Tag Archives: tips

Interview Question: Do you have any questions for me?

It’s probably pretty reasonable to say that the vast majority, (I’d suggest 99.9%) of candidates know that they are going to be asked at some point in an interview if they have any questions for the interviewer.  And yet candidates often fumble their words and struggle to present themselves in a positive way.

The questions that you ask provide the interviewer with a great insight in to you, and so asking the right sorts of questions can catapult you to the top of the “to be employed” list!  Whilst poorly thought out questions and questions made up on the spot can very quickly highlight some of your deficiencies and push your application down in to the quagmire of mediocrity…….or worse.

Some of the best questions that you can ask tend to be those that have been very carefully planned and learned, but then evolve through information that comes to light during the interview.  What I mean by this is – there is no substitute for doing the research and preparation, but don’t be afraid to “tweak” one or two (or more) of the questions that you have prepared to include facts and information that you have gathered throughout the interview as it shows that you have been listening.  Often, your question can remain exactly the same, it will just be the lead-in that changes.  For example:

(Planned Question):  “What is the organisational structure of the Food & Beverage department? (and maybe something about FT vs Part Time…)“, might become:

(Tweaked Question):  “You mentioned that there are 120 staff in the F&B department.  What is the organisational structure of the department and what sort of breakdown is there between Full Time, Part Time and Casual employees?”

Oh!  And if it helps, don’t be afraid to take a notepad and pen or an iPad/Tablet in to the interview so that you can jot down notes (like the number of staff in the F&B department) as you go.  As a side-note, it is polite to ask the interviewer(s) if they mind if you take some notes during the course of the interview and sometimes, the jotting down of notes can actually buy you that valuable 4 or 5 seconds to contemplate an answer before you open your mouth (as you jot things down, generally people will wait politely for you to answer)…

For questions to really work, it comes down to RESEARCH!  And with the internet at your fingertips, there are no excuses for not being able to gather enough information to ask intelligent and pertinent questions.  To help you with the process, I have listed below a range of the sorts of questions that you could ask in an interview and with a little bit of thought and some manipulation of the details, they’ll provide you with a good foundation for the next time you are sitting across the table from an interviewer:

Ask specific questions about the venue/organisation and what your role would be there:
– What’s their vision for your position?
– In your opinion, what would make me a success in this role?
– Will the role evolve over time?
– What are the top 2 or 3 priorities that you believe would need to be addressed first?  (Let them tell you and finish telling you, then you might like to sum up briefly your ability to address those priorities)
NOTE:  In my experience, candidates often jump the gun in this circumstance.  They do the right thing and ask a good question like this, but rather than stop and wait for the WHOLE answer, they let their nerves get the better of them and jump on in with the “HOW” they can solve the problem or how they have the experience to do the job.  This means that they a) assume the remainder of the answer (it’s never good to assume), b) miss gathering further information (could be useful later on in the interview) and c) don’t show how they can listen (this can send completely the wrong message, when in fact, it’s just because they’re nervous)!
– If legislation has recently affected the industry or if there’s something pertinent in the news, try to tie this knowledge in to a question as it will show that you have done your homework!

What systems do they have in place?
– Are they adequate?  Or do they need updating?
– If they are inadequate, would it be your job to change or develop them?

Who was in this job before?
– Why did they leave?
– Will I be doing the same job as them, or has the role changed/evolved?

What is the company’s management style?

How do you measure performance and how often is it reviewed?

Do you provide any sort of professional development or training?

What is your target market?
– Is this something that you would like to expand?  If so, what are you plans for doing so?

What is the company’s policy on corporate social responsibility?

In what ways is your company involved in the local community?  (In our industry, there is generally plenty of information about this, so you might want to tailor this with something like:  “I see from your Facebook Page that you are connected with the <so-and-so charity>.  It what other ways are you involved in the local community?”).

It’s worth remembering, that to be amazing at an interview, you actually have to GET an interview and this begins with your application!  Make sure you develop a fantastic resume and that you get it in promptly via the means that they request.  And keep in mind that your research should start before you even send your resume in so that you can tailor your resume to the advert, the organisation and the role.  You should then pick up your research once again when you progress to the next stage and expand it so that it is fresh in your memory for when you get to the interview.  Oh.  And if you don’t get offered an interview, try calling to find out why (again, PLAN your questions) and see if you can gather any advice on how to improve your resume for the next time!  (Don’t forget to read my previous blog “To Call or Not To Call, That is the Question”, & if you haven’t already done so – you can click here.

