Video interviews are a new trend in the graduate job process. On the one hand they help recruiters and organisations filter candidates at an early stage, but because they’re different, there’s potential to cause intimidation among graduate job seekers. So, before you get nervous, get knowledgeable and read our tips.

Following are some tips on how to prepare and ultimately excel in a Skype interview:

An interview is an interview
Whether you are being interviewed on Skype, over the phone or in person, all the general rules of a job interview apply. Research the company, read the job description thoroughly, know your resume inside out and have a few answers for common interview questions prepared. Just because you are not meeting the interviewer in the flesh doesn’t mean any less preparation is involved.

Dress for the occasion
Key to a video interview is making sure you look presentable. You might feel silly sitting at home wearing a suit and talking to a computer, but it will make all the difference. Not only will the interviewer think you look great and will already be picturing you in his/her workplace, it will help you to mentally prepare and get into a professional mode of thinking.

Choose your Colors Wisely
It’s best to wear neutral, solid colors (shades of black, blue or grey are best) because these colors look the best on video and don’t create any distractions for your interviewer. Also, try to stay away from colors that match your skin and hair tones, plaids and stripes that look overly busy on video, and women in particular should leave the glittery jewelry off-camera.

Clean up your room
Your surroundings can be just as important as your personal presentation. Whether the interview is being conducted from your home or an office environment, the interviewer does not want to see you sitting in front of a pile of junk. Clean up the room as you don’t want anything in the background to distract the interviewer from what you have to say.

Keep the noise down
Finding a quiet place to do the interview is vital as the microphone picks up more background noise than you might think. Dogs barking, children crying, mobile phones or music are not welcome distractions when an interviewer is trying to determine whether you will be suitable for a job. Nor does it look good if you have people walking in and out of the room – if need be, make yourself a ‘do not disturb’ sign and stick it on the door.








Common interview questions

To demonstrate at an interview that you’re the right fit for the role, preparation is vital. Use these common interview questions to prepare succinct, relevant responses; matching your skills and attributes to the needs of the company and role wherever possible. Remember to also prepare a suite of compelling examples to help convince the interviewer that you are the best person for the job. Preparation, positivity and proof are your keys to interview success.

Q. Tell me about yourself.

This is a commonly asked question designed to break the ice. A strong, succinct answer will quickly gain the interviewer’s attention and separate you from other candidates who may be tempted to divulge their life story. Give a brief, concise description of who you are and your key qualifications, strengths and skills. Tailoring your answer to the role on offer and declaring the strongest benefit that you offer an employer will leave the interviewer compelled to know more.

Q. Why do you want to work here?

The interviewer is trying to gauge your enthusiasm for the role as well as your level of knowledge about the company. Give specific examples of things that attracted you to the company and elaborate on your strengths, achievements and skills and how they match the position description, making you the right fit.

Q. What are your strengths?

The interviewer wants to know what you are particularly good at and how this would fit into the role. Choose a few of your key strengths that are required for the role and give examples of how you have demonstrated them successfully in the past. Strengths could include the ability to learn quickly; composure under pressure; ability to multi-task; team focus or your ability to work autonomously.

Q. What are your greatest weaknesses?

The interviewer is trying to gauge your self-awareness. We all have weaknesses so it’s best not to say you don’t have any. Avoid using the word ‘weakness’ and instead talk about an ‘area for improvement’ that is not vital for the job, or specify a ‘challenge’ that you are working to overcome. Demonstrating a willingness to develop yourself and face challenges turns the answer into a positive.

Q. What have been your achievements to date?

The interviewer wants to know if you are a high-achiever and ascertain how your accomplishments will be beneficial to them. Select one or two recent accomplishments that are directly related to the job on offer. Identify the situations, the actions you took, skills you used and the positive outcomes; quantifying the benefits where possible. Show how you can bring what you learned to the new role.

Q. What is the most difficult situation you have faced at work?

The interviewer is trying to find out your definition of ‘difficult’ and whether you can show a logical approach to problem solving. Select a tough work situation that was not caused by you. Explain the way you approached the problem, including the actions you took and the solution you applied to overcome the problem. Give your answer with the air of someone who takes setbacks and frustrations in your stride, as part of the job.

Q. What did you like/dislike about your last role?

The interviewer is trying to find out your key interests and whether the job on offer has responsibilities you will dislike. Focus on what you particularly enjoyed in your last role and what you learned from it, drawing parallels to the new role. When addressing what you disliked, be conscious not to criticise your last employer. Choose an example that does not reflect on your skills (such as company size) or which reveals a positive trait (such as your dislike for prolonged decision making).

