Technology in the workforce: does it help or hinder?

In a marketplace where the pressure is on to deliver more, and to deliver it faster, perhaps it’s time to consider technology’s role in the workplace. There is no doubt, technology delivers enormous benefits. However, smartphone and tablet technology has certainly helped to change expectations about the speed at which we should operate.

Every day, recruitment specialist Ms Fiona Hackett from Brisbane’s Electus Recruitment talks to a mix of business leaders and employees from across a wide range of sectors. “Everyone is experiencing the same pressure,” Ms Hackett explained. “It is not uncommon for someone to receive an email and then, a couple of hours later, to receive a follow-up message asking why they haven’t responded.”

“It almost seems irrelevant that the person could be in a meeting, travelling or even on holidays. All of this great technology we have today has certainly increased the pressure to be available and to respond, regardless of the time of day, setting or the circumstances.”

New research conducted by a Michigan State University business scholar has confirmed that using a smartphone to cram in more work after 9pm results in less work the next day. People who did this were more tired and less engaged when they returned to their workplace[1].

“It seems to me, we all need to consider what changes we can make to ensure we remain happy and productive,” Ms Hackett said. “It could be a simple as devising an electronic in-tray system that allows you to prioritise all requests and projects, and helps you to manage the interruptions.”

“We also need to become more strategic and measured in the way we communicate, and to be aware of the demands that are placed on other people’s time. These days, we tend to think about our own needs before anyone else’s.”

“We also need to consider the best way communicate,” Ms Hackett added. “More of us are choosing to use email more often. Perhaps a phone call is best.”

Sell The Sizzle


Hiring is on the up. It's worth considering factors behind an employer's decision to expand their team. They may be replacing non-performers or recognise a need to introduce new skills into their team. They may also be hiring as a way of reducing cost associated with contractors.
As an employer, what should you bear in mind when trying to attract talent?

Have a clear vision about your company.  Think of your favourite tv show and it’s likely that the reason why you are hooked on it is because of the slick campaign that preceded it. Selling a vision means promoting the best bits about your company that a top candidate will want to be a part of.

Provide real life stories from existing employees. Capable, motivated candidates are moved by profiles that offer real insight into a company. They want to know what it’s like to work there and whether the culture will meet their own needs.

Be organised and decisive throughout your hiring process. Employers who procrastinate or fail to prioritise their recruitment process are the biggest red flags to a top candidate. You can’t expect them to add 100% value to your business if you’re not prepared to do the same.



We've said it before: a quality CV is an advantage and is an essential to anyone's job search process.  It's hardly surprising that most of us underestimate the power it has in representing our professional brand and influencing an employer's impression of you.

Consider our 8 tips for maintaining a high impact CV:

  1. Have a clear and decisive career statement about you. It will set the tone of your CV and provide employers with critical insight into who you are and what you want.
  2. Conduct a regular skills inventory. Consider all the work you’ve done and the skills you’ve picked up along the way.
  3. If you have initiated and/or made changes to a team or business that made a positive impact, mention it. It suggests an ability to initiate and be proactive in the workplace.
  4. If your career motivations have shifted and you've developed interests in other work areas, add  examples that back up that ability.
  5. Separate your skills from your attributes.- they're not the same.
  6. Invest in a professional CV copywriter. If formatting is not your strength, don’t attempt it with weird boxes and strange columns!
  7. CVs are meant to highlight your skills and experience. Unless you’re pitching for a modelling shoot avoid the head shot.

Latest Job Stats Wrap


Following suit from September, we see unemployment has raised another 0.1% in October to 6.2%. Although this means an additional 5,000 were recorded unemployed  there was 1,300 additionally employed. Last month we discussed some possible factors contributing to unemployment increases being an aging population and underutilising skills, although the Queensland Department of Employment has released a discussion relating to unemployment, highlighting the skill shortages currently faced in Queensland.

The high skilled jobs shortages in Queensland include; Design, Engineering and Science professionals, Health Professionals, Early education teachers, Automotive and Engineering trade workers and Electrotechnology and Telecommunications trade workers. These shortages exist in particular as there are limited people with the appropriate skillset.

To highlight these shortages the government has issued a national skills needs list that identifies the traditional trades in need of skilled employees. The list includes telecommunication technicians, bricklayers, optical mechanics, electricians, bakers and aircraft maintenance engineers, to name a few. Also implemented by the government are incentives to employers to hire apprentices keen to fill these positions.

Looking ahead we see an expected employment growth expectation for 2016-2017 with industries such as health care, social assistance, construction and mining expected to provide more than 60% of employment growth over the next five years. In these industries, on-the-job training and proven experience may be required in addition to formal qualifications.


Screening Candidates Improves Your Hire



Most of us have undertaken at least one type of personality test in our professional careers. It’s an age-old concept which we all thought would die out. But it seems demand for psych testing is up. It makes good sense given the huge cost associated with a bad hire and the disruption it can make to your team. 

Executive Coaching and Career Counselling is something we have always been passionate about at Electus.  Irrespective of where an individual is at in their career, assessing strengths and capabilities is essential to ongoing work success and can help to address career stumbling blocks. Personal interests, goals and motivations do shift and a career review with a trusted independent party can help determine whether the job you're in is making the best use of your talents. 

The California Psychological Inventory 260 assessment tool is our preferred method of testing and predicts how you are likely to interact with others and your future performance potential. It’s one of the most popular tools to use when hiring staff and measures 29 distinct psychological factors which are grouped into six scale categories:

  • Dealing with Others
  • Self-management
  • Motivations and Thinking Style
  • Personality Characteristics
  • Work orientation and disposition
  • Conceptual thinking

The test would be helpful to individuals exploring employment opportunities in new industries.  The test is also helpful to employers with plans to promote internally but want to identify those best suited to leadership. For an outline on the CPI260 and cost email

Supporting Good Mental Health In The Workplace


20 November Seminar

Last month we touched on the issue of mental health and invited  HR personnel, managers and business owners to share their ideas around how best to manage this important workplace issue. 

A variety of guests from the non-profit, aged care, government and commercial sector attended to hear from Helen Perry, a solicitor and advocate for educating employees and employers around creating positive and productive work environments. Michelle Burkett of mental health and disability services group, Communify, also spoke and highlighted the indiscriminate nature of mental health and impact it can make on anyone.


