At the end of each interview the hiring manager will always ask: “So, do you have any questions for us?”
It can be frustrating when the candidate politely smiles and says “urm… no, not really.” Cue tumbleweed from my side of the table.
This is your opportunity to find out the truth about the role, the organisation and whether working from home is something that is encouraged not frowned upon – errr… hello agile working?
Asking questions shows you are interested and can often make you stand out from the other candidates who perhaps are, not so prepared.
Here are some questions you can ask. I have grouped the questions into 4:
- Next steps
Tip: Don’t ask all the questions, pick a few of your favourites, perhaps one from each section.
- What are the long-term objectives for this role?
- Tell me about the biggest challenges this role is currently facing?
- What would you like me to achieve in the first 3 months in this role?
- How does the team react to failure?
- How many direct reports does this role have?
- Who will I be reporting to?
- What are the top two traits you need this candidate to have to fit within the team?
- How would you characterise the teams working style?
- How would you characterise the teams communication style?
- What social activities does the organisation get involved in?
- Tell me about the personal development planning for individual employees?
- What Learning and Development courses are available?
- What is different about working here compared to other organisation you have worked at?
- Has the organisation embraced agile working? How often do teams work from home and/or other locations?
The Next Steps
- What are the next steps?
- Is there anything else I can provide you? Such as further examples of my work?
The truth is, writing a CV is an art form. It can take many, many, many attempts before you have a coherent document, that recruiters run through a system to pick out key words before passing it on to the hiring manager.
But once you have mastered your CV, wow! The sense of achievement feels fantastic! And this document (your CV) will get you through the rest of your career.
It is always difficult to know where to start, but first, you need to know the No-Go Zones.
There are certain things that should not show up on a CV . In this piece I call out 10 areas that should never appear or be used in your CV:
1: Private and personal data. That is: your date of birth/age, gender, religious belief, national insurance number or sexual orientation. By including such information, you are opening yourself up to discrimination. And… never include your martial status. In fact, it’s now illegal to discuss a candidate’s marital status under the Equality Act in the UK.
2: Inappropriate contact information, with this I mean your email. If your email is firstname.lastname@example.org (or something far more unsavoury, and you know what I mean), which is fine to use to set up your social media, BUT not so fine for applying for a job. Get onto google and create a new FREE email: email@example.com – ✔ done.
3: Social media handles. Other than LinkedIn, there really is no need to include the others.
4: Every-single-damn-grade from any and every exam you have ever taken. After a few years your school grades become irrelevant. Especially if you’ve moved onto further education or have professional qualifications. The best way to include grades is to cover your most recent education first, such as professional qualifications. Then, move backwards including fewer details as you go.
5: Colours and funky formats. Now, this is really depends on the job you apply for. In a creative world, sure – Why don’t you stand out but putting your CV in a different format. For example, if you are applying to Innocent Smoothies, turn your CV into a label on virtual 3D bottle! Not only will you stand out but you are also showing off your skills. But make sure you attach the PDF/Word document as well. However, when I was talking to a recruitment friend of mine, she said how she wished that all candidates followed the black and white standard format, which makes it is easy for her (as recruitment consultant) to read. So don’t get rejected because you made your CV bright green.
6: Made up job titles. Another area my recruitment consultant friend mentioned, was how frustrating it can be when candidates make up their job roles, then when interviewing they realise, the candidate has not done the job before, or even have the skills and it wastes a lot of time.
7: Fake skills. Don’t get caught out on this one.
8: Your photo: I know in some countries its standard practice to include an up-to-date photograph of yourself on your CV/resume. However, in the UK, it’s one of a few personal details that you’re better off removing. not only does it take up valuable space and doesn’t add anything to show how well you perform. It can also open the recruiter up to unconscious bias.
9: Poor language, spelling and grammar. This immediately shows laziness and can make you look incompetent. A way around this, is by creating your CV in MS Word: go to Review > Read Aloud. Utter game changer.
10: Hobbies and Interests. Unless you do something remarkable as a hobby then don’t bother including any. We all like to read, go the gym and cook. These hobbies are not going to make you standout.
