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At GradConnection we are often asked questions about the graduate application process, how
to write cover letters and CVs, how to handle interviews and assessments and much more!
This year we decided to partner with our friends at Development Beyond Learning (DBL) who
are experts in graduate training and development to deliver “How To Get The Job You Want”.
This is a free e-book to help YOU get an ‘edge’ over other graduates.

If you find this book useful then please forward it around, and if you have any questions
please head to this forum so we can help you out further:
If you have received this e-book from a friend and you don’t have a GradConnection account,
make sure you get one at . We will then keep you up to date as
graduate programs open and close!

Dan, Dave and Mike

development beyond learning (dbl)

Development Beyond Learning Pty Ltd (DBL) is proud partner with GradConnection to help you
get the job you want by sharpening your graduate edge. The Graduate Edge is the extra skills,
knowledge and development the best graduate employers expect the best graduates to have.

How do we know? Because DBL develops graduates during their graduate development
programs at some of the best graduate employers and organisations in Australia. These include
Accenture, General Electric, Australian Bureau of Statistics, CPA, Insurance Australia Group and
many, many more. Hopefully we’ll see you in YOUR graduate program soon!

To introduce ourselves to you, we have put together “How to get the job you want.” This free
36-page e-book is jam packed with tips, information and skills to help you get the job you
want. All the big questions answered in one place.

As a bonus, please go to now to download the “Top 10 Tip for Graduates”
10 free short videos for the next 30 days. Or check out the back page of this e-book for more
free opportunities for you and your friends to get The Graduate Edge.

Good luck!
Gary Lear and Josh Mackenzie


table of contents
Introduction i

Chapter 1 1
Targeting the ideal job for me 1
Why do I need to work? Why am I going for this job? 1
What do you want to wear to work? And where do you want to work? 2
What hours do you want to work? 3
What environment do you want to work in? 3
What benefits do you want and need? 4
What growth do you want to pursue? 4
Summary 4

Chapter 2 5
What do I put in my curriculum vitae (CV, Resume) and cover letter?
Should I tailor my resume and cover letter to every application? 5
Your resume 5
Summary for your resume 6
Layout & design 7
Resume final thoughts 8
Summary for your cover letter 8

Chapter 3 9
Getting the best out of the interview? 9
What Will We Talk About? 10
Commonly Asked Interview Questions 11
Some frequently asked questions 11
Questions about your qualifications for the position 12
Questions about your ability to work for the organisation 12
Difficult to answer questions 12
How to answer questions using the STAR structure 13
Closing the Interview 17
The final close 18
The Do’s and Don’ts of Your Interview 19
Chapter 4 20
The what and why of Psyche tests 20
Aptitude or ability tests 20
Work style questionnaires (personality/motivation/emotional intelligence) 21
Can I pass or fail psychometric assessments? 21
Can I prepare for a psychometric assessments or aptitude tests 22
Tips to remember before the Psychometric Assessment 22
Tips to remember on the day and while doing the Psychometric Assessment 22

Chapter 5 23
The assessment centre process 23
Before you arrive 24
At the assessment centre 24
Group exercises 26
Helpful tips to remain confident 26
Useful links and resources 27

Chapter 6 28
I have an offer should I accept? 28
You Have a Job Offer. Now What? 28
Does the Offer Add Up? 28

Chapter 7 31
I got it, what now? 31
Summary 34
9 Secrets to getting the job you really want 35
Final thoughts 36
chapter 1
Targeting the ideal job for me
The first step in getting a job you want, is knowing what that job is. Don’t limit yourself to the
degree you have completed. Think about what you want to do and how your degree relates
to that job. Don’t let the degree dictate the direction you take. Employers don’t just go by
qualifications or degrees alone; they pick the best person they think will fit the job. Therefore
don’t limit yourself. Focus on the work you want to do. What interests you? What is your
passion? What do you love doing for other people? These things, as much as your degree, will
be important to your perspective employer and will make your job much more satisfying for
you. So let’s spend some time in thinking about what you would love to do before we explain
how to do it.
The following questions will help you to determine the job you want

Why do I need to work? Why am I going for this job?

This is an interesting pair of questions. In our surveys, people give lots of reasons they need to
work, most of them financial. While this is understandable, the important question is, “Why do I
need to work?”

Imagine with me for a moment. See yourself as unbelievably wealthy and debt-free. You don’t
have to work for the income it brings you, but still, you do work. Because you aren’t concerned
with the amount of your pay cheque, you are able to choose the work you want to do for the
pure joy and pleasure of it. What would you choose? What would you do?

Do you have an answer in mind?

When we choose work that brings joy to our lives, we have made one of the smartest, most life-
enhancing choices we can possibly make. Passion cannot be overrated.

We can answer this question, “Why work?” in a number of different ways.

Here are some suggestions:
• Work at something you love doing, something that brings you joy.
• Work to feel the satisfaction of good hard work, of intentional effort.
• Work for a cause you feel deeply about.
• Work to leave a legacy.
• Work to create a better future.
• Work to deliver a gift to humanity.
• Work to break a sweat, and to get dirty and gritty and real.
• Work to fulfil your personal mission.
• Work in celebration of your natural strengths, talents and gifts.
• Work to make your weaknesses irrelevant.


• Work to show your agreement with another’s mission.
• Work to make a difference, to feel fulfilled, to “make meaning.”
• Work to serve others well, and serve your spirit for giving.
• Work to support someone you care about.
• Work to help someone you believe in.
• Work to learn what you don’t yet know.
• Work to teach, coach, and mentor others as only you can.

I am quite sure you can add a multitude of other reasons to plunge yourself into the pleasures
of work.

What do you want to wear to work? And where do you want to work?
The job market has changed dramatically, no longer is it necessary to wear a collar and tie
in some workplaces. The electronic age has made working remotely also a possibility. While
a number of employees will want you to work with a group early on in your career to gain
experience and pickup the culture of the organisation, some opportunities may still exist for
you to work remotely or dress casually when you go to work.

While your first choices may be dressing casually and working remotely, these optional may
not always be best for career development, In fact, to some people this can even be quite
destructive. The ability to work with a group of people and gain from the experience of others
is usually beneficial to the career. It can also enhance social possibilities.

The question of where you want to work also includes the question, “Does the job involve
travel?” When thinking about your job, remember that some jobs will require that you attend
the same office or workplace every day, while some will involve movement, locally, nationally,
or even overseas. While jobs that involve travel may appear attractive at first, travel can
become tiresome and damaging to your home and social lives. Travel can quickly become
monotonous with the typical view being the inside of offices and airport terminals. I’m not
trying to discourage you from taking jobs that involve travel. Just consider that they are not
always as glamorous as they first seem.

In deciding where you want to work you also need to consider the type of interaction you
want to have with other people. Some jobs can be highly interactive, going from one meeting
to another, while others can be desk bound with very little communication taking place
during a day. You need to answer the questions for yourself “What do you want to
wear to work?” and “Where do you want to work?


What hours do you want to work?
Some jobs come with rigid working hours. Others are more flexible, including options for
working late at night or weekends.

What kind of hours do you want to work? Time of day may be a factor, but so could duration of
work and flexibility.

Some jobs come with mandatory overtime. Others offer only part-time work. Some jobs are
actual jobs where required engagement with others demands a set timeframe. Others are
freelance opportunities with totally flexible timeframes. Do you prefer flexibility or the
discipline of a rigid schedule? The type of job you choose will determine the hours you work.

Think creatively about your background and different ways skills and interests can be
combined. For example, combining a love for writing with experience or a degree in marketing
could qualify you to work for an ad agency. Then, factor in your time and schedule. Would the
long hours, high stress, and long weeks take the fun out of the writing? If you handle stress
well, maybe the higher pay and access to better benefits outweigh the stress and long hours.
Some people gladly work long hours to be involved in such a volatile and lucrative field. Others
consider those long hours to be a major deterrent.

