We’ve put together some information and tips to help jobseekers create a compelling CV, prepare for an interview, identify work opportunities and plan their career, and for clients to get their people working productively. It could be a range of different tips and tricks we’ve learned over time and we’d love to share with you….
How to compile a great CV
The better you are at communicating your strengths – both on paper and in person – the better your chance of success when applying for a role. Think of your CV/Resume as a tool that gives an employer a compelling reason to meet you for an interview and take the next step. It’s an advertisement for you and your skills. Here is a template to get you started.
- Keep your CV or resume brief – up to five pages is best.
- Avoid jargon and use plain English – keep it punchy, short and simple.
- Tell the truth – candidate integrity is important.
- Make sure there are no major gaps in your work history.
- Check spelling, dates, formatting, grammar, etc. – it’s vital that your CV is polished and mistake-free.
- Always send a short, one-page covering letter with your application.
Remember, your CV or resume is your first chance to make an impression and an important marketing tool, so don’t be afraid to sell yourself!
Tips & Techniques
The face-to-face interview is probably the most important part of the job selection process. It’s your chance to present yourself – your skills, experience, personal qualities and strengths – as a great candidate for the role. It’s also an opportunity to find out more about the organisation and role, and help you decide if it’s right for you.
We’ve put together a people&co Great Interview Guide. It covers how to prepare for your interview, create a good first impression, strategies for success, and tips on answering questions confidently.
After your Interview
Call your people&co consultant to let them know how the interview went and what your level of interest in the role is. This is an important feedback loop and an opportunity to identify and fill in any gaps in information you or the interviewer might have.
Welcome Aboard – Remotely!
Many organisations have people working remotely from home, but having new people start remotely, well that might be new territory.
Onboarding remotely can be done very successfully – the fundamentals of the process are the same, but the delivery takes advantage of digital tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, or other applications.
The key is to keep it simple, but from the experience of our team and my readings, there’s four elements worth forming the cornerstones of your remote onboarding process:
1. Welcome – warmly welcome them to your organisation and give them the tools, information and connections to do their job
2. Set Expectations – we are all much more effective when we’re on point
3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – an oldie but a goodie
4. Wellbeing – we need to look after our people, no matter where they are.
Here’s some ideas you could include in your process:
- Welcome your person to their team and the organisation, make the announcement!
- Set up an induction programme before they start ensuring it includes sessions in relation to their role and the wider organisation, both operationally and culturally.
- Get them connected – with people and resources. Send them all the digital material and links that they need to get going.
- Embrace digital tools like Zoom, Teams, Skype and more. Consider making some short welcome videos from the CE/Board/key staff if you’ll be onboarding a lot of staff.
- Assign an induction buddy, someone to check in, guide and support through the onboarding process – we’re all different and not everyone takes to working from home smoothly.
- Get their calendars going – ensure they’re invited to team meetings, virtual drinks/coffees, the morning quiz – whatever you’re doing remotely, remember to include the new person.
- Check their home technical capability and courier gear if necessary. Connect them with IT to organise logons, security, how to operate guides etc. Don’t forget to cover off phone and internet capability/practice too.
- Check their working from home environment – while you can’t conduct a health and safety audit of their workstation, you can send some workstation set-up friendly reminders.
- Remember to organise a space for them and workspace induction when they return to your regular environment!
- Ensure the person’s manager locks in time to talk over the role, setting clear expectations of their role’s workplan and deliverables.
- Set clear expectations about work output and behavior when working from home – set them up for success!
- Provide access to all organisational policies/procedures/guidelines – including working from home policies with privacy and security considerations.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
- Talk to your new person through the process, are they OK, are they working through the induction programme, do they know the lines of communication, are they talking to others and not feeling isolated?
- Take the time to check in – they don’t have the luxury of mingling in the office kitchen!
- Assign a different buddy to check in randomly but regularly to see how they are going – and that they are feeling included.
- Act on cues if they’re having issues.
Onboarding can be successful remotely so don’t avoid it. Keep it simple, have a plan and ensure you give people the tools, resources and connections to be successful – and keep up the conversations so they don’t feel isolated.
