Category Archives: Interview

Steps to Employment: 5 Ways to Improve Your Interview Skills

When applying for positions, the initial task of simply getting an interview can be difficult in itself.

Therefore, when you are lucky enough to secure one it is important to make a good impression with your potential future employer, and ensure that you have done enough to stand out among an array of other qualified candidates.

One of our senior consultants, Ben Ritchie, has listed his top five tips for success in an interview below.

Research the company

Although this is a pre-interview step to take, it is arguably one of the most important ones: it is vital to spend some time researching the company you have applied for.

I advise my candidates to spend ten or so minutes the night before an interview on their potential future employer’s company website.

Pay close attention to what type of work the company does, what kind of people they employ, and,most of all, the requirements of the job you have applied for.

This will give you hints as to how you should answer their questions and what aspects of the role to mention when doing so.

Dress the Part

The person interviewing you will ultimately see you before they hear you, and so it is important to convey what type of employee with what you are wearing.

A neat and professional appearance will cause the interviewer to hold this opinion of you throughout the exchange.

Wear something smart, but also something that you feel comfortable in.

Although it is important to dress professionally, if wearing a suit makes you VISIBLY uncomfortable then it is better in this instance to dress ‘smart-casual’.

Arrive on time – or even better, arrive EARLY

A well-known interview tip, this ensures that you appear organised and punctual.

What this also allows you to do as an interviewee, is it gives you a few minutes to observe the working environment and the other employees.

In addition to this, these few minutes can be used to calm any last-minute nerves or anxieties over the interview itself.

Remember to take a few moments to relax: being asked for the interview means that they have seen something desirable in you for the position, and therefore like you as a candidate already. Be confident in yourself.

Make the first and last seconds COUNT

The first impression you make to the employer is vital:

  • Say hello
  • Introduce yourself by name
  • Speak clearly and loud enough that you can be heard
  • Make eye contact
  • Offer a firm handshake
  • Make sure your body language is relaxed yet confident

Most importantly, be the best version of YOU.

This is your opportunity to sell yourself as an individual, so make sure that you endorse yourself properly and prove why you are the perfect candidate.

When you finish, make sure you thank your interviewer for their time and don’t rush out. Leave in the same manner that you introduced yourself.

Keep in touch

Following your interview, remember to contact your recruiter.

This gives us an opportunity to reaffirm your enthusiasm for the role to the employer and helps to give you an advantage over the other candidates!

Often, we at Black Fox Solutions are in direct contact with the company and may already have received feedback regarding how the interview went that we can pass on.

 

As professionals in the recruitment industry, an integral part of our job is to ensure you, our client, are fully prepared for all aspects of a job application, including helping to compile your CV and applying for jobs on your behalf.

For further help in your pursuit of employment, contact Black Fox Solutions on 02890994111, or Follow The Fox on social media:

Black Fox Solutions

 

@LetTheFoxHelp

 

Black Fox Solutions

The Debate Of Interviewing: What Is Your Process?

If you have recently taken the massive step of becoming self-employed or have just started your own business and now find yourself in the position that you need to start employing staff, it can be an exciting, yet daunting experience.

So we wanted to give you some insights into how to best navigate the tricky process of interviewing potential employees. It can be a difficult subject; people have different views on what to ask, what not to ask and what’s appropriate. Industries have their own method of interviewing and most follow the same process each time.

However, don’t be afraid to mix it up at times, not only will asking a variety of questions be more interesting for you but it will make you stand out to candidates and portray your company as an enjoyable place to work.

This article looks at the different aspects of an interview, the do’s, don’ts and what questions could make you stand out from the rest.

There are plenty of relevant questions that should be asked such as, ‘tell me about yourself,’ ‘why should we hire you’ and ‘when did you face a problem in the workplace and how did you solve it?’ How your candidate answers these will give you an insight into how they work and how they will fit in with the rest of the team.

Asking open ended questions like, ‘What do you do in your spare time/what are your hobbies?’ or ‘Tell us a fun fact about yourself’ are brilliant ice-breakers and will help you find out how the person will fit into your team without being too invasive.

Inappropriate questions can make a candidate feel uncomfortable, asking them about their marital status, whether they have children or continually commenting on their appearance can be deemed as discriminatory. Always be careful when asking about their lifestyle, there are ways to find out about their personal life, without getting too personal.

