Career advice

Inside…Optegra Eye Health Care

Optometrist and head of Optegra Eye Sciences at Optegra Eye Health Care, Dr Clare O’Donnell, on what the specialist eye hospital group looks for in new employees

Man on a ladder

How can prospective employees apply for a position at Optegra Eye Health Care?

Anyone interested in applying for a role within Optegra should visit where they can both look for and apply for all available roles, as well as set up an account to notify them when suitable roles become available.

What is the internal process after an application is made?

HR will check that the candidate satisfies all of the essential criteria, and then pass on a person’s details to the relevant hospital director. There may be an informal chat before they are invited in to have look around and to have a formal interview.

What is the interview process?

Anyone shortlisted for an interview will follow a two-stage interview process. The first stage is an informal meeting with the hiring manager to discuss the role and Optegra in greater detail, and to find out more about the candidate.

The second stage is then a competency-based interview where we look for examples of previous experience that are required for the role. We keep our interview process informal as we are keen to get the best from all of the candidates that we meet.

"I am looking to see that they have shown some ambition in terms of career progression after qualifying – which courses and conferences have they attended, interests in terms of continuous professional development, education and training"

What makes a CV standout?

I am looking to see that they have shown some ambition in terms of career progression after qualifying – which courses and conferences have they attended, interests in terms of continuous professional development, education and training. I’m also checking to see if they are looking to become independent prescribing qualified or minor eye conditions services-accredited, as well as if they are interested in the delivery of enhanced services.

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

The obvious things are why you feel that you are right for the job and why you want to work with us. Demonstrating that you’ve done some research around the organisation by making reference to the services that we offer, or interest in the website, is good – it’s about taking the time to think about what we are looking for and capturing why they are the right candidate.

How should a candidate best prepare for an interview?

Research the practicalities to ensure they know where they are going to, and who they will be speaking to. Turn up super smart, well groomed, and well prepared for interview questions. They should also know their CV inside out and be prepared to explain and add details on anything in there – forgetting minor details can be awkward.

What three interview tips would you give a candidate? 

  1. Be well presented and smile. Try to be yourself. Those who are trying to come across as something different will find it hard to relax – it is much nicer to have good eye contact, smile and be encouraging
  2. Listen carefully to the questions, and take time to think about what you want to say, and concisely answer the actual question asked
  3. Be prepared with your own questions – it shows that you are serious about the application if you have prepared. It’s okay to ask for additional information ahead of the interview too – request the job description or ask to speak to another optometrist to gain an insight. It shows willingness.

What are your interview ‘pet peeves’? 

Turning up late is unacceptable, so allow time for rush hour traffic and plan your parking – and take a phone number for the interviewer in case of unavoidable delay.

Sum up your ideal candidate

Somebody who follows the process strictly – so if a CV is requested with references, or a completed form is required, or covering letter – all of those things are submitted in good time.
They are also someone who is enthusiastic, eager, has thought about the job description, done the research and arrive prepared as they will come across well. Nothing is worse than interviewing someone who looks unhappy to be there. If you have not interviewed for a while, do a mock up and record yourself, then look critically at it because you may not realise how you come across. Running through a mock interview with a trusted friend or adviser is sometimes helpful.
Communication skills are clearly very important for optometrists – a qualification in optometry is, to some extent, evidence of competencies of the technical part of the role. But patients appreciate good communicators who can re-assure them, and the ability to communicate can be inferred by how candidates come across in the interview.

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