2019 is your year: How to get the job or promotion that you want according to bosses at Aviva and City College Norwich
PUBLISHED: 16:20 23 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:19 24 January 2019
Two of the region's experts in employability have offered their advice on how to get the job or promotion you want.
To be able to succeed in an interview, you have to submit an application strong enough for employers to take an interest in you.
Adam Savvas is the pre-employment co-ordinator for Mint, City College Norwich’s employment hub, and has helped hundreds of young people achieve work experience through to long term, paid jobs.
However he believes that preparation is key to starting on that journey.
“When young people are submitting an application the biggest thing to bear in mind is research.
“Can they find out information about the employer, can they have a chat with the employer even before submitting the application, what are the key attributes, skills and qualities they’re looking for? And then try and tailor your application to that.”
Simon Corke leads Aviva’s learning and development function, and said that differentiating yourself at the application stage is also important: “One of the big things you can do is really highlight where you’ve been involved in extra-curricular activities. For example, Young Enterprise, the Duke of Edinburgh. It’s a differentiator and shows that you’ve got involved and haven’t just covered the academic side.”
Getting it right at the interview stage
Mr Corke said: “For any role the people skills are really important. Things like being able to collaborate, being a self-starter, being able to problem solve effectively.
“The other thing is about being punctual and trustworthy, it’s something anyone can do.”
Mr Savvas said: “During the interview the key thing is being prepared. It’s all about first impressions, so dress smartly, do your research, and be prepared.”
“For some of the young people we work with, they have learning disabilities or anxieties that are really heightened by an interview, so a role play interview can be really helpful.”
Mr Coke agreed, saying: “People that are interviewing want to know that the candidate is interested and wants the job. Simple things like what the company does, it’s share price, it’s history, are good places to start.”
Overcoming perceived barriers
Mr Savvas works closely with many young people who have physical or learning disabilities. He said: “Because we’re so diverse, we see so many young people with barriers to work for different reasons. It might be lack of experience, lack of qualifications, or confidence.
“What we often do here is have a conversation with the employer. For example if someone is on the autistic spectrum that might mean they find eye contact really difficult – it doesn’t mean they’re not going to be a good employee.
“So what we often do is talk to the interviewer and tell them of a disability – be it physical or not, and find a way for them to get the best out of candidates.”
“The trick with group interviews is to not try to stand out or promote yourself too much,” said Mr Corke.
He added: “Candidates want to stand out against their peers and it’s a trap a lot of people fall into. You can overdo it quite easily and the risk is you come across as trying to rail road others. I would encourage candidates to speak up and just say what’s on their mind.”
Mr Savvas said: “The group interview process is about giving the best examples of what you can do. The feedback we always get is ‘tell me more’, ‘expand on your answers’.
“Sometimes we’ve found that the interviewee thinks the employer knows what they’ve done because the interviewer has a CV in front of them. But they still need to remember the task, the action and result, to prove to employers what they can do.”
Mr Corke said: “Usually the interview will be more in-depth and what would happen is someone from the company would give you an interview structure.
“Look at that structure and prepare around it. If you haven’t got that structure in advance ask for it, so you’re not surprised on the day.
He continued: “Companies will often do a criteria-based interview and ask questions around the company’s values and as the interviewee you’re expected to give examples of how you’ve demonstrated those.”
Mr Corke said getting noticed in one of Norwich’s largest companies is easy: “The best way to go about getting promoted is do a really great job in your current role, and deliver in areas people have struggled to in the past.”
He said: “If you can deliver against some of the challenges you’ve been set then actions speak louder than words, and you’re already putting yourself in the frame for a promotion because your name will be on the hiring manager’s lips and having a reputation for doing a great job.”