Did you Press the Snooze Button this Morning?

It is common practice for many of us. The alarm goes off and we immediately start justifying why we can stay in bed, just 10 more minutes, I won’t wash my hair this morning, I’ll eat my breakfast at work, it’s cold, I feel a flu coming on…. the list goes on. Sometimes there is no thought —  it is just so routine — the hand instantly reaches out for that snooze  AND what have we done, we have just started our day with an act of procrastination.

I recently re watched a great Ted Talk by Mel Robbins called “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over”

In this she says “Getting what you want is simple but it’s not  easy.”  The space between getting what you want and where you currently sit lies in the activation energy. In any area of our life we want to change, we are “never going to feel like  .”  It requires force…. activation energy, which the Oxford dictionary defines as “the minimum quantity of energy which the reacting species must possess in order to undergo a specified reaction.” In other words we need to put a bit of elbow in it to make it happen!

This very first decision in our day as Mel Robbins explains, is a chance to experience the activation energy required to accomplish change. It’s not easy, but have you ever regretted it? Most likely your day was a lot more productive because you started the day with action rather than delay.

This is part of what yoga and all these trendy body fitness challenges makes so powerful. By pushing through physical challenges we learn to push through mental ones.

Every day we are full of ideas, but what keeps us from activating that energy to make these happen.  As Mel Robbins says it’s the “F word”… “Fine.”  We get comfortable feeling fine and the truth is we will probably not ever feel like it. I’m going to add another  “f” word — fear.

I have to admit, I pressed my own inner snooze button a few times writing this blog. I love writing, I write blogs in my sleep, on the train, even during yoga…. in my head! But for some reason getting them down to paper and actually sharing them, that’s another story.

Let me tell you, the activation energy that took me to actually press send on this was immense.

Then I thought of a recent talk I went to by Brene Brown, most commonly known for her Ted Talk on The Power of Vulnerability.   In this particular talk she shared her inspiration behind her latest book, Daring Greatly. It came from a difficult moment in her life when she discovered the following quote by Theodore Roosevelt:

 “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly……”

I think of the leaders we work within my industry and the ones I most greatly admire, the ones with whom we get to do the most meaningful projects. They are the ones who are the first to put their hand up for 360 Feedback, to be challenged on their thinking and to recognise that to create change in their organisation things might get uncomfortable. They channel that activation energy, they get in the arena and cheer others along the way to do the same.

Whether you are job hunting, relationship seeking, trying to create change in your organisation or avoiding a difficult conversation, it’s not going to happen without force.

So I dare you tomorrow to set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier, when your alarm goes off don’t press the snooze button, tap into that activation energy, get up and get in to the arena.

By Elizabeth Loban


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“Not …..Another Poor Economic Forecast!”

The Beilby Blog this week is focused on business conditions, the global economic picture and how some industries are adapting.

I received the attached “Economic Conditions Snapshot by McKinsey” into my mailbox on Wednesday as many of you may have done, and just felt a bit dismayed as to how economic conditions have changed so rapidly. Or have they? It made me think do we get it wrong all the time and are we just thinking wishfully? Is it that we can’t see the forest for the trees and are we just living in hope? Alternatively should we just forget about being optimistic about economic conditions and just accept that the economy, global or otherwise will be two steps forward and one or two backwards for the foreseeable future. This view would certainly alleviate that sense of disappointment when surveys and findings are published that show regression and economic conditions slowing.

However this view doesn’t mean we can’t be optimistic or have a glass half full mentality because positivity breeds more positivity and leads to taking different solution to a problem and being more innovative …this is the key.

I know from discussions with key executives in the Mining and METS (Metal Equipment Technology and Services) sector the focus is all about opportunities and the ongoing need for innovation provided by challenging market conditions. There is no disagreement on challenging market conditions, the challenges will certainly be there in 2016 with the volatility around world markets and uncertainty surrounding commodity prices. What seems to be changing though, is the opportunity for innovation, to do things differently – something which has always been there, but where the take-up of these ideas was quite low (or took too long) in the past, due to the focus on proven production sometimes seemingly at any cost.

