Category Archives: interview

Acing your Skype Interview – Infographic

Did you catch last week’s post about Skype interviews? If not then off you go and read it now!

This week we have a fab infographic from Viking with more top tips to help you get that dream job!

ace skype interview

Further information: www.viking-direct.co.uk

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The rise of the video interview – and how to prepare

Today’s guest post is from James Rice, Head of Digital Marketing at WikiJob, on why more employers are using video interviews, and the best way you can prepare for them.

source: http://pixabay.com/en/macbook-notebook-home-office-336692/

One thing we’ve noticed on the graduate forums at WikiJob is that more and more people are talking about their experiences with video interviews, or asking for tips on how to negotiate them successfully. Recently we’ve seen discussions on video interviews used by Standard Chartered, Nestle, John Lewis, Morrisons and many more large graduate employers. If you haven’t faced one of these interviews yet, the chances are you will soon.

Why do companies like them? The short answer is that it saves them money and time. A video interview cuts the transport costs of getting an applicant or interviewers somewhere, and it ensures a quick way to streamline the candidate pool. If the interviews are pre-recorded, candidates can be more easily compared in a short space of time. Videos also provide the interviewers with a better feel for the candidate than a phone interview might.

For job candidates who haven’t experienced them before, a video interview can be pretty nerve-wracking. All the more so as they are increasingly automated rather than live, with the candidate having a short amount of time to prepare and then answer a pre-designed set of questions, while being recorded. As one of WikiJob’s forum users said:  “The interview made me panic because you only have 90 seconds, yes, 90 seconds…to answer these questions. You have a minute before the question and then 90 seconds to answer.”

 

Get comfortable

Much of the anxiety comes from unfamiliarity. The secret is to find out how to make the technology work for you, and become comfortable with the environment. Here are some tips on how best to prepare for an interview:

1. Choose an appropriate location.

Find a quiet space with a simple, plain-colour background. Try to avoid anything that could prevent a distraction, such as a window onto the street, or a room beside a road. If you live with others, make it clear to them that you’re not to be disturbed.

2. Dress for a regular interview.

Definitely do not be tempted to wear a suit jacket but then sit there in your boxer shorts. Even if the interviewer never notices, the psychological effect of dressing as you would for a regular interview will get you in the correct frame of mind. Also avoid any bright patterned colours.

3. Test your tech.

Don’t invite catastrophe in the form of your computer switching off or being unable to operate the software the employer uses. Run a dummy test (or several) beforehand, and make sure the equipment you will be using for the interview is reliable.

4. Look into the camera, not the middle of the screen.

In the same way that maintaining eye contact in a face-to-face interview will demonstrate confidence and trustworthiness, so it is for a video interview. The difference being that it’s easy to look at the middle of the screen and not into the camera. If you can move your camera, position it at a natural level with your eyes.

5. Keep good posture.

It’s easy to slump in front of a computer – and it’s easy to yawn or fiddle with items on the desk when there’s no-one else in the room. Consciously sit up straight, and picture yourself in the interview room you’re aiming to get to at the final stage of the process.

6. Use a quality microphone.

Depending on your computer, the quality of the microphone may not be too great. Test it, get someone else to hear what you sound like, and if necessary, buy a better version so the sound of your voice is clear.

Above all, treat it like a real interview!

What do you think of these tips? Have you ever had a video interview, or do you have one coming up? Please let us know by emailing us at careers@cumbria.ac.uk.

 

 

New Year, New Strategy!

If you’ve been applying for jobs left, right and centre, but not getting anywhere, maybe it’s time to change your strategy. With 2015 lurking around the corner, why not make a fresh start with your job search strategy, and make 2015 the year you shine! 

Be clear on where you want to go

If you haven’t been getting anywhere with your previous applications, take a loo at the roles you are applying for. Do they suit your skill set? Do you meet the criteria in the job description? If not, you could be wasting your time applying for the wrong jobs.

Take the time to really think about the role you want, and that is realistic and achievable. There are some great careers planners available (TargetJobs and Prospects are two we recommend), which can really help you understand the jobs that you would be suited to.

Once you have identified a suitable area, undertake lots of research into companies and the industry to get insider knowledge that will really help your application stand out.

 

Target your applications

This is something we tell students time and again – tailoring your CV and cover letter for each application is one of the most important things you need to be doing when job searching. It shows that you have taken your time to research the job and the company, and will give you the opportunity to demonstrate to the employer how you will fit into the job role.

