How to approach video conferencing (Skype / FaceTime) interviews?


In today’s increasingly technological world, interviews conducted online using Skype / FaceTime etc are becoming more common. Follow these 5 easy steps to nail your video interview.


With the current spread of the coronavirus , many companies are already adapting their interview process to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus while enabling the recruitment process to continue.
As a result, face-to-face interviews are becoming scarce with many businesses conducting some interview stages online.


Fortunately, consumer offerings such as Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Trello, FaceTime etc. have made video communications much easier!
Whether you are a recruiter, client or candidate if you find yourself having to attend an online interview, just as with all interviews, preparation is everything.


Here are a few tips to ensure that you give the best account of yourself when you can't be there in person:

  1. Setting up – Many of these platforms require you to follow some kind of invitation link via email to allow you to accept the invitation and/or connect to the relevant person. Whether you are following a link or simply adding a contact to your contacts list, make sure you have covered this step well in advance of your interview. This means that if there are any issues, you aren't trying to do this at last minute.
  2. Prepare your surroundings – Choose the venue carefully. You should position your device (laptop, PC or phone) in a quiet room with no interruptions. Ensure that the room is well-lit – daylight is preferable if possible. . Check that the background is neutral (a blank wall is ideal). Turn your phone to silent (unless you are using it for the interview!) and position your laptop so that the camera is at eye level. Ensure that there are no interruptions from family members or pets!
  3. Appearance – Dress as you would for a face-to-face interview.
  4. Do a test run – Test your equipment in advance, ensure you have a strong broadband connection, practice looking at the lens rather than yourself on the screen.
  5. During the interview – Just as you would in a face to face interview, remember to smile and practice active listening (nod, 'hmm' etc.). If there are any technical problems, address it with the interviewer and if necessary arrange to call them back. After the interview you should email your thanks – just as you would for any other interview.

It goes without saying that all the normal preparation you would do for any interview still applies so make sure you have re-read your own CV, researched the Company and your interviewer, read the job spec and practiced responses to classic or competency based questions.

Whilst most people will always prefer to conduct a face to face interview, if handled correctly, there is no reason that you won't be as successful using this format and at the present time, it means that wherever possible we can all maintain business as usual.


If you would like any more advice on this or the recruitment process, please comment below!

Good Luck!

 

Graduates, make your CV stand out to recruiters!


Your CV is one of the most important parts of your job hunt. Make is stand out from the crowd and convince recruiters that you are an outstanding candidate.


If you are currently in your last semester at university, meeting your deadlines and studying for your exam should be top priority, so anything else could almost seem unmanageable to achieve. However, if you are looking to go into full-time employment after graduating, now is the perfect time to start applying for opportunities!


Your CV is what makes your first impression to a recruiter, so even though writing a CV might feel tedious, it is valuable as it might be the only direct communication with a potential employer. With so many top tips available to you, it can be difficult to understand how to approach this crucial part of graduate job hunting. Although some CVs are unique and tailored to specific industry, there are key elements that recruiters appreciate!

A great CV should:

  • Grab the attention of recruiters and employers
  • Sell your strongest skills and accomplishments
  • Show how you're a match for a position or project
  • And most importantly, get you a conversation with a recruiter or employer (which could potentially turn into an interview)

Before we start looking at what makes your CV stand out, we need to be aware that technology has changed the way CVs are viewed, so although your CV might look nice on paper, it does not meant that it looks good on a computer or mobile phone. So how do you make your CV computer and mobile friendly and grab the attention of a recruiter?

How to make your CV stand out?

  • Avoid embellishments – Your CV should be tidy, clear, have a presentable structure and you should avoid colourful fonts or titles as well as text in fancy boxes (text within boxes will not be picked up by recruiting automation).
  • Up-to-date personal details – Your phone number, email address and location is important! The job search process has changed greatly over the past decade, and most recruiters now base their search on a specific criteria, where location happens to be one of them. You do not want to keep getting contacted by recruiters only to find out your location is detrimental to your chances of an interview, or worse, to find out that you have missed out on a great local opportunity because your CV did not show up on a search as a result of your missing location.
  • Work in reverse chronological order starting with your current role and working backwards. Include your promotion journey if applicable rather than just your current role level. This makes your career journey much more understandable and easier for the recruiter to recognise where your career could potentially be heading.
  • Use keywords throughout your CV – make sure key words stand out. Review job ads that are similar to the ones that you are interested in and look for keywords to incorporate into your CV. This will make your CV perform better in searches which means that it will get seen by more recruiters.
  • Education & part-time work section – Most employers and recruiters will not expect graduates to have numerous commercial experiences, which is why this section is crucial. Ensure that your degree institution and degree classification is visible as well as any extra-curricular and sporting achievements that you might have involved in. Part-time work and holiday jobs add significant value to your CV as they show that you are willing to work hard to gain professional experience. Both part-time work as well as sporting achievements demonstrate your ability to multi-task, plan your time and work as a team.