Knowing the kind of schedule you can tolerate, the kind of schedule you want, and recognising
the gap in between can help you select which jobs, fields, or industries appeal to you.

What environment do you want to work in?

While working environment is a major factor in career success and in worker happiness, it is
often overlooked. Really! Your work environment is just as important as the kind of work you
want to do.

So, what do you want your work environment to be like? Are you a highly social person who
wants to be surrounded by co-workers who are all working together? Or would you rather fly
solo? Do you like busy, fast-pace work environments that provide you with a daily adrenaline
rush? Or do you prefer a slower environment that provides regular down-time? Maybe you
prefer big organisations with multiple layers over smaller organisations?

What is important to you? Perhaps the size of the company doesn’t matter, but the size of the
city does. You might want to work in an urban environment. You may prefer suburbia. You may
want to stay in a small town.

Decide where you want to work, in a general sense. Combining that with what you want to
do, can help narrow your focus and bring you one step closer to the right job, field,
and industry for you.


What benefits do you want and need?
For some people, the job they need is determined by factors other than what they enjoy. For
many people, salary and benefits are an essential consideration.

So, how much do you need to make? What benefits do you need? What employers provide the
benefits you need? You just narrowed down your possibilities to those types of organisations.
Then again you might ask, “Do I really need my employer to provide them? Maybe a job with no
benefits and a much higher salary would allow me to purchase my own benefits and have even
more left over.” It often pays to do some out-of-the-box thinking.

What growth do you want to pursue?

If you’re trying to develop a career, then the job you work now is more than just a job—it’s
a stepping stone along your career path. The right job for you might be more about the
opportunities it opens up than about the work you really want to do.

Think about your career track. Think about the opportunities that are available to you now and
the opportunities you want to be available to you in the future. Is there a stepping stone that’s
just right for you?

I meet new graduates every week, the biggest challenge that I come across is they have
achieved their goal of getting a degree. But, they have not planned for the next part of life.
Applying for your first job can shape the rest of your life. Yet, too many people select the first
job that comes along. Rather than planning and shaping their own life, they let the job shape it
for them.

Try this. Ask yourself, “If I was trapped in a lift with a person who could possibly give me my
ideal job and had thirty seconds to describe that ideal job to this person, how would I describe
this job in such a way that I am the best person for it?”

Here’s your challenge: Write down the words you would use now. Have you got clear in your
mind? What and why are you applying for this particular job?


chapter 2
What do I put in my curriculum vitae (CV, Resume) and cover letter?
Should I tailor my resume and cover letter to every application?
Your resume and your cover letter are your personal selling tools. They must present your
information quickly, clearly, and in a way that makes your experience relevant to the position in

A well-written cover letter can help you to make a strong first impression with an employer.
It is an excellent opportunity to summarise your key attributes and experience and convey
information that is specific to the position you are applying for.

Employers tell me the hardest part about selecting a candidate is reading the resumes. The
discussions I’ve had with many employers indicate that many resumes just simply miss the
mark and are discarded after the first or second paragraph. Due to the number of resumes a
recruiter receives daily, they typically know within about nine seconds of receiving a resume
if a candidate will be called for an interview. On average, one interview is granted for every 75
resumes that come across a recruiter’s desk.

It is therefore important to have a resume that is targeted at the job you are applying for and
that grabs the reader’s attention in the first paragraph.

Your resume
In order to have a successful resume, it is vitally important to recognise what your resume is
and isn’t. Job seekers who are well-known or well-connected, recommended by a friend, or
adept at networking can often get an interview without a resume. However, a well-written
resume is still important because many employers use it later in the recruiting and hiring
process. In all other cases, the primary goal of your resume is to get you an interview. This is
your thirty-second commercial. Until you meet with a recruiter or potential employer, this is all
they know of you.

Recruiters want to see a resume that is simple to understand, and leaves them wanting to know
more about the individual that is applying for the position. Your resume should compel the
recruiter to pick up the phone or email you to schedule a phone screening or an interview.
Your resume should be between 2-5 pages long and include the following sections:


• Impactful opening statement. Why this is the job for me. What I can do for you.
• Personal details
• Qualifications and education
• Key skills / strengths. Reemphasise what I can do for the employer
• Career summary, including volunteer work if appropriate
• Detailed employment history
• Hobbies and interests
• Referees

In your resume you want to display the skills and work ethic that you will bring to the
organisation. If you are a natural leader, or team player be sure to capture those critical
characteristics. Use strong action-oriented words such as “directed”, “facilitated”, and
“implemented” to help you stand out. Avoid phrases that sound like you were merely an
observer when something important happened.

A senior IT entrepreneur said recently to me “The reason people are not getting the jobs they
want, is they make the search for the job all about themselves. They tell the person recruiting,
this is the job I want, and ask how are you going to give it to me? Rather than promoting
themselves as assets to an organisation by saying things like: This is what I can do for you.
This is how excited I am by the opportunity of being able to help your company achieve their
goals and this would be the skills I can provide to help you achieve these goals. People seem
to have little or no idea about knowing what a company wants to see from their staff. I want to
hire someone who is passionate about working in IT and wants to see the company do well, not
someone who wants to just come in and do a 9-to-5 day.”

The best resumes do more than get an interview. They also help guide the interviewer. When
your resume contains compelling information, it begs certain questions that allow you to tell
your story. Facts are important, but easily forgotten. Interesting stories can help you “make
the finals” in the recruiting process. Take a line from the sales industry, “Facts tell, stories
sell.” You are selling yourself and the resume is part of that process. Mention special awards,
accomplishments, recognition, company records, and other differentiators that will get called in
for an interview and set-up a memorable interview.

It goes without saying a good recruiter checks the resume, so tell the truth. I know, you’re
probably saying everyone has padded their resume at some point in time. To that I would say
you are probably right but the consequences of being caught are not worth the risk and
may rule you out of that job that is just perfect for you.


Summary for your resume
Even if you are not applying for a job in journalism, your writing is important. There are rules
and there are preferred styles. Unless you are a highly experienced writer avoid the temptation
to invent your own rules and/or be too clever with your writing style. To avoid a premature exit
from the recruiting process, read, understand and adopt the following resume best practices:
• U
 se clear, concise, positive and action-oriented language (e.g., accomplished, created,
launched, negotiated, etc.)
• W
 rite your resume in the third person and keep pronouns (i.e., I, we, they) to a minimum or
avoid them altogether.
• C
 ustomise your resume for each job by focusing on previous experience or skills that are
relevant to the advertised role. Say what you have done that is relevant, and what you can
do for them.
• Use bullet points, rather than a narrative style (it will also help you get to 2-5 pages).
• E
 nsure results are specific and quantifiable. Using numbers and percentages will help to
illustrate your successes or the impact you made.
• K
 eep it honest. Don’t exaggerate your experience as you may be asked more detailed
questions which bring out the truth.
• L ist your employment history and education details in reverse chronological order (ie., start
with the most recent), making sure you provide the months as well as the years.
• W
 hen listing your employment history, include responsibilities, achievements and results
for each position.
• Avoid acronyms and jargon. Write in plain English so that you are understood.
• E
 nsure that you spell check and then proof read your resume thoroughly before submitting
it to each role. Have a qualified person proof read it, too.
• Reread the advertisement and make sure you have covered all the requirements.

