Decent Work in South Africa

May 17, 2010

Decent Work in South Africa

ITA (The Information Technology Association of SA) recently launched the Inaugural Annual Conference and Exhibition, a two day conference to bring the IT industry up to speed on the use of innovative technology and how it can transform lives, support economies, promoting increased productivity and performance to meet the objective of “Building tomorrow’s South Africa”.

The ITA conference was a huge success and focused on the government’s priority programmes, and unpacked issues that South Africa is currently facing by bringing together a number of industry leaders to chart the way forward.

The conference facilitated open and robust discussions on all economic, social, business and technology issues.

  • Decent work
  • Health care
  • Education
  • Rural Development
  • Crime and Corruption

Sylvia Thomaides, Tricruit’s representative was a panellist with the “Decent Work” forum and a moderator with the “Crime and Corruption” forum.

What is decent work?

The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines decent work as:

  •  Opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income,
  • Security in the workplace and social protection for families,
  • Better prospects for personal development and social integration,
  • Freedom for people to express their concerns,
  • Freedom for people to Organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and
  • Equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.

 The 4 pillars of the International Labour Organization (ILO): 

  • Standards and rights at work
  • Employment creation and enterprise development
  • Social protection
  • Social dialogue

The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Ideals for Decent Work:

  • Regulation of the hours of work including the establishment of a maximum working day and week.
  • Regulation of labour supply; prevention of unemployment and provision of an adequate living wage.
  • Protection of the worker against sickness, disease and injury arising out of his employment.
  • Protection of children, young persons and women.
  • Provision for old age and injury, protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other than their own.
  • Recognition of the principle if equal remuneration for work of equal value.
  • Recognition of the principle of freedom of association.
  • Organization of vocational and technical education. 


According to the Adcorp Annual report for 2009, South Africa has close to: 

  • 48 million citizens
  • A Labour force of approximately 31 million
  • Just over 4 million people are unemployed (23.8%)
  • Nine and a half million people are employed in the formal sector (30%)
  • Two million people are employed in the informal sector (7%)
  • Close to 1.3 million people are employed in private households (4%)
  • 738, 000 are employed in the agricultural sector
  • About 5.6 million people are in educational institutions
  • Around 13.5 million people are on social welfare
  • And we have 1.8 million disabled people in South Africa

South Africa – Factors to be overcome to achieve decent work

As a developing country, South Africa faces unique challenges in the arena of decent work. 

The challenges we face are: 

  1. Unemployment
  2. Skills Development
  3. Forced Labour
  4. Child Labour
  5. Safe Working Environments
  6. Minimum Wage
  7. Social Protection
  8. Equality
  9. Social Dialogue
  10. 10.  Informal Economy 


The unemployment rate in South Africa is 23.5%

Statistics show that between 1981 and 2001, the worldwide number of people living on less than $1 a day declined from 1.45 billion to 1.1 billion, while in sub-Saharan Africa, the number increased from 164 million to 314 million. 

What are some factors contributing to unemployment? 

  • Unskilled labour: 

Unskilled labour is probably one of the biggest contributing factors to unemployment. The skills development programs currently in place are not sufficient to combat this problem. South Africa has a large unskilled work-force, and the only possibility of lowering the unemployment rate is for private companies, in conjunction with the Services SETA, is to provide internship and skills development programs that provide on the job training as well as liveable income. Skills development programs are not sufficient to combat this problem. Internship programs that provide on the job training, both in manufacturing, as well as follow up internship programs for graduates are essential and the only possibility of combating the unemployment rate.

  •  Incomplete / Inadequate education

An education that is incomplete or inadequate and does not adequately prepare students for the working environment or any skilled trade causes a shortage or disadvantage for the working environment. The poverty has filtered down through the generations, and many children do not complete their education because they have to stay home and help look after sick, elderly or younger family members. It is often not possible for children, even those who have excelled at school and shown great potential, to further develop their skills and intellectual abilities at university or technikon, because of limited financial means. Often this talent is not recognized and rewarded at a local level, as should surely be the case, but is fostered at an international level. South Africa should implement adequate skills development programs, bursaries and internships at a Secondary and Tertiary level, so that this potential does not go unrecognised or unrewarded, as is too often now the case. 

