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Our guide to illegal interview questions

posted by Christinap 13/08/2018 0 comments

We know that an interview can be a daunting task, no matter how well prepared a candidate is. But did you know that there are some questions that a prospective employer can’t ask in an interview? Generally, questions that seek information beyond what is relevant to the role are not acceptable and employers are also not allowed to ask candidates to provide information about their age, gender, ethnicity or sexuality.

It is also unlawful to discriminate against or refuse to employ a prospective employee on the basis of their physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer’s responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin.  But it is important to note that there are limited occasions when discrimination may be allowed if it relates to the requirements of the position.

In addition, different treatment is sometimes legal (and necessary) to enable a particular group of people to achieve equality with others, including gender quotas in the workplace and measures to reduce the discrimination or under-representation of specific ethnic or cultural groups.

However, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against candidates on the basis of the attributes outlined above, and if they do, candidates may be able to take legal action against the company. We’ve highlighted 4 questions below that are illegal or potentially discriminatory and suggestions for what you can be asked instead:

1. How old are you?

Unless your age directly relates to the job requirements (such as requiring proof of age to work in a licensed venue or proof of license to drive a delivery van). However because these documents contain information regarding the employee’s age and other protected attributes, such a request may be discriminatory. An employer should ask for this information/documents after an offer of employment has been made (or make any offer contingent on the documents being provided).

2. How do you juggle work and looking after your children?

This may suggest that a candidate’s family responsibilities are relevant to the decision to employ them. The family status of a prospective employee should never be used to discriminate against them. A better question would be to ask if the candidate is able to commit to working the following hours, etc.

3. Are you currently working?

Again, it is illegal to discriminate against a candidate because they are employed, unemployed, or on benefits. However, sometimes this question could be a legitimate way to determine when an employee would be able to start in the role. In this case, it would be better framed as “what date are you able to start”

4. Have you had any past injuries/illnesses?

This question relates to a protected attribute (disability) so is also unlawful. Depending on the circumstances, however, this question could be relevant if it is specifically aimed at asking about an illness or injury that would directly relate to the ability to perform the inherent requirements of the role. This question could be better framed as “is there any reason you might not be able to complete the duties required for this role?”

For more information or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us on 03 9500 2797 for a confidential chat.


6 tips to help new starters settle in

posted by Christinap 10/08/2018 0 comments

So you’ve found your new employee to join your team – make sure you make them feel welcome from the very beginning with our top 6 tips to help your new starters settle into their new workplace with ease:

1.Prepare and induction checklist and plan

It helps to have a document that outlines the process for on-boarding new employees. Things like setting up their computer and email, showing them the bathrooms and emergency exits, explaining key software, etc. Some form of checklist that covers the basics of your employee induction process will be a great help in making your job easier and helping your new employee to feel confident in their first few days and weeks.

Don’t forget to include items such as:

  • Introducing them to their team leader/direct manager and team
  • Performance standards and expectations of new employees
  • Office/work times
  • Team roles and responsibilities
  • Organisational chart
  • Layout of office – including where people sit and their names/roles
, as well as bathrooms, kitchen, etc
  • Security issues and access to the office
  • Safety and OHS procedures
2. Make sure that their workspace is ready for them

It will help to make your new employee feel like their desk and work area is really their own, so ensure it is clean and tidy before they start. It is also a good idea to ensure that their computer and email address are working and that all of the necessary stationery has been ordered and is waiting for them.

3. Introduce them to the team

After your new employee has arrived, it is important to give them a tour of the office and introduce them to each member of the office individually as well as outlining what job role they perform. This will have a huge positive impact on how much your new employee will feel part of the team. It could also be a good idea to have them sit with other members of the team for a couple of hours per week so that they can have a better idea of what it is that everyone does on a day to day basis.

4. Schedule regular catch ups and encourage feedback

It is important for new staff to have regular one on ones in their first few weeks. They will be able to check in with you with any feedback they have on their first few days and it will make them feel a little less lost. These don’t need to be every day, but a quick 15-20 minute catch up every 3 or 4 days will help iron out any initial teething problems and ensure new employees are happy carrying out core responsibilities and settling in.

