Going for job interviews can be an extremely stressful and sometimes overwhelming experience. Every company has different needs and goals towards appointing the right candidate for the role and job seekers strive very hard to be the perfect candidate. We live in a society ruled by financial gains and being employed not only helps us serve our duties and purpose but also creates that security and foundation in our lives. It's never just about what you know and what skills one has, but cultural fit within an organisation is also a very important aspect recruiters seek. HR Manager Kim Royle is a highly skilled and experienced HR professional who brings forward knowledge and insights about job interviews and the entire process behind it.
How did you decide that you wanted a career in HR?
After I graduated from university with a Psychology degree, I embarked on a graduate scheme working in a Finance Company. It was during this time that I quickly realized that a career in finance was not for me so I started to consider my options. I had never really known what ‘Human Resources’ did until entering an office environment and quickly learnt that the HR departments are there for everything to do with the employees of a company. The more I looked into it, the more interested I became and it seemed like the obvious career path for me as I loved problem solving, working with people, and could put my psychology degree to good use. There were a number of factors that attracted me to a career in HR, including; the diversity, job security, job opportunities, working with people, the employment law aspect, progression within the career and the potential earnings that come with that! Since the day I decided to pursue a career in HR, I have not looked back and although it is not always easy, it can be extremely rewarding.
What steps did you take to become an HR Manager?
Human Resources is a popular field and can therefore be quite competitive. After deciding this was the path I wanted to take, I was quickly made aware of CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and their recognized qualifications and how most roles, even at junior level, required someone who was studying towards CIPD. I accepted a role in a recruitment agency and at the same time self- funded myself through the level 3 Certificate in HR Practice. Following completion, I moved to the UK and secured an HR Generalist role and worked very closely with a well experienced HR Consultant who I learnt a lot from. I will be forever grateful for this position as it gave me exposure to every aspect of the HR function and threw me in the deep end, whilst safe in the knowledge that the consultant was always there on hand. I quickly grew passionate about Human Resources and self-funded myself through a Masters in Human Resource Management at Brighton University which fully qualified me to Level 7 CIPD. This was a 3-year course that required me to attend university one evening a week and the rest was done in my own time around my job. In the final year, I completed a 12,000-word dissertation so was no small feat. The MSc coupled with my job gave me exposure to a plethora of complex human resource issues and I was learning so much on a daily basis. I was promoted to HR Advisor and then to HR Manager during my 4 years at the company and really enjoyed every minute of it. I have recently moved back home and secured a role heading up the HR function in a larger company which I am equally enjoying.
Let’s talk about job interviews. Is there a specific criteria HR professionals look at when they assess CV’s for potential candidates in the beginning stages for a job role?
It all depends on the role that you are recruiting for! During the initial stages of screening CVs, we look at competencies required for the role and will therefore look for experience or potential cross over for the person to meet the requirements. It always helps when someone’s CV is clearly and neatly laid out so the reader can easily understand the candidates experience, chronologically in order to match them to the competencies required.
What are some very important and standard questions in an interview?
Again, it will all depend on the type and level of role you are recruiting for. We will usually ask the candidate to draw on examples of when they have demonstrated the competencies we are looking for so it’s important to have some examples ready that you can draw on. We are usually looking for candidates who take their time and can answer confidentially and competently to give the interviewer conviction in what they are saying.
Why do some companies carry out a 3 or 4 stage interview process? What are they testing/looking for?
There are a number of reasons as to why a company may be carrying out a lengthy interview process. These could include;
What are some questions professionals going for job interviews should practice?
As explained before, I would always advise anyone going to a job interview to have plenty of examples ready and to be able to talk about what happened, what you did, what you learnt and what you would do differently. It’s important for people to feel confident and sure about who they are and what they can bring to the table but equally aware of things that they have learnt. As an interviewer, it is easy to identify when people are honestly drawing on their past experiences and when people are making up text book answers that they think you want to hear!
How should candidates dress for a job interview?
Again, it depends on the role, the company and the working environment. I would encourage anyone who is unsure to ask beforehand- no one will judge you for asking the question, if anything it shows you care! I personally feel that it is always better to be over dressed than underdressed so if in doubt, go for the smarter option!
What advice do you have for individuals seeking employment in terms of securing a job?
I believe it to be of utmost importance that people attending interviews remember that it is a 2-way process and whilst the interviewer is looking at them and assessing their suitability for the role, they too should be looking at the company and assessing if it is somewhere they want to work. I understand that sometimes job seeking can be pressured, but it’s okay to go to an interview and not want the job after. As cheesy as it sounds, I believe that ‘what’s meant to be, will be’ with regard to jobs and so not to get too disheartened if you don’t get offered a job you’ve interviewed for- it obviously wasn’t the one for you, so don’t let this affect your confidence for your next interview.