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  1. Interview Responses: Why did you leave your previous role?

    September 30, 2014 by Jenna

    Once you have been considered for the interview process, it is important to know that the employer or recruiter will ask questions to assess your suitability for the role.

    One of those questions they tend to ask is: ‘Why did you leave your previous position?’ Depending on your current situation there can be a variety of answers associated with this, but what answer will best get your foot in the door?

    I decided that it would be best to ask the experts in my team for their point of view when it comes to screening a candidate with this particular question. This was their feedback on suitable responses:

    • Looking for a new challenges/ Wanting more responsibility – You may have been excelling in your current role but the opportunity was not available to take on new challenges or move up in the company. You are taking on the initiative to pursue new options and take on more responsibilities.
    • Something different/ change of scenery – This is fine to admit, but not in the event that you are applying for a role that exactly matches the outline of your previous one.
    • Redundancy/Restructure – Of course this can be a sensitive subject but the recruiter can often relate to these situations.
    • Cultural change within the company – This can also be an acceptable answer, just make sure you try to be diplomatic and where possible try to avoid sounding too negative about the situation.
    • Career Change – if you have any transferable skills that you could bring to the new role it can always be advantageous to mention them.
    • The role became too demanding/long hours/not enough work-life balance – Think carefully before describing what ‘demanding’ or ‘long hours’ mean to you. Make sure it is relevant to why this new role is more appealing and fits with your career prospects.

    Do keep in mind there are also responses that should be avoided and this is why:

    • Being negative about a company or person within your previous employment – There may be circumstances where you have had a bad experience, however, how you relay this information is important. You don’t want to appear bitter about management or your previous work environment. Try to make your answer is more diplomatic rather than accusing.
    • A higher salary – Most managers/recruiters won’t hold this against you however, if it appears that money is the only driving force for behind you pursuing this role then the chances of getting this new position may be slim.
    • Not being able to give a valid reason – This can be a concern to the employer if you have a history of moving employment frequently. It may cause the employer to question your longevity in this upcoming role.

    Try preparing answers to these types of questions before the interview takes place so that you are not caught off guard. It is the employer’s way of trying to get to know you, what your interests/passions are, and whether you are the right fit so make sure to put your best foot forward.

    What have you learned from these types of questions in an interview? And for employers, what are some of the responses you have received from star candidates?


  2. If you’ve never considered using Temporary Staff in your business, maybe it’s time to join the bandwagon… By Lauren Eardley

    July 14, 2014 by Jenna

    The world of temporary work might be completely unknown to you or one you might not fully understand, however the use of temporary workers is on the up in Australia and has firmly established itself within labour markets worldwide. Challenge Consulting has offered temporary staff to our clients for over 21 years and we’ve noticed a significant and consistent increase in awareness and demand for temp staff across most industries.

    What is a Temporary Worker?
    A ‘Temporary Worker’ is an employee who is only expected to remain in a position for a limited amount of time. Temporary workers may have the opportunity to obtain a permanent position after that or they may have a set end date. They:

    • Work the hours that you need (Full-time/Part- Time)(Minimum 3 hours per day)
    • Get paid for the hours that they work and are not entitled to holiday pay or sick pay
    • Do not have a contract with the host company
    • Are on the agency payroll (i.e. Challenge Consulting pay them for you)

    Significant research has gone into the use of temporary workers as part of the workforce globally (www.staffingindustry.com). If you are wondering why you would ever need to use a Temporary Worker, research has found that the main motivation behind employers’ use of temporary workers goes further than just answering short-term demands. The numbers are compelling and the most common reasons for the use of temporary staff are:

    1. Flexibility (89.4% of employers voted this the number 1 reason);
    2. Value in answering short-term needs (87.8%);
    3. Benefit in identifying candidates for long-term positions (75.7%);
    4. Cost-effective solution to HR challenges (61.2%)
    5. Bringing external expertise into the business (49.1%).

    From the candidate’s point of view, there are significant benefits for professionals who offer themselves for temporary employment. The research found that professionals who chose temporary employment or an interim management position over a specific permanent assignment did so for pragmatic reasons;

    1. Availability of short-term employment positions even during times of economic difficulty (72% of employees);
    2. Opportunity for individuals to develop their professional network (70.7%);
    3. Opportunity to develop professional skills (66.7%)
    4. Possibility of finding stable employment (59.1%).

