Recruiter Secrets: 3 pet peeves recruiters & hiring managers have.

Recruiter Secrets: 3 pet peeves recruiters & hiring managers have.

We’ve often talked about what job seekers should do to avoid being disqualified from the selection process by recruiters or hiring managers, which certainly hints at today’s topic; what pet peeves do recruiters and hiring managers to have? Read below to find out.

1. Bad communication – This could vary from badly formatted CVs and cover letters, application responses that are not systematic, emails that are not clear and concise, answers during the interview that are not direct to the questions asked, questions after/during interviews that are not related to the job or organization a candidate applied for, delayed communication that causes a delay in the selection process, etc. All these are habits that feed into your overall assessment, and if they remain consistent throughout the selection process, you risk being disqualified.

2. Not labeling your documents – Imagine a scenario where you have all the qualifications for a position and a brilliant CV and other documents, but chose to not label them with your name, and as a consequence, they fall through the cracks of the applicant tracking systems. The truth is, recruiters are often piling through a tonne of CVs, applications, and other documents, and giving them the extra work of renaming your CV/documents to your name can be tiresome. Always ensure your documents are renamed to your names and their identity when sending out applications, eg; Caroline Mwangi CV, Caroline Mwangi – Program Manager Case Study Responses, etc.

3. Unpreparedness – There’s a lot of effort that recruiters put in to arrive at a list of candidates that would be suitable for advertised positions, and that can proceed to the next steps in the selection process. Therefore, candidates not being prepared for interviews, or having insufficient answers to application form questions, especially when the JD was detailed and there are resources available to learn more about the organization such as a website and social media platforms, in addition to having ample time to do so, can seem ill-intended and may land you on the disqualified list.

Want to avoid falling into the above traps and missing out on your dream job? Our job hunt hustle section is full of resources that will prevent you from doing any of the above. We’re rooting for you!

Job hunting? This is why assessing the organization’s culture matters.

Job hunting? This is why assessing the organization’s culture matters.

Ever worked in an organization whose culture you did not enjoy and wished you had the power to change things? Thinking back now, what would you have done differently during the application and assessment process? The job-hunting process should not only involve you being assessed by potential employers, it should also be an opportunity for you to assess the organization and measure whether it would be a good fit for you.

Do you have the culture of an organization as a priority when you’re job hunting? If not, here is why you should;

1. Your career needs – Understanding the culture of an organization is critical to knowing whether or not their values, vision, beliefs, etc are aligned to your own career needs and ambitions. This enables you to potentially predict what your career development journey will look like and which of your needs will be met or not, and make peace with what this means for you. What’s your management style? Do you prefer to work autonomously or collaboratively? Would you like certain days where you can work from home? These are some of the questions you should get answers to if they’re important to you, and you should be able to know what is non-compromisable for you.

2. Your wellbeing – Given we spend at least 70% of our time at work, and that our wellbeing is a dominant factor of; how productive we may or may not be, how satisfied we are with our jobs, how happy we are and so forth, you want to make sure that you’re joining an organization whose environment promotes rather than reduces your state of wellbeing. So make sure you research what it’s like to work in the organization(s) you’re applying for and ask about it during the selection process if you proceed after your application. If possible, ask for an opportunity to talk to employees who work there to get a gist of what it’s like so that you make an informed decision. Here is an article you can use with questions about an organization’s culture.

3. Your ability be authentic – Closely linked to your mental health, having a good understanding of an organization’s culture determines how comfortable you would be, say; communicating your needs to your supervisors and peers, giving feedback, taking initiatives, forming relationships and overall, if you can be your authentic self. Additionally, this also plays a key role in how long you envision yourself staying in an organization if hired. The first few months, during your probation, should be a period of further assessment to see how you feel about working in the organization and whether or not your needs (refer to point 1), are being met.  Talking of which, here’s an article we wrote about 5 mistakes you should avoid after landing a new job. Have a read to avoid falling into these traps.

Do you pay keen attention to an organization’s culture when you’re job hunting? Find the above useful?
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Wondering what direction to take in your career? 5 reflection questions to ask yourself.

