How to Stand Out in The Era of Virtual RecruitmentWith virtual recruitment fast becoming the new normal, we've pulled together our expert advice to help you stand out in a crowded virtual job market.
12 Minute Read
What is Virtual Recruitment?
Virtual recruitment is very much what it sounds like: a hiring process that takes place virtually.
There are lots of advantages to virtual recruitment for candidates. There’s no geographical barriers, no travel costs and you save time – getting out of bed and walking to your kitchen table is slightly quicker than the usual commute for a job interview or careers event.
However, in a virtual job market, it’s also very difficult to stand out.
That’s where we come in.
From mastering your virtual CV and perfecting your techniques for virtual interviews and hiring events, to networking on social media, we’ve pulled together our expert advice on the three essential things you can do to stand out in a crowded job market.
All from behind your computer screen.
Let’s dive in.
1. Beat the Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
An Applicant Tracking System (or ATS) is a software programme that automates the CV review process by scanning thousands of CV’s and searching for keywords to find the ‘best’ candidates for the job.
ATS is often part of the online application process, and CVs are submitted and scanned through this system before they ever even reach human hands. Basically, they can be the difference between your CV reaching potential employers or never being read. Which, after hours of crafting and perfecting your CV, is scary stuff.
The best way to beat this system is to customise and optimise your CV in a way which ensures it will rise to the top of the pile.
Let’s break the customisation of your CV for ATS into two categories: content and design.
When applying for a job online, review the job description carefully, taking note of the qualifications and skills that are specifically required and the exact keywords and language being used.
Then, when you’re writing the content for your CV, use these exact qualifications and skills, keywords and phrases, anywhere possible. This will boost your chances of making it through the ATS keyword search.
For example, if it states on the job description that excellent communication is an essential skill, you can add “excellent communication” to the skills section of your CV.
Once you’ve finished writing the content for your CV, be sure to proofread and review it. An error-free CV with excellent grammar will not only increase your virtual professionalism, it will help with ATS.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to spot your own errors, so consider asking a close friend or family member to review your CV for you.
Avoid the urge to dress up your CV too much. Unfortunately, nifty formatting tricks that are impressive to the human eye can be difficult for ATS’s to read. Instead, stick to simple formatting.
Here are a few quick do’s and don’ts for styling your CV:
• Use bold and italics (sparingly)
• Use bullet points to emphasise skills and achievements
• Stick to simple fonts (such as Calibri or Arial)
• Use font size 11 or 12
• Use more than two different font styles
• Have large paragraphs
• Use borders and boxes as they can distract from the content
• Use more than one colour in addition to black font
As well as this, try to use standard section headings. According to Skillings, the following four categories are the main headings ATSs recognise:
When it comes to ATS, less really is more.
2. Perfect Your Virtual Video Techniques for Interviews and Hiring Events
From individual video interviews to group hiring events, here’s 7 surefire ways to make sure you stand out from the virtual crowd.
1. Practice Good Etiquette
Here are some quick tips for making a great impression whilst on a video call:
- If in a group situation, mute your microphone when you aren’t speaking
- Present a tidy background
- Dress professionally and appropriately
- Ensure your space is distraction free
As I stated earlier, we’re all aware that things don’t always go to plan.
If there’s a possibility that you may not be able to meet all of these factors – such as the potential of you being interrupted by your children for example – be honest and let your host know beforehand. You won’t be scrutinised for this.
2. Get to Grips With Your Technology
If you have a group or individual video interview looming, or even a career fair, be sure to figure out the tech requirements beforehand.
#5 of the 8 essential video interview tips emphasises the importance of researching the technical requirements you may need to be aware of.
The last thing you want is to be late, or to be sitting there with sweaty palms trying to figure out how to fix your webcam which has conspicuously zoomed right up your nose!
Doing a dry run and practicing your digital presence before the day can be very beneficial. Try recording yourself to see how you’d come across. It may feel a bit awkward, but it’s better to feel awkward now rather than later.
