Richard Epperly
Inclusive Hiring Talent Sourcer for People with Disabilities at Microsoft
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Microsoft Ability Summit 2020
May 27, 2020, New York, USA
Microsoft Ability Summit 2020
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Career Corner: Virtual Interviewing Best Practices
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About speakers

Richard Epperly
Inclusive Hiring Talent Sourcer for People with Disabilities at Microsoft
Sean Baker
Inclusiveness Consultant at EY

I am an advocate for people with disabilities. I know that when we include people with unique backgrounds and experiences it creates better teams and products. I also know that when we focus on an individual’s strengths, the benefits multiply.I am passionate about inclusion and focus on improving the interview process for all candidates. This includes removing unconscious bias, ensuring proper accommodations are in place and truly understanding the requirements of the position.I developed the sourcing strategy for Microsoft’s Disability and Autism Hiring Programs using a screen in mindset to find top talent.Ask me about my connection to disabilities or what it means to screen in talent.

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Recruiting Consultant and Certified Public Accountant with a heart. I am a Husband, Dad, committed volunteer and I work at the fantastic organization, EY, supporting our firm across the US.In my current role, I work as an Assistant Director on our Inclusiveness Recruiting team. With this team, I support our Americas Recruiting team efforts primarily at campuses in the US, in order to provide students opportunities at our firm regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religious background, sexual orientation or ability to start a great career at EY.

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About the talk

Virtual interviews are new to many interviewers as well as applicants. In this session we will discuss key tips for how to prepare yourself for upcoming interviews with employers. You will learn best practices to help you get comfortable with the technology and engage virtually with interviewers.

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Play everyone. Thanks so much for joining us. Stay Leah and I are going to go over virtual interviewing at Best Practices today. My name is Richard Epperly. I'm inclusive hiring talent sourcer for Microsoft sit within Global Talent acquisition and I focused on Microsoft's disability and autism hiring programs. Everyone, my name is Leah courthouse and I'm a campus recruiter with ey I manage iron efforts for campus recruiting. So I hire students for internship and full-time opportunities with an e y. So we're going to

jump into the agenda here first were starting out with virtual and are linked operation. Then we'll cover casting and preparing your technology troubleshooting and closing it out with creating the optimal environment. So when it comes to Virtual interviews, we first want to discuss what is a virtual interview. So virtual interview is an interview conducted utilizing Virtual Technology. You won't be sitting in the same room with an interviewer, but you'll be at your own home or a location of your virtual interviews can be taken in a variety of ways. The first is a pre-recorded

video interview that is going to ask you questions that you'll then record yourself answering and Submit them to the company that you're interviewing for it to be evaluated and reviewed. The next is going to be a live video. This is going to be similar to a Skype or FaceTime in which you are using Virtual Technology to be speaking with company and interviewing in real-time. The next is going to be a live panel similar to a live video interview except you'll be interviewing with multiple different people. This could be in the same room

or different rooms, but still using utilizing that Virtual Technology interviewing with multiple people. The final is going to be a case study. I keep starting to really going to depend on the company that you're interviewing with the company can send you the materials bulgarians to review or send you the materials during the interview, but this will happen virtually again. They're going into virtual interviews. We want to talk about why they are a good thing. So starting out with the candidate perspective virtual interviews are convenient and

flexible for you. You are able to choose where you're doing these interviews at and when you're doing them it's going to be a consistent Behr process throughout your going to be having the same experience as the next person who's interviewing for the same position and it's going to enable you to choose how to bust showcase your personality skills and experiences moving into the employee employers have the ability to fairly and consistently evaluate candidates. So just like we talked about what they can prospective employers are going to be hearing the the same questions for each

candidate that's interviewing for the specific position to be able to evaluate them spiritually throughout the process. Recruiting process as well as more efficiently utilizing the professionals time in the recruiting space. Now that we know what virtual interviews are why they are good thing. It's time to prepare for the virtual interview without memorizing a stink about in practice articulating why you want to work for that company and in that position still want to do your research on the company

and the position and relate your experience of skills and interest to that specific company and the position in which you're applying for have your elevator pitch ready an elevator pitch is a great go to for those types of questions. Like who are you or tell me a little bit more about yourself? Another ship is to know what's on your resume be able to articulate what you did and talk about specifically what you contributed to your previous experiences or projects share experiences. You are most proud of relating them to the job for which you are applying. Think about what you

want your potential future employer to know about you and remember this is the opportunity to tell your story passed your resume when you're in an interview of very common type of interview style. You'll be asked is behavioral style questions. These are looking for specific examples and stories that you can share and a specific instance. So some Go to stories to have top of mind and I practiced is stories relating to teamwork and broke group assignment challenges you faced and overcame leadership experience

