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Top Tips for the Interview Process.

The summer has arrived and it brings with it a bumper time for new careers in a buoyant and creative AV industry.

It has been a cracking year so far, with Jenny Rowntree joining the team and our capacity growing to offer our candidates more new roles.  As a team we know how important it is to find the perfect fit to take your career forward and we take pride in getting this right!

Jenny and I have been busy placing people in new jobs across a broad range of AV and digital signage businesses. With this in mind, we thought we’d take this time to pause, and share with you some of our top tips for the interview process.

Our all time golden rules are:

– Research the company – with social media, blogs and websites more prevalent than ever, showing you have researched the business has never been more vital

– Review the job specification and make notes of where your experience fits the role so you can mention relevant and specific examples at interview

– Dress to impress. No-one ever wished they had dressed up less for a first interview – it shows you care and can be smart even if the interviewer is casual

– Be ready for the killer question. Know your Achilles heel – whether that’s a short time in your last position, a career break or you’re looking for a big step up from your last role….have your answer ready

– Be interested in your interviewer, their background and role in the company.  This is your chance to find out as much information as possible about the opportunity and ‘interview the interviewer’

– Make a lasting impression. Bear in mind they will likely be doing multiple interviews for the role. Leave them with a way of identifying you afterwards

– Show genuine enthusiasm and ambition, and don’t be afraid to ‘sell yourself’

– Be honest – if you don’t know something then say that and that you’re keen to learn

WoopJobs sponsors the AV Awards 2016 red carpet

We were delighted to be invited to sponsor the AV Awards this year, with paparazzi photographers in place to snap a photo of everyone arriving. Check out the gallery of the evening right here!

AVAwards17   AVAwards18   AVAwards5   Woopjobs-AVAwards3

Jenny Rowntree joins WoopJobs!

Industry expert Jenny Rowntree has joined the team! With many years experience in sales and business development we’re delighted to have Jenny on board as a new recruiter, dedicated to the AV industry. Jenny can be contacted on jenny@woopjobs.co.uk.

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In the spotlight…Marc Cooke

This month, Marc Cooke, Director of Operations EMEA for Electrosonic Ltd, spoke to us about his success in AV, his inspiration and how you can become successful in this rapidly growing industry.

How would you define success at work?

I think success is a journey rather than a destination and its definition and continued achievement differs for each and every one of us. For me success is not what you achieve for temporary sake.

Success is normally measured in the fulfilment of work or career related goals, set personally for ourselves as well as those set for us by our colleagues or companies we work for.

Most importantly success means achieving self-satisfaction within our workplace and with our work.

So when you feel you are more knowledgeable, experienced and happier then yesterday, then you have succeeded.

Most importantly its happiness that actually matters in life. It is never a guarantee that a successful person is always happy, but a happy person is always successful.

What three things have contributed most to your success?

The most important step towards achieving success and self-satisfaction is working for an organisation where your own personal work / career related goals and ambitions match those set for you by your organisation.

In order for you to achieve anything in your career, you have to first believe. You need to believe in yourself that you can achieve your goals. You need to have faith in your goals and your path to that success. Once your mind is convinced that you can do it, nothing is impossible.

Marc Cooke Electrosonic 1

Nothing moves until you take action. Believing alone is not going to achieve anything for you. It must be followed up with disciplined action. Your goals mean nothing unless you act upon them whole-heartedly. When you act upon what you believe there is focus and energy.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?

I would tell myself that your colleagues and team members around you are your greatest assets. Learn and work together as much as possible. You will learn twice as fast and achieve twice as much.

What inspires you in the industry?

I find the ever changing technology we embrace and work with on a daily basis very inspirational. There is no other industry as vast as the Audio Visual Industry growing as rapidly across so many areas. It keeps us all on our toes and requires constant advancement and improvement of ourselves to stay at the top of your game.

What do you look for when interviewing candidates?

