In times of Coronavirus, you might be worried that there are no jobs out there. But Ciara applied for an apprenticeship and was successful in her online job interview. She shares her tips and experience to help any young people wondering what an online job interview involves.
Q. How did you find a job you wanted to apply for?
It was an apprenticeship – and I found the apprenticeship whilst researching which companies offered degree apprenticeships, as well as the areas they were in.
Q. Were you told about the application process having online assessments and online job interviews in advance?
In the initial job description, they didn’t talk about what the interview process would be. But after I applied, I received an email about 3 weeks later inviting me to the next stage and outlining what the 3 different assessments would be.
One of the good things about this application process was that at each stage, they gave you a rough estimate of when you would expect to hear from them. Something that really stood out to me about the application process was that whether you were successful or not, they stated they’d provide feedback. This is something that I hadn’t experienced with other recruitment processes, mainly due to the sheer amount of applications that companies receive.
Q. What did the online assessments involve?
I was asked to complete three assessments for the next stage of my application.
Professional approach, problem solving and general ability
The first one was to do with your dependability and reliability in the working environment. The second one was a technical assessment designed to test your problem-solving and critical reasoning, and the third was a general ability test which was designed to your aptitude across a different number of skills.
Doing practice online assessments first
I was able to practice the tests in advance through a website called SHL and they had a list of the different types of tests (e.g. Verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, general ability, etc.). There was a set deadline for when the tests had to be completed by, but once you made your account, if you didn’t want to do the tests all at once, you could log back in and finish them off at a later date.
I think that doing the practice tests before the real thing is really important because you can get used to the format of the questions and it also helps you take shake off any extra nerves you may have.
Preparing for an online assessment
I did all of my assessments on the same day and to help myself feel more prepared, I made sure I got a good night sleep the night before and I did the practice tests that were provided for each assessment. After I completed the assessments, a message came through to thank me for completing them and to let me know that they would be in contact.
Q. You got the job with an online job interview! What was it like?
Before this interview, I hadn’t done an online job interview before. To prepare for the interview, I refreshed my memory on what the company does and what the company’s aims are. I also refreshed my memory on what the role itself was all about and what would be involved (in this case, a technical author apprenticeship). You can guarantee that you will be asked what you know about the company and the role that you are applying for.
On the day itself, I made sure I went to bed a bit earlier so that I could wake up in plenty of time the next day as my interview was at 10 am.
The interview was semi-formal, which meant that I still wore formal interview attire but the questions that were asked felt more like a conversation than an interview. The two interviewers said it themselves – that the whole point of this interview was to get a feel for me as a person and how I would fit in in the company as well as assess my aptitude for the role.
Skype for Business was used for the interview but since I already had Skype downloaded on my laptop, all I had to do was follow the link on the email inviting me to the interview to gain access.
I had done a few videocalls on my laptop before the interview in my dining room, so I knew that my connection would hold up in that part of the house and I knew what the background behind me would look like as well as knowing that there would be no distractions.
Q. Any tips for young people with questions or worries about online job interviews?
- Tip #1: Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get invited to an interview for your first application. The interview that I did was for the fourth company that I applied to!
- Tip #2: Always, and I mean, ALWAYS do your research about the company, the role you’re applying for and how the role fits into the company’s aims/mission. I can guarantee that you will be asked questions on any of those things.
- Tip #3: The interviewers are not there to try and trip you up (although it may seem like it), they just want to push you and get more of a feel for how you react under pressure, who you are as an individual and how you conduct yourself in formal situations.
- Tip #4: Just because you have not worked in the industry that you are applying to before, does not mean that you do not already have some of the skills that the company will be looking for. Many of the things that you did at school, college or through any hobbies/interests will have gained you skills that you may not realise that you even have.
- Tip #5: Make sure you eat something before your interview, you’ll perform better and react quicker when you have something in your system! (Additional point: Make sure you get a goodnight’s sleep for both any assessments you have to complete and the interview itself.)
Thank you to Ciara for sharing your experience with the youth community…
The jobs landscape has definitely changed as a result of Coronavirus but if you are looking for jobs, apprenticeships and graduate positions please don’t give up hope.
Youth Friendly Employers are catching up to the need for a new way to do things. It’s still worth applying for jobs and opportunities because more and more employers are using online job interviews to help keep things moving. While you’re applying in the hope of getting job interviews, you can keep building your skills too with our free online Young Professional Training. And if you want to add a volunteering achievement to your CV, you can join our volunteer Youth Ambassadors who are all currently working online to make sure young people’s voice are heard by employers, educators and the government.