Business Lessons I learned since my primary school hustling days…

Sometimes I feel like maybe I have indian blood in me. I just love selling things, negotiating and trying to make deals. The idea of looking for opportunities and capitalizing on them has been with me since my early childhood. I have started over 10 business ventures and have learned a lot on the way

Negotiation 101
My 1st business venture was in grade 3 when I exchanged my lunch box for protection from bullies. Great investment with high returns. Learn to open your mouth

Be the main supplier
My love for the Nokia brand goes way back to my high school days. My cousin introduced me to selling phone accessories. He taught me how to be the main supplier. I learned fast and started selling cell phone covers to my fellow students. The 3310 device will remain my favourite because I made a killing with that device. 500% profit killing. I ended up supplying stock to others.

Control the market
In tertiary I graduated as an entrepreneur and started selling empty cd’s/dvd at different student residents. Hired a friend(David) to help me sell and we used his room as our main “Warehouse”. He later became my partner and we gave the competition a run for their money. Some even closed because we reduced the prices which forced every other seller to come down to the prices we set. We went a step further and gave specials which we knew the rest couldn’t offer. Mafia style

Never run out of stock
My partner and I went a step further and started selling airtime. It was common for students to sell airtime on campus but the problem was that most of them always ran out of stock. Not us. We made sure we had stock EVERYDAY in high supply. We never wanted to lose a customer. That’s how we beat and shut down the competition

Advertise your business and EXPAND
We really wanted to own the different residents at TUT and be the main providers of airtime. Your campus vodacom,mtn and CellC

So we did some hectic advertising which cost us around R20(clean papers,a black marker and prestick). We put up our cheap adverts on as many residents as possible. We knew the competitors would take them down which they did but we got the word out

From there we started paying more people from different residents to sell for us. That was our expansion method

Build a relationship with your customers
We had those regular customers who always wanted airtime even if they were out of campus. So we started selling to them on credit which they would later pay. This made them always buy from us and we never charged them for sending the airtime voucher

Don’t get high on your own supply
We charged ourselves every time we would use own stock of airtime. We even bought the airtime at the usual price whenever we needed to use it. Nothing was for free

Sell convenience
Anybody who went to tertiary with me will tell you that if you wanted your secondhand textbook to be sold Mixo was the guy to call. I didn’t make the customers(clients) come to me,I went to them and I would keep them updated on what is happening with their textbooks
All they had to do was give me their book then later collect their money or give me money then pick up their book

Spoil yourself
Business was so good that we would cash-in every week and made sure we spoiled ourselves. That is really important. You need to taste the fruits of your labour

I applied some of the strategies already mentioned by always negotiating the best price for my clients, controlling the market and making sure that supply was always on point. Expansion was also great because I would be selling books on different campuses. Yes I did bunk classes

Plenty more lessons to learn



Q&A with IT Recruiters from Its About People…session2

images (1)Here is session 2 of our Q&A with IT Recruiters from Its About People. Plenty of interesting and useful questiions were asked by the INNOvatorz.IT community members. Have a look at the interview and you might pick up something that you can also apply in your job search. Good luck and LETS GET HIRED

Mixo Fortune: Nice let’s do this. Thank you again for your time to help us out. We won’t be doing any intro but will just get down to the questions so guys you can start asking

Maite Letsoalo: Hi Vanessa Raath
my Question is why is it that Technikon Graduates are given less priority by companies on most Junior IT Jobs than University Graduates?

Vanessa Raath: Hello Maite – there shouldn’t be any discrimination between a BTech and a Degree. The BTech is just more practical and some companies are looking for this. They both score the same NQF level so you shouldn’t be experiencing this in your search for work

Maite LetsoaloVanessa Raath so basically we can say ND (NATIONAL DIPLOMAS) is no longer considered in the market?

Vanessa RaathMaite Letsoalo I don’t think that any qualification is ever a waste of time! They are still acknowledged and will still place you above candidates who only have a Matric Certificate.

Maite LetsoaloVanessa Raath and Lebogang Mojela why is it that companies overlook WOMEN in terms of development jobs.

Lebogang Mojela: Maite Letsoalo Totaly not true, a lot of companies are looking for female developers as they have so many men on their staff. Also females count more towards BBEE ratings.

Maite Letsoalo: OK, Thank you Lebogang Mojela

Mixo FortuneVanessa Raath did you get people from this group forwarding you their CV’s and if so what area would you say they still need to polish?

Vanessa Raath Mixo Fortune – The guys need to make sure that their spelling and grammar is PERFECT in their CVs to start with. Try and get someone to proof read your CV for you?

Mixo Fortune: do you actually sit down with potential candidates and interview them?

Lebogang MojelaMixo Fortune absolutely yes.

Xoliswa Ngonzi: hello Vanessa, thank you for giving us your time….say you are into programming how important is it to acquire other certifications like your  A+, N+ and what chances does 1 stand if they have those?

Vanessa Raath: Hello Xoliswa Ngonzi, it’s a pleasure. If you are into Programming you will probably follow a Developer’s Career path so you won’t need hardware or networking qualifications. I would advise that you choose a career in Development OR Infrastructure and become as skilled as you can in these areas

Lefa Lloyd Biya: We know every IT company wants some sort of experience and qualification. In this case let’s say I never finished my diploma cause of some other problems but have the necessary skills in terms of the job requirements, what position or state does this put an individual of this nature on getting the job? If there are things that one should do what are they?

Vanessa Raath: Hey Lefa Lloyd Biya, a lot of people that we meet with have not completed their qualifications due to financial or personal issues. I always advise people to be honest about this. Employees will understand if they know the circumstances. As long as you are still registered and show that you INTEND on finishing your studies, once you are employed, it makes life easier. At the end of the day, Life Happens and people need to understand this!

