Getting the Best Jobs in Occupational Health and Safety
I often sit and reflect on all my job interviews, from the very first when I started at Woolworth’s as a Saturday girl, to my last job interview when I landed an extra special job at High Speed 2.
In between, I have done some (what I consider brilliant) interviews and got nowhere, and some mediocre interviews which were successful. I’ve also made some dreadful faux pas and wished the ground opened up and swallowed me.
For anyone who interviewed me for Barclay’s Bank, Smiths and a GP surgery in Winchester – I apologise for not preparing in advance and digging myself in deeper as the interview progressed.
I am ashamed!
Here is the way not to answer interview questions:
1. Barclay’s Bank: What can you bring to this OH job?
I had never heard such a ridiculous question and my mind went to a dark place and hid. I must have sat there for a full minute trying to think of an answer and then mumbled: “Well I have passed my occupational health exam recently and on the third part of the register.” Seriously, that was my answer!
2. GP surgery:”We have a lot of social events as well as working together – what would be your view on that?”
Wait for it!
“Well, I am a bit of a party animal!”
Nope, never got that job either!
I learnt from those experiences and those replies are in my past and I now have a sure-fire way of getting senior positions – for me anyway.
My Five Top Tips for Interviews in OH and Safety
- The idea is to stand out from the crowd. Be different yet ethical, be passionate yet brief and be likeable without being too soft.
- Talk about issues that you know affect an industry. I talked about how the construction industry worried about black lists, how to cut costs and get the health messages across to a particular group of workers.
- Take charge, be in control, come up with a plan based on your research, have a cause; remember you are interviewing them too.
- Use “I” when recounting experiences and not “we”. Emphasis your role in any project you’ve been involved with; don’t hide behind the group actions. You need to explain how you made the difference in the team.
- Dress the part. I have a beige coat that looks very posh, it has never failed me, even on hot summer days.
Obviously, do research on your company but always remember the 5 points above. Good luck for your next OH interview. If you have any tips to share – I’d love to hear them?
For information on starting out in Occupational Health take a look at my book “How to Start a Healthy Business: An Insiders Guide to Occupational Health Success”