You are ready to find a new remote job. Your resume and online portfolio have been updated, and your questionable social media accounts have been cleaned up or deleted. With some luck and research, you find your dream remote job. But as you read the description carefully, you discover it does not support full-time telework arrangements. You are disappointed but quickly apply to the next few jobs that will allow you to work from home. Unfortunately, not many don’t feel like they are “the right fit” for you. Still more, there are things recruiters want you to know before applying, yet you’re still unsure of the next steps to take.
After applying, you send endless messages to different recruiters inquiring about the status of your applications. You upload your resume and answer the questions in your application. By now, you were certain you would hear something back.
But wait, there’s some good news. One of the jobs you randomly applied to offered you an interview. You hastily connect via video-chat, but when it was over…days become weeks of silence. You slowly realize that a potential employer has essentially ghosted you.
What could have possibly gone wrong?
The job search process is not easy. Whether it’s a remote or a traditional job search, finding a new position isn’t for the faint of heart. With the global pandemic freezing hiring processes and promoting online work, the remote job search process seems to be changing. For jobseekers curious to discover what they should be focusing on during their remote job search, here are seven of the biggest things that recruiters want you to know when searching for your next remote-friendly job.
1. Get Comfortable With The Video Interview
Among all the essential tools available to remote jobseekers these days, the webcam is probably the most important. Many remote employers and recruiters use it in lieu of an in-person interview. Consequently, it’s the remote jobseeker’s one shot to impress the hiring manager and one of the many things recruiters want you to know to succeed. The video interview is not new to remote jobseekers. But with social distancing as part of the new normal, jobseekers must come to the video interview prepared.
According to Lukas Vanterpool, Director at The Sterling Choice:
“It can be difficult to navigate a video interview if it’s not something you are used to doing as part of the interview process. If you are comfortable and confident in front of the webcam, this will shine throughout the interview.”
Nothing stresses out job candidates more than the idea of that all-important interview going wrong. Thankfully, you can take several steps to make sure you are comfortable and fully prepared. First, do a test run with a friend. Consider recording the session to review your performance, mannerisms, and tone. Ensure that the technology or application is compatible with your computer hardware. Finally, make sure you know how to control the audio and lighting.
Actionable Item: Because first impressions are important, clean up the area behind you. “Create a space that shows you want to work effectively— this will speak volumes about you as a candidate,” suggests Vanterpool. It is also important to dress professionally just as you would for an in-person interview. Although current global work-from-home attire seems to consist of sweats or loungewear, resist the urge. Instead, dress up to set the tone of the interview and visually project your professionalism.
2. Understand the Difference Between Remote and Remote-For-Now
Although the COVID-19 pandemic is creating problems for the global workforce, many companies are still hiring. Remote jobseekers will notice that more and more businesses are open to telecommuting. Companies that had been out of reach before because they didn’t offer telecommuting as an option are now viable options for remote professionals. But wait—just because a job lead has the word remote in it or says it is open to telecommuting, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will always be this way.
According to Nick Derham, Director of Specialist IT Recruitment for Adria Solutions:
“Job seekers need to keep in mind that although most companies are still offering near full remote working, this will change in time and it will be necessary to go to the office…it will be frustrating for the employer when lockdown ends if the new hire suddenly says I can’t commute on a daily basis.”
Pay attention to the exact wording companies are using in the job description. Some employers have geographic restrictions for their jobs because of meetings with clients. They may also require occasional on-site visits once the pandemic is over. Make sure that you look out for words and phrases such as COVID-19, pandemic, lockdown, coronavirus, stay-at-home orders, etc. that hint at a limited remote employment period.
Actionable Item: Take heart. Many large companies are currently transitioning to a 100% distributed workforce and are open to a fully remote workforce.
3. Research the Company Before You Apply
Because the place of employment has such an influence on workers’ daily lives, company research is essential. Unfortunately, many jobseekers underestimate the importance and skip this step. And while salary, perks, and the role are all important in the job search process, this shouldn’t become a primary focus. Still, applicants who neglect whether they have similar values or cultural fit with the organizations they apply to may discover it can be detrimental to long-term career success.
One of the things recruiters want you to know is that values or cultural fit can increase an employee’s happiness, productivity, performance, and long-term career satisfaction. Ignoring this aspect can lead to unnecessary stress, health issues, problems with performance, or absenteeism. But how can a jobseeker make this determination just by researching a company? Isn’t it important to experience things first-hand?
- Identify Your Values: Does the company provide the work-life balance you desire? If community engagement is important to you, does it have a history of participation? Does the company encourage diversity?
- Read Past Employee Reviews: Check out websites like Glassdoor.com and read the anonymous reviews left by the previous staff. If there are none, take things a step further and look up past or current employees on LinkedIn. These individuals can become invaluable resources and an insight into company culture.
- Ask the Right Questions During the Interview: Remember to ask the interviewer open-ended questions about the company culture. Inquire about what they love most about the company. If they are hesitant or avoid the question entirely, consider that they may be hiding a toxic work environment.
