As more and more candidates embrace video interviewing, it’s great to review these feedback comments which were submitted immediately after completing their online interviews:

The following are also recent feedback emails from candidates using the Compact Interview system. All are genuine and unedited:

“An easy format that makes a video interview a pleasurable (as much as it can) experience. Easy to set up, follow and complete.

Thank you
Ben”

No technical know-how required:

“Amazing innovation and simple user interface. Does not require any technical know-how to operate.

Highly commendable tool.

Cheers”

Slightly scary but…

“What a great idea. Slightly scary to start off, but with practice becomes easier. Interesting to see one’s mannerisms as one talks as well – I’ve not recorded myself before.

Thank you”

Great for candidates abroad:

“To Whom It May Concern:

First of all, I would like to thank you for the opportunity given. It has been my first time to record an interview and I must say it was a great experience. As I mentioned in one my answers, it is a great form of interview, especially for candidates abroad, which is my case.

I look forward to hear back from you soon, as I will be delighted to be part of (company name).

Best Regards,”

First time but would recommend again:

“I thought the video interview was very useful. It is the first time I have ever used this technique but would recommend using it again.

Many thanks”

Looking at the camera takes getting used to:

“This was a very different experience from what I am normally used to. However it was a good experience for me. One of the drawbacks which I have seen is that it is not easy to look at the camera as your eyes are naturally drawn to the screen. Otherwise from this, I think it was ok, it only needs getting used to this. Thank you.

Regards,”

If you would like to find out about Compact Interview and experience a free trial, please get in touch with us and we will be pleased to assist.

 

 

Sample CVArticle by Rupert Sellers

How useful is a CV today for hiring purposes?

Most recruiters are at breaking point as to how to handle CVs effectively, and quantity over quality is the constant issue.

To process the volume of applications generated from online job sites, many HR teams rely on automated keyword filters to sift CVs.

That might seem smart, but candidates who don’t include certain words that match the criteria set by the employer will immediately be discarded. Pity those highly suitable candidates that didn’t make the cut, simply because they chose to use alternative descriptive words in their CV.

It means that a lot of great talent is condemned to the reject file, without even being considered.

Candidates have a tougher application process than ever before and they are having to rely on the right keywords in order to make the initial selection. Unfortunately many keywords that appear in CVs do not reflect the actual candidate. Any candidate, good or bad, can add the keywords an employer is looking for – regardless of whether they actually have that skill.

The same applies to LinkedIn profiles: Users are renowned for overstating their skills, so how can a recruiter/employer find the right candidates based on a keyword search?

Advising candidates to copy keywords from a job description to their CV ridicules the recruitment screening process

Candidates will of course welcome advice and tips on how they can stand out and have their job application considered, but so-called ‘career coaches’ and ‘expert resume writers’ who constantly tweet the lines below are a nuisance for employers:

“#Jobseekers. Review the job ad & company website & mirror keywords in your resume that the employer uses.”

“#Resumetips: Beat the filters. Use keywords in your resume drawn from job descriptions or ads.”

These tips may help applicants in the selection process, initially at least, but this advice completely skews the keyword sift that so many employers rely on. Screening a text CV based on matching keywords to select talent is flawed. Employers and candidates deserve a fairer, more robust recruitment process.

See also: The diminishing value of a CV

 

 

My whole world is falling apart!Recruitment can be stressful, costly and inefficient – and many good candidates are slipping through the net. So maybe you need to change your application process.

Empathise with applicants

Candidates hate filling application forms, whether applying for a position directly on your website or via a job board. Of course recruiters want to glean information but it shouldn’t be an endurance test. Impersonal recruitment processes can be obstructive and many candidates will simply drop out if you force them through too many hoops.

At the initial stage, applicants may not have emotional attachment to your brand, so simplify your application process to keep them engaged. Take a moment to apply for one of the jobs listed on your site – you might be in for a shock. If the form is long and tedious, you need to change it.

Don’t rely on robots

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) may seem like a no-brainer for quickly eliminating candidates who don’t have the right skills and experience. But beware, many active job seekers know how to beat the system and embellish their CVs with keywords to pass the first sift. While others, often the more sought after talent, don’t spend enough time on their CV to add keywords that can be searched on by an ATS system. There is no substitute for human judgement, particularly when assessing intangible ‘soft skills’.

