Viewing by month: August 2012

How to get the most out of a job interview

Securing the right employees is crucial to the success of any business; it is important to not only recruit employees who can fulfil the technical requirements of a job description, but that can also work effectively and harmoniously with other staff members. 

Job interviews often play an integral role in helping employers to find the right “fits” for particular positions, as they enable the employer to get a general impression of candidates’ personalities, temperaments, communications skills and confidence levels – all of which cannot be fully ascertained by simply examining a individual’s résumé or cover letter.

What steps should an interviewer take during an interview to ensure that they secure the right person for a particular job?

1. Prepare in advance: Make yourself familiar with the candidate’s background and résumé;

2. Be strategic with your questions: Develop a limited set of specific questions relating to the key duties and responsibilities entailed in the job in order to probe for the candidate's strengths and weaknesses. In addition, consider the way in which you frame your questions. For example,  closed  questions usually garner short, succinct responses, while open-ended questions often function to elicit more detailed answers and insights;

3. Limit interruptions: In order for you to effectively pick up on the nuances of a candidate’s character and personality you have to be fully committed to listening to them and actively examining their behaviour. Interruptions often work to break one’s concentration, and as such you should endeavour to conduct the interview in an environment that is private and secure; 

4. Focus on the candidate’s answer, not your next question: To get optimum responses from candidates it is essential that you enable the conversation to flow evenly and organically. This can be achieved by following the lines of enquiry that result from how a candidate responds to a question;

5. Make sure that you know exactly what you’re looking for in a candidate: Put together a list of the core abilities that you think are necessary for the role in question and immediately following each interview, wrote down whether the candidate appears to fulfil each criterion. 

An interview is usually the last stage in the recruitment process, and as such, it is likely that all shortlisted candidates will have positive qualities that could potentially benefit your business. Given such, it is important for you to stay consistent, focused and sure of what you want in a candidate. In doing such, you will be able to decipher points of differentiation amongst candidates, which should ultimately steer you in the right direction to selecting the best “fit” for your team.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 30/08/2012 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

The importance of team building

As a business owner, part of your role is to create a working environment that motivates employees and encourages productivity. This type of workplace can only be created, however, if every employee recognises the integral role that they play in effecting positive outcomes for their organisation. While this recognition should be encouraged within the daily operations of any business, additional team building exercises can also be harnessed in order to reinforce positive workplace sentiments and improve employee co-operation.

Keep in mind the following tips when creating team building exercises:

·         Effective education can lead to increased success:  Use team building exercises to impart advice and foster an atmosphere in which your staff can learn through each other;

·          Team building should enable you to develop an understanding of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Target specific issues through strategic exercises to deliver optimum outcomes;

·         Team building can be as simple as taking your employees to lunch. Having a meal with your employees while talking about the direction of your business can sometimes be a great way to boost morale, give recognition and communicate goals for the future;

·         Use team building to reflect on what you’ve achieved and where you are looking to move the business  forward;

·         To build effectively, solid foundations must be in place: Team building exercises can potentially be used to improve the productivity of your business and confront any fundamental problems that may exist.

Ultimately, the aim of team building is to align an employee’s interests with those of their employer. Through applying some of the above tips, you may be able to develop positive and professional relationships with your employees, which can work towards improving efficiency and positivity within the workplace.  

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 22/08/2012 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Disaster recovery planning – an essential for all business owners

As a business owner, it is critical that you understand the importance of implementing contingency measures for disasters and the like – especially in today’s day and age, where many business operations are intrinsically linked to computers and various other technological devices. Development of a disaster recovery plan can therefore be one of the most important ways to ensure that whatever happens, your business, clients and information are protected. 

The first step to ensure effective disaster recovery is to create a comprehensive plan for protecting your business’ reputation and recovering essential data. This process will entail at least three concepts: crisis communication, securing crucial systems, and access to your server.

In any crisis, you will need to keep your employees, customers and potentially the media informed on relevant details and developments. As such, it is always wise to have a blueprint crisis communications plan ready in advance. This will involve establishing a crisis communication team (as well as their contact details), determining communication processes and protocols, and considering possible scenarios and responses. Having a basic crisis communication plan in place will help to ensure that you are in a position to take prompt and decisive action if a crisis arises.

You should also ensure that you have some sort of disaster recovery program to ensure that crucial systems containing irreplaceable information are kept as secure as possible. A simple way of doing this is to backup your business systems on external storage devices and then store them off-site. This practice works to ensure that if your office is damaged or destroyed, you don’t lose all of your essential data.

Furthermore, you may want to consider working with an IT professional to create remote access to key parts of your server; being able to access important information off-site could be invaluable in confronting unexpected events.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 15/08/2012 at 3:16 PM | Categories:

Why auctions can be a great way to sell property in any market

Auction clearance rates are sometimes quoted as the key indicator of performance in the property market. Every weekend, major newspapers quote clearance rates for specific areas, which are often then used to legitimise claims that the residential property market is either booming, subdued or favourable to vendors or purchasers.


However, even if clearance rates are on a downward trend, auctions should still be considered as a mechanism with great potential for the selling of different types of properties.


As a franchise owner, you should always try to assess the success of auctions within your area from a holistic perspective – not simply by reference to clearance rates; interpreted in isolation from other key market figures, clearance rates can be deceptive when trying to gauge the pivotal supply-demand relationship that exists within any property market.


Instead, you and your team might want to consider developing some creative strategies for using auctions to convert listings. When devising such strategies there are several factors to keep in mind including, but not limited to:


·         Whether the property has a unique architectural style:  An auction can be an effective way to target buyers who might be interested in distinctive or innovative features;

·         Adrenaline fuelled buyers: in the heat of the moment bids may come through that are higher than the market value of a property;

·         The potential that an auction has to quickly convert a listing into a sale; this can be advantageous to both your business and vendors;

·         The marketing advantage:  Auctions tend to have a high profile, which when combined with five or six weeks of intense marketing can create a heightened interest surrounding a property.


Sometimes, key statistics such as clearance rates can dissuade real estate agencies from pursuing different sales techniques. However, if employed strategically and appropriately, auctions do have the potential to be an effective tool for converting listings – in any market.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 10/08/2012 at 11:22 AM | Categories:

Ten top tips for business owners

A great deal of content has been written over the years about the “do’s and don’ts” of running a successful business, with experts from numerous fields emphasising an array of different technologies, management techniques and promotional methods. 

Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple – however, and focus on basic strategies for growth and improvement. With that said, here are ten top tips for business owners looking to improve their operations:

1.       Don’t change too much at once: Focus on making a few key decisions every year as managing day-to-day operations will likely take up the bulk of your time;

2.       Recognise your limitations: Have enough confidence in your team to delegate effectively;

3.       “Yes” and “no” are not the only answers: If either is unsatisfactory, lead your team in search of an alternative solution;

4.        Trust your instincts: If you feel that one of your competitors has become complacent don’t be afraid to offer a different and perhaps more original approach;

5.       Make your clients the number one priority. Focus on making sure that the service you offer is efficient, innovative and, most importantly good value.

6.       There is always opportunity in change: Look for ways to make the most out of changing dynamics within the property market;

7.       Effective use of your time is critical: Take the first fifteen minutes of each day to plan what you want to achieve;

8.       Celebrate your team’s accomplishments: Try creating a ‘Year Book’ in which you recognise the achievements and efforts of your employees;

9.       Become involved in your local community. Recognise problems within your area and endeavour to make your business part of their solutions;

Seek to benefit from your network: If you’re in a particular network – be it business, professional or social, look to leverage such for your business’ benefit. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 01/08/2012 at 8:45 AM | Categories: