What to Expect When Applying for a Job in the United Kingdom


COVID-19 has thrown the world a curveball that it is still trying to recover from. Today, with economies slowly opening up once again, the number of people initially laid off is now once more searching for work. Most organizations are still working with fewer employees, and the possibility of resuming in full-swing is still not in the near likelihood anytime soon; the number of job vacancies continues to remain limited. However, there is the hope of things soon recovering, so for those venturing back into the market or those stepping into the market for the first time in search of a job, here are a couple of things you need to know.

Where to look

A Survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicated that the UK witnessed an unemployment rate of 3.9% in 2020 – the lowest it has been for the last 3-4 decades. However, recent trends indicate that the rate of growth at present is concentrated in the south-east and London so for those looking for a job, this is where you should be heading.

The industries that are known to hire a large number of people are healthcare, education, wholesale, retail, manufacturing, and hospitality among a few others. If you possess skills that could be utilized in any of these industries, you already have a better chance than the rest

What Kind of Jobs to Expect

For students still pursuing their education and soon to move into the workforce, it would be wise to go through the UK government’s website, where they regularly update the areas and industries that are currently facing a shortage of skilled labor, making these areas viable job possibilities. At a time when jobs are not as freely available as they once were, getting a job to support yourself is what most people are focusing on.

According to the 2020 list, the occupations that needed skilled individuals included: 

  • Engineers
  • IT analysts and programmers
  • Web designers
  • Scientists
  • Nurses
  • Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Graphic designers
  • Secondary school teachers
  • Chefs

This does not mean there are no vacancies in other areas but implies that the demand for workers here is far more than in other sectors. If people are desperately looking for jobs to support their families, they should consider taking up skills that would enable them to master or assist in these areas so that they stand a better chance of getting a job.

How to Prepare

Once you find the job, the work does not end there. The next step is preparing for the interview. Interviews are very important because this is where the manager will determine whether you are the right candidate for the job.

Due to COVID, many companies have switched to working from home thus you need to be prepared in case the interviews are not held in the organization but over a video call. While the two may sound similar, there are several factors to keep in mind when preparing for an online work interview.

Have a Stable Internet Connection

It is not only troublesome but embarrassing when the network decides to play up mid-interview. Most employers will not waste time waiting for you to reconnect but may call the interview to a close if too many network issues arise, so have a backup option ready.

Ensure the Background is Not Noisy

Work from Home often means a lack of privacy. Although this may normally be the case, when showing up for an online interview, it is important to find a quiet corner away from other disturbances, so you show yourself in a professional light. Employers would like to know that potential employees will be capable of working from home without any difficulties.

Prep Just as You Would for a Regular Interview

Do not choose to be lax because the interview is online. Make sure you dress professionally and present yourself just as you would for an in-person interview. What is also important to keep in mind is the proper angling of your camera. It is not advisable to hold your phone when sitting for an online interview. Even if you are using a phone, have it mounted at an appropriate distance so that your upper body is visible and is not too close to the camera.

Expect a DBS Check

For someone who has just entered the job scene, a DBS check may be an unfamiliar term. A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is a legal requirement for some occupations, particularly those involving children and vulnerable people. A DBS check reveals past criminal convictions, which help a manager decide if there is sufficient reason for you to be prevented from working with children or vulnerable adults.

While these checks are mandatory for some jobs, many organizations not related to children and vulnerable adults also ask their employees for a DBS check. With COVID pushing interactions online, managers find it safer to do a thorough individual background check before hiring them so they later do not pose a risk to the company. Having had a minor offense in the past is no reason to instantly worry. Most offenses that are thrown up after these checks do not prevent people from taking up a job or remaining in their given job. They do not interfere with voluntary work the person engages in either. However, it depends on the severity of the offense. Organizations will usually go in for a check based on the role of the individual and will likely have a policy in place against hiring ex-offenders

If there is a need for a DBS check, you can apply for it yourself – this applies only to the Basic check. If the organization wishes to have a Standard or Enhanced check or a check against the barred list, the organization you are applying to will have to initiate that check you cannot do it yourself. The good news is that DBS checks do not have an expiry date even though employers may ask you to go in for a renewed check if the certificate you possess is from long ago.

All in all, applying for a job in the United Kingdom is not very different from any other place. It is just important to be aware of the DBS check so you are not caught off-guard when it is mentioned. While there are no rules that make background checks mandatory, most companies prefer having employees who have their CRB direct check to hasten the interview process.


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