By FS Personnel Recruitment

Well done, you got yourself an interview! Your CV clearly made an impact and now it’s up to you to make a lasting impression in your interview. All that is left to do is to put in a bit of preparation prior to the interview and then it’s your time to shine and nail that interview!

1. Know your CV

Make sure you know your own CV back to front. Yes, there are people that are asked about something on their CV and hit a complete blank or they can’t remember what it is the interviewer is referring to. Be prepared and go in expecting that you could be asked on any element included in your CV.

2. Know the job spec

Knowing the specs of the position shows the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the position and are the kind of person who makes an effort. Read over the posting of the job you are being interviewed for and make sure that you understand the various expectations and requirements of the position you will need to meet. If there is anything you are unsure of, make a note of it and ask your interviewer in the interview.

3. Look at the company’s website

Finding out more about the company which the position is for, is really important. If you secured an interview by going through Recruitment Agencies then be sure to ask them questions about the Company. Learning what the company is about, what they do, the size and where they are based will help you determine whether it’s a company you could see yourself working for. Furthermore, if you have some insight of the company going into the interview, this tells the interviewer that you really are interested in the position and are likely to be a candidate with initiative.

4. Prepare your own questions

It is also almost guaranteed that, towards the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions about the company or the position. Therefore, prepare a question or two beforehand. Asking questions is your chance to establish whether the company is the right culture fit for you and whether the job prospects meet your expectations. For example, (if it is not included on the website) how many employees work at the company? What is the working environment like? Is there room for growth within the company? What are the biggest challenges in the role? Don’t go ahead with an interview for a company or job that doesn’t excite you, as you are wasting time that you could be using to find the right job.

5. Practice your answers

Although every interviewer has their own style of asking questions, almost all interviewers will cover at least some of the more typical interview questions you always hear about. Preparing your answers to these types of questions beforehand will leave you feeling confident and prevent you from stumbling over your words to the simplest of answers.

6. Know your interviewer’s name

Find out who it is that is going to be interviewing you ahead of time. Going into an interview with a firm handshake, warm smile and greeting your interviewer using their name shows that you are a confident, warm person who is organized and prepared.

7. What to wear

What you wear says a lot about you. Upon meeting, your interviewer will immediately form their first impression of you based on how you carry yourself and what you are wearing. Looking neat, tidy and professional has a huge impact on your interviewer’s first impression of you. But remember, your outfit extends to more than just your clothes. Hair and makeup should be simple, nails neatly trimmed – and clean, and remember your smile! It will be your best accessory 🙂

8. Be on time

Work out how much time you need in order to get to your interview location. Then add an additional 10 – 20 minutes (or more) to account for any unforeseen traffic – even if it’s the middle of the day, there is always the chance that road works or an accident could happen on your route.

Arriving early shows that you are organized and reliable and will give you a chance to sit and gather your thoughts and breathe before you go in for the interview.

If you implement these 8 tips to prepare for an interview, you will go into your interview feeling a lot more confident, determined and calm. By removing all the unnecessary additional stress of being unprepared, you can focus your energy on the task at hand. This will shine through in your responses, demeanour and the ease with which you interact with your interviewer.

And trust me, any good interviewer will be able to pick up immediately if you are prepared or not and this will most definitely affect their overall impression of you.

Now go out and ace that interview!

Session 1: Retrenched, lost your job and feel hopeless about where to start?

Written by Esme, Managing Director – FS Personnel Recruitment Services Pty Ltd

FS Personnel – Inspired by Growth

Losing your job can be devastating. These tips can help you deal with the stress of unemployment and regain your self-esteem.

To follow over the next few days, 5 sessions to assist you through the process.

Today’s Session 1:


It is important to mourn your loss. But give yourself a specific time frame, if the period is too long, it can make you miserable and cause depression

If possible, see someone professional to help you work through it.

Talk to the people nearest to you.

Make a specific time and date on when you will end your mourning.

Stand up

Make a specific time and date on when you will end your mourning and start your new life.

For example, say to yourself: when I wake up tomorrow morning at 07h00, which is Monday morning, my mourning period will be over and I will start to put together my new plans for my new life and future as from 08h00 this morning.

Make a firm decision to pull your life together.

