Top Tips for video interviews – Video killed the face to face interview

Video interviews are becoming a popular choice with graduate recruiters such as Aldi, Bird and Bird, Skanska and FDM. According to a recent AGR Survey 42% of employers have used video interviews. You can find out more here.

So what exactly is a video interview?

This blog will focus on one-way video interviews where an employer is using online video software to interview. The interview questions will be pre-recorded and the interviewee will be given a set amount of time to answer each question. At no point during these type of interviews are you talking to a live person. The interviewee will be given a log in for the software and will usually be given the option to complete a practice question before the assessed questions begin. The instructions on how to complete the interview will be clear. A typical amount of time given is 30 seconds to read the question and 2 minutes to respond but this will vary from employer to employer. The time will countdown on the screen for each question.

Positives

The good thing about a video interview is that the candidate can complete the interview in their own time and at a place convenient to them. The only thing needed is a computer and a webcam and some video interview software will also work on a mobile phone.  This cuts out travel time and costs. Video interviews also cut time and costs for recruiters and mean that they can replay anything that interests them. As video interviews are timed all candidates get a fair and unbiased experience.

Top tips

  1. Understand the mission and values of the organisation. Research the company and the sector just as you would for a face to face interview.
  2. Complete the practice question at the beginning of the interview. This will help you understand what the time given to answer the question feels like. Practice watching and timing yourself answering questions before the interview by recording yourself on your mobile phone. Maintaining good eye contact is key so practicing before the interview will help you with this.
  3. Complete your video interview at least a couple of days in advance of the deadline incase technology fails you
  4. Make sure your background is professional and that you are dressed smartly. The employer can still see you when they play the video back so dress the way you would for a face to face interview!
  5. If you have time left on the clock at the end of a question do act naturally- do not pretend the camera has frozen!
  6. Make sure that you complete your interview somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed. Tell your housemates beforehand and put a sign on your door.

If you have a video interview coming up and you would like more advice and support please do come and visit us during a drop in session in the Careers and Employability Service building.

You better work work work work work!

It’s summertime! Time to relax, spend some time with friends, laze about in the sun, right? Unfortunately, wrong. Sure there’s time to do some of that, but the summer vacation is the perfect time to find some work , not only to earn a bit of money for the coming academic year, but also to gain some work experience!

Does your CV have a skills gap? 

Is there something missing from your experience that would be really useful in the future? Which skills do job descriptions ask for, and can you provide all of them? Think about what you want to gain, and look for work experience that will tick that box.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a fantastic way to gain experience and skills. You won’t get paid, but you’ll be supporting a charity as well as making new friends and learning new skills. Charity shop work can help you develop customer service skills, time management, creativity (think about window displays and merchandising of stock) and organisational skills. Going abroad to help build a school or dig a well will give you cultural awareness, resilience, time management and team working skills. Employers love seeing volunteering on CV – it shows that someone is interested in the world they live in and is keen on giving back.

Some ideas:

Summer camps and language schools

Thinking of going into teaching? Want to gain some leadership skills? Summer camps and language schools could offer you these skills. Look online for local opportunities, and look around on campus – language schools take place across the summer at Canterbury campus, so find out who they are and where they are, and get applying.

Some ideas:

Talk to your friends and family

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!” So many jobs are filled by people already known to a company, or someone who works there. Ask around, and see what’s on offer. You could find your dream job!

What your hobbies and interests tell employers about you

When you’re putting together your graduate CV, your hobbies and interests section may seem fairly insignificant, right? Think again.

What you write about in this section can tell a prospective employer a lot more about you than you might think. Often, hobbies and interests suggest a lot about your personality, qualities, what you can offer an employer and what you might be like in the workplace.

The hobbies and interests section of your CV is even more important if you don’t have a lot of work experience (which is not uncommon for graduates). This is because employers are more likely to use it to build a better picture of you and your skills.

As a result, it’s important that you use your hobbies to showcase who you are and what attributes you have. Generally speaking, here’s what employers think about your hobbies and interests.

Travel

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It’s not uncommon for graduates to spend a few months or a gap year travelling, either before or after university. But what do employers think of grads who travel?

The good news is that most employers like to see a well-travelled graduate. This is because travelling usually helps you to develop key skills and character traits that are transferable to the workplace. These include independence, being adaptable and great communication skills.

If you have been travelling, it’s definitely worth talking about it concisely on your CV and mentioning the skills and qualities that it has helped you to develop. Globe-trotting grads tend to be perceived as open-minded, curious and resilient which are all great things to bring into a workplace.

Sport

Playing sport shows employers that you have some fantastic qualities that may include being:

  • Driven
  • Competitive
  • Motivated
  • A team player (depending on the sport)
  • Dedicated
  • Passionate

So many job roles and companies value these qualities so you would be silly not to mention your sporting achievements on your CV.

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Charity Work/Volunteering

From helping to build schools in Africa to walking dogs at your local animal shelter, many graduates have gotten involved in volunteering opportunities. Obviously volunteering is a fantastic thing for communities but it can also help your job application stand out.

