Keep coming second - how to change client groups?

Discuss what to expect in job and course interviews, what topics might be covered, how to manage anxiety, and how to get the desired result!
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Parkleton
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Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:08 pm

Keep coming second - how to change client groups?

Post by Parkleton »

Hi Everyone,

I'm hoping for some advice and reassurance from this post.

I'm currently an AP on a fixed term contract which is ending in about 6 weeks time. I've asked to be extended, but the service is going through recommissioning so its not a simple answer, and I've already been waiting 2 months for an answer. So I've been applying for other jobs. All of my paid work experience is in CAMHS with a bit of forensic adult work through volunteering.

I've now had 6 AP/RA interviews and am yet to secure a new role. For all but one interview (which I never received feedback for) I've been told I was the second place or a high scoring candidate, that others scored higher than me because they've worked with the client group or specialism before, so this comes across in the depth of their answers. I do plenty of research before the interview into the client group and service, and try to showcase my transferable skills with reflective examples. But every time I'm told something along the lines of "you were a strong candidate and interviewed well, but someone had more relevant experience". Aside from that the feedback I receive is minimal, and when I have pressed for more I've been given a few pointers that are specific to the role in question. I'm trying to hold in mind that I've been applying for lots of jobs that aren't CAMHS, so I'm likely to be at a disadvantage, and I'm applying for almost entirely band 5 roles, as I've been band 5 now for over 2 years so have gone up an increment. I can't really afford to go down to band 4 but I'm thinking I might have to in order to get something a bit different.

I have 4 interviews coming up in the next 10 days and I'm becoming very discouraged and feel quite hopeless about my prospects. I'm worried about not having a job lined up and the financial implications of this.

I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice? If you managed to get a new role in a different client group, how did you do it, or does anyone have any tips for how to get non-related experience across in a way that scores more points?

Thanks everyone :)
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kfscotland
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Re: Keep coming second - how to change client groups?

Post by kfscotland »

Hello,

I've just spotted your post and thought I'd share some of my own experiences. I worked in a research post for a number of years and struggled massively to get an AP post. I persisted and honed my applications to a point that (like you by the sounds of things), I was successful in getting interviews for almost all of the posts I applied for. But, I kept missing out! It was really frustrating and confusing, especially with positive feedback like you are getting. There was nothing I could objectively improve on in interviews, so I was left with various options: take a new direction away from clinical psychology, persist with applications until something came from them, be more strategic with which posts I applied for (expanding the geographical area I was willing to work in, the banding, the population) or to gain additional experience in other ways.

I persisted and gained an AP post in the same field as my research post, clearly just so happening to be the best candidate for that post on that day despite not having had an AP post before. You never know if you will be the best candidate so it can definitely be worth persisting. When I was ready to move on from there, I was more strategic in my applications and sought positions that I thought may be a little less sought after than others (forensics), willing to remain open to the experience and see what came from it (although granted, it may be a little naïve to consider any post as less desirable right now).

Given the lack of time you have available, I would be strategic in expanding your options, apply for all and any that come up. You can always decline posts if they aren't for you, but you can't accept a post you haven't applied for. I would also request a quick call/video call with the named person ahead of submitting an application or undertaking the interview. This can help give you a sense of exactly what will be required of you and allow you to prioritise how you reflect on your experiences. For example, look at the breakdown of responsibilities in the job description and ask for a sense of what a typical week and work split might look like. How much is admin based, how much is clinical work etc. Will you be working quite autonomously or based physically within a team? Will there be remote working? This will help you to demonstrate your skills in a more applied and reflective way. Only once did I request a call with a named contact to be told no and that it would be unfair to other candidates as it would give me an advantage (??!). Everyone else I've spoken to has welcomed a chat.

A couple of final thoughts: research posts are a great way to gain additional experience in a relevant setting for reasonable pay, just try to make sure you would be working under a clinical psychologist or receiving supervision. You may even be able to pay privately for this if it isn't possible within the research role. In the health board I work in, they try to retain staff they've already contracted and use a system of redeployment to support you in applying for available or up and coming AP posts. It doesn't guarantee that you get them, but they ensure you receive an interview at least. I don't know whether this is a possibility where you work? Also think of private posts too! See what comes up.

Good luck!
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miriam
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Re: Keep coming second - how to change client groups?

Post by miriam »

A band 5 post is more likely to expect experience of that population, so a fall back might be to apply for a band 4, or something outside of the NHS banding system like research or work in the private sector. But I'd agree with it also being a little bit down to chance of who the other candidates at interview are on that day, and the fact that if you are told you are doing well in the feedback it sounds like they considered you appointable, so it could easily be the case that you are successful in a future interview.

You can also ask your current employer if there would be the option of continuing on a bank basis whilst the recommissioning decisions are made, as that might be a way they can continue to employ you without the formal process of extending the contract.
Miriam

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Parkleton
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Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:08 pm

Re: Keep coming second - how to change client groups?

Post by Parkleton »

Thank you both for your helpful responses. It was particularly nice kfscotland to hear about your experience of getting there in the end!

To update, after 8 interviews I was finally offered a role (!!!) as a band 5 AP in adult inpatient. I've had to go with a commute of over an hour unfortunately, but the team and role sound amazing and I got really good vibes from the interview, so I'm willing to make that compromise for a year. I'm assuming the difference for this role is that they were recruiting for 3 APs, so perhaps I wasn't number one choice but still managed to secure a role due to the number of posts being recruited to. I didn't anticipate it would be so challenging, as my previous AP recruitment processes have been fairly smooth, but I am assuming the move in client group and wanting a band 5 role made securing a post more difficult.

The advice above is really helpful, and I would encourage people in a similar situation to keep at it, you will get there eventually!
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