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. 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 greener pastures.
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 academic qualifications.
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 Group PLC.
“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.