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Top 5 Benefits of Starting Your Career at a Smaller Company

Over the past few years there’s been a noticeable shift in the type of jobs that graduates apply for after leaving university – over 50% now say they would like to work for a startup or SME (small and medium-sized enterprise). Working for a smaller company can be a great way to kick-start your career; startups and SMEs can offer first jobbers opportunities that simply wouldn’t be available at a corporate. Here at TalentPool, we’ve rounded up the top 5 benefits of working for a smaller company to help you decide whether it’s the right decision for you.

The ability to have a true impact on the business

You can really see the impact and value of the work you’re doing when you work for a smaller company. This is both exciting and incredibly rewarding. The fast-paced life of a smaller company means that things are changing all the time, and your ideas and hard work definitely won’t go unnoticed.

The opportunity to develop a wide range of skills

Working as part of a small team usually means that you’ll be involved in several different functions within the company where you’ll pick up a whole new set of skills as you’ll really be expected to get stuck in and contribute. You’ll receive a huge education about how a business truly operates, which is harder to grasp when working in a single department of a larger company.

The chance to work closely with entrepreneurs

Particularly at a startup, you’ll most likely be sitting across or even right next to the founders of the business. This gives you a unique opportunity to soak up all their knowledge and experience. This kind of exposure is especially valuable if you think you might like to start your own business one day.

The high levels of responsibility you’ll be given

From the word go, you’ll be given levels of responsibility which you simply wouldn’t have at a corporate. Working in a small team means that there’ll probably be nobody else in the company with the same skill set as you or doing the same thing as you. With little time for micromanaging, you’ll really be expected to take your own initiative!

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Summer, summer, summertime…

…time to sit back and unwind??!!

By all means take some time to chill out, but sorting out an action plan for your summer break to build up your CV could be the key to getting the graduate job you want.

Graduating may seem a long way off, but any effort you make during this summer break will pay off in the long run.

Here are seven steps to future career success that you can take this summer!

  • Get your CV up to scratch! The Careers and Employability service is open all summer and you can drop in between 10.30-12.30 and 2-4 every day to get your CV checked. The Careers Award on Moodle takes 10-12 hours and will help you produce a top class graduate CV, covering letter and application form. This can increase your chances of getting a graduate job and earn Employability Points!
  • If you are unsure about your career path, then book an appointment with one of the CES Careers Advisers (also via the telephone). Careers Advisers are also around all summer long too!
  • Apply for a career-related summer internship. If you are successful in getting one, this can give your job prospects a massive boost and the edge over other applicants. Good sites to look at include E4S, Gradcracker, RateMyPlacement and Studentladder.
  • Apply speculatively to companies asking for career-related work experience. This will usually be unpaid, but can be a great way to get a foot in the door of your ideal organisation and real experience of your chosen career. Don’t discount smaller companies either! When approaching companies you will need to be clear on what you are asking for and make sure you send a CV and covering letter. The CES offers bursaries to help cover travel expenses if your work experience is unpaid, so you can still take full benefit of the chance to gain experience.
  • Get a part-time job. Even if it is not related to your future career, you will be able to earn money and still gain transferable skills such as teamwork, communications skills, dealing with people and working under pressure. Try the Kent Union Jobshop or look in your local area if you are going home.
  • Volunteer!!!! This is a great way to get experience and do something worthwhile at the same time. Employers view volunteering extremely positively and if you don’t have any work experience on your CV it can be easier to secure volunteering than a part time job. Try these websites http://www.kentunion.co.uk/activities/volunteering/ , http://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/volunteering and https://do-it.org/ .
  • Plan how to maximise your University experience in your second year. Consider joining a University sports team or society, perhaps taking on a committee role. Look into being a student rep for your course, academic school or faculty or a student ambassador.

Don’t forget to make the most of your time off and wow future employers!

Start me up! Essential Tips for Startup Success

Entrepreneurial spirit is strong in universities. Some of the greatest business success stories come from students. This is an encouraging sign for the future of UK business. This is why Innovate UK have put together a few essential tips that’ll ensure your startup is given the best chance of success. So whether you’re bringing your idea to market while you study or simply building a plan for when you graduate, here’s some essential advice.

Evaluate Your Idea Objectively

You need to have at least one strong USP which you can leverage against the competition. If you can’t find a unique selling point, it’s time to re-think your business idea. When considering this, you can’t rely on friends or family. You need an entirely impartial and unbiased evaluation of your concept.

Track down some target consumers, tell them about your product or service and get some honest feedback. A free trial is a great way of enticing people to take part in this early stage market research. Be wary that people are generally nice so may want to ‘sugar coat’ their feedback. If you’re still struggling with this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you offering something useful?
  • Does it satisfy a need?
  • Are you solving a real problem?
  • What’s in it for your customers?
  • Will someone pay for it?
  • Are you passionate about it?
  • Why would anyone else care?

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