Layout & design

The final look and feel of your resume is ultimately a personal preference. Layout and design
offer the greatest opportunities to create a unique and memorable resume that gets attention.
However, with opportunity comes risk. Unless you are a skilled graphic designer use a template
or get help from an expert. Here are some design considerations:
• C
 hoose fonts and size with readability as the first priority. If it’s hard to read, you’ll be a
statistic of the nine-second rule.
• B
 e aware of space. Too much empty space makes the resume look hollow. Too little space
makes it appear crowded, disorganised and unattractive.
• Use high quality paper. Choose a colour and texture that don’t interfere with the text.
• Use no more than 2 fonts. One is safer.
• Change font sizes for headers and titles only.


• Use bold and italics strategically, but sparingly to make certain words of phrases stand out.
• Bulleted and numbered lists are effective if not overused.

A good design will draw the reader’s eyes to the most important parts in the best possible

In matters of artistic preference, rules were made to be broken. If you want to break the rules,
know why and understand the risks.
Resume final thoughts
Like anything in life, your resume will benefit from objective input. Have someone review and
critique your resume. Nothing will get a resume pushed to the bottom of the stack faster than a
resume with spelling and grammatical errors. Having a winning resume will not only unlock the
doors to countless opportunities, but it will also be the first step in getting the job you want.

Summary for your cover letter

The cover letter is your best opportunity to make a good first impression. It has the advantage
of fewer rules and constraints, at least as far as the message is concerned. The cover letter is the
perfect opportunity to tell your story. Here are some guidelines to follow when creating a cover
• B
 e relevant. Review the advertisement and reply specifically to what you see are the main
requirements. How you believe you can contribute to achieving what they are looking for from
the role. Be very positive.
• Be personal. Write your cover letter in the first person.
• Be concise. Keep your cover letter to one page and your introduction brief.
• B
 e direct. Address the letter to the relevant contact listed in the advertisement, by name
where possible.
• B
 e specific. Refer to the advertised job title, reference number and where and when you saw
the advertisement. Customise your cover letter for each job you apply for.
• Be purposeful. Outline the reason for your interest in the role/company.
• Be positive. Demonstrate an upbeat and enthusiastic attitude to work.
• Be correct. Use spell check. Then, proof read your cover letter thoroughly before submission.
• Be complete. Reread the advertisement and make sure you have covered all the requirements.
• B
 e professional. Even if you reply to the advertisement electronically or via email, include a
cover letter. Don’t be seduced by the more casual method of corresponding via e-mail. Your
cover note must still be business-like and free of errors. Try to keep the information to
one screen of text and remember to attach your resume and cover letter.


chapter 3
Getting the best out of the interview?
Well you’ve made it this far. Congratulations! Unlike probably 75 other people, you have been
selected for the all-important interview. Now is the time to make the best impression possible
so that they will say this is the person for us. It’s your turn to shine. So don’t blow it.

Because the job interview is one of the most important parts of the job search process it can
be the most daunting. The fact that you were requested for a job interview is very encouraging
and suggests that the employer has seen something in the resume that he/she likes. However,
it’s not all one-sided. Interviews are also to help you determine whether you like the job as
well, and to see whether the job is a good “fit” for both parties.

The interview will give you a chance to convince the employer that you are the best person
for the job. The goal of the job interview is to show the employer that you have the skills,
background, enthusiasm and ability to do the job, that you can successfully help the
organisation achieve its goals, and that you will be a perfect fit for the organisation and its
work cultures. Employers do not usually hire on merits or qualifications alone. They are looking
for an individual who is confident, enthusiastic, and positive and is an effective communicator.
Showing these qualities are all vital to the job interview process, so be prepared.

The job interview is a communication process. If you can impress the interviewer with your
communication skills, experiences, and interests there is a good chance that the employer will
remember you. It is important that you can show the employer how you will be an asset to the

Visit the company’s website. Familiarise yourself with facts and figures, and the products and
services the company offers. Study their mission and vision statements. Look for the annual
report and job descriptions online or call and request a copy. Search for articles about the
company to see how it is portrayed in the news. Perhaps it has won awards or is engaged
in public service. If the company has, review and remember the information to use in your
interview. It will impress the interviewer.

Refresh your memory regarding important facts and figures of your own employment history.
For example, if you have a sales background, be aware of your performance figures. Think about
your greatest achievements so far in both your work and personal file.

Your interview may well include competency based questioning. Think about what skills
might be required for the role and examples from your history that you could talk
about to demonstrate these core competencies.


Make sure you know the details of interview time, location and who you’ll be meeting. You may
also have a job description, plus some information about the company you’re interviewing

Don’t wing it. Prepare well in advance. The work you do before the interview is arguably the
most crucial part of the whole process. An interview is like an exam - preparation is paramount.
It is often the X-factor that will have you perform better than your competition.

An interview is an audition. You should practice answering with a friend or with your family
members. Rehearse to make sure your answers are clear and succinct. When practicing avoid
terms such as “like” and “you know” and don’t sound too rehearsed, as though you have
memorised each answer.

Important tips
• Be on time. There is no worse way to begin an interview than by arriving late.
• B
 e dressed appropriately. Do not chew gum or smoke anywhere near the interview location.
Wear your best work outfit. The things to remember are cleanliness, simplicity and no strong
or ‘loud’ colours. For males, a suit is the preferred attire, but a long-sleeved shirt and tie
with long trousers may also acceptable. For females, a suit or skirt and blouse or classic
dress are preferable with appropriate stockings and shoes.
• B
 e yourself. Speak clearly and enthusiastically about your experiences and skills. Be
professional, but don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
• B
 e a good listener. There is nothing worse than asking a question at the end of the interview
that the employer has already talked about. The combination of listening and being
prepared will help you answer questions in context with the job you are seeking, be less
nervous, and make your answers more focused and relevant.
• B
 e positive. Don’t talk about your bad feelings or give any excuses about a negative
experience. If you are asked why your grades are low, don’t give excuses. Instead, focus on
stating the positive facts and lessons learnt from your experiences.
• B
 e poised. Pay attention to non-verbal behaviour. Look the interviewer in the eye, sit up
straight with both feet on the floor. You should also control nervous habits such as fingernail
biting and giggling.


What will we talk about?
Remember, the interview isn’t just about the questions and answers. The whole process also
takes account of your appearance, your posture, your mannerisms and the like. However, the
questions and answers are a crucial part. So, be prepared to give well thought-out and clear

Commonly asked interview questions

We have talked about some of the things to do before the interview. You know what to wear,
how to walk, but what about the questions. The questions you will be asked have more than
likely been prepared beforehand by the interviewer or the interview panel. These questions
are usually structured and most questions have an application to the job or the culture of the
person they are looking for. You may be interviewed by one person or you may find yourself
interviewed by a panel of two, three or more. When you are being interviewed by a panel
normally they would have decided who was going to ask what question. More than likely the
question is being asked by the person who really wants to know the answer. Panels can be a
little daunting, but don’t be distracted, listen carefully and answer questions directly to the
panel member who asked. Also ensure that you make eye contact with every panel member at
some stage during the interview.

There are a set of commonly asked questions you need to think about and a few you should be
ready for.

Some questions you’re likely to hear are listed in the table below. Be prepared!

Some frequently asked questions

• What are your immediate objectives? What are your future aspirations?
• What are your strengths and weaknesses?
• What interests you in the position and/or our company?
• What do you know about our company?
• What are your hobbies or interests? What do you do in your spare time?
• What have you enjoyed most/least about your previous job(s)?
• What are your greatest achievements?
• What kinds of management style and team structure do you prefer, and why?
• How would your friends or people you’ve worked with describe you?
• Have you applied for other positions? If so, what type?
• Have you been successful? If not, why not?
• Why should we hire you?
• How hard are you prepared to work?
• What are the most important rewards you expect in your
business career?


• What do you do in your spare time?
• Are you willing to relocate?

