July 7, 2020, by Katie Andrews

Advice for job seekers series: Get comfortable with technology

There’s no question that the current pandemic and the responses to it have been devastating for many; not only in human health terms but economically too.  Many people have found themselves unexpectedly looking for work in a jobs market that has markedly changed in a relatively short time.

For those looking for work for the first time in many years, it may be a whole new ball game.  Understanding how the recruitment and selection process may have changed is key to being prepared for seeking and applying for new roles.

In a series of daily blogs, Dr Terri Simpkin, Associate Professor at the Nottingham University Business School, and former Human Resources Director, provides some insight and tips on navigating modern job search practices.

It’s recruitment, but not as you knew it.

In the not too distant past, job hunting was often characterised by pounding the pavement dropping off CVs, letters of introduction or personal resumes to businesses that might be looking to hire new employees.

Not anymore.

Even prior to lockdown, it was highly unlikely that organisations, particularly chains or larger firms, would accept unsolicited applications ‘in store’ or via branches.  The recruitment and selection process has largely been centralised or outsourced and at least in part, automated and managed online.

This means your approach to finding a new job might need to be updated to suit the ways in which organisations manage their hiring practices and to improve your chances of finding and getting the job you want.*

*(The move to online recruitment and selection methods assumes that applicants have access to hardware such as a laptop, desktop computer or a smart device as well as reliable internet access to engage with the application process.  This may be a disadvantage, so be prepared to seek assistance from friends, family or community groups that may be able to help.)

Advice for job seekers: Get comfortable with technology

Given ongoing social distancing provisions, many recruitment processes are being managed online so get comfortable with the technology. Practice using online meeting tools like Zoom or Skype if you can, or find out in advance if you need to download software before any online interview or discussion.

Practice by recording yourself, paying attention to the sound quality and light. Take note of how you appear to others online and be aware of your tone of voice, body language and framing to put your best self forward. The interviewer will want to see your face, not the top of your head or up your nose!

Sometimes, recruiters will use pre-recorded material as part of an application process so you may be asked to record your responses to set questions. You may have only a short time to think about your answers before being asked to respond. Be clear about what’s expected (e.g. live interview, pre-recorded responses to questions, panel interview or even group interview) so that you can be prepared and confident.

Even online, personal presentation is important so dress for the job being applied for (even if you’re still in your fluffy slippers!) If in doubt, seek advice about dress code. Use notes if you need to during an online interview but don’t read from a script and maintain a semblance of ‘eye contact’ with interviewers if possible.

Quick Tip – When the time comes to connect online, check the background to make sure that there’s no distractions and put away any family pictures or other possessions that you’d like to keep private.

Put the cat out of the room and ask that family members remain quiet if possible so that you’ll be undisturbed.  This can be challenging so plan ahead.

Also, don’t forget about your online presence.  Check the privacy settings on your social media accounts so that what you want to stay private is kept private.  Update any professional accounts such as LinkedIn.  Remember that anything in the public domain will be available to potential employers.

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