Rossa Mullally spoke to Jennifer Zamperelli on 2FM recently to share his tips and advice for video interviews...
With the number of companies around the globe asking their employees to stay safe and work from home increasingly every day due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person interviews are being replaced with video interviews via platforms such as Hinterview, Microsoft Teams, Zoom etc. For some this is a new experience so here are our top 5 tips to help you get prepared. 1. Check Your Tech As mentioned, there are a variety of video interview platforms, many of which you may be familiar with such as Google Hangouts or Skype. While you might think you are adept at using such platforms, don’t rest on your laurels. When you receive the link for the platform from your potential employer - test it out! Familiarise yourself with the platform and do a test call with a family member or friend in advance. Make sure you have a strong internet connection so there are no delays and that your camera and microphone are working perfectly. Finally make sure you are plugged into a power source; interviews can overrun so don’t be relying on the battery to see you through. 2. Set the Scene You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again but finding a suitable environment is so important in preparing for your video interview. Find a quiet, private space to do the interview, somewhere you can control the noise pollution and keep it to a minimum. After that choose, your backdrop wisely. You don’t want potential employers to see your cluttered bedroom and dirty washing in the background, especially after listing ‘organisational skills’ as one of your top skills on your CV. Lighting is key and is often forgotten about until the time of the interview. For the best lighting, sit facing an open window, similar to how you would face the light source or sun for photgraphs. If there is no natural light available to you at the time, use floor and desk lamps to brighten up your environment and ensure your interviewer can see you clearly. 3. Dress to Impress Although your employer won’t see you face to face, it is still important to dress appropriately. It is always a good idea to investigate the company’s dress code and go from there. You should wear professional, interview-appropriate clothes that you feel comfortable in. If you are comfortable in what you are wearing, it will help you stay relaxed and at ease during your interview. Avoid plaids and stripes as these can cause distractions on the camera and make sure you avoid wearing the same colour as your chosen background. 4. Body Language Speaks A Thousand Words It’s important to have good eye-contact in any interview you attend, this is no different for a video interview. To maintain good eye contact during your interview, place your laptop, webcam or device at eye level. If your camera is too low or too high, it can appear to your employer that you are looking down or away. It is also important to look into the camera when speaking. Putting a coloured sticker or something noticeable beside the camera might help remind you to speak into the camera instead of the screen. Some gestures that often go unnoticed in face to face interviews, can be more eye-catching through video, for example twirling hair, touching your face or fidgeting with your fingers. Practicing interviews and video calls with friends or family will help you identify any nervous habits you may have. During the interview, it is important to sit upright with your back straight. Although the interviewer cannot see your lower body, it’s important to have two feet flat on the floor in order to maintain an upright position. Crossing your legs can lead to slouching and can mess with your on-camera framing. 5. Prepare to Win You want to make a great first impression, leaving the interviewer with the desire to move you to the next round or hire you and the key to achieving this is to be prepared. From software to attire, eye contact to setting, it’s essential to prepare in every aspect for your interview. Have a copy of your CV nearby, but do not get caught reading off it during your interview, keep it nearby as a reference for yourself. Have a pen and paper at your desk should you need it to avoid any disruptions during the interview. And don’t forget to nod, smile and engage with your interviewer - you might not be sitting across from each other, but they can still see you! Finally, be patient with the recruitment process. As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, recruitment processes may take longer than normal. You may find there will be more rounds in a process and/or it may take longer to receive feedback. If you would like to discuss anything in this article, or have a confidential career chat, please get in touch on 01 4744600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Recruitment agencies see hundreds of people pass through their doors on a weekly basis. However not all candidates show up prepared. Truth is you will get a lot more out of meeting