and relevant past job. Experiences. These are all some tips to have to prepare for a virtual interview when it comes to content. But now we're going to want to have some tips for preparing your technology in a virtual interview and double-check your technology before and during that virtual interview. So before the interview find out what application will be used and install it prior to the interview teams and zoom are commonly used applications for virtual interviews. You'll be able to find the application information in the

confirmation email from your recruiter and if it's not located in there don't hesitate to reach out to your recruiter. So you are able to be familiar with that type of application before the interview. You'll want to test that the application is working you should be able to join and leave the meeting at any time and if you are using a laptop a phone or tablet We charge your device prior to the interview. You don't want the low battery signal popping up on your device during the interview and distracting you or even worse having your device die on you while you're conducting your

virtual interview additionally some more tips for checking and double-checking. Your technology is that you're going to want to confirm that your webcam and microphone works properly in the chosen application test your internet connection to ensure a strong and working. You don't want the internet to draw during the virtual interview, and if you are using iPhones make sure that they are connected and selected prior to the start of the interview. So we do know that we cannot always 100% rely on technology. And if you do have technical difficulties

our issues arise you will want to know how to bust troubleshoot. So I'm going to go ahead and pass it off to Richard to talk more about troubleshooting during your virtual interview. Thanks, Leo some really great tips of the big interview double checked your technology. And then you run into a technical issue first off Don't Panic. The number one rule in it is to turn off the device and turn it back on again or in this case may be closing that application and then restarting that application and that doesn't work. The next thing is to check your

email confirmation that you received from that recruiter and there should be a toll-free number that you can use to call in with your phone. If those two steps still don't work for you. You should always have that recruiting contact information nearby. So you can give them a call or email them immediately letting them know they're coming that trouble now that we've gone over some of the troubleshooting. I wanted to go over how to create the optimal environment to make sure that you're successful for your interview and organized spaces going to be most conducive to your

interviews. Really shows a messy desk clerk office supplies in clutter and not a lot of work space. You look can be very distracting for you during that interview. You may look down and see a notepad about a grocery list and now you're thinking about the milk that you need to go purchase at the store. So you definitely want to make sure that that's workspace is clean and organize that looks like a clean desk. It only has the things that you're going to need to be successful and they interview you may be a pen and a notepad as well. So you can capture

any notes. If you are using that web camera, this can be hard to convince an employer that your detail oriented and organized. Did you really have a messy room? So there's two Graphics year. The one on the left really kind of show is my room. There's papers all over the desk piled up in the corner there. Make sure that that interview successful the other picture on the right shows with a clean well-lit room can look like with your help. Interview focus

on you for that interview. I hope we make sure that you're successful some situations. You may not be able to clean up that messy room. And so one quick tip on this is used to considering using a background effect, which will help instantly organize a messy room. I know about teams and zooms have that capability of other applications or this also includes to device in which you're using to conduct interview. You don't want like an eye on messenger in the background going off. That's all I'm going to distract you, but

that's also got a notification. Additionally, you want to make sure you still have that sewn Andy nearby so that way if the interview was actually having those technical issues the likely will call you on that phone to make sure you still have that handy last night. You still want to dress for the part. I often tell candidate has to wear whatever they're going to feel most comfortable and confident and wearing a Microsoft wear shorts sandals and a shirt and get the job but also seen Canada to really prefer to wear that full Blazer and tie because that's what they really feel comfortable

and confident in a so these pictures of some examples all the people are wearing jeans and a nice business attire if we want to go into some resources that you can use as well. There's some additional resources on how to prepare for a virtual interview. I also was just because this is a virtual interview. It doesn't mean you don't want to prepare as you would or normal interview tips there as well. You can also email Microsoft careers at microsoft.com. That's D careers at microsoft.com have some example interview questions

that you can study solution strategies for companies to kind of follow and then always definitely check out rolls. Why has a linked to theirs and answer any questions that you may have. Alright. Hi everybody. Thank you for joining us. Today. We are all being alive from across the country and we really just appreciate that you are here and you may recognize a few of the cases. So I will I will be our moderator. My name is Sean Baker III work with ey so

one of the organization's here at Microsoft. Thank you again for having us, but I'm going to ask a few questions just a Bara Bara Bara folks who've been presenting to learn a little bit more about the subject and how pokes I get prepared. And then also just want to refer those those resources that you saw previously, you know will certainly make sure that those get out to tifoso you're able to click on those links and and go from there. So I'm going to start off. I've got a question to Leah more about this topic a video interviewing and you specifically talked about a pre-recorded video

interviews. You know know a little bit more about that and you know, if I have time where I'm going to do an interview, can I take all the time? Can I do multiple takes you know, what is that look like if I'm just on a video and not there in person? Bright soap recorded video interviews are basically asking you to record yourself answering the question is why we do give you a specific amount of time to answer that question. You can definitely use the full time but you do not have to I want to make sure that you know,