Here are some of the key criteria I am assessing a candidate on throughout an interview:-

  • Most importantly – would you fit in with our company and culture?
  • Do you know who you are and what you really want?
  • Are you showing me your true self?
  • Are you portraying confidence & positivity through your body language and eye contact?
  • Are you enthusiastic and passionate about your work and the industry?
  • Do you understand the job you’re interviewing for?
  • Are you answering the question I have asked?
  • Did you take time to learn about the company?
  • Have you asked constructive questions about the nature of the role and how it fulfils the company’s goals?

Is there a common theme among the people you’ve employed over the years?  

I am always looking for passionate people that perform well in a team environment and have a clear focus on who they are and what they want to achieve. Skills, knowledge and experience are developed over time but you can never change somebodies core values.

What is your favourite interview question and what are you looking to get out of that?

“What do you want for your career two jobs from now, and how does this position help you get there?”

From this, I’m looking for: initiative, long-term thinking, self-awareness, personal motivators and professional development expectations.

What are your top tips for giving a presentation in interview scenarios?

  • Understand the audience – make sure you know in advance who will be present in your interview so you know and understand who you are presenting to.
  • Stand confidently, speak with conviction and command the room.
  • Ensure your presentation is structured with a clear overview and conclusion and keep it to the time requested.
  • Ensure your visual aids are helpful, clean and neat. Use them for emphasis, they should give not for the narrative.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

“A setback is never a bad experience, just another one of life’s lessons.”

December 2014

 

In the spotlight…James Shanks James Shanks October 2014-3

We caught up with James Shanks, Managing Director EMEA of AVI-SPL, to find out what has influenced his success and the advice he would now give to rising stars in the industry.

How would you define success at work?

Being recognised by your colleagues/peers as someone that can be relied upon to deliver in your given discipline to the best of your ability and in excess of expectation.

What three things have contributed most to your success?

1)      Luck, but when you work hard you make your own luck. By working hard and making the right decisions, it allows you to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of great opportunity.

2)      Great people. I have enjoyed many opportunities to work for and with some very highly capable, intelligent and driven people. I have endeavoured to watch and learn, apply and then share the knowledge I have gained.

3)      Learning the ability to delegate, empower and trust others to make their contribution which can often exceed your own.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?

All of the above. Work hard, be lucky, surround yourself with great people (listen, watch & learn) and delegate with conviction, or when you have been delegated to, to apply yourself to the best of your ability and in excess of the expectations placed upon you.

What inspires you in the industry?

Seeing others exceed their own expectations of themselves.

What do you look for when interviewing candidates?

Honesty, application, determination, conviction and self-belief. Communication & real life skills.

Is there a common theme among the people you’ve employed over the years?  

I have learnt over the years that different character traits are prominent in different roles within our industry. These are wide and varied. My role today is to recognise the potential, which often isn’t even realised by the person in question.

What is your favourite interview question and what are you looking to get out of that?

What do you want to achieve? It is an open ended question that can be applied to work or personal expectations and provides an insight into what they think of themselves. I would also comment that very often, this questions requires further prompting as many have never even considered the implications for themselves.

What are your top tips for giving a presentation in interview scenarios?

Remember that how you present yourself sets the stall before your presentation even starts. Write your own presentation, rehearse it to a level of confidence whereby not only do you know the content, but also the supporting information that created the contents intent, providing you the ability to answer any questions in depth related to your presentation. Knowing your subject matter and providing associated depth of knowledge will be a factor of success. But how you present is as important as what you present.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

There is a famous saying that if you reach for the moon and fail, you’ll still be amongst the stars. I find the irony in this wonderful as obviously the stars are much further away. But a manager did once put this in context for me. He said, if you reach for the moon but only reach the top of the lamppost, you will have achieved more than if you never tried. You will never try unless you believe in yourself.

October 2014

 

In the spotlight…Simon JacksonSimon Jackson NEC

This week, Simon Jackson, Vice President at NEC Display Solutions, spoke to us about success, employing candidates and his unique interview technique…

How would you define success at work?

Success at work should provide you with the satisfaction that you have taken yourself and your company forward, added positively to the work environment and enabled you to fulfil your personal goals.

What three things have contributed most to your success?

Hard work, building a great team and having fun.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?

Start your own business.

What inspires you in the industry?