If you feel that your CV is fine but you are not getting responses, then please share questions in the comments box and I will be more than happy to give you some advice.

 

Applying for your first job after graduation?


Deciding on your first ‘proper’ job after university is a big decision. A few things that made my decision slightly easier are described below.


Whether you are still at university and getting a head start by exploring your options for next year, or whether you are a recent graduate with offers on the table but finding it challenging to decide which is right for you, here are some key factors which are worth thinking about.


My job search journey began around Christmas last year (during my final year at university) and I found that getting a head start allowed me more thinking space - I highly recommend anybody still at university to do the same. Making a decision will most likely be difficult and will require time and energy so being organised and knowing what you want is a good first step. But how do you know what you want and what is right for you? At the end of the day, this is new for you!


Aside from your parent-approved must haves, such as a good salary and benefits, other things to consider include:


What is the training like?
You want to work for an organisation that supports and encourages you to grow. In order to learn and grow you need great training, especially as a recent graduate with little or no commercial experience. This was one of the most important factors I considered when I was making my decision about who to apply for.


Career opportunities?
It is important to understand what your future with the company looks like. A good way to check whether the company offers this is by researching or asking questions about the existing team and their growth opportunities and/or promotions. How achievable is this? Who will be there to guide you through your growth? How quickly have other grads been promoted?


Company size, big vs small
Bigger companies usually have established ways of doing things including training, progression opportunities as well as the role you are required to do. They are also well-known, so working there will add value to your CV and could set you apart for future roles. Larger companies could also have the funds and resources for a wider range of benefits.
On the contrary, smaller businesses typically have less formality and can be more flexible. As well, you get to wear more hats working for a smaller company, exposing you to more job functions and giving you greater variety and responsibility in your role.

Ask yourself, how achievable are those promotions and which company size is more suitable to you as an individual?


Company culture
This is something that might be slightly tricky to figure out during the initial research or initial interviews, however some things to keep in mind when analysing this are the following:
Are the employees you meet happy to be working for that company? And with one another? And most importantly, do they feel like their work is valued? Do they have clear objectives for their next promotion? Most companies are now on Glassdoor, a useful website to get information about the company. Be open minded however, and make sure you look at the reviews overall rather than focusing solely on the negatives.


Values and vision
This remains one of the most important factors as you need to be passionate about what you are doing in order to be passionate about work. Do the company’s values match your own? If not, can you turn a blind eye to things that you might not feel that strongly about or agree with?
I want to conclude this blog by saying that applying for your first ‘proper job’ is not easy. The main thing is to be aware of what you want to gain out of the company or role that you have in mind and to be organised. Take charge and be organised.


Additionally, manage your own expectations. As a recent graduate with not much commercial experience you are likely to have to start from the bottom. Don’t let that put you off!

 

Graduating soon?


A number of opportunities await after graduation, but how do you decide which one is right for you? Getting a head start will give you more thinking space (and help you beat the competition!)


If you have read my previous blog, you would have seen that I have spent the past few months talking to graduates. What I am finding is that many are astounded at how difficult it really is to get a job in the field of their preference and the time this initial search is taking them . This comes as no surprise to me, since I was in a similar situation a few months ago. I've got to admit that I made sure to make every second count on my last semester, so I applied to jobs and opportunities quite early on.

You do not need the extra stress during your exams, so exploring your options and different avenues early on (preferably on your last academic year), puts you ahead of the competition and it means that you do not have to worry about it once you graduate. Imagine how good it must feel to have landed yourself a job knowing that all your focus and time can be put into your exams and organising your summer holiday? You do not want your 'last stress-free' summer holiday to be spent sitting in front of a computer applying for jobs and panicking.

As a previous graduate, who has gone through this and is now working full-time and speaking with graduates every day, I would suggest to start focusing on your post-graduate options now. The Christmas break is a brilliant opportunity to plan ahead. Below are a number of options which you could look at which might be helpful for recent or future graduates struggling to decide on a career path:

  1. Gap Year
    A change in location might give you a new focus and perspective. As well, traveling or accomplishing those things on your bucket list might be more difficult to achieve once you begin your full time employment. However, it is key to remember that a gap year is a great opportunity to gain new experiences and skills, whilst giving you time to reflect on what you want to do next, so feeling fulfilled by the end of it should be your aim. It will also help add additional 'life experience' to your CV which employers really value.
  2. Internship
    Internships offer the best of both worlds and are a great way to find out what working for an industry or a specific company involves. It is important to choose the right opportunity that gives you a good experience, especially since most internships are unpaid. This is also a great route to take before full-time employment.
  3. A Master's Degree programme
    This exposes you to a variety of subjects, aiding your personal development. If you decide to do a Master's degree then be sure that it fits with your long-term plans as it is not cheap. It is worth asking, will this help my employment prospects?
  4. Full time job
    Good for those who would like to go straight into work and put their theory into practice. This also allows you to start your career at an early stage, gain experience and earn money! However, if you are trying to put your degree to use and find a job within the field of your studies, bear in mind that it may be difficult to find the perfect role in a specific field. Finding your first 'proper job' is not easy so the idea of starting from the bottom should not put you off.
  5. It is all up to you
    There is no right or wrong answer. It is never too late to change your mind and chart a new way for your career. You will have gained so many transferable skills from university which will be relevant to many jobs. These jobs may not be immediately connected to your degree discipline but your degree will never go to waste. Some of these skills include things such as independence, critical thinking, organizational skills, team work, time management and many more. In our experience, many employers will be more interested in your interpersonal/life skills and abilities than your specific degree discipline.

