Find Out What Employers Really Want

woman on laptop doing virtual interview
Rebecca A. Eckland

Even though college can be the best part of your life, it will definitely end sometime—and hopefully, when it does it ends well. However, just because you have a college degree doesn’t mean you’ll automatically land your dream job. That’s especially true in the new era of Zoom interviews when everything about you: how you’re framed on the screen, what you’re wearing, and what’s in your background are all important visual cues that factor into that vital first impression you make. 

If you’re asking: “But wait? I thought there weren’t any jobs and we are in a recession?” You are half-right. 

“I think a lot of people assume that because of COVID-19, there would be a pause on employers wanting to recruit students, but that’s not at all true,” said Career Hub Coordinator Kelley Wong, who along with Career Hub Program Manager Sidney Sullivan, have put together a series of virtual events that can connect students with recruiters to learn more about the jobs that are available right now, the organizations that are currently hiring, and the available positions themselves. 

In brief, these virtual events provide you the opportunity to get the “inside scoop” before you take the time to apply. “These events allow students to literally ask the questions that they were always too afraid to ask during an interview,” said Sullivan. 

More About the Virtual Recruitment Events

The Virtual Recruitment Events will occur throughout the semester. “So, instead of a general job fair where students would come and meet with, say, forty employers at once, we’re doing it in a more personalized setting,” said Wong, who explained that students can check the calendar of events to see if the company for the event that day is one in which they would be interested in learning more about. 

“It’s important students understand that this isn’t an actual interview,” said Wong. In other words: you don’t need to have your resume ready. You don’t have to dress up. And, (thanks COVID-19) you don’t have to shake anyone’s hand. “I mean, it would be great if students showed up with questions or knew something about the company, but that’s not a requirement, either,” she said. “If you’re really nervous, you can even bring a friend. How many times have you been able to bring a friend to an interview?”

So, what do you need to participate? Just the very basics: a stable internet connection, the ability to participate in a Zoom following the typical etiquette guidelines (nothing inappropriate in the background, no barking dogs or noisy situations, etc.). Most importantly: you need to have your camera turned on. 

From there, get ready to learn all about what recruiters are really looking for, and how to create a job application and resume that will at least land you an interview, if not a job. 

The Inside Scoop on What Employers Want

Sullivan said that these sessions have not only included insights into specific industries or positions, but also into what recruiters consider the fundamental “do’s” and “don’ts” of the virtual interview process. After all, just like live interviews, Zoom interviews really come down to that vital first impression that’s made within ten seconds of you popping up on an employer’s screen. That doesn’t give you much time to “fix” something that may be amiss, which means you want to show up to your interview, even if it literally happens in your own home, already dressed and prepped for success. 

What does that mean? Well, just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can slack on the dress code required for interviews. Showing up in your bathrobe is definitely going to send the wrong message about who you are and how much you care about landing the job. Also, don’t bank on the fact that no one can see you from the waist-down. The last thing you want to happen is for the person who’s interviewing you to discover you’re not wearing appropriate attire (again, that sends the wrong message, and we guarantee that won’t get you the job.) 

Beyond finding out what “flies” or what doesn’t you can also find out about company culture by asking questions you normally wouldn’t during a formal interview. For example, you can ask about the hours you would be expected to work, the insurance benefits that come along with the job, what’s the company culture like, and what’s the best part of working for this employer? 

These events are not to be missed, especially if you’re continually overlooked when you apply for jobs. “This is such a great opportunity for students to find out why their applications are overlooked by recruiters,” said Wong. “They can find out if they are using the right keywords, for example. This is such a rare opportunity to have.”

See the TMCC Events Calendar for more details about each Virtual Recruitment Event. For more information about the Career Hub, contact them at 775-829-9080.