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How to Prepare for a Skype Interview

A job interview for an exciting new role can be one of the most nerve-wracking and memorable experiences in your life – as a recruiter, I see candidates receive life-changing job offers on a regular basis – it never fails to excite me! 

Working with companies and candidates across the board, I have seen a spike in the number of initial interviews being conducted via Skype or other video programs.  

I am asked time and again by candidates on how to prepare for and conduct a Skype interview, so here are my top tips. 

 

Check Your Speed 

Increasingly, Skype interviews are happening in public places such as local libraries, in your car or even quiet coffee spots – basically anywhere you can get a quiet place and, more importantly, away from your current workplace. This is understandable as our working lives are increasingly busy, and you might only have a specific timeframe to be able to conduct your interview. 

If you have no alternative than to conduct your interview where you are relying on someone else’s internet speed, it is important to check the speed of the internet before you decide on this as a suitable interview place. Internet speeds in public places can be highly unreliable, so where possible, we suggest using your own home, that of a friend or relative, or an office space where you can guarantee that you will have enough bandwidth. 

Remember to make sure you have Skype (or the interview software that you will be using) downloaded on your device and that your username and password are correct, and sign in a few minutes early. 

 

A Quiet Place 

Alongside internet speeds, if you must conduct your interview somewhere other than your home or office, make sure that your place of choice is as quiet as possible, with no distractions.  

If you must use a coffee shop, avoid the lunchtime rush hour. If you are interviewing from your car park away from busy roads and in a quiet spot, turn noisy engines and air-con off. 

 

Make Notes – But Don’t Rely on Them 

You might be nervous, and this is understandable if the role is one you’ve wanted for a while, or for a company you admire. I always suggest to candidates to make notes to help them remember certain topics they might want to cover or specific stories they want to talk about – but not to rely too heavily on these notes. 

What I don’t suggest is trying to memorise your notes word for word or consulting them every time you go to answer a question. Always looking down at your notes will make you appear nervous (even if you aren’t) and the breaking of eye contact will not put the interviewer at ease. 

The key is to familiarise yourself with your notes – this can be done in the days leading up to your Skype interview (don’t leave it until the last minute) and use them as a frame of reference for the interview, not a hard and fast guide. You want your conversation to flow freely, and this is hard to achieve when you refuse to stray from a determined set of answers.  

Sometimes candidates tell me that they made a long list of notes, only for them to completely forget about them once the interview has started! Each interview is different, remember to gauge the tone and pace of the interview – your notes are there to help you if you get stuck, it’s not a script. 

 

Work the Camera 

It is tempting in Skype interviews to look at yourself on the screen, rather than into the camera of your device, but remember to resist the urge to do this – it is off-putting and can make you come across as vain, self-centred or simply confused by the whole process. 

Dress in smart attire that you would wear if you were attending a face-to-face interview, and yes, I suggest from the waist down also. If you must get up suddenly in the middle of the interview, you don’t want the interviewer seeing that you’re wearing gym shorts. 

Smile and don’t be afraid to use hand gestures, even if you aren’t sure if the interviewer can see them. I feel that in Skype interviews, it can be harder to let your personality come across than in a face-to-face interview, so you might need to try a little harder to let your true self come across. 

It can be strange conducting a Skype or video interview, especially if you aren’t used to them, so it is useful to remember that they are not as formal as a face-to-face interview and that once you have cleared this stage, you can wow the interviewer in real-life. 

If you are still looking for your next role to progress your career, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help. 

Thanks,  

Amrutha Murali 

What to Do When You Are Rejected for Being Overqualified

During my time as a recruiter, I have matched countless candidates to a wide variety of skills and positions, and I can say confidently – you never know what’s around the corner.  

I have seen all manner of hiring partnerships and recruiting trends come and go over the years. 

But increasingly, there has been a rise in the number of candidates being turned away from even executive roles for being ‘overqualified’. 

This is as frustrating for me as I know it is for the candidate – but it is also understandable. 

In recruiting, being told that you are overqualified usually means that the hiring manager thinks you are either going to get boredbecome unsatisfied too quickly or that you are using this role as a steppingstone until something better comes along. 

