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What to expect from aptitude tests?

by Resume Digest on 21 Jun 2017 permalink
Hopefully whether you are apt or not! In a world where we are racing to do more with less, aptitude tests have become the recipe for personnel appraisal. Even if you are not currently job hunting, you may be faced with some online tests of some sort to check your OH&S knowledge or to indoctrinate you as to make sure your mindset is politically correct.

Obviously there are two sides to a coin and since aptitude tests are here to stay it appears there are benefits to both the candidate and the recruiter.

People may appear to have everything going for them but collapse when put under stress. Some have no shame in fudging their resume. It gets so bad that you can't take anything at face value from strangers. Every claim has to be substantiated. In recruitment you are deemed a liar until proved truthful. That's the level of trust in the 21st century. Compare that with 200 years ago when a real-estate transaction was done on the value of a handshake before witnesses!

Aptitude tests when well designed should be a reliable yardstick to rate objectively as many candidates as possible competing for the same position.

Candidates need to practise for this new environment as time-limited online tests can be daunting - remember the outcome being considered for the job or screened out.

Suddenly people computer skills improve dramatically because of what is at stake. People will soon walk around with a T-shirt displaying their IQ. Discrimination is never far away. There are already schools where people cram for all sorts of tests trying to fill-up their head with all the right answers.

What about taking a test where there is no right or wrong answer? Personality profiling is a gray area as 50% of people retested within 9 months will return different results!

Aptitude Tests is an online service where you can sit for several types of tests. Better test yourself and identify your weaknesses before someone else does. Recruiters can also sponsor candidates and receive a tabular report rating each individual in relation to the whole group. Finally experts in a given field can write tests and derive an income for their effort.

Tests are not limited to multiple choice questions. Sound clips are useful for testing your understanding of a foreign language. Graphics are used for perception tests and for assessing your knowledge of art, geography or technical issues.

An online service means candidates can take the test at home and be called for an interview once a shortlist has been established. Companies can benefit from scores of tests designed by several experts.


Job sniffer on the loose

by Resume Digest on 14 Jun 2017 permalink
When it comes to job hunting, you basically only have two choices: Trust a reputable recruitment agency will promote your skills or troll the internet yourself.

Choice #1 has become less and less effective as you are not seen any more as a gifted individual waiting for the chance to blossom into your future career but as a commodity in workplace trafficking.

Choice #2 is hard yakka. First you have to be savvy into which companies to focus on. Then you have to monitor their hidden corporate website career page for new postings. The issue is that the company itself is not really what you are after, but the type of roles on offer and the location. The cost of relocating is huge if you have a family with school age children. You and your spouse will need to swap jobs at the same time - a daring proposition.

Introducing Job Sniffer - why not building a data grabber engine to regularly visit well known corporate job listings and populate a database. Then visitors would be able to search by job description, keyword or location. Well dream no more - this service has just been launched, starting with the Australian market.

A data scrubbing procedure is in place to weed out the jobs past their closing date. The location also takes some work. The word "Metro" seems to pop up a lot. This implies you can apply for the jobs you want in capital cities. A reminder of the lack of salaried positions in country areas. Of course if you like far-flung places, mining is always an option. But who wants to work shifting dirt all day in the back of nowhere...

Job Sniffer is sponsored by our two employment related sites: Resume Digest and Aptitude Tests


Could you do without a resume?

by Resume Digest on 07 Jun 2017 permalink
The moment you hand over a brief of your employment history you are inviting people to fit you into a pigeonhole. The problem? You're not a pigeon.

Fear is an extremely powerful motivator in the recruitment process where prejudice abounds. Your mission? By-pass the process altogether and be remarkable.

This is your choice: go for compliance and be the best (cheapest?) disposable cog that will fit the corporate machine. The alternate is to let your reputation go ahead of you. Let three reliable references laud your past achievements and show how you saved the day in a sticky situation.

What about a cover letter addressing all the "must-have" spelt out in the job advertisement - not in the first person, but through your references.

Do you think those people will need a bit of help to sing your praises? Certainly. Just like you draft a contract for someone else to sign, your references will receive from you a document to put their name to. That will be no other than the minutes of a prior telephone conversation where you reviewed with them how your past accomplishments would be the perfect launch into the new position you are contemplating...

The purpose of the exercise is not to get you the job or negotiate your remuneration. Your assignment? Get yourself in front of the decision makers for an interview.