Are You A Recruitment Consultant? Ready for a Change?

We're Growing Our Team!

Electus Recruitment is seeking an accomplished Consultant to help its clients and candidates to achieve great success. We offer the opportunity to step away from the larger agency field, and giving you the freedom to make your own mark as you make a real difference. 

The recruitment positions available are:

Business Development and Sales
Electus Recruitment places BDM and Sales professionals on a temporary and permanent basis within the commercial space

Clinical and Community Care
Electus Recruitment places qualified managers into Residential positions on both a permanent and temporary basis

Management Resources
Electus Recruitment provides financial, project, HR and change management personnel on a permanent and interim basis.

Located in a relaxed setting, five-minutes outside the Brisbane CBD, Electus Recruitment has built its business foundation on consultation, commitment and care. With five successful years in operation, behind us, we are looking to grow in 2015 and achieve even more. We are genuine in our dedication to helping professionals achieve great things in their careers and we never compromise on quality.

If you have specialised knowledge and understanding of any of these areas, we’d love to speak to you.

What you will do

You will come on board as a New Business, permanent consultant with some leads provided to get you started.  You’ll then have full responsibility and accountability to manage your own desk and build business in your own niche market. 

You will call on your personal drive to achieve your recruiting goals, without compromising on your genuine consultative approach to our candidates and clients, with the ultimate goal of building long-term relationships. You’ll use your talent of influencing and communicating with people, as well as LinkedIn, CRM database system, job boards, Twitter and other social media networks.

What we expect from you

  • At least 5 or 6 years’ experience in permanent professional recruiting in an agency environment
  • Accomplished business development skills to reach key persons of influence in any organisation
  • An eye for recognising professional talent and a passion for guiding individuals and businesses to success
  • A flair for business consultation and cultivating profitable relationships
  • A determined attitude to succeed in a highly competitive environment
  • A team spirit that will add positive value to a small, close knit work team

The rewards

At Electus Recruitment, we know that recognition of hard work is incredibly important to your success.  We offer a competitive combination of salary and bonus incentives with your performance assessed on your business activity and monthly placement outcomes.   Success to Electus Recruitment, is ultimately measured by both the quality of your work as well as the dollar outcomes you achieve for us.

You will also enjoy: 

  • The total autonomy you need to focus on your goals
  • A supportive, friendly and positive workplace that celebrates the wins – we know you’ll achieve success if you’re surrounded by happy and encouraging people!
  • Training for you to understand our business, approach and positon in the market
  • The opportunity to increase your earnings and be rewarded by our company. You will receive an attractive retainer to get you started so that you can achieve your placement goals
  • Regular invitations to social and networking events

 Successful recruiters love to see great talent succeed. It’s in their veins. If you’re that person we’d love you to hear from you. Contact Fiona Hackett on or 07 3252 0150 to find out more. Applications close 15 December 2014.

Together, let’s share in the success we help our candidates and clients to achieve.

Put People Before Product! by Jane Anderson



Earlier this month Don Meij, the CEO of Dominos, shared this image. Don and a team outside one of his company's European branches with the caption “Enjoying Europe store visits... Claude worked for us in operations for 10 years and is now a new Franchisee”. Did that caption set out to promote Don or was it suggesting “Buy a franchise from us?” Perhaps it was meant to suggest “Dominos are achieving world domination in Pizzas’?” No.

Yet in a simple elegant sentence and image he said all those things. And he has over 17,000 who like his Facebook page.

How many organisations say that their people are their edge? How many say that “people are their most important asset”? Yet when it comes to selling and marketing services the business focusses on the product.

We’re in the connection economy.

The economy where relationships, referrals and recommendations count. People want simplicity, they don’t want to be overwhelmed by information, advertising and overstimulation. They want to know “do I know, like and trust them?”

Since the GFC people are less likely to make the jump to a new job so they do all their research beforehand. Fifty percent of people will stay in a job or leave because of the people they work with. Seventy-three percent of job seekers now go to LinkedIn to validate their potential manager and colleagues.

On top of that, we also have the ninja customer. They do all their research before buying a service. They’re thinking “is this person credible, could I work with them and what do people say about them?”

Everyone at every level in the organisation has a responsibility to manage their personal brand, digital or otherwise to support business growth, attract the right talent and support their own careers.

Your people are one of the most highly leveraged marketing activities in the organisation. In fact, we recently worked with a client and built the LinkedIn profiles for their sales team. They were a small player in a big industry. Yet when conducting a search for this company’s services, the team profiles were on the page 1 of the Google ranking. They beat all the SEO of the biggest players in their industry simply because the team profiles were leveraged.

So how do you do it?

Well, each role in the organisation has a different role to play.

Frontline teams, in particular sales teams have a responsibility to be found. This is through Search Engine Optimisation, referrals and validation.

Leaders and Executives have a responsibility to represent the culture of the business to support employer branding. Their job is to fly the flag of the vision and define cultural fit when job seekers are considering applying for a job with them, or they’re validated well in things like tender documents etc.

CEO’s have a responsibility to keep the vision alive define the culture, share the organisations’ Corporate Social Responsibility and achievements of their people.

What steps have you taken to manage the branding of your people in your organisation?

Jane Anderson is an expert in Personal Branding and has worked with over 12,000 people on their professional presence both face to face and online. She is the author of the upcoming book “IMPACT: How to Build your Personal Brand in the Connection Economy” due for release in December 2014. Email Jane at [email protected]   for a free copy of the 1st chapter.

Hiring in 2014: Who's Been Hiring & What's Ahead


News of the Australian job market regularly reaches us from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). In September 2014[i], they reported that employment increased to 11,604,900, unemployment increased to 745,500, and the unemployment rate remained steady at 6.0%.

The ABS crunches the numbers on a regular basis, and while their data is very useful, perhaps it’s more useful to understand the trends that are influencing the statistics.

At Electus Recruitment, we have observed the following in 2014... 

There has been a steady increase in jobseeker levels.
As the year has passed, we’ve seen more active (unemployed) and passive (employed) jobseekers in the market. We consider there to be a few different reasons for this. It’s often a side effect of a jittery market – people want to stay on top of what’s going on and a fear that you have to work to stay relevant in a fast-moving world.  In a way, staying stagnant may be perceived as negative.

