There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the UK jobs market with a record drop in vacancies and recruitment plans frozen. It is estimated that as many as 13 million jobs are highly affected by the lockdown, representing just over a third of all jobs in the UK. These numbers set records in all the wrong ways – but they are not unexpected, given the lockdown and big hit the economy is taking. The good news is that our economy has the capacity to recover quickly and many companies are already starting to think of new & innovative ways of doing business. As a nation we also have a habit of bouncing back against adversity.
It is worth noting that, even in this crisis, some employers are booming. Technology companies, the food sector and logistics & distribution firms are busier than ever so you may not end up in your chosen career but, you can get a job. You just need to approach job hunting in a different way & dig out opportunities.
Firms are moving assessments and interviews online so one tip I can give you is practice & rehearse your script for a spot on Teams, Zoom or Skype etc. Keeping your dream alive is important so it is necessary you can handle yourself online as you can, face to face. In fact – it may suit some of you better being born into this digital age. Here are a few tips:
* Most people don’t prepare for skype or mobile interviews as rigorously as they should, and the fallout rate is high. Ensure you gather all the relevant information beforehand, callers name, job description, company profile etc and know how to market your skills & abilities.
* To reduce the nerves – just remember it is a conversation and nothing more – it’s really a series of questions and answers. An employer is really looking for 3 things: Can you do the job; will add value or hinder & will you stay. Don’t think further than this.
* Don’t make the blanket assumption that it will be less formal than a face to face interview – it will carry the same concertation so approach the same way.
* Practice, focusing on you the needs of the role, show you understand them and how you can handle & add value to the role. Develop ways of accentuating your skills or problem-solving ability and how they’re in sync with the role.
* Also practice extensively answering the most common interview questions which crop up time & time again. Be able to talk through them clearly & get your core skills or experiences down pat.
* Be a real listener, ask smart questions & do not rush your answers. Poise, calm & confidence are admirable traits.
* Technical check – unless Virgin decide to cut your connection mid-interview – do ensure your wi-fi is fine & also check such minor things as lighting & most of all, the angle of your camera. Trial run with a pal to ensure they can hear you & vice versa.
* Appearance – keep the same rules as if you were going on a first date – waist upwards anyway ?
* Employers & recruiters for that matter, will home in more on your experience, skills, degree & why you chose it, your location as well as your financial requirements to ensure you are in sync with their requirements.
* Whether your interview is taking place in a swish boardroom, a glamorous bar or in your kitchen, the secret to your success is not just research, it’s practice & preparation too. No matter where you are, the same principles & rules of interview etiquette will apply.
As a recent graduate you may not have all expertise required but, you will win people over with your attitude, willingness, honesty and genuine interest in the position you have applied for – always keep this in mind.