What are we all doing with our lives?
What is our path?
What will be our story?
If only applying for a job was as simple as sending off an application, CV or cover letter. Unfortunately now a days not only may you encounter an interview, but there may also be tests, especially if you are applying for any graduate schemes. Tests, interviews, telephone/Skype interviews, assessment days, and group days are what I call The Hoops of the Great Big Job Hunt. Sadly you have to pass through all the stages of application and interview before you might get a job offer, but it's a game that must be played to succeed. But don't be disheartened I have some hints and tips for these pesky hoops.
These come in many forms. They may be given on the day of interview / assessment day or they may be taken beforehand online as a way for the company to sift through applications. They can come in the form of tasks related to the position you have applied for, such as conducting a short literary review, prioritising a fictitious workload, giving a presentation, or taking part in a role play. On the other hand they may be standard sifting test such as numeracy and literacy tests.
- If you have a disability that entitles you to extra time or other special arrangements - get in contact with the recruiter as soon as possible to seek adjustments.
- Carefully read any instructions that you may have been given.
- If you can, usually only if you are completing online tests for sift purposes, practise - you can practise for other test at interviews / assessments though it is not always clear before hand what these might be. There are books available and online sites to practise numerical and literacy tests.
- Ask for more information if you are unsure or worried - recruiters and HR will help as much as they can.
- Stay calm, you can only do the best that you can - if this doesn't work out, keep hope and keep striving because you will find your place soon
Interviews can be tricky things for some and wonderful things for others depending on your personality. I personally am not fond of interviews as I can become nervous, but the more I do it and the more practise I have, the more confident I become.
The most important thing to remember is to be yourself. An interview is not only to see whether you are capable and knowledgeable, but also that you would fit in with the team, so just be yourself.
As for questions there are many sites and books out there with interview question examples. You will never be able to prepare for ever question ever asked, but some good tips would be:
- Go through the job spec and come up with examples for each aspect, that way if you get asked skills based questions you will be able to offer a good example of your skills.
- Questions should be answered with a story like style beginning, middle, and end - some call this the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique - this makes it easier for interviewers to write notes - it is annoying sometimes, but all part of the game, especially if you are looking to work in a university or for the government.
- Consider and have an answer ready for 'Why do you want this job?', 'What do you know about the position?' and 'Why do you want to work for the company?' These questions or equivalent come up frequently in interviews. They are looking to see you know what you have applied for and that you are passionate about it.
Finally, it important at interview to dress appropriately, and make sure you smell nice. I have heard of people being discounted due to their smell and future employers being worried about that being in the office.
Unfortunately as much as we would like to think that the an application is all down to our skill and experience, it is also down to our fit with the company and a bit of luck.
Telephone Interviews / Skype Interviews
These are similar to normal interviews except for you are not in the room with the interviewer. Prepare the same way, however, also:
- Find a suitable quiet location to take the telephone or Skype call.
- With a Skye interview or other video interview make sure you are dress appropriately and that your background is suitable for the interview. Websites suggest to have a plain background behind you.
Assessment Days / Group Days
I have been to one assessment day which consisted of 3 tasks, 2 tests and an interview. 3 people were at the assessment day at once. rotating tasks.
Assessment/Group days can be slightly intimidating as you are competing for the same job or a limited number of spaces. Remember to be polite to everyone you meet including your fellow job seekers, and stay true to yourself, don't compare yourself or try and be someone different. Being you is the best plan of action to find your perfect job and right company fit.
Another hoop that you may encounter in chasing. You may have to chase up a response after making an application, or after an interview/assessment day. Usually employers will give you a window of time to hear back from them say 1 week - 6 weeks for application, a few days - 1 week after interview. If you have not heard from the employer within a suitable amount of time you can chase them either by phone or email.
If you are chasing after an interview: make sure you thank the interviewers again for the opportunity and then enquire about when you might hear back from them.
If chasing an application: Give them as much detail as possible, your name, and when you applied for what job, and ask politely when you may hear from them, or whether the position has already been filled.
If you have any questions regarding any part of this weeks topic or anything else, feel free to leave a comment.
Part 5 - COMING SOON