Make an impression!
Caroline gives us her top tips for a successful equine job interview.
Part 3 – Meeting your potential employer for the first time.
It’s the day of your interview and you’re bound to be feeling at least a little bit anxious about this potentially life changing appointment, especially if you have never been to a job interview before. As discussed in parts 1 and 2, there is a great deal you can do in advance to maintain a calm and controlled approach, and how you manage the day of your interview can have a big impact on the interview being successful. You’ve got this far in your mission to get that perfect equine job, so it’s vitally important you don’t make any avoidable errors when it comes to that all important first meeting with your potential employer. Here are some considerations to put you in good stead throughout the day, as well as at your all important interview.
On the day of your job interview
Don’t wing it on the day. Prepare in advance what clothes you are going to wear, set your alarm, and check the travel reports for potential hold-ups or road closures (or delayed train times, line disruptions etc). If you turn up late you’ve already risked your potential employer feeling that you aren’t organised and could be unreliable.
Don’t EVER simply fail to show up. I am surprised by how often this happens. It is incredibly unprofessional, inconsiderate and is entirely unnecessary. If you’ve changed your mind, got held up or something else has gone wrong there is rarely an adequate reason to fail to inform your potential employers. The employer has made time in their schedule to interview and may have even held back horses for you to ride. It’s only fair that you let them know as soon as you know you are running late or not going to make it. You can always tell us and we will get a message to the employer. Unless you have an incredibly good reason for not contacting the employer you will be considered unreliable, not only by your potential employer but by us too! ☹
Don’t turn up looking scruffy or inappropriately dressed. You may have made a long journey, or dashed in from your current job, but try to make an effort with your appearance. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression with your potential employer. If you look like a scarecrow you will undoubtedly create the impression your standards are low and sloppy! As I said in my last article, don’t turn up in a skirt with high heels, and long nails (it really does happen). Remember you’re going for an equine job interview, not for a night out! Make sure you look “fit for purpose”.
Do plan your day. Work out what time to get up in the morning so you have plenty of time to do your chores, get dressed and ready for your interview, travel, and find the yard or location of your interview. If you can, turn up a bit early so you can present yourself in a relaxed and considered manner. Turning up with your hair stood on end, gabbling at a million miles an hour about lots of unrelated stuff, and hyperventilating isn’t a good look!
Gen up on the job. Before you go for your interview reread the job details and any other information you have about the yard and vacancy. If the yard has a website, have a look through it. Understanding the advertised details of the vacancy and yard activities is critical to proving your interest in the position.
Take a list of questions you have about the job, the yard, the team you’ll be joining, the future plans for the yard and horses etc. A potential employer won’t think this is inappropriate or prying. Instead, it shows interest and initiative.
At the job interview
Don’t big talk. We all know you want to be seen as capable and a desirable employee, but if you’ve fully presented your fully prepared Jobseekers Profile and CV that will do some of the “selling” for you. You’re not helping yourself if you stretch the truth or come across as a too full of yourself.
Don’t judge. If the yard doesn’t turn out to be what you expected, keep an open mind, don’t turn your nose up too soon! Criticising the yard, horses, existing grooms work etc is a real no no. Just politely continue your tour of the yard making relevant observations, keeping criticisms to yourself unless asked specifically.
Don’t do anything you are not comfortable and confident to do. If you are asked to do something that you feel is above your current ability don’t just do it to impress. Expressing concern or reluctance to do something is far more impressive to a potential employer than falling on your face! There is nothing wrong with needing time to learn/adjust to something new, and a potential employer will appreciate honesty and quite possibly give you the opportunity to learn and/or develop within the role. If the task in hand is a necessity to the job then the job is probably not for you. If everything else is going great discuss the possibility of a trial with the potential employer. Honesty over your ability/confidence is not necessarily going to scupper your chances of getting the job, but broken bones or a spell in hospital almost certainly will!
Be punctual. As previously discussed, turn up on time!
Be human. If you are shy or nervous, tell your potential employer! They are human too and will appreciate you being truthful with them. If they understand that you are keen to make a good impression and perhaps a bit overwhelmed by them, the surroundings, the opportunity this won’t necessarily put your potential employer off you. They’d rather know you are honest and open and they can help you fit into your new job.
Be friendly and polite. If all goes well you will be working with these people – the employer, the team members, other family and staff members, as well as clients. Interaction with these people is part of your interview too, not just the potential employer. If an employer sees you are comfortable interacting with everyone else in the yard/business this will please them.
Ask questions and discuss the future. Ask sensible and relevant questions about the daily job, immediate and long term future. This shows a potential employer that you are thinking about your part in their yard/business and that you are interested in the prospects of the job.
After the Interview
No matter how you feel the interview has gone, send the employer a quick email to say it’s been nice to meet them and thanking them for their time. It’s polite, mature, and leaves a good impression. Even if this time things don’t work out, you just never know when your paths may cross in future and if an employers’ impression of you is positive they will feel positive about you in future.
Don’t forget to tell us! If you get the job, hide your profile on www.thegroomslist.co.uk and if you decide against it or don’t get it, talk to us, we can share feedback and generally point you toward something even more up your street! 😊
© Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and The Grooms List, 2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and www.thegroomslist.co.uk with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.