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20 February 2015
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Get that job: What employers want

Interview with Margaret Tinsley
HR manager for Moy Park

All about application forms

Click here to listen to this interviewWhen we do receive application forms, you’ve got to bear in mind that we’re maybe looking at fifty, sixty or a hundred application forms, depending on the job.
So anybody’s that is well filled in and is neat and tidy, that’s automatically going to stand out. If anybody’s is completely untidy or hasn’t been half filled in, that again
is going to really stand out – it’s something that will really go against you.

If you can’t fill in every section, put a ‘not applicable’ or ‘no information required’ or something like that, just to indicate to us that you have read it, but you haven’t got any information to give us. If you’re not a neat writer, make sure you print it –
everybody can print fairly well. Stick to the one colour of pen.

We will automatically know if a parent has filled in an application form. That would sometimes indicate to us that ‘why did that person do that? Were they lazy?’ Or was there maybe something like numeracy and literacy problems there?

Being short listed for an interview

If a person has been short listed, they will have been given a certain period of notice for the interview – at least forty-two or seventy-two hours’ notice, so there’s no excuse if they’re not on time. We would ask them that if they are going to attend the interview, that they do ring. And the majority of people would ring, but some people are downright lazy and don’t ring to say whether they’re coming to the interview or whether they’re not.

What not to wear!

We’re not expecting everyone to come in wearing a three-piece suit, because young people are only out of school. But what we are expecting is a neat and tidy appearance. Now if someone is going to be working in an office environment, sixteen year olds, we would expect them to put a little bit more into it. Not necessarily a suit for a girl, but a nice skirt, a nice blouse – not something that’s just come out of the linen basket that’s not ironed!

How to behave at your interview

You’ve got to also remember that you’re not the only person being interviewed. There’s maybe up to ten to fifteen people being interviewed for maybe one or two positions, and at the end of the day, you’ve got to prove to us that you’re the best person for that. What we expect from them then, is to not just give us one word answers – ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ ‘don’t know,’ or shrug your shoulders. Do you know that the best thing that you can do is to smile? Because as soon as you smile at someone on the panel, they’re going to smile back at you.

Don’t come in being Jack the Lad. Some of them can come in and they’re chewing chewing gum – and that just puts anyone off straight away, because ‘I’m the guy, I’m going to get this, I’m walking this.’ All we’re asking is that the young people make an effort to answer the questions and that they don’t take a fit of the giggles. I know that nerves can play a part in that, and sometimes you can have a nervous laugh. The panel’s not going to come down heavy on you for that, but when you have done about six or seven interviews and are starting to get rejection letters, you will soon stop the laughing.

What you want, when you go for interview, is to tell the person your story. Tell them how good you are, or what your weakness is. Be honest with them and they’ll see you making some kind of an effort and that’s the difference between the person that gets the job and the person who doesn’t get the job.

Asking questions at the interview

Don’t ask questions just for the sake of asking questions. Think about the job you’re going for and ask them to give you more information about the job. And you need to find out the ins and outs of a job – I

mean, how well is that company performing? Is this a company you really want to come and work for? And it’s not just a matter of going on the Internet and finding out ‘oh, such and such a company has a turnover of this, and they have that many employees,’ but more the fact that the area you have applied for, finding out what they do and how many people work there and where would you be fitting into that? That shows that you’ve used your initiative, that you are keen, that you’re well informed and that you’ve done a wee bit of homework, and that will really pay dividends for you as well.

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