When you do get offered the opportunity to attend an interview, think about the importance of making a GREAT first impression!  The interview starts the moment you step foot through the door in to the organisation and ramps up the moment you walk in to the interview room.  Dress.  Grooming.  Body Language.  Preparation.  Don’t underestimate the value of caring enough to make an effort – it goes an awfully LONG way!

Something that is all too often forgotten or done with no real thought other than because you’d heard it was the right thing to do is to follow up after an interview with a “thank you”.  There are lots of ways that you can do this with modern forms of communication – choosing the right one is the tough part.  In some (rare?) circumstances, an SMS to the interviewer is appropriate, but choose when and what you’re going to say and think carefully about whether an SMS really is the best way to go!  For example, if you know they are about to walk straight in to another interview, wait until later to send your SMS and try to choose a time when you know/think they’ll be able to receive it without the embarrassment of their phone beeping/vibrating in another interview!  Note:  I would only use SMS if the interviewer has been communicating with you via SMS, if they haven’t, then an email, phone call or even a well chosen ‘thank you’ card might be the better option.  Long story-short, don’t let your interview be the last time they hear from you!  Follow up to assist them to remember who you are and try to remind them of one of the positive aspects/events that occurred in the interview.

Similarly to  following up if you don’t get an interview, don’t forget to follow up if you don’t get offered the job and find out why so that you can use this information for your next interview.

And most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Sometimes, you can do everything right and still not be offered the job – so stay positive and upbeat as it’ll show the next time you speak to someone about a job.  And always remember – there is a great job waiting for you out ‘there’!  So keep honing your interview skills (which can be learned & improved) and stay focused.

To Call, Or Not To Call – That Is The Question

Here at White Now! we receive LOTS of calls from candidates about roles that we have advertised and it got me to thinking…

“…Which calls do I remember?”.

The answer was simple.  Not too many!  I’d be the first to admit that my memory isn’t what it used to be, but I’m not quite ready to be shipped off to “a home” quite yet, so it got me to thinking about why I only remember a very select few calls and what is is about those calls that stick out.

Here’s a list of things in no particular order that come to mind about the calls that are worth remembering and those that fade in to the background.

1. The call has purpose and is not just being made for the sake of being made.
– “Hi, I just called to make sure that you received my application” needs to lead somewhere other than “oh and what’s the salary?”.  We all recognise that as much as the message that the world would like us all to hear is “it’s not about the money”, Jerry Maguire had it right when he said, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!”, only that’s probably not quite the message that you want an employer or recruiter to walk away with.  So, rather than making a call to check whether cyberspace has decided to randomly pick your electronic application to be THE one that doesn’t make it through, PLAN your conversation prior to making it and have a number of points that you want to discuss that happens to include (at the right moment), a question about the remuneration.
– Asking the “$$$ question” is always a difficult one, but it’s one that you need to get used to asking.  Try to tie it in to your planned conversation and be prepared for the question to get turned back on to you – “I’m going to turn that question back on to you, what do you feel the role is worth in your opinion and I’ll let you know if you’re in the right ball park”.  Be ready for this as it’s a great way for the person at the other end of the phone to establish if you have any idea at all about the size and importance of the role and where it fits in to the hierarchy of the organisation, not to mention if you are appropriate.  This sounds a bit harsh, but if you’re looking for a job that pays $200,000+ and you’re applying for a middle management role that is paying in the $65-70,000 range, there is a MASSIVE mismatch before we even get to the point of interviewing…

2. Do some research PRIOR to making a call and map out what it is that you want to tell the person on the other end.  Ideally they are going to want to know:
– Your name (state it clearly and if you’ve got an unusual/confusing name, maybe even spell it for them)
– The state of your application:  “I have just applied” / “I applied yesterday/last week” / “I’m about to apply”
– Which role you’re applying for and ideally include a reference number if there is one
– A VERY BRIEF overview of your relevant experience & why you’ve applied for the role.  This is actually a LOT tougher than it sounds, because standing out from the crowd is tough when all you’re doing is reciting your job roles.  Try to make it interesting and more of a conversation than a presentation!  And try to include words and phrases that aren’t cliched, but that show how articulate and capable you are.
– Use intonation as there is nothing worse than a monotone voice at the other end of a phone conversation.  And speak from the heart as passion and drive will shine through over facts and figures during a verbal meeting.

