The Application process and way forward
The job application process will help you understand the steps in the recruitment process - you will have a better idea of when you are likely to hear back from the Recruiters / Hiring Manager/ HR and what to expect next. Generally, the steps involved in an application
Advertisement and key selection criteria:
Vacancies are advertised on a number of forums from newspapers to online portals and usually have a unique position number or job reference that you need to sometimes quote in your application (and also record on your side for future reference). The job details and position description outline the responsibilities and the key selection criteria you must respond to.
You must submit your application before the closing date shown in the advertisement. Late applications may be accepted by some agencies, but this is usually never the case. If it is an online application then you will get an acknowledgment by the employer, via email, when received. Hiring Managers and Recruiters do tend to start shortlisting as soon as the role is advertised so our advice is to apply sooner than later.
The received applications are sent to the hiring manager and assessed against the capability requirements and key selection criteria, then ranked and short-listed for interview by the manager and/or a selection panel.
The interview panel is usually made up of the Hiring Manager and suitably trained and experienced panel members. Usually, there is a mix of genders and skill backgrounds to ensure a balanced approach. Questions are developed by the panel to assess applicants against the selection criteria. This is more common in Government organisations.
Assessment of applicants:
Short-listed applicants are usually invited for an additional interview, questions and test which check the person against the selection criteria. Behavioral interviewing techniques, ability tests, as well as written and oral tests or other assessments, may also be used in this part of the job application process. Referees may also be contacted after the interview.
If it is a Government organisation the panel prepares a selection report, which outlines the process followed, and makes a recommendation as to the most suitable applicant. This report needs to demonstrate that the selection process has been fair and reasonable, and that selection is on merit. The appointment is then authorised by a senior employee or delegate.
Job offer made:
Once salary, terms and conditions are negotiated, a start date is agreed on and there is usually a probation period to be served before the appointment is finally confirmed.
Unsuccessful Candidate Notification:
Unsuccessful applicants are advised of the selection process outcomes after the successful applicant has been confirmed.
Use a cover letter for your application with the resume
This is the most debated topic when it comes to Recruiters, HR and Line Managers. Some will say that it is important and some will discard it as just a useless piece of paper that no one looks at. Nonetheless, we think that it's always better to be safe than sorry and prepare a Cover Letter with your Resume which is relevant to the position.
How do you write the Perfect Cover Letter?
Your cover letter is typically the first impression you make with the Hiring Manager, so you’ll want to put in the effort necessary to get it right. Here is a link to different Cover Letter Formats. But just remember it is not the formats that matter, it is the content that matters the most. Here are a few points to remember:
Pick your purpose
Of course, your goal is to get the job, but there are several kinds of cover letters that can help you achieve that goal — and knowing the kind you want to write will help you get yours right. “There is the traditional cover letter to reply to an advertised job, a networking cover letter, a cover letter targeted to Recruiters, the direct mail cover letter and the pain cover letter,” which addresses a specific pain point the company may have and how you would be able to solve it. “Research when to use each type and incorporate as many as possible when conducting an active job search.”
Focus on the organisation’s needs
You want a job, but you need to focus on what the employer wants if you hope to succeed. Be very specific in addressing their needs outlined in the job description and show them how you can address their specific needs. Presenting yourself as a solution to a Hiring Manager’s problem can help your cover letter take the right tone. Try and provide specific examples of how you can help the company. For example, a Salesperson can discuss how they will increase the revenue of the company.
An Executive Assistant can speak about the problems they solve on a daily basis. The IT professional can write about how they can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the systems as they did in their previous role, thereby saving the company money. Always think: how can I help the company?
Reflect the company’s culture
Go beyond using keywords from the ad and find a way to make your cover letter reflect what the company is all about. For example, if applying to a data analysis, statistically focused company, your cover letter should be equally quantified and appealing to data-thirsty readers. If you are applying for a position in a young, creative company then your cover letter should be more casual and fluid, using words like active, social or even organic to better reflect the ideals of the individuals you are hoping to work with.
Get rid of your ego
As you focus on the company’s needs, use the word “I” sparingly. The cover letter is about meeting their needs, so be very careful not to overuse ‘I.’ Do not start every paragraph or multiple sentences with ‘I.’ Think about different ways to get your message across.
Using Speculative letters to your advantage and how
to make the perfect speculative letter.
Just remember that cover letters are used to apply for one, specific job. But what if you want to apply for a position at a Company and there are no vacancies?
That is where a Speculative Letter comes in.
A speculative letter introduces someone to an employer and asks them to consider them for a vacancy the business may have now or in the future. Because up to 80% of jobs are never advertised, they are usually recruited privately, e.g. by word of mouth or hiring someone they already know. Rather than posting a job advertisement which gets hundreds of applications, hiring privately saves money, time and usually finds someone more passionate and committed towards the job.
This letter is normally emailed, therefore doesn’t require a date on the letter template. It should normally be accompanied by a Resume. How long should a speculative letter be? 190-250 words.
What is important in a speculative letter?
Understanding what the client has to offer
Doing research on the company
Writing an application around the company and their needs
Structure of a Speculative Letter
First Paragraph: Introduction and why you are writing. “I visited your stand at the World Expo Fair and was very interested to hear of your plans to expand into the
Second Paragraph: What you offer. “Following my graduation, I spent a couple of years in Perth with ABC Corporation helping to market a range of consulting services. For example, through one campaign involving trade-fair participation and sponsorship, I helped secure a sales deal worth $500m a year for an eco-fuel
Third Paragraph: Why you are interested. “Since that time, I have maintained many links with those in the eco-friendly product lines, and I’m eager to explore opportunities that would combine my sales expertise and knowledge of the line”.
Fourth Paragraph: Call to action. “I feel I have what it takes to help your business grow in its line of environmentally friendly energy products. If in fact you are expanding or even thinking of the possibility, I would love to have a conversation and see if or where I might fit in. I’ll give you a phone call sometime within the next five days.
Applied now what? What are the next steps that will help you get that interview call?
So you have applied for the job, now what do you do? Just wait? No, you need to get out there and find people who can help from that organisation you applied to. You can do this in two ways.
a. Network Extensively (but not blindly):
Go to places where you know people of that company are. It could be a forum or a social / community event. Don’t only focus on that Company's executives but reach out to everyone you know would be an asset to know (even not from the company in question).
b. Use Social Networks:
Use LinkedIn as much as you can to connect to the right people in the company. Connect with them, in fact, if you can do this even a few weeks before you put in your application it is more effective. Reach out and start talking to people you think can help. Genuinely make a connection with them. Help them if you can connect to people they want to tie up with. And when the time is right and you have already good relations with them, just inform them that you heard there is a vacancy in their organisation and if there is any way they can help you. You will be surprised how people are willing to help.
Just remember to keep at it and in no time you will hear back from an employer interested in what you have to offer.