I have been in the IT recruiting space since 1998 and have seen my fair share of major events that have had a major effect on the job market. The dot-com bust of 2001, the 2008 financial crisis, the unprecedented collapse of the energy sector in 2015 and the ever-growing array of resourcing technology over the last 15 years such as LinkedIn. They have all created volatility, uncertainty, disruption, and opportunity but not on the same scale as the pandemic.
The pandemic is very different. It is a seismic event, unprecedented in my lifetime that will and continues to break the social norms, disrupt the traditional workplace as we know it and asks us to consider and question how we view the world of work and our position in it.
For example, in the tech sector, which is where we specialize, the pandemic has created a precedented choice and opportunity. Over the last 17 months, every technology company has been forced to hire remote talent whether they liked it or not. The genie is out of the bottle and the workplace and you, the workers, have changed forever. Let’s face it the workplace was undergoing significant change already, but Covid-19 hit the DeLorean gas pedal and has jumped us to 2035. That’s my best guess and who knows the workplace by then might be even more evolved than any of us could have imagined.
So, what does this mean for you the job hunter?
You really can look for your dream job in the space that you are truly passionate about and that holds some meaning and speaks to your values as a human being. Considering that employee engagement pre-Covid was under 35%, it would seem to me that the pandemic has the chance of raising that number as more people find the job they want rather than what’s offered in their local market.
The challenge with applying for remote work is how do you know which companies are legit and back up their mission statements. Looking for local jobs is much easier as you have local intel that you can lean on or you at least have resources that can get it for you. When looking remotely, you don’t always have that luxury. A referral is still a viable option and one that helps to remove a lot of the risks but at the end of the day, the onus is on you to ask those probing and revealing questions. Many people don’t feel comfortable doing that and feel that it might reduce their chance of being hired.
My counter is that good companies like job hunters who take the job search seriously, have done the research, want to understand what they are getting into and have a clear understanding as to what they are looking for. Ultimately, they are not afraid to WALK AWAY.
The list of questions to consider when you’re looking for remote work is endless but using online tools such as Glassdoor to do your research can help. Below are a few things to think about when you’re looking for remote work.
Find out if the company is financially stable. Are you an island or are there other employees in your local areas or plans at least to add to the local team?
Ensure you understand the compensation model so there aren’t any nasty surprises. Having an opportunity to talk to other employees about their experiences at the company is helpful.
What is the company's onboarding process, how do they foster and grow team culture in a remote workplace, and what are their plans post-Covid?
Does their post-Covid plan fit with your lifestyle goals and outlook on the evolving workplace?
Will your ability to move up the ladder be hindered by working remotely?
Proximity bias is a real issue and a hard habit to break. Do you feel confident that your new employer rewards those that perform no matter their physical location?
A Disciplined Approach
You need to be disciplined when you start looking for work particularly if the demand for your skills is high. It’s easy to lose control of the process and end up having way too many opportunities on the go at the same time and start to lose track of what is important to you in your new job. Ideally, you don’t want to have more than two to three positions on the go at any one time.
Remember, salaries and rates are on the rise particularly in locations that were not traditional technology hotbeds in the past. Companies from the high-priced cities of the Western and Eastern seaboard of the U.S. are hoovering up talent across North America. They are also paying people handsomely to join their organization. My advice is don’t always default to the highest bidder and make sure the whole package fits your needs otherwise you’ll be stressed, exhausted, unfulfilled, and looking for a new job in six months. Sure, you might have a few more dollars sticking out the back of your jeans but was it worth it?
As we emerge from the post-Covid world remember one thing—you have never had more choice, opportunity and control so use it wisely and go find that dream job. It’s out there waiting for you.