Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Interview

Looking for a jobRecently I advertised in a well known employment site and within about 48 hours had over 95 candidates.

I was quite surprised – not by the number of responses – but how little the candidates consider the job they are applying for.

At least half the candidates didn’t add a cover letter – even though my ad read please add cover letter.

Few candidates tried to address the actual job – seems they weren’t actually looking at the ad, rather just sent their standard resumé and, if lucky, with a fairly plain covering note saying “Find resumé attached”.

So I figured I’d share the experience, of this and the last few rounds, of the recruiting process as an insight to potential job seekers and at least offer my humble opinion.

Just This Employers View

I may not be indicative of all markets or styles but I figured I’d try to give some feedback to prospective job seekers and an insight into at least my process of hiring. I’ll also point out that I’m not working with the big end of town, this is the admin style position (sub $50k) – right smack bang where it’s most competitive!

I’ve split the process of hiring a new candidate into three sections:

  • The Approach
  • The Resumé
  • The Interview

What are you Applying For?

Before you ever saw the ad up online, someone like me has given considered thought to the layout of the ad, how it’s worded, and made some assumptions about the hoped for candidate, their skills and experience.

As I know the position I’ve already thought about what sort of “apple” I want! So if you’re an “orange” gees you better stand out!

So How Do I Look?

Well with 90+ resumés arriving in the first few days I’ll set aside time to do a first pass. This is pretty much a skim, no more than a few minutes on each, and I’m actually looking for reasons to knock you out as quick as possible.

If you’re an average candidate and didn’t add a cover letter – GONE. If your cover letter has spelling errors all through it – GONE. If your resumé has gaps all through it or you’ve jumped job to job every 3 – 6 months – GONE.

After all, if you can’t follow explicit requests, can’t use a spell checker and have about as much loyalty as a non returning boomerang then I’ve got over 90 other resumés to view.

Tips for Job Seekers

So, some tips on what to look for when planning your approach:

  1. What are the keywords in the ad? From the role, recurring phrases, skills or assets, experience? Capture them in your cover letter and resumé
  2. Are there specific instructions? Have they asked to add a cover letter, photo, share an experience? Well do it! If you don’t you’ve already given a reason not to look.
  3. Do you know who you’re applying to? Whether the role, the company, the area. Do a little research and capture what you’ve found early to stand out – I’m talking the first paragraph of your cover letter – state that you’ve looked at the website, or have a keen interest in this business or industry.

The old question at the interview … what makes you stand out more than all the others?

Well you only get the chance to answer that if you make the cut – and to make the cut you better prepare your cover letter, your resumé and tailor your approach to the job advertised.

Want THE Job Not A Job

An employer wants to get the impression that you want THE job not just a job.

You need to come up with ways to stand out from the pack – to show that you are interested and deserve to make the first pass of even properly reading your resumé.

I’ve seen 100’s of resumés over the past 12 months and there are a number of ways to stand out.

Will cover that next time … The Resumé

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Sausage Roll n Sauce

So how would you eat a sausage roll?

For Fletch it was sideways – which happens to be the messiest, and most unusual way I’ve ever seen!

The ingenuity of children – always a fresh approach. I love it!

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The Online Gold Rush

“If you build it, he will come.”

If you build it he will come

What a great line from the movie Field of Dreams.

It started with a whisper and continued until Costner took action.

It’s up there with Evan Almighty! Building a modern day ark.

Though both seemed extremely quirky, at least in Hollywood, they worked well.

There’s Gold in them hills

Concerning though, is why is the same thinking taking over in the online world?

If you build it, they will come!

Build a website … and just try stopping the hordes of browsers, hits, and enormous business success achieved by your online foray.

I don’t mean to be skeptical, but if this were in any other industry it would be called a scam. Set up a website and your business could go Global! (Or ad campaign go viral)

It’s like setting up a five star luxury hotel out the back of Bourke and expecting to book out the opening night.

Your online strategy needs to be thought out like you would for your operations strategy or your sales strategy. Why is it that we’ll spend hours, weeks coming up with a mission statement – but chuck up any old website and think we’ve achieved our web strategy?

Before you embark on an online strategy how about consider the following:

  • What’s your purpose?
  • What’s your expectations?
  • What’s your budget?

