The Employment Process

Drawing up your CV

  1. When structuring your CV, keep in mind that they’re typically reviewed in only two minutes.
  2. Your CV is a marketing tool meant to pique a prospective employer’s interest enough for them to contact Datafin to schedule an interview to see you.

Unique selling points

  1. Know your career objective. Your CV will come across more professionally if the content is structured around your career objectives.
  2. Use short, bulleted sentences, rather than lengthy paragraphs. The reader should be able to quickly scan through your résumé, and be able to absorb most of the information.
  3. When listing your skills or summarising your experience, start each bulleted sentence with a verb like ‘prepared’, ‘developed’ or ‘presented’, for more impact.
  4. Match the competencies in your CV to the key requirements in the advertised position.
  5. Place your strengths that are most suited to the job, at the top, where they are more likely to be read.
  6. Sell yourself clearly and concisely through your CV. Use appropriate buzzwords and jargon that show your familiarity with the terminology in your field.
  7. Hinge your career history on those duties that support your objective: to be hired. Do not add negative or irrelevant personal information.
  8. If you were self-employed, give yourself an appropriate title and be prepared to provide credible references of people/companies for whom you worked. Valid referees can include volunteer positions, or unpaid work done for friends.


  1. Use a font size of 10 points or bigger, and 100% page size.
  2. Don’t use uppercase, it is very difficult to read.
  3. Use professional language and check grammar and spelling.
  4. Consider placing a copy of your CV on a website for immediacy, in case of an unexpected request for your CV.
  5. A cover letter is an important accompaniment to your CV. It gives the reader more insight into who you are, stating facts like your skills, background and experience, interests, preferences in terms of location, setting, industry and type of work.

Don’t overlook these pointers:

  1. Make sure that there are no periods that are unaccounted for under your experience.
  2. State in your CV the name and job title of all your bosses – past and present.
  3. Prioritise coherence over volume when drawing up your CV, so that the reader can scan seamlessly through it.
  4. When requesting professional references, ask for alternative contact information, in case the referee changes jobs. Letters are preferable.
  5. Rather exclude information that doesn’t relate specifically to the job for which you are applying, e.g. religion, affiliations (other than those of a professional nature).

E-mail your completed CV to

Submitting your CV

Think carefully about your career objectives. What motivates you? What skills do you have? How do they match the company’s requirements that you hope to work for? What additional skills would you need to be eligible for your dream job?

Make sure the cover letter that accompanies your CV explains clearly what you’re interested in, e.g. location, setting, industry and type of work. It must also briefly outline your skills, background and experience.

Don’t refrain from applying for positions that seem to be out of your league. Because they involve taking a calculated risk, they often hold great growth opportunities and challenges.

Accepting contract assignments could get you placed sooner. It’s also a good way to ‘get your foot in the door’ in your company of choice. Agencies often have short- or long-term assignments available. So, keep an eye on the newspaper!

While you’re unemployed, consider doing a course to expand your skills set. This could come in handy when applying for a position that requires more than just your current skills.

Applying for a job through Datafin

To apply for any of our vacant jobs, please email your CV to us in MS Word format. Choose the applicable address on the contact us page, on our website. It’s important that you supply the following information in the subject line of your email:

  1. reference number
  2.  job title
  3. your name

Cover letter

This letter needs to give us a brief outline of your experience and skills, to emphasise your compatibility with the job in question. Please remember to include your current and alternative contact details as well as your location and salary requirements. Do send us your CV for our records, even if we don’t have a suitable position advertised.


Preparing for interviews

  1. Diarise the date, location and time of the interview, as well as the interviewer’s full name and designation.
  2. Research the company and visit their website.
  3. Prepare the questions you want to ask.
  4. Revise your previous employment details and general work history.
  5. Think carefully about your achievements and how to describe them.
  6. Practise your interviewing skills with a friend, relative, or co-worker a day or two before the interview, to sharpen your communication skills.

Typical questions asked in an interview

  1. What kind of job are you looking for?
  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  3. What do you know about the company you’re applying to?
  4. What are your qualifications?
  5. Why are you leaving your present employer?
  6. What would your current company have to offer you, to get you to stay with them?
  7. Describe your most recent job performance evaluation.
  8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
  9. Describe your ideal position.
  10. Describe a situation where you were under pressure, and how you responded to it.
  11. What do you think your referees would say about you?
  12. What motivates you?
  13. What do you do in your spare time?
  14. What irritates you?
  15. Describe a situation where you felt really happy?
  16. Describe a situation at work where you had to apply your integrity?
  17. What is your ideal working environment?