    Out of the 17 countries surveyed for the report which included the USA and UK, Australia had the most positive attitude towards temporary employment. Generally, the positive response was more common in countries where Temporary Employment has been more established. On a global scale, Australia has the 2nd largest proportion of temporary employees as a percentage of the total working population (2.8%), just behind the UK (3.6%). Employers and employees now know and understand the benefits of temporary employment and accept it as a positive fact of working life.

    Whether you are using temporary employees to replace a member of staff taking leave or to cope with an unexpected increase in activity; the speed of turnaround from agencies providing temporary employees was listed as the most important factor for employers seeking to recruit. Previous relationship and cost were both secondary factors.

    Temporary employment in Australia is predicted to increase and temporary staffing agencies like Challenge Consulting are likely to become more essential to support business. The ability to provide highly trained employees to sophisticated sectors at short notice is valuable and Challenge Consulting has the experience and resources to respond to your need quickly. If you are looking to employ temporary staff for your business over the Christmas period or any time of year, please contact our Temporary Services Recruitment Specialist – Melissa Lombardo on 02 9221 6422 [email protected].


  3. The Candidate Follow Up Call When Applying For A Job: Advantage or Annoyance?

    March 20, 2012 by Jenna

    The job market is a competitive one when it comes to setting yourself ahead of those applicants who are all applying for that ‘perfect job’ at the same time. So how do we set ourselves ahead of the rest? How do we make ourselves more than just a piece of paper?

    If you are passionate about a position of course you are going to want to pick up the phone and make that call. This will establish a more personable approach, to allow the employer to identify with not only your qualifications but your personality and communication skills. Often this will open up the opportunity to meet face to face for the interview process.

    On the other hand, when is the follow up call a disadvantage? This was something that I wanted to gain perspective on from other organisations out there who may know what I am referring to. While some candidates believe that the follow up call(s) improves their chances, it can often be causing the opposite effect, if it isn’t being utilised properly.

    I will give you an example. We had recently advertised a position online and were receiving a high number of applications for the role. A potential candidate contacted our office requesting to speak to a consultant as they wanted to meet in person to discuss the role and take part in an interview. Great initiative and confidence right?

    I asked the candidate if they had applied online for the role or provided our company with any details about themselves or a CV with their experience/qualifications. The candidate had not done so, however, they wanted to hand over the CV in person to the consultant when they came in to have an interview.

    When working in recruitment, we need to show our clients the details of the potential candidates and review the applications before shortlisting for the interview process. We then need to schedule an appropriate appointment once the shortlist had been reviewed and after the interview takes place, to provide feedback to our clients to then look into conducting a second interview with the client directly.

    When I explained to the ‘potential candidate’ that we would first require their information and would then be in touch once reviewing the applications for this position, the candidate would simply not accept my recommendation to submit the details and asked to speak to a consultant directly. I obliged and put them through to the consultant, to which the same information was repeated to the candidate that I had requested…

    I’m not saying that all candidates react this way when a position is advertised, but for this particular candidate behaving in a pushy to almost demanding approach in applying for the job, and their inability to take instruction when I was trying to guide them into the right direction did not make them a top choice to recommend to the client in my eyes. Would you agree? Especially when two people in the office had to explain the application process before the interview could even take place!

    Another disadvantage I often experience with candidate calls is this – Venting frustration over the phone if you have not received a personal phone call confirming if you are accepted/declined for the interview process – While I understand that this can be a slow process at times, it is important to consider that there may be over 300 applications coming in for the same role, and contacting each candidate personally can be even more time consuming if not impossible for the recruiter to complete. I think one of the worst mistakes is to take it personally (especially getting upset over the phone at your potential recruiter) because again, having a bad temper doesn’t often make a stand-out candidate… in a good way.