Get feedback from those you’ve onboarded, and refine, refine, refine!
Our setup enables our team to work in the office or remotely and it works well. There are plenty of digital tools to help us stay connected – and they can work well for onboarding your new team members too. A special shoutout to team members @EmmaMulhern and @JacaleenWilliams for their research and collaboration in pulling these ideas together too!
Feel free to ring Michele Walls or any of our consultants for a chat or to bounce around some ideas if you’re looking for help onboarding remotely through Covid19 – or beyond as we see organisations embrace flexibility!
Don’t leave the keys lying around….
Working from home – or at home working – however you like to look at it, it’s what we’re doing right now. For many I’ve spoken to, it’s working better than they imagined and who knows, this might be the catalyst for organisations to embrace workstyle flexibility for their people.
This is written from the perspective of being encouraging – it’s all pretty do-able. You really just need to have “plain English” conversations with the IT professionals internal or external to your business to get things happening – safely.
When chatting to our clients one of the subjects that keeps coming up, is ensuring their people, both existing and new, have got the right tools to do their jobs remotely – and this includes ensuring the IT is sorted – and that’s more than just making sure they have a remote login. Now is not the time for your cyber and business security to take a back seat.
Our team’s fully equipped to work remotely, and as a business owner I know it’s imperative to ensure that we apply the same protocols to our people’s home operations as we do in the office. There’s more to it than dishing out a laptop – we need to take responsibility for the protocols that should go with that.
There’s plenty of websites, posts and specialists out there offering advice and action, and while this isn’t a substitute for specialist advice, as a business owner I think there are some basic principles to consider within an organisation’s cyber strategy with your people working from home:
1. Computer security
2. System and transmission security
3. Hardcopy security
4. Common sense.
Some of the things you might need to consider within these principles:
Computer security – what hardware are your people using – is it yours or theirs? Do they have adequate virus/malware protection? Is it up to date? Is their software up to date? Ensure this is checked and timetabled.
System and transmission security – keep up your normal protocols including enforcing strong complex passwords and password expiry. Give people access to only what they need access to and diarise to audit this. If you’re internally hosted, only allow remote access over VPN. Don’t allow local hard discs, removeable drives etc from getting mapped via remote connection.
Some organisations and government agencies might align themselves with a national standard (nzism.gcsb.govt.nz).
When using team communication tools like Zoom, ensure the settings aren’t “public”.
Hardcopy security – remind your people to be vigilant with the papers they have with them and to keep them together and secure. You must take steps to respect data and privacy. One day this lockdown will be over and you may invite the neighbours round – and you wouldn’t want them to find your company’s or your customers, financials or strategy on the coffee table.
Common sense – let’s not forget the usual stuff when we’re working remotely – don’t give out passwords, don’t use the same passwords, create complex strong passwords, don’t copy data, and don’t click on that link in that email from the person you don’t know or weren’t expecting!
As a business owner I know we can’t rest on our laurels with our cyber, data and privacy security when working from home, just the same as we wouldn’t when we’re in the office. We agenda cyber security, along with health and safety, in every team meeting and don’t just give it lip service but take the opportunity to update staff but also discuss any issues, trends, bad habits etc, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Making sure our systems are secure and our people act appropriately is critical at the best of times – and we shouldn’t let it slip during these unusual times.
As our IT Specialist likes to say – “we don’t leave our home front door open or all the keys lying around” – and your business data, intelligence and security is no different.
A big thanks to our IT expert @aaronmiddlemiss and inhouse comms expert @jacaleenwilliams for their input and help!
Learning and Development from home….
As a leader of our Co.Star Consulting brand, which focuses on OD (among other things), I’ve been inundated with opportunities to learn, expand my thinking and to try new things. As a result, our email and LinkedIn feeds are flooded with time consuming opportunities and let’s face it, it’s pretty easy to lose ourselves into a sea of distraction.
Now is however potentially a great opportunity to put some time into learning and development, be it for your staff, stakeholders or customers.
