With 20 years experience working as a chartered health and safety adviser, I thought
I had a good understating of job hunting and interview technique.......until I met
recruitment consultant Stan Blooms – dynamite!
I believe that if you apply the principles below, as if you were working on a fast
track project assignment, and had to deliver a detailed presentation. You will quickly
find detailed in depth ways to find any ski job...fast. That will benefit you, your
family and friends seeking work.
Question: “Is applying for jobs on the Internet, or in newspapers, the best way to
find a job?”
Response: No, perhaps not, you will be in competition with 100’s of other applicants
and your chances may be slim, particularly in times of recession.
Question: “What’s the best way to find a ski job then?”
Response: Identify your ideal job role or roles. Then identify your ideal employers,
where you would really like to work and who you would like to work for.Then send
a CV and good covering letter to the company, asking if they have any jobs or would
they consider you for future jobs. The recruiting manager will know that you are
genuinely interested in his company!
It is likely that your letter and CV will be kept on file. The cost to his company
of placing an advertisement for a new position is likely to be £800 plus, and using
a recruitment specialist is likely to cost £1200 plus.
If the recruiting manager has 5 good CV’s on file, the selection process has been
done for him, in 3 months time when he needs a new employee, he can save up to £1200
and time, by interviewing those who have sent in their CV. He knows that all of these
people particularly want to work for his company and are not just “looking for a
So, when you are ready for a job change, or you know that one will be forced on you
in the future, don’t lose motivation and drift away. Instead, you can start targeting
the best local companies, speculatively.
Question: How about a high tech approach?
Response: Yes, this is a good idea. You can get a low cost personal website built
to showcase your abilities, you can provide additional information and pictures and
place hyperlinks within your CV to your additional pages. These can expand on your
experience, competencies and any other aspect of your cv..... with pictures, script
and even videos (this costs a bit more, but is still good value!). When you send
your acv to an employer, you can include your website address. This innovative approach
will allow an employer, who likes your CV, to easily find out a bit more about you,
and then call you for an interview.
Question: Is approaching people and speaking face to face a good way to find a ski
Response: Yes, this is the best way of selling yourself or anything else!
Emails you send can easily be deleted, but a face to face meeting makes you part
of the employers (or even the recruitment companies) personal experience.
Question: Is calling on the telephone better than emailing?
Response: It depends, you should always make the initially enquiry by telephone,
not email. The crucial mistake to avoid is not keeping in touch, keep contact with
the recruitment agency about once a month, but not more frequently. You can say,
“Just to say that I am still looking, and am prepared to consider anything you have
in my skill set?”
One job hunter used to just email his CV in every week on a Friday....this is just
annoying for the recruiter. If you talk to them in a friendly way, they will remember
you, even though only from regular phone conversations. If a suitable job comes in,
it is your name that may come to their mind first.
Question: Why don’t people visit in person and ask, face to face?
Response: They should do this, but unless they work in sales, “fear of rejection”,
will make it difficult. If you work in sales then you get used to being regularly
rejected (water off a ducks back)......you need to be. “cheeky”, if you don’t ask,
you don’t get!
10.00am Friday..... “Hello, I just called in on the off chance – present business
One recruiter used to make an approach to previous employers and say he worked in
the .......department downstairs several years ago, I brought this ...present....in
for them, can I leave it with you please...........after some conversation about
the people he worked with.......how much do you pay for your photocopier paper? (goes
and checks invoice on desk)....£5.65. I’m in the paper business now, our paper is
only £2.75....after some thought about how much money could be saved........a resulting
order for paper!
Question: Where are the best places to look for a job?
Response: Local Newspaper – look for companies expanding, or coming into the area,
or doing new things.
Companies coming into the area(Pat had noticed, on her way in, that Virgin Media
are opening a new shop 100 metres away! – the job hunter sitting next to me in the
meeting, was looking for exactly this type of job.
A pre-emptive approach to the right person at Virgin Media would show local initiative
and could easily lead you being considered for the job!