    While conducting some research on this topic, a website called www.theladders.com outlines the following: ‘If the job posting doesn’t provide a clear closing date, HR experts and career coaches generally agree that one week after applying is an appropriate amount of time to wait before you follow up… don’t ask why you haven’t been called yet. Instead, keep the tone of the conversation or email light and friendly, and, if you can, slip in a few questions and have a bit of a conversation if it seems appropriate.’

    Another website I reviewed called www.jobsearch.about.com had the following four tips below on the follow up process after an interview:

    1. First, you want to get the business card from the person you interviewed with. The best way to get it is ask the interviewer before you leave. On most cards will be the three things you want.

    1) The correctly spelled name and title. 2) The street address. 3) The interviewer’s email address.

    2. Second, you send him/her a thank you email for the interview that very evening so it’s waiting for them when the recruiter gets to work the next morning.

    3. Third, you make a follow-up phone call to the interviewer on the fifth day after the interview. Let them know of your continued interest in the job and ask if there is any further information they needs from you. If the person who interviewed you is not available when you call, leave that basic message on their voice mail.

    4. Fourth, you send a snail mail letter to them ASAP. I call this the “reverse cover letter.” It basically expresses your interest in the job and summarises some of your strongest points as they relate to the job. About now many interviewers are thinking, “Wow, if this is the professional manner this applicant works this is the kind of person we want.” From that point on, just once a week, you politely alternate between phone, email and snail mail until she says you got the job or someone else got the job.

    The responses from our poll respondents seem to reflect that the follow up call can often encompass both advantages and annoyances and can be summarised as this:

    Advantage:

    • You can set yourself apart & make yourself memorable by making the follow up call, however, make sure you have you have some basic questions applicable to the role so the calls’ purpose isn’t just to introduce yourself but to also show interest and initiative with legitimate questions
    • Having personal contact is a definite advantage but they (the candidate) should always be pleasant about it and not be too pushy
    • I think if handled professionally, potential candidates (with specified qualifications) have an opportunity to make a solid first impression as long as they are respectful of the recruiter’s time.

    Annoyance:

    • The candidate should not appear desperate and call multiple times
    • If they call without the appropriate qualifications for the job
    • Don’t stalk your recruiter, especially if they say they will call back. They may not be a person that likes follow up calls, so pushing will only make you appear difficult

    I hope this provides a little more perspective to the applicants who are out there and are currently looking for employment, and if you haven’t had your say, please make a comment below or you can participate in this week’s poll: What qualities do YOU think represent a remarkable boss?


  4. What is the #1 thing that would make you feel truly welcome on your first day in a new job?

    August 16, 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 …

    ______________________________

    One wit I know maintained that “having songs written and sung in my name” was a perfect introduction. Another suggested “a fruit basket”.  

    Lovely, apt even, if one is beginning work with a fruiterer, but perhaps not #1 on most people’s list of first-day expectations. 

    So, what was #1 in our online poll last week? 

    #1 = In-person introductions to your key colleagues, junior and senior – 32.7%

    #2 = Being assigned to a “buddy” for your first week while you learn the ropes – 24.5% 

    #3 = Feeling expected by your new workplace and colleagues when you arrive – 13.1% 

    =#4 = Having a desk, equipment and a computer ready for you – 9.8% / Immediate involvement in “real” work or a team project – 9.8%

    Nothing makes a new person feel more like part of a company than warm, personal welcomes from the people they’ll be working with and, perhaps more importantly, for. 

    “Make sure that the first day’s schedule is full of meeting people and onboarding activities. Schedule a good portion of the morning with the new employee’s boss and mentor. Don’t let the day go to waste and contain nothing but paperwork and HR meetings. The day is for bonding with the boss, the mentor, and coworkers.”* 

    After one week on the job, the employee should begin to feel comfortable with her responsibilities, have met at least one new business contact each day, be familiar with team members (inside her department and outside) and be able to walk into your office with any questions. Arrange an informal session of drinks, cake, or something similar with the other team members at the end of the week so the new hire can assess what she has learned, ask the group questions and hang out in a less formal setting. 

    And what of the notion of being assigned to a “buddy”, which came in at #2 in our online poll? What is a buddy? What do they do? And why can they make such a difference? 

