Getting a job, especially your first job, can be difficult. As much as you are trying to find the proper organisation that fits your career and life desires, the organisation represented by the hiring manager or recruiter is also tasked with ensuring you are the right person for the job.
According to research done by Charis Black Projects in September 2022, with hiring managers and recruiters in over 26 industries across Africa, Uk and US, the top challenge they faced was receiving applications from unqualified candidates.
This means, at every stage of the recruitment process – preparing your CV to send, during all stages of the interview, especially during remuneration negotiations – you must show yourself as “qualified”, i.e. the right fit for the job position and the hiring organisation.
This is the essential part of your hiring process, and it begins with the recruiter’s advert for the job position and your response to it with your CV. The information on your CV must fit the information requested in the job ad; otherwise, you are wasting your and the hiring manager’s time.
You must explicitly state what you have done that qualifies for the role, including your years of experience, the companies you worked for, skills and achievements in specific detail, projects you’ve worked on, the number of softwares you can use and your certifications by recognised learning organisations within your industry. This is why working in top companies within your industry, recording your achievements while working there is very important, and making sure you “shamelessly” display it in your CV in specific details to show your talent, experience and qualifications.
No matter how good you are in problem-solving within your industry, if you are not a suitable character fit and your personality doesn’t match with the hiring organisation, you will very likely not get the job, and if you do, you won’t last long.
The question most people ask is – how do I show my personality during my interview process?
The answer lies in the soft skills you employed while fulfilling your primary problem-solving tasks and your achievements outside your organisation. These soft skills involve communication, teamwork, leadership, adaptability, decision-making, time management, quick and critical thinking, good execution, and stress management.
If you do a lot of volunteer work, especially with children, teenagers, mothers or people with disabilities, make sure to put it in your CV and raise it during your conversation with your hiring manager – it gives insight into your personality and how it fits the hiring organisation.
The hiring manager doesn’t have much time to review your CV and will likely not spend more than 15-25 minutes in your first interview (most times held remotely).
Highlighting your achievements in verifiable and accurate numbers and figures is an easy way to stand out in hiring. Also, while answering the questions, especially during your first interview, make sure to back up those numbers with a concise explanation that reassures the hiring manager you aren’t speaking rubbish.
You have to display that you took the time to research the organisation and know about the company’s structure, values and culture, recent activities in the media and history. Of course, you won’t discover everything from their footprints on their website and various social media platforms, but you should take the time to study and know as much as you can.
The more you know about the hiring organisation (and even about the hiring manager), the better prepared you are to scale through the interview process successfully.
In the hiring process, your future plans and those of the organisation are very important.
This involves kids, pregnancy, career change, and other factors that affect career and life choices. Under no condition should your work and career derail your family, personal relationships and mental health. Your hiring manager will ask questions about this topic; if they don’t, ask about their position on this issue and confirm before you take the job.
Your hiring manager will focus on your past successful projects, years of experience, personality and current availability for the role; hence, you must be prepared to answer those questions.
More importantly, make sure you ask questions about the future. Questions that show you how the organisation works, who you will be reporting to, what a day in your life would look like, and what you need to do to succeed in that role.