Wondering what direction to take in your career? 5 reflection questions to ask yourself.

The journey towards a career that is fulfilling is one that involves a series of self-examination and honesty. Many of us have career goals we want to achieve and we have an idea of what our ‘dream’ career is. To get there, we have to be intentional, and we have to periodically question where we are now, and whether what we’re doing is leading us to our career goals/dreams. Do you ever take the time to check in with yourself and ask these questions? If not, you’re in luck. Below are 5 reflection questions you can use to evaluate where you are in your career journey and determine if you’re on the right track.

Am I satisfied with where I am? 

Admittedly, this is a broad question. It could further be categorized into; Am I excited about the work that I do? Do I feel like I’m adding meaningful value? Am I utilizing my strengths fully?  Do I enjoy working with the people that I work with? Am I growing? Do I feel excited going to work or do I dread it? All these questions and more, when truthfully answered, can help you recognize if you’re satisfied, or, if you need to disrupt what you have been used to. Sometimes, when we’re in a comfort zone, it can be easy to dismiss valid emotions about our careers because we worry that there may not be something better out there, or are afraid of putting ourselves in situations of discomfort. As the saying goes, “If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.”

What am I doing or not doing, that is hindering my career progression? 

If you’re aware of where you want to be in your career in a few years, it’s worth asking yourself if you’re doing the right things that will get you there, and if you aren’t, how is this hindering your progression? For instance, if you’ve been thinking about venturing into a different career, are you seeking out professionals in that field who may guide you into that transition? Have you done your research to determine what skills you would need to thrive in that industry? Have you sought out additional support and resources that you would need? If you’re not doing these things, then you’re certainly not on the right track. On the contrary, there are also things you could be doing that can hinder your career progression, for instance; if you’re looking for a new job and you’re sending out job applications with unchecked grammar and spelling errors or are copy-pasting your CV details into application forms instead of customizing your responses, you’re doing things that go against what you want – a new job.

Are my values and needs being met? 

Because our values and needs evolve, it’s important to first ask yourself if you have the same values and needs when you first started your career. Along the way, we get to accumulate different experiences, meet new people, learn new things that may feed into new passions or interests, and sometimes, start disliking what we do, and therefore, want to seek out new things; be it a new job, a new career path, pursuing our hobbies monetarily and/or starting our own businesses. Our values and needs play a critical role in making these important life decisions.

In what ways have I grown? 

Reflecting on our career should also include monitoring our growth. Do you have a list of expectations or goals (learning, scale of projects, clients you want to work with, skills to develop, etc) that you wanted to have achieved by a certain time? If so, they should be included in your career check-in. You may discover that you have achieved what you set out to achieve and therefore decide that it is time to explore something new. Or, you may discover that you’ve achieved very little of your set goals, if at all, and therefore, decide to seek out opportunities where you are (if available) to achieve them or explore something new as well. Ultimately, this knowledge feeds into the decision making process.

What next steps should I take? 

After you have answered all the above questions, it’s time to decide what next steps you need to take. For instance, if you want a new career. This may mean coming up with a career transition plan, are you able to do this by yourself, or would you need additional professional support? If you decide you want to look for a new job, what are all the things you need to do to prepare you for this process? You can find some tools here. Further, are you willing to put in the work required to help you attain what you want? We can’t emphasize how important it is for you to be deliberate about your career goals.

Check out this article we wrote with eight questions you should ask yourself at the end of the year, though December is still far, many of these questions are timeless. We’d love to hear from you, what other questions do you include when reflecting on your careers? Tell us at, where you can also reach out to us about our career coaching services.

Thinking of transitioning into a new career? 3 ways to discover your core strengths.

Thinking of transitioning into a new career? 3 ways to discover your core strengths.

Your career does not have to be static. I wish the eighteen years old me struggling to figure out what degree to pursue would have known this, ha! Choosing a career path can and often does feel very binding, and while it is, to an extent, it’s important to know that the career path you start with doesn’t have to be what you do for the rest of your life. Our passions, interests, and strengths evolve, and sometimes, that informs our decision to pursue different careers.

