Karen Lomas
April 29, 2016

Hiring Staff


Startup Stock Photo

Startup Stock Photo

I’ve been doing a lot of work with young job seekers recently and so when the topic of hiring staff came up at  lunch this week, I was all ears.

The yummy lunch was with fellow members of the Bayside Business Network, at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. The guest speaker was the well known restauranteur, Gail Donovan, who, with her husband, runs the iconic Donovan’s restaurant in St Kilda – right there on the sea front. Gail spoke so well about running a restaurant and about the awful fire that almost destroyed the entire place last year. One big tip she had for business people was to have GOOD INSURANCE!!

Back on topic though, Gail spoke at quite some length about hiring staff. Gail’s main point about hiring staff is that she’d rather train a really happy individual that hire an experienced but unfriendly person. I think that’s quite something, in fact I’ve seen it happen before and I myself, in my own past life of hiring staff, used to be a big believer in training people so they did things the way I liked it, and didn’t bring funny peculiar habits from elsewhere (you have no idea!)

In an article in the April edition of QBusiness, a hirer was described, by Lyndall Crisp, as being “cock-a-hoop” over having hired a senior manager, “who didn’t have the best qualifications but whose attitude really impressed her”. So there it is again; the attitude, the personality, the demeanour is a winning quality.

So the question then is, how to get that aspect of yourself across in your application so that you bag the interview and get the job? I’m not saying that you’re going to down-play your qualifications, but in your resume you can highlight the ways in which you have been successful in being a team player, effective at diffusing a tricky situation, or resourceful in coming up with a happy solution to an issue. Then in your application letter you can highlight your special qualities, such as having an optimistic outlook, sunny disposition, the charisma that befits the role.

Mind you, a good recruiter will see through any bluster and so if you go in expecting to be able to charm your way into a job, beware. You’ll come unstuck if you’re singularly unsuited and under-qualified, or not willing to learn. Crisp tells the story of a manager who was fired from a really high paid “gig” and fired on his first day “when it was discovered that he had falsified his CV and references”.

So remember that what you write in your applications must firstly be true. No fibbing or you’ll be out on your ear. But resumes and covering letters must also be written in your words, not something taken form a website. You need to be honest and authentic, so take time to get your applications well worded for every job. Sell yourself well on paper and the interview is in the bag.

The staff at Donovan’s stayed with the Gail and her husband right through the down-time of the restaurant’s rebuild, and many of them have been working there for years. Good staff and good employers are a good recipe for a successful enterprise. Now, all this talk of food is making me hungry. What’s for lunch?

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