Because you are one of a kind you should not let yourself be railroaded into a straightjacket type position. If people appreciate your skills and your background they will create a new position for you.

You no longer play the recruitment game where people add up your compliance score. In the first instance what people say about you has more weight than what you might say about yourself - especially if those people are some authority figures your prospective employer knows about.

All you have to do when you turn up for the interview is to confirm those positive vibes by giving evidence after evidence that all that was said about you is indeed true.

If you are passionate about your work, if you have fire in your belly, if you bring new insight as to how you might help them reach their corporate goals - then it will shine through and they will love you to bits.

What if a member of the panel will be one of your peers and becomes jealous? You have to sell yourself to both the boss and the subordinate. They both have different things at stake and different agendas. Sometimes people are afraid of hiring someone too smart because they fear you might take them over.

Your tactic is to demonstrate how a successful person creates a draft for the whole organisation where new opportunities are being created left, right and centre.

Like the flu, enthusiasm is catching. Who said work had to be boring?


Jazz up your resume like a facebook page

by Resume Digest on 31 May 2017 permalink
Should I put a profile picture on my CV? Ten years ago that would have been frowned upon. Today you're a mug if you don't...

Let me explain. Head hunters are scouring LinkedIn to poach candidates for their clients. They expect to see profile pictures. If you have not been living under a rock, you have left a trail behind you in cyberspace. Simply make sure it tells a good story about you.

Also remember that you have only a few seconds to catch people's attention before they move to the next CV. So what does catch people's eyes on a page? Pictures! You've got it!

It costs you nothing to email your resume to a recruiter - and they all have colour screens. So why do you stick to just black and white text?

Spend time to create a nice portrait of yourself - just like if you were a celebrity. The moment you get a job, they will take your photo anyway for their corporate records and for your security ID card. So why not be ahead of the game?

Next some nice horizontal header image will rest the soul of those wary recruitment agents. You can give some subliminal clues to get remembered. Anything that can generate peace in this troublesome world of ours will count to your credit.

Finally in a business world where companies battle it out in one brand awareness campaign after another - the clincher will be to show off the corporate logos where you have been.

You will get instant visual recognition if you can tally a page of logos with your accomplishments next to them. Even if you work in a technical or specialised field, your competitors and the recruiters in the know will be drawn to those symbols.

Even universities and private schools sport some coat of arms or insignia which can be featured in your education section.

The internet makes it easy for job seekers and employers to meet each other. But technology also raises the bar. Now you have to master desktop publishing just to get through in the job market. That's why smart people use a service like resume digest to get the job done.

So the 3 visual attributes for a modern resume in the 21st century are: your profile picture, a cover image to set the tone and the logo of each place where you worked.


Artists and bureaucrats

by Resume Digest on 24 May 2017 permalink
Do you go to work in order to survive and pay off the bills or because you are fulfilled in your vocation? For many, job satisfaction has gone out the window but there is a sense where you get the job that you deserve. Let me explain.

As labour inevitably becomes a commodity you have two choices: you can become a bureaucrat who enforces the rules or you can be an artist who is creative at solving problems.

There is enormous pressure from the corporate mindset to avoid risks and tow the party line. The rule book has been refined to perfection and you have heard it said: "We have always done it like this before. Our methods have served us well all this time. Don't try to fix something that's not broken..."

An artist on the other hand doesn't mind rocking the boat for a good outcome. It is someone who believes in what they do and find satisfaction and fulfilment by going the extra mile. They like not just to do their work but to do it well and in an elegant way. They are experts at problem solving - the sort of problems that the rule book never thought of... They are the guys who don't mind breaking a few eggs to make an omelette. If everybody else has become a cog they are the ones who know where lubrication is badly needed.

If you are the boss of an artist in your organisation you can become jealous or you can see the benefit of a subordinate that makes your department look good.

Artists are those who can see over the business horizon and are prepared to try several things just in case one idea might work.

Bureaucrats will enforce the status-quo and spread rumours to stifle any creative attempt at making the corporate machine more adaptable in its environment. They have zero imagination, cannot handle risk but can only repeat what they have been trained to do all along.

In a start-up everybody is an artist. In a large conglomerate the majority are bureaucrats obeying the rules while a handful of artists are kept out of sight for their own protection. They come up with solutions that only someone on the shop floor with a different mindset could dream of.

If deep down you know that you are the artist-type you will have a hard time during the recruitment process. People will love to hear of your achievements but they will screen out anybody who doesn't fit the corporate mould.


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