Career guide

Here you cand find our tips about career development. From our career guide you will learn key principles of cooperation with a recruiting agency, tips how to present yourself to a potential employer, how to negotiate your salary and many other things.

When you work with a recruiting company, there are a number of principles to follow. Please use our recommendations to make cooperation with Antal Russia as successful as possible. Also Antal experts answered the typical questions of job seekers on how to build your career and how to act in different situations. We hope that these tips will be useful for you.

  • Do you need help strategizing and optimizing your job search?
  • Do you want to supplement and improve your CV?
  • Don’t know how to identify your strengths and weaknesses?

How to write a winning CV?

A good CV can make a positive impression on an employer and highlight your professional strengths.

Be concise

Bear in mind that recruiters receive hundreds of CVs daily and you have as little as 5 seconds to draw attention to your candidacy. Keep your CV concise. It should cover no more than two or three pages (when applying for senior executive positions).

Be factual

Give specific figures to support your expertise and successful experience wherever possible. Include details on completed projects, attracted customers, and challenges you have overcome. Use action words such as increased, saved, and organized.

Structure your CV

Provide information under the following headings:

  • Personal details. Name, surname, contact details.
  • Desired job title. Clearly state your desired position.
  • General information. It is recommended to add an introductory statement specifying key skills and work background which are the most relevant for a particular application. 
  • Work experience. List your previous work experience in reverse chronological order starting with the most recent jobs. If a company you worked for is not widely known, give a short summary of its activity. Speaking of main responsibilities make a list of 5 to 10 brief items depending on the significance of your position in the company. State your achievements, key projects fulfilled or managed by you during the employment. Try to avoid generalities when describing your responsibilities. Quantify your accomplishments wherever possible. CVs for creative or technical positions should be accompanied with additional information: portfolio, list of completed projects, etc. 
  • Education. . Summarise information on higher education and list work-related training courses and certificates with start and end dates. If you have recently graduated from a university and are going to work within your degree field, indicate your education information above the work experience.

Give your CV a proper layout

  • Pay attention to formatting. Avoid using graphic elements, tables, multiple typefaces and colours. 
  • Leave empty spaces between paragraphs. Use a bullet point format to make your CV easy to read. 
  • If you want to include a photograph, choose a formal portrait preferably made by a professional photographer.

Be honest

Do not include deliberately misleading or inaccurate information in your CV – this can ruin your business reputation. If the work experience described in your CV differs from that stated in your employment record book, inform the employer in advance.

Avoid jokes

Your CV is not the right place for humour since it is highly subjective. Things that seem funny to some people, may sound rude or even insulting to others.

References

You may omit this section. Just make sure that you can provide references on request.

Keep your CV updated

Refresh your CV on a regular basis, even if you do not plan to change your job. This will save the trouble of recollecting your past projects and accomplishments.

Include a cover letter

Write a brief and informative cover letter to make you stand out to potential employers.

CV template

You may download and use our CV template.

An interview is the most important stage in the job search process. This is your only chance to make the first impression on a potential employer and show yourself. You will have little time to prove that you are the perfect fit. Thus, it is important to think through how to take advantage of this chance in advance.

Preparation

Preparing for a job interview gives you an opportunity to gain an advantage over other candidates. This shows that you are motivated to join the company, which is very important for any company. Bear in mind that a positive attitude is often a key to success.

Research

Do a company research before you go to a job interview. To help you with the research, an Antal Russia’s consultant will tell you about the company’s corporate culture, its team, employer’s expectations, requirements for candidates, and answer all other questions you may have.

What you should know about your potential employer:

  • What does the company produce? What services does it provide?
  • What is the company’s potential for growth?
  • Who are the main competitors of the company?
  • What is the share of the company in the market?
  • Use Internet, corporate websites, and social media to find the required information.

Think over your outfit in advance

Choose a formal business attire. Avoid flamboyant make-up and accessories. Make sure you look neat. When you are introduced to a prospective employer do not use business cards of the companies where you no longer work. Take a copy of your CV, a notebook or a blank piece of paper, and a pen to make notes.

