This post is prompted by the fact I had a job interview on the 18th. I have no idea how I got on but the interviewers seemed impressed and pleased with my answers so fingers crossed!
I’ve had a few job interviews in the past couple of years. 2 have been successful and funnily enough, I’ve only ever been interviewed by 2 companies.
My first job was in retail and it was a part time, 8 hour contract job and the interview was very basic and more aptitude based questions- more questions on how you would personally deal with situations etc.
My current job is working for NHS England as a Medical Laboratory Assistant but I have been interviewed for other departments and even apprenticeships within the NHS. These interviews are completely different to my retail interview- you need to have prepared for the interview and done your research.
The job interview I had a couple of days ago was for a Medical Laboratory Assistant in Histopathology (I currently work in Pre-Analytics) at a more local hospital. So in some ways, I was prepared because I do technically already have the job so surely should be more equipped, right?
But I did my research before hand and I am glad I did because otherwise, I’d have been sat really quite stuck on some of the questions they threw my way.
So if you’re looking to avoid the awkward “uuuummmmm” moments when you get asked a question, here are a few tips to help you out!
Read The Job Description/Person Specification
If there’s a job description or personal specification, read it thoroughly and remember some key points. Sometimes, they’ll ask questions to see if you’ve read the job description. For example, one question I ALWAYS get asked is
“What do you think this job entails?”
And yes, you can give a broad answer but if there’s specific things in the job description that you need to know, you’re going to look like you applied for the job without much thought.
In this instance, I could have answered
“Unbagging samples, labeling samples, inputting the test codes to the system…”
But this would only show that I know my current job and not the specifics of doing the MLA job in Histopathology. So, because I’d read the job description, I knew my answer should be along the lines of
“Some of the same duties as I currently do in pre-analytics, for example unbagging and labeling specimens. But in histopathology, I believe that you will be fixing samples with formalin, staining samples, embedding samples in paraffin wax and taking dictations from the biomedical scientists, to name a few duties.”
It doesn’t have to be that wordy, but you catch my drift?
Do Some Research On The Company/Brand First
Luckily, I’ve never been asked this question but I know people who have.
If you know nothing about the company you’re being interviewed by, you may look like you just applied again, with little or no thought.
Do some basic research on what they do, how they work as a company etc.
For me, although I’ve never been asked the question directly, I’ve been able to impress with my knowledge of the job. So, before the interview for my current job, I’d had a tour around their labs and knew that samples needed 3 points of identification otherwise they’d be rejected and little things that show you truly do have an interest in the job you’re going for.
You don’t need to be an expert but to have some insight is good and definitely an advantage.
More tips for interviews that don’t necessarily come under prep include working out how to dress. You want something formal and well presented and for gods sake, don’t wear jeans!
I wore jeans and a long sleeved top to a job interview once. I do regret it and felt awful for it but I was wearing a 24hr ECG so the aim was to wear whatever hid it out of sight. On top of that, I hadn’t slept because the conductive pads were causing an allergic reaction on my skin.
But as a general look, I go for a nice skirt, plain top and blazer. Shoes… it depends. If I’m not walking far, I’ll go for heels. If I need to walk a bit, I’ll wear a nice pair of flats. As for makeup, I really keep it minimal with maybe just a bit of eyeliner and lipstick.
When they ask if you have questions, always ask at least one. I always ask if there’s any room to progress in the future and the working pattern, unless they’ve already told me that. Maybe ask if there’s a uniform but never just say you have no questions- you’ll look more interested if you want to know more about the job.
Interviews aren’t always going to yield a successful outcome and while you may blow their socks off with your manner and answers, you may not quite be what they’re looking for but don’t be disheartened! There’s always next time!
Have you got any interview horror stories? I want to hear them!