How to Reduce Online Job Interview Stress

Video chat type job interview is on the rise across many sectors. According to figures released by The Aberdeen Group, a market research firm, over 10% of US based companies used real time two-way video software to interview candidates. If you are about to attend this type of interview, you will do well to read and follow up on the following tips to reduce stress and increase your chances of success.

Software – Most interviews are conducted using the free software Skype or GoToMeeting. Both are not only free, but also cross-platform, meaning that you install the software on your desktop, laptop or tablet devices. Skype also works well on smartphones, but this device isn’t recommended for jobs interviews. Smartphones are prone for interruptions (in-coming call, text message etc) and battery life is often insufficient. Whichever software you use, install, configure and get to know it well before the interview starts.

Configure With Some Thought – Popular video chat software such as Google Hangouts, Viber and Skype require a mandatory username and optional profile picture. Whichever username you pick, be sure it is suitable for the occasion. It will be visible to the interviewer so using a combination of your name is preferable over nickname for example. Similarly, the profile picture is visible to the other party. Once you have signed up and configured the software, send your username to the recruiter.

Pick The Right Settings – The interview should take place in a well-lit noiseless area where background noise is muted and the backdrop won’t distract you or the interviewer. A meeting room is the optimal location if you have access to one. If you are conducting the interview at home, be sure to check and if necessary tidy-up the background behind you. Use the software ‘picture-in-picture’ feature to see how the other party sees you and your surroundings. If possible, disconnect your landline phone, leave a note on the doorbell asking to knock instead of ringing the bell and close the door behind you.

Practice – For most candidates, video chat job interview is new. You will improve your chances tremendously by taking a dry run at it in the form of mock interview. Ask a family member, friend, even an agency recruiter to interview you over video.

Dress The Part – Perhaps one of the most common mistakes that can negatively affect your chances is not dressing professionally head to toe. Beyond studies that clearly demonstrate that dressing accordingly helps you get into the right mindset, there is a chance that the interviewer will see your entire stature. Dressing code tips which are designed for normal face-to-face interviews apply here as well. You should aim to wear solid colour suit with white long sleeve shirt and tie. Dark socks with black shoes can complete your look. Pay attention to your hairstyle and avoid wearing too much jewellery.

During The Interview – Just before the interview starts, switch off all non-essential software to reduce interruption. Look at the camera, not the screen. This is the nearest you will get to make eye contact with the interviewer, a recommended job interview technique to establish rapport.  If you look at the screen, you will lose eye contact and you risk coming across disinterested to the other party. If you require notes (even a copy of your CV) for the interview, prepare these before hand. The noise that searching for papers makes isn’t pleasant to the other party.

Troubleshooting – Technology can at time let you down. However, this is actually your chance to shine. Recruiters often look for ‘problem solvers’ and overcoming an obstacle during an interview will demonstrate just that. If video connection was lost, wait for the initiator to call you back. During which time, you should try and setup a backup device in case your main device is at fault. Other actions to consider:

  • Check your Internet connection

  • Check the software on your backup device

  • Connect your homepage or switch on your mobile phone in case the interviewer is trying to get a hold of you

  • Check your email for the same reason

If all fails, ask the interviewer to continue the interview over phone.

Ending – After the interview is over, email the interviewer thanking them for the opportunity, their time and advising that you are prepared to answer any further questions they might have.

Good luck.

Written by The Carling Partnership Ltd (CPL) an international search and selection company working exclusively within the brewing, distilling, cider and soft drinks industries.


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Celebrate Your Wins

Working exhausting hours day after day without rest or reward is a recipe for a health breakdown. It is vital that you take time out to celebrate your achievements and to take the appropriate rewards.

These celebrations are landmarks of your achievements and also provide motivation fuel to keep going.

Sometimes people have jobs where the reward is the job itself. If you love your work then it will probably be reasonable free of stress. Despite this it is important to take time out and to direct your attention elsewhere. Not only is this psychologically refreshing it is also creatively refreshing.

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Stressed Out Insomniacs: 5 Steps to Better Sleep

Crabby lately? It could have more to do with your sleep (or lack thereof) than your attitude. Even if you’re in bed eight hours a night, you might not be getting the restorative sleep you need to cope with stress, combat illness and problem solve like you should. As an overworked professional, this probably is not new to you. But, now you can do something about it.

Create a Relaxing Retreat

Make this your next home project, and give yourself permission to go all out. Stepping into a peaceful, stress-free sanctuary can trigger restful feelings that get you in the right mindset for deep sleep. Start by decluttering the room so you aren’t tempted to do anything but rest and relax. Choose a cool color palette of calming blues or greens, and stay away from loud prints on the walls or linens.

Don’t ignore your other senses, either. Sound and smells can contribute greatly to restful sleep. Consider using a sleep station on Pandora or leaving on nature noise in the background.