5. Assign a buddy

A buddy means your new employee has a go-to colleague for any initial questions about the company and the environment. Sometimes staff will feel more comfortable asking their buddy certain questions than senior management, particularly if management are busy. Giving them a mentor from the team that is not you means that they will always have someone to ask for help or advice if you are not around and will make their integration into the team easier.

6. Organise a social event

Organising a social event after work hours is a great way for new and current employees to get to know one another in a more relaxed environment and a great way to celebrate the new employee! A casual out of office lunch or after work drinks in their first couple of weeks will go a long way in welcoming the new employee in a relaxed environment.


Welcoming Stephanie back to the office!

posted by Christinap 07/08/2018 0 comments

This month we welcome Stephanie back to the Brook Recruitment office after having taken maternity leave. We sit down with her to find out why she’s excited about returning to work…

Firstly, welcome back! How does it feel to return to Brook?

Thank you! It feels great to be back and getting back on the grind as they say.

What have you seen change in the recruitment landscape since you’ve been gone?

So far, I can certainly see the changes that Brook Recruitment has undertaken. Our clients and candidates needs are at the forefront of everything we do here, especially when it comes to simplifying the recruitment process in an efficient and effective manner. Take our newsletters for example, Vanessa our director understands that for many of us there is never enough hours in a day, how can we make sure that our clients and candidates get the best out of our newsletters? We’ve now included videos in our newsletters and we’ve had great success in engaging client and candidates and achieving great results for our candidates.

What has been the evolution of your role since returning? What will your main specialty be?

My role has evolved to allow me to specialise in working with our clients in the financial services sector. I am excited to come back on board and focus my efforts on expanding and evolving this space.

What are you excited about now that you are returning to Brook?

I’m excited to meet up with our clients, more than anything, as I’m sure there is lots to catch up on and seeing where they are with their business.

To get in touch with with Stephanie call 9500 2797 or email


Our guide to getting the best out of your career!

posted by Christinap 12/07/2018 0 comments

So you’ve landed your dream job…read our top tips below on how to build up your resilience and get the best out of your career:

#1 Improve your industry knowledge

Knowledge is about building your brain bank around your sector and becoming an expert in your field. Here are some easy ways to ensure you keep on top of your industry knowledge:

  • Read the Financial Review even if it’s one article a day. For me personally, this has made a huge impact in building my industry knowledge.
  • Subscribe to one or two good websites that are in your sector and try and get across the key topics, issues and people in your company’s sector.
  • Reading books, in particular reading about a business or person that you can resonate with can be great and there are so many out there.
#2 Foster strong networks in your industry

Building a robust network is an invaluable resource. It gives you the ability to gain immediate feedback and advice, gives you valuable learning opportunities and exposure to other professionals.

  • LinkedIn has become the staple tool for professionals to stay connected with each other in a low-impact manner. Your LinkedIn profile is critical to your personal brand.
  • Attend events or networking groups within your sector. There are lots out there to get involved in. They should be in your sector and ideally in sync with your experience.
#3 Boost your skills

If you were to interview the most successful people in the world today, there is a common denominator: they say they are always learning.

  • Read, Read, Read. Books are an incredible resource to open your mind and your soul.
  • Do a short course online. There is a myriad of courses – both certified and offline. Do your research and find a course that’s right for you.
  • When you’re with other people, especially people with skills that you want to have, listen. Ask them about themselves, show your interest in them by listening to their dialogue and ask genuine and relevant questions.
#4 Develop the ability to overcome challenges

Your ability to overcome challenges so that they don’t derail your day or your week is something every employer looks for. There is seldom a day where you won’t experience pressure in the professional world.

We have a saying a Brook and I believe this is true for everyone in business: keep moving forward. Focus on the positive, label your emotion, own it and then move on.

#5 Find your mentors – surround yourself with people that inspire you

A mentor will give you access to a wealth of knowledge that you may not get access to in your job. A mentor can help elevate you from the daily grind and keep you focused on working toward your dream job.

