If you have finished your health care training, chances are you are looking for your first entry-level position. Looking for employment within the industry is not as difficult as you might be expecting.

Our useful tips will give you all the guidance you need to help you search for opportunities and how to prepare for an interview in health and social care


The job search

The key things you need to possess before undertaking a search for a position within the health care industry are the relevant qualifications, practical skills and an eagerness to continue learning, while providing excellent care.

Many graduates believe that it is enough to have the knowledge and skills, but forget that their attitude is what will set them apart from other potential candidates. Try to remember that politeness and charisma can go a long way in showing that you will be an excellent care provider.


Preparing for the interview

Once you have found a position you would like to apply for, chances are you will be required to fill out an application form which should be returned with an up to date CV, either via post or email.

If you are applying via email, make sure that you have a professional email address, as this is often the first thing a future employer will see.

The company will take a look at all applications and if your skills match the job you stand a high chance of being called for an interview.


Phone conversations

In many cases you will speak to the interviewer on the phone before being invited into an interview.

To prepare for this ensure you have a professional voicemail on your phone, should you not be available. But, if you are expecting a call always try to ensure your phone is nearby and well charged.

When you answer the phone, find a quiet place and answer with a smile. It is well known that smiling whilst on the phone will make you seem like a friendly, happy and bubbly person.

The interviewer will feel the warmth in your voice and it will help the conversation flow.


What to wear

If you are lucky, you will be invited in for an interview. One of the first things to consider when preparing for the day is your attire and how you will present yourself.

Try to present yourself as you would for a typical day at work. This means long hair should be tied back and nails clean and short.

If you regularly wear jewellery try and keep this to a minimum, small stud earrings and a plain wedding band are acceptable. Try to remember that you are not being employed for your fashion sense, so smart professional clothes in colours such as dark blue, grey or black are ideal.

Your shoes should also be professional in style, with a small heel and closed toe. During your interview you may be asked to enter a ward wearing scrubs, so bringing a clean pair of appropriate shoes with you will show you are prepared.

Try to display that you are a clean and professional worker, so avoid smoking before the interview as the smell could cling and ensure you remove any chewing gum before entering the building.


Preparing for the interview

To ensure your interview runs smoothly take some time to prepare answers to the questions you will probably be asked. If you look through the job description, there is a high chance the company will have listed the qualities an ideal employee would possess.

By making a list of likely questions and preparing answers that show you have these qualities will give you a boost. Write these things down and read them just before entering the building, it will reduce your nerves and improve your confidence levels.

You should bring multiple copies of your CV with you to the interview too. Printing five copies is a good number, as if you are interviewed by multiple people you should have enough for each person and one for yourself.


During the interview

Presenting yourself as a polite, professional and knowledgeable care provider is key.

Always arrive around 10-15 minutes before your interview time and introduce yourself to the receptionist. Be friendly and mannerly – people in buildings talk and the interviewer may discuss potential employees with anyone you meet in the building.

Once your interviewer calls for you, shake their hand firmly and be confident in your greeting. You should thank them for taking the time to interview you during their busy schedule.

Once you reach the office, wait until you are invited to take a seat before sitting down. Once you sit down, sit up straight and avoid slouching as this will make you seem lazy.

Try to stay focused and maintain eye contact, it will show that you are serious about the position and respect their authority. At the end of the interview you should thank them again and shake hands.

It can be beneficial to send a follow up email thanking them for the opportunity, and you could also ask when you should expect to hear back from them.


Waiting to hear back

Any role within health care can take a long time to process because of the wide number of background checks required. You should allow 2 weeks from the day of the interview before sending a polite email or calling the reception.

If you are offered the position, do not be afraid to ask whatever questions you need about start dates, attire, pay and hours, for example. If you are unsuccessful you should always ask for feedback.

Although this time may not have gone so well, they will be able to let you know why, so you can prepare better for the next opportunity.

Try not to let the knock back get you down, remember every interview is bringing you one step closer to your dream health care position.

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