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New scholarship fund to be launched in March

Posted by | March 3, 2014 | Blog

The new Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund (SMSF) will be launched on 14 March, says President Jacob Zuma.

“On the 14th of March, we will launch the new Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund, run by the NYDA (National Youth Development Agency). This is a 10-million rand fund designed to provide financial support to youth primarily in rural areas,” said President Zuma.

He was speaking at the inaugural Presidential Youth Indaba on Jobs and Skills in Boksburg on Sunday.

The fund serves as a living memorial to freedom fighter Solomon Mahlangu (1956-1979).

The R10 million fund’s purpose is to avail financial support to youth to enable them to pursue quality education in an institution of higher learning with youth in rural areas as primary target.

The fund is accessible to deserving South African youth who meet the minimum entry requirements set by the NYDA – youth who have been admitted for study at credible Universities and Universities of Technology, local and international.

Among the objectives of the fund is to increase the chances of employability or entrepreneurship based on the positive correlation between level of education and employability.

Applications for the fund closed in September 2013.

Government is investing heavily in education in a country that has a high unemployment rate among the youth.

At the opening of the Indaba on Friday, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said that progress has been made in the last nine months since the signing of the Youth Accord in April 2013.

“The employment of young people has accelerated. There are now just over 6.1 million youth who are employed. Since the signing, youth employment [people under 35] rose by 420 000, the biggest rise in youth employment in a long, long time,” said Minister Patel.

The Accord makes several commitments to improve education and skilling of young people, and helping them to find jobs and start their businesses. In it, government also commits to increase the number of people employed in the public sector, while certain industries are to set youth development targets.

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“Finding solutions to youth unemployment is important.”

Posted by | March 3, 2014 | Blog

Youth unemployment is one of the biggest problems that South Africa is facing. Youth unemployment has been a central theme at this years Presidential Indaba and the Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, Collins Chabane, says that finding solutions to youth unemployment are important to South Africa.


Speaking at the opening of the Presidential Youth Indaba on Jobs and Skills on Friday, Minister Chabane said that South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world with about 3.6 million youth between the ages of 15 and 29 having no work.


“Finding solutions to youth unemployment is of utmost importance. If we want to increase the absorption and retention of young people into the economy, we need to prioritize pragmatic, demand focused and solutions driven interventions,” said the minister.


He was delivering the opening remarks on behalf of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.


There was a need for short, medium and long term solutions that focus on sustainable jobs, he said.


Structural constraints need to be addressed as there was a big pool of poorly educated black youth. The minister acknowledged that the majority of the youth is trapped in temporary, informal and casual work with limited prospects for advancement.


However, several initiatives had proven to be a success such as that of the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator which is beginning to receive attention as one of the country’s most effective youth employment facilitators.


Harambee was formed in 2010 to find young people, who are disadvantaged, but employable to find jobs because they don’t have the money, skills or social know-how. It has placed over 1000 candidates in full-time jobs.


The South African economy was divided into two with the first economy being a modern vehicle providing decent work and the second economy comprising of vulnerable work.


“The second economy is characterised by glaring forms of decent work deficits, which give rise to livelihood risks and vulnerability. This fact has prompted government to affirm the place of transformative social protection in responding to structural poverty and unemployment,” Minister Chabane said.


Decent work and productive employment has been placed at the central stage by government.


“South Africa must and will accelerate its efforts to put ‘youth unemployment’ at the centre stage of policy and programmes,” said the minister.


He noted that the indaba — which will conclude on Monday — comes at a crucial time in the country’s development.


The indaba came at a time when the country has just about recovered from the financial meltdown and at a time when debate on decent work among others is intensifying, noted Minister Chabane.


Government recognised that the majority of unemployment youth are low skilled who are mostly women and youth in rural areas.


Of South Africa’s population, 12.1% now hold a postgraduate qualification, up from 7.1% in 1996. Those, who have completed at least secondary school, as a percentage of the population have increased from 23.4% in 1996 to 40.5% in 2011.


President Jacob Zuma is expected to address the youth that have converged at the indaba on Sunday morning.