4. Use Appropriate Keywords in Your Resume and Application
With at least 75% of recruiters using applicant tracking systems (ATS) and 95% stating that the software has improved the hiring process, recruiters rely heavily on this new technology. As a result, applicant tracking systems are yet another thing recruiters want you to know. These artificially intelligent analytics programs are designed to help companies “filter out” unqualified candidates and save time during the recruiting process. While this is ideal for the hiring manager, it’s far less beneficial for the jobseeker.
The issue with applicant tracking systems is that it can often overlook qualified candidates. Unless the jobseeker tailors the resume or application to each job description—including sufficient keywords the odds of getting an interview are slim. Therefore, keyword optimization is integral. Many ATS will automatically reject the job application if it is not sufficiently tweaked to resemble the exact wording used in the job description.
To make matters worse, many applicants feel that their basic resume does not accurately demonstrate their personality or professional value. So, they decide to inject colorful designs and alternative formats. Unfortunately, 21% of resumes with graphics or charts were deemed unreadable by the ATS. By focusing on the wrong item to change, the jobseeker has effectively negated their efforts.
Actionable Item: Don’t just upload any resume, hit the send button, and expect to get called back for an interview. You must put in the work to tailor each resume or application to the job being applied to. Spend some time making sure you write a resume that will pass ATS software.
5. Answer All of The Screening Questions
Even after the effort you use to create a perfect ATS-compliant resume, some employers up the ante. They require you to answer dozens of questions before you are even allowed to hit send. Before you throw in the towel in frustration, consider this tidbit. Up to 60% of jobseekers quit in the middle of online job applications because of their length. Conversely, a thorough jobseeker can gain a competitive advantage and opportunity by finishing the application. What does this mean to the jobseeker that takes the time to fill out a job application completely? More opportunity.
The entire point of screening questions and longer applications is to “weed out” applicants. This is a thing that recruiters want you to know, although they may not explicitly state it. When jobseekers answer each question, recruiters can identify applicants who meet any required or preferred qualifications.
According to Jessica Salter, a People Operations Manager at Best Response Media:
“Answer the screening questions. A lot of companies ask applicants to upload a CV and answer screening questions. It is crucial that you put thought into your answer and do not copy and paste from other applications…the recruiter will know, and you are likely to make mistakes, especially after making dozens (if not hundreds) of job applications.”
6. Learn to Network Online
Networking is an essential component of career development. Working professionals with wider professional circles simply have more opportunities to grow career-wise and obtain job transitions referrals. With in-person events canceled or moved entirely online due to COVID-19, remote workers who relished the camaraderie that develops with face-to-face conversations may need some time to get used to virtual-only events.
Although remote workers spend most of their time in front of a computer screen, this does not make it easier for telecommuters to transition to online networking. The differences between the two methods are stark. To this effect, some work-from-home professionals may be tempted to wait for things to normalize before they start networking again. Unfortunately, this is not a strong plan.
- Spend a few minutes trying to expand your network every day. Be diverse with your connections. Don’t just stick to people in the same industry.
- Use professional networking tools like LinkedIn to connect and send personalized, professional messages.
- Join professional communities or groups on Facebook and become an active participant. Strive to provide value such as recommendations for products or services.
- Nurture your professional relationships. Nothing good comes from having 3,000 online connections or friends who don’t know anything about you or your respective industry.
7. Don’t Lose Hope
Despondency is a natural reaction after a long, unfruitful job search. With millions of people filing for unemployment, companies going out of businesses, and external events dictating when companies can expand their hiring activities, it’s enough to make anyone want to throw in the towel.
But there are a few important things recruiters want you to know and to remember. These are not “normal times.” It’s not you. With each application you send out, you are competing with hundreds of applicants from around the world. Even in pre-COVID-19 times, the job search process was frustrating. And the job search process is not compatible with our brains. According to Psychology Today, the lack of control during a job search brings up lots of uncertainty, which our brains cannot process.
Not only that, but no one likes constant rejection. Therefore, learning to deal with rejection is one of the most important skills you can adopt. People hate rejection so much that they eventually begin to avoid the very activity that can bring great professional opportunities. And that’s even at the risk of killing their careers.
Actionable Item: Learn from your mistakes and make any necessary corrections to be ready for the next professional opportunity that comes along.
Finding a remote job today is different than it was just a few months ago. But with a bit of preparation, perseverance, and familiarity with things that recruiters want you to know, you’re sure to make the best of it.
Are you familiar with any other things that recruiters want you to know? Are you a recruiter that wishes applicants knew more about the modern hiring process? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to share your story or advice. We’d love to hear from you!
Join Virtual Vocations Today!
Joining Virtual Vocations grants you access to our hand-picked telecommuting jobs database. Learn how our service works, browse job leads by location and career category, or search hundreds of hand-screened telecommuting jobs to find legitimate work-at-home job leads that match your skills and background. Register for free or contact us for more information on our service guarantee.
Check out our menu of Career Services provided by our team of certified professionals, including resume and career coaching services for remote jobseekers. Resume assessments and writing, LinkedIn profile enhancement, and cover letter writing are available to maximize the success of your remote job applications. Discounts on all services available to subscription members, become one now.
Images via Canva