Now you know what not to do, why don’t you come and checkout the CV Surgery to learn what to do.
You can opt in for either a group session or 1-2-1 coaching session, it really depends what you need! To find out more, email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Or use the form below:
I met Saira at the Technology for Good Think Tank Launch – As an ambassador I was helping with the set up and supporting the founder Sharon throughout the evening. Saira was a guest speaker, as part of her role at ORCHA.
ORCHA is the World’s leading health app evaluation and advisor organisation. The company help governments, health and social care organisations to choose and deliver health apps that will safely make the biggest impact in terms of improving outcomes.
As soon as Saira stepped up to the podium, I was immediately in awe of how she held the room as she talked through the slides on the important work ORCHA do to ensuring the health care apps are safe to be out in the public domain. As soon as the event was finished I made sure we swapped details, I knew I wanted to feature her on The Wonder Women in Tech….
Tell us about you…
My name is Saira, I come from a legal background, specialising in family law for a short while before starting my own Advocacy company which provided BAME community members with support accessing local services. However for the past 8 years, I worked for the NHS in Integrated Care and Digital Health. I currently work for a global leader in Digital Health to progress my interest in supporting the uptake of mobile apps for health and care. I have been a speaker and panellist at various health events, forums and roundtable discussions in Parliament, and was the winner of the SPIRIT 2020 Award following my Digital Pioneer Fellowship with DigitalHealth.London.
I am very passionate about social justice and was fortunate to have one of my NHS project’s recognised and awarded the NHS Parliamentary Award for London.
In my spare time, I am the Co Founder of Project DESI, which aims to digitally empower members of the BAME community through social inclusion.
I am also the Founder of Dollhaus London, a platform for empowering women from all walks of life through understanding pains and traumas and turning them into power and strength. Being a Mental Health First Aider has also really allowed me the opportunity to confidently help others where needed, and I find that platforms like Dollhaus London allow me to help others, be it indirectly perhaps.
Some of my core values include:
Self improvement – always learning and improving myself whether it’s general knowledge, or enhancing my skills in existing roles to actually learning something completely new! I am not the type of person who stays in one field forever, I believe we should try everything and anything we can in this life and if it makes us better people then we have found our calling!
Freedom – I feel that happiness comes from being free in my thinking and doing
Kindness and love – always be kind to others.
Honesty – I’d rather be honest and hated, than be loved and be deceitful!
Creativity and imagination – if we lose this, then life will be very boring indeed!
Do you think there is a lack of females in the sector that you are in?
I think in the growing years there has been an increase of women in the tech and digital health sector, and it’s amazing that I get to work in an organisation where the founder and CEO is a woman! Women leaders are still somewhat a minority though in various sectors. It has been nice to see that over the years, that women are starting to come into more leadership roles.
Do you find there is a stereotype that there are certain careers for men and women?
Yes it still exists- even when I worked as a lawyer, I always felt like I was never part of the boys club and felt like I had to work extra hard just to prove my efforts. Even in digital health and tech, the stereotype still somewhat exists, but I feel that as more women are starting to emerge as founders and CEOs, we will see a dynamic shift soon.
Are there barriers when it comes to women getting into more senior positions? If yes, why do you think this is?
Historically men have always outpaced women in leadership and senior positions across many sectors. Even the Fortune 500 companies, women hold only 19% of board seats and 15% of executive officer positions. Only 4% of women are CEOs at these companies! I believe there are different challenges and barriers women face when it comes to acquiring senior positions:
-structural barriers – non welcoming networks, professional clubs etc
– institutional mindsets – so your typical form of gender bias, and stereotyping
– individual mindsets – women may have thoughts that hold them back from getting involved or pursuing high ranked jobs
– lifestyle choices – work life balance, family choices that a woman may have to make.
What good advice would you give The Wonder Women in Tech?
My advice with anything would be to pursue what makes you happy, not what you are expected to do.
Thank you Saira for a brillant interview – If Saira inspired you, you can get in touch with her – by checking out her Instagram pages:
Would you like to feature on The Wonder Women in Tech? Please get in touch, by using the contact page.