Mixo Fortune: So Lebogang Mojela and Vanessa Raath what kind of questions do you ask potential candidates as recruiters? You have already seen their CV’s so what else are you looking for in them

Lebogang Mojela: We looking for good communications skills and the desire to do well. as grades do not have a lot of experince they are hired more on their soft skills, these are things like good manners, a passion for IT and a cheery attitude.

Mixo Fortune: So Lebogang Mojela if im a shy person will that make my chances slim?

Lebogang Mojela: Lot of people working in the IT industry are not that outgoing and confident.  You need to come across as a genuine and solid character who people know can trust

Mixo Fortune: “Your resume suggests that you may be over-qualified or too experienced for this position. What’s your opinion?”….how does one handle this question?

Lebogang MojelaMixo Fortune with IT being such a fast paced industry you constantly need to keep up with the lasted technologies. The best way to answer this is to say that you are building the foundations of your career and you want to consolidate on what you already know

OMinz Minnie: @Vanessa. In the case of a student studying financial information systems (part finance and part I.T (development)), why is it that companies over look us in terms of development jobs.

Vanessa RaathOMinz Minnie Let me start by saying what you are studying is a very very rare skill and you should be in GREAT demand in a few years’ time. They shouldn’t be overlooking you at all! Maybe you need to request an assessment from them and prove to them that you can develop too?

OMinz Minnie: @Vanessa, Thanks a lot, I’ll do that from now onwards.

Mixo Fortune: Many people in IT are constantly changing jobs, it appears as the norm but does it have some negative effect?

Lebogang MojelaMixo Fortune Yes it has a negative effect unless you are contracting and that is why you moved around a lot. Clients do not like job hoppers

Batha Bile: So basically candidates with degrees are given 1st preference than national diplomas or it depends on the company?

Vanessa RaathBatha Bile Degrees have a higher NQF Rating so they do get preferences over National Diplomas during the screening process. Again, this does differ from company to company

Batha Bile: Ok, thanks

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Karabo K-nine Ntswane: Hi Vanessa, in your opinion, what’s the most suitable qualification without any experience that will get you a job without being either under/over qualified?

Vanessa Raath: Karabo K-nine Ntswane that’s a tough question as it is all down to the Client’s needs! I would say that a BSc Information/Computer Science and a Btech Information Technology are the best to have. Engineering Qualifications are also very common in the IT Industry

Mokate White Moreki: Hi guys thanks again for this opportunity to mingle with you. What is the case of people who has done internships at companies where they were not given the training at all, where their so called mentors were non existent? Some of us used that opportunities to teach ourselves some techniques and skills. But this came to bite us cause it seems one can’t get the jnr level jobs because they have some sort of experience even though we are eager to learn more

Vanessa Raath: Mokate White Moreki Unfortunately that happens a lot. You see the Government pays companies to have Internship programmes and they are often badly run and do more damage than good. You should still be able to get junior level jobs though. Maybe explain to the people hiring you that you received no training during your internship so it is almost like you are a Grad again?

Mokate White Moreki: Some of us at tertiary did computer systems of which is the mixture of all the courses ranging from electrical to engineering, and we failed most of the courses dismally but eventually we overcame the challenges we passed and graduated. But now if we try to apply for Systems analysis jobs we are over looked by the requirements stating that it want university students only not N.Dip students.  @Vanessa if we talk like about our previous companies doesn’t that mean we are bad talking our previous our employees?

Vanessa Raath: It’s the way you talk about your previous Employers that matters here. I wouldn’t write it on my CV but I would definitely chat to the person interviewing me about it. Or maybe put it diplomatically on a Covering letter?

Mokate White Moreki: thanks Vanessa for that advice

Vanessa Raath: As for the System Analysis positions, it does depend on the Companies Base Qualification requirements. Some companies want candidates with Degrees ONLY, where some are happy to look at people with any 3 year qualification

Mokate White Moreki: For some of us don’t want to do Programming for the rest of our lives, hence i chose a course that has Systems Analysis and Software engineering. I believe that maybe if we can be given at least six months contract jobs so that we can prove our performance and understanding to business principles we can show that we can make it

Vanessa Raath: Mokate White Moreki I agree with you. Why don’t you say to the client that you are willing to work on a 3/6 month contract to prove yourself?

Mokate White Moreki Vanessa Raath the problem arise from the Job posts available, none of them accommodate that suggestion, i even send out cover letters with no luck. Even for the junior roles for Programming with suggestions of why i need junior roles, i might have 3 years development experience but that does not mean i can apply for senior post because i believe that i need some sort of guidance and mentoring so that i can reach my potential

Vanessa Raath: As discussed on our page, you need to come and see me so we can assess your skills!

Mokate White Moreki: ok then it means i have to schedule a meeting/interview with you guys and give my side of the story hopefully we can be on the same page, you’ll be able to help me nail that illusive job I’ve been looking for since 2005

Mokate White Moreki: In-case of the referees on the CV what happens if the one you have is deceased and he/she was you boss and was the only senior who knew you? Do you keep that job or you remove it from the CV?

Lebogang Mojela: You mustn’t have any gaps on your CV, you must include every job. As for your Reference try to use someone else as a character reference.

Karabo K-nine Ntswane: Hi again, Do people with disabilities also count on a company’s “BBEE” score card more than females or what? Why I ask this is because it seems companies want to spend the as least as possible to get a skilled employee and in most cases, people with disabilities need custom equipment for examples sake which lead to expenses on the company’s side. . . .

Vanessa Raath: Karabo K-nine Ntswane People with Disabilities are the highest scoring people on a BEE Rating. Unfortunately I do not make the make the rules but I do agree with you!

