Author: Darren

Advantages of hiring through a Recruitment Agency

Do you have a vacancy in your team? Are you agonising over whether to hire directly or through a recruitment agency? These are some of the reasons we think that using an agency is a great idea:

Extensive Networks
Some roles are hard to fill and the perfect candidate can be hard to find. If quality candidates aren’t responding to job advertisements it may be because they don’t see themselves as the ideal candidate, or they simply aren’t checking job ads regularly. Agencies have many networks or ‘talent pools’ with candidates of varied experiences and qualifications. They have the potential to leverage their networks to help connect you to people with a range of skills and experiences, many of whom wouldn’t be actively job seeking and potentially missing your advert. According to LinkedIn, 12% of the workforce is actively looking, but 85% would consider a change if the opportunity is right. There’s a strong chance that a good recruiter will know how to reach them.

Brand Promotion
If you’re still not convinced on why using a recruitment agency may be the right move, the decision to do so can bring some added benefits that may be difficult to quantify immediately, but are nevertheless very real. Unless you’re Google or Apple, you probably don’t have thousands of qualified candidates camping outside your door and lining up to work for you. A good recruiter will “sell” your company to a candidate.

Quality of Applicants
If you have ever advertised a role directly you may agree that a lot of applicants may not be good matches for the role. On average, over 80% of CV’s received aren’t given serious consideration by hiring managers. Significant time will be invested in filtering, assessing, matching and communicating with unsuitable candidates. Internal HR/Recruitment teams that are time and resource poor may not be able to run a thorough matching process. Using a recruitment agency should mean that you only see job seekers who have been pre-selected to match all the criteria that you are looking for and who are worthy of serious consideration for an interview.

Time Saving
There are are time constraints to performing a thorough candidate search, so it is often easier for managers to interview from an agency shortlist – in fact many hiring managers, themselves possibly placed by recruitment agencies in the past, often favour third party recruiters. There is little doubt that a hard pressed HR or in-house team can benefit from the networks of a trusted agency partner. Many will see the recruitment fee as a worthwhile investment and a significant time saver, time that can be spent more effectively, working on strategic business initiatives.

The Guarantee
In addition to the recruitment help, all good agencies offer guarantee periods. If the hire doesn’t work out, you don’t pay and they start the search over, not you. If you look back at the staff turnover you’ve had, how much can be attributed to rushed hires, lack of screening, or settling/compromising just to fill that spot? When you use a recruitment agency you stop making those mistakes on your own, and start making them work in your favor.

Quality People can save you time in sourcing and short-listing candidates; find candidates who wouldn’t find you on their own; and allow you to spend more time focusing on your job. Contact us for a free and confidential discussion about the needs of your business.

First day at a new job

Starting a new job is very exciting but it can cause some people a level of anxiety, even for the most experienced of professionals.

Here are 3 easy tips for making a good impression on day one of a new gig:

  1. Introduce yourself. The most comfortable scenario is to wait for others to introduce you, but there’s no harm or shame in introducing yourself to other team members. It demonstrates confidence and a willingness to integrate into an established team environment. It will help you to establish professional and personal relationships with your co-workers from the outset. Talking to new people will relax you because you’ll realise that your new colleagues are good people and they’ll help you settle in. They all know what it’s like to be the new kid, allow them the opportunity to make your transition as smooth as possible.
  2. Remember names. Name recall is a difficult skill, particularly when you’re faced with a situation in which you’re meeting several people at the same time. Remembering names requires some practice, it may help to repeat their name twice or three times in the initial conversation. “Hi Jane, my name is Darren. Lovely to meet you Jane. What is your role in the team Jane?”
  3. Smile. Your colleagues don’t know you yet, and the power of a warm and friendly smile can not be overstated. Your smile conveys friendliness, it makes you approachable, and it will contribute to your new colleagues’ willingness to assist your transition into your new role.

If you’re starting a new role soon and you’re feeling a little bit anxious, feel free to reach out to the Quality People team on (03) 9576 6388 for some free coaching. We wish you every success for your new job!