More and more we are seeing that mining companies and suppliers are challenging themselves to do things differently, and that’s not just around new technology and innovation, but also in new ways of approaching a problem or issue, and (cautiously) embracing these ideas if they work. For the METS industry, it is about how they can add value to their customers – and this is happening more than ever before.

METS companies need to find more than ever before ways to add value, whether through technology, innovation, or different problem-solving approaches. The need to maximise profit and improve efficiency has never been more important with less to go around given the challenging times – but mining will continue to remain an essential global industry, it’s just that some of what is being focused on may change and progress. What was important before will remain important, but other areas and ways of thinking will come to the fore which is a positive development.

Certainly optimism is the lifeblood to growing a business and creating opportunities.

McKinsey article here….



Stuart Chandler

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Where do your loyalties lie in the Recruitment Industry?

As a candidate in the market place you may be interested to understand how recruiters work and why they may be of help to you in your search. Essentially though you must take ownership of your own job search and career. Recruiters will often work with you but really their loyalties are to the company who engages them and not necessarily you! The client company (the organisation doing the hiring) pays the executive recruiter to attract the right candidate (future employee).

Recruiters come in many forms commonly Contingent, Temporary / Permanent and Executive / Search and there are numerous firms in the market place from large Global organisations to small “boutique” firms and individual operators. While it is true that some executive recruiters or “head-hunters” tend to work with candidates earning well above $100,000 per year, it is far from an accurate impression of the industry as a whole as the majority of roles on offer will typically be less than this.

The statement “I just need them to find me a role or select me for a role” would be pretty common in the market place. Gaining an understanding about how recruiters´ work and how they are engaged is key to manoeuvring the relationship to your own benefit. Regardless of the environment in which they work, each firm / individual has its own particular methodology, style, and industry focus. Some firms tend to focus on a particular industry, or have a team of recruiters focused in particular roles. An individual recruiter may have a certain specialty such as filling a particular job position within a certain industry. So you should feel confident that there is a recruiting firm out there that meets your needs; that focuses on your field of interest, location or job position. You will need to conduct research to find the recruiting firm that meets your particular requirements. Remember that the firm doesn´t have to be large to be an asset. Proficient smaller firms and individual recruiters can leverage their well-worked networks that put them in contact with a variety of job openings.

However remember their key loyalty must still be to the person paying the fee – the hiring company!

They operate as a “consultant” to their client company and are hired to give advice not just generate resumes. They are looking for the exact fit that the client company has requested and are there for less likely to press the client according to your needs in the first instance.

Some recruiters don´t expect or want phone calls and will contact you directly. Others do like you to check in periodically, but careful as to when this could be over-stepping the mark.

Loyalties aside the best part about working with an external recruiter is that you both usually have the same goal;

Getting you placed with the hiring company!

Bobbies blog

By Bob Milgate


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Protecting your Brand as an Employer

I have a friend who has been out of work for just over a year. During this time I have heard the challenges she has experienced in her search for work and also the frustrations she has faced.  Every day she would check the jobs on a range of jobs boards and apply for roles that were reflective of her skill set.  Whilst she wasn’t being overly picky in the type of roles she applied for – she was looking for longevity in her next job, so was really selecting only those roles that were a match for her experience.  That being said, on average she still applied for between 5-10 jobs a day.

Being a proud woman and one who took losing her job a year ago quite badly from both a professional and personal perspective, she has found the last year particularly challenging.

Interestingly – one of the things she found hardest to deal with was not the rejection – but the lack of contact from potential employers. She would regularly receive emails that acknowledged receipt of her application but advised that she would only be contacted if she was of interest to the organisation or (most of the time) did not receive anything at all – so was left wondering whether they had even received her application!