Temporary - a new norm. There is no guarantees when it comes to job security anymore.  Knowing that fact, employees are stretching their networks and not shying away from opportunities. Employers know this and so are spending more time proactively engaging with  ‘potential hires’ through their shared professional interests, lifestyles and career ambitions.  Rather than just credentials and experience, employers want to know more about how they’re hiring and want those they think will better fit their businesses and can adapt to changing times.

Diversifying. Employers have become more confident with diversifying their talent hunting techniques. As well as enlisting the expertise of an external agency, it's not unusual for employers to explore several online tools and networking technques to find their star recruit.  It reflects an interesting trend across the employer and candiate market. According to Careerbuilders, job seekers alone use up to 16 different sources to find a job.  85% used sites like Linked In, 79% carried out general checks for job ads, 83% visited company webpages and 75% relied on networking.

Transparency key. We’re all curious creatures. We all like to know what’s going on in the world around us. Fortunately we live in a world with 24-hour news feeds. This is giving employers an ideal platform to share news updates, recognise staff achievements and upload their business achievements.  There’s a world of opportunity for employers to lure great talent by harnessing modern technology.

‘I found a great example of this in action on a recent visit to Westpac bank’s Brisbane CBD branch,’ explained Electus Recruitment Principal Fiona Hackett. ‘Apart from noticing a distinctively more open and laid-back atmosphere, my attention moved to a series of billboards which displayed faces of employees with accompanying information about their name, job title and personal interests. For example “Jan, Westpac Bank Manager, loves art and loves to travel”. Rather than pushing the business, it sent a more powerful message of transparency and that Westpac employees are everyday people.’

Looking ahead to 2015, we expect these hiring trends will continue, at least in the first half of the year. Whether you are an employer or an employee, our advice is simple: stay informed and you will stay in front.

Unemployment: Underutilised Skills, or Limited Opportunities


The 2014 Federal Budget implemented incentives to hire older workers. With age discrimination being taboo, and an abundance of skilled and ready to go older employees, what is the road block? With an aging population, questions can be raised as to whether our work force is predominantly those almost at retirement age, or are these the majority of unemployed workers? 

Contrary to expected trajectory rates, unemployment has risen to 6.1% in September 2014, an increase from 6.0% in July and August.  Furthermore, the number of unemployed persons rose by 11,000 to 746,600. In June 2013, the median age of the Australia population was 37.3 years of age. Certain states, such as Tasmania and New South Wales, were home to predominantly older median populations, being 48.1 years on the Mid North coast of New South Wales and 45.5 years on the South East coast of Tasmania. Also in June 2013, there were 15.4 million people of working age in Australia (15-64).

With a national median age average of 37.3, the workforce predominantly is middle aged employees. States such as the Northern Territory had the highest proportion of the population within working age (71%) closely followed by the Australian Capital Territory (70%). So with statistics provided for analysis, where does the unemployment issue lie? Is it an underutilised aging population, or the need for more employment opportunities in areas of workforce ready employees?

"Horrible" Bosses: Are They A Blessing In Disguise?


We’ve all been there. We've all dealt with ‘those’ difficult and demanding bosses. You start in a new position and go in with expectations of being mentored into the best person you can be. Your skills will be shaped into the next leader of the company. Until you find you have "THE" boss.

All of a sudden, you’re getting text messages at midnight for a 7am meeting that you need to attend. You feel you're being put down before your co-workers, micromanaged and expected to jump at every moment. You're the one in the firing line for mistakes that are made and leaving 15 minutes early, even though you have done hours of overtime doesn't look good. What is your next move....?

Think: strategy.

If you love the job and see a future, think of how you are going to progress. Is it best to confront the situation head-on? I did once without preparing and my boss at the time stated to me “I am your BOSS! I can speak to you however I want!” I was just 21 at the time and it affected me emotionally, but over time I gained more experience and grew confidence in myself. I started to approach things differently.

If you decide to confront like I did, be sure to go in with factual evidence. Keeping a record of situations or circumstances you may have felt was unacceptable helps you to stay focused and on topic rather than emotional. Another step might be to take a more 'formal’ approach via HR.

If you feel things don't change in a way you'd hoped and it is effecting your confidence, then it may not be worthwhile hanging around and always have another position lined up where possible,  before handing in your resignation. Its important to always back yourself - you can do it!

Nicolle Dempsey


Be In Tune With Your Professional Brand: YOU!


Regardless of our age and stage in life, no matter where we live or what job we hold, we all have one thing in common. We all have a brand.

Branding isn’t just something reserved for the likes of Coca-Cola and Apple. The everyday choices we all make and the simple actions we all take brand us every day. The coffee we drink. The cut of our clothing. The jewellery we do (or don’t) wear. It tells people something about us. It’s part of our brand.

Branding yourself appropriately is critically important in today’s competitive employment market. Get your brand right and you’ll stand out from the rest of the candidates for all the right reasons. The right brand can also help you to land that dream job. 

Regardless of whether you are seeking to change roles soon or a change isn’t on your horizon, there’s no time like the present to define and then refine your brand.

Start by thinking about what it is that makes you different. Write it down. Consider your strengths. Write those down too.

Next consider whether there are any gaps in your brand. Do you need to acquire new skills or build new relationships or networks?

It’s also important to take a critical look at the messages you are sending about your brand. Are there any inconsistencies? Wearing an Armani suit and stilettos might be your preferred workwear, but it may not be consistent with your desire to seek a career in construction. Image is important.

When applying for a new job, the first exposure your prospective employer has to your brand is your resume. Assured Solutions Certified Master Resume Writer Kylie Chown says, if you want your brand to stand out then you need a standout resume.

“I have four top tips for writing a standout resume,” Kylie said. “Know your audience and use your resume to clearly communicate how you can add value to their business. Evidence is key; provide evidence of your achievements as they relate to the role you are applying for. Elevate your resume and your brand by using action words like championed, influenced, propelled, revitalised and transformed. And lastly, make a great first impression through great formatting.” 

Some of the most successful people in the world aren’t afraid to tell others how good they are, so do what they do and sell yourself at every opportunity, not just in your resume. Don’t be afraid.