Getting your learning resources online while working remotely might not be as hard as you may think. A good start is to stick to some basic principles and here are my top ten tips:
1. Know your team / your market
Let’s start with the obvious one – ensure your materials fit your audience.
2. Know your “why”
Be really clear about the why. Why should they look at this, why is this important? There’s so much information out there – make it clear why this material deserves their attention (and they’ll be more likely to engage).
3. KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid!
We don’t read online material in the same way we read paper. We’ve developed shortcuts for reading online. We tend to scan, so keep your material brief and bullet pointed.
4. Relevant, fresh and timely
Take a moment to review your content – is it all still relevant in an online environment? Has the world moved on and it needs updating a little? Could I do it better?
The online environment provides a perfect opportunity to look at your content with fresh eyes and design some step changes to your approach that might have been difficult to implement previously.
If Covid-19 means you’re having to convert to online for external clients, ensure your conversion is timely.
5. Make a connection
People may feel more connected if there’s a personal connection – so establish a connection from the get-go. Try using video to make that personal connection at the beginning.
6. The right image is worth a thousand words
Images are a great way to convey a message and can offer quicker and deeper ways for people to learn new things. Make them meaningful rather than superfluous. Put time into diagrams, infographics and useful images.
Be mindful though of people printing at home, so forget big dense blocks of colour or images designed to just make it pretty.
7. Bite size chunks
Keep the learning manageable and in reasonable chunks – 60 to 90 minute blocks maximum.
8. Embrace technology
Take advantage of the technology at your fingertips – make video clips, use YouTube and images to enhance your training (see previous points though). Use tools like Zoom for discussions, break out rooms for short bursts of team activities, shared screens and Chat for questions.
9. Facilitate well
If facilitating ensure timely loading of materials, allowing people enough time to read or print. Send daily module notes giving direction for pre reading and what workbooks or resources are required the next day. Give clear cues (eg page number) about what resources are being used at the time.
10. Add value
There’s so much out there to distract us – so add value. Add tips and extra information – but remember to be clear about what is your intellectual property and brand your materials accordingly.
We can always refine our practices, so do include a feedback loop for continuous improvement.
When offering training to an external market a free course can be a great product development tool, but given it’s a jungle out there, it needs to be fresh and relevant to cut through the clutter.
As we are now in a flexible working environment, this provides a timely opportunity to move your learning and development online, either in totality or, bite size chunks.
Of course, if you don’t have the skills or you’re stuck for inspiration there are a range of experts out there who know this stuff inside out. At co.star consulting we know these experts so give us a call to find out more….
Heading back to work….
Heading into our “next normal”
The presence of earthquakes over the last few years has certainly had many organisations, perhaps particularly those of us near fault lines, ensure we have robust business continuity plans in place. And as news reports about the coronavirus drew closer to home we realised our working landscape might face significant change. Around the country those BCP plans are being reviewed, updated (and perhaps now, rewritten), as we all ensured we had what it takes to ensure our people were fully capable of working from home on a longer-term basis.
As we watched Covid-19 unfold and New Zealand head into lockdown, our people were all comfortably set up at home, working, video conferencing, Zooming, managing their families, home-schooling, entertaining and wrangling the kids.
Our management approach is transparent and open, we talk about what’s happening, and our expectations during this period, fully acknowledging everyone doesn’t have the perfect office set up when whole families are now working, studying, and living within the same space. Those that thrive on the buzz of the office and being surrounded by peers may now quietly struggle working solo, while others may cherish the relaxed environment. Throw in the school holidays, children or family members that need care and attention, anxiety about their education, our jobs, our livelihoods, our friends and family we can’t visit, and there’s potentially a whole pot of added stress – while trying to work and maintain our professional lives.
So what happens next? While at the time of writing we don’t know when we’ll be returning to our offices to resume normality, or what that normality might even look like, it’s time to be thinking about what that move back might entail.
Covid-19 has caused disruption. It’s stopped us in our tracks and forced us to think and act a little differently.