The indaba provides a platform for young people to empower themselves. It will also have an expo component to help connect youth to job opportunities, career information, scholarships, bursary programmes and enterprise development support.


The opening of the indaba, held at the Birchwood Conference Centre, was attended by Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Deputy Minister Obed Bapela, Department of Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor and Cosatu President Sidumo Dlamini, among others. -

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Plan to boost SA’s skills base

Posted by | March 3, 2014 | Blog

The launch of the National Integrated Human Resource Development Plan is an important step forward in driving and increasing the human resource and skills development base of the country, says Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande.

The plan is expected to be unveiled by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe tomorrow during the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa’s (HRDC) first-ever summit.

The summit kicked off on Monday with an opening address by Minister Nzimande. He said some of the strategic goals to be outlined in the plan include universal access to quality foundational learning; expanded access to the post- schooling system and the creation of a capable public sector with effective and efficient planning and implementation capabilities.

This will be in addition to the production of appropriately skilled people for the economy and improved technological innovation and outcomes.

“The plan is in line with the National Development Plan’s proposals for greater investments into human capitals, as one component of creating jobs, reducing poverty and inequality,” he told the delegates representing organised labour, business, government, civil society, higher education and technical and vocational education institutions and guests from around the world.

According to Minister Nzimande, the National Integrated Human Resource Development Plan is also designed to contribute to the country’s youth employment by matching education and training efforts with the demands of the labour market.

Emphasis, he said, will be on the coordinated response of appropriate public-sector skills, including at the local government level.

The summit, being held under the theme “Unearthing South Africa’s Human Potential for Development and Growth”, is the first of its kind since the establishment of the HRDC in 2010.

The two-day summit will also discuss the HRDC’s Technical Task Teams’ research findings, identify future human resource development-related research needs and solicit commitments on the implementation of recommendations to unblock blockages in the human resource development pipeline.

“The HRDC is of significance to our country because it seeks to contribute towards addressing some of our stubborn socioeconomic problems including poverty, inequality and unemployment.

“The development of the skills and capable workforce through a comprehensive human resources development strategy is key not only to our country’s development, but to our addressing these socioeconomic challenges.”

The HRDC is a national multi-tiered stakeholder advisory body established to build the human resource development base required to ensure a prosperous and inclusive South African society and economy.

It has formed partnerships with different stakeholders, including the SA Maritime Safety Authority, the National Network on Innovation, the Public Sector Trainers Work Forum and the National Skills Authority, among others, to enable the council to pursue new resources development issues vigorously. –

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Pres Zuma calls on youth to help move SA forward

Posted by | March 3, 2014 | Blog

While government continues to invest in education and skills development, President Jacob Zuma has urged the youth to dream big and to help the country move towards meaningful economic emancipation.

“You must dream about a prosperous South Africa, we dreamt about freedom and it happened,” said President Zuma on Sunday.

The President was addressing the Presidential Youth Indaba on Jobs and Skills which kicked off on Friday.

He said government is investing heavily in education. “To date over 8 000 youth have been assisted to rewrite their matric. The results in 2013 were an impressive 78% pass rate.

“At the level of Higher Education, 12 % of our population now hold a postgraduate qualification up from 7% in 1996. Student enrolments at colleges have increased by 90%. There are increases in enrolments at universities and universities of technology as well,” the President said.

It is government’s belief that education and skills development are the most powerful weapon that the youth will need to enable them to run the country’s economy.

“This investment in education is thus designed to prepare our youth for the second phase of freedom, that of meaningful economic emancipation,” said the President, adding that the country has to build an inclusive economy that creates jobs, but importantly also one that reflects the demographics of the country.

He said the ownership, control and management of the economy has to be changed, working with business, labour and the community sector.

Ownership of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has changed only slightly since the dawn of freedom, but the President welcomed the fact that over R600 billion in black economic empowerment transactions have been recorded since 1995. The percentage of black people and women in senior management has increased from less than 10% in the 1990s to over 40% today.

President Zuma asked the youth comprised of youngsters’ from across the nine provinces gathered at the Indaba to start thinking about their contribution to growing an inclusive economy and to moving the country forward.

