In Indonesia’s rapidly evolving business landscape, having the desired qualifications, experience and soft-skills do not necessarily equate to landing an interview for a dream job, let alone the job itself. Adeline Wu, a leading executive recruitment consultant with Monroe Consulting Group Indonesia, says there are five important steps that any job applicant must get right: Creating the perfect CV; preparation for a job interview; making a great impression, the post-interview follow-up and dealing effectively with headhunters.
How to create the perfect résumé
Adeline, who specializes in recruitment in the technology sector in Indonesia, says a résumé speaks for each individual job applicant and determines whether that candidate will secure an interview, “or not.”
“Creating an attractive CV is of vital importance in the hands of a recruitment consultant – it opens many doors and can be a marketing vehicle of immense consequence,” says Adeline, “but only if it managed effectively.”
“Make sure that your résumé contains everything the potential employer needs to be convinced that you are the perfect match for the position,” she says. “That means it must convey your career story accurately and compellingly, and must be delivered into the right headhunter's hands at the right time.”
Adeline says it is a “waste of time being modest” in effective résumé writing. “From a sales point of view, a CV provides you with a foot in the door to make a sale, and then it’s up to you to close the deal. Don’t leave out the good stuff,” she said. “You get, on average, 10 to 20 seconds to make a first impression with your résumé … make it count!”
• Make it count
• Be honest
• Avoid buzzwords
• Get the details correct
• Spelling and grammar counts
• Make it search-engine (SEO) friendly
Adeline says that in addition to a CV selling a job candidate effectively, other commonsense considerations included: Not embellishing or flat-out lying on a résumé; presenting the information attractively and concisely, getting the details correct; not making speller or grammar errors, and avoiding industry-specific ‘buzzwords’.
“The most important aspects are really highlighting your achievements that relate specifically to the job you are applying for, and explaining concisely your role in that process so that potential employers get a really good snapshot of a job candidates’ best attributes,” she said.
Another often overlooked consideration was ensuring that a CV was formatted so that it was readily decipherable by automated resume screening processes or executive recruitment databases, Adeline said.
“Leading executive recruitment companies like Monroe Consulting Group Indonesia actively target the best candidates for the best jobs with the best companies through their knowledge of the industries in which they operate,” she said. “However we also have an unparalleled database of CVs and it is important that keyword searches are able to highlight pertinent information. Sending in a PDF file that can’t be stored correctly or searched for accurately will almost certainly mean that a profile does not register for future job searches.”
Nailing an Interview
Preparation is key
The best way to ace your next job interview is to prepare for it, says Adeline. “This may sound obvious, but it's not. Too many applicants walk into an interview without knowing as much as they should about the industry, the company and its problems and how can help solve these issues. Remember: You are there to solve a problem. Otherwise, the company wouldn't be hiring.”
• Know the company
• Know yourself
• Know your job history
• Know the questions
• Prepare questions of your own
• Get the big picture
Make a Good First Impression
Adeline says the outcome of the interview will depend largely on the impression you make during the first five minutes. “To succeed, you must project a professional, competent and enthusiastic image. Your aim is to convince the interviewer that you would be an asset to the company.
To that end, she says, it is important to keep the following in mind:
• Punctuality: Be early for an interview
• Clothing: Dress for success
• Grooming: Be clean and well presented
• Handshake: Have a firm, confident handshake
• Body language: Sit-up straight and maintain eye contact and a smile
Conducting Yourself in the Interview
Adeline says that on average, a job candidate has a 12 percent chance of a job interview resulting in a job offer, “so it extremely important that you limit any mistakes and put your best foot forward.”
“Enthusiasm, eye contact, listening skills and communication skills are important. As is staying positive and never making negative statements about previous jobs or employers. That’s a big no-no. But again, remember you are being interviewed for a job where you need to solve problems, so prepare to explain how you can meet their needs.”
She said best answering how you could meet a company’s needs were to study the company’s job description, or similar job descriptions, and highlight areas in which a candidate could make a valuable contribution. This included preparing case studies of similar projects and exactly how you had contributed to the success of the project. “And don’t forget to include your soft-skills, such as problem-solving abilities, approach to teamwork or mentoring others. Soft skills are becoming increasingly important.”
Adeline says following through after an interview was a “crucial and often-overlooked final step in the interviewing process.” “It is always important to send an email by way of follow-up about three to four days after an interview,” she said. “If you have been introduced by a recruitment agency, immediately contact the recruitment consultant and provide details about the interview. In a lot of cases the recruitment consultant will conduct this process on behalf of the job candidate.”
Helping Recruitment Consultants Help You
Adeline says that when contacted by a recruitment professional, it was important to give a positive impression regardless of whether or not that particular person was actively job hunting. “There is little or zero point coming across as rude, arrogant or dismissive,” she says. “The tech sector in Indonesia is dynamic and constantly evolving and you never know when you may need a new job. Having good manners is basic common sense.”
She said job candidates, particularly in highly technical job areas, also needed to remember that recruitment consultants, human resources professionals and senior executives, were not necessarily fluent in technical language so it was important that applicants be able to explain themselves and their respective capabilities and soft-skills clearly and concisely. “Most of the time, the first gateway to your potential new career with a new company is a non-technical person, so being humble, cooperative and communicative will only help you and the recruiter. Try and avoid being overly robotic, or coming across like you haven’t been to sleep the night before.”
Another issue recruitment professionals had to constantly deal with was managing the expectations of a number of job candidates in the marketplace. “Often a candidate knows their value in the market, which is great, but then demand irrational salaries,” Adeline says. “There is little chance that I will place this candidate in front of a client, let alone the client actually hiring him or her.”
She said that in addition, it was important for job candidates to think about more than just money, including opportunities for professional development, career progression, the company culture and the opportunity to make an impact. “If a candidate’s sole motivation is merely from a financial perspective, it is likely they will move on again should another company approach them with a promise of more money. Salary is indeed important but there are other considerations at play that impact on your office environment, your work-life balance and your future career.”
Adeline says that while it was true that graduates from universities abroad are recognized as a highly desirable, recruitment consultants and employers took much more into account, including the life experience a particular candidate had gained.
In addition to experience, the following qualities were highly desired by head-hunters, she said:
• Have the attitude of – “I am responsible for my own career!”
• Stay hungry, stay foolish and keep learning
• The mentality to be able to take on a challenge and win
• Get specialized, be the expert!
• Be loyal and demonstrate that you have the ability to stay with a company