Look for other opportunities to showcase your skills. Put your hand up for that difficult yet high-profile project that you know is either right up your ally or could take you where you want to go. If your office has a staff newsletter, see the editor and seek their support to include an article on an initiative you’ve led that’s been a startling success. Share news of your achievements with your friends, colleagues and customers. It doesn’t hurt to get them talking about you; word-of-mouth marketing has helped some of the world’s most renowned brands to reach lofty new heights. It could help you too.

Think strategically. Act intelligently. Use the power of your brand to accelerate your career to make you happy. 


Australia Wide Employment: What You Need to Know


We recently attended a seminar hosted by Emerson, Director of Economic and Market Development Advisor, EMDA Consulting. Representatives from recruitment companies and private enterprise came along to hear Michael’s perspective on the current job market and the predicted trends across Australia over the coming years. Read More...

While Australia he says, showed strong signs of financial growth in early 2014, a slower mid-year pace had been blamed on unpopular budget announcements. The later 2014 period is however, picking up.

This is being shown by increased job postings and up to 97,000 new jobs being offered this year already.  2013 had seen candidate job hunting participation drop rapidly simply because job searchers outnumbered the jobs available. Signs are it’s on the up and up in mid-2014.

Overall, the jobs on offer are largely part-time or contract, suggesting that employers remain cautious in their hiring.

Here are some other interesting points we picked up from Michael:

  • Queensland has had a 2% growth in employment but is generally on par with hiring activity in NSW. SA and WA are feeling recession-like effects.
  • Construction has experienced the most active hiring activity with the weakest being Hospitality, Tourism and Financial Services. Retail, once viewed as weak, is starting to pick up.
  • Media and Marketing is traditionally the hardest hit in tough economic times but is experiencing the first signs of a pickup.
  • Health and community services are expected to experience the next boom.
  • Mining will not grow any time soon.
  • Low skilled unemployment rate is currently at 15%
  • 70% of people now have a smart phone with the average person spending up to 95 minutes per day on their phone.
  • Digital marketing is more prominent than ever.
  • 16-19 year olds have experienced the toughest period in job seeking but generation X & Y is steady.

A matter of trust


Here we are in August. Ekka time...

Let's consider the notion of 'trust’. It's a much used word in everyday life and has always been at the heart of everything we do. According to Wiki, trust means 'the reliability, truth or ability of someone or something'. True, but in our quest for supersized convenience has come an emergence of new and exciting online services that's giving 'trust' a whole new meaning to us.  It seems we're living in a shared economy’.

Some argue that we're leading more solo lives thanks to technology but let's look at the flipside of it. The way we've embraced sharing and trading of our stuff and sourcing services online makes us more connected than ever. We're still very willing to take a hunch based on the trust we have for someone or something. I can vouch for that....

While visiting New York last year, I used the online accommodation platform, AirBnB (travellers can choose to rent a home or room of a local resident). I searched for the right online 'home' and settled on two local residents living in central NYC. It was rated highly by fellow travellers and I felt a good degree of trust. It was true. The couple were very welcoming but the concept of residing in a stranger's home felt foreign.

AirBnB is one example of how trust plays a big part in our modern lives.

Which leads me to mention the famously coined “Trust Equation”.  Created as a way of determining the degree of trust one person had for another, it comprises 4 components:

Credibility (the belief others have in what you say) added to reliability (how much others can depend on you) added to intimacy (no, it’s not what you think. It signifies how much people feel secure enough to share information with you) then divided by self-orientation (who you are focused on).

Employers particularly will know the power of the Trust equation.  Look at any high-performance team and you’ll discover that they perform because they like each other and have 100% trust in the ability of one another and the consistency in the quality of their work.

There’s a lot of reasons why businesses and conducting business takes trust. It’s not everything but it’s often the deciding factor.


Fiona Hackett

The Rise and Rise of the Third Sector


Non-profits or NFPS play a major contribution towards solving the most pressing problems faced by society today.  The sector has evolved rapidly to what it is today – hospitals, community services, religious groups, job-training centres, environmental groups, animal welfare organisations all with a purpose to improve lives.  Perhaps the expansion of services reflect a rising gap between what governments set out to provide and the services which still needed in the community, are not being met.  Thank goodness for the NFPs.

In 2010, an estimated 600,000 NFPs were recorded in Australia (Productivity Commission, 2010, p.53) and in 2007, the ATO identified 177,109 organisations as not-for-profits.

The sector holds a significant position in the overall business market.  In 2006-07, NFPs received $76.6 billion in income; 33% came from government grants, 30.5% from services and 9% of income was derived from donations, fundraising and sponsorship.  

Donations and fundraising remain an integral component to the revenue of many non-profits but with the onset of changes to funding models, and an emphasis on consumer choice, future success may hinge on more strategic business methodologies. Underpinning that will be an emphasis on collaboration. This, according to two leaders in the sector, will dictate the path ahead. 

National Disability Services State Manager Queensland, Jane Geltch, believes that leadership styles in the sector have always been predictable. ‘A command and control’ type of management. “I think this style is taking its last gasp of breath and will be replaced by a more refreshing approach that is collaborative and participatory,” Jane said.  Collaboration and participation are the methods Jane actively promotes to her own team. “It strengthens our capacity to achieve our objectives. Collaboration is what we use in the face of competition in the not-for-profit sector.”

Jane points out that it’s not capability that is the problem in her sector.  With major changes being felt across the Disability Services sector, Jane sees the constant pressure from outside to improve operational efficiency and she acknowledges the challenge for smaller providers to achieve that. ‘But our greater issue is getting all of our voices heard. People want to hear about, and be more involved in issues that matter to them.”  Resources that are already stretched, means it’s difficult to work on organisational development.

Youngcare CEO, Samantha Kennerly, shares a similar outlook to Jane.  “Successful leadership in the non-profit sector is about collaboration with all sectors, and having empowerment, transparency of information and getting your message out about what you do,” Samantha said. “We celebrate 10 years next year. Youngcare is a relatively young not-for-profit but I attribute our success to the unique connection we have with business and the community. Youngcare has been a trailblazer in recognising early on, that valuing relationships gets the message across successfully.