If you have to decide between applying for lots of jobs with a standard (non-tailored) CV, or applying for a few jobs with a customised CV, always choose the latter. Quality over quantity wins every time!

 

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

Interviews need to be prepared for just as much as your application – if not more so! Get ready for all of those invites coming in by looking at the different types of interviews you might be faced with (for example, group interviews, assessment centres, etc.) and learn how to prepare for them. You can also research common interview questions for your sector and prepare your answers, using examples to really show how you have used your skills in real-life situations.

Getting a good collection of examples together at this stage means that you will be able to walk into the interview knowing that you will be able to give some strong answers to questions that are likely to come up.

If you struggle with nerves, arrange a couple of mock interview with the careers service before your interview, to gain some experience and some feedback on your technique. Email careers@cumbria.ac.uk to book a mock interview.

 

Don’t be afraid to follow-up

So you’ve applied and been for interview, but haven’t had a response – frustrating, right? Following up applications and interviews with a phone call or email shows that you are a keen applicant and that you are still interested in the role.

It may be difficult to ask, but if you have been unsuccessful it’s always a good idea to ask for some feedback on what you did well, and what you could have done better. This way you will be better prepared for your next interview.

 

Remember that the careers team is here to help you from the day you arrive at University, all the way through your studies, and for up to three years after you graduate too. We can offer application and CV feedback, as well as mock interviews and general careers guidance. Email careers@cumbria.ac.uk to get in touch.

 

 

The 5 job seekers you don’t want to be!

There’s plenty of advice out there about what to do to land your dream job – but here’s a list of 5 things not to do! Make sure you follow this advice from findtherightjob.com to ensure that all of your hard work doesn’t go to waste!

The-5-Job-Seekers-You-Dont-Want-to-Become

 

Follow the careers team on Twitter @UoCCareers and on Facebook at facebook.com/uoccareers for more fun careers-related infographics!

7 Questions You Should Ask to Be the Most Impressive Job Candidate

Most interviewers follow a basic model these days called “Behavioral Interviewing.” The purpose is to see how a candidate has acted in the past in certain scenarios, because most of the time, past behavior will predict future behavior. Along with this interview style, there are also seven questions you as the candidate will most likely be asked. My boss in our career center refers to them as the Seven Deadly Questions. This includes: “Tell me about about yourself” and “Where do you see yourself in 2–5 years?” These are loaded questions that if answered wrong can ruin your chances of getting the job.

So if these are some of the questions the interviewer asks, what should you as the candidate ask? After all, aren’t you interviewing them too? Do you know for certain before an interview if this somewhere you want to work for the next year, two years, five years? If this is somewhere you want to work, then how can you be the most impressive job candidate?

Believe it or not, many times, the best way to show an interviewer you have done research on their company and industry is not through the answers you give, but through the questions you ask.

Here are 7 questions you should ask to be the most impressive job candidate.

What are the common attributes of your top performers?

This questions serves many purposes. First, you didn’t ask “what are the common attributes of your worst performers?” The reason being is that you want to show them that you want to identify with and be one of the top performers, and not one of the worst. You will probably have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview, so to show you share common traits with the top performers, you can either reiterate an answer you gave earlier in the interview when you hear their answer about top performers, or mention your matching skills in a follow-up email and written thank you letter. You should be sending both.

What are the one or two things that really drive results for the company?

Based on the research you have already done prior to the interview (you did do research prior to the interview, right?), you should have an idea of what is the answer to this question before you ask. This illustrates to the interviewer that you understand the position you are applying for fits into a bigger company picture. This is not the “you” show. The company has a need and you are trying to convince them your background and skill set fits that need better than anyone else and you will make them more successful than they already are. You are part of the “thing” that drives results.

What do employees do in their spare time?

This question helps you gauge how you will fit in with the people working there. “Fit” has become a big focus for companies these days. You may have the skills to do the job, but if you are socially awkward or your personality does not make the interviewer feel comfortable with you they will probably pass on hiring you. Also, this question will help you understand the job/life balance at the firm. One too many jokes about “what spare time?” from the interviewer and you may want to consider whether you are willing to put in the hours this job may require.

How do you plan to deal with _____?

This question will end with an industry-specific issue. Maybe it is regulatory like the Dodd/Frank Act that hit the financial services industry a few years ago, or maybe in doing your research, you discovered a new player entered the market. My advice to you is be CAREFUL with this question. If the company does not have an answer for the issue yet, you will make the interviewer defensive. Focus on the positives if you want to show you have done your research. Ask something like “how do you plan to spend all the money you are going to make with this new product’s sales?” I’m kidding of course, but on the serious side be careful in choosing to ask about an issue.

