Interview tips



Talk some sense.

If you are applying for a job you are genuinely interested in doing, and you allow yourself a good amount of time, preparing for the interview should be an enjoyable, interesting and enriching experience. Some people in domestic service look to relocate through jobs or to move closer to friends or family, which although understandable, should not be the predominant reason you are applying for that particular role. Your priority in applying must be via that of professional interest rather than personal. Be honest and realistic about what attracts you to the job, because potential employers and recruiters are naturally good at spotting a lack of integrity. 

Look at the skills and experience required for the role and go through your CV and work background to pick out examples of how your skills and experience match up. The interviewer will want you to give direct examples of how you manage situations. It may be that you are ‘calm under pressure’ or have ‘transferable skills’ but the interviewer will need to hear how, in your last job, you dealt with a difficult situation with resolve and initiative and how you demonstrated these ‘transferable’ skills.

Research, research, research.

Spend a solid couple of hours researching the place of work, the client, the website (if there is one) and anything connected to the job and it's history. Imagine being in the role and a scenario you might find yourself in - this is a good technique for gaining some confidence. It is always useful to know more than you share. Note any interesting points that you discover but don’t ask personal questions, ever, unless the employer brings one up that seems relevant. Prepare three or four questions to ask but steer away from salary until you decide to accept or decline the role, if offered it. Make sure you know as much as you can about where you are going and how long it will take to get there.

It’s a good idea to anticipate typical interview questions such as:

  • What do you consider your weakest points? 
  • Can you give an example of how you overcame a difficult situation?
  • What made you apply for this job? 

Stop. Look. Listen.

The way you look is extremely important, whether you are going for a job as a gardener, butler, nanny or an estate manager. First impressions last, so stop yourself from dressing without first considering what impression you might be making. Candidates should always be well presented and make the effort to give a positive impression visually as well as professionally - you might have a great CV but if you’ve got some of this morning’s breakfast down your shirt it’s not going to do you any favours. 

If you put some time into how you look the chances are you will feel more confident and stand a little taller. Don’t wear a power-suit and a ton of make-up to a nanny or carer-companion interview, but do dress appropriately in what you feel is comfortable but naturally make sure it’s clean and ironed and your shoes are polished. If you are going for an estate manager or head house manager role then it is of course more fitting to wear a suit. 

Look at your interviewer when they address you and if there is more than one interviewer, make positive eye contact with others. It might seem obvious but always listen to what the interviewer is saying to you, it is easy to get into a panic and focus on one’s own thoughts but this can be the unravelling of a potentially good interview. Never interrupt your interviewer and don’t rush to answer questions, think it over and take a breath first, this will give you time to gather your thoughts and prepare a concise answer.

Lastly, smile! It is hard for people not to smile back if you smile at them and smiling puts everyone at ease. 

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