Make a decision to not spend all your financial savings in this period.

New vision

Get a new vision for the years ahead – it is important to write it down.

Start with decision number one, for example you are going to live this day and the weeks to come, as if each day is a working day, behind the computer. Planning this new vision and new future.

Do the planning according to a timeline, for example, today I am going to pen down my vision and get my cv up to date.

Tuesday I will upload my cv to recruitment platforms, and I will visit the company website which fit into my career plan, and upload my cv there.

Wednesday I will update my personal profile on all platforms and I will start job searching on all electronic platforms.

Etc, etc.

Stick to your plan.

Also read for more info:

Job Loss and Unemployment Stress – HelpGuide.org

Not to miss the next step, to follows on Friday 7 October 2022.

Session 2: Getting your cv ready:

Written by Esme, Managing Director, FS Personnel Recruitment Services Pty Ltd

FS Personnel – Inspired by Growth

Now that you’ve stand up and got a grip on your vision, is it time to get your cv ready.

What about the Picture:

There are people who will not agree, but in some business sectors it will be beneficial to upload a clear picture of yourself. But important, no pouting mouth, professional clothing which will suit your industry is recommendable. The picture must look like you, not extremely photo shopped, and not a picture of 10 years ago. Think of it this way, when they see you for an interview, there will be no surprises.

Here are some opinions about a picture on your cv:

Should You Include a Picture on Your Resume or CV in 2022? (novoresume.com)

Best CV Photo Advice and Tips: To Add or Not to Add? (visualcv.com)

Cover letter?:

Some countries may prefer a cover letter or a short executive summary.

My advice will be to give a short summary of yourself, bullet point your skills related to the job you are applying for.

When handling a position/vacancy in South Africa where the unemployment rate is 35%, recruiters need to work through thousands of cv’s and sometimes do not have time to read a cover letter, we tend to look at key words.

Personal information:

To my opinion, start with your personal information first. The information which you will include will differ from country to country. Herewith some websites which may help:

CV Styles in Europe – Next Station

US Resume Format (American Style Resume Template) (zety.com)

Australian Resume Examples And Templates To Land The Best Jobs (resume-example.com)

Tips for creating a New Zealand-style CV (careers.govt.nz)

7 Checks to Format Your Australian CV – The University of Adelaide College

Personal Skills and qualities:

Some countries prefer a short list of personal skills and qualities. Do not google this part of your cv, be honest! Focus on the skills and qualities relevant to your job search.


In most countries it is best to sort your cv in reverse chronological order. With most relevant and recent experience at the top, followed by your qualifications, and then education.

I prefer to see the qualifications right after the personal information, followed by the working experience starting with the most recent job.

List you qualifications in chronological order, the most recent first. This should include, for each item:

  • Institution (School, College, University)
  • Qualification name
  • Dates attended or completed.


List the languages you are able to speak, write and read. Also mention how well you can speak, read and write this languages.

Computer skills:

List the computer skills you have, may it be coding, technical, or normal using everyday programs.

For IT positions it is recommendable to mention the level of experience, for example: basic, intermediate or advanced.

Or mention the amount of years you have experience in that specific program.

Working experience:

This section should include:

  • Companies you worked for, and location of the company
  • Employment dates
  • Your job titles
  • Your primary responsibilities

As already mentioned, start with your most recent job.


Some countries prefer references, others don’t. In South African we need your previous direct superior’s contact details. We do not accept “letter of employment” or “letter of recommendation”.

List the most recent employer’s details, those of 20 years back will not be of any help.

Other important information about your cv:

Do a spellcheck.

Keep your cv concise and to the point.

Don’t add anything on your CV that you wouldn’t be able to take full ownership of during an interview. Never lie!

Look out for the next step to follow on Wednesday 12 October 2022 on how to job search in the modern world.

Session 3: Job search in the modern world

Written by Esme, Managing Director, FS Personnel Recruitment Services Pty Ltd

FS Personnel – Inspired by Growth

Why is it important to have job-hunting strategies?

Normally jobs don’t fall in your lap, therefor, if you are serious in finding a job, it is important to do it thoroughly. I recommend that if you do not have a job, make it your job to find a job, work from 08h00 to 17h00, working hours each day to find a job.

