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. 

Video_interview_blog

 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 .


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!

22094952402_d6e635f852_o

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

_mg_2694_22094951542_oBest-Exhibition

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

_mg_2745_22107482355_o

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

21919301070_a46b410fd2_o

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

_mg_2622_22094957022_o

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

_mg_2572_22107503845_o

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 🙂


6 ways to make the most out of the Graduate Careers Fair

Careers fairs are an amazing opportunity for students, graduates and young professionals to get the ‘inside scoop’ of a company, find out the opportunities they have available as well as the disciplines that they are interested in hiring in.

Preparation is key when it comes to careers fair, so we have put together some helpful tips for the day of the fair:

Use the Jobs Wall

There will be several jobs walls within the hall at the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair. These will have live graduate schemes and opportunities listed, 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 applying!

_mg_2570_21486367363_o

Bring your CV

Many employers are happy to receive CVs at Careers Fairs. In addition, at the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair we will be running a specialist CV Clinic, hosted by careers advisors from your University providing over 50 hours of 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 advisors to write your CV for you – they are there to review and advise but you’ll have to do the hard work first yourself!

_mg_2622_22094957022_o

Research

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. Many exhibitors bring recent graduates now working in their business to their stands, so ask them what life is really like in that company.

_mg_2572_22107503845_o

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 Assessment Centres to Interview advice there is a seminar to benefit everyone.

_mg_2641_21919301070_o

Download the gradireland Events App

The brand new gradireland events app is your personal assistant for the Graduate Careers Fair. You can create a profile, directly contact employers, personalise your seminar schedule and much more! Download it from the App Store or Google Play now.

More information about the event can be found at www.graduatecareersfair.com


Not in final year? Four things that you may get the answer to by attending the Graduate Careers Fair

It’s not unusual for students who are not yet in final year to be unsure about attending the Graduate Careers Fair. You lucky souls are still out there enjoying college life and may not have thought a lot about careers or the future.  Well here are a few of the questions that you may get an answer to by attending this year’s Graduate Careers Fair:

Do I know what Career Path I would like to pursue?

_mg_2572_22107503845_o

This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest decision you will have to make before leaving college. There is so much to take into account, including the area you would like to work in, job prospects, the companies that are recruiting in your field, the locations of these companies and salary expectations. It is very difficult to find credible answers to these questions without speaking to the employers in person.

Over 120 employers are attending this year’s Graduate Career Fairfrom over 20 different sectors, with headquarters all around Ireland and Europe. This is the ultimate opportunity to meet these employers and ask them the essential questions you need to know, to get a better understanding of what it is you would like to do.

What do I need to get a job?

_mg_2622_22094957022_o

Putting together all the documents you need to land your dream job can be very daunting. Every employer has different criteria they look for when recruiting graduates, this requires tailoring your CV and cover Letter to each job you may apply to. CV Clinics are being held at the Graduate Career Fair with experts from Careers Services throughout Ireland. These experts will provide you with the advice you need to get that dream job! Keep in mind that many Graduate Programmes open for applications in September each year, meeting these CV Experts could put you ahead of the competition for next year’s applications.

Am I interested in doing an internship?

_mg_2570_21486367363_o

Internships are amazing opportunities to gain experience in a particular job or to find out about the culture of a particular company. Employers also take this essential experience into account when recruiting graduates, giving your CV an edge to get a job. Many of the employers attending the Graduate Careers Fair recruit students for internships and work placements. This is a great opportunity to network with these employers to see what internship opportunities they may have.

Am I thinking of doing a postgraduate course, in Ireland, the UK or beyond?

25207167556_5735b79539_o

Finding the perfect postgraduate course to suit you is really important, whether in Ireland or the UK.  gradireland are hosting seminars  with industry experts at this year’s Graduate Careers Fair to discuss postgraduate studies. There is also a Further Study Zone on the day with more than twenty exhibitors, offering a wide range of postgraduate options and information.

The Graduate Careers Fairs has something for everyone, whether final year or first year. Register for free entry today at graduatecareersfair.com


‘Events like GRADchances IT are vital,’ says graduate who landed Intel job

The team at gradireland are always delighted to hear feedback from students and graduates after our careers events, so you can imagine how happy we were when a student who attended the GRADchances IT got in touch to let our team know that he had landed a job with one of the world’s most influential IT companies.

On the 28th January 2014, Waterford IT student Sohail Muhammad attended the GRADchances IT event in Dublin City Centre. Little did he think that directly because of his participation in this event, he would secure a position as Product Development Engineer with IT giant, Intel.  

Gradchances blog

During this event, Sohail was given the opportunity to meet with top IT employers, discuss each company’s recruitment process and undertake tasks set by these employers to demonstrate his employability skills. Through these activities, he made the connections and impressions necessary to securing the job he wanted with Intel.

When speaking about GRADchances IT and his role in Intel, Sohail said;’ Intel is a fantastic place to work and it is all thanks to the GRADchances event in Dublin where I met all of you guys and Intel HR – events like this are vital from a graduates point of view’.

This year’s GRADchances IT will take place on Wednesday 27th January in Dublin City Centre. Top IT employers attending this year’s event include First Derivatives, Guidewire, Arista Networks, AIG, Smyths Toys and Workday. The event is strictly invite-only, with 100 of the top IT students who register being invited to the event. Register now and for your chance to have an experience like Sohail!


