We (virtually) sat down with Kelly Barnum, Senior Manager of Candidate Experience at Vettery, to pick her brain on the current state of hiring, and more specifically, getting hired. Navigating a job search has fundamentally changed for the time being due to COVID-19 and the shift to remote work. In this interview, Kelly shares some of the trends she’s seeing and offers advice for job-seekers who are looking for new opportunities during this time.
First off, you manage the Candidate Experience team at Vettery. What is a Candidate Experience Specialist?
A Candidate Experience Specialist is Vettery’s version of a career coach. We guide job-seekers through their entire lifecycle on Vettery. We can provide tips for optimizing a Vettery profile, reminders for unanswered messages from employers, and insight and support in later stage interview processes. At the end of the day, we are here to support job-seekers throughout their search and help them find their dream job.
Based on the feedback you’ve received from companies hiring right now, are there specific skills, especially related to remote work, that you think job-seekers should highlight?
In this remote work setting, employers are still assessing necessary hard skills but are also looking for some key soft skills that cater to remote work. They are looking for candidates who are organized, adaptable, and can self-motivate. They’re also looking for strong communicators who can collaborate effectively in a virtual setting. When bringing on someone new under these circumstances, employers need to feel absolutely certain that they are hiring someone they can trust to get the job done.
Have you noticed if job-seekers and/or employers are more open to remote-only roles?
We have noticed an increase in job-seekers changing their preferences to fully remote. Due to the uncertainty of the future, it’s not surprising. Companies have therefore needed to adapt their policies and processes to be remote-friendly and more are embracing the efficiency that can come from fully remote employees. Many job-seekers already find remote work to be an attractive perk, and we expect this to become more and more common as we settle into this new normal.
Have you seen any major changes in the interview process?
The biggest change we’ve seen is in the mid to late stages of the interview process, when candidates typically go onsite for an in-person interview. The purpose of a job interview is for the employer and candidate to find value in one another. A lot of that assessment comes naturally from in-person interactions throughout the interview process - observing the office space, seeing how people operate and socialize, etc. Now, in order to assess value in an employer or candidate, both sides are being more expressive and thorough right from the start. So far, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback from job-seekers about the creative ways employers have been able to make them feel comfortable and excited about a role or company via video.
Has the coaching and communication your team provides job-seekers changed given the impact of COVID-19?
100%! The team recognizes that on top of the already stressful job search process, there’s added anxiety from COVID-19 and the newness of remote work. Fortunately, we’ve always utilized remote technology to communicate with job-seekers here at Vettery, so we’re as ready as ever to provide the support job-seekers need right now. We want them to know that we’re here and available, and that they can rely on us to help them through their job search.
What tips do you have for job-seekers on having a great virtual interview experience?
Don’t be afraid to express yourself, show off your personality, and ask a lot of questions! The more engaged and enthusiastic you are in a virtual interview, the better. You want the interviewer to feel that energy through the screen. If you can, try to find ways for your personality to shine through. That way your interviewers can easily picture themselves working with you. Lastly, thank you notes are more appreciated than ever right now, so don’t forget to send one after your interview!
How does Vettery’s Candidate Experience team add value for job-seekers during this time?
At Vettery, we do everything we can to make your job search as seamless and stress-free as possible. If you’re not actively looking, now is still a good time to put your ear to the ground and see what opportunities are out there, even if just passively. Our Candidate Experience Specialists are working with hundreds of job-seekers at any given time, and are able to pass on meaningful insights and experiences to help you navigate your career.