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YUP…. It’s “Silly Season”


What’s my definition of Silly Season?… This time of year, “end November to mid December”. It’s just before the long holiday of which you have been dreaming since like the 10th of January…. You feel exhausted, overworked and underpaid….  You are so over this year already and you find yourself wishing time away.


But don’t fear…. Jes is here and I have your Survival Guide to the Silly Season of 2016… 


1st Put it in Perspective:We all get it, we’re all in it together. This silly season will pass without you in the middle of it. Think about it… it’s actually just another working day that you need to get through like all the others. Work your usual techniques to keep your brain on the right track. If the silliness hits – Delay, Distract & Breath.


Visualise: Visualise yourself at the end of a successful workday, climbing into bed, satisfied with your daily accomplishments. Visualise yourself waking up in the morning, happy and proud, with no stress from the previous day hanging over your head. Now visualise how great the feeling will be when you are lying on the beach, sipping cocktails, with no worries of work that has not been done…. AMAZING!!!!


Just get it Done and Dusted: Work, work, work!!! Work even harder than what you have worked this whole year, work until you are done with whatever you still have to do  or want to do, whether it is catching up on filing and admin or even calling a client to follow up on how they are doing.


Plan: Plan your calendar and “To Do” list for next year. Strategize and make sure that you will be ready to get started when you get back. Make sure that there is absolutely nothing that can sneak up on you while you are relaxing over the holidays.


Stay Positive:  Don’t let your brain bombard you with the ‘I am so exhausted’ and ‘Woe-is-Me’ thoughts. Remember, what you are doing!!! And even if it sucks right now, you are heading for a much happier relaxing holiday and much more organized new year.


“Fake it till you Make It, Baby”: Even if you’re feeling tired and exhausted, then slap a smile on your face and put a spring in your step. Act like you’re going to have a fabulous last couple of work days and who knows – you might just have a fabulous and very successful last couple of work days!


Look Around: Everyone has stuff going on in their work lives. Everyone is as pre-occupied with their stuff, as you are with yours. Take a good look around and imagine what is going on for your colleagues. Thinking outside of myself helps calm me down, recognizing that others are battling away, in their own way, helps me get perspective, and being kind and understanding to others, helps me feel strong.


Remember you are Not Alone: There are many thousands of us around the country and the world who are battling through this silly season. Picture yourself surrounded by palm trees lying on the beach, sipping cocktails….


Finally: Make the last working days of this year your best working days of this year… And go out with a BANG!!


(c) Jesica Liebenberg 2016
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How do you know if your job is really for you?
In our modern world we rush by everyday trying to get through the day, the week, the month and the year. We spend more than 80% of our day in the office with fellow colleagues, talking to clients and doing our day to day business.
If you had to ask yourself… “Am I happy in my job?”, what will your 1st answer be? And in terms of “happy”, I am referring to the following questions: “Do I go home feeling satisfied and happy about my day?” “Have I learned something new today?” “Have I talked to someone new today?” Whatever it is that makes you feel happy and satisfied at the end of your work day. Of course you will not feel “happy” each and every single day, but if you don’t feel like that at least 3 out of your 5 average working days, you have a problem!
Why do you have a problem? Let me explain: Think about the days that you felt good about yourself, happy, satisfied and exhausted all at the same time (these are your happy days). Then compare this feeling to the days where you kind of wish that you never got out of bed and never went to the office in the first place, because nothing went according to plan (your bad days). At the end of each different day it makes a huge difference, doesn’t it? Especially to your loved ones waiting for you at home, whether it’s your family or your pet –  it makes a difference to them.
We all try and leave business at work and personal stuff at home, but the fact is, we are all just human and no matter how hard we try, our good and bad days will come through in some way or another. For instance, you might be very loving towards your loved ones or very snappy with them.
Which brings me to my point…
At the end of your life, when you lay your head down, you will not be remembered as a good or hard worker, you will be remembered by your family for being a beloved.
We spend 80% of our day at the office. Try your best to make sure that when choosing a new job, you choose the job that will give you more than 3 out of 5 happy days!!! And if you are in a position where you feel unhappy and are unable to change positions/offices/workload etc. then make a plan and figure out a way to change your current working environment, so that it works for you.
Be happy in your working environment and see the change in your family’s happiness!!!