The AV industry touches everyone’s lives in some form or other, yet we are small enough to know each other and in many cases, work together. You don’t have to be an Apple to make a difference.

What do you look for when interviewing candidates?

The right personality. If you don’t blend it’ll be others that are affected too, and if you bring something new it helps keep everything fresh.

Is there a common theme among the people you’ve employed over the years?

They’re the best at what they do.

What is your favourite interview question and what are you looking to get out of that?

I like to start an argument to see how they cope under pressure.

What are your top tips for giving a presentation in interview scenarios?

Get the brief right, then keep it brief, don’t read it – I can do that.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

Wait for the coals to turn white before you put the meat on.

September 2014

 

In the spotlight…Stuart HolmesStuart Holmes

We’ve got the lowdown from Stuart Homes, CEO of PSCo, on how having the right attitude and being prepared to make mistakes will go a long way in your career.

How would you define success at work?

For me success is about finding the right product and the right people to take something new and different to market. This can sometimes be a difficult task, but success is about making something difficult look easy.

What three things have contributed most to your success?

There are lots of things over the years that have helped me get to where I am today, but I would say that having the determination to go out there and prove people wrong when told something’s not possible is definitely up there. Focusing on doing things that other people aren’t doing and solving the right problems has also helped along the way. Don’t work really hard fixing the wrong problems really well.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?

Listen to others – especially those who want to help you. It’s okay to ask for help, it’s not a weakness. I would also want to spend less time doing and more time thinking.

What inspires you in the industry?

New stuff. New shiny things that other people don’t have. Getting something first, when the technology is just starting out and considering how PSCo will add value to that product, then understanding what accessories and support services our channel services will look for when bringing it to market – that is what truly inspires me and where my passion lies.

What do you look for when interviewing candidates?

We’re heavily focused on attitude and cultural fit at PSCo. Obviously experience is important but because we work with such new and innovative products that are often exclusive to PSCo, we don’t expect candidates to be familiar with them. We are focused on training and developing our team so ultimately candidates need to have the right outlook and be excited by what we do. We employ people from all backgrounds, walks of life and experience if they have the approach we’re looking for.

Is there a common theme among the people you’ve employed over the years?  

This has changed over the years. I’m a big fan of people and believe that they should always be themselves. We look for the right attitude and willingness etc., but you can quickly tell when you meet someone if you like them and what their motives are. You need to determine if they are there because the company will make them look good or if they want to come on board to do something different and make the company look good. We employ people that have something about them and who want to make a difference, rather than work to simply collect their cheque at the end of the month.

What is your favourite interview question and what are you looking to get out of that?

Not every interview is the same, so the same questions aren’t always appropriate. We have an open and honest approach to our interviews though and want to make sure candidates understand what they’re letting themselves in for. We’re not trying to scare them off or put them off but we do lay the cards on the table and outline exactly what is expected.

We’re looking for people that inspire us, so our process involves making them feel comfortable and relaxed so that they can be clever and show us what they can bring to the team.

It’s also a case of them interviewing us. We encourage candidates to dig around and find out information about the team they’ll be spending eight hours a day with for the next however many years. So each interview is always different and essentially led by the candidate through their responses to our sometimes ‘out there’ questions.

What are your top tips for giving a presentation in interview scenarios?

We do ask people to give presentations at interviews if it’s relevant to the role and usually focus on giving them a problem to solve. We always want their personality to shine through so wouldn’t necessarily outline a criteria or process for solving the problem in a particular way. Instead we are more interested in their approach to the task and how they would naturally go about solving it.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

Empowering yourself to take time out to reflect. When you’re beginning your career you can get caught up in thinking that you constantly need to be physically doing something to be working, when actually reflecting and thinking about a task is just as important.

August 2014

 

In the spotlight…Peter Dosanjh  MEDIUM CASIO VIP EVENT

We spoke to Peter Dosanjh, Director at Medium UK, to get some top tips on how to shine in an interview.

How would you define success at work?

By creating empathy, ambition and motivation in everybody connected to the business. Medium UK is all about its people for me, we are trying to give everyone the opportunity to be the best they can be. We have a very honest and hardworking group of people where everyone is being encouraged to make a difference.