Thembelihle Neo Sithole: Hi,
1. I have a natioal diploma, 2 certificates that i obtained overseas and in ITIL qualification. I always emphasize that these can pad the Bsc degree requirement but it seems recruiters don’t think so. How can one get these to be acknowledged

2.What is the best way to write up a CV?

Vanessa Raath: Thembelihle Neo Sithole Have you taken your qualifications to be SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) and then you will be approve what it is equivalent to?

Thembelihle Neo Sithole That is in progress, however I do believe that each qualification will achieve at least an NQF level 3 rating. What I also have done is put myself in a good position for a BA career by combining I.T, Business IT and Project Management which I have qualifications for, i also have exposure to some consulting, project coordination and management, systems analysis, BI, web development and design, CRM customization a range of collaboration platforms. I feel this is great and rare for a graduate. I do not seem to be getting buy in from companies and recruiters…how do i sell it right?

Vanessa Raath: Thembelihle Neo Sithole you just sold yourself to me in one paragraph very easily. You also have good communication skills which help! Please email your CV directly to me at

Mixo Fortune: Vanessa Raath and Lebogang Mojela here is a question posted on our twitter account by Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali: @INNOv8torzIT why do we get it hard to be employed or preferred or get learnership by IT companies if we are students from UNISA in IT side?”

Vanessa Raath: Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali – whether you studied at Unisa or a University should not make any difference at all. Maybe you need to ask the people running the internships? I cannot see the difference?

Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali: I am left with one module that I will write on May /June next year so do I qualify to apply for job with following description: internship programme for graduate 2013?

Vanessa Raath: Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali Yes you do

Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali: Ow wow I missed so many opportunities not knowing I qualify to do so. Thanks Ms Vanessa

Fisto Wka Mabena: Firstly I’d like to appreciate this MOMENT OPPORTUNITY , Mixo Fortune uBosso ma man. And not forgetting Lebogang Mojela and Vanessa Raath ! God Bless.
Question: I’m a Software Development student and loving it. But when it comes to applying I’m a bit discouraged because of the fact that You not sure how much you are expected TO NOW (as Programming is very very dynamic).
So as developers, what is really expected of us? How much knowledge of that specific language they are requiring…

Vanessa Raath: Fisto Wka Mabena that is almost – How long is a Piece of String? You would need to know enough about Programming in order to complete basic entry level tasks. A good bit of advice is to make sure that skills are current and as developed as you can make them!

Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali: If you have small growing company, having franchise and running NGOs.. Do u have to mention them in your CV when applying for job? Are they not going to hire you because they see you are kind of busy person involved in many things?

Vanessa Raath: Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali Yes – you need to add in all of these outside jobs as it shows what sort of a person you are. If I see a CV and the person has done volunteer work I want to meet with them immediately as they will be kind and have a good charact…See More

Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali: Oh mmmm Ms Vanessa I get you though still have more questions on that question ,but will continue next time you available.

thanx to Mixo that’s all your Job boss you shaping us in all ways ..

Secondly thanks Mis Vanessa and Ms lebohang for your availabilty your time and your helpfull information , we love and still need you more n more thank you very much..

WE nOw HireD !! Mixo the star*

Mixo Fortune: Alright, once again thanks a lot Vanessa Raath and Lebogang Mojela for your time and I hope the next person you will be interviewing will be from INNOvatorz.IT

Fisto Wka Mabena: hmm wow… Ms Vanessa Raath and Lebogang Mojela please do bless us with your time during the course of the weekend, if possible. This is very helpful so much

Karabo K-nine Ntswane: Thank you Vanessa Raath

Fisto Wka Mabena: Thanks Mixo Fortune… Thanks Bra. Be blessed all the way

Maite Letsoalo: THANK YOU SOO MUCH Vanessa Raath

Mokate White Moreki: Innovative Stuff great thanks GUYS

OMinz Minnie: Thanks a lot guys, this session was very informant.



Its About People on Facebook: and twitter: @its_about_peopl


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SAP Interview Session with Zimkhita Buwa

sapOn the 6th of December 2012 we had a fruitful interview session on our INNOvatorz.IT with SAP mentor Zimkhita Buwa. The community wanted to find out more of what SAP is. Its a a slightly edited version but still covers all the questions asked. We plan on having more sessions with her later on. Here is the interview session

Mixo Fortune: Zimkhita Buwa can you just give us a brief of what you do and who this awesome SAP mentor is?

Zimkhita Buwa: LOL…don’t know about awesome.

Mixo Fortune: You know you are awesome and very interesting…. Here is a blog about Zimkhita Buwa and what she is all about

Zimkhita Buwa:  I am an SAP Business Intelligence and Strategy Management Consultant. Sounds like a mouth full but SAP stands for Systems Applications and Products – a company that was started in Germany to assist organisations to manage their business processes more effectively. So SAP has various modules, i.e. Human Resources, FI(financial), Logistics, Procurement, etc. So the module that I deal with allows decision-makers to make decisions from the data generated in these transactional systems.

So we essentially create reports (financial, HR, etc.) that allow managers & operational users to analyse trends and make decisions from it. We use a system called SAP Business Warehouse which is the Data warehouse solution for SAP. We also use various reporting tools such as SAP Business Objects to create visually appealing and dynamic graphs for our users.

Mamongato Prince Sebapu: I hear SAP people earn at least 25k how true?

Zimkhita Buwa: In any career the type of money you earn is solely dependent on how much work you put in. When I started I never worried about the money (HONESTLY)…when you put in the work…the money will come!!

Mixo Fortune: So what skills or qualifications do i need to have to do SAP?

