NEWS + ADVICE
Interview with a Recruiter, Dorion Baker, Acclaim Technical Services
Dorion Baker, Director, Talent Acquisition at Acclaim Technical Services, shares how job search and recruitment have changed over the past year.
What’s New Since the Pandemic
MORE EMPLOYMENT GAPS ON RESUMES
Resumes have been impacted to an extent by the pandemic and quarantines, as contracts and positions were put on hold and schedules fluctuated. In some cases, factors outside of the control of the employee led to them losing employment, becoming underemployed, or having to make decisions that wouldn’t have been needed in a “normal” year.
I’ve seen candidates address a gap in their resume by putting a quick insert somewhere in that gap or at the end of a job that may have ended. Let’s say their last job was six months ago, they may put something there that says the contract ended, lost funding, or whatever that may be. I think that’s a good approach.
In some cases people are quickly sifting through resumes and wanting to get to the point to see if this person is qualified. It’s helpful if you put a blurb or a quick note that speaks to why this job ended in just a couple months or why you had three or four different jobs in the past year or two. If you add that in there, then the recruiter and hiring manager is able to quickly see that reason.
INTERVIEWING WITH A MASK ON
If you happen to interview in-person with a company, an employer, or a customer, you’re probably going to be wearing a mask. It does take away from some of the ability to read body language and to be able to understand each other clearly. So it’s an added challenge if you’re not already a strong communicator. My recommendation is to clearly pronounce and not rush. Don’t be afraid of a pause or a brief moment of silence if you’re gathering your thoughts.
INCREASED USE OF TECHNOLOGY
When you’re not interviewing in-person, technology obviously plays a huge part. So if you’re interviewing with a company virtually, you need to have good access to a network where you’re not going to be losing signal and become frozen on the screen. Technology has become more important in the interview process than it ever was before. So that is something in 2021 that will continue, and I believe beyond 2021. As the candidate you need to be able to utilize your technology, understand the technology, and be able to interview with it. The same goes with virtual networking events, job fairs, or happy hours. Make sure you’ve got a handle on virtual technology to make a good impression.
Also, texting is something that maybe in the past you’d only do with your friends, but now recruiters are texting candidates. There are even applicant tracking systems that allow you to text through those tools with candidates. Most of those tools will give you the option as a candidate to enable whether you’re open to text messaging or not. Make sure that you’re making yourself open to those opportunities so you can connect with people.
What’s Not So New
THE IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIPS
More than anything, I would say the first thing that comes to mind is relationships. You should always treat people the way you want to be treated. You never know where that person is going to be in the future. The relationships that you’ve been able to build and the people you’ve been able to help will pay off.
LinkedIn and social networking sites help us to maintain those relationships that would’ve been almost impossible to maintain with a Rolodex. Cultivate some of those relationships and go deeper with people. Ultimately if you’re in the marketplace and you have strong relationships, you’re going to see more job opportunities and more doors will be open to you.
You should have knowledge of the companies that you’re interested in. Build relationships and find points of contact with people either in your network or closely related to your network, so that someone can help you understand the core values of that company and how you can best present them. That way, when you get into an interview, you’re able to speak to how your experience relates to those core values. It’s going to be really difficult for you to do that by just looking at a site or a job posting. Having a connection with someone who is working within that company is one of the best strategies you can have.
THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERVIEWS AND MENTORS
People still want to interview you and have a conversation to know what you’re motivated by. They don’t want to just know that you’re able to fill the box and check the requirements. We want to know what you’re motivated by, what are the things that you’re really challenged by, and what you’re looking to do in your career. People want to have that conversation.
And finally, you should have a mentor. If you didn’t have a mentor in 2020, get one in 2021. You should have someone that can help sharpen you, give you tools and resources, and point you in the right direction for the path that you’re headed.