The Odds For Job Hunting in 2012
Date posted: March 7, 2012, 7:41 pm
According to Trading Economics.com South Africa’s unemployment rate last year reached a peak in mid March but then slowly came down again by September. With jobs being as scarce as they are it seems that there has to be a more effective way of finding and keeping a job. Pnet is always a good place to start as this job porthole covers many areas of expertise and has a long listing of recruiters willing to place you in an ideal position.
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Fun & Productive Things While You Are Unemployed
Date posted: March 7, 2012, 7:46 pm
You might feel that after all the unsuccessful job hunting that you have done and waiting at home for so long, your life has become rather dull and boring. Try making the ‘waiting period’ more productive and effective…
Firstly, try putting together some useful job search tools, both online and offline. Redefine your CV and try to be more organised by putting together some effective answers for questions that you will most likely get in an interview. There cannot be enough said for a well organised and defined CV and this could be one of the most productive ways you can utilize your time.
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Social media profiles cost jobs
Date posted: March 16, 2012, 3:21 pm
Almost one in five technology industry executives say that a candidate’s social media profile has caused them not to hire that person.
This was revealed in the 2012 annual technology market survey conducted by Eurocom Worldwide in association with Johannesburg based Watt Communications.
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Interview preparation tips.
Preparing for an interview should not be that difficult...
A The day before the interview
- 1. Make sure you know the correct directions/physical address and venue – request a map from the agency
- 2. Make a note of the person/s who is/are interviewing you, their positions as well as their contact details.
- 3. Request the details of the position to prepare yourself for the interview.
- 4. Make sure your outfit is ready
- 5. Conduct a research on the organization and prepare a list of questions you are going to ask, ensure they are included with your information you are taking to the interview.
- 5.1 Who is the company?
- 5.2 Who are their clients (conservative/conventional/extreme)?
- 5.3 What are their successful products/services?
- 5.4 Are they bureaucratic/government or private sector?
- 5.5 What is the organizational culture?
- 5.6 Questions about the position
- 6. Qualities your prospective employer will be looking for.
- 7. How do you wish to portray yourself during the interview?
- 8. Clarify your resume – don't repeat it
- 8.1 Most important aspects of your work experience
- 8.2 Reason for leaving
- 9. Keep sentences concise and understandable
- 10. Listen to the interviewer
- 11. It's all about attitude
- 11.1 First 5 minutes of your interview
- 12. Clarify your resume
- 12.1 Most important aspects of your work experience
- 12.2 Reason for leaving
B On the day of the interview
- 1. Do and don't
- 2. Get to the interview on time
C Types of interviews. Group, panel or one to one interview tips
- 1. The One to One Interview
- 2. Group Interviews
- 3. Panel Interview
D Overcoming interview nerves...
- 1. How does the interview make you feel?
- 2. Why do you get these interview nerves?
- 3. How can you overcome your interview nerves?
E When to negotiate your salary – During the interview of after?
- 1. What is salary?
- 2. Cost to company salary
- 3. When do you begin negotiating your salary?
- 4. How much should you negotiate for your salary?
- 4.1 Salary Negotiation Tips
- 4.2 Make a list of what you have to offer
- 4.3 Understand your own salary thresholds
- 4.4 Be prepared to clarify your previous salary
- 4.5 Do your comparative salary research
F Ending the Interview
G Other things to remember
A The day before the interview
4. Make sure your outfit is ready
Make sure the outfit you have selected is clean and ironed. Select clothes that you feel comfortable in – the clothes and manner in which you present yourself do reflect an aspect of your personality. Interview preparation includes your wardrobe!
1. Men – dark suit, white shirt, tie; Try not to wear very busy colors
2. Ladies – Dress, shirt or loose fitting pants with jacket.
3. Look neat and clean, it gives an air of efficiency.
4. A good haircut can do wonders for one's image.
5. Don't go reeking of after-shave or perfume.
Dressing for success. How can you best dress to suit the interview?
We were always taught never to judge a book by its cover, but what happens if you can only see the cover?
Dressing for success is an important facet of an interview, at the risk of sounding fickle, how you go about dressing for an interview does have an impact!