What three things have contributed most to your success?

Being fully committed to what I am doing, believing in my ability to motivate people to greater success and most importantly applying common sense to any given situation. It always helps!

If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?

Go and get a business or economics degree instead of an engineering one, work in the City (Banking) and retire early!

What inspires you in the industry?

I have met lots of great people and too many to mention!

What do you look for when interviewing candidates?

People who are self-motivated, independent and want to make a difference for themselves, the people they are working with and most importantly the customers they are going to working with.

Is there a common theme among the people you’ve employed over the years?  

They are commercially astute, have an ability to engage positively with others and have the ability to apply common sense in any given situation to reach a successful outcome.

What is your favourite interview question and what are you looking to get out of that?

Why should we hire you over the next person?

This question allows me to see if the potential candidate has the ability to take a holistic view of the role they are being interviewed for by covering all the various skillsets needed to be successful in a sales role.

What are your top tips for giving a presentation in interview scenarios?

Be fully prepared and understand the purpose of the presentation, why you are there and ensure you deliver it well to make the interviewer(s) believe it would be a mistake in not hiring you.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

Work hard, always try to make a difference and treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

July 2014

 

In the spotlight…Neil ColquhounNeil Colquhoun

This week, we caught up with Neil Colquhoun, Sales Director at Epson UK, to find out exactly what budding AV industry leaders need to consider to be successful.

How would you define success at work? 

There are, of course, the obvious objective rewards, such as achieving & exceeding business targets, but it’s important to also focus on the subjective factors such as making a difference, working in a high-performing team in a good environment. Creating a ‘winning culture’ is far more than just target achievements.

What three things have contributed most to your success? 

A huge part of anyone’s success in their team, so that has always been vital; working with top brands of course; and, having that constant desire to self-improve.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your younger self? 

Don’t support Sunderland AFC, a lifetime of hurt awaits you!  In all seriousness, what I’ve often told younger, ambitious, members of teams I’ve led is be patient and develop cross-functional skills. At some point you will become a General Manager so improve your understanding of business in general.

What inspires you in the industry? 

I’ve been fortunate to work in both FMCG and the AV Industry, both are extremely interesting to work in. AV is a small community so I’ve built up some wonderful relationships across Europe with people whom I still keep in touch with now.

What do you look for when interviewing candidates? 

Several things, firstly that they understand the company they wish to join. Have they done any research? It doesn’t take long to read a company report, or ask a few people in the industry about our company, but few people do.  Of course, they still need to be capable and show they have talent too. Often, when interviewing, I’m looking for someone who can progress to another level so they need to show they are able to do the role in question, but also have future potential. Or, if it’s for someone who will stay where they are, that they have the breadth of knowledge to excel in that role.  I often look for raw talent, so not being perfectly ‘polished’ does not always mean you will be excluded.

Is there a common theme among the people you’ve employed over the years?  

Not really, except for meeting some or all of the criteria above of course. Interviewing isn’t easy, no-one gets it right all the time.  It can be quite a tough process for candidates but they must realise (as most do) that employers get one shot to get it right, so we must be thorough.

What is your favourite interview question and what are you looking to get out of that? 

That would be giving away my secrets!  An assiduous candidate should be able to guess it from what I’ve written already…

What are your top tips for giving a presentation in interview scenarios? 

Get the basics right.  Make sure you answer the question (amazingly, many do not), keep to time and don’t waffle.  Try to avoid too much text, use a few images or icons just to break things up. But most importantly of all, be prepared to back-up your presentation with answers afterwards because you will be interrogated on it.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given? 

Success is rarely about an individual, it’s far more about the team that you build so make sure you share any successes with them.  Which is precisely what I am doing in this interview, I hope!

June 2014

 

Leading industry guest contributors share their insights into a variety of topical industry subjects…

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Candidates were probably busy updating their CVs for new opportunities in January yet research shows employers no longer see a traditional CV as an effective way of assessing potential candidates!

Video CVs are billed to be the next big thing for the industry, and the future for jobseekers.  As an employer, there’s no doubt it can be problematic differentiating between candidates by CV alone and this way you can see beyond the CV to the person behind it.

