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Reflections on Career issues

The Ultimate Guide to Nailing Web Video Interviews


Job interviews conducted by means of video chat over the Internet are on the rise. Using such technology allows employers and recruiters to visually interview a greater number of candidates in a shorter time space. Candidates also report significant time saving, particularly because there’s no need to travel anywhere. If you are invited to video chat job interview there are a number of methods to help you cope better in this challenging environment.

 

Interview Software – Employers and recruiters will always confirm the interview by means of email. This email will also explain how the interview will work and what software will be used. You will find it helpful to get familiar with the software well before the interview starts. YouTube is a useful source for tutorials on most apps and software.

 

Download, Install and Configure – Do this well ahead of the interview. Certain software and apps such as the popular Skype needs to be downloaded, installed and configured, a process that can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. You may also consider repeating the process on a backup device (another computer or even an ipad type device) just in case your primary device decides to act up.

 

Time and Place – Unlike a face-to-face interview, which traditionally takes place at the employer or recruiter’s neck of the woods, in this case you have the freedom to decide on a suitable place. When doing so, think carefully about the following constraints:

 

  • Naturally, you need Internet access, preferably broadband

  • The settings near and around you must look fitting for the occasion

  • Light should be plentiful, whether natural or artificial

  • Background noise should be minimal

 

Most candidates will opt for the home environment. Most of the mentioned constraints are met with ease, however, do pay attention to the background behind you and ask other household members to refrain from any interruptions for the interview duration.

 

Dress Code – You will do well to dress head to toe precisely as you would for a face-to-face interview. It is tempting to dress from the waist line up, however if you move or even under certain settings, the webcam will often capture a wider image of the room (and you). Basic tips that will help:

 

  • Pick an outfit that you feel comfortable in, preferably a contemporary one

  • Conservative is a safer option if you are unsure

  • For management or executive positions, you cannot go wrong with a suit but dress according to your job level

  • Visit the employer’s social media profiles for hints on their dress code

 

Ask For Mockup Interview – The best means to test your device in terms of software, microphone and speaker is by means of mock interview. Ask a friend, family member, even an agency recruiter to interview you. It will give you confidence in using the software and might help iron out any last minute niggles.

 

During The Interview – It is important to make eye contact with the interviewer. Do this by looking straight at the webcam, rather than letting your eyes wonder off. You might find it easier to simply drag the video chat window nearer the webcam so you are ‘forced’ to make eye contact. Do not knock on your table, play with your pen, type on your keyboard or do anything that might generate annoying sounds to the other side.

 

If Something Goes Wrong – If the interview is interrupted, wait for the interviewer to attempt to resume the interview. If you suspect that the fault might be at your end, check your Internet connection or switch to your backup device.  If the fault is found at the interviewer end, suggest continuing the interview by phone. Don’t let your opportunity go.

 

Good luck.

 

Written by The Carling Partnership. They are an international search and selection company in the drinks and brewing jobs sectors. CPL (The Carling Partnership) works across different sectors from distilling to wine and beer.

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November 12th, 2014

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Buzzwords in job descriptions. What do they really mean and should we be able to match all of them to apply for a job?


This article http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/02/28/job-ad-buzzwords/ got me thinking about job descriptions clients have brought into me, or some of the paragraphs written by companies inviting clients to interview. I think sometimes, as is quoted in the article, “the employer may simply have unrealistic expectations of all the qualities that a single individual could possess” For me the key issue is possession of the skills versus ability to develop the skills i.e. are we hiring the finished product or the potential and can one person ever have all the qualities ready to go – if candidates are the finished product, can they contribute in a creative manner to the team? Where is the learning and development both for employee and the business, if the employee does not step out of their comfort zone, leading to untapped potential? In other words, if there is no challenge and growth in a role, how can you know if you are performing at your best? From a career point of view, candidates should not be put off by job descriptions that seem to desire and describe perfection. After all, nobody’s perfect.

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March 1st, 2012

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Assessment Centre workshop: online versus offline


I delivered an assessment centre workshop today – it went well and my co-presenter and I got great feedback. When I came home, I wanted to look for some additional information on behalf of the clients – so I had a quick google. There is an extraordinary amount of information online, freely available and accessible, even about candidates’ experience of particular corporate assessment centres. It made me think about what is the true value of face-to-face work, coaching and seminars.

The interactive nature of the seminar today was for both trainer and client, the most instructive part – something even the best interactive software cannot replicate. One-on-one work with a Career Coach is tailored to the particular client or client group and will probably shorten the amount of time needed to get to grips with the subject matter. Internet searches can be very time consuming (you can waste a lot of time pursuing things that turn out not to be what you need). Also, there’s the benefit of having your questions answered on the spot…Phew, I live to coach and train another day – death by internet overload avoided for the time being.

P.S. Some sites that I do think are helpful are the following:

www.prospects.ac.uk/assessment_centres.htm – graduate level information

http://www.psychometric-success.com/downloads/download-practice-tests.htm – a variety of tests to download

http://www.assessmentday.co.uk/in-tray-exercise.htm – practise an in tray excersise

Many of the university websites also offer excellent links and information e.g. http://www.bris.ac.uk/careers/advice/a-s-centres.asp

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February 2nd, 2012

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A printed CV in the age of social media


The Guardian recently published an article about the worth of a traditional CV in an age of social media, concluding by talking to various experts in the field that the print CV is still essential for job hunting. Bearing this in mind, the format and content of a written CV is debated in the context of a CV rewrite by a recruitment site where the candidate (and recruitment agencies) felt her CV was better off before the rewrite!

Careers Insight undertakes CV reviews and this article reminded me of a recent conversation with a senior recruiter, who rather gruffly asked me how I go about doing a CV review. I replied that I don’t rewrite CVs for people – I work collaboratively with them, using careful questioning to elicit as much information as possible about their work and life and then with a fresh pair of eyes, look again at the document together to ensure it is maximising their experience and selling points. Sometimes it is merely a matter of reordering information, sometimes reframing information, sometimes adding information and, needless to say, sometimes removing irrelevant information. With a great sigh of relief, she replied that she could tell whose CVs had been rewritten by a professional CV writer and those were the first to go in the recycle bin.

The benefit of a coaching approach to CV review is made in the article by Anthony Sutton, managing director of Cream HR who says that good (CV review) services will be those “who will take a coaching approach and spend time talking to you”. As Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the association of Graduate recruiters says, “the process is the real attraction of your CV … A CV isn’t just about having something to give to someone else, it is about reflecting on who you are and working out what you have to offer.”

Although it is increasingly common and I would argue, necessary, for job seekers to have online CVs, Linked-in profiles and even social media resumes, the printed CV will be with us for some time to come and is still a powerful selling tool.  It’s too easy to get over familiar with your own career story – and this is where a fresh pair of eyes and a mind attuned to what recruiters are really looking for can be of real value. Not writing the story for you, just nudging you in the right direction.

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January 31st, 2012

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