Top questions for screening candidates

When screening candidates from a shortlist, there are some very important steps in making sure you get the right ones and eliminate the ones that don’t fit.


Here are some of the questions that I ask: 

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  1. What is your motivation for applying?
  2. Are you currently working?
  3. Why do you wish to move on?
  4. How do you get on with your boss and colleagues?
  5. How would your work colleagues describe you?
  6. When did you start applying for jobs?
  7. How many positions have you applied for and have you had any offers?
  8. What stage are you at with each role you have applied for?
  9. Review resumes for any gaps in experience & probe
  10. Identify any ‘annual’ work dates and establish if the work was for 2 years, months or weeks?
  11. Establish their availability for interviews (a range of days and times)
  12. Establish their target salary or ideal salary range
  13. Establish their availability to commence if a position is offered

For more information please contact Neil at 1300Hired. [/read]

8 Ways to get the best talent for your business

detective turned recruiterTalent: Why Amazing Detective Switches to Recruitment

It is harder to get top talent because there are fewer people working and more people retiring.

Put simply, workforce participation rates have dropped and are dropping faster as more and more people enter retirement.

If you are a business owner and you find it hard to recruit the right talent, there are a number of things you can do.

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How to recruit better hires

  • Try and recruit from outside your business
  • Poach from Competitors
  • Develop skills in-house (by training your own staff)
  • Recruit entry level from outside & train
  • Access talent from other industries (identifying those who can transfer their skills)
  • Access talent from other talent pools (geographic transfer)
  • Access talent from overseas
  • Use Automation or use Artificial Intelligence

There will be a solution, but sometimes we just need to think outside the box to find it. For more information on how to access hard to find talent, please contact Neil at 1300Hired. [/read]

Why cutting down hiring costs doesn’t make it cheap

man with hiring costs headache employer problemsThe harsh reality of hiring costs– we upset ourselves without even knowing it!

Sometimes we make bad hires because we don’t have the necessary expertise or resources to
ensure robust hiring practices.

I can tell you that there is, in fact, ONE simple reason why bad hires occur.

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The reason that we make bad hires is quite simple. It is because we make a compromise. Sometimes we settle for less and don’t ensure we hire the best. (We strive to lower hiring costs, yet end up incurring more.)

We don’t make bad hires intentionally. So let’s look at reasons why it may happen:
 There’s time pressure to fill the vacant position.
 We focus on skills but forget to focus on the person’s attitude.
 We tend to ask the wrong questions instead of the right questions.
 Focusing too much on “nice to have” qualities rather than the “must haves.”
 Hiring bias, such as being seduced into hiring someone we like or someone that “looks” good
 Having the wrong people making or influencing the hiring decisions
 We may bypass or compromise on important checks, for example, reference checks and personality tests.

The solution is to not Compromise – and ensure we minimise the possible causes. We can do this by:
 Having a mindset of securing the best candidate (not the first)
 Reducing pressure to hire quickly
 Hiring for attitude first and skills second
 Focus on getting the “must haves” right before the “nice to haves”
 Ensuring we have the right people involved in the hiring process
 Making hiring a group decision, eg involve key members that will work with the candidate
 Using behavioural based interviewing techniques
 Using robust checks (eg reference checks and personality tests etc)

By doing these things you will experience a higher percentage of successful hires and a reduction in the frequency and expensive hiring costs of a bad hire. For more information on hiring right, contact Neil at 1300Hired. [/read]


10 Resume hacks candidates do you need to know

The resume that grew legs then ran through 10 traps

When you are recruiting, one of the first things you see is the resume of a candidate. It is the single biggest representation of what that person says they have done in their professional career – or is it?

During my career, I have reviewed tens of thousands of resumes and there are many interesting stories I can tell. 

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What’s in a Resume

Employers always want the best candidate to fill a job vacancy. Who wouldn’t want skilled talent to join and help grow your business along the way?

