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Career advice

Inside…Pen Optical

Optometrist and founder, Tanjit Dosanjh, shares insight into what he is looking for when recruiting practitioners to deliver eye care in prisons across the UK

13 Aug 2018 by Emily McCormick

How can prospective employees apply for a position at Pen Optical? 

Pen Optical is a social business and UK registered charity. As a business we deliver eye care into prisons and employ a team of 15 locum optometrists across England and Wales to deliver these services.

As a charity, we provide a training scheme for offenders who can learn the skills that are required to become an optical assistant. We employ experienced optical dispensers and managers to deliver this training.

We are currently looking to expand our network of locum optometrists and require one or two additional optical dispensers/trainers in the Maidstone, Kent area.

Anyone interested in these roles or who wants to learn more about Pen Optical should email a CV and covering letter to tanjit@penoptical.co.uk.

What is the internal process after an application is made?

I look at the potential applicant’s email and CV to try and understand more about them. I will then call or email them to arrange an informal chat about the role and what we can offer. If, after this initial chat, both parties want to progress things, a more formal interview will take place.

What is the interview process?

We ask all potential candidates the same eight questions. The follow-up questions will then vary, but every candidate is asked the exact same initial questions. Interviews are usually face-to-face, but if we cannot get in the same room we can also use video conferencing.

The interview questions have been designed to convey important information about the role and to enable us to get as much insight as possible about the candidate’s suitability.

"I like CVs that fit on one page and that are easy to follow. They should also provide insight into what the person has been doing for the past five to 10 years in relation to work and education"

What makes a CV standout?

I like CVs that fit on one page and that are easy to follow. They should also provide insight into what the person has been doing for the past five to 10 years in relation to work and education.

What are you looking for in a cover letter and why?

The reasons why they are applying to work for Pen Optical and any added value they think they can bring to Pen Optical.

How should a candidate best prepare for an interview? 

Find out about what we do and think about at least one question to ask us at the end of the interview.

What three interview tips would you give a candidate? 

  1. Be yourself
  2. Smile
  3. Feel free to ask any questions that you may have about us.

What are your interview ‘pet peeves’?

Lack of transparency and stock answers.

Sum up your ideal candidate in three words…

My current optometrists. 

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