with a recruiter if you spend some time preparing and thinking about what your next ideal career move is. At the same time, you also want to impress a recruitment consultant, as a consultant is only going to want to put forward the best candidates to their clients. So, with that in mind, here are some tips to keep in mind when meeting your consultant; Meeting a Recruitment Consultant is not an interview, but it kind of is… Meeting your recruitment consultant will be informal compared to a real interview. The recruitment consultant wants to meet face to face to chat about your experience and what you’re looking for and discuss any opportunities they have available. However, even though your recruitment consultant isn’t the person who is going to hire you, they have relationships with people who could. You should treat your meeting like it’s an interview. Act professional and do your best to impress this person who has the power to get you the job you want. Dress Formally… For minimal effort, dressing to impress is important. Even if your office attire isn’t formal usually, dress smart (ideally formal but smart casual as a minimum) when meeting your consultant. This says to your consultant that you are taking your job hunt seriously and it also reassures the consultant you will present yourself well to their clients in interview. Be on Time for the Meeting… Again, consultants are assessing you to see if you are suitable to present to their clients. Being late screams unreliable and they will question whether you would do the same for a client interview. On time suits recruiters best because they usually have back to back meetings and being too early or late will put their entire schedule under pressure. Be Prepared… Even though it’s an informal chat, you should still be prepared and be confident speaking about your experience. Checking over your CV to be sure or saying you don’t remember won’t make your recruitment consultant confident that you can present yourself well in an interview with their client. Don’t be Afraid to be Honest… The more information you give your recruitment consultant, the better understanding they will have of your career aspirations and goals and in turn they will be able to provide you with positions you are interested in applying for. Inform them of your priorities (salary, benefits, location, title, culture etc.) and what you are and are not flexible on. Knowing this information will prevent you being presented with opportunities you are not interested in. Follow Up… At the end of your meeting with a recruitment consultant, they will present you with open positions for you to consider applying for. Ideally, they’ll all be perfect for you but if not, don’t be afraid to let your recruiter know. Give them feedback and stay in touch with them, in some cases a recruiter can become a lifelong career advocate. If you want to get the most out of your meeting with your recruitment consultant, always come prepared. Not only with it impress the recruiter, but it will get you one step closer to finding your perfect job.
We asked some of our recruitment consultants to tell us their key tips on what makes a good CV. Here’s 20 things to keep in mind before sending out your CV: 1. Details & Numbers The more detail you give about your work history the easier it is for a recruiter/hiring manager to understand your experience, and know if you are suited to a particular role. Fiona Joyce, Recruitment Consultant, Office Support says “Noting ‘Administration’ for example isn’t enough, you need to include the type, volume, systems used, deadlines/timeframes – go into detail. For example, admin support could be basic paper work (scanning, filing, shredding) or it could be high level admin support (diary/calendar management, correspondence and document preparation, report writing etc.). Not going into enough detail is selling yourself short and letting the competition supersede you.” 2. Specific Timeframes Hiring managers like to see exact timeframes on CVs. Dates on your CV should include month to month time frames, as opposed to year to year. Often people will avoid putting dates on a CV or will try to be vague about the dates. This can look suspicious to employers. It’s better to be honest and give reasons for any gaps instead of trying to hide them. 3. Achievements It’s a good idea to include what you’ve achieved in your professional career. Awards and certificates are very impressive to hiring managers. However, they don’t always have to be job related awards, they can be personal achievements too e.g. completed a marathon, raised money for charity, served on a community or student committee etc. It’s good to show on your CV that you achieve goals outside of work. 4. Key Skills The key skills area of your CV is very important. Alan McLoughlin, Recruitment Consultant, Insurance and Financial Services says, “Don’t just list your competencies. List your skills and beside each one, explain how you gained that particular skill”. 