3. Do Your Research!
Now that small talk is almost entirely out the window, it’s important to do some legwork by researching the companies you’re meeting or interviewing with.
Investigate the company prior to your video interview or event to understand what’s important to them and what their company culture and values are. Then, during your video call/event, you can bring up your acquired knowledge and make a great lasting impression.
For more detailed information about how and what to research for a video interview or event, check out these top video interview tips.
4. Show Personality
Face to face meetings give you the opportunity to let your personality shine. But now, you’re a face in the virtual crowd. You need to do what you can to stand out to the employer.
Whether you’re attending a group video event or an individual video interview, be sure to bring your enthusiasm to the forefront. A lack of enthusiasm is actually one of the biggest interview mistakes you can make.
During your video call, be engaged and alert to the conversation. Focus on the interviewer or host, make eye contact and ask questions. Be friendly (as #2 on the top video interview tips states, a smile goes a long way), and speak clearly and confidently.
5. Identify Yourself
If it’s specifically a group video event, such as a careers fair or group interview, try to speak as much as possible to increase the chances of you being individually remembered. But only when it’s appropriate – blabbing nonsense the entire time would definitely help employers remember you, but not for the right reasons.
When appropriate opportunities for you to add input do come up, be sure to share your name and a bit about yourself – this gives you an identity beyond a face on the screen.
6. Adjust Your Question Line-Up
Think the questions you ask at the end of a video interview are the same as you’d ask face to face?
In a virtual interview, you miss out on a lot of the little things you’d noticed face to face. What’s the company culture like? What is the feel of the office? How do people work together?
Of course, there are still some core questions which, virtual or not, will really help you to stand out. So, it’s worth checking out these top interview questions to ask as well.
7. Perfect Your Online Follow-up
After any online event, whether it be a video interview or careers event, it’s crucial you thank the employer for their time and reaffirm your interest in their company.
Send them a quick email, or even a personalised note on social media. This will show your enthusiasm and create more of a relationship between yourself and the employer.
3. Utilise Your Social Profiles
Your social media profiles, professional or not, need to be polished.
Research done in a 2018 CareerBuilder survey confirmed that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. Now that hiring is – in many cases – entirely virtual, we can predict that this number has only increased since.
Social profiles such as Linkedin are a great place to stand out in the virtual job market, with 87% of recruiters using the platform to find or vet candidates. It’s the place for you to discuss and give details about yourself that maybe you weren’t able to include in your application (or that weren’t necessary to your application).
There are hundreds of other candidates with the same level of work experience, education, and skills as you. Your social profiles are the place you can (professionally) demonstrate your passions, interests, and hobbies that make you unique.
Tap Into Your Social Networks
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
Networking is one of the most powerful things you can do to stand out in the virtual job market.
If you’re a seasoned professional, you probably already have lots of contacts in your industry. And if this is the case – make sure you connect with them on your social accounts. If you have a positive professional relationship with these contacts, you could even ask for a recommendation.
If you’re on the more inexperienced side of the coin, that’s fine too – there are still plenty of ways you can use your social networks to boost your career prospects.
One way is by signing up to virtual hiring events. Whether they’re specific to your industry or not, they allow you to have access to multiple employers and get involved in the right conversations.
As well as doing this, follow relevant job seeker hashtags to keep on top of the best opportunities out there. According to The Balance Careers, these are the top 6 hashtags to follow when searching for a job:
If you’re able to, get involved in these hashtag conversations and add valuable comments. This will seriously impress any prospective employers scrolling through.
Ready to Stand Out?
And there you have it!
Hopefully you’re itching to go and put all these tips and tricks to good use.
If you do, you’ll massively increase your chances of being successful in your virtual job hunt.
Now that you know how to stand out virtually, why not give yourself the opportunity to do so, and start your search right here on Jump?
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