Zimkhita Buwa: This depends on the module that you want to specialize in. I specialize in Business Intelligence (BI) & Strategy Management (SSM) so I certified in BI and attended a 5 week academy at SAP. I also attended an SSM course at SAP

Daddie David Mohutsioa: How do I get SAP Certified when I’m unemployed because most of the SAP vacancies require experience and certification? Remember not all of us can afford to pay for the course if that’s the case.

Zimkhita Buwa: You are right the certification is unfortunately expensive and this has been raised with SAP. There are programmes that SAP is working on to try make the certification accessible. My best advice if you do not have the money is to try lookout for internships and knock on many doors as you can. Once you are in an organisation that has SAP annoy one of the SAP managers to try volunteer and someone will notice your pro-activeness. I can also say that whatever opportunities I hear of I will feedback to this group. I’ve already mentioned the Capaciti1000 programme that closes today – although that does not include SAP certification most of the host organisations on the Programme do run SAP

Lerato Visser Leshabane: Just imagine 10k for 2days, aowa!!

Zimkhita Buwa: Yes that would be great…but remember the amount of responsibility and the amount of work required for that! That’s what you need to focus on.

Tinyiko Thobye Mathebula: Hi Zimkhita, can you please explain how one gets certified for SAP, the training prerequisites, fee’s etc.

Zimkhita Buwa: Most of the training is conducted at SAP. Like I mentioned before, it depends on the module that you want to specialise in. Most of the certifications run for a period of up to 5weeks. When I attended it cost R60000. I was fortunate that the company I worked for paid for me. If you do have amount to spend on the course I would advise against doing it without having the support of a company that actually runs SAP. I have trained a few consultants who thought that they would walk out of certification and find work immediately and unfortunately the market does not work that way. So first approach a company and inform them about your plans of doing the certification.

Katlego ‘kok’ Kgobodi: Hi, Zimkhita GENTRAN? What exactly is it? If you know about it.

Zimkhita Buwa: I don’t personally use it…but see for more info…

Tinyiko Thobye Mathebula: Does SAP offer self-training courses because i heard you don’t have to attend the formal training @ SAP academy in order to get certified, you can just register for the exam if you have the experience and are confident in a specific module?

Zimkhita Buwa:  If you have the experience you can go for the exam but for someone that is starting out and has no prior experience on the module it will be extremely difficult. The value of the formal training is that you get access to an instructor that is there to assist you with questions. SAP also offers some online courses. If you do have the opportunity of attending the training that is what I would advise. Take me for example. I worked on the SAP Business Warehouse system for two years and thought I knew it all. It was only when I attended the training that I understood how the puzzles fit together and what the bigger picture is with the system. A lot of the time when you go by experience is that you only know what you know…right…or what people are willing to show you. The formal training provides you with information and access to functionality that you might not know even existed

Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali: Is SAP in demand nowadays? How challenging is it in industry?

Zimkhita Buwa: Yes, SAP is very much in demand! Most organisations use SAP in some way. I also mentioned that there are a lot of modules and like anything in technology it’s forever changing so one needs to keep abreast with the changing and you need to up skill yourself which is where the challenge comes in. So yes it is an exciting industry and I love it 🙂

Mixo Fortune: Zimkhita Buwa how huge is the demand for SAP professionals in the country and what are the challenges of filling those gaps?

Zimkhita Buwa: There is a demand for SAP skills. There isn’t always the supply though. This issue was raised at a Strategy Session that I attended earlier this week. So because the supply is not always sufficient – there are instances where the same consultants are booked for more than one job at a time. And transformation is still a challenge – it is still very white dominated but there are certain programmes in the pipeline that are attempting to change this. It’s not just an SAP phenomenon it’s IT in general

Mamongato Prince Sebapu: Are you fearing your Open Source alternative OpenBravo and our local Pastel Evolution or you still feel SAP is having a bright future ahead?

Zimkhita Buwa: Hi Mamongato – Trust me, SAP has a bright future…companies are realising the value of having a solution that enables you to structure your critical business processes effectively. Even SARS runs SAP! So there is a bright future even internationally! The nice aspect about knowing SAP is that you can also work internally – all the major organisations abroad use SAP!…even LEVIS!!

Tumelo Titus Ka-Mokwena Hey Zimkhita, what I want to know is where can one apply or enrol for SAP around Gauteng?

Zimkhita Buwa  Tumelo, please visit the SAP website, they do have an office in Woodmead

Tumelo Titus Ka-Mokwena: Thank you Zimkhita


Yandisa Tiny Mbele-Jali: We thank you Mixo for organizing this helpful session and for keeping it going.

We thank you Zim for your time. For breaking our eyes and sharing with us this very helpful information.

I thank group collaborators for keeping the session going and interesting by asking worthy questions that helped us..

I was so concern of what this SAP is but yet today will sleep happy because I know about it and will freely and kindly share my information about it to my collaborator because it’s really useful and can help one..

Thank you very much

Zimkhita Buwa: No thank you for the questions!!! Please feel free to follow me on twitter @zimbuwa. Lovely chatting to you. When I get any info on the graduate programmes I will definitely pass it on. Just remember to always keep your head up and work hard and adhere to the FISH Philosophy

Mixo Fortune: What is the FISH philosophy? im just thinking food food food

Tumelo Titus Ka-Mokwena: @Mixo, thats a funny one

Zimkhita Buwa: YESSS food for thought…just posted a pic…check it out! It’s been great guys! Take care 🙂

Mixo Fortune: F-fun (play),I-inspire(Make their day), S-show up(be there), H-Happy(choose your attitude)

Mixo Fortune: Zimkhita Buwa thank you for your time and for not thinking twice when I asked you to do this session .I think we can build up from this and maybe later break down SAP into smaller pieces. Thanx a milli

You follow Zimkhita on twitter if you want to keep the conversion going:


For more discussions and lots of info join our Facebook Group ( and follow us INNOvatorz.IT on twitter:


I have been trying to do something like this for some time but for many reasons I have been postponing it. I think its high time I did it because there are so many smart students out that are really working hard and making a huge difference in their communities and institutions but don’t get the proper recognition

So GeekStarz will give them that platform to shine. I will expiriment with a few platforms from Google hangouts, skype, video interviews and articles to get the message across.

