Preparing for your interview – top tips for getting interview ready

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Like all aspects of the working environment over the last couple of years, interviews have changed due to circumstances. Not too long ago, the interview process would be predominantly an in-person affair, if the job was within travelling distance and visiting the premises was permitted. Interview preparation would consist of rehearsing your responses and making sure your appearance and demeanour would elicit the right reaction from your prospective employer.

Changing times

But interviews for jobs further afield – in other countries or sometimes on the other side of the world – have always relied on more remote methods. Due to the pandemic, social distancing and the rise of work from home, there are many more opportunities now for interviews to take place over the phone or onscreen over the internet, via such platforms as Skype or Zoom. It has also become much more commonplace for employees not to meet their work colleagues until much further down the line now, rather than in a training or induction period.

Achievements and ambitions

Whatever the media of communication, your preparation should be largely the same. Anyone preparing for an interview should be confident about who they are. Appearance and first impressions matter, so think about what you are going to wear – and how you will appear onscreen if the interview is remote, or in person, if you are attending a formal interview. If you are having an interview over the phone, it’s very difficult to create a fully-rounded impression of who you are. Sometimes however, phone interviews are ideal for complete impartiality when it comes to hiring new employees – without appearance, age, ethnicity or even name taken into account.

Make sure you are completely up-to-date with your CV and that it’s an accurate reflection of your abilities and career. Also ensure that you can talk knowledgeably and enthusiastically about your achievements and ambitions.  Don’t over-egg the enthusiasm or ambition, but be honest and define where you’d like to see yourself in the future. Think about how you can best phrase your responses.

Be prepared and be confident

Interviewees should have conviction in their abilities and play to their strength, whilst if they have to, also acknowledging their weaknesses. One of the curveballs thrown by interviewers these days is a question like: “Can you identify your weaknesses?”, with the stock, instinctive, usually untruthful reply being: “I don’t have any”. Being able to identify where you may have room for improvement isn’t doing yourself a disservice, but rather demonstrating self-awareness.

Experience and a broad range of interests beyond your chosen field of work are often as important as qualifications and ability. Being able to connect with people on different levels, across different subjects, will demonstrate that you are a great communicator. Talking  knowledgably about a range of subjects and with passion, can show an interviewer there is more you than your CV may indicate. It’s easier said than done, but try not to be too nervous and try to answer any questions as succinctly as possible. If you are uncertain how your responses sound, record your voice and listen to what phrases work best for you.

All this preparation will go towards making sure you give your interviewer a fully-rounded snapshot of your personality and abilities – and your best shot at landing the role.


What makes us human?


AI is becoming more integral to business, but the human approach shouldn’t be forgotten or side-lined. Computers are very good at finding easy ways to do things, making processes simpler and communications quicker. They’re irreplaceable in the modern workplace, but you still need humans for empathy, support and creativity. Here in my latest blog article, I’m going to look at why the human approach is still so important in business.

Futureproof on all fronts

The way AI is taking over many aspects of our lives is happening quietly, almost without us even noticing. This is especially true in business, where we are becoming ever more reliant on technology in our everyday lives. At work, few of us could carry out our jobs without email or an internet connection, while in our personal lives, we’re increasingly reliant on streaming for entertainment and the internet for communication. We often hear about how futureproofing is an important component of any business. We need to make sure we’re not left behind in terms of new thinking, but also that our technology isn’t superseded and becomes outmoded. However, when we talk about futureproofing, it shouldn’t just be about technology.

Ensuring we retain the human touch is an essential part of futureproofing too. We can’t lose sight of what makes successful businesses tick and what makes efficient, productive, creative businesspeople. Human interaction, as we all know, is an essential part of work. It’s important both for efficiency and also has many positive mental health impacts. It’s worth considering how the ‘human touch’ continues to make such a difference to several areas of our lives.

Decision-making and negotiating

One of the biggest advantages humans have over AI is the ability to make informed decisions. By assessing the pros and cons of an argument or problem, we can reach conclusions. Sometimes this can be made by a single person, or it can be a group consensus. But it’s something that must be done by people and the ability to make decisions and to negotiate are talents that successful businesspeople must possess.

Support and empathy

Also important are emotional aspects, such as support and empathy. From ‘reading the room’, to ensuring people who may be encountering mental challenges are adequately supported, these attributes are also something that computers cannot ascertain. It’s often useful to make sure that staff connect ‘in person’, as it’s so much easier to measure someone’s wellbeing by simply looking at them. For example, an email can mask true emotions and feelings, and is often read in the ‘voice’ of the recipient, not necessarily in the tone of the author.