Limit Harsh Lighting

Light influences the timing of our internal clocks; therefore, having a bigger effect on your sleep schedule than you may have originally thought. According to sleep scientists at Harvard, exposure to light can communicate to your body that it’s still time to be up and active. Too many late nights cause your internal clock to be reset, making it hard to establish a timely sleep schedule.

Assess your sleeping environment. Are there bright fluorescent lights tacked to the ceiling, bare windows letting in street light and a TV hanging on the wall? Consider bringing in a few lamps to provide a softer light. Invest in custom window treatments to remove outside light. And finally, substitute TV time with a good book.

Cut Back on Midnight Snacks

Pay attention to your eating and drinking habits before bed. Even if ingested a few hours earlier, caffeine can have a negative effect on your quality of sleep. According to Dr. Lawrence Epstein at Harvard, caffeine’s stimulating effects can increase the amount of times you wake up in the night, which decreases the amount of deep sleep you get.

Alcohol can have a similar effect. At first it may act as a sleep aid, but it causes wakefulness and even insomnia as it is metabolized throughout the night. If you need a pick-me-up in the middle of the day, try drinking fresh juice or going for a 10-minute walk outside. Prevention also suggests that you chew a piece of mint-flavored gum because it increases your heart rate and mint stimulates your nerve fibers.

Get Physical, But Not Before Bed

Regular physical activity can release endorphins in your body, helping you relieve stress and feel good all around. But don’t expect to see permanent results until you get into a routine. According to a Northwestern University study, most insomniacs didn’t see a sleep-related difference until they were four months into their exercise routine, reports The New York Times. Additionally, try to schedule your workouts during the day or in the morning so you aren’t still energized when you try to go to sleep.

Address the Stress

Even with all of these external factors in line, you won’t be able to get restful sleep if you’re up all night worrying about work, planning next week’s agenda or fretting about your finances. Something that works for some busy professionals is to schedule worry time. Set aside a distraction-free time to tackle your bills, answer emails and address stress-causing items on your list. When the time is up, let yourself be finished for the day. That way, when you step into your new-and-improved sleep sanctuary, you’ll have nothing to do but fall into deep, restful sleep.

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Listen to your gut!

In order to lower your stress you need to listen to more than your gut feelings. You need to literally manage your gut.

The bacteria in our stomachs has a profound impact on our systemic wellbeing. If you eat the wrong food your gut bacteria start responding in the wrong way which can lead to inflammation and other psychological changes such as mood swings etc.

I strongly recommend that your watch the following video from the Australian Broadcasting Commission Catalyst Programme called “Gut Reaction“.

It could have a profound impact on your health and psychological well being.

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5 Tips for Creating a Stress-Free Sanctuary at Home

On those stressful days when the kids have been bickering non-stop, the boss has been crabby, and the traffic has been more jammed than usual, we might fantasize about slipping away to some remote desert island filled with peace, sunshine and plenty of tranquility.

However, with a little time, money and a few supplies, we can find our own private and renewing sanctuary right in our own home. From a rarely-used guest room that you can transform into a quiet place of meditation, to a nook under the stairs that you can use for reading and hobbies, it is possible to create a wonderful retreat that doesn’t involve flying to an uncharted isle.

Find Your Space

The first thing you need to do to create a peaceful sanctuary is to choose a space that feels comfortable and does not get much foot traffic. Avoid places like the corner of the living room or dining room because the noise level will be too high. Instead, try to work with an extra bedroom, a rarely-used den, a closet under the stairs, or even part of the attic. Take your private sanctuary to the next level by implementing an entirely new space in your home. Sunrooms are an ideal place to relax and unwind after a long day of work and taking care of the house and kids, notes Champion Home Exteriors. Plus, this space can double as a yoga or fitness room in addition to your place of zen.

Paint With Soothing Colors

Once you determine where your private at-home sanctuary will be located, the next step will be prepping the space for use. Choose a color for your relaxation space that will encourage calm and tranquil thoughts and feelings, notes Home Guides. Soothing colors like blues, light purple, beige, and medium shades of green are all outstanding choices, while bright and vivid colors like red, yellow and orange, should not be used in the space.

Keep it Clutter-Free

Clutter is the archenemy of relaxation and peace. Keep your private sanctuary as free of clutter as you can, and don’t allow other family members to store their extra books or toys in your space. By keeping the room as open and airy and clutter-free as possible, it will greatly add to your feeling of tranquility.

Add Comfy Furnishings

In order to be as comfortable as possible in your new peaceful space, consider placing an overstuffed chair in the room, as well as a side table to hold beverages and a small bookcase for books, candles, and hobby materials. Keep the furniture on the edges of the room to create a minimalist ambiance. This will give you plenty of free space to walk around and help retain its peaceful look and feel.

Add Some Tunes

While a completely quiet room can be very relaxing, this might be hard to attain in a household filled with kids or pets. To make the room as peaceful as possible, bring in a CD player or iPod and listen to some of your favorite music that is soothing to the soul. You can also purchase a small fountain for the room that will fill the space with the wonderful sound of bubbling water, or even a small fan that has a white noise setting.

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