5. Professional Development If you’ve completed any online courses or have studied independently, please be sure to include this information on your CV. Hiring managers love to see this as it shows both an enthusiasm for learning as well as the ability to work off your own initiative. 6. Clarity & Structure Structure your CV so it is easy to read. You can do this by: Arranging your work history and education separately according to date and in chronological order. Keep education and work history in separate sections of the CV. Don’t use borders or tables or strange fonts or pictures/images. Always apply in word format, in standard text form. The formatting should be uniform and consistent If you’re using bullet points, they should all be the same style and alignment You should be consistent in your formatting. If you’re using italics font for each job title and bold font for the name for each organisation you worked for, make sure you do this consistently. 7. Leave Out Graphics & Images Leave out fancy graphics, complicated formatting and decorative pictures where possible. They just tend to make it more difficult for employers to read. Keep things simple, clear and detailed. 8. Visa/Employment Permit Status For foreign Nationals your visa Status is crucial! You must specify what visa you have and if there is an expiry date. 9. Professional Profile – Don’t waffle Your professional profile should be at start of your CV. Use this section to outline your technical expertise, years of industry experience and qualifications etc. Try to avoid saying things like, “I am hard-working and reliable”. 10. Bullet Points Always use bullet points where you can. In your duties section and skills section put the information in bullet points rather than a paragraph. This makes it a lot easier to read and for hiring managers to see quickly and clearly what experience you have. 11. Contact Details You may just assume that sending your CV via email is enough for an employer to contact you but often CV’s get forwarded around and saved on hard drives so the original email you sent could get lost along with your contacts. Always put your email address and contact number on your CV. 12. Targets Achieved Someone with a track record of achieving goals really impresses managers. Setting and achieving targets shows self-motivation and determination. If you have achieved targets in your work experience make sure to include them in your CV. 13. Practical Skills Make sure to list any practical skills like having a driving license, manual handling certificate or fork lift licence. These skills could be really attractive to an employer, depending on the role you are applying for. 14. Tailor your CV to every Job Tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. Don’t regurgitate the same CV for every job. Use the job specifications to guide what you should be mentioning on your CV. 15. Extra-Curricular Activities If you play sport or music etc. (and you have space on you CV), include your hobbies because they can make you stand out. Alan McLoughlin, Recruitment Consultant, Insurance and Financial Services said “I once read a CV that had “I enjoy hill walking” 3 times. Don’t use irrelevant hobbies when you can use that space for something more useful”. 16. Personal Details – Not too Personal It’s good to show your personality through your CV and give the hiring manager a sense of who you are but some personal details are too personal for your CV. Avoid putting your relationship status on your CV e.g. married, divorced. It’s irrelevant information and it could affect you negatively. 17. Be Aware of Length The CV is a recap, not a life story. Keep it brief but comprehensive. Two pages is the norm, but three is OK. Conor Ryan, Recruitment Consultant, Construction says, “If you’re running out of space, you’re either being too specific and waffling or you’re going too far back in your experience. The rule of thumb is that you don’t need to detail roles any further back than 10 – 15 years. Your cut off point will depend on how many roles you’ve had.” 18. Balance the Info Make sure you’re giving the right amount of information for each role. You’d expect to see more duties listed for a role that you’ve spent more time in. Always keep the information on your CV proportionally balanced. 19. Tools & Systems You should outline which tools/software you’ve worked with previously as most HR managers will run a keywords search so it is important they are listed on your CV. 20. Double Check Always double-check that the information provided is correct. It’s the last step because it’s always the last thing you do, but it doesn’t make it the least important! You could have followed all the above steps correctly but you left a typo on the first page all because you forgot to double check. Following all the steps but forgetting to double check it could cost you a job. Always double check! We hope you found these tips helpful. If you think you need help with your CV or job searching, you can upload your CV to our website and let one of our 125 specialist recruitment consultants give you the help you need.
