In the past several months, we have seen some of the largest tech companies, who traditionally stood behind the belief that in-office collaboration is the preferred work experience, make big announcements inviting workers to work remotely forever. Companies swiftly made adjustments to how the employees would communicate internally, externally, and with candidates during the recruiting process. Those adopting a remote workforce have the advantage of hiring a more diverse workforce, because they are no longer confined to hiring talent within a commutable distance of the office. What does this mean for you as a job seeker? Potentially more opportunities.
We all watched the unemployment rate soar during the three months of COVID-19. It seemed like every morning a new press release announced layoffs. The unemployment rate rose quicker in those 3 months than it did in two years of the Great Recession. Slowly, companies are starting to get back on their feet again and hire again, which means if you are on the job market, it is time to dust off your resume and start applying - remotely.
Here are a few tips to prepare you for the remote recruiting process.
- Check Out Multiple Job Boards. There are many platforms where you can find job opportunities. The bigger ones like Linkedin, Glassdoor and Indeed are obvious go-to sites. You can set up job alerts and jobs will be emailed to you directly. Even though these are great sites, they can be costly for the employer’s hiring budget. More budget conscious companies tend to approach job posting with a grassroots angle. Facebook Jobs is a great place to view jobs in your area and over the recent years is gaining traction with the variety of companies that are now posting there.
- Expand Your Search Geographically. The volume of companies starting to employ remote workers opens the door for you to apply for jobs outside of your commutable distance. When you are searching for jobs, expand your search parameters outside of your home city. Most job boards will have filters you can set where the search results will include companies open to remote hiring. If you are unsure, it doesn’t hurt to ask. A lot of company job boards will have chatbots or general contact information where you can ask if they are accepting remote resumes before you apply.
- Engage With Automated Recruiting Communications. It’s a growing trend for companies to utilize automated tools to bring efficiencies to the recruiting progress. Talkpush delivers conversational experiences with the help of recruitment chatbots. The value of these products include more systematically informed responses, streamlined communication, and fast, prompt responses. Just because it’s automated doesn’t mean it’s not authentic. Companies are evolving the recruitment process to have a more objective approach and eliminate human errors, unnecessary delays, and bias when it comes to making hiring decisions.
- Assessments Are Just As Important As the Interview. It’s increasingly popular to have an online assessment as part of the hiring process. Letting experience speak for itself, I have seen where coding challenges are given to engineers, design assignments given to designers, and pitch prompts given to sales people to show off their sales abilities. If you are interviewing for a job and given a take home assignment or assessment, take it seriously. I’ve had candidates in the past feel it’s an unnecessary barrier to getting the job and/or feel like we didn’t trust what they were telling us in the interview. It’s quite the opposite in reality. Assessments are meant to level the playing field and aid the recruiting team to make the most objective hiring decision by hiring the most qualified person for the job vs. who is able to “talk the talk” during the interview.
Now let’s look at workspace preparedness for your remote interview day.
- Avoid Technical Issues. Nothing distracts an interviewer from the valuable information you are sharing more than technical glitches. Double check that the recruiter has sent you login information for the video call, sign on early to ensure it’s working, and test your audio. We have all accepted that meetings tend to start with the phrase, “Can you hear me?”. Start the interview on the right foot and aim for the interviewer to answer with a resounding “Yes!”. Strive to interview from a place with stable internet in a quiet space, so everything you have to say is heard loud and clear.
- Find Good Lighting. Virtual interviewing limits the relationship building between the candidate and interviewer. Lack of non-verbal cues, social interaction, and feeding off one someone’s energy makes exuding a warm vibe over a video call even more challenging. One factor that also hinders relationship building is poor lighting. Luckily, there are many different remedies for brightening the interview experience. If you are backlit and the interviewer can’t see your face, they may not be able to read your lips, see your facial expressions, and make good eye contact.
- Find a Neutral, Non-Distracting Background. During remote interviews, the interviewing team gets a sneak peek of your personal life. Be mindful of what is in the camera’s view with you. If you are sitting in front of your bookshelf, movie posters, or art, avoid items that could be offensive, controversial, or distracting. I’ve seen people literally sit in front of their shower curtain because it was the most neutral, well lit place to be -- and it worked. That is much better than sitting in front of your unmade bed and dirty laundry. Whatever the background, ensure it’s representative of your best self.
I’ve been in the recruiting industry for over 15 years and I historically felt it was extremely important to meet all candidates in person. Companies I worked for would go to great lengths to fly in candidates and pay for their hotels and per diem expenses up to 2-3 times per candidate just so everyone could get a glance at them in person. Now that non-essential travel is greatly limited, most companies have moved to a 100% remote recruiting process and make hiring decisions completely from their virtual interactions with you.
Once companies are able to analyze performance, attrition, and employee engagement of the hires made from their remote recruiting program and see their hiring quality has not gone down while saving a lot of money by not flying candidates around the country, we will see a major shift from in-person to remote recruiting -- even once the pandemic passes, permanently. The traditional in-person interview is set up for extroverts to succeed and now with remote recruiting practices that consist of technical and skills assessments in combination with virtual conversations, a diversity of applicants will have more equity in the job search process.
👉 Want to learn more about opportunities for better tracking and managing virtual hiring events? Visit the Flo Recruit website here.