Tag: Interviews

  1. So tell me about yourself

    With an increase in employment levels and record numbers of people applying for jobs now is the perfect time to hone your interview skills.  In this, the first of our insight guides on interview tips, we’ll tell you how to answer the common question of ‘tell me about yourself’.

    Those fateful words come up in the majority of job interviews; they’re an opportunity for you to really get your personality across while showing you’re the right person for the job – so why do so many interviewees stumble at this question?

    Firstly, don’t panic when you hear these words. The interviewer isn’t looking for a way to trip you up, rather, this question is usually used to get the conversation going. It’s a chance for you to talk naturally without having to worry if you’re giving the right or wrong answer, and for the interviewer to jump in and delve deeper on relevant information.  This is your chance to make a great first impression – and one that leads to a job offer, so answering this question well can genuinely make or break your chances of success.

    Preparation is key

    Before the interview take the time to jot down a list of bullet points about yourself and your attributes. Think about your personality, and which of your experiences and skills (both in and outside of work) would benefit you in this job. Using bullets will help you to remember different key points that you can then expand on during the interview.  You’ll want to sound natural and talk spontaneously, rather than trying to memorise a script.  Follow our 3 stages below and make bullet points for each stage.

    Who you are

    Start with a succinct summary of your current role and an overview of your most relevant skills and experiences. Remember, your interviewer has read your CV so already knows your full employment history, they don’t need a longwinded account of your whole life.  Use this opportunity to grab their attention by summarising your key strengths in just a couple of minutes.

    Why you’re the right person for the job

    Next, briefly outline why you’re qualified for the job. Think about your key accomplishments that would suit this particular role, for example how long you have worked in the sector, particular experiences and achievements or successful projects you’ve been involved with. Be sure to tell them your accomplishments and competencies that are relevant for the role.

    Why you applied

    Wrap it up in a concise and confident way by letting the interviewer know how enthusiastic you are. Talk about why you’re there, eg because you’re looking for a new challenge and you want to step up your career. Ideally make it relevant for the job in hand and show you’ve researched the company.

    Once you’ve made the bullet points for each of the 3 sections above, practise speaking aloud at home until you have a pitch for yourself that sounds natural yet confident and reflects your personality.

  2. How to ask for feedback on your job application

    Woman holding hand up to ear to listen

    There’s no getting around the fact that rejection is tough in any aspect of your life. However, when it comes to job applications it’s important to use rejection as a learning opportunity that will set you up for future career success. Asking for feedback on your job application is the best place to start.

    When you receive a rejection letter or email don’t take it personally. You may be crushed, especially if you put your heart and soul into the application. But an emotional response will come across as unprofessional.

    Here are the things to do when asking for feedback on your job application:

    1. Reply in writing

    This will allow you to draft and then redraft your response to make it as measured and professional as it can be. It will also give the recruiter time to offer you considered feedback. A cold call could catch the recruiter unprepared and not in a position to give you the information that you need for future applications.

    2. Make it timely

    Don’t wait too long before getting in touch with the recruiter. They may have contact with lots of candidates and you want to pick their brain while you are still fresh in their memory.

    3. Ask for specific feedback

    ‘Can I have feedback’ is too broad a question. Ask whether there was anything you could improve in your written application, your interview technique or your skill set.

    4. Keep it upbeat

    Always thank the recruiter for their time and for considering you application. You may not feel on top of the world, but staying positive and polite is really important for two reasons:

    • there is always a chance the person who got the job doesn’t work out
    • there may be another suitable post at the company in the future.

    If your application was promising and you have continued to show interest in the company then there is a chance you could get a call for another interview.

    If you are looking for your next opportunity in the affordable housing sector then we can help. Ocean Edge is a specialist recruitment agency with offices in London and Southampton.

    Read more of our advice for candidates and get in touch with us to discuss our services.

  3. What NOT to do when job hunting

    Woman with head in hands at computerJob hunting can be stressful. You feel pressure to present the best version of yourself, especially when you find that dream role. It can be easy to forget simple job hunting etiquette when you are swept up in the excitement.

    Here’s some of the things you should definitely not do when looking for new opportunities and our tips on how to perfect your job hunting etiquette.

    Don’t allow your social media to let you down

    Whatever social media platforms you use make sure you audit them. Ensure your profile image is inoffensive and, particularly on LinkedIn, professional. Check what parts of your profiles are publicly viewable and make sure they are up-to-date, informative and don’t let down your personal brand.

    Read more of our tips on perfecting your personal brand when searching for a new job.

    Don’t use an unprofessional email address

    When you are responding to job adverts or enquiring about opportunities it is essential that you use a professional looking email address. Gmail and other email service providers are fine. Just make sure the address looks authentic and cannot be mistaken for a spam account. 

    It’s also best not to use your current work email address unless you are applying for an internal position.

    Don’t forget to speak to your referees

    You will need to provide one or more reference from someone who will be contacted during the recruitment process. It’s common courtesy to let them know you are seeking new opportunities. This will give them the chance to prepare some thoughts about you and will put them in a better position to aid your application.

    The only time this isn’t the case is when the referee is your current employer. Make sure this is clear when you provide the reference so they can be contacted only after you have been offered a position.

    Don’t forget to do your research

    Whether you are writing a speculative enquiry or in response to an advertised vacancy, address your letter or email to a person, not a position.

    Find out the name of the head of HR or the department that you are interested in joining. An email headed ‘Dear Mrs Hunter’ will be better received than one starting ‘Dear HR Manager’.

    Researching an organisation you’d like to work for will also give you a head start in the application process and when you land an interview.

    If you are looking for more tips on how to ace an interview take a look at our job interview technique tips.

