Optometrist and practice director, Pam Robertson, on the importance of higher qualifications as she recruits for an optometrist at her Forfar-based independent
How can prospective employees apply for a position at Angus Optix?
In the past we have tried a variety of ways of accepting applications, including emailing your CV, completing an application form and face-to-face enquiries. Generally, a CV with a cover letter telling us a little bit about what you are looking for is always a good starting point.
What is the internal process after an application is made?
On receiving a CV, we would contact the candidate and invite them to visit us in Forfar.
What is the interview process?
The initial interview would be with myself and our practice manager, Kirsty. It is an informal meeting that involves a friendly l chat over coffee. We may then invite the candidate to spend the day with us to let them see how we work as a team.
What makes a CV standout?
Somebody who is willing to stand out from the crowd, who shows a keenness to learn and to take the profession forward from both a personal and professional development point of view.
What are you looking for in a cover letter and why?
Spelling mistakes are a no-no, as is the use of informal language, such as opening with ‘Hello Pam.’
I find the use of informal language in cover letters a little too forward. The cover letter is the chance to make a first impression.
"Be on time (or early even) – by arriving 10–15 minutes early you can speak to the staff in reception and learn a little more about the team"
How should a candidate best prepare for an interview?
I would encourage them to find out about our practice and about optometry services in the local area. Optometry in Scotland may pose its own challenges for someone coming from other parts of the UK, mainly because of the requirement to hold a certificate of competency to perform NHS eye examinations. This is however, easily obtained.
I would also expect them to do a little background research on the history of our practice; when it was opened, how it was established – all of these pieces of information are available on our website, as well as on our Facebook page.
Prepare, and prepare a little more.
We may ask the candidate to prepare something on what they could bring to the practice – for example, independent prescribing, paediatrics, myopia control or glaucoma management. Whoever we recruit, we are looking for them to either hold additional professional qualifications or, at the very least, be prepared to consider this. For me, the optometry degree is the starting base for any optometrist’s career.
My optometrist colleague Nicola and I want to lead by example. We are both IP-qualified and I consider this to be key for an independent family practice particularly in the north east of Scotland where the hospital eye department is 20 miles away.
What three interview tips would you give a candidate?
1. Be on time (or early even) – by arriving 10–15 minutes early you can speak to the staff in reception and learn a little more about the team
2. Be friendly
3. Be well presented.
What are your application and interview ‘pet peeves’?
Spelling mistakes and over-familiarity. Come along with an open mind rather than a load of salary expectations.
Sum up your ideal candidate in three words…
Dynamic, keen and thirsty (for knowledge).
Why should potential candidates apply for Angus Optix?
We aim to give the best care we can to everyone who attends our practice. We are truly independent giving professional autonomy and keep the patient’s needs at the centre of what we do, regardless of age or circumstances. We strive to keep abreast with clinical developments and maintain a knowledge of emerging products.
Angus Optix is located in Forfar in the rural north east of Scotland, 20 miles from Dundee. The practice, which was established in 2005 by Ms Robertson and her husband Steve, is currently recruiting for a full or part-time optometrist. Those interested in applying should email (in confidence) [email protected].
Image credit: Shutterstock