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How to Streamline Your Virtual Hiring Process

How to Streamline Your Virtual Hiring Process

As business operations continue to reopen and return to somewhat normal, employers are ramping up their hiring efforts. If your company was actively interviewing and hiring candidates during the pandemic, you undoubtfully had to change your hiring strategy. As many of us transition back to the office (or a hybrid schedule), video interviewing is becoming permanent. About 81% of talent professionals worldwide agree that virtual interviewing will continue post-pandemic, and 70% believe it will become the new standard. So, if your company is maintaining a virtual hiring process, how do you streamline it to get the best results?

Establish a cohesive virtual hiring process

As you navigate today’s competitive (and often frustrating) job market, you must establish a cohesive virtual hiring process. This new protocol will likely be a mix of your pre-pandemic hiring efforts and your more recent practices that you had to adjust while working remotely. Essentially, you want to create a standardized process that you can consistently utilize across your entire company. Once you establish this process, you want to document it and make it available to all hiring managers. The more transparent your new process is, the smoother the transition will be across the board.

Test necessary technologies

Like we recommend to all job seekers, you must test the technologies you will be enlisting to implement your virtual hiring process. If you worked remotely for over a year, you probably had your Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or other technologies dialed in. However, if you are back in the office, it’s best to reexamine your tools to ensure everything is working properly. Technology is great when it works, but you may face some kinks with your communication tools when returning to the office. Review all your technologies and run some tests before conducting any video interviews to ensure a seamless experience for both parties.

Be transparent with candidates from the beginning

Being transparent throughout your virtual hiring process is essential to its success. From outlining your remote work policy to detailing your timetable of making a hiring decision, it’s crucial to be transparent with candidates. The fewer questions that are left unanswered, the better experience you will create for your interviewees. You can clarify many of these issues in your job descriptions. Giving a glimpse of your culture, remote work requirements, and other details before candidates even apply generates a substantial competitive advantage. For example, if you are not supporting a hybrid workforce, you can save yourself (and prospective applicants) a lot of valuable time by outlining that in your job description. The more details you can share at the begging of the process, the more efficient it will be.

Develop standardized interview questions

Have you ever been to a panel interview, and each interviewer takes turns monotonously asking a list of basic questions? Yeah, most of us have. While we are not recommending such a dry interviewing process, it is essential to develop standardized interview questions. Obviously, some of these questions may differ from department to department, but having a core group of interview questions is key to success. Standardized questions will allow you to compare candidates on an equal playing field and help your hiring team eliminate any unconscious biases.

Pro tip: You can also record remote interviews so you can refer back to a candidate’s specific response or share with a colleague that may have had to step out unexpectedly. Just make sure you let each candidate know they are being recorded.

Treat candidates as if they were interviewing in-person

Treating candidates the same as if it was an in-person interview is probably the most vital step. Let’s face it, video conversations with someone you have never met before can be a little awkward. It can be challenging to develop some small talk or banter to make the interview more conversational. However, do your best to treat the interview as if it was face-to-face. Have everyone on the hiring team mute their phones and work notifications, dress appropriately, and eliminate any other distractions. It can be tempting to veer over to a work email while talking with a candidate. However, please give them the respect they deserve by devoting your attention to them.

If you are struggling to make the interview more conversational, you can ask a few fun questions at the beginning. These ice breaker questions will help the interviewer be more comfortable and help them open up a bit. Also, body language is crucial! Don’t forget to smile, make good eye contact, and nod your head to illustrate that you are listening. Your interviewees will reciprocate this energy, and the interview will overall be more productive.

Need more help developing your virtual hiring process?

Transitioning to a virtual hiring process can be tricky, but these five tips will help your streamline your process and yield better results. If you are looking for more tips to improve your hiring practices, take a look at our Client Resources!

5 Video Interview Mistakes to Avoid

5 Video Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Ah, the dreaded video interview. You might have nightmares of answering a question while still on mute, having your computer freeze mid-elevator pitch, or your cat walking across your keyboard as you try to explain how detail-oriented you are. And while virtual interviews present a unique set of challenges, they don’t have to be anxiety-inducing. Keep reading for five video interview mistakes you should avoid and how to do so professionally.

Having A Messy Background  

One of the detriments to interviewing over video is that you are exposing your personal space. With a traditional interview, you’re traveling to their office and thus don’t have to worry about presenting an organized and professional environment. Keep your area clear of clutter, make sure there’s plenty of natural light, and limit the amount of stuff in the background.

