How to be a low-risk hire by building trust into your application

Posted in: Applications, Tips & Hints

View from the other side of the desk - Can he trust you? #2

Yesterday we met Alex, a senior manager who is worried about recruiting interns/new graduates (see blog here). Like many other employers he is concerned that should lockdowns continue this year he would have to onboard new hires remotely and require them to work effectively from home.

Whether you have had to study remotely for the last 12 months, or have been on a placement/internship or part time role where you have had to work from home, you will definitely have acquired a whole suite of skills, attributes and experience that are super-relevant. Here in the Careers Service we rarely see CVs and cover letters which adequately showcase these vital new skills.

You can read about these “WFH skills” in my previous blog here 

Don’t miss out because you think “everyone has virtual working skills so why mention them”?

Today I want to expand this out to the issue of trust. You need to be able to convince employers like Alex that you won’t disappoint in terms of what your CV promises. He also needs to be convinced that you won’t need an unreasonable amount of (socially distanced) handholding but also that you will know when to ask for help! Don’t forget also that there is the potential for new hires to upset the dynamics of an existing remote team which during 2020 has found its rhythm for remote collaboration and support.

Here are four personal attributes that can build trust with employers. Consider your experience of 2020 and identify some specific examples of each of these attributes in action during lockdown or studying/working remotely.

Dependability - how can you demonstrate in your application that you always deliver on promises and target objectives? What examples can you give of situations where despite unexpected challenges (broadband issues anyone?) you have still delivered on your commitments or promises? When virtual team projects have faltered how have you personally taken control and got them over the line?

Integrity – when you have seen that you’re not going to be able to achieve a milestone, how quickly did you communicate this to stakeholders so that there were no nasty last minute surprises? These can cause havoc when teams are spread to the four winds in their back bedrooms. How honest have you been in giving constructive feedback to a team member when they are behaving unprofessionally and how well was this received? Hard enough to do face-to-face, but requires particular skill + courage in the online world.

Credibility – how have you been able to demonstrate your abilities and expertise by the way you have exceeded expected outcomes, rather than the way you have talked up your proficiencies? i.e. show not tell. How authentic are you in the way you contribute to virtual group discussions or disagreements – do you go along with the crowd or are you confident about posing an alternative and perhaps controversial viewpoint whilst using data and insight to be persuasive? If people suss out that you are not being true to yourself they might feel they are being manipulated...this can be obvious even on Zoom!

Empathy – we’ve all had to struggle to keep the show on the road, whether that means your studies or your job. Bosses too have to home-school, worry about distant relatives and keep themselves mentally and physically healthy, just like everyone else. Build the habit of regularly “walking in someone else’s shoes”; empathy is core to those transferable skills of emotional intelligence and teamworking that we like to include in our applications. If you were asked at interview for an example of where you have demonstrated empathy during the last year, what would be a brilliant example that you could use?

So there we have it; four simple ways to convince Alex that he need not worry about recruiting you during lockdowns, tiers, circuit breaks or whatever else Covid throws at us in the coming months.

And if that much promised light at the end of the tunnel does materialise during Spring and Summer you will be able to impress and delight your new team with your trustworthiness in the actual office. Now isn't that something to look forward to!

Posted in: Applications, Tips & Hints


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