First day at a new job

First day at a new job

Starting a new job is very exciting but it can cause some
people a level of anxiety, even for the most experienced of professionals.

Here are 3 easy tips for making a good impression on day one of a new gig:

  1. Introduce
    . The most comfortable scenario is to wait for others to introduce
    you, but there’s no harm or shame in introducing yourself to other team
    members. It demonstrates confidence and a willingness to integrate into an
    established team environment. It will help you to establish professional and
    personal relationships with your co-workers from the outset. Talking to new
    people will relax you because you’ll realise that your new colleagues are good people
    and they’ll help you settle in. They all know what it’s like to be the new kid,
    allow them the opportunity to make your transition as smooth as possible.
  2. Remember
    Name recall is a difficult skill, particularly when you’re faced
    with a situation in which you’re meeting several people at the same time.
    Remembering names requires some practice, it may help to repeat their name
    twice or three times in the initial conversation. “Hi Jane, my name is Darren.
    Lovely to meet you Jane. What is your role in the team Jane?”
  3. Smile.
    Your colleagues don’t know you yet, and the power of a warm and friendly smile
    can not be overstated. Your smile conveys friendliness, it makes you
    approachable, and it will contribute to your new colleagues’ willingness to assist
    your transition into your new role.

If you’re starting a new role soon and you’re feeling a
little bit anxious, feel free to reach out to the Quality People team on (03)
9576 6388 for some free coaching. We wish you every success for your new job!

How to manage non performing staff

How to manage non performing staff

Handling difficult conversations is one of the reasons you got where you are. Another reason is that one day you had a manager who was patient enough to teach and guide you, to accept your mistakes, and to allow you the opportunity to learn from them. Now that you’re in that position, you have the duty to your company and your staff to afford them the same opportunity.

You may be tempted to allow poor performance to slide, hoping it will improve by itself. It won’t. An underperforming employee can have a negative impact on the rest of the workplace, because other employees are forced to pick up the slack. This can lead to feelings of resentment which could ultimately lead to the wrong staff members leaving the business.

Tips to handle these situations:

Assess the situation objectively

Is this an employee who consistently does not meet performance standards, or a good employee who has hit a slump? Look at each situation in isolation. Try not to let the frustrations of missing that deadline cloud your overall picture. There could be a combination of numerous factors that contributed to the deadline being missed. It’s important not to point all the blame in one direction. Also, it may be a good time to look in the mirror, what could you have done differently during the course of the project? Take responsibility and alter your behaviour next time.


Don’t assume you know the underlying causes of the non-performance. It’s time to call a meeting and listen. Sit down with your employee and ask how work is going. What are their frustrations? Find out if your employee is aware of the performance issues or not. Only once you know what the real issue will you be able to find a solution and move forward.

Focus on Facts

Receiving negative feedback is never easy for staff members, and the employee is likely to take it personally. To help prevent that from happening, focus on the facts, giving clear examples of times when the employee failed to meet the expectations of the job. Difficult conversations should be held sooner rather than later, delaying these little chats could cause the unwanted behaviours to become a pattern.

Work on a Solution Together

This is an opportunity to collaborate with your employee to come up with a solution together. Giving your employee a chance to take ownership of the situation is empowering, and it is more likely to provide that much needed buy-in. As you work on a solution, outline clear objectives and necessary actions to meet those objectives. See if the employee needs extra training or resources that would help him or her perform better. Document these discussions and get them to agree with the suggested course of action in writing.

Work out what you can do to help

Once you’ve formulated a plan, create a schedule to follow up regularly (at agreed intervals) and assess the employee’s progress and address any challenges that have come up. Take responsibility for their training.

Actually help

Nothing like providing the support you’ve said you’ll provide. Remember that boss who nurtured and supported you all those years ago? The one that, without him, you wouldn’t be where you are today? Be that boss.

Internal Interview tips

Internal Interview tips

Sometimes in your career you might be faced with the situation
in which you’ll be required to attend an internal interview. You may need to
reapply for role after a fixed term contract officially ends; there may be a
restructure which has resulted in newly created positions; there may be a
promotion opportunity for you.

These are some tips for nailing your next internal interview:

Don’t assume that just because you know the interviewer, they’ll
do you any favours

Don’t treat your internal interview as a formality, you have no
idea how many other candidates (internal or external) are applying for this
role. It is definitely an advantage to have an existing relationship with the
interviewers, it will help you feel relaxed, but you’ll still need to charm
them! The answer to ‘why are you the best candidate for the role’ should not
simply be ‘because I’ve already been doing it”. Ensure you prepare your key
achievements prior to the interview so you can confidently demonstrate your
value to the organisation – the panel may not remember everything you’ve
achieved to date, it’s your job to remind them.

