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Topic: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.  (Read 498 times)

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Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« on: July 23, 2018, 12:45:47 PM »
I wrote this out for my husband who will soon be joining me from the US. He said it was really useful so posting it here in case it helps someone else as I'm really grateful to this forum and would like to give back :)


Practice the standard job interview and questions - this was the best one (IMO) that I found:  https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-answer-the-31-most-common-interview-questions - they are bulls**t but knowing the answers will help you with your confidence as well as selling yourself.  Make sure you do this.

Learn how to do a concise summary of you and your work history, an elevator pitch of yourself.

Include an outside of works interests or extracurricular activities in your CV as everyone is obsessed with “culture fit” and showing you are human seems to be more important in London at the moment.

Do ALL of the above BEFORE you meet recruiters.

Register and meet some recruiters but try not to do too many (although this depends on the job you are going for). Remember that Recruiters will meet anyone. They probably have new job seekers database quotas to fill, and you could just be another # to fill their quota. 

Recruiters are not your friends. Treat them as a prospective employer.  Ultimately they are salespeople and want to see if you are a saleable product. Be confident and don’t ever show vulnerability with them, be human but save your frustrations etc to discuss with family and friends.

Before you go to interview print off the job description, or save it on your phone and go through it and focus on any keywords that pop out. Be sure to drop those in on your interview. 

While the STAR approach can be overdone, it is worth doing this for questions like ‘what are your weaknesses?’ Remember that employers and recruiters are not mind readers and will probably only spend 2 minutes looking at your CV so be sure to get the points a cross.

Try and be positive, calm, alert and engaged in each interview (with a recruiter or employer). Sometimes this is hard after your 10th crappy interview, but drink an espresso, or take an energy supplement or jump up and down.  Confidence is KEY in interviews. However, think humbly confident not Kanye West.

Always have a couple of questions to ask at end of an interview. ALWAYS. This is hard when they go over everything but even ‘What do you think the biggest challenge in this role will be?’ ‘Why do you love working here?’ ‘What are the biggest strengths someone could bring to this role?’

Jot down notes when you come out of interviews for your own memory. 

Travelling around London is expensive. If you are doing a full weeks travel, use contactless as it caps out weekly as well as daily. If you are only interviewing some days a week, use your Oyster, which caps out daily. Additionally, save money and time and travel off-peak on weekdays between 09:30 and 16:00.  If you can schedule your interviews to fall between these periods (allowing for travel time to get there).  If you have a lot of time, take the bus as its only £1.50 with free transfer to another bus within the hour; take a book, noise-canceling headphones (trust me on this one) and water.

London to me seems to be devoid of public toilets. M&S, Heals and other big department stores are your best friend. This works even better if you are in a suit because they seem to treat you better, even if you are just waltzing in and out to use the loo. M&S café has free wifi and a good place to grab a cup of tea / kill time before interviews.  If desperate McDonalds also has loos and aren’t too bad.

Eating out all the time while job hunting adds up, so don’t be afraid to grab a sandwich at Boots, Sainsburys, M&S, Tescos Express, and go sit in a park. Pret and Eat are good but add up also remember that not all of Pret/Eat etc have toilets so don’t be afraid to walk out of one and in to another to grab something to eat/drink, use the loo.

Keep an excel spreadsheet of the jobs you’ve applied for, which will help when you get a call about a job you applied for 3 weeks ago but don’t recall. Include the date, job title, company, link to job description (save a PDF of it as well as links die), when you applied. The last part is important because when you are going through job-hunting despair this will help keep it in perceptive.  Additionally, keep a separate tab of job leads – these are jobs you are interviewing for – whether they are calls, CV being put forward for, etc

Interviewing is tough, so be sure to take some time to do ANYTHING else, because the constant selling yourself, scrutiny by recruiters and interviewers can hurt your confidence, which you really need.  So spend some time at least once or twice a week doing something completely not job interview related that is fun and enjoyable.  Volunteering is a really good way to do something that’s not focused on you. Get outside and enjoy nature – walking is really good for clearing the mind.

In order to ace interviews you really need to approach every interview as if you really want it, but the flip side of that is if you don’t get it hurts you harder.  You will also need to practice patience, which is harder for some of us than others!

GOOD LUCK and you've got this!  ;D

Married: Oct 2010
Applied from : Southern California, U.S.A
Priority : Yes
Bio-metrics given date : 4th June 2018
Documents mailed to UK : 5th June 2018
Documents received by Sheffield on : 7th June 2018
Email notification of decision: 10th July 2018
Visa and passport back in hand in USA: 13th July 2018
Arrival flight from USA: 4th August 2018 - he's on his way!!!


