Video Interviews – what are they and how should I prepare?

Sinéad English of Hilt, a career management services company, writes about what video interviews actually involve, what the common misconceptions and mistakes are and how you can best prepare. 

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 Q: So, what do over 40% of all graduate recruiters including Musgrave, Bank of Ireland, Paddy Power, Ornua, Boston Scientific, Oracle, Dell, IBEC Global Graduates, Enterprise Ireland, Zurich, Accenture, PepsiCo, Tesco, Kerry Group and just about every large Investment Bank have in common?

 A: They all use video interviews as part of their assessment and selection process. 

Let’s clear up a common miscomprehension here.  Video interviews are not Skype interviews.  During a video interview there isn’t a real person on your screen giving you encouraging nods as you go through your answers.  In a video interview you are asked to record your answers to a series of questions that pop up on the screen every two minutes.  There is no-one on the “other side” when you are doing your interview.  Once recorded, your answers are then sent to the employer – with no chances for second attempts or re-takes.

Sounds unnerving?  How should you prepare?  What do you need to know? How does it work?

You receive an email from the employer informing you that you are invited to an interview. So far, so normal. The email contains a link which brings you to an interview site.  Employers usually give candidates between 3 – 4  days from sending the invitation to complete the interview.  You can do the interview on a laptop, desktop, tablet or phone.  The email will contain a candidate briefing with advice on how to access the interview and tips for delivering your best performance.

The employer will set out the structure of the interview in the candidate briefing and will tell you:

  • How many questions will be asked (average is approximately 6)
  • How long you will have to read each question before you have to start answering (between  30 – 60 seconds)
  • How long you will be given to answer each question (usually between 1 to 2 minutes per answer – if you don’t finish within the required time you will be cut off mid sentence! There will be a countdown timer on the screen to keep you on track)
  • Possibilities to review your answers and retake each question if you are not happy with your answer – not usually offered

You are asked to run through some online checks to see if the camera and sound on your laptop/desktop computer or phone are working ok. Most employers will allow you to do some practice questions so you can try out the technology and see how you look and sound on camera. Answers to practice questions can be recorded and replayed by you as many times as you want  and do not form part of the interview. Your answers to the practice questions won’t be viewed by the  employer.

When you are ready to take the interview you click “Start Interview” and the recording starts.

What’s the best way to prepare?

Practise under conditions as close as possible to the ones you will experience in the video interview.  Use your phone or laptop to record and time yourself answering commonly asked interview questions.  It’s a safe bet to say that in a video interview you will be asked questions like:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What motivates you?
  • Questions to test key graduate competencies including teamwork, initiative, problem solving and meeting deadlines
  • Why do you want to work for our company?

Get used to talking to a blank screen and focusing your eye contact on the camera.  Make full use of the practice zone on the video interview invitation you received from the employer.  If your first attempt at answering the questions is on the real interview you will more than likely underperform in the real interview.   Ask someone to review and critique your recorded responses. Receiving guidance and feedback on your answer content, body language, delivery and interview environment (lighting/sound quality) is by far the best way to ensure you deliver an excellent performance when doing the actual interview.

To help you ace your video interview Hilt has recently launched an innovative online video interview training solution which enables you to simulate real video interview conditions targeted at your industry and get extremely detailed feedback and guidance on how to improve your performance. Visit https://www.wearehilt.com/services-for-individuals/video-interview-training/ to find out more.

For more on preparing for interviews, whatever the format, visit our dedicated interview section on gradireland.com .


Guest blog: How to prepare for an interview with a tech company

3 top tips from the #1 best place to work in Ireland – Workday:

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Understand what the company is looking for

Workday’s enterprise cloud applications for finance and HR are disrupting the global software industry. We have a 97% customer satisfaction rating, the highest of any major enterprise software provider.

Workday currently has the most openings for Software Development Engineers and our Development and Engineering teams use the latest technologies to drive the creation of our applications. What makes these teams unique is the constant collaboration. Engineers at Workday are able to explore new tools, share original ideas, and really make an impact on the product.

Though technical skills are invaluable to us, what makes Workday unique is that soft skills are just as important. We feel software development is like a team sport. We look for collaborators who are more focused on the “we” than the “me.”

To maintain our special culture, we look for people who are:

  • Strong communicators that are articulate, open, and honest
  • Collaborators who are generous with their time and thrive in a team-first culture.
  • Highly adaptable because Workday is an ever-changing, innovative environment

We also want those who share our passion with customer success and want to work hard while having fun at the same time.

Be yourself!

One of Workday’s core values is integrity, so be yourself and communicate openly and honestly and have the facts to back up what you’re saying. Take the time to learn about our products and stay on top of the latest company news and industry headlines so you can say something intelligent, that makes a lasting impression.