    A buddy is an experienced employee who partners with a new employee to provide guidance and encouragement during a defined period, typically the first two to three months of employment.  A buddy helps reduce new employee uncertainty by being available to answer immediate or routine questions. They relate new employee information to actual situations, and can suggest experiences and provide information to help the new employee become an “insider.” 

    To be a buddy, an employee should know and be committed to their department or work area, understand the company’s culture, have good interpersonal skills, be a respected performer and role model, be a peer of the new employee, and want to help.  A buddy must also be given time to support the new employee. 

    Of course, the flip side of this equation is that it’s not just up to your new company and colleagues to ease you into your new role. You are a professional. You are there to do a job and you are getting paid money for it. So, it’s also up to you to make the best impression you can during your first days in a new job.

    Here are some top tips for all newbies (and, quite frankly, some of them can be applied even if you’ve been in your job for a while!): 

    Your First Days Working at a New Job: 20 Tips to Help You Make a Great Impression**

    1. Have a Positive Attitude: Nothing works better – in all situations – than having and expressing a positive attitude. Let your enthusiasm for being part of the team and the organisation show to everyone you interact with. And always leave non-work problems at home.

    2. Dress Professionally / Blend in With Co-Workers: You should never underestimate the importance of dressing professionally in your new job. And in the beginning, even if your department has casual days, you should dress professionally because you never know when you’ll be called out to meet a top manager or key client. “Dress how you want people to perceive you because it plays a huge role in how you are initially treated,” advises Desiree Devaney, a financial analyst with GE Capital Credit.

    3. Show Your Team Spirit: You are now part of a work team, and teams work together to solve problems and get the job done. Show loyalty to your co-workers and focus more – initially at least – on sharing any recognition you get with the team. Always give credit to the team.

    4. Learn Co-Workers’ Names Quickly: No one expects you to have everyone’s name down pat by the end of the first day or week, but if you are bad with names, now is the time to research some of the neat memory-aid tricks you can try to use. 

    5. Ask Questions/Ask for Help: No one expects you to solve all the organisation’s problems on your first days on the job – nor that you know everything – so, relax a bit, and always ask questions or ask for help when you need it. Remember that it’s better to ask before you’ve completed the task the wrong way and wasted all that time. 

    6. Take Notes / Go to Orientation: Unless you have a photographic memory – and few of us do – consider taking notes on all the various systems and rules of the organisation. And no matter how boring they may sound, attend all orientation sessions. Nothing gets old faster than someone repeatedly asking how something works; such behaviour shows a lack of attention to detail. 

    7. Be a Self-Starter; Take Initiative: In most situations, in your first days on the job, you will be given small doses of work – to let you get your feet wet. As you finish assignments and are ready to handle a bigger workload, take the initiative and ask for more assignments. Whatever you do, don’t just sit there waiting for your next project. 

    8. Discover Everything About Your New Employer: In theory, you should have already done your homework during the interviewing process, but there is always more to learn now that you are on the inside. “Get an employee handbook” exhorts a MBA grad with an information-technology concentration. “Don’t act or think you know more about everything than your peers.” In addition, gather all those reports and company literature and read up and become an expert on your organisation. 

    9. Work Full Days: There’s nothing that can affect your reputation faster than routinely coming into work late or leaving work early. Especially in these first days/weeks on the job, be sure you get to work early and leave no earlier than when the majority of your co-workers leave. 

    10. Establish a Good Attendance Record: Just as with working full days, it’s important to show up to work every day and establish a good attendance record. Yes, there will be emergencies, and yes, you may get sick, but as best you can, try to make it to work every day during those first weeks/months on the job.

    11. Avoid Office Politics and Gossip: As with any social organisation, the workplace is full of rumours and gossip. Your mission is to keep your nose clean of all of it – and be sure not to associate too often with the office gossips or risk having your image associated with them.

    12. Keep Personal Business on Company Time to a Minimum: Studies show that just about everyone conducts some amount of personal business on company time – checking email, making dinner reservations, buying stuff online. Your goal is to keep your personal business to a minimum and stay focused on work. 

    13. Take Advantage of After-Hours Activities: Many organisations have formal or informal after-hour activities, such as sports leagues. Get involved – even if only as a cheerleader – because these types of activities are great ways to bond with your co-workers. Do be on your best behaviour during these outside-work activities, though.