We all want to select from as many qualified active and passive candidates from the talent pool. Employers start the interviews to see who fits the job description and person specification and can take the job role. We want to know and gauge our candidates more. However, with only the recruitment process in between the vacancy and job offer, we can only learn so much from an applicant.

In recruitment, among the first things we ask from a candidate is the resume. We aim to get as much information about a talent’s professional career. We trust this CV can give us the big picture of what a potential new employee has done and achieved in the past. However, we have to remain vigilant at all times.

resume falsifications altered employment dates hiring

How authentic is the resume you’re reading? 53% of resumes contain falsifications while 29% contain altered employment dates.

The data above tell us that 1 out 2 candidates may have false information on a resume, or that 1 out of 4 job applicants edits the employment dates on his/her curriculum vitae to make it look good. Therefore, the above infographic serves as a warning to employers of “buyer beware.”

Employers: Beware of fake CVs

So, here is a list of the Top 10 things that I look for in a candidate’s resume.

  1. Omitting or falsifying past employment
  2. Unexplained gaps in dates (or claiming false employment or activities)
  3. Falsifying reasons for leaving past employment
  4. Pasting in job descriptions rather than stating what they actually did and achieved
  5. Claiming false dates or using annualised dates (were they working for 2 years, 2 months or 2 days?)
  6. Embellished or falsified qualifications or licences
  7. Education that is inflated or falsified
  8. Job titles and responsibilities that are inflated or falsified
  9. Inflated salary and other benefits
  10. Providing irrelevant or fraudulent referees

For more information on resume tips and traps, please contact Neil at 1300Hired.[/read]

10 Simple Tips to Effective Shortlisting in Recruitment

shortlisting shortbread recipes tips

“Shortbread and shortlisting… there’s a recipe for each.”

How to shortlist candidates for interviews?

Are you ever in a position where you have to shortlist candidate resumes for your job? While the shortlisting process may be tricky, there are a number of tips that will help you do it faster.

I have placed thousands of candidates into jobs throughout my career, and in the process have shortlisted from tens of thousands of resumes. With more accuracy, greater efficiency and less time waste, we can maximise the advantages of shortlisting in recruitment. Let me teach you how it’s done.

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Candidate Shortlisting Checklist

  • Block out a chunk of time and do as much shortlisting as you can in 1 go. This helps add consistency in reviewing furthermore minimises repetition and time waste.
  • Balance tip #1. Make sure that you don’t lose top talent by delaying this process.
  • Construct a candidate summary and rating table. Include the applicant’s name, location, years of experience, availability, and a list of say 4-6 essential skills or attributes.
  • You may wish to attach a weighting scale to the essential skills and attributes
  • On the far right side have a rating of Yes/Maybe/No for each candidate, or number if using a weighting system
  • Complete each column and rate the candidate in each area (perhaps with a tick or cross, or a scale of 1-5), then decide if they are a Yes, No or a Maybe for shortlisting
  • Use a multi-pass method. So, when in doubt, use Yes, Yes/Maybe, Maybe/No & No.
  • With higher candidate numbers this makes it easier to cull and review marginal candidates
  • If using a rating scale of 1-5, you will need to multiply the rating number by the weighting attached to that skill or attribute. Then, calculate the total for each candidate.
  • Once you have ranked each candidate, you can then decide a cutoff point for the list, and your shortlist is ready to be contacted.

    BONUS TIP: A cutoff point we prefer to use is actually not a cutoff point. We rather base it on the quality of the candidates, than the number of candidates to fit a quota.


For more information on how to shortlist, please contact Neil at 1300Hired. [/read]


Why do you need to start headhunting top talent

headhunting-headhunters-top-talent-recruiterSaid the headhunting headhunters:
We aren’t cannibals – we thrive on the chase not the kill.

It is harder to get top talent because there are fewer people working and more people retiring. Put simply, workforce participation rates have dropped and are dropping faster as more and more people enter retirement.