At Workday, the interview process is one that will vary by role, but in general you can expect to meet with a handful of current workmates for about 30 minutes each. We certainly will want to learn more about your field expertise and general knowledge that is relevant to the role, but we are also interested in hearing how you approach and solve problems. What real-life experiences can you share with us and how have you pushed yourself in the past, including internships, college or personal projects?

Your first role is an important step in defining your career

You should aim to find a role that taps into your passions and a company culture that suits your personality and personal goals. When you find meaning and enjoyment in your work, it often translates into increased productivity and innovation.

Make sure you ask questions during the interview – about the team, the work, the culture. When a candidate walks out from an interview, our hope is they have a good idea of what it would be like to work at Workday and if it’s the right place for them personally and professionally.

You can meet the Workday team at our Graduate Careers Fair happening this Wednesday 4 October in the RDS Simmonscourt from 11am until 5pm. Register for free entry here

 

 


Guest blog: How AHEAD graduate placements are working to bridge the disability employment gap

 

AHEAD programme ensures growing opportunities for graduates with disabilities

Over 60 percent of graduates who complete a Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) placement with AHEAD are in full time employment within one year, says Hannah Kelly of AHEAD. Let’s take a look at the WAM programme and what it involves.

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The WAM (Willing Able Mentoring) Programme is run by AHEAD, (Association for Higher Education Access & Disability), an organisation that works to promote full access to further and higher education and the world of work for people with disabilities.

There is almost a 30 percent employment gap between people with disabilities and those without according to the 2011 census.  The WAM programme is one way in which AHEAD works to bridge that employment gap. Employers on the programme offer paid, mentored, six month placements in their organisation to graduates with disabilities from the WAMworks database.

It aims to give graduates with disabilities the opportunities to enter, or re-enter, full time employment. Since the programme started in 2005, over 330 graduates with disabilities have been placed with employers of all sizes across Ireland.

WAM is unlike other internships or graduate jobs because of the mentoring element it offers to graduates and the needs assessment that is carried out before the graduate starts a placement.  These additions to a mainstream recruiting process help create a level playing field and ensure the right supports will be in place for a graduate with a disability starting out, or returning to the workplace.

“The WAM Programme is a great way for graduates to get their foot on the career ladder whilst empowering themselves with the knowledge of what works best for them in the workplace,” WAM Co-ordinator Caroline McGrotty explained, “Not only do our graduates get paid by the employer at the correct graduate entry level rate, but they are assigned a dedicated line manager and mentor who will have received training by the WAM team.”

Any graduate with a disability can apply for a placement on the WAM programme once they have registered on the WAMworks database (www.ahead.ie/wamworks). We encourage all graduates with disabilities, including specific learning difficulties and mental health difficulties, to register on our WAMworks database. Once you are registered you will be notified when placements are available and you can choose which you want to apply, once you meet the minimum requirements for the position. Placements are available in a wide range of sectors such as; engineering, science, business and administration and in major employers like ESB, Abbott Vascular, Dell and the Civil Service. Graduates who are registered on the WAMworks database will also get notifications of any employment preparation workshops such as CV clinics, interview preparation and many more.

“Graduates will also be enrolled onto our online mentoring course and undergo a needs assessment by the WAM team, who will assess what workplace supports they may need and make recommendations to the employer on their behalf,” Caroline McGrotty said.

The online mentoring course that graduates are enrolled on aids the transition into the workplace, and prepares graduates for life after their WAM placement. This course goes through topics like the mentoring process and its advantages, disclosing your disability, and how to successfully move on to the next step following a placement.

Graduates with disabilities can find out more about the WAM programme and register by visiting: https://www.ahead.ie/wam

 


How to make the most of the Graduate Careers Fair

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The Graduate Careers Fair is a great way to meet recruiters, find out more about employers and industries, and hunt for jobs.

Having top employers under one roof is an invaluable opportunity; where you can have face to face conversations and get in depth information on careers and application processes. However, careers fairs can be overwhelming! We’ve put together our tips on how to get organised to make the most of your time and enjoy all the fun of the fair.

Think ahead: plan your time at the fair

  • Check the location of the fair, its opening times and which employers and organisations will be attending. You can do that by clicking here
  • Think about why you want to attend and what you want to get from the event. For example, do you want to research an industry sector; pick up information about companies; find out about job or work experience opportunities with particular employers, get info on application processes, or network?
  • Decide which employers you definitely want to visit. You can view the floor plan on our gradireland events app and plot a route. You can download the app from the Apple store here or on Google Play here
  • You can also use our gradireland app to look at the programme of seminars and panel discussions taking place on the day and create your own seminar schedule.

