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  1. Hiring new talent? Here’s how to spot a potential leader

    September 13, 2016 by Alison Hill

    Having a strong leadership pipeline is a sensible strategy for any organisation. Identifying, nurturing and retaining high potential employees at the start of their careers is a strategy that pays off handsomely.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to hire an enthusiastic young gun with the skills you need now, and then have them move up the ladder with your organisation? Ideally, you would spot a candidate with high leadership potential and then nurture them, helping them to grow into the leader whose aptitude you so astutely spotted way back. The long-term health of an organisation is much better when hiring managers can identify those with the potential to grow into a leadership role and excel at it.

    The problem is, it can be difficult to know what skills will be needed next month, let alone further into the future. As Daniel Goleman has written, ‘the only certainty about tomorrow’s business reality is that it will be ‘VUCA’: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.’ Technological change, globalisation, economic uncertainty, demographic shifts and an increasingly data-driven business environment mean that we are less likely than ever to be able to predict the future of any industry, let alone our individual businesses.

    With the help of the right recruitment tools, your organisation can identify people who have the right skills for the role and the organisation right now, and the ability to master new skills that may be needed later. Critically, you can also learn to spot the right attitudes and behaviours that identify a new hire as a potential leader.

    These are the personal characteristics to be on the look out for when you interview future leaders and when you decide what personality assessments to use in your hiring process.

    Social and emotional intelligence

    People with high social and emotional intelligence understand both themselves and others and how to manage emotions in each. They make others feel valued and can motivate them with their enthusiasm and positive attitude. They are consistent in their actions, able to show empathy and compassion, are honest and always act ethically and responsibly.

    Motivation and a degree of selflessness

    Potential leaders can inspire those around them to be their best selves. They are not egotistical or driven by self-interest, but by a genuine desire to inspire others to do their best. They know that their success always depends on the willing co-operation of others.

    Openness to feedback new experience and information, learning

    Potential leaders are curious about themselves as well as the world around them. They ask good questions and listen carefully to the answers. They look for feedback from others and learn from it and from their mistakes. They understand collaboration and can identify strengths in others that will contribute to great outcomes.


    Willingness to work towards difficult goals without giving up when things are tough, resilience to continue in the face of setbacks an to learn from failure are hallmarks of good leaders. Those with high leadership potential are able to motivate others and to keep going even when times are tough. They enjoy challenging both themselves and those around them.

    The precise mix of characteristics and how they combine with hard skills will be different for each organisation. Identifying what you need now and into the future is a complex tasks. Challenge Consulting’s suite of psychometric tests can help you to identify potential leaders to match your needs now and into the future.

    Contact Challenge’s People Solutions Team on [email protected] or (02) 9221 6422.

  2. Employer Brand – A Cornerstone To Successful Recruiting

    June 10, 2014 by Jenna

    After a long period of uncertainty our economy is finally showing early signs of recovery. As a consequence the optimist inside every business person starts thinking about growth and that often means more staff. So what does the recruitment scene look like in 2014?

    Well it is different to what your might have experienced previously. While we have rising unemployment we also have skills shortages in a number of important sectors. Due the uncertainty of the last five years good candidates are reluctant to change jobs unless they are really confident about the strengths of their new employer.

    What does this mean if you’re trying to attract good people? It is a new world out there and one of the keystones of recruitment success in this new world is your employment brand.

    Just as your business brand defines you to your potential customers, your employment brand defines you to your potential employees. It answers these questions (amongst others):

    • Why should I want to work for you?
    • Why are you different from your competitors?
    • What sort of work culture do you have?
    • What can you do for my career?

    Candidates get to understand your employer brand through a range of sources. One of the most important and influential is a trusted third party (usually an employment agency). If you work with a good employment agency one of the value added benefits is that they sell your employer brand to every candidate they talk to.

    Challenge Consulting is a recruitment services company that works with organisations in the Banking and Finance, ICT and Not for Profit Industries to attract, select and on board great talent. Please call to discuss any of your recruiting questions.

    Stephen Crowe
    Challenge Consulting Australia
    Managing Director

  3. Would YOU Go the Full Monty for a Good Cause?

    November 15, 2011 by Jenna

    Our guest blogger this week, Mary Turnbull, seriously considered it …

    Who hasn’t had a grand delusion at one time or another?

    As part of my “staged retirement” I’ve been hanging out (both literally and metaphorically) with a group of fantastic Inner West women who many might consider should live quiet, demure and retiring lives, but who are determined to continue to make a splash!  We meet regularly for aqua aerobics exercise (good for the bod) and lots of laughter, good food and drink at other times (good for the soul). 