You would be well advised to mentally treat the interview as an external interview and that nobody on the interview panel has met you before.

Ensure you understand what the role is designed to achieve

It is important to have a strong understanding of the job
responsibilities and ensure you are familiar with the organisation’s strategic
direction. Familiarise yourself with the position description and the company’s
business plan. If this is a newly created role, ask for information from
managers or the project team to get a better understanding for the reason and
strategic shift.

Play to your strengths

Whilst it is not the deal clincher it is definitely an advantage
to already be in the role you’re applying for. Highlight your understanding of
the organisation’s culture, and the existing networks or relationships you have
developed whilst in the role. Provide examples of when you have collaborated effectively
with other staff members.

Prepared for questions about any gaps in your experience

If your current manager is interviewing you for the role, there’s a fair chance that they’ll have identified some areas for your future developement. Be proactive before the interview to determine any gaps in your experience and the role. Suggest ideas and solutions about how you would approach the reduction of these gaps.

Highlight your experiences from previous jobs

It is easy to only focus on your current role and the experience
you currently have, when, actually, this is a great opportunity to remind the
panel of prior experiences you can bring to the role from your previous

Body Language during the interview

To be on the safe side, bring a spare copy of your resume to the interview. We advise arriving at least ten minutes early as interviewers are unimpressed by lateness and will rarely accept excuses from prospective employees.

A firm (but not bone crunching) handshake with a big smile will do wonders when you first meet your interviewer. Some small chit chat from the reception area to the interview room will also help. These are the vital seconds (not minutes) in making your first impression.

Body language and other forms of non-verbal communication are important elements in the way an interviewee performs. Appearing relaxed and trying to act naturally is easier said than done but good appearance is mostly a matter of assuming a position that you are comfortable with. We suggest sitting up straight, leaning forward slightly and always maintaining good eye contact with the interviewer or panel. Looking disinterested will limit your options.

If offered a drink this can help and can be used as a prop to perhaps give you some time to answer a difficult question. By accepting a drink it does show that you are fairly confident and reasonably relaxed.

Power-pose your way to interview success

by Jane McNeill, Director, Hays Australia

The statistics on how much we communicate through our body language are widely known and available – one well-known study believes it accounts for 55 per cent. Your interviewer will certainly be watching what you communicate through your body language, which could ultimately affect whether you’re successful.

Your body language will also have a big impact on your own thinking; whatever pose you choose to adopt will only further propagate what you’re feeling. 

Research from Princeton University has found that by proactively altering your body language you can actually change your frame of mind. If you’re hunched over and fidgeting then you’re only going to heighten your anxiety, if you’re sat straight with your chin up then you’ll exacerbate your feelings of confidence. “It’s not so much mind over matter as it is matter over mind,” says our CEO Alistair Cox in this Viewpoint blog.

Sitting yourself up for success

You’ve done as much research as you can about the interviewer and the business ahead of time – the least that will be expected of you, you’ve considered the questions that might crop up and thought of a few of your own, you’ve even planned the outfit that you’re going to wear – don’t let all this preparation go to waste by adopting lazy body posture!

Do you know how much you can tell about someone’s personality simply by observing how they sit in an interview? Even if you have the perfect CV and flawless answers to tough questions, negative body language could be enough to deny you the job. For example, if you are slouched in the chair, tapping your foot or fidgeting, you’ll come across as disinterested and, worse, rude.

Your 5 step checklist

With that in mind, here’s how to use your body language to create as positive an impression as possible:

1. Come prepared

Preparation for an interview always builds confidence and when you’re confident you have fewer body language issues. If you struggle with confidence then try just pretending to be confident – this is one of the tips offered in Susie Timlin’s ‘7 ways to communicate confidence’ blog. Your body language and personality could be the game changer if you are up against someone with the same qualifications and experience. Practice it with a friend or family member; tell them what to look out for.

2. Wait patiently

You begin to be judged on your interview performance as soon as you walk in the door of the building. It’s common practice for the receptionist to report back to the interviewer on your general demeanour and attitude; even slouching in the waiting area could cost you. Spend the short period before the interview thinking about how you will say hello, all the while sitting in a straight and upright neutral position.