Many of the clients we have coached to transit from one phase of their career to the next, agree that knowing your strengths and unique ways of contribution is a prerequisite of making this life-changing decision.

Today, we outline below 3 ways you can discover your core strengths and why it’s important to have this knowledge before embarking on a career transition journey. 

1. Seek honest feedback – When considering transitioning into a new career, asking for honest feedback from people you have a trusting relationship with is key. This could be your supervisor, peers, clients, or anyone else who cares about seeing you grow in your career. You want to make sure you’re talking to people who care about your growth so that they’re honest about your strengths and areas of development. This is why it’s important to cultivate meaningful, trusting relationships with the people we engage within our professional lives. Usually, people around you will have observations that can give you additional data to use in making career transition decisions. Here is a guiding article you can use to get honest feedback, spoiler alert; it takes time, building trust and effort.

2. Follow what keeps you in-flow/energized – As explained here, “flow is the mental state in which a person is engaged in an activity where they are fully immersed with a feeling of energized focus, involvement, and success in the process of the activity”. What are these activities for you? How do they fit into the goals you have set for your career goals and the next career you’d like to have? Simply, what type of tasks do you enjoy doing and how can you tap further into those strengths to create a foundation that will help you begin the career transition process? This also makes it easier/smoother and you pick up things faster, which helps you identify what next steps you need to take, for instance, if you enjoy sharing knowledge and information, you could reach out to a coach in your area of interest who can be your mentor and hopefully connect you to learning opportunities, or you could start a blog or social media page where you share said content and seek engagement.

3. Work with a career coach – Working with a coach enables one to reassess their strengths through the provision of tools and resources customized for this very need and one is able to get an objective perception of their strengths. Further, one can also learn more about the skills needed for them to thrive in the next phase of their career and know which best next steps they should take to fill any gaps before or during the transition period; this usually will include setting clear goals, coming up with an action plan, and the confidence to pursue these goals. We wrote more about the importance of working with a career coach here. This is a good way to ensure you’re making informed decisions that will ultimately benefit you personally, and professionally.

Looking to transition into a new career and are not sure where to start? Reach out to us today; Follow us on our social media for more similar content: LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Wondering why you always make the shortlist but don’t get hired? This may be why.

Wondering why you always make the shortlist but don’t get hired? This may be why.

The hiring process can be and often is an intensive process. In recent years, the selection process for many organizations has grown to include a variety of methods used to assess candidates such as customized application forms, take-home tests, personality tests, and so forth. This of course has made the selection process more competitive for candidates.

For candidates who get to make it to the shortlisted stage, the hope is always that they will get hired, and for some, this ends up being the case. However, when one finds themselves being in the shortlist for different organizations several times and never getting hired, it’s fair to wonder what might be the cause of that. If you have experienced that, below are four reasons that explain why that may be happening to you.

1. Strong candidate pool – This is the most obvious reason. Different criteria set by the hiring team determine who the best candidate is; how they conducted themselves throughout the selection process, how clear and concise a candidate communicated, whether they connect to the vision of the organization, and so forth. Consistency in all of this matters because the hiring team uses all the stages of the selection process to make an informed decision. A candidate may have appeared great in the first two interviews, but showcase blindspots in the last interview or interaction with organization team members that the hiring team may not overlook, such as how their communication style to team members does not align to the culture of the organization, as will be discussed in point three below.

2. References done were not as optimistic as the candidate – Usually the last stage in the selection process, sometimes the referees you provided might provide the hiring manager with details that raise concerns about your candidature. At this point, the hiring team has to weigh your application against other candidates into consideration. Such concern may not necessarily be dramatic such as past conflict or poor performance. It could easily be something like a candidate needing a lot of supervision, and in a role where one may be required to work autonomously, this may be a problem and therefore, your chances of getting hired may reduce depending on how the cons in the reference checks weigh against the pros.