A lot of companies are concerned with their brand reputation and employer brand proposition – so imagine how that could be viewed when companies don’t respond to applicants who want to join their brand!

I understand that in today’s current economic environment, organisations are receiving a high number of applications for vacancies (often from candidates whose skills and experience are not even close to those required by the role) and it takes time to respond to every candidate and advise them of the outcome of their application. However, in a society that thrives on competition and high levels of customer service – adopting such customer focused principles within the core of a business would be a good place to start – after all – we never know who our next customers might be!!

So – if you are recruiting for a vacancy, getting swamped by CV’s and need some help to find that needle in a haystack – perhaps we can help. Our highly skilled team of consultants can review the applications you receive – provide you with a list of those most suitably qualified – contact the candidates to acknowledge receipt of their application – and advise them if they have been unsuccessful  – then you can take it from there!

By maintaining a focus on customer service that starts with your staff, although candidates may be disappointed they didn’t get the job – they will still have had a positive experience and will hold your organisation in high regard. I know this certainly was the case with my friend – who, by the way, has just been offered a great opportunity, starting on Tuesday!!

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A Great Business Week in Canberra?

Working in recruitment specifically and consulting more broadly is a tremendously rewarding career. Don’t get me wrong there are lots of challenges – right now I have no new assignments to work on, and cold calling to identify new revenue  opportunities isn’t my strong suit! However the organisations we are invited to influence and the incredibly talented people we meet is typically inspiring.

As I mentioned I have no new revenue identified, so committing to an interstate road trip for a week probably leaves me open to some critical cost judgment scrutiny at the next P&L review. Notwithstanding, with my OPRA Australia colleague Ben Hainsworth, we embarked on a week in Canberra. Essentially this trip was to complete our assignment engagement commitment of individual psychometric feedback for placed executives and 360 feedback after 6 months in roles.

During our meetings we met with four outstanding managers/executives we have been fortunate enough to partner with during their recent career move, Board Chairs of organisations and successful entrepreneurs who are actively engaged in building sustainable business growth and creating value for their employees.

While each of these people had their own business challenges they were openly happy to discuss them. In these discussions each individual opened the door to their vulnerability, though overwhelmingly each person appeared at ease with themselves, prepared and committed to tackle the challenges ahead and open to the advice and support of others. Ultimately they demonstrated that success for them and their business lay in their own ability and actions and engaging and then leading their teams and people in their organisations.

One of the senior mangers we met with had a simple   strategy to leading their new team. This team was over twenty people and the manager would be remote in an environment where positive change and growth are critical to the next stages of the development of the business. Their strategy was simple – build Engaged, Enabled and Connected teams. It might be a simple phrase however for me it instilled a sense of clarity and purpose.

As I reflected on this strategy it occurred to me that each of the people we met had, in their own way, determined that they, their teams and their organisations needed to be Engaged, Enabled and Connected. It started with individual acceptance and accountability and cascaded throughout the enterprise however it started with individual clarity and acceptance that personal success was up to them and they in turn created opportunities for success in their teams.

I have come away from Canberra with a renewed focus that success is my responsibility and I need to return to being Engaged, Enabled and Connected for myself and then with all those around me.  And while I still have no new revenue identified, and my judgment in writing a blog rather than cold calling will bring further scrutiny, I know my success and influencing positive outcomes within our business starts with me.

Thanks Canberra for a great week and simplistic clarity!


By David Gallagher

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Don’t take your eyes off the Ball!

This week has been my first business as usual week of the New Year, holidays finished, kids back at school, tidy desk, goals to meet and… job to get. For me this week was about hitting the ground running meeting contacts, making appointments, networking and reenergising the head of steam  gained through the first half of the year to ensure momentum is maintained and the financial year 15/16 is a successful one. All easy stuff really and when things are going well, you are busy and opportunities are being created it’s easy to become complacent and think things won’t change and momentum will just continue. The reality check is that change is guaranteed.

