Inside Scoop on Virtual Recruiting with ZS

Virtual recruiting has become almost ubiquitous among most professional service employers since the COVID-19 pandemic. While recruiting may feel more disconnected behind a screen, there are still ways for students to stand out in a digital setting.

Foster Career Services got the inside scoop on virtual recruiting through a Zoom interview with Sydney Kayman, a Human Resources Associate at ZS. Sydney has over 5 years of campus recruiting experience, and recently joined ZS, a global professional services firm. She recruits undergraduate students for internship and full-time positions at all the west coast offices: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

ZS is a global professional services firm that leverages deep industry expertise, leading-edge analytics, technology and strategy to create solutions for clients that work in the real world. The firm hires all levels including Undergraduates, Masters, and PhD students. For more information on ZS recruitment, visit their website and UW Handshake.

  1. Can you explain your current virtual recruiting process? Which stages are virtual versus in-person?

The process starts with a recruiter phone interview which is an opportunity to learn more about the candidate’s background and interest in working for ZS. Recruiters use this time to check that candidates have the necessary technical foundations if applicable to the job. Additionally, candidates can ask the recruiter questions about the role, company, and recruitment process during the initial phone screen.

The current recruiting process varies by level. For undergraduates, the next step is a 90-minute virtual interview over Zoom: 30-minutes each for a behavioral, unstructured case, and structured case interview.

For more senior roles, there is potentially an in-person component such as an office visit for final round interviews.

  1. Starting with the networking process, how should students connect with ZS prior to submitting their application? Does the company host any virtual webinars or encourage phone chats?

The best way to get to know a candidate is through networking. Students are encouraged to network with ZS through Handshake or LinkedIn. ZS does host virtual information sessions on Handshake, and students are recommended to attend events found on Handshake.

Students can be introduced to ZS representatives by connecting with Foster Career Services. When reaching out for an informational interview, include a quick introduction with the role you’re interested in and explain why ― avoid sending a blind email if possible.

Don’t be shy about reaching out, ZS associates are open and willing to share their experiences!

  1. Are cover letters worth submitting for virtual recruitment? Why or why not?

Cover letters can only help your application. A well written cover letter may be the deciding factor between two close applicants. In a cover letter, recruiters look for tailored original content, familiarity with the job and company, and genuine interest in the role.

  1. What makes a candidate strong in a virtual interview? How do you evaluate these characteristics?

Interviewers look for candidates with genuine curiosity and excitement by evaluating how much knowledge a candidate has about the position and company. Do your due diligence and come prepared with research on the role and responsibilities. Listen carefully to the interviewer’s question before responding, it is always okay to ask for a moment to craft a tailored response backed with logic.

ZS evaluates candidates based on the company’s three core principles: get it right, treat people right and do the right thing. The best responses demonstrate these core principles with examples to support the answers.

Professionalism is another key metric evaluated in every part of the recruitment process, from emailing recruiters to body language on video interviews. Practice answering interview questions in front of a mirror to see how you conduct and carry yourself.

  1. What are typical challenges you see students face during virtual recruitment? Any recommendations to help them overcome these challenges?

Burnout is one of the top challenges students face during virtual recruitment. Recruiters know virtual recruitment is exhausting, however, if you plan to attend a virtual event, really commit and engage with the company representatives. Don’t show up for part of an event unless you have conflicting obligations which you can let the recruiter know beforehand.

It is normal for a virtual recruiting event to feel uncomfortable but try to break out of your comfort zone and fully participate in the breakout rooms and overall event. Your future interviewer could be in the meeting, and this is an opportunity to create a positive impression.

There is always the possibility of a technical error during virtual recruiting, if this happens, reach out and let the interviewer know as soon as possible. Be flexible in pivoting to a phone interview or rescheduling if necessary. To avoid technical issues, join the meeting early to test the Wi-Fi, camera, and microphone.

Beware of invites from different time zones! It never hurts to reach out and confirm an interview time and place if there is every any confusion.

Mistakes may happen during a virtual recruiting cycle, be transparent and communicate with your recruiter. If you miss an interview because of a mistake, don’t give an excuse, instead be honest and professional.

Sydney goes on to state that virtual interviews will continue to be a part of the ZS recruitment process throughout the next year. The hybrid recruiting model is a trend that Foster Career Services has seen from many employers since the COVID-19 pandemic and may be the new norm for recruitment. Prepare early for virtual recruiting with a curated list of resources from Foster Career Services found below.

Resources For Virtual Recruitment:

  • Career Coaching – meet with a career coach for tailored advice on how to make the most out of virtual recruiting.
  • Practice – use websites such as Interview Stream and HireVue to practice digital interviewing. Rewatch your responses and look out for professionalism through responses and body language. Sign in with your UW net ID to access these resources for free.
  • Case Prep – check out CaseCoach and more consulting case interview prep on our canvas page.
  • Foster Career Services Canvas – an abundance of career resources tailored for Foster undergraduate students.
  • Virtual interview rooms – visit Dempsey Hall 212 to check room availabilities for your next virtual interview.

Post Written By: Jennifer Chen, Undergraduate Career Coach