Clarify place and time of your job interview

Be sure you know the exact time and place of the interview. Antal Russia’s consultant will provide you with a contact’s name and travel directions if required. Make sure that you have contact numbers of the hiring manager and the representative of the employing company. To get to the interview, allow for extra time in case of any unexpected delays. Take along your ID to gain access to the business centre and bear in mind that registration at the reception desk may take 10 to 15 minutes.

Prepare a story about key moments of your career

Be ready to show that you are knowledgeable about the business of those companies where you have worked or continue working. You should prepare answers to a number of common interview questions. The majority of those questions will be related to your previous work experience. Prepare several examples to demonstrate your skills, experience, technical knowledge, and motivation.

Competence-based interview

In order to learn more about a candidate, some interviewers use a special type of interview based on the applicant’s previous experience and ask real-life questions rather than what-if ones. You may be asked to describe a case from your practice or give an example of a situation from your experience.

A certain scheme should be used to answer such questions:

  • Describe a situation;
  • State your task;
  • Specify your actions;
  • Summarise the result.

These components are easy to remember using the acronym STAR — Situation, Task, Action, Result. Emphasise your role in the project and what exactly you did in this or that situation.

Additional assessment and testing

Apart from interviews, some companies also test candidates. Be ready to take a psychological or IQ test, to demonstrate your professional knowledge and skills in solving business cases or working with certain equipment. In general, the employer’s aim is to define whether you will fit the corporate culture, get along with the company’s team and how successfully you will perform.

Companies often engage third-party providers to conduct the tests. In such cases, don’t judge the company by the tests you are to take. Consider them a necessary stage of the screening process.

Questions to the employer

An interview with a potential employer is a dialogue. Prepare several questions about the company and the vacancy. This will demonstrate your interest in the company and help you to understand whether the job is the right fit for you. Read our article and learn what questions you may ask a potential employer.

Finishing the interview

If you are interested in the position, ask about the next interview stage.

НDon’t expect to get a job offer during the interview. In general, your interviewer needs to consult with colleagues or conduct other interviews with other suitable candidates.

If the interview seems to be a failure, keep your chin up. Sometimes, the interviewer deliberately creates a stress situation to see how you react. In this case, your chances of landing a job are in no way compromised. No matter what, you should maintain a positive attitude.

Don’t forget to thank your interviewer.

After the interview

After the interview, it is important to call your consultant and tell him/her the result. In general, the consultant can receive a feedback from the client only after talking to you. A delay on your part can slow down the whole process.

The feedback you get after the consultant talks to your potential employer is the most important lesson that can be learned from a job interview. The feedback helps you to understand what impression you make on people. Whether the result is positive or negative, use this experience for your future interviews. It is a great opportunity to learn something new.

We wish you the best of luck with your interviews!

B: Tell me about yourself.(The interviewer wants to listen to how you talk and gain a first impression of you).
O: This question is asked at almost every job interview to start a conversation. Talk about your qualification, career, skills and abilities. Emphasise your qualifications and skills that are the most relevant for the offered job.

B: Describe your achievements.(The interviewer wants to know how successful you are).

O: This is another most commonly asked question, so be prepared. To answer it, mention your professional achievements and accomplishments. Identify your knowledge and skills used in a certain situation and list your advantages.

B: Are you satisfied with your career?(The interviewer wants to know how happy, positive, ambitious, and self-confident you are).
O: : If you feel you are moving too slowly in your career and cannot answer with a confident Yes, explain why it happens this way.

B: What was the most difficult situation you faced recently and how did you handle it?  ? (The interviewer wants to know how consistent you are, whether you have initiative, and what you define as difficult).

O: This question is a trap. Don’t get entrapped and recall a difficult situation that was not caused by you. Explain why and how you solved the problem and tell the interviewer about the outcome. Always end on a positive note.