If so to dressing for a success in respect of the interview would require a neat appearance. Leaving buttons undone, having a skew tie, would not define, dress for a success at the interview in this context.
In dressing for success, you ensure that you eliminate any preconceptions about first impressions.
During the interview, if you are concerned about the manner in which you have dressed, then there is less focus on the interview itself, which is essentially more important!
Take the time to consider what defines dressing for success? Both from your own, and your prospective employers perspective!
5. Conduct research
5.1 Who is the company?
Important general questions to research during your interview preparation are:
1. What is the core business of this organization?
2. Who are their strategic clients?
3. Has there been any publicity around the organization lately that you should be aware of?
4. Is the organization involved in any form of social responsibility projects?
5.5 Organizational culture
Different organizations have different cultures and work ethics, this has an influence on dressing for success.
This will not only give you additional insight into the organization, which you can use in the interview, but it will give you an idea of what would be appropriate to wear, in dressing for success in respect of the interview.
If the client / service and organisation are of a conventional nature, it becomes quite apparent that dressing for success would not encompass a leopard skin cat suit to be worn during the interview!
An organisation that encourages creativity and risk taking, might lend itself towards a completely different focus determining the definition of dressing for a success in respect of the interview? You are a lot more likely to get away with your cat suit, or whatever dress is an indication of your own personal and creative style which encompasses your success.
5.6 Questions about the job
During your interview preparation, think about questions that might be important to your specific interests / skills/ requirements. For example
- Is overtime required in the job?
- What computer skills are required?
- What other technologies are currently being used by the company?
- What learning opportunities on new technologies exist for you?
- What are their technology plans for the future?
- What interaction with customers – internal and external is required?
- What workflow systems are in place?
- Does the organization have a flexi-time policy?
- What is the direct reporting structure of the position?
- What is the team size and how many teams are in the department?
- The size of the division you will be working in?
- What are your opportunities for a career path and growth?
- What is the company group structure (subsidiaries and holding company)
- Who are the main competitors in the market?
- Where is the company heading, e.g. its strategic direction?
- And many more… remember – your interview preparation is just as important as the interview itself!
6. Qualities your prospective employer will be looking for
Part of your interview preparation is to think about the qualities your prospective employer will be looking for – possibly...
In summary, someone who would be an asset to the organization. Think about how you can convey these qualities during your interview preparation, if you think they are qualities that you possess!
As part of your interview preparation, also prepare for behavioral questions. A behavioral question is one that asks the interviewee for an example of a specific time when a certain behavior or skill has been applied. The underlying philosophy is "past behavior predicts future behavior" – so think of actual examples that support your skills and knowledge.
7. How do you wish to portray yourself during the interview?
Once this has been defined, it should go a long way in determining how you go about dressing for success. Good luck! But don't forget dressing for success is only one aspect of
- Self motivated?
- Ability to work in teams?
- Ability to perform under pressure?
- Fast learner?
- Attention to detail?
- Positive attitude?
- Making things happen?
- Ability to complete projects?
- Ability to work unsupervised
- Leadership abilities
8. Use words wisely during the interview
During your interview, you need to get the right information to your potential employer in a concise and clear style.
How do you do this?
- Use as few words as possible to provide maximum information during the interview
9. Keep sentences concise and understandable
An important interview tip to remember….short, direct sentences help your prospective employer understand your skills and experience – they don't become bogged down by unnecessary information conveyed during the interview.
10. Listen to the interviewer
Listen intently to the interviewer when he or she asks questions.
Don't become so focused on what you want to convey during the interview, that you forget to concentrate on the interview questions.
You don't want to have to ask the interviewer to keep repeating the interview questions (unless of course you don't understand the interview question) or even worse. Give an incorrect or irrelevant interview answer.
11. It's all about attitude!
During the interview, your attitude and demeanor are as important as the response to the interview questions.
During the interview, it is important to be professional and focused as well as friendly, enthusiastic – convey this in your interview responses. No one wants to employ someone with no personality, regardless of their qualifications.