National Development Plan (NDP)

President Zuma told the youth that as of this year government policies will be guided by the National Development Plan (NDP) that outlines a growing economy and creates jobs among other things.

He asked the youth to familiarise themselves with the plan. “Within the NDP are some instruments that we want you to know and understand very well as young people,” he said.

Funding agencies

The President noted that the youth had pointed out their issues of concern such as work experience and finding the first funding to become an entrepreneur. The President said he was pleased that the heads of funding agencies like the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) were in attendance at the Indaba, which will conclude tomorrow.

In the past year, the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) and Sefa had approved funding of more than R160 million for young entrepreneurs. “They have homework to do now,” he told a packed room of delegates.

Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP)

To help address the country’s unemployment problem, government launched the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in 2004, with phase two launched in April 2009.

Between April 2009 and September 2013, 3.7 million work opportunities were created.

EPWP is targeted at women and the youth with 54% women and 50% of youth having benefited from the programme.

To date, 277 out of 278 municipalities have signed protocol agreements, committing them to achieve their EPWP targets. “Youth development and empowerment is critical to the success of our democracy,” said the President.

President Zuma received a warm welcome on the third day of the Indaba held at Birchwood Conference Centre. Following his address the President sang struggle songs along with the youth, who gathered at the Indaba. –

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Top 10 interview questions and how to answer them

Posted by | February 25, 2014 | Blog

There are some common interview questions and you should prepare your answers before-hand. The key thing to remember when responding to interview questions is to keep your answers brief and to the point.  If you are faced with a difficult question, make sure you stay calm, don’t get defensive, and take a moment to think about your response before you answer.

Remember, the responses below are only suggestions. Try to personalise your response as much as possible.

Question: Tell me about yourself.

Answer: Identify some of your main attributes and memorise them. Describe your qualifications, career history and range of skills, emphasising those skills relevant to the job on offer.

Q: What have your achievements been to date?

A. Select an achievement that is work-related and fairly recent. Identify the skills you used in the achievement and quantify the benefit it had to the company. For example, ‘my greatest achievement has been to design and implement a new sales ledger system, bringing it in ahead of time and improving our debtors’ position significantly, saving the company £50,000 a month in interest’.

Q: Are you happy with your career-to-date?

A: This question is really about your self-esteem, confidence and career aspirations. The answer must be ‘yes’, followed by a brief explanation as to what it is about your career so far that’s made you happy. If you have hit a career plateau, or you feel you are moving too slowly, then you must qualify your answer.

Q: What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it?

A: The purpose of this question is to find out what your definition of difficult is and whether you can show a logical approach to problem solving. In order to show yourself in a positive light, select a difficult work situation which was not caused by you and which can be quickly explained in a few sentences. Explain how you defined the problem, what the options were, why you selected the one you did and what the outcome was. Always end on a positive note.

Q: What do you like about your present job?

A: This is a straightforward question. All you have to do is make sure that your ‘likes’ correspond to the skills required for the job on offer. Be enthusiastic; describe your job as interesting and diverse but do not overdo it - after all, you are looking to leave.

Q: What do you dislike about your present job?

A: Be cautious with this answer. Do not be too specific as you may draw attention to weaknesses that will leave you open to further problems. One approach is to choose a characteristic of your present company, such as its size or slow decision-making processes etc. Give your answer with the air of someone who takes problems and frustrations in your stride as part of the job.

Q: What are your strengths?

A: This is one question that you know you are going to get so there is no excuse for being unprepared. Concentrate on discussing your main strengths. List three or four proficiencies e.g. your ability to learn quickly, determination to succeed, positive attitude, your ability to relate to people and achieve a common goal. You may be asked to give examples of the above so be prepared.

Q: What is your greatest weakness?

A: Do not say you have none - this will lead to further problems. You have two options - use a professed weakness such as a lack of experience (not ability) on your part in an area that is not vital for the job. The second option is to describe a personal or professional weakness that could also be considered to be a strength and the steps you have taken to combat it. An example would be: “I know my team think I’m too demanding at times - I tend to drive them pretty hard but I’m getting much better at using the carrot and not the stick”.