For some people, they stumble upon a great mentor along their career, but for most people you need to find someone you respect and ask for their guidance. Take your time before you take up any of their time. Be clear about why you are engaging this mentor.


4 tips to promote a healthy workplace this winter

posted by Christinap 06/07/2018 0 comments

Cold weather and associated illnesses can have significant implications in the workplace. According to a 2015 study, workplace absenteeism costs Australian businesses $33 billion in lost productivity. With the onset of the winter season, ailments such as colds and flu are far more prominent in the workplace. We’ve outlined a few things you can do to counteract sickness absence over winter.

1. Provide an annual flu vax

Unlike a common cold which lasts a few days, symptoms of the flu can last for 1 to 2 weeks with recovery sometimes taking a lot longer. Unsurprisingly, the flu is the leading cause of sick days and lost productivity, costing Australian businesses an estimated 1.5 million lost workdays per year.  Given the 2017 Australian flu season was the second worst on record, it pays to be on alert for what you can do to help protect your business from the flu ahead of the winter months in 2018. Providing annual influenza vaccination for employees will go a long way to prevent the flu and its complications, and reduce the spread of the infection in the workplace and the community.

While the vaccination does not guarantee that individuals will not get the flu, it can help reduce the severity and/or duration of the illness. 

2. Encourage unwell team members to stay home

It is recommended that individuals with symptoms of the flu stay home from work until they have had no fever for 24 hours to help reduce the spread of infection. Ensure you have policies and procedures in place to allow employees who are unwell to take adequate leave for rest and recovery.

3. Remind employees of cough and sneeze etiquette

Remember to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Consider providing alcohol-based hand sanitiser around the office to help protect against the spread of germs as well.

4. Keep it clean

Encourage a clean and tidy workplace to help reduce the survival and spread of cold and flu viruses. Used tissues should be placed directly into a bin and not left on desks. Supply cleaning products or have cleaning staff to ensure that frequently touched surfaces are wiped down using either detergent or an alcohol wipe on a regular basis.



The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media at Work

posted by Christinap 19/06/2018 0 comments

Without a doubt, social media use has become an integral part of most people’s day – 50% of Australians use Facebook daily and 35% of Australians use social media at work*. With this in mind we have put together a little list of the do’s and don’ts of using social media for personal reasons in the workplace. Consider this a guide on how to be more mindful of your social media use so that it doesn’t become a habit that can jeopardise your working relationships.


  • Check your personal emails, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc on your way to and from work. This is the perfect window of time to get all your relevant updates and see what’s trending.
  • Get into the habit of putting your personal phone on silent as soon as you arrive at the office.
  • Better yet, put your phone in your top drawer if you are easily distracted or get a lot of notifications and messages on your screen.
  • Use your lunch break to login to your social media.
  • Use your discretion and check something if you need to, or respond to a message, text message, etc.
  • If you really need your social media fix, use LinkedIn. Like, comment or share articles and info that is work related. Learn something new. Then close the window and get on with your work.
  • Assume that your boss (and potential future employers) will eventually see everything you distribute online. If you don’t want them to ever see it, don’t post it.


  • Login to your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc on your work computer.
  • Check your phone too frequently.
  • Waste your workday, your boss’s time or your employers money by surfing Facebook or Instagram on their time.
  • Get involved in chats or posts that involve your time, concentration or energy.
  • Assume you are being discreet – you won’t often realise that you aren’t.
  • Document your day at work in selfies and updates.
  • Be afraid to occasionally check a post or look something up quickly when you have a moment. If you are doing all of the above, you are obviously not taking advantage of the situation and your boss most likely won’t mind if you have to quickly do something on social media of a personal nature.

The key to remember is that, as with most things, it’s all about balance. Things come up, and social media is a growing part of our every day lives. Ultimately though, when you are at work – do your job. Leave the social media for before and after.



6 benefits of diversity in the workplace

posted by Christinap 12/06/2018 0 comments

The first thing that people usually think of when the word diversity pops up are factors such as age, gender, race, cultural background, etc., but there is far more to creating a diverse workplace than hiring people who fit into different age brackets or creating the perfect male to female ratio.