11.1 First 5 minutes of your interview matters most. You can make a good interview impression
How long does an interview last?
Some say only 5 minutes - regardless of the actual length of the interview.
Why is this?
If you have not presented yourself in a credible and professional manner within the first 5 minutes of the interview, it is going to be difficult to regain the interviewer's interest in you and your resume.
What does the first 5 minutes of your interview mean?
Within the first 5 minutes of your interview, you need to have convinced the interviewer that:
So, why is the interviewer looking for within the first 5 minutes of your interview?
The interviewer will have noted the following traits within the first 5 minutes:
- You are capable and professional
- You are a serious contender for the job
- You are in control of yourself and the interview
Think about what type of an impression all the above forms in a person's mind. All this information and analysis within the first 5 minutes of your interview!
- Your appearance
- How you introduced yourself
- Your posture and composure
- Your eye contact
- Aspects about your personality and who you are
How important are those first 5 minutes of the interview?
Interviewers are interested in finding people who are competent and able to present themselves in a professional and capable manner during the interview.
Spend time practicing what you are going to do and say during those first 5 minutes of your interview.
Make sure you are going to make an impression that would even impress you!
12. Clarify your resume - don't repeat it.
During the interview, don't just repeat your resume but highlight important facts or, even better, give examples to describe the extent and range of your experience.
12.1 Most important aspects of your work experience
Think about what the most important aspect of your work experience is.
Imagine if, during the interview you forgot to mention the most critical aspect of your work experience!
When discussing your work experience, ensure you cover the what's, the how's, and the breadth and scope of your experiences during the interview.
What occurred? Did you improve the
In the workplace?
Perhaps you also refined technology tools, created programs, or organized procedures. Tell your interviewer what occurred. An important interview tip mentioned above is to use brief examples to describe your experience whenever possible.
- How much and how many?
- Did you implement new projects?
- How many?
- Did you meet budget?
- How much time did the project take to complete?
- Don't forget percentages, numbers and degrees that apply.
12.2 Reason for leaving
Should you be asked your reason for leaving, remember never to run your company down!! It is not going to buy you points – always talk about the real reasons for leaving such as:
- 1) Wanting greater opportunities
- 2) Looking for new challenges
- 3) Needing a change in career path
- 4) Working with new technologies
- 5) Ready for greater responsibilities
- 6) Wanting to work for a bigger/smaller company
- 7) Wanting to make a difference in the company
- 8) Desire to grow and get exposure on how other companies to things
B On the day of the interview
- Ensure that you arrive on time for your interview!
- Before the interview, take a deep breath and try to relax – one of the most important things!
- Remember to put your cell phone off before your interview!
- Practice positive thinking and remind yourself of your successes to date
- Acknowledge your worth and value you could contribute towards the organization
- Introduce yourself clearly. Do give a firm handshake without overdoing it!
- Keep a good posture, body language and good eye contact
- Have a positive attitude. Show confidence and maintain poise and SMILE.
- Be assertive without trying to dominate.
- You may show ambition but be careful not to make the person(s) on the other side of the table feel threatened about their own positions!
- Don't express strong prejudices or any personal intolerance!
- Don't repeat yourself during the interview
- Don't waffle
- DO NOT chew gum!
Please get to the interview on time!
Rather arrive at your interview early than plan to be there on time.
Regardless of how sympathetic your interviewer may be to the fact that you had a puncture, it is virtually impossible to overcome a negative first impression.
Should you at any point in time not be able to make the interview for whatever reason, please remember to phone the interviewer(s) as well as the agency to make alternate arrangements.
C Types of interviews. Group, panel or one to one interview tips
- One to One
- Group Interviews
- Panel Interviews
1. The One to One Interview
This type of interview is usually quite in depth.
The interview generally comprises yourself and either, the person you are directly reporting to, or the HR Officer or Manager creating a shortlist. If it is the HR Manager interviewing, it is likely that there will be at least one other interview before an offer of appointment is made.
The one to one interview is less daunting than the others, but more intense and focused as there are only you and the organization representative in the room.
2. Group Interviews
These interviews can be conducted with other applicants, and your general interactions, behavior and responses are noted and recorded and noted as part of the interview process.