3.  PLAN two or three main points that you want to get across that you want the employer/recruiter to take away with them and if you can subtly recap them towards the end of your conversation, then do so.  But try not to make it sound like it’s ‘revision’.

4.  Ask well thought out questions that show that you have done some research and that you have thought about what you really want to know.  Good questions will tell the employer / recruiter a lot about you – so put your best foot forward by phrasing questions that show that you’ve done some research.
– Some adverts contain a LOT of information and others don’t!  So remember, we live in the age of high-speed internet and ‘Google is your best friend’.  Type in some queries and see what you can find – there might be financials, YouTube videos, news articles, media releases and goodness knows what else out there.  So let your fingers do the typing and start doing some research EARLY as it will all come in useful if and when you get through to the next stage.

5.  Know when to STOP!  Sometime less, is more!  We’ve all heard it said, but often when we’re nervous or don’t have a plan in our heads, we end up prattling on and on and on, only to discover that we’ve lost our way and the whole point of the conversation.  Make your point, move on to the next or shut up!  It really is as simple as that.

6.  Finishing up:  make sure you thank the person for their time and try to finish up with something along the lines of, “Thank you for sharing your thoughts and providing me with all of that information.  This sounds like a great role and one that I am ideally suited for, so you will see an application from me, <Your Name>, in your inbox by close of business today”.

7.  When you send your application through, don’t forget to address the cover letter to whomever it is that you have been told to address it to in the advert (and if you haven’t been given a contact, jump on to the company’s website and find out the name of the President/HR Manager/General Manager/most appropriate person and address it to them) and then address the email to whomever it is that you spoke to.  What I mean by this is that if you addressed your cover letter to John Doe, General Manager of ABC Leagues Club, but you spoke to Sarah Sitizen (intentional type) at the Recruitment Company, then address the EMAIL to her and thank her for her time on the phone earlier today / yesterday / last week and mention that ‘as per your conversation, you are forwarding your application’.

To wrap things up, there’s a time and a place to make a phone call and when done correctly, it can make your application stick out before it has even arrived – you then just need to back up how well you presented over the phone with a solid written application, one that is FULL of achievements and is NOT a long list of tasks…..but I’m now getting on to the subject of another blog, so I’ll leave you with this:  if you’re going to make a phone call about a job, plan it and make it work for you!


How to Recruit a Recruiter…

How to Recruit a Recruiter…

Engaging a recruiter is meant to take the hard work out of the process of finding the best possible candidate for a role. Pressure should be lifted from Management, the HR Department and for senior roles, the Board of Directors – but this doesn’t mean that you can hand over all accountability and sit down to read the newspaper, whilst crossing your fingers and hoping for the best!

Part of what you pay a recruiter for is that ‘heavy lifting’ aspect of recruitment…..the “grunt work” if you like. A good recruiter should know enough about your business and the savings that you will make by not having your HR function, managers and supervisors tied up throughout the interview and selection process and they ‘should’ quote accordingly. The fee covers the recruiter’s attention to detail throughout the selection process and is not simply a payment for the applicant that is ultimately hired – it is also compensation for the many, many candidates that they sifted through to provide you with a suitably matched and therefore employable applicant(s).

However, there are a couple of details that have to be sorted prior to this equation adding up to the magic number! First and foremost, never take anything for granted… Whilst it would be lovely to believe that all of the candidates referred by recruiters are the best of the best, dropping your guard and not being involved throughout the process based on that assumption may well lead to a poor hire.

In fairness, qualified applicants can sometimes be difficult to find, particularly if the recruiter is being giving a mixed-message about ‘precisely’ what you are looking for, which can be further exacerbated by a fractured Board that cannot agree with one another or a desperate management team that just wants to plug a gap in a roster. However, when you are making the decision to recruit a manager at any level and particularly if that manager is going to lead your business into the future through the strategies that you set, then you need to make sure that you do your homework and hire a reputable, honest and consistently successful recruiter. However it doesn’t stop there! You then need to build a RELATIONSHIP with them so that they learn your business from the inside out and therefore be able to find you the applicants that are going to be the best fit.