Dressing Unprofessionally  

You’ve seen the horror stories of people not wearing pants on Zoom calls. Don’t be that person! Make sure you are dressed professionally from head to toe (even if you think you’ll only be on camera from the waist up.) Additionally, consider how specific colors and patterns look on camera. A good rule of thumb is to stick with neutrals and clean lines. A blazer with a plain shirt underneath is always a great bet!

Not Practicing Beforehand  

No preparing before your interview is one of the biggest video interview mistakes you can make. With all of the complications that technology can bring, you do not want to be caught off guard! Test out your video camera (don’t forget to check your background while you’re at it!), make sure your audio works okay, and most importantly, find a spot in your house that gets excellent Wi-Fi. Most employers will be understanding if you have technical difficulties. Still, it can throw off your confidence if you have to repeat things or move locations to find better Wi-Fi in the middle of your interview.

Not Limiting Distractions  

When video interviewing from your home, this is a big one. Put the dogs outside, find something to occupy the kids, and turn your phone on silent. Now, we understand that some interruptions are inevitable. The mailman might set off your dog, or your kid desperately needs fruit snacks at the most inconvenient times. In these cases, it can be helpful to be upfront about your environment right when the interview starts. For example, say, “Before we get started, I did want to warn you that my 3-year-old is in the next room. I explained to him that I had an important meeting, but we all know how that goes!” Interviewers will appreciate your honesty and communication.

Not Taking Advantage of the Benefits Video Interviewing Offers  

Last but perhaps most importantly, do not miss an opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of video interviewing. That’s right, along with all the challenges, there are good sides to a virtual interview! Unlike an in-person interview, you can surround yourself with tools to help guide you through an interview. Think of answers to tough questions like “what is your greatest weakness?” or some quick notes on recent accomplishments the company has gained. Another great thing to have handy is some questions to ask when you get to the interview’s final minutes. These can all be transcribed in a word document on a second screen, jotted down on sticky notes surrounding your laptop, or even just written out in a notebook on your desk.

Don’t be intimidated by these video interview mistakes

In the end, you don’t have to be intimidated by video interviews. While they do come with a unique set of challenges, they also present a few opportunities to show your personality and prepare ahead of time. Are you interested in more interview advice? Explore our library here!

Five Video Interview Mistakes to Avoid this Year

Five Video Interview Mistakes to Avoid this Year

As employers begin their return to the office or working onsite, virtual interviewing is here to stay. Even when the virus is in the rearview mirror, most employers will rely on video interviews to streamline the hiring process, cut hiring costs, and expand their talent pools. With this newly adopted interviewing format, here are five video interview mistakes to avoid this year.

Joining the video interview late

Like a traditional face-to-face interview, the last thing you want to do is arrive late. Being tardy for your meeting is one of the biggest video interview mistakes you can make. If you are interviewing at home, you have no excuses to be punctual. You don’t have to drive or take public transportation to the meeting, find the right office, and arrive on time. Launch the video interview application a few minutes before your meeting to ensure you are on time. Starting your interview a few minutes late will create some unnecessary stress and derail your entire interview.

Not familiarizing yourself with the technology

Familiarizing yourself with the technology is as important as logging into the video application early. Logging on early does you no good if you have no idea how to navigate the technology. You don’t want to be fumbling around on your computer trying to fix your audio, turn on your camera, or remove a silly video filter. Many mainstream video technologies like Zoom or Microsoft Teams are similar; however, if you never used the application before, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with it before your interview.

Surrounding yourself with distractions

Another video interview mistake to avoid is not eliminating distractions. You must eliminate things that will distract you from performing your best and remove anything that may distract your interviewers. That means interviewing in a quiet, well-lit room with a clean background. Keep your kids and pets distracted for the meeting with their favorite show or a new treat, and clean the space around you. Practicing with the technology beforehand will help you identify anything you need to remove from your interviewing area that might cause an unwanted distraction.

Showcasing poor communication skills

If you want your interview to result in a job offer, you must showcase excellent communication skills (especially if this is for a remote opportunity). Sometimes, it can be challenging to facilitate a conversation over a video call. The key to ensuring strong communication skills is listening. Instead of jumping at every chance to speak, listen to your interviewer. Listen intently to understand their questions, wait a few seconds after they finish talking to avoid any interruptions, and ask follow-up questions. It is essential to be engaging, ask thoughtful questions, and answer their questions in detail.