  • Poverty and HIV / AIDS:

Often children, especially girls, do not finish school because they are forced to stay home to look after sick parents and younger siblings. 

Skills Development 

Lack of skilled labour is probably one of the biggest challenges we face. While there are bursaries available, and university education has become more accessible to the disadvantaged, this in itself is not proving to be an adequate solution to the problem of unskilled labour. The Private Sector, in conjunction with the government needs to implement comprehensive internship programs and learnership on a much larger scale. Individuals need to be educated and up-skilled. We are even finding that people with University qualifications are unable to find work due to lack of experience and training. 

It is essential that on every level, both in the formal and informal sector, people are up-skilled, given on the job training, and provided with opportunities to constantly improve in terms of the level of skill they possess. We cannot leave things as they are if we wish for South Africa to achieve an acceptable standard of decent work. Policies and systems need to be put at every level of any organizations offering employment, from SME’s (where the majority of the South African work-force is employed), to the larger companies and corporations. It has been said that if you catch a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Although it is important in certain cases for us to subsidise and compensate, it is essential for us in every instance to teach and empower through knowledge and skill that will provide opportunities for individuals not only now, but 10, 20, 30 years into the future. 

Forced Labour

Forced labour is an issue especially when it comes to vulnerable groups such migrant labourers, women and youngsters. Although skilled labour immigrating to other parts of the world is a factor in South Africa, most migration is still between African countries, where people move from one African country to another, seeking better working and living standards, or better opportunities for their families. Migrant workers often leave their families in search of better working and living conditions, with the hope of sending them money and eventually having their families join them. This, more often than not, doesn’t materialise. Migrant labourers are taken advantage of. Even if they receive a salary, and not just room and board for their labour, their working hours and conditions are often of an unacceptable standard. They are often forced to work extremely long hours and extra shifts, or to perform their duties of employment in an environment that is hazardous to their health. 

Child labour 

Child labour – More than 200 million children world-wide are involved in child labour. Nearly three quarters of working children are engaged in the worst forms of child labour, including trafficking, armed conflict, slavery, sexual exploitation and work that are hazardous to their physical, mental and emotional development.

Some children in South Africa are forced to stay home to help care for sick, elderly or younger family members, and so deprived of an essential education. 

Many children who have been orphaned or abandoned or run away from unbearable home situations are on our streets, and, without an education or any learning opportunities, will find it nearly impossible later on in life to successfully integrate with society. They will be unable to sustain themselves through employment, and will turn to crime or live a life of abject poverty. Children are often forced by their parents to stay home and help care for sick or elderly family members, or to look after younger siblings. Some children are forced to earn a living while they should still be at school, while there are many orphaned children on the streets who earn their way through drugs and prostitution. 

Safe Working Environments: 

Each South African should have the right to work in an environment that is not hazardous to their health or safety. This includes exposure to elements that could cause sickness, injury or disease, excessive working hours, Manual labour without necessary protective gear, or allowing employees to do work without being properly educated / trained. Again, especially migrant workers, women and youngsters are prone to be taken advantage of in this manner. Many South African’s work in hazardous environments, and compliance to certain standards should be monitored and enforced. 

Minimum wage 

Minimum wage should firstly be of a liveable standard. Secondly, compliance to minimum wage should be more closely monitored and strictly enforced. This is especially true for those working in the informal, agricultural and domestic sector. Overtime, paid leave, maternity leave and minimum wage are all issues in that need to be firstly addressed, and secondly enforced. The unemployed are especially vulnerable to the violation of minimum wage, because they are often forced out of desperation to “take what they can get.” Often their remuneration is barely enough to cover transportation costs and basic food for the day. Employers of day labourers, or “Piece” workers, should pay a minimum wage for a day’s work, should have valid “permits” for day labours, which hold them at least to a minimum wage, safe working conditions, and certain working hours. Minimum wage should especially be enforced when it comes to those working in the informal sector of South Africa, where those employed are often ignorant of their rights and the basic conditions of employment. 