(c) Jesica Liebenberg 2016
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 How to identify a solid marriage with your recruiter…..

How can you identify whether it would be a good, solid marriage? How often have you entered into relationships, just to find out that it didn’t work out in the end, because somewhere along the line you just weren’t communicating and somewhere along the line you just started living past each other?

How often have you wasted your time with numerous recruiters in submitting documents and attending interviews, just to never hear from them ever again?

Here are the top things that you should be looking out for when engaging with a recruiter:

The First Date:
Are they sharing all the information with you?

Like with any first date, you dress up, show up and start sharing and offering information with one another and you have to be attracted to what’s on offer…..

When I first started out in my career as a recruiter, I was told that I should not share too much information with candidates upfront, regarding the available position until you have all their documentation etc. This was strange to me – why would I not share the information? How is the potential candidate going to know what he/she is getting him/herself into if they are not allowed to have all of the information upfront? I quickly decided to scratch that rule. It just didn’t make sense to me then and it still doesn’t make sense to me now, even though many recruiters still go by this today and they have their reasons, but it just makes no sense engaging with a recruiter and sending them all your documentation and attending an interview with them just to later find out that you don’t even want to apply for a job at company XYZ. You will just be wasting your time. So make sure you ask them all the details about the job upfront, including a proper job spec, name of the company and their company URL so that you can get equipped with the information first.

All the information exchanged will give you a clear idea if you are willing to go on a second date with them….

 The Second Date:
 Are they genuinely interested in assisting you?

Like with any second date – ask yourself if your recruiter is genuinely interested in you. Are they asking you all the right questions or are they just selling the job to you? Are they genuinely listening to your needs or are they constantly trying to convince you to take a job in Timbuktu? Your recruiter should be listening to your needs and trying to cater to them within reason. So discuss your absolute “musts” with them and then also discuss “nice to haves” with them and then see whether they are staying within those realms.

Popping in to say “Hi”:
Are they following up with you?

Are they keeping you posted about new positions that become available? Are they giving you feedback after you have attended an interview and are they keeping you updated on the status of your application? They should be following up and engaging with you throughout the process. They should also be giving you feedback after attending an interview, even if you were declined for the role. Feedback after an interview is one of the key elements in identifying where you are going right or wrong in your job search. 

The Proposal:
You have an offer, so what now?

When a man gets onto one knee and proposes, he already knows that he is making the right decision to spend the rest of his life with his bride.

Is your recruiter still trying to sell the job to you at this point? A recruiter should not be selling anything to you here – big red flag! They should not be selling you on the salary being offered, they should not be selling or convincing you to take the position and they should most definitely not be putting pressure on you to accept the offer before tomorrow morning at 08:00 am or the offer will expire – heard this before? I am sure you have! By the time you receive an offer from a potential employer, you should have already been through all the ropes. You should have already discussed figures with your recruiter – what is the minimum salary that you will move for or what would be your “wow” figure. In fact, you should not even be receiving an offer at this point if you still have any concerns. This means something, somewhere in the process went wrong – 1) Either your recruiter didn’t listen to your needs or 2) You weren’t open and honest with your recruiter.

Nevertheless – Your partner should not try and convince or force you to accept the proposal. Don’t be bullied into anything. This is your life.

The Wedding day:
How you should feel when accepting the offer.

You should feel 100% excited about accepting the offer. By this stage you should know in your heart of hearts that you are making the right decision and that you are excited to commit to your dream job. You shouldn’t have any doubts going into this. This is a huge life altering decision and that’s it! You have to commit to it. No pulling any runaway bride stunts here!

