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 .


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 🙂


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.

 


Our top tips for making the most out of the gradireland Summer Fair

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Unfortunately we won’t have flamingos or cactus at our Summer Fair BUT we have plenty to help you on your career pathway!

We’ve put together our top tips for making the most out of next week’s Summer Fair!

Keep an open mind

Employers hire graduates from any discipline. So don’t pigeon-hole potential employers – IT companies need marketing, finance and language graduates; accountancy firms recruit from any disciplines, you don’t have to be an accountant. Indeed most of the companies at the gradireland Summer Fair recruit from a number of disciplines, so don’t walk on by their stands – get in there and ask them if they are on the look-out for graduates from your discipline: you might be pleasantly surprised!

Download the gradireland Events App

The gradireland Events App is your personal assistant for the gradireland Summer Fair! We have packed our entire fair information into this must-have app which is FREE to download and gives you the tools that you need to have a productive and successful gradireland Summer Fair! The app will help you:

  • Research companies before and during the fair
  • Keep up-to-date with all the pre-fair developments e.g. new exhibitors, exciting new seminars
  • Find companies who are hiring students and graduates with your skills
  • Locate exhibitors quickly with a floor plan at your fingertips, so you can make the most out of your day.
  • Create your own schedule of seminars with built-in reminders
  • Bookmark your key exhibitors; have immediate access to companies’ gradireland profiles and contact information
  • Interact via the app with exhibitors and other attendees; post photos of your day, comments and messages.

Download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play now

Use the Jobs Walls

There will be several Jobs Walls within the hall at the gradireland Summer Fair, showcasing live jobs from a number of sectors. These will have numerous graduate schemes and opportunities listed, so bring a notepad and pen or use your phone and take a photo of any that you are interested in applying to – then go home, find the job, internship or graduate programme on gradireland.com and start putting together your applications!

Bring your CV

Many employers are happy to receive CVs at careers fairs. In addition, at the gradireland Summer Fair we will be running a specialist CV Clinic, hosted by careers advisers from various Universities providing specialist advice, at which you can have your CV reviewed.

However, a word of caution – the CV Clinic has a limited number of slots and gets booked up very quickly, so get there early to book your appointment and don’t expect the advisers to write your CV for you – they are there to review and advise but you’ll have to do the hard work first yourself!

Attend the Seminars

Make sure you attend one or more of the specialist careers seminars – they are designed to give you the edge when it comes to applications and interviews! From Social Media to Life after Graduating there is a seminar to benefit everyone. Check out the line-up of seminars for the Summer Fair here!

Prepare

Make sure you have researched the exhibitors who are attending and decide beforehand which ones you would like to talk to. Think of questions which might not be answered already in brochures or on their websites, read our other blog for some examples you might consider. Many exhibitors bring recent graduates now working in their business to their stands, so ask them what life is really like in that company!

Visit summergradfair.ie today and get your free ticket!


Top reasons to look for an internship that has a smaller intake

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Don’t limit your internship options by only focusing on larger graduate employers. If you’re looking for an internship experience that allows you to see the effect of your efforts quickly you should consider looking for opportunities with small and medium-sized businesses, typically organisations with fewer than 250 employees.

Small, high potential businesses can offer you wide-ranging opportunities to put your talents to good use and are a great source of graduate employment. They also tend to be less oversubscribed than big, high-profile graduate recruiters. You may well find that these types of internships can give you a good head start in the race for a graduate job.

Why choose a smaller internship intake?