If you find that things aren’t quite working as they should and that your recruitment firm is consistently sending you undesirable or unqualified candidates, or you feel that they no longer “get you” or the role, then it is time to re-evaluate the relationship. Here are some suggestions on where to start that process:

Examine Yourself

  • Have you been honest with yourself and each other about what it is that you really need and what you really want?
  • Are you willing to pay the appropriate price to attract the right candidate – both the remuneration package and the recruitment fee? (You tend to get what you pay for on both fronts!)
  • Have you been able to articulate your vision of the perfect candidate – their skills, their academic achievements and most importantly, their cultural fit?
  • And are you satisfied that your recruiter can articulate all of the above back to you in their own words as well as yours?
  • Do you understand your corporate culture and are you able to demonstrate it to the recruiter?
  • Have you been completely honest with the recruiter? Or have you just told them what you think they want to hear?
  • Has the “rhinoceros in the corner” been discussed or have you tried to sweep it under the carpet? In other words, tell the recruiter how it really is, not how it should be and if they’re worth their fee, they’ll find you a candidate that fits (almost regardless of the circumstance) *
  • Are you aware of the name that your organisation has within the industry and are your expectations set accordingly?
  • Are the job descriptions you are providing your recruiting firm completely accurate or are they too general or outdated? More specifically, do they accurately reflect what you want and what you need? More often than not, job descriptions detail skills and qualifications without getting to the core of the person, their values and the job that they will be doing in the environment that they will be doing it in!

* A great recruiter will give perspective candidates a candid summation of the role and the business, knowing full well that painting a rose-coloured picture of the situation will lead to a candidate accepting the job only to resign a month or two down the track. A great recruiter will find a way to wrap up your business, ‘warts and all’, so that perspective candidates are still interested.

If the answer to any of these questions above is a “no”, then you might like to think about addressing the issue before you go out and look for another recruiter. In other words, the problem might be ‘you’ and not your recruiter.

To Become a ‘Great’ Recruiter, You Need Practice………Experience = Practice!

The onus is on you to find the best possible recruitment business for your organisation. This is where we say, “it pays to do your homework” and whilst this is very much the case, it is important to note that you taking a passive approach to your next hire is very different from you having established a relationship with your recruiter resulting in you bring confident in their ability to provide you with the right short list of candidates that meet your specific requirements.

Here are some suggestions on the sorts of things that you can do to make sure that you are choosing the best possible recruitment company to represent your business out there in public. (Remember: candidates, your competition, your shareholders and the general public will be judging your business and its level of candidate care. So ask yourself, “are you comfortable handing over that sort of responsibility to just anyone?”).

  • Speak to your peers: word-of-mouth advertising is one thing, but obtaining a nod of approval from someone that you trust is invaluable. Ask around to see who those that you respect have used and if there is a recruiter that is the obvious leader in your particular industry. Then ask yourself “WHY?”. Don’t fight the facts! If there is an obvious leader out there, find out why and talk to them – there’s probably a very legitimate reason that they’re leading the pack and we can guarantee you, it won’t be because of price!
  • Ask for testimonials: any company worth its weight should be able to quickly and easily provide you with a comprehensive client list, along with reputable references and testimonials. If they can’t you need to ask yourself why they can’t.
  • “Pick up the phone Reg”: once you’ve got a client list and some testimonials, for goodness sake, CALL THEM!!! But prior to doing so, make yourself a list of pertinent questions that you are going to ask so that you get the best value out of the call.
  • Avoid “lapdogs”; you are looking for a recruiting firm, not a manicured poodle that will perform circus tricks at the sound of your voice. If a recruiter doesn’t ask questions, dig deeper into the requirements for the position and challenge your thinking, move on as all they are interested in is their fee. And remember: none of us have ALL of the answers, so sometimes, just sometimes, someone else might just have a better (cheaper/more effective/simpler/etc.) solution than you! And it might not always be the most obvious. A great recruiter will walk away from their fee if they can see a cheaper/free result that will better suit the client and knowing full well that the longer-term result for them will be a relationship that is built on trust, honesty and integrity.
  • Approach a recruiter that is a specialist in your industry. Someone that knows and understands the specific challenges faced and the skill sets and qualifications that are required. Not to mention the personal qualities and traits that make people successful within the arena in which your business performs. They’ll also likely know those candidates that have erred on the side of the law that makes them a threat to your business or those that are not necessarily looking, but would be ideally suited.
  • A quality recruiter will want to know why the position is open or better still, already has a good idea why it is open and they should be able to demonstrate that they have a basic understanding of the requirements for the job and a willingness to learn more.
  • A great recruiting firm will communicate regularly, informing you of progress
    (or lack of progress); they will return your calls and will be available to receive yours. In other words, they will make time for you and your business and be available when it works for you and not just them. In the hospitality industry, weekends and evenings are often a great time to conduct interviews, so ask the recruiter when and how they would usually conduct this part of the process and what hours they are open from and to.
  • BEWARE of recruiters charging a percentage of a salary as their fee ! A great recruiter will charge a flat fee for their recruitment and be confident that the fee charged will cover the full range of work involved for that particular level of recruitment. Be aware that those recruiters charging a percentage of the successful candidate’s salary may attempt to push the candidate’s salary up simply to increase their fee.