Did you get divorced after you have accepted the position?

You have accepted a position and you spoke to your recruiter all the way, every single day in your job search. You have formed a bond and shared confidential information with each other. You have now started with company XYZ and all of a sudden the communication is non-existent. Is your recruiter at least interested in finding out whether you are happy in your current role or if there is anything that he/she can assist you with while you are still finding your feet? Do you need clarity on anything? Point is – your recruiter should be following up with you once you start with a new company and also offer post placement support.

Shop around until you find a solid relationship with a recruiter – someone you can come back to time after time.

(c) Liezl van der Walt 2016

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Take a Girl Child to Work Day 2016


A Special Message from me to you

As I write this to you, I am a month away from my 40th birthday. I have been working for 20 years already and I have held numerous positions in various different industries. It occurred to me what a wonderful initiative the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day, really is, especially as women of my generation and the generations before me, never had opportunities like this. We did not grow up in a time where young women were truly encouraged to be all they could be and we still battle misogyny and sexism on a daily basis. I hope that the work that my sisters and our mothers and grandmothers in the feminist struggle have done, will benefit you and those who come after you and I hope that you will live and work in a world where it is not somehow a disadvantage to be a woman. Here is what I wish someone could have told me when I was a young woman: 

Being a Woman is a Blessing and an Advantage

There was a time when it was believed that women were the ‘weaker sex’ and it was frowned upon for women to work outside the home. If women did join the ranks of the workforce, it was really only acceptable to be a secretary or a teacher or a nurse. You are not encumbered by these imagined obstacles and the world is your oyster. You can be anything you want to be and you can be really good at it. You have a distinct advantage being a woman in any profession, as we bring with us immeasurable mental strength, wisdom, empathy and caring. We are able to see dimensions to problems that our male counterparts are often not even aware of and this gives us a distinct advantage in many situations. Trust your intuition or your ‘gut’. Learn not to question that inner voice and just trust it. If your gut tells you that there is something ‘off’ about a person or situation, trust that feeling without seeking validation and listen to the voice because it will never steer you wrong.

Do not ever feel that you need to diminish your intellect or your sense of humour and wit or even your femininity, to ‘fit in’ in the workplace. Learn from an early age who you are and realise that ‘who you are’ is distinctly different from ‘what you do for a living’. Know what your values are and understand that your top 5 values are likely to change as you progress through the various stages of your life.

You are your own person and your single biggest weapon and obstacle, is your own mind.

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.

Believe in yourself and your own abilities. If you think you may fail, then you probably will. But if you truly believe that you can succeed and achieve your goals – no matter how lofty – then you will.

You will find the resilience and I promise you that you will learn throughout your life that you are stronger than you know and no amount of difficult days will ever win out because you will always prevail. You are Woman!

What I have learned in Life

I have learned many lessons in my 40 years so far, some of the most important I would like to share with you and hope that perhaps you may not have to learn these lessons the hard way, through hard work or heartache or tragedy.

Always be a lady. Show dignity and grace in the face of adversity and harness your unique strength and intuition in all circumstances. Make sure that you project the image of who you truly are, aligned with your values in life and the life-stage where you find yourself. Have good manners and learn how to act in different situations, so that you never feel inferior or lack confidence.

Never sleep with makeup! It is really bad for your skin and it ages you.

Always choose to be kind, no matter how horrible someone is to you. You don’t have to resort to their tactics and you will never ever regret choosing kindness. Remember that how others treat you is a reflection of who they are and is in no way a reflection of who you are or what you are worth. Learn to never take anything personally – nothing that others do (regardless of what they may tell you) is about you.

There really are only 2 main emotions in life: love and fear. Learn to recognize where people are acting from and be kind and compassionate, especially when they are acting out because they are really just afraid.

Be impeccable with your word. Do not speak ill of others or participate in gossip. Tell the truth in a loving, kind and compassionate way.

