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Applying for jobs - Hints & Tips only please

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Applying for jobs - Hints & Tips only please

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Redundancy & Redundancy Planning
43 replies 40.6K views
Airwolf1Airwolf1 Forumite
1.2K posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Redundancy & Redundancy Planning
Hi,

There was a similar thread, but it got a bit of general chat in it - please could this be kept to Hints and Tips only as it is a sticky. I will copy and paste into here some of the tips from the other thread.

I'm hopefully in a job/career that I'll stay in now, but completing an application form can sometimes be as daunting as an interview itself. Over the last few years I've had a few of these and had help from HR teams etc.

Just a couple of pointers for anyone needing them...feel free to add any others as well.

If in an interview you can't think of an answer to a question, ask if you can answer that later and crack on with the other questions. Then, when you're asked it at the end, take and time and think about your response.

On the application and at job interview, when you may be asked to say show how you've achieved something, so don't just say "I've done this or that", but give an actual example, eg, "I helped a customer out by obtaining an up to date meter reading from her and re-billed the account, which then enabled me to ascertain her correct usage of gas and allowed me to lower her payments."

If you don't get the job, or even if you do, ask for feedback - it can help.

Go into detail and don't worry if you think it is too much.
My suggestion and/or advice is my own and it is up to you if you follow it, please check the advice given before acting on it.
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Replies

  • Airwolf1Airwolf1 Forumite
    1.2K posts
    Posted by ravravrav:-

    Ok, whilst doing my accountancy course we covered some things about interviews and recruiting people. This is what your employer wants to know:

    1) Can you do the job? Do you have the right skills and so on? Well, if you're in the interview then basically they've sorted you out from the other candidates and they think you've got what it takes. So just reinforce that you can.

    2) Will you do the job? In other words, will you stick it out and stay interested in doing what they want. Show them you're interested in the field you're applying for - and also that you have a longterm plan of staying in the job.

    3) Will you fit in? This depends on the workplace and culture of the business. You could some research to find out what sort of people there are there, whether they are formal or laid back, that sort of thing. Show that you are friendly, professional, easygoing and whatever else they expect from their staff.
    My suggestion and/or advice is my own and it is up to you if you follow it, please check the advice given before acting on it.
  • KimitatsuKimitatsu Forumite
    3.9K posts
    I'm a Volunteer Board Guide
    Thanks to Airwolf1 for starting this thread. :D

    Please keep this sticky to hints and tips only - any discussions can be continued on this thread:

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=1410803
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  • Airwolf1Airwolf1 Forumite
    1.2K posts
    Posted by loue79:-

    Can I remind people that before they go for an interview that they should be able to quote a couple of facts about the company. At least if they do ask "What do you know about our company?" you can answer.
    My suggestion and/or advice is my own and it is up to you if you follow it, please check the advice given before acting on it.
  • Airwolf1Airwolf1 Forumite
    1.2K posts
    Posted by greenwheels 007:-

    Just a few pointers regarding interviews, I hope they are of use.
    You are there to prove that you have the best experience, qualifications and skills to perform the role. Employers may want you to fit in etc... as suggested but the majority of interviews now are solely competence based.
    Step 1 - Identify the role requirenments, most jobs come with some sort of post profile, this is also what the interview questions should be written from.
    Step 2 - Identify your best example of EVIDENCE of when you have performed each element of the post profile.
    Step 3 - Practice talking about these pieces of evidence.
    Step 4 - Practice again
    Step 5 - Practice again

    Too many people come out of interviews and say, 'damn, why didn't I tell them that' the simple answer is usually that they didn't practice.

    I have interviewed a lot of people who have the evidence on their application form then somehow look vacant when you ask them to talk about their experience in a particular area!

    Appearance - I would suggest against the red scarf approach. Look smart professional and comfortable. Sit outside the place of work before the interview and see what the smartest people wear. Possibly wear something subtly assertive but nothing too distracting. A nice smart dark suit with plain shirt / blouse is perfect.

    Finally, if you don't get the job and are offered feedback then take it.
    Feedback is a gift and it might be hard to swallow at first but it should improve your performance next time.
    My suggestion and/or advice is my own and it is up to you if you follow it, please check the advice given before acting on it.
  • Airwolf1Airwolf1 Forumite
    1.2K posts
    Posted by solarstone:-

    Get a good CV with relevant (brief) summary of previous jobs (getting briefer the older the job). Do some research on the company's website. BE interested/interesting and ask questions.
    My suggestion and/or advice is my own and it is up to you if you follow it, please check the advice given before acting on it.
  • Airwolf1Airwolf1 Forumite
    1.2K posts
    Posted by LynnT:-

    Preparation is the key to a good interview, and as already mentioned:

    # research the company you are applying to - and how to get there, who the panel are and what format the interview will take

    # re-read the advert, job spec, your application/CV and match up the potential requirements of the role with when and how you have already successfully carried out/had the same responsibilities

    # look the part, be smart, be open and be you

    # prepare some questions to ask about your role, your team and your future [preferably not just about benefits and reward!]