Social Protection 

Social protection is a powerful instrument that should be implemented at every level, in order for decent work and the reduction of poverty to be achieved. Social securities where put in places so as to limit the abuse on workers such as Access to Medical Care, Pension Funds for Retirement, Security of income in case of injury, prolonged sickness or disability and Maternity benefits for women. In South Africa, it is only those that work in the formal sector that even have the option of Private Medical Care or Provident Funds, and even to some of these, basic social security is a not a reality. 

These necessary Protections are considered to be “Benefits,” not rights, as long as this is the case; our country will not achieve an acceptable standard of decent work. Many South Africans do not have access to basic Medical Facilities, much less specialists such as dentists, surgeons, optometrists, etc. Especially those working in South Africa’s informal and agricultural sectors, will never have access to these “social protections,” that should be the right of every working citizen. We should strive to implement and give workers access to Preventative Health Care services and provide Basic Education and prevention in the area of occupational health and safety. Social protection is a powerful instrument that should be utilised for the long term benefits it can provide in terms of poverty alleviation, lower crime rates, increased productivity, and a healthier work force. 

Every person should have the right to income security in the face of disease, disability, and old age. Here something must be said of the effects on our work-force of HIV/AIDS. Over 5 years ago, the average life expectancy for a person in Sub-Saharan Africa was 47 years; it has decreased since then. Without HIV / AIDS, the average person in Sub-Saharan Africa could be expected to live to 62. HIV /AIDS has had a devastating effect on our work-force and the future generation. More efforts must be made to implement education and training when it comes to basic healthcare and Preventative health care in the face of HIV.


People should have equal opportunities for growth in their careers, further educational development, training, promotions and salary increases, regardless of gender or race. Discrimination can take many forms, be it race, gender, religion or age. Every individual should have the right to have their potential recognized and their talents developed. 

Social Dialogue 

Social Dialogue is the idea that each person has the right to be heard, and to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives. Most people spend an average of at least 45 hours a week at their place of employment. Places of employment should offer opportunities in the forms of short and long term career plans, career education, training and development, study leave and bursaries. Each person should have the right to fulfil their potential in the workplace.

Informal Economy 

Informal economy comprises half to three quarters of all non agricultural employment in developing countries, such as South Africa.

Some of characteristic features of informal employment are:

  • Lack of protection in the event of non payment of wages (In cases of old age, injury, sickness, invalidity, maternity, etc)
  • Compulsory overtime or extra shifts (there is a need to limit excessive working hours, and provide adequate periods of rest and recuperation, including weekly rest and paid annual leave in order to protect the employee and ensure continued health and safety)
  • Lay-offs without Notice or Compensation
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • The absence of Social Security benefits such as Pensions, Health Insurance and Sick pay. Women, migrant labourers and vulnerable groups of workers are most prone to this form of informal employment. 

South Africa faces many challenges in the future but with the help of the ICT sector our continent can confront obstacles by interconnecting on a national level and speed up the process of globalisation. The largest barrier South Africa faces is in the skills development sector and once we encourage new business to proliferate and expand in order to pave way for industry growth we will be able to tackle the barricade around growth. South Africa would be able to assist with job creation and contribute to the social upliftment of our country. 

A comment made by a delegate attending the ITA conference had stuck to mind: “The level of unemployment in SA is rising and having a job is descent work!” As per the statistics presented by Mr Jacob Zuma at the BUSA AGM, South Africa has lost 1mil jobs to date due to the global economic crisis and Africa was not been effected as severely as many other countries in the world.  

“It’s your future. It’s your innovation. Use your voice.”




