Pay Rise

You’ve been in your job for a couple of years and you’re thriving. You’re smashing all your targets, and ticking all the boxes in your performance appraisals, but your success is not reflected in your pay package. Rather than threatening to down tools unless you receive more $$$ on the spot, hang in there and plan ahead. Here is our step-to-step guide to asking for and getting the pay rise you deserve.

BUILD A STRONG CASE
First, check out your job description. Are you meeting and exceeding all the requirements of your role? Have you taken on additional responsibilities that are not mentioned in your job description? Have you made suggestions that have been implemented in the workplace? If yes to any of these questions, then start to build your case. Make a list of your achievements and, if possible, quantify them. Highlight how many benchtops your team have made; specify the total client billings you have generated over the last six months.

Next, look outside your workplace at the wider employment market. Look at job ads for similar roles in the area; study online salary surveys and trends. Find out whether you could potentially earn more elsewhere and note important data. This research will not only help you to justify your request for an increase, it will also help your boss escalate that request to senior management.

BOOK A MEETING WITH YOUR BOSS
Rather than catching your boss on the hop, book a meeting with her and specify that you are wanting to discuss your performance and pay. Timing is crucial here. Fix a day when your boss is not submerged with work; you want her to be open to discussion. Equally, ensure that the current business climate in your workplace is conducive to talk of a pay rise. If the CFO has just quit, or a merger is looming on the horizon, you’d be best to hold off!

BE PREPARED TO SELL YOURSELF
If you don’t ask, you won’t get it! Asking for a pay rise can be a confronting and challenging experience, which is why some employees never get around to it. But you’ve done your homework and you know you’re worth it. So, go into that meeting with courage and confidence. Be upfront about what you bring to your role and the company and support your argument with the research you have carried out. Have a clear idea of the pay package you are after but go in higher so there is room for negotiation. Once you’ve stated your case, ensure you listen to what your boss has to say and respond appropriately. This should not be a battle, but a reasoned discussion between two professionals with a positive outcome for both sides: you receive your pay rise and your boss gets to keep a valued employee on her team.

CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS
All being well, you’ll get the pay rise you are asking for, but what if the response is ‘no’? Don’t lose your cool! First, ask your boss what you can do to achieve that increase in six months’ time. Perhaps there is an aspect of your role where she feels further development is required or perhaps she is privy to company information about future expense cuts and frozen pay. In both instances, consider whether you are best off staying in the role and working your way towards a new pay review or looking around for a new position in another company.

Good luck! We hope you get the pay rise you deserve.

Dress For Success

We have all heard the expression, ‘First Impressions last’ well this is very true especially at interview stage. You have made it this far through the recruitment process so don’t throw away your chance on poor outfit choice!

It can be hard to know what to wear for your interview when in doubt, we say here at Optimal Recruitment, its always better to be overdressed than under-dressed.  You should always stay away from denim and leave your hat and flip flops at home.

A three-piece suit is not always needed and what you wear does depend on where your interviewing and what image of yourself you want to portray. The best interview outfit is clean, well-fitting, appropriate for the company’s culture, and not attention-getting. We want the hiring manager to be discussing your skills and experience not your sparkly top or tattoos.

Here are a few ideas to help you for your big day:

Interviewing at a Corporate Workplace

Suit all the way! The whole works, pants/ skirt or shirt, jacket and tie, polished shoes, heels or closed in shoes. Stockings if it’s a formal workplace, hair tied back and brushed, jewellery should be minimal, tattoos and piercings if you can cover them up, make up natural and light, carry a small purse not an oversized bag, keep cologne and perfume to a minimum. Try and avoid patterned and funky designs go for a solid suit colour or small pinstripes if you can. Light coloured or white shirts are best and pick a conservative tie, avoid bow ties at your interview. Wear matching socks, polish your shoes and make sure your belt matches your shoes.

Interviewing at a Casual Business Workplace

Chinos and Buttoned shirt with a collar. Skirt or dress (knee length ideally), covered shoes, block colour dress / shirt.  Hair should be combed and tied back from your face. Jewellery should be minimal and please don’t wear too much perfume cologne – we have all been stuck in a lift with someone over-powering our senses before. You don’t want the interviewer to be shuffling you out because they can’t breathe.

Interviewing for Outdoor Work

You can wear those jeans but make sure they are your best ones though with no holes, rips or fraying. Avoid t-shirts with slogans, never wear shorts to an interview unless you are applying for a lifeguard position.  Closed in shoes in good condition are best and please avoid thongs and hats.