Top Tip: Seminars and presentations on applications, interviews and assessment centres fill up quickly so note their times and be in the queue early. Also if you plan on attending our CV clinic make sure to check in on arrival and also bring a hard copy of your CV too.

Research employers before you go

Careers fairs are a great way to find out behind the scenes stuff you can’t get from their website. However, recruiters will be busy and your time with them may be short. Prior research means you can quickly get to the details. You’ll also create a much better impression

  • Visit employers profiles on the gradireland website to find out what they do (products made/services offered) and to find out more about their graduate roles, skills and qualifications required and recruitment processes.
  • Prepare questions to ask recruiters and representatives. These can be about the recruitment process, what skills and qualities are needed, trends in the profession, and so on – take these with you.
  • In the days leading up to a fair, scan the news headlines and relevant industry sector pages of quality news websites to get a feel for what’s going on in the sectors that interest you.

Presentation matters if you want to stand out

The jury is out on how you should dress for graduate recruitment fairs. Some say suited and booted, while others say smart casual – it can depend on the profession. Smart casual is usually fine; clean and tidy is vital. It’s important that you are comfortable, but also be professional. Remember how you look is only one part of the presentation package.

When you approach recruiters at fairs:

  • Smile.
  • Be purposeful, confident and enthusiastic, but also polite and courteous.
  • Know what you have to offer – your skills, qualities and experience.
  • Be ready with specific questions to ask.

Top tip: Prepare and practice a mini ‘pitch’ about yourself. It doesn’t have to be a hard sell of your skills, just a simple, brief introduction. For example: ‘Hi. My name is John and I’ve just started my final year in engineering at X-factor University. I’m business-minded and I’d like to use this skill alongside my technical abilities. I’m interested in finding out more about supply-chain management roles and I noticed from your website that you have a supply-chain scheme for engineers. Can you tell me more about your scheme and what it involves?

  • Arrive early to avoid queues and see recruiters at the start of the day.
  • Visit your top priority employer after you’ve talked with one or two others – this gives you a chance to warm up and build your confidence.
  • Don’t hunt in a pack. If you go with friends, split up to make better use of your time. Even more importantly, this will show recruiters that you are a capable, independent individual.

Make notes for future reference

Take a notepad and pen to write down the names and contact details of people you meet and to record any useful information you glean. Once you leave an employer’s stand, move to one side and take a moment to record your impressions:

  • What makes the organisation different?
  • Would you be happy working with these people?
  • What did you find out that made you feel you would fit in? How would you be able to use your skills within the organisation?

You may find that you refer to contacts you made and information you found out at careers fairs in applications and interviews.

Top tip: Graduate careers fairs are good opportunities to practice basic interview techniques. Think about how you will respond to typical interview questions: What do you know about us? What interests you about working for us? What attracts you to a career in this industry? What skills and qualities do you think would be important for this role/our company?

Most importantly don’t forget to register for the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair taking place next Wednesday October 4th in the RDS Simmonscourt from 11am until 5pm. You can get your ticket free here!


5 Reasons you should attend the Graduate Careers Fair

Ireland’s Official Graduate Careers Fair is taking place on Wednesday 4th October 2017 in the RDS Simmonscourt. This event is your opportunity to meet leading employers, course providers, careers advisors and find out all the opportunities available to you!

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Still not convinced? We have put together five reasons why you should attend Ireland’s largest graduate careers event!

It’s Ireland’s Official and Best* Graduate Careers Fair

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Whether you are job hunting, want to find out more about further study or simply career curious about all the opportunities available to you, the Graduate Careers Fair has everything you need. Also did we mention that the Graduate Careers Fair *won best exhibition in the national Event Industry Awards 2016?

Face to face interaction with leading employers

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This is your chance to make a great first impression with over 120 of Ireland’s top employers, who are all actively recruiting students, graduates and young professionals in a whole range of disciplines. Make a list of the exhibitors you would like to speak to, bring along your CV and get networking; this is your time to shine!

A killer seminar schedule

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This year we have really outdone ourselves when it comes to our seminar schedule. Whether it’s advice about writing the perfect CV or cover letter, employability skills or top interview tips and hints, we have something for you! Check out the full list of seminars on our website.

CV Clinic

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So you have had a list of employers that you may be interested in applying to put together. Now you have to create the perfect CV and cover letter to show off all your experience and skills. The Graduate Careers Fair will host a CV clinic, providing more than 50 hours of expert advice from career professionals – but make sure to get there early to secure your spot as the CV clinic fills up really quickly!