These interviews can take longer where various topics and questions are covered in a group and individual situation.
3. Panel Interview
The interview panel can be quite intimidating – you are on the hot seat and there are numerous pairs of eyes boring into you and assessing your every word and movement!
Usually the interviewees will take turns asking questions, ensure it is a controlled process, and ensure that you will not be inundated by more than one question at a time.
- acknowledge the person asking the question
- direct your answer to that person
- also remember that there are other interviewees with whom you need to make eye contact
C The Interview – The Interviewer!
Don't be disillusioned if you cannot gauge a reaction of the interviewee during the interview. The more experienced interviewees will not give anything away during the interview – just give it your best shot and prepare, prepare, prepare!
- An interview is about exchange of information
- The interviewer needs to know about you
- You need to know about the organization (and interviewee if he/she is your potential boss!)
- An interview is generally a formal process. Each interviewee will have his or her own style. Some styles may be less and other more formal. If you are well prepared you should easily adapt to whatever style it is that you are faced with.
D Overcoming interview nerves...
1. How does the interview make you feel?
It is fine to feel slightly uneasy about the interview, especially if there is a lot at stake and you have set your heart on the job. Welcome to .. interview nerves
Regardless what the thought of the interview does to your emotional state, it is more important what you do in order to get those interview nerves under control!
Remember… the interview is an opportunity for you to get your job of a lifetime - you are on centre stage, you are entitles to shine! Don't let interview nerves get the better of you.
2. Why do you get these interview nerves?
Allowing interview nerves to overcome you, will prevent you from allowing the interviewer to see the real you,
- You have placed high hopes on what it is you want to achieve.
- You don't want to fail
- You are looking for approval and acceptance by being offered the job
Allowing yourself to be overcome by interview nerves can destroy your ability to have a successful interview.
- Your abilities
- Your goals
- Your energy and enthusiasm
- Your skills and experience
3. How can you overcome your interview nerves?
Interview nerves are to be expected. Knowing what you are going to say during the interview and practicing aloud, possibly with family or friends will help you in overcoming your interview nerves.
In moderation, interview nerves are a good sign - they indicate that you care about the job in question and are serious about your commitment to the job.
- Conduct your research on the Company
- Think through possible questions you could be asked during the interview, and practice the answers.
- Get a good night's sleep before the interview. Don't let interview nerves keep you up all night!
If you are prepared, take a deep breath, see the interview as a challenge you are about to conquer, you might just find yourself relaxing and enjoying the interview process, forgetting all about those interview nerves that followed you all the way to the door!
E When to negotiate your salary - During or after the job interview?
The big question...
Do you raise the salary issue at your interview?
Answer… it depends….
Your current salary and expectations are usually specified on your CV that was sent to the client.
This means that your salary expectations are known, to some extent, by your prospective employer. It is therefore not appropriate that you start negotiating your salary during the interview. Rather wait until you have been offered the job, and then start with the salary negotiations via the agency.
If your interviewer asks you your salary expectations during the interview, rather say you would consider a market related salary for your skills and experience and that you would be negotiable on the salary. It is better to leave the salary negotiations to the agency as they usually know what the company is prepared to pay and can negotiate the best deal for you.
Always remember! Never discuss your salary/rate for a contract position – always refer the client back to the agency involved in presenting your CV to the client.
1. What is salary?
When it comes to your salary expectations, be careful that you understand what is being said about your salary, or what you are asking for in terms of your salary.
There are many different terms that are used when referring to salary, so make sure you know what is being said…… it all make a difference on the monetary value of your salary, at the end of the day.
BASIC SALARY - this is usually your cash salary, before any perks, commissions or bonuses
2. Cost to company salary
Cost to company salary is a total salary package, including your benefits. If a cost to company (CTC) salary is quoted, it means that the value of your medical aid, pension etc have been added to your basic salary figure.
Your CTC figure might sound substantial, but when the benefits are excluded, may look a bit measly! CTC may also be called your Total Package Salary.