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If you are a business owner and you find it hard to recruit the right talent, headhunting may be an alternative.

Put simply, headhunting involves searching for passive (as opposed to active) candidates. These are potential candidates who don’t know they are potential candidates. They are generally not using or registered on job boards, so specialised search is required to find these people.

Finding these people is just the beginning – remember that these are not people who have applied for a job via a job board, so are not expecting and in some cases not open to your call. Here are some of the hallmarks to consider when head hunting :

  • Many make it hard to contact (eg remain invisible on social media)
  • Many are not contactable
  • Many are not registered with agencies
  • When contacted they need to be approached sensitively
  • They often cannot or do not want to be contacted inside working hours
  • It may take multiple attempts and multiple touch points to even make the first contact
  • They often won’t have a resume let alone an updated resume
  • If interested, the seduction process can take months, not weeks
  • If their interest is continuing, their salary expectations (to move) will be higher compared to active candidates
  • The whole process can take months and sometimes years

For more information on how to find talent through headhunting, please contact Neil at 1300Hired. [/read]


Staff productivity and business profitability

If you can access more top performers in your business, you will get higher productivity and be able to outperform your competitors.

If you can access more top performers in your business, you will get higher productivity and be able to outperform your competitors. This is becoming more difficult though because the demand for skills is increasing and their availability is diminishing. Why is this so?

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The reduced availability of skills and in turn of top performers is occurring because of the ageing of the population. Put simply, there are fewer people available to work as more and more people retire. To understand where productivity lives, here are some interesting statistics:


Productivity Touchbase

workforce output employee productivity in the workplace

  • The bottom 10% of your workforce produce little output
  • The middle 85% of your workforce produce 74% of output
  • The top 1% of your workforce 10% of all output
  • The remaining top 4% produce 16% or 4 times the output

What do we need to do to get more top performers and higher productivity:

  • Create a high-performance culture
  • Try to hire more people in the top 5% of candidates
  • Hire fewer in the middle 85% and none in the bottom 10%
  • Have strong leadership and management
  • Have a culture that engenders strong staff engagement
  • Use a top grading strategy

For more information on how to attract and hire top performers, contact Neil at 1300Hired.


Job advertising: how to market jobs and win top talent

There is a lot more to job advertising than simply writing a few paragraphs. My not so favourite tasks – the pasting a whole job description and posting on a job board – also don’t sum up. Many employed in the fields of advertising and marketing can attest that our careers are beyond knowing how to write a job advertisement.

If not done properly, you will then experience a mix of results ranging from too few responses, wrong candidates applying, too many wrong candidates, or no ideal candidates applying. There are 15 key ingredients…

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Job advertisement and marketing tips

job advertisingWhen selling a house, you only need one buyer. However in recruitment, you not only need one buyer, you actually need ‘the ideal buyer’.

Because you want to recruit the right candidate, you must create the most compelling message and offer. Then make sure you target the right candidates.

You must maximise the exposure of your message so that you capture the widest yet most targeted audience. There are many key ingredients that will ensure the success of your job advertisement. However, get any one of these wrong and you risk losing valuable candidates.

My job advertising strategy

In over 18 years of recruiting and job ad copywriting, here are the 15 key areas that have allowed me to get great results for clients:

How to write a job advertisement

  1. Have a well-defined Position Description including salary range & benefits
  2. Have a Person Specification with 3-6 essential and preferable skills  and attributes
  3. The Job Title must be meaningful, descriptive and marketable
  4. Create a compelling 150 character teaser (or “lead-in”) to capture the attention of job seekers. Then give them a reason to “click through” to the main advertisement
  5. Craft up 3 compelling bullet points that best describe the opportunity and benefits of applying
  6. In the body of the advert describe the company, why it exists, what it does and points of difference – what is the culture and why would the reader want to work there?
  7. Describe the job opportunity and summarise why it exists and what it does.