Cementing Generational Gaps

February 10, 2010

It’s inevitable…the workforce consists of multiple generations who are working together despite the difference in age group ideals. Today, in the new millennia we can see up to four completely different generations co-existing in the workplace to what it seems like in a civilised manner but in reality we are working in a strenuous environment. Conflict tends to arise between the different age groups due to a diverse way of thinking, provoked by the distinct era in which they were born in. “One of the biggest struggles companies have is with people who are not playing well in the sandbox,” says Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing for Yoh, an IT talent and outsourcing services firm.

Imagine what companies can accomplish if we have a broad understanding of the ‘generation factor’. Companies could therefore have the building material to create a corporate culture whereby the strengths of each generation can be fully utilized. Thus we are able to ensure and maintain productivity – constructing a winning team!

But first we have to understand the characteristics of each generation in order to manufacture the blocks of success. We have to discover WHO is determined in which generation class and WHAT makes each generation uniquely different?

The Silent Generation

People born during WWII (1930 to1945) are classically known as the silent generation or veterans as they bring a traditional, heroic attitude to work. This generation is practical, respectful and accustomed to hierarchical leadership. They are a reliable and steadfast presence, but somewhat uncomfortable with the wild blender of technology and age/gender/ethnic diversity in today’s workplace.

The Baby Boomers

Boomers born between the years of 1946 to1958 are typically driven and optimistic—and somewhat self-centered. They grew up the center of attention and enjoyed the progress of television, the Space Age, and modern suburbia. While they hold some of the Veterans’ duty-driven work habits, they were also the originators of collaborative work and consensus-based leadership. They’re cautiously pro-technology and interested in helping younger generations learn, but can be frustrated by what looks to them like a less ambitious approach to work.

Generation X

This group sprung between the years 1959 to 1979 and is influenced by sweeping social change and sandwiched between the optimism of the post-WWII generation and the complexity of a globalised world. Often children of divorce, they grew up self-reliant and not nearly as trusting as the Boomers. They have a tendency to be skeptical and anti-personal commitment, however, given work that is meaningful to them, colleagues they respect, and schedules with work-life balance, they are highly creative and productive.

Generation Y

People born within the years 1980 to present are known as generation Y or Millennials. This age group has lived with unprecedented economic prosperity and the optimistic influence of “make-the-world-a-better-place” Baby Boomers like Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey. Raised by parents determined to provide them the best life experiences, they are smart and sophisticated, yet keep very close ties to their parents. This generation only knows a world with DVDs, iPods, wireless access, multiple cell phone families and homework done over the web. After years in play groups and organized after-school activities, they are natural collaborators.

Authenticity, foresight, resilience and efficiency are some of the examples that define the history of employment. However, in the corporate environment we lack one key element that could navigate us into a productive lifestyle and that is – communication. Each generation brings in a different work ethic which is essential in the corporate environment. Nevertheless, older and younger generations are constantly bombarded with the stereotypical age difference which causes conflict due to a diverse generational living principle that underlines basic thinking. This conflict is the cause to the lack of communication within our work surroundings and the main setback to a company who cannot achieve their full potential. Co-workers need to understand that the difference in each of us helps brings clarity to our businesses.

“If employers don’t help break down communication barriers now, they will find themselves short of talented workers when they are really needed.” – Unknown author.