To follow the recommended options:

Register your cv on as much as possible online job searching platforms / job boards:

Recruiters and companies use platforms and job boards to search cv’s.

In South Africa the most popular platform to use is Linkedin.

Globally I will say Indeed and Linkedin.

Other popular platforms in SA are: Pnet, Indeed, Careers24, Executive Placements.

Popular UK & European job boards are: Indeed, CV-Library, Totaljobs, Reed & Monster.

Popular Australian job boards are: Adzuna, CareerOne, CareerJet, Indeed, JobActive, Seek, ArtsHub.

American: Careerbuilder, Glassdoor, Indeed, Job2Careers, Monster, Nexxt, Snagajob.

How to register your cv:

Start with these sites and google the rest.

LinkedIn: 3 Ways on How to Upload CV on LinkedIn | TopCV

Indeed: How to Upload Your Resume to Indeed | Indeed.com

Pnet: Log in and register with PNet. Personalise your profile and add your CV.

When you upload your cv and information, take time to ensure you complete all the relevant tabs. Is is in particular important to choose the correct sectors you have experience in.

Do daily job searching:

Since search engines and career websites use keywords to help you find jobs, learn which keywords are applicable to the kind of job you want. Play around with different job titles that are similar to find a wider range of job postings.


Research consistently shows that networking leads to a job far more often than other job search methods such as responding to postings, attending job fairs or sending out unsolicited resumes.

LinkedIn has made networking easier as you can search your all connections and easily send them a message. Inquire about their company, ask for some insider information, or help with an opening you want to apply for.

Company websites

Some companies choose to keep their job postings on their website. It’s worth doing an internet search of companies within your industry to begin looking at their websites. Before filling out your application, get to know who they are, what they do, and who their clients are. Knowing all of this information shows you’re serious about wanting a job opportunity from them.

Online presence:

Be mindful of your online presence. Some hiring managers look at an applicant’s social media to learn more about them. Always be mindful of the type of content you share on social media. Keep it courteous and professional. If you don’t want an employer to see your postings, make sure to set your profiles to private.


If you are inexperienced, starting with an internship is a great way to build your resume and create professional connections. With some internships, you may have the opportunity to transition into a full-time role. If this is the case, make sure to put in your best effort through the course of your internship. Try to prove that you are the right person for a full-time job offer. You can do this by asking smart questions, offering to take on a new project and taking on more responsibilities as you get more comfortable with your work.


Volunteering at an organization is one way to increase your chances of getting a job there. This is especially true for nonprofits that may not currently have the funds to hire you right now. If they see you as a hard worker and someone integral to the organization, you may be more qualified when a paying job does open up. Even if you can’t get a job there, having volunteer experience looks good on a resume, expands your network and helps you learn more about roles you may want to pursue.

Learn job keywords.

Since search engines and career websites use keywords to help you find jobs, learn which keywords are applicable to the kind of job you want. Play around with different job titles that are similar to find a wider range of job postings.

Relevant jobs:

Target the right jobs. The shotgun approach where you apply for anything and everything is never effective. Instead, you’ll be more successful if you apply to the more appropriate job fits and concentrate on making that application the best possible. Also, look for companies that you’d be excited to work for. You are seeking a new long-term home—not a brief stint—so choose wisely.

Industry trends and news:

Stay on top of industry trends and news. Read everything you can find from reputable sources about changes and challenges in your industry. Know how these affect the type of job you do. This insight will allow you to impress an employer once you get a conversation going.

Next step to follow on Monday 17 October 2022 on how to prepare for an interview. 

Session 4: How to prepare for an Interview

Written by Drienie, Senior Recruitment Consultant, FS Personnel Recruitment Services Pty Ltd

FS Personnel – Inspired by Growth

Why is it important to prepare for your upcoming interview?

The most important thing to landing a job is to ensure that you are fully prepared for the interview. By preparing, you will feel much more in control. You’ll have anticipated what will get asked in the interview, you will have learnt so much about the business and you’ll feel cool, calm and collected.

How to prepare for your interview:

How To Prepare for an Interview in 11 Steps | Indeed.com

5 Steps to a Successful Interview – Article Display Content – QualityInfo

1. Digital Interviews

Test your internet connection prior to the interview.