“Whether it’s a band supporting us at a concert or mums and dads, relationships are at the heart of what we do. We also embrace social media; right now we have around 52,000 likes but behind that is a big strategy. You have to have to have a plan about how you manage your relationships and collaborate.”

Both Jane and Samantha know that being open to, and being brave with strategic collaboration benefits organisations in so many ways. From it can emerge alternative and much needed revenue streams and contributes to the credibility of their organisations as respected sources of information in their field. And it can help to identify better ways to maximise the resources they already have.

Job Hunting: Perception is Reality


On a daily basis, I advise a myriad of professionals about their work and career choices. With varying qualifications, skill levels and contrasting work backgrounds, its the diversity and the potential in individuals that make me so passionate about my work. Placing the right person into the right role requires a careful screening process and after reviewing their CVs, it's a job seeker's initial interview with the recruiter (me!) that speaks volumes.

We’re all familiar with the old adage, ‘you’ll never have a second chance to make a first impression’ but it’s very true.  When a person steps into our office, my job starts immediately.  I set about assessing whether the professional presentation of that person befits what my client expects.  I’m kind of like the heel-wearing gatekeeper!

When attending an interview, you have to put the best version of yourself forward. Arriving professionally with a clear head around your skills and experience is critical. A recruiter regards both presentation and determination to succeed as equally valuable to the hiring process. Just recently I conducted a search for a key frontline position for a corporate client. Amongst the mix of candidates, I identified the CV of a potential applicant. That and their articulate phone manner secured them an interview but on arrival, their presentation was let down by casual attire and the presence of chewing gum. All the experience in the world won’t  get you far if it’s not backed up with professional presentation.

Dressing for success does pay off. Stand out by putting your best (shined) foot forward and always make your first impression a great one.

Nicolle Dempsey specialises in the recruitment of administration and business support at Electus Recruitment. 

Employee engagement. What is it? And is it for me?


These days, evidence of employee engagement can be found in more and more businesses, big and small. Put simply, it’s about employers building productive and meaningful relationships with their employees, connecting with them in such a way that the employees feel valued and motivated.

Employee engagement is very much about bringing out your employees’ best so that your business can perform at its best.
With uncertain times becoming the ‘norm’, employee engagement is more important than ever before. It has a place in every business – yes, even in your business.

Employees who are engaged are confident; they not only do their job well, they do it with genuine pride. They want to share their ideas for improvement with you, and to be part of your business growth and advancement. They will often work harder than employees who aren’t engaged. They’ll also stay with you longer – they won’t be tempted to move somewhere ‘better’ because as far as they are concerned, ‘it doesn’t get better than this’.
Successful employee engagement differs from business to business. Here are some global examples with a focus on sustainability…

  • Intel Corporation makes it strategic. They challenge departments to improve their processes and products with sustainability in mind and tie their efforts to each employee’s annual bonus.
  • Google makes it easy and creates opportunities that allow all employees to participate. Simple actions like turning off computers at night are encouraged and recognised as valued.
  • Hyatt Hotels and Resorts makes it personal. Employees use a Facebook-like interface to post details of their sustainability efforts.

How you engage your employees will be different from how the business next door does it. What’s most important is that you are engaging… because your competitors are.

The Triple Bottom Line of Nonprofits


The other day I interviewed a gentleman who wanted to know about working in the non-profit sector. He had a solid career in private enterprise but felt his talents in business development and government partnerships were not being valued. Perhaps a nonprofit organisation might find them more useful, he thought.

I liked the idea but said his plans weren’t entirely unique. Many had taken the same route and  a successful transition from private to nonprofit needed some research and an understanding of how they ‘tick’. 

Nonprofits have come a long way and in many cases, joined hands with the private sector to become sophisticated entities  that now attract job seekers from all corners of the market.  

From their early days of rattling money tins, today’s Third Sector comprises a vast landscape of corporatised businesses driven by a specific cause. Many have the backing of big corporates and global heavyweights like Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates who with personal foundations, use their wealth and influence to make a difference. That kind of change has inevitably turned the heads of the private sector and made corporate social responsibility a permanent part of doing business. But there’s still work to be done when it comes to bringing corporate and non-profit thinking together.

William Novelli, CEO of ARRP Foundation, a powerful American aged care advocacy group, left a successful career as co-partner of a large public relations firm to join the sector. He acknowledges the challenges along the way and the frustration of trying to get business CEOs to understand what it’s like to work in a NFP. ‘CEOs are often disdainful of not-for-profit management. They think it’s undisciplined, non-quantified. But in fact, it’s harder because the goals tend to be more behavioural rather than tangiable. It’s more complex and the results ‘harder to measure’.

And, just as nonprofits work to build those connections with likeminded corporates, so to is their search for employees with commercial savvy , good leadership skill and an affinity for their  cause.

So, what can experienced professionals do to transition to a career in the non-profit path field?

1. Forget the corporate ladder. It is no longer about you and your personal ambitions but rather what you can do to help the cause. You may have outstanding business skills but if your motivations aren't driven by their vision, it won't work.

2. Before beginning your search, acknowledge your true motivations for being part of the sector and clarify why you could make a difference. This will prove a critical part of your journey to employment.

3. Identify an organisation which resonates best with you. Connecting with a cause helps. It will compliment the knowledge  and experience you want to contribute.

4. Research the sector and visit the websites of organisations where your skills are likely to be needed. Take particular note of their media and events activity and the profile of the CEO. It will reveal a lot about an organisation.

5. Redesign your CV to be a professional but relatable document.  Be attuned to the needs of an organisation and frame your skills around it. 

Steering The Boat Of Employability


Navigating your career at any time but particualrly in this market, is like an ongoing project. Keeping open minded about change and maintaining fresh and contemporary skills is a must.

Whether you are employed or seeking employment, consider our recommendations for staying afloat in changing times:


Make self-improvement a permanent part of working life. Strive to improve yourself, particularly in  a market like the present, where competition and uncertainty is high. Irrespective of whether you’re  a CEO or Sales Manager, undertaking further learning and professional development keeps you engaged and informed – it’s key to career survival and also measures your determination and willingness to adapt.


Polish up your public speaking and presentation skills.  Throw your hand up to lead a key project, workshop or networking event. If you have aspirations for bigger and better things, public speaking is a must. Join a toastmasters group to improve your communication skills.


