Application and interview tips
Application form - top tips!
- Ensure that you read all the information you are provided with about the job, it helps to show that you have an understanding of the role.
- Try to show you meet the requirements for the job by using the Person Specification criteria at each point on the form with an explanation of how you satisfy it.
- Some employers have an application form made up of competency based questions. Try to base your answers based on personal experience to demonstrate skills required in the job. An example might be: ‘Think of a time when you have had to influence others to do something they were reluctant to do'. What was the situation? How did you do it? What was the outcome?
For this question you should try to:
- briefly outline the situation
- explain what you did in terms of skills and processes that YOU used in some detail
- describe a positive outcome or personal learning point.
There are also likely to be a series of questions covering a range of personal skills such as:
- problem solving
- Avoid using the same scenario twice. Provide a spread of evidence in your answers, drawing on the breadth of your work, life and study.
You must clearly show how you meet essential criteria, but don't be put off if you do not meet all of the desirable criteria. Don't forget that where you are asked for details of relevant experience, it doesn't just mean paid work.
You can use examples of what you have done in the past either at home, school or college. Also paid or unpaid work or hobbies. For example: running a home may involve a range of skills like organising and budgeting or being active in a club, tenant group or voluntary organisation may show skills like teamwork, communicating or customer care.
Finally, ask someone to check through your application. You may not be able to see your own mistakes. Ensure you have a copy for yourself and keep it with the other documents such as advert and Job Description. You may need this later for interview preparation!
Interview skills - top tips!
Interviews are conversations with a purpose - to find out about you. Here are some top tips to help you prepare and perform well in your interview:
- Always allow plenty of time for your journey
- Try to arrive at least 10 minutes early
- Do some homework the company - understand what line of business they are in.
- Use the information on the person specification to anticipate interview questions
- Dress comfortably and appropriately
- Prepare questions you would like to ask at the end of the interview, ask about the job, organisation, employees, products and processes
- Don't try to beat the clock. Take your time
- Listen carefully and answer the question the interviewer asks not the one you want to answer
- Be prepared to talk, do not give one word answers
- If you do not understand the question ask for clarification, this shows confidence and control
- Sell yourself. This is your opportunity to tell a potential employer what you can do