Having a well thought out purpose will go a long way to actually gaining an outcome

Not every business warrants a Facebook page, or a Twitter feed, requires a multimedia channel. Coupons, scoopons and Groupons don’t suit all businesses, nor do blogs or Vlogs.

What does make sense for business is to understand the minefield of Internet terms, various factors that will help to achieve your purpose.

Food for Thought

Don’t expect to put up a website and generate immediate traffic. If it were that easy to be at the top of search results wouldn’t we all be there!

Good results in search engines are not achieved by a static website that lies dormant for the next few months, even years. No advantage is permanent – gaining rank in major search engines requires constant attention, updates, fresh content. Understanding this may help temper your expectations – how many hours a week do you really want to spend online?

Backlinks. If you don’t know what they are Google it. Lots of them, even better if they are relevant.

Treat your own strategy like a spiders web – everything needs to be interlinked: from your Facebook page, to Twitter feed, to your LinkedIn profile. All roads should lead to Rome (your Website) but also intersect each other.

A Successful Online Web Strategy

To succeed on the web relies on being active, not only on your own website but that of others.

Keeping active in LinkedIn groups, Facebook page updates, Tweets, joining related forums, blog entries, comments on others blogs.

Like business in the “physical world” gaining relationships and networking with key people online makes sense in the virtual world too!

The Maca’s Phenomenom

Why is it that McDonalds is so appealing to kids?

The colours? The food? Toys? Well it’s all that plus the experience.

We all love eating out

I was watching my kids devour burgers/nuggets and chips like they hadn’t eaten since Christmas! While a home cooked meal meets the chorus of “I don’t like it”.

I guess us adults have similar views of going out to a nice restaurant, cooked by someone else, then cleaned by someone else!

I’m not a huge fan of Maca’s but got to give it to them for creating an experience that appeals to kids, and a safe haven for parents.

Love them or hate them – they are good at what they do.

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Can Small Business Compete?

dLook's new iphone appWith the proliferation of mobile apps, smartphones, tablets and cloud computing the rules of engagement have changed.

No longer is it just sheer size and might, but ingenuity, access and consumer adoption.

Big brands now have to legitimately compete with the SME’s – who have suddenly achieved a level playing field with online access and equal potential to become a public star!

Take a look at some of these headlines:

Apple trumpets 15 billion App Store downloads‎ – Computerworld

15 billion apps! And the app store has only been around for three years now. People ignored and then laughed at these predictions, now they say they knew all along.

So will there now be tens of trillions of transactions performed on trillions of apps in the next decade. Speaking of trillions of apps by 2020 is realistic, if you extend these predictions into the future…

IDC: App downloads to top 182.7 billion in 2015‎ – Mobile Business Briefing

Whether it’s a trillion by 2017 or by 2020 is probably the biggest question…but a trillion apps?, and the predictions are based on linear growth; which I believe will not be the case!

iOS Owners Buying 61% More Apps This Year, Paying Higher Prices‎ – ReadWriteWeb

As people see the value in free mobile apps, they trade up to more and better usage apps. The skeptics will (still) tell you that there is no money to be made in apps, that apps were all a fad. Yet the revenues in the industry are exploding. And speaking of exploding revenue growth…

Analyst: Apps To Bring In $14 Billion Of Revenue Next Year – paidContent.org

Revenues to go from zero to $14 billion in a handful of years. What other market has shown that kind of revenue growth in the history of industry. Next the skeptics will say that revenues are already peaking…

App store revenues to hit $37bn by 2015 – Canalys‎ – Total Telecom

This article points to a near tripling in revenue over the next four years which is @ NetSpeed in any ones language. (The $37 billion number may well turn out to be too conservative).

It’s not just apps though…there are lots of feeder companies to this industry that will see huge growth as they facilitate the growth of Smartphone/app/tablet/cloud future. What will this mean to economies around the world; and more importantly to global investment in the companies forging this trend?

Mobile Payments to Reach $633B by 2014 — GigaOM

These kinds of trends and numbers signal the new economies that will drive growth and jobs. The impact of all of this won’t just be felt by the companies driving this future like Apple, Google and even Microsoft, all of which I think are keystones in their respective ecosystems. However as change picks up at an ever increasing pace, individual enterprises and even discrete demand supply networks might not survive; but the complex web of relationships that exist between and among business ecosystems, will not only survive but they will flourish.

And the adaptable business enterprises, who can flex into this future, will be the ultimate winners; a bit like the natural evolution of species.