My career advice

“Whilst work experience is desirable, attitude is far more important”

Managing partner at Haine & Smith, Angela Davey, explains why attitude is everything for new recruits at the optical group

puzzle and people

What is the one piece of advice that you would give to someone who wanted to work for Haine & Smith?

Patient care, and being a team player, must be at the heart of all they do.

When you are shortlisting candidates, what is the very first thing that you look for?

Enthusiasm, with flexibility as a second. They must also have a passion for working with people. Whilst work experience is desirable, attitude is far more important.

How important is the cover letter in applications that you receive?

Very. You can get a feel for a person with the cover letter. We are always surprised by the number of letters that haven’t been spell checked or read through before sending. We would definitely recommend doing this, along with checking the spelling in the CV itself.

Always start by introducing yourself, and tell us why we should employ you. I would be looking for an engaging and enthusiastic introduction. Let us know why you are the most suitable candidate, and give examples of your successes and what you enjoy most. This will help to show your engagement and commitment. Finish your covering letter with the key points discussed.

What is the biggest mistake that someone can make in an interview for Haine & Smith?

Being very negative or unprofessional about their previous employers.

How do you go about ensuring fairness and equality in your hiring process? Do you have specific programmes in place to guarantee it?

During CV reviewing, shortlisting and interviewing, we would always focus on the applicants’ ability and enthusiasm to carry out the job. No aspect of the hiring process would discriminate on the grounds of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, religion, politics, marital status, or disability. All staff involved in the recruitment process are aware of our principles and comply with the requirements of our policy.

A new employee is preparing for their first week at Haine & Smith. What tip would you give them to be successful?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to get in touch with any questions you have.

How important is employee wellbeing at Haine & Smith?

Employee wellbeing is a key focus for us at Haine & Smith. Our priority is to provide excellent patient care and customer service. In order to do that, we need happy and healthy employees. We have an employee assistance programme, offering counselling, tips and advice around wellbeing. We also have a professional HR team that supports managers and staff with their wellbeing through day-to-day advice, wellness action plans, training, and occupational health referrals where required.

How important is sustainability for those working at Haine & Smith?

Haine and Smith Opticians is becoming ever more aware of how sustainable we are and what we do – or could do – to become more eco-friendly. Our teams are taking steps to try to reduce their waste in practice, with initiatives like our contact lens recycling scheme through TerraCycle, where patients can return their contact lens packaging for recycling, and down to the small things like reducing the amount of paperwork we are producing.

The business is investing in new equipment to reduce our energy usage both in practice and in Kennet Optical, our group laboratory, and we are always looking at ways that we can further reduce our carbon footprint.

Our teams are taking steps to try to reduce their waste in practice, with initiatives like our contact lens recycling scheme

We have also set up our Sight For All campaign. Working alongside Alabaré, a local charity that helps homeless and vulnerable people across the county, we are offering free eye examinations to all of its residents. We have asked our patients to donate their old spectacles to be refurbished and then reused for the Alabaré residents that require them. The donated pairs that are too old or broken to be refurbished, are handed over to the local Lions club for recycling through their charity. So far, we’ve saved more than 2000 pairs going to landfills by reusing or recycling them.

What is your favourite interview question?

Behavioural questions are always the best – asking about specific situations and examples will always tell you a lot about a person. My favourite is “Tell me about a time when you gave excellent patient care.” This paints a real picture of how someone deals with people.