The rule is to follow instructions closely. The employer may provide a phone number or e-mail address for you to obtain more information about the vacancy. Do not use this first contact as an opportunity to present yourself if this has not been requested.
It is quite common for employers to accept a limited number of applications, and to close the vacancy once that number has been reached, so make sure your application is sent in good time, and always before the closing date.
When completing an application form, be sure to save it and send it in a compatible file format. Include the vacancy reference number and proofread the form carefully. Spell-check the form using a British rather than an American dictionary and pay close attention to grammar and sentence structure.
If the application procedure calls for a CV and a covering letter, keep the letter brief (one side of an A4 paper) and factual. Say why you are writing in the first paragraph; give details of your suitable skills and experience in the second paragraph; give your availability for an interview in the third paragraph and any other important details about existing commitments; finish with a short sentence to say that you are looking forward to their reply. Try to include key words from the advertisement in your application.
Recruiters expect applicants to be available for interview at short notice. They will expect the applicant to be motivated and to have good enough English to enable effective communication (with the exception of some low-skilled jobs, for example fruit picking, where the interview may be conducted in the applicant's native language, particularly if it takes place in their own country). Applicants should be polite, punctual, smartly presented and capable of expressing themselves clearly.
Employers and recruiters have a legal requirement to check the identity of every applicant before they are offered a job. The applicant must bring their original passport or national identity card to the interview to prove that they are an EEA (or Swiss) national or family member.
The atmosphere is formal but friendly. The candidate should be attentive, responsive and positive about their application. He/she should try to relax and answer the questions confidently and as fully as possible.
The employer will be looking for examples that demonstrate the applicant's competencies to do the job. Punctuality, presentation and motivation are also important factors.
Usually only one round of interviews is carried out, sometimes with an accompanying test to gauge the applicant's technical abilities and problem-solving skills. The interview is usually 30-40 minutes maximum. Tests are 20-30 minutes. The applicant's presentation, posture and attentiveness may not be scored, but they will create an impression and are therefore important.
Because the emphasis is on competence and matching the job profile there is very little, if any, discussion on non-professional subjects. The motivation should be clear from the application form or from answers given to the interviewers' questions. You do not have to give details of your interests outside work unless you are using these as examples of your ability to do a task in reply to one of the questions.
Common questions include asking the candidate to give examples of when he/she has been in a particular situation and how he/she dealt with it. You may be asked to give examples of a time when something has gone wrong and what you did to put it right or to describe your weaknesses. In this case, show that you are aware of how to deal with your weakness.Towards the end of the interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. Prepare one or two questions in advance, for example you may want to ask about opportunities for progression within the company or what types of training the company offers.
It is unlikely that there is any flexibility with the employer's terms and conditions unless stated in the vacancy advert. The best attitude is to place trust in the employer's offer and to only apply for jobs that offer satisfactory pay and working conditions.
Contract negotiations mostly apply to highly skilled and highly paid jobs. The applicant will need to justify his/her salary demands by demonstrating that they are in accordance with market rates and their skills and experience. You can ask for a pay rise after working for a company for a while, if your pay appears to be out of line with employees doing similar work. You will normally have an annual pay review. Holiday pay is included and remuneration is usually expressed as an annual gross salary. Trade jobs, e.g. carpenters and bricklayers, often show wages as hourly.
The most common non-statutory benefits are: flexible working arrangements; private healthcare or healthcare insurance; subsidised travel; London weighting (extra pay if working in the capital compared to the national average); use of a company car; subsidised meals at an office canteen; subsidised membership of a gym or club; pay bonuses.