Returning to the point under the heading above; Examining Yourself, it is important that an organisation that is relying heavily on a recruiter to source, vet and recommend key staff, should also be willing to make an investment in developing the relationship by inviting that recruiter in to their business. Investing your time in your recruiter is like investing your time in your staff – the better they all get to know your business, the more successful they will be.

Thinking this through further: as organisations we invest hours and hours in to developing relationships with suppliers, vendors, financial institutions and of course our customers. Wouldn’t it therefore make sense to invest the same level, or even a greater effort in to developing a relationship with your recruiter whom you rely so heavily upon to provide staff who will lead your business in to the future (eg. a General Manager or CEO)? So why not encourage a sense of partnership with your recruiter and measure the results of your efforts. Make sure that you keep a constant line of communication open with whomever you are working with and discuss successes and failures as no one learns anything in a void.

This guide has been put together based on a combined 50 years’ worth of recruitment experience. The White Now Team between them have recruited for over 2,500 industry clients, most of whom return again and again; whilst having placed in excess of 6,000 managers and team members across the Club Industry. With testimonials available from venues small, medium and large, White Now has established itself as the leading recruiter within licensed Clubs, Hotel Groups and Casinos and this has been achieved through the relationships that have been forged with its valued customers.

If you are considering any sort of recruitment or would simply like to open up the lines of communication to begin building that unique club-recruiter relationship, please contact Toby Kennett, CEO on 02 9807 186 or mobile 0411 777 329 or email info@whitenow.com.au. For more information visit www.whitenow.com.au or follow us on Facebook on www.facebook.com/whitenowwiz

Negotiating Your Salary

Before we go any further on this subject, just remember:


OK, so now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s think seriously about why the subject matter of “salary” is almost guaranteed to make your palms all sweaty, your heart beat faster and your tongue get tied?  Simply put, it’s because the majority of us know 2 things:

1)  That we’re at the pointy end of the process and therefore, we’re in the hunt for a job offer.

2)  That by getting the salary negotiations wrong, that we might completely stuff up our opportunity of getting the job or alternatively, that we might miss out on that extra few $$$ that enable us to go on a nice holiday/buy a new car/pay our rent/etc.

In my opinion, salary negotiations tend to make us nervous for one main reason:  FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out!  We want to feel valued and suitably remunerated for the work that we are going to undertake and as much as we all say “it’s not about the money”, the reality is that happiness and satisfaction does not pay the rent or feed the kids!  COLD-HARD-CASH does!!!

So with all of this in mind, here’s some advice that may (or may not) assist you with your next salary negotiations…

The Time To Think About Negotiating Is When:

You’ve been offered the job…
Ideally this should be in the form of a written offer, but a verbal offer under the right circumstances is also OK.  There is absolutely no point in negotiating prior to the time of an offer as ultimately you don’t even know if you’re going to be offered the position and therefore why frighten the employer off before you get the job?

My Dad always said to me, “the purpose of a job interview is to be offered the job.  Once you’ve been offered the job, YOU can decide whether or not to accept it”.  It’s advice that has served me well over the years as it provided me the patience to hold out until I was playing from a position of ‘power’……….once you’ve been offered the job, you know that the employer WANTS you, so that is when the power has switched from them, to you.  This said, it doesn’t mean that you can afford to abuse that power by being disrespectful to or inconsiderate of their needs and budgets!

If the offer is not quite what you were expecting, now is the time to put together a supported and well thought out counter offer.  By supported, I mean a counter offer that you are able to articulate and demonstrate that you are worth with reasoning and examples of what you bring to the table!

You can articulate & demonstrate your value to the (new) organisation
Key to this part of the process is that you understand the following:  as much as the $$$ are personal to YOU (rent, petrol, food, private school fees, etc.  etc), the amount the company is going to pay out is personal to THEM (budgets, parity amongst peers, market constraints, competition).  In other words, BOTH parties are approaching this from a selfish perspective.  With this in mind, instead of making salary negotiations about YOU…
“I need an extra $5,000pa because I’ll be paying tolls to get to work and my petrol will go up by 50 bucks a week”, make it about THEM…
“My previous two roles demonstrate how through some advanced marketing techniques such as <blah, blah, blah>, I have added over $50,000 to the bottom line of those organisations.  With some minor tweaks, this is something that I am confident that I would be able to achieve for you, so would you please consider an extra $5,000pa which would greatly assist me to meet my financial obligations?”