We welcome diversity at Brook Recruitment, both through our multicultural team and through our clients and candidates. In fact, it’s part of the reason why we love what we do so much – the amount of people we meet with from all over the world creates a melting pot of opportunities to foster creativity and diversity in the workplace.

Hiring people with different personalities and at varied stages of their career can provide tangible and intangible benefits to your organisation and offer a range of perspectives and ideas. Here are 6 of the top benefits of diversity in the workplace, and how it can impact your company in a positive way:

1) It fosters innovation

By working alongside people of different backgrounds, experiences and working styles, creative concepts can be born from bouncing ideas off of each other and offering feedback and suggestions. Whereas one person may be great at generating exciting, innovative ideas, another individual may have the necessary experience to execute it. As more diverse ideas are suggested, the chances of finding a workable answer are improved. With so many different and diverse minds coming and working together, many more solutions will arise as every individual brings in their personal way of thinking, operating and solving problems and making decision.

1) Talents, skills and experiences

Individuals from diverse backgrounds can offer a selection of different talents, skills and experiences that may be of benefit to the company and their work performance. Employees from different backgrounds bring a variety of solutions on how to achieve a common goal. A variety of skills and experiences among the team also means that employees can learn from each other.

3) Language skills can open doors

Companies that plan to expand into global markets benefit from language diversity in the workplace. Cultural differences and language barriers can often act as an obstacle for a company who want to expand their business overseas. By hiring employees who speak different languages it can make it possible for a company to work on a global basis and interact with a broader client-base. Representing a number of nationalities within your company can also help to make it more relatable in the global economy.

4) It grows your talent pool

A company who embraces diversity will attract a wider range of candidates to their vacancies, as it will be viewed as more progressive organisation. Naturally, as the number of applicants for each vacancy rises, the chances of finding an exceptional candidate increases too! It can also help with employee retention, as people want to work in an environment that is accepting of all backgrounds and promotes equality.

5) It improves employee performance and productivity

A diverse workplace combines employees from different backgrounds, ethnicity and experiences, and together breed a more productive environment. Employees are more likely to feel comfortable and happy in an environment where inclusivity is a priority. Equality in the workplace is important for encouraging workers from all backgrounds to feel confident in their ability and achieve their best – and the higher the team morale, the more productive employees are. 

6) It improves your company’s reputation

Another benefit of cultural diversity in the workplace is the positive reputation that the company can receive. Companies who recruit and encourage individuals from a wide range of backgrounds generally gain a reputation for being a good employer, and job seekers are drawn to companies with diverse workforces because it is evident that the companies do not practice employment discrimination. Potential clients often feel more valued and thus give more business to these organisations. A diverse collection of skills and experiences allows a company to provide service to customers on a global basis because the company is able to relate and understand their clients better.


Q&A with Brook superstar consultant Adriana

posted by Christinap 22/05/2018 0 comments

This month we welcome Adriana to the Brook Recruitment team. Learn more about our newest Talent Acquisition Specialist and what makes her tick…

Tell us a little about your career background.
I started my career in Customer Service at Hisense and eventually moved onto a Data Administration role at Sonos. My role eventually evolved into an Operations role where I managed relationships with dependant partners as well as forecasting/analysis, process implementation and lots of project work.

What do you love about working at Brook Recruitment?
Definitely the variation in my day – no two days are the same. I have also loved meeting lots of people from different industry sectors and professional sectors and the learning that comes with this. Lastly, our Friday team lunches!

What are your hobbies outside of work?
I love to read – my favourites include everything from the classics like To Kill A Mockingbird, to the Harry Potter series. Beach runs (in summer) and traveling when possible (especially to Europe & Southern Italy). Oh, and eating of course!

Tell us something about yourself that’s not on your resume…
I’ve got a huge sweet tooth and given the opportunity I would have cake for dinner!