    14. Show Appreciation: Nothing works like kindness and genuine appreciation. So, show your appreciation to everyone who helps you learn the ropes during your first days on the job – from your co-workers to receptionists to the human resources folks. 

    15. Find a Mentor: You don’t need to jump on this task your first day, but as you get introduced to senior staff, begin thinking about developing a mentoring relationship with a member of management above you – and outside your department – in the organisation. Mentoring has numerous benefits, from a simple sounding board to someone who helps direct and advance your career within the organisation. 

    16. Get and Stay Organised / Set Goals: If you’re one of those super-organised people, this tip will be easy for you. The rest of us, however, need to develop a system for keeping track of meetings, appointments, assignments, and projects. Get an organiser or planner and keep on top of all your work. You certainly don’t want to miss an early key deadline or meeting. And as you look ahead, set goals for yourself s- and then strive to achieve them.

    17. Keep Your Boss Informed – of Everything: Your boss is not a mind-reader, so keep him/her informed of how you are doing. Especially in those early days, meet with your boss to further establish a rapport and relationship. 

    18. Meet and Network with Key People in Organisation & Profession: Join an organisation outside of work. Take additional classes to stay ahead in your field. Take advantage of every opportunity to network with key people in your organization and profession – attend staff meetings, professional organisation conferences, trade shows – every opportunity to meet colleagues in your field. Just because you have a new job does not mean you suspend your network; constantly manage and grow your network of contacts because you never know when a problem or opportunity will arise. And networking with key people can also help you in finding one or more mentors. 

    ______________________________

    * How to Welcome a New Employee 

    ** Your First Days Working at a New Job: 20 Tips to Help You Make a Great Impression


  5. Why Hiring a Temp Can Be the Best Business Decision

    July 19, 2011 by Jenna

    Last week’s blog post focused on the qualities and characteristics of top temps.

    This week, we continue with our temp theme, but from the perspective of companies and the various reasons the choice to use temporary staff makes good business sense for them. 

    “The number of temporary employees in Australia has grown dramatically over the last 20 years with just over 400,000 people currently employed on a temporary basis.” *

    Whilst a business may and should have a stable core team, there are many instances where additional staff members may be needed. A temporary employee can fulfil many objectives within a business. They can provide cover for absent employees, expertise and skills where there are gaps, project or leadership expertise if/when required and general flexibility for employers, who are cautious about making a permanent hire.

    We polled our client readership last week and asked: “What is happening in your business now that makes hiring a temp the best solution?”

    Results:

    #1 = Ad-hoc needs, eg: special projects, tenders, etc – 36%

    #2 = Seasonal workload increases – 27%

    Head-count constraints – 18%

    Inability to source suitable permanent staff – 9%

    Supporting flexible workplace planning practices – 9%

    As Jeff Doyle, Adecco Group CEO says, using temporary staff fosters great flexibility, and “enables companies to adjust their labour supply to meet the peaks and troughs of their business needs and it helps them access a range of specialist skills as and when required. In addition, companies use temporary labour to save costs”. **

    Hiring a temporary candidate can enable businesses to afford someone that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford to hire permanently. Temporary candidates are often highly qualified and experienced and they can add enormous value to a business in the short term.

     “Temporary employment is a strong favourite at the big end of town with all Top 200 ASX listed companies supplementing their workforce with temporary employees.” *** 

    Another major reason, though not one of the questions asked in our poll, that companies hire temps is the ‘risk reduction factor’ of a ‘temp-to-perm’ arrangement.

    This employment is very common, especially of those employers ‘cautious about making a permanent hire’ cited above, whether this caution stems from head-count or budgetary constraints, or a previous disappointing permanent hiring experience.

    Our Temporary Recruitment Consultant, Melissa Lombardo, asked Karli Scully, Macquarie Leasing’s Customer Service Supervisor, why hiring temporary staff works for her team’s needs: “So we can try before we buy … plus we don’t know what the volume of work will be in the future.” Risk-reduction and flexibility are both part of the equation here!