Savour the moments in your life. Life is about experiences and moments, not ‘stuff’. It is about connecting with others and realizing that underneath it all, we are all more similar than we are different.

Learn how to change a tyre, change a plug and hang a picture. Learn how to cook because dining with loved ones is one of the most sublime pleasures in life.

Be responsible with your money and be selfish with your time and attention.

If you wish to become a wife or a mother, then be the best wife or mother you can possibly be. Teach your children to be good, kind and responsible people.

If you choose a career and a life filled with travel and rich experiences, then do that and don’t feel like you have to feel guilty about your choice. This is your life and you have to live it in accordance with your personal values and in integrity with who you truly are. If you do this and you always know your motives for choosing something, you will not have regrets and you will be kinder and more loving towards yourself.

Which brings me to the final, most important life lesson I would like to share with you: always speak kindly to and of yourself.

Speak to yourself and love yourself the way you would a good friend and trusted confidante.

What I have learned at Work

Never stop learning and striving to be the master in your field. Display leadership, no matter what your position is or what level you are in in an organization. Read books and learn as much as you can. Know that your integrity is everything and it becomes a large part of your professional reputation and the way that others perceive you, so do not gossip and do not lie – this includes over-promising and then not delivering on what you had undertaken.

Always communicate clearly and don’t forget to tell people ‘why’ you are doing something or why you are asking for their assistance. If you cannot meet a deadline, communicate this to the person and tell them why.

Learn to say ‘no’ without giving a reason or making excuses for yourself. Always know your worth and walk away from people or situations that do not bring out the best in you.

I wish you all the best as you embark on your journey as a woman in this life!

(c) Deborah A Hartung 2016



As a recruiter I am pretty shocked at how bad most CV’s are!

When entering the job market, your CV is the first contact that you will have with your prospective employer. They decide to meet with you (or not) based on what your CV tells them. If you have taken no care in how you present yourself on your CV, what does that say about you? Remember, the old adage of “first impressions…”

So, let’s have a look at what makes a great CV:

Demographic Information/Cover Page

  • Full Names and Surname
  • ID Number
  • Address
  • Areas where you would like to work


Start your CV with a summary – grab the reader’s attention right away! I love a CV with a summary and so do most employers. It enables us to immediately get a feel for who you are as a person. Because your job descriptions are set out in a point-by-point format, they do not tell us much about you.

Any/all of the following can be included:

  1. A brief overview of your career to date
  2. Your achievements/What you are most proud of
  3. What motivates you or makes you go to work every day
  4. Who are you

It often helps to ask someone, who knows you very well, to help you with or read your summary. They often see traits in us that we don’t see in ourselves and, generally, we are not very good at “selling” ourselves.  I’m not saying that you should brag about yourself but, if you don’t tell your prospective employer about yourself, your achievements or other great things you have done, how will they ever know?


List any and all achievements that you are proud of, whether they were at school, whilst studying or in any of your jobs, if you did not talk about all of them in the summary.


Your qualifications must be in a chronological order, listing the most recent/current first and working backwards. List your qualifications as follows:

  1. Name of Qualification, Year completed, Institution (all the way back to and including Matric)
  2. You may elect to list your subjects under each qualification if you wish, but this is not a must
  3. If you have any incomplete qualifications, you must clearly state this in brackets next to the qualification. It is also preferable to state the reason why it is incomplete. You don’t want the prospective employer to think that you just “don’t finish things” if you had a perfectly good reason for not doing so. Not stating that the qualification is incomplete, is dishonest.
  4. Ensure that you have copies of all your qualifications at hand. You do not need to submit them together with your CV, but you will be asked for them at some point for verification.