Ensure that your background is neat and tidy.

Look presentable.

Always keep eye contact with the interviewer.

Ensure your head and shoulders are visible.

Sit upright during the whole interview.

It is important to know which position you are interviewed for.

Get the MS Teams- or Zoom-link prior to the interview.

2. Do research on the company and role

Researching the company you’re applying to is an important part of preparing for an interview. Not only will it help provide context for your interview conversations, but it will also help you when preparing thoughtful questions for your interviewers.

Take the time to arm yourself with some serious knowledge about the company’s products, service, mission, the people, its performance and history and you will stand out as knowledgeable, self-motivated and a valuable asset to the company.

3. Examine the job description

During your prep work, you should use the employer’s job description as a guide. The job description is a list of the qualifications, qualities and background the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. The more you can align yourself with these details, the more the employer will be able to see that you are qualified. The job description may also give your ideas about questions the employer may ask throughout the interview. Market yourself by focussing on the qualities and requirements the company are looking for.

4. What are your greatest strengths?

This question gives you an opportunity to talk about both your technical and soft skills. When an interviewer asks you to describe your strengths, share qualities and personal attributes and then relate them back to the role for which you’re being interviewed for.

Example of Strengths:

–           Team player

–           Good communication and listening skills

–           High work ethic

–           Customer service

–           Problem solving

–           Enthusiasm

–           Leadership skills

–           Organisation / Organised

–           Deadline driven

–           Money Driven (Sales position)  

The list can go on. Some interviewers would want you to elaborate on your strengths, others prefer it short and sweat.

If you struggle and are not sure what your strengths are; think what your previous employers’ feedback would be if he/she is contacted for a reference on you, how will the employer describe you as a person in the workplace and how they will describe your qualities and how you did your work.

Examples for a more elaborated explanation on your strengths:

I have great communication skills.

I’m a natural problem-solver. I find it rewarding to dig deep and uncover solutions to challenges – it’s like solving a puzzle. It’s something I’ve always been excelled at, and something I enjoy.

Much of product development is about finding innovative solutions to challenging issues, which is what drew me to this career path in the first place.”

5. Understand the interview format:

Ask in advance who will be in attendance and what the format of the interview will be.

Will it be a panel interview?

Most interviews are competency-based which means the interviewer will be looking for specific examples from you. For example, “tell me about a time when….”.

Also ask how long is the interview process, 1 interview, 2 or even 3? If you’re working with a good Recruitment Consultant, they should cover all of this with you (hint hint!).

6. Prepare some questions for the interviewer:

At the end of the interview the interviewer is likely to ask if you have any questions for them. If you haven’t, it might look like you haven’t prepared, or worse, that you’re not interested. It’s a good idea to prepare a few questions, such as:

‘when are you looking for this person to start’,

‘what training an induction is offered’ &

‘how do you develop your people’


Your questions should relate to the company or the job duties, but it is not appropriate to ask how much the job pays. Use the following questions to help you think about what you may want to ask your interviewer.

  • When do you expect to fill the position?
  • What education and training does the company provide?
  • Is there a probation period?
  • What opportunities are there for advancement?
  • What tools, safety gear, or uniforms are required? Do I purchase them, or does the company supply them?
  • May I see the area where I will be working?

7. Don’t forget about nonverbal communication.

Nonverbal communication plays a major role in a job interview. Are you looking at your feet? Do you have your arms crossed? Do you lean on the back of your chair? All these signs will show inward-looking attitudes to the interviewer and he won’t feel free to get to know you better. Make sure to keep this in mind. Also, employers will be looking at your appearance and how you present yourself. Dress neat and professional, ladies, no cleavage showing.

8. Be punctual at your interview.

It is mandatory to be on time at for a job interview. Not just on time: come early. It will show your future boss how punctual and organized you are. Try to be ready for the interview at least 5 to 10 minutes in advance.

9. Some extra tips to keep in mind!

  • Look neat and presentable
  • Make eye contact with the interviewer at all times
  • Listen carefully to the question asked by the interviewer, if you did not hear or   understand the question clearly ask the interviewer to repeat the question.  
  • Be yourself and be confident  


Session 5: Job offer, how to negotiate

Written by Jo-Anne, Senior Recruitment Consultant, FS Personnel Recruitment Services Pty Ltd

FS Personnel – Inspired by Growth

You received a job offer, what will be your next step?