5 Tips Employers Can Implement to Narrow the Generational Communication Gap.
1. Be aware! Consider your workforce make up and needs over the next several years – even decades – including costs due to turnover. Do you have multiple generations currently… will you in the near future?  The remainder of the tips assume the answer is yes.
2. Be enlightening! Educate your employees, including your managers, regarding the differences amongst the generations, and show this as a strength. Diversity of thought and approach makes an organization stronger and more appealing to more people and to more customers. If we all thought the same way, we would never develop new ideas, embrace change, and move our organizations forward.
3. Be open! Talk about generational issues in a friendly environment. Let employees share their experiences and viewpoints in a safe atmosphere. It’s ok to have these differences – but you need to know how to manage them. Listen to all viewpoints and don’t just talk once – engage in frequent discussions about the topic.
4. Be a good example. Model respect and understanding from the top down. Create a flexible cultural environment. For example, if a Generation Y employee works from home on projects that do not require interaction with others, do not downplay the importance of the employee or that employee’s contribution to the project. If a 20 year employee had the flexibility to work from home, imagine how the 50 year old employees will feel? In fact, take the opportunity to highlight how contributions can be made from anywhere.
5. Be creative. Establish multiple incentive programs tailored to your company’s various generations. Toss out the idea that one benefit package fits all. For example, an employer may entice a Generation Y employee to increase customer satisfaction by rewarding the employee with free Internet access for a month after a specified number of customers complete an online (favourable) evaluation of the employee. Determine what employees want and reward them with it.



Technology has robbed people of humanity…

September 10, 2009

By Anastasia Thomaides – SAHETI Grade 12 (creative writing)

Steel, wire and brass, cement, brick and glass, plastic and tin are processed towards the bin, buried beneath the earth and are coded under our skin. Sacred materials are salvaged from the earth, manufactured by man and complimented by a ‘silvery’ complexion. A prized image, characterised as a mechanical saviour, labels our era as technologically advanced, a modern investment that leads us towards the unknown causing a major quarrel to whether or not the new millennia is a friend or a foe.

Technology, much like its tone, has a grey area to which it contains a superior and a dire symbolism of social networking. The cause of a positive and a negative imagery provides a parallel idea of progress versus dependence or addiction. The development of technicalities has without a doubt replaced the human factor: hands, feet – movement – has become rigid as we develop into robotic forms allowing prosthetic limbs to adopt our ‘dirty’ work, taking upon the duty to do hated yet necessary daily tasks. 

From relying on the strength of our vocal cords and the sacred man who delivers our mail to the dependence of carry-on telephones and a spectacular invention known as the internet, life on planet earth has indeed stepped forward and the use of electronics has definitely created a beneficial movement of communication. The correspondence of information has allowed our mind to grow through the use of easy accessible equipment, providing individuals with a chance to increase their personal knowledge of the world. Yet, the question still remains – have we become too reliant? 

Tap, tap, is the constant sound that the laptop makes as I shove my fingers down onto the keyboard. Click, click is the irritating noise that comes out of a cell phone when texting a friend. Br-r-r-ii-n-n-n-g is the deafening sound of an intercom calling a person from the other room. Vroom, vroom is the piercing echo that results from the pressure of rubber slamming against the black hardened river. Its official – the natural songs of the earth have drowned out by an artificial hum – life on our planet has inevitably become lost to the calling of the ‘prosperous’ world. 

Facebook, twitter, msn, and Skype have become permanent communication centers. People of today’s generation are seen to be eternally consumed by the screens of a computer or cellular phone, planning their lives around mxit and Google, paralysing their delicate bodies’ and benefiting merely an industrial addiction. The abuse on technology has caused a back track on civilization – Darwin’s theory on evolution has become degraded as we have developed backwards to the apes – falling from the peak of man kind towards an arched and crooked form. We have become a plain structure – a form much like the shape of the great pyramids, digging deeper to discover an ‘easier’ way of living. 

Are we prisoners of progress? The answer to that question is – yes we are. We have become obsessed with technology constantly relying on the mechanical tools to provide a faster means of production and communication. We rely on our metal friends in order to survive the world in order to create the feeling of security otherwise we would feel that we should seize to exist. We have undeniably lost something most precious to us and that is – the natural world.  

People have become extensions of machines!

September Newsletter

September 9, 2009

September newsletter

Skill scarcity is crippling Business in Africa!

January 8, 2009

South Africa is experiencing a serious skills shortage – and the situation is worsening at an alarming rate!