Employment History

Your employment history must be in a chronological order, listing the most recent/current first and working backwards. List your jobs as follows:

  1. Position Title, Name of Company, Date started – Date left/Current ( you only need to put the month and year )
  2. Under each job, you need to give a detailed job description. Here it is best to use a point-by- point format and not a summary type description. I have seen CV’s where people have been working at a company for 7 years and they have 3 sentences in the job description. Really? You only did 3 things for 7 years? The other one we often see is “copy and paste” job descriptions – every single job description is exactly the same, which is impossible, since no two environments are exactly the same. Make sure that you take the time to do your job descriptions properly and well. This is, after all, the most important thing the prospective employer wants to see on the CV – the skills you have. Make sure you have everything in there.
  3. From Matric onwards, ever year must be accounted for. So, if you decided to take a year off to travel overseas/ raise children/were ill, you need to put that on the CV, for example:February 2013 – February 2014: I was a stay-at-home Mom
  4. January 2009 – November 2009: I was recovering from a motor cycle accident
  5. January 2007 to March 2008: I travelled overseas
  6. Make very sure that all technology terms are written in the correct format, using capital and small letters where appropriate. You can’t be the technology boffin and not even know how to correctly write the name of your technology. If you are not sure, google it.
  7. Be sure to write down a reason for leaving under all your previous jobs.

Additional Sections

You may be doing additional work in your own private time or researching new technologies that you would like the prospective employer to know about, for example, you may be doing some mobile development in your spare time or teaching yourself C#. You can then create a separate section on your CV to describe what you are doing.

You can create as many sections as you like and put anything on your CV that you would want the prospective employer to know.


It is always a good idea to list some references on your CV:

Name, Position Title, Name of Company, Cell Number, Landline, E-Mail address

Some General Pointers

  1. Create clear sections, as above, on your CV, using bold type or a different font/size, for ease of reference and reading. In other words, make your CV look good
  2. Use the format as set out above. Why? You want a prospective employer to first read about you and your achievements, before they get to your qualifications or employment history. You may not have all the skills/qualifications they are looking for but, having read a bit about you already and liking what they see so far, they may actually still give you a shot whereas, if the summary and achievements are somewhere at the bottom of the CV, the prospective employer has already stopped reading after your employment history and discards the CV.
  3. Always keep your CV up to date. You may have come up with a great idea today that is going to save your company R10 000.00 a month. Do you want the next employer to know about this? Of course you do! But, if you only leave your company in 3 year’s time and then only update your CV, you may well have forgotten all about this by then.
  4. Always ask someone to proof read your CV to check for ease of reading, grammar and spelling.


                                                                                                                 I hope to see only great CV’s from now on!


(c) Wilma Gerber 2016

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1. Be Prepared.

I cannot stress how important it is to be prepared for an interview. I think there is nothing worse than attending an interview unprepared! There are just no excuses here …

Today, we have so many resources at our disposal, to enable us to gather as much information as we can. So, use this to your full advantage. Managers will be able to tell whether you have prepared or not. What will this say of you as a potential employee? If you just can’t be bothered to do your homework, then you most probably can’t be bothered to do your work. Don’t be shocked or upset if you find out that you were declined for the role and that the next potential candidate got the job because he/she took some initiative.

2. Interviews are a 2-way street.

It’s important to remember that, not only is the potential employer interviewing you to see if you will be a match for their organisation, but you also need to interview them to see if this would be a company where you could see yourself working for the next 3 – 5 years. Before you entered into the market, you had already identified why you are looking to leave your current company and what you would like to see in a potential new employer, so work on the basis of this and formulate all your questions around this.  If company culture is important to you, for example, make sure you ask about the environment, the team and their working philosophies. Don’t assume that the person interviewing will always go into detail about this during the interview. Get the idea? So when you leave the first interview, you should know exactly what the position entails, what projects you will be involved in, what projects the company is looking to take on within the next couple of months, what the company’s working philosophies are, etc. You should have enough knowledge about the role and the company after the first interview so that you will be able to make an informed decision on whether you want to continue with the process or not. You don’t want to waste your time or the manager’s time on attending a 2nd or 3rd interview with them just to realise that you are not interested in the position.