How to manage non performing staff

Handling difficult conversations is one of the reasons you got where you are. Another reason is that one day you had a manager who was patient enough to teach and guide you, to accept your mistakes, and to allow you the opportunity to learn from them. Now that you’re in that position, you have the duty to your company and your staff to afford them the same opportunity.

You may be tempted to allow poor performance to slide, hoping it will improve by itself. It won’t. An underperforming employee can have a negative impact on the rest of the workplace, because other employees are forced to pick up the slack. This can lead to feelings of resentment which could ultimately lead to the wrong staff members leaving the business.

Tips to handle these situations:

Assess the situation objectively

Is this an employee who consistently does not meet performance standards, or a good employee who has hit a slump? Look at each situation in isolation. Try not to let the frustrations of missing that deadline cloud your overall picture. There could be a combination of numerous factors that contributed to the deadline being missed. It’s important not to point all the blame in one direction. Also, it may be a good time to look in the mirror, what could you have done differently during the course of the project? Take responsibility and alter your behaviour next time.

Listen

Don’t assume you know the underlying causes of the non-performance. It’s time to call a meeting and listen. Sit down with your employee and ask how work is going. What are their frustrations? Find out if your employee is aware of the performance issues or not. Only once you know what the real issue will you be able to find a solution and move forward.

Focus on Facts

Receiving negative feedback is never easy for staff members, and the employee is likely to take it personally. To help prevent that from happening, focus on the facts, giving clear examples of times when the employee failed to meet the expectations of the job. Difficult conversations should be held sooner rather than later, delaying these little chats could cause the unwanted behaviours to become a pattern.

Work on a Solution Together

This is an opportunity to collaborate with your employee to come up with a solution together. Giving your employee a chance to take ownership of the situation is empowering, and it is more likely to provide that much needed buy-in. As you work on a solution, outline clear objectives and necessary actions to meet those objectives. See if the employee needs extra training or resources that would help him or her perform better. Document these discussions and get them to agree with the suggested course of action in writing.

Work out what you can do to help

Once you’ve formulated a plan, create a schedule to follow up regularly (at agreed intervals) and assess the employee’s progress and address any challenges that have come up. Take responsibility for their training.

Actually help

Nothing like providing the support you’ve said you’ll provide. Remember that boss who nurtured and supported you all those years ago? The one that, without him, you wouldn’t be where you are today? Be that boss.

Internal Interview tips

Sometimes in your career you might be faced with the situation in which you’ll be required to attend an internal interview. You may need to reapply for role after a fixed term contract officially ends; there may be a restructure which has resulted in newly created positions; there may be a promotion opportunity for you.

These are some tips for nailing your next internal interview:

Don’t assume that just because you know the interviewer, they’ll do you any favours

Don’t treat your internal interview as a formality, you have no idea how many other candidates (internal or external) are applying for this role. It is definitely an advantage to have an existing relationship with the interviewers, it will help you feel relaxed, but you’ll still need to charm them! The answer to ‘why are you the best candidate for the role’ should not simply be ‘because I’ve already been doing it”. Ensure you prepare your key achievements prior to the interview so you can confidently demonstrate your value to the organisation – the panel may not remember everything you’ve achieved to date, it’s your job to remind them.

You would be well advised to mentally treat the interview as an external interview and that nobody on the interview panel has met you before.

Ensure you understand what the role is designed to achieve

It is important to have a strong understanding of the job responsibilities and ensure you are familiar with the organisation’s strategic direction. Familiarise yourself with the position description and the company’s business plan. If this is a newly created role, ask for information from managers or the project team to get a better understanding for the reason and strategic shift.

Play to your strengths

Whilst it is not the deal clincher it is definitely an advantage to already be in the role you’re applying for. Highlight your understanding of the organisation’s culture, and the existing networks or relationships you have developed whilst in the role. Provide examples of when you have collaborated effectively with other staff members.