B: What are your strengths?(The interviewer wants to understand what value you can add to the company and whether you will fit in with the rest of the team).
O: This question will certainly come up and there is no excuse for being unprepared. Tell the interviewer about your greatest strengths. Give three or four explanations of how they can yield benefits for your prospective employer. Such strengths include technical proficiency, ability to learn quickly, commitment, positive attitude, interpersonal skills, and teamwork. Give several examples and be ready to confirm them.

B: What is your biggest weakness? (The interviewer wants to know in which areas you need some help and whether you can analyse yourself).
O: Don’t say you have none — everybody does have weaknesses. There are at least two ways that you can answer this question. The first one implies using a professional weakness such as lack of experience in any area that is irrelevant for the vacancy. The second way is to describe a personal or professional weakness that can be turned into a strength. Don’t forget to mention how proactive you are in dealing with your weakness.

B: What kind of decision do you find most difficult? (The interviewer wants to know how decisive you are and how you react to stressful situations).
O: You should sound confident. Emphasise that difficult decisions must be made after careful consideration of all facts and scenarios. This answer will present you in the most favourable light.

B:  Why do you want to leave your current job?
O: Your answer should be straightforward. Tell the interviewer that you are looking for a bigger challenge, responsibility, and new experience. Always try to sound positive when stating the reasons.

B: How do you deal with conflict?  (The interviewer wants to know how strong you are and whether you are able to admit your mistakes).
O: This is another trap question. Demonstrate your ability to listen, introduce changes when required, and be courageous enough to stand up for your beliefs.

Field/Position::

  • Why are you interested in this field? Why do you want to work in it?
  • What sorts of people do you enjoy working with?
  • What role does your work play in your department or company? (The answer helps to understand the level of your responsibility).
  • What are your expectations from the company?
    What changes at work turned out stressful and why?
  • What do you think of overtime work or work in weekends?
  • What aspect of this position seems least attractive to you?
  • How will this position add to your experience and help you to develop your skills?
  • Why do you want to work in this field and in this company?
  • Why do you think you are suitable for this job?
  • What can this job give you?
  • Why do you think you would enjoy this job?

Your skills and abilities:

  • Can you meet deadlines and work under pressure? (Give several examples).
  • How do you deal with criticism? (Give an example, describe the outcome).
  • What was the most difficult situation you faced outside work? (Give an example, describe the outcome).
  • How would you assess your performance?
  • What motivates you?
  • Why do you think you will be successful in this job?
  • Can you give an example of a situation when you were not competent enough?
  • What goal have you failed to achieve yet?
  • How can you contribute to this company?
  • What of your skills you would like to improve? (Try to mention the skills that relate to the job you apply for).

Communicating with colleagues:

  • What sorts of people do you find it hard to work with? (Be very careful when answering this question).
  • Have you had a disagreement with your boss recently? How did you handle it?
  • Have you ever had problems getting on with colleagues and co-workers? Why? (Give an example and tell how you solved/overcame the problem).
  • What type of work environment do you prefer? Do you like to work alone or in a team? Why?
  • Why do you think you will be able to get used to this company taking into account that it strongly differs from your current job? (Probably, it would be tough to answer this question until the interviewer explains what are the differences).

You and your future:

  • What do you expect to be in five years?
  • Why should I choose you over the other candidates? (Your strengths).
  • What else should I know about you as an employee? (Your weaknesses).
  • What do you normally do in your free time?

In general, there are several stages of a job interview. At each of them, you have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. You should take this opportunity not only to show your interest in the position to the employer but also to make the right decision.

Recruitment agency

Starting your job search at this stage can give you a number of advantages. A recruitment consultant can greatly assist you in preparation for the interview with a prospective employer. You can ask what is important for a certain position and learn about the corporate culture, specifics of business, or the interviewer.

Questions to the employer

Don’t expect that everything in a new company will be the same as in your previous job. Make sure that you have all the important information from the list below. It’s better to put some questions to a representative of the HR department while others may require attention of your line manager. Don’t forget that your aim at the first stages is to show your motivation and prove that you are a perfect fit for the job. It is reasonable to discuss the employment details only after you managed to catch the interest of the employer.

