Career advice

Prepare for your job interview, and prepare to succeed

Distinguish yourself from the other candidates by preparing thoroughly for your interview. Here's how

Job interviews are up there with some of the most stressful situations we face in our lives, especially when trying to move into a different role or specialism. But much can be done to relieve the pressure and maximise the chances of being successful.

Picture credit: SPL

Preparation is all. First, read through the job description carefully and make a note of examples that demonstrate your suitability for the role so you can discuss these confidently at interview, advises Hays Healthcare director Simon Hudson.

‘If there are elements of the job that are new to you, think about the core skills involved and how you might have used these in other ways,’ he says.

It’s imperative to do your homework. Look up the background of the interviewing trust or employer.

‘Look at their website for recent news or announcements,’ adds Mr Hudson.

‘Research the people you would be working for and the service users you would be working with to learn more about the organisation’s structure, values and responsibilities.’

Having this sort of background knowledge helps pave the way for easier discussion and allows you to form answers in the context of the role and environment you would be working in, advises MSI Group chief executive Nick Simpson.

‘Keep in mind a trust’s specialism,’ he says. ‘Although this may be harder to research, it will provide you with knowledge that will distinguish you from other interview candidates.’

Do

Review your experience and achievements before the interview

Research – find out as much as you can about the role and the employer

Prepare insightful questions

Don’t

Be late – practise the journey if you need to

Avoid open-ended questions – use them to elaborate on what makes you good for the role

Arrive underdressed – make sure your appearance is tidy and your clothes are smart

Be prepared to have your clinical skills and competency tested with in-depth scenario-based questions and drug calculations.

‘There are a wealth of online tools available to help you with the latter, and brushing up the night before will help boost your confidence,’ says Mr Simpson.

He urges interviewees not to be shy about reflecting on their professional achievements before the interview and suggests that reviewing revalidation documents can be a great reminder.

Practice makes perfect. If it’s a face-to-face interview, practise by enlisting a friend or relative to put interview questions to you.

‘If your interview is on Skype, practise setting up your computer to avoid any technical hitches and talking to the camera so you feel comfortable in this interview style,’ says Mr Hudson.

Never forget that interviews are a two-way street.

‘While it may seem like your answers to the interviewer’s questions are the most vital part of your interview, asking insightful and well-considered questions can set you apart from other candidates,’ suggests Mr Simpson.

‘Prepare a set of questions in advance specific to the role you are applying for – they will act as testament to your knowledge of the position. And make sure to ask questions that will allow you to demonstrate your suitability for the role.

‘For example, asking if the trust has a mentoring programme or what extra projects and training opportunities are available will make your eagerness to continue to develop professionally evident to your interviewer.’

Finally, your attire will play a vital role in the outcome of the interview process. ‘It’s important to look, act and dress professionally – you won’t have a second chance at making a good first impression,’ warns Mr Hudson.

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