But also, to embrace the disruption and run with it.
Our business is all about people and every one of my team loves their role and the personal interaction we get each and every day. Obviously we’ve had to change, limiting face to face contact prior to lockdown and embracing the technical tools to keep this alive. But where to from here?
My thinking is around a transitional approach, but there are key areas to explore:
1. Where are we at?
Stop and take stock of what’s happening in your organisation.
Have priorities changed? Were workplans put on hold and now need urgent attention? Is your focus the same? Do you need to pivot? Has this time exposed needs within your policies/technology/systems/processes? Has working from home worked for everyone? What hasn’t? What has?
2. What’s the plan?
Work out what your business needs, what’s the plan?
Is this the opportunity to make some operational change? Is this the time to reinvent your business? Does everyone need to be working in the office? Could flexibility be a greater part of your operation? What are your priorities now?
Times have changed and it’s heartening to see and hear people looking out for each other and their wellbeing, so openly.
But post lockdown, wellbeing will remain a top priority. Some of your team will bounce back quickly, while for others, it may be a slower journey, particularly as our lives are likely to be impacted by this event, for a long time.
Lockdown may well have added additional stresses – financial, strained relationships, anxiety, family violence and more. Additional support may be needed, so a robust wellness programme that might cover stress and anxiety management, resilience building, nutrition and exercise, and how to get extra support, will be needed. Talking openly about mental health will be necessary at this time.
4. How do we do it? Next steps/the new office
There’s a lot of talk out there about a “new normal”, and we don’t necessarily know what that looks like, but at some point we will head back to our offices and each do our best as the economy rebuilds. What will that look like and how will we do it?
My thinking is a transitional approach.
Our lives are in steps at the moment as the government moves the country through the alert levels and my thinking is that our return to an office environment will be stepped too.
Some of the things we’ll be thinking about:
a. Not all staff may be able to return to the office straight away due to childcare or school constraints, or have immune comprised people in their bubble
b. Do we need all our staff in the office? Do we need the same space – or more for safe distancing?
c. Providing an environment that our people will feel safe in – conforming to hygiene (routine and targeted deep cleaning) and social distancing recommendations – does this mean a staggered or rotating office attendance schedule? Does this mean some physical/ structural changes to our working environment?
d. For those that haven’t worked well from home – what can we do to help them improve their experience or performance?
e. For those that flourish at home, could it work well if they retained that?
f. Have we provided all the tools the team needs, and empowered them to work in this changing environment?
g. Is there anything/processes that could be kinder to staff?
h. Ensuring our wellness programme is robust and ensures excellent support, with employee health, with mental and emotional health, a high priority
i. How can we engage with our stakeholders and customers onsite in a safe, non-touching way?
j. Maintaining staff confidence and credibility with them.
k. Reimagining our future – do we need to revert to our usual way of doing things – what can we do differently? Is our business model still current? Are there likely to be regulatory or competitive environment factors affecting us? With our changing business landscape – what do we actually want our business to look like now? Reviewing our business strategic plan and revising our business plans regularly.
l. Are there new opportunities we should be investigating?
m. Ensuring strong and transparent leadership.
This disruption means we need to take a hard look at where we’re at, where we might want to be, and how we get there.
At some point when we reach that next normal we will need to potentially embed a new or evolved culture, strategy and way of working. For some organisations, the future may be long and tough and some of your people may not enjoy the cascade of change. Now might be a good time to involve them on what the “next normal” looks like.
Through the process the old adage, communicate, communicate, and communicate again, is key. Acknowledging life is tough and different but being transparent and flexible will speak volumes.
And if you haven’t started, now is a good time to start thinking about what that next normal looks like for you.
Thanks again to comms guru Jacaleen Williams and our contributors Cathy de Jong, and Fiona Hancock of Added Insight.
Sometimes the recruitment process may also involve psychometric assessments. Very common, these are used as part of the decision-making process, alongside interviews and reference checking. They can provide useful information about whether a candidate’s style and abilities are suited to the role – you cannot ‘fail’ these assessments.