Remember!

  • You have plenty of time if you get started soon
  • Do not compare yourself to your friends, your choice and decision is yours to make
  • You are definitely not alone

For those of you looking to go into full time employment after university, my next blog will give you a few tips on applying for your first 'proper' job, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.

 

Grads, have you been applying for jobs but seeing no progress?


Recruiter to graduate guide, written by a recent graduate-turned-recruiter.


Only 6 months ago I was looking and applying for jobs myself, feeling rejected and not good enough.
Having been through intensive training as a recruitment consultant, I have now moved into my current role, recruiting graduates! During many conversations, I have been able to sympathise with the uncertainty in graduate's voices as they are trying to navigate their way through this new chapter.


The following tips are just a few which can help you stand out from a call list made up of hundreds of graduates. They are simple, effective and do not require much further research or work. Starting my journey as a recruiter, I quickly learned that the thoughts I had as a graduate, which included doubts over the skills I could offer to businesses full of experienced individuals, were far from reality. I have now discovered that graduates bring the flexibility, creativity, motivation and skills that a business needs to stay competitive and dynamic. Changing this mindset and incorporating some of the following tips could be your secret to success!

Set up a professional voicemail message
This is the first form of communication that recruiters will have if you happen to be away from your phone or, like most of us, are screening your calls! This will boost your credibility, make you seem more competent and encourage the caller to try you again. Keep it simple, short and to the point. Make sure you check your voicemails and text messages as most recruiters will try to call first before sending an email.

Have a conversation
When recruiters call they will be asking open ended questions. This is your opportunity to sell yourself, so do not take it for granted. Do not be scared to do most of the talking. If you get asked to talk about your current situation, try to provide some detail rather than a short answer. We like to know that people are capable of answering such questions and holding a natural and engaging conversation. Equally, the ability to communicate articulately is a skill many employers are looking for.


Naturally, your answers will vary, however a few tips include:
Currently working or in education (university) but looking for a new opportunity?
- Talk about what you are enjoying as well as what you are finding difficult (put a positive spin to this and think about what these tough situations have taught you).
- When making a point evidence it with examples, so mentioning figures and statistics is always a good idea such as KPIs, targets, number of assignments/exams completed
- What is important for you for your next role or any future plans you might have, for example studying abroad or any internships/training. (This will open up a new conversation as the recruiter will be able to tell you about the roles that they have available which might be suitable for you).

Unemployed and looking for a job?
-Previous employment and the things that you enjoyed there as well as the reason that you left (again, there could be many reasons for this however try to avoid blaming somebody else for your decision to leave work, and instead talk about everything you enjoyed and your transferable skills as a result of that job).
- If you are participating in any projects or events then talk about those
- Alternatively, feel free to talk about non-commercial elements such as your family, friends or hobbies/sport; we love it when personality comes through, just remember to keep the examples relevant.

Be aware of what is on your CV
As a recruiter, there is nothing worse than asking somebody to talk about their experience within their CV and hearing silence on the other side of the phone. A few tips to avoid the awkward silences include:
Know what is on your CV and be ready to talk about your roles and the companies that you worked for
If there are any gaps within your CV then address those. In order to represent you correctly, we need to understand the reasons behind any gaps.
If you would like to take this one step further and impress then try the following:
- Apply your experience to the job that you are seeking
- Talk about the organization's culture and how you would fit in
- What value can you bring to the organization which is different to other applicants

Ask questions
It is always favorable to ask questions at the end. This does three things, firstly, it shows that you have put some thought into your questions. Secondly, it increases your knowledge, allowing you to assess further if this position and company is right for you. Finally, it demonstrates enthusiasm and interest in the role!

Send a thoughtful follow-up note after your conversation
Sending a note that thanks the recruiter for their time and expresses your enthusiasm for the role goes a long way. A good tip is to mention something that you spoke about during the conversation. This not only shows commitment but it shows that you were paying attention!

I hope this is useful and will allow you to impress future recruiters. If you have found this useful, please feel free to comment and share as I would love to know what you guys think. If there is anything that you would like me to cover on my next blog post then please comment below with some topic ideas. Additionally, if you would like to know more about recruitment as a future career then please comment below or email me at [email protected]

Thank you.