I originally posted this over a year ago on my old Wordpress blog but after the day I had today I was reminded that some of my advice was very good and I think that you should all read it and pass it along ;-)
Other bloggers swear by not mentioning work at all so I hope that I’m not going to get fired for this post!!!! I find myself in the lucky and very fortunate position of having an awesome job that so far hasn’t been affected by the credit crunch and (touch wood) won’t be affected for the foreseeable future. Today, I was helping a good friend of mine by filling in an online application form for a new job at a reputable learning establishment and all I can say is Oh My Gosh....why do they make these forms sooooo unworkable???
Normally I find myself on the other side of the fence reading submitted application forms and bemoaning the fact that nobody these days can spell and in some cases write nothing at all on the application form. Having been on the flipside of that today? I think I have to go back to the application form on our website and make it simpler and less frustrating to fill in. I’m not surprised candidates get fed up of trying to make it work and end up leaving it blank!!!
So from being the person that receives the application forms and makes a decision about who we interview and who we don’t, let me offer you a few words of advice*:
Apply in the way the Company asks. For example, if they don’t accept CV’s it would make no sense to send one!! But yes, people still do.
Don’t phone every single day to see where we are at in the application stage when it obviously tells you the timeline on ALL the paperwork. You are just going to annoy the nice lady in HR (me) and get a reputation for being a pain in the ass.
Explain gaps in employment. We don’t care what you were doing but leaving gaps lets my imagine run wild and by the time you get to interview I will have convinced myself that you were imprisoned for being an axe murderer!!! (What? Y’all know I’m a drama queen!!!)
Strangely enough I don’t want to know your life story. I want to know why I should hire you and how you meet the Person Specification that I took 4 hours to write!
Use spell check......it’s there for a reason people, especially if you are applying for a Teaching post. Why am I going to give you a job teaching my students Physics/Maths/English if you can’t spell any better than my seven year old or be bothered to use spell check???
If you have untidy handwriting apply online instead of sending me cross-eyed trying to decipher your writing. See above!!!!
My Apprentice and I spend a lot of time putting together all the paperwork that gets sent out to you as a candidate so the least you can do is read it properly and reply appropriately!
Prepare for the interview....I know, it’s like Rocket Science huh? You’d be surprised by how many people don’t even check out the website or have a prepared list of questions to ask....yep, it makes you look uninterested and we’ll give the job to someone who cares!!
Try and anticipate the questions! Obviously not all of them or else I’m not doing my job properly but you could take a wild guess at some of them at least and prepare possible answers so that you aren’t completely blindsided.
Don’t steal the food at lunchtime! Somehow it doesn’t impress me when I hear of interview candidates stealing the sandwiches and biscuits to eat for their Dinner!
And finally............if I ask you how flexible you are? Please don’t touch your toes!!!!
I hope this helps some and that I haven’t given away anything too personal about candidates that I’ve seen (that will get me fired). Now I’m off back to the dumb application form that I started four hours ago and still haven’t finished and need to complete as the closing date is tomorrow!!!!
(* I can take no personal responsibility for people following my advice and not being shortlisted or appointed ;-)