Writing a stand-out CV, making your mark in interviews and other ways to boost your application. Luke Hexall who heads up recruitment at giffgaff money share his top tips on getting ahead.
How important is work experience in today’s job market?
I certainly think it helps open the door. Practical work experience can be a difference-maker when you are up against a hundred other CVs. With that said, I do look at other factors too. Did you have a job when you were at school or university? Were you part of any clubs or play any sports competitively? This can give you a great insight into a person’s character and culture fit, which can be as important as experience.
What do you look for in employees?
It’s not always the case that the candidate with the most relevant experience gets the job. Obviously there needs to be some match with the job description, but we tend to look more into culture fit. Are they open and collaborative? Do they have a friendly and welcoming personality? Do they leave their egos at the door? Skills can be taught easier than character and attitude.
How can you make your application stand out?
Be genuine, warts and all. I’ve never been a fan of overly flamboyant CVs that are multi-coloured or filled with pictures. Keep it simple and include only key information and achievements. If you have work experience already, we don’t need half a page on your education, detailing every module you took at university. It just makes it look like you’re filling space.
Everyone claims to be hard working, diligent, and a team player (who also works well individually) so that isn’t going to help you stand out. Tell us about your interests. Think of your Twitter or Instagram bio, what does it say about you? Are you a whiskey connoisseur who races motorbikes at the weekend? That’s what we want to know!
And, of course, a cardinal rule that must not be broken: when typing a CV, no comic sans.
What can people do in their spare time to make themselves more employable?
Show a passion for your career. If you’re a software developer, show you live it! Working on projects on GitHub or building apps for fun will put you above the rest.
Do you have any interview tips?
Know your CV. There is nothing worse than someone who has forgotten what they’ve written. Also, always prepare questions for the end! You don’t want an awkward silence after an interviewer asks, “Have you got any questions for us?” It shows you’re either not passionate or not interested in the company. Finally, don’t complain about your current or previous employer. You may have genuine reasons for your feelings, but displaying them in an interview shows that you hold grudges and may not be a team player. If you’re asked why you’re leaving, handle it with class!
What is the worst thing someone has ever done during an interview?
I think the worst thing I’ve witnessed so far is someone answering a phone during an interview. When he came back into the room and we asked if he needed to leave, he replied, “Nah, carry on. It was just my mate.” Unbelievable! Safe to say, he didn’t get hired.
Luke Hexall is the recruitment lead at giffgaff money. After studying business management with marketing at the University of Abertay, Dundee, he spent four years working in agency recruitment, before moving to his current role.