Monday, 20 February 2017

The Dread of the Interview

We've all experienced those dreaded interviews, but now I am on my travels and actively job hunting I thought I'd take the time to write about them.

Image result for job interviews funnyThinking back to my first ever nurse interview, I was probably pretty lucky - not too much grilling. However, the prospect of trying to gain a Trainee nurse placement and have a complete career change was nerve wracking enough. I was unsure of the questions that could be asked and if I'm brutally honest I don't even think I fully comprehended what a veterinary nurse did day to day. Despite all of that, it was still a breeze by comparison to recent ones. It turned out to be more of a tour of the clinic followed by a chat, and from memory, it tended to center around committing to training and that there would be a period of employment prior to starting my college training. So all good, I had found a practice willing to take me on. 

Now I'm not under any illusions, I was lucky. Others I know have it really tough to find an initial clinic. Right place at the right time, but also perseverance. CV drops, in person and keep on at it. From now being a long in the tooth qualified I know how easy it is to open an email, file it under potentials and then never look in that folder again. Then a vacancy comes up and you tend to look through the recent inbox first. So keep hassling - in my opinion.

Then there are the interviews that are even better, the ones that start off with a cup of tea catch up with an old work colleague and they happen to mention a vacancy. Next minute the boss pops their head in and basically offers you the job then and there. This isn't the norm, but it does help when you've worked there before. Hence the phrase 'The vet world is a small one, so always leave on good terms.'

I've also found locuming is a very good way to get into a vet clinic, it's almost a try before you buy for both you and the employer. Sometimes you locum not just to cover holiday but due to long term sickness or staff shortages. Therefore this is a great way for an employer to then ask you to stay on and work permanently for them. I realise that locuming isn't for everyone, though.
Image result for vet nurse what my mom thinks i do

Then every once in a while you get a curve ball interview. The one where you were expecting it to be an informal chat but it turns into a question firing exercise. I've had this a few times, once I was expecting it but more recently not so much. So preparation is always key, luckily due to umpteen years in clinics, I can normally find some answer or example in my head to use. But my latest interview, I did wish I'd not thought it would be informal. 

So in my experience a few questions and answers to think about (these are probably common for most roles not just vet nursing);

  • Give me an example of a challenge that you have overcome?
  • Name one of your strengths,
  • Name one of your weaknesses - This is always a toughie because everyone's trying to sell themselves not create problems. However its good self-reflection, and if you can turn the negative into a positive at the end of the convo then all the better. 
  • What's an important thing that you think you could bring to the role?
  • Is there anything you would have to overcome/learn to if you were offered the role? Example - I don't have much referral experience only first opinion so this is something I would have to learn and adapt to.
Always always think of some return questions, it shows you've thought about the position and although it's fine to ask pay, annual leave - try to ask something else. Lastly look up the organisation you are applying for, do some research because they tend to love putting in one of those back handers to show that you've read the advert properly. 

The VN times wrote a good article so check that out for further help and info:

My last piece of advice, if you don't understand the question or know the answer, be honest. I recently had to say 'I've got to be honest here, no I don't know anything about that could you explain it to me.' Honesty is the best policy rather than going off on an irrelevant tangent.
Remember the interviewer could be as nervous as you!

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