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Re: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2018, 06:23:13 PM »
Thank you for these tips! I haven’t interviewed in awhile and these are definitely helpful.


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Re: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2018, 07:07:26 PM »
That's a really good post!
The only thing I don't guess is the difference between "contactless" and Oyster.  Huh?  I thought that if you always use Oyster, it will charge you the smallest amount it can.  By Contactless, do you mean a debit card?  Many people may not know that if you don't have your oyster to hand or it doesn't have any credit, you can just use any contactless card and it will work the same as an Oyster.  Please explain about the week or daily cap, I'm not sure about that. 

Also, I'd like to add a few things about my experiences with recruitment consultants.  Wisely put not to treat them as friends, they will stab you in the back if it gains them money.  If you've got an interview lined up, don't EVER tell a different recruitment consultant about it.  As soon as they are off the phone with you, they will call that employer and offer people at a lower salary than you.  If you've had some interviews but are waiting to her back (this can take literally months) NEVER tell a recruitment consultant about it.  If they think you might be off the market soon, they won't put you forward.  Just say "I've had a few nibbles but I don't have any serious leads right now.  They will know you are lying but that's ok. 

Know the going rate for the type of job you want and quote that any time they ask how much money you want.  If they ask how much you made in your last role, tell them how much you want to earn.  It's none of their business and doesn't matter a jot .  What matters is how much you want to earn in this role.  They have no loyalty at all to you and are doubtlessly lying about most things, so don't feel guilty about telling them what you want.

Personally, I  use as many recruitment agents as I can.  Why limit anything?  I also resist all their attempts to "meet for a chat" or other BS.  Unless you are talking about a high level head hunter, they are just wasting your time.  For them, it's all a win, some poor soul has to flatter them and pretend they are important over a coffee and they get to be sure that you are capable of dressing up and showing up on time.  There's nothing in it for you, if they think they can make money off you they will send you out for an interview without a meet up first. 
Also, don't take it personally if they send you out for interviews that are wholly inappropriate for your skills.  Often, they simply need to send out 3 candidates and will send out anyone to make up the numbers.  Just count it as practice.

Skills tests and "presentations" are mostly just screening procedures to ensure that they only get candidates who are willing to work 24/7. Unless it's just an hour or two, I flat out tell them that my time is what I sell and I'm not giving it away for free. 


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Re: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2018, 07:15:34 PM »
That's a really good post!
The only thing I don't guess is the difference between "contactless" and Oyster.  Huh?  I thought that if you always use Oyster, it will charge you the smallest amount it can.  By Contactless, do you mean a debit card?  Many people may not know that if you don't have your oyster to hand or it doesn't have any credit, you can just use any contactless card and it will work the same as an Oyster.  Please explain about the week or daily cap, I'm not sure about that. 

Also, I'd like to add a few things about my experiences with recruitment consultants.  Wisely put not to treat them as friends, they will stab you in the back if it gains them money.  If you've got an interview lined up, don't EVER tell a different recruitment consultant about it.  As soon as they are off the phone with you, they will call that employer and offer people at a lower salary than you.  If you've had some interviews but are waiting to her back (this can take literally months) NEVER tell a recruitment consultant about it.  If they think you might be off the market soon, they won't put you forward.  Just say "I've had a few nibbles but I don't have any serious leads right now.  They will know you are lying but that's ok. 

Know the going rate for the type of job you want and quote that any time they ask how much money you want.  If they ask how much you made in your last role, tell them how much you want to earn.  It's none of their business and doesn't matter a jot .  What matters is how much you want to earn in this role.  They have no loyalty at all to you and are doubtlessly lying about most things, so don't feel guilty about telling them what you want.

Personally, I  use as many recruitment agents as I can.  Why limit anything?  I also resist all their attempts to "meet for a chat" or other BS.  Unless you are talking about a high level head hunter, they are just wasting your time.  For them, it's all a win, some poor soul has to flatter them and pretend they are important over a coffee and they get to be sure that you are capable of dressing up and showing up on time.  There's nothing in it for you, if they think they can make money off you they will send you out for an interview without a meet up first. 
Also, don't take it personally if they send you out for interviews that are wholly inappropriate for your skills.  Often, they simply need to send out 3 candidates and will send out anyone to make up the numbers.  Just count it as practice.

Skills tests and "presentations" are mostly just screening procedures to ensure that they only get candidates who are willing to work 24/7. Unless it's just an hour or two, I flat out tell them that my time is what I sell and I'm not giving it away for free. 

