September 8, 2020
The hiring landscape has been drastically impacted by Coronavirus, as companies have been forced to transition to virtual recruitment models. Campus career fairs, corporate experiences at the office, and in-person comprehensive evaluations have all given way, at least for the near future, to virtual models.
To help early careerists navigate these transitions, we have put together a Virtual Recruiting Toolkit infographic, which you can find here. This infographic details the steps early careerists can take to prepare, execute, and follow-up effectively in order to be successful during the virtual hiring process. In this piece, we break down the vital execution phase to help job-seekers optimize the opportunity. Here’s how early careerists can achieve “straight A’s” and make their mark memorable during the virtual recruitment process.
Anticipate what will be needed. Have your questions and pitch handy, and organize your preparation materials in advance. For example, divide your materials into “About Me”, “About the Company”, and “Questions” sections, then further group related materials together (such as those about products, or about key people). This way, you can quickly scan them to effectively respond to targeted questions.
Ultimately be ready to sell yourself as you make introductions and ask articulate, thoughtful questions.
Arm yourself for action. Be prepared to address case studies – have Word and Excel at the ready to make quick calculations or create polished bullet points. Have all potentially needed tools running in the background, so that you can prepare information or analysis if asked. If you are grouped with others to work on a problem, offer to help package and present the final answer. You may be observed during the case study, and this will position you as a leader who is helpful to peers.
Actively engage with everyone. Your biggest risk during a virtual recruitment event is being non-participative, and thus forgettable. In breakout sessions, make sociable “small talk” and ask questions (while making sure to keep interactions upbeat and brief). Remember, even “down” time during an event may be monitored – it is important to be interacting with people. If you are muted, you can demonstrate active listening by looking into the camera and nodding at appropriate times. Raise questions if you are given an opportunity.
The company is looking for people who are qualified for the job or internship– but they’re also screening for people who demonstrate that they would be fun and interesting to work with day to day.
Attentiveness in all its forms, is the order of the day. Listen carefully. Do not ask a question that was already raised and answered. Behave as you would in a live meeting: give your undivided attention. Put your phone in another location and turn off notifications to avoid any distractions. Do not multi-task in any way while the event is going on.
Arm yourself with the right technology for the event in advance – you should not be updating your Zoom app minutes before the event is set to begin. Remember to be patient and considerate, as there may be technical difficulties. Don’t overreact if you experience these issues – composure under stress is key for many employers. Instead, if the issue is with on the employer’s side, act empathetically towards the people trying to trouble shoot. If there is a problem with your connection, get back on track quickly without disturbing the other participants and write a simple apology in the chat to explain what happened.
Assess what is happening while the meeting is underway. Absorb the information, jot down notes and be sure to understand any next steps that are expected of you, and what you can expect of the company. Reflect on the tone of the meeting, and the behavior of the people you have engaged with. Are they making you feel welcome and are they helping you learn about their business? Just as the experience is a chance for the company to evaluate you, it is an opportunity for you to evaluate the company.
By following these steps, early careerists can position themselves for success during the virtual recruitment process – these guidelines are effective even for events that are tailored for specific companies, and many of these principles can be applied to getting the most out of your virtual classes as well. By thinking through these issues in advance, you can be ready to execute once the session is underway, and to ultimately make a strong impression on employers – even in a virtual environment.