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Tertiary and Continuing Ask HR

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by SmackAdder, Mar 22, 2012.

Put it out there
  1. SmackAdder

    SmackAdder BFSC Platinum

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    Pretty straightforward.

    This thread's for advice about things like CV writing, interviews, cover letters and what works for them and also on-the-job issues like performance management, company culture, remuneration, change management, training programs, work visas and any other Human Resources advice as needed.

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  2. checkraiseulite

    checkraiseulite All Australian

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    Hi mate, you might want to take a look at this thread and provide some advice there.

    http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/showthread.php?p=23636844

    We're discussing the importance of volunteering/community engagement activity when applying for graduate roles in law/financial services firms.
  3. DTRAIN87

    DTRAIN87 Account Cancelled by User

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    CV's are bullshit. They are read often simply to gauge a person and background checks then may be undertaken to determine the accuracy of the CV.
  4. Dee Snider

    Dee Snider Team Captain

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    CVs are far from shit...but agree they are only a small part of the puzzle (but a vital one) and no one was ever hired on their CV alone.
    Rightly or wrongly, you can have all the references in the world but stuff up your CV and you are done before you start. Thats not shit.
  5. SmackAdder

    SmackAdder BFSC Platinum

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    Thanks for that. Will have a look when I get some time.

    Exactly, Dee.

    Although your point is valid to an extent, DTRAIN, in that there are probably companies out there that only use CVs for this purpose, that is not how it works for most. CV is the first hurdle every candidate needs to get past, with a series of others to follow (including interview) if you pass the first.

    Yes, CVs are often used to gauge who a person is and a smart company will naturally conduct background checks to ensure the candidate is claiming things legitimately. But that is rarely their sole purpose.

    They are also used to make sure the person has the skill sets and/or training needed, or at least has skills which have the potential to be transferrable towards what they're applying for. A lot of positions require certain qualifications (construction and mining come to mind) and if you don't have them, they'll rule you out because of legal requirements surrounding the industry. Some job advertisements specify a certain amount of experience in the industry, and if you don't have it, they're not interested. A CV is a quick and easy way to gauge that, especially in the current environment where even mid-level job ads can often attract 20-30 applications. Some companies are tricky and may see if your CV demonstrates traits they're looking for. For example, if you were applying for a job which requires attention to detail, and you have very obvious spelling mistakes in your CV which you didn't catch, that might count against you. And so on.

    But the larger point is that the CV will only get you so far as an employer looking for people, and if you make too many assumptions about someone based on a CV alone, especially if you're conducting background checks and asking others to dish the dirt on the person in question, you're on very shaky legal ground as far as fairness in the recruitment process is concerned. Most companies understand, usually through experience, that just because someone looks good on paper, that person may be very different in reality, and will evaluate accordingly.

    So no, CVs aren't shit. They're just the first step to making a good impression and giving the employer a reason to look at you further as a candidate.
  6. Crimson Azure

    Crimson Azure Moderator

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    If someone contacts HR with a perceived grievance but have not made a formal complaint what is the usual course of response?

    Do you?

    A: Give them a response of how HR will deal with it if it is formalised.
    B: Provide some direction as to what may occur if you go forward with the complaint.
    C: Advise them that since you have not technically made a formal complaint they can only offer personal advice not advice as an HR officer.
  7. SmackAdder

    SmackAdder BFSC Platinum

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    More A and B, than C. There is no harm in outlining the procedure associated with lodging a grievance. In fact, this is knowledge that every employee should be provided with when they join a company. In my personal opinion, anyone who goes for option C has a gigantic stick up their backside.

    A lot depends on the company involved and a variety of factors, as some HR departments are more formal than others, and the relationships with the HR department vary widely. The nature of the grievance will also play a role in the response received.

    But I'll tell you what I would do if it happened in my company. I'd rather not engage in too many what ifs, so this is just an outline of the first couple steps.

    For reference purposes, the company I work for is smaller, and we value open and honest communication in the workforce. We also encourage our staff to try and work it out with their line manager first, but if they don't feel comfortable with that option, we're happy to help.

    I would first clarify how formal and 'on-the-record' they would like the conversation to be. If they want to see where they stand legally and how the company would deal with it, I'd let them know what the process is. I'd ask for the details. Confidentiality when dealing with HR is implied, in my company, but this may vary. Whether a grievance is actually followed through with or not, it's good to know where people in your workforce are at, so potential risks for the future can be identified.

