HR Whisperer

Navigating the world of work is often difficult. While studying we are bogged down with theoretical knowledge with little exposure to the next step, which is getting a job (and keeping it!). There is an overload of information on the internet, but it is often contradictory and usually not for the South African context. Not to worry, the wise (but youthful) HR whisperer, is here to help with exactly that. Check out the weekly advise feature here! If you have any specific topics holla at us and we will do a feature on exactly what you need. Because, that’s what #Omy’s do!

Get the job you want!

I have been involved in HR for the last 5 years in four different industries, dealing with the full employee life cycle. I work with people continuously and have made valuable alliances in the HR circle. In conversation there are always conversation on what we wish, as HR Professionals, that applicants will and will not do.

With the unemployment rate being at an all-time high, applying for vacancies becomes a hobby. We all tense up when we begin thinking of the process to land a job but how do you make your applications stand out? How do you make a lasting impression at your interview? Most readers will think this post is a no brainer but there are applicants out there that still make these errors.

Usually the simple stuff that makes a huge difference:

Application Stage

Your application for a vacancy should be concise and contain all the relevant documentation the post requires. Do not answer the phone abruptly, just because you do not recognise the number does not mean you need to be rude on the phone. You never know when you could be closing a door on your shot at success.

Oldie but goldie, check your spelling, grammar, alignment, entire format of CV. There is still a wealth of CV’s with horrible spelling and grammar.

Lengthy CV’s – unless a position asks you to include all your documentation then don’t.  Try and keep your application below 2mb as companies have limits on the size of emails they can receive.

Not updating your CV according to every vacancy, you apply for – not all vacancies have the same requirements. Your CV should reflect your experience and skills for the vacancy you apply for.

Hold back on using inappropriate pictures on your CV e.g. dabbing? Not a great look

Include a cover letter – a summary of your application on a cover page is a great way for your application to stand out.

When applying for a specific vacancy do not send through an email that was clearly forwarded numerous times to different companies.

Email etiquette is vital when applying for a job, have a subject to your email as well as a structured email body.

Interview stage

Recruiters tend to have a mini interview with you over the telephone before setting up the actual interview.

Be early for your interview, if you are on time you are late! We understand sometimes unpredictable things happen please have a contact number you may call to advise the interviewer in advance of your reason for being late.

Body language – make sure your posture is upright and attentive, no slouching!

Dress appropriately- jobs vary, not all will need you to be dressed formally however at the interview stage you will not know the company culture so rather stick with the tried and tested and be formal in neutral colours.

Answer interview questions with purpose and be specific rather than rambling- when answering interview questions, be concise and stick to what is being asked or if the question is misleading then ask for clarity rather than assuming.

Ask relevant questions pre-interview and post- know who will be interviewing you, know when to expect a response so you do not end up making unnecessary phone calls to follow-up.

Relax- Think off the interview as a conversation, all the interview panel is trying to do is get a sense of who you are and your professional accomplishments. 

P.S. Always work on being the best version of yourself as this becomes your personal branding.

Chanelle Ramphaul is currently the HR Officer at the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa, with four years of prior experience in a manufacturing, construction and services industry. She has recently completed her Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Human Resource Management and looks forward to making a valuable contribution to people practices in the progression of her career.