Hunting for a job can be an arduous task. Kutafuta kazi ni kazi, a common Swahili aphorism goes. The Englishman would call it the job of job hunting.
<p><b>A 2017 report revealed that over 7 million Kenyans are unemployed.</b></p><p><b>Another fraction of people in active employment would be looking to switch jobs- the search for greener pastures.</b></p>
People are looking for jobs. A 2017
report revealed that over 7 million Kenyans are unemployed, another fraction of
people in active employment would be looking to switch jobs- the search for
Unemployed or not, there are things
you MUST know when applying for a job, and we have compiled
them for you. We spoke to Janet Martin and Winnie Rono- experienced Human
Resource practitioners with more than 15 years of practice between them, and
here is what they had to say:
Check the background of the company
It is important to know about the
organization that you intend to join. This includes checking what the products
or services it offers to simple things such as the vision statement, which most
people tend to ignore.
“Knowing a company’s vision will
actually help you to tailor all your answers to what the company stands for
during an interview,” says Janet Martin, a Human Resource Administration
Manager at Standard Group PLC.
Another important thing is to try
to connect with an employee or former employee of the company. This will give
you a better understanding of the organization’s culture and would likely give
you an upper hand if you are called for an interview.
Understand the job description
When you come across a job vacancy,
keenly read through it and ensure you completely understand all the qualifications
needed for the job. Do not apply for a job that doesn’t meet your skills or
What do you do when a vacancy
requires someone with seven years’ experience, and you’ve only worked for three
years? “I would hire someone based on their character, attitude, and the skills
they possess,” says Winnie Rono, a Human Resource Business Partner at Standard
“Do you believe your skillset
qualifies you for the advertised job? Go for it! Sometimes we also consider
people who are agile and have the urge to learn even if they don’t have the
required experience.” Winnie Rono says.
Know your worth
A common question asked in
interviews is your salary expectation (if not included in the advertisement).
First, know the market value of that particular job description to ensure that
you don’t quote a figure that is way above what you should actually earn- this
could put off a prospective employer.
This doesn’t mean that you should
under-quote yourself because “employers usually love people who know and value
their worth.” Winnie Rono adds that under-quoting carries the risk of being
underpaid since “that’s what you asked for.”
However, you could still earn more
as some organizations would still give you the minimum wage even if you quote a
figure below their salary bracket. “Give a range as opposed to a specific
figure when asked to state your remuneration fees,” says Janet Martin.
Contact your referees
Remember to inform your referees of
any vacancy you apply for so they can be mentally prepared to vouch for you
when they are called. Check their contact information such as mobile numbers or
email addresses to ascertain if they are still active. It would be embarrassing
if a prospective employer calls your referee only to find they changed their
number or email addresses.
Work on your online reputation
People tend to think that their
personal social media accounts would have little or nothing to do with whether
they could get a job or not. The opposite could be true.
Some employers would ask for your
social media credentials and go through your timeline to check your online
interactions. “What you post or share can tell what kind of person you are, we
are usually curious to know the personalities of prospective employees,” says
So there you go, you might want to
delete some of the nasty stuff on your timeline!
Prepare your documents
A common rule of thumb is to never
use one resume to apply for different vacancies. Always tailor your curriculum
vitae (CV) to meet the job description advertised in a vacancy. Updating your
CV also enables you to capture your milestones, “Always start with your latest
achievements,” says Mrs Martin.
What do you do if you are employed
but seeking for greener pastures? Get a recommendation letter from your current
employer. Most companies would always call your current employer to inquire
about your conduct, so it is important to be on good terms with them.
“As an HR manager, I would be happy
if one of my staff gets greener pastures, I would give a good recommendation
based on how you’ve carried yourself,” Winnie Rono says. Always act
professionally and serve notice according to your contractual terms where required.
“And tell your fellow young people
to do adequate research before going for an interview,” Winnie tells me in a
Prepare to be punctual when called
for an interview. This means you have to know the exact location of the company
and calculate the time you might take to get there while keeping in mind
probable traffic delays. Don’t take the chance; it is so embarrassing to have
your interviewers wait for you.
Ensure that you are also well-groomed for an interview, even when the job you are applying for is casual. First impressions matter a lot, and they last long.