Our CEO advises spending five minutes before a big interview or meeting adopting a “powerful, non-verbal position in private”. Forcing your body language into this pose helps to make you appear (both to others and yourself) more confident and able to handle the stress.

3. Sit confidently

Once in the interview room rest your arms on the arms of the chair or your legs and try and keep them there. While using gestures to convey a point can help show your passion, excessive hand movements can make it seem like you are trying to express yourself a bit too frantically; let your words do the talking. Folding your arms and legs can be seen as an aggressive stance; something which will count against you if you’re being interviewed for a very social, team dependent role!

Avoid touching your face and hair as it distracts the interviewer – they might think you are not comfortable with the questions being asked.

4. Maintain eye-contact

Make lots of eye contact during the interview, both when you are listening and when you are speaking. It’s a great way to convey a sense of calmness and control, but don’t go overboard. It’s not a staring match and it’s normal for the other person to break off contact throughout the interview. This is a very important form of non-verbal communication.

5. Sign-off with a smile

After you’ve pulled off a flawless verbal and non-verbal interview performance sign it off with a handshake and a smile. A firm grip, sustained eye contact, a genuine smile and the usual pleasantries are the perfect way for the interviewer to remember you.

A final thought

Even if you are not feeling confident you can give off the impression that you are by adapting your body language. Sitting up straight, communicating clearly, maintaining eye contact and smiling are the main pillars of body language interview success.

What’s even more surprising than the fact your body language can affect someone else’s perception of you is research that shows it can even affect your own brain chemistry – you can hear more on this in Amy Cuddy’s TED talk.

How to nail a job interview

The interview will be the primary method of selection for the majority of positions we recruit. Below are some suggestions that, together with guidance from our staff, may help you to improve your interview performance for the greatest chance of success.

What is a potential employer commonly trying to assess?

In every interview, no matter how junior or senior the position, the interviewer will likely be probing for the answers to three basic questions:

  • Can you do the job well? (Your skills, qualifications, experience)
  • Will you do the job? (Your motivation, attitudes and career goals)
  • Will you fit into the team? (Your cultural match)


The better prepared you are, the more relaxed and comfortable you will be when the interview questions begin.

Developing an understanding of the business before the meeting can be a vital component of securing a role. Handy information can often be found from the company website, annual reports, and a simple internet search. LinkedIn is another valuable tool but don’t be tempted to send a LinkedIn connection or Facebook friend request to your interviewer!

It is common for one of the first interview questions to be “what do you know about our us?”.

It is also valuable to spend some time reviewing your own CV and have a clear understanding of how the key responsibilities and achievements of your prospective role link to your previous employment.

Focus on the skills you believe offer most value to your prospective employer. Whenever possible, relate your skills and experience to the role requirements and always have practical examples ready to support your statements. Be aware, particularly for senior candidates, there can be an idea that “my experience or results speak for themselves”. Remember that job interviews are a competitive process, so give yourself the best chance by explaining not only what was achieved but how you made it happen.

Review some probable answers to likely questions in the interview. Provide answers that are tailored to the position and paint a picture of you as being positive and with the potential to add value. It is also essential that you prepare your own questions so that, not only can you be sure that this is the right opportunity for you but also so that you can demonstrate you are particular in regard to the opportunity you are looking for.

Always treat the interview as a two-way discussion and answer questions honestly, directly and keep to the point. Everyone present will be focusing their attention on you, so clouding your answer with jargon or evading the issue will be more obvious than you think. If you are not certain about a particular question, do not be afraid to ask if it can be rephrased. Listen, never interrupt and answer only what is asked.

The little things

  • Presentation can have a large influence on first impressions. Always attend an interview in corporate attire and if in doubt always err on the side of more formal as opposed to underdressed.
  • Be clear about the exact time, date and location of the interview as well as who you are meeting and be there five to ten minutes before the interview.
  • Listen as well as talk. This will give you valuable clues as to the responses required. Wait for the question to be concluded before commencing your response.
  • Be aware of your body language. Interviewers will pick up on a lack of congruence between what your mouth your body are saying.
  • Answer questions informatively but briefly. Never embellish the truth but don’t be afraid to sell your skills and accomplishments.
  • Avoid negativity in statements and body language. Interviewers look for positive, likable people and any persistent negative characteristics such as a lack of interest, enthusiasm or purpose regarding your career will reflect poorly.

End of the interview

At the end of your interview, smile and thank the people involved for their time. While decisions and job offers are usually made some time after the interview(s), so it would not be appropriate to ask for an assessment of your performance.