How to make your virtual interview a flying success

Virtual interviews quickly became the new interview normal, right? But do you know how to succeed in one?

Fear of delay, wi-fi dropping out, background noises we can’t control… virtual interviews come with their own set of concerns, don’t they? Rest assured it’s not all doom and gloom, and you can smash your virtual interview.

For the most part the preparation is the same, however considering a few “extras” could be the thing that puts you ahead of your fellow candidates!

Some of these may seem simple, but it’s easy to forget interview formalities when you’re in the comfort of your own home! Have a read to see some easy steps you can take to ensure you give it your best shot! 💪

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail 💻

Just as you would have to for an in-person interview, it is essential that you come prepared: do your research on the company as well as the role, think of some possible questions that may come up so that you can plan your answers, and think of all the experience you have that makes you a perfect fit for the role! Think about why you want the role, why you’d fit in at the company, and how your values align with theirs.

There’s no place like home🏡

When you go to an in-person interview, the setting is out of your control, but in a virtual interview you decide! And this can make a big difference to the impression you make to your interviewer. Test out a few places in your house. Try your laptop camera with different levels of lighting and different angles to see what comes out the best and the clearest. It will be important to consider that there may be glare or a bad reflection, so you may need to experiment with the lighting, as well as the height and/or tilt of the device. A key factor in deciding on the setting for your interview is the strength behind the wi-fi signal, so take this into account when planning your setting!

Use notes sparingly 📓

One benefit of a virtual interview is that the interviewer cannot see everything on your desk or screen, which means you can come prepared with some notes that you can use for reference. However, there is a danger here that you can rely too heavily on these notes and end up being less natural in the interview. Part of the interview is to see how well you interact and to get a feel for your personality to see if you’re a good match for the company, but if you are simply reading notes off a screen, you may come across as less warm, and a little robotic or unnatural.

So, do prepare some notes if this will be of comfort to you; you may find it useful if you have some key figures or statistics you would like to bring up, but try to only occasionally glance at your notes, and do not rely too heavily on them.

Try not to be late for this very important date

It is bad practice to turn up late to an interview, whether it’s virtual or in person, so ensure you have planned plenty of time. With virtual interviews, you rely on technology, so you need to remember to factor in some extra time in case of any technological malfunctions.

You’re prepared but are you charged up?

Check your laptop is fully charged, and the power lead switched on, if you’re using another device ensure it is fully charged. The opposite of a good impression is your laptop, or electronic device dying mid-interview.

Dress to impress 👚

We’ve all joked about wearing jogging bottoms for the waist down, jokes aside some of us have actually done it! But please avoid anything but smart / casual during your interview, even if it is online.

You may think that because your interview is not in person, you do not have to make the same effort with your appearance. But the interviewer will still be expecting you to look professional and, as your appearance is the first thing they will notice, it won’t hurt to dress just as you would for a regular interview!

Stay engaged, and make eye contact with the camera 👀

This is a difficult one but can really help give a personable feel to your audience! It is easier to become distracted when interviewing from your own home, but if your eyes keep wondering to other things in the room, your interviewer will assume you are not very interested, or focused on the interview. Try, as much as possible, to keep your eyes on the screen, preferably the camera, and be aware of what you are doing with your face: be sure to remain looking engaged, and never bored, as this will show that you are interested.

Wearing headphones will reduce the noise you hear around you, and will provide you with clear audio, giving you great opportunity to stay engaged!

Question time

Just the same as for an in-person interview, at some point the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. The best way to show your interest in the role, is by asking questions: ask about the role, the company, the culture, potential progression, or anything else that you’d like to know about. Try to prepare two or three questions, although you may find yourself asking different ones that arise during the interview.

Last, but not least: A final tip 💡

It may be good to do a trial run with a friend, especially if you are going to be using a software that you haven’t used before, and in this trial, you can try and find the best place in your house for lighting and internet connection. You can practise keeping eye contact with the camera, muting and unmuting yourself, sharing your screen etc, and your friend may be able to give you some tips for how to come across better.

