Key Questions To Ask Remote Employers

As we recover from the pandemic and some companies make the move towards establishing remote work on a permanent basis, candidates will likely see a lot more opportunities for teleworking roles. While it may not be an ideal fit for everyone, remote jobs provide greater flexibility, less constraints around location, and a more technology dependent working environment.

In order to assess whether the remote role you’re applying for is well supported by the organization that’s offering it, consider asking these 3 questions at the interview:

1. Can you describe your company’s remote culture?
Some companies might have an established remote workforce while others might be new to this. Because remote employees can feel disconnected, it’s important for organizations to bring everyone together, encourage frequent collaboration, and have a check-in system in place. Get a sense of how frequently the teams communicate and by what method, whether there are any virtual team events in place, or what their policies are for creating an inclusive culture that address the challenges of distance work.

2. What technologies do you have in place to support remote work?
There are many different technologies on the market that allow for collaboration and communication between team members, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Slack. You want to ensure that the company will provide such resources so you can get to know everyone at the company and have an established method of communication with your team. It is also key to determine how easily you’ll be able to share and access files. Is the company working from a cloud environment? What type of IT support will be provided? Make sure that you are comfortable or open to learning their tech stack.

3. How do you track productivity of remote employees?
Productivity tracking is done differently across organizations and even teams within one company. Some roles require closer monitoring than others. Companies can track work by using technologies such as ActivTrak or opt for an honour system. It’s important to find out what the process and expectations are around the role you’re applying for. Are you expected to work during certain hours or is there room for flexibility? Does this job have frequent deadlines and a defined reporting structure? Get as much clarity on expectations as you can.

When you interview for a remote role, ask the right questions to gauge your fit. Companies that have a well-thought-out remote work support system in place will add to your and their success.

How to Avoid Job Search Burnout

Looking for work is like a job itself. It involves a lot of strategic planning, hard work and patience. Whether it is the pandemic that has forced you to look for new employment opportunities, or you have been on the hunt for a while now, don’t let job searching burn you out.

Here are some best practices to help you:

1. Develop a Strategy: Build a daily routine with specific goals and work your way through them. Start your job search process by determining your career aspirations and evaluating any skills gaps. Update your resume with latest work experience, certifications and expertise. Use your time effectively by brainstorming ideal companies you would like to work for and make yourself familiar with their job application process.

2. Track Your Job Search: When you do not have a plan in place, it is easy to lose track of the jobs you have applied for. It is very common these days to apply for multiple opportunities, confuse companies and positions and forget to follow up. One of the best ways to keep track of your job applications is to maintain an active spreadsheet that details out company name, job role, job title, job source, point of contact etc. This will help you stay organized during your job search, keeping priorities in check and saving you from squandering precious time and energy.

3. Leverage Your Network & Social Channels: This is the right time to tap into your network, connect with former colleagues, friends and get your name out there. Let people know that you are actively looking for opportunities and share your personal brand. Utilize this time to get creative and make the most out of your social profiles. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 70% of hiring managers use social media to screen candidates. Channelize your passion and engage in meaningful conversations on social media. From updating your LinkedIn profile to creating content, getting yourself out there can put you in the right place at the right time.

4. Be Patient: During your job search process, try to maintain a positive outlook and believe in yourself. Remember that job searching is a process and will not deliver results overnight. Ideally, you want to find a role that motivates you to work better everyday and be a part of a work family that supports professional and personal development goals.

5 Tips for Successful Business Continuity During COVID19

By our sister company, ProVision Staffing

Even under these unprecedented circumstances, some businesses are continuing to operate smoothly. What’s their secret? They acknowledge the challenges and also focus on the opportunities to make their company more resilient.

We offer 5 important strategies for businesses on a mission to stay alive, stay relevant, and come out of this pandemic less harmed:

1. Invest in remote work setups – Since 2010, the amount of people that work remotely once a week has grown by 400%. (Hubspot Research) Prior to the global pandemic, only 41% of global businesses offered remote work flexibility (flexjobs.com). Now is the time to increase your company’s investments in videoconferencing tools and collaboration software, many of which do not require a huge budget.

2. Consider contract employment – Contract employment gives businesses the freedom to “hire talent on-demand”. The flexibility and scalability of contract staffing allows businesses to achieve their long-term and short-term growth targets, which makes this staffing solution ideal for challenging economic times.

3. Keep communicating with & supporting your employees – It becomes extremely crucial to calm and reassure your workforce during such uncertain times. Employers must encourage upskilling, boost morale with special incentives and schedule regular video calls etc to maintain your teams momentum.

4. Plan for the future – Use this decrease in pace to re-evaluate and identify new business opportunities. Start building new connections, growing your social media presence and developing a strong comprehensive plan for COVID19 recovery.

5. Support your client base – Show your clients that you are here for them, and that you care about them. Avoid pushing for sales and take the time to listen to their concerns. Strengthen existing relationships by providing solutions that will appeal to them and that are relevant under existing circumstances. It is important to be recognize and plan that your customers’ requirements might change post COVID19.

It’s important for businesses to be adaptable and open to change. Post COVID-19 the world will likely be a different place, at least for the next little while, and businesses that are set up to adapt to the “new normal” will have the competitive advantage.

Coping With Job Loss: Take Charge & Keep Going

Two-in-five Canadian households have already experienced some type of job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Losing your job is stressful under normal circumstances but during this time of uncertainty it can be especially daunting.  But don’t give in to despair and anxiety.  Take charge of the situation and develop a plan for being mentally healthy and focused on your goal of finding another opportunity in due time.  