How do you measure success of the people currently in this position?

This questions differs from the question about attributes of top performers because you are not asking what they think makes someone in this position successful, but rather how do they measure success. The point you want to make with this question is that you plan on being successful so you want to know what goals you should focus on. Also this question may lead to a conversation about commissions and bonuses, not specific numbers probably—and do not push for that—but it will give you an idea of expectations and how realistic they are.

What does a career path look like at this company?

When you ask this question you want to make sure you get the point across that you are looking long term. Do not ask, “how long does it take to move up?” or anything like that. You are there to fill the job at hand and add value immediately. The point of asking this is to show you are in it for the foreseeable future and that you are again coming to this job with an attitude that you are a good fit and will be successful.

I am really excited about this opportunity; what are the next steps?

If you don’t tell them you are really excited about the job, how will they know you are? They are excited about filling it; you should be excited about the possibility of being hired.

If you are in the process of interviewing for a few jobs, and you should be, then this is when they can tell you it may take a few weeks before you hear anything or that there are more interviews coming. If you get an offer from another company a few days after this interview, you know you may have to ask that company to give you more time to decide, because this company told you it may take a few weeks to get back to you. Any question you ask should show either that you did your research on the company and industry, or that you are there to fill the need they have and be successful. That is what will make you the most impressive job candidate.

This post is reblogged from: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/work/7-questions-you-should-ask-the-most-impressive-job-candidate.html

Answering Interview Questions

Front view portrait of four business executives sitting in a line

The last few weeks the career team have seen a number of students who have interviews coming up, and they have been asking for some help with preparing for interviews. We recently posted about using the STAR method for answering interview questions, as well as top 5 interview tips to help you land a job.

But what about those interview questions? How can you predict what you will be asked, and therefore go into the interview fully prepared?

The first thing to do is take a look at the criteria on the person specification – write them all down in a list down the left side of the page (you can do this with pen and paper on on your computer – whatever is easier). Then jot down a few examples of when you have demonstrated that criteria on the right hand side. 2 or 3 examples is great – the interview panel will be really impressed if they ask you for an example and you give them 2 or 3!! Keep this little ‘table’ of examples around your house, stick it next to the kettle, read it while you’re having a cup of tea, and come the day of the interview, all you will need to do is recall the examples, rather than having to think from scratch.

Then there are those more general questions. How do you prepare for those?

My top tip would be to take a look at a couple of lists of common interview questions and prepare answers for them. Questions like ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ and ‘Why do you want this job?’ are highly likely to crop up in most interviews – so make sure you are ready for them!

You can download a pdf of common interview questions from The Careers Group at University of London here: download

Try these methods and let us know how you get on at your interviews!

Remember the the careers team are here to help – we can arrange a mock interview for you, or just a one-to-one session to offer some advice and guidance on interview skills. Email careers@cumbria.ac.uk to book an appointment.

5 Smartphone apps to help you in your job search

from http://blog.startapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Apps.jpg

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the best places to find a job. You can follow companies that you are interested in working with, get in touch with employees of that company, make links and ask questions of the very people who are in the place you want to be. A lot of companies use LinkedIn to advertise vacancies, and the larger companies often have a dedicated recruitment page, with videos and case studies that gives you a really good insight into what working there is really like.

Twitter

A lot of jobs are advertised on Twitter nowadays, and this is one social media platform that you really can’t afford to ignore. You can follow companies that you are interested in working with (some have dedicated job accounts) and you can use it to ask questions and find out what’s happening in your industry – great for those tricky interview questions!

Jobsite Jobs

This is just one of the job sites out there, most sites have an app that you can download – try a few until you find one you are comfortable with. You can search for local, national and international jobs by different filters. Have a spare 10 minutes on the bus? Get your phone out and find that job!!

Job Interview Q&A

This is a great app that can help prepare you for general interview questions. There are those standard questions that everyone gets asked at pretty much every interview: ‘Tell me about yourself’ ‘Why do you want to work here?’ ‘Tell me about a time when you worked in a team’ – this app helps you find questions that you might not be expecting!

Google Maps

The last thing you want is to get lost on your way to your interview! Make sure you plan your route the day before, and take into account things like traffic, the possibility that the car could break down, and so on – expect the unexpected!! You could also use the street view facility in Google maps to ‘walk through’ your route so that you can recognise the area and the building when you arrive.

What apps do you use in your job search? Let us know in the comments!