The two main types of psychometric assessments are aptitude and ability assessments, and personality profiles.
Aptitude and Ability Assessments
- Involve a combination of verbal, numeric and abstract reasoning and are frequently multi-choice. They are usually short questions and there is generally only one correct answer.
- The types of exercises can vary but usually relate to the specific requirements of the role. They are good at predicting how well you will perform in certain aspects of the role.
- Listen carefully to the instructions. Most ability assessments are timed so make sure you know how long you have.
- Read each key question carefully before answering and look for a balance between speed and accuracy. If you’re unsure of an answer, give it your best shot then move on. You’ll usually find you cannot answer all the questions within the allocated timeframe.
- Provide information about how you would typically behave at work. They explore your preferred way of behaving, how you relate to other people, your ability to deal with your own and other people’s emotions, and the way you handle and solve problems.
- The first thing to remember is that there are no right or wrong answers.
- There is usually no time limit, but you should work through the questions as quickly as you can.
- These types of exercises usually ask you to indicate your preference for a word or statement that focus on the way you will behave in a set of circumstances, for example, “I prefer the company of people”: (please select one: ) Rarely | Sometimes | Often | Always.
- You may find it difficult to respond to some questions, as you feel that your behaviour would depend on the situation. Imagine you are in a work situation, rather than in a personal situation, and then go with your first instinct.
- There is nothing you can do to prepare yourself for personality profiles and it’s not a good idea to try to manipulate the results.
- Remember, there are no right or wrong answers – be honest and don’t answer the questions based on what you think an employer is looking for.
We always recommend you take up the offer of verbal feedback for psychometric assessments, as this can be useful for your personal and professional development. Make sure the feedback you are given is from a person qualified to interpret the assessment results. Ask us if you’re not sure about anything.
Working as a Contractor
As a self-employed contractor you’re responsible for paying your tax and ACC levies, and ensuring you are GST registered if necessary.
If you’re new to contracting, here are some useful links to information on New Zealand tax and ACC, as well as general information about working as a contractor.
business.govt.nz the NZ government business site has more information on working as a self-employed contractor.
Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has a Smart Business Guide with information on paying and meeting your NZ income tax obligations and registering for GST if you’re self-employed or running a business.
Registering for GST You must register if you are contracting and your income was at least $60,000 in the last 12 months, or you expect it will be at least $60,000 in the next 12 months. A good guideline is to regularly look at your monthly income. If it’s $5,000 or more, you should register for GST. If you are required/decide to register, you can do this through myIR secure online services by logging in and selecting ‘I want to’ …’More’ (top right). In most cases you’ll receive immediate confirmation of your GST number and registration details.
For more information click this link ird.govt.nz/gst. Once registered for GST, your GST returns will be available in myIR to complete and submit online each time they are due.
Getting Schedular Payments explains how tax is deducted from all payments made to you while you’re working with us. This applies no matter what entity type you are contracting under, eg, individual, partnership, company.
Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) has more information on ACC levies and cover for self-employed contractors.
Talk to your consultant if you’re unsure where to find the information you need.
Information for Migrants
If you’ve recently arrived or you’re looking to move to New Zealand, here are some useful links to information to help you settle and explore work opportunities.
Immigration New Zealand has everything you need to know about settling and working in New Zealand.
Victoria University Wellington offers a Migrant Workplace Communication Programme for recently arrived migrants with a Bachelor degree or higher, whose first language is not English.
On Arrival is a specialist resettlement service that can help make your move to New Zealand as easy and stress-free as possible.
wellingtonnz.com is the complete guide to visiting, living and working in New Zealand’s vibrant and creative capital city.
Stuff is New Zealand’s leading news website.
CareersNZ Jobs Database
The CareersNZ Jobs Database has all the information you need to explore career possibilities and find out more about the local job market, including the skills in demand and what you can expect to earn in New Zealand.
Should you feel you need additional assistance in identifying your key skills, CV and cover letter writing, job search strategies or interview skills, we offer a variety of programmes that will meet your needs. Please speak to one of our consultants for further information.