Ireland’s brightest students shine at National Student Challenge

National Student Challenge Winner Matthew Foyle

National Student Challenge Winner Matthew Foyle

Matthew Foyle from Griffith College Dublin was crowned National Student Challenge winner at the annual competition held by gradireland, writes Fergal Browne.

Bringing together over 50 of Ireland’s brightest students – who were the top performers in an online assessment specifically set to mirror the qualities employers are looking for – and some of Ireland’s top graduate recruiters like Lidl and PwC, the event was branded a success by both the competitors and the graduate recruiters.

“It’s been really stimulating. The most valuable part I’m going to take away from the day is a new way of thinking in stuff like supply chain management, and communicating,” said eventually winner Matthew Foyle who was the first National Student Challenge winner from Griffith College Dublin.

Matthew, who received a cheque for €1,000, highlighted that the event is also a brilliant networking opportunity. “The networking part is vital for me. I’m applying for a lot of graduate programme positions and this is an opportunity to talk to employers about what they are looking for and how to tailor my CV appropriately”, said the 2015 champion.

The event saw six employers – Lidl, the Public Appointments Service, PwC, EY, Bank of Ireland and AbbVie – challenge students in a range of tasks and competencies which were designed to be fun but demanding.

“We have been really impressed by the standard of students here. Some of them seemed to have the complete package; brains, personality and charisma. It’s great to see,” says Susan Murdock, Graduate Programme Manager at Bank of Ireland (BoI).

BoI set students the task of designing a mobile phone app in small groups. “We are looking for imagination and creativity because these are the qualities that we look for at Bank of Ireland”, says Susan. BoI is bringing on 80 students from across all disciplines for its graduate programme. “We are happy to consider anybody from any discipline. If they have creativity, there’s a place for them here”, adds Susan.

Major pharmaceutical firm AbbVie, which has manufacturing plants in Sligo and Cork, alongside offices in Dublin and internationally, set students the challenge of working in small teams to design and fly paper airplanes.

“What we were looking for is a good attitude”, says Angela Haran, AbbVie’s Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist. “We are very much a team-orientated environment, so a great attitude is a major part,” she adds.

The importance of a positive attitude was highlighted by Lidl too. “We are looking for three things; for students to enjoy themselves, contribute to the overall team effort and throw themselves into the task”, says Lidl’s Graduate Programme Manager, Russell Palfrey.

Lidl’s inventive task involved blindfolding four students while the other team members led the blindfolded students to certain parts of the room by directing them only by using whistles. “It’s directly linked to our business because we have trucks leaving our warehouses everyday to reach our stores,” adds Russell.

“The Lidl challenge was brilliant fun. It’s a great mix between doing something fun and serious team building,” says Stephen Brennan, a final year Engineering and Electronics student from TCD who took part in the event.


Want to be in demand by Ireland’s top graduate employers? Take the gradireland National Student Challenge

The National Student Challenge (NSC) is open again offering a great opportunity to students and a chance to kick start their career in the best possible way, writes Fergal Browne.

The annual event, run by gradireland alongside some of the biggest graduate recruiters in the country, tests the abilities of students throughout Ireland and finishes by finding Ireland’s brightest student.

The possibilities coming from winning the Challenge are massive. “I’ve had job offers come into my LinkedIn from Google, Accenture, a lot of companies and recruitment consultants just because I won the gradireland National Student Challenge”, says Ava Mahoney, 2014’s NSC winner.

Ava, who is going to complete a PhD in Taxation in University of Limerick, can’t speak highly enough of the challenge. She tutors 3rd year Taxation students and has told them all to go for the challenge. “It’s great practice. It’s great for getting your brain active”.

The Challenge takes on two forms. The first is a series of online exercises to test the competencies that make for a great business person. It consists of a range of tasks in four categories; verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning (make sure you’ve a pen and paper close by for this part), commercial competency and multitasking. The latter was added this year in response to employer’s desires for candidates to demonstrate this necessary attribute.

Ava advises that it’s best to do the test when your head is clear. “Make sure you don’t do it at the end of a busy day. Just be as relaxed as possible”.

The competition culminates when the 60 best performers in the online competition come together for a series of tasks as provided by some of Ireland’s leading recruiters. The students will be split into groups and must complete a series of tasks, which are chosen by Ireland’s top graduate employers.

It’s this opportunity to network with some of the country’s most prestigious employers that can be the biggest benefit. “It’s just unbelievable the networking opportunities that comes from it”, says Ava.

“One piece of advice I’d give to anyone who takes part in the event is to stay back after the day is finished and talk to the companies. It’s a great chance to impress them further and I heard of some candidates who got interviews just from the chat after the event was finished”, she adds.

The leaders are listed on gradireland’s website. At the moment Trinity College leads in terms of entrants in both the top-60 with nine, while Ireland’s oldest university also boasts a quarter of the top-20 and the coveted number one spot.

Despite its seeming strength this year TCD has never boasted a winner with two former winners coming from Northern Irish universities – University of Ulster and Queens University Belfast – while last year’s victor was Ava from University of Limerick.

The overall winner will receive €1,000 and recognition as Ireland’s brightest student, while each contest is sponsored by a company who will offer a prize to the best-performing student in their category.

With the cash prize an incentive, it’s still important that students don’t be overly-competitive. “Just relax and be yourself”, says Ava. “Employers will see straight away if you are putting on a persona to win”.

The online test is open to all students, undergraduate or postgraduate, and is available here if you think you are Ireland’s brightest student.  Make sure you have 40 minutes to spare and your head is clear. After all, you only get one chance.