Video is being viewed as a distinct advantage for employers to attract candidates, giving companies the edge to stand out from other bland online job adverts, and present their company, products and people and reinforce their brand.  We’ll see how much more common video becomes this year in AV and DOOH hires, especially with the video medium being such a natural fit for our market sector.

There are compelling statistics in favour of the technology: online video is the fastest growing ad format with nearly 55% growth in 2013 and viewers who view sales videos are 85% more likely to buy than visitors who do not!

For recruitment in AV and DOOH, as well as the general economy, there are promising signs of recovery in January with a frantic month of candidate movement and assertive hiring decision making by clients. Unemployment fell by 167,000 to 2.32 million compared with the previous quarter. And the number of those in work soared by 280,000 to 30.15 million, the largest rise since records began in 1971.

High calibre candidates are more confident to move whether they are actively looking or being headhunted, being secured quickly into new roles by equally confident employers, some who were motivated by employing new staff before ISE opened its doors this month.

We are working with more global customers to fulfil European and Middle Eastern roles and we’re looking to make the most of ISE for meeting many of our candidates. We’ll update you on what we found.

Denise Hughes, February 2014

 

 
av_mag_siteIt is the people behind businesses that make them so successful and it is crucial to find the best quality individuals to build your business.  In the current market businesses are sometimes accused of ‘hoarding’ staff and employees are reluctant to move through risk of not keeping their jobs.  We have seen this trend impact not only the volume but also the quality of candidates available.  In October we are already seeing increasing activity in the hiring market and it’s buzzing.  It is as good an indicator of an upward trend in the economy as we could hope for, as the country emerges from the deepest recession in living memory.  All sectors, from corporate to retail, from Events to Dooh have a renewed and reinvigorated sense of positivity.  This in turn is creating candidate confidence to move and motivating employers to expand their workforce.

Our industry news reflects the same with many encouraging reports.  It is reported the digital signage market is growing by over 35 percent and industry experts expect more than 22 million digital signs to be deployed by 2015. Globally, the digital signage marketplace continues to strengthen and has annual revenues of over $9billion USD.  It was recently announced that leading digital signage provider Ocean Outdoor has been named as one of the fastest growing technology companies, entering this year’s Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 at position 60.

At Woop! we are finding increasingly tech-savvy customers mean that the pressure is on the engineering world to maintain the highest standards. Keeping abreast of technology has always been of key importance.  But now there are clear signs that those who embrace IT and networks; those engineers who boast CCNA or CCIE for example as well as CTS, put themselves in a stronger position to address the needs of the client and the demands of 21st century communication.

Denise Hughes, October 2013

 

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In recruitment, the summer months tend to be perceived as slower for hiring and some candidates hold off on job changes until the busier autumn season. With a more positive spin, summer can actually be the time to gain competitive advantage as a job seeker and for job hunters CV’s to stand out to recruiters and employers who typically have fewer applications to work through.  At Woop! we have been working on a range of vacancies in Audiovisual and digital signage through the summer months across a breadth of commercial and technical roles. New business salespeople are in the most demand for system integrators currently and high level project managers.  Inevitably there are instances where we have experienced delays in hiring decisions due to holiday season!

The Woop! team have been getting out and about visiting specialist trade shows again and we were the Recruitment Partner for European Sign Expo in June which incorporated Screenmedia Expo, held at Excel.  It was a new format for the event since being been bought by FESPA.  Visitor footfall and number of exhibitors was down on previous years (perhaps also affected by the clash of exhibition dates with Marketing Week).  Despite the numbers, the show still attracted high calibre industry people, showcased the latest technologies and offered relevant free seminars from key speakers in the digital signage industry.

We have been working with more customers outside of the UK, so I was interested to read that the latest research conducted by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council showed people taking part in job interviews via video conferencing often come across as less likeable.  Candidates also claimed interviewers through the webcam were less attractive, trustworthy, competent and personable. Of course there are many benefits of utilizing webcams and VC for interviews however the research highlights that it’s still important to meet people face to face to get the best result.

Denise Hughes, August 2013