    # remember you will be asked open questions which require responses that will include examples of what you can do/did do with whom, how and what the results were

    # competency based questioning is becoming more popular and gives the interview panel objective criteria to benchmark candidates in a fair and equitable way.

    Competency based questions might well start with "Tell me about a time...."
    Interviewer is looking for a SOAR response

    # Situation
    # Ownership
    # Action
    # Result

    Look at the job spec to understand what competencies might be required for example; achieving results, customer focus, team working, communication and quality standards.

    Let me know if you want any examples.
    My suggestion and/or advice is my own and it is up to you if you follow it, please check the advice given before acting on it.
  • Airwolf1Airwolf1 Forumite
    1.2K posts
    Posted by greenwheels007:-

    I think the SOAR acronym is great!

    If the question is "tell me about when you have worked as part of a team?" for example, quite a common one, then you might structure your answer like a story...so...once upon a time....

    I was working in an office of 3 people and one went sick just at the time when an additional piece of work was required...
    What I did was....
    What the objective was...
    What the outcome was...

    and like all good stories...we all lived happily ever after.

    One massive point here is to talk about what 'I' did, not what 'we' did. I have been on panels before where it is not possible to score people for 'we' answers so further questions may be required to probe. However structured interviwing doesn't allow random probing questions so you may get a zero for 'we'.

    Blow your own trumpet!

    There is no point going to an interview and being shy. As long as you simply explain what you did and what the outcome was then you are just telling the truth. You simply can not be shy and humble in an interview, you must explode in to the room, engage the panel and make them tick those boxes.

    I can not stress enough how imporatant it is to practice explaining your pieces of evidence. You must practice these mini stories and litter them with the power words such as 'team, task, achieve, goal and quality'.

    People complain that they don't know what they are going to say. You don't know what the questions will be but by hard work you can narrow down the possibilities. Revise and practice exaclty as you would for an exam.

    And, if it helps, most people are pretty bad in interview and do not do themselves justice, so if you can step up and be confident you are off to a head start.

    You may not have enough evidence to get the job in the end but never walk out of an interview not having given the best account of yourself.
    My suggestion and/or advice is my own and it is up to you if you follow it, please check the advice given before acting on it.
  • I've had the task of appointing individuals on a few cases. Here's what i look like as an employer (and the perspective companies i've worked for have mainly took).

    1. Application Form - Make sure you provide evidence of all the essential criteria or you won't get an interview. When you can have over 60 forms for one job you tend not to be in a position to guess from what is written. I always try and write my personal statement to match the person specification using the appropriate parts as headings. It may make it a bit longer to write but it makes it pretty fool proof for the shortlisting group.

    2. Interview - Dress smartly to impress. We have had interviews for casual works who would have to wear practical clothing etc for their jobs but we still expect the to be smart / suited for their interview.

    3. Presentations - Keep to the time limit set. As silly as it sounds make sure you answer the question. I tend to use a final slide to summerise my answer. Especially useful when I've had to do 10-20min presentation.

    4. Questions - Answer fully and give examples. As mentioned by other posters we're looking for proof you've done things that demonstrate your competency to do the job. Try and think of some good examples and answers before the interview. There are several standard ish question you get in my field of work e.g. IT, Project Management etc have some things prepared and remember to read the job description and person specification again. Its what your being compared to.

    5. Questions to ask the panel - Always ask something to show interest even if you think you know it all. CPD and staff development is my stock one but it does help and show your keen.

    6. Feedback - Always accept feedback. You might not agree with it but its useful information and you never know if you'll want to work for them in the future. It took me three attempts with one company to get the job i wanted. The feedback certainly helped!;)
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  • Airwolf1Airwolf1 Forumite
    1.2K posts
    One thing I did forget, and I believe this applies to anyone, is that you can do basic English, Maths courses (and others) at Learn Direct. Contact their nearest office to you, or check out their website - http://www.learndirect.co.uk/

    You can also do such things as the ECDL etc there, so it is quite useful.
    My suggestion and/or advice is my own and it is up to you if you follow it, please check the advice given before acting on it.
  • ErrataErrata Forumite
    38.2K posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hope you don't mind me picking up on this
    3. Presentations - Keep to the time limit set. As silly as it sounds make sure you answer the question. I tend to use a final slide to summerise my answer. Especially useful when I've had to do 10-20min presentation

    If using technical kit for slides or powerpoint make sure you have it all in hard copy so when the kit goes down - and it does - you can hand out hard copies instead.
    .................:)....I'm smiling because I have no idea what's going on ...:)
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