5 Steps to Video Interview Success

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Many employers use video interviews for the initial stage of the recruitment process. It’s an efficient way for recruiters to screen and evaluate candidates while allowing the candidate the opportunity to record their interview at a time that suits them. 

This can be an intimidating process if you haven’t done anything like this before but with a few simple steps you can set yourself up for video interview success.

Step 1 – Test your equipment

Before you start your video interview make sure you are connected to the internet, your camera and microphone are working and your PC or laptop is sufficiently charged. You’ll be surprised how many candidates forget this first step. My favourite recruiter story is where a candidate got mad with the technology during his video interview. He thought it had stopped recording, but it hadn’t and he started to use some very colourful language. Needless to say, he didn’t get through to the next stage. 

Step 2 – Location 

Choose your location wisely to minimise distractions and close the door. You don’t want to be put off by your cat walking across your laptop or someone interrupting you during the interview. You also don’t want your video interviewer to experience the unexpected. A recruiter shared their experience of when an interviewee’s girlfriend walked behind him stark naked in camera view – they definitely weren’t expecting that. 

Step 3 – Dress to impress

Dress for the video interview as you would if you are attending a face to face interview. Making a great first impression is an important part of the recruitment process. Recruiter stories never cease to amaze me, I’ll never forget the one where a candidate changed his outfit during every question of the video interview. He started in a suit and finished wearing a snorkel and swimming trunks. Memorable yes but not for the right reason.

Step 4 – Preparation and practice

As with any type of interview, it is important to prepare for ultimate interview success. Research the company, study the job description and consider the type of questions you may be asked. Our STARR technique worksheet over on our Resources page will help you structure each answer in a systematic way. Be concise with your answers as you will have a limited time to respond. Many candidates are cut off mid-sentence before they have answered the question and equally, there are just as many who have not used the full time available. Both of these will impact your score, so make sure you fully answer each question (without rambling!) and use the time available to expand on your answer using the STARR technique.  

Step 5 – Be polite 

It is essential to remember your manners at all times! Be polite, smile and avoid using slang. I hear countless recruiter stories of candidates who have dropped the F-bomb during their video interview. Swearing can be considered as poor judgement and can seriously jeopardise your chances of securing your dream graduate role. 

So, there you are, my top tips for video interview success.  


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5 Assessment Centre Myths and How to Overcome Them

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Does the thought of an assessment centre send you running for the hills? Assessment centres can be an intimidating process if you don't know what to expect and can occasionally send your imagination into overdrive. Fear not, as Rachael’s myth buster blog will help calm your nerves and sort the facts from the fiction. 

1. The assessor is scary

Your assessor will do everything they can to make you feel at ease during the assessment centre. Just because they are your assessor it doesn't mean that they aren't nervous too. Embrace the experience and demonstrate active listening skills through positive body language, eye contact and verbal affirmations. 

 2. I can’t prepare for an assessment centre as I don’t know what to expect

Preparation is key to assessment centre success. Although you won’t know the topics of the exercises that you will be taking part in there are some common factors you can prepare for.

Interview: Study the job description and practice interview questions in advance using the STARR technique with family and friends. Familiarise yourself with your CV so you can talk about your experience and really sell yourself. Ensure you have your killer question ready to ask at the end of the interview. 

Group Exercise: Remember this is a time-sensitive group task. Keep track of the time available and work with the other members in the group making sensible, balanced and fact-based contributions to achieve the desired outcome. If there are some quieter members in the group who have not shared their thoughts or opinions, consider how you can encourage them to contribute towards the group discussion. 

Presentation: Build structure into your presentation by including a clear introduction, content and conclusion. Consider how visual aids can support your message and practice your presentation in advance to help you become less reliant on your notes. Be confident, with plenty of practice you’ve got this!

3. The assessor is aware of my experience from my application form and CV, so I don’t need to cover that

Your assessor can only assess you on what they see and hear during the assessment centre and will score you based on your performance during each exercise. Forget what they might already know and use the STARR technique to fully answer each interview question to achieve maximum points.

4. I have to take charge of the group discussion to get noticed by the assessor

You will gain points for demonstrating your leadership strengths during the group discussion, but it is important that this is done in a collaborative and supportive way. Many candidates have been marked down for dominating the group and talking over others. Think about how you can demonstrate your strengths without alienating other candidates. Assigning roles at the start of an exercise based on skills, strengths and experiences build structure into the group task and ensures everyone has a part to play towards the end result.

