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Interview technique - the don'ts

Whether you're a nurse, a physiotherapist or a radiographer, nailing a job interview isn't just about getting things right. It's also about not getting things wrong. 

You're probably already aware of some of the standard interview faux pas, for example your mobile ringing when it should be switched off. However, there are others that, while they may seem obvious, are easily forgotten. Here are our top five tips for what not to do next time you're being interviewed...

1. Don't be late.

Arriving late for your interview will give the impression you struggle with punctuality - not a good thing in any job, but particularly problematic in a busy healthcare setting. A Registered General Nurse is key to the smooth running of many NHS departments: turning up late to an interview for this job could fatally undermine you in the panel’s eyes.   Plan your journey to the interview carefully; our previous blog advising on what route planner to use is helpful. It's better to arrive early than just in time. If you are delayed for an unavoidable reason, make sure you call and let your interviewer know.

2. Don't wing it

Do your research. Find out as much as you can about your prospective employer and the job role. The 'About us' section of their website is a good place to start. But you should also be able to Google plenty of other good stuff, such as news stories, reports, presentations, awards etc. Be ready to ask questions or make comments that show you've done your homework and make notes on our downloadable interview preparation sheets. If you’re interviewing as a PWP, or other therapist or counsellor jobs, it can only help your case to be able to talk confidently and authoritatively about the role and organisation you are interviewing for.

3. Don't dish the dirt 

Never speak negatively about your current or previous employer. It's more likely to reflect badly on you, not them. Stay positive and keep your frustrations or criticisms to yourself. Whether you're a school nurse, a mental health nurse or an allied health professional, your prospective employer will be more impressed to know that you've been able to succeed in a challenging environment.

4.   Don't look at the time

OK, it may seem obvious. But remember, many of us clock-watch sub-consciously and it's easy to forget where you are. Even just a glance at your watch or the timepiece on the wall will give the impression you're not as focused as you should be.

5. Don't talk too much (or too little!)

Try to answer questions clearly and succinctly with just the right amount of detail; for competency questions, try the STAR technique. It's important not to ramble or be vague. But you should never answer with just 'yes' or 'no'. You should also avoid interrupting or talking over the interviewer. Effective communication skills are important in all healthcare jobs to engage positively with both patients and colleagues.

Finally, take the time to remember that the employer wants to see you do well at interview; after all, you’ve already impressed them on paper and the chances are you’ll do so in person!

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