Tag Archives: baby

Video Interviewing – a first hand experience

21 Aug

Technology has come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years and we are constantly surrounded by new gadgets – it’s hard to keep up! In this futuristic environment companies are also looking for new tech-aided ways of conducting their recruitment process. I’ve had first-hand experience of this digital trend.

Hearing that you’ve been selected for next stage of recruitment is always great news but hearing the words ‘video interview’ after this can throw you back. I will admit I was slightly concerned; it wasn’t something I’d had to do before. I’d used skype though and surely it would be the same right? Well actually, no.

I’m sure every company that uses this type of interview has an individual format, but with my experience there was never actually any interaction with another human. In fact I was sent a link to the interview itself and asked to complete it within 3 days. On the day I received the email it was the afternoon and I was busy with other tasks and in my pyjamas so I decided to make use of the generous time allowance. However on the second day I received a phone call to say it had to be completed within the next hour in order to be considered for the next step – no pressure!

Due to the lack of notice I had very little preparation which didn’t help my already uneasy nerves. The format was fairly straight forward: A video of a question, followed by an allocated time to answer, with 30 seconds preparation time beforehand. You were also allowed to take a practice question where you could play your answer back or retry it; this luxury was not permitted when it came to the real interview questions.

Answering the questions in video format made the whole thing slightly awkward. My mum was in the other room as I didn’t awkwardhave time to find somewhere go, which wasn’t the best scenario. The embarrassment of her overhearing me talk to my computer made my voice quieter than usual and caused some distraction when answering questions. Fortunately I managed to keep going and complete the interview. I felt like I was taken off guard by some questions but having the 30 second preparation time meant I could calm myself down and process what I was going to say. I did at one point get distracted by my mum walking into the room which I’m sure did not look good at all – overall it was not my strongest interview.

None the less I did get invited to the next stage of the application which was slightly shocking after my awkward performance. Even So with this here are my top tips on how to deal with a video interview:

  • Be prepared. Being prepared is really important for any kind of interview. Prior to the interview you should spend some time researching the company, what they do and their customer base. You should also think about what they might ask you and think of examples you could use in your answers.
  • Appearance still matters. If I was going to a face to face interview I would make sure that I had showered and was appropriately dressed with an ironed shirt and subtle make-up. Well that shouldn’t change for a video interview. You’re still giving a first impression and it’s important to look presentable and hireable! It will also increase your confidence if you know you’re looking your best – good all round.
  • Give yourself time and space. If you receive an invitation for a video interview you will usually be told a figure of how long it typically takes. Make sure you allocate more than enough time to complete the interview without having to rush through questions or stress about being late for something else. As I discovered it’s also best to be as separate from anyone else as possible and if you can be in a remote room alone then that’s best. If you are unable to do this make sure there is no or minimum background noise so you can concentrate and be heard.
  • Watch your position and background. You’ll be given an outline in which to position yourself so ensure you’re actually in this and can be seen. It’s best if you can find a simple background without any distractions and certainly don’t have anything personal floating around behind you! When you’re speaking try and look at the camera as if you’re speaking to a person, I avoided looking at myself by using their hiding the image of myself in the corner which worked well.
  • Don’t leave it to the last minute. I was promoted by the employer to hurry up and get it done, but the quicker you can submit it the keener you’ll look so my advice would be to get it completed as soon as you can.
  • Be yourself. Just because you’re talking to a robot doesn’t mean you have to become one. Show a bit of your personality just as you would in an interview and be friendly and concise with your answers.

If you are about to complete a video interview for the first time then good luck! Hopefully following these guidelines will help you out and you won’t end up looking like a bit of a fool like me. Take your time and relax!

If you want help with interviews or getting into work in general then please contact Opportunity Plus on 0800 043 2440 or email us on info@opsw.co.uk.

Business profile: Gosling

8 Oct

Today brings the start of the third annual International Babywearing Week, so today’s business profile is about my own business, Gosling.  I started the business in August 2010 after trying out several baby slings and finally finding a combination that I thought was suitable for anyone, worked from baby to toddler, and was reasonably priced.  I want to be there to show parents how to get the most from a sling from the start.  The business has grown over time and I now also teach Mums to make their own slings, they learn a new skill and make something pretty and practical that helps make life easier with a baby.  Gosling is a micro-business that I love running as it has been a real confidence boost for me.  Whilst on maternity leave, it was great to have something aside from childcare to focus on and to challenge me.

I am hosting a sling walk on Friday 12th October 2012, meeting at 10.30am at Teignmouth Pier.  Please feel free to come along if you’d like to try out a sling with your baby!  (Pregnant ladies and pushchairs welcome too!)



