As a high-growth start-up, we are constantly striving to push the boundaries and diversify from the average, expected, or typical. To do that, we have to think differently, and constantly trial and test new ways of doing things to learn what works best for us on this growth journey. This is true of how we approach our hiring process here at Virtual Internships. 

We are bringing on lots of new people at the moment so it’s important that we continually look to improve and refine our talent acquisition methods as we strive to push the boundaries of the future of work. 

At VI, we average around 214 applications per vacancy which is a 0.5% acceptance rate. We don’t add this figure to boast, but simply to emphasize why we want to share some of our learnings around what works for us as an organization to help other companies but also for candidates who are thinking of applying to VI or another high-growth start-up and want to stand out at each stage of the hiring process.

More often than not, hiring processes are shrouded in mystery. Before applying to a company or heading into an interview, the most you can glean from an organization is from their social media or their website, and still, that may not answer your questions to know if it’s definitely a place you want to work. 

We want to change that.

So, why share our hiring process?

There are many reasons, but here are four…

  1. Transparency is one of our core values. By sharing this, we hope to be completely transparent about our hiring practices and hopefully encourage other companies to do the same.
  2. Joining a start-up for the first time is like nothing you’ve experienced before. For those looking for a unique place to work, we hope that our transparency here is reflective of what you can expect if you join us. 
  3. It’s scary to share something so important to your company. By doing this, we are opting to be held accountable to our own hiring practices.
  4. We haven’t just thought this process up overnight, it’s been a journey of learning what works and what doesn’t, and building on that. Whilst we don’t encourage exact replication because every company is different, we hope to share some of our expertise on scaling a remote-first organization that has been the result of our experiments, to inspire other growth-stage companies.  

On the thread of being open, we recently launched our VI-P Guide; a place where you can find out all about #LifeatVI before applying. You can find it on our careers page


Our Hiring Process at Virtual Internships

Before diving into writing the job ad and pushing it out across several channels to find that perfect candidate, it’s important to slow down for a moment and think about what impact this person is going to make and how they will be important to the company.

 

What we do first when approaching each new hire

It’s important to stress how much time we spend upfront before we begin hiring. We do this because we’ve learned it saves a lot of time down the line.

When you have the budget/space/need/want to hire a specific role, it’s hard not to put it straight out to find the person you need, especially if it is a time-sensitive hire.

However, by committing to investing more time and effort from the outset, you’ll be crystal clear about the attributes you’re looking for in a candidate, and from that point, be able to prioritize those ruthlessly.


1. Think impact

They say ‘working for a start-up is like flying a rocket ship while you’re still building it.’ So first things first, we think strategically about who this person will be, how they will shape the growth of the company, and what impact they will have.


2. Assess responsibilities and requirements

Our hiring managers will then do a deep dive on the responsibilities this person will have, what skills we will require them to have coming into the role, their career journey, and most importantly, their motivations for joining us.


3. Research

We look at the roles out there that are similar to this role. We look at the skills required, the different career journeys to this role, any qualifications gained, and the responsibilities. This is all done before we even meet with the talent acquisition team to discuss the next steps. 


4. Look internally

We value meritocracy at Virtual Internships, and it is evident through the rapid career progression of some of our most senior leaders including our COO, Head of Intern Enrollment, and Head of Employability, among many others. 

Before we push the job ad out externally, we look internally to see if there is an opportunity for an existing VI-er first.


5. Meet with the Talent Acquisition team and consult others

Before going public, the TA team is briefed and we talk through the different archetypes that we are looking for, the skills this person should possess, and our ideal candidate. It’s then up to our brilliant TA team and hiring managers to begin hunting for the right person.  

 

We recently shared a blog about what we look for when we bring on new engineers to our team. You can check it out here – Explained: How We Hire Engineers at Virtual Internships

 

Our interview process at virtual internships

 

Our Interview Process and How to Stand Out

As a remote-first organization, all of our interviews are done remotely, via video calls using either Zoom or Google Meets. 

If you’re reading this as a potential candidate, then we’ve added some tips below from our top hiring managers for how to ace each part.


Applying

All applications are channeled through our careers page which is linked to our applicant tracking system. The system enables both the hiring managers and the TA team to have a holistic view of each candidate and the stage they are at so that we can review, assess, progress, book interviews, and discuss candidates all in one place.

If your company does not yet have one of these, we highly recommend Recruitee

How to Stand Out as a Candidate: Pay every close attention to the job description. Look at your CV and cover letter and ask yourself: Have I demonstrated experience and results in the key areas listed? We are a high-growth start-up, before we meet the person behind the stats, we are focussed on identifying demonstrated results and outcomes.


Screening

We review each initial application, looking at CVs/resumes and the answers given in applications, and then any skills, motivations, or experience that is relevant to the role and/or Virtual Internships. 

How to Stand Out as a Candidate: We put a particular value on evidence of an action-orientated and problem-solving mindset so bonus points if this is evident in your application.


Values Assessment, Role-Fit Assessment, and Skills-Focus Assessment

Each hiring sequence will differ from one role to role, however, almost every one of our hiring processes will involve an assessment or multiple. 