24 Hours Before Check List:

🔴 Check the Wi-Fi signal in your chosen room

🔴Check you have downloaded and can access the software your interviewer is using e.g., Teams, Zoom, Google Meet

🔴Test the link

🔴Do a run through with a friend or family member, run through practice questions

🔴Plan your outfit and try it on

🔴Review your CV, cover sheet, or any other information you have to hand that might be necessary to showcase your key skills and desirable attributes

On the Day Check List:

🔴Check the device you’ll be using for the interview is fully charged

🔴Check that the setting you’re wanting to use as your interview room is ready

🔴 Set your mobile phone to quiet or do not disturb for the duration of the interview. If possible, leave it in a different room

🔴 Be ready to smile & have fun!

 

 

Latest News

Sharon at 16 years old, sat in front of the TV watching Channel 4, would never have dreamed that one day she would she would be presenting to them 💭

What an incredible opportunity for Sharon, she shared her domestic abuse presentation, experience and educated their employees on the forms of abuse, signs to look out for, how to start a conversation and how to signpost victims. They also learnt about the vital role they play as an employer in supporting their employees who are currently, or have previously, been victims of domestic abuse.

The onus is on employers everywhere to recognise that they can have a huge positive influence over the life of person experiencing domestic abuse; well done Channel 4 for taking the leap, you will change lives.

Sharon’s policy is FREE, easily implemented and quite literally life saving. Please get in touch with Sharon at [email protected] or 01223 608244 to see how she can help protect your employees.

 

What cost of living crisis?

I know, easier to hide under your pillow than face the reality of the current economic climate!

Are you, like so many of us, finding it hard to ignore the chatter around the “cost of living crisis”, no judgement if you’re sick of hearing it; it’s a fair reaction. However, what if a few people could help you feel better about this crisis? And maybe, just maybe, help you live in a world that looks a little more hopeful! The reality is the economic downturn isn’t going anywhere just yet so let’s accept it, embrace it even, and surround ourselves with people who can help us.

You’re probably thinking who are Kameo Recruitment of all people to educate me on this topic?! And whilst you wouldn’t be wrong, we do make the perfect hosts and so we have invited a panel of speakers who do offer expertise on the topic to take centre stage. On February 8th you’ll hear from:

Jeremy Reeve: advisor, mentor & coach for the Federation of Small Businesses

Soreya Senior & Rachel Ashwood: Taylor Vinters Employees who provide global legal and advisory services across the globe.

Lydia Rollings: an experienced accountant and Director of Rollings Accounts, who has witnessed first-hand the impact this crisis has had on businesses.

Ben Groom & Chris Murphy: employers of Mercer UK, Mercer provide financial education services to companies and individuals across the UK.

Before, you say no thanks, not me I challenge you to give it a go and join a FREE webinar: “How to survive and thrive in the current economic climate”.

You can sign up here.

 

 

 

 

 

Today, Sharon presented her Domestic Abuse Policy to Westminster Forum Projects: Next steps for tackling domestic abuse in England and Wales, where she spoke about Sharon’s Policy; the FREE template Domestic Abuse Policy, created for businesses to support all employees who have previously, or are currently experiencing domestic abuse, to promote their health, safety and wellbeing at work.

Sharon said ‘It was fantastic to be heard by members of the Home Office and speak alongside some incredibly inspiring and influential people, who are making positive changes in this space.’

Sharon’s Policy was created in collaboration with The HR DeptEmployers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse and Domestic Abuse Alliance. Her mission is to ensure that every business in the UK has a policy in place. Yes, this is a HUGE mission, but forums, conversations and support are all taking me one step closer to achieving this 🌟

If you are interested in finding out more about Sharon’s Policy, please do contact Sharon on 01223 607670 or [email protected]

 

We’ve all seen it “salary on offer: competitive” – does anyone else think, yawn?! What does this even mean?

Now, offering a competitive salary is possible assuming the hiring manager or talent acquisition team have done their research! When you advertise that you are offering a competitive salary what you’re essentially saying is: “we’ve looked at our sector/ industry, and your job title, and based on our findings the salary we are offering, inclusive of additional benefits, is equal to, or greater than, the average salary for the same or a similar role in the area”. If you do all the above each time you advertise a role, then chances are you really are offering a competitive salary, great stuff! However, the term “competitive Salary” has lost its competitive edge, and here is why…

It is everywhere.

