Healthcare Assistant Interview - And Question on Femininity

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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Purplebear
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Healthcare Assistant Interview - And Question on Femininity

Post by Purplebear » Mon May 11, 2015 4:56 pm

I had a practice interview with a careers advisor today (university careers service) for an NHS healthcare assistant post in an NHS acute inpatient ward. There was a couple of things that came up and he gave me good advice regarding giving specific examples of where have had to deal with challenging situations in the past etc.

But he also said that I came across as too "feminine and fluffy" and should maybe present myself in a stronger way. I wondered about this, as I thought quite a lot of people working in mental health care roles are female! And I felt femininity was an aspect of personality that shouldn't be open to criticism in an interview! Although I agree the role needs emotional strength, he was basing this on external appearance mostly I felt, i.e. I appeared too feminine and "therefore" might not be able to cope with an emotionally/physically demanding job.

So I was wondering what people thought about this - how did you present yourself as strong enough to do the job at interview? Is presenting yourself in a feminine way (whatever that means) detrimental? How can I come across as both compassionate and gentle enough to be supportive of patients and yet strong enough to cope with the job?

Also, anybody's experiences of interviews/interview questions for this type of role would be appreciated! :)

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amyaston88
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Re: Healthcare Assistant Interview - And Question on Feminin

Post by amyaston88 » Thu May 14, 2015 10:44 am

I find that a bit of an odd thing to say. Managing challenging and difficult situations is not about physical strength and appearance but about patience, resilience, and skill. It makes me wonder if the careers advisor has a skewed idea of what qualities and skills would be welcomed on an acute inpatient ward. I think coming across as caring and compassionate is very important. Also - I think it's important to be yourself! Don't act in a different way because you think it's what people want to see. The method I usually take is to try and show that I am genuine and caring, yet have a good understanding of things like boundaries and relational security. When I have used examples of handling challenging situations in interview not one of them involved being big and strong, it involved using de-escalation communication skills, negotiation, empathy, keeping calm, and understanding.

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miriam
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Re: Healthcare Assistant Interview - And Question on Feminin

Post by miriam » Thu May 14, 2015 6:09 pm

How strange. Unless you were dressed in pink from top to toe, with sequins and a feather boa, I'm not sure what being too feminine actually means.

Is it a reference to your interpersonal manner or your appearance? Could it be code for being twee, or unassertive, or very softly spoken? Do you have any idea what he was referring to?
Miriam

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Purplebear
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Re: Healthcare Assistant Interview - And Question on Feminin

Post by Purplebear » Sun May 17, 2015 1:53 pm

Well, as it was an informal practice interview I wore a casual lilac summer dress, which he mentioned, but I think it was obvious to him I wouldn't wear that at the real interview! I'm not especially softly spoken either. He made a comment which was a bit of a shocker to me, about it seeming like I'd got my psychology degree because I "wanted to go and help all the mad people". I found that offensive. I think amyaston88 that you are right about that! I went to the real interview (healthcare assistant) and got the job! So whatever "feminine" impression he got of me was obviously not detrimental, and the interviewers were both female and dressed in feminine clothes and really all they wanted to know was about communication skills, care, empathy and initiative. I was a bit shocked that this careers advisor got it that wrong and came across as quite offensive. He said both his children worked in mental healthcare. Bit of a puzzle.

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eponymous85
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Re: Healthcare Assistant Interview - And Question on Feminin

Post by eponymous85 » Mon May 18, 2015 11:32 am

He sounds like a bit of a... well, several words I'm not going to type on a professional forum. If it were me I would disregard his sexist comments entirely.
The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many layered thing.

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amyaston88
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Re: Healthcare Assistant Interview - And Question on Feminin

Post by amyaston88 » Mon May 18, 2015 1:36 pm

It is a shame he didn't come across very well and offered advice that was not useful... Congrats on getting the job though!

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