Questions to HR Manager

  • What is the selection process? 
  • What training system is in use in the company? 
  • Is there any travel associated with the job? Where? How often? 
  • Who will be my line manager? 
  • What are the company’s values and corporate culture? 
  • Are all payments made in accordance with the Labour Code of the Russian Federation? 
  • If a position requires relocation, which expenses are reimbursed? 
  • What is the company’s work schedule? Is overtime expected or accepted?

Questions to future supervisor

At the final interview stages, you should already have got a general idea of these questions, however, discuss them in detail with your future line manager.

  • What’s the aim of the position?
  • How is performance assessed? What are the KPIs? 
  • What major objectives are set for the first three months? And for a year? 
  • What are the company’s strategic plans? 
  • Does the company plan regional expansion? 
  • How would you describe a successful employee aspiring to this position?

Depending on the situation you may ask the following questions at different stages:

  • Why is this position open in the company?
  • What are the company’s structure and hierarchy? Who should report to whom? 
  • What are the prospects for career growth? 
  • What are the main tasks in this position? 
  • What education and development opportunities are offered? 
  • What does the interviewer like most about the company? / Which criteria the interviewer used to choose the company? 
  • What assessment system is in use in the company? 
  • How often is salary reviewed? (Avoid asking the last two questions at the first interview stage).

Salary questions

Job seekers tend to make two common mistakes at an interview: they either ask about remuneration too soon or try to conceal their current salary level in order to get a more beneficial offer. Read details about salary negotiations in our article.

What else to ask

Some things will hardly influence your decision on starting a new job. However, you can clarify the following moments before accepting the offer:

  • Will I work in an open or closed office?
  • What is the name of the position in all official languages of the company? 
  • Ask to introduce you to some of your future colleagues.

It is a must to discuss any long-planned personal travels or other circumstances that will exist during the probationary period or just after it and can prevent you from fulfilling your duties. This will help to develop more trust and understanding.

You should bear in mind that an interview is, above all, a conversation with your future employer. It is important to establish yourself. It is no less important is to understand whether a new job is comfortable for you and matches your goals.

Salary negotiation is a very important and complex stage which largely defines how your career will progress in the future. You should keep in mind and observe several principles when discussing your salary with a recruitment officer and potential employer.
Job-seekers tend to make two common mistakes at an interview: they either ask about remuneration too soon or try to conceal their current salary level in order to get a more beneficial offer. Don’t cheat — the employer will eventually find out what you earned in your previous position. In turn, the recruitment consultant is pretty well acquainted with the market and can easily assess your opportunities and what salary you deserve depending on your experience and expertise.
On the other hand, do not raise the salary question at the first job interviews. When you begin to communicate with the recruitment agency and prospective employer, your main task is to demonstrate your strengths and to prove that you are the best candidate for the company’s vacancy. Emphasise your experience and achievements and let the employer decide when to discuss your salary expectations.  However, when you get a job offer, make sure that the salary and bonus payment scheme is clear and transparent to avoid unpleasant surprises in future.

Communicating with a recruitment officer:

Honestly tell about your current salary level and compensation package. In general, a question about your current salary is asked at the end of the interview and a consultant is already able to determine your market value. 

As a rule, the employers rely upon your current salary level and some of them are ready to offer an increase of 15 to 20%. Surely, there are exceptions to every rule, and yet, recruitment consultants treat candidates who ask for a 50%-plus salary increase with great suspicion. Basically, if salary expectations exceed the employer’s budget the candidates are not even invited for an interview. 

On the other hand, you should not underestimate yourself. If you are ready to accept an offer with a salary below your current pay, you will have to answer a number of the recruiter’s questions and explain your decision. Today, the employers often dictate their terms and the candidates make forced concessions to get stable jobs in a troubled economic situation. 

A research of the labour market and current trends can be helpful in defining your salary expectations and what you are worth in the job market. 

Be ready to explain why you want to get a specific increase (additional duties, heavy responsibility, etc.). 

