01/07/2022 by Carney Sandoe Staff | Conferences
Virtual Hiring Conference Best Practices: for Candidates
In addition to the two in-person hiring conferences Carney, Sandoe & Associates is holding in 2022 (we're back, baby!), we're also holding two virtual events for our active candidates and school partners: FORUM/Diversity on January 24-29 and FORUM/Spring on April 1. Virtual hiring conferences are an easy way for you to make important connections with hiring schools as we move deeper into the hiring season.
First things first, how will virtual hiring conferences work?
Here's a quick overview: Each day of a virtual conference is comprised of pre-scheduled 30-minute interviews. Schools schedule interviews with candidates, not the other way around. These interviews are intentionally introductory and brief. If mutual interest is established between a school and a candidate, a formal hiring process will follow.
The Conference Module is an online portal used by schools and candidates who have registered for the event. Within the Module, schools browse the profiles of any registered candidate and decide who they wish to interview. Candidates can use the Module to show their availability (see the first tip below), browse the list of schools that have registered and the positions they are hiring for, and send messages to schools alerting them of your interest in a particular position or their school in general.
Although each virtual hiring conference has a dedicated day or days of interviews, it's much more than that. By registering, you are signaling that you're exploring job opportunities, and your profile becomes discoverable to the schools and hiring contacts attending the event — not just to schools you have been referred to. The Conference Module will also remain active for weeks after each conference, so schools can continue to browse candidates and connect with them, even after the event is over.
Now that you're acquainted with our virtual conferences, register in CandidateConnect then check out our tips below to help you make the most of the event.
Tips for Candidates
Set up your schedule.
First thing’s first: when you log into the Conference Module, one of your most important tasks is noting your availability in the “View Schedule” tab. This way, schools know when they can or can't schedule an interview with you. The Module lists time in Eastern Standard Time, so adjust your schedule based on your time zone and what works best for you. You have the flexibility to choose how much time you want to dedicate to each event.
Refine your profile.
Check that all of the documents in your CandidateConnect profile are up to date, then check again. Pay close attention to your geographic preferences: when schools browse candidate profiles as they are building their interview schedules, they are not only looking for candidates with the right experience and qualifications, they're most likely also looking for candidates who want to work where their school is located. We cannot say for certain that many schools are willing to hire for remote positions.
For teaching candidates, if you have any new or recent recordings of you teaching virtually, add those to your profile (just make sure you have the proper permissions from your school to do so).
Understand how positions are listed.
Schools might not list every position they are hiring for in the Conference Module. Often, a position is confidential or not publicly known within their school community. Similarly, schools may choose to list positions only with Carney Sandoe and not on their public websites. If you see you are scheduled to interview for a position that is not listed on a school's website, don't be alarmed.
The list of schools and positions is very fluid. Since this is an online event — not to mention that many schools are still figuring out their hiring needs for the fall while dealing with a slew of COVID-19 related challenges — the list can change daily.
Understand how and when interviews are scheduled.
Once the Conference Module opens, schools can use the Module to browse attending candidates and start to build their interview schedules. Historically, schools schedule the majority of their interviews in the 48 hours before a conference begins. So if you are logging into the Module in the first few days of it being open and don't see many or any interviews on your schedule, don't panic! Schools will even schedule interviews on the day of a conference, so be patient in the days leading up to an event.
Check your messages and be responsive.
Check the Message Center in the Conference Module (by clicking on the Messages tab) often — schools use it to send you messages up to and during the event. Schools' interview schedules can be quite fluid, with new interviews being scheduled with little notice. It's important you check your messages frequently and that you're quick to respond to any school that contacts you.
Bonus tip: See a school you've always wanted to work at or a position that sounds like a perfect fit? Use the Message Center to send messages to hiring contacts indicating your interest. We recommend doing this a few days before the event. Sending a message doesn't guarantee an interview, but it's a way to introduce yourself to the school. Lastly, schools receive a lot of messages — so keep them brief and clear, and don't be offended if you don't get a reply. Read more about the Message Center here.
Communicate and plan ahead.
Communication is key between candidates and schools. Make sure you know each school's plan for the interview. What tool are they using (Zoom, WebEx, Skype, phone, etc.)? Who is going to initiate the interview, you or the school? Schools have been instructed to contact candidates through the Message Center to indicate their plan, but if you don't hear from a school before your interview, feel free to send them a message. Most schools will also have their interview tool of choice listed next to their name in the Module, and some will also have a link to a video conference platform in the “Video Interview” column on your schedule. Finally, add your cell number to your profile in the event a tech issue comes up and you need to switch to a phone interview.
Check your expectations.
We understand candidates are eager to interview, but it's important to also be realistic. Given some of the uncertainty around what the 2022-23 school year will look like, it's difficult to predict how these events will go for candidates. There are also a lot of factors that affect how many interviews candidates will have. For example, if your geographic preferences are limited to one city and you don’t see any schools from that city registered for the event, don't expect a full interview schedule. Schools want to use both their time and yours wisely and respectfully.
Keep us posted.
If you decide you no longer want to participate in a conference you have registered for, it's crucial that you let your Placement Associate know so we can take the appropriate actions on our end. We'll need to make sure that schools don't continue to add you to their schedule. If schools have already scheduled interviews with you, we'll want to notify them so they can fill that slot with another candidate.
Test the technology.
Test your electronic device prior to your first interview. Make sure your device is charged and alerts are silenced. Familiarize yourself with the various interview tools you’ll be using in advance so you’re ready to go at the time of your interview. You can create free accounts on platforms like Zoom and Skype. These other tips on virtual interviewing are also important to read.
Just like with any other interview, make sure you are well-prepared. A virtual interview is just as serious and important as an in-person one. Research who you’re speaking with, browse the school's website, and explore how your values relate to the school's mission. Think about how you will contribute to the school community. That being said, if an interview is scheduled with only a few hours' notice, don't panic — the school will understand you had little time, if any, to do any extensive research.
Between work, childcare, and a slew of distractions, life can be unpredictable. Understand the times we’re in and remain flexible with changes and adjustments to your schedule. Take comfort knowing that schools are doing the same. If your child or pet accidentally interrupts your interview, it won't reflect poorly on you.
Use the Carney Sandoe team as a resource.
Just like at an in-person conference, your Placement Associate will be available for recommendations, advice, and questions. Don't hesitate to contact yours — we're here to make the experience as smooth as possible for you!
Take care of yourself.
Interviewing can be stressful — especially with everything else you are juggling. Practice self care by stretching between interviews and taking a break from your screen when you can. Have snacks and water nearby. Don't forget to build a lunch break into your online schedule.
Send an email or message in the Conference Module to the person or people you interviewed with. Whether you're reinforcing your enthusiasm about the position or you're letting the school know it's not a good fit for you, take the time to reach out and follow up.
Got more questions? Leave a comment below and we'll get back to you!