16 November 2021
By Roger Jones
The pandemic has greatly altered the jobs world, interviewing for a role now is nearly unrecognisable to the way it was only 18 months ago
However, it’s not as cut & dry as one may think – “It’s safe to say that things haven’t settled totally yet, so as much as people would like to perhaps explore new avenues and jump into an exciting opportunity they may be airing on the side of caution as financially things are still very precarious for a lot of people.” Notes Ciarán Hourican Managing Director of H-Training.
H-Training have seen an influx of people requesting interview help, especially as video interviews become the new normal.
The Interview Process – What’s Changed?
Video interviews are quite obviously, the elephant in the room. These can be hugely stressful, with interviewers able to see and read your body language whilst you miss out on the more enjoyable, interpersonal elements of a face to face. Obviously, first impressions leave an indelible mark so be prepared. It’s imperative you make the most out of your setting, frame yourself up well in front of plain background. Think about how you work, you probably have your laptop on a desk, looking down at you as you work, that means your camera is looking upwards at your chin, never the most flattering angle. Ensure your laptop is at eye level, you can raise it up by leaving it on a pile of books so that the lens is precisely at your eye level.
It’s also important to note that now interviews don’t typically last as long as they may have done pre-COVID, so if you find your interview didn’t last that long, don’t panic. – “Due to the nature of Zoom or Teams, whatever is being used, it’s just far less personable, it can be sometimes difficult to hold a ‘natural’ conversation as there may be a delay on the line which disrupts the flow. Because of this, the interviews tend to wrap up fairly quickly.” Adds Hourican.
Interview Coaching – The Benefits
A huge number of people struggle with interviews, it’s a completely normal thing to want to achieve and seek guidance leading up to an interview. It’s a daunting proposition to present yourself in front of a stranger, or group of strangers and sell yourself to them. However, with some substantial coaching, you can conquer the fear and get ahead.
The first step in our interview coaching process is helping you understand what is expected of you in an interview, the overall evolution of the recruitment model and what exactly it is that an organisation is attempting to achieve during the interview itself, this level of understanding can hugely help settle pre-interview jitters and anxiety. From here, you can really tackle the situation. At the end of the day, interviews are competitions. Companies and organisations are looking for the very best candidate for the role – why should they choose you? Interview coaching helps you be absolutely clear on what it is you’re offering, your pitch, why should they go with you for the role? With most people the information is already present, it’s simply a case of curating and presenting it in the best fashion.
One of the biggest issues people face when it comes to the overall interview process is simply nerves. Anxiety and general nervousness can be totally debilitating especially in a competitive environment like an interview. For some employers, visible signs of nervousness can actually be viewed as a good thing as it highlights just how much you want the role. The challenge is to channel this energy, to use it to your advantage.
How long are the coaching sessions?
That depends directly on what you’re looking for, the initial session lasts for 1 hour however we typically work with over the course of a few hours, especially if you choose to sit a mock interview at the end of the sessions. You can also attend some follow up sessions depending on how confident you feel and how much progress you make. We then ask for an application form from a previous interview or even a feedback sheet. If you have the CV & Cover letter you plan on applying, bring these with you too so we can examine them and craft a comprehensive game plan.
Have an Excellent CV & LinkedIn – A Crucial Step
Many elements of the interview process have changed, one thing that has remained is the CV. It is as relevant now as it’s ever been, however it is being somewhat challenged by LinkedIn. The American based website has been around since 2005, however its growth has been astounding, with around 700 million members currently and always rising. A strong LinkedIn presence is now vital, it can help you to gain more exposure and draw eyes to the positive work you do. More and more employers are referencing a LinkedIn profile when hiring, if its not up to scratch, they tend to pass over the applicant.
LinkedIn also offers a huge opportunity to network, to expand your contact base and really get yourself out there. Once you connect with someone on LinkedIn you can message them freely, however prior to making a connection you can send a short message in order to encourage them to connect with your profile – This opens up a world of opportunities but be measured, there’s very little point in targeting the C-Suite exec of a large organisation as they’re very unlikely to respond to your message. However, through some clever research and analysis you can find someone like a personal assistant who may be able to put you in contact with the right people.
When it comes to a physical, formal CV, it’s all about building a narrative around you. Applicants constantly fail to mention highly valuable information on their CVs AND in interviews. People repeatedly leave awards won unmentioned, downplay their level of involvement in certain projects and tend to actually highlight what they don’t have opposed to presenting the valuable skills and experience they have. This, combined with the aforementioned pre-interview nerves can lead to a rambling, incoherent, two-page CV that’s unfortunately more likely to wind up in the bin rather than on the boss’s desk.
Did you know that the word ‘resumé’ actually derives its name from the French word for ‘summary’? This is what a CV is designed to be, you’re supposed to provide your audience with short, snappy information about who you are, what you can do and why you’re the right person for the role. We can assist you in displaying all of your information and utilising a two-pronged approach, combining your CV & LinkedIn to display the best version of you possible. Check out H-Trainings CV and LinkedIn development programs.
If you’re looking for interview coaching or even further career coaching, career guidance, emotional intelligence testing get in touch with Ciarán and the H-Training team today. If you’re located at the other side of the recruiting desk, H-Training also offers comprehensive interview panel training, corporate group interview training and effective sales training programs.