Competitive in relation to what? Other salaries within the same company? The region? The industry you work in? A plethora of questions come to mind when we read “competitive salary”, and in a recent LinkedIn poll we found that:

🌟 38% of 64 people question why there isn’t a salary bracket

🌟 33% of question the transparency

🌟 22% won’t take the time to apply

🌟 8% are still happy to apply

Matt Freestone, the founder of Unmatched (Suffolk-based marketing agency), made a noteworthy comment on this pressing topic:

“Candidates deserve to know the bracket at least to decide if it’s worth their time applying.  Companies not offering the bracket or salary either have a pay transparency issue internally or are not actually paying a competitive salary.

I wouldn’t apply to any role where compensation isn’t shown in the job ad”

This comment perfectly attributes to the general consensus: show us the money!

Finding talented employees is a recurring challenge in the labour market, our advice; make your search more fruitful, ergo more successful by advertising the salary, or salary band.

Replacing competitive salary

Are the cogs turning? Are you currently thinking how do I replace “competitive salary” altogether to capture the skillset we require?

Well, here are our top tips:

⭐State the salary, or a salary bracket, above all else you’ll stand out from your competitors as a business who promote salary equality!

⭐Use the phrase “negotiable” but BE willing to negotiate. Negotiations are a two-way street; you can’t set all the terms. But you can be aware of your non-negotiables before you engage with any potential new hires, if you know skills are an absolute must you’ll identify the pool of candidates who are worth negotiating with.

⭐Does the salary depend on experience? If so, let the applicants know! But give them more than this, what experience are you looking for? Again, think about those non-negotiables. To add: tell them what experience you’re looking for sooner rather than later; you don’t want to miss your ideal candidate because you’ve written your ideal experience as your closing statement.

Eeek, we know our salaries aren’t competitive… what can we do instead?!

Firstly, don’t pretend it is, instead could you….

⭐ Create a working environment people want to be part of e.g., do you reward the small things? have you implemented hybrid or flexible working? Is it time to revamp your incentives? How do you acknowledge your unsung heroes? E.g., your support staff: administration, HR, marketing teams etc.

⭐Improve your employee well-being, this does not need to cost the earth, but this topic is a blog in itself; so, get in touch if you want further tips on this topic!

⭐ Assign a budget to professional development. Did you know Kameo are partnered with the Centre of Excellence? Our unique discount code can give you up to 70% off a range of courses, find out more here.

⭐ Create a brand so good, people can’t say no! Social media is a great medium for doing this. If people have enough to live on salary isn’t always the main driver! Honestly, people love working for a great employer, and this does, occasionally, supersede the financials.

⭐Can you offer a profit share? A profit share will offer you a competitive advantage and can save you money too! When you offer a profit share employees are likely to work harder, smarter, and be more loyal.

⭐Do you accept that the people within your business are human, and life happens? Do you let them take the morning off to see their son in the nativity, do you care if they book a dentist appointment on a Wednesday afternoon? Tell people this, it’s what they want to hear.

Candidates, we can help you combat this too

Candidates, our message to you is think greater than the salary and before you apply, or in the interview:

  • Discuss the salary, ascertain if it’s competitive to you
  • Look at the whole opportunity, not just the salary
  • Benchmark yourself against the opportunity, know your own worth! E.g., do you have desired qualifications? What is your previous experience/job title? How many years have you spent in the industry?
  • What vibe are you getting from your peers and leadership team? Can you see yourself working there?
  • How happy are you knowing you could be part of the business you’re interviewing for? Salary is great but happiness is more.

When the salary is a sticking point for you, we advise:

  • You speak to your recruitment consultant about the national / regional average and use it during your interview. Please note, smaller companies irrespective of region are likely (although not always) to pay less than your large corporate who are looking for the same person.
  • Know when to walk away – if your research and expertise demonstrates you are worthy of more, then it is important that you understand you can walk away and source a more lucrative opportunity elsewhere.

So, if all of the above is true why does “competitive salary” appear so often? Often it comes from not knowing that there are alternatives, it could be a “well this is the way we’ve always hired” culture, and sometimes it’s genuinely the truth. If you can, take “competitive salary” with a pinch of salt, be a bigger picture thinker and use some of the tools we’ve outlined above ⬆️

It’s also worth bearing in mind…

✔️Salary is often confidential

✔️It’s a way of companies filtering out those who are only in it for the money

✔️It gives you room to negotiate!

In a nutshell, if you’re a candidate or a client our message is this: if it feels right go for it, offer the job, apply for the job, say yes to the job, enjoy the journey; after all, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky.

