Today has been a weird end of a weird week, and did anybody notice how fast the week went? But it is important for me to reflect on what could be important for me. Having been in post for two years I have been having itchy feet for some time, looking for a new experience and sometimes they just jump up out at you.
However, what has made me reflect is a colleague who has recently qualified in her social work degree. Who has now had four interviews and been unsuccessful with each one. Each time the feed back has been about a different topic relating to the interview process.
This will be devastating for her, and for anyone who has invested three years into studying. Sacrificing free time to read, learn and write up endless practise logs. Each time the telephone call ends up with I am sorry sapping your energy and resolve.
Importantly the message is preparation, planning and listening. Three key skills required for any application and interview process. Preparation = What is the post I am applying for want? What are the skills? experiences? and look at the job specification and try and answer as much of the topics as you can [honestly] to ensure you meet the criteria to be shortlisted for the interview.
Planning = Reading (I know sorry, this will never stop!) What is the legislation that you will need to know for the role? what are the local services [do your own research] Think of some good examples of practise that can be used to answer a multitude of possible questions. Make sure you get to the interview on time! and have time if possible to have a look around if possible, be friendly and approachable.
Finally if you do get shortlisted for an interview Listen. Listen = Respect, good assessment skills, What is the question I am being asked to answer? Usually they are not meant to be complicated! Understand how you want to practise? what are your values? Social Work is a fast changing organisation and you will have your opportunity to be part of that change.
When you are in your interview it will be important to understand theory but it is time to show that you know how to use it in a practical way. You have just passed a three year degree course, it is time to sell your practise that you observed and undertook on placement. For some of us practitioners that have been around for a long time creative thinking and application of practise of Social Work students who have not had statutory experience is a good sign of how you would adapt and apply your practise.
Importantly and most difficult is trying to relax! in saying this I have to work hard to show I am enthusiastic about wanting the job as I am to laid back. In fact just try to enjoy the interview have some banter [appropriately] and observe the behaviours of the people interviewing you and take your cues from them.
Moreover, don’t give up hope of finding the right job. You will find it and you never know when it will jump up out at you. But when it does learn from your experience and I wish you all the best.