Q: Why do you want to leave your current employer?

A: State how you are looking for a new challenge, more responsibility, experience and a change of environment. Do not be negative in your reasons for leaving. It is rarely appropriate to cite salary as your primary motivator.

Q: Why have you applied for this particular job?

A: The employer is looking for evidence that the job suits you, fits in with your general aptitudes, coincides with your long-term goals and involves doing things you enjoy.  Make sure you have a good understanding of the role and the organisation, and describe the attributes of the organisation that interest you most.

Other common interview questions to consider:

  • How does your job fit in to your department and company?
  • What do you enjoy about this industry?
  • Give an example of when you have worked under pressure.
  • What kinds of people do you like working with?
  • Give me an example of when your work was criticised.
  • Give me an example of when you have felt anger at work. How did you cope and did you still perform a good job?
  • What kind of people do you find it difficult to work with?
  • Give me an example of when you have had to face a conflict of interest at work.
  • Tell me about the last time you disagreed with your boss.
  • Give me an example of when you haven’t got on with others.
  • Do you prefer to work alone or in a group? Why?
  • This organisation is very different to your current employer – how do you think you are going to fit in?
  • What are you looking for in a company?
  • How do you measure your own performance?
  • What kind of pressures have you encountered at work?
  • Are you a self-starter? Give me examples to demonstrate this?
  • What changes in the workplace have caused you difficulty and why?
  • How do you feel about working long hours and/or weekends?
  • Give me an example of when you have been out of your depth.
  • What have you failed to achieve to date?
  • What can you bring to this organisation?









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Tips on selecting referees

Posted by | February 22, 2014 | Blog

After your interview, a good reference from your chosen referees can be the difference between getting the job and being turned down. Employers will be interested to know how you performed in previous roles compared with how you came across during the interview.

If you have several referees available to contact, you should put on your CV “references available on request”. That way you can decide which person is most suitable for supplying a reference for each role.

Eight tips on selecting referees:

1. Your referee must be aware that you are giving their details to an employer. It’s unprofessional and unfair to provide a referee’s details without their consent and you may not get the feedback you’re after.

2. Inform the referee beforehand what the role is, they can then tailor their reference depending on what needs highlighting and what is irrelevant.

3. Put forward a former employer. If the interviewer wants a personal reference they will say so, otherwise it should be a professional one.

4. Choose someone who will give you a positive reference. Don’t select someone purely on the basis of either superiority or how close you were to them. A supervisor who you worked closely with, for example, will know more about you than a manager you had little contact with. Likewise, a colleague you’re close with may know you well, but probably won’t be recognised as authoritative enough to be your referee.

5. The way your referee communicates will reflect on you. If someone has something very positive to say about you but doesn’t communicate well on the phone or isn’t very good at writing emails then it lowers the credibility of the reference.

6. Keep in touch with your referee, they should know where you’re up to with your job search and when their services will be required. This also means you’ll be aware of any contact detail changes, which you can then pass on to the employer. If a referee can’t be easily contacted, employers might think you have given them false information or may give up trying to get hold of them. If possible, provide two contact numbers and an email address.

7. If you can, choose a referee who will almost always be contactable, as opposed to someone who goes on regular holidays or works away a lot, if an employer is on a tight schedule and can’t get hold of your referee quickly, it could jeopardise your chances.

8. After your interview inform your referees that they may be contacted soon. It will give them time to prepare the reference.

Don’t forget to thank your referees, when they accept and when they provide the reference.

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How to write a great covering letter

Posted by | February 20, 2014 | Blog

A great covering letter can differentiate your CV from the countless others that pass across an employer’s desk. Make sure yours stands out.

When responding to an advertised job vacancy, whether via letter, email or fax, you should always include a covering letter with your CV. Treat it as a vital part of your personal marketing literature, which merits attention and consideration. A cover letter introduces you and your CV and is your first chance to make a good impression on your potential employer. Aim to make it entice the reader to take those few extra minutes to consider you against other applicants. Your CV should not be sent without one!
Below are some basic guidelines to help ensure you receive a positive response from your initial contact.