Job advertising in action

  1. Selection Criteria: Describe the key skills and attributes required to successfully undertake this role

    job advertising and marketing

    Reader hit in the face. Shocking assault causes an emotional response.

  2. Provide a closing date and any other information to help candidates apply
  3. Select the job location, job classification and subclassification. Research all the available classifications and sub-classifications
  4. Check to see if there are additional locations, job classifications and sub-classifications relevant to this job and be prepared to use more than one to capture the market
  5. Research comparative jobs to ensure your salary level is competitive
  6. If your remuneration package is competitive, publish it to generate a higher response rate. If it is marginally or less competitive, do not publish it
  7. Enter the engagement method (eg part-time, full time, casual, fixed term contract etc)
  8. Is the job board you are using where your preferred candidates ‘hang out’? Some of the best candidates don’t apply via major job boards. Therefore, posting on multiple job boards will ensure your exposure to the widest applicable candidate markets

For more information on how to craft compelling and effective job advertising, contact Neil at 1300Hired. [/read]

10 ways On-boarding increases engagement and retention

how to surf waves with dexterity onboardingOn-boarding: How to surf these waves with dexterity

Onboarding staff is important because of the direct correlation between employee engagement and retention. Yet, it can be problematic if businesses either don’t do it or don’t do it well.

Did you know… 

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… that 1 in 25 employees leave on the first day and that poor onboarding is the primary reason why the majority of employees leave within the first year?

Effective onboarding is an opportunity to engage your new hire, both before, during and after they join your company. The solution is to have a formal onboarding procedure and this must be driven by the top leadership down. Here’s a list of 10 best practices to adopt:

  1. Preboarding – because onboarding starts with the first contact during the hiring process.
    How you handle the recruitment process says a lot about the organisation as a whole.
  2. Announce it.
    Let staff and key stakeholders know that your new hire is starting
  3. Day 1.
    Make sure all key personnel are involved in welcoming your new hire 
  4. Alignment of Values.
    Line Managers should explain the importance of the job to be undertaken and how it is aligned with the company culture and values. 
  5. Manage the Employee/Manager relationship
    Employees don’t leave companies – they leave managers. Ensure that the direct Manager is involved in all stages of onboarding.
  6. Explain formal hierarchies such as the organisational chart, key customers, suppliers and industry associations. 
  7. Explain informal hierarchies such as those within the team and between departments, the informal networks, gatekeepers and go to people, also any rivals or adversaries.
  8. Procedures & Policies.
    These should be explained on day 1, also referenced in employment contracts.
  9. The small stuff
    Let it be known how to use the phones, where things are located, also explain industry and company terms, jargon and acronyms.
  10. Stay committed to on-boarding particularly during the first 90 days.

For further information on on-boarding, please contact Neil at 1300Hired.


Watch the video here:

How to write a sexy headline for a serious job description

What, in the recruitment world, is a job description?

What, in the recruitment world, is a job description?

A Job Description is a very important document in the recruitment and hiring process.

Why? Because it describes the role and forms a specification upon which a new hire is made. It should also create a benchmark for on the job performance of your new hire.

Describing the key functions, duties and expected outcomes, it should also articulate the skills and attributes required to successfully fulfill the role.


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Having 3-6 key essential functions or accountabilities is important because this defines key measures upon which KPI’s can be based and which can be the key measures for any performance review.

A robust document should also describe formal and informal relationships for the position, both internally and externally and key authorities and boundaries.

The problem with not having a Job Description lies in having no reference point for both the recruitment process, for onboarding and for on the job performance.

No Job Description is akin to constructing a building with no plans. It may be achieved. However, it invites all sorts of problems and complications if not done, or if not done properly.

Apart from being a useful reference point, it is also a form of insurance for all parties, particularly if any disputes or problems arise during the employment relationship, or after the employment relationship ends.

For further information or a copy of a comprehensive template, contact Neil at 1300Hired. [/read]