Make your Weaknesses your Strengths!

I am writing this post following a roller coaster of a week. I feel completely emotionally and physically drained, and I even started question why I am putting myself through this. I know that is stupid I’ve only had 4 interviews (which I am completely thankful for) , but I think after 4 rejections in such a short space of time it does knock your confidence.  But as the title of the post claims you need to make your weaknesses your strengths and carry on.

Tough-Day-At-The-Office

So  I started on Monday with an interview at Derby Hospitals NHS trust. Due to me working with Worcester Warriors Community again this week, I had arranged my interview for 8.30 am so I could do both. Most people who know me, know I like to be organised and on time. I think I got a bit excited as I appeared to be waiting outside the interview room at 7.30 am (but better to be an hour early than 5 minutes late). So the Derby interview was based on a series of scenarios. There were 4 rooms, 3 scenarios and 1 personal interview , each room had 2 practitioners (I felt like I was on the apprentice and Lord Sugar was going to come out and say your fired or hired!!).

The first room I was in was the personal interview which I was thankful for to break the ice. Some of the questions I got asked were:

  • Tell us about you?
  • What do you think about customer service?
  • Tell us about a situation where you have had to motivate a team?
  • How do you deal with stress?

There was a few more questions but I can’t remember them all. From my previous interview at the QE I felt I shut off and needed some prompts to keep speaking (I think the nerves probably got the better of me). So on this interview I tried to keep speaking until they shut me up.

The second room was a respiratory case study (resp and neuro tend to be my weaker areas mainly because I have had less experience in them) but I felt I was able to work through the case study fairly. There were things when I came out that I could have included but I suppose when your under pressure some things don’t always come to the front of your mind.

The third was MSK, which if do say so myself I blasted. Typical presentation of a frozen shoulder but with a past medical history of a mastectomy (which can have an impact on the shoulder due to radio/chemotherapy sometimes causing tightness) so they wanted some discussion around this.

Finally was a neuro case study. They wanted to know what you know about stroke? What your goals for discharge would be? What would you do if a patient was being discharged by a doctor but you weren’t happy? Again there were some others but I can’t remember the rest.

So overall I felt a lot more comfortable in this interview but I sometimes felt I deviated from the point in the personal interview. So we were due to hear feedback on the Wednesday but I didn’t hear anything. One of my friends had already received an email to say that unfortunately they had been unsuccessful, so due to not hearing anything I thought I would be in with a chance…..But no phone call…..I rang the trust today to find out the decision but unfortunately I had been unsuccessful.  I think I had got my hopes up as I had felt comfortable in the interview and due to others receiving emails… but they just hadn’t sent mine. So as you can imagine I was pretty gutted. The feedback I got was that sometimes I was not concise in my answers for the personal section (which at the QE I was too concise and closed) so I need to find a happy medium. The only other point they made was that I could have been more evaluative in my respiratory case study (which I suppose comes with experience). They were positive in saying I was employable (BUT THEY DIDN’T EMPLOY ME GAHHHH HAHA) but unfortunately they said it was very competitive. On the other hand I did get the offer of bank work off the back of it so fingers crossed that might lead to something else (fingers and toes crossed).

I have another interview for Nottingham CIC bank 4th September so I can let you all know how that goes (I think soon I will have had an interview at every trust it feels…. so I will be the guru of interview questions).

From my previous post, I had discussed my interview at the QE, which I received feedback for on Monday. I scored 23/51 on the question paper again did well on MSK (but lacked some detail, for example I might have said ROM exercises but not specified which ones) and to my surprise respiratory was OK but I wasn’t detailed enough in the orthopaedic question.  They said I came across well in the personal interview but just missed some of the buzz words and sometimes required some prompts (more nerves than not having enough to say). But again I am on reserve list for 3 months so hopefully something might come up.

So for my next interview things I will be working on:

  • Preparing points for generic interview questions so I can be more concise.
  • Ensuring my CPD folder is linked to the post.
  • Learn to relax!!!
  • Finally work through some more respiratory and neuro case studies.