Prepared for questions about any gaps in your experience

If your current manager is interviewing you for the role, there’s a fair chance that they’ll have identified some areas for your future developement. Be proactive before the interview to determine any gaps in your experience and the role. Suggest ideas and solutions about how you would approach the reduction of these gaps.

Highlight your experiences from previous jobs

It is easy to only focus on your current role and the experience you currently have, when, actually, this is a great opportunity to remind the panel of prior experiences you can bring to the role from your previous positions.

Avalon Airshow 2019

Quality People was proudly represented at the Avalon Airshow 2019 by David, Darren, Dom and James. Despite the 40 degree heat, we created a significant stir with our matching ties, attracting attention at every turn!

Quality People has been a significant player in the Defence industry for many years. With well established networks, connections, and an extensive talent pool; we have become a recruitment agency of choice in the Defence Industry.

Please contact us at jobs@qualitypeople.com.au to find out how we can partner with your business to solve your recruitment needs.

Have Courage and be Kind

Lessons we can learn from Disney and how we can apply them to our business lives

What is better than cuddling up with your daughter, watching a Disney movie on a rainy Saturday afternoon? A few years ago, I had the pleasure of watching Disney’s Cinderella in such circumstances.

One thing puzzled me during that movie. Why did Ella’s (Cinderella’s) mom wait until she was on her deathbed before she shared her wisdom?

“a great secret that will see you through all the trials life has to offer… have courage and be kind”

In this modern-day Cinderella remake, the message is so different from previous versions, that is what makes this one so refreshing and relevant. Today’s version is more of a young woman whose naiveté is far sweeter when accompanied by her steely resolve to achieve success no matter what.

After her dear mother dies, Ella is courageous and she is kind to everyone, including her cruel and twisted stepmother and stepsisters who continually bully and belittle her.

Sure, Cinderella looks stunning but it’s more her inner beauty that captures attention – her courage and her kindness. Everyone has inner beauty, and it’s not only the stuff of fairy tales.

Since that day, the last thing I say to my daughter as I tuck her into bed each night is “have courage and be kind”. What better motto for a child growing up? One day she may be a businesswoman, a leader in the community, and hopefully she will carry this motto with her and apply it to everyday situations.

Kindness: “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”

Courage: “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, or pain without fear.” I explain courage to my daughter as “doing something even when you’re scared to do it”

At first it might seem odd to merge kindness and courage together as core values but if you stop and think about it those two characteristics, when blended together they can help you get through most life situations. Kindness helps you appreciate others, even when they may not act in a way that appears to deserve that tolerance. Courage helps you live with integrity, even when you are fearful of the consequences.

We need to have courage and kindness in our lives and often we need them both in the same moment – for example, at times in our lives it will take great courage to treat someone well. It will also take great courage to know when to walk away from situations or people that aren’t good for you.  Ultimately it will take kindness to forgive and walk away without feelings of malice or anger. Courage is what helps you to continue moving forward with your life.

How can we have courage when others mistreat us? Why should we be kind to those who are cruel?

Let’s face it, life isn’t a fairy-tale. People will mistreat you, sometimes for no good reason besides to see you fall. Cinderella chose to act bravely and kind because she was a princess – not by blood, but a true princess at heart.

Sometimes, the life you live becomes your downfall. Your daily life can become so rough that you begin to lose sight of your personal values. Increasing stress and demands threaten to rob you of your passion for achieving your happiness.

Some people come into your life and you want them to stick around forever, but they don’t. Pressures start out small, but they build continuously. It is important not to lose sight of what makes you special and what got you where you are.

You have a choice to make in the face of corporate bullying. Do you choose to continue to allow yourself to be broken down and destroyed? Or will you rise above it, making use of your core values and beliefs?

So, when you encounter bullies at school, home or at work, remember this: Cinderella rose above, remaining hopeful and kind until things finally worked out in her favour. She is not weak; she is resilient and strong.

Kindness is not weakness – it is strength

Have the courage to remain kind. Stand proud when life begins to pull you down. Try not to become bitter; that is letting the bad guys win. Stay humble in the face of the too-proud.

