Anyone with a veterinary degree can do locum work. However, before they hire you, employers would want to know you, especially your skills and experiences as a vet. If you are really interested in working as a locum vet, you should demonstrate that you are a perfect fit for the role during a job interview.
Therefore, before showing up for the interview, take time to prepare. Even the most competent and qualified vet must prepare for a job interview. Remember that the job interview is conducted only once, so you will not have any second chances to make a great first impression. You have to nail it the first time and demonstrate that you are the one for the job. So, here are some tips for locum vet job interviews.
1. Research the Vet Practice
You need to be familiar with the vet practice if you want to work as a locum vet. Find out what to expect once you start working and research more about the industry. Veterinary medicine is a broad industry and encompasses a wide variety of specialities.
Although most vets work in private vet practices, some work in the agriculture industry, where they care and nurture farm animals. Some vets train in medical research and spend most of their time in the lab studying infectious diseases on animals. Whatever field you have chosen, you will find plenty of opportunities in the vet industry that will allow you to work with different animal species.
As a locum vet, you will have to temporary fill in for full-time veterinary staff while they are away from work. They will hire you to help cover the gaps in the event that an employee cannot come to work due to sickness, maternity, holidays, and other reasons. As you know, sick animals cannot be kept waiting, so locum vets must fill in the role of full-time vets at very short notice.
2. Know what Skills You Need to Demonstrate
When you work as a locum vet, you will be dealing with pets and the humans that own them. You must have specialist medical knowledge and experience in the field. Remember, these pet owners put their trust in you to make their pets feel better. Even if you are only working as a locum vet, you need to demonstrate that you have the right skills to work in a veterinary setting.
Successful locum vets are ideally confident, qualified, and competent in the veterinary field and can work at short notice while hired temporarily. As a locum vet, you must be skilled in the area you have chosen to work for. Remember, you are recruited only for a temporary period and purely on your skill level.
Of course, the best way to hone your skills is by taking up a permanent position. Working for a few years in a permanent placement can develop the skills needed to become a good vet. But if working full-time is not an option, becoming a locum vet would be a great alternative for now.
3. Factor in How to Do a Zoom Interview
Due to the current covid-19 pandemic, companies have to resort to zoom interviews when assessing a candidate’s competencies. Therefore, if you plan on working as a locum vet during this time, you should be familiar with how these interviews are conducted. Like face-to-face interviews, a zoom interview can be equally nerve-wracking.
The key to nailing your zoom interview is to practice hard. Ask your friends to conduct mock online interviews and record these. That way, you can see how your background looks. Assess how you sound and look, and familiarise the controls, such as dialling back if the audio goes out.
Work on your lighting, background, and framing. But remember that in the end, it is your knowledge, talent, and interpersonal skills that the employers will be looking for. That is why you need to practice well, especially if this will be your first zoom interview. And just like in face-to-face job interviews, make sure you arrive early, so you will have enough time to get connected and test your video and audio.
4. Show Enthusiasm
Showing enthusiasm during the interview is one way to bag the job offer. Employers will be more than eager to offer you the position if you display enthusiasm during interviews, even if you consider yourself an introvert.
So how do you show your enthusiasm? If you are an introverted or quiet type, you do not need to pretend you are bubbly or outgoing. But you should at least try to be energetic, especially if the interviewer seems like a more outgoing person. Talk a little louder and be more upbeat when answering interview questions.
When the interviewer mentioned something interesting, recognise it, or tell them so. For instance, if the interviewer talks about the joy of working as a locum vet and other benefits, say something like, “that’s exciting!” This way, the interviewer will feel that you are really excited about working as a locum vet.
5. Show Willingness to Do Non-Traditional Hours
Before you consider taking up a flexible, mobile working role, you must assess yourself if you are capable of taking up UK based locum vet jobs, especially since you will be asked to work outside of the regular hours. Even though you will only be taking up a part-time role when working as a locum vet, you may be asked to work during non-traditional hours. So, during the interview, make the interviewer know that you are willing to work any time.
Remember that it takes great confidence to work as a locum vet as you enter a new practice every week or so. You will be stepping into the world of other people, so you must integrate yourself within it. You should get used to working as part of a team and get along well with them.
But as your experience as a vet locum grows and you start to build a reputation, you will soon have a portfolio of references, giving vet practice owners more confidence to hire you for full-time work.