We came across various articles on the Internet such as …

South Africa has the world’s highest brain drain and worst skills shortages of 55 countries studied and its productivity is plummeting. This is according to Productivity SA and the 2007 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook. In the same book South Africa ranked last on infrastructure, internet costs, health problems, availability of qualified engineers and life expectancy.”

“About 81% of companies experience difficulty in recruiting staff due to a shortage of skills … known as the National Remuneration Guide, the survey, released by the accounting firm Deloitte & Touché, was conducted in February (2008)”.

 We at Tricruit are deeply concerned about the situation and we are constantly brainstorming ways and means to assist our valued clients and we have asked ourselves, “What can companies do to alleviate this crisis and attract and retain strong talent?” Finally we have solutions for you!

In these times of economic/financial difficulties that include exorbitant food prices, travelling costs, education fees, medical fees, high interest rates, etc., it will be a definite draw card if companies were to “up” their employees quality of life, benefits, re-look at bonuses, incentives, perks and just generally revise their salary packages to market value.

 Quality of life, career planning and money are crucial to an employee!

Market value for remuneration used to change annually but now it’s biannually and for specialized positions where scarcity of skill is very severe it’s quarterly! Don’t wait for your employee to resign in order for you to counter offer as a last attempt to retain your human capital wealth.

Improve your company branding! Get your staff to share your company’s vision, goals and aspirations.

Upgrade your succession planning, putting recruitment on hold now till “the political situation changes” or “the Rand strengthens” is SUICIDE!

Please consider this important aspect as we need you to retain your skilled people and not lose them to competitors or even worse, other countries, who offer them irresistible salaries and incentives!

Ace that Job interview!

December 9, 2008


 An interview is an the exchange of information in which people meet on equal terms. 

1. The interviewer wants to assess:

  • Training and experience.
  • Personality, temperament, behavioural suitability for the position, social adaptability, sense of responsibility.
  • Talent / potential for work, training and leadership. 

2. The interviewee wants to:

  • Present him/herself favourably, acceptably and confidently.
  • Find out more about the position, salary offered, the company, growth opportunities and get job!


1. Obtain a clear job description (from recruitment agency or advert).

  • Do not rely on job titles only.
  • You need to know what the skills requirements and the attributes are.

2. Do a self-assessment.

  • List your strengths and weaknesses,(regarding the job available).
  • Determine remedies to overcome weaker points.
  • List factors that would motivate you in such a job, as well as factors that you regard as absolutely essential for your job satisfaction (bearing in mind that the perfect job does not exist).

3. Make sure that you are the right applicant.

  • Do you meet at least the major requirements? How many of the minor requirements do you meet?
  • Does the job meet your requirements (Self-assessment)?

4. Research the organisation (don’t neglect this).

  • Find out as much as you can about the products / services, the structure, economic position, policies and facilities of the organisation.
  • Obtain information from internet, general business publications and the organisation’s own material (annual reports, brochures, newsletter, etc), as well as from people who know the organisation well.  

5. Prepare suitable answers to perceived interview questions

(see list at the end of this article). 

6. Find out as much as possible about your interviewer (s). 

7. Other hints:

  • Prepare your own questions to ask when the opportunity arises, or at the end of the interview.
  • Be careful how you phrase questions (use diplomacy!)
  • Expect unexpected questions.
  • Don’t let an interviewer intimidate you, but don’t be cheeky (you are busy with a business transaction).
  • If you are sure the interview has gone well, you may try to negotiate the terms of possible employment at the end of the interview (negotiate OBJECTIVELY, not emotionally).
  • Be patient if the interviewer is running late.
  • Once the interview is over, thank the interviewer(s), greet and depart. 