    One of our group is battling the debilitating condition, Multiple Sclerosis.  Over coffee several months ago we were joking about doing our own Calendar Girls calendar – and donating the proceeds to MS. 

    Thanks to the tenacity and sheer cheek of the aqua girls the calendar has become a reality.  Whilst some of us were perfectly willing to go the full Monty we were fortunately talked out of that by more circumspect professionals who worked tirelessly and voluntarily in the production of the calendar – inspired by the glamour years of the 1920’s. 

    There comes a time in life when clothes are one’s friend!!  None of us ever looked like this before, and are unlikely to do so again – time and a great deal of make-up were involved!  The transformation was made possible by many talented people giving up their Sundays over two months – including students from the Napoleon Perdis Cosmetic Academy, Robert our creative designer and hairstylist, photographer Alice Sarginson from Sun Studios, and graphic artist Susan Oliver who subsequently worked her magic on design and layout. 

    We owe a final debt of gratitude to Spicers Paper and F H Booth and Son Printers, as well as to Marrickville Rotary Club – who together enabled the printing of 1500 high quality calendars.  

    As a result of so much time and effort voluntarily expended every cent of the $16 per calendar sale will go to help MS sufferers in ACT, NSW and Victoria. 

    We may be a touch past our prime, but this Grand Delusion is a source of enormous pride to us all. 

    To help MS sufferers in a very practical way, click on this link or on the image below to buy our fantastic calendar …


    Challenge Consulting has a Facebook page. Click the FB icon to “Like” us now and stay in touch re our new blog posts, weekly poll, links and more …

  4. Where in the world have the Challenge staff worked?

    August 2, 2011 by Jenna

    Challenge Consulting has a Facebook page. “Like” us now to stay in touch re our new blog posts, weekly poll, links and more …


    We’ve previously blogged about some of the experiences our temps shared with us about working overseas, and what it’s like working here in comparison.

    But, did you know members of our team have their own tales to tell regarding their experiences working in such diverse international locations as London, Paris, Chicago and Cape Town? In addition, we are very fortunate to have a wonderful English team member of our own, who has shared her impressions of working in Sydney with us here, too.

    This week, five of Challenge Consulting’s staff share their stories …

    Lost in London by Elizabeth Varley, Managing Director

    London is where I commenced my exciting career in recruitment. After travelling for a year I arrived in London broke. I quickly found the best avenue to replenish the meagre bank balance was to go to a recruitment agency and get a temp job. This was the turning point in my career.

    After an interview, the consultant introduced me to the Branch Manager and, amazingly, she offered me a job as a Temporary Recruitment Consultant with the company. So there I was, an Aussie in London working in Earls Court (Kangaroo Valley as it was known then) placing other Aussies, Kiwis, Canadians and the odd South African into temp jobs. The word soon spread that I was one of them and before long the branch had a fantastic team of expat temps working all over London.

    What did this experience teach me? For one, flexibility. When in a foreign land, adopt “a can do attitude” and the doors of opportunity will be flung open. I also learned was the fine art of combining a raging social life with the professional necessity of turning up on time, every day, and putting the effort in for my manager and colleagues.

    After a year of having a ball at work and acquainting myself with a large number of excellent pubs and pommy lads it was time to come home to a much more sober life, in every sense of the word.

    Being away from home, the constraints of family, and the career treadmill can be lots of fun, as long as you are prepared for the unexpected, and make the most of every situation.

    Lost in London? Yes, but alive and well!


    How I Learned “Hospitality French” in Paris by Melissa Lombardo, Consultant – Temporary Recruitment

    I anxiously arrived in Paris after travelling around beautiful and sunny Europe for four months. That means I arrived short on cash and desperate for a job. By short on cash I mean eating €1 noodles for dinner along with some boiled broccoli that I had added for that extra bit of nutrition. By desperate for work I mean, applying for absolutely every job I saw. “Brick Wall Watcher Wanted”. Sure I’ll do it … how many years’ experience required? Brick Wall sounds much better in French anyway.

    To add to this dire situation I barely knew a word of French. 

    After a stressful four weeks I was lucky enough to be offered two positions, one working for a Parisian recruitment company as a headhunter and the other one in hospitality, at a creatively named English themed pub, Frog Pubs. As the purpose of my trip was more “having a good time” than “career”, I chose the latter option. Quietly, though, I was rather chuffed about being offered the first role, despite not speaking French!

    I eventually learnt “Hospitality French”. I couldn’t have a conversation with somebody but I knew when they wanted the bill, to know where the bathroom was, or another drink. Well, except for the time somebody ordered four “coca’s” (coca-cola) and I presented them with four Coronas.