This is not to say you should become a doormat. Stand up for yourself and for what is right in the face of so much wrong. Just do it in a way that maintains your values. Two wrongs never make a right.

Choose to be happy. Have courage and be kind.

Video Interviews

Video job interviews are an increasingly common part of the hiring process. In substance, the content of video interviews are similar to in-person or phone interviews.

Companies see many benefits in using video technology to vet candidates. With a video interview, you have most of the benefits of seeing a candidate in person, but without the hassle/expense of actually meeting them (especially if someone would have to fly or drive to a different city).

Preparation

Do your research as you would for a face-to-face interview. Prepare by researching the company, reviewing the job requirements and rehearsing possible interview questions.

Set up and test your technology. Video interviews are not only for tech savvy millennials, the software is straightforward and accessible for everyone. It can also be done on any device including a PC, tablet or smartphone, so choose the technology you feel most comfortable with.  

  • Set up and test your webcam or smartphone camera.
  • Set up and test the microphone.
  • Ensure your internet and bandwidth is capable of handling a video link, and that you have enough data.
  • Check your battery, if your device is not fully charged you could plug it in throughout the interview.
  • If any software or apps or required for the interview, ensure you have downloaded it well in advance.
  • Video interviews will typically give you the option of using a telephone connection for volume, or the sound will be available through the video link. Ensure you have tested both methods prior to the interview.
  • Things can go wrong with technology, and Murphy’s Law unfortunately isn’t in your favour. Before the interview, ask the interviewer for a phone number where you can reach them if you experience technical difficulties. If the video cuts out, call them at that number. Ask if you can continue the interview by phone or if you can reschedule.

Find the perfect location. You want your interviewer to focus on you and not be distracted by your background.

  • Lighting is critical. Run a trial run, filming yourself and consider whether the lighting flatters you. Avoid bright lights behind you or dark shadows on your face.  
  • Ensure there is nothing on the bookshelf, wall, or your computer screen behind you that you wouldn’t want an employer to see.
  • Avoid interruptions. You don’t want background noise from the TV, your kids or dog. If you’re not the only one at home we suggest you brief everyone in advance, and even go as far as locking the door.

Body Language counts!

Eye contact is crucial during an in-person interview, so too during a video interview. Eye contact in a video takes some practice. It’s important to avoid the instinct to look directly at your interviewer on the screen while you’re answering a question. Instead, when you speak, look towards at the webcam. A good trick is to resize and move the window with the person’s video image as close to your webcam as possible. 

By doing this, your eyes are more likely to align with the interviewer’s eyes on the other end. When you’re listening, you can look at the interviewer on the screen. Avoid letting your gaze drift away from the device. Also try avoid staring serial-killer style!

Throughout the interview, convey optimism with an upbeat mood and positive body language. One way to achieve this is to have good posture. Sit in your chair with your back straight and your shoulders open. Feet can be planted on the floor and arms can rest in your lap or on the desk. Find a nice, comfortable balance between leaning forward and reclining too far back. 

When you’re listening, nod and smile when appropriate, use hand gestures when required and keep your movements close to your body. Some gestures that are fine in person can be distracting on video. Try not to twirl your hair, touch your forehead, chin or nose.

Try not to be too goofy or laugh at every joke. The smile is meant to be a tool to show that you’re a pleasant person to work with, you have reasonably good social awareness, and have a good dose of enthusiasm and confidence.

Have a glass of water handy. If your voice goes croaky, or if you simply want to pause for a moment to gather your thoughts before you answer a question – a glass of water is a perfect tool.

At the conclusion of the interview

As with any job interview, you should conclude by thanking the interviewer for their time. As you don’t have the option of a hand shake, a smile goes a long way.

Interview Hints

The interview will be the primary method of selection for the majority of positions we recruit. Below are some suggestions that, together with guidance from our staff, may help you to improve your interview performance for the greatest chance of success.

What is a potential employer commonly trying to assess?