I hope to put 4 GeekStarz on the platform each month so we can all decide who deserves to be GeekStar of the month. We will eventually have GeekStar of the year and they will walk away with a really cool prize

So if you think you are the next GeekStar or if you know someone who deserves that platform to shine then send the details through




What do you think of the last company you worked for?

You should stress the positive aspects of your last company saying that they were a good company to work for. Tell them about the training you received or the work related experience you gained.

Why did you join your previous company? Did they live up to your expectations? Why are you leaving now?

Always be positive about your reasons for joining and leaving a company. Be very careful that you do not say anything negative about your present employer. If you do, the new company will wonder what you will say about them when you leave. You might want to stress that you are looking for a new challenge and that you feel that the company who is interviewing you fits the bill!

Explain the organisational structure in your last company and how you fitted into it?

This sort of question may be used to find out whether your old job is at a comparable level to your new job. If the new job being discussed would be a step up the ladder you will need to show that you are ready for a more demanding position. You may be able to show that you have already had many of the responsibilities and the necessary skills which would be required for the next step.

How long have you been looking for a new job?

If you have been unemployed for a long time this may be a rather tricky question to answer. But be honest. If you have been away on holiday or done some voluntary work you could mention this.

Do you prefer to work in a small, medium or large company?

Remember where you are! If the company interviewing you is a small to medium sized company say that you enjoy a close atmosphere with a good team spirit. At a large company say that you enjoy the stability of working for a large and established company.

What are you looking for in a new job?

Make sure your answer fits in with the company who is interviewing you. A suitable reply would be that you are looking for a new job where you can apply your existing skills and learn new ones.

What would your ideal job be?

Again, remember where you are! Describe the job in terms of the criteria they have used to describe their job. An ideal job might include things like challenging work, a fair rate of pay for the job, nice colleagues, good career prospects, good team atmosphere, opportunity to learn new skills, apply old skills, etc.

Are you considering any other positions at the moment?

If you are say so, but do not give too many details away – it will weaken your negotiating position later. If you do not have any other job offers at the moment just say that you have a few irons in the fire.

What did you think of your manager/supervisor?

Say that he/she was the sort of person you could learn from and you communicated well, which meant that the task in hand was completed on time.

What did you do on a day to day basis?

Stress the positive things you did including your achievements. Even if some or much of it was paperwork, you can still show your interest in the way it was tackled.

Did you increase sales or profits in your last job?

This question is only relevant for senior managers or sales people. If you have increased sales and/or profit then do not be afraid to shout about it. If you have not increased sales say why not, e.g. general downturn in the market, etc. It might then be a good idea to mention an achievement in a previous job if your performance was better there.

How would you describe yourself? / How would others describe you?

Pick your best attributes and achievements from your career.

Do you consider yourself successful?

You should say you do. Pick some work related achievements that are in line with the position that you are discussing.

What was your greatest success? How did you achieve it?

You should pick an achievement which is related to their needs.

What has been your biggest failure?

Try to pick a failure which you were later able to correct or something that is not really important. 

How could you improve yourself?

Do not mention anything negative about yourself – the interviewer is looking for a chink in your armour.

Did you feel you progressed satisfactorily in your last job?

If you progressed faster than normal you should say so. If growth was not as good as expected then be careful how you phrase this.

Are you a leader?

State how you have successfully acted as a leader, giving examples of your successes.

How do you handle criticism?

Your answer should be along the following lines: “I always think that it is important to get feedback on how I am performing so that I can improve any areas which my manager/supervisor highlights. Do you have regular staff appraisals and a staff development plan?”

What sort of manager are you? / What makes a good manager?

You should say that it is someone who listens to other people and can delegate whilst maintaining overall control of the task at hand, bringing in the project on time and to budget. Good planning skills are essential.

Do you work well with others? Or are you a loner?

Some jobs mean that you have to work very closely with other people whilst other jobs mean that you are largely working on your own, so you need to say that you are happy in both situations.

Do you need other people around to stimulate you or are you self-motivated?

You need to say that you are self-motivated.

Are you accepted into a team quickly?

Hopefully you can answer a resounding “Yes” to this question.

Can you act on your own initiative?

You should say that you can. You could ask how much responsibility you would have

How do you run a meeting?

You could say that you must start with an agenda and stick to it. You could add that you would try to get the views and ideas from everyone present, working in an air of co-operation. If people moved off at a tangent you would bring them back to the item being discussed.

What motivates you?

Our suggestions are career growth, opportunity to learn new skills, good co-workers, etc.

What management style gets the best results out of you?

Try and think about how you have reacted to different managers and which factors have motivated you. Do not say too much in reply to this question, because if your answer is contrary to the management style of the company they will not be keen to employ you!

Do you know how to motivate other people?

Hopefully you can say “Yes”, and say that you have to find out what motivates a person and give them recognition for a job well done. You should always give them encouragement and help them when required.

Are you competitive?

Your answer depends on the sort of job you are doing. If you will be working as part of a team you will need to show that you can work in the best interests of the team and not just for your own benefit.

Are you aggressive?

If you mean by this someone who gets things done, then the answer is “Yes”. You need to defuse the implications of this question.