Appropriate questions for the candidate to ask

  1. A detailed description of the position.
  2. How did the position become available?
  3. How would you describe the company culture?
  4. Which induction and training programmes will I be exposed to?
  5. What are the company’s growth plans?

Job interview rules


  1. Go into the interview with the aim of getting an offer – you can always think it over and turn it down later.
  2. Adopt a confident demeanour and be well-prepared. This will help you to answer questions in a concise and relevant way. It will also enable you to demonstrate your knowledge of the company, as well as a genuine interest in the position.
  3. Double-check the address and interview time.


  1. Dress appropriately. A professional, comfortable outfit will help you to feel confident and relaxed during a job interview. Remember to keep it simple, unless you’re applying for a job in the fashion or design industry, in which case a bit of flair would be acceptable.
  2. Bring along a pen and paper, and your portfolio or examples of work done (if applicable). Your interviewer will already have your CV, so no need to take it along.
  3. Arriving early for the interview will give you plenty of time to find parking.
  4. Be professional and polite in your approach. When you arrive, clearly state your name and the purpose of your visit. Smile, it will relax you and make others warm to you.
  5. Remember to address the interviewers as ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’, or ‘Ms’, followed by their surname. Only call them by their first names if they ask you to.
  6. Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake.
  7. Wait until you are offered a seat, before sitting down.
  8. Sit upright and look enthusiastic and interested throughout the interview.
  9. Listen carefully and speak eloquently.
  10. Make eye contact, it shows confidence and puts your interviewer at ease.
  11. Avoid becoming too familiar in your approach, even if your interviewer’s style is such.
  12. Be gracious, should there be any delays during the interview.
  13. While following the interviewer’s lead, ensure that you obtain a full description of the position and relevant responsibilities. This way, you’ll know which of your skills and experience to emphasise.
  14. Talk about your strengths objectively and sincerely. This is your opportunity to convince the interviewer that you’re the best candidate for the job.
  15. If the interviewer asks an open-ended question, respond by asking a more specific question, to test your understanding.
  16. If an offer is not made initially, it’s not necessarily a sign that your application has been unsuccessful. Be patient, and don’t broach the subject prematurely.
  17. If you get the impression during the interview that you have already been rejected, don’t let your discouragement show.
  18. At the end of an interview, thank the interviewer for their time with a firm handshake, regardless of how it went.

What not to do in an Interview

  1. Don’t arrive late, or too early, looking flustered and untidy.
  2. Body language: don’t fidget, hum, tap your foot or avoid eye contact.
  3. Don’t chew gum, or arrive smelling of cigarettes or alcohol.
  4. Relax.
  5.  Don’t use inappropriate language, or make derogatory remarks about your present or past employers.
  6. Avoid giving one-word answers. Use every opportunity to give context, without rambling.
  7. Think carefully about each question, before answering.
  8. Don’t inquire about salary, holidays, bonuses, office size, social nights or retirement in the initial interview. An interview is not an opportunity to haggle.
  9. Don’t indulge in small talk at the end of the interview, unless the interviewer initiates it.

Tips on doing prior research on the company

  1. The extent of their geographical footprint (national/international).
  2. What their products or services are.
  3. The growth rate of the company.
  4. The potential for future growth.
  5. How secure the company is.
  6. Whether the company’s business model is a good one.
  7. The culture – know what kind of environment you prefer in a company. A start-up business is usually less structured, with longer working hours and heightened pressure. Large corporations, on the other hand, are more structured, with several procedures and ‘red tape’. They also offer more job security.
  8. Never phone the company directly. Rather call your consultant with any questions that you might have.

Salary negotiations

Try and avoid discussing salary in the first interview, rather use this time to ‘get a foot in the door’ by letting the interviewer get to know you. However, if the interviewer broaches the subject, be honest about your current package (pay slips are required for proof of current earnings).

When asked about your salary expectations, mention that you would like a 10-20% increase on your current package. Talk in cost-to-company amounts, so that the interviewer is able to ‘compare apples with apples’. ‘Cost-to-Company’ refers to your basic salary, plus all your benefits. This includes the company’s contribution to pension, medical aid and group life cover.

Be realistic about your salary expectations. Find the line between getting what you’re worth and appearing greedy. If your agency arranged the interview, it’s preferable for them to negotiate with the company on your behalf.