3. Incompatibility in culture fit – Many organizations hold this criteria in high regard because it determines how well a candidate may fit within the organization, how they will interact with the rest of the team(s), and how committed they are to the achieving the goals of the organization. Depending on; the managerial style you prefer, whether or not you prefer too much structure or can navigate little to no structure, results of your psychometric test if any, the kind of questions you ask, etc, the hiring team is able to establish whether or not you’re able to succeed in their current set up.

4. It has nothing to do with you – Yes this is also true a lot of the times! Sometimes, things such as the salary budget being allocated elsewhere, withdrawal of huge funds or sudden loss of revenue, your potential immediate supervisor resigning thus you not having anyone to guide you through the new role among other internal changes. Certain organizations may be transparent with you and inform you that they suddenly lost revenue/funding, or that they are undergoing/underwent a restructuring that eliminated the role. In conclusion, sometimes, it absolutely has nothing to do with you, and it does not take away from your qualifications and fit for the role. And while it’s not easy to believe that this may be the case, always live room for the possibility that it was not your fault that you were disqualified. This will allow you to approach other opportunities confidently and with optimism.

Our job hunt hustles section contains multiple blogs and resources that will aid you in succeeding in the selection process if you’re in the job hunting phase. If interested in our career coaching services, email us today, at

Nail your next phone interview with these tips!

Nail your next phone interview with these tips!

The world has certainly changed for many of us, and as always, we continue to hope that we’ll see an end to this sooner rather than later. For organizations that are still hiring, assessing candidates virtually is now the new norm, and passing the phone interview is a key step to making a good impression as a job seeker and hopefully proceeding to the next stages of the selection process.

Usually, the phone interview stage is where candidates are pre-screened by the employer to make sure their experience, skills and knowledge are aligned with the needs of the organization. So how do you make sure you excel and proceed to the next steps?

Below are a few tips you can use;

  1. Review the JD – Before the phone interview, review the JD to familiarize yourself with the skills and qualifications required of the position you applied for, and note down how your competencies align to the same. During the conversation, you need to be able to articulate why you should be considered for the position, thus having the information at the tip of your fingertips is critical.
  2. Research the organization – This will always be a pertinent requirement. Make sure you understand the services/products offered by the organization, their vision, history, etc. Having this knowledge will help you customize your responses and tie the value you would add to the aspirations they have as an organization, come up questions you can ask for anything that may be unclear and also assess if you would fit into the organization culture. Here’s a guide you can use.
  3. Prepare answers for possible questions – Usually, the first phone interview can be fairly brief, so you want to make sure you’re being very concise and are answering questions as asked. Because it’s a phone interview, research potential questions on the internet and draft up your responses so that you’re not struggling or taking too long to answer the questions. Make sure your motivation to join the organization, your list of accomplishments, skills, and the value you would bring to the organization are noted down and are clear and persuasive.
  4. Find a destruction free environment – Considering most of us are at home right now, not all of us live alone. Therefore, if you’re living with others. please inform them early in advance and right before your interview that you’ll be on a call and they should not destruct you. Even if you live alone, make sure you find a place where there is minimal to no noise coming from outside that would hinder you from having a peaceful conversation with the interviewer, remember, first impressions are everything.
  5. Have a list of questions for the interviewer(s) – It’s important to keep in mind that the ending of the interview matters as much as your responses to the questions asked. This is an opportunity to blow away the interviewer and make them shortlist you for the next stage, so your questions have to be brilliant, and not having any questions is a potential dis qualifier. We recently highlighted 3 questions you should ask after every job interview in an article, have a read. You can, of course, find many more questions on google 🙂 so don’t be afraid to utilize it.

Other tips include:

– Confirm the interview date and time and put it into your calendar to avoid any confusion.

– Find out who you you will be talking to. You can research them on the organization website or on LinkedIn to learn more about them and their role in the organization, do NOT request them on Facebook :), too soon.

– Ask about the next possible steps after the interview. Although you won’t find out whether you were shortlisted immediately, it’s good to tentatively plan and know when you can expect to hear from the employer.

What other tips have helped you excel in a phone interview?

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