Questions about your qualifications for the position

• How do you think a friend or someone who knows you well would describe you?
• How would someone who dislikes you describe you?
• Can you summarise the contribution you would make to our organisation?
• What was your most rewarding university experience?
• Please tell me about the greatest professional assignment you’ve ever handled.
• Tell me about your most significant work experience.
• Why are you the best candidate for this position?
• Have you ever supervised anyone?

Questions about your ability to work for the organisation

• What qualities should a successful manager possess?
• In what kind of work environment are you most comfortable?
• What criteria are you using to evaluate the organisation for which you hope to work?
• Are you a team player? (Offer an example and anticipate a follow-up question.)
• How do you handle conflict?
• What major problem have you encountered and how have you dealt with it?
• How competitive are you?
• What do you expect from your supervisor?
• Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and those reporting to
him or her.

Difficult to answer questions

• Tell me about a time when you experienced a failure and how you reacted to it.
• Tell me about a time when you were under considerable pressure to meet an important goal.
• Describe a situation where you had to resolve a problem and explain how you resolved it.
• Give me an example of how you are a risk taker.
• If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
• What motivates you?
• Why should we hire you over everyone else we’ve spoken to today?
• How do you go about deciding what to do first when given a project?
• Tell me about an experience you have had in a working environment (school, work,
or community).
• Describe a situation where you did not agree with something your superior
asked you to do and how you resolved the problem.


How to answer questions using the STAR structure
We recommend preparing your answers to the questions by shaping them using the STAR
structure - Situation, Task, Action, Result. This structure allows you to provide a concise, well-
structured response and helps you avoid drifting off-track if nerves get the better of you!
The STAR structure involves these four steps:

Situation Outline what problem or Example: Question: Can you tell me about
instance you were faced with a time when you have solved a complex
problem? What steps did you take?
During my final year I was doing some
volunteer work with a local charity, helping
them build a database to keep a record of their
Task Explain what your task was The night before we were to launch the
within the situation database and train the staff on its use, it
stopped functioning.
Action Explain in sequential steps I called a meeting to brainstorm, talk through
what your response was to our options and allocate tasks. As the person
the situation. What did you with the highest level of IT knowledge, I
do? spent most of the night working through the
program, trying different options (provide a
You should include as much few examples...) and testing and re-testing the
information within this system, I kept a list of what I had tried as I went
section as possible; while still through it and kept regular updates flowing
being concise. through to the others who were completing
other tasks.
Don’t forget to use “I” not I finally found a small programming error that I
“we”. fixed. I then retested the whole system one final
time to ensure it wouldn’t happen again and
reported the results back to my team.
Result Explain the outcome Everything worked as it should the next day
at our roll-out and training. The organisation
could start data entry of the volunteer
information on time and I received great
feedback about my leadership and technical

There are some questions however that may leave you stumped. How do you answer these?
They may not fit the STAR structured process. We have prepared some suggestions for eight of
these commonly asked difficult questions.


1. “Tell me about yourself?”
Be warned this question is not an invitation to ramble on.

This is not a literal question. This is a question for you to give framework to the interview.
You can tell the person what is important to you. Frame your answer in a way that people can
remember it even tell it to other people. This is a time for you to turn your life history into a
story that leads seamlessly into this job being the obvious next step for you.

However, to answer this question correctly you may need to know more about the context.
Why are they asking this question? If the context isn’t clear it is okay to ask to put it in context.
In such a situation, you could ask, “Is there a particular aspect that you would like more
information on?” This will enable the interviewer to help you find the appropriate focus and
avoid discussing irrelevancies.

Whichever direction your answer ultimately takes, be sure that it has some relevance to
the organisation or at least your involvement in a work context. The tale you tell should
demonstrate, or refer to, one or more of your key positive behaviours – perhaps honesty,
integrity, being a team player, or determination. If you choose “team player” (maybe you’re
the star player on your team tennis group), you can tell a story about yourself outside of work
that also speaks volumes about you at work. In part, your answer should make the connection
between the two, such as, “I put my heart into everything I do, whether it be sports or work. I
find that getting along with teammates - or professional peers - makes life more enjoyable and

Or you might describe yourself as someone who is able to communicate with a variety of
people, so give an example from your personal life that indicates an ability to communicate
also at work.

This isn’t a question that you can answer effectively off the cuff. Take some time in advance to
think about yourself, and those aspects of your personality and/or background that you’d like
to promote or feature for your interviewer. Answer this question so that when someone says
to the interviewer, “How was that person you interviewed?” the interviewer will be able to
respond by telling your quick story. Have it prepared and make it memorable.

2. “Why do you want to work here?”

This question also requires preparation. To effectively answer it you will need to research the
organisation and gain a clear picture of what the vision, mission and targets are so that you can
tie your answer into the culture of the organisation. Reply with the organisation’s attributes as
you see them. Cap your answer with reference to your belief that the organisation is a good
fit for your career objectives, such as a stable and happy work environment or a place
where you can grow as a professional or an atmosphere that would encourage your
best work.


You could conclude by making a statement like, “I’m not looking for just another pay cheque. I
enjoy my work and am proud of my profession. Your organisation produces a superior product
and/or provides a superior service. I share the values that make this possible, which should
enable me to fit in and complement the team.”

3. “What would you like to be doing five years from now?”

When and why did you establish these goals and how
are you preparing yourself to achieve them?
This answer also requires preparation. You need to understand the goals of the organisation
and be able to blend them with your goals. The safest answer contains a desire to be regarded
as a true professional and team player. As far as promotion, that depends on finding a manager
with whom you can grow. You could use an approach of avoiding directly answering the
question while at the same time including some of your research about the organisation
by saying: “From my research and what you have told me about the growth here, it seems
operations is where the heavy emphasis is going to be. It seems that’s where you need the
effort and where I could contribute toward the company’s goals.” Or, “I have always felt
that first-hand knowledge and experience open up opportunities that one might never have
considered, so while at this point in time I plan to be a part of [e.g.] operations, it is reasonable
to expect that other exciting opportunities will crop up in the meantime.” and finish by saying
“One day I would love to be leading an organisation like this.” These statements show that you
know about the organisation and have a respect and a desire to grow as the organisation grows.

4. “Can you work under pressure?”

This question is a closed question. You might be tempted to give a simple “yes” or “no” answer,
but don’t. It reveals nothing, and you lose the opportunity to sell your skills and value profiles.
Whenever you are asked a closed-ended question, mentally add: “Tell me about when you
last……” Do this, and you will give the information requested and seize an opportunity to sell
yourself. For example, you could say: “Yes, I usually find it stimulating. However, I believe in
planning and proper management of my time to reduce panic deadlines within my area of
responsibility. Recently I had an experience where I had to respond to a difficult situation
under pressure. What I did was………… and it resulted in………….”

5. “How do you take direction?”

The question here is not directed at you taking directions. It is about you being a team player.
The question is also about “Can you see the big picture?” and “ Are you able to work with
someone who needs to get the job done and must give directions?” Your approach and
answers to these questions should really reflect that you are a team player. You realise
there is a need to follow directions. You are not a high maintenance


person who constantly needs support but gets on with the job at hand.
This particular question can also be targeting “How do you take direction?” and “How do you
accept criticism?” Your answer should cover both points: “I take direction well and recognise
that it can come in two varieties, depending on the circumstances. There is carefully explained
direction, when my boss has time to lay things out for me in detail; then there are those times
when, as a result of deadlines and other pressures, the direction might be brief and to the point.
While I have seen some people get upset with that, personally I’ve always understood that there
are probably other considerations I am not aware of. As such, I take the direction and get on with
the job without taking offense, so my boss can get on with their job. It’s the only way.”