3. Elaborate on your skills and experiences.

Remember that in most cases a potential employer will only get to spend roughly 1 – 3 hours with you during the interview process and, on this basis, he/she will need to make a decision on whether he/she would like to employ you or not. 1 – 3 hours really aren’t that much, so make sure that he/she really gets to know you and what you are all about. So if the interviewee asks you if you have experience with a certain skill that they are looking for, elaborate in 2 – 3 sentences on that skill and on which projects you have applied that skill and what your role on the project was. Don’t over-elaborate either, the interview will be at most 1 – 1.5 hours long. You don’t want to walk out of there and realise that you have wasted the full hour talking about just one area of your skillset.  The manager might also leave the interview realising that he doesn’t have a full grasp on what you can offer them as an employee.

4. Don’t ask them what’s in it for you!

Don’t ask them how many leave days they will be offering you or when they close for the December holidays. This is a huge turn-off!  They may also get the idea that you are not in the market and interested in them as a company, but more for what they can offer you in terms of benefits. You will have plenty of opportunity to discuss this with them as soon as you have established a rapport with them. They will engage you with an offer and all these details when they are ready to take you on as an employee.

5. Be a person, just be a real person!

At the end of the day, we need to remember that we are just people, so let’s all just keep it real! Be yourself, as opposed to what you think they would like to see in you. At the end of the day they need to know what they are getting themselves into in terms of your personality and vice versa. Don’t be a fake version of yourself, because once you start working, your true personality will unfold and they will see you for who you are. Now don’t get me wrong – I am not saying be your lazy, laid back, slouch on the couch “at home” version of yourself, but just be true to yourself and who you are as a person. Don’t be fooled, interviewees can spot a fake a mile away.

6. Be Honest.

Honestly is the best policy! It’s important to remember that no candidate will be a perfect match for the position and you won’t necessarily have the 100% skill set for the role, so there might be aspects of the role that you don’t have experience with and it’s ok to admit that you don’t have the experience or the knowledge – really it’s ok! Don’t put yourself in an awkward position where you are trying to thumb suck information just for the sake of it. Have an open and honest conversation on the skills that you have and the skills that you lack and whether you are prepared to upskill yourself. Again – honesty goes a long way and the interviewee will really appreciate this. This way you both know what you are getting yourselves into and what you are committing to.

7. Don’t be Intimidated.

Don’t be intimidated by the interviewee. Yes, interviews are stressful, but just remember to ask yourself – What is the worst that could happen? Yes, you might not get the job, but would it be the end of the world? But did you die? (image of Mr Chow’s meme pops into my mind). Just give it your best and at the end of the day, that’s all you can do. Also remember that the interviewee is just a person – a normal person. He probably won’t even recognise you if you bumped into him at the Super Spar over the weekend. You got this!

(c) Liezl Van Der Walt 2016

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I have heard this from my candidates many times before. Well, I am here to tell you that you ARE good enough – You are good enough for someone!! Realistically speaking there will always be someone better than you, true? Even Mr CEO with 20 years’ experience will have someone out there that can realistically do the job better than him, but in the eyes of his company, he is the best. You too are someone’s BEST, it might just take some time to find your match. So, for all the job seekers out there that feel that they just aren’t good enough, think again and remember every time you thought you were being rejected, you were just being redirected to something even better. Hang in there and enjoy the ride!


(c) Liezl Van Der Walt 2016

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Are you in a comfort zone? I want to challenge everyone to step outside of this box. Try and do one small act daily – something different that you won’t usually do. It can be a simple thing like making your colleague a cup of coffee, asking the receptionist if you can help with her filing, calling a client just to say hello or thank them for their business, maybe go home and do the dishes for your wife today….What have you done to step outside of your comfort zone lately? 1 small act daily for 30 days- I bet your life will change for the better!