You want to look neat and tidy and employable!

Interviewing for a job at a cafe, dress shop, or a start-up

It can be tricky when deciding what to wear for some job positions. You probably want to go casual and wear those Jeans but you really should leave them at home.  We suggest you wear trousers or chinos instead. There is no need for a tie but if you can, wear a collared shirt or buttoned shirt – ideally not a t-shirt.  Ladies choose a skirt, pants and a blouse.  Shoes – wear what suits your outfit but make sure they are in good condition – maybe give them a quick clean if they have lots of scuff marks.

In a nutshell:

  • Keep scented items — cologne, perfume, and aftershave to a minimum.
  • Ensure your nails are clean – especially if you are going for a position in hospitality.
  • Hair should be combed and tied back from your face.
  • Jewellery should be minimal
  • If the company you are interviewing for has a set uniform, try and dress similar to their style.
  • Keep the flashy, see through, ripped and torn clothes at home.
  • A good rule of thumb is to dress like your boss

No matter what you are wearing to your interview you want to look polished and respectable. Just remember you are more likely to be taken seriously when you present yourself in a professional manner and take the time to attend to the little details.

And as my Nana says Dress for success

Good Luck!

Interview Photo

You’ve screened the resumes and come up with a shortlist of applicants who can all do the job…on paper at least. So, how do you decide which candidate is ‘the one’? Interviews can provide employers with valuable information about an individual’s skills, motivation, achievements and cultural fit. Especially if you ask the right questions and allow candidates to do most of the talking.

Here are ten of our favourite questions to ask candidates at interview:

  1. Why are you interested in this role?

You want to separate out those candidates who have done their homework from the rest. You will find out which aspects of the position have appealed to them. Are these the same aspects that you believe are key to the role and to your company moving forward?

  1. What are the three most important attributes you bring to this role?

Flowing on neatly from #1, you will obtain further insights into candidates’ understanding of the role, and the contribution they could make. You can then assess whether what they offer fits with what you are looking for.

  1. Why are you leaving your current employer?

Candidates’ answers can reveal much about their attitudes, motivation and values at work. Your job is to establish whether their current experience has been a positive one and whether they are leaving for a good reason. If you have doubts, then probe carefully to find out more.

  1. What motivates you most in your current role?

You want to understand what makes candidates tick. They may be enthusiastic about new challenges, for example, or working in a strong team. Will these candidates find similar motivation in the role you are offering and, more broadly, in the culture of your company?

  1. What do you dislike the most about your current role?

Candidates generally find at least one aspect of their current role less enjoyable. It may be a mundane task, such as stuffing envelopes or totting up the petty cash. But it may be something more revealing – such as a candidate for a supervisor role who does not like dealing with conflict.

  1. Tell me about your greatest achievement in your career to date.

Strong candidates are passionate about their accomplishments and will relish the opportunity to talk about them. What they consider to be a great achievement will provide you with insights into their personality, values and working style.

  1. Describe a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted. What did you do?

An alternative to “What’s your greatest weakness?” which most candidates have anticipated and prepared for. Here, you are asking candidates for a concrete example of a difficult situation. Their responses will provide information about their problem-solving skills, ability to own an issue and, potentially, their interaction with others.

  1. How would your colleagues describe you at work?

Some candidates find it difficult to talk about their attributes and achievements, especially at interview. So instead, give them a chance to view themselves through the eyes of their co-workers. You will gain valuable insights into their personality, work ethic, and relationships with others in a team.

  1. Describe the best boss you have reported to.

Bosses vary in the way they supervise, organise, delegate and communicate. And candidates will vary in the way they respond to them. So find out the type of management style that best suits your candidates’ needs and personality. A candidate who is a self-starter, for example, would not be a good match for a micro-manager.

  1. Do you have any questions for me?

Well-prepared candidates will have done their homework, researched the role and company, and drafted a few questions. What candidates ask can provide information about what they consider important. Are they just after basic information, like salary, perks and vacation days? Or are they focused on company vision and opportunities for career progression?

Try incorporating some – or all – of these questions in your candidate interviews. They should help you separate the mismatches and maybes from the high potential candidate(s) who will thrive in your role.

