An oft-repeated query from many of my mentees was on the nature of search this year. It got me thinking, and below is a compendium of the advice that I shared with them.

The process itself is different – with travel restricted to the bare minimum, the accent is squarely on remote hiring. The candidate and the firm have to get comfortable with each other and complete the entire process – interviewing, selection, compensation offer and even on-boarding without a single physical meeting. Candidates should conduct proper research to be clear about what they are getting into. Even if you are unlikely to work physically from the new firm, it helps to get a clear understanding of culture, expectations etc. before you join. 

New forms of roles will emerge – with many industries having moved into a work from home mode, suddenly employment options open up for candidates who may not have been able to meet the daily requirement to be physically at the office. So, both regular and hitherto candidates need to keep a sharp eye out for all forms of opportunities. If the form / norm of employment is morphing from traditional, fixed, full time roles to new age, contractual, flexible roles, you may as well be the early bird which catches the worm!

The world is your oyster – with work from home being the norm, suddenly, you can work from anywhere for any firm. So, the options for both firms and candidates multiply exponentially! Talent mobility comes into play, without the need for physical relocation. However, do check if you need to relocate at some stage (even if it is a year or two out) since the present dispensation may not be a permanent one on all aspects.

It is all digital – From the way of working, to the sheer way of living moving into a digital mode, the need for digital presence cannot be emphasized enough. It is no longer about your local recruiter’s knowing you but about the world getting a glimpse of you. It is a crowded marketplace and the more you articulate your value proposition with clarity, the more you are likely to be hired! 

Talent marketplaces come into play – as new forms of employment emerge and geographic boundaries disappear, talent marketplaces come into play as hunting grounds for both firms and candidates. While we are familiar with traditional marketplaces (recruiters, job sites et al), in the new normal, more marketplaces (a marketplace on an app, for instance) may be the new rage and you do not want to miss out.

Culture gets disaggregated – when the candidate works from home and is hired remotely, the culture of a firm (be it during hiring or after) can become highly disaggregated. Having said that, WFH should not become a ruse for doing away with research on the cultural fit from both points of view. After all, the firm is hiring someone and the candidate is switching to a new employer!

Video interviews – since virtual interviews constitute the new norm, candidates must make it a point to recalibrate themselves to the new normal in terms of online etiquette (clear lighting, talking to the camera etc.) The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is that you are not comfortable switching the video on, the lighting is not clear, he or she is unable to hear you etc. You need to quickly master the basics of the new era!

Daily rituals – during WFH scenarios, daily rituals help. For example, you do not want to avoid an online meeting with a new person simply because you did not get ready the way you used to do earlier. It is good to be camera-ready all the time! And basic practices such as being ready before the start of the day, having a defined end of day etc. will go a long way towards you being disciplined.

Enjoy the new, digital world! As Mandy Hale said, “Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible


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