NEWS + ADVICE
Interview with a Recruiter, Rachel Bozeman, Lumen Technologies
Rachel Bozeman, Manager Talent Acquisition and DIB Recruiting at Lumen Technologies, shares what’s new and not so new in 2021 job search and recruitment.
What’s new for job seekers in 2021?
We’ve seen gaps in resumes that may not have previously existed due to COVID. And so there’s the question of, do I leave the gap on my resume or do I try to explain it? Just be honest and transparent about it and say that you were out of work for this period of time due to COVID. We’ve seen a lot of people upskill their talent because they’ve had time that they’ve never had before. So if you obtained certifications or skills during that gap, put that in the skills section of your resume so we can quickly see it.
When it comes to interviewing, people are still questioning how to get around being out of work for nine months and how to stay relevant. What do you tell recruiters about that? Again, I would say honesty is the best policy. 2020 rocked everyone in one way or another, so just having that transparency and honesty is best.
What’s not so new in 2021?
Hiring managers are still going to be hiring managers. They’re still going to be interviewing and asking the same behavioral-based questions. They still have the same expectation that you come prepared—probably even a more heightened sense of preparedness, because now you have time to research the company. So come prepared to answer their questions.
It’s also still important to tailor your resume. Don’t just go through and upload any resume. Make sure you’ve read the job description and that the resume you’re supplying matches the job. Some of those same best practices are still so applicable, but that’s where we see so many misses. If you just put this catchall resume out there, it doesn’t do you any justice.
How can job seekers effectively reach out to a recruiter at this time?
I see a lot of outreach saying, “Hey, I’m looking for a job. Can you place me?” If we could find a career for everyone we would, but you have to realize time is so precious and we’re all trying to make the best use of it. So tell me very specifically what your skills are and what jobs you found that you think you would be a good fit for. I would love to help you as much as I can, but you have to put in the work too.
So say something like, “Hey, I saw this job on your site and here are the skills that I have that would be a great fit, and here is why you should consider me.” Things like that are so important because I’m not going to have time to go in there and read your, “Hey, just thought we should connect – here’s my resume” message. You’re asking me to do an awful lot of guessing into what you’re even interested in. Be as specific as possible and understand that you’re probably not the only one that sent a similar message. So don’t get your feelings hurt if you don’t get an immediate response. We’re trying.
Have you noticed virtual event fatigue?
Yes, I think we miss human interaction and that face-to-face contact, but we definitely understand that safety comes first. One thing you can do at virtual career fairs is to just try to keep some energy in there, because it can be tiring to type and then jump to another booth. Pretend like you’re in-person. Stop at that booth, spend meaningful time at that booth, and have real conversations before you jump somewhere else. I know that there’s a time parameter, but it would be the same in-person, you wouldn’t just say hi and jump over here and there. So keep that same kind of rule in mind when you’re doing the virtual career fairs. Pretend like we’re there in-person even though we can’t be.
What should job seekers avoid in 2021?
The big thing right now is don’t ghost. It’s very frustrating. There are so many fantastic employers out there and everyone is looking for great talent. So when you express your interest through an application, mean it, don’t just put it out there if you’re really not interested. There may be somebody whose livelihood is dependent on that job, but maybe they’re not getting attention because you’ve applied and we’re trying to track you down. So if you don’t have interest in the job, please express that interest somewhere else.
What changes in recruiting have you seen due to 2020?
We’ve seen a lot more integration and adoption, such as having to integrate things like Microsoft Teams and doing all of our interviews virtually. Also, understanding that work can really be done anywhere. Now we’re able to open up and look coast-to-coast for talent without those preconceived notions of, you have to sit in this area and be close to the building.
I also don’t think we’re eight-to-fivers anymore. Everyone has a new norm whether you’re homeschooling or you’re now there with your coworker who has a five-month-old puppy. All of those things have completely changed the way that we work. I don’t think it’s as rigid as it once was where the expectation was, if you don’t get me between eight to five try again tomorrow between eight to five. Now it’s, let me start at ten o’clock today and I might work till 7 PM. I don’t think people have the same structures or parameters that they did before and we’ve definitely adopted that in recruiting too. We can’t have expectations that existed prior to 2020 because everything has changed so much.