You need to demonstrate why you’re worth more $$$ and the value that you bring to the table that will make their additional investment in you worthwhile.  And always keep in the back of your mind the acronym:  WIIFT – What’s In It For THEM?  The “THEM” being the employer!  If you approach your negotiations from THEIR point of view, you have a far greater chance of providing them with the information that they require to be convinced to pay you that little bit more!

You know YOUR worth and the VALUE of the job…
The old saying “Beggars can’t be choosers” comes to mind here because there are times when for whatever reason, an income is better than “no” income and so rather than rock the boat, you need to accept whatever offer is placed in front of you, even if you think that you’ve been a bit/a lot underdone in the remuneration department!

The trouble with this is that it won’t take long until you come to resent, despise or even detest your job which is generally going to lead to a level of disassociation and lack of care.  Neither of which is going to do you OR your employer any good.

So, if you think that the offer is underwhelming or it has made you cranky or annoyed, then you need to think about mounting a strong case (articulate & demonstrable) as to why you are worth more money to the organisation.  Worst case scenario is that they don’t employ you – but if you weren’t going to be happy there and commenced with a chip on your shoulder, you were probably better off not being there in the first place!  Again, all of this is on the proviso that everybody’s personal situation is different and only you can make that call.

(Personally, I would choose [and have] being a little disgruntled about the pay over my family starving to death.  But I also made a conscious effort to be GRATEFUL to my employer for providing me with an opportunity to be able feed my family!  For me, it’s all in the head – look at the positives and consciously ignore the negatives)!

You have a figure in your head that you’re not going to go beneath…
If you have a $ figure in your mind that is your lowest cut-off point and the offer comes in at or below it, then you have two options:  1)  walk away or 2) negotiate.

For me personally, option number 1 isn’t even an option!  Why?  Simple:  because by walking away you are NEVER going to get closer to a figure that you’re happy with!  You’re admitting defeat without ever giving yourself a fighting chance!

So, if option 1 doesn’t exist, you’re only left with option number 2:  NEGOTIATE!  I personally believe that people often take the “non-option”, number 1 because they are too nervous or lack the confidence to negotiate.  The irony is that even if you completely stuff up the negotiations phase and the employer knocks you back, what have you lost?  If you’d walked away, you would have ended up with nothing.  And if you negotiated and stuffed up and you ended up with nothing, you’re in the same spot.  However, by negotiating, you’ve given yourself an OPPORTUNITY to achieve your desired figure.  And surely even a 1% chance of success is better than a ZERO % chance?

So, if you’re going to decline an offer – don’t!!!  NEGOTIATE.  It is as simple as that!

The Time NOT to Negotiate Is When:

You’ve already said “Yes” to an offer…
Sounds obvious right?  But would you believe that it is not uncommon for people to go home and sleep on it (read:  chat to their significant other) and then come back and ask for more money?

Why?  I think probably because with the benefit of hindsight, they’ve gone home and done the math on what it costs to live and what the new role is going to cost them to accept (additional parking/travel costs; longer hours; whatever) and so the proverbial ‘light bulb’ has gone on and they’ve suddenly realised that they can’t justify accepting the job at the figure that was offered. Other times, it’s simply because they have gone home and gotten greedy overnight because they’ve realised that they shouldn’t have taken the first offer that was put on the table.

Either way.  If you’ve accepted an offer, my advice is to stick with it!  You don’t want to start off a new role on the wrong foot and the last thing you need is your employer wondering from day-dot if they’ve made the wrong decision!

A final offer has been made upfront…
If you are informed that the offer on the table is the employer’s first and final offer or their best offer, then you need to think long and hard about whether or not you are willing to take the job at that rate.

A negotiation has the potential to look disrespectful and inconsiderate of their ability to pay more.  However, if you’re going to feel under appreciated then you are better off thanking them and declining the role.