Not sending a thank-you email

Finally, one of the most common video interview mistakes is failing to send a thank you email afterward. Just like a traditional interview, you must always send a thank you note. Bonus points if you can send one to everyone on the video call. Since you are at home, you have the luxury of quickly jotting down the names of each interviewer to send them a personalized thank you message.

Here is a guide on how to craft the perfect virtual interview thank-you note.

Four Activities to Master During Your Job Search

Four Activities to Master During Your Job Search

Searching for a new job is much more than just scouring online job boards and refreshing your inbox every five minutes. There are many ways you can bolster your search in the background of your job hunting journey. If you are looking for better results, here are four activities to master during your job search.

Clean up your social media

Did you know that nearly 70% of employers check candidates’ social media when making hiring decisions? While you are in between applying for jobs, take some time to clean up your social media accounts. If you have some distasteful or unprofessional posts, it’s probably a good idea to remove them. So, next time you see one of those cringy Facebook memories from years ago, consider deleting it. Moreover, if you are worried about a future employer seeing your social media content, it might be best to make some or all of your profiles private. It is pretty easy to change your privacy settings on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Become familiar with virtual interview platforms

Another activity to master during your job search is familiarizing yourself with popular virtual interview platforms. If you have experience with platforms like Teams or Zoom, you are in good shape. However, if you don’t have much experience with these technologies, it’s worth your time to get to know them. Take a page out of the book from this prosecutor from Texas.

Save yourself from any embarrassing video interview moments to ensure your meeting goes purrfect!

Create a side hustle

If you have been unemployed for a while, have you considered working on a side hustle? Many people across the world are marketing their skills on a consulting basis. Creating a side hustle is an excellent way to extend your network, bolster your portfolio, and make a little money on the side. There are numerous programs out there like Fiverr and Udemy, each with different perks or specialties. So, whether you are a content creator, engineer, or excellent writer, there are plenty of opportunities to create a side hustle and make some spare cash during your job search.

Partner with a recruiter

Another activity to master during your job search is developing a partnership with a recruiter. Recruiting firms like JSG are looking for talented candidates to help them discover their next job opportunity. We have strong relationships with hiring managers and help you from resume submittal to signing your offer letter. Our team at JSG is ready to help you find your next position. We have hundreds of jobs across North America with clients ready to hire talented workers just like you. Reach out to us today, and let’s get you back to work!

virtual interview

How to Make A Virtual Interview Less Awkward

Let’s cut to the chase – we all know video interviews can be awkward. Completing a face-to-face interview unscathed is nearly impossible, and talking with a total stranger (who could be your future boss) can be intimidating. However, here are a few tips for job seekers to help make a virtual interview less awkward.

Check out the interviewers beforehand

Taking a moment to learn more about your interviewers is something we recommend you do before any interview. Once you know who you will be interviewing with, look them up on LinkedIn or see if they have a bio on the company’s website. Looking them up will help you feel more comfortable when you first meet with them virtually and make your conversation a little smoother. Plus, it can even help you identify some talking points to chat about at the beginning of the interview. Knowing who is interviewing you will help make your virtual interview less tricky and help calm your nerves.

Take time to listen carefully

One of the most uncomfortable parts of a virtual interview is the actual conversation. It can be difficult to read body language and know when someone is finished speaking. To combat this, give yourself a few seconds after you think someone is done talking to ensure they have completed their sentence. It is really awkward when people accidentally start speaking over each other and can make you look rude and impatient. By adding a few seconds before you jump right into a response, you will ensure you are not interrupting anyone.

Mute your mic when you are not speaking

When you are not speaking, mute your microphone. Doing so will help you think before you speak, and thus, prevent you from interrupting your interviewers. It will also avoid any unintentional noises or audio feedback that can distract from your interview’s success. With millions of professionals working from home with their children distance learning, there are always unintended noises that you will want to avoid. Muting your mike will help the entire conversation proceed smoothly and help you nail your virtual interview!

remote job interview

How to Prepare for A Remote Job Interview

Do you have an upcoming interview for a remote job opportunity? If so, you are not alone. Since March, remote job listings have increased by 2.8x as more companies continue to support a remote workforce. As companies work hard to pivot to remote working environments, job seekers are doing the same. Preparing to interview for a remote opportunity is like prepping for any other interview – you must do your homework. However, there are some questions that will likely arise as you interview for a remote position. Here are some questions you must be ready to answer as you prepare for a remote job interview.

Have you worked remotely in the past?

