Entry onto many of our veterinary nursing courses, such as our Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, require you to gain employment or work experience in a veterinary practice.
As veterinary nursing is a popular and competitive profession to join, placements and job opportunities for aspiring veterinary nurses can sometimes be hard to come by. This means it is essential to be prepared for any interviews you secure, and do all you can to stand out against the competition – whether you’re interviewing for a placement, job or work experience.
To help you, we have gathered together some advice:
Before your interview, have a think about…
Your Chosen Veterinary Practice
Familiarise yourself with the veterinary practice beforehand and know the person you are meeting; company websites are often a great source of information. Showing you have taken the time to find out about the veterinary practice will demonstrate that you are keen and will help prevent any lulls in the conversation.
What course you want to study, and where you want to study it
If you are attending an interview for a work placement or student veterinary nurse position before applying for a course, make sure you are aware of what your course involves, how long you will be studying for and on which days, and why you want to do the course.
Knowledge of the Veterinary Nursing Industry
Ensure you have an idea of the industry you are going to be working in. For example, if you are attending an interview for a student veterinary nurse position, make sure you are familiar with the workings of a veterinary practice and the veterinary nursing profession as a whole.
Your Skills and Experience
Before you go for your interview have a think about your situation and know what you want to gain from the job, placement or work experience. This will help you to be confident when answering questions that your interviewer may ask you. Some of the things you may want to think about are:
- What are your long term aims?
- What does your course entail and how do you plan to tackle it?
- What previous work experience have you done and what aspects did you like or dislike most?
- What other transferrrble skills/experience have you gained that will help you on placement?
- Why do you want to be a veterinary nurse, kennel assistant, dog groomer etc.?
CV and References
Before your interview, we suggest you gather a copy of your CV and references to take along with you in case your interviewer asks to see these.
Presence on Social Media
More and more people nowadays have a presence on social media. Please be aware of your online profile and what you write both pre and post-interview. A lot of information can be publicly accessible and your interviewer may be check up on you online.
On the interview day, make a good first impression by…
- Dressing smartly and professionally, ideally smart trousers/skirt and shirt/blouse or a suit.
- Arriving on time or ideally a few minutes early. If you are not going to make it on time for whatever reason (for example, you’re held up in traffic), ensure you call the organisation and let them know, explaining the situation and giving them an estimate of your arrival time.
- Being enthusiastic, passionate and motivated – you need to convince your interviewer that this is really what you want to do!
- Not chewing gum or mints during your interview and making sure your mobile phone is turned off before entering the building.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to change how we work, it is becoming more common for employers to use phone and video interviews to make hiring decisions. If you need to attend a virtual interview, on the interview day make sure you…
- Check your internet connectivity, and confirm your camera, microphone and communication channel (for example Skype or Zoom) are all working.
- Work out where you want to take the interview. This should be a quiet, tidy room with optimal lighting and a clear background to guarantee you’re the focal point of the conversation. Once settled, make sure you eliminate any distractions. Turn off the TV, silence your phone, and close any nearby windows to muffle outside noises.
During the interview, make sure you…
- Do not slouch or cross your legs. Instead, maintain good posture where possible.
- Smile – even if you are understandably nervous; you want to appear approachable and friendly.
- Remain polite at all times and use your manners; ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ still go a long way.
- Try to make eye contact with your interviewer and be conversational.
- Ask questions to demonstrate your keenness, but do not overdo the questions or turn it into a one-sided conversation.
After the interview, thank the interviewer for their time.
We wish you the best of luck in your job search. Visit our website to find out more about our veterinary nursing courses and for more advice about how to gain work experience or employment in a veterinary practice.
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