This point here is one of the most precarious ones in the negotiations phase as it flies in the face of one of my points above about negotiating to give yourself a 1% chance of success as opposed to walking away, thereby giving yourself a 0% chance.  However, there are times when you are better off not embarrassing yourself, or the employer by simply thanking them and declining.   And, at the risk of sounding somewhat philosophical – “what will be, will be”.  If the stars align and you were really meant to get that job and the employer wanted you and only you, they might just come back with “something” that may not be monetary, but that might incentivise you to take the role so that you can start in the position and make/save the company so much money that they have no option other than to pay you more!

The marketplace doesn’t justify more money…
Let’s face it, there are always certain parameters around the value of a job that are inextricably linked to a range of factors that may include:  budgets; market rates; the economy; unemployment rates; competition; etc; etc.

With this in mind, if you have done your research and you are a professional in this type of a role, you will know ‘roughly’ what the job is worth.  So, if you can’t justify more $$$, how can the employer?

I once had a Manager tell me that they wouldn’t work for anything less than $250,000pa, but due to the state of the industry this person applying for roles in organisations that at their upper-most limit could only afford to pay in the vicinity of $70-75,000pa due to their size and annual revenue. When I approached this Manager, their response was along the lines of:
“If they are going to pay peanuts, they’re going to get monkeys and then they’ll never grow any larger”.  This particular individual was so caught up in their own ego that they hadn’t stopped for long enough to consider what the EMPLOYER (you know, the one that was going to be forking out the cold hard cash) could afford.

There is pretty much always a limit on what an employer can AFFORD to pay.  And if you can’t recognise that, then there’s a mismatch way before the negotiations phase even begins.  Accordingly, I would suggest that you are probably unsuitable for the position in the first place.  It’s one thing to be looking to take on a new role at a higher level, with a bigger salary.  But it’s a whole other thing expecting an employer to pay you because of what you “believe” you are worth (and even more so if you are unable to justify, demonstrate and articulate your worth)!


Whilst the above thoughts and suggestions are based primarily on negotiations for new roles, a lot of the basic principles remain the same if you were to be negotiating a pay increase – the main focus being your ability to articulate, justify and demonstrate why you should be earning more money!

It is also always important to remember that you aren’t doing your employer any favours and more importantly, YOURSELF any favours if you remain in an organisation where you feel undervalued and under paid.  If you’re not happy where you are, you have two options:

– Put Up and Shut Up (ie.  stop bitching about it) OR
– Move On

And if you’re moving on, make sure that you leave without burning any bridges as you just never know where and when you might come across your employer (or someone that knows your employer) again……….Funny story:  as a Manager in hospitality, I once had an employee that asked for a night shift off 2 hours before her shift was due to commence, which I knocked back as I could not find cover for her at such late notice (although I did try).  She then called in sick and posted photographs of her at a party on Facebook, which resulted in me personally completing a 18 hour shift to cover her.

The next day, she turned up to work and before I could even approach her she came in to my office and started hurling abuse at me because I had been investigating her on Facebook!  The amusing part of the story was that I wasn’t “friends” with her on FB and so had NOT seen the pictures of her partying the night before – but thanks to her admission, I did do some investigating and managed to obtain those photos for her file.  Needless to say, she and I then had a very serious chat about her on-going employment.

The above in itself was quite amusing – but the really funny part of the story is that after storming out of my office that day of our chat screaming “I quit” along with a number of profanities that I have honestly never heard come out of a “lady’s” mouth she walked in to a retail venue in another suburb a long way from where I had worked with her, asking for a job.  The new General Manager of this particular store was none other than yours truly and when I was informed of this particular person’s name, a name that I will never forget, I felt that it would be appropriate to personally accept her application.  Her face was a picture…


And a very clear example why you should never burn bridges!!!

Referees – Do I or Don’t I? And if so, WHO???

Not that long ago, I was contacted by a Club to conduct reference checks on their final few candidates and I thought the outcome of the process was interesting enough to share here in our blog, not that it was that different from the norm – but it again highlighted to me that this continues to be a problem area in the recruitment process.

Each candidate had provided referees on their resume, which brings me to my first question of “Do I or Don’t I?”.  Here at White Now, we always recommend that you DO put down referees.  Whilst I have often heard the argument of: “I don’t want prospective employers calling my referees without my knowledge”, I would counter that with: “Wouldn’t you rather have them call the people you WANT them to call than ring up your current place of employment and ask to speak with the GM/President/Board Member or whoever else might just be there at the time of their call?”.  You may laugh, but unfortunately this happens and more frequently than you might like to think!

