Recruitment Tips for Job Seekers

So, you’ve seen a role you want to apply for, you’ve reviewed the position description and feel you have what it takes…what next?

Details on how to apply will be included where you’ve seen the job advertised so make sure you read that carefully and follow the instructions to ensure your application is received safely by the recruiter, in the correct format, within the specified application periods.

Below are some recruitment tips to make your recruitment journey as smooth as possible. Good luck!

Preparing Your Resume

For most job applications, you will be required to prepare and submit a resume. To help you on your way, here are a few pointers to get your resume ready:

  • Include your personal details at the top of your resume.  These should include your best contact numbers, email address and working rights i.e. Australian Permanent Resident
  • Should you have relevant qualifications and education, you should include these next.
  • Start with most recent employer at the top and work backwards, providing the most detail (e.g. roles and responsibilities) for your most recent/relevant experience
  • Cover at least the past 5 years, with months as well as years (for example, rather than simply stating 2013 – 2015, specify the months too: May 2013 – March 2015)
  • Cover any gaps in employment e.g. travel, parental leave
  • Keep it succinct, aim for no more than 2 to 3 pages
  • Use a font that is easy to read.  Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, or a similar font.  Keep the font size at 10 or 11.  Remember to keep your page margins as standard.
  • Keep each section uniform, using a standard approach.  Use bullet points where appropriate.
  • Ensure your resume is without spelling or grammatical errors and is accurate and complete.

Remember: do not include personal information such as marital status, children, height etc. There is usually no need for a photo either.

If you are writing your resume for the first time, we have provided a template here for you to use should you wish: click here to download a Sample Resume.

Writing a Cover Letter

You may also be required to submit a cover letter with your resume.  Remember your resume and cover letter (if requested) are the first things that a recruiter or potential future employer sees, so make sure you represent yourself as positively as possible.

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

  • Use the same format as a typical letter including the date, your address, a greeting to the contact person followed by a subject line and then the content of the letter, remembering to include your name and contact number at the bottom of the letter.  This will ensure your cover letter and resume align.
  • Address the cover letter to the appropriate person.  This will be detailed in the job advertisement.  Where it isn’t, you can address your letter “To whom it may concern”.
  • Include a subject line that matches the role e.g.: RE – CUSTOMER SERVICE ROLE
  • The first paragraph should introduce yourself and key skills that align to the role you are applying for.
  • The second paragraph could detail any special achievements, experiences you have that are particularly relevant for the role, company or industry you are applying for.
  • The third paragraph could detail your motivation for the position and why you would be a good fit for the company culture or position.
  • Remember a cover letter should not just be a repeat of your resume.

For some examples and more information, click here.

Behavioural Interview

What happens?

You will be asked to respond to questions by describing things you have done in the past related to the role capabilities.  In responding to these questions, draw on examples from all aspects of your life, including work, volunteer and community work.


  • The interviewer wants you to do your best. During the interview s/he will ask you probing questions to help clarify your responses.
  • Choose examples that highlight your strengths and focus on your own involvement in various situations (use ‘I’ rather than ‘we’). Use the most recent examples possible.
  • Before you attend the assessment centre consider past experiences where you have demonstrated the capabilities to make it easier to provide examples during the interview.
  • Practice can be of real benefit. Engage in mock interviews with friends, colleagues, career advisers – anyone who is prepared to help.
  • Walk the interviewer through your response in a logical, sequential fashion. Structure your responses according to the STAR approach outlined below. 

Using the STAR approach

Situation    A brief outline of the situation or setting, who was involved and what was your role?

Task           What did you do?

Action        How did you do it?

Result        What was the outcome and what feedback did you receive?

Sample Interview Question

Initiative and Accountability

Tell me about a time you saw an opportunity and drove it forward.

  • How did you spot the opportunity?
  • How did you decide whether to pursue the opportunity or not?
  • What was the outcome?

Assessment Centres

Assessment centres generally use different activities to assess you against the capabilities required for the role you are applying for. We understand that each individual has unique strengths so our process is designed to provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate your capability.

For an assessment centre conducted by HOBAN you will likely be asked to complete the following assessment activities:

  • A group exercise
  • A work sample exercise
  • A behavioural interview (see above for more information on this activity)        

Tips for Assessment Centres

  • The assessment centre is not designed to catch you out. Try to relax, be yourself and enjoy the activities.
  • Listen carefully to the instructions you are given. If you are unsure what to do, ask for clarification.
  • Be enthusiastic. Plan to have a good night’s sleep so your energy level is high.
  • Address all the issues and questions outlined in each activity.
  • Know the time limit for each activity. These will be provided at the commencement of each activity.
  • Consider the role capabilities (usually found on the position description) when framing your answers.
  • Gather information about assessment centres: visit websites, read printed material, talk to previous candidates or career advisers.
  • Familiarise yourself with the location and things like parking, public transport.
  • Ensure you have the right start time and date.
  • Dress appropriately for an interview situation; no denim  or runners
  • Take the contact number in case of emergency.
  • If something goes wrong, call your recruitment team to let them know.

Group Exercise

What happens?

In the group exercise you will be asked to respond to a given scenario as part of a larger group. 


  • Make sure you read and listen to all instructions carefully
  • Take your role seriously and do your best to behave as you would if the situation were real.

Work Sample/In Tray Exercise

What happens?

During the work sample exercise you will be asked to prepare a short written document on a computer. 


  • Read the information provided carefully and make sure you know what it is asking you to do.
  • Keep your response brief and to the point.

Online Assessments and Skills Testing

There are a lot of different assessments out there, and you may be asked to complete one or more, depending on the role you are applying for. Below are some examples of common online assessments used when applying for roles through HOBAN. You might be asked to complete these tests online or in a HOBAN office. Full instructions are always provided so you know exactly what you are doing and how long you have. There are usually a few practice questions too.

Skills Assessments

For roles such as picking and packing, high attention to detail in matching numbers and letters is required, so you may be required to complete an assessment to measure this.  These usually have a time limit.

For office based roles, common tests are data entry and typing tests to measure speed and accuracy. Depending on the role, you may also complete tests to gauge your levels of competence in specific packages such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. These usually have a time limit.

Cognitive Ability Testing

Also known as reasoning or aptitude tests, this type of assessment looks at your ability to process new information and solve problems and can cover verbal, numeric and/or abstract reasoning. These usually have a time limit.

Personality Assessments

Personality assessments show your day to day preferences and behaviours in the workplace and can show your ‘fit’ with a role.  They do not seek to identify personality disorders or other medical conditions.  These don’t usually have a time limit.

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