Today is Friday and looking back at the week its been busy and productive but still plenty to do to get that head of steam going again. Amongst a range of appointments and meetings there were four that stuck out for me, all with senior executives looking for new career opportunities. Two were recently on to the job market, one had been looking for about four months and for the other this was the beginning of month seven. Each of these four has different circumstances, experiences and timing in looking for their next senior position. To each I said the same thing…”Don’t take your eyes off the Ball”.

“What ball? It’s not a game!” No it’s not a game but it’s a good analogy for advancing your career! How many teams concede a goal or a try after they have just scored or tennis players their services broken immediately after they have broken serve…happens all the time. As we know they sit back, lose concentration, relax even a little and bang…back to square one and having to do it all over again!

In other words don’t become complacent when pursuing that next opportunity. I have spoken to many executives who have told me, as they progressed through a job application process and interview two became three and four, followed by personality assessments, reference checks and even an interview overseas, that they stopped applying for other opportunities assuming this was in the bag only to find out they were Runner–up (see my previous blog for tips on being the runner-up!). Yes, it is difficult and time consuming applying for jobs and it is easy to fall into a false sense of security as you successfully progress  through a selection process but my advice is don’t become complacent and don’t lose sight of the main aim…to secure that career move.

Not being the preferred candidate is not the only  reason for being the Runner-Up. Many other external factors can come into play, company priorities change, restructures take place, economic conditions take affect; positions are put on hold or a global recruitment freeze.  There are a myriad of things which can occur that are outside of your control that can lead to you not securing that job after having invested so much energy and time, it could be months in some cases. Additionally it may be your decision not to accept an offer, the remuneration is not what you had expected, the job conditions are not acceptable to your lifestyle, too much travel, the list goes on and on. Better to have a number of “irons in the fire “and be at various job application stages in order to maximise your opportunity. (Also refer to another blog “I think I’ve left my Networking to Late”). Just like moving around the room at a business conference keep the networking going in your job hunt and ‘Don’t take your eyes off the Ball!’

Stuart Chandler

Posted in Career Management, Current Trends, Development, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An Insight to Panel Interviews

So………… the phone rings and you get the call you have been hoping for “congratulations we would like to invite you to a panel interview”.  Once you have got over the initial shock, excitement and delight of being shortlisted to the next stage of the process……. This is often followed by waves of dread, anguish or torment as you realise you are going to face a panel of ‘judges’ who have your fate in their hands.

So what can you do to maximise your chances of performing your best at a panel interview? There are lots of blogs on the internet providing advice on what you should / shouldn’t do in a panel interview, but for me – the following tips relate most closely to a panel interview within the public sector and may assist you with your panel interview, with regards to the preparation and delivery.

Tip #1 – Find out who is going to be on the panel.

Removing the ‘surprise’ of who you are going to meet at a panel interview can often help with your nerves. When you receive the call inviting you to an interview you should be advised of the panel members – if not, feel free to ask and if it helps, check out their profiles so you know what they look like and what their role is in the organisation / selection process.

Tip #2 – Get prepared

There is a fine line between being too prepared for an interview and not undertaking a sufficient level of preparation. During my research in to writing this blog I looked at lots of tips on the internet and was surprised with how many experts recommend you try to predict the questions you are going to be asked.  This is fine for the more generic questions, such as your strengths and areas for development, but for me – I would suggest not predicting questions against the criteria, because, if the question you are expecting and have prepared for is not asked – it could totally throw you off balance!!  Also, be prepared to further explain claims you have made in your resume – the panel will often ask for greater elaboration on specific achievements you have listed, especially when directly relevant to the role.

I prefer to recommend that applicants prepare examples and evidence against the criteria for the role, as all the questions the panel will be asking during the interview will be designed to elicit evidence on how you apply specific criteria as they relate to the vacancy. Try to think of examples that best showcase your skills in the context of the role, leaving it absolutely clear to the panel how you have applied the criteria in order to achieve a result within a similar setting.  Also, if being interviewed for a promotion, remember to select examples that demonstrate where you have operated at a more senior level, or how your skills could be applied at a higher level.