Thinking creatively

Perhaps the biggest and most important aspect of being human is the ability to think creatively. There’s nothing that compares to a group of colleagues in a room, knocking around ideas, compiling a strategy or reaching a conclusion. Imagination is something that cannot be created. These ‘human touches’ are natural traits that can’t be taught and in that way, are entirely crafted by the nature of the individual. We are all different, which as businesspeople makes each of us in our own way unique.

The importance of trust

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Trust is present is all aspects of our lives. From the purchases we make online, to the people we share our workspaces with, to the professionals who care for and educate our children, we put trust in people on a daily basis. As Career Consultants, we are entrusted with peoples’ career choices – and they put trust in us to deliver the best outcomes for them. For example, Career Consultants are given a trusted role when asked to support an employee with outplacement and it’s essential that we render results that will make a difference. So, in my latest blog, I’m considering what ingredients make a good outplacement consultant?

A broad skillset

As a Career Consultant, it’s important to consider what are the attributes that will make a success of the role. What aspects of my personality are strengths in my role and which are less so. When I think about my own experiences of being a Consultant, I think I have a broad skillset that stands me in good stead when it comes to interacting and assessing people. I need the balance of empathy and knowledge, experience and intuition, so that I can find out and ascertain what makes my clients tick.

When I work with people, I always have their best interests at heart. I personally place great emphasis on one-to-one support, either on Teams/Zoom or in-person where possible. To enable our clients to handle change effectively, I must be able to identify their key strengths and values, as well as their core skills and attributes. In this way, I can guide my clients through the outplacement process.

Putting myself in your shoes

I also put a lot of myself into the process, so that aspects such as empathy and knowledge are used by me as well. It’s also important, I think, to have interests outside work – such as reading, sports, travelling or walking – so you can relate to clients on other levels too. I find that being able to talk knowledgeably about a range of subjects will make them relax and aid the process of me ‘getting to know’ them – and the real them, not just the ‘work’ or ‘public’ persona.

My colleagues have different sets of skills to me, which provides an even broader range of options for clients. My colleagues and I will ensure that the type of personality required is matched to their client’s needs. We provide friendly face-to-face consultancy support and my own personality very much goes into my work persona. There’s no mask or facade when talking to clients. Although we also provide email and telephone support, the interpersonal skills important in a one-to-one situation are very much to the fore. In this way, rapport and trust are built in the relationship, and confidence is built.

As Career Consultants, we make a strong commitment to our clients. We put our trust in them too, which will reap rewards in the long run. Ultimately the only person who can find a new role is the client themselves. But it’s my job to guide them in any way I can, by using my experience and rationale, to define their ambitions and identify their career path.


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Welcome to the latest vlog from Career Evolution!

We are continuing to share weekly advice and updates from the industry on outplacement, career management, and coaching.

In our latest vlog, our director, Sue Thomas, rounds up some of our posts from January/February, after returning from the Caribbean she focusses on our blog ‘What does ‘working from anywhere’ mean to you’. You must ensure you have holiday time as well as working. You can put down the laptop, your business is in good hands. There’s so much more to this platform than job searching.

Watch the video below:

A year to do things differently

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People often make resolutions in the New Year, but in the present economic climate of change and uncertainty, is it really worth making things harder for yourself? After the dramatic workplace shift over the last few years, this year should be all about finding balance and reinstating more time spent – and by that I mean in real life – with people. That’s one resolution we can make that will be beneficial for all.

Social medias

It’s strange that meeting people in person, either socially or professionally, became such a big deal. With all the social distancing, remote working and ‘not mixing’, the accent during the pandemic was on the solitary. But we’re not a solitary species, we’re social animals, and it doesn’t matter if it’s in work or out and about in our leisure time, we all benefit from meeting up with people in person. In this way, we shouldn’t forget the importance of the human touch and interaction.

When it comes to work, our working relationships are often forged by our interactions and personalities. We tend to gravitate to people we like, to personalities which are like ours, and this often brings the best out of both parties. You don’t have to socialise outside of work, but it helps if you mix and collaborate well within the working environment. The phrase ‘team player’ is overused these days, to the point that it’s all but obsolete. To work within a team, you’re expected to be a team player. But it actually means much more than that in person.

Interaction and creativity

If you’re a personable, confident individual, you may find it easy to communicate your ideas and have people understand them. If you’re more socially awkward and unsure of yourself, you can still be just as good at your job, but have more difficulty getting your viewpoint across. The ideal – and this works much better in person than over the internet in an email or via Zoom – is the interaction in-person working gives you. It’s much easier to articulate ideas and discussions in person. Other factors, such as tone of voice and body language come into play, which can help people relate to others much more.