    In a temp-to-perm arrangement, a temporary contract is awarded as a trial to assess a candidate’s suitability for a role before hiring them permanently. On the whole, there is less risk involved in hiring a temporary worker. If they choose to hire an individual on an hourly or daily rate, they won’t lose out financially if the candidate suddenly decides to leave the business.

    So, how do businesses source their temporary workforce? Well, the “number one method of finding suitable staff for organisations of all sizes is through recruitment agencies”. **** If your business requires temporary staff members for any of the reasons discussed here, our 20+ years of temporary recruitment expertise is here to fulfil your needs. Learn more about our temporary staff services here. 

    [Sources: *, **, ***, **** from www.hcamag.com article “Demand for Temp Labour in Australia Explodes”]


  6. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Being a Temp

    June 8, 2011 by Jenna

    This week’s Online Poll Results: “What is the main reason you are a temporary worker?” 

    • Temp work is what I am doing until the right permanent job comes along – 48%
    • Temp work offers the flexibility that suits my lifestyle – 26%
    • Temp work enables me to develop my skills base – 9%
    • Temp work exposes me to a range of industries – 9%
    • Temp work is all I can do due to visa restrictions – 9%

     ______________________________

    First, my heartfelt thanks go out to the wonderful Challenge Consulting temps who took the time to contribute their experiences and insights to this blog post! 

    Overall, it seems that being a temp is a mixed bag of experiences, good and bad. 

    Whilst the results of last week’s online poll (above) clearly demonstrate that the majority of respondents are temping until the right permanent role comes their way, this is obviously influenced by whether or not the respondent is a permanent Australian resident or a traveller on a working holiday visa. 

    The traveller temps who provided me with their feedback via email were overwhelmingly positive about their temping experiences. One responded with the following comments: 

    “The advantages to me of being a temp are:

    1. I have the opportunity to work in a variety of industries and ‘try them out’ before I return home – this will allow me to make a much more informed career direction decision.

    2. Most of the time, I have been able to pick and choose the location of my temp assignments which is great in terms of travel time and cost.

    3. I meet lots of new people all the time, which makes being a stranger in a new city much easier!”

    It was interesting to learn about the experiences of temps who are not travellers, who choose temp work as a way of developing their skills base and widen their exposure to different organisations and industries before steering their career along a particular path or, even more interestingly, because the notion of committing to one position or one industry for the duration of their career is ‘daunting’: 

    “I love being a temp as I feel as though it combines a sense of security with a degree of flexibility. I personally feel as though it would be daunting to remain in one position my whole life without experiencing other employment fields. The most exciting thing about being a temp is that I am currently working in a field which is completely unrelated to what I am studying at university. It is a career choice that I have considered in the past but have not had the opportunity to explore until I attained this position. At such a young age, I already feel as though this temp position has exposed me to a whole new world and I can say with confidence that it has been an experience which has provided me with knowledge that I hope to retain for the remainder of my working life.”

    Another temp responded from a slightly different perspective. Having had wonderful experiences temping in England, she has returned to Australia and is still temping … 

    “I started temping because I wanted to live overseas for a while. I was temping in England and had a great time. The rules of temping are very different over there! You can get paid for days off (up to 20 days per year when I was there – this has since increased to 30 days per year). This started to cover public holidays, but expanded to cover planned time off. 

    I did not plan to temp on my return to Australia, but unfortunately this has been the only work available to me. My experience and qualifications do not seem to be recognised and so temping here has become a frustrating experience. I am getting roles not relevant to my skills and knowledge, for example, I am being offered reception roles when I have the qualifications and experience to do PA work. This has only led to the inability to secure a permanent role in the area I would like as I now have no “current” experience as a PA. So, from my experience, temping overseas was a much more rewarding and fulfilling experience!” 

    There are always, however, practical considerations, too, when it comes to being a temp and choosing which assignments to do. In fact, it’s not always a matter of choice, but necessity: 

    “Due to the restrictions of the visa, it’s hard to find a 6 month contract by myself, so temping with an agency ensures I have some money coming in – I have regular bills to pay, so need a regular income!” Another commented: “Temping through a reputable agency means you get paid on time and you can ask advice from your recruiter regarding tax forms, superannuation, etc at the end of employment.” 

