Many of Scotland’s Colleges of Further Education are currently undergoing tremendous change. A number have merged to form larger organisations with multiple campuses, which will make learning more accessible to a greater number of people. As with all mergers and reorganisations, however, this has meant uncertainty for staff members, even though they are working hard to deliver business as usual for their students and clients.
One of the aspects that many people dread when such restructuring takes place is having to apply for their own job or for a job that is very similar to their current role. Worse, they feel, is having to be interviewed for the job that they are already doing. They fear the “Dragons’ Den” effect which can leave the bravest soul tongue-tied. Having recently developed and delivered a workshop on this subject, I thought it worth sharing some of the common themes that emerged:
• It’s crucial to turn the spotlight away from yourself and how you feel. Consider the needs and wants of the manager or team interviewing you. What are they looking for; what can you provide that will make their job easier to do?
• You’re in the best possible position to understand the requirements of the job, even if it will be different in some way from the one you currently do. Show how well you understand its importance, and the way it fits in with the organisation’s wider aims (do your homework on this aspect if you haven’t already).
• Competence-based interviews sound intimidating and they can be if you’re not prepared. Reflect on occasions when you have achieved an outstanding result, and make them into short stories. Focus on the challenge, what you did and the outcome. Have four or five of these up your sleeve, well-practised and tell them with enthusiasm.
• Watch your body language – literally. Find a mirror or a webcam and see how you come across. Check out your voice – deep breathing will help you relax and your voice will sound more authoritative as a result.
Finally, remember – you do know what you’re talking about!