Prior to the Interview
1. They want to see you
You have been contacted for interview because there was something in your (truthful) CV pertaining to the position on offer. Know your own CV and take a copy along with you to follow the interviewer when they refer to different areas within.
2. Plan your route
Do a dummy run to the interview venue, timing how long it will take to arrive and allowing a bit extra time for composure.
3. Do your homework on the organisation
Study their website. Take some of the areas the company is “proud” of and use them to ask questions when the interviewer says the inevitable “and have you any questions”.
4. Refresh your memory
Be aware of what H&S Regulations would be applicable to the specific company. If the position on offer required transportation of gases or petrol for instance, then brush up on your DSEAR prior to interview to be able to apply it to their specific organisation. (This is another one to keep up your sleeve when asking YOUR questions).
5. Called for interview but have no H&S experience
Do not think you have little or no chance of securing this position! They want to meet YOU. They have seen something in your CV that they want to pursue. A little nervousness is expected, even from the best of us!
Arrival at the Interview
6. Arrive in plenty of time, go to the loo, be nice to the Receptionist and be yourself
They will be assessing not just your qualifications, but whether or not you would fit in with their management, other employees and groups within the organisation.
7. Smart dress code and clean hands are a must
Shirt, suit, skirt, jacket, shiny shoes and not too high heel ladies, you could topple! Not too much perfumed cosmetics, something fresh without being overpowering. The last thing you want is to make the interviewer allergic to you!
8. A secret smelly tip
You may laugh, but when doing your pre-interview research, put on whatever “smelly” cosmetics you are going to wear at the interview. It has been said that studying with a certain “smell” can benefit the memory recall function. At interview, it could stimulate the recall memory. Try it, you have nothing to lose!
9. All important first three minutes from entering the room
Enter the interview room with confidence and a smile. Offer your right hand halfway towards the interviewer with a “good morning, thank you for this opportunity”. Give a firm, but not bone-breaking handshake. Puny handshakes don’t impress!
10. Name your interviewers when introduced
Say each interviewers name as you shake hands. You have impressed immediately! Do not “bow”! Nod, smile and look them in the eye saying “it is a pleasure to meet you Beyoncé, Jimmy”. Personalising the interview in this way secures a good rapport and will create a “feel good” attitude towards you. Sit firmly in the chair provided when beckoned to do so. Take a breath, relax and tell them all about “wonderful you”! They are looking forward to getting to know you now. Keep eye contact with ALL throughout interview. Move from one to the other when answering. This is most important!
Questions You May be Asked
11. Interviewer list
Your interviewer/s will probably have a list of questions prepared. Show your passion for your H&S career when answering. Like NEBOSH “listen carefully to what exactly is being asked” and don’t waffle. Say what you think and then ask if they would like you to elaborate further. Most importantly, if you don’t know an answer, always be truthful and say you don’t know, but add that you will enjoy researching to further your knowledge. Always offer the extra jam on the piece. Don’t just leave it as “don’t know”.
12. Why did you apply for this position?
They most probably will ask this question, or what do you think you could do for this company, or why the job appealed to you. Show your enthusiasm about what this particular company produce, your hunger to continue with your professional development within such a highly regarded organisation as blah blah (name the company), ending with highlighting the relevant parts in your CV pertaining to the job advert and its specific appeal to you.
13. The killer questions: What are your Strengths and weaknesses?
Don’t make this difficult. Simple example is: You feel Your Strengths are in recognising the limits of your knowledge, which may have potential to become weaknesses. By having the ability to recognise those potential weaknesses, you provide an opportunity to research and develop them, thus they become added strengths enhancing your continued professional development. Or, simply, your strengths are your ability to recognise your own personal weaknesses and turn them into your strengths. Provide an example.
14. If given a workplace scenario to work out
They want to know how you would prioritise it and fix the problem. They don’t necessarily want to know the specific legislation applicable yet. Think NGC risk assessment sheet. Be confident in your reply, or say you are not too confident on this one but here is my response, which I know can be improved upon.
15. What can you bring to the organisation?
Another dreaded question, which can be simply answered by saying something along the lines of, “I was interested in your job advertisement and now, having come for interview, meeting you and listening to everything you have said, I am now even more interested and think my experience etc etc .” This is where, having done your homework on the organisation and the job advertised, you can simply relate your previous work experience and example if possible, to their specific industry.
Questions You Can Ask
16. What is their commitment to H&S within the organisation?
This will give you an insight into whether or not you would be out on a limb if they have no commitment. Employing you because the law says they have to have H&S, or employing you to enhance their already commitment to H&S within the organisation. You then know whether you want to work for them or not.
17. To whom will you be reporting should you secure the position?
If the MD or CoE, you can politely ask how committed they personally are to H&S.
18. How would they describe the management style here?
You really want to know this if you are to be comfortable with the position.
19. What are the next steps in the interview process?
You need to know and are entitled to ask what to expect next.
20. Will they notify you of the outcome to your interview?
How and when is what you are entitled to ask and have explained? Will it be telephone call, e-mail or letter? This will help in pinning down a sort of time, thus allowing you to telephone them after the time they suggest.