On the one hand they aren’t really. If you know what you’re doing.

But most of us are not broadcasters. And the only video calls we ever really make are with our mates, and never really trying to impress a new employer.

And how many interviews have you ever had to do with the family running around in the background? Or with the stereo blaring from upstairs?

Because many of our jobseekers have to overcome these hurdles and more. How do you get the lighting right? How do you dress? How do you lead and guide the conversation rather than a series of grunts and Yes’s and No’s?

We know that the online coaching that we do makes a massive difference. So do our jobseekers. 

In any interview first impressions count. An online interview is not an informal chat – get it right, understand the principles involved and you will be way ahead of the competition. And whatever background or experience you have, you will stand a much better chance.

In today’s market, as we all try to keep apart from each other, recruitment still has to go on. And if you can master the online interview then you will find yourself back in work much quicker than most. 

 

Of course I realise it’s a tough market, and of course there are millions of people looking for work.

But we work with lots of people, and we know that many have poor CVs, are looking for jobs in the wrong places, and are putting themselves at the back of the queue when it comes to their job search.

The problem is, most of us panic when we are out of work. And most of us think we know better than anyone else about their career.

We work with individuals at all levels. And do you know what? Few have a high enough opinion of their own experience and their own abilities. So they rarely communicate just what a positive effect they have had on their previous employers. If you don’t tell people how good you are, no one will guess it.

There’s a whole load of technology that sifts and filters applications, especially when those recruiting are receiving 1000s of them. Most of it is common sense and a great help to sift through potential candidates.

But if you do not realise it is there, if you do not know how it works, then you might think a friendly human face is going to make an inspired choice and choose your CV. Computers won’t do that, especially if you don’t play their game.

And employers are now using remote technology to interview and shortlist. You won’t understand how a poor online interview can make you look terrible. Some simple steps can make you look far better than anyone else. But if you have not been told, then you don’t have much of a chance.

We see this the whole time, and we can change people’s chances in just a few weeks. As plenty of testimonials will show.

It doesn’t cost much, but talk to the professionals. We really can make a difference.

 

People who find themselves out of work tend to do one of two things in our experience. Either they refuse to look at anything even slightly below the job they have just come out of, or they go completely the other way and want to look at anything and everything. Insecurity and fear of being out of a job forever means they take the first thing that comes along. Even if it is completely inappropriate.

If you are in the unfortunate position of finding yourself unemployed, try not to panic. But equally do not dismiss every job that comes your way because it doesn’t look perfect. The one thing you have in your situation that costs you nothing is time. Time to speak to people, to explore opportunities, to get known by other employers. And you never know where an opportunity or a conversation might take you.

The test we have always recommended is “If this was the only opportunity around in three months time, would I look at it?” If the answer to that is yes, then look at it now. You can always turn it down, but if it is the only game in town and it is interesting why not have a chat?

Good luck, it is not an easy market but on the other hand you have real skills. Believe in yourself and talk to as many people as possible and you’ll probably find the ideal opportunity.

 

Anybody remember Boys from the Black Stuff? 

An early 80s Alan Bleasdale drama that dates anyone who watched it, it starred Bernard Hill as Yosser Hughes. 

Yosser used the worst networking style you could imagine – he would normally open the conversation “Gizza job, I can do that”. He topped it off with a head-butt for anyone who didn’t.

There are much more subtle ways, especially if you are approaching people who you have known well. Nearly everybody, even if you are old mates, will feel embarrassed if you approach them and ask them if they have a job. 

They will feel especially embarrassed if they do have one but you are not right for it, or if they just can’t offer you one. And so they may not reply and hope that you go away.

But most people are always open to helping their old friends. So anybody who approaches them asking for helpful contacts or places to look creates no embarrassment. At worst you are happy to reply and say you don’t really know anybody at the moment but will keep your eye out. Or alternatively they will genuinely know somebody who is looking or who is worth talking to.

Once you have opened the conversation they might decide actually you’ve changed, you’ve matured and you have the right experience that might help them out. And as they know you they know your strengths and your weaknesses but know you are genuine.

In any case, the indirect approach nearly always works well in networking. The direct one rarely does. And old acquaintances are the best place to start looking.

Good luck 

Coronavirus has created an awful lot of redundancies, but people are still finding new jobs. It’s time to find out how you can do that too.

This might be the worst slump we’ve had in the past 12 years, and just possibly unemployment is about to go through the roof, but employers are still recruiting. 

In fact if you look at the figures many SME’s (small to medium-size enterprises) are planning to recruit this year. Some of them have landed on their feet in sectors that are doing extremely well, others naturally have a steady turnover of jobs and are always looking to find new people. 