But as the world of work has changed around us, there is not one ‘set’ trajectory for many careers or professions anymore. It is now quite common for candidates of all abilities to seek out new challenges – a change of career direction, training in an area you have always been interested in or a move to a new city; there are plenty of reasons for candidates of all abilities apply for a range of roles. 

This has led to a mismatch between the available roles and the types of people applying – and it has led to some confusion for hiring managers. 

If you have been turned away from a role and the reason was that you were ‘overqualified’, it can be disheartening, but, remember – you aren’t the only one.  

This article discusses the current issue of ‘overqualified’ applicants and what to do if you find yourself in this situation.  

 

Go Direct (to the Recruiter or Hiring Manager) 

 

 

This is probably the most crucial piece of advice I have, and so I’ll cover it first. 

If you are applying to a role direct or using a recruiter, make sure you speak directly to the hiring manager (or get the recruiter to talk to them on your behalf) to position yourself before you start your formal application. 

This is a critical step as it allows you to explain your situation. Yes, you might be applying for a role which they consider is below your level of expertise, but there’s a reason for it – and this is your opportunity to explain your situation, showing how serious you are about the position. 

This will put the hiring manager at ease and set you apart from the other applicants. It is such an easy way to give yourself an advantage over the other applicants, but you would be surprised as to how many candidates overlook it.  

 

Explain Your Position 

 

 

Often, when an HR manager is looking at a CV or Resume of someone who they think is overqualified, they presume that you will get bored in your position or move on quickly.  

Yes, you may be overqualified for the role, but in explaining exactly why you are applying for this job at this time, it will put their mind at ease. 

Another reason I see candidates being rejected is the belief that the company will not be able to afford them due to their extensive experience. 

This is one of the times when I would suggest mentioning salary at an earlier opportunity. You don’t have to be explicit, but if you really want the job, it’s worth mentioning at the start of your conversation that you are aware this might be an issue, and that you are prepared to negotiate.  

 

Sell Your Transferable Skills 

 

 

Being rejected for being ‘overqualified’ for a job can be a confusing time for any job seeker. If it were a relationship, we’d be hearing the words ‘it’s not you, it’s me’… 

There are plenty of reasons for the hiring manager to hire you, but they often get put off initially by the perceived imbalance of skills and/or salary expectations. 

In your initial talk with the hiring manager, be sure to highlight your transferable skills. Demonstrate your communication skills, teamwork/team leader experience (if applicable), organisational skills, adaptability and work ethic. 

Likewise, it can be a sensible idea to downplay particular previous experience if it is irrelevant to the position you are applying for.  

For example, if you have previously held a few different management roles and are now applying for a lower-level position, you might only include the most recent post. Similarly, you might want to omit a higher-level position you held in a field unrelated to the job you are currently applying. 

Finally, as recruiters, we strongly advise tailoring your CV specifically to each role you apply for. 

 

How Your Recruiter Can Help 

A recruiter can help guide you through the process of applying for jobs that your CV might not align with, whatever the reason. 

A good recruiter will be able to help you tailor your CV to the positions that you want, will be able to guide you through the interview with their expertise, and crucially, they can be the key to getting you the interviews you really want in the first place.  

If you have been turned down for a position you truthfully wanted for being ‘overqualified’ and aren’t sure what your next steps should be, speak to a recruiter, like the experts at Jobfitts. 

 

Thanks, 

Amrutha Murali 

How to Be a Competitive Candidate in Today’s Knowledge Economy

The old-fashioned idea that the finance industry is just about number-crunching in a cubicle doesn’t cut it any more. In today’s economy, it’s all about the efficient creation, communication and dissemination of knowledge 

To succeed in the financial world, you will need the ability to build successful relationships, using interpersonal skills, as well as ensuring you have recognised industry qualifications. 

 

What is the Knowledge Economy? 

 

 

The World Bank has set four pillars of the knowledge economy: education, innovation systems, information infrastructure, and economic and institutional regimes.  Where you have an educated population, you have the scope to use knowledge effectively, thus creating a workforce where individuals can increase and share knowledge, contributing to economic growth overall. 

Education in this context includes school education, further education, vocational training and lifelong learning. Innovation allows businesses to tap into global knowledge, research and development.  Information Infrastructure facilitates communication, and ICT provides the interface for all knowledge-driven economies across the globe. Finally, economic and institutional regimes offer incentives for the creation and distribution of existing knowledge. 