Tip #3 – Make some notes

As part of your preparation, make some brief notes to help prompt you in the interview.  I have seen many applicants become confused in the interview as they trawl through pages of detailed notes in order to find the one example they’re looking for.  This becomes further pressure for the applicant and can really add to any increasing nerves.  One solution to avoid this is, as part of your preparation before the interview, you write prompt notes rather than lots of detail and put them on a post it note – that way in your reading time prior to your interview (most public sector interviews allocate 15 minutes reading time for applicants to review the questions) you can select the note that is most relevant to each question and pop it on the page. Voila!!!!

Tip #4 – Arrival at the interview

Visit the address prior to the interview to avoid getting lost on the day. Try not to turn up too early – sitting waiting to go in to your interview can make you more nervous.  Don’t drink too much coffee – you don’t want to feel uncomfortable or overly fidgety during the interview.  Wear appropriate attire and be polite and professional to the person greeting you – you never know – they might be part of the panel!

Tip#5 – Reading time

As outlined above, most panel interviews in the public sector give you time to read through the questions you are going to be asked. The reason for this is so you can think of the best and most appropriate examples to showcase your skills.  The interview isn’t designed to ‘test’ you; it really is an opportunity for you to ‘sell’ yourself as well as you can.  Therefore, use your reading time wisely – read all the questions and those you are comfortable answering, don’t spend lots of time on – use your time instead on those more challenging or complex questions.

Use the notes you have prepared prior to the interview to save time writing prompts for the examples you are using and make sure you answer the question you’re being asked. The examples you have prepared may not suit the questions you’re being asked – so rather than making the question fit your answer – provide an appropriate answer to the question you’re being asked!

Tip #6 – The interview

Entering the interview room can be daunting – but remember the panel is there to find the best person for the role, so they have an interest in making sure you are comfortable and given every opportunity to demonstrate your skills and suitability for the role.

Try not to read verbatim from your written application / notes – I know this can be a good security mechanism, but in addition to assessing the suitability of your skills and experience the panel is trying to learn more about you as an individual. Instead build rapport with the panel by making eye contact, listen to what they are saying, communicate your responses clearly and in a structured manner and make sure you outline your role in specific examples, rather than just tell the story of what happened.

The panel is interested in what you say not how you say it but it does make it easier for them to comprehend if you are clear and concise in your communication.

Listen to what the panel is saying and follow the instructions they are requesting. Prior to the interview the panel will have discussed the most appropriate format of the interview, so it is best to adhere to their direction, rather than take control and change things around to fit your requirements better.

Stick to the time limit and once you have answered the question get ready to move on to the next one. Quite often when we’re nervous we ramble and can ‘over talk’ something which then dilutes the pertinent points you are making.

At the conclusion of the interview, if there is time, provide a closing summary of your skills and suitability for the role.   I have been on many interviews where this closing statement has provided that last piece of evidence which has changed the recommendations made by the panel.  Don’t make your close too long – it really is just a final summary of why you believe you’re the best person for the role.

If you have a pertinent question or two, this is the time to ask them. Don’t ask questions for the sake of it – but think about what you would like to know about the role, team, departmental objectives, organisation, etc.

Tip #6 – Final Tip

Remember – the panel interview isn’t just about the panel finding the best person for the role – it is also a chance for you to decide whether the role is right for you. So, use the opportunity to become better informed about the organisation / role, etc. so you can make the best decision for your career.

Also, once you receive notification of the outcome of your application, ask for feedback at the end of the process regardless of the outcome. This is a great opportunity to see which areas could be improved on and also to receive verification of the things you did well in order to follow again for future interviews.

Good luck!

By Denise Wetherall



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