So many companies have adopted a hybrid working model, or even a ‘work from home only’ model, that some of that interaction is being lost along the way. This shouldn’t be the case, especially if you work in an industry where creativity and knowledge-sharing are part of your working day. One client has said to me that this year it is his resolution to meet me in person. This may sound absurd, but given the events and changes of the last two years, is entirely believable too.

We should take these lessons on board and make sure that if possible ’in person’ is the de facto way to meet up and communicate. Let’s make 2023 a year to do things differently.


Something for everyone – the skills shortage


One of the biggest challenges facing HR at the moment is a skills shortage. As we emerge from the pandemic, the shape of work has changed for many companies considerably. HR is having to deal with challenges on several fronts, from managing hybrid working to finding the right candidates to fill the right roles, at a time when many business leaders are bemoaning the vacancies they have unfilled.

Sector-wide problems

There’s a common perception that it’s only certain sectors that are suffering a skills shortage. But many people are telling me that ‘their’ sector is struggling with recruitment. But this isn’t just one sector, it is every sector. Across the board, everyone is having recruitment issues. This is due to a variety of outside influences. There are the changes to available labour in some sectors due to factors implemented by the process of the UK leaving the European Union. There are free movement and employment changes, not to mention Visa regulations, that are impacting some sectors much more than others.

Staff retention

To take an obvious example we all have experience of a sector such as hospitality is struggling from an assault on many fronts. People don’t have the disposable income to spend on luxuries, such has going out. The cost-of-living crisis is driving the price of food and drink upwards, which makes it more expensive to go out too. Fuel rises are affecting taxi drivers, the trains are on strike. It’s a miracle anyone’s out there spending their money on hospitality at all! Recruitment into this sector is also seeing a skills shortage, particularly it seems in terms of qualified chefs, who are able to demand top dollar for their services, due to demand. There also seems to be a shortfall in younger staff willing to take on roles in the lower-paid areas of hospitality and also retaining the relevant staff long-term, who have gained the experience to progress up the ladder into management roles. As a result, the sector is affected disproportionately due to its skills shortage. But it’s not just the usual suspects that are suffering.

Making the connection

When HR managers are looking to fill vacant roles, they need to look at ways they can encourage candidates to think outside of their usual parameters.  They need to identify and encourage the importance of recognising transferable skills – skills that can be used across multiple industries – so you don’t necessarily need to look at someone from exactly the same sector. In this way, there may be allied sectors where the answer to the skills shortage lies. There is a role for everyone out there somewhere. It’s just a case of finding the right one and making the connection.



Interviews through the ages

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Like so many things to do with work and finding a new job, interviews have changed considerably over the years. This is particularly true over the last three years. Once upon a time, an interview would always have been done in person. Now that isn’t always the case. In fact, depending on the type of role you are applying for, you might find yourself undertaking a number of different types of interviews and tasks at different stages of the process.

In person interviews

In person interviews are still the most likely form an interview will take. That could be a 1-2-1 between you and your potential boss. Alternatively, it could involve a panel of interviewers, that might represent the different stakeholders of the business you are interviewing for. Where it is an in-person interview, it’s important that you know where you are going, show up on time, dressed appropriately and prepared for your interview.

Call up

These days, particularly in the early stages of an interview process, it is feasible that you will be asked for a telephone interview. While your interviewer might not be able to see you, it is still important that you are prepared for the interview. That might still mean that you are dressed for an interview, to help you be in the right mindset. Make sure you also have somewhere quiet and private to take the call, so that you are not distracted.

Zooming along

With the increased familiarity with video conferencing, your interview may well be on-line. This is particularly likely if the job role is a long way from where you are currently living, or the company’s head office is overseas. Similar to an in-person interview, it is so important to be prepared and ready for an interview. Check your IT works beforehand and the sound is clear.

Ready for your close-up?

Less likely, you might even be asked to send in a video. While this is a good way to showcase your presentation skills, it is very one-sided. Therefore, it is not something that is used with too much regularity.

Is the future of interviews AI?

Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) technology, you may soon be interviewed for that job you really want by a computer. In fact, in cases this already happens and is a preferred format for some positions as it removes all types of bias.

With a VR headset you – or rather your avatar – will soon be able to be interviewed by AI software. This could be advantageous for some people, who will like the fact that there is no human being judging their performance, while others will miss the opportunity to build rapport with their interviewer.

Be prepared

It’s important to remember whatever form your interview takes, love them or hate them, in person or on-line, some things remain constant. Interviews are your chance to impress your would-be bosses. They are also an opportunity to assess whether the company is a place you would like to work. Make sure you are prepared and ready to get the most out of your interview

Making the right choice

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This week I’m going to look at why an outplacement strategy is still so valuable in the current employees’-market. The current market is one that is heavily weighted in the candidates’ favour right now. But even it if is a ‘candidates’-market’, outplacement rationale can still help make the right decisions.