 

East Anglian Salary Survey

Thank you, REED.co.uk, for showing up year after year with your salary survey! It helps us put “competitive” into perspective; clients if you’re offering equal to or below the salaries included in the segment below you cannot state that your salary on offer is competitive.

Marketing
Marketing Manager £41,400
Marketing Executive £26,900
Web Designer £34,300
SEO/ PPC Executive £27,200
Graphic Designer £27,800

 

Sales
Sales Manager £44,400
Sales Executive £29,300
Business Development Manager £42,300
Account Manager £33,300
Sales Engineer £36,900

 

Commercial
Office Manager £32,000
Executive Assistant £29,300
Administrator £25,400 (slight variation for sales & project administrators; £21,400 = sales and £20,400 = project)
Operations Manager £40,200
Personal Assistant £25,800

 

Commercial Continued
Purchasing Assistant £23,600
Warehouse Manager £31,00
Logistics Manager £45,700
Transport Coordinator £21,900
Category Manager £53,500

 

Human Resources
HR Manager £46,300
HR Business Partner £46,100
Recruitment Manager £34,400
Health & Safety Manager £43,200
Analyst £39,600

 

Engineering
Engineering/Technical Manager £45,100
Project Manager £50,400
Field Service Engineer £32,300
Systems Engineer £47,800
Mechanical Engineer £40,300

 

IT
Software Engineer £50,700
Web Apps Developer £38,700
Full Stack Developer £48,100
Automation Test Analyst £47,600
Software Development Manager £64,600

 

Source: https://www.reed.com/downloads/reed-salary-guides-2022

 

 

You’ve been eating ‘picky-tea’s’ everyday since Christmas, knowing what day of the week it is feels like a distant memory and the idea of putting anything other than loungewear on is hellish.

That’s right, it’s the Christmas break.

If you have been lucky enough to have a break over Christmas, getting back into the swing can be daunting. Functioning like a normal person can pose a slight challenge after a festive week or so at home.

Here are a few of my favourite ways to get back in the saddle after the Christmas break:

PACK YOUR BAG & GET ORGANISED

Chances are, you threw your bag in a corner the afternoon you finished work and cracked open a bottle of red. (Ok, maybe that isn’t exactly what everyone does, but I know it’s along those lines)

Now is a good time to go through that work bag, get rid of anything that you no longer need and repack everything neatly.

If you work remotely, consider your desk space, did this turn into a Christmas wrapping station? Is your desk covered in your children’s toys? Have a declutter and set your space up!

GETTING BACK INTO ROUTINE

Late nights and later mornings mean that our bodies aren’t in our usual working time zone (if you have still woken up at 5am to work out… I seriously take my hat off to you)

Start going to bed slightly earlier a few days before your return to work is a good way to lay the foundations for a successful first few days back… Or… Just make sure the coffee machine is definitely working 🍵

PRIORITISE

One of my new year resolutions… Master the art of prioritising.

When you come back, make a condensed list of just 3 or 4 things you MUST do (Steven Bartlett told me this is the key to productivity, well not personally, on his podcast, but if he wants a conversation my DM’s are open😉)

BOOK A MEETING WITH YOUR INBOX

Before you leave, or when you return, block out a chunk of time to tackle your inbox. Mark yourself as offline / in a meeting and get to work deleting, filing, responding etc… thank me later😊

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Come Friday you’ll be saying Christmas was like… 6 years ago? Just know the first week back may not be the most productive week of your life but you returned, you’re getting through and showing up!

Make a list of all of the things you want to achieve in 2023, professionally, personally and every other big dream in between. This will help you feel motivated and back on track, you can look back at this list next year and realise you can do anything you put your mind to 🌍

Here’s to 2023 🥂

2022 was supposedly the year of the great resignation; I’m not sure we felt that too heavily in Cambridge and from our perspective it was one of the most challenging years yet candidate-wise with a significant drop in active candidates versus 2021, however, our recent research suggests that 2023 could see a candidate boom as over 50% of those surveyed over a two-week period are very likely to source something new in the new year. Does this statistic surprise you? How confident are you that your existing employees will stay put next year? Are you reading this thinking I’m in that 50% of people looking for something new? I guess in a world where so much is uncertain the one thing we can all control, to some degree, is our career and our workplace happiness!

If you’d like to chat with us about your 2023 growth plans? Or you’re a candidate on the new year, new career drive, please get in touch on 01223 607670 / [email protected]

 

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