Comfort Zone Quotes - A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there

 (c) Liezl Van Der Walt 2016

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Most recruiters will tell you that they prefer to work with a company/client on a consistent and continuous basis, rather than making 1 or 2 placements and moving on to another client.

Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Getting to know a company

When we initially start dealing with a new company, we really don’t know too much about them. Yes, we can read up all about the company but, because we are dealing with people (candidates), we need the “inside” info. That is what enables us to sell your company to them. These include the soft issues, such as company culture, management style, growth opportunities and the like. We get this information from candidates, that we have already placed with you, when we do follow-ups with them. We are then able to tell a potential candidate “I placed a candidate there 6 months ago and he/she says……”  Candidates really like to hear what the current employees of the company have to say. Before they even attend the interview, they can already be totally sold on the opportunity. However, this does not happen overnight. The more we work with a company, the better we get to know them and the better we can “sell” them to a candidate.

2. Building a Relationship

Equally, when we get to know the manager(s) we are dealing with, we also get a better and better understanding of the type of candidate he/she is looking for, not only in terms of skills, but also in terms of personality fit, culture fit and such. In time, this enables us to send only “perfect” candidates, whom we know you will like, because we know you so well. This makes your life so much easier – fewer candidates to see and all are a good fit, giving you a real choice of candidates, instead of seeing 3 or 4 candidates and, although the skills are a fit, the rest of the candidate is not. A waste of your precious time.

3. Offering you the Best Candidates

Once we have built a nice rapport with a company and the managers, we will always let you know when we have a candidate available that would be perfect for your environment and you will know that this is not just another “sell”. There is, of course, no obligation on your side, but wouldn’t it be nice to at least know about a good candidate every time one is available?

4. Working Together

Each time you work with someone new, both parties need to get a feel for how the other person does things, what to expect, when to expect it, in what format it will be presented, etc. Working continuously with 1 person, makes life so much easier. You know exactly how your consultant will be working with you and he/she knows exactly what to expect from your side, without hassling you 10 times a day. A much smoother recruiting process.

5. Bending over Backwards

When a recruiter is dealing with a company/client on a consistent basis, that client becomes very important to him/her and he/she will bend over backwards to accommodate you in any way they can. Recruiters see good clients as colleagues, if you will. They feel that they are part of your company and want to do their absolute best to help you.

If you have not yet built a good relationship with any particular recruiter and are working with a lot of recruiters all the time, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate and choose one or two recruitment partners. Stick with them for a while and take the “pain” out of recruitment!

(c) Wilma Gerber 2016

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When you decide to enter the job market, it is of utmost importance to know exactly what your current total remuneration package is, also known as COST TO COMPANY.   The current total remuneration package  that is given to the prospective employer must be 100% correct. There is nothing that upsets a prospective employer more than a candidate who comes back, after an offer has been made, and suddenly remembers a number of other benefits that they did not mention initially and, nine times out of ten, the deal will fall flat.

I am quite amazed at how few people truly understand what their Total Cost to Company package is and moreover, how many people cannot adequately explain the figures on their payslips or even know what they are for.

I hope that the following will help you:

Basic Salary

This is your cash component and, on most payslips, will appear in the left side column, designated  as “Earnings”. In this column you may find items such as basic salary, car allowance, housing allowance, cell allowance, etc. These are all the items that are paid out to you in cash (before deductions).

But, this is NOT your total remuneration package

Cost to Company Package

This is everything that you cost your company. In addition to the basic salary/earnings above, many people also have other benefits, such as pension/provident fund, medical aid, group life, funeral cover, disability cover – some or all of these. Also included here are items such as petrol card,  company car,  company cellphone, performance bonus, 13th cheque , standby, overtime and commission. Let’s look at some of these more closely:

In each instance you need to ADD the benefits below to your Basic Salary above

1. Pension/Provident Fund/Medical Aid/ Group Life/Funeral Cover:

You need to add the amount that your company contributes towards the above benefits. Not the full amount that you pay for these benefits because, remember, the company pays a portion and you pay a portion. Your portion is taken out of your earnings, so only the company’s portion is added. Only if the company pays any of these benefits in full and there is no deduction for them in the “Deductions” column on your payslip, can you add the full amount.