Beware of one-click job applications

Most job boards enable candidates to apply for multiple ‘suggested jobs’ at the click of a button. This easy process results in many users clicking the ‘Apply’ button without knowing anything about the employer and/or job. It’s not surprising that so many job applicants are unsuitable. There are many cases when candidates can’t even remember what jobs they applied for.

Don’t keep candidates waiting

Good candidates have limited time for applying and interviewing. They are busy in their jobs and expect the recruitment process to be straightforward and efficient.

If you are going to phone screen or meet candidates in person, make sure you provide sufficient scheduling options, and bear in mind that many candidates request interviews to take place out of office hours. When candidates come to interview, don’t keep them waiting and don’t drag out the interview process. It leaves a lasting negative impression of your organisation.

 

Job interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Tell us about yourself” and “Why do you want to work with us?”. They sound such straightforward questions, but the interviewer will hang on every word you say.

“Tell us about yourself.”

It’s an open-ended question that always comes up, usually near the beginning of the interview. It sounds like an easy one to answer – But it isn’t.

You have only a few seconds to create an impression to the interviewer and engage. If you get off to a shaky start, that first impression can be difficult to change. So make your story interesting and upbeat. You can start by saying which city you grew up in if you want, but focus on what is likely to be most relevant, such as your recent career.

If there is no interaction from the interviewer, nor body language signals to suggest you should keep talking, I wouldn’t spend any longer than one minute to tell your ‘story’. Don’t make this a long, drawn out monologue; only continue if the interviewer interjects and clearly shows interest.

“Why do you want to work with us?”

Can the interviewer envisage you working for their company and fitting with their corporate culture? Too many candidates give a standard ‘I want work for XYZ company because it has a great reputation and a friendly atmosphere’ And they regurgitate similar words for every job they apply for.

This is your chance to shine and stand out from other candidates. Do some thorough research on the company and try to find a hook that can give you a great answer. eg. ‘I’m very excited about XYZ’s expansion plans announced last month, and I want to join a company where I can develop my career and contribute to your company’s successful growth.’

The interviewer will probably take more note of your answers to these questions than any other in the interview, so make sure you are well prepared.

Article by Rupert Sellers

ReTraditional CVs - 8.8 seconds to reviewcruiters need better solution to screen talent than outdated text CV

A Curriculum Vitae, Latin for a “course of one’s life”, used to be a rare document and employers to whom it was sent would take their time to review every detail. This all worked pretty well when there wasn’t much movement in the jobs market. A few decades ago, jobs would become available to graduates and apprentices when employees after 30 or 40 years of service retired. A ‘job for life’ was quite normal.

Today, that approach to employment is unimaginable. Average job tenure is now 4.4 years, and most millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years. Thanks to the internet, employers post thousands of jobs every day via job boards, aggregators and social media, and in return they receive millions of CVs – unfortunately many of which are completely unsuitable.

With so many CVs to review, recruiters are spending less than 10 seconds on each one to decide whether or not to keep a candidate in the recruitment process. Inevitably, some hidden gems get rejected as words ‘on paper’ provide only limited insight on the candidate.

CV writer specialists are not the answer

Given the precious window of opportunity (the 10 second glance of a CV), it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of companies and ‘specialists’ offering advice on ‘how to write a CV’ – and some even charge for the service. Content in a CV has become so critical due to the sheer volume that recruiters and employers have to process, and every word written has to be considered a potential keyword a recruiter is looking for (often searched for via an applicant tracking system). But does a CV stuffed with keywords that mirror the job description mean it represents a good candidate?

Ironically, the most desirable candidates tend not to have the best CVs in terms of layout and details provided. The active job seeker who might not be remarkable is far more likely to have a CV with all the necessary content to advance to the next stage of the process.

Too much emphasis on CV for candidate selection

Organisations will of course conduct interviews for candidates that make the selection, and possibly use psychometric tests, but there is too much emphasis placed on the CV – and many good candidates could be wrongly eliminated without the chance to prove themselves in interviews and tests that would follow the CV assessment stage.

