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Applying for a Job. How do people find jobs? Around 60% of filled jobs are not advertised externally. They are filled through internal promotion, networking connections, through resources sourcing potential candidates through social media profiles. Here are some other ways of seeking out jobs: Career centres at college or university Jobcentres Internet job sites (monster, indeed, reed, as examples). Gumtree Directly on employer websites (some employers only use their own career sites)
Professional trade associations. Adverts in shop windows. Adverts on large retailers notice-boards. In these cases, you need to be actively looking and seeking. An extremely effective way of finding a job is by talking to or contacting people you know to find job leads. Most of us find a job through personal contacts—people we already know such as our friends and family, doctor, dentist, and people we meet when we go shopping and during our normal lives. Personal contacts are also the people that our friends and family know. Approximately 40% of job hunters find their new job with the help of friends, family members, and acquaintances. Job-seeking strategies should be geared to creating as many ways as possible to tell others you are looking for a job. Even if a company doesn’t have a vacancy currently, you can still make enquiries. Consider the case study of Jon below and answer the questions which follow. Case Study Exercise - Jon. Jon is a college student who is thinking about becoming an engineer. There is a small engineering company located about a five-minute walk away, on a small industrial unit. He is working hard to achieve his ‘A’ levels but has looked at the government website to search for an apprenticeship when he finished his ‘A’ levels. He has decided to approach the company and conduct an ‘informational interview’, to find out more about the type of work and to see how the company works. Informational interviewing is a networking activity important to the career development and career exploration process. An informational interview is an interview with a person who is doing the kind of work in which you are interested. It is an excellent technique to use when you want to: explore different career options; learn more about certain occupations; and/or begin to network with people who can help you in your job search. Although it is an effective job search tool, it’s very important to remember that the primary purpose of an informational interview is to obtain information, not a job. Jon talks to his college careers advisor who helps him with the types of questions to ask (i.e., what is important to them), the importance of asking for a business card, and what to do after the interview. These are the questions he has decided to ask. What kind of skills, education, and/or training would I need to get into this area? Do you offer internships or apprenticeships? How did you decide on this field of work? What is a typical day or week like for someone in your occupation? Jon is starting to feel a little nervous and hopes to speak clearly and confidently. He needs to ring the company tomorrow to explain his request. Questions: 1. What other questions could Jon ask? List at least three. Suggested Answers: How did you get into this field of work? What do you like best about your work? What do you like the least? What personal qualities are necessary for someone in this occupation? What is a typical entry-level salary? (Do NOT ask how much the person you are interviewing earns!) Do you know someone else doing this kind of work that I could talk to for my research?
2. List two positive beliefs Jon could repeat to himself so that the phone call goes smoothly. Suggested Answers: I will sound confident when I make this call
I will sound enthusiastic and interested in the company when I call. I’ll come away from the call with more information. I’ll come away from the call with a booked appointment with someone who can help me. 3. What can Jon do to prepare himself for the exploratory phone call? List three ideas. Suggested Answers: Write a script and practice it. Know exactly why you are calling (have noted). Prepare yourself on how to leave a message if the person doesn’t pick up or isn’t available. Practice what you want to say over and over and over. The more you hear yourself say what you want to say, the easier it will be – and the more confident you will feel. People can hear confidence and friendliness in your voice. Along the same lines, fear can be heard over the phone, too. Concentrate on speaking clearly, be calm, smile, and breathe! Jon called the company and the receptionist put him through to a senior engineer, who was happy to have a quick chat. The senior engineer has booked him in to see him the following week, for an hour after college. What can Jon do to prepare for the face-to-face meeting? Run through the questions and don’t forget to bring them with you. Visit the company’s website (if they have one) to learn more about it ahead of time. Prepare to dress appropriately; wear smart trousers, shoes and a shirt, not a t-shirt and jeans. Prepare for one-to-one meetings by practising with a friend, parent, or someone you know and trust. Ask them to role play with you – they could pretend to be the person you are going to meet with and you could practice asking the questions you have prepared. Now, we’ll move onto application forms. Application Forms – How to approach filling them in If you're filling in an application form, you'll still need to work out the best way to present your skills and experience. This is why completing an application form often takes just as much time and effort as writing a CV and covering letter. Some jobs ask you to apply online. There will be specific requirements which have been decided before a job being advertised. Earlier on, there will be a job analysis conducted for the role. The Job Analyst, usually within HR or Organisational Design, uses the following process: Activities, behaviours, knowledge, and motivations for a target job or role are gathered from people working in the target job, their leaders, and others familiar with the job. The activities, behaviours, knowledge, and motivations for the target job, or role, are analysed and grouped into a tentative list of competencies. Managers and supervisors familiar with the job, or role, rate