Appearance and layout
Ensure your letter is neatly and clearly presented with no grammatical or spelling errors. Emails should be written in a common font with standard formatting and should emulate a handwritten letter in terms of style.

The content of your cover letter should be brief and structured, avoid lengthy repetition of information covered in your CV. (Unlike a CV, it is acceptable to write a covering letter in the first person.) In particular:

  • Your letter should address the relevant contact, whose name often appears in the job advert. Avoid Sir or Madam if possible.
  • If you are replying to an advert, say so. Mention job title, any reference number and where and when you saw it.
  • In some cases an advert will indicate a more substantial letter is required. Always follow a specific instruction and include any information if it is particularly requested, for example, current salary.
  • Briefly outline your current situation and why you are seeking change. Include current or last job, qualifications and professional and academic training, tailoring your information to make it as relevant as possible to the organisation or job applied for.
  • Tell the potential employer a little about themselves to demonstrate you have properly read the advert and that you have done some research into the organisation. Also, state why you are interested in them as an employer
  • You need to succinctly emphasise why an employer may want to meet and employ you. Highlight your transferable skills, achievements and versatility; what you can contribute and what makes you different. Mention personality traits relevant to the role applied for, taking care not to appear too subjective.
  • Ensure the letter flows freely however and does not slavishly match every point on the job description. The reader should be left with an overall impression that you are a potentially valuable addition to the workforce.
  • Negative information of any sort should be avoided in your covering letter as well as CV.
  • Close your letter with a polite expression of interest in further dialogue with the recruiter. Do mention that you would like the opportunity to discuss your suitability further at an interview and that you await a response in due course.
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How to write a great CV

Posted by | February 15, 2014 | Blog

A great CV can occasionally itself secure you a job, especially if you are applying for temporary work. At the very least, a strong CV will ensure you promote yourself to your best advantage and help secure interviews.

There is no single way to construct a CV; it is your document and can be structured and presented as you wish within the basic framework set out below.

What information should a CV include?

  • Personal details. Most CVs start with these but take care to avoid superfluous details, such as religious affiliation, children’s names and so on.
  • Education and qualifications. Take care to include the names of institutions and dates attended in reverse order; university before school results.
  • Work experience. The most widely accepted style of employment record is the chronological CV. Career history is presented in reverse date order starting with most recent. Achievements and responsibilities are listed against each role. More emphasis/information should be put on more recent jobs.

A functional CV can sometimes be more appropriate, for example if you have held a number of unrelated jobs. This presentation emphasises key skills which can be grouped together under suitable headings. However, career progression and the nature of jobs held can be unclear with this type of CV.

  • Skills. Include computer skills and (genuine) foreign language skills and any other recent training/development that is relevant to the role applied for.
  • Hobbies and Interests. Keep this section short.
  • Referees. These can simply be ‘Available on request’.

The order in which you present these, and the emphasis which you give to each one will depend on what you are applying for and what you have to offer.

General Tips

  • Your CV should be laser-printed in black ink using a plain typeface, on good quality A4 white/cream paper. Decorative borders are not necessary, nor are photographs of yourself.
  • Your CV should ideally cover no more than two pages and never more than three. Aim to ensure the content is clear, structured, concise and relevant. Using bullet points rather than full sentences can help minimise word usage
  • A basic CV may need tailoring to each job application.
  • The completed CV needs to be checked carefully for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes and to ensure that it makes sense. Ask an ‘independent’ party to review the whole document before it is sent out.
  • Remember when writing and structuring your CV that it is essentially marketing you and that a potential employer will use the details provided to form interview questions. It should be clear and easy to read. Gaps in career history should be explained and falsehoods and inaccuracies avoided at all costs.
  • There is no reason to include your reasons for leaving each job on your CV but be prepared to answer these questions in your interview.
  • Current salary details should not be included.
  • A good covering letter should always accompany your CV.

Good luck with your job hunt!