In the many years I have been a recruiter for the luxury hospitality sector I have seen some fantastic looking CVs that simply don’t match up to the person. I have also come across great candidates with underwhelming CVs. Work experience can be deceiving. If a candidate has worked for some top brands they tend to be much more attractive to an employer than a candidate who has experience with unknown company names. We assume that the brands speak for themselves and therefore associated candidates must be good. But I have come across many mediocre candidates with seemingly glowing CVs who have somehow managed to hide below the radar and progress in their career from one good brand to the next.

Looking beyond the CV with video

Recruiters have a big job to process high volumes of candidates but racing through CVs is not the solution, particularly when you are hiring for customer service positions. A quick glance at qualifications and work experience doesn’t tell you much about the person. How do you know what their ‘soft skills’ are like? Of course it is not practical to meet all your applicants in person, and conducting phone interviews could also be a lengthy process. But before you eliminate your ‘maybe’ candidates (those that you are not sure about, but you haven’t the time to include them), consider inviting your candidate selection to record a personalised pre-set video interview. You will gather much more insight and you are likely to make a better judgment on whether or not to keep a candidate in the early stage of your recruitment process.

CIPD logo

Research suggests that, for too many jobs, the cost of university outweighs the economic benefits, and that the prevailing rhetoric on the need to get more and more young people into university needs to change.

Successive governments’ preoccupation over the last 30 or more years with getting more and more young people through university is no longer justified given the employment outcomes for many graduates and the associated costs involved, a new report has shown.

The report, Alternative pathways into the labour market, by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, finds that, for a wide range of occupations which have seen significant increases in graduate rates over the last 35 years, alternative vocational routes into employment are both possible and less costly, with a smaller proportion of this lower cost falling on the learner. 

The report is published at a time when the average student is now leaving university with £44,000 of debt and, even by the Government’s own estimates, 45% of the value of student loans will not be repaid. The report calls into question the continued focus on the ‘graduate premium’, with previous CIPD research showing that more than half of graduates were working in non-graduate jobs after they left university. Furthermore, Brexit makes it even more important that the UK’s investment in education and skills delivers value for learners, employers and the economy.

The CIPD’s research considers 29 occupations, which together account for nearly 30% of employment in the UK and over 30% of the work performed by graduates currently. It shows that for many of these jobs, while the numbers of graduates have increased sharply over the period from 1979 to 2014, in many instances the level of skill required to do the job has not appreciably changed. 

The report also suggests that, for too long, employers have been recruiting graduates into many roles that don’t utilise this level of qualification. Employers need to open up recruitment to more non-graduates, while also working to develop more of the roles that do require graduate skills. 

The report, Alternative pathways into the labour market, finds:

  • 35% of new bank and post office clerks are now graduates, compared with 1979 when just 3.5% of bank and post office clerks held degrees
  • 42.9% of police officers at the rank of sergeant and below entering the police force now hold degrees, compared with 1979 when less than 2% of police officers of similar rank were graduates
  • 41% of new recruits in property, housing and estate management are graduates, compared with 3.6% in 1979
  • 36.9% of newly employed teaching assistants enter those jobs with a degree – as late as 1999, only 5.6% of the occupation as a whole did so

In response to the issues raised in the report, the CIPD is calling for Government to:

  • Improve the quality of careers advice and guidance to young people while they are in school so they can make better informed choices about career pathways
  • Ensure that apprenticeship policy moves away from trying to simply increase numbers towards improving the quality and progression routes of apprenticeships, in order to create a meaningful alternative route to university for young people and employers
  • Ensure the forthcoming industrial strategy has a clear focus on creating more high skilled jobs and progression routes at work. This requires an emphasis on raising the quality of leadership and people management, job design, and training and development through partnerships between government, employers and unions at a national, sectoral and local level.

Peter Cheese, CIPD Chief Executive, said: “This report shows clearly how the huge increase in the supply of graduates over the last 35 years has resulted in more and more occupations and professions being colonised by people with degrees, regardless of whether they actually need them to do the job.