The Knowledge Economy (KE) relies on production, distribution and the sharing of ideas and information. Australia is doing well as a knowledge economy, rated above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average for most indicators of readiness to move towards a knowledge-based economy, with continued robust growth predicted shortly. You can find more on related data here. 

In the finance industry, ensuring employees can apply knowledge and keep up to speed with ever-changing technologies and skills is paramount, and the right mix of soft and IT skills will set you apart from the crowd when job-hunting. Top capabilities vary by specific job. However, soft skills are essential across the board and can enhance your competitiveness in the employment marketplace.  

 

Upskill Yourself 

 

 

To progress in today’s fast-paced business world, you need to develop and upgrade your skills continually.  Do you know what the crucial skills required for your industry are? Do you have them? Can you offer demonstrative evidence that you are up to date in your skills and thinking?   

Engaging in professional learning, or Continued Professional Development, will give you an advantage when employers are looking at prospective candidates. As well as showing your actual skill set and confirming your ability to do the job, it also demonstrates your willingness to learn and take on new ideas and challenges.  

In the finance world, you’ll also need to ensure you can demonstrate various specialist skills, such as high competence for analytics and financial reporting, as well as being able to employ lateral thinking. With increased development and progression in ICT, you’ll also need to ensure you are proficient in current software and practice, backed up with concrete examples. 

Are you fully conversant with industry trends and market demand? There are many ways to ensure you are up to speed – follow critical influencers on social media, listen to relevant podcasts, subscribe to business blogs, use analytical tools – showing an interest in the industry trends ensures you come across as forward-thinking, willing to take on new practices and ideas to ensure your business remains competitive.  

It’s essential to have distinct examples of these abilities to enable you to demonstrate your skills on your CV and at interview. Take time to think about how you can do this to best show your aptitude for the role. 

 

Don’t Forget Soft Skills 

 

 

As well as the pieces of paper that confirm your qualifications, you will also need to consider your transferable, or ‘soft’ skills. These are attributes that are important whatever the job for which you’re applying. Soft skills include the ability to listen to others, show empathy, work ethic, how you manage conflict, attitude, teamwork, creative thinking and communication style. They characterise how you interact with others, and as they are developed over your lifetime, are harder to measure. However, employers value soft skills highly. Not only do they provide an indicator of a prospective employee’s ability to adapt, but they offer a great indication of how you will give a good ‘fit’ in the culture of the workplace, and increasingly employers are using a behavioural-based interview structure to gauge candidates’ skills such as teamwork, problemsolving and attention to detail.  

Making a list of the soft skills you possess, and comparing them to the requirements of the job you’re applying for, will show you what the employer is looking for in a candidate. If you have additional skills not mentioned in the job advert that you think is relevant, include them as keywords on your CV and covering letter. 

 

Why Employers Care About Soft Skills 

After all, unless you’re working in a vacuum, you will need to interact with others in some way. So being able to engage is vital in any job. If you’re likely to be in direct contact with customers, you will need the skills to be able to listen and provide a polite and helpful service.  At the very least, you’ll be interacting, discussing and collaborating with colleagues, which requires several soft skills. It also makes for a happier workplace! 

Also, as soft skills are acquired and developed over time, candidates with excellent soft skills are often seen as having broad experience which can help diversify, enabling the company to grow and progress over timeAnother reason employers like transferable skills are that, by their very nature, they can be deployed into any position, making you an adaptable employee. 

Make sure you draw attention to the soft skills you have that are relevant to the job you want. Include them in your CV and covering letter, and at interview use opportunities to show them by listening to what the employer is saying (even if you’ve heard it before), being polite and friendly to everyone you meet (even when the interviewer is not around – you never know who will report back!) and show a positive attitude.  

So, brush up on your skills, get that additional training if you need it, and ensure you gain the competitive advantage you need to become the sought-after professional employers need. You can find more information and key tips on our website here. 

 

Thanks  

Amrutha 

 

About JobFitts 

JobFitts Consultants are a specialist provider of professional Recruitment Services for the Financial Services sector and related suppliers in Australia. Since 2003 we have recruited and placed a breadth of operational roles at all levels from HR, Accounting, Marketing and Customer Service/Frontline. 

To find out more visit our website at JobFitts here or call us on (02) 9220 3595 or email here.