How job seekers are standing out and staying top of mind during virtual job interviews
A few weeks ago, Ian Blackley sent an Apple payment for $7.00 to a creative director he’d never met at an advertising agency that he hoped to work for.
Along with the $7.00, he wrote “Consider this me buying some ad space in your iMessages,” and included a link to his online portfolio as well as an invitation to meet virtually or in-person (fully vaccinated) for coffee. He repeated that about 30 more times, reaching out to senior creatives in the field that he admires and hopes to soon join.
These bold, stand out moments were less about being interviewed by a hiring manager right then and there, but more about making as many creative and inventive connections as possible during a time when networking opportunities were slim, Blackley said. “My whole thing is just to stay top of mind [with] these people, that way when there is an opening, they [can remember] ‘that one dude that sent me $7.00,’” he said.
The pandemic has required a lot of creativity and new types of energy from employees in order to be successful in their jobs while working from home. But for those on the job hunt, capturing the attention of hiring managers and recruiters has required a whole other level of resourcefulness.
Phone calls and video chats have removed layers of personality from the job interviewing process, limiting the ability to read body language and erasing the way people behave in office settings from the equation all together.
For example, during a job interview taking place in 2019, a hiring manager, like Sharon Harris, the global CMO of digital marketing and communications firm Jellyfish, might have invited a candidate out to lunch to allow for a more personal and conversational interview experience. Now, Harris is stacking several Zoom interviews with prospective candidates in one day to achieve efficiency.
Blackley ultimately received about 10 calls based on his texts, all of whom reviewed his portfolio and directed him to recruiters within the company, but he has still yet to solidify an offer for a junior creative position at an agency in the San Francisco area, where he is from. He has also spent a total of about $90 in the Apple payments, but considers that to be a small drop in the bucket.
Over the past 15 months, the job market has gone through a variety of stages. In the early months of the pandemic, companies put hiring plans on ice as they faced financial constraints that led to furoughts, pay cuts and layoffs of their existing staff. But by the end of 2020 and in the first half of this year, many employers began feeling optimistic about the ability to grow their teams, leading to a competitive job market in a variety of industries.
In both periods of time, candidates have needed to step out of their comfort zones in order to grab the attention of recruiters, sometimes going to unconventional lengths to get in front of their future bosses. …read more