• Leadable

What Makes Business Owners In Dubai Notice Job Applicants?

Based off the popularity and feedback from this post on How To Get An Interview For Any Job, we asked six Dubai-based business owners for input on what gets their attention when it comes to job applications. Our goal was to understand what kind of approaches that they appreciate and what advice they would offer to job seekers in the UAE. Some common themes throughout the responses from the six entrepreneurs are around tailoring your approach specifically to the company you are applying to and building your network within your industry.

If you are thinking about applying for a new role in the foreseeable future, follow the advice below to know what gets the attention of those you might be the ones to hire you!

Mark Hirst (Managing Director at Blue Beetle)

"First thing that I would say is to not bother sending your CV to any company unless you've thoroughly researched that company and can send something that is personalised and highly relevant. Reason being, employers receive dozens of CVs weekly, if not daily, and the vast majority of these look and read the same with no research behind them, i.e. it's obvious that the candidate has written a generic email and is sending it out to all the relevant email addresses he / she can find.

This will produce absolutely zero results. It'd be much better to spend your time researching a small number of businesses and get to know them well. Read their website, follow them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram etc., subscribe to their blog or newsletter and so on. Find out what they stand for and what makes them tick. Then, look to see if they have any current vacancies that are a good fit for you.

When you reach out, demonstrate that you've done your research and explain not only why you're a good fit for the position but also why you would like to work for that specific company. If there are no current vacancies from what you can tell, try to build a relationship with key people in the business so that if something comes up in future, you'll be top of mind."

Hazel Jackson (Founder & CEO at Biz Group)

"When I think about someone looking to join our team, the key is about making the job application relevant and specific to Biz Group and how they might contribute to our purpose as far too many candidates send out generic applications. I appreciate when people do a little bit extra like connecting and adding insightful commentary on articles I’ve posted or even making a recommendation on a topic which I might be interested in.

My advice for job seekers is to ask to meet the most relevant Senior role; not for an interview, but to learn about how they got into that industry or role. Don’t be pushy about getting a job, rather seek out information and expectations on what it would take to be successful. This non-threatening approach starts to build your network in your chosen field and like most parts of the world, it’s who you know that counts!"

Ian Ohan (Founder & CEO at Freedom Pizza)

"Do your research about the company and person you are approaching and then communicate in an informed way by including something about that company or person. Take the pressure off of the person you are approaching by saying something like ”I understand if you do not have something for me at the time” etc. and request an informational interview to learn about the industry or company that you are interested in joining.

Never, ever be late! I have had so many people show up to my office late after requesting (and being granted) my time, and in these cases, I simply tell them to go away when they finally arrive. The worst part is that they are always indignant about me sending them away. Remember that an employer's time is their most valuable and scarce commodity."

Richard FitzGerald (Founder & CEO at Augustus)

"I always want to see a different approach to interviews and job requests, but the reality is that they are very few and far between. We get inundated with career requests on the Lovin Dubai generic email and many unsolicited job requests from personal LinkedIn accounts. Essentially, if someone can demonstrate how they can solve a problem for us, that is what we are looking for. Either that or truly show passion for the industry or knowledge of our company and culture. Our brand values are important to us, so that is always a good start.

One person who we met at a conference and interviewed (media interview) about her startup, reached out to interview me for her own social media accounts. In the few interactions we had, I saw enough to know that she was just what we needed for our SMASHI TV brand in a partnerships / business development role. When she came to interview me, I turned it around into an interview for her, and ended up offering her the job."

Paul Mallee (Co-Founder & Managing Director at Maison Privee)

"I think the most critical aspect of job seeking in the UAE is to network like wildfire and follow up like you are closing a sale. I recently referred on a friend who was looking for a senior role to a position which is now in its final stages. Had I not been aware that this guy was looking for a new role, I would have never thought to refer him.

Being ‘out there’ is critical in an environment like Dubai. It will mean being at the head of the queue and the top of the pile of CVs. Reduction of noise is vital for employers and getting a referral is a great way of filtering through all the noise to identify good candidates."

Matt Jennison (Founder & CEO at One Zebra)

"Approach the hiring manager directly and do your research before you contact them. Take the time to understand what their challenges are, or might be, given the context of their role and industry. Explain to them how you have helped a previous company solve this challenge, focusing on the impact for the organization.

Don’t take it to heart if you don’t get a response. It wont work every time, but I’ve had a few great candidates reach out to me with this approach in the past. They spent less time talking about themselves and more time on the impact they had, they gave me a reason to think they could resolve my frustrations and… they got a meeting."

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