    And it’s not all fun and games being a temp! Several temps referred to the uncertainty of never knowing if you will have work from one week to the next, as well as not being paid for sick leave or holidays, which can eat significantly into savings and create extra pressure to work even when you’re feeling desperately unwell. 

    One temp also expressed her frustration with the lack of response from some recruitment agencies: “no matter how many times you call and remind them you’re there, you are never contacted for jobs. It’s also hard to make yourself ‘stand out’ sometimes. You want to make a good impression to ensure you are called often for work but you can feel like ‘just another number’ at times … this has a lot to do with the size of the agency, though, and they relationship you are able to develop (or not!) with your recruiter.”

    And, of course, people being people, being a temp means you often get thrust into bizarre places and situations you would not normally have exposure to: 

    “Working for a counselling not-for-profit organisation on the reception meant I had some over-flow calls and I would often get people thinking I was a counsellor. They’d often go into their life stories and share particular detail on their health problems, some of which were pretty gruesome. This was a weird daily occurrence I could have done without!”

    Still, it’s all “character building” as they say …


  7. How to Ask for a Payrise (and how not to)

    May 24, 2011 by Jenna

    We’d all like more money. Some of us may even deserve it. 67% of respondents to last week’s online poll said they would like to ask for a payrise.

    But how do you go about it with any chance of success?

    The most obvious tip for the right way to ask for a payrise is to be able to justify why you deserve one. You have to prove your worth. It is unrealistic to think that a raise is warranted just by you doing the job – that is, after all, what the current pay level covers. And length of time at a company does not automatically entitle you to bid for extra money. You therefore need to give before you get, exceed goals and expectations, and build a reputation of success. 

    – Can you clearly articulate what you do, what you have learned, what value you add, where you go above and beyond the bounds of your job description?

    – Is the timing good, say, after a positive performance review, or when you have been allocated new duties and responsibilities that perhaps warrant a pay rise?

    – Is the company in good financial shape?

    – Have you been in your job for more than five minutes?

    The following is a list of Do’s and Don’ts from someone in an excellent position to give advice in this area – our Managing Director, Elizabeth Varley:

    Do’s

    1. Prepare your case: get facts, figures and evidence as to why you deserve an increase and what you will bring to the role in the future.

    2. Compare your current salary: research the employment market using similar roles in similar companies as your benchmark.

    3. Put yourself in your boss’s position: how would this pay rise affect the salary parity of your co-workers?

    4. Be open minded to other solutions and benefit options: these can include flexible work hours, study assistance, career advancement opportunities, further investment in your professional development, etc.

    5. Give your boss advance notice: make sure that your boss has the time and is forewarned as to the nature of your discussion.

    Don’ts

    1. Don’t get emotional: keep the discussion on a business level.

    2. Don’t threaten or use arm-twisting tactics: this will only create the wrong impression and result in negativity and resistance.

    3. Don’t ambush your boss: make sure that your boss can give you the time and is in the right frame of mind for this discussion.

    4. Don’t expect too much: you might deserve a pay rise but your boss’s hands may be tied as to what they can give you.

    5. Don’t gossip: this is a private matter between you and your boss. Office gossip will only lead to negative outcomes and you could “shoot yourself in the foot” by blabbing to your colleagues about your intention and the content of your discussions. 

    If there is a no or an unsatisfactory outcome …

    What should people do if they are only given part of the raise being requested?

    – Politely ask whether the situation will be reviewed within the next 3-6 months.

    – Ask what responsibilities or professional development you could do to improve your chances for next time.

    – Re-emphasise to your manager how much you are enjoying working for your firm, and indicate what you plan to do to demonstrate your eagerness for personal growth.

    Also understand your organisation’s constraints; you may think you deserve it, but your company may not currently be in the position to offer you a raise or promotion. Are there any non-monetary benefits the company could offer? If not, and you feel you are consistently working beyond expectations without any prospects of reward in the next 6-9 months, it may be time to consider your options external to the organisation …

    [With thanks, as always, to the Challenge Consulting Team for their expert comments and suggestions!]




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