Inappropriate or invasive questions can make a candidate feel uncomfortable and some, such as “Are you married?” or “Do you have children?”, can be blatantly discriminatory and illegal. It’s best to avoid getting too familiar. You should never ask a candidate a situational type question that you wouldn’t like to answer yourself.

Even though the usual questions are a must, don’t be afraid to add a different spin on how you ask them. We recently had a candidate in for a position, the interviewer asked them, ‘What will we miss out on if we don’t hire you?’ Although the candidate was initially taken aback by the question, his answer was that his short commute to work would be a benefit as he would be happy to come in early or stay late when needed and would be more motivated to do this because of how close he lives to the offices, and it was how he answered that helped him get the position.

Another example is when a candidate was asked ‘name a song that best describes your work ethic?’ The answer was just as quirky as the questions, ‘the lazy song by Bruno mars.’ Although this was a risky answer, the interviewer saw the funny side and offered him the job.

Sometimes it’s important to come across unique as well as professional when interviewing potential recruits. There are many acceptable questions to ask that won’t be inappropriate or embarrassing, take the time out to research and prepare ahead of time.

Although choosing the right question can be a challenge at times, you will need to take the time to prepare and research to decide on the best questions that will help you recruit the best suited candidate for your company culture, as well as the role itself.

Ensure you have given the candidate a clear understanding of your company culture and the person you hire is competent and has the skills needed to do the job satisfactory. At the end of the day, you will be spending between 40-50 hours per week with this person, so you need to make sure you are asking the best questions to help you figure out whether they will be a good addition to your team.

When BlackFox Solutions Caught Up With Will Doggart

We sat down with Northern Irish-based member of the Irish Wheelchair rugby team Will Doggart to find out about his experience playing in Australia, his plans for the future and how he felt when our CEO Max Mackin made a generous donation that helped him achieve his dreams of traveling to Australia to play in the worldwide competition.    

Great to see you again Will! How did you feel when the money was raised for you to go to Australia for the wheelchair Rugby World Cup?

It was a huge shock! I was always hopeful but never thought I would reach the total needed. It was my last hope to raise funds and when I discovered that Black fox made a donation that helped me get past the total I nearly fell out of my chair!

Tell us about your experience taking part in the worldwide competition.

It was a bit surreal. I remember a nurse showed me wheelchair rugby. I sat watching this new sport in awe and 8 years later I’m lining up against the same guys I watched on tv. I feel we underperformed, the experience was amazing but the results just were not good enough, I think our inexperience at this level cost us but hopefully it will prepare us for the future.

What is your favourite memory from Australia?

My favourite memory would have to be lining up for our first match against Japan and hearing the national anthem. I remember looking over and waving at my wife and best friend as they cheered me on and it was an amazing feeling.

Are you still playing rugby?

Yes I am, I took a small break to figure out my career outside rugby. I now am coaching the Ulster barbarians wheelchair rugby team in Antrim as well which I really enjoy and want to continue.

What are your plans for the future?

It’s all been very exciting, I just started a new job and bought a house. I really hope we can build an Irish team that could challenge for a spot at the 2024 Paralympics, but it’s so hard to compete against larger and powerful countries who have more money. Which is why the support I got from black fox and the public gave myself and my team a chance to show the world what we can do. I will always be grateful for that.

What would be your advice to others wanting to become part of wheelchair rugby or another similar sport?

What are you waiting for? Jump in, try it out and you never know where you can go, what you can achieve. When I suffered a spinal injury years ago,  I never thought it would end up in me travelling the world, meeting so many amazing people and achieving so much. Without rugby I’d never have done all this.

International Women’s Day: Why We Need More Female Engineers

In celebration of International Women’s Day, BlackFox Solutions sat down with Claire Anderson to chat about her new Manufacturing Engineer role, why more women should work in Engineering and any advice she has for aspiring female engineers.

So, Claire you studied Engineering at Queens University? Can you tell me what sparked your interest in this industry?

Engineering is something I’ve always been interested in. I always liked Technology, Math and Science focused subjects at school and I was always good at them. I like being able to come up with a solution to something while still being able to be creative. This is where my strength was in school. I also was massively influenced through my upbringing; my dad does plenty of engineering work and this was always something I wanted to get involved in. I never really thought twice about it, it has always been something I’ve wanted to do.