Your one stop shop for job hunting and advice

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In final year? Be smart with your time- meet all the key people, find invaluable information and discover all the different opportunities available to you all in one day under one roof! Best of all – it’s completely free to attend by registering at graduatecareersfair.com

See you there 🙂


Why postgraduate study abroad can be a viable, cost-effective, option

Once you finish your undergraduate degree it can be hard to figure out what to do next. There are so many options available, further study and travel being just two. Conor O’ Doherty, a DCU graduate, chose to combine those two options and set off to the Netherlands to pursue a postgrad degree in New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

There are hundreds of options when it comes to going onto further education, and each have their benefits and drawbacks. Moving abroad can be a more expensive and sometimes a stressful option, but it can also provide an invaluable experience.

Conor chose to study abroad for a number of reasons, including cost and a desire to travel.

“I wanted to leave Ireland for a while, although it’s a great place to grow up, I didn’t want to live there for the rest of my life without living anywhere else,” Conor said. “The other reason is that the price difference is huge when it comes to the cost of postgraduate study”.

Fees for a year in the UvA will cost Conor around €2000, whereas the equivalent course in Ireland would cost up to €6,800 per year.

“Although I’ll pay more for accommodation and moving expenses, Irish courses usually cost a lot more and they’re generally a lot longer”.

Having lived away from home during his undergraduate degree, Conor is used to managing finances himself. While in Amsterdam he plans to find a place to live  and use savings for the first while, but then try and find part-time work.

He found the process of applying for the course “relatively simple” but had some problems getting documentation together, as he hadn’t finished his course before the application deadline.

“My application was a bit of a mess to be honest because I hadn’t finished my course so I had to go to different bodies in the university, both here and in the Netherlands, to organise workarounds,” he said. “The University expects plenty of people not to have their degree yet though, so sending on predicted grades was acceptable.”.

Finding accommodation is something Conor is still trying to finalise before his move in August. Much like the accommodation crisis in Ireland, students looking for somewhere to live in Amsterdam face the same problems.

“I’m using a variety of sites to search like Volta and Pararius, but because they’re for Dutch people mostly, I might need to go through an agency,” he said. “Failing that, there’s very expensive emergency accommodation like The Student Hotel, but I’d rather not have to use that option”.

Conor advises anyone who is interested in a postgrad abroad to take the risk and go for it, but to really think it through before starting the process.

“It’s a huge leap of faith, but the only thing worse than not trying it is wishing you had,” he said. “I haven’t even started the hard part of mine yet and honestly, as stressful as it has been, I’m still very glad I made the decision and followed it through.”

Read here for more information on studying abroad from gradireland.com.

For more information on studying in Europe, including information about various universities to which you can apply, visit the EUNiCAS website.


How to dress for your interview-a men’s style guide.


With four years’ experience as a personal tailoring expert, Damien Egan knows what he’s talking about when it comes for dressing for a professional setting. Here he talks about the dos and don’ts for men when dressing for an interview.

So, why is it important for you to put work into choosing what to wear, surely your skills should speak for themselves, right? It only takes about 7 seconds for an interviewer to form their first impression of you. Looking the part, and looking like you’ve made an effort, is an incredibly important part of ensuring that first impression is one you want to last.

Suit
Your suit should be a dark navy or grey/charcoal. It’s important to understand the difference between a fad and a timeless look. Ensure that the lapels are a regular width. Skinny lapels are a recent fad, but they’re not appropriate for a work environment, unless it’s retail. Try to choose a two button, notch lapel jacket. Peak lapels may be a bit over the top for an interview. Your trousers should sit correctly on your waist, and should have a slight break in the fabric at the bottom. Skinny trousers or trousers short enough to show socks are not suitable for an interview.

Shirt
A crisp white shirt is always a good addition to your look but a light blue will work as well. Try not to wear a patterned or check shirt as they tend to look a little more casual. Do not wear a button-down shirt as they are not designed for suits and are very relaxed. What you can do to add a little bit of your own style is select a different weave on the shirt like a herringbone or an oxford weave. These are small details but a very nice touch to a keen observer. Should you have a slim face then choose a wider, more spread collar shirt and if you have a rounder face you should wear a more pointed collared shirt. For law firms, try to wear a double cuffed shirt with cuff-links.

Ties
For legal, accounting and other professional services firms a plain or lightly patterned tie is recommended. Try to avoid wearing a very bright “in-your-face” tie as it will draw attention away from what’s important. Make sure you can do a good knot in your tie, the ‘4 in the hand’ or half Windsor knot work well because you can get a nice dimple which gives a lot of character to your over-all look. Check out this video for a handy guide to tying that tricky Half-Windsor knot.

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Shoes
“Oxfords, not brogues”, a quote from Kingsman and one you should live by. Brogues are very casual so try stick to plain black or dark brown oxfords or maybe derby’s. Monk straps will also work fine in an interview setting.

For more information on how to dress for professional settings visit Damien’s website.