6. “
 What are some of the things that bother you?”
“What are your pet hates?”
“Tell me about the last time you felt anger on the job.”
These questions are so similar that they can be treated as one. It is tremendously important
that you show you can remain calm. Most of us have seen a co-worker lose his or her cool
on occasion - not a pretty sight and one that every sensible employer wants to avoid. This
question comes up more and more often the higher up the corporate ladder you climb, and the
more frequent your contact with clients and the general public. To answer it, find something
that angers conscientious workers. Like “what bothers me is when I see customers being
treated badly.” Or “I really hate not completing a job to the quality that I expect of myself” or
in relation to feeling anger you could reply “There are a few times like…… when I feel anger but
I think the most important thing is not to show it in an uncontrolled way. Even the best leaders
feel anger but they know how to deal with it and how to get the best out of the team without
showing it.” and conclude with a sentence like “I enjoy giving my best to my employer and my
best includes maintaining and even temperament.”

7. “Do you prefer working with others or alone?”

This question is usually used to determine whether you are a team player. Before answering,
however, be sure you know whether the job requires you to work alone - then answer
appropriately. Perhaps: “I’m quite happy working alone when necessary. I don’t need much
constant reassurance. But I prefer to work in a group--so much more gets achieved when
people pull together.”

8. “How much money do you need to make?”

Do not answer this question. You have no idea how much this position is worth to the company.
The person interviewing you knows the firm’s bottom line, so they should tell you how much
the position is worth to the business. Maybe you did your last job for free. That has nothing to
do with how much this position is worth to the current interviewer. So you politely say
that you’d like them to decide how much the position is worth to them and offer that


Closing the Interview
The final step in the interview will usually be about any questions that you have. The
interviewer may say “Do you have any questions for me?” While I would hope you have had
a lot of your questions answered during the interview, it’s always beneficial to ask at least a
couple of questions at this point. It shows that you are keen and inquisitive. If the interview has
been comprehensive, it can often be hard to think of questions. So again, be prepared with a
few questions. It’s okay to have these written down and ask can you refer to your notes.

Here are some examples that might be of use:

• How has this vacancy come about? Can you tell me about the previous person in the role?
• How does the position fit into the organisational structure?
• What sort of positions have staff that have entered your organisation progressed to?
• What are the company’s growth plans for the company?
• In what areas do you expect the business to grow the most?
• How do you rate against your competitors?
• I n relation to your recent merger with Company X, (if you know this has happened from your
research) what are some of the effects being felt and how will it change the organisation?
• I n relation to your recent acquisition of Company Y, (if you know this has happened from
your research) how will it impact the business?
• How would you describe the culture of your company?
• What orientation or induction programs are available?
• What is the company’s approach towards external training and development?
• What type of internal social/sporting activities are organised?
• What will be the next step?

As a general rule, ask open-ended questions instead of closed questions. You ideally want
detailed information, rather than a simple yes or no response. To do this a simple way is to use
TED. The acronym stands for Tell Explain Describe so your question could be “Tell me about….”
or “Explain how….” or “Described for me….”

The final close

In most cases, the interviewer will close the interview without giving you much indication of
where you stand. If this is the case, don’t be discouraged. Simply thank him or her warmly and
re-iterate your enthusiasm for the role. You may also want to briefly restate why you want the
position, and what you feel you can bring to the role and the company. Sell yourself right to the
end, but do it tactfully.


However there may be an opportunity for you to have one final word. Your role in an
interview is to sell yourself. Salespeople are always focused on the close. When you are being
interviewed, you’re selling yourself, so you need to close if there is an opportunity. You need to
prepare your close prior to the interview. Here is a suggestion; “Thank you for taking the time
to talk with me. I want this job very much. Do you have any reservations about hiring me?” By
the interviewer answering this positively it reinforces all you said in the mind. If they answer
with a concern then you will have a chance to allay any fears the interviewer has about you.
It may be a tough moment to put yourself into, but it’s better to have a chance to do it at that
point than to give up now, when you are so close.

Finally, take a deep breath and relax! You’ve given it your best shot, and if it’s meant to be,
it will be!


Here are a few dos and don’ts for you to scan through before you go to your interview.

DO arrive at your interview a couple of DON’T ever ask about salary. If the interviewer
minutes early if possible. Being late for asks what your salary expectations are, tell
an interview, even if only slightly, is never them your recruitment consultant is managing
acceptable and will usually ruin your chances that on your behalf.
right there and then.
DON’T ask about fringe benefits, holidays,
DO greet your interviewer with a firm bonuses and the like, especially in a first
handshake and good eye contact. interview. This may be appropriate later on
in the process.
DO wait until you are offered a chair before
you sit down. Sit upright and maintain good, DON’T give one word answers like simple
positive eye contact throughout the interview. ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Explain yourself in some details
This will show that you are listening keenly. and give evidence to support your responses.

DO listen carefully, be sure to give direct DON’T ramble on too much when asked a
and relevant answers to the interviewer’s question. Even though you need to provide
questions. Giving irrelevant answers, no informative answers, you can go overboard.
matter how brilliant, will not help you. This can be a tricky balance to achieve
sometimes, but focus on the relevant facts.
DO show enthusiasm. With interview nerves,
it is easy to forget this crucial point. Take DON’T speak negatively about anything if you
a deep breath, be conscious of your whole can avoid it, especially past employers and
body language, and be keen and interested bosses. Try to give a fair and balanced account
throughout the interview. of past experiences.

DO be honest. Answer questions truthfully,

succinctly and as close to the point as

DO use the questions as an opportunity to

sell yourself to the interviewer. Use your
answers to highlight your strengths and
your suitability for the role.

DO show maturity, a clear well-spoken

manner and confidence in your own ability!
Remember, you’re there to show that you’re
the best person for the job.


chapter 4
The what and why of Psyche tests
Psychometric assessments may form one stage of the recruitment process. They help
employers gather objective information about an applicant in order to decide if they are the
most suitable person for the job. The results are generally used in conjunction with other
information such as your resume, interview responses, and referee comments.

A good psychometric test cannot be manipulated, therefore the first piece of advice is; don’t try
to manipulate a test. Most tests will have some form of inbuilt checking mechanism. If you try
to manipulate the test and get the results you think the interviewer wants, what you will do is
simply show them that you are not real and you will be discarded even before your results are

Psychometric assessments are used across many industries and are commonly part of the
selection process for any position.

The most commonly used psychometric tools would be:

Aptitude or ability tests

Aptitude or ability tests provide information on a person’s ability to perform certain tasks and
their potential to learn and understand new information and tasks. Aptitude tests are used
to ensure a minimum level of ability in using numerical and written information. You may
encounter them at the first stage of a graduate recruitment campaign where they can be used
to reduce the size of the applicant pool by eliminating scores below a certain level. Tests may
• Verbal reasoning (critical evaluation of written information)
• Numerical Reasoning (analysis of numerical data)
• Abstract Reasoning or spatial reasoning (often use of diagram sequences)
• Comprehension/grammar
• Information checking (checking errors / attention to detail tasks)
• IQ (how quickly you can learn and master a new task)

Aptitude tests are used to ensure a minimum level of ability in using numerical and written
information and can be designed to indicate suitability for specific tasks eg computing,
keyboard or foreign language skills.


Work style questionnaires
(personality/motivation/emotional intelligence)
Work style questionnaires or inventories are concerned with how you typically behave, such
as the way you relate to others or the way you approach and solve problems. They generally
explore personality characteristics relevant to the world of work. To answer the questions you
often need to think about what you would do in a work situation. If you have no formal work
experience, think about how you behave in similar situations such as voluntary work, university
activities or when you are participating in your hobbies.

Work style questionnaires look at factors such as:

• Ways of thinking, feeling and acting in different situations
• Interpersonal style, conflict style, leadership style
• Patterns of coping with stress
• Interests - how much do you like carrying out various types of activities at work.
• M
 otivations – look at the energy with which you approach your work, and the different
conditions which increase or decrease your motivation.
• Work values– what factors make work worthwhile for you
• How you interpret your own and others emotions and behaviours
• Occupational Personality/Motivational/Values based assessment.

