Leaving the Forces and finding civilian employment can be daunting for Servicemen and women. What it is important to for them to remember, however, is that British companies are increasingly realising the qualities of ex Service employees. They have often had education, training and opportunities unrivalled in the civilian workplace.
As a founder of ForceSelect, I now find myself interviewing both Service leavers and civilians. I know what employers are looking for and ex-military jobseekers have it in spades. Here are a few pointers to help them show their true potential in an interview scenario.
Preparation: read the job description and company website beforehand, try to find out who will be interviewing you and practise answers to interview questions that are relevant to this specific job.
Appearance: dress for the job above the one you are interviewing for. Detail matters, do your research, find out what is appropriate.
Arrival: arrive early, charm the receptionist, check your appearance, try not to smell of cigarette smoke and turn off your phone.
Meeting your interviewer: Create eye contact and go for a moderate handshake, no limp lettuce or bone-crushers.
Sell Yourself: this is your only opportunity to convince the person interviewing you that you have the necessary skills, experience, personality, drive, enthusiasm and sense of humour.
Humour: servicemen and women have a ‘unique’ sense of humour, our level of banter can be seen as rather too honest, so tone it down now.
Explain Yourself: assume that your interviewer has no knowledge of the military, both in terms of the terminology and what your role will have entailed. Provide them with a context to examples you’re using to demonstrate your leadership, organisational skills, ability to operate under stress and perhaps where you have helped others or improved process.
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Be punctual, be smart, do your homework and give yourself the best chance of success. All service men and women know the 7Ps: Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. So use them!