Consequently, we recommend that you DO provide a list of referees and that you prep them prior to applying for a role that they may be contacted.  If you are applying for multiple roles, then let them know that they may be contacted for a number of positions, but that you will do your best to inform them if and when you are down to the final few and therefore what the role is so that they might be better prepared.

Moving back to my story, whilst each candidate had provided referees there was not a lot of consistency in the number that they had given – 5 the most, down to 2.  Part of the issue with contacting referees is getting hold of them to speak with them!  Accordingly, FIVE or SIX is probably the ideal number.  Firstly, not all of them will necessarily be spoken to and secondly, if you get one “if-fy” response, there are other people that the reference checker can call.  It also means that if the checker cannot get a hold of one or two, they will hopefully get hold of the others, thereby greatly improving your chances of being provided with a reference check and therefore being offered the job!

Now, the question of WHO you should use as your referees.  With regard to the reference checking that I was asked to do, there was a very generic mix of:

  • Board Members from years gone by
  • General Managers from years gone by
  • Beer Representatives
  • Gaming Machine Representatives
  • Acquaintances from Industry Bodies
  • Previous Owners of Businesses
  • Family members

Interestingly, one of the references I called was a pretty ‘knock-about’ sort of a bloke – when I asked how he found the candidate to work with, his response was, “He’s too bloody lazy for our industry, but he’d be well suited to yours.  He’s a fat lazy bastard, so as long as he’s sitting behind a desk, he’ll be ok.  And he loves the piss so can be a bit cranky in the mornings”.  Hardly the ideal reference check I think you would agree?!?!  And yet, this is one that was provided by the candidate.

Another referee that I called was incredibly pleasant and more than willing to assist, however his opening remark was, “Not sure how much I can tell you about ‘the candidate’ as I have never worked with him and really only know him through the industry meetings”.  My reaction…………WHY, OH WHY, would you be logged down then.  My actual question to the referee however was, “Do you believe there is any information that you are able to provide then, that would assist the prospective employer in making a decision about this person – either positively or negatively?”.  The response was a resounding, “No”.  So again, hardly the ideal referee?!?!?

Feeling somewhat frustrated by this stage, I made yet another call (I should note at this point, these were not all for the same candidate, this was across them all), this time to one of only two referees provided.  The person to whom I spoke had not spoken to the candidate at any length for 8 to 9 years and yet was about to be asked about this candidate’s ability to potentially run a department/manage a business/lead people/make money/change culture/make decisions/etc/etc.  Again, the level of input that they were actually able to provide was skant at best!  The role that they were thinking back to was a significantly less responsible role than the one being applied for and there was obviously the hope from both the referee and myself that the candidate would have grown massively in their leadership skills and business knowledge.  So yet again, hardly the ideal referee!?!?!

Finally, I looked through the referees that were left.  All of whom were Suppliers to the candidates in their various roles.  Let me state first and foremost, “we” (White Now) are Suppliers so what I say next is genuinely said with no disrespect or accusation…………..primarily, whilst suppliers might be able to comment on a candidate’s negotiation skills and ability to spend or not spend money, it is unlikely that they will be able to provide any detail on their business/management skills in general (as an Accountant to the business, the above comment is untrue as I am sure it could be for other suppliers).  Furthermore, I would suggest that there is a small potential for a conflict of interest as suppliers might stand to gain a new account when the candidate moves on to the new business or alternatively, it might be seen as a way of building loyalty to that supplier through the provision of positive comments.  The furthest thing from my mind is to put the integrity of suppliers under the microscope.  The vast majority of suppliers that you and we deal with on a daily basis are good and decent people, not to mention, honest and trustworthy business people.  However, I would again debate their effectiveness as an ideal referee.

So, what is an “an ideal referee”?

This will vary from role to role, however if you keep some of the following generic thoughts in mind and look to provide FIVE or SIX referees along these lines – I would suggest that you will be heading in the right general direction:

Currency – can the referee comment on my current achievements/successes/skills/experience/knowledge?
Repute – are they reputable and will they make ME look good through their professionalism and stature/role?
Supporting – will they support my application and say the RIGHT things/provide the RIGHT examples?
Knowledge – similar to currency, but more specifically – do they know who I AM?
Gain – does the referee have anything to gain by providing me a reference?  If not, then consider them!

All of the above could likely be discussed ad nauseum and in truth, there is not a “correct answer”.  However after conducting hundreds of reference checks and viewing thousands of resumes, I think it would be fair to say that I never cease to be amazed at the sort of referees that are provided and how much damage that they can do to someone’s application!