5. Being assessed by an assessor is off-putting

It’s easy to think your assessor will be off-putting but once the exercises are underway, you’ll soon forget that they are there. The assessor’s role is to assess all candidates and score them based on their behaviours and contribution. Try to relax and enjoy the experience. It’s only natural to feel nervous but don’t let this get in the way of your performance on the day. Remember to smile and let your personality shine through. 

So, there you are, my top five assessment centre myths that you no longer need to worry about. 


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Delighted finalists for the Student Recruitment Conference & Awards 2019

It was recently announced that Smart Resourcing Solutions (SRS) has been shortlisted by The Institute of Student Employers (ISE) in the ISE Awards 2019, for our partnership with the University of Leeds. Together, we created an assessment centre simulation to support Widening Participation students. 

We take pride in enabling students to have more confidence when applying for graduate roles or placements. This collaboration was especially important to us, as we were helping a group of students who were particularly anxious about attending assessment centres. Over 4 months, we planned and coordinated the best materials and people to be involved in the event.  

The results speak for themselves with increased confidence levels, 96% of students receiving a Level 3 AQA accreditation in Employability Skills and 100% saying they would recommend the experience to others. It’s great to be recognised for our team work, for what was already a fun and rewarding project. 

For further information on the conference and to buy tickets, take a look at the ISE website.


Introducing Helen!

We are excited to introduce you to Helen Liddle, our new University Partnerships Manager. Helen’s role is to support our lovely university clients on their projects, ensuring they receive an excellent service. Helen will be out and about at various industry events so please say hello if you see her. To find out more about Helen, watch our short video below of our MD interviewing her with some quick fire questions.


Connect with Helen on LinkedIn, twitter or drop her an email - helenliddle@smart-resourcing-solutions.co.uk


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BE Group has officially launched the UK Social Entrepreneur Index sponsored by UBS, a campaign designed to celebrate those entrepreneurs doing things a little differently to make our world a better place. 

The inaugural UK Social Entrepreneur Index celebrates the social impact, creativity and innovation of 29 of the UK’s most inspiring social entrepreneurs and Smart Resourcing Solutions MD, Sophie Milliken is on the list, representing the North East. 

The campaign focuses on the entrepreneurs behind the businesses; telling their story and providing inspiration to thousands of others in the process. 

Eight UK ambassadors together with the index supporter, Social Enterprise Mark CIC, have helped to promote social entrepreneurship and worked with BE Group through the process to identify the future role models who are featured in the online index.  

BE Group’s commercial director Bryan Hoare, explained: “Over many years, BE Group has been celebrating and inspiring entrepreneurship across the UK. 

“As part of this focus, we’ve launched the UK Social Entrepreneur Index - a celebration of entrepreneurs running businesses with social purposes who we hope will also act as beacons of inspiration for others to encompass positive social impact." 

“We’ve been delighted with the response and quality of entries in this first year and we hope to grow the UK Social Entrepreneur Index in future years. 

“Alongside the digital campaign, we held roundtable debates about the future of social entrepreneurship, the global challenges and how we can improve. The entrepreneurs are excited about the index and the opportunity for open discussion and we look forward to continuing the conversations at our celebration event in May and beyond.” 

As national sponsors, UBS Global Wealth Management has played a key role in supporting the Social Entrepreneur Index, acting as lead partners to help deliver the campaign across the UK. 

Jonathan Brown, head of regions at UBS Wealth Management, said: “With significant levels of wealth being created in the regions, UBS Wealth Management’s focus is on the whole of the UK, not just London. Many of our clients are entrepreneurs, and we’re seeing more and more often that they are seeking to act in a responsible way, whether that is through investing sustainably or ensuring their businesses have a positive social impact.  

“We want to ensure these entrepreneurs see their efforts recognised and supported, and that’s why we are delighted with the response to the inaugural Social Entrepreneur Index.” 

The UK Social Entrepreneur Index has received the support of eight ambassadors who were selected for being shining examples of how social entrepreneurs can make an impact on a local and international level. They have invested their time to help inspire current and future social entrepreneurs. They are: Alan Mahon - Brewgooder; Andrew Bastawrous - Peek Vision; Cameron Saul - BOTTLETOP; Kate Welch - Social Enterprise Acumen CIC; Lucy Buck - Child’s i Foundation; Paul Skidmore - Rising Academies; Rachel Wang - Chocolate Films; and Rosie Ginday - Miss Macaroon.  

Paul Skidmore, founder of Rising Academies, said: “With so many inspiring stories to choose from, selecting the social entrepreneurs to join this year's index was really hard. In the end what set the winning entries apart was not just the clarity of their diagnosis, nor the novelty of their solution, but their proven track record in making things happen even in the face of adversity.” 

The full Index has been launched online at https://www.socialentsindex.co.uk