    Generally speaking the French were pleasant and friendly and were happy to speak English when I struggled to understand them or ordered them the wrong drink. They were also easy-going when at first I made the assumption of handing over the beer to the male of a couple and the Virgin Pina Colada to the female. I grew to learn that Parisian men absolutely love their mocktails and to never stereotype what a person might drink again.

    Working for the pub in Paris was certainly a wise decision. The culture was warm, friendly and team oriented and we were always given fun targets to meet at the start of our shift. I made some amazing friends from all over the world and it was definitely a valuable insight into French culture. I wouldn’t change this experience for the world!


    Chicago, City of Extremes by Jenny Madden, Senior Consultant

    When my husband and I first went to America to work in 1987, our first port of call was Chicago, a wonderful city hugging the shores of Lake Michigan. 

    Chicago is a beautiful city to walk and ride around. We lived in a cosmopolitan area an easy 15-minute bus ride to the CBD.  Chicago is a city of extremes, absolutely freezing in winter and incredibly humid in summer. 

    I worked for Hilton Hotels as EA to the GM of the Palmer House, the oldest operating hotel in the US.  It is an amazing structure with gilded, hand-painted ceilings.  I found the Americans to be extremely hard working and demanding. For example, I started off with one week’s annual leave per year!

    The next stop on our American odyssey was New York, where I had my first child … but that’s a whole other story!


    Movies for Morale in Cape Town by Carmen Mackrill, People Services Consultant

    One of the best and most memorable experiences I had whilst working in Cape Town was during my time with a national insurance company.

    The company held a large internal drive to motivate staff. It was decided that all 1000+ employees needed to see the movie Antz. Of course.

    Each divisional office had to nominate a specific day to watch the movie so, one day, Head Office (where I was working) shut down at 3pm in the afternoon so its 450 employees could watch the movie. The whole cinema was booked out just for us and we all received individual snack bags.

    I know you’re dying to find out if, in fact, staff morale was boosted by this movie-going experience.

    Well, I am happy to report that my sister-in-law now works for the same firm and has advised me that it remains a very happy place to work, and similar morale-boosting exercises continue to this day!


    Sydney: I’m Impressed! by Anna Carveth, Administration Assistant

    I remember my first train from Bondi Junction into Sydney on the way to work and remember looking out of the window feeling immensely happy and content. Replacing the familiar view of grey clouds, rain, and more recently snow, was bright sunshine, warm surroundings and a city that was new and exciting.

    It’s all about location and Sydney is definitely it! Sydney is an impressive city; it is modern and clean and there are a vast amount of shops, bars and restaurants to choose from. The Sydney Harbour is a 15minute walk away from work and the view of the Opera House and the Sydney Bridge never fails to amaze me.

    Having been in Sydney now for several months, I have been lucky enough to have worked for that time right in the centre on George Street. I work in an office where I am the only British worker and have had the opportunity of working with Australians and a South African. Living in Bondi and having friends out here from home, has meant that I have not made as many Ozzie friends as I had imagined. Being able to gain this opportunity through work has been a great advantage. I am always asking questions about everything in order to learn more about different backgrounds and upbringings and although most of it is similar to the UK, there are still some differences.

    There are the funny towns that I still struggle to get my tongue around such as Woolloomooloo, Yagoona and Wahroonga, and I have found that if a word can be shortened, it will be! I have also been confused when faced with alternatives such as ‘Mufti’ day.

    In comparison to working life at home, apart from the hot weather and the few days of torrential downpour, I don’t find it to be much different. There is the sense that things are more relaxed, however, people still have the same work ethic and work the same hours. There are still the rules and regulations that different companies have to adhere to and the company I work for shares similar core values to the company I worked for at home.

    Overall though the experience so far has been brilliant! I am lucky enough to work for a great company and have met some wonderful people. Working in Sydney has only been a positive experience and I know I will go home with some great memories!

    Share your stories! Leave a comment below …

  5. About Us

    March 14, 2011 by Jenna

    Established in November 1992, Challenge Consulting is an ever-evolving, always-adapting organisation. It has at its foundation a strong, talented, people-focused team working daily on the front line of candidate and client management.

    We are a recruitment agency. Our close-knit team of Consultants and Account Managers is focused on providing clients and candidates with a job placement experience that is both professional and personal.

    We are also more than a recruitment agency. Our suite of People Services encompasses Team Building, Organisational Diagnostics, MBTI and Professional Development Workshops, Outplacement Programs, Psychometric Assessments, Online Skills Testing, and Career Guidance Programs.

    We work with clients and candidates nationally and internationally from diverse backgrounds and industries. Our goal is to provide a superior, innovative and dynamic service with every project.

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