How to land your dream job: Inside the mind of an HR manager

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To wrap up this month’s focus on portfolios and hiring, we picked the brains of The Giles Agency’s HR Manager, Nicky Naughtin. Take it away, Nicky: what do you look for in a potential newbie at interview?

Nicky Naughtin, TGA HR Manager

Let your personality shine through and be willing to have a laugh. Cultural fit is so important and we want to see that you’ll get along with the team and share our values.

Often nerves mean interviewees keep answers short and general, not specific. When answering questions, always give real examples in your answers. A general answer is not sufficient as in reality how you deal with a situation and people is much more complex. I want you to explain to me in detail how you dealt with the situation/task, what the outcomes were, and if you learnt anything from that experience.

Technical skills are important and you must talk about and demonstrate your knowledge of these. However, skills can also be taught, so be honest about your abilities — we’re all continually learning and developing our skills throughout our careers.  I want to see that you’re willing to learn more and also take the initiative to improve your own skill set and performance

Attitude is also another factor I look at. Having a positive can-do attitude is critical not only for team culture, but also for getting work tasks completed to a high standard. We all encounter stressful periods, but having the right attitude contributes to the success of both yourself and the agency.

Ask questions! Have some interesting questions to ask that show you have done your research on the agency and you’re interested in who we are. It’s also a time for you to put us on the spot and decide if we are the right agency for you!

It seems obvious, but candidates should update their portfolio to ensure it’s relevant to the position they’re applying for. From an HR perspective, I want to see that what you’ve shown in your portfolio relates to the role and demonstrates that you have the right capabilities — a certain type of design or written piece, for example. Other creative pieces are great to see as they can help show who you are and what you’re passionate about, but always ensure you have pieces that demonstrate why you’ll be the perfect fit for the role you’re interviewing for.