Excited to accept a job offer, but need to discuss a few details first? It can be daunting to pick up the phone and tackle that conversation, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some top tips on how to negotiate a salary offer, and navigating the conversation like a pro.    

Before you start that conversation, take some time to think about the process from the hiring team’s perspective. This will go a long way to ensure that your intentions are clearly understood along the way:

The right mindset is key

Always keep in mind that the company you’re talking to is made up of people just like you, with their own hopes and worries about the process.

Keep their perspective in mind: 

Companies get many candidates who want to negotiate a salary offer, and a few hiring teams may have had a negative experience of being ‘burnt’ in the past. The same way candidates are afraid of being offered a lower salary than expected, the hiring team is afraid of candidates playing one offer against their current company`s offer.

The golden rule: 

You should only be negotiating a salary offer if you can realistically see yourself working at that company. Ask yourself if you would actually accept the offer once the company has accommodated you. If you negotiate just for the sake of it or go back on your word, you risk burning bridges with the hiring team after they’ve met your requests.

Making the conversation as transparent as possible, and getting an offer you’re happy to sign.

Before the conversation, benchmark your salary.

Before you do anything else, it’s time to undertake the all-important task of benchmarking your current salary. Here are a couple of tips to help you do this:

Do market research

As a start, check out the latest salary brackets from various provinces.

Talk to your peers

Reach out to the same career friends with similar years of experience as you to ask if they mind sharing how much they earn. Your research should never stop here, and doing broader market research is essential.

Determine your new asking salary

Once you have a good idea of where you stand in the market, it’s time to determine the salary you want to earn for your next job. From experience, asking for a 10-15% increase in your current salary is generally in line with employers’ expectations. This can, of course, differ according to factors like your level of seniority, specific skills, and the industry you work in.

Justify asking for more

If you want to ask for more than a 10-15% increase, have a good reason for doing so and the skills to back you up. Some good examples would be if you’ve recently upskilled in a new language, or had to take a pay cut due to COVID-19.

Understand the offer on the table

Once you’ve benchmarked your salary, it’s important to decide what type of job offer would excite you and to get a full picture of the job offer from the company. Remember, an offer consists of many factors besides salary.

Getting the full picture will help you make informed choices about your next opportunity.

You may ask for a mock payslip, understanding your benefits, and scoping out the outlook for your role.

Pro tip 1: Make sure you understand the different types of salary that could make up an offer. Here’s a quick reminder:

  • Net: Your take-home pay after all deductions.
  • Gross: Your taxable salary before deductions.
  • Cost to Company: Your gross salary, plus all other contributions included in your payslip. This could include company contributions such as medical aid, a provident fund, and benefits like internet or phone costs.

Know why you’re negotiating

Once you have a clear picture of the job offer that’s on the table, you can now decide if you have a fair reason to negotiate salary.

Examples of good reasons to negotiate would be:

  • Your salary is low relative to market data
  • The total job package is different to what you expected
  • There is something you would like to change or request

Pro tip 2: 

Make notes on what isn’t in line with your expectations, and why. Keep your notes on hand during the conversation, so it’s easy to refer to if you’re asked to expand on any points.

Start off by thanking the company for the offer:

  • Explain that you are excited at the prospect of joining the company. Add specific details around what exactly excites you about the role and the company itself.
  • You can then more easily lead into the aspects of the offer that you would like to discuss.

Know your walk away amount

As with every negotiation, there is always the chance that you and the company don’t come to an agreement. What’s important though, is that you know what your limits are and where you’d be unhappy to settle as this will help you avoid settling on an amount that you’re actually unhappy with, and that might cause problems further down the line with your employer.

Suggest an alternative

If you’re not happy with the salary or total package, you can now communicate that the salary offer or package doesn’t work for you because of certain reasons. Go back to your research, and suggest an alternative market-related salary. Explain that, if the offer was revised in this way, you would be happy to accept the offer.

Good luck in signing the perfect offer!

Don’t miss out on our next session that will be published on 26 October 2022.



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