HR manager at Bayfields Opticians, Caroline Charles, on what the independent looks for in its staff
03 July 2017
How can prospective employees apply for a position at Bayfields Opticians?
Directly by submitting a covering letter and CV by email, or alternatively by dropping their CV into any of our practices.
What is the internal process after an application is made?
If a prospective employee is applying for a current vacancy, we would review their application against the criteria of the role. Successful candidates would be contacted to arrange a one-to-one interview, and unsuccessful candidates would also be notified.
As a growing company, we are always on the lookout for fantastic prospective employees. Therefore, on receiving CVs that fit the criteria of roles within the practice, we would arrange an informal meeting with the candidate. This allows the candidate to understand us as a company, and we can establish what they are looking for so that we can contact them as soon as a suitable position arises.
What is the interview process?
At Bayfields Opticians all prospective employees complete a behavioural assessment. This allows us to understand what strengths and attributes the prospective employee will bring to the team that they will be joining. This is followed by a one-to-one interview, which usually lasts up to an hour. During the interview we ask questions about their CV, as well as a range of competency-based questions. We also review the results of the behavioural assessment tool. We find that prospective employees really enjoy reading the results of their behavioural assessment and it always creates a good conversation.
What makes a CV standout?
While a CV is a snapshot of a prospective employee, it is important that it reflects how they want to present themselves to us. Often it is the simple things that can make a CV standout, such as a well-presented and formatted CV that allows for ease of reading. We like to see personalised CVs which demonstrate what a prospective employee will bring to the company, while avoiding commonly used buzzwords to describe themselves. We want to know about a person’s work experience and what they do outside of work – we are looking to get a well-rounded view of the candidate in two pages.
"It is always advisable to practice listening to questions because this allows you to practice answering the question that is being asked of you. This can be a common pitfall in interviews"
What are you looking for in a cover letter and why?
For us, covering letters should be simple. Explaining to us why you are applying for the role, provide information on what you will bring to the role and any future aspirations within the company.
Number of practices in the UK: 18
Number of employees: 130, including 32 optometrists
Recruitment process: Submission of CV and covering letter, and then an online behavioural assessment. A one-to-one interview in practice with the line manager follows.
How should a candidate best prepare for an interview?
When preparing for an interview it is always best to start with doing a bit of background reading about the company as this will give you further insight into the business that you are applying to be part of. It will also get you thinking about some questions that you may like to ask at the interview. For us, an interview should be honest, so there is no point over-rehearsing answers. However, it is always advisable to practise listening to questions because this allows you to practise answering questions that could be potentially asked of you. This can be a common pitfall in interviews.
What three interview tips would you give a candidate?
My top three tips are to always make eye contact with the interviewer and be honest. I would highlight that it’s ok to be nervous before the interview; you will find as the interview progresses it will be easier and a good interviewer will put you at ease during the process.
What are your interview ‘pet peeves’?
Unexpected delays can happen when travelling to an interview so it’s a good idea to have the contact details of who your interview is so that you can update them as soon as you are aware of a delay.
Sum up your ideal candidate
Passionate about eye care.