3. When do you begin negotiating your salary?
It is best to wait until you have received your job offer in writing. Thereafter you can fully understand what salary is being offered to you, and you can go away and do your homework. Put a value to your experience and understand what income you need in order to meet your expenses and savings plan.
4. How much should you negotiate for your salary?
4.1 Salary Negotiation Tips
Once you receive your Job Offer, the first decision is...
Do you want this job! If you do, then read on...
Once having decided to accept the job offer, you then need decide whether the salary and package offer is acceptable. If not, then read on...
When negotiating your salary offer to a new or prospective employer, you need to be particularly clear in your approach. You don't want to ruin the deal (or your first day at work) by handling the salary negotiations poorly. Be prepared!
4.2 Make a list of what you have to offer
Understand and think about what you have to offer to your prospective employer.
Make a list of your
- Explain to your prospective employer what capability and value you will add to the company.
4.3 Understand your own salary thresholds
Establish your salary requirements. Know your salary limits.
Identify three salary figures
Understanding this salary information allows you to know where you stand. You may be prepared to sacrifice some salary in lieu of future job prospects or other non monetary items.
- A salary offer you will not accept - it will not cover your expenses
- An okay, middle of the range salary offer, you would accept it, but it won't make you jump;
- A salary that is beyond your wildest dreams - where is the acceptance form!!
Identify how desperately the job needs to be filled
The more urgent the incumbent is required to start the job, the more negotiating power you have in terms of your salary requirements!
4.4 Be prepared to clarify your previous salary
If your previous salary earnings have been high, you need to let your prospective employer know you're your salary earnings were in a previous position. Many employers at least try to match, if not supersede your current salary.
Understand that your prospective employer has a budget.
Many employers have a salary range in mind, and will not be forthcoming with the highest salary range in the first instance, to allow themselves' room for negotiating if they need to.
4.5 Do your comparative salary research
Know what the going salary rate or fair market value is for your position. Discuss these figures once salary negotiation commences. There are salary surveys out there - know where to find the information you require in order to substantiate your salary negotiations.
4.6 Ensure your salary negotiations are amiable
When discussion your salary expectations, make your prospective employer feel that you are both on the same side and working together to find a remuneration package that would satisfy your needs and their budget. Don't become defensive and confrontational during these salary discussions - it will not bode well for your future career growth within the organization. Never run an offer down outright! Always leave the door open for the agency to see if they cannot get a better offer on your behalf.
F Ending the interview
If you liked the interview, you can at this point say it to them. This could open the door for the follow-on interview and it would most certainly set a positive ending to the interview.
If you really want the job, ASK FOR IT but be careful not to sound desperate, even if you are!!
If the job is offered to you on the spot and you want it, accept it!
Also ask the interviewer when you can expect feedback. This will give the agency an indication on how soon they will make a decision.
If the job is offered to you and you need to think about it, say so, stating a definite time when you will get back to the agency to provide feedback to the client.
Show willingness and availability for a second interview.
Remember to smile and thank them for the opportunity to see you with a firm handshake!
Phone the agency as soon as possible after the interview to give your impressions of the company, job and the interview. The agency will then follow up with the client and give you feedback.
G Other things to remember
Be positive! Be yourself! And remember only you can make it happen!! If it doesn't, don't be too hard on yourself - we can try again and will keep you on our marketable list for new opportunities.
- Show interest in the company's business and its goals. Remember it will also be the business and goals of the same people interviewing you.
- Respect yourself without taking yourself too seriously
- DON'T talk religion, politics or other contentious subjects!
- Don't slouch when being interviewed. Sit up in a relaxed manner, with an open body language
- Be positive, happy and talk, yes-TALK to them the same as you would to an old work acquaintance.
- There will be different interviewers with different methods and styles. One cannot plan for every question and trick that is going to be thrown at you. Each interviewer will be looking for something different. All you can do is go along and be yourself, Put your best self on display. Be positive about whom and what you are, it makes a wealth of difference. After all, if you are not going to endorse yourself, who is?
- Never jump to any unfavorable conclusions. Evaluate the job opportunity as a whole and base your conclusions on the bigger picture. See the whole process through and then make your decisions.