Make an impression!
Caroline gives us her top tips for a successful equine job interview.
Part 2 – Keeping yourself safe at an equine job interview
Missed part 1? Read it here.
Going for a job interview can be daunting, especially if you’ve never been to one before! You only get one chance to make a first impression, so it’s important you make the most of this first meeting. Keenness to impress your potential employer can lead to you to be nervous, shy, overly bold, and even inclined to do things you would not do under other circumstances. You will be handling and riding horses that are completely new and strange to you, in an environment that is completely new and strange to you. Here are some key points to consider about keeping yourself safe when preparing for, and attending an equine job interview…
Ensure you’re insured – get covered!
If there is a riding element to the horse job you are going for, you should be handling and riding at least one horse at your equine job interview, and it’s extremely important that you are covered in the event of an accident. It’s probably worth checking the interviewers’ insurance also and asking the employer if he/she has insurance in the first instance before you even attend an interview. Would you really want to work for an uninsured employer, it says something. You need insurance that covers you for work-related accidents, offering coverage for at least the following:
- Medical bills
- Loss of earnings/income for any time you are unable to work
- 3rd party insurance – in case any other people or their animals are injured as a result of your accident
This list is not comprehensive, it is vitally important that you do your research, and get advice from 2 or 3 insurance companies to ensure you are fully covered and do not get caught out in the event or a mishap. Don’t forget to always read the small print and keep the insurance up to date! You can also find out more about insurance from the British Horse Society and the British Grooms Association.
Do your research – don’t waste your time and hard earned money!
Look up the yard you are going to, and see what you can find out about your potential employer. If the yard has a website take a good look at it. Never turn up to an interview “blind” as to who you are meeting up with. If you’d like advice or a chat about the people you’re going meet, or the place you are meeting at please do contact us, even if you haven’t found the job through us. We’re always happy to help you as much as we can and give you an insight from our perspective. Most times we will be familiar with the yard and the employer.
Let someone else know your plans – be traceable!
It’s always a very good idea to let someone else know exactly where you’re going, who you are due to meet, what time you are leaving home, how long it should take for you to get there/back again, and roughly how long you expect to be (as much as you can predict!). This way there is someone looking out for you who can check up on you should things not go according to plan! If you don’t have anyone to tell, tell us, again we are happy to play our part in keeping you safe as much as we humanly can. Tell your nominated person when you will next be in contact with them and stick to that.
Go fully equipt – dress to impress AND to be safe!
You’re going for an equine job interview, so be appropriately dressed for any physical activities you might need to do. Your potential employer should want to see you interact with horses as previously mentioned. It is not unheard of for jobseekers to turn up in skirts and high heels (honestly!!!). Make sure you wear appropriate riding clothes and take your safety standard approved riding hat, your riding boots, your riding gloves and your body protector, if you have one. It is advisable to wear your hat and gloves (and even body protector) when handling strange horses from the ground so, even if it isn’t a riding job you’re interviewing for, it is advisable to be fully equipt with all your safety wear. Think: you wouldn’t trial a new horse to buy without applying caution. Your equine job interview is no different.
Look, watch, assess – don’t miss a thing!
Have your wits about you. Turn up wide awake. Watch how the horses are treated and how they behave before agreeing to handle or ride them. Look at the horse’s body language, the employer and other grooms/staff body language for that matter! Apply caution before entering a stable with a strange horse. If you have doubts, do state your observations or concerns with your interviewer. Think: don’t be a guinea pig with a tricky horse. Don’t take unnecessary risks to impress anyone or just to give a potential employer a free clip/pull a mane on a tricky horse that no one else could get near (yes it has been heard of guys!)
Keep it real – no bigging up! 🙂
Don’t overstate your abilities and don’t just go along with anything. It is far better to discuss your abilities than prove your lack of them! If a potential employer presents a challenge you have doubts about, don’t wing it! You have far too much to lose by risking an accident. An accident at a job interview will not only risk your chances of nailing that job, but it risks you losing out on every other job you have lined up too. If a potential employer cannot afford you the time to grow to that challenge the job is probably not for you anyway. Don’t allow yourself to be used as a “dummy jockey” for the trickiest horse in the yard who no one else can sit on, it does happen and the consequences can be dire.
Make your own safety checks – you’ll be glad you did!
Especially before riding. Check tack and equipment yourself before you get on a horse. Look for signs of discomfort, wear and tear, weakness and anything else untoward. Check and adjust your girth before and after you mount. Don’t worry about offending your potential employer, your own safety is far more important. After all, it will be YOU falling off if the girth is too loose or the horse is uncomfortable and reacts badly! Think: be safety conscious. A potential employer is more likely to be impressed than offended if you insist on these checks.
Take a look at your surroundings – take it all in!
Look at the surroundings in which you are asked to handle and ride the horse/s. Ideally, you should be in an enclosure (like a menage or schooling area), not in a vast field or in the middle of the open countryside. Once you’ve had a chance to fully assess your mount, and you feel confident to do so, there is nothing stopping you going out into the open countryside for a hack. Be aware and be sensible about what you’re doing and where you are doing it. Think: if you wouldn’t do it when trialling a new horse to buy, don’t do it in an equine job interview.
Don’t just get on any horse – don’t be a dummy jockey!
During a job interview, it may seem like a time saver for a potential employer to pull out a horse that represents somewhat of a challenge (a youngster, a tricky character, or a fit and feisty sports horse) to see how you get on. It would certainly work, as a conclusion can be drawn quickly whether you’re skillfully navigating a course of jumps or laying face down in the mud! Please don’t do this to yourself! If you are not confident that you can cope with said youngster/tricky character/feisty sports horse, don’t get on it. Be honest, and don’t run risks to impress your potential employer and nail the job. An accident at a job interview will not only risk your chances of nailing that job, but it risks you losing out on every other job you have lined up too. If a potential employer cannot afford you the time to grow to that challenge the job is probably not for you anyway. Think: don’t be a dummy jockey! If in doubt DON’T!
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