    Depending on the responses I receive, the next step will vary. It may not need to escalate. The employee may just be upset and need to vent a little, or they may need to take it through a formal procedure. I would advise them of what would be involved and what they might expect to result from a formal procedure, if that were the case. If asked, I would provide my opinion as a professional as to the validity of their grievance.

    At the end of the day, your results will vary because each company and its relationships are different, and with something like a grievance, that will have a strong influence on how things may be handled.
  8. slashin_velvet

    slashin_velvet All Australian

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    Really good post Smack Adder.

    Heres a question - How short is too short to go between jobs? (e.g. you start at a place, but hate it, so move elsewhere)
  9. SmackAdder

    SmackAdder BFSC Platinum

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    Context is king here. Some industries will have higher turnover than others (e.g. recruitment consultants in agencies aren't expected to last much longer than a year, in most cases), and that does need to be taken into account. For example, if you were a checker at Coles, no one would be surprised if you'd spent 3 months there before moving on to a position as an admin assistant somewhere else.

    Anything more than 3* and less than 6 months will start to draw alarm bells for me unless it was a contract position. Doing something and realising you hate it can be considered legitimate, but will vary with the company looking at your CV.

    I've seen in some CVs, and it's actually what I'd suggest if this is a growing concern for you, is to put beneath your employment 'Reason for Leaving', and explain. This is with the disclaimer that if you do this, your reasons need to be acceptable. Not 'I sexually harassed my coworker' or 'I was offered more money elsewhere'. I hope it's obvious why this might be the case :p

    * Note: 3 months is the standard probationary period companies tend to attach to a role to see how you settle into a role etc. If you leave during this time period, many companies will consider it no harm no foul (although on an actual legal level, once you put your name to paper, that's it).
  10. Dee Snider

    Dee Snider Team Captain

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    If its only one or maybe two jobs that are particulalry short (as in 1 or 2 months duration or even shorter) its not uncommon to leave them out of your CV alltogether. It will just appear as though you had an extended break between your more 'permanent' roles. If for example you started one role and left within the first month I am not sure there is any benefit (to the applicant) of including them in your CV to start with.

    Just a word of warning though, too many gaps can cause some concern...depends on when they were and how close together etc.:(
  11. SmackAdder

    SmackAdder BFSC Platinum

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    Agree with everything said. Thanks for raising those points, Dee.

    If you particularly feel that something from the short-term jobs is relevant to what you're applying for, you can include it. Otherwise, don't bother.

    Small word of warning, some employers might ask the reason for the gap. But it will be rare if the gap's only a month or two.

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  12. checkraiseulite

    checkraiseulite All Australian

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    Wondering if people can provide insight as to what's the ideal answer for this particular behavioural question I had recently during a job application.

    Colleague X has been struggling with work and you and a couple of other colleagues have been helping her manage without alerting management. Colleague X has since been singled out for praise from management and offered a promotion.

    What do you do?

    (A) Do nothing, you'd expect colleague X to say nothing if the situation was reversed.
    (B) Talk to colleagues and tell them that you should stop helping colleague X.
    (C) Go to colleague X with your concerns and get her to talk to management about it.
    (D) Go directly to management with your concerns.

    Irrespective of what I'd actually do, I think the ideal answer is C right?
  13. SmackAdder

    SmackAdder BFSC Platinum

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    Ideal is C, yes, although I expect A happens in a lot of workplaces.

    On a sidenote, doesn't the fact that it's multiple choice defeat the purpose of a behavioural question?
  14. Crimson Azure

    Crimson Azure Moderator

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    It does to some extent but your response gives enough direction as to how you respond & thought process.

    This is what I'd take from the response to the questions:

    A - Self interest & lack of concern for the employer.
    B - Team player or not?
    C - concern for both the employer & reward for effort.
    D - Avoid the situation & lack of concern for the fellow employee.
  15. skadoosh

    skadoosh All Australian

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    Hi there
    Are you able to answer a question about international students looking for work after graduating?
  16. SmackAdder

    SmackAdder BFSC Platinum

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    Good point, CA. You've put it differently than I would've interpreted it, but I agree with your assessment of what the answers would indicate.

