The Virtual Job Market: Interview Tips and Tools Webinar Recap

Amanda Palczynski | May 1, 2020

Most folds make decisions about a candidate in the first 30 seconds

On April 24, 2020, EmPower HR and interviewstream partnered up to host a webinar: The Virtual Job Market: Interview Tips and Tools. In case you missed it, we’ve collected key takeaways and highlights for candidates who are navigating the ever-changing job market and business world.

Takeaway #1 Freshen Your Resume and Stay Relevant

Take the time to polish up your resume and make sure that the format fits what you do and the roles you are looking for today.

In addition to your resume, you need to sharpen up your cover letter writing skills. Reminder: your cover letters should be unique for every job you apply to and should add to your resume, not repeat it. 

Bonus tip: If you get writers’ block working on your resume or cover letter, try taking a moment to “write out” a problem that you have solved in a prior role, your response to that problem and the results you obtained. Doing this will also help you prep for these very questions in the live interview.

Takeway #2 Use the Right Language

Avoid overused phrases and “corporate speak” buzzwords like synergy or best in class. If you can picture it on a tacky motivational poster, choose another word.

Also, be sure to use action verbs to describe your responsibilities instead of starting with the words “responsible for.” Example: a digital marketing specialist might describe one of their achievements as “increased inbound website traffic by 30% month-over-month.”

Takeaway #3 Take a Walk in the Recruiter’s Shoes

As you look for new roles being posted, imagine what it would look like if you were the recruiter, searching through a sea of candidates for the “perfect fit.” A lot of research goes into each position and even more of the recruiter’s time is spent screening candidates. These days, a lot of recruiters are using on-demand platforms to do this screening so if you’re a good fit for the role, don’t hesitate to use the tools they send you. It will help you both.

And if you are asked to use an online interviewing platform, do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask the recruiter what questions you can expect to be asked. Ask about how long you’ll have to answer and how many chances you’ll have to resubmit if you ran into a snafu while recording (you know, like a dog barking in the background or a little one entering the screen). And hey – if a snafu does happen –run with it! Maybe you can become the next viral video of wfh snafus or just fun #wfhhappenings.

Bonus tip: if you’re recording a video interview, even if you’re allowed four minutes to answer a question, try to stick to a two-minute answer. Being concise is important and most folks make decisions about a candidate in the first 30 seconds.

Takeaway #4 Help Manage the Chaos of “Calendaring” 

When you’re in an interview process, be sure to keep up with your inbox and respond quickly to recruiters’ scheduling invites. They may also send you scheduling invites via text if they are using an automated interview scheduling platform, which is pretty common these days. 

Especially in the changing business climate, be as flexible and understanding as you can be about scheduling. Everyone is adapting to a new way of working so even the most organized team members sometimes are dealing with new distractions.  Know that talking to you is not any less important to them, even if they are having some scheduling challenges. 

Bonus tip #1: a non-response to an interview schedule request may drop you out of the running. So be sure to respond. Bonus tip #2: Pad your interview slot with time both before and after the actual interview on your calendar. This will help you to field any technical issues or interview run over that might happen and will help you feel confident you’ve planned well for this interview.

Takeaway #5 Crush Your Next Video Interview: Be Your Authentic Self

The key to mastering the online interview is to be your true, authentic self. Ask a friend or close colleague to watch a video after you’ve recorded yourself on your phone – anyone who knows you well enough will be real with you and give you constructive feedback.

You don’t need superfluous language (hint: don’t use words like superfluous) to impress the interviewers on the other end. Know that this is your opportunity to find your perfect fit as well and figure out if this is the organization you want to work for next. Let your personality shine, and share what really matters to you (i.e. your core values).

Final bonus tip: Practice makes perfect here but also don’t practice so much that you sound scripted. You can prep by talking to a mirror or even better using your phone or laptop camera– use the tools at hand to practice and still be you

To close out the Virtual Job Market webinar recap- the highlight reel wouldn’t be complete without bookmarking Ron Wilson’s take on wardrobe advice. While you definitely want to “dress for the job,” with clean and professional attire, you might want to avoid the “I’m-on-spring-break-everyday” look – although we didn’t hate your patriotic pantaloons, Ron. 🇺🇸👖

Thank you again to Laura Poliak, Client Experience Lead and Jessica Young, SHRM-CP, Associate HR Business Partner, both from EmPower HR, as well as our very own CEO at interviewstream, Ron Wilson for a great set of tips for candidate’s navigating the virtual job market.

About The Author

Amanda Palczynski is the Brand Program Manager at interviewstream. She is a perfectionist for accuracy, loves getting crafty with hand lettering and typography, and can speak strictly in quotes from The Office for any occasion.

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