Career advice

Inside…Optical Express

Clinical services director at Optical Express, Stephen Hannan, on what the multiple looks for in an employee 

Stephen Hannan

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

Through expansion, we currently have vacancies in a number of areas across the UK. Optometrists who would like to know more about these opportunities can reach out to our optometrist recruitment team by sending an email with their CV to [email protected], or by calling 01236 795 146. They can also express an interest in any role by clicking on the ‘Optometrist quick apply’ button on our careers website,

What is the internal process after an application is made?

We’ll review the applicant’s details to check if they’re a good fit for any roles that we have available. If they are, a regional recruitment executive will contact them to have an informal conversation, during which they’ll discuss their motivation for applying for the role and go over the details provided in their CV.

We’ll also give the applicant an insight into the unique opportunities they can take advantage of at Optical Express, such as our personal development programmes and career progression opportunities.

If it’s appropriate, we can discuss the possibility of flexible working hours, and we’ll give them an insight into the benefits available. After this, we’ll arrange an interview time and date to suit them.

What is the interview process?

We try to make the interview process as convenient as possible – we know how busy optometrists are, so we often travel to meet them on their home ground. Their time is precious.

The candidate will generally meet with myself or one of my senior clinical colleagues, and with a senior member of the recruitment team. We’ll discuss their expectations of the role, their background, their career goals, and determine the kind of work/life balance they’re looking for. It’s a good time to find out how they’d like to progress in their career because we offer a range of exciting professional development opportunities.

We’ll also ask a series of questions to understand their clinical strengths, and have a chat about their aspirations for further professional development. How they answer these questions helps us to determine the role that they may be best suited to.

As soon as we can, we’ll let candidates know the outcome of their interview, and we’re happy to provide feedback if required.     

"Sharing this information helps us to guide them to the role that will provide them with the greatest job satisfaction"

What makes a CV stand out?

The opening paragraph can be very helpful, particularly if the person shows us their career objectives and is able to demonstrate that they’ve got some unique attributes.

It’s important that a CV builds a picture of career history, as well as milestones and clinical experience, and provides an insight into the candidate’s interests outside of work.

It’s good to demonstrate an appetite for personal development too – that’s a real tick in the box as we’re committed to helping every member of our team to develop through our own regular training events and professional courses.

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

We don’t really require a cover letter as part of our recruitment process – a CV gives us sufficient information to provide us with an insight into the candidate, and their experience level.

After going over the CV, we gather more information during the telephone conversation, which determines whether the applicant has the relevant skills.
Should an applicant provide a cover letter, it’s helpful if they give some indication as to the reasons why they’d like to work with us, and a little about the key attributes they have that make them ideal for the role.

How should a candidate best prepare for an interview?

We recommend that, in advance of their interview, they do some research on Optical Express and the range of services we offer. A lot of information can be found on our website.

It’s always helpful if they can go over some examples from their working life in our meeting, such as giving instances in which they’ve provided excellent patient care.

It’s a good idea to write down any questions before the interview – we’re more than happy to provide the answers on the day and, to us, there’s no such thing as a wrong question. Asking questions shows us that the candidate has taken the time to consider the role.

What three interview tips would you give a candidate?

It’s always good to do some advance research into our company and the services we provide so that they can talk knowledgeably about it. This is the candidate’s opportunity to discuss their career aspirations, so it’s really important that they’re upbeat, positive and, most importantly, are themselves.

They should let us know about any professional or personal development that they’ve had, and tell us if there’s any specific training that they’d like us to provide as an employer. We have many opportunities for development, including our independent prescribing course and minor eye conditions services accreditation. Sharing this information helps us to guide them to the role that will provide them with the greatest job satisfaction.

What are your interview ‘pet peeves’?  

It’s disappointing when optometrists who have taken a significant amount of time to study and qualify, can’t show us that they have taken any opportunities to improve their clinical experience – we feel it’s essential for clinical professionals to keep up to speed with developments.

Occasionally, a candidate doesn’t have any questions at the end of the interview. It’s important that they share any questions and receive an appropriate response so they should feel confident in asking anything they like. Every question adds value to the interview, so come along with a professional, open mind and feel free to discuss every aspect of life at Optical Express.

Sum up your ideal candidate in three words

Positive, professional, confident.