This question will likely be the first one the hiring manager asks you. The hiring manager is trying to gauge your interest in a remote opportunity and understand if this is a new feat for you. If you have worked remotely in the past, you can give a brief overview of your remote experience; share your role, the company you worked for, how long you did it, and how you succeeded in this position.

If you have not worked remotely before, that is not a deal-breaker. Did you work a few days from home when you were out sick or worked remotely when out of town for business? These are all experiences you can share to illustrate that you are ready to take on this new remote opportunity.

What type of collaboration tools and software have you used?

When your team is working remotely, you may never communicate with them in person. Therefore, this question is another popular one hiring managers ask candidates for remote positions. The hiring manager wants to understand what collaboration tools you have experience with and how you used them; they want to understand if this will be a smooth transition for you.

There is a slew of collaboration and project management tools out there, such as Microsoft Teams, Trello, Zoom, Slack, Google Docs, and so on. Whether you have used these for work, school, or personal use, give a brief overview of what tools you have experience with and how you used them to be productive. You probably won’t have experience with every platform, but your experience with one software will be transferable with another.

How do you keep yourself motivated while working from home?

When you are working remotely, you have a lot of independence. You will not have your boss regularly checking in on you or nudging you to get back to work if you lose focus. Thus, it’s essential to motivate yourself while working from home and get your work done proficiently. The best way to answer this question is with honesty. Share what you do to keep motivated throughout the day and on track, whether that’s a specific routine, checklists, calendar reminders, or alarms on your phone.

Keep in mind, your work style may not be an excellent fit for a remote position, and that is what the hiring manager is trying to assess. Be honest and let them know how you need to be held accountable and what you do to stay productive throughout the day.

Need more help preparing for your remote job interview?

If you are looking for more help answering common interview questions, here is how to answer the most common questions.

4 Virtual Interview Red Flags

4 Virtual Interview Red Flags

What Is An On-Demand Interivew

What Is An On-Demand Video Interview And How Can You Nail It?

There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic has changed many things about how we do business forever. One process that has been completely turned upside down is that of hiring. As companies open themselves up to hiring, not only will they be flooded with resumes from those who were laid off or furloughed, they are also facing the challenge of how to interview safely. And with many departments juggling more obstacles than ever, time is precious. Enter on-demand interviewing.

What is an on-demand interview?

According to Interview Stream, a popular video interviewing software, “in an on-demand video interview, the candidate is usually asked to respond to preset questions that are recorded by the recruiter or hiring manager, and the answers are reviewed later.” So that means it will just be you on camera; no one there to respond to your answers, ask you follow up questions, or give hints to how well you’re doing.

What kinds of questions will you be answering?

Because this is a truncated interview, hiring managers will want to get as much information as possible. This means they’ll focus on behavioral questions. Your answers should be detailed accounts of situations you’ve experienced at work or in school. Below are some examples of popular behavioral interview questions:

  • Discuss a time when you faced a conflict while working on a team.
  • Tell us about a time when you faced a lot of pressure at work. What happened, and how did you handle it?
  • Describe a time when you managed a project. Walk us through your project management strategy from start to finish.
  • Tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment.

How should you answer on-demand interview questions?

Because there’s no interaction with an interviewer, it can be particularly challenging to get your personality through during an on-demand interview. Your answers must be enthusiastic, professional, and thorough. It’s essential that your answers give a glimpse into who you are as an employee. Hiring managers will be looking for a positive attitude, self-motivation, and flexibility.

While recording answers, it will feel awkward. But the lack of response doesn’t mean you need to fill dead space with rambling! While your answers should be thorough, keep them concise. Describe your past experiences in detail but come to a clean and confident end. Try your best to avoid filler words and endings such as, “so… yeah!” or “and stuff.”

How can you prepare ahead of time?

Your appearance will be more critical than ever during an on-demand interview. Make sure you have a plain, uncluttered backdrop with no noise in the background. Pick out a simple but professional outfit. Make sure your hair is combed and tidy, and your face bright and refreshed!

If you’re lucky enough to have access to the interview questions prior to your on-demand interview, this is an incredible opportunity! Write your answers down multiple times and practice reading them aloud to friends or family. As you’re recording your answers, you don’t want to come off stiff, so avoid reading right off a page. Repeated practice will build up your “muscle memory” and help the answers roll right off your tongue! You can even practice recording on your laptop and watching your answers back. While uncomfortable, it can be a great way to expose your body language and any answers that may be slightly off.

For more video or general interview tips, be sure to explore our candidate resources.