These are used to get an idea of your fit with the role, team or organisation, or may be used to
flesh out questions for a final round interview.

For example, an employer wanting someone for a role requiring consistent attention to
repetitive detail will probably not want to give that job to someone who is very creative and
gets bored easily. These tests will separate the candidates in groups and give a guide, and a
guide only, to the interviewers that should be checked in the interview process.

Can I pass or fail psychometric assessments?

Personality assessments are not about passing or failing but about giving a profile of you to the
employer, whose task it is to match an applicant to the job or work place.

Aptitude or ability tests can result in a score which allows employers to rank you compared to
other applicants or a criteria/standard they have set.

Employers will use a range of assessments to evaluate applicants against the competencies
they require e.g. psychometric tests, interview/s, assessment centre activities and the biodata
(eg education, employment, skills) presented in your resume. One low psychometric test
outcome on an ability test will not make you ineligible for the job.


Can I prepare for a psychometric assessments or aptitude tests?
While no specific preparation is possible, becoming familiar with what to expect will also lower
anxiety around the process.

You can do Myers Briggs (MBTI) and DISC psychometric assessments on Facebook. A set of
practice tests is available at the following websites:

Tips to remember before the Psychometric Assessment

Strategies include:
• Read the newspapers and complete crosswords to ‘exercise’ your mind.
• Brush up on basic mathematical calculations such as calculating percentages.
• Get a good night’s sleep and don’t skip breakfast!
• If appropriate, advise the test coordinator of any special requirements you might have.

Tips to remember on the day and while

doing the Psychometric Assessment
On the day, make sure you listen to the test instructions carefully; some tests come with time
constraints. In most timed tests it is unlikely that you will finish. The best strategy is to find a
balance between speed and accuracy, there is no point finishing the test if you get the most
wrong. You need to work as quickly as practical and skip questions you get stuck on. However,
it is not usually advisable to skim the whole test for easy questions; this approach can tend to
waste time.

If you are in doubt about anything, make sure you clarify any concerns by asking questions
before the test starts. It’s okay to ask “What are you trying to determine from this test?” You
may not get an answer, but it is okay to ask.

Some tips are:

• Listen carefully to the instructions given. If you are not clear on what is required, ask.
• Read the instructions, you need to know:
- Will marks be deducted for wrong answers?
- Can you select more than one multiple choice response?
- Is there a time limit?
• S
 ometimes there are far more questions than can be realistically completed in the
time allocated. Don’t worry - they are designed that way.


chapter 5
The assessment centre process

What are assessment centres?

The term ‘Assessment Centre’ does not refer to a location, but to a process which is being
increasingly used by middle to large organisations in Australia and Overseas to assess the most
suitable recruits to a wide range of positions and to identify staff who possess strong potential
for higher level positions, or who can best adjust to changes within the organisation.

An Assessment Centre is a collection of activities designed to show whether your skills,

experiences and personal qualities match the organisation’s selection criteria and culture.
Assessment centres can be designed to be fun and they can take many forms. One assessment
centre our organisation carries out is in the form of an Amazing Race. But, even though they are
fun, they are designed to assess the suitability of the applicant for the organisation or the role.
They will vary in structure, but typically:
• Several candidates will be present (approximately 6-12)
• Some exercises will involve other candidates, some you may do on your own
• You are assessed against a number of key competencies (skills) required to do the job

An Assessment Centre can be run separately or in conjunction with psychometric testing and
aptitude or ability test. It may include multiple methods of assessment such as:
• Aptitude tests
• Personality and motivation questionnaires
• Simulation exercises
• Interviews

An assessment centre can take a whole day or even two, and can be challenging. Some
organisations and government departments use assessment centres as programs, where a
series of activities are used to assess your attributes and abilities to carry out work tasks
through simulations.

Assessors observe your performance and interactions in group settings, to identify

communication, leadership problem solving and other areas of skill relevant to the job.

Assessment centres are more objective than traditional interviews alone which may be
influenced by the interviewers’ biases.


When are they conducted?

Assessment Centres are used after the initial stages of the selection process, due to the large
amount of time and expense in conducting this process. It may follow short listing of job
applications/resumes and the initial job interview.

Before you arrive

• C
 heck the start and finish times – you need to stay for the entire time – it is recommended
that you follow all instructions about any requirements on the day.
• Revise your application as the tasks will align with the selection criteria.
• Wear a watch.
• Be up to date with the company and current affairs.

At the assessment centre

Be natural. Show your true colours at the assessment centre. If you are a natural leader step up.
If you are a follower, carry out that role. The best way to act at an assessment centre is to enjoy
it and not let any of the activities fluster you. Be yourself. During the day, various activities will
be given to you. Listen and clarify instructions at the beginning of each activity.

Possible tasks may include the following:

• Simulation exercises.
• In tray activities
• Role playing activities
• Group discussions
• High stress or high impact games.
• Team-based activities
• Problem-solving simulations
• Aptitude tests
• Individual or group written exercises
• Presentations

Each of these activities may be testing one or more skill. For example, the problem-solving
activity may be looking at your problem-solving aptitude, your teamwork, and your ability to

Some examples of the types of tests and what they are testing is listed below:


Simulation exercises
Simulation exercises are designed to imitate a particular work-place tasks, behaviour or skills.
The most common types of simulation exercises include:
• group exercises/case studies
• presentations
• fact-finding exercises
• role playing
• in-trays

The exercises are designed to assess such skills as:

Structured thought 
Development of an approach or a plan around a framework.
Summarise findings and test hypotheses.
Draw conclusions and relate them back to the initial
Reasoning and logic
Identify and prioritise issues.
Use original thought processes, logic and pragmatism.
Identify whether the solution makes sense.
Strong analytical and
problem solving skills Make reasoned and intelligent assumptions.
Sort and interpret data, present findings and evaluate
Professionalism and
engagement Maturity of thought.
Enthusiastic and confident approach.
Reflect an understanding of the company and its purpose.
Listen actively and be able to understand and clarify
what is required.
Express yourself articulately, concisely and effectively.
Demonstrate an innovative and unique approach.
Lateral thought processes.


In-tray exercises
If you are asked to do an In Tray exercise, you may be asked to assume a particular role as an
employee of a fictitious company and work through a pile of correspondence in your In Tray.
These tests commonly measure job skills such as: ability to organise and prioritise work;
analytical skills; communication with team members and customers; written communication
skills; and delegation (if a higher level position). This type of exercise may take from several
hours to a day. Try to imagine that you are at work doing the described duties, rather than
completing a test. Phone interaction will involve a role player who has been thoroughly briefed
in their respective role as a customer, manager etc.

Group exercises
Group exercises involve candidates working together as a team, to resolve a presented issue.
These exercises commonly measure interpersonal skills such as group leadership, teamwork,
negotiation, and group problem solving skills.

Group exercises may range from ‘leaderless group discussion’ formats to problem solving

In a ‘leaderless group discussion’ you may be assigned a fictitious team member role and asked
to attend a meeting with other team members who are actually fellow candidates.

Role Plays
If you are asked to do a role play, you will be asked to assume a fictitious role and handle a
particular work situation. Customer Service Officers may be asked to respond to a number of
phone inquiries, including customer queries and complaints.

These types of exercises may measure: oral communication; maximising performance, and

Role Plays usually use professional actors as the customer / staff person respondent. They
are clearly briefed about their role and how to respond when the candidate takes a particular
approach in the role play.

