One of my least favourite questions and one I have been asked many times in the past three weeks is, “Tell me a bit about yourself.” I pause, I panic and I regurgitate my CV.
I’m pretty sure they want to hear about my academic achievements rather than my personal ones that involve only buying 2 packets of false nails from Primark instead of 5 and running straight past the 3 for 2 offer in Boots so I don’t buy any more lipstick!
Looking for work is never easy and these days it’s even tougher. You basically need to start working the second you’re out of nappies if you want to meet the required experience demands.
You also need a degree, a time machine and the finest gold dug from the plains of the Sahara desert. Have all that? Great! Now you have to answer five million questions, do a quick role play and complete this test.
Done? Great! Now you need to sit in front of a panel and answer an array of questions you’ve already answered a million times before. If you are miraculously lucky, you’ll get the job. Otherwise it’s back to jumping through hoops for something else.
Job hunting in London is quite different to job hunting in Limerick. For starters, there are alot more jobs and with that, alot more people applying.
A big thing over here are recruitment agencies. Most of the time you apply through an agency who advertise on behalf of an employer.
This can be a good thing as any agency worth their salt will put you forward for other roles that suit your experience so your job search doesn’t need to be so extensive.
It does add another step to the process as you have to regurgitate the, “Tell me a bit about yourself”, speech with the agency too, but it’s all a lot more informal and helpful. Just be yourself and you can’t go wrong!
Of course once you’ve applied, then comes the interview. Going for interviews is always nerve wracking, but they definitely get easier the more you do.
Over the past few years I’ve done almost every type of interview going: one to one, panel, phone, Skype, group and ones where role plays and typing tests have been involved.
It wasn’t until I’d done so many and got nowhere that it started getting easier. I just gave up being nervous and worrying about it and that was when I got my part time job in Limerick. Joking with the manager and just being myself paid off.
That is why I don’t believe in so much preparation. Obviously you need to know the role you’re going for and how your skills apply to it, as well as researching the company, but when it comes to interview questions don’t sit at home writing out answers and learning them off. Treat it like a chat, be relaxed, and most importantly, just be yourself.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions you have about any aspect of the job. Always pay attention to everything they’re saying, give a good, firm handshake and smile.
Those are my main tips when going for interviews and they’ve paid off for me as I have officially landed my first job here!
As of Monday I will be a working woman again, only this time in London! Nervous is an understatement but the potential for possibilities is endless and I’m hoping it’s going to be the start of a great career!