Ca­reers – New-age in­ter­views

Job are no longer con­ducted only face to face, in a Q&A for­mat. We ex­am­ine the var­i­ous ways you get to meet your po­ten­tial em­ployer these days and how you can best pre­pare.

True Love - - Contents - By SISONKE LABASE

Times have changed, and so has the way com­pa­nies do busi­ness. With the tech­nol­ogy that has come along in the in­ter­net era, a face-to-face in­ter­view is no longer the only way to as­sess a can­di­date. If you ex­pect to sit in a room with some­one or be grilled by a panel, you’re in for a sur­prise. We look at some of the com­mon new-age forms of in­ter­view­ing that have gained pop­u­lar­ity in re­cent years.

THE TELECON

Tele­phonic in­ter­views are an easy way to com­mu­ni­cate with you, es­pe­cially if the com­pany is based in an­other town. If the po­ten­tial em­ployer is search­ing for some­one within a short space of time, they can weed out who is worth meet­ing this way. Pre­to­ria-based Suyan Bud­hoo, a life coach at Suc­cess Fo­cus, ex­plains: “Tele­phonic in­ter­views can be con­ducted when the in­ter­vie­wee can­not at­tend an ini­tial in­ter­view, per­haps due to the job be­ing in an­other city or over­seas. This type of in­ter­view saves time, re­cruit­ment and travel costs. It can also help an em­ployer to de­cide which can­di­dates should go on a short list to in­ter­view face to face.”

How to pre­pare: For a tele­phonic in­ter­view, the best way to make a good im­pres­sion is to be be­yond pre­pared. This in­cludes en­sur­ing that your phone is fully charged. It’s a good idea to make sure that you’re in a quiet area with a good sig­nal, so you don’t miss any­thing dur­ing your in­ter­view. Since you can’t see

each other, it may be hard to im­press your in­ter­viewer with just your voice and what you say.

Life coach Katlego Kolobe says prac­tis­ing will en­able you to as­sess what you sound like and if you’re ready. “Prac­tise, prac­tise, prac­tise – record your­self and lis­ten to how you sound. Do you sound pro­fes­sional and en­thu­si­as­tic, or tired? You should also do a prac­tice run with a trusted friend. Set up ev­ery­thing as if it’s the ac­tual in­ter­view. Ask your friend to give you feed­back.”

Bud­hoo agrees, adding that pos­ture is im­por­tant in pro­ject­ing your voice. “Stand up when talk­ing,” she says. “This will add power to your tone of voice. It will also make you sound more con­fi­dent. Re­frain from eat­ing, drink­ing or chew­ing gum. And be in­volved in the con­ver­sa­tion. Show that you’re en­gaged by giv­ing ‘yes’ or ‘I see’ an­swers.”

If you im­press prospec­tive em­ploy­ers in a tele­phonic in­ter­view, it’s likely that they will con­sider you for a face-to-face meet­ing.

THE VIDEO IN­TER­VIEW

Whether you Skype or use plat­forms like Google Han­gouts or FaceTime, re­mem­ber that a video in­ter­view can take place in the pres­ence of a panel rather than just one person on cam­era.

How to pre­pare: Learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence of Nosiphiwo, 32. “I was based in Port El­iz­a­beth, but I wanted to move jobs to be with my hus­band in Pre­to­ria,” she says. “A com­pany of­fered me a video con­fer­ence in­ter­view. I agreed to it. I thought I was ready but mid­way through our talk, I re­alised my bat­tery was low – I’d for­got­ten to charge it. I was so em­bar­rassed, but still asked the in­ter­viewer if I could charge it. He was very un­der­stand­ing as I plugged in the charger and we con­tin­ued. In the end, I got the job, but I’ve learnt to dou­ble-check ev­ery­thing.” As with a tele­phonic in­ter­view, make sure that your tech­nol­ogy is up to scratch.

Kolobe says: “Use so­cial media like LinkedIn to do some of the leg work for you; don’t just rely on your CV. Your busi­ness pro­file on so­cial media gives prospec­tive com­pa­nies an idea of who you are, which helps when all you have is a 15-minute telecon or video in­ter­view. If you’ve never used Skype, set up an ac­count, record a video and do test runs with a friend. Watch your videos to re­view and im­prove how you come across. And make sure the back­ground looks clean and pro­fes­sional. Keep short, sharp notes next to your lap­top out of sight, and en­sure that you can ref­er­ence any re­minders eas­ily.”

