Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. Preparing for an interview: Healthy Minds Wellbeing service employment support service

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1 Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Healthy Minds : Healthy Minds Wellbeing service employment support service

2 Healthy Minds Why prepare for an interview? There are three main reasons for preparation: 1. to be able to answer questions concisely and clearly. You can't if you're scrabbling about in your brain for suitable answer-materials. Although you can't second guess every question you might be asked, if you are prepared you can tailor them to fit. 2. to be confident. Confidence has a lot to do with the way you present yourself. If you're prepared, you'll feel more confident. There's nothing more confidence-sapping than feeling that you're on the defence. 3. to look keen. Prospective employers will choose a notquite-perfect but willing candidate over a brilliant one that obviously isn't bothered. Attitude matters! What to prepare? Three main points are: 1. Find out about the organisation. Visit the website, read prospectuses, brochures and other materials that you may have been sent with the application. If nothing has been sent, phone the company to ask for any useful reading matters they may have. Visit the premises if you can. Talk to anyone you know who works there already. 2 Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

3 Information leaflet 2. Find out about the job. Ask for a job description or specification. This will give you the duties and responsibilities that go with the job you're being interviewed for. Not all organisations will have one or will let you see it. However, it's always worth trying and showing your willingness. Ring the nominated person on the advertisement to ask anything you need to know about the job. Talk to anyone you know who is familiar with the kind of work you may be doing (if you haven't done that specific job before). 3. Find out what qualities or capabilities the prospective employer is looking for. Read the job advertisement and job specification (if you have one) carefully. Although you probably have matched your CV and covering letter to their requirements already, at the interview, you will need to be able to demonstrate what you have said you can do on your CV with solid examples. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust 3

4 Healthy Minds How to prepare? By giving concrete and detailed examples of what you have done to demonstrate your ability in that area - scenarios and achievements. This is the most important part of your preparation - even if you're asked to give a presentation as well. Your interview secures the job, so don't spend all your preparation time on the presentation at the expense of the interview. Preparing your examples Read your personal statement or profile and the responsibilities/current job specification/skills and capabilities on your CV. Make a list of the things you claim you can do. For example, if your personal statement says: I am task-oriented, able to motivate myself and sustain focus from the start of a project through to completion. A naturally strategic thinker, I also have an eye for detail, quality and practicality. I enjoy collaborating with other people, working towards a shared goal and learning from shared experience. 4 Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

5 Information leaflet You will need to give examples from your work experience that show: how task-oriented you are how motivated you are how you followed a project through from start to finish your aptitude for strategic thinking your eye for detail, quality and practicality how you collaborate with other people and work towards a shared goal how or what you have learnt from sharing experience Behavioural questions These are questions specifically designed around the job description or the competencies and they will ask you to give examples of when you have undertaken certain tasks or had certain achievements. This is because anyone can say that they have done something, but interviewers need to be given evidence that this is the case. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust 5

6 Healthy Minds Example You state in your profile that you are able to motivate others. Can you give me an example of when you had to do this? Can you describe a situation where you have had to solve a difficult problem? Did you solve this by yourself or did you ask for the help of other people. You can tailor examples to answer most of the competency or capability questions that will come up, such as Tell me more about how you work in a team', Describe a time when you worked under pressure' or What would you do if...' questions. Some of your example scenarios will fit with two or even three points. A scenario about teamwork may also fit coaching skills, organisational skills and influencing skills. Competency questions Competency-based questions can vary widely between sectors, so being assessed on competency depends on the post and how the questions are compiled to be appropriate and relevant to the position and the organisation. Examples of common skills and competencies Adaptability Compliance Communication Independence Influencing Integrity 6 Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

7 Information leaflet Conflict management Creativity and innovation Decisiveness Delegation External awareness Flexibility Leadership Organisational awareness Resilience and tenacity Respecting diversity Risk taking Sensitivity to others Teamwork Added value Add in a few lessons learnt' scenarios - what you did and how you might have done it better. You may be asked to describe a situation you have learnt from. Prepare to talk about anything you have done and learnt from that would contribute more to the job, team or organisation. You can also demonstrate your experience in any voluntary work, secondments, experience of other kinds of jobs or of working in another sector. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust 7