A wind farm is planned at Barrow in Furness (article in the local newspaper) Find
out who is doing the recruitment and send cover letter and CV
Question: Buying all the newspapers is expensive, how many should I buy?
Response: None, go to your local library, you can check them for free!
Question: Should you take just any job?
Response: If you take a lower level job, in an appropriate company, this can easily
lead to promotion from within the company, many top level directors have started
You can offer to work for free for 2 weeks (if you are doing nothing anyway), you
will get to know the people and it can easily lead to a job!
Question: What do you mean when you say, “thinking outside the box”?
Response: Try different approaches: Colleges, Training organisations, CSCS, Government.
If you are shy, try and be forceful, cheeky and forward, “if 5 guys keep in touch
once a month, and a job comes in, they are the ones likely to be contacted”.
A Nobel Prize winning CV
Are you worried that you are presenting an outdated manuscript in a digital age?
Is your CV more suited to 1910?
You can very easily and quickly improve it.
Question: I asked Stan, “So... how many versions of my CV should I use when applying
for different jobs?”
Response: The maximum should be two, otherwise when attending interview you can become
The interviewer will often refer to your CV during interview, if you have several
versions it is too easy to get mixed up about which one you are talking about. The
best technique is to simply expand and contract the parts of your CV that are relevant
to the job sought. The content then always remains factual and accurate.
If applying for a job at a reservoir and you had 5 years experience working on reservoirs,
then the one line in your CV should be expanded to several to emphasise your particular
Areas not relevant to the job sought, can be, “dumbed down”, a bit and reduced in
Question: How many pages should I have in my CV and any general advice?
Response: Two, any more and it won’t be read. The further down the two pages of your
CV, the less detail should be included.
Include that you have been dealing with people at all levels within the organisation,
this is a key skill that not everyone has
Include that when you have increased productivity, saved time, and saved money, this
is particularly relevant in times of recession.
The employer will be particularly interested in detail, as to what you have been
doing for the last 5 –10 years, this is the key part of your CV. Information further
down your CV can be briefer.
Question: Are there any other points to consider?
Triple check your CV and get others to check for spelling or other mistakes! Pat
had many CV’s from professional with obvious mistakes. Always print off to review,
as you will not see the mistakes when you view on your computer (this is psychologically,
the brain plays back a recording of how you thought the CV was) You should include
the Education and qualifications section of your CV on the 1st page.
Include any training you have received, even if not strictly relevant to the job.
Say how many people you have been responsible for. If you have not been directly
responsible then you could say “Project Managed 10 contractors... negotiating, co-ordinating
and managing them ...120 people on site”.
Always keep copies of all job descriptions and which cover letters and CV’s sent
....things can get delayed and many people turn up for interview 3 / 4 weeks after.
If you send your CV, follow up with a phone call, “just checking that you got my
CV ok?”, or make up a question. This gets you noticed by the recruiter. You can also
say, “I thought I would contact you as I am on holiday on...in....May and I want
to be available.
Expand and highlight your key strengths.
Question: “Why is the personal profile section of a CV so important?”
Response: When CV’s are being reviewed (often 20 or more), this is usually done by
a junior member of human resources (HR). If you are sifting through a 100 CV’s for
5 jobs in the company, you would probably not read the whole of every CV.
The personal profile section at the beginning of the CV is therefore a key “critical
taster”, to pique curiosity and get you through the initial selection process.
Question: “If there is a, ‘requirements of the role’, section for the advertised
job, how will this be used by the employer in the selection process?”
Response: Pay particular attention, if there is a ‘requirements of the role’, with
the job advert. Check that your CV includes at least the key areas. If a contact
telephone number is included (not always so), this means that the recruitment person
wants you to telephone. In this case, you should always ring them.
Interview from Hell
The question that catches most people is at the beginning of the interview, “So tell
us something about your self”!
The response can easily be, “Err...., while you desperately try and think what to
Prepare yourself for this question! Get a script together:
What you are currently doing
Experience e.g. 20+ years....
