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HELPING PEOPLE THRIVE

It’s clear from talking to Chantel Kitching that she puts a lot of thought into everything she does. This trait is also evident in her work as an HR and Recruitment Specialist, where finding the right person for the job is often like searching for a needle in a haystack. But, Chantel believes that finding that perfect candidate makes all the backbreaking work worthwhile…

Here Chantel speaks about her career, the changing landscape of the future of work, and her life beyond the office, which often involves a 15 year old, three dogs, and a garden spade in the hand.

I grew up… in Bloemfontein. When I was 12 years old, we moved to Heidelberg, where I was sent to an Afrikaans school as the English school was very small. I quickly had to learn to speak Afrikaans and I’m very grateful that I’m fully bilingual today

My parents taught me to… value education. My mother used to say, ‘You will go and study and once you have your degree you can sweep streets if you like, but you will educate yourself’. My father in his quiet, peace-loving way taught us many precious truths.

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After finishing school… I completed my BPL degree and an honours degree in Industrial Psychology. I registered with the HPCSA as an Independent Psychometrist and I was a Corporate HR Manager for many years, before opening a branch for Thomas International in Bloemfontein. After two years and working very hard to settle the business, I realised that if I wanted to witness my son’s life, I would need to do something that would give me with some flexible time. I resigned and started my own business, HR Solutions, three months before Dayne was born in 2005. I’ve never regretted the decision.

The favourite part of my job… is helping people from an emotional and strategic point of view. I believe you can help people who want to improve their performance or need to resolve issues that are affecting their effectiveness.

The most important aspect of my work is… building relationships with people. I’ve always believed that although we don’t have the longest client list, we have loyal supportive clients who have become like family. Our relationship is built on trust and mutual respect.

Much of my time and energy recently has been taken up by… finding good candidates. Recruitment has become a challenge as people send their CVs at random, irrespective of the set criteria. So, it has become like looking for a needle in a haystack. You can’t ignore any CV as you might miss out on a brilliant candidate. You find yourself sifting through piles of CVs desperately trying to find the right fit for the position at hand. However, it’s rewarding when one finds the right candidate, your client is happy, and the candidate accepts the offer.

My top tips for somebody searching for a new job is… know the business you ‘re applying at, who they are, what their culture is, and would you fit in? Also, understand that most people conducting interviews are corporate-orientated; so, remember to look the part and be presentable. Lastly, prepare for the interview and have references at hand.

Covid-19 has changed my industry by… bringing about a sense of fear. People are hesitant to apply for positions, as they’re scared that they might be retrenched or be unhappy. But, Covid has also made people realise that working from home or having a smaller office space is a viable option. People have also become more innovative and determined to survive. They seem to be more grateful for the smaller things in life… health, families, friends, and a job.

When I’m not working… I enjoy spending time with my 15-year-old son. He’s a wise child, he loves sport, and he never wakes up in a bad mood.

If I wasn’t an HR practitioner… I would love to own a nursery or be a florist. I love gardening; I believe that a garden spade can heal many hurts.

Most people do not know that… I read recipe books like other people read storybooks. I also love animals, but especially dogs. My love for dogs started when my father-in-law bought me a Labrador. That was the first dog that I owned as an adult, and I was 37 years old! Since that day, I’ve never been without a dog.

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