What do you dislike doing?

Say that you are prepared to do whatever it takes to get the job done well and on time and try to do disagreeable things first to get them out of the way rather than putting them off.

What problems did you encounter in your last job? What annoyed you about your last job?

Stick to the problems that you were able to solve, i.e. “I had problem X, which I later managed to resolve by doing Y”. Show that you are a person who can solve problems rather than someone who lets things get on top of them.

What would you like to avoid in your next job?

You need to be positive here and say that there is nothing in particular that you would like to avoid.

Do you feel you are ready to take on greater responsibilities?

Show how you have progressed throughout your life and how you have accepted and taken on responsibility for the actions of yourself and others. If you have not really had many work related responsibilities you can mention other responsibilities you have had outside work.

Can you work under pressure?

You need to say that you can. You could ask how much pressure the job involves.

How many hours are you prepared to work?

You would be prepared to work the necessary hours to get the job done on time.

Let’s Get Hired…Part1

INNOvatorz.IT is actually helping quite a lot of people, especially students in finding jobs. That really brings us great joy. I hope more people will continue to be called over for interviews with eventual placement. There has been a huge request from people asking me for interview tips, what questions they ask and how to prepare for an interview. Well I feel they are asking the wrong person for such help because recruitment isn’t even close to being my field of specialty. Luckily I managed to get help in compiling a series of interview tips and advice which I will be sharing with you over the next few weeks. I hope it will help someone ace that interview and land a job.

Feel free to add onto everything that I have added, after all I am no expert. For those that are still waiting for that call up for the interview, whether it’s your first or not this will be perfect for you

Acing the Interview- Part 1

Why do you want this job? 
Think carefully about this question. Stress the positive aspects which have attracted you to applying for this position. Do not mention the negative aspects of your current job or the job in question.

What qualities do you think will be required for this job?
Their advertisement for the job may help you a little bit, but you should also think of the other qualities that may be required. These may include leadership ability, supervisory skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving, analytical skills, etc.

What can you contribute?
This is your chance to shine. Tell them about your achievements in your previous position(s) which are relevant to the new position you are applying for.

Why do you want to work for this company?
Emphasize the positive reasons why you want to join their company, but avoid aspects such as more money or shorter hours. These would not endear you to a prospective employer.

What do you know about this company?
This is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company. Give them a run-down of their products/services, sales figures, news, company figures, customers, etc.

What interests you about our product (or service)?
Again, your research into the company should aid you in answering this question.

What can we (the new company) offer that your previous company cannot offer?
Tread carefully here! Again do not mention money. Stress opportunities for personal growth, new challenges, etc.

You have not done this sort of job before. How will you cope/succeed?
Say that you are the sort of person who aims to succeed at everything you do and that you are very determined and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Why should we employ you?
The answer to this question will be based on your previous experience and achievements which relate to the company. At the end you could add that you think there is a good fit between you and the job, and do ask the interviewer for their opinion.

How long do you think it would be before you were making a significant contribution to the team/company?
If you think that you could contribute from day one then say so. Then turn the question round on them and say how soon they would expect it.

How ambitious are you? Would you compete for my job?
Depending on the position you are applying for you may want to sound fairly ambitious, but do not look as if you are after the interviewer’s position.

What do you like and dislike about the job we are discussing?
Likes: stress things such as a new challenge or the opportunity to bring fresh experience to the company. Dislikes: Imply there is nothing to dislike about the job, which is why you are so interested.

Why did you choose a career in …?
Be positive about your reasons. If you have changed careers make a logical argument as to why you did so.

Why are you changing careers?
This question will only be asked if you are making a radical change in your career. Always stress the positive aspects of the change rather than the negative aspects of your previous career – you do not want to come across as someone who is moving just because you hate your old career. Say why you think you will be good in the new career – this should come from your experience and achievements, stress the transferable skills you have, such as leadership ability, etc.

How much does your last job resemble the one you are applying for? What are the differences?
The interviewer is trying to see how well you would fit in to the position you are applying for. So you should stress the similarities rather than the differences. When it comes to discussing the differences it will help your case if you can show that either you have done something similar in the past or that you can quickly pick up the new skills.


Q & A with IT recruiters from ITS ABOUT PEOPLE

We had an interview with Vanessa Raath and Lebogang Mojela from Its About People and the session was opened to INNOvatorz.IT members to ask them any questions related to recruitment, CV’s, preparing for interviews and also to get tips. Here is the full interview for those who missed it. Do share with others so we can all be better prepared for interviews. You will notice that the interview session hasn’t been edited and polished that much. I wanted to keep it as raw and as original as possible


Mixo: So can you guys tell us a bit about yourself. What is it that you
actually do and where do you work?

Vanessa Raath: OK – we are half of the ITS ABOUT PEOPLE Team. I am the
General Manager and Lebo is my Resourcer. We focus on IT Recruitment,
mainly in Gauteng but also in the Cape. Check us out on I will start with a Question: How many of you attach a
Skills Matrix when you submit your CV either to a client; an agency or
onto a Career Portal?

My name is Estelle Emako. I am a computer systems
student. And it has not been easy for me to get an internship. Therefore i
would like to improve my CV to that it could be more professional

Vanessa Raath: Hello Estelloise Emako – You need to include the
following information for your CV to be professional. For each job that
you have had: Name of the company; your position; was it permanent or
contract; what dates were you there for; what is the industry and why
did you leave them?

Mixo Fortune: So Vanessa Raath and Lebogang Mojela if one is still a
student what kind of information do they include in the “Skills

Lebogang Mojela: Qualification, experience and skills matrix

Aviwe Vellem: Hi guys. Adding on what Estelloise said, I have seen a lot of different CV
templates, but what are the key things your CV should have or the main
interest of recruiters when looking in a CV?