In every interview, no matter how junior or senior the position, the interviewer will likely be probing for the answers to three basic questions:

  • Can you do the job well? (Your skills, qualifications, experience)
  • Will you do the job? (Your motivation, attitudes and career goals)
  • Will you fit into the team? (Your cultural match)

Preparation

The better prepared you are, the more relaxed and comfortable you will be when the interview questions begin.

Developing an understanding of the business before the meeting can be a vital component of securing a role. Handy information can often be found from the company website, annual reports, and a simple internet search. LinkedIn is another valuable tool but don’t be tempted to send a LinkedIn connection or Facebook friend request to your interviewer!

It is common for one of the first interview questions to be “what do you know about our us?”.

It is also valuable to spend some time reviewing your own CV and have a clear understanding of how the key responsibilities and achievements of your prospective role link to your previous employment.

Focus on the skills you believe offer most value to your prospective employer. Whenever possible, relate your skills and experience to the role requirements and always have practical examples ready to support your statements. Be aware, particularly for senior candidates, there can be an idea that “my experience or results speak for themselves”. Remember that job interviews are a competitive process, so give yourself the best chance by explaining not only what was achieved but how you made it happen.

Review some probable answers to likely questions in the interview. Provide answers that are tailored to the position and paint a picture of you as being positive and with the potential to add value. It is also essential that you prepare your own questions so that, not only can you be sure that this is the right opportunity for you but also so that you can demonstrate you are particular in regard to the opportunity you are looking for.

Always treat the interview as a two-way discussion and answer questions honestly, directly and keep to the point. Everyone present will be focusing their attention on you, so clouding your answer with jargon or evading the issue will be more obvious than you think. If you are not certain about a particular question, do not be afraid to ask if it can be rephrased. Listen, never interrupt and answer only what is asked.

The little things

  • Presentation can have a large influence on first impressions. Always attend an interview in corporate attire and if in doubt always err on the side of more formal as opposed to underdressed.
  • Be clear about the exact time, date and location of the interview as well as who you are meeting and be there five to ten minutes before the interview.
  • Listen as well as talk. This will give you valuable clues as to the responses required. Wait for the question to be concluded before commencing your response.
  • Be aware of your body language. Interviewers will pick up on a lack of congruence between what your mouth your body are saying.
  • Answer questions informatively but briefly. Never embellish the truth but don’t be afraid to sell your skills and accomplishments.
  • Avoid negativity in statements and body language. Interviewers look for positive, likable people and any persistent negative characteristics such as a lack of interest, enthusiasm or purpose regarding your career will reflect poorly.

End of the interview

At the end of your interview, smile and thank the people involved for their time. While decisions and job offers are usually made some time after the interview(s), so it would not be appropriate to ask for an assessment of your performance.

Tell me about yourself…

How to answer the dreaded “Tell me about yourself” question in an interview

Regardless of your industry, your experience level and your job type, some interview questions are almost guaranteed to come up. At the top of this list is the classic “Tell me about yourself…”

This question is almost always asked first, straight right after some chit chat about traffic or the weather. Since it’s often the first real question to be asked in an interview, it’s your big chance to make a first impression with a well-rehearsed answer.

View this question is an opportunity, an opening for you to set the tone and emphasise the points that you most want your potential employer to know about you. It’s an opportunity to create a bold impression with your strongest selling points. Don’t waste the opportunity by diving into a nervous stream of consciousness, rehashing your resume or expressing your love for scrapbooking.

This is also an opportunity to show that you can handle tough questions in a pressurised situation. Be aware of your body language, your posture, eye contact, hand gestures and your overall demeanour. Sometime the wording of your answers is less important than creating the impression that you’d be able to stand in front of the Board and successfully present the PowerPoint which will determine the success or otherwise of the project.

The Interviewer’s view point

When interviewers ask you, “Tell me about yourself”, what are they trying to achieve? Well, for the interviewer, it’s an easy and open-ended way to start the conversation, to break the ice, to allow your nerves to settle, and to assess your ability to respond concisely with an answer you’ve had time to prepare. Remember that in most cases the interviewer really wants to like you. Their life will be easier if they can find a great candidate quickly. Help them like you!