Searching for jobs is a job in itself. It can be challenging and time consuming but there are ways of making the task a little easier. If you are planning on finding a new job, Sigmar Recruitment has devised a list of top 5 job searching tips to help you in your pursuit of the perfect job. 1. Get Employers to Come to You Uploading your CV online can increase your chances of being seen by employers. Most job searching websites like; Jobs.ie and Monster.ie allow jobseekers to create an online profile using their CV content. This online profile can then be viewed by potential employers and recruiters. There is also an option when you create your account to highlight specific jobs and organisations you’re interested in and receive email notifications when positions become available. This is useful for any jobseeker as it does the hard work for you and allows relevant job vacancies to come directly to you. 2. Update Your LinkedIn Profile The first thing you should do before applying for a job is ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with all your relevant work experience. Often employers will search for you online while reviewing your CV. It’s important to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date as it could be the reason you get called for an interview. Extra Tip: If you are unemployed and don’t have an issue with making your employment status public, you may want to update your LinkedIn profile headline to something like, “Currently seeking (insert type of role here) in (insert location here)”. This will let others know that you are currently job seeking. 3. Target the Right Companies It’s important to know what type of company you are looking for. This all comes down to your personal preference. Knowing what you want will make it easier. Would you rather be; “a big fish in a little pond” or “a little fish in a big pond”? By eliminating the type of companies you don’t want in your search, you will narrow down the available jobs suited to you. Extra Tip: If you know of a company you think you would like to work for, search for reviews of the company online. Glassdoor.com lets you search millions of reviews of companies that are all posted anonymously by employees. This is a great way to get an honest appraisal of organisations you’re considering applying to or considering accepting an offer for. 4. Network Use the contacts you have to enquire about available jobs and get the word out that you’re looking for a new position. Often jobs can be found through people we know so it’s a good idea to get in touch with any relevant contacts you may have. Building on your current network can also give you an advantage in your job search. Attending conferences and job expos are a great way to network and find out about career opportunities. 5. Keep Positive Finding the perfect job isn’t easy and may take time. As rejections start coming in, it’s important to always try to stay positive. It’s only natural for you to feel deflated when things aren’t going according to plan but try to use the rejection as a motivation to work harder. The right job is out there for you and you will find it if you stay persistent and optimistic. Don’t have the time to job search? If you find yourself not being able to find the time to search for jobs properly, you can contact us in Sigmar Recruitment. You can upload your details and CV to our website, create an online profile and one of our 125 specialist recruitment consultants will contact you to discuss potential job opportunities.
Congratulations on making it to the second round interview, all your hard work researching and prepping for interview number one has paid off! Unfortunately, there is still some work to be done and the interviewers will expect you to be prepared, so putting in that extra effort could make all the difference. If you have never done a second round interview before, it can be tough to know what to expect, as all second round interviews are not the same. Some interviews may be with a group of colleagues you will be working with if you get the job, often they are with senior management and presentations are becoming increasingly popular as part of the second round interview. Now all this may sound daunting, but if you put in the preparation you will increase your chances of getting the job. Below are some tips to follow for second round interviews. Remember What Was Discussed in Interview Number One When you come out of your first interview, it is a good idea to write down what questions you were asked, along with the answers given. This gives you a good basis if you are called back for a second interview. Often interviewers will ask more in depth questions in the second interview based on answers given in the first. They may also repeat any questions that you struggled with first time around. Be Prepared Second round interviews are always going to be more challenging, the interviewers may ask difficult questions to see how well you cope under pressure. Try to keep answers clear and concise. Although you may be nervous avoid rambling, keep answers to under two minutes. Practice any possible answers you may use out loud, this will help ensure that what you are saying makes sense and will help you become more confident. Have Questions Ready Think about what questions you want to ask; were there any you wanted to ask in the first round interview but didn’t? Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the company, the department team and what would be expected of you in the role. This will give you a better insight into what it may be like to work for this company. Before you leave the interview, make sure to ask when a decision will be made about the position. Will You Fit into the Company Culture? One of the main things that your potential employers will be looking at, is how you would fit into the company culture. Ensure you remain positive and enthusiastic through the interview no matter how hard the questions are or what way you think the interview is going. Let your personality shine through as this can be one of the deciding factors as to whether you get the job or not. Remember this interview is as much about the employers seeing if you will be a good fit for the company as it is seeing if this will be a job you love. So make sure to leave the interview on a positive note and show a keen interest in the company, good luck!
