Best bets for victory in the jobs market

Published: 27 Nov 2009

Nautilus staff and officials are dealing with an increasing number of queries from members seeking fresh employment. If you haven’t been in the jobs market for a while, it can be confusing – because things have changed a lot in recent years.

How to reply to job adverts
Make the right impression with prospective employees by following their instructions. Read the adverts carefully – don’t call if they want you to write, and enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope if requested.

Don’t expect an acknowledgement of your application. Many companies no longer bother to confirm that they have received your reply to their advert.

Some adverts ask you to telephone for details. If so, it is important to be prepared, and make sure you have a copy of the advert and any relevant reference numbers, a pen and note pad to take down any details, and be prepared to answer any questions - this may be part of the interview process.

You may be sent a recruitment pack containing an application form, a job description, a person specification, and guidance notes.

When preparing your application:

  • find a quiet place to work in and make sure you have plenty of time set aside
  • read any guidance notes, follow all the instructions, and answer all the questions
  • think ‘ABC’ - Accurate, Brief and Clear
  • study the person specification and make sure you demonstrate how your knowledge, skills and experience relate to these points when you write your supporting statement
  • pay attention to spelling and grammar
  • ensure the application is clear and easy to read – you could complete the form in pencil first
  • ask someone to check it before you send it
  • keep a copy of the application, as it may be referred to if you are asked to go for an interview
  • use the space for adding further information or supporting statement, if available

If you are called for an interview:

  • Make sure you get all the details - when, where and with whom, and how to get there!
  • Prepare thoroughly – re-read your application and the information in the recruitment pack, and find out as much as you can about your prospective employer
  • Some of these questions are bound to be asked – make sure you have the answers ready:

    - The ice breaker: Did you have a good journey? or Did you find us all right?
    - What can you tell us about yourself?
    - Why do you want to be a...?
    - What can you offer us?
    - Why do you want to work for us?
    - What do you see yourself doing in 5-10 years' time?
    - What are your hobbies/interests?
    - What do you consider your greatest strength and weakness

  • Assemble a record of work and any other relevant material. Take this with you, and be sure to organise it so that it is well presented and can be looked at quickly
  • Make sure you have some key points and examples of your relevant knowledge, skills and experience to give to the interview panel
  • Think of any questions you wish to ask
  • Make sure you arrive on time

At the interview:

  • Wear clothes that make you feel professional, confident and comfortable
  • As soon as you arrive behave as if the interview has started - reception staff may be asked for their impressions of you
  • A selection test may be included as part of the interview. If you know the type of test in advance, you could spend time practising similar exercises
  • Be polite, courteous and respectful. Thank the interviewer(s) for seeing you
  • Sit up and appear interested, alert and enthusiastic - and don’t be negative about yourself: you have been successful at getting an interview when others were not!
  • Make sure you state all your key points
  • Try to expand on what you put in your application form
  • Listen carefully to the questions and think before answering
  • Don’t worry if you get stuck for words, and pause before answering if you need to think about your reply
  • Ask for the question to be repeated if you didn’t hear it properly or are unsure what was meant
  • Feel free to use a pen and paper to jot down any thoughts or points that arise
  • Prepare a list of questions about things you want to know, to ask at the end of the interview

Back to listing