Helpful tips to remain confident

You cannot study for an Assessment Centre, although having some idea of what to expect at an
Assessment Centre or work simulation test, previous experience with different test formats
such as multiple choice questionnaires, data checking exercises, role plays and group
exercises can all help you feel more confident. Most importantly, having a positive
mental attitude about the process is invaluable.


• I f you have been given pre reading material prior to the Assessment Centre day - read,
prepare and understand what is asked of you.
• F
 amiliarise yourself with the job description, duty statement and other background reading
material about the organisation. This will provide some clues as to what type of employee
they are seeking.
• Get a good night’s rest before the big day.
• A
 rrive early so you do not feel rushed. Perhaps your waiting time in the reception area can
provide you with a ‘feel’ for the environment - i.e. the written material in the reception/
waiting area, other candidates you may see.
• R
 ead all test instructions carefully. Are all the resources, which are listed on the test
instructions available and working?
• Be yourself - bring your own personality and experience to the Assessment Centre.
• T
 ake the tests seriously - the hypothetical scenarios will require you to ‘suspend your belief’
and go along with the exercise. The tests are not designed to match the employer’s real life
• D
 o not guess what is being measured as this may affect your participation and assessment.
For example, quoting the employer’s Mission statement, verbatim, may have no relevance
to your assigned role as ‘project manager of ACME Ltd.’, when required to discuss a
hypothetical problem with other ‘ACME’ team members.
• Treat your attendance as a day at the workplace.
• V
 iew the Assessment Centre as an opportunity to learn about the employer and the
advertised position.
• Consider the process as a positive learning experience.
• Not all tasks are designed to be completed – that’s good to know!
• You are responsible for your own behaviours – not that of others.
• I f another person dominates a situation, it will demonstrate your skills in managing such
• Be aware of time constraints.
• Like any test, the assessment centre is a picture of your performance on that day only.
• Ask for feedback if you are not offered a position. Take notice of how you could improve.

Useful links and resources

Use the following resources to find out more about how to prepare and approach simulation
exercises. They include consulting firms’ websites which feature sample case studies:


chapter 6
I have an offer should I accept?

You Have a Job Offer. Now What?

Congratulations! After all your hard work, you have received a job offer.

You’ve spent the last few months answering help wanted ads, visiting recruiters, and
networking. You’ve sent out your resumes and gone on a bunch of interviews. And now the
moment you’ve been waiting for is here. Congratulations! After all your hard work, you have
received a job offer.

During those long days of pounding the pavement, did you ever think making a decision would
be this difficult. But, this is serious business. The job you take now may be yours for a long time
to come.

What’s the most important thing to consider? Is it salary, health benefits, or vacation time? Or
could it be the corporate culture or the length or your commute? What about your boss and co-
workers -- will working with them be pleasant? As you can see there are a number of factors to
take into account and only some are negotiable.

The first in a list of things to consider is;

Does the Offer Add Up?

By now you’ve gathered a lot of information about the organisation you’re going to be working
for. You’ve received an offer verbally and hopefully you will be receiving a letter to confirm.
Your first step is to ensure everything in the documents adds up to what you were offered
or heard previously that has made you excited about this job. Details to look out for are the
position title, department, location, reporting line, work hours, vacation entitlement, salary,
benefits, start date and more. Clarify any discrepancies with the HR representative sooner
rather than later. Assuming this stacks up, you can move into your decision-making process.

The decision making process has a number of steps. Here are ten to get you started.

1. Do you understand exactly what you will be doing in your new job?
Your work load must be realistic and worth the compensation you get for it. Make sure you
understand exactly what the company thinks they will get from you. If you don’t fully know,
request a document outlining your tasks and their expectations of you. This will serve
as a yardstick against which you can measure your progress in the role (you know
your boss will be doing the same). A detailed job specification
will help you understand the role better.


2. What are the career prospects?
Will you be performing this role for the next five years or are you expected to move up a rung
on the ladder every year? You may or may not want to move up beyond this position, whatever
your plan is you will want to make sure the company has the same plan and that they know of
your intentions.

3. Commute Time
When you’re considering a job offer, take into account the length of your commute. What may
have seemed like an okay distance to travel for a job interview may begin to wear thin when
you have to make that trip twice a day, five days a week, in rush hour traffic. Before you accept a
job offer, consider the amount of time you will spend in your car or on a train or bus.

4. Will you like the People?

Does your new team and boss seem like a happy bunch that will welcome you or will they leave
you to your own devices? Is the corporate culture in line with your own values and ideas? If you
connect with people, they are likely to have the same feeling for you and they will naturally
support you.

This is where networking comes in handy. Start calling people on your list of contacts to see if
anyone knows something about the company.

5. Corporate Culture and environment

Corporate culture was defined by Merriam-Webster as “the set of shared attitudes, values,
goals, and practices that characterises a company or corporation”. Corporate culture should
be an important factor in your decision whether or not to accept a job offer. If you value your
time away from the office, a company with a corporate culture that encourages late hours may
not be for you. Is the potential employer’s philosophy “win at all costs?” Is your philosophy
“always play clean?” This company isn’t for you.

While environment is slightly different to corporate culture it certainly has an impact. Every
office has a different feel to it. Some feel kind of “dark pin-striped suit” while others feel a little
more relaxed. You just need to know which environment you’d be unhappy in you are going to
be there at least eight hours a day.

6. Salary
Even if money isn’t what gives you the most job satisfaction, no one can argue its importance. You
need a certain amount of money to pay the bills, for example. Most of us also want to make
sure we are being paid what we’re worth and what is the going rate for jobs similar to
ours. It’s important to find out what others are making for related
work in the same industry, and in the same geographic region.


Each of these factors taken alone may not make or break your decision to accept or decline
a job offer. When you put them all together, though, you will have the information you need
to make an educated choice. And then it will be time to let the potential employer in on your

7. Accepting or Declining the Offer

Whether you choose to accept or reject a job offer, you must inform the employer who made
that offer. This should be done formally, in writing, and if you wish by telephone as well. If
your answer is “yes” it’s obvious why you’ll want to make a good impression with your future
employer. But, why is it important to be polite to someone you don’t plan to work for? Well, you
don’t know where your future will take you. You may at some point wind up with that employer
as a superior, a colleague, a client, or even your next door neighbour. You certainly don’t want
to leave a bad impression. But, more importantly, doing the right thing ALWAYS matters.

8. If you are not ready to accept an offer:

It is appropriate to ask for more time. Maybe you have other offers to consider, or maybe you’re
not sure if you want the job. These are valid reasons to pause, but companies may urge you to
make a decision. You need to give the company specific reasons why you need more time.

9. Other Offers:

If you have other offers:

Explain this to the employer. Reinforce your interest in the position along with your
need to evaluate carefully the other offers. You can explain that this process will result
in a more informed answer and a more confident employee.
If you do not have other offers:
Explain to the employer that you are still investigating other opportunities and arrange
a time for you to give them an answer. If you find that you still need more time, call your
contact to see if it is possible to negotiate an even later date. Contact the organisation
by the agreed upon time so that they are able to pursue other candidates for the
position if you reject the offer.

10. When you accept an offer:

Withdraw your candidacy from all other organisations. If you have your name down with other
organisations or career centres, advise them of your intention of taking up this position.


chapter 7
I got it, what now?
Whether you’re in an entry level position or you head up a department in a large company,
there are certain concepts that should be applied in your working life. As well as increasing
your value in the job market, practicing these ideas will enhance your worth to your current
employer. You stand to earn more raises, bonuses, and ultimately promotions as you progress
through your working life, because you’re constantly improving what you know and how you
work. Follow these principles and you’ll find you often end up in more management type roles
seeing your responsibilities increase, along with your paycheck.