“Governments of all colours have long had a ‘conveyor belt’ approach to university education, with a rhetoric that has encouraged more and more students to pursue graduate qualifications. However, with this research showing that for many graduates, the costs of university education outweighs its personal economic benefits, we need a much stronger focus on creating more high-quality alternative pathways into the workplace, such as higher level apprenticeships, so we really do achieve parity of esteem between the two routes.

“It goes without saying that the UK needs a world class higher education system, but this report really does provide a reality check on the assumption that continually increasing the numbers of people going to university truly adds the right value for learners of all ages, employers and the economy. 

“Graduates are increasingly finding themselves in roles which don’t meet their career expectations, while they also find themselves saddled with high levels of debt. This ‘graduatisation’ of the labour market also has negative consequences for non-graduates, who find themselves being overlooked for jobs just because they have not got a degree, even if a degree is not needed to do the job. Finally, this situation is also bad for employers and the economy as this type of qualification and skills mismatch is associated with lower levels of employee engagement and loyalty, and will undermine attempts to boost productivity.”

Peter Cheese added: “In the current Brexit context, it is imperative that we take stock of the UK’s education and skills policy so that our current and future workforces can deliver the economic growth we need.

“To tackle this problem, policy makers need to improve the quality of careers, advice and guidance so young people have better information about other non-graduate routes into the labour market, for example, through apprenticeships. At the same time, much more needs to be done to reform the apprenticeship system which currently generates high numbers of Level 2 apprenticeships, equivalent to just 5 GCSE passes, with relatively few at Level 3 and above. Unless we have many more advanced and higher level apprenticeships, the apprenticeship route will continue to be seen as the poor relation to university. 

“Employers also need to broaden their recruitment practices and ensure they are not using a degree as a means of screening job applicants for jobs where there is no justification in terms of the skills needed to do the job. 

“Finally, government needs to ensure that its new industrial strategy has a focus on creating more high skilled jobs, which requires working in partnership with employers, representative bodies and unions at a national, sectoral and local level to improve the quality of leadership and people management, job design, and training and development across the economy.”

Interview in progressIn a candidate driven market, employers need to step up their game when interviewing candidates.

BEFORE THE INTERVIEW…

Ditch the boring job descriptions
Firstly, you need to make the job appealing to attract candidates. Too many employers issue job descriptions outlining tasks, duties and minimum requirements. The generic content often gives no insight into what it is like to work for your organisation.

Empathise with candidates and get into their zone. Promote the job by adding excitement, demonstrate your company culture and ethos and show that you provide great career development opportunities. Better still, create a short informal video and talk about the job and your company on camera with clips from your team members. Video is much more engaging than boring text.

Respect all candidates and communicate
It might be a nightmare to process hundreds of applicants – that’s where video interviewing can come in very handy – but the application process shouldn’t be a ‘black hole’ as it’s often referred to in recruitment circles. Candidates should always be informed where they stand with clear communication, whether or not they are selected for an interview.

Review the CV again before the interview
Be prepared and read the candidate’s CV again just before you meet so that you know a bit about the person and where they are currently working. The candidate is assessing you as much as you are assessing the candidate.

THE INTERVIEW…

Be punctual for the interview
You expect your candidates to arrive on time for the interview. And so should you! Don’t keep the candidate waiting. Any longer than five minutes is unacceptable. Again, empathise – Think what the candidate is thinking and make sure you create the right impression for you and your organisation.

First impressions count
Candidates in an interview situation are typically nervous with heightened senses. They will notice the smallest details and observe your body language so make sure you are well prepared and ready with good questions.

Engage with your candidates
Treat your interviewees as you would your best customer. Open the conversation with some small talk to act as an ice-breaker. You want to make them feel comfortable before launching into your interview questions. Make sure your interview style is open and engaging. An intimidating or patronising approach will serve no purpose. If you ease a candidate’s nerves it will be much easier to gauge how you think that person would fit in your workplace.

Introduce to work colleagues
It’s a good idea to have other stakeholders in the hiring process on stand-by at the time of the interview. If you have a strong candidate in front of you, you could then introduce him/her to others – perhaps the department head. The ideal situation would be to roll this interview into a second interview to advance the process, but even if it is just a quick ‘hello’ this will engage the candidate more and help to get buy in.

