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Career advice

Inside…Martin Steels Optometrists

Optometrist and independent practice owner, Martin Steels, on his informal interview approach and how communication is key when applying for a role

Super hero

How can prospective employees apply for a position at Martin Steels Optometrists?  

The best format initially is to email [email protected]. This allows the candidate to express themselves verbally without getting tongue tied as they might during the interview itself.

While all of my current professional employees have been engaged from personal contacts, to spread the net wider we welcome applications initially by email with a CV attached. A person-to-person telephone call would then be made, and if that goes well an informal interview would be the next stage.

What is the internal process after an application is made? 

I will read all emails personally and keep all applicant details on file.

All applicants will receive a reply, whether it is to invite them for interview or inform them that the position is already filled.

What is the interview process? 

I like to keep the interview process very informal in the first instance and will maybe take the prospective candidate out for a stroll round the locale of the practice and chat about things like their aspirations, their passions and their thirst for personal development. 

Martin Steels Ltd is a very personal business and we need good communicators who can engage with our patients. We don’t want refraction machines who are obsessed with speed and conversion rates. We have patients who rely on us to care for them, not to simply sell them as many pairs of spectacles as possible.

"Martin Steels Optometrists is a very personal business and we need good communicators who can engage with our patients. We don't want refraction machines who are obsessed with speed and conversion rates"

What makes a CV standout?

As well as the usual qualifications, I love to see what else the candidate has achieved beyond their optical career.

I like to see concise truthful statements that are genuinely expressed and show humanity and integrity.

What are you looking for in a cover letter? 

I am looking for an individual who can express themselves with fluency and conviction, and someone who understands the values and responsibilities that are required to care for our patients both optometrically and holistically.

How should a candidate best prepare for an interview?

Candidates should look at our website,, and then ensure that this is the type of practice that they wish to commit to. The work is as wide ranging and variable as our patients. An ability to interact is key, so lively conversation and debate is always welcome. I love an original thinker, so telling me something new is always a vote winner with me.

What three interview tips would you give a candidate? 

Look at me when I’m talking to you or you are talking to me, and show me your best stuff. Plus, have fun.

What are your interview ‘pet peeves’?

Mumblers, yawners and stock answers.

Sum up your ideal candidate in three words…

Passionate, dedicated and resolved. 

Image credit: Shutterstock