This article first appeared on the NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability) website. Any extracts should be attributed to the organisation. 18 November 2020.
Technology has been our saving grace in this COVID-19 pandemic, from simply keeping businesses alive to raising operational efficiency. This digital shift in workplace practices has opened up diverse career opportunities in tech, both deep tech and ‘tech-lite’. Under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, more than 18,000 tech jobs and skills training opportunities have been created.
These opportunities are not limited to individuals with an information and communications technology (ICT) background. IMDA’s TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) encourages aspiring mid-career professionals new to the sector to take the leap and make the switch. A more diverse workforce would allow companies to contribute in bigger, more dynamic ways.
But newcomers’ lack of understanding of the ICT sector has made matching quality candidates to quality companies a challenge. Without surety of how to market themselves for these roles, jobseekers are unable to craft an effective resume to win them the interview.
“Today, the focus on having a perfect resume excludes many from getting an interview. When we run speed interviews for e2i, we can easily get the candidates and employers talking to each other, when otherwise some candidates wouldn’t even be given the chance.” — Stewart Chen, Co-founder of Hireplace
e2i too believes that resumes are not wholly reflective of one’s capabilities and character. To give jobseekers a fairer chance and address the growing demand for tech roles, e2i partnered recruitment platform Hireplace to pioneer the Online Speed Job Interview Series.
Speed Interviewing: The Future of Recruitment
Virtual recruitment refers to hiring remotely by using technology to evaluate candidates without needing to meet them in-person. Job portals, video interviews, and virtual job fairs are part of this process.
But virtual recruitment up until now has had its limitations. Submitting a resume to a job portal, though easy, does not guarantee one an interview. As job portals allow for a high volume of applications, the resume vetting process can take quite long too. Some resumes get overlooked or lost, resulting in no response being given. This can be quite discouraging to the eager jobseeker.
To curb this issue, e2i brought in Hireplace and their ‘speed interviewing’ approach, which is based off the speed-dating concept. During e2i’s Online Speed Job Interview events, candidates may speak with hiring employers for 8 to 10 minutes via FaceTime, using Hireplace’s mobile application. Hirers’ questions will be more focussed on finding the candidate’s X-factor and seeing if they will fit well in the organisation.
The app uses a live queuing interface to save time and cost in the event of a no-show. The app has a simple user interface, so that anyone who “can use Facebook” can use Hireplace too.
For a more targeted pool of quality candidates, e2i evaluates the submitted resumes of interested jobseekers beforehand. Jobseekers whose resumes match the roles will be shortlisted for speed interviews at the event. e2i curates and partners with reputable companies such as Singtel, TATA Consultancy Services, Tescom and A-IT Software Solutions.
“The 8-minute virtual speed interviews were a great way for candidates to showcase their past working experiences and talk about their tech skills. I believe this is also a good way for the candidates to shine and capture the interviewer’s attention.” — TATA Consultancy HR Manager
How Do I Speed Interview Successfully?
Naturally, no one becomes an expert at speed interviewing after just one go. It takes self-assessing, preparing, rehearsing and, most importantly, an open mind to learn. Feedback from participating hirers has revealed that candidates who fair better at the speed interviews tend to have attended e2i’s workshops.
e2i’s Win the Job! series prepares individuals for writing a winning resume for one’s desired role, gaining confidence for different types of interviews, and negotiating with a hirer. Each 4-hour session gives attendees effective tips and tricks, and uses role-playing with peers to train them for different situations. For PMETs, the Career Resilience Executive Workshop (CREW) also covers all three bases of job search, interviewing and salary negotiation, with the addition of charting your career.
Cassandra Cheng, an e2i Senior Specialist in Training Development, gives some quick advice on how to land and perform in a speed interview.
Tailor each resume to fit the role
No more shooting in the dark and hoping for the best. Many jobseekers make the mistake of mass sending out the same resume to multiple hirers. Each resume should highlight specific skills relevant to the role.
To accurately identify these desirable attributes, jobseekers should read up on the hiring company’s background, vision, and mission, as well as the details of the role.
Rehearse what you are going to say
Jobseekers should go into every interview knowing their key message like the back of their hand. For those new to the industry or role, what are their transferrable skills? Or, what value can they bring to the organisation? These answers can be weaved into any of the questions, be it “Tell me about yourself.” or “Why should we hire you?”
Avoid being long-winded. Share background, but do not delve deep into one’s work history. Jobseekers should focus on who they are, why they applied for the job, and why the company should hire them.
“Some jobseekers haven’t gone for an interview in a long time. They may be a little bit rusty with answering the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Be prepared for this frequently asked question. This is your elevator pitch so be swift about your reply. Remember, we only have 10 minutes to impress.” — Cassandra Cheng, e2i Senior Specialist in Training Development
Enter your interview with confidence and a smile
First impressions really count. Before the interview even starts, prepare yourself with a smile to keep yourself and the other party calm. “Some interviewers may be nervous, you never know!” says Cassandra. Remember: Confidence is key.
Land Your First Tech Job via Speed Interview
Like many other changes that COVID-19 has sparked, hiring is unlikely to go back to how it was before. Jobseekers should ready themselves for the future of recruitment and the boom of tech roles, which will continue to come.
“e2i’s remains committed in the COVID-19 climate to advocating ‘better jobs for better lives’. Speed interviews are just one way we have adapted to the labour market and hiring situations for relevancy. e2i will also continue to help employers curate, develop and coordinate various trainings and programmes, while connecting trained and potential hires to them.” — Gilbert Tan, e2i CEO
Tech roles currently in demand include: Associate Network Consultant, Database Administrator, IT Project Manager, IT Tester, Network Engineer, Software Engineer, System Engineer.
Let e2i be part of your job search journey! Make a complimentary booking with a career coach to assess your capabilities and map where you want to go. Brush up your job application skills at a Win the Job! or CREW workshop. Check out e2i’s upcoming Online Speed Job Interview events and sign up for one that matches your career goals the best!