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9 tips for landing a dream job in the UAE



Let’s face it, doing job interviews isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, there’s so much to consider like what to wear, what to say and how to say it. There’s also remembering what you may or may not have “added” to your CV – Yeah, we speak proficient Spanish too. And, then there’s the actual interview itself, where you usually find yourself left with sweaty palms, fear in your eyes and in some cases a blank expression on your face – t’is what dreams are made of.
If the aforementioned scenarios have hit a nerve or struck a memory, here’s some tips to help you ace your next job interview…

Erwin Rachim, chief concierge at St Regis Abu Dhabi, is a skilled people greeter. He says all interviewers make snap judgements…

Make a good first impression
“It’s important to enter professional situations as an agent for yourself, projecting an outgoing, friendly and worldly demeanour. With guests, I try to start conversations about our respective backgrounds and share some personal stories. Talk with sincerity and passion and treat each guest as an individual.
“Preparation is another key. In my role, you have to have deep knowledge of not only the hotel but also the destination; the level of expected knowledge is very high and I need to be able to cater to a range of guest needs from VIP corporate travel to honeymooners.
“You also have to observe behaviours and listen carefully to their questions, only that way can you tailor a memorable experience.”


Waleed Anwar of boutique recruitment agency Harmony Connections Dubai about his key tips for bagging the job…

Do your research
“Candidates have to put some work in. Study both the company and, if you know who it’s going to be, the interviewer – 99.9 percent of interviewers will ask what you know about their company. So familiarise yourself with its history, senior management, products/services and the latest news. I’ll try to send my clients the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile, too, so they can picture the person that they will meet and familiarise themselves with his/her background. It ought to help reduce any intimidation and maybe help identify people or companies in common – especially in a relatively small place like Dubai.”

Nail the job description
“Make sure you fully know the role you are being interviewed for. Think of key achievements from your career that will support your experience to do the job, for example for a sales manager position interview, take your high-performance awards that you won in previous roles or have examples of key accounts that you secured in the past.”

Don’t ever arrive empty handed
“A copy of the same CV that the interviewer has is key – and you need to be fully conversant with what is (and isn’t) on it, especially if it’s been tailored for a particular role. You should also take a notepad and take some notes during the interview, this will show that you are interested in the role and the company.”

Arrive early!
“Dubai in particular is a busy place and traffic is a major issue here. You have to aim to get to the interview at least 30 minutes early to allow for traffic, to find your location and find a parking space. If at all possible, I strongly recommend doing the journey the day before to familiarise yourself with the route and timing of your journey.”

Presentation is key
“Most hiring managers make their decisions within the first 10 seconds of seeing you – and you don’t want to be playing catch-up because of an un-ironed shirt or unkempt hair. For guys, shave and get a haircut. For ladies, tone down the makeup; I have had female candidates rejected for interviews in Dubai for wearing too much. Make sure that you give a good solid handshake with eye contact and a friendly smile.”

Ask questions
“At the end of the interview you must ask of questions, even if you feel that all your questions have been answered. One question that I highly recommend is asking how they felt you did in comparison to other candidates they’ve interviewed. This question can lead to the interviewer sharing any concerns that they have which you may be able to deal with there and then.”


Nish de Gruiter, Vice President of Suitsupply, now open in City Walk, gives men advice on dressing the part.

Dress the part
“Nailing an interview is not only about experience, it’s about the impression you’re making on an employer. And when it comes to presentation, confidence is key.
“Firstly, know your audience; you want to dress for the job you’re interviewing for. If it’s an easygoing start-up environment with a lax dress code, you have more freedom to put a little more personality into your outfit. A well-tailored jacket paired with chinos or jeans and a tie-less shirt is a great option.
“For a more conservative institution, start with the basics: a smart grey or navy suit is both refined and functional when you pair it with a well-pressed white shirt and a toned-down tie. However, having a nice suit isn’t enough; it’s all about the fit. Something too big or too small will look awkward and off-putting, and it will reflect negatively on you.
“So it might well pay to invest in some personal tailoring and get yourself a perfectly fitting outfit – and, of course, don’t forget to polish your shoes. It’s a far-too-often overlooked detail in a business setting.
“When you’re confident in the way you look, it will translate in the way you speak and present yourself, and should yield some positive results.”


When the pre-interview nerves kick in, stay cool and confident by copying the mental approach used by former MENA Golf Tour Champion Jake Shepherd…

Control your nerves
“It feels a little like a job interview every time I step on the first tee. But first and foremost, we need to appreciate that nerves in these situations are perfectly normal, and should be embraced as a positive. A sports psychologist I used to work with once told me that being nervous can be equated to being alert. If you’re not nervous, something’s wrong.
“For me, preparation is key. I need to be able to pull off big shots under pressure, and I can only do that if I’ve prepared thoroughly and I’m drawing on familiar thoughts and processes. There are two things here: your long-term prep and your situational prep. The first is all about my routine prior to a tournament, which I have a lot of control over: music, arrival time, anything to get in the groove. On the course, you’re reacting to both good and bad situations, and you have to step back and learn to reset your focus.
“Take emotion out of it and whatever you do, don’t panic. Have faith in your ability and you’ll do just fine.”


Right, now that you know how to ace your interview, be gone and may the force be with you.

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