Like I said above I have been back at the Worcester Warriors this week, but working with under 12’s. It is fair to say under 12’s are a lot more demanding, not necessarily in relation to injuries but more in relation to their behavior, but we have great staff at the camps and  everything got done in the end. I am back at the camps again next week for a final week so I will update you then. Tomorrow I will be up very early to head over to West Bromwich Albion Football Club for an induction, so I am looking forward to that (but maybe not the early start after this week). But again you have to embrace opportunities that come your way.

Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog. If you have any questions feel free to comment or tweet me @LCphysio !

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New Opportunities.

So this will be my first blog post in the process of getting a job. It feels strange to have finished, I keep thinking I should be revising and I feel a bit lost in translation. However, the partying is due to start next week which will bring the last 4 years to a memorable end I am sure.

So, so far in my job search, I have been using the NHS jobs website. I have limited myself to jobs in my area  mainly because most posts seem to only short list for interview if you have HCPC registration (which you can’t get until you have your results).  From completing a few applications it is apparent that each trust has a different person specification. When completing applications it is vital to link to the person specification, so the recruiter knows you are suited to the trust and that you have taken the time to read through the extra bits. Each application has been different some have asked for a continuous prose in the supporting information and some have asked specific questions. It is a good idea to have a template for what you are going to write so that you can adapt specific to the trust you are applying to. With most trusts only shortlisting with HCPC registration it is worth giving them a call to see if it is appropriate for you to apply. When I have spoken to a couple of employers they have said to apply anyway because it gives you the opportunity to get feedback on your application. So far 2 trusts I have applied for have rejected my application due to not being registered but I am still waiting for one to get back to me so fingers and toes crossed.

On Wednesday I was fortunate to be listening to the Physio UK webinar on “Maximising Employment Opportunities”. The webinar had some brilliant speakers: a graduate from 2009, team leads from various trusts, Gwyn Owen professional adviser at the CSP and the chair of the CSP Helena Johnson. The speakers highlighted some useful tips in applying for jobs. Below are some of the things that stood out for me personally:

  • Network, network, network, opportunities such as Physiotherapy UK, attending CSP regional meetings or free CPD events can be a great way to open new opportunities.
  • Volunteer, if you want to gain experience in a particular area. One of the graduates highlighted how she volunteered in a mental health hospital to gain further experience, this allowed her to attend in service training and ultimately secure a job at that trust after working for a bit as a band 5.
  • Private clinics, with the new changes in the NHS do not rule out private companies, but refer to the physiotherapy framework (Which can be found through pebble pad- gateways) to ensure the right support and mentoring is provided.
  • Attend staff CPD days, contact trusts to see if it is appropriate for you to attend or keep an eye out on the CSP website for free graduate events.
  • Be concise in your applications, as recruiters have a lot to sift through so make it clear why you want to work for their trust.
  • Use the physiotherapy framework to see what you need to do to get to the next level.
  • Show case your transferable skills, give employers reasons to take you on.
  • Jobs are out there but you have to work hard to show how you deserve the post over someone else- what makes you different?
  • Speak to your personal tutors or careers team within the university.
  • Keep your expectations grounded.
  • Apply for posts you want to apply for, what will that post do for your career.

So despite my physiotherapy job situation, I have received an exciting opportunity to help a colleague organise physiotherapy CPD events. Gerard Greene from Harborne Physio approached me asking whether I would be interested in running his twitter and Facebook pages, whilst also being involved in running CPD events. I am hoping this opportunity will give me the chance to network and develop my skills whilst being out of a post. I have previously worked with Gerard on the  unemployed graduate scheme I ran in 2012 (demonstrating networking does work!!!). The scheme was set up to offer new graduates free CPD in the transition between graduation and employment, further information can be found at: http://www.csp.org.uk/nations-regions/your-regional-network-west-midlands .

Gerard ran one of my events looking at the use of social media as a CPD tool. I am looking forward to working with Gerard and I will update my blog with any new events. I have completed two workshops organised by Gerard in taping and respiratory and they have been invaluable in maintaining my skills as a newly qualified physiotherapist.