As Australian businesses cautiously get back to their feet, the focus now turns to rebuilding workforces. With new employment opportunities expected to surface over the coming months, employers have the difficult task of dealing with a candidate-heavy market. Small businesses without a recruitment strategy will be stretched by the sheer volume of applicants.
Jobseekers also face the challenge of having more competition than ever and will need to make an impression.
Q. With unemployment on the rise in Australia, what is some advice you would give to jobseekers?
A. Acknowledge your strengths, previous successes and concentrate your application on where it’s best suited. Retail experience is useful as the skills are transferrable through different industries. Look at jobhunting as your new “job” and apply for as much as possible, as opposed to being selective and becoming discouraged if nothing eventuates. We have technology at our fingertips so there is no excuse to sit back and wait for something to happen. Write a follow-up email, get a decision maker on the line, whatever it takes to make yourself known in a candidate-heavy market. It’s a case of sink or swim so put in the work to make sure you give yourself the best possible chance!
Q. How does an applicant explain the gap in their working history?
A. If we’re looking at the market at the moment, it’s easily explained if you’re out of work because of COVID-19. You’re not alone in that predicament, so it’s completely understandable. Either way, honesty is the best approach. Misrepresenting yourself is not a good start with a potential employer. Aim to build trust. We’ve all felt that sneaking gut feeling of suspicion that someone is being dishonest, and even without certainty, it spoils our perception of them. That’s the tipping point of losing trust and hiring managers are on that like a shark to blood. If you’re feeling underqualified because of a gap in your working history, make an impression in other ways. Focus on your transferrable skills, your passion and your accomplishments.
Q. Is a good resume the best chance for a candidate to secure a role?
A. Of course your resume is important, but it’s not going to be the reason you’re hired. Think of your resume as one of multiple ways to progress to an interview. Many jobseekers completely disregard the importance of a good cover letter. Do some research on the company you’re applying for and create a targeted cover letter. Don’t be the “To whom it may concern” guy; find out who it concerns. LinkedIn is a great tool to locate and reach out to decision makers within a targeted company. Ask useful questions to gain insight and build value. It’s all about selling yourself and the resume is only a one element of the sales pitch!
Q. What are some tips to successful job interview?
A. Research and personality is my focus. Don’t fall down on simple questions, such as “why did you apply for this position?” or “what do you know about us?”. You need to be able to concisely relate your skills, accomplishments, goals and passion to the position and company. Details matter so be sure to elaborate with results and statistics if applicable. If you’re job seeking without any experience, focus on your accomplishments in your academic career, classes you’ve taken, assignments you’ve completed, etc. The most important tip is to relax and let your personality shine through. You can have the perfect resume but if the hiring manager can’t imagine sharing the workplace with you, they’ll look elsewhere. Treat the interview as a conversation and don’t forget to ask questions!
Q. Is it okay to ask for feedback after being rejected for a position?
A. It’s usually beneficial to ask for feedback, but it also depends on what stage you receive the rejection. For example, if you were notified after an intro call that your application will not progress, the employer doesn’t know a great deal about you, so it’s likely a surface reason such as your skill set or culture fit. Asking for feedback after an interview is the ideal time to gather useful insight from the interaction. Look at each rejection as an opportunity for personal development and self-awareness. Applying feedback successfully takes repetition, and requesting advice after being rejected for a position offers you a chance to be modest and open to growth. Employers take note of such traits, which may lead to a job opportunity down the road. If a company turns you down for a certain job, there is always a chance another vacancy will suit you better in the future. Attempt to connect with the interviewer beyond the application process by saying thank you, asking for advice and being gracious.
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.