AFTER THE INTERVIEW…

Act quickly!
If you like the candidate and feel he/she is well matched to the job and your organisation, you need to follow up immediately. Good talent gets snapped up quickly so make sure you communicate with next steps (or better still, the job offer) before other employers woo the candidate. Many great candidates are lost due to the employer’s delay in the hiring process. If you want the best in a candidate driven market, you have to move fast.

Interview in calendarWe have looked at Preparation for your Job Interview and now it’s time. Your interview is today! Here’s what you need to do for a successful outcome:

Don’t be late
It sounds obvious but so many candidates arrive late because they underestimate traffic etc. Whatever the excuse is, lateness creates the wrong first impression and you will probably be flustered throughout the interview worrying rather than focusing on your responses to the questions asked.

Body language
The first few minutes of your interview are critical when there is non-verbal communication. Compose yourself, take in the environment, gauge the mood, listen and observe. Read the situation and mirror the interviewer. If he/she is very formal, then you should be too. And if they are quite casual, take a similar approach but don’t come across as over-familiar – particularly at the start of the interview.

Get their attention
Does it feel like you’re the tenth candidate they’ve met today?! If so, you need to uplift the interview and instil new energy. Good eye contact and a warm smile will give you a good start. Sit appropriately – generally upright but lean forward occasionally to engage and show interest. Don’t slump in your chair as this will disengage and make you seem aloof and/or arrogant.

Let the interviewer lead the conversation
There’s likely to be small talk at the beginning which will help break the ice for you and the employer. Go with it and engage but don’t get carried away! Know when to stop so they can move on to the actual interview questions.

Answer the questions
When candidates are nervous it’s easy to go off on a tangent and ramble. Engage with the interviewer and take in the body language. Are they listening to you? Or are they just looking through you? If you are losing them, STOP! That will get their attention and you can then pull the interviewer back into the conversation and provide more snappy answers. Show passion, enthusiasm and humility. Frame your answers as if you would be working for them so that the employer can envisage what it would be like to have you on board. And if the interviewer asks a difficult question that you don’t know the answer to, it’s much better to say “I don’t know, that’s something I would like to find out” than trying to wing it with a poor answer. Honesty is always best.

Ask intelligent questions
Depending on the formality, it may be appropriate to ask questions during the interview, but generally your questions should come towards the end. Usually the interviewer will offer you this opportunity. Make sure your questions will contribute to your performance. Asking about company growth, future plans, scope of the job clearly demonstrates your interest level in joining the employer for the foreseeable future. Don’t ask unimaginative questions where you could have easily found out the answers. And in a first interview situation, don’t ask for micro details about the job – It’s not very relevant at this stage and it may suggest that you are concerned about whether the job is right for you – or whether you can actually do the job!

Get hooked!
Likeability is key to a positive outcome. Let your personality shine through so that the employer likes you and wants you. Too many candidates go into an interview with the attitude of “What’s in it for me?” (ie why should I work for you?) which creates a bad aura from the start and then they wonder why they weren’t invited for a second interview! Employers want to hire ‘can-do’ people with a positive attitude. In regards to salary, you should know roughly what the package is before going into an interview so that it meets your expectation but don’t ask about this or holidays or hours of work in your interview. Of course this information is important to you but it can be discussed at a much later stage in the process when you know they are keen to hire you.

Keep the door open
Always be courteous, however the interview has gone. You never know where this could lead you, even if this particular job is not for you.

Sincere thanks
First impressions count – and so do last impressions! Make sure you ‘close’ the interview positively. Thank the interviewer and let them know that you are very interested. And don’t be afraid to ask what the next steps might be. When you get home, send a short ‘thank you’ email. If you were the tenth candidate interviewed that day, you want to make sure you are remembered!

Click here for ‘Job Interview Preparation Tips’.

Calendar mark with Interview

You have been invited for an interview. If you are serious about this job, here’s what you need to do to ensure success:

Your interest level
Are you genuinely interested in the job? Will this opportunity give you the stepping stones to help develop your career? Your interview won’t be successful unless you can show 100% commitment.

Read the job description again
Make sure you are very clear about the job requirements and the skills the employer is looking for. Try to anticipate what questions you are likely to be asked and prepare your answers. Have examples of situations you have experienced that could relate to the job you have applied for. Also think about some intelligent questions that you can ask towards the end of the interview.

