Health and Safety Job Interviews
Guest Post by the late George Robotham. See Georges other articles HERE
This paper mainly represents critical reflection on the authors experience being interviewed and interviewing others. Formal learning in broad H.R.M. and interviewing techniques has assisted.
Recruitment & selection uses “Past behaviour predicts future behaviour” The idea is to give plenty of examples of where in the past you have successfully done the sort of things that you will be required to do in the new job. Say what you did, how you did it and what were the results.
A lot of interviewers sit there dead-pan and uncommunicative, often this is because they are new to the process and very uptight about it, do not let this throw you off, just relax and be yourself.
An important tip for interviews is to project an image that you are highly interested in the job and that you are generally high energy in your approach.
The following questions are often asked in interviews in the private sector.
“What was it about the job ad that attracted you to apply?” Pretty hard to respond if you have thrown the ad away or do not have an electronic copy. Sometimes the person who wrote the job ad will be the person asking the question so a bit of stroking is appropriate. You can talk about things like a good match for your skills, opportunity to learn more about X, an industry you have experience in, an opportunity to apply solid skills learnt in another industry to a new industry, opportunity to bring skills learnt in a high performing company to the new company, opportunity for a bit of travel if that is your thing, opportunity for lots of people interaction and so on.
“What do you know about our company? ” If you have not looked up the company web-site if they have one or otherwise researched the company you are going to look like a bit of a dill at this point in time. Always refresh your memory of company details just before going to interview.
“Why have you applied for this position? / What interests you about this position?” You might be tempted to say you need a job to pay the bills but this may not necessarily be the best response. You should have got as much information about the job as you could. I would talk about having similar experience in a similar job in a similar industry or how experience in similar roles would add value to the position with them. You could also talk about the new things you are keen to learn. Some organisations are going through change processes and you could mention this is an exciting process for you or how you found working at Y with similar change processes very interesting and learnt a lot. Probably does not hurt to mention the job is close to home if appropriate.
“Where do you want to be in 5 years time?” Be careful with this one. You want to demonstrate you are keen to learn, am ambitious and want to progress in your chosen field but if you are over ambitious to the extent that your ambitions are not achievable with that employer and the employer knows you are not a really long-term prospect you may not get the job.
“Tell me about your ideal job” Much the same caution as the question above
“What makes for an ideal supervisor for you?” The most dangerous question of the lot! Impossible to predict as the personality of your potential supervisor can vary so much. I always say general things like sets high standards for themselves and me, is thorough, has good communications skills, has good interpersonal skills and a sense of humour is a bonus. Getting into the specifics too much may reveal a clash of personalities.
“Tell me about yourself”.
“Why are you the best person for this job?” /”Why should we give you this job?”
“What are your strengths?”
“What are your weaknesses?” Hint, mention a relatively minor weakness and say you have realised it is a weakness and say what you are doing to overcome the weakness.
“How would your friends describe you?” Conservative if not obvious another approach is required, think about what is a good answer from the employers perspective.
“How would your boss describe you?” Conservative if not obvious another approach required. Think about what is a good answer from the employers perspective.
“Describe what good communications means to you”
“What motivates you?”
“Why did you choose to start working in x field?”
“What is your most significant achievement in x field?”
“ Please give me an example of where you have gone the extra mile for a customer”
“Please give me an example of how you went about x”
“How did you contribute to accomplishing a team goal?”
“Describe how you found it difficult to build an effective working relationship with a customer / colleague?”
“Tell me what you have done to help a peer / team member to understand what knowledge / skills area to strengthen?”
“Tell us about a time when you faced conflicting priorities?”
“Describe the most difficult conflict you have been involved in or the toughest group you have had to work with?”
Government jobs usually stick to questions based on the selection criteria. Generally I would go to the interview with 2 examples of how I had successfully implemented the things in each of the selection criteria.
Towards the end of the interview ask the time frame for making a decision and appointment.
Ask when feedback from the interview will be available. Always ask for feedback, you will often not agree with it but it gives you an idea of how others perceive you.
Prior to an important job interview you should have a mock interview with friends.
It is a good idea to think about what some of the questions you are likely to be asked are and have a prepared answer in your head.
Note – For male interviewees be careful of the female interviewer with the low cut dress, this could be a test! If you have tattoos on your lower arms wear a long-sleeved shirt AND please get rid of the studs and other metal