If you’re looking for a new dream career, get in touch with with Adriana today on 9500 2797 or email 


Brook Recruitment Sector Update

posted by Christinap 16/04/2018 0 comments

Looking for a career change? Want to work for some of the most innovative, modern companies in Australia? At Brook Recruitment we concentrate our focus on working solely in 5 key sectors of the market – Property, Construction, Legal, Accounting and Finance. This has allowed us to become niche specialists and has meant we’ve been able to develop lasting relationships with some of Melbourne’s best brands across these industries.

Learn more about these sectors in our brief market update below:

As of early 2018, Melbourne remains one of the 10 fastest-growing large cities in the developed world, and is expected to be amongst the best-performing property markets in 2018. Top drivers of this growth include the anticipated construction activity to support tourism and the industrial sector, as well as Victoria’s growing population (with population growth expected around 10% in the next four years). This in turn is expected to spur employment opportunities in the sector.

The Victorian construction sector employs almost 240,000 people and contributes 6.7% (or $21.6 billion) to the State’s economy. The sector includes residential, non-residential and engineering construction. The outlook for the sector is very positive, driven by a continuing increase in Victoria’s population and the need to provide housing and related infrastructure.

Victoria accounts for 27% of Australian firms operating in the legal sector and has a highly developed legal services sector operating across a broad range of areas including corporate and commercial law, industrial and workplace relations, criminal law, intellectual property law, property law and personal legal services. Some of the largest players include Herbert Smith Freehills, Allens, Clayton Utz, Minter Ellison and Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Melbourne also accounts for 27% of the Australian accounting services sector. Companies in this industry provide bookkeeping services, business advice, accounting, auditing, taxation and financial reporting. Major firms include Pricewaterhouse Coopers, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young.

Melbourne’s professional services sector is the largest sector in the economy, accounting for almost 20% of gross state product and providing around 405,000 jobs. The financial services sector as a subset of this is a vibrant industry, driven by a strong and diverse economy, skilled workforce and culture of innovation. Firms operating in this sector include Macquarie Bank, Investec, and an array of investment and banking companies.

Our extensive network, personal knowledge and specialisation in these sectors will help you land your dream job!

Click here to learn more about the positions we recruit or send your CV to don’t forget set-up your own job alert to get real-time alerts for the types of roles you’re after.

Statistical source: Invest Victoria


Are you missing out on this hidden talent pool?

posted by Christinap 10/04/2018 0 comments

Every year hundreds of thousands of foreign workers choose to live and work in Australia because of the lifestyle and employment opportunities offered. Whilst Melbourne has been traditionally closed off to outsiders in the past, we are finding that more and more of our clients are now taking advantage of the growing number of travellers arriving on our shores, eager to obtain work and contribute meaningfully.

Tapping into this hidden talent pool is becoming a great opportunity for employers, and in our experience, travellers are highly skilled, have global knowledge and are used to a more competitive environment. Most come degree qualified and are motivated to work hard and prove themselves as good workers who are both valuable and contribute positively to the organisation employing them.

The most common visas that allow for overseas residents to live and work in Australia include:

Working holiday visa (417/462): these visas allow a person to stay in Australia for up to 12 months and work for up to six months with each employer (they can apply for a second Work and Holiday visa if they have worked for three months in northern Australia in tourism and hospitality or agriculture, forestry and fishing). Typically, these workers are younger, as the visa has an age cap of 31.

Working holiday makers are usually immediately available and eager to work. They can be a great choice for temporary positions which need to be filled rapidly and on short notice.

Temporary Work Skilled visa (subclass 457): this was the most common visa for skilled overseas workers to work temporarily for up to 4 years in Australia. It is currently in the process of being abolished and replaced by the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (TSS).

Partner visas: we often meet with and place partners of people with valid visas to live and work in Australia. These candidates are committed to settling and making their life in Australia and are a great option to consider when filling a role.

We will always endeavour to minimise any risk for our clients by undertaking all the proper checks to confirm visa requirements. We will keep you informed every step of the way and can also provide you with character references, testimonials and personal history of the candidate.

Our advice is to keep an open mind and don’t miss out on tapping into this growing talent pool!

If you would like to learn more or you’re looking to expand or grow your team contact us at and we can help you build the team you need to succeed this year.

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