ALLLLLLLLL of this.  And don’t be modest.  Toot your own horn!


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Re: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2018, 10:47:14 PM »
Something I have done the last few times I interviewed for different positions within my company that I've gotten (and that I recommend to people) is to bring notes with you. No one can remember everything. How many times have you left a conversation thinking "Damn, I wish I would have remembered to say...."

In our company, they like to hear numbers. Did a project you work on make an improvement to the company? They want to hear more then "This project I worked on really made things better." Instead, try to provide them with something like "I was able to reduce  workload by ___% over 3 months which resulted in a savings of £____ to the company over ____ years."   Obviously they won't be able to justify the numbers you give them but it tells more then just "Yeah, it helped the company."

But its hard to remember all of that stuff years later. So try and write yourself notes. You know what types of questions they are going to ask you. Prepare several answers for them ahead of time, have the facts with you on a card and refer to them if needed. I've always said right from the start of a meeting "I've brought some notes along with me so I wouldn't forget." and that alone usually creates an ice-breaker with the interviewer because in nearly all my cases, the other person usually says "Oh I'm the same way" or "That's a good idea". 

I want to provide them with the best information I can during an interview and this helps prevent me from having to sit there looking at the ceiling trying to think of an answer to the question. :)

I would also recommend self-editing/brevity. I think most of us when we are nervous keep talking. How many of us have been in a similar situation, you ask someone a question and they just keep talking and talking and talking long after they've answered your actual question. I think having your facts prepped helps you get to the point quickly. It's also OK if you are in the middle of talking to read the other persons body language. Are you talking too much? Are they looking down at their next question already? Are they just nodding and not really engaged?



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Re: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2018, 05:52:21 AM »
That's a really good post!
The only thing I don't guess is the difference between "contactless" and Oyster.  Huh?  I thought that if you always use Oyster, it will charge you the smallest amount it can.  By Contactless, do you mean a debit card?  Many people may not know that if you don't have your oyster to hand or it doesn't have any credit, you can just use any contactless card and it will work the same as an Oyster.  Please explain about the week or daily cap, I'm not sure about that. 

Also, I'd like to add a few things about my experiences with recruitment consultants.  Wisely put not to treat them as friends, they will stab you in the back if it gains them money.  If you've got an interview lined up, don't EVER tell a different recruitment consultant about it.  As soon as they are off the phone with you, they will call that employer and offer people at a lower salary than you.  If you've had some interviews but are waiting to her back (this can take literally months) NEVER tell a recruitment consultant about it.  If they think you might be off the market soon, they won't put you forward.  Just say "I've had a few nibbles but I don't have any serious leads right now.  They will know you are lying but that's ok. 

Know the going rate for the type of job you want and quote that any time they ask how much money you want.  If they ask how much you made in your last role, tell them how much you want to earn.  It's none of their business and doesn't matter a jot .  What matters is how much you want to earn in this role.  They have no loyalty at all to you and are doubtlessly lying about most things, so don't feel guilty about telling them what you want.

Personally, I  use as many recruitment agents as I can.  Why limit anything?  I also resist all their attempts to "meet for a chat" or other BS.  Unless you are talking about a high level head hunter, they are just wasting your time.  For them, it's all a win, some poor soul has to flatter them and pretend they are important over a coffee and they get to be sure that you are capable of dressing up and showing up on time.  There's nothing in it for you, if they think they can make money off you they will send you out for an interview without a meet up first. 
Also, don't take it personally if they send you out for interviews that are wholly inappropriate for your skills.  Often, they simply need to send out 3 candidates and will send out anyone to make up the numbers.  Just count it as practice.

Skills tests and "presentations" are mostly just screening procedures to ensure that they only get candidates who are willing to work 24/7. Unless it's just an hour or two, I flat out tell them that my time is what I sell and I'm not giving it away for free.
There is a daily cap for how much you can spend on your Oyster card I'd you stick with in certain zones, I use that when visiting London with friends and family and we use the tube to get around. It's awesome. With zones 1-4 I think it's £7.40? Dang it's £9.80 now.

Found a useful article about price caps with contactless. 😁

https://www.londontoolkit.com/briefing/contactless_cards.html

https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/oyster/using-oyster/price-capping#on-this-page-1
The usual. American girl meets British guy. They fall into like, then into love. Then there was the big decision. The American traveled across the pond to join the Brit. And life was never the same again.


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Re: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2018, 08:55:57 AM »
Glad if any of this was of help :) I just reentered the UK job market after 16 years in the same job in the USA so it was an eye-opener.