Do’s and Don’ts for answering “Tell Me About Yourself”

Don’t rehash your resume in fine detail — Many candidates nervously respond by launching into a recitation of their resume from the very beginning. That can turn into a very long monologue that starts with their oldest and least relevant experience. By the time you get to the good stuff, your interviewer has zoned out and is thinking about the cricket score.

It’s important to prepare a brief summary of the high points of each of your past positions. Make sure you emphasise the points that are relevant to the role you’re applying for.

Even if the interviewer specifically asks you to “walk him through your resume,” don’t take the suggestion too literally. You can still lead with your elevator pitch and then an overview of your most recent position. Leave plenty of opportunities for the interviewer to jump in and engage with you throughout the rest of the interview.

Find the balance between confidence and bragging – Try not to make the mistake of being too modest, nor too arrogant. Without bragging, provide a response that demonstrates your confidence and communicates your qualifications. Remember that by simply being in the interview you’re already ahead of the majority of applicants whose CV’s were discarded. You’re there because you deserve to be there.

Being comfortable with “selling” yourself is a tricky art, but don’t be too humble. Competition for any good job is fierce. Don’t rely on the interviewer to see past your humble exterior and figure out how great you are.

If you take time to prepare, you can find a way to present yourself to full advantage while staying true to your personality. For modest types, I recommend focusing on factual statements.

You don’t have to brag, don’t go with “I’m the best salesperson in the world.” Instead, you can say “I led my division in sales for the last three years and was able to bring in 50% of overall new business during that time.”

Don’t ramble. If, after you’ve been talking for a while, you think you might be rambling it means you probably are. Nerves are normal and they affect us you’re your response should be ideally less than a minute, and no more than 2 minutes.

You won’t be able to fit all of your great qualities and resume highlights into 2 minutes, so you’ll have be selective in what you include. Emphasise your past experiences that directly relate to the responsibilities of the role you’re applying for.

You could reinforce the number of years of experience in a particular industry or area of specialisation. You might also highlight special training and technical skills here. Focus on the qualifications in the job description and how you meet and exceed the requirements.

You can wrap up your answer by indicating why you are looking for a new challenge and why you feel this role is the best next step.

The “Tell Me About Yourself” formula

There are three components to answering this question:

1. Who You Are — Your first sentence should be an introduction to who you are professionally, an overview statement that shows off your strengths and gives a little sense of your personality too. This is not easy to do gracefully on the fly. It pays to prepare a bit in advance.

  • Good: “I’m an innovative Finance Manager with 12 years of experience managing all aspects of the Finance function in a variety of industries. My roles range from preparing and presenting month-end data, to analysing expenses to develop cost-saving initiatives.”
  • Bad: “Well, I grew up in South Africa. As a child, I originally wanted to be a game ranger, then later I became interested in playing cricket. I excelled in the games from early on, placing first in my fourth-grade Simon Says competition. Funny story about that…”

2.  Expertise Highlights — Don’t assume that the interviewer has closely read your CV and knows your qualifications. Use your elevator pitch to briefly highlight 2-4 points that you think make you stand out. Make sure you only speak about tasks you’ve done that will be relevant in the eyes of your potential future employer.

  • Good: “I have spent the last six years honing my skills as a Financial Controller for a global retail brand, where I have won several performance awards and been promoted twice. I love managing teams and solving problems.”
  • Bad: “My first job was as an accountant preparing tax returns for people much richer than me. I learned a great deal in that role that served me well over the next 16 years. At the time, I wasn’t sure about my career path, so I next took a position selling cupcakes at markets. It only lasted for six months, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. Especially the chocolate ones”

3. Why You’re Here — End by telling them you want the position and why. Be concise and positive, don’t be too candid, uncertain, or negative.

  • Good: “Although I love my current role, I feel I’m now ready for a more challenging assignment and this position really excites me.”
  • Bad: “Because of the company’s financial problems and my boss’s personal issues (you know she’s going through a messy divorce), I’m worried about my job’s stability and decided to start looking for new opportunities.”