We’re always pushing the barrow of networking. Without it you don’t get far.  Even if you are employed, build on your knowledge and connect with others at seminars and breakfast networking events. You’ll meet likeminded people who may lead you to better things. You will also leave a strong impression that makes others willing to introduce you to the right person.


Surprisingly most of us would benefit from refreshing our computer skills. Expand your software skills (MS Office etc) wiht additional programs which may hold value to to your next employer.

Working for Fun?


“If you’re in a job you love you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Wise words from Peter Drucker, the internally renowned philosopher of modern business.

It's true that you get the best out of people when they are in work that suits their natural aptitude as well as their personality behaviour. Funny thing is, employers tend to choose staff on skills and past experience, and don't really account for working style.  The irony is that they also fire people because of behaviour!

Regardless of work experience, factoring in personality to a job match is important. After all, some people will always suit a job better than others.  One might have more experience but if they don’t love it, then how can they be expected to excel in a team? If a person isn’t satisfied professionally, the result is lower performance consistency and a greater chance that they'll move on. That means more time and money to re-hire. 

Just recently I saw a job ad for a manager role. I’d seen the ad posted twice in the past year and thought about the disruption and change to leadership makes to a team. Maybe there was a logical reason for those premature departures yet on the other hand, the hiring process used might have focused too heavily on work experience and not choosing personalitiy and working behaviour style better suited to the demands of that role. 

We use the the CPI260 tool to measure candidate personality. An international behavioural testing tool, the test determines behaviour, how others work with that behaviour and future leadership potential. The results reveal a person to be one of four types; Alpha (The Active), Beta (the Dependable),  Gamma (the Individual ) and Delta (The Solo) employee.  It offers great insight into how a person ticks. To find out more about personality, please contact me any time. 

Fiona Hackett

Have you got it all Covered?


Generally speaking, cover letter writing can be a drag. You know an individual letter should be tailored to each application but who does, especially when you are responding to more than one role. 

Click here for helpful hints to making sure that your cover letter gets you the audience you want: 

1. Less is always more! - under no circumstances should your cover letter extend beyond one A4 page (unless you are specifically requested to respond to selection criteria in your letter). Anymore than one page, demonstrates that you are unable to focus or keep to a point. Leave the details to the interview!

2. Research - before you start, gather some company/industry or position information (can be from their website, job description or google search). This will give your letter some substance and also demonstrate to the audience that you know your stuff. 

3. Acknowledge the hiring person using their name and details in your letter. A little attention to detail shows initiative and planning. 

4. Focus on the job at hand. The employer needs to know how your greatness relates to their role and their immediate needs. Do you have the particular skills and talents they're after? Make it relevant. Tailor your cover letter accordingly.

5. Be concise - avoid exaggeration and unncessary bulk. 

6. Never rush - Spell Check and review your layout. 



Welcome back everyone and Happy New Year!

Already the big topic is jobs and growth!

I'm back at the desk and clients are already focused and ready to move forward. Hiring is happening but selectively and I'm encouraged by their plans to create brand new roles for their businesses. A big push is in Sales, Business Development and Corporate Partnerships. The job seekers in tune with changing business times will succeed in their search for work.

Already we've started recruiting in Health, Finance, Manufacturing and the NFP area. The diversity is promising. 

Once again, awareness of skills, preparation, instinct and good research is key to job searching in 2014.

I raised this with someone recently who was frustrated by the lack of response to their applications. 'It's like no-one wants to even acknowledge me!. What do I do?', she asked.

‘Hustle’, I said.

I'm not suggesting that job seekers head out to wreak havoc on the poor HR Manager or Recruiter. A good hustle is a strategy based on knowing your best assets and making it known to your target.  For example, if you see a job you want, prove it with an exemplary application that mirrors that employer's needs. If you're convinced the job is yours, make a courtesy call to reaffirm your interest but never comprimise on your professionalism.


Andy Dufresne (Shawshank Redemption) wrote letters to the state for six years asking for books and funds for the prison library. They final sent him the money to shut him up.

Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC – knocked on doors and was rejected 1009 times before his fried chicken recipe was finally accepted. The result was a world-wide change in people’s eating habits.

Fred Astaire - After a disastrous screen test in the movies, the casting director wrote him off with 'Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.'  But Astaire saw an opportunity and later insisted to the Head of the movie studio that the report was meant to read ‘slightly bald. Also dances.' The rest is history but he always kept that note in his home as a reminder.

You get the idea.....have a great year!

Fiona Hackett




If you’re familiar with US online retail store Zappo, you may know that it's no ordinary company. With a rep as early adapters to new ideas, it's fostered a colourful and off-beat corporate culture, thanks largely to its CEO Tony Hsieh.

That reputation was reaffirmed just before Christmas when Hsieh announced that Zappos would discard the conventional style of workplace structure and replace it with a Holocracy, a system which sees all work titles thrown out.

So, what is Holocracy? 

It’s not a new concept and many have made attempts – and failed - to implement the system in the past. Essentially, the system works on the forming of groups or hierarchical ‘circles’, where business decisions are made democratically and with total transparency. Each member of their cirlce takes on a specific role with duties mapped out clearly. The absence of any work title means everyone in the group is on the same page and accountable to each other. No-one can laze off...!

It’s a radical move, even for change-friendly companies like Zappos. Modern business and title recognition has always gone hand in hand so the prospect of relinquishing that authority for a ‘group role’ might seem like a step back for some. But many claim that holocracy offers the chance for all employees to better to understand the mechanics of their workplace. What would that achieve?

Out of touch’ managers would be a thing of the past?

Response rate to customer needs accelerate?

Employees are more engaged in their work because their roles are based on what they love to do most?

Communality based goals would strengthen morale; teams would celebrate the ‘wins’ and invest time to understand and improve from the ‘losses’?

Business output would improve because the company as a whole is more in-touch with real world needs and responds more efficiently to change?

Who's up for it?

Seasons Greetings...

Hi everyone! Another year is coming to an end. I hope you've enjoyed our regular blogs.