Who you have worked for + specifics and training
Some personal details
Practice the answer you will give, so that it can be delivered smoothly and confidently!
Explain, “Why they need you to work for them”, include key things. Length of experience,
Question: Should you research the company before attending interview?
Response: Yes, Take notes on the company with you and refer to them, perhaps to ask
questions. It plays to the ego of the people interviewing you.
You can take some “neat” notes during the interview
If you know someone in the company, network to get information.
You must always be dressed immaculately at interview, good suit and well polished
Take the slim file with job description and ask if they can clarify part of it for
you. You can also bring:
Photos of project work done
Bring a 1 page document detailing your referees and contact details.
Be confident, almost cheeky at interview.
Question: Should I speak slowly at interview?
Response: Yes,try to slow things down, this gives you time to think and avoids blurting
out something that you do not want to say.
Question: What should you take to the interview?
Response: Several things, don’t go empty handed!
Take a slim file with a copy of your acv and the job description.
A small bottle of water, so that you avoid getting a dry mouth.
Question: I have heard that body language is important at interview?
Response: Have an “open smile” and eye contact should be “natural”, look at the nose
and mouth not directly into the eyes of the interviewer.
If there are 2 or 3 people interviewing you, make sure that you look at the others
as well as the primary interviewer.
You don’t need to remember all the interviewer’s names (this is not expected) you
could possibly also take a small bottle of water with you and put it on the interview
table, particularly if you get a dry mouth at interview.
Question: Are there any new interview techniques being used?
Response: Yes, normally only hypothetical situations are discussed, it is.....possible
for you to “blag” your way through, based on generic knowledge.
Interviewers have started to use real life, competency based, questions. These are
difficult to blag. You can anticipate the type of questions that may be asked from
the job description.
You can also prepare some genuine work related (or even non-work related) situations
and example answers to possible questions. Pat reported that one engineer related
a football team story, during interview. How he had stepped in as a coach at the
last minute and helped, subsequently the team went on to improve their position in
the league table. If you are experienced and have a good event story to relate it
can have a very positive effect on the interview.
Another employee had solved a massive problem at his medical manufacturing plant.
Three compounds, in the form of powders needed to be mixed together to make the product
drug. This was done using automated plant from large elevated hoppers. The percentage
of the each compound mixed was computer controlled......but there was a problem.
The percentage of one of the medical compounds was too low 16% instead of 40%. This
was due to a blocked tube caused by moisture in the hopper high up near the roof
of the factory. The tube was flushed and cleaned, but the problem persisted. You
can imagine the consequences for the medical company!
Several attempts were made, but no one could solve the problem. Then the employee
(currently being interviewed) suggested that the hopper was relocated to a lower
level, 5m from the roof of the factory.......this was done and the problem was quickly
Question: What if you’re asked if you have any weaknesses?
Response: This can be used to you’re advantage and viewed as an opportunity to identify
development needs that you have, e.g. You can One production manager said: “my desk
is always a mess, because I am busy managing the team on the production floor”.
Question: If I am asked, “where do you see yourself in 5 years time?”
Response: You can ask “what are the opportunities to develop within the organisation?
Question: Should I ask about salary?
Response: No, only mention salary, after you have been offered the job....then try
and negotiate your salary upwards it is a good opportunity. Be cheeky, ask for £1-2K
more, they often agree if you are the candidate they have selected for the job. If
they refuse.....nothing lost.
As an alternative, you can negotiate for extra holiday for a particular reason, mobile
phone, laptop or any other enhancement.
Question: If I am asked, “do you have any questions?”
Response: You can ask,” how has the vacancy arisen? Or, “what do you see as the key
challenges of this role?”
Question: After the interview, should I chase up to find out how I did?
Response: Yes, always follow up........and get feedback on how you did so that you
Say, “I would really still like to work for you if there is anything in the future”,
if something crops up in a month or two, they may contact you. Pat reported that
this worked with one job hunter, when the successful applicant left after 6 weeks,
and he was contacted to start work immediately!