  1. In a smaller organisation, you can make a bigger impact. Processes in smaller companies tend to be shorter and more visible, so you can see the effect of your work relatively quickly.
  1. The work you do will impress graduate recruiters. Many placements with smaller companies are project based. This means that you can take ownership of a task and see it through to the end – something that will impress recruiters when it comes to graduate job applications. You will be closely involved in the employer’s whole business process and gain a real insight into how they operate.
  1. Early responsibility. If you have the chance to take ownership of a task and see it through, your initiative will be tested and you’ll be able to develop your leadership, team work, time management and organisational skills.
  1. Your contribution will be highly valued. In a smaller organisation a spare pair of hands can undertake tasks no-one else has time for. Interns often provide a valuable resource to employers who are busy working hard on the core business and don’t have the time to look at issues such as competitor analysis, marketing or market research. An intern can dedicate their time to one of these areas and offer enterprising ideas to improve the business.
  1. Your placement can be tailored to suit you. Work experience at a small organisation is unlikely to follow a standard, predetermined schedule and it should be possible to give you opportunities that reflect your interests.
  1. Do well, and there’s a good chance you’ll be asked back. A high proportion of small employers may be able to offer students further work after their placement, from additional one-off projects to full-time employment when they graduate.
  1. If you’re a budding entrepreneur you should see a small organisation in action. If you’re interested in starting your own business in future, a placement is an excellent way to gain insight into how a small to medium-sized business is run. You may even have the opportunity to work with the company’s founder and find out first-hand how the business was set up.
  1. Think local. Whereas many work experience schemes and internships with large graduate employers are likely to be based in larger cities, small businesses can be found in locations across the country. Why not start building up your network of local contacts now?
  1. Companies with fewer than 250 employees may be more likely to offer opportunities to focus on particularly niche areas.

How to apply for work experience with small companies

You can research opportunities for internships with small and medium-size companies via gradireland and your university careers service. If a company that interests you hasn’t formally advertised a work experience opportunity, make a speculative application.

Your university or employment service may advertise vacation work with local companies. This will give you a chance to gain some practical evidence of your skills and develop your understanding of how businesses work.

Or if you think a larger graduate employer is a better fit read our blog “How to land an internship with a large graduate employer


On the 27th of April, gradireland will host its annual Graduate Recruitment Awards at Dublin’s Mansion House and the following companies are nominated for the Best internship programme less than 50 intake:

A version of this article first appeared on targetjobs.co.uk


Where are the graduates of 2015 now? #1

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In the first of a series of articles, we’ll be taking a look at where the graduate class of 2015 are, based upon the HEA’s recently released ‘What do graduates do? The class of 2015’.

This survey, the 25th of its kind, was published on February 15th and, mostly, points to an optimistic prognosis when it comes to graduate careers in Ireland.

Snapshot:

There were 18,526 students surveyed, with qualifications between levels 8-10.

Overall, 68% are in employment, with 57% employed in Ireland and a further 11% are working overseas. Only 6% of all graduates surveyed are still seeking employment nine months after graduation.

Those with Honours Bachelor Degrees

From the class of 2014, nine months after graduation, 58% were in employment. This has risen to 62% for the class of 2015, with the vast majority (85%) of them working in Ireland. Only one in ten graduates are going overseas to seek their first job, with the UK still viewed as the most favourable destination.

In terms of where the jobs are in different sectors, there is still a huge demand for teachers, and graduates in this area have the highest rates of employment. After education, IT has the highest proportion of employed graduates, at 70%, which reflects the consistent growth in this area.

One of the stranger results of the study was that graduates who were awarded a pass degree demonstrated the highest levels of employment (74%) while those who received a first-class Honours degree had the lowest, at 57%. The reverse is true in terms of progression into further study. While this finding is unusual, it is perhaps attributable to the fact that a higher award is necessary for acceptance into postgraduate study, with those who obtain first class honours more likely to pursue further study.

Those with Higher & Postgraduate Diplomas 

78% of those with these Diplomas are in employment, up from 76% from the class of 2014, with 75% employed in Ireland, compared to 68% from the class of 2014. This has led to only 3% seeking employment overseas, down from 8% in the previous year’s research.

Those with Masters/Doctorates

80% of Masters and PhD graduates are in employment, with 64% finding work in Ireland and the remainder overseas, with the UK the most popular. The sectors with the highest rates of employment for Masters and doctoral students were Business, Administration & Law and Education students at 87% and 86% respectively.

In our next article, we’ll look at the relevance of each qualification for the graduates surveyed for the report. The entire report can be downloaded here. For further analysis of trends in different sectors, download the 2017 edition of gradireland’s Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers, the largest independent student survey of final year students in Irish universities, north and south.