How to prepare for an online video interview

One of the biggest challenges when you’re looking for a job, especially that first job, can be getting a conversation with a recruiter, which is why the Finding Ada Online Careers Fair for Women in STEM is an excellent opportunity to get over that hurdle.

The fair has attracted some of the biggest names in business including semiconductor maker ARM, consulting giant Accenture, the Government Digital Service, the European Patent Office, tech company Capgemini, and specialist recruitment agency STEM Women. The IET will also be on hand to talk about ongoing professional development and accreditation for engineers. 

Make a good first impression

Making a good first impression is key to making the most of the fair, and we spoke to Dr Amanda Barnes, employability manager and cell biologist at the University of York, to get tips on preparing for the interview and also for how to navigate an online interview. (Watch the full interview with Amanda now!)

“The first thing I’d say is that although this is not a formal interview, this is your first opportunity to show yourself to that company and a way in,” she said. So you should dress formally, just as you would for an in-person interview, and make sure that you use formal, professional speech in your interview.

Key in making a really good first impression is doing your research on the companies you want to talk to, she said. Make sure that you know what products or services they offer, and what type of roles they have open that are suitable for you, such as graduate schemes or entry-level positions if you’re just leaving university, or mid-level roles if you’re early in your careers. If you’re returning to the workforce, find out if they offer specific returnships and see if they have public information about flexible or fractional (part-time) working.

Interviews are a two-way street

It’s also important to remember the interviews are a two-way street: They aren’t just about an employer getting to know you, they are also an important opportunity to find out whether they are a company you want to work for. Dr Barnes suggests that you should ask what kind of potential career paths would be available to you if you join the company, and that could include asking about future training and career development opportunities.

Another plus of the Finding Ada Online Careers Fair is that it gives “you an opportunity to find out how your values fit with that of the company”, Dr Barnes said. “What do you want your typical day to be like in your world of work? … What is the culture like at the company and will I fit in there?”

Think about what’s in view of your camera

The default interview format for the Finding Ada Online Careers Fair is video, so make sure that there isn’t anything in the background that might distract the interviewer. Most laptops have a way to test the camera, so do that before the day and move anything that’s distracting. if you’re living in a student house, make sure that your flatmates know about the interview and don’t interrupt you.

If you are using a laptop, make sure it is fully charged or plugged in. That might sound like a simple thing to remember, but if you’re nervous, you might forget.

Keep your energy up

In addition to keeping your devices charged up, be sure to keep your energy levels high during the conversation, and be prepared to drive the interview. Have a list of questions, just out of the view during the interview that you can refer to, she said, adding you can plaster sticky notes behind your screen to remind yourself to make key points, especially about your skills or key questions that you have.

As for the structure of the interview, it’s a good idea to think ahead, and plan a question to kick off the discussion based on some of the research that you’ve done. Then you can move on to specific job opportunities, before finding out about the company’s culture and the work environment.

Make sure to end your conversation on a positive note. Recap the main points that you’ve made during the interview, and thank the interviewers for their time. And don’t forget to find out about next steps such as how to follow up with the recruiter or next steps in the application process.


Xero logoThe Finding Ada Online Careers Fair for Women in STEM was sponsored by Xero, a beautiful, easy-to-use online accounting software for small businesses and their advisors. It has over one million subscribers in more than 180 countries, with more than 250,000 of those in the UK.

New job, new town: How to settle in quickly

Reading RiversideIf your dream job takes you away from friends and family, we have you covered with some great strategies for settling into a new job, a new town and a new social scene. It might be slightly daunting at first, but fortunately there are some tried and tested ways to settle in quickly.

First off, to quote the wise sage Douglas Adams: Don’t Panic! Every graduate feels a bit of an adjustment going from university to the world of work. Up until you get that first job, your social life is packaged quite nicely. You have your classmates and a lot of structured ways to socialise. But the same can be said for life after uni too. Moving to a new town is always a bit daunting, but there are lots of ways that you can easily connect with new people and soon feel right at home.

Finding friends at work

Let’s go for the low hanging fruit first. Work can be a great starting point for making connections, and businesses are getting much better welcoming new employees. If you’re working for a major international company, they might even have a formal onboarding process to not only help you learn the ropes but also to give you a group of peers to build connections with. If you aren’t given a welcome pack within your first few days, ask if there’s anything available.

Many larger companies also have employee groups that organise social activities outside of work hours. These might be general, or they might be organised around shared interests such as hiking, board games or films. Ask your new colleagues if anything like that exists, or take a look on your company intranet.

Keep an ear out too for social activities that are being organised by members of your immediate team. They’re good opportunities not just to get to know your colleagues, but also to ask for advice on what to do in town. And who knows, you might find someone who’s got the same interests as you.

Be careful not to work so much that you leave yourself little time to make connections in your new surroundings. While you might be throwing yourself into work both to impress your new managers, or because you don’t have any social connections yet, you’ll be happier if your life is more balanced between work and play.

What’s on in town?

Another great way to find like-minded people in a new community is to look for local clubs, groups and organisations. Whether you’re into sports, arts or crafts, or theatre, hobbies are a great way to find new friends. You can even start doing this research before you make the move and, if you’re fortunate enough to have a number of great job offers, it might help you decide on which opportunity is the best one for you.

If you don’t already have a hobby, or can’t find a local group that you like the look of, take a look at what courses are available. You could take up painting, dance, or rock climbing! There are plenty of activities that don’t require you to go with someone else, so it doesn’t matter if you have a partner to take or not.

Equally, look into local gym membership and see what classes are available there. Going to the same place each week, bumping into the same people each week, is a good way to start to meet new people. Just makes sure you smile and say hello to people, to make sure that they realise you’re open to a conversation.