Vanessa Raath: You need to include your Skill Set on your CV – so
things like the programming languages; Infrastructure components;
networking tools etc.

Estelloise Emako: Do you also deal with international students? I can see
on your website that personal information needs ID Number.

Vanessa Raath: ‎Estelloise Emako – International Students are slightly
more difficult as Internships and Learnerships are normally only for
South African citizens

Aviwe Vellem: So do you really trust the information you see on a
Skills Matrix? Is it something that works for recruiters? Because
applying for a job involves many people and of course you wanna be
selected for an interview, what if someone lies? I know all will be
proven during the interview but it could be waste of company time and
maybe miss the right candidates

Vanessa Raath: ‎Aviwe Vellem – All IT candidates are thoroughly tested
so we will know if they have lied on their Skills Matrix. Most
companies will not even schedule an interview until we send them the
test results. A Skills Matrix makes on IT candidate stand out from the
others as it takes more time and effort to complete.

Mudzuli Sivhidzho:
what key points to be mention if am ask during the
interview “tell us about yourself?”

Mudzuli Sivhidzho: what key points to be mention if am ask during the
interview “Why should we hire you?”

Mudzuli Sivhidzho: should i put technologies that i have learn from
school but never apply them on industry level on the skills Matrix?

Lebogang Mojela: ‎Mudzuli Sivhidzho you need to mention your hobbies
and always good to know about your IT activities during your spare
time like building apps etc…

Vanessa Raath: ‎Mudzuli Sivhidzho – When asked why they should hire
you, you need to show your hard work ethic; how you plan on making a
difference and completing work to the best of your ability with little
fuss. You need to show that you are not a political player – you are
going to keep ‘your nose clean and get the job done!

Aviwe Vellem: Thanks Vanessa… How does one get assistance from Its
About People in finding a job?

Vanessa Raath: ‎Aviwe Vellem – you would need to register on our website
and follow us on Twitter at @its_about_peopl and on our
Facebook page as we often post
jobs there too

Rudzani Nemukondeni: Is it necessary to list grade 12 and all my
academic subjects i have done in the cv

Lebogang Mojela: ‎Rudzani Nemukondeni, yes for junior candidates (less
than 5yrs experience) it is important to show your subjects and
grades. Clients always like to see this.

Mixo Fortune: There is a huge debate going on about Cover Letters. How
important is a cover letter? And should one still send it even if they
haven’t requested it?

Vanessa Raath: Cover Letters are no longer needed and
are just adding to the demise of trees for the waste of paper! Rather
send a personalised message in the body of the email to the Recruiter

Mixo Fortune: Thanks Vanessa. We shall save the trees

Mixo Fortune: What are some of the big mistakes that people make when
they apply and what will make you guys as Recruiters to not even pay
attention to a specific candidate?

Vanessa Raath: The worst things that I always see on CVs are spelling
and grammatical errors. I think this is a very poor reflection on the
candidate and shows disrespect to the clients. Also your setting out
needs to be clear and easy to follow.

Mudzuli Sivhidzho: What is key aspects that need to be in place for
student (No work exp.) CV? What makes student not receive interview
calls from employer even he/she is sending CV to many places?

Vanessa Raath: Prospective clients like to see that you have had part
time work and have not sat back and did nothing with all that free
time you have as a student. This shows a good work ethic and a desire
to do better in life. You also should show some kind of community
involvement like through Church Activities or committees you’ve sat on
at University etc. Any Leadership roles should also be mentioned

Mixo Fortune: Most of us are on many social networks and use them for a
variety of things. How can Social networks help us land the job or even
make us not get that job?

Vanessa Raath: Social Networks can really assist you or you can
eliminate yourself from the running very quickly! All good recruiters
do back ground checks on people and that includes checking candidate’s
Internet Footprints. If you are seen to be a Thought Leader in a
certain area – like if I check your Twitter Feed and you are posting
good articles and making good comments it puts you in a positive
light. However if you have the drunk photos from the weekend on your
facebook page. I may think twice before referring your CV to one of my

Mixo Fortune: Any particular social networks that you guys do recommend
for us to use to connect with potential employers

Lebogang Mojela: ‎Mixo Fortune LinkedIn, twitter and Facebook try to
make sure your profile is clean

Mixo Fortune: I see our time is almost up. Thank you Vanessa Raath and
Lebogang Mojela for your time. I hope this isn’t the last time we do

Vanessa Raath: Pleasure – thank you very much! We would love to help
you out again! 🙂

Lebogang Mojela: Pleasure 🙂

Mudzuli Sivhidzho: Thanks Mixo Fortune, Vanessa Raath, Lebogang Mojela
your time I learned a lot today and I think this session must come

I have been slacking

It’s been a while since I blogged.Only if one could buy time but no excuses. I will try my best to keep the blog updated from now on and if there is anyone out there who is interested in being a guest blogger then give me a shout

A lot of things have been happening and will try my best to fill you in.

I will be covering things like the past m2Work Hackathon at mLab. If you don’t know what mLab is I or what it does don’t worry, I will tell you about it

I missed an opportunity to blog about women’s month but still feel the need to address our sisters out there

Development of mobile apps is really growing fast.Plenty of new smartphones are coming our way.Which phone handset has gotten you all excited?

I’m also excited about Windows 8 which is currently being cooked so it can be ready for launch next month

We will also continue focusing on the youth and share ways on how to get prepared for those interviews

There has been a lot of great and amazing things that have been happening to INNOvatorz.IT so I will touch a lot on that so that I can also explain what INNOvatorz.IT is and where its going

We are finally on twitter so do follow us @INNOv8torz.IT

Plenty of competitions and events have happened and are still in the pipeline.Just keep your eyes opened

So many things worth sharing.