2. 13th Cheque:

If you have a guaranteed 13th cheque, this needs to be added

3. Company Car:

If you currently have a company car with a full maintenance plan, tyres replaced when necessary, etc. you need to do your homework and calculate what it would cost you if this were your car. You need to compare apples with apples. If you have a Kia Picanto as a company car, you cannot do your calculations based on the Mercedes you would like to drive.  You need to base it on the exact same car as the one you have and do these calculations correctly and carefully and this amount must be added. Very few companies offer company cars, so the prospective employer needs to make up for the company car that you will be losing. This only applies to a full company car that you use every day for business and personal travel. If you drive your car to work and then go to see clients in a pool car, come back and pick up your own car again, this does not qualify under a company car and nothing can be added.

All benefits or items that are guaranteed and have a fixed value that you are paid on a monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual basis form part of your Total Cost to Company package.

Additional Benefits

But, there are also a number of benefits that are not guaranteed and do not have a fixed value. The amounts/times you receive them are variable. Any benefits that are variable/ not guaranteed need to be listed separately as “Additional Benefits”. So, let’s look at these:

4. Petrol Card/Petrol paid per kilometer:

If you have a petrol card valued at R3000.00 per month and you are allowed to put in petrol to the value of that amount, regardless of whether this is for business or personal use, you add the full amount to your Cost to Company, as it is a guaranteed benefit.

If, however, your current job involves  travelling and you are only allowed to use the petrol card for business travel or you can claim your kilometres at X p/km , this must be indicated separately from your total cost to company salary as an “Additional Benefit”. Why?  This amount varies and you are only paid when you travel. It is not a regular guaranteed income

5. Performance Bonus:

As opposed to a 13th cheque, which is a fixed amount , a performance bonus may vary – you could get R3 000.00 one time and maybe R9 000.00 at another time and sometimes nothing. If you receive a quarterly, bi-annual, annual performance bonus, you need to add  up the rand value of the performance bonus(es) that you received in the last year. You also need to be able to prove that you received these bonuses by way of payslips on which these bonuses appeared.

6. Company Cellphone:

If you are allowed to use this cellphone for both business and private use with no questions asked, then the full amount may be added to your Cost to Company package. If, however, you are only allowed to use it for business calls and you have your own private cellphone, you need to put it under “Additional Benefits”

7. Paid ADSL Line/Laptop:

Most companies these days will supply you with a laptop and, if you need to work from home, they will carry the cost of the ADSL line. Just list them under “Additional Benefits”

Now, things can become even trickier and the following so-called “benefits” need to be understood in perspective. Here we are talking about 2 benefits in particular:

8. Overtime

You need to very clearly understand that, with both of the above, you are specifically paid to do extra work outside of your normal business hours. The moment that this is not required, this “benefit”  falls away, even within your current company, who may decide to stop overtime and standby at any time. Therefore, these are not “ benefits” at all. Very often, when a candidate moves from a company where he/she worked a lot of overtime/standby, to a company that has no overtime/standby, he/she expects the prospective employer to make up for the overtime he/she received at the previous company. This is unrealistic and will not happen.

And lastly:

9. Commission:

Commission is never included in your Cost to Company package. It is highly variable and depends on the work you put in. You will list your Cost to Company Salary and just say “plus commission” (in brackets you can put the rand value of your commission earnings for the past year).

The onus is on you to understand your total remuneration package and your payslip. If there is anything you are unsure of, it is your right to go to your HR Officer and ask them to explain it to you so that you, in turn, can explain it to your recruitment consultant and/or prospective employer.

Alternatively, if you need some help, you are more than welcome to give me a call on my cell number listed on the website. I will be more than happy to assist you!


(c) Wilma Gerber 2016

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