and either a description of the role or being asked if you have any questions comes up. Simply enquiring about the next stage or a couple of questions about the role itself (team size, how this position fits into the team, etc.) will also be a good way for the interviewer to determine how keen you are and serve to leave them with a good impression. Both of which are key in hopefully securing your first stage interview.

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Popular questions
Should I have an objective statement on my resume? Are there other ways to make my resume stand out from the crowd?

Replacing the Objective Statement with a Qualifications Profile on your resume

Does your current resume begin with a generic objective statement telling the reader what type of jobs you are looking for? Let me guess that it reads something similar to this:

"I am seeking the opportunity to expand my skills, knowledge and experience in a challenging professional environment. I am honest, reliable, eager to learn and open to tackling a range of tasks. I am a strong and empathetic team player and always complete tasks to a high degree of quality and to deadlines"

If this is how your resume begins, it's time to make changes. In the competitive job environment where hiring managers may receive upwards of 500 applications for a single position, an objective statement is more likely going to lead to your resume being deleted. From a hiring manager's perspective, they are not interested in a non-specific, all-purpose statement that adds no value to the resume and provides them with no reason to want to hire you. You may have the best skills and be the perfect fit for the job however, you may never get this opportunity because your resume has already been deleted.

What is a Qualifications Profile?

A great way to introduce yourself on your resume is by creating a qualifications summary or career summary. Rather than telling the reader you are seeking an opportunity to expand your skills, rather promote what skills you actually can bring to this specific role. A targeted resume including a targeted profile will encourage the reader to continue reading the resume as opposed to pressing the delete button. For example, if you are applying for an IT job that requires programming skills, list you're programming skills within your introductory profile. That way, the reader will straight away be interested to read on as they know that you have skills that are required for this position.

How long should my Qualifications Profile be?

The last thing you want to do is turn your qualifications profile into an essay! Statistically, a hiring manager will only spend between 15 to 20 seconds when initially reading your resume. If they open your resume and see a half page profile they are more likely to be turned off as they won't be bothered to read all this information. A well written profile should be no longer than 2-4 sentences. It needs to be targeted and present value.

Final thought:

When you begin to write your new resume, don't forget the number one rule. Your resume is a marketing document. The more you can showcase your skills and achievements the greater chance you will have of being selected for the interview stage.

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