It's fair to say that 2013 has been a challenging year for job seekers and employers. General economic growth across Australia has remained sluggish and, mixed with elections, a dose of major tax reform and a still limpy global market, I don't blame employers for their prudent attitudes to hiring. But even if the belt tightening  does continue in 2014, most employers seem cautiously optimistic and ready to tackle the year ahead.

Many businesses have also improved their systems and worked hard to transform their internal systems into more streamlined operating functions. It's a vital part of modern business and perhaps reflective of the increasingly interconnected world we live in. Businesses need to be seen to be ‘globally connected’. People will always be the true nexus of a successful business but quality and efficiency of its online systems will spearhead business growth. Customers are always looking for more value and employees want to use systems that will link them to everyone and everything they need to get the job done.

Interestingly, some US Statistics have revealed that occupations like data processing, computer technology services, technical consulting and information services will dominate the job growth scene over the next 5 – 10 years. Jobs that are all big promoters of connectivity.

Folks, if you are gearing up for a new career direction in 2014, preparation is always essential and good advice can help:

  1. Dust off your networks. A number of vacancies in the mid-tier range are not always advertised in the public domain. Employers are diversifying their searches for good talent and are are turning to their networks to find people. Network.
  2. Google yourself. Is your online profile professional and is it squeaky clean?
  3. Understand that salary negotiation can be an opportunity cost. Carefully consider the short term and long term gains of a company before you reject it on the basis of unmet salary expectations. Rewards down the track can be huge.
  4. Build an awareness of your own strengths and areas of expertise and promote these in your CV. They are ultimately what defines you and your potential to an employer. If you’re unsure, seek out a mentor or someone who you know will tell it straight.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and safe and happy New Year. Thank you for your support and interest in the services of Electus Recruitment.

Please note that my office will be closed from 23 December through to 5 January 2014 but should you require any assistance at all please contact me on 0414 883 070.

Fiona Hackett

Do I really need a CV?


Yep. God, we all hate the task of updating it but no matter what you do, it's worth keeping it handy.

Just as you would to your LinkedIn or similar online profile, update the paper version with an inventory of your latest achievements.

Here's some quick tips to make sure your CV is hitting the mark:



  1. Contact details (on each page in upper right hand corner)
  2. Career objective (should be specific, not too wordy, define who you are, entice the employer to keep reading)
  3. Qualifications, certifications, affiliations (relevant to your career)
  4. Personal skills and attributes
  5. Professional work history (Chronological order, include dates, company details, position titles and responsibilities and achievements)
  6. Referees (include contact number or state details on request)
  7. Use clear fonts - Arial, Calibri or Century gothic and stick to size 10-11 font


  1. Date of Birth (allows for too much predujice
  2. Text boxes or columns in formatting
  3. Anymore than the last 3-4 past positions
  4. Too many spaces between your information
  5. Personal interests or a photo

    Don't become your next office party victim

Lets face it, most of us have done it - that walk of shame the Monday following the office Christmas Party... each uncomfortable glance only a further reminder of exactly how much had to drink last Friday (as if the hangover wasnt bad enough).  Reflecting on it now, it really wasnt such a great idea to dance on your desk, with your top over you head.

Christmas parties create worries for employer and employee alike. Here are a few simple steps to make showing your face at work so much easier.
1. Show Up - some people dread office parties. Put yourself in the right mindset and make the most of it. Remember you have have to stay till stumps. Go along, make casual conversation, enjoy spending time with colleagues away from the office.

2. Be sensible about what you wear - find out the dress code and stick to it. Avoid staggeringly high heels (you know after a few wines there is nothing attractive about the way we walk in them), inappropriate skirts, dresses and shirts. If you want to keep with the festive cheer, a nice santa hat, flashing Christmas earrings or a festive tie is more than enough. Covering yourself with Christmas lights (and nothing else) is only a recipe for disaster.

3. Mingle - take this opportunity to get to know others in the organisation you may not get to spend time with.

4. Drink Responsibily - if you know its going to be a big night, eat something substantial (preferably a hearty stew with dumplings and a loaf of bread) before you go. Remember where you are and who is watching. Avoid mixing drinks and have a 'water spacer' between alcoholic drinks. Read the party vibe, if the CEO and CFO are doing shots at the bar, you can probably afford to let your hair down a little, but if their all enjoying their 'shandy's' and 'wine spritzer' then take a leaf from their book and stick to the same. KNOW YOUR LIMITS!

5. Engage just a little 'tact' when it comes to declaring your undying love for a fellow colleague... really do I need to say anymore?

6. Help Others - if you see a colleague in trouble or about to make a fool out of themselves do what you can to dissolve the situation without putting yourself in harms way.

Finally, under all circumstances - stay away from the photocopier! The only thing that will make that Monday morning walk of shame any worse, is by adding pictures of various (naked) parts of your body that have been taped down the hallway for all to see. Not so proud of that tatoo now, are we?

3 Simple tips to nailing that interview


Its normal for most people to feel nervous or apprehensive about sitting a job interview, but follow these 3 simple steps and you'll be sure to walk away with your head held high! 

  1. Always Prepare: Never walk into an interview without making a list of possible and relevant questions you could be asked. Construct logical answers and be sure to include at least one example for each. It reassures the interviewer that you know your stuff, and even if you dont have direct experience with that area in the past, it demonstrates a level of understanding.
  2. Take you time, collect your thoughts: Slow down, take a breath and formulate a thoughtful answer to the question. Silence in an interview is not a bad thing. A well thought out response that has taken a minute to formulate is far more valuable to the interviewer than a jumbled sentence of words that you wish you could retract the moment they leave your mouth.
  3. 'Yes' and 'No' are not a sufficient answer: Elaborate your answers (within reason), give details but dont go on and on. Read the interviewers body language, if they appear restless, make your answers more succinct, but never ever leave an answer as only a 'Yes' or 'No'.

Social Media - is your organisation protected?

Social Media has now taken over as the preferred method of communication and marketing in most industries. Not only is it more efficient in reaching the target audience, more convenient to both the business and the consumer but in most cases it is a more cost effective method of communicating than traditional media. However has your business considered the implications of social media when it goes wrong and what measures do you have in place to prevent this from happening?

It is important to an organisation that when opening the flood gates to the 'social media game' a policy is in place to protect the organisation as well as the participants who engage with the social media. Employers also need to be aware of the possiblity of retaliation, defamation, and breaches of confidentiality, not to mention harm to the corporate reputation.