    Don’t arrive late

    Punctuality is crucial when you are attending a job interview. Don’t waste a recruiter’s time – it does not make a good impression in what might be your first face-to-face meeting.

    Don’t dress inappropriately

    Workwear varies dramatically these days, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution in an interview situation. Dress smartly but don’t be afraid to show some personal character. A bright scarf or tie could help to make you more memorable in a field of several candidates.

    Don’t swear

    Interviews are a time to be polite. Don’t make a bad impression by allowing your choice of words to show you up.

    Don’t be critical of previous employers

    Even if you have come to the end of your tether with your current employer, an interview is not the time to be critical of another organisation or individual. It doesn’t set a good tone and may raise questions about your motivation for applying for this job.

    You will come across as less committed to progressing your career if it sounds like you want to escape your current situation.

    Help finding a new job

    If you are looking for new opportunities then take a look at our services for candidates. Ocean Edge has nearly 20 years experience helping candidates find the perfect job in the affordable housing sector.

    You might also find our blog posts on CV writing and finding the perfect job helpful.

    To find out more about our recruitment consultancy services in London and Southampton get in contact: call 023 8000 1153 or email info@oceanedge.biz.

  4. How to secure the best candidates

    Hand shakeThe best candidates are in high demand whatever your industry. If you want to interview top talent and add to the expertise in your business then here are some simple steps to follow to optimise your recruitment process:

    Be clear about your expectations

    What skills and experience does your ideal candidate have? Make sure these expectations are clearly set out in job descriptions and adverts so that only the right candidates apply.

    This will save you time sifting through the resumes of people who don’t make the grade or at least make it easier to discount them.

    Look at the talent within your business

    Recruiting from within your business will save time and money. It’s much easier to bring someone up to speed when they know how your organisation works.

    That’s not to mention the impact on staff motivation, morale and loyalty when they see opportunities to progress.

    Share opportunities on your website

    The best candidates will be the ones already interested in your organisation. They will have been looking at your website to research your business and the type of opportunities available. Make sure they find the information they need.

    Add a dedicated ‘work with us’ or ‘job vacancies’ page, and update this regularly with new opportunities. Also use this page to shout about the benefits of working for your organisation to attract the best candidates. Here are some ideas about how to attract and retain top employees.

    Promote your business opportunities on social media

    Once you have perfected the vacancies pages on your website make sure you share them on your social media channels, particularly LinkedIn. If the right candidate is in the market for a new job this is where they will be looking for career opportunities.

    It’s also worth promoting jobs on Twitter and Facebook because of their broad audience. Your followers don’t just include customers, but also job seekers within your industry and region.

    Bring in a specialist recruitment agency

    In order to secure the best candidates you need a thorough application and interview process. A specialist recruitment agency will be able to create a bespoke recruitment campaign for your business, from advertising and headhunting to shortlisting. They may even already know candidates that fit the bill.

    Find out more how a specialist recruitment agency can help you find the best employees to grow your business.

    Ocean Edge has offices in London and Southampton offering recruitment consultancy services to the affordable housing sector.

    For more information about how we can support your organisation with external and internal recruitment get in contact: call 023 8000 1153 or email info@oceanedge.biz.

  5. How to score high on psychometric tests

    Woman taking a test on a laptopIf you are looking for a new job you’ll find that companies are using psychometric assessments as part of their recruiting process more and more often. Recruitment is an expensive business and including a personality assessment in the interview process can help employers to pick the best candidate first time.

    Naturally, applicants who are eager to do well may ask themselves ‘how do I score high on a psychometric test?’.  Well, there is good news; you can’t fail a psychometric assessment.

    What are psychometrics?

    Psychometrics are all about trying to understand you as an individual and what makes you tick by testing you with numeracy, literacy and logic based questions. Your answers suggest whether you are: a logical thinker or dynamic; a caring individual or someone capable of making a tough decision; or a big picture person or someone who enjoys detail.

    There are positives to be found in all these behaviours and jobs that will suit every individual. Employers use psychometric assessments alongside interviews, group tasks and practical ability tests to make sure they find the best match for the particular role they are advertising.

    That’s why there’s no cheat sheet that will work in every scenario – every job, team and company is unique.

    Tips for taking a psychometric assessment

    So, what do you need to do to perform at your best in a psychometric assessment?

    Don’t stress

    No employer will base their decision to employ solely on psychometrics. It is just one factor in the assessment process. Be prepared for the test to be timed. Try to stay calm and get through as much as you can, leaving tougher questions and coming back to then at the end.         

    Be yourself and answer honestly

    Many assessments include systems designed to identify people who are answering in a way that indicates they are trying to influence the assessment. If your responses suggest a wildly different personality to the one you show under interview you are just likely to get more questions! 

    Apply for the right jobs

    Think carefully about the kind of job you are suited to and the type of company you want to work for. If you are applying for the right job for you, the assessment is likely to indicate this and suggest you are a good fit.


    Look at some sample questions. There are lots of websites that allow you to take basic psychometric assessments for free, such as www.assessmentday.co.uk. You will quickly see there is no right or wrong answer.

    Take a free assessment and put your mind at ease.

    If you take psychometric testing as part of a recruitment process, even if you do not get the job, you can request the results from the employer’s HR team. This could be useful for future testing.

    Finding your perfect job

    If you are looking for new opportunities then take a look at our services for candidates. Ocean Edge has nearly 20 years experience helping candidates find the perfect job in the affordable housing sector.

    If we put you forward for a job where psychometric testing is required we will help you through the process and iron out any concerns. If the test is via email or online we can tell you when and how to access it, and the deadline for completion.

    You might also find our blog posts on CV writing, interview skills and finding the perfect job helpful.

    To find out more about our recruitment consultancy services get in contact: call 023 8000 1153 or email info@oceanedge.biz.