When was the last time you sat down and updated job descriptions in your organisation? For many managers, this activity may not be very high on your priority list, but it should be! Well-written, up-to-date job descriptions (JDs) can be incredibly useful documents for setting and managing expectations in many areas, including:

  • Recruitment: Whether you are hiring internally or externally, a job description provides recruiting managers and candidates with a clear idea of what the role entails and what requirements and qualifications are needed. A JD is also an excellent source of information for writing job ads and briefing agencies.
  • Training: A comprehensive job description gives managers and employees an indication of individual training needs based on role requirements. A suitable training plan can then be drawn up to enable employees to perform their job with confidence and skill.
  • Performance Management: When it comes to that year-end appraisal, reach for those job descriptions. You can evaluate your employees against the expectations you have set out, see where they are succeeding, and establish areas for development.
  • Compensation: A JD should provide an indication of the expected salary range for a particular role. This can help prospective candidates to self-select during the recruitment process. It can also be useful for managers when it comes to discussing salary raises, e.g. providing justification for a lower increase if a job holder is not fully carrying out the responsibilities of the role, or not meeting certain requirements.

So, what should you include in a winning job description?

A comprehensive header: State the formal job title, job type, reporting relationship, division/department, work location, salary range.

Job summary: Provide a brief overview of the job’s purpose, expectations and objectives.

Duties and responsibilities: Start with the duties/responsibilities that take up the most time. Use a bulleted list so that content is easily readable; you can also split the list into categories.

Education & qualifications: Provide information on the education level/type and qualifications that are required for the job.

Knowledge, skills & abilities (KSAs): This should be a list of those KSAs that are required for the job. Note that although skills and abilities are often bundled together, there is a difference! Skills are measurable and observable, and may be acquired through training. Abilities are generally innate (and not learned through training). Here are some examples to get you started:

Knowledge: Knowledge of administrative processes, year-end accounting procedures, operational systems

Skills: Proficiency in the Microsoft Office suite, mechanical repair, accurate data entry,

Abilities: Preparing and maintaining records, working in a team, communicating effectively (written and spoken)

Physical/mental demands: Include any information that is specific to the job, such as heavy lifting, climbing stairs, standing for extended periods of time, public speaking, as well as the work environment (e.g. outdoor work, use of hazardous chemicals).

Tools/equipment used: If applicable, include any specific/specialist tools needed to do the job.

Signature: The employee should sign and date the job description to acknowledge they have read and understood it.

We’ve put together a neat job description template that you are welcome to download and complete for jobs within your organisation. Send us an email and we will share it with you. We hope you find it useful!

8 Ways for Managers to Connect with Employees

The days when managers would hide away in their ivory towers are long gone, or should be. Managers play an essential role in boosting employee engagement, creating an environment where every individual in their team feels comfortable, valued and motivated. And great managers know that the key to success lies in communicating and connecting with their people. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Offer employees a welcoming and safe workplace, free from bullying, harassment and discrimination. By creating and maintaining a positive working environment, employees will be happy to come and work with you – and the business – every day.
  2. Be a good role model. Be responsible, positive and consistent in your decisions and actions. Make time for your employees, motivate them and inspire them to be the best they can be.
  3. Schedule regular team events where individuals can share ideas, work in progress, and voice any concerns. Rather than a weekly meeting in the office, have lunch together in the canteen or head out to a local café for a cappuccino and a chat. You’re not just connecting with your employees, you’re creating a team that everyone is happy to be part of.
  4. Act on employee suggestions. There is no point in individuals having a voice if their messages just vanish into thin air. By including employees’ feedback in decisions and processes, you are showing that you value their say. And the chances are they’ll engage more with you and the business going forward.
  5. Keep your people in the loop. If there’s something big on the horizon, let your employees know before it’s looming ominously large. Open communication is key to building trust and respect.
  6. Wander around randomly on a regular basis and check in on your team. Management by walking around (MBWA) was big back in the 1980s when it was pioneered by HP’s Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. It’s a great way to see what’s going on, listen to your employees, and provide on-the-spot assistance if necessary.
  7. Recognise and reward your employees for a job well done. Everyone likes to feel they’ve made a difference. Forget the fancy team competitions, score boards and expensive prizes; sometimes a simple ‘well done’ is all it takes.
  8. Invest in your people. Spend time with them, support them, encourage them and coach them as they work towards their personal and professional goals. Show them you are committed to a long-term working relationship by offering them training and development programs and opportunities for advancement.

Communicate, connect and create an environment where your employees, you, and the business will thrive!

At Optimal Recruitment, we would love to communicate and connect with you. Please contact us on 02 8416 4181 or info@optimalrecruitment.com.au