1. Introduction – greeting, small talk (positive talk).

2. Questions or information about the organisation.

3. Intensive questioning and observation to determine the following: 

  • Presence
  • Health, Speech, manner, appearance 
  • Qualifications & Experience Educational
  • Technical
  • Employment 
  • Competencies Intelligence
  • Integrity
  • Verbal Ability
  • Mathematical Ability
  • Logic and common sense 
  • Emotional Stability Ability to tolerate stress
  • Maturity
  • Initiative
  • Energy 
  • Social Roles Gregarious or solitary?
  • Leader or follower? 
  • Self Actualisation Goals and Objectives
  • Extrinsic/Intrinsic motivation 
  • Exuberation of Talent Potential to advance career




2. Be Prepared …

3. Be prepared to cope with stress / tension – Relax your body

4. Non-Verbal Communication:

  • The interview starts at the driveway not only at the interview room!
  • Dress appropriately for the situation, rather too conservatively than too modern (Be careful of too much perfume, deodorant and after-shave).
  • Neat looks are important
  • Enter company and interviewing room confidently and smiling.
  • Shake hands with interviewer(s).
  • Do not sit down unless invited to. (choose the chair you sit carefully- not too far from the door, not the head of the table if table rectangular).
  • Don’t spread all your belongings on interviewers table.
  • Posture should be naturally erect, attentive, composed, relaxed.
  • Be friendly and courteous but not subservient.
  • Use pauses to your advantage (don’t pause for too long).
  • Facial expression should convey interest, enthusiasm, alertness.
  • Maintain comfortable eye-contact (don’t stare).
  • Vocal tone, volume, pronunciation should also convey enthusiasm, etc.
  • Use gestures sparingly and controlled; don’t fidget.
  • Do NOT smoke (even if invited to), or chew gum; and avoid mannerisms. 

5. Verbal Communication:

  • Introduce yourself by name and greet interviewer by name (rather use formal address than first name).
  • Remember his name throughout the interview!
  • Be polite and courteous at all times.
  • Keep small talk formal and brief.
  • Talk spontaneously, BUT stick to the topic and the job.
  • Use pauses (1 – 3 seconds) to think before you answer.
  • Answer clearly, completely, briefly, as specifically as you can.
  • Listen, think and then answer (don’t take too long).
  • Do not apologise for weak points, rather counteract ways to overcome them.
  • Be honest (within reason).
  • Bring your skills, accomplishments and experience to their attention with confidence and modesty.


1. Tell me about yourself?  (Mention qualifications, experience, special areas of expertise, behavioural strengths related to the job).

2. What do you know about our organisation/firm/company? (research their website)

3. Why do you want to work for this organisation?

(Point out what about the organisation and the position you find attractive).

4. Why do you wish to leave your present employer?

(Give positive reason without lying).

5. What are your strengths and weaknesses? (They mean relating to the job or work environment – have a list ready)

6. What makes you feel that you are especially suited for this position? (Strengths, experience, motives).

7. Which aspect(s) of this position would you specially emphasise? (Know the job!).

8. What has been your worst job? Why? (Careful!)

9. How good are you at working under pressure? (give examples from previous jobs)?

10. What do you find most frustrating in your present job? (no mudslinging)

11. What are your long-term goals? / Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time? (align with the company and the job)

12. Do you like working alone or in a group?

13. What was your greatest achievement or disappointment?

14. How do you measure success?

15. What made you decide on this job as a career?

16. What gives you the highest job satisfaction?

17. What books have you read lately?

18. What, in your view, are the five most important aspects of being a good employee in your field?

19. How do you plan?

20. How do you manage your time?

21. Which do you regard as more important – job satisfaction or a good salary?

22. Which is more important to you – your family or your work?

23. What are your career aspirations?

24. How many hours a day do you think an employee should work?

25. What do you think determines a person’s progress in an organisation?

26. What kind of boss do you prefer?

27. What is your attitude to striking/work stoppage?

28. What kinds of people annoy you?

29. What motivates you in a job?

30. How do you feel about ‘change’?

31. How do you see responsibility and accountability?

32. How do you feel about ‘authority’?

33. Questions about your specific field will definitely be asked to determine your knowledge, skills, insight, adaptability, creativity, work ethics, etc. or Questions about political, religious and other affiliations might be asked if relevant.