Do your research
Research the company thoroughly, as well as the department and team you would be joining. You can often find useful details from the company’s website as well as blog posts and their social media sites. You want to be knowledgeable about what they do and be aware of any new acquisitions/products/services.

Your strengths and weaknesses
Think about what you are good at and what you’re not so good at as there will always be a question relating to these. We all have weaknesses (or areas for development / improvement), so be prepared with your answer. You can often turn a weakness into a positive. Importantly you want to show that you are already making progress on improvement. This will show the interviewer that you are self-aware and driven to succeed.

Site visit
If possible, visit the venue where you will be having your interview beforehand. This will take away your worries about how to get there or how long the journey will be. And you will have more insight about the environment and the people. If it’s a hotel job, ask for a showround so you are familiar with the product. You will feel more relaxed and comfortable with this preparation – you could even slip into the conversation during interview that you visited earlier, an impressive way to show your eagerness!

Dress sense
Plan in advance what you are going to wear for your interview and make sure you dress appropriately. How formal/informal is the company? If in doubt, it is better to wear a smart suit than casual attire. But be conservative! The focus needs to be on you, the person. Avoid bright, dazzling clothes – and go easy on the make-up, nail polish etc.

Interpretation of your CV
Print off a copy of your CV and bring it with you, just in case the interviewer doesn’t have it to hand. Be prepared to answer questions relating to any gaps or unusual content in your CV. You need to be bold and confident about your experience and achievements, and have good reasons for any variances.

You are now in great shape to succeed in your upcoming interview!

CIPD logo

Skills shortfalls, people risk, corporate behaviours and culture are all causes of increasing concern in a landscape of continued change and uncertainty, so organisations need to innovate and adapt. 

“HR must continue to innovate and adapt to meet the rapidly changing needs of business”, says Peter Cheese, Chief Executive CIPD.

“The need for professional HR and L&D capabilities have never been in greater demand, but we’ll need to look beyond traditional thinking and standardised practice, and start defining ‘professional’ in new terms”.

Cheese wants to encourage delegates to shift from searching for best practice or standard approaches, to innovate and to challenge existing orthodoxies driven by a real understanding of context, purpose and outcomes. Business has to become more people centric in every sense, and to make a shift from accounting to more accountability. HR has to be at the forefront, acting with confidence and credibility founded on a strong base of professional knowledge and competence.

“We know that there’s no one size fits all model for great HR, and we need to adapt our HR practices to the context and needs of our workforces and organisations” says Cheese. “But what guides our actions and decisions? Any business is about judgments and priorities that drive decisions and actions, but these need to be framed through principles and values that drive good, ethical and sustainable business more clearly. These principles should provide the framework for HR to support the judgments and often the compromises that we are so often called on to make.

Furthermore, we need to challenge ourselves in examining our processes, policies, and practices as the world of work evolves. We must look at the purpose and outcomes of what we do more critically, and understand what fundamental principles and base of knowledge make those practices effective. Ultimately, we need a new definition of what it means to be an HR professional, with a greater focus on clarity of professional capability and purpose, and a strengthened ability to provide trusted and credible advice to businesses, whatever the circumstances.”

The CIPD’s commitment to helping the HR and L&D professionals of the future realise their true potential is encapsulated in its Profession for the Future strategy. It has already conducted extensive research with HR practitioners, business leaders, academics, thought leaders, regulators and line managers to shape its thinking, and is starting a debate about the core principles that should guide the profession going forward as well as what guides good business.

“The first step in our Profession for the Future strategy is to establish a shared understanding of HR’s purpose, who our stakeholders really are, and where our priorities lie – in other words, a set of core principles to guide our decision making. We want the principles to be broad, ambitious and applicable in any context and we’re turning to HR practitioners, academics, thought leaders, policy makers, business leaders and line managers to help us define them.

The next phase will be about ensuring we equip the HR professionals of the future with the knowledge, skills and expertise to apply those principles in practice, so that we can secure HR’s role as a trusted and credible profession that helps to create sustainable value for all of a business’ stakeholders.”

Source: CIPD’s Annual Conference – November 2015