But if you compare the job market today to the one that we saw 12 months ago, it is very different. And as a result, before you even start to apply for jobs, you need to understand how to give yourself the best opportunity.

And while for many that means applying for jobs online, the operative word here is many. Everybody’s doing it. It makes it really difficult to stand out from the crowd if that crowd is a really big one.

Much better, therefore, to find yourself in a shortlist of one. How do you do that? You need to be seen by employers before they even know they’re looking for a job. Or before they have briefed recruitment consultancies, or because someone you know well has recommended you.

It is time to dust off your old contacts. And it is time to leverage these contacts through LinkedIn. It is the premier networking site in the world, while it has its limitations, when you genuinely know somebody is a great way of getting back in touch.

You won’t remember all of them, but if you put all of your details properly into LinkedIn and search for people who were at the same school, university and employer as you, it is surprising how many familiar faces you will see. 

And it is surprising how old faces are really happy to help someone if there is an opportunity.

 

 

The Internet has changed everything. With one click of the mouse you can apply to hundreds of jobs, but so can everyone else.

While it is easier to apply, it is much more difficult to stand out.

And it is more difficult for companies to choose the right one, so the way they view and sift applications has also changed.

Because just as machines have helped with applications, they are also doing a lot of the selection. Programs that look at relevance, experience, character, stability and many other factors. Sifting began with simple pre-qualifying questions, but now some recruiters use sophisticated readers to scan application letters and CVs against specific criteria. Scary.

As we go increasingly mobile, recruitment decisions are now being made on mobile phones and iPads rather than paper. So you need to ensure your CV will stand up to scrutiny and out from the crowd when viewed in these new formats.

So, what can you do?

First of all, read the advertisement carefully. What is the company looking for? Look at your CV, especially the “profile” section. Savvy applicants now make sure this profile matches almost exactly what is requested in the advertisement.

This is not for the benefit of humans, who rarely read profiles, but for computers who never tire of them.

Apparently this is the most feared question in interviews, and features in more Internet searches than any other interview question.

And it’s surprising really, because if you think about it it is the one question that you should know all the answers to. But then most candidates are worried about how they express themselves and how they present themselves in the best possible light.

Well here’s my first tip, don’t talk about yourself, talk about the things you’ve done and achieved, the things that you are most proud of. And give due prominence to the most recent events. It is absolutely fantastic that you got the best A-level results in the country, but if that was 40 years ago I don’t think it is going to impress many employers.

On the other hand, if you have taken your current dealership from bottom of the manufacturers league to into the top 10 in the last two years they may well sit up and listen. If you just tell them you are an inspirational leader they probably won’t take your word for it and ask for some more proof. Achievements, figures, objectively measured results are what matters.

The key thing is to expect this question, it will get asked at least 50% of the time in interviews. Prepare and practice your answer and you will be rarely under pressure when you answer it.

It is always tempting, you are desperate to justify yourself in an interview.

And the best way to do that is to demonstrate what an idiot your previous boss was. Or how incompetent the board was. Or what a ridiculous strategy they were following.

It is probably one of the most common mistakes that jobseekers make. It is entirely understandable and completely wrong. All employers want loyal committed and preferably compliant recruits. It is best not to fall at the first hurdle by giving them definitive proof that you are anything but.

However idiotic or stupid your employer may be, and we all concede that it is quite possible, do not fall into this basic trap. You will almost certainly head to Room 101 before you get a further chance to explain yourself.

All employers have their own agendas, few of them are perfect and everyone accepts that. But few accept that the person you were reporting into is more idiotic than you. So if you’ve been stupid enough to work for them that any length of time it reflects badly on you as much as it does on them. And your disloyalty and disrespect will put almost everybody off.

By all means explain you have had disagreements, by all means explain that you were not the right person for the job. But never be rude about a previous employer, because you won’t get the next job.

Whether you are submitting a CV or attending an interview, the initial impact you make will broadly determine the outcome of the process.

In fact it can be as little as five seconds during which a lot of decisions are made.

Take the humble CV, for instance. Tests have shown that a recruiter will make up a decision about a candidate’s CV in between 6 and 8 seconds.

Admittedly that decision may be a definite No, a definite Yes and lots of Maybes. They then spend a bit more time on the Maybes, but in eight seconds you might not get that far.

In interview situations, however objective the process, a similar instant reaction, apparently less than five seconds, is made by most of us. It dates back to much earlier times, when your very survival depended upon whether an individual was for you or against you. And we just can’t help using those instincts, whatever process we are asked to go through.

It is not the whole secret to preparing a CV or to attending an interview, but if you are entirely capable, and competent, and you can make a great first impression and you can interview well then you are on the road to success.

If you can’t, you have to work that little bit harder. Learn to make an instant impact and you will do better.

However unfair that is.