Interview Tips for Applicants

An interview is part of the job application process.  Once an employer has chosen you out of several people based on your CV, they will probably want to ask you more questions in person and see what kind of person you are and if you will fit into the team.  This is also a chance for you to see the practice where you might be working for a long time and where you will meet the people who will be your colleagues.  It’s a two-way process.

Here are a few tips to increase your chances of being chosen to be their new work colleague.

  1. Research – Look up the company on the internet prior to arrival so that you know a bit more about them and are able to ask them questions that are important to help you make a decision about working there.  If you have been given a job specification, make sure that you can show them your skills are what they are looking for by having examples of work you have done before.
  2. Prepare – Take note of whom you are meeting, where you are going and how you are going to get there… and if at all possible, arrive a little early. Make sure you know how long you will be there and what the format of the interview is, you might have to do some shadowing on the day, this will determine what else you might need to take with you.
  3. Leaving home – Wear something smart and comfortable.  In many cases, people still like to see formal suits, but you might be asked to do some work and shadow a vet or nurse on the day, in which case you might want to put on suitable work wear.  Take a spare copy of your CV and a notepad to take notes.
  4. First Impressions count – If you are too early, go for a walk in the area until it’s almost time for you to be there, if you are running late – make sure they know!  From the moment you walk through the door, people will notice you and you will be surprised how many front of house staff can influence the final decision, so be nice to everyone you meet and smile.  People like to know that they will be working with someone who is friendly.
  5. The interview – You will be asked several questions about your skills and abilities and might be asked to elaborate by telling them about your experiences in more detail.  Listen carefully, think and then answer, always maintaining eye contact. If you do not understand the question, do not be afraid to ask for clarification. This will help keep you focused and you will feel more confident.  Just be yourself, relax and be honest.  Talk about your strengths and your weaknesses. Your manner will also give the interviewer an indication on how you might behave towards their clients.  Let them know why you want the job and when you are available to start. Make sure they have access to two good referees and that these people are happy to be contacted.
  6. Your turn – Ask questions that are important to you.  You might want more information on your responsibilities? What kind of training is available? About your shifts?  Who you will be working with and reporting to?  How you might progress within the company? Make sure your questions are more focused on what you can offer them rather than what they can offer you. You may or may not be told about the salary, it’s debatable whether or not you should ask, but you may want them to give you an indication of what it might be if this will influence your decision.  The salary offered will be in the offer letter.
  7. Feedback – Ask what will happen next?  (If that hasn’t already been explained to you) They should be able to give you a timescale on when they will be contacting you about the job.  Make sure they know if you are interested in the job.  Thank them for their time and say goodbye to everyone you met on the way in.
  8. Whist you are waiting – Call if you need to ask any more questions you forgot to ask at interview or use your recruitment consultant (if you have one) to liaise for you.  If you did not get the job, you might want to ask for constructive feedback.  If you declined the job, be prepared to give them constructive feedback. If you got the job – CONGRATULATIONS!

You can find a lot more help on the internet on preparing and attending interview and we hope our tips are useful to you.  Good luck!



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