you are giving the content that's fully answering the question. So as long as you are fully answering the question showing your experiences and your skills than you are good to go to move on to the next question. I don't feel like you're watching the clock to to fill the whole time. Sometimes you tend to ramble on when you are doing that may be why we do give you two cakes. I'm so that at the first round you do not like your answer. I'm you can go hide and re-record yourself answering but most of the time that first record is going to be the best. I'm

so always recommend just preparing and answering the question completely and then you can move on to the next question. Well nice, but thank you for that Leah. I do have a question. My next questions to Richard. We've got likely a lot of folks that have some technical background in the room and I was wanting to know a little bit more about you know, some of those assessments and Technical questions asked for Microsoft and then maybe some of the you know, what are some of the programming languages that people might need to learn how you know to be prepared

for a certain Microsoft interview. That definitely there's a lot of different assessment platform. There is Microsoft currently using typically it's a programming questions that you're going to receive and then you're going to want to answer those, you know, so that's also a great way to practice a lot of those who have free sites that you can visit and practice those technical assessment and typically you'll have a score related to that and then we make sure I was recovering those out that you were also thinking about testing that code and any bugs that show

up before you can pilot a lot of them will show that time of compiling it and going back to your code in compiling it again. So you want to be try to be thorough the first time when it comes to the programming language, you know, I always mention lower stack programming languages can be helpful. I just because it really covers all the fundamentals of computer science Java C plus plus The wind has come Time for That interview. I would say you use that programming language that you're most comfortable and confident in definitely not that time to experiment with a

new language. Nice, thank you Richard. Well, you know we talked about the the technical side of it. You know, I'd really like to hear from you both a little bit more about some of the behavioral interview questions. You know how to answer those Leah. What do you think? Right. So when it comes to a behavioral style interview questions, we're really looking for specific examples that are going to show that you was a candidate have the skills and experiences to be successful and qualified for the job. So I always recommend using the star method on this will

really set you up for Success. If you're not familiar with the star method basically be a stands for the situation, but what was the situation that you're in on TV stands for test? So what were the tack a stands for Action? What action did you take an AR stands for results? So what was the result of that action? So when you are using the star method you are really set up using an outline to answer the question completely while showing at a specific skills that you have for the position. One thing I I I love

to do for myself is I'll have to resume resume resume. I apply with the second resume. I have bullets and underneath the different projects. I have my own way of capturing what that project was kind of listing that star method. So I realize the situation that I see action in the result which is easy for me to refer back to it and hopefully not get lost in and trying to think about what I did cuz it'll be there for me to read. Thanks guys. So my my next question actually is it says along those lines?

You know, what are some of the pitfalls or mistakes that you've seen people make on interviews that may be very correctable. I'll chime in start. I think the first one that I see how often is not taking the time to process the question. So it's okay to pause egg that moment you may be right at the world now, but for a lot of people so you can even have them write that question in IM chat so you can come to revisit. Its I think that would be the first thing is really take that time to process that question. Right preparing is going to be Keith. Okay to take a few

seconds and then think it through or not expecting you to have an answer on that the top of your head and I always like to mention, you know, we don't look for Perfection. We are looking for humans. So don't feel that you have to answer everything completely. We're looking for the content of your answers, you know, we don't want it to be perfect or using all of this elaborate language or trying to you know, show all of your skills in a different different way just to be yourself and really show who you are and you'll be you'll be

fine. The thing that makes me think about it believe it or not interviewers want you to succeed they want you to do well on your interview and so special on the technical side. You'll you'll get cancer tips along the way trying to get you through the answer and trying to help you. So it's really helpful take pause throughout your question sometimes and listen to that interviewer and listening to those hands. Is a great case. Yes. Thank you for for sharing those tips. And you know, where do you know from the

rooms of our houses. You know, I'm very curious just about some of the technological issues that some sometimes people face so Sir Richard, I know you put a lot of thought to this. So tell me a little bit about what would happens if somebody needs more time what happens if you know that the video skips are that the bandwidth isn't strong enough. You know, what do you have? What kind of suggestions do you have for candidates as they as they go through that? Yeah, definitely. So definitely think about accommodation request. If you need it Albertville setting, you know, I can always be the

best setting for everybody. So you may need that additional time for your interview. With that request and then you know, you can do a background effects which which can be really helpful to tidy up diarrhea on your internet. I'm so turning that off, you know, you may have to have to turn off your your camera completely if needed know if you're able to plug in directly to the internet with using cable that would be ideal to help some of those technical issues that you may face.