The value of sharing a flat

Author Sarah Abell, who has written a book about developing authentic relationships, also suggested in The Telegraph that you might consider moving into shared accommodation at first.

Most people have experienced sharing a flat or house during university and the years directly afterwards, and you might feel that you now want space to yourself. But sharing accommodation will introduce you to a handful of people that you’ll see regularly and who probably already know the area and can give you advice.

Use social media to find local groups

Do be careful, though that you don’t disappear into Facebook, where all your friends and family from back home are. It might feel familiar, but it is no substitute to making connections where you live now.

But you can use social media productively to help you find activities and friends. Look for groups that support new people in your community, and do ask questions. Once you’ve been in your new community a while and have connected with people there, Facebook’s new events service will even suggest nearby events that your new friends have discovered and are going to.

And once you are settled in, be active in welcoming other new arrivals and offering them help and advice. You might just turn out to be the new friend that they need!


Xero logoThe Finding Ada Online Careers Fair for Women in STEM was sponsored by Xero, a beautiful, easy-to-use online accounting software for small businesses and their advisors. It has over one million subscribers in more than 180 countries, with more than 250,000 of those in the UK.

Photo by Yiannis Theologos Michellis.

Tips and advice for online job interviews

How can you prepare for online video interviews with STEM recruiters?

Dr Amanda Barnes, Employability Manager and cell biology researcher at the University of York, gives tips and advice on how to make a good impression during an online careers fair video interview.


The Finding Ada Online Careers Fair for Women in STEM was sponsored by Xero, a beautiful, easy-to-use online accounting software for small businesses and their advisors. It has over one million subscribers in more than 180 countries, with more than 250,000 of those in the UK.

Supercharge your STEM job search with our online careers fair, sponsored by Xero

Looking for a job can be a daunting task, especially when it seems like so often you’re sending your CV off into the ether. Is anyone listening?

The biggest challenge is making the initial connection with an employer, and that is the beauty of the Finding Ada Online Careers Fair for Women in STEM, sponsored by Xero, to be held on 1 February 2018 from 09:00 to 17:00 GMT. It’s a great opportunity for recent graduates, returners, and women early in their STEM careers to speak with recruiters from elite employers including ARM, CapGemini and Accenture. And we’re adding more employers all the time. The IET will also be on hand to talk about professional development, membership and how to become a chartered or incorporated engineer.

You might already have been to a career fair or two, but the Finding Ada Online Career Fairs are different. Searching for a job can be a nightmare of nerves, but with our career fair, you can connect with recruiters at major companies not only on neutral territory but from anywhere, including your own home. There is no better way to cut down on jitters than to break the ice from the comfort of your own lounge.

Signing up is easy

Great employers and a low-stress way to get an edge with your job search, you say? Sign me up! That’s easy too. The first step is to create a profile on GoIntro, the platform hosting the careers fair.

GoIntro has a great step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your profile and make a great first impression with the employers. The easiest way to sign up is to visit the Finding Ada Online Careers Fair page on GoIntro, click “Create an Account”, fill in your details and click “I’m a Candidate”. Or if you arrive at the event page, click on the big blue button that says, “I want to attend”, click “Sign Up”, fill in your details and click “I’m a Candidate”.

Now it’s time to fill out your profile, including details of your education, your technical skills and a few personal details such as email address and mobile phone number. GoIntro doesn’t share your personal details with anyone else. You probably have all of the information to hand from your CV.

Like a lot of online accounts, there is one more step. You need to authorise your account via a link you will receive by email. That’s it, in terms of setting up your profile.

Tailor your profile

It is always a good idea to do a bit of research into the companies that you’re interested in speaking to, and tailor your profile to fit. Ask yourself how you can best illustrate that your experiences and interests make you suitable for the positions you’d like to apply for. Try to imagine what questions recruiters might have for you. Can you answer those in your profile?

GoIntro allows you to upload a project or create a portfolio, so you can highlight your experience and skills, and talk about projects and experiences you’re proud of. It’s a great way to show prospective employers how you’ve put your education into practice if you’re a student or recent graduate, or to show how you’ve grown during your career if you’re looking for a new role.

The more research that you do for your profile and on the companies that you want to speak to on 1 February during the Finding Ada Online Careers Fair, the better you will be prepared for the conversations you’ll have. Take a look at the employers and organisations that are taking part, what skills they’re looking for, and where they have vacancies. Think about some questions that you might ask the recruiters about the jobs on offer, and about their company. Employers love speaking to candidates who have taken the trouble to research the business and can talk about what they have seen and why they feel a particular affinity with a certain organisation.

And if you’ve got a friend or classmate who is also looking, make sure to let them know about the fair. This is the first Finding Ada Online Careers Fair, but we want to build this into an event that connects the best women in STEM with the best employers.

So sign up now, and good luck!


The Finding Ada Online Careers Fair for Women in STEM was sponsored by Xero, a beautiful, easy-to-use online accounting software for small businesses and their advisors. It has over one million subscribers in more than 180 countries, with more than 250,000 of those in the UK.

Why some of us don’t have one true calling

How many times have you heard successful people describe a moment of epiphany, usually when they were very young, when they realised what they wanted to be when they grew up? In a moment of extreme clarity, they saw their lives unfold before them, and began their journey along a very straight and obvious path to success. They had found their One True Calling.

It’s a really common trope, so common that we often judge ourselves negatively if we don’t experience it. But not everyone has a One True Calling, and that’s a good thing. The world needs people who are interested in and study lots of different subjects, whom Emilie Wapnick calls “multipotentialites”, just as much as it needs specialists. Indeed, exciting things happen on the boundaries between different skill sets and fields of endeavour, and life as a multipotentialite is exciting, fun and, well, full of potential!