In a busy jobs market where opportunities are bountiful and your choices unlimited, it is of vital importance that as a candidate who is open to looking at new positions, you know precisely what it is that you’re looking for before you begin your search for a new job. You will be courted by many in a buoyant jobseekers’ market so deciding what roles are suited to you and what potential interviews you should be going for, is something that, as a candidate, you need to evaluate very clearly. Your time is precious so you cannot afford to be wasting it interviewing for jobs to which you are not suited. Below are some useful tips to consider prior to deciding what roles you should be applying for, in addition to the thought process you should go through before deciding with whom you would like to engage. Motivational Fit You must ascertain very early in the process if the role is at the right level for you and therefore if the trajectory in terms of career is correct also. If you do not do this and then move into a role where you are carrying out the same duties as before there will be issues. This is because there will be no real prospects for you to move upwards within the company, meaning a bad move for you on a personal level. If your immediate supervisor is unlikely to be moving elsewhere soon, the move for you then, from a career point of view, will have been a bad one. Think about what is important for you to gain in the next few years’ experience wise. Look into what positions would help to achieve this and put your energy into submitting the best possible CV and cover letters to these companies. Cultural Fit You must know the culture of the company you are interviewing with and know that this is a culture to which you are suited. Think about previous positions you have held and map out the pros and cons of the culture. What did you like/dislike and what other companies have similar cultures to this? If you move to an organisation where the environment is formal for instance, with this being an environment that you are neither comfortable with nor even like, then you don’t want to find this out when you start in the company on your first day. It is vital that you find this out from the company themselves, prior to agreeing to meet with them through asking the question or researching the company online through the likes of social media and news. If you are availing of a professional recruitment company make sure to include this information when speaking with them and ask for help on doing research so that you are confident in your knowledge that this is the right company for you. Competency Fit Before you decide to go for an interview for a job, you must be 100% certain that you have the capabilities to be able to perform the tasks in question. Once again, your time is precious, so if you don’t have the skills required to carry out the role, please don’t waste your time by going forward for an interview for a position to which you are not suited. Also make sure that the job is on your level and not below it. Every job you move to should broaden your horizons and challenge you. Ensure that you are provided with a comprehensive job specification for the role in question. Make sure to ask questions of either the company or the agency if any aspects of it seem ambiguous to you. It’s far better to know that you can actually do the job prior to the interview, rather than finding this out on the day of the meeting itself. Clarity regarding the nature of the role is of key importance, prior to interviewing with any company for any job.
The one question I am always asked when preparing a candidate for an interview is “how do I answer the weakness question?” The worst reaction you can have to this question is to say I don’t have a weakness. Everyone has a weakness and the reason the interviewer is asking this question is to see how you act outside your comfort zone. People often make the common mistake of trying to turn a negative into a positive. An example of this would be I’m a perfectionist or I work too hard. These answers are boring and show the interviewer you have put very little thought into his/her question. Also you are not actually answering the question you’re just trying to put a clever spin on it.Another mistake candidates make is being too honest. Never mention a weakness that you have if it is going to stop you from getting the job. So don’t answer “I’m lazy” or that “I’m always late” as this is not what your potential new employer wants to hear. The trick to answering this is in the same way you would answer any interview question and that’s by preparing your answer in advance. It can be very difficult to talk about your flaws in a stressful situation like an interview so make sure you spend time preparing your answer. These are a few ways to best answer the weakness question: 1. Pick a weakness that is acceptable for the job Don’t pick a skill or requirement that is on the job spec that you don’t have and say it is your main weakness. This will only put doubt into the interviewers head. 2. Pick a weakness that you can develop For this type of answer you might think of an example where you had a weakness but developed it over the course of your time in prior employment. 3. Describe your weakness in a concise way Don’t go into loads of detail on this question. They are asking you your weakness so be brief and don’t come across as negative. A common answer that candidates often use when asked the weakness question is on their delegation skills. Here you can mention a time when you used to have the mentality that only you could do the job but over time you realised that it was actually slowing the work down and by delegating to other staff members the job was done quicker. This answer is perfect to give but it depends on what job you are going for. If you are going for a managerial role where managing and delegating work will be part of your job description then don’t use delegating as your weakness. Every question in an interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself, so it is important you never miss a genuine opportunity and the weakness question is no different. Treat it like you would any interview questions that you find hard and prepare your answer.