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Gaining experience

Discuss all things health and safety.

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CAD
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Gaining experience

Post by CAD » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:19 pm

I am after some advice if possible please?

As some of you may have seen on another thread I've been actively searching for what I call a proper health and safety role. Currently, I work within a safety team however my role is largely based around data (incidents, near misses etc.). I don't often get the chance to shadow others.

I have (in a previous role) experience with inspections and incident investigation, so I do have a general experience.

However, in the last month I've had 4 interviews for 4 roles in different organizations, all fairly entry level roles. Unfortunately, I have not been successful and in all 4 cases the feedback is that the person who got the role matched the profile better due to their previous experience i.e. I don't have the correct or enough experience. In all cases all the feedback has been positive and the general feeling is that I've just been unlucky that I was up against a stronger candidate.

All fine but it doesn't really help me to improve. I know they are restricted on what they can tell me and I could genuinely be unlucky however for me it comes down to two things

1) I genuinely don't have enough experience
2) I perform badly during the interview

I don't seem to have any issues getting to the interview stage at the moment, so I'm pretty confident my CV is at a good enough level for them to be interested in talking to me.

I've tried to get my manager to agree to some time for me to go out and shadow (which he has) but that is limited. I have completed my NCRQCert and intend to move onto the diploma once money allows.

So my question really is how can I gain more experience whilst balancing my current role? What more can I do in an interview (other than bending the truth) to help them see I am capable?

Thanks

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Re: Gaining experience

Post by Extankman » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:44 pm

Hi CAD,

Alas you are caught in the catch 22 situation I found myself in a number of years ago. Fortunately for me I was able to secure a role as a trainee advisor which I assume is not too dissimilar to what you are interviewing for at the moment?

All I can say is keep doing what you are doing, join the various LinkedIn groups around safety and the same for other social media platforms.
If you are a member of IOSH, get along to the meetings, not only is it good CPD but you also get the chance to network with folk from the industry.
Visit the Expo's as and when you can, again, they may not be great but they do get you out and about meeting potential suppliers but crucially there are dedicated H&S recruiters there you can talk to face to face.

Don't get too blinkered by finishing the NCRQ Dip just to add more weight to your CV, a potential hiring manager might be able to see through the parchment to a distinct lack of experience and so it may do you no favours. I started safety 6 years ago and my NEBOSH Dip 5 years ago having just re-enrolled because i didn't get anywhere near finishing the first unit, however, what i have now is an extra 5 years experience in which to better integrate what i know and what i need to learn for the next level.

Read as much as you can, where you have time and keep up to date with legislation updates that are relevant to the area you want to work in, i've found it handy in some interviews when you can quote things coming in/going out etc. It shows you are constantly active within the industry.

Finally, remember its not all about the qualifications :) i've met some shocking advisors in H&S, including some at CMIOSH level :shock: .pale
I've been in this situation a fair few times over the past 5 years due to redundancies etc so drop me a DM if you would like some advice :)

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Re: Gaining experience

Post by kevlarion » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:15 am

There are some jobs advertised that are really just fishing expeditions, either the recruiter is gauging the availability and wage expectations of H&S people, or they have a shoe in for the job but need to go through the recruitment exercise to tick a box in the organisation's checklist for filling a vacancy.

As far as getting experience, why can you only shadow...
Could you pop out and do an inspection, or just a general walk around noting things that you can ask about later ?
Could you control the risk assessment register and maybe offer to do some of the more straight forward ones with someone else checking your work ?
Could you control the external qualifications planner and maybe monitor how the training is delivered ?
Could you get a hold of the fire risk assessment for your office and check if there is anything changed since it was written ?
You seem to have an admin role, maybe you could get trained as a display screen equipment risk assessor ?

Obviously don't tell your employer you want to increase your qualifications / experience in order to get another job, it will be a benefit to your current employer so push that a little.
You'll be freeing up members of the current team from doing some of the mundane jobs leaving them to concentrate on the difficult and more complicated stuff (for example).

Be patient and persistent.
If it isn't broken, that doesn't mean you can't improve it. (Do three negatives make a positive ?)

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Re: Gaining experience

Post by CAD » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:42 pm

Thank you both. Some real good stuff in there and some stuff I am already doing.

I'm getting the interviews and I feel I am connecting with the people on the panels but just lack that practical experience which I won't get in my current role.

At least the feedback is consistent and I know where to direct my attention. I'd be a bit more worried if it was varied.

Thanks again :)

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