Remember that you will have time later to walk through your resume in greater detail and fill in any gaps that you don’t cover in this answer. Don’t try to squeeze in too much information or your interviewer will start to tune out, make sure you keep their attention with a concise and relevant response.

A good interview is a dialogue not a monologue. Keep your responses concise and give your interviewer the chance to dive in and ask questions later.

Practicing your answer over and over will be the key to success, use the mirror and a stopwatch as tools for success.

Behavioural based questions – STAR Method

Behavioural based interview questions

Do you struggle to give concise answers to interview questions? Are you unsure how to share your accomplishments during an interview without sounding boastful? Or too modest?

Most employers will try to connect past and future behaviour, so in the interview process they will attempt to assess your future performance by enquiring about your past behaviour and actions. Behavioural based questions simply ask what you have done in the past. It is useful to be aware that your responses will be hypothetically critiqued against future anticipated behaviours.

The most common method for responding to behavioural based questions is the ‘STAR’ method and often an interviewer, particularly those with a Human Resources background will expect you to answer questions in this format or a similar variant.

The ‘STAR’ methodology is a structured manner of responding to competency/behavioural-based questions by providing examples of a Situation and Tasks you were required to undertake, Actions you took and the Result that was achieved. This method focusses your brain and allows you to provide concrete examples or proof that you possess the experience and skills for the job at hand. 

Prior to the interview, it may help to read the job description and make a list of the skills and experiences that are required for the role. Have examples on the tip of your tongue of past experiences that match your qualifications to those listed in the posting. When preparing for an interview, trigger your brain to go into STAR mode if you hear a question starting with phrases such as, “Describe a time when…” and “Share an example of a situation where….”

The concepts of the STAR acronym comprise the following:

Situation – Briefly and concisely describe the situation to give context to your task, include when this occurred and highlight any resources that were available to you and any existing challenges. Provide an example of a situation from your past which you could foresee arising in the role you’re being interviewed for.

Task – Clearly define what your responsibilities were, what you were required to achieve and the timeframe you had to work within.

Action – Give a detailed description of not only what you did but why you did it covering the other options that would have been available to you that were not selected. Emphasise the skills and knowledge utilised to complete task.

Results – Provide a concise evaluation of the result and also be sure to include what you learnt from the experience and how this has affected your decision making since the event. The result should preferably be a positive one!

Examples – using the STAR method

Example Question 1: Have you ever been in a situation when a team member has not completed his or her quota of the work?

Example Answer 1: When there are team conflicts or issues, I try my best to step up as team leader if needed. I think my communication skills make me an effective leader and moderator.

For example, once I was the wicketkeeper of the Tasmanian cricket team and I was unexpectedly called up to captain the Australian national team after the regular captain and vice captain got embroiled in a scandal, both unable to complete their assignments (SITUATION). As I was now leading the project and ultimately responsible for meeting the expectations of the Board (TASK), I arranged a team meeting where we reallocated all the assignments among the team members and formulated a new set of expected behaviours (ACTION). This made everyone more productive and the team culture improved dramatically. Our project culminated in a successful team, winning the series against Sri Lanka two nil (RESULT).

Example Question 2: Tell me about a time you showed initiative on the job.

Example Answer 2: Last year I was working as second in charge of the commanding army. War was imminent and we were about to go into battle for control of my spiritual and ancestral homeland. My commanding officer was stubborn in his belief that even though we were undermanned we would be successful in defeating our enemies. I wasn’t so sure (SITUATION). My responsibilities were to assemble the troops and prepare them for battle (TASK).

I took it upon myself to send a raven to former allies, requesting their services and thereby increasing the size of our army exponentially (ACTION). As our commanding officer’s troops were being trampled and our future appeared doomed, a horn sounded and our reinforcements (the Knights of the Vale) arrived in the nick of time. We casually swept away the enemy forces, winning the battle and allowing me to claim my rightful title as the Lady of Winterfell (RESULT).