3 Ways To Sell Yourself For A Remote Position

3 Ways To Sell Yourself For A Remote Position

With more and more companies extending their work from home policies every day, we expect to see a massive increase in hiring for remote positions. The coronavirus pandemic has opened managers’ eyes to streamlining their teams while allowing for a greater work-life balance. In March alone, job postings for remote positions were up over 42% on LinkedIn. If you are hoping to take advantage of this workplace evolution, try using these three tactics to sell yourself for a remote position.

Set the stage by nailing a remote interview

Spoiler alert: if you flub a virtual interview, you will not be hired for a remote position. This includes everything from scheduling and set up to following up with a thoughtful thank you note. Be sure to brush up on your video interview skills – including testing your equipment, assessing your surroundings, and putting together a professional outfit.

Throughout the interview, it’s essential to remain fully engaged in the interviewer(s). Close all other windows and limit outside distractions. Ask questions that explicitly reference the remote nature of the position. As soon as you hang up, craft a thoughtful thank you note and fire it off to all people involved. Executing these practices flawlessly will cue the Hiring Manager into your efficiency, excellent communication skills, and self-motivation to accomplish tasks when left to your own devices.

Do your research

Yes, we recommend this for every job search. But when you’re in the running for a remote position, you need to take it up a notch! If the hiring process is 100% remote (which many are for remote positions), you won’t have the advantage of seeing the company in person. You won’t get a feel for the company culture by checking out what employees are wearing or how they interact with one another.

However, you can still gain these insights; you’ll just have to work a little harder! Do a deep dive into the company’s social media, keeping an eye out for any team pictures or posts specifically referencing the company culture. Scour their Glassdoor profile to read first-hand accounts for current and ex-employees. (But remember to take reviews with a grain of salt!)

Highlight your soft skills

While, of course, your qualifications are important for snagging an interview, soft skills will seal the deal and get you an offer in hand for a remote position. Hiring Managers prioritize those who will be self-sufficient, communicate effectively, and crush it in the time-management department. Be sure to utilize the STAR method to answer interview questions and demonstrate your soft skills. This will give your interviewer an in-depth understanding of your skills and how you put them to work.

Next Step: Brush Up On Common Interview Questions

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

digital toolkit

Upgrade Your Digital Toolkit

With COVID-19 forcing the majority of professionals to work remotely, the workplace has become much more digitally focused. The digital trends that are directly stemming from the Coronavirus outbreak include a 40 percent spike in e-commercenearly a third of Americans currently working from home, and a mindblowing 70 percent increase in internet usage! As a result, hiring is more digitalized than ever before. This trend is introducing remote hiring, video interviews, and more! Our society is embracing these technologies as millions are working remotely, and this trend will likely not cease. Now, more than ever, it’s time to spruce up your digital arsenal. Here are four ways to upgrade your digital toolkit to launch your job search.

A Quality LinkedIn

With the increase in online hiring and job searching, it is essential that your LinkedIn is accurate, clean, and professional. This is often your first impression for potential employers, so make sure that your profile picture is professional, your experience is accurate, and your skills are neatly displayed on your profile.

A Personal Website/Portfolio

Having a personal website or online portfolio will set you above your competition. It’s like a digital resume that shows off more of your personality and skills, while also showing off examples of your work. This is an excellent way to illustrate your skills and convince a hiring manager to hire YOU! Utilize any of the free website creation platforms like Wix, GoDaddy, or Squarespace to quickly and easily build an online portfolio or personal website.

Digital Skills

Along with this digital shift emerge a few essential skills you must hone. Some skills you can gain through online resources, like your local library or online tutorials. Other skills, you can only build through actual field experience. Overall, in this digital world, digital skills are no longer a plus; they are an expectation. Take some time during quarantine to increase your digital literacy and readiness. Take a free course in web development or learn the basics of Photoshop to add some useful skill sets to your digital toolkit.

Video chat capabilities

Video chat has become the new norm for how we meet and interact; it makes us feel like we are actually getting that human connection we are accustomed to. With that being said, your laptop, phone, or tablet must have a video chat function. You can utilize apps like Facetime, Zoom, Skype, or any other face-to-face technology. Video interviewing is becoming normalized, so you’ll need these capabilities to foster those meaningful conversations! And if you don’t have any of these technologies, be sure you have a friend or family member that is nice enough to allow you to borrow for any upcoming video interviews!

If you’re looking for more resources to bolster your digital toolkit as you commence your job search, check out our Career Kickoff Series. We have tons of helpful tips and advice to help you with this next phase of your career!