Top six questions you need to ask an employer during an interview

pexels-photo-355952.jpeg“Do you have a question for us?”

This is a common phrase from interviewers during interviews and the expectation is that the candidates will have prepared several questions for them. Asking questions in an interview is an indication that you did your research and are well prepared.

Most candidates have great answers to the questions posed by interviewers. Some of them have great CV’s and a track record that cannot be ignored. However, they go under the seat when their turn to ask questions comes at the end of the interview. From my interactions with candidates, many of them confuse this with an opportunity to sell themselves to the hiring team. Others do not ask questions because they do not know whether their questions are appropriate. This boils down to anxiety, lack of confidence and poor preparation. Fortunately, we have done interviews for so long that we have developed a cheat sheet for you( do not tell anyone about it).

Here are our top six  questions you need to pose to interviewers during an interview:

1. What would I be expected to do on a typical day/week/month if I was hired for this position?

It may seem like an obvious question but it is absolutely important to find out what your interviewer expects from you. Having an employer lay out what you are expected to do ensures that there are no nasty surprises once you get hired. A candidate who successfully applied for a position as a personal assistant quit her job after a week after being told by her boss that she was supposed to pick up his laundry and supervise his children as they did their homework in the office. Upon further inquiry, she was told that the previous personal assistant used to perform those duties in addition to her daily duties. Having expectations laid out for you during the interview process helps you decide whether you would like to take up the job or not.

images (23)2. Would I be undergoing any form of training after getting the job?

An ambitious candidate not only applies for jobs because he or she meets the criteria but also because he or she wants to grow career wise. If you lack some of the skills that one is required to have in order to perform well, this question helps you determine whether there is an opportunity to acquire those skills before embarking on the job. It also helps you gauge whether your potential employer has opportunities for you to develop professionally. Some companies have an initial training period of up to three months. If you have another job and you require to serve a notice of a similar amount of time, it may be wise to state so during the interview as you pose this question.

3. What are the performance expectations for this position?

It may seem obvious that anyone who gets the position has to perform but the performance expectations may not be that obvious. Posing this question helps you set your mind and attitude towards the attainment of targets as per your position. If the performance expectations are not commiserate to the resources provided by the company, then this question would help you determine whether you still want to take up the job. Moreover, this question will help determine what sort of salary you should accept  should they extend an offer if successful through the selection stages.

4. What are the next steps after the interview process?

No one wants to wait to hear from an employer forever. This questions helps you to have realistic timelines in mind as you await to hear from your employer. This question helps you know what to expect and when to expect it. It is also a way of getting some reassurance from your employer after the interview. You can also check with them what sort of medium will they use to provide feedback.

pexels-photo-66134.jpeg5. Will I be working with a team? If I am, could you tell me a little about the team?

Everyone indicates that he or she is a team player in their CV’s. The true test of this attribute is when you are actually introduced to the team. Candidates have been known to quit their jobs after a short time because of teams that were impossible to work with. Find out who you will be reporting to. Find out whether there are any challenges that the team has been dealing with. Find out how the organization has been building the capacity of the team and promoting team work within the organization. Find out about the work culture among the teams in the organizations.

6. What sort of advancements can I work towards while working in this department?

This question will give you a glimpse into opportunities for mobility within the company. The last thing you want as a candidate is a dead end job that leads you nowhere. Your ultimate goal as a candidate should be to grow in your career path. Advancement may in form of training opportunities, promotion and mentorship opportunities.

Do you want to change careers? Crystal Recruitment, a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya works with Employers and we may have your next career on our Job Board. Be sure to check it out.

NO! Recruiters will not Read your CV/Application

pexels-photo-128421I was to write about interning after we posted 2 intern opportunities with our clients. However, as we shortlisted, we were appalled and I felt I must write this as a reminder and more for those who may be wondering they have sent out 200 plus applications with no response.

I know, even a ‘regret’ is better than never hearing from the companies you applied to.

If you do not hear from us or do not hear from recruiters after you apply for an opportunity, this could be one or all of the reasons!

Shoddy CVS. 

This cannot be overemphasized.

See what we shared earlier about having a great CV.

So let us say it again, take your time. Write a great CV even for an internship. Sell yourself. How do you stand out from 800+ applications, like what we received for the Office Assistant Intern position in just a week?

The only thing standing between you being shortlisted for an interview, getting a regret or never hearing from the Recruiters is your CV and application letter where applicable.

Google is your friend, if not, then you better start making it your close ally.  Know what to avoid, and do exactly that.

Not Following Instructions 

If a job is for a certain nationality, please do not apply. It is not funny when a recruiter scroll down CVs to find a +254 yet they want a +255. Unless of course you are a citizen of that country and want to go back home.

If you cannot follow basic instructions in the job application process, why should the hiring company think you would follow instruction once hired? And trust us, there are so many instructions to follow.

Sending CV to multiple Employers on the Same Email.

Deadly sin here.

But why would you send your CV to 10 companies on the same email?

Not Including a Body on the Email. 

This is another that actually tops the list where if you have a good CV but do not have time to write something about yourself and the job you are applying for, how would we know? The chances of a Recruiter opening that CV is pretty slim unless of course, they have some extra time or they did not get enough applicants for the specific job.

We repeat; pay attention, someone will pay attention too.

It is simple; You don’t want to put in time when applying, why would someone else spend their time checking your CV trying to figure out what sort of job would be of interest to you or what skills you have, yet you can simply include that in short paragraph?

No Subject, or the subject line, “CV” 

My guess is as good as yours, ‘hit ignore button’.