each competency on how important it is to job success and then rank the competencies in order of importance. Statistical analysis is applied to the ratings and rankings, and a final list of competencies is produced. Then, the person specification, job description, or a combination of the two, a role profile, will be used to create an advert. Most adverts have detail about what the role entails and the key skills and experience required for the role. These are known as job requirements. Application forms will enquire about this criterion, as well as important personal details, e.g. a summary of your work history, educational qualifications etc. There is also space for you to give evidence showing that you have the knowledge, skills, abilities and other personal qualities needed to do the job. These are referred to as competencies. In the space or spaces provided on the application form, you will need to explain, in your own words, how, when and where you have put these competencies into practice. That is, you must describe the actions that you took. It is not enough to have shown that you have relevant experience. You must show evidence that you have experience of putting into use the particular skills, knowledge, abilities and personal qualities that are needed for the post for which you are applying. Traditional application forms and CVs require you to list your experiences (such as qualifications, training or jobs which you have had) and sometimes to list your achievements. They don't ask you to describe how you achieved success. An application form that requires you to describe the way that you behaved in certain situations and the effect that this had will allow the recruiter to judge the extent to which you are capable of applying the same behaviours in a new job. Completing Examples for a Customer-facing Role – Sales Assistant, Customer Service Representative Firstly the recruiter needs to know what the situation was when you carried out the relevant activities i.e. you need to set the scene. Example: "I was a member of a team of four shop assistants selling stationery in a large department store. The supervisor had asked me to organise a special promotion of a new range of products. I had to do this while continuing to do my normal job in a busy section of the store. I had one week to prepare for the event". This allows the recruiter, at a glance, to place the activities in a particular setting and to know what was expected of you. In the rest of the statement, you also need to explain what resources you had to use and what responsibilities you took on to complete the task. At the end of the statement, you will need to explain what the outcome of your actions was and why they were successful. If it wasn't as successful as it could have been, explain what you could have done to make it more so. For example: "During the two-week period of the promotion we increased our sales by more than double the usual total, mainly due to the way I had promoted the new products to the customers. Customers said they enjoyed sampling the products and the supervisor recommended a bonus for my work. On reflection, however, I think it would have been even more successful if I had consulted customers about what they wanted from the types of products. " When filling out an application form, make sure you use your own words. By using your own words to describe what you did you show that you understand what is required rather than just using the words used in the description of the competencies which you have been provided with. Use "I" and active verbs: Examples: "I decided to…." "I took responsibility for….” "I suggested that we…." "I presented the ideas to the manager," etc. Do not detach yourself from any actions you took, for example, don’t use, "It was decided" or "a decision was made" etc. How Candidates are selected for Interview Selection is the process of screening applicants to ensure that the most appropriate candidate is hired. The first step in the selection process is to review the information (CV, application form) provided by all job applicants to determine which applicants meet the minimum criteria set out in the job specification. Job applicants who meet or exceed the minimum criteria are then assessed to decide which ones will be short-listed for a job interview. The most common methods of selection for all positions include an interview followed by a reference check. Other selection techniques used during the interview phase are: work samples, written tests, in-ray exercises, customer-services role-plays, presentations, and personality or aptitude tests. After making a conditional offer, additional selection techniques can include: criminal records check, driver's records check. Written consent is required before requesting records checks.Understanding the Interview Process Interviews are designed to draw out skills, experience and competences. Questions will be job-related and will test the fulfilment of job requirements. In most cases, competency-based interviews are used. In the case of the ‘Personal Shopper’, you would be asked questions relating to the role profile. Expect customer service, teamwork and initiative to be asked, as well as probing your experience to date. This will ensure that the interviewer is clear of the level of organisational and job fit, you have with the role. If screening interviews are used, it may be that there are lots of suitable candidates. You should still be prepared to share in-depth examples of ‘what’ you have achieved and ‘how’ you have achieved these examples. You may be asked to complete a telephone interview before meeting the recruiter as this allows them to shortlist potential candidates and save time. Questions can be worded to check that candidates can fulfil the job requirements, e.g. qualifications, lifting, etc., as well as checking, very important that a candidate has a legal right to work in the UK. In this case, the onus is on the employer to carry out adequate checks and obtain original proof, or face a fine, or civil penalty of, currently, £20,000, per worker. When candidates are asked to interview, recruiters need to be clear about the process, location, reporting details and what will be involved. Invitations to interview may be sent by email or by letter. Sometimes, you may receive a phone invitation, so try to answer the phone professionally at all times.