Below are the top nine things that will make you the best employee at whichever company you

1. Know where you’re going

If you’re unsure where you’re going, how do you know when you’ve arrived? Where will you be
in one, two, five, or ten years? Does knowing where you are going mean you will always have
a job that you like one hundred percent of the time? No. But you should always evaluate your
current job scenario and ask yourself if it’s taking you where you want to go. And if the answer
is no, you really need to do some soul-searching, to figure out what you should be doing with
the time spent on the working day.

2. Make sure you’re constantly learning

There’s no point knowing what you want to do, if you’re not setting out to be the best in that
field. And the way to achieve this is to keep on learning. This can be as simple as reading
books or articles online, or interviewing experts in your field. Education is a pathway,
rather than a destination, and it’s a path we should pursue throughout our whole lives.
Development Beyond Learning has a great set of videos to help you learn more. Go to www. and enrol in their Leadership Series.

3. Be reliable, trustworthy, and communicative

Many would say that this is just common sense, but it’s been my experience that very few
employees practice these fundamental skills. If you make a habit of applying these core
principles when performing every aspect of your job, you’ll be extremely valuable to your
employer. Even if you’re not the best in your field, but you have these attributes, you could
find yourself scoring the job promotion over better candidates, simply because you have these
fundamentals. Don’t underestimate how important this is in an employee.
An example of being reliable, would be to arrive at work 15 minutes early every day, and
not leave at 5.00 p.m. on the dot (even if it’s just a little after). Your employer will
notice this, even if it’s not mentioned.


4. Complete all tasks by deadline
Sometimes it’s hard enough to finish one thing on time, and for many we have multiple things
we must accomplish in a timely manner. Learn to prioritise and organise. If you have more
than one task, simply take care of the most important ones first. This tactic will help you learn
to multitask. Accomplish this a few times over and your employer will look at you as being
reliable, dependable and trustworthy.

5. Actively pursue increasing productivity

Every person who has a job can work at becoming more productive. Yet very few people
actually manage to ask themselves how they can achieve this. What tasks do you consider to
be wasteful in your working day? How can you achieve more in less time? Actively seek ideas
about how to be more productive. Ask for Extra Work. It’s always nice to have a little free
time on the clock where all your assignments are complete and you’ve planned ahead for the
next week. But, there is nothing like having an employee who knows how to stay busy and be
productive. If a co-worker is having trouble with something, offer your help.

Whatever you do though, Stay Busy and Be Productive!

6. Offer feedback
Try to get involved with some of the bigger projects being worked on so that you may voice
your opinion. While it’s ok to be the silent mouse sometimes, it’s also a plus to let others know
what you think about certain things or how you feel they should go. Everyone loves a team
player. Get recognised, be enthusiastic and stand out in the crowd.

7. Be Versatile
Show your boss and all your co-workers that you can do just about anything. Participate in
projects that involve teams but keep a balance on individual/solo projects as well. Don’t just
stick to the easy stuff; show someone you can tackle the simple and the hard. As long as you
keep an open mind and a positive attitude, you’ll surely be on your way to the top.


8. Be Organised
Every worker requires a degree of organisation skills. People who perform their job well have
learned how to organise their tasks to achieve better results.

I’ve learned that by being organised, I’ve been better able to handle my weaknesses. For
example, I know that I can easily become overwhelmed if I’m constantly interrupted with
changes to projects that I’m working on throughout the day. One habit I’ve formed is to only
open my email client at certain times of the day. This way, I’m unable to see when new email
comes in, so I don’t interrupt my work by checking its content. The same theory applies to
my phone. Often I’ll let messages go through to voicemail if I’m already occupied with an
important task. These two changes have enabled me to increase my productivity tenfold, yet
I’d have failed to even notice them had I not been organised to see how much of an effect they
have on my day.

9. Develop your Personal Brand

Personal branding is serious business these days. Since the 1997 publication of Tom Peters’
“The Brand Called You” in Fast Company, personal branding has gone from a radical idea to a
career basic. But how much thought have you given to building your leadership brand?

“Many of us build our professional brand and create a digital identity, but few of us take a


Second, understand your brand.


9 Secrets to getting the job you really want
Interviewing for a job is a very stressful and difficult process - made more intense today
because so many companies are reducing their workforce, thus increasing the number of
applicants for a shrinking number of jobs. The competition for available jobs is fierce. Yet, you
can beat the competition and actually get hired in the job you really want. Here are nine secrets
to consider.

1. Discover what you really want out of your work and life.
Discover your true passions, desires, beliefs, and talents so that you can paint a picture of
your true work and life goals, from your own perspective.

2. Develop and define the job you really want.

That’s right! Design and define the job that will allow you to fulfil your passions, desires,
and beliefs and maximize your talents. What you are doing is building your ideal job around
what you want as opposed to looking at job opportunities that come along to evaluate.
Believe it or not, your ideal job actually exists in more than one way and within the personal
parameters you set.

3. Find out what companies have positions that meet your ideal position requirements.
Look at and research all of the possible companies within the geographical area you
designated to discover what positions within these companies you would want. Do not worry
about whether they have job vacancies or are in a hiring mode.

4. Evaluate the companies that have your desired jobs.

Make sure you would want to work for the companies that have your ideal jobs. They need to
have integrity and treat their employees and customers in the manner you would want to be
treated. Determine whether they operate in an industry that you want to work in.

5. Research the companies you selected.

Once again, do not be put off or discouraged if the companies are not hiring. Why? Because
companies are always looking for the right employees and will have to eventually hire new
employees to survive. Determine who actually makes hiring decisions, and what is important
to them. Many companies disguise this information through HR departments or hiring
committees. If possible, try to find out how you can contact hiring decision-makers directly.
Get their e-mail addresses, direct telephone numbers, or find someone in the company who
can be a liaison for you.


6. Contact the decision-makers and tell them you want to work for them in the specific
jobs you choose.
Express your enthusiasm for that specific job or jobs. The fewer jobs you designate the
better. You want them to know you can be trusted by truthfully exposing your commitment
to seeking your dream job, even though they may not have an opening. You are, in essence,
recruiting them to work in your dream job. Let them know that you will be very productive
because you will excel at the job, and also that you will be a very grateful and energetic
employee because you are doing what you love. You are not just asking for a job so they will
pay you, but you have targeted a specific job at that company, and you are committed to
contributing in that position.

7. Ask them if there are any special skills or qualifications you will need to be accepted
in the position.
If you do not have the sought-after skills and qualifications for the job, either find a way
to get them beforehand or see if you can attain them within the company as an employee.
This approach directs attention to what the employer wants and away from your resume
compared to others’ resumes. It will also show them your commitment to attaining that job.
Stay in contact to alert employers of your new skills, qualifications, and continued interest.

8. If necessary, be willing to take an interim job.

This way you can work on the required skills and qualifications, and you can obtain an
income while you prepare for the job. You will also be in a better position to take your dream
job when it becomes available.

9. Get support from somebody during the process.

Some of the secret steps discussed above will probably appear to be daunting to you, which
is to be expected. Enlist the help of another person to discuss all of the above steps and to
map out the best strategy to get your ideal job. This person should be a trusted and strong
supporter of your goal, as well as someone who will offer you another perspective to assist
in the execution of your plan. Getting your ideal job is an extremely important objective and
worth enlisting the help of someone to actually gets it.

Final thoughts
Employers constantly face the problem of finding and surrounding themselves with the right
employees who want to work for them, whom they can trust, and who will be very productive
with the least amount of supervision. You will definitely get their attention, when you recruit
employers for the specific job you chose, because of your honesty, your commitment, your
enthusiasm, and your desire to produce for them. In fact, you may even appear to be too good
to be true. Many times the people who are filling the jobs that you want are not happy in their
positions. They are not producing or are causing other problems for the employers.
Your request for employment for these specific jobs will give employers an option
that they only dream about.


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