By Guy Bloodworth on Mon 08 April 2019 in Placement Blog
Check out Guy's blog to hear all about his experience recruiting the placements for 2019/2020, and discover where Telephone Interviews can go horribly wrong - and what you can do about it!
Hi, I’m Guy, one of the current Marketing placements here! I was lucky enough to take a lead role in the recruitment of the new Sales & Marketing placements for 2019-2020. Hear about my experience, the hurdles I faced, and discover where Telephone Interviews can go horribly wrong (and what you can do about it!).
CVs & Cover Letters
I was lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to experience recruitment from the position of the employer (having done my fair share as the candidate!). One of the most meticulous parts of the process was screening the CVs and cover letters. Personally, I feel the cover letter holds the most value out of the two. I see a CV as more of a checklist for things like previous work experience, education and to get an idea of the candidate’s hobbies, interests and achievements. But a cover letter offers a deeper insight into the way the candidate writes and enabled me to more easily identify those who really wanted the specific opportunity we offered and why they wanted to work at ProspectSoft over other businesses. As you can imagine, successful candidates had excellent grammar and punctuation, a professional layout and offered a good insight into their personality and traits mixed with key info they found out about ProspectSoft.
After reading hundreds of CVs and cover letters, I’m confident I’ve now got a good understanding for what is “employer approved” and what’s just not!
I found the Telephone Interviews to be a really enjoyable experience (unlike how I’m sure the candidates felt on the other end of the phone!). It was quite relaxing being on the side of the employer as opposed to being the candidate in the hot seat! This stage of the process was a great opportunity for us to learn more about the candidate’s personality, their career aspirations, and why they’re interested in the role. On occasion, there would be stand-out telephone interviews – candidates who would exude confidence, speak clearly and politely, have great experience, and would provide intelligent responses to back up their points. Most of all, they showed us their true personality!
However, there are a few factors that can let a Telephone Interview down. These things can easily be changed, so take note if you want to improve your Telephone Interview performance!
Sorry…what did you say? – If you have a phone connection so bad that 2 tin cans and some string would make an improvement, do something about it! Test your phone signal ahead of any real interviews. If you know that your student house gets rubbish signal, get a room booked in the library. Poor forward planning for Telephone Interviews sets you off to a bad start straight away.
Practice, Practice, Practice! – Some candidates had great answers, but confidence is key too in convincing the employer that you’re up to the challenge. Nerves are completely normal but try to find ways to manage them. Getting in lots of practice can certainly help – whether it be with friends, family or your careers advisors, you’ll be surprised what you can achieve by practicing!
Any Questions? – We had lots of candidates who hadn’t prepared any questions for the us at the end of the interview. In our opinion, the more questions the better! Preparing some questions that are tailored to the role and employer are a great way to show your level of interest in securing a position with them. It also makes the interview more conversational, as it’s not just you who is being interviewed! Yes, you need to be the right fit for them…but they too need to be the right fit for you.
Be Concise! – Lots of candidates would forget to tie their answer back to how this will help them in the role e.g. why their love of Rugby ties back to teamwork and communication skills within a Sales team. This would not only mean they’re not actually answering the question, but they would waffle on about something that’s not very relevant.
These are just a few simple things that can make a real difference but require little effort on the student’s part! It can be very frustrating when you have a great candidate missing out by a few minor faults and someone else pips them to the post!
After conducting over 100 telephone interviews, decisions were made on who to invite to the next stage; the Assessment Centre!
The Assessment Centre
The day of the Assessment Centre is probably one of the most stressful parts of the recruitment process (yes, not just for the candidates!). Don’t get me wrong, it’s an incredible day and a rewarding experience – however, in some cases I found myself needing to be in to 2 places at once!
This year we had plenty of exceptional candidates to choose from, which as you can imagine made decisions all the more difficult. It was great to speak with the candidates throughout the day and learn more about their backgrounds and achievements. The day eventually came to an end after an intense day for the candidates…my work was nearly done. It then came down to our Sales & Marketing Director, Stuart, and our Head of Marketing, Jess, to make their final decisions.
The whole experience was not only enjoyable for me, but it was valuable. So far, I’ve not had much experience on the phones due to the nature of my role, so developing this skill was a big plus. Striking a balance of being confident and critical yet friendly and approachable was certainly tough! The biggest challenge which I was faced with on multiple occasions throughout the process was choosing who should go through to the next stage of the day – it felt like their future was in our hands!
I’m now looking forward to welcoming our incoming placements at the Familiarisation Day we’re holding at our offices in a couple of weeks’ time!