This is the full story of how I got to this point:

After having my first child, Oscar – now three, I returned to my job as an Employment Coach, helping disabled people into work, for two days a week.  Unfortunately with my employer, two days amounted to 15 hours and meant I didn’t quite qualify for Tax Credits.  So I decided to take my newly discovered love of babywearing (or carrying your baby in a sling) and try and start a little business – Gosling – to top up my hours to 16.  My business started off with me making simple ring slings for friends, and I was quite happy plodding along making a couple of slings a week on top of my other job and looking after Oscar.

Then I got pregnant again, and then all of a sudden we found out that our office was going to be closing down and I would be made redundant!  This actually timed pretty well for me as I still qualified for Statutory Maternity Pay, and it meant I could start my maternity leave early and really relax and enjoy the last few weeks of pregnancy.  I was really glad to have Gosling though.  Although it was never going to make me huge amounts of money, I still had an answer when people asked me what I did, and I had something other than children to put my energy into.  I was also very aware of how hard it would be to find a job on a part time basis when I had small children, let alone one that was rewarding, well paid, interesting, and varied.

I got in touch with Opportunity Plus South West, and explained my situation, and that I wanted to look at turning Gosling into a bigger business.  Opportunity Plus South West helped me obtain funding from Unltd to run sling making classes, and they are more successful than I could ever have hoped for!  It is incredible seeing these Mums who have never sewn, and have never even thought about using a sling – after an hour or two with me they’ve made their own beautiful, unique sling that they’re immensly proud of, and they’re carrying their baby round, kissing and cuddling and chatting away with them.  I’ve also trained as a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter and a Babywearing Peer Supporter.  My main aim was to help Mums to enjoy those early weeks, to remind them that there is more to life than milk, poo, and sleep!

Best of all, I have now started working at Opportunity Plus South West as well, so I have the security of a regular, predictable income and a job I love, alongside running Gosling.

4 Simple Steps to Beat the September Slump

3 Sep

This is a guest post written by Soozi Hadj Lazib.  Soozi runs her own business and blog, Maternity Leavers [www.maternityleavers.com] which is all about supporting women on maternity leave with their career choices.  She is also the resident career coach on Mum and Working [www.mumandworking.co.uk] and a featured expert on Greatvine [www.greatvine.com].

Have you ever had that problem where the more time you have, the less you get done?

September heralds new beginnings (I know, traditionally it’s meant to be Spring, but with school terms and summer holidays, September is when everyone feels like starting or re-energising things) so if you’ve got kids of school age or are dealing with people who do, you’ve probably treated summer as a bit of down time and have been waiting it out until you’ve got more time.

Only, then September comes, and despite having more time than you did before, your productivity hits rock bottom. You find yourself overwhelmed and completely unable to get anything done.

The good news is that it happens to everyone and there are a few simple steps to get back on track. So if you’re feeling a bit unfocused, here are some tips to get focused again:

1. Know what your aim is

What are you ultimately trying to achieve? If you’re not clear on this, it’s impossible to work out what the important things are that you need to do in order to achieve it.

2. Make lists – lots of them!

If you have one big To Do list that gets added to quicker than items are crossed off, what you end up with is a huge list – most of which you ignore. Admit it – do you find yourself skim reading and plucking off the things you want to do, rather than the things you should do? You keep yourself busy, but on the wrong things.

Make smaller – more focused – lists instead.

Try making a new list every day, so you have to decide what to carry across from the previous day. Writing the same task down day after day will either make you do it, or realise it doesn’t need to be done.

Or rank your list by importance – and then follow it through by only doing the things you’ve ranked with the highest importance.

3. Establish a routine

If you’re working for yourself it can be tempting to just work whenever you feel like it. You may be putting in lots of hours, but spending unfocused time can be as bad as not spending any time on it. For instance, while you’re sat in front of your computer are you really doing what you think you’re doing? Or do you have lots of things open that you’re constantly flicking between?

Instead, decide which hours you’re going to work each day, and what tasks you’re going to do during those hours. If it helps, you could even book ‘appointments’ into your diary for each of the tasks. That way you don’t waste your time wondering what to do next, and you can assign your time realistically.

4. Plan your day at night

The night before, obviously. The last task you should do each day is to make your list for tomorrow. That way, you can start each day without faffing over what you’re going to do.

So instead of letting a September slump happen to you, be ready for the extra time – and when it hits you, use it wisely. Be clear on what you should be doing, and then be disciplined enough to do it.

Told you it was simple!