Fortune Favours The Brave

Life will knock you down, tear you apart and drive you insane. Sucking you dry of all the little motivation and desire left in you to push on. Leaving you depressed, hopeless and ready to give up. Question is what do you intend to do about it?

Depressing I know, that’s the reality many are facing, including myself. It’s not the best of feelings because we humans don’t like feeling useless and hopeless. Yet most of us feel that way which affects our productivity, our health and relationships with family, friends, etc. If you are reading this and can relate to it, I have news for you. It’s a war zone out there and giving up is just not an option if you really want something badly

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.”

Having massive dreams, ambitions and goals sucks big time when something seems to stand in the way of realizing them.  Life deals you a horrible hand every time you make a bold step forward which is a dreadful feeling because you have invested so much in it, inevitably resulting with one crushing their own dreams and ambitions because they have lost hope.  However how difficult it gets, life without hope isn’t worth living. It’s just like a floating balloon with no direction. It will eventually land at a wrong place and burst.

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”

– Dolly Parton

As I type this I have a heavy heart for those giving up on life and their dreams, hoping that someone will read this and get a boost to carry on fighting. Aluta Continua! I don’t believe we are on this earth just to eat, sleep, chat, dream, wish, waste air, eat and sleep. We should refuse to believe that! People out there are making it, they are hustling and are reaching their goals. They become so successful that once a specific goal is achieved it gives birth to another goal. It’s not that they are better it’s just that their will to fight is stronger. Though we admire them we shouldn’t define our success according to others. Do you and do you as best as possible.

“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.”
Roger Crawford

Doors will close on you; you will be faced with endless rejections and will fail on plenty of accusations. I know I have. Just laugh it off, pick yourself up, dust your failures off and carry on pursuing your dreams whatever they may be. Eventually life will reward you for your effects. Fortune and success really favours the brave. It rewards them for their efforts. It admires their characters. Work hard, play hard. Enjoy life to the fullest, embrace its challenges.

“Don’t give up! It’s not over. The universe is balanced. Every set-back bears with it the seeds of a come-back.”
Steve Maraboli

Hire ME!!!!

I recently received some t-shirts from Microsoft written “Hire Me”. I love that t-shirt but sadly my body couldn’t fit into it. Eventually it did fit after a few months of sweating hard at the gym although it feels like I’m wearing a muscle shirt. Don’t worry, I don’t intend stealing your next 10min talking about my weight and about a t-shirt. It’s just that the t-shirt has given me a few ideas to play with.

I wrote a blog a few months ago called “I’m unemployed…” and it focused on the challenges the youth face with regards to getting jobs and getting hired.  I also spoke about how we the youth shouldn’t just sit down and do nothing with our lives. You can read about it here

So many of the youth still remain unemployed, it’s like the requirements for getting a job just keep going an extra level the moment one reaches the previous required level. First they want you to have at least Matric (Grade 12) qualification. Once you get that they want tertiary qualification. You go sweat it out for 3years and complete your studies but can’t graduate because you first need to do 6 months (1 year in certain fields) of experiential learning. Majority are not that lucky in obtaining that experiential learning. Those that do and manage to graduate are told that they either need to improve the qualification or must gain more work experience. Question is where must they get this work experience if nobody is taking them? Jobs don’t fall from the sky

One has to feel for all those guys who have graduated yet are staying at home doing nothing. Sadly time waits for no man and some are forced to venture into areas where they didn’t study for. It might not be the ideal situation but sometimes one has to take a different route to reach their destination .It’s worse if you are in a field like Information Technology because it’s constantly changing every few months and a qualification that is two years or more is pretty much quite old

I am saddened by those students who have never done any experiential learning but when the opportunity arises their first question is “How much are do they pay? Yes money is important but let’s face it opportunities are very rare so one should cling to those that come because you never know how long it will take for the next one if ever.

I am no hiring expect nor am I a recruiter but I have been lucky to talk to a few recruiters and learned a lot from them. Some of us don’t get hired because we just are not hirable. We don’t follow instructions on job post; we have outdated CV’s, we are very picky, we wait until the closing day to go certify our CV’s and apply. If you are not sure about your CV then pass it to someone. I constantly do that just to get feedback. One lady once told me that if she was hiring she would have thrown my CV away because of the cover letter. If you’re not serious about getting a job nobody will be serious about hiring you

Sometimes your CV alone won’t get you that job. We are social beings and must learn to network with others. It’s interesting how much information one can get from a stranger. We spend most of our time on social networks but fail to create strong networks. At times one can’t do it alone. I am not afraid of approaching anyone, even if it’s a CEO because I rather have them tell me that they don’t have time for me instead of me walking away with regrets. I don’t do it to get hired but to learn and connect with them. We also shouldn’t focus on just the “Top Brass” but connect with people from different levels. My network is always expanding because of this approach.

Recruiters will advise you that while you continue to look for that specific job you can try volunteering positions. It’s actually not really such a bad option. You gain that required WORKING EXPERIENCE and give your CV extra weight. I know of a few guys who went the volunteering route and have managed to secure permanent positions or got hired somewhere else because of that bit of work experience. It’s way better than sitting and doing nothing

Not everything works for all of us. Some have jobs waiting for them; some just keep getting interviews while others keep moving from job to job. The rest will just need to continue knocking on those doors, filling in those application forms, checking for posts and praying that someone will eventually call you for that interview.

Plenty of posts floating on social media just keep an open eye. Have a look at a group on Facebook called YDIDI. It’s a nice group with plenty of post that covers different fields.