No one will even bother responding to this. There is a reason people study Coms 101? And letter writing and there is a reason the emails have a subject line?

So let us get something straight.

Junk In, Junk Out.

You do not expect to get a call for an interview with either a junk CV or a junk application and especially not in a market where Recruiters have deadlines, KPIs and pressed for time to sieve through all the CVS. Yes, some must go through all CVs to create longlist before creating a shortlist because of audit purposes.

downloadResults.jpgParting shot:

When you are a job seeker and you include a phone number, email address or skype ID, be sure to be available on those channels. Do check your emails on a regular basis. If you don’t and you miss a deadline, you have yourself to blame.

We as a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya have several assessment stages and for large volumes of applications, we rely on provided email contacts to reach the applicants.

Be Intentional in your Job Search and see the rewards.

 

The Salary Question – Important yet Tricky!

 

Over the years as a Recruiter, I have interviewed many candidates and a majority do stumble when you ask them their Salary Expectation.  It seems to be one of those questions that candidates would rather not be asked. hard

Perhaps, a reason is that there is no specific way on how to answer the question. So it becomes the tricky question that keeps popping up in your interviews. I mean, you may quote a figure too high and lock yourself out of a Job Opportunity or you may quote a figure too low that you end up being miserable when you start work and realize you could have gotten a better deal. The question can get harder to answer if it is an electronic job application where you must give a figure before moving to the next steps.

So, what are some of the easiest answers to give when asked about your salary expectation?

with wordsOne of the common ones, ” My expectation is in line with my skills and experience and also in accordance with your compensation structure” – This answer leaves room for a bit of flexibility where one is not tied down to a specific figure. In a sense, if the pay graded structure is low when compared to your skill set, then you can negotiate upwards. And if the company’s pay structure is above your expectation then you still win and as you did not lock your self out.
large gold

There are those who would target a fair rise from their current employer e.g 30% more to their current Gross Remuneration. The challenge with this is that more often than not, it forces the candidate to disclose their current earnings. We have debates on whether to disclose current earning or not or if it should be a factor during the hiring process. The market averages for increment when bench marking from current salary is usually 20% – 30%. When giving this type of answer, remember to give a figure that you are comfortable with.

compare.jpgAnother possible way to answer is by benchmarking with similar companies, or similar positions in the industry. Hence you can say, “I understand that positions similar to this one pay in the range of X to Z in our Country / Industry. And with my experience, would like to receive something in the same range.” – This answer gives you an opportunity to negotiate based on the findings and on your skills. It also shows that you did your research and have a rough idea of how the market is.

A few things to remember:

Some companies have a strictly structured pay scale hence they may not allow any form of negotiation. It would be prudent for you to conduct your research before hand to know whether the company you are interviewing with has such strict policies and if your expectation falls within their scale. This is because such a company can only give you an offer within their range and mostly start from the lowest so as to allow room for yearly increments. 

Majority of the Employers start low, meaning if you are to give a range, then more often than not their offer will start from the lowest range that you quoted. Be sure to quote a minimum that you will be happy with if offered the same.

Be comfortable in putting a value on your skillset and talents. As long as you have done your research and are sure you are worth what you are asking, do not hesitate to give your answer. 

Be sure of the job requirements and the responsibilities before quoting a figure. If not sure, ask the Hiring Managers to elaborate their expectations of the candidate to be hired. With a clear understanding of what is required, then you can determine a value as a salary target.

Lastly, if and when the Hiring Company contacts you with an offer and you are not sure, check out this article that can shed some light on what to do. 

 

We at Crystal Recruit walk with our candidates during the entire hiring process hence the advantage of knowing if your salary expectations are within our client’s budget.

Write to us and we will get back to you on your career journey. 

A Career in Recruiting?

our-approach

From my interaction with many human resource professionals, I have come to learn majority of them started out as Recruiters / Talent Acquisition Specialists. After all, how will you go on accomplishing all the functions relating to the staff members if you do not participate in hiring them in the first place, or having an idea of how they join the company?

Interesting thing is that you do not need to study human resources to be a recruiter in the Recruitment Agency world, but it is  a good foundation to have nonetheless.

Formal education aside, you need to have a deep interest in people, a curious mind and a knack of understanding business as a recruiter basically solves business problems by getting Employers great candidates. An awesome personality can go along way too.

So for all of you out there wondering how you can be a great recruiter, below are tips from my personal experience (I am sure there are many more our there).

Genuine Interest in People

Recruiting is about people and you need to be deeply interested in them as their careers affect their livelihood. There is nothing as heartbreaking as a candidate starting a new job, thanks to a recruiter only to discover the Employer is not worth to be called an Employer. When you care deeply for people’s careers, it means you will go an extra to research about potential Employer before presenting the opportunity to candidates.

Know the Labour Laws

All countries have employment and labour laws. You want to work in line with those guidelines, so do your homework, be on the look out for amendments etc. You will stand out as well as you are also a consultant to Clients and Candidates alike.

Hone your sales skills

So, sales skills are key and they include but not limited to; ability to quickly form a good rapport on phone and in person, great written and verbal communication skills, negotiation skills and basically lots of follow ups with business leads and candidates. In other words, ‘Be a Rockstar’.

Patience is a virtue

If you think you are patient, then give recruiting a try and wait till Clients take forever to make a  job offer, or a candidate has longer notice periods. As much as ‘speed is the new currency of business’, you will need lots of patience in the world of recruiting.

Have Fun in the process

There is a lot more to recruiting that we can build on, but for now, have fun. Enjoy it all. And all the best.

Follow me @KenyanRecruiter and let us engage on other things that make a recruiter great.