Only candidates who look like a close match will be invited to interview so you must relate your skills and experiences to what the recruiter is looking for in your CV, application form and interview. Section 3 - Interview Participation and Career Progression. The aim of this module is for the learner to acquire good basic communication skills needed for an interview. The learner will also be guided through a post-interview reflection. Learning outcomes. Know how to prepare for an interview. Understand why personal appearance is important in an interview. Understanding what competency-based questions are and how to structure answers. be able to present and perform well at an interview. Be able to review your own performance at an interview. Preparation for the Interview. Some employers use just one interview as the basis for their decision. Some ask candidates back a second time. Interviews are also your opportunity to find out more about the job and the organisation. Employers want you to have enough information to make your decision to accept a job offer with confidence. Careful and thorough preparation is essential and will help you cope with any interview. Prepare well before the interview by working through the following steps: Find out how to get there and allow plenty of time for your journey. It takes time to find your way around a hospital when you don’t know where you’re going. Take time to review the company website and newsletters to consider potential questions about the post or the organisation. Decide what to wear. Make sure it's appropriate and comfortable.

Do check if you are unsure. For example, some companies allow relaxed dress. Do groom yourself, and ensure you look clean and tidy. Personal appearances do count. If you are unkempt and turn up in jeans, when the dress code is formal, you may not be seen as a good organisational fit. If you have any particular needs for the interview, for example, if you are visually impaired, hard of hearing, use a wheelchair, etc, let them know. Interview panels should provide support/access for candidates where required.


Read over your CV and application form. Think about your personal skills, motivation and personality. Read the job description and think about how your skills and experience match what the employer is looking for. Identify why you will be able to do the job, with specific reference to the job description and person specification. Think about your successes, big or small, also the lessons you have learnt from where things haven’t gone as well as you had hoped. Prepare to ask the interviewer questions about the job or the organisation. I interview Content – Practice your Examples. Using the STAR Technique to Give Examples. We covered providing these examples in the application form completion section, so let’s take some time to prepare an example to be spoken at the interview. As a guide to the process of collecting behavioural examples, a technique called STAR is utilised. To be a good predictor of future behaviour, an example of past behaviour must contain The S/T - Situation or Task you faced. The Action you took. (What did the person do? What behaviours did they display). The Result of the candidate’s actions. These are the type of questions you may be asked. Situation or Task (S/T). Describe what led up to that. Could you give me a specific situation in which you used that approach? What was the most memorable time when that happened? What caused you to . . . ? Why did you . . . ? When was that? What were the circumstances surrounding . . . ? Who was that customer (co-worker, team member)? What were you reacting to? Action (A) Exactly what did you do? How were your actions different here from . . . ? How did you react?
Describe specifically how you did that. What was your part of the project, and how did you handle it? Walk me through the steps you took . . . What did you say to him?
What did you do first . . . ? Result (R) What was the result? What was the outcome? How much did you save? (if asked about the budget) Was it completed on time? (if asked about timeline) What feedback did you receive? What did you learn from the experience? A Few Tips Be polite and shake hands when you meet the interviewer. Remember to take your time to answer questions. The interviewer will not expect you to rush in to answer questions. If you can’t think of a work-based example but have an example from college or university or a social context, ask if you can use that instead. Be honest. If something did not go as well as expected, explain how you used that learning in a further example. The interviewer should build rapport with you. Sit forwards and look interested throughout the interview. The interviewer will notice this. Career Progression. This section aims to help the learner develop an understanding of what is required to progress in a career that interests them. Career progression will broaden your skills, experience, provide job satisfaction and enable you to receive a higher salary, in most cases. You might be asked to take on a temporary secondment, to learn additional skills, or to cover another position i.e. if someone goes on maternity leave. These are all opportunities to expand your knowledge skills and experience. Some of these will be planned; some will be ad-hoc duties to cover sick leave or peak work periods. In all cases, you are learning valuable extensions to your skills. Taking that learning and applying it in your career is known as career progression. A career progression conversation will happen at some point within the first few years of employment. The conversation is about looking forward and planning. It should be an adult conversation, or series of conversations, where you, as an employee, will enter into a discussion with your manager or supervisor, about the following things:
Where you are at, in terms of feelings about work: helping both parties to be clear about any career issues. Just talking (and you listening) can clarify matters and discharge any negative emotions which can get in the way of positive thought and action; Skills and performance: feedback about how you are doing, your strengths and weaknesses, how people see you generally at work; Values and drivers, work/life issues: helping to clarify what’s really important for them, and how you create space for life outside work; Potential and aspirations: views on how far you believe you can go in the current role / organisation, and in what kinds of directions; reflections on what your own aspirations really are; Options in the business (and possibly outside): discussing job and career options in very broad terms and getting a wider view of what you might do in the future – careers can be vertical, but they can also be lateral, exploratory (different directions), multi-discipline/ multi-function, and some people can have two or more very different careers in their lifetime; Processes and politics: how things are done “around here”, including processes and tactics; how you can raise their profile, who else you can speak to and how to be more visible to others in the organisation; The pros and cons of choices – direction: identifying or exploring career options quite carefully; looking at the pros and cons, making a decision, or at least being clearer about where you want to go and the development and work experiences required; Next steps, who to see: good career conversations usually lead to actions. These may be contacts to follow up, perhaps to help you network better, jobs/roles to apply for, or development to undertake. Your manager will have a Personal Development Plan and the questions around these areas will look something like the following: 1. Current situation – including a review of pre-work. Example Questions: Where are you at with your current role? How long do you see yourself staying in the role / when might you be ready for a change? Record your thoughts: Reflections on the pre-work – what trends did you notice by completing this exercise? Record your thoughts: What have you learnt about your career by completing this exercise? Record your thoughts: 2. Aspirations: what do they want to do/achieve in their career? This is about checking out your ambitions, mobility factors and timeframes. Example Questions: What do you see yourself doing in the future? (5 years/3 years/next year) What areas of the business interest you most? How far would you be prepared to travel for the right job? Would you relocate for the right job? If no, to any of the last two questions, might this change in the foreseeable future? Is so, when? 3.Strengths and Motivators: what type of role would best suit his/her talent? Probe to understand what type of work best suits your talent by looking at your strengths and what motivates you. Example Questions: What do you consider to be your strengths? (explore technical, behavioural, leadership capabilities and refer to previous performance conversations and any feedback or data from psychometrics) What kind of work really energises you in your current role? What kind of work really saps your energy? Are you looking to deepen or broaden your career? (i.e. specialist, generalist, leadership) What are your primary career drivers? e.g. money, status, the opportunity for personal growth etc. 4. Role Matching: what roles/areas have you or the individual identified as potential opportunities for this individual? If the individual has said that they would like to progress. Explore the possibilities and timeframes with the individual and narrow down options based on aspirations, strengths, career values and motivational needs. Remember, you are not looking for a perfect match – a 20% stretch is healthy for development. Don’t over-promise – it’s unlikely that any future role is guaranteed, but they can get ready so that they are in the best possible position to apply, should the role become available. 5. Development Plans: what development will help him/her reach their potential. The aim here is to start identifying areas of focus for development that will move them from where they are now to where they need to be to get to the next level / their next role. Example Questions: What are the demands of the types of roles discussed and what is the gap? (you may need to provide feedback here) What would other key stakeholders say the gap is? What areas do you feel you need to focus on to make the transition required to fulfil the types of roles we have discussed? What are the things that you are good at currently, but you would need to work on still further to meet the demands of those types of roles? (it is often best to focus on getting from good to great on something rather than tackling major weaknesses) What are the things that you are less good at about the demands of the role? What development have you had for these? How would you manage these? What strategies could you try out in your current role to learn to manage these? What other barriers might there be to you progressing into these types of roles? How can you overcome these barriers? Where can you find out more information about these roles? What are realistic timeframes for progressing into such a role? Are there any lateral steps or roles that you may need to consider to gain the experience / gain the development required in the meantime? 4. Next steps: what will he/she do now to start to progress his/her career and development plans
This is about gaining personal commitment to start work on developing his/her career. Start by summarising the conversation so far. Example Questions: So what areas will you work on? What development options do you have? E.g. mentoring, opportunities to develop your network, NED position, Board level volunteering, in-role opportunities, leadership development, technical development etc. (see Appendix 4 for Development Planning Tools) How could that make a difference? What are the key milestones? How ready are you to do this? What support do you need from me? Who else can help? Once this is recorded, you can work to plan out development activity, which will increase your knowledge and skills, to facilitate progression. It might be that you take a secondment into another department, or shadow someone else in their role. What other ideas can you think of? Record your answers below: The examples show that you can stay within a retail environment, or, as per the second path, perform a functional move whilst retaining retail environment knowledge. A Store Manager may move directly into a Regional Trainer role, or with development, into a Regional Training Manager role, reducing the length of career path. Another option could be a Store Supervisor moving into a Local Stores Trainer role, but the Supervisor would need to have enough store experience to handle the training. A Team Leader may also jump the Customer Services Manager role and move into a Local Stores Trainer directly. To explore roles which are not just vertical, but can take you across functions, you’ll need to explore what opportunities may exist which will bring out the best in your capabilities, and which meet any role preferences. Once you are in a company, you can start to find out about the following: What the different bits of the business do The kinds of job roles in these business streams and how they fit together - by function and by broad level The alternative routes for progression e.g. specialist/ managerial Where formal qualifications are needed to progress An idea of what it might feel like to do another kind of work and some of the skills you would need.