As an organisation, should a miscommunication or the incorrect information be released, you are just as liable as if you were to do the same using traditional marketing techniques (ie print, tv or radio), so it is important that the social media participants (champions) are aware of the implications of flipant or careless tweets and posts. Remember once it is up on the internet, it is there forever. 

Here are some helpful hints of things to include in your policy:

  1. Specify if you are giving permission for staff to access both personal social media accounts and the organisational accounts.
  2. Implement a response time to any posts or tweets received. This will ensure that everyone gets a reply in a timely manner and should be in line with your existing customer service policy.
  3. Be prepared to accept that you may receive negative feedback. Ensure that you have measures in place to deal with this situation should it occur.
  4. If you are worried about the content going up, appoint one or several champions who are entirely responsible for all aspects of the organisations social media and ensure that these employees are fully trained and aware of any implications involved. Make sure the policy is clear about the consequences of their actions' online.
  5. Specify that a senior manager is to run his eye over the social media content (including images) weekly/fortnightly/monthly to ensure that it meets company policy and response times are suitable.
  6. Include a standard waiver on all pages and sites, that states that inappropriate language will not be accepted and any comments of this nature will be removed. Constructive criticism is ok, but you dont want inappropriate language to reflect badly on your business.
  7. To avoid online bullying, involve your HR team in the process, and a review of the organisation's Bullying policy should be done in line with the implementation of the Social Media policy to make sure the two reflect each other.


How you choose to present yourself on paper reveals a lot. The document is representative of you, from your writing style to the choice of font you use. Employers are discerning so if your presentation is sloppy you could be overlooked.  

Here are some favourite tips to keep your CV on track and on trend:


There is only one YOU so why would you have two? Maintain a regular inventory of experience and your CV will begin to form a true profile of your talents. The cover letter will be an opportunity to tailor yourself so if your CV doesn’t reflect the job ad, you may need to look elsewhere.


A document beyond 3 pages is too long.


A well worded career statement of 2-3 sentences sets the tone of your CV and helps the reader to form the right impression. Never underestimate the power of a good written pitch.  Be clear about what you stand for and keep it concise.


Key capabilities are the ingredients to your ideal job. They’re the skills you’ve acquired and the talents you can prove. Be careful not to mix these with character traits and list them from most valuable.


Employers admire further study but a PhD or Masters alone won’t get you the job.  Keep your qualifications concise and minimise your list of professional development courses unless they’re relevant.


Consider the reader with a description of each company/ies you’ve worked for plus location. It increases legitimacy and promotes attention to detail.


Be specific about your periods of employment (month and year).

And finally,

Survey Says...

In our past two blogs we have been asking all of our subscribers (clients and candidates) to participate in one of two online surveys. The first was directed to clients, about how recruitment is done in their place of work and what challenges they are currently facing. The second survey was sent to candidates, asking about how they are finding the current job market and their challenges in finding new work.

The results for both surveys are below. Each group are likely to find what the other had to say very interesting.

Getting the Staff that Fit (Client Survey)

Respondents were from the following industries
Not for Profit
Aged & Health Care
Banking & Financial Services

Average annual staff turnover
Low – between 10-20%

83% said the hiring and decision making is done by Departmental Heads/Team Leaders

Top 5 methods used by organisations to find staff
1. Paper Advertising
2. Government Job Agencies
3. Own company website
4. Recruitment Agency
5. Job Boards

Changes in hiring methods
70% say less reliant on external agencies
10% say more emphasis on internal referrals
10% say less reliance on paper adverts
10% say the company is downsizing, not hiring

80% of respondents mix online advertising with paper advertising and referrals/word of mouth, while 20% use both recruitment agencies and advertise online themselves

What is most challenging part to finding new staff?
1. Time
2. Costs
3. Values and culture match
4. Lack of depth in talent pools

What does this mean for candidates?
These results suggest that most organisations, are still utilising paper advertising, and they like to mix up their advertising across job boards, paper and referrals. It is also suggests that candidates need to be direct in their application, ensuring that cover letters and cv’s are hitting the target and cover ALL of your skills and knowledge.

Finding Jobs that Fit (Candidate Survey)

Respondents were from the following industries
Financial Services
Mining & Resources

Percentage of employed vs unemployed respondents
46% employed
54% unemployed

Average length of time looking for work
1 month                   38%
6 months                 15%
1 year                       15%
18 months                 8%
2 years or longer      8%
Not looking               8%

Deciding factors when considering new employment (in order most favourable)
1. Work/Life Balance
2. Location
3. Opportunity to develop new skills
4. Remuneration
5. Professional Advancement
6. Employee Benefits
7. Study/Further education support
8. Greater super contributions
9. Size of company
10. Opportunity for global/interstate travel

55% of respondents look for work 1-5 times a week

Most used methods when looking for work
1. Job boards (Seek, CareerOne etc)
2. Word of Mouth
3. Recruitment Agencies

40% said they SOMETIMES received feedback when applying for jobs

Suggestions to improve greater response from employers:
• Follow up phone calls
• Networking
• CV/Letters that accurately address job criteria
• More information about the job, before applying
• Apply for a broader range of jobs
• Greater awareness of my transferable skills

What does this mean for Employers?
The results suggest that employees are no longer focused on the remuneration aspect so much, but are willing to accept a flexible work/life balance or a more suitable location when seeking new employment. Prospective employees are still hunting for jobs on job boards and actively seeking work through word of mouth and are aware that they now need to work harder in order to secure a new position.

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The team at Electus Recruitment has  always delivered a prompt, friendly and professional service, which has assisted to make the recruitment of staff a successful process. Electus Recruitment worked with Managers to really understand our business and organisational culture to ensure they presented quality applicants for the roles we had available. I was always very impressed with the personalised candidate pack sent to me once an Electus candidate was placed. Its been an absolute pleasure working with Electus and I have no hesitation in recommending their services. C Carey, HR Manager, IT

I have always been very impressed with the quality of service I have received from Electus. They are reliable, efficient, professional and – above all – truthful. This alone sets them out from much of their competition. T Gamage, Financial and Reporting Accountant, Utilities 

For more testimonials please click here

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