How to support students with their recruitment and early career anxieties

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a breakfast in central London kindly hosted by GTI. The discussion mainly centred around supporting students with their mental health. We talked about the latest piece of research by Trendence UK which looked at supporting students whilst in the application process and with their transition to the world of work after graduation.

Two of the report’s findings struck me in particular.

Firstly, video interviews:

The report showed that 65% of women feel ‘anxious’ or ‘very anxious’ about video interviews. And 49% of men feel the same. 15% will consider discontinuing an application if faced with a video interview.

So, how could students better manage their anxiety around video interviews? Here’s three points to consider to present the very best of yourself at this stage of your interview process:

1)      Check your environment

Try to make sure you sit in a brightly lit room. If you’re in a space with natural light, face the window. Eliminate any background noise and check what’s behind you when you face the camera. Finally, sit comfortably and set your camera at eye level.

2)      Observe how you appear on screen

Look directly at the camera and try not to look at the screen. Looking in the camera is the equivalent of looking in your interviewer’s eyes in a face-to-face interview. Do dress appropriately – replicate what you’d wear if the interview was being conducted in person.

3)      Practise delivering your answers

There are a number of online video interview simulators, so try to make use of these. As with a face-to-face interview, structuring your answers is key, so ensure you have thought through your examples in line with the competencies outlined in the job description. Again, try to practise delivering these to another person via video.

If you’ve got four minutes, watch this video from NTD Training.

The second part of the report which interested me was the top anxieties people face when starting a new job.

The top three concerns all centred around the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs : rent costs (55%), the cost of living (49%) and finding a place to live (41%).

So, how could employers and universities help ease the anxieties of those entering the world of work?

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that employers will all be in the position of Deloitte who in 2015 supported students with renting properties in London.

So, employers might want to consider a buddying scheme which matches offer holders with recent joiners. Buddies are in a great position to advise on the basic needs of recent joiners: Where shall I live? How much is the commute? What do I wear on my first day? If offer holders and buddies can be matched on the university they attended, home town or the department they’ll both be part of, they’ll likely find it easier to find common ground.

Universities can help with the transition of their students to the world of work, too. The workplace is likely to be much more diverse than the university environment. By thoroughly preparing their students to work effectively with a wide range of future colleagues to understand what it’s really like to work with people who are different to you, universities might be able to help their young alumni with their mental health at one of the most stressful moments in their lives so far.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Susanna Reilly says:

    Very interesting and thought provoking – thanks Henley Matt for another great blog!


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