We have three different types:

  • Values Assessment
    • There are no wrong answers here. We just want to hear how the candidate talks about themselves, their career, and their alignment with our company values. We’ll also use this stage to assess verbal English (VI’s working language).
  • Role-Fit Assessment (First Interview)
    • This is the first interview with the hiring manager to better understand the candidate’s experience and the motivations for their application.
  • Skills-Focus Assessment
    • While this isn’t applicable for all roles, for most roles, we will also include a practical evaluation to assess the possession of the relevant skills for the role. This could be a written assignment, short technical test, or simulated inbox exercise task.

To help us better review these assessments, we will have specific things we are looking for or scores we expect to see specified prior to beginning the recruitment process. 

How to Stand Out as a Candidate: Come prepared, research our company, and think about the impact you could make. Remember to be authentic and honest with your motivations, we want people that really want to work at VI/in this role.


Leadership Conversion

This stage would be closest to what is known as a ‘culture-fit interview’, something every start-up should have in their hiring process.

This stage is as much for us as it is for the candidate. While we are looking to see how this person would be a good addition to our company, we also want to give the candidate the opportunity to ask any questions they have about our vision, mission, or strategies. 

How to Stand Out as a Candidate: Read over our VI-P Guide and pay close attention to what is most important to us as a company, this is what we’ll be assessing here. The other tip is ask questions! You may have heard or read this in thousands of interview tips but it is key; we want to see your interest in the company, industry, and role through the questions you ask us.

 

Final Decision & References

After the assessments and interview, every candidate is evaluated who makes it to this stage before the hiring team makes the final decision. 

References are mandatory for every role. However, when there are multiple candidates that meet our hiring bar for a role, we’ll use the references to select the best candidate before making an offer. If no candidates meet the hiring bar, then we continue with the recruitment process.

Don’t worry, we will never reach out to a current employer to ask for a reference. For the ins and outs of references, read more in our VI-P Guide.

 

Making an Offer – Our favorite part at VI! 

Nothing brings our hiring managers more joy than connecting with a candidate on a video call and talking through our offer and package details. 

During this stage, we’ll also share our Culture Deck where you can get a real feel for working at VI. Our Culture Deck guides how we operate as a company and is extremely important. We share this with candidates at this stage so that they can decide if we will be the right fit for them, not just the other way around. 

After reading the Culture Deck, it’s up to the candidate to accept the role and we’ll move forward with the logistics. 

However, should the candidate decide the role is not for them after reading the Culture Deck then we completely understand. Ultimately, we want the best fit for both parties. 

 

benefits of virtual internships


Perks and Benefits at Virtual Internships


We are a Remote-First Organization

We care about outcomes and results, not where you work or when you work. 

Whilst we have an office in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, almost everyone at VI works remotely. With a remote workforce growing by the week and based in 25+ countries, we would never expect anyone to work strict hours. 

Instead, we are flexible. We understand that some people work best in the morning, and others late at night and into the early hours. As long as you are performing at the level we expect and it does not adversely impact our overall ability to achieve our goals, then when you work is up to you. 

All we ask is that you set up your core meetings and be available for any additional ones to be scheduled, then outside of that, it’s up to you. 

That’s the beauty of remote work!

 

Professional Development Budget

How can we expect our company to grow if we are not investing in the people that will be responsible for much of that growth?

At VI, we offer every single employee a budget of up to $500 each year to spend on learning content or platforms that will contribute to their professional growth. 

There is no set way in which employees can spend their budget; if you can make a case for it, then it’s yours. Here are some of the courses, tools, and platforms our employees have used their budget before: Linkedin Learning, Coursera, Futurelearn, Blinkist, MentorBox, Google Analytics Certification, Consultative Sales Certification, and more!

 

Remote Work Budget

Get the most of our remote work with a budget towards it every month!

As a remote employee, you’ll also have a remote work budget of up to USD70 which you can use each month for things like:

  • Setting up or upgrading your home office
  • Paying 50% of your internet bill at home
  • Coworking spaces
  • Software or tools that make life easier as a remote worker. 

You can read about more perks and benefits as well as our compensation philosophy in our VI-P Guide

 

Our Commitment to Applicants

We know that applying for a new job can be daunting, exciting, and everything in between. That’s why we want to prefer transparency so that you are both comfortable and excited about applying to Virtual Internships.

Unlike other companies out there, our hiring process is not a mystery and you will never be left waiting to hear back from us or wondering what happened to your application. 

With this in mind, we make two promises:

  1. You will always hear back from us, even if we don’t seem like a good fit.
  2. At any stage of the process, we aim to make sure you never go more than ten days without hearing from us.

 

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

We want everyone to feel comfortable, happy, and productive at VI.

We are committed to creating a diverse, inclusive work environment, whether you work in-office or remote. We encourage our team to celebrate the importance of a diverse team and acknowledge that having an inclusive work ecosystem can be extremely empowering for those that want to be their authentic selves at work. 

The same goes for our hiring process. At no point during the recruitment process will factors such as race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation ever be considered in the assessment of your suitability for the role and the company. 

 

Want to Join Us? Apply Now!

If reading this has piqued your interest then head to our careers page by clicking the button below to find out more about #LifeatVI through our VI-P Guide, and to check out our open roles to find the right fit for you!

careers at Virtual Internships

Nothing there to suit you yet? Follow us on LinkedIn where we regularly post new open roles. 

 

Got Thoughts on our Hiring Process? Join the Conversation

As we said at the start of this blog, we are constantly trying to innovate and think about how we can better our organization and the impact it has.

With that in mind, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our very open book on hiring in this age of remote work.

Join the conversation by…

 

We’ll see you there.