Can you describe the moment it was the career you wanted to pursue?

The day I went to Queens University open night, I went three years in a row! I remember each time I went I would just think to myself ‘wow, I love this. I want to be a part of this industry,’ I loved hearing about the course and opportunities there are for women wanting to get into engineering. I think this is the problem with women in engineering, that they don’t realise the number of different paths they can go down. When I tell people I’m an engineer some automatically ask me to fix their car or make another assumption and I explain that’s not what I do, I feel more people should be aware of the many different roles there are available.

Can you explain your role?

My role isn’t what I had originally planned which was medical engineering, that’s what most of my university modules were focused on. I worked on many manufacturing projects during my placement years and then realised that I wanted to go down the manufacturing and continuous improvement direction.

Describe a typical working day for you.

It’s difficult to do this because every day is completely different, and many engineer jobs are like this. You work on a project with a team and once it is finished, you move straight onto the next one. Something I must do every day is check and compare the machines, analysing their performance and figuring out why some aren’t performing well. I learn something new every day which I like, as I feel as though I’m always progressing and improving.

What has your experience been like being a woman in the Engineering industry?

It was intimidating starting my university course that had something around 196 males and 9 females, but I am happy to say that I feel accepted being a woman in this industry. There were times I had to try harder to get my voice heard but overall every workplace has accepted me. I’m aware that some women have shared stories where they’ve felt like an outcast in a male dominated company or found it harder to be accepted, but for me it has been good. This may be because people have taken more notice of the issue and are trying harder to help women progress in the industry.

Why do you think it is important for more women to work in engineering?

Firstly, if there are no women working in engineering it will become a completely male dominated industry. We need women to be role models for younger girls and encourage them to follow this career path if it’s what they want. Like most workplaces, engineering companies need diverse teams to help them progress in every aspect if a project. Females bring in different perspectives and ideas than males and this allows them to bounce ideas off each other and cover everything. I feel having women in engineering removes the stereotype people have of engineers, when I search for images online the first to appear are pictures of nerdy men all sitting at a computer in a dark room and there is such a diverse amount around the world, and I want people to become more aware of this. I can notice a different already in the amount of female’s choosing this career, more media coverage around this and universities posting about their female engineering students.

What would your advice be to any women out there wanting to get into engineering?

My advice would be to go for it, no matter what anyone says! If you are interested and want to pursue it then do it. I’ve had no issues being a female and I hope that many other women have the positive experience I’ve had. We need to encourage more women to realise that they can do anything they want and shouldn’t let fear or intimidation get in the way and I feel International Women’s Day helps this happen!

 

Have An Upcoming Job Interview? Here are 5 rules to be aware of to ensure everything goes smoothly!

 

  1. Never be late. This rule is one of the most important when it comes to the interviewing process. Even if you have a legitimate excuse it doesn’t matter, as this is the first time you are meeting a potential employer and being late will make you seem unreliable. You only get one chance to make a 1st impression.

 

  1. It’s important to dress appropriately. This is your opportunity to make a positive stamp on someone who will be interviewing you & other people for a job, that you want. So give yourself as much advantage, over your competitors, as you can. Showing up smartly dressed, shows you are taking this opportunity seriously and are trying to make the right impression.

 

  1. Do your homework. Research the company and the job description before attending the interview. Most employers like people who take the time to find out about what the company actually does and is aware of any news articles that relate to them. View their website and check out their social media platforms. Have one or two positive things you like that relate to them, that  you can mention in the meeting. At the end of the day, employers prefer people who show an interest in the work they do.

 

  1. Sometimes people can embellish their C.V. a bit, to make themselves look better/smarter/more reliable. However be careful, as this can backfire, if a potential employer starts to drill down on your dates etc, you can be caught out. Re-read your C.V. before the interview. Interviews can be intimidating but if you go over the dates and what you have described in each of your previous positions, prior to your appointment, then you will be able to answer each question accurately & confidently, even if they put you under a little pressure to see how you cope.

 

  1. Most people forget that an interview is a chat about you and your achievements and skills/abilities. There is nothing you shouldn’t be able to intelligently speak about. Most interviewers won’t necessarily employ the most qualified person or the most experienced person but the person who most fits in with the company’s values and someone who they think they’ll get on with the most. We spend a lot of time with our colleagues so don’t forget to be a polite and courteous.