When negotiating with an employer, recruitment consultants advocate the interests of a job-seeker and try to come up with the most advantageous offer. They also try to balance the applicant’s expectations with the employer’s opportunities. It is to your advantage to honestly express your expectations to your recruitment agency.

Communicating with your prospective employer:

As noted above, do not raise the salary question prematurely. Your main task at the first and second job interviews is to sell yourself. 

Wait until the employer asks about your salary expectations. 

When getting a job offer, don’t forget to clarify whether the amount in question is net of tax. Make sure that you understand the bonus payment scheme. 

Find out what is the current situation in the company to understand whether you will be paid an annual bonus. 

Be flexible and weigh all pros and cons — the salary is not always the key to choosing your dream job. Other aspects can also be motivating.

You finally landed a new job! The offer is accepted, the contract is signed, and multiple interviews are over. However, you face a no less important probationary period that works two ways — both you and your employer get the measure of each other and decide whether you fit together.
Use Antal Russia’s recommendations to get through this important stage with success.

  1. You have just one chance to make a positive first impression, so get prepared for a meeting with new colleagues.

Pay special attention to your clothes — you will meet a lot of new people. 

Prepare a short story about yourself. At first, you will be often asked to introduce yourself to the team, the whole office, the Board of Directors, etc. An ability to talk in a concise and fascinating manner helps to make a good impression. Don’t simply list your previous jobs, tell your colleagues about your hobbies, mention some interesting facts about yourself.


  1. Learn about corporate standards (dress code, working schedule, etc.), values and missions of the company, code of conduct. Observe them in your work.

If you are not under high pressure, try to keep to the working schedule. Come to work and leave on time to avoid unnecessary questions and doubts on the part of managers and colleagues. 


Learn how people address each other in the office.

  1. Prepare all the documents for the HR department in advance, before you start the new job. You will probably have to provide additional certificates or permissions, and their preparation takes time.

    1. On the first few days, you should discuss the tasks and KPIs required to get through the probationary period with your line manager.

    Your agreements should not necessarily be formalized with signatures and a stamp. Just send the manager a summary of your agreements by e-mail and ask for comments to be sure that everything is properly recorded. 

    You will have many tasks and they will be different. Set priorities with consideration for KPIs by which your performance will be assessed.


    1. Pace yourself. Don’t give impracticable promises. Learn to say a well-reasoned no. Otherwise, it will be difficult to change your behaviour pattern and the ways your managers and colleagues see you.

    2. Learn to communicate efficiently with everyone concerned (colleagues, managers, associated departments, and suppliers).

    If you are a manager be reasonably proactive and engage first. 

    Be careful in developing work relationships with colleagues. First, try to understand the internal structure and interaction patterns in the company, and then, you may show your bright personality. 

    Be polite and friendly. Don’t criticize your colleagues and predecessors. Stay neutral. 

    When taking over duties from your predecessor or a colleague, focus on facts, not emotions.


    1. Avoid excessive recollections of your previous job. Express ideas in the most specific way, do not use abstract notions.

    2. Don’t be afraid to ask and take notes for later use to avoid asking twice and being annoying.

    3. It is important to ask questions and give meaningful feedback. Don’t wait until the end of the probationary period. Learn what your manager thinks about your performance. Initiate a mid-term meeting to discuss your progress in fulfilling your new duties.

    4. Try to inform the managers and colleagues about your contribution to the company, point out positive changes that took place due to your work, but choose the right form and time for such information. Don’t over-egg the pudding. Bear in mind that bragging can provoke a negative reaction.
      You should remember that a probationary period is a two-way process. It is needed not only to assess whether or not you are right for the job but also whether the job is right for you

    *Probationary period is regulated by Articles 70 and 71 of the Labour Code of the Russian Federation.

Antal Russia’s consultants are committed to establishing a successful partnership with you. A number of principles should be observed to meet both your and our expectations when working with recruitment consultants. Antal Russia experts also have answered typical questions candidates ask about their career plans and prospects. We hope you find these tips useful.