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Interview Tips

Posted by | January 27, 2013 | Blog

By: Zazi Ndungane


Applying for a job and getting an invite to that interview can be exciting, then comes the realization that you have “AN INTERVIEW TO ATTEND!” Preparing and going for an interview can be nerve racking if not all together grievous! Maybe I’m a drama queen and I exaggerate but with my years of experience in Recruitment and Human Resources let me give you a perspective from the employer and hopefully lessen your stress as you get ready to ace that interview and land that dream job.

10 Interview tips for success:


1. Do some research.

On the internet, Google is an AMAZING TOOL. (You can also go on the company website, companies twitter handle even on Facebook, maybe you know someone who works for the company and you can ask them a few questions about the company and better yet the division/department you are hoping to be employed in.*Tip: There’s is nothing that sets the candidate apart and makes the panel sit up and listen than a prepared candidate who is obviously interested in the company and has taken their time to find out more than just the job they applied for, well the reverse is true and will likely cost you the job.

2. Have a copy of the CV you sent the company in front of you.

Know what is in your CV, so when you are asked a question based on what you wrote on your CV you know exactly what they (i.e. the interviewer, panel etc., are referring to.*Tip: Hideous to ask a candidate a question and they have to scramble through their nervous brain to remember the company they worked for 5 years ago, whereas they could have a copy in front of them where they made notes and can refer and quickly respond.

3. Relax and breathe

Really… I mean it please chill out, we won’t kill or eat you. We invited you to the interview because based on what’s written on your CV you seem to be a person who could do the job. We want to confirm or know that it’s true or not. So relax and breathe so you can assure us, besides your referees you are the person we trusting to tell us about your skill set you know yourself best so sell yourself.

4. Dress the part

You want to be taken seriously right? So wearing clothes like youare just going to hang out with your friends wont cut it. Impress us, you know what the say first impressions last.

a) Look the part (wear the outfit that is appropriate to the environment/ company culture (that’s why I said in bullet 1 do your research…,

b) smell the part (wash, brush teeth, have a mint and use deodorant/ perfume etc),

c) speak up (be audible, speak clearly and slowly that’s why I said breathe earlier… but do not speak too slow, don’t use too many hand gestures) and;

d) act the part (Stand tall and don’t slouch, shake hands firmly, keep eye contact but not for too long).*Tip: Black pants and white shirt with black tie, black shoes with black socks is safe for men, and black skirt with stockings or pants and white shirt for a lady as well. If the company is corporate put on a jacket and wear black shoes, that applies to both sexes.

5. Listen carefully to the question being asked

We don’t mind repeating the question if the candidate didn’t hear the question the first time or even rephrasing it, English is not the first language for the majority of South Africans and foreigners. *Tip: But don’t go off on a tangent on something that we didn’t ask you out of not hearing or being nervous or both!

6. Arrive on time

Get there on time, only Bill Gates can arrive late he already has millions, and there is no such thing as African time or fashionably late when you want a job, even better get there early so you can find the building and interview venue. You might have walked to the interview and need to powder your nose and get a glass of water before facing the people who will determine your future. *Tip: Being late shows utter disrespect and disregard for the job, company and the people representing it when you get there late.

7. Smile

As you are told by the receptionist to walk into the boardroom put on your bravest smile it tells you brain you’re alright. *Tip: You’ve got this : ) remember you’re prepared and they think you got potential! Smile and show them.

8. Greet everyone in the room

Not necessarily by shaking everyone’s hand i.e. if the room has more than 3 people as that could be time consuming, a courteous “Good morning or good afternoon” will suffice and sit on the seat where you are shown. As you are introduced to the members of the panel nod your head and smile at each of them in acknowledgement, if you want to be even more charming write the names down on the pad you have in front of you to repeat them when they ask you their questions. Eg. Thank you, Mr Motsepe for the question, the reason why I want to work for Rainbow Holdings is…

9. Ask relevant questions

Please and again I ask don’t ask things which are on the internet , company webpage or you could have called the response handler prior to the interview. *Tip: Ask clever questions, clarify salary and benefits if they were not clearly expressed in the interview etc.

10. Thank the panel for seeing you

Now I’m not an advocate of sending an email to say thank you to H.R but use your discretion, but after the interview say thank you to the panel for seeing you, smile and bid farewell. Stand up, gather your belongings and walk out with a smile.