8 Healthy Minds What is the interviewer looking for? To find out more about you the interviewer will have a number of questions that need satisfying: Is this person as good as their CV or Application Form indicated? Are they able to expand on the information on their CV or application form? Can they back up their statements of achievements? How well will they come across face-to-face? Can I see this person doing the job? Can they tell me more about what is not included in their CV or application form, e.g. reasons for leaving a job? Am I convinced that they are telling the truth? The last thing you want to do is create one impression with your CV or application form and a completely different one at the interview. Preparing for other kinds of questions Interviewers are also looking for someone who is likely to stay with the organisation or institution and progress within it. Prepare to answer questions about your future and your career 8 Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

9 Information leaflet aspirations. Make sure you can answer: Why do you want this job? (Not for the money!) What are your ambitions for the future? (in the organisation) How do you cope under pressure? How do you manage your time when working? What would you like to accomplish working with us? You may also be asked to explain any gaps in your career or career breaks. Contrary to popular belief, employers don't necessarily see this as negative. Be positive about yourself and accentuate the learning or experience you gained. Most importantly, never speak disrespectfully about a former employer. Preparing your own questions It's good to be interested enough to ask questions yourself. Think about what you want to know about the job and the company, who your boss is, how many colleagues you will work closely with, how often your team meets, how often will there be appraisals and performance reviews, for example. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust 9

10 Healthy Minds Technical questions about software, systems and structures and how things are done are good. Do ask about training opportunities and opportunities for career progression. What challenges might you have to deal with in this position? What is the work environment like? Enquire about how many people are being interviewed for the position and when you will hear about the job. Don't ask about salary or terms and conditions of work until you have been offered the job. Dressing appropriately. Do s and Don ts: DO dress conservatively keep colours simple wash and iron your clothes if you are unsure, check if there is a dress code by phoning ahead aim to dress on level up from what you would expect to be wearing if you got the job 10 Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

11 Information leaflet wear a business suit dress comfortably wear subtle make up trim your facial hair cover up any piercings and body art or wear smaller studs polish your shoes DON T wear clothes too tight wear hats wear eccentric ties or patterns overwhelm yourself in perfume/cologne wear short skirts or low cut tops wear too much jewellery Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust 11

12 Healthy Minds Things to remember It is usual to feel anxious and nervous before and during an interview. The interviewer will be aware and prepared that you will feel nervous. Try and listen fully to the questions, to give yourself time when answering a question, repeat the question back to the interviewer. You can also ask the interviewer to repeat the question to give yourself time to think of an answer. Try and keep eye contact. If there is a panel of interviewers try and give each interviewer regular eye contact, especially when they are speaking. Don t fiddle with jewellery, hair or parts of your body e.g. repeatedly tugging your ear. Clasp hands in your lap to stop any fiddling or twitching (but don t sit wringing and twisting your hands). Don t lounge or slouch in the chair or be too casual in your demeanour. It is best to sit upright with shoulders back and head up. Prepare for and learn the route and location of where the interview is being held. If it is possible you could drive or take local transport (checking bus or train times first) to the location to see how long it takes, consider the time of day the interview will take place e.g. it 12 Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

13 Information leaflet may take longer to get there for 9.00am in the rush hour, than it would for 11.00am. Always get to the interview in good time At least 20 minutes before the time of your interview. To give yourself time to compose yourself, perhaps have a drink of water, have a last look at your CV or application form or competencies and job description, to help you remember what you have written when you applied. To help alleviate anxiety Do some discreet breathing exercises and focus on the breathing to calm your mind and body. Be enthusiastic When you have enthusiasm and a belief in yourself and what you are saying, this will come across to the interviewer. Speak clearly. Just say enough and remember to stop talking when you have answered the question or described an example. Don t mumble, be monosyllabic, speak too loud or gabble. Have your mobile phone with you Remember to have the number of the organisation, relevant person or department. Plus the correct name of the contact person or interviewer, so you can contact them if you are delayed. Switch off or put your mobile on silent before you go into the interview. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust 13

14 Healthy Minds Tips for the interview Clarify anything you are unsure of. It is okay to ask the interviewer for clarification. You can also ask if there is anything they would like clarification on at the end. Be on time for your interview or even early if you can. This gives a good first impression and will also give you time to relax before the interview Dress appropriately. You re clothes should be professional but comfortable. Wear smart, clean clothes even if the organisation s dress code is casual. 14 Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

15 Information leaflet Be prepared to be asked about yourself and your experience. Read over your CV and pick out key experience you have gained from each job. Be confident and assertive. Shake the interviewer s hand and make eye contact. Be aware of your body language. Try to avoid closed postures. Sit up straight and maintain eye contact. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust 15

16 Healthy Minds Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Trust Headquarters 4000 John Smith Drive Oxford Business Park South Oxford OX4 2GX Switchboard Website CF Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

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