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How can we best prepare our children for the workplace?

preparing for workplace imageArticle by Ceri Wheeldon

With new employment figures signalling more jobs going to foreign workers than young people entering the workplace, Employment Minister Chris Grayling said that the youth of today need to be better prepared for the world of work.

With stiff competition for every new job, applicants of all ages must show that that they are willing, ready and motivated to work.

I have 25 years experience working as a headhunter. For the last 10-15 years I have been recruiting senior individuals in a very niche market. It was almost light relief when I was asked by a client to conduct some interviews as part of a graduate recruitment drive.

What I hadn’t anticipated was how ill prepared most of the applicants all recent graduates, would be for the job interview. Most had not taken the time to review the job spec, most had no idea what the company did – although as a global company with a very comprehensive website information was readily available – and google searches would produce a lot of references in the press. The majority again had not thought prepared any answers to very basic interview questions and seemed more interested in the flexibility of working hours to fit participating in team sports than the career opportunity on offer. One candidate even gave his reason for attending the interview as being ‘my mum thought this job might quite good for me’. Some did not even arrive on time! Most failed to follow up afterwards.

Thorough preparation for job interviews is vital

Those who were shortlisted came well prepared. They were enthusiastic. They asked appropriate questions about the company, its ethos and the ongoing opportunities within it. They understood their strengths and how these would benefit a potential employer. They demonstrated a previous commitment to work, either via paid part-time employment or voluntary basis, or community involvement. They demonstrated that they were ready, willing and able to work. They put thought into the presentations they were asked to give.

At the end of the interviews and assessments when all the interviewers’ feedback and reports were collated, we were surprised to see that many of the recommendations for candidates to be invited back for in depth discussions were in fact non UK nationals .

Do I agree with Chris Grayling when he says we have to prepare young people better for the workplace? Absolutely! And young people must take the time to better prepare for interviews in a highly competitive job market! They must be able to stand out with an attitude that demonstrates that they are willing to both work hard and continue to learn. No opportunity to present yourself at interview  in the best possible light should be wasted –at any age or stage in your career!

Photo credit: Photostock

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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