Dr An­tje Berlin – an ex­ec­u­tive coach at Berlin Coach­ing –ad­vises that you use the flex­i­bil­ity you have. Use be­ing in the com­fort of your own space to your ad­van­tage by re­lax­ing and show­ing your po­ten­tial em­ployer the best ver­sion of your­self. “But make sure that tech­nol­ogy doesn’t get in the way of you pre­sent­ing your­self,” she warns.

“You still need to put across your au­then­tic self in the in­ter­view. It’s all about con­nec­tion – tak­ing the time to get to know the other person on video. Do re­search on the com­pany web­site, and on the LinkedIn ac­count of the person in­ter­view­ing you, so you’re more fa­mil­iar with them. The beauty of the video in­ter­view is that you can talk from the com­fort of your own home. It re­moves the stress of your get­ting stuck in traf­fic on your way to the in­ter­view and wor­ry­ing that you’ll ar­rive late and ap­pear un­pro­fes­sional. This way, it’s eas­ier to be re­laxed, on time and your au­then­tic self.”

Dr Berlin ad­vises in­ter­vie­wees to lis­ten care­fully, so that they can en­gage in a two-way con­ver­sa­tion with the in­ter­viewer. “It isn’t about just one person speak­ing. Don’t in­ter­rupt the in­ter­viewer in mid-sen­tence with your pre­pared re­sponse. You need to lis­ten, wait for him or her to fin­ish, and then speak. Lis­ten­ing plays a big part in this type of in­ter­view. And tim­ing is im­por­tant – it’s not just about you de­liv­er­ing the mes­sage of how great you are. Wait for when it’s right for you to de­scribe how you plan to cre­ate some­thing new with the com­pany that will fit with who you and they are.”

Dress­ing prop­erly is also a must. Even though you’re com­mu­ni­cat­ing via video, you still need to make an im­pres­sion. “You still want to be in work mode in your head space,” says Dr Berlin, “so don’t stay in your py­ja­mas or look like you just got out of bed. Flex­i­bil­ity is the up side to the video in­ter­view, but dis­ci­pline comes with it. You have to get up and be ready, as if you were walk­ing into an of­fice. Look presentable.”

THE PITCH

Get­ting a can­di­date to pitch a demo pro­ject or give a pre­sen­ta­tion of what they’d do if hired is a new way of suss­ing out which can­di­date is best suited for a job. It’s about more than your CV and skill set – it’s also about the style you pro­ject and your way of think­ing. It’s a great way for the in­ter­viewer to get a sense of your abil­i­ties. Even if you aren’t great at in-person in­ter­views or in­ter­per­sonal skills, you can com­pen­sate with your ideas and so­lu­tions for a pro­ject. This type of in­ter­view is all about sell­ing your­self.

How to pre­pare: Dr Berlin ex­plains that pitch­ing a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem that the in­ter­viewer as­signs you is the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to show that you’re ca­pa­ble of be­ing part of the team. “Do your re­search, as it gives you some­thing to start a con­ver­sa­tion with. You could start by say­ing some­thing like: ‘I saw you do a lot of out­reach work with the NGO [name it]. It’s some­thing I’m in­ter­ested in, which is why I took this an­gle.’

“That way, it gives more com­mon ground and you can build a hu­man con­nec­tion. It’s about work cul­ture as well: when you pitch, the in­ter­viewer is try­ing to as­sess whether you’d fit the team.”

Kolobe agrees that pre­par­ing a demo pro­ject gives you the op­por­tu­nity to see if your per­sonal goals are the same as the com­pany’s, and if you can be part of its cul­ture and add value.

“Be clear on your ca­reer and per­sonal goals,” she says. “You need to ex­press ex­actly why you want the job, and why you are the best among the thou­sands who may be suited to it. Em­ploy­ers now re­cruit from all over, so stand out by ex­plain­ing ex­actly how your goals match those of the firm. Pitch­ing chal­lenges you to know how you will add value, what you still need to learn, and what you find ex­cit­ing or in­ter­est­ing.”

Dr Berlin says: “Don’t make your pre­sen­ta­tion a mono­logue. Don’t rush it. Trust that you’ll be in­ter­est­ing enough for the in­ter­viewer to lis­ten. Break it up into chunks so peo­ple can ask ques­tions and com­ment in be­tween. Be in­ter­ested in what they have to say and be flex­i­ble, know­ing there’ll be some in­ter­rup­tions. So pre­pare, but don’t be rigid. You need to in­clude what’s com­ing in from the other side, and be con­fi­dent to cre­ate on the spot. Use this chance to let your hard work and en­thu­si­asm show.” If you do it just right, you can score your­self a new job.

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