    Probably. If not me, I'm sure there's most likely someone floating around who'll be able to help.
  17. skadoosh

    skadoosh All Australian

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    My girlfriend is from Malaysia and is studying a Master of Finance at the moment and she'll graduate at the end of this year. She wants to find a job in Australia after she graduates. We've been to a number of career expos. We expect that it will be very hard for her to find a full time job in her area of interest. She's done an IELTS test. She scored around the likes of 6.5, 6.5, 8, 8.5 giving her an average of 7.5. However, the top firms such as E&Y and Deloitte only accept International Students with minimum scores of 8, 8, 8, 8. Do you have any advice for us?
  18. SmackAdder

    SmackAdder BFSC Platinum

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    Does she have any experience in the field already?

    What areas are the 6.5s in, if you don't mind my asking?

    Is there a particular reason she's shooting for the top firms specifically?

    Companies like Ernst and Young and Deloitte will always have those sorts of high standards. It's a natural byproduct of the fact that they are the top firms, because the quality of service they provide will be expected to be above and beyond what their clients might get if they went with a less well-known company. They therefore need to employ people who will be able to provide that quality in all areas and use standards and measures that will give them the best chance of doing that.

    I would say to try and improve her scores in the areas where they're lacking, if those companies are the ones she has her heart set on. This is one of those times when the amount of her experience isn't going to help, one way or another.

    In the meantime, look for less high-profile companies to be employed with until she is able to meet those standards, because relevant industry experience is always a plus on a CV.
  19. skadoosh

    skadoosh All Australian

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    She got 6.5 on the speaking and writing I think. They'd be the ones the companies look at most I assume. She hasn't had any related work experience at all. But she has completed a Bachelor of Entrepreneurship.

    She's not specifically aiming for top firms. So, realistically those top end companies would be out of reach, but I don't think that's her worry.
    After graduating, she'd be happy with any job in the field of finance with any decent company (decent wage, decent reputation). Would you know where to find all the companies she could be looking at? All the career expos we've been to have been extremely limited in terms of offering work to International Students.

    For her last semester ie. this June-November she only has 1 subject to do. I'm thinking that maybe work experience/an internship would be helpful. But I'm not sure where to look.
  20. SmackAdder

    SmackAdder BFSC Platinum

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    There's no easy answer here. I would definitely suggest she get some relevant experience. As she's only got one unit left, it would be worthwhile for her to consider getting a part-time, or even a full-time, job. (I'm currently 2 units away from completing my own Master's and am working full-time. It's quite doable, although free time will begin to come at a premium.)

    Yes, speaking and writing would be the really critical ones. One way to improve these is actually to read. Reading can often assist with vocabulary development and integration of language patterns, both when speaking and writing. Writing stories is also a useful one, although that is more dependent on the temperament of the person involved. Failing those, TV can actually work, especially news programs and talk shows (even if the content's not great), and will help when it comes to actual pronunciation of words etc.

    I'm not sure there's one place where you'd be able to find all of the companies she'd be interested in. A lot of universities have career centres where they can provide advice and are the source of information when it comes to things like grad programs, internships etc. Does her uni have a career centre of any kind? If so, they would have a good idea of what options might be available to her.

    Work experience / internships can be helpful, but to be honest, those are often catered to younger people (late teens to early 20s) so the benefit to her may be limited. Not to mention, that's the demographic most companies look for when they advertise for those types of vacancies. I'm assuming she's a bit older than that considering she's done a Bachelor's and is almost done with a Master's.

    As far as companies, seeing as you've already looked into career expos, your best option is actually to start checking job websites and research the companies offering jobs to make sure they're what she's looking for before applying. Try not to be taken in just because you see a company name you recognise. She'll need to be mentally prepared to start with a lower level job, possibly even entry-level, since she doesn't have relevant work experience. I would strongly suggest focusing on small to medium-sized companies (100-150> people in the office, depending on the industry the company's in), as they often are more able to provide flexibility when it comes to growth and career development.

    You mentioned she's an international student. Does she intend to stay in Australia? If so, what are her plans as far as visas go? While there are certainly companies who are willing to sponsor people, those are often in more specialised areas. For example, my company is happy to sponsor any engineers we can get our hands on for 457 visas (temporary resident, good for 4 years), but if there was an admin we needed, it would give some of the managers pause.

    If she'd like some help fixing up her CV to appeal to employers more, feel free to send me a message about it. I'd be happy to help with it as long as I have some idea of what type of positions she's looking for (Finance Officer, Administration Assistant etc).