Working with us: An interview with HR
The highest grades imaginable, a few moon landings, a groundbreaking invention and a Nobel Peace Prize – what do you need when applying for a job at GANT? None of these things, according to Charlotte Vassilaros, Global HR Director. In fact, it’s all about your personality, and your ambitions.
Searching for a job is a tricky game that we must all play. ‘There’s no such thing as a universal handbook,’ Charlotte stresses, adding that her words are just her personal view. However, she does suggest that there are ‘some easy guidelines’. Both for you to follow in your hunt; and for a leader or the HR person to put into consideration when covering an empty spot in their team.
In terms of your CV, Charlotte says that she is ‘always looking for something eye-catching, something different…a variety of personalities and backgrounds creates diversity.’ This is a tried-and-tested way of creating positive workplace dynamics, so make sure your CV has something unusual to offer – not in terms of experience, necessarily, but perhaps in terms of formatting and presentation.
“Choose a path where you’re allowed to be the best you”
She doesn’t advocate trying to stand out in some inauthentic way, either; ‘Just remain a nice person with decent values, and if that’s who you are, it will obviously shine through.’ GANT is built on teamwork, and being able to work comfortably alongside others is paramount.
She continues by saying, ‘find out what you’re passionate about and stick to it. That way, you are choosing a path where you’re allowed to be your best you.’ You wouldn’t enter into a career in design because you think it would generate likes on Instagram, or become a banker because you think you look good in a three-piece suit; if you did, your lack of interest in your chosen field would quickly begin to undermine you.
Have a clear agenda when putting together your CV. But it shouldn’t be all work-related, necessarily. One applicant stood out because she had been politically engaged whilst also operating her own business. Additionally, she had a background in professional sports, giving her a further edge. “Why not try to become a Zlatan, or an Ingvar Kamprad (in your respective field)?” Charlotte suggests. But when asking what really characterizes a stand-out applicant, her answer is frank: passion, courage and hard work.
You should let your resumé reflect you in more ways than your professional life. Feel free to mix it up with a short introduction to yourself, or merge it completely with your cover letter. Be open and clear about your values, the things that engage and interest you, and what you’re willing and able to bring to the table. Simply: let it exemplify who you really are, and how you will make a difference in the position you are applying for.
“Some have started to ask about references on their future bosses”
So, congratulations! You have made it as far as the interview stage. It’s time to ask yourself about your preferences in an employer. Become well informed about the business and culture – that will give you the answer to the most crucial question: are you and GANT a good match? Ultimately, you spend most of your day in the workplace. This makes it essential to feel comfortable in the idea of the relationship between you and your job.
Charlotte’s number one tip at this stage is ‘don’t ask what the company can give you as the first thing you do.’ Instead, consider what you can bring to the company, and how you can mutually benefit one another. Focus on your contribution to the company as well as your expectations on the potential employer. Also, make it clear in your CV what you have achieved. In most cases, Charlotte says, the most interesting applicant is one who has achieved a great deal in a less senior role, over someone in a managerial position who has little to show for it.
Do’s & dont’s
- Dare to be different in your overall approach to job-hunting, even down to minute details like the font on your CV.
- Attach a photograph to your CV. This will make you more memorable.
- Be curious and willing to learn.
- Include examples of times you have gone above and beyond the call of duty in previous jobs. This shows your passion, and that you are ready to work hard to make a difference.
- Leave your ego at the door.
- Make an effort to connect with people from other departments.Instead of writing long emails that might be misinterpreted, get up from your chair, or pick up the phone to your colleague. Answer queries more quickly this way, while forging a stronger internal bond and supporting the ”One Team, One Goal” approach that we champion at GANT.