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10 Top Tips for interview success

Being an Activity Coordinator can be incredibly rewarding and getting an interview for the role is exciting. But, before you jump in with both feet, make sure that the role you are being interviewed for is right for you. The role varies enormously from one care home to another, even in the same town. Use the interview to learn more about the expectations being asked of the Activity Coordinator and the support you might get within the home. Sell yourself, but don't oversell and live to regret it. I've outlined 10 top tips for interview success in this blog to help you gain the job you want.

  1. Understand the Role: As mentioned above, this is important for you personally. Your prospective employer will also want to make sure that you thoroughly understand their expectations including the responsibilities of an activity coordinator, such as planning, organising, and overseeing recreational activities and events. Does the role mention working with others? Consider how you are suited to working with others using past experiences as an example. Are you expected to lead, in a more senior position? Again, reflect on past experience and include learning from someone who was a leader for you in a previous role/situation. Go through each requirement and consider how you can demonstrate that you are suitable for the role.

  2. Highlight Relevant Experience: Showcase any experience you have in organising events, managing schedules, or working with diverse groups. Pick up on any other requirements which relate to the position, particularly if they are mentioned in the advertisement and/or information pack. Don't be afraid to say that you don't yet know how to do something, let them know that you are willing to learn - or if you have time, try to learn more about it before you go to the interview.

  3. Emphasise Communication Skills: Activity Coordinators need strong communication skills to interact with staff, residents, and families. Highlight your ability to effectively communicate ideas and instructions. Consider how you have demonstrated this in the past. Remember, you can include personal examples such as social groups you belong to. Show examples of how you have (or can) use different ways to communicate, if applicable. Practice some of your ideas, talking about yourself and asking questions in the mirror, the more you practice the less self conscious you'll become. - Did you know that my high-5 emoji used on social media was inspired by Mel Robbins book The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit? - Look it up! And take Mel's tip "High 5 your reflection and smile at yourself!" Communicating with yourself is a great confidence booster.

  4. Show Creativity: Employers often look for Activity Coordinators who can bring fresh and engaging ideas to their programmes. Be prepared to discuss your creativity and how you would implement it in the role. If you use examples of creative projects you have done with children, remember to express that you would adapt them to suit older adults. Consider how you might be able to do this before the interview, as this is a question you are likely to be asked. Some care homes have taken to asking for interviewees to bring an example of an activities plan. I suggest that you take a blank example which shows BREAKFAST |MORNING | LUNCH | AFTERNOON | TEA | EARLY EVENING| DINNER/SUPPER explaining that you would do your best to;

    1. continue any activities which are currently popular

    2. discuss themed meals with kitchen staff

    3. get to know the residents andgradually increase the options of activities open to them according to their needs and desires.

  5. Demonstrate Organisation Skills: Discuss your organisational skills, including how you manage multiple tasks, prioritise responsibilities, and meet deadlines. If you are returning to work after having children, use your day to day running of your household and managing childcare, fun activities and meals served 3 times a day to demonstrate your skills. If asked how you would manage unexpected situations, explain that you manage unexpected situations all the time, i.e. child being sick, other family member needing help, friends calling in unexpectedly, etc. I'm sure you can come up with a few examples even during this past week. If you're applying fresh from school, use examples such as organising yourself and planning revision timetables for exams, balancing outside interests with your schoolwork Use your personal interests too, such as, sports, dance, music, drama, gardening etc. Talk about how you need to fit lessons, practice, performance/matches/competitions, etc. into your life.

  6. Be Personable and Friendly: Activity Coordinators often work closely with people of all ages and backgrounds. Show your ability to build rapport and create a welcoming environment for participants. If a resident is present in your interview, include them in the interviewing process by giving them eye-contact when responding to questions. Ask them if they have any questions they would like to ask you too. The response of the person interviewing you will give you some indication of how they treat their residents too. See also Tip 9.

  7. Know the Population: Demonstrate your understanding of the needs and interests of the care home residents, whilst showing that you are looking forward to know more about them as individuals. Clearly outline any knowledge you have about specific needs such dementia, failing sight and hearing, and how you would tailor activities accordingly.

  8. Research the Company: Familiarise yourself with the organisation's mission, values, and any specific programmes they offer. This shows your genuine interest and commitment to the role. It will also help you to highlight where you align with them and offers the opportunity for you to demonstrate ways that you have shared their values in the past.

  9. Ask Relevant Questions: Prepare questions to ask the interviewer about the organisation, the team you'll be working with, and expectations for the role. This demonstrates your interest and engagement. It also helps you to see what challenges you may face if you were to work for this organisation. Some good questions to ask are;

    1. "What help would be available to me for putting up bunting, for instance?"

    2. "What percentage of my time could I expect to have to plan activities?"

    3. "Would I be expected to plan activities at home?" and "Would I be paid for these hours?"

    4. "How many residents do you currently have living here?" and "How many take part in regular activities?"

    5. "What are the arrangements for shopping trips, days out, theatre visits, etc?"

    6. "How accessible is the garden to residents?"

    7. My favourite: "Would it be possible to have a quick tour around the home?" if they haven't already offered this, there may be plenty of reasons why they haven't or you may be pleasantly suprised and be able to use the positives you see to show your enthusiasm. It will also help to relax the atmosphere between you making it easier for you to chat in a friendly and positive manner.

  10. Be Prepared to Provide Examples: During the interview, be ready to share specific examples of successful activities or events you've organised in the past, as well as any challenges you've overcome in similar roles. This could include your child's birthday party if you have not been in a similar role before. In fact, using a personal event enables you to share a collage of photographs to show the different activities you've managed to plan and how much they were enjoyed. Don't be tempted to do this with photographs of previous care home residents you have worked with, this would definately be seen as bad practice.

Remember to dress professionally, arrive on time, know who your interview is with and follow up with a thank-you note after the interview.

Good luck!


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