I've seen it happen a lot where you have to use the phone and call because something happens on your internet or with the virtual platform. So it's okay if that happens. Yeah, thank you. Thank you. And you know, what about what about using background to fax? What about you know, I know you guys talked about the Clutter and spaces and you know trying to clean up some some items, but what if I wanted to use Unisom does cool backgrounds for for teens or you know, maybe another platform. Yeah, so, you know them as we switch to Virtual there's more more discussion about

the the background picture using you know, I think it's a unique way tell her recently to actually share share some of your personality. Maybe it's a hike that you've done or maybe it's a picture you painted her or something else that you really relates to and it's very helpful Today Show little baby. Personality if that's what you're trying to get across to make sure it's not too distracting. She don't want to take away from the interview itself. Yeah, thank you guys. I'd like to hear a little bit more, you know about

some of the other roles that we have. So I'm going to I'm going to shift just our agenda here a little bit. So I know you are you participated and end in ey and we brought you onto just to be able to take a break from this topic and share just a little bit about that and then Richard would love to hear, you know from the Microsoft perspective as well with with certain, you know areas that you guys have So yes haruko a thank you for joining us for having me Shaun T Center of

Excellence. Really? What we do is hire individuals with different cognitive difference. So they may be on the autism spectrum on the power of cognitive difference in perspective that people bring to our business and there's a lot of imperative to focus more on the technical side. So the individual qualification is for individuals to be able to be proficient or knowledgeable about least one or more programming languages in terms of business is around automation integration. Cybersecurity anyting data data analytics data mining data integration date of

July station and any emerging technology Focus for us. But Sean, is there anything currently? Absolutely. I appreciate that. And you know what? I think it's Keaton out to maybe maybe we're or some of these rolls and Richard he would love to hear from you as well. That absolutely we currently have five Center. We launched her initiative back in 2016 of March in Philadelphia ever since then we've launched his Chicago Dallas as well as Nashville in San Jose, but we are recruiting

for Boston Alpharetta are three of the other future locations that we're looking into and more outside of the us. We are actually recruiting for Toronto as well. Dial dive in and talk a little bit about Microsoft autism hiring program which in a really starts with the resume for four candidates. You really think about that screen in batalla De. We know that you know, there may be gaps in employment or people may not have that traditional background of education. And so it's really looking at the skills required General and

after that we really invite candidates to come out to you know, multiple Day event where they going to meet the hiring teams in the setting to work on collaborative projects with a chance to do a mock interview, which is just like a regular interview. You would do a Microsoft except we can give all that feedback back to you to use for future interviews. And we typically the week with a final-round interviews. I normally there's about three Cortana device as well, you know, if

somebody is hired to that program there's a lot of support accommodations provide once you're here as well. Which is typically a one-day event a lot of the built-in accommodations breaks between interviews and coding interview. Yes, thank you guys and we have just a few more minutes left for a few more questions. And and we do have another good place to go through but I also want to share just from both our perspective. There's so many different opportunities within so many different functional areas of each of our

businesses. And you know, we're just very excited to going to be able to talk to you guys about virtual interviewing but also want to make it in a very clear that they're there are, you know, lots of lots of different areas and incompetencies that you know within the rules that. Just that you don't have a lot of you know, a lot of different, you know cool things going on. So I cross the country and I do want to you know, take that, you know this last couple minutes just to ask you to Richard Richard the expert in an in these questions ever going to ask and it wouldn't hear about you know,

if somebody has an accommodation if somebody, you know, once to either doesn't know how to disclose a disability in the interview process, what recommendations do you do have for them if it's a job or an interview accommodation request or specifically A disability that somebody may or may not know where want to disclose. Yeah. So why am I so why and that you can truly be successful without it being accessible it will be much harder things that you do during the interview that may be to the interview were

being distracted or now, you're thinking about that you have and in Alice distracting you maybe it's talking out loud process questions are getting up and we'll pacing around the room. That's one reason why I always say to do it early on and you know as often as you need to make sure cuz you want to make sure that all processes of the interview is going to be accessible for you typically how you know you want Do that with somebody in HR or recruiting and you can tell them as much as you want or as little as you want so you can be very big and

say, you know, I have a disability and I would like this accommodation or you be specific and say I have this specific a disability because of this disability. I want this accommodation. Yes. Thank you for covering that Richard and I just want to say we are a little short on time to be able to cover you no additional questions, but I really appreciate you know, each each person who's come on today who shared about our respective organizations Microsoft. Thank you for inviting us today. I any any final words

that anybody wants to wants to come I'll just add, you know, you can always email the D careers at microsoft.com Alias. We could get the link to pretty questions that we may not have got to and we would love to hear from you. All rights, and yes, I hope everybody has had a great time at the ability Summit, you know continue to get you know, just great a great chance to learn, you know through this session we all wish we could see everybody in person I know it but I've been there before as well and and you know, hopefully

one of these days we're all we're going to be able to get back together and you know go through this in person. Good luck everybody on the next a virtual interview.

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