Sorry, I should have explained further about the contactless (debit card) versus Oyster.

Oyster only has a DAILY cap meaning you will only pay the same as a daily travel card (it is about £6.80 I believe) because I have traveled so much that I've spent the equivalent of a daily travel pass. They call this capping. Every journey after that on the SAME day is "free".

When you pay contactless it is with a debit card that has a little symbol like a sideways wi-fi icon, it caps out around £33 - whatever the price of a weekly card is.

Side note: You can pay for groceries, coffee in most stores this way too and it's taken off in a BIG way in London. I've seen it in Southern California but it didn't seem to catch on.

So at the moment, I take a bus to the tube (underground), then 2 tubes to work and then back every day Monday - Friday. On the weekends I've usually 'capped out' or traveled so much that I've spent the equivalent of a weekly travel pass so my subsequent travel on Sat and Sun on tubes and the buses is "free".

Some one kindly posted a link to London Took Kit site which I think explains it well :)
Married: Oct 2010
Applied from : Southern California, U.S.A
Priority : Yes
Bio-metrics given date : 4th June 2018
Documents mailed to UK : 5th June 2018
Documents received by Sheffield on : 7th June 2018
Email notification of decision: 10th July 2018
Visa and passport back in hand in USA: 13th July 2018
Arrival flight from USA: 4th August 2018 - he's on his way!!!


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Re: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2018, 09:01:35 AM »
Glad if any of this was of help :) I just reentered the UK job market after 16 years in the same job in the USA so it was an eye-opener.

Sorry, I should have explained further about the contactless (debit card) versus Oyster.

Oyster only has a DAILY cap meaning you will only pay the same as a daily travel card (it is about £6.80 I believe) because I have traveled so much that I've spent the equivalent of a daily travel pass. They call this capping. Every journey after that on the SAME day is "free".

When you pay contactless it is with a debit card that has a little symbol like a sideways wi-fi icon, it caps out around £33 - whatever the price of a weekly card is.

Side note: You can pay for groceries, coffee in most stores this way too and it's taken off in a BIG way in London. I've seen it in Southern California but it didn't seem to catch on.

So at the moment, I take a bus to the tube (underground), then 2 tubes to work and then back every day Monday - Friday. On the weekends I've usually 'capped out' or traveled so much that I've spent the equivalent of a weekly travel pass so my subsequent travel on Sat and Sun on tubes and the buses is "free".

Some one kindly posted a link to London Took Kit site which I think explains it well :)


Oyster and contactless cards are treated the same way.  :)


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Re: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2018, 09:03:53 AM »
With all due respect they aren't exactly the same way. I think that's oversimplifying. Oyster cards do not cap at on a weekly basis only daily.
Married: Oct 2010
Applied from : Southern California, U.S.A
Priority : Yes
Bio-metrics given date : 4th June 2018
Documents mailed to UK : 5th June 2018
Documents received by Sheffield on : 7th June 2018
Email notification of decision: 10th July 2018
Visa and passport back in hand in USA: 13th July 2018
Arrival flight from USA: 4th August 2018 - he's on his way!!!


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Re: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2018, 01:48:28 PM »
Lots of good tips in here, even if you're nowhere near London or near any of those particular shops that were mentioned in the thread.   I don't even know what some of those shops/restaurants are?!?!

Oysters, I like Oysters. Mmmmm........ I like New England Oyster Crackers as well. 

  ;) :D  :P

What a great tip about the notes, scottference.
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Re: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2018, 04:02:52 PM »
Thank you for this post!!! I've been testing the waters online and it's disheartening, especially because I'll be entry level. So many barista jobs... Not to mention a job posting for a volunteer retail associate  ::)
Married: June 8, 2018
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Biometrics appointment: June 22, 2018
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Re: Tips on job-hunting in London from my recent experience.
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2018, 02:15:46 PM »
I think the tips in this thread are really really useful. I'd also like to add that you should be asking the first person you talk to what the rest of the interview process will look like. Knowing how many stages/what the stages entail will help with forming questions to ask at the end of the interview, because you want to make sure you don't ask all of your good questions in the first interview. I tend to start the interview process with more vague questions such as company challenges and what they are looking for in a candidate and by the final interview stage, I'll be asking specific questions that assess how I would fit in the role such as who will I be working with, what should I accomplish in the first 6 months ect.
Met: Aug 2013
Started Dating: Oct 2013
Engaged: Sept 2017
Online app submitted: 17 Oct 2017
Biometrics & mailed in: 20 Oct 2017
Received by Sheffield: 23 Oct 2017
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