Q. Why do you want to leave your current employer?

This should be straightforward. Reflect positively on your current employer but state how you are looking for more challenge, responsibility, experience and a change of environment. Explain how your current role can no longer provide you with these things, but how you believe the role on offer presents an opportunity for growth that will make full use of your strengths and potential.

Q. What are your goals for the future?

A sense of purpose is an attractive feature in an applicant, so this question is designed to probe your ambition and the extent of your career planning. Your commitment is also under question, but avoid blankly stating that ‘I want to be with your company’. Instead, describe how your goal is to continue to grow, learn, add value and take on new responsibilities in the future that build on the role for which you are applying.

Q. How do you respond to working under pressure?

The interviewer wants to see that you have composure, problem solving skills and can stay focused in difficult conditions. Give an example of a time when you were faced with a stressful situation (not caused by you) and how you handled it with poise. Describe the context, how you approached the situation, the actions you took and the positive outcome. Demonstrate how you remained calm, in control and got the job done.

Q. Tell me about a successful team project that you have been involved in. What was your role and what made it a success?

The interviewer is trying to gauge your interpersonal skills and team contribution. Outline the project objectives, your responsibilities, the actions you took to assist the group and the successful results. Provide evidence of how you were a keen collaborator and how your contribution was critical. You also want to demonstrate that you value teamwork and understand its key attributes such as honest communication, a shared purpose and effective problem-solving.






Interview tips: 7 ways to not sabotage an interview It’s not just nerves that can shake an interview. Classic interview mistakes include acting arrogantly or overly emotional, talking too much or refusing to answer certain questions. Here are seven interview tips to ensure you don’t trip up in the vital face-to-face meeting.

A survey by Generation Success in April this year found there are seven “job interview crimes”.
Let’s look at them one by one.

Interview tips: what not to do

1. Turning up late

Your car broke down. The trains were delayed. Your grandma was rushed to emergency. Whatever your reason for being late, it will never be good enough; being on time is interview etiquette 101. If you know you’re going to be unavoidably held up, phone the interviewer before you get there, humbly explain your situation and ask if it’s possible to reschedule at a convenient time. While not ideal, it will make a better first impression than leaving them waiting on you and getting annoyed that their time is being wasted.

2. Not researching the company

If you’ve ever been tripped up in an interview by a seemingly innocent question like, ‘So, what do you know about what we do here?’ you’ll know the importance of doing your research. Google the company for recent news, familiarise yourself with the organisation’s website, company history, divisions, mission statement and social media accounts. Make notes and review them just before the interview to ensure you go in fully prepared.

3. Bad-mouthing your former employer

While you may be eager to paint an honest picture about why you left a particular company, speaking negatively about a former employer can backfire if your interviewer knows your ex-manager or co-workers. What’s more, an employer is always looking for signs that they could work with you, and how mature you would be about handling professional conflict. Blaming others’ incompetence or commenting on how badly you were treated in your last role may simply reflect badly on you, and leave the employer wondering if it would be too much of a risk to hire you.

4. Poor mobile phone etiquette

It seems obvious that you would switch your mobile phone off and stash it in your bag during an interview, right? Unfortunately, our increasing need to treat our phones like ‘adult pacifiers’, as one researcher puts it, is making its way into the interview room – and recruiters warn this is to a job-seeker’s detriment. In fact, answering your phone, replying to a text or keeping the ringer on during an interview is a huge deal-breaker for 60 per cent of hiring managers, according to research conducted by CareerBuilder. Keep it by your side at your own risk.

5. Asking about perks

Tempting as it is to enquire about holiday entitlements and the salary range of the role, experts are unanimous on this one: if you’re not going through a recruiter, don’t raise this in the first interview. Ideally, the topic of money and entitlements should come up towards the end of the second interview, although it’s not uncommon to have to wait until you’re almost at the hiring stage for perks to be discussed in detail.

6. Boasting about the interview on social media

You had a great interview – but the worst thing you can do now is go to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and boast about it or post a revealing update to your friends. CareerBuilder’s survey found that two out of five employers browse social networks to research a potential candidate – with 65 per cent admitting they do it to assess how professionally a candidate presents him or herself online. You have no idea who will be browsing your online accounts after the interview either, so save your updates to share in person.

7. Not following up

This one is an innocent but sometimes serious interview mistake. You may think that you’ll look desperate or come across like a bit of a pest if you follow up after an interview – but nothing could be further from the truth. Time-poor interviewers may see a number of candidates and a prompt thank-you email can not only help you remain uppermost in their mind, but keep you in the running for other positions if it turns out you’re not quite right for this one. And don’t forget to ask at the end of the interview about expectations, such as when they’ll be contacting candidates. If they told you to expect an update by a certain date that’s now passed, a polite, friendly follow-up email is essential.