With the choice and breadth of roles available, it is making it easier for candidates to pick and choose which they apply for and where they would like to work – both the sector and geographically. It is important to note that it isn’t always necessary to take the first offer. If you are offered something quickly, the chances are you will be offered something else too – so don’t rush into anything.

Weigh up your options

It’s worth bearing in mind that whatever role you are pursuing, it is a good strategy to carefully audit what exactly you want out of a job. This will ensure that you find a good fit for what you are looking to get out of the role. The closer the job profile matches your requirements, the more you will get out of the role and the more you’ll enjoy your work too.

Aspects worth considering are things like work/social life balance. Employers are much more appreciative of this these days and take into account an individual’s case, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach to how, where and when employees work. Many staff will have important commitments beyond their working hours – or sometimes even within their working hours – that they will need to be able to tend to. This can be helping out with care for children or elderly family members, for example.

What best suits?

Talking to a Career Consultant can help you not to ‘jump’ too soon and stay true to your tick list of wants and needs. If there is one thing that is an absolute must, then don’t compromise, as you will only dwell on it afterwards and may view it with regret. When weighing up your options think about things like sector, function, culture, location, agility and salary. How will what you are being offered positively or negatively impact you home life? Salary is very important to everyone, but is it the only reason you work?

We all require renumeration for our efforts, but we also appreciate job fulfilment, gratification, flexibility and satisfaction. If your only concern is money above all else, then you can overlook other aspects of your ‘wants list’. If you have identified wider aspects of your role that make you happier than the salary – the nature of the work, the people you’ll be working with – then this will be less of a factor in your decision. People can be a big draw and the opportunity to work with a great team, from which you can knowledge share and collaborate with, may be a big factor in itself. It’s well worth engaging in an outplacement programme where a Consultant will be able to finely tune your requirements into something that best fits your needs.



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Welcome to the latest vlog from Career Evolution!

We are continuing to share weekly advice and updates from the industry on outplacement, career management, and coaching.

In our latest vlog, our director, Sue Thomas, rounds up some of our posts from October, including creating the right office environment, hybrid working, interviews and out and about more. There’s so much more to this platform than job searching.

Watch the video below:


Watch last month’s vlog here.

Quiet quitting – the silent enemy

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A variety of different factors – from cost-of-living uncertainty to the pandemic – have made a lot of people examine their work-life balance with forensic detail. What suits one person will not suit another, as everyone’s personal and working lives are different. One of the trends that has emerged is the concept of ‘quiet quitting’. It is associated with both work and home life, and can impact both. It is also causing problems for employers, managers and HR professionals, as this ‘silent’ change revolutionises the way people look at their careers. 

Balance or imbalance?

‘Quiet quitting’ refers to employees who elect only to work the specific hours of their contract and fulfil the remit of their roles to the letter – no more, no less. Any extra input, or rather output, from them will need to be paid for. It’s been attributed to a number of factors, such as overwork, employee burnout and mental health issues around stress and anxiety. But it is part of wider trend of people wanting to extend the flexibility and convenience of working from home, or the hybrid part-office/part-home working that many companies have adopted. Apparently, 60% of UK employees value their improved work-life balance and job flexibility over a 10% pay rise.

The lack of structure when working flexibly is being found to be detrimental to some employees though. There are factors such as not knowing when you are going to see colleagues, or when others will be in the office, which can itself cause uncertainty for staff. Some people need structure, uniformity and surety. The nine-to-five routine and ‘who is in the office when’ on any given day matters to them. Many workers now feel disengaged from the workplace, which may mean they also feel disengaged from their roles too. As a result, motivation and productivity have dropped and there has been a wholesale disengagement from working life. Some employees are not even sure of what is expected of them in work and what exactly their roles are for the company. 

The need to reengage

The drop in engagement began in the latter half of 2021 and has particularly affected younger workers. The social aspects of work – communication, chat, popping out to the shops or for lunch – have also been disrupted or supplanted altogether by working from home and the ever-changing routine of any given working week. This has led to over half the UK workforce now reportedly contributing to the quiet quitting trend.

If you don’t feel valued at work, are unsure of your role, or will only do the ‘bare minimum’ of what’s required of you, then this is partly due to poor management. Managers need to make sure their staff are aware that they are part of a wider company. They must feel supported and genuinely valued, and must be provided with a place to work where people can learn and grow, engage with other staff and collaborate to create great teams. Isolation and disengagement should never be felt by any employee and only if managers address this will ‘quiet quitters’ be encouraged to reengage once more.