We would like to share some tips for staying on track and remaining optimistic as you find yourself stuck at home, isolated and/or frustrated, and with much more time on your hands than you were used to:

Keep job searching:  Stay positive and recognize that this is a temporary setback.  While getting back out there with an aggressive job search and networking agenda right now might be tricky due to office closures and social distancing, keep moving ahead and don’t stop looking for opportunities.  Hiring may have slowed in many industries but hiring managers and staffing firms are building a pipeline of talent at all times.  Reach out to them and pitch what you have to offer.

Hone your skills:  Use this time to update your skills as well as learn some new things.  Research which skills are most valuable to employers in your industry and sign up for online classes or free tutorials.  There are also many charitable organizations who can use a helping hand right now.  Volunteering is a good way to gain some hands-on experience in a different capacity and will help to fill the employment gap in your resume.

Grow your network: This might seem an impossible task in today’s world of social distancing and isolation, but growing your network is still achievable.  Join a webinar and interact with the participants and/or presenters, engage in conversations by email or phone, and connect with new groups on social media. Start with your existing network and devise a plan for how you can build out.  Because many opportunities go unadvertised, having a strong network is very helpful.

Connect with a staffing firm: We don’t bite.  In fact, our recruiters can help you assess your skills, provide tips on best resume writing practices, and talk you through the necessary steps for finding a new job, all without any cost to you.  Think of us as your support system during this time.  Friends and family can offer sympathy, but we will take charge and set you on a course to a new career opportunity.

Losing a job is never easy.  Companies are having to make difficult decisions during this time and employee layoffs are unfortunately the consequence of having to cut back on operations and expenses.  No matter what your personal situation is, try to remain motivated and set yourself up for job search success for after everything returns to normal.      

For information about what the Canadian government is offering to workers who have lost their job due to COVID-19

Benefits of Contract Staffing: Hiring in Challenging Times  

The Canadian labour market is shifting and growing, with contract and temporary workers making up half the workforce today. In 2018, temporary workers increased by 50%, outpacing the number of permanent jobs in Canada. This is in part due to different professional outlooks of millennials and GenZs but also a result of a much more flexible world.

How can employers benefit from temporary hires? Contract employment essentially gives businesses the freedom to “hire on-demand”. The flexibility and scalability of contract staffing allows businesses to achieve their long-term and short-term growth targets, which makes this staffing solution ideal for challenging economic times. 

Here are a few reasons why companies are making contract staffing an integral part of their hiring structure:

1. Cost Effectiveness And Lower Business Liability

Contract staffing eliminates payroll, benefits, and administrative expenses. When a company hires a full-time employee, it commits to providing salary, benefits and even accounts for all their expenses. However, with contract workers, you only pay for the hours the employee has worked with no commitment to benefit plans or bonuses. 

2. No-risk Hiring Flexibility 

More and more companies are turning to contract workforce solutions because it shrinks the hiring timeline. A flexible, contract-based workforce can easily meet dynamic business needs without long-term commitment. During crunch periods, employers can move full steam ahead for several months with complete operational support.

3. Immediate Results

Because of the varied experience that contractors gain through shorter term work commitments, their skillset is more diverse and often more easily adaptable.  Companies benefit from hiring a fully vetted candidate, who is ready to hit the ground running from his/her first day. Contract staffing allows employers to combat any skills gap for specialized projects or to meet seasonal demand. 

Don’t let hiring freezes, high employee turnover or complex hiring processes bring your organization to a crawl. Turn to contract workforce solutions and quickly acquire the skills and experience your company needs to meet the growing business challenges.

Use Self-Isolation to Advance Your Career

As you find yourself with more free time at home during COVID19-imposed isolation, take this opportunity to reflect on your career.  Are you feeling challenged and satisfied by what you are doing in your current role?  Can you improve or update some of your skills?  What is the next step for your professional advancement?  Many of us don’t get to ask these questions on a regular basis, as we struggle to keep up with many every day demands.  Now is the time to evaluate and be proactive. 

Update your online presence

Start with updating your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, create one!  Employers nowadays look at LinkedIn regularly and it could be their first impression of you.  Spend time building your personal brand and displaying your professional strengths.  Make sure that all your social media platforms show you in the best possible light.  Blogging about your area of expertise is a great way to demonstrate thought leadership and give credibility to your qualifications.  Use your online presence to network and reach out to potential employers of choice.

Train and re-train yourself 

This is the best time to learn and develop a new skill.  Look for online courses that can help you enhance your knowledge.  Most provide a certification of completion that you can add to your portfolio and resume. Also, start reading those interesting industry publications and blogs that have been sitting on your list but you haven’t had a chance to get to.  Catch up on trends, refresh necessary software skills, and learn about new technology platforms that might benefit your career in the long run.

Reconnect with your contacts

Use this downtime to catch up with your friends, former colleagues, past employers or anyone that you have not heard from in a long time.  During this time of social isolation, they will appreciate a friendly hello and the extra bit of human interaction.  As you reconnect with them, new and surprising career opportunities might present themselves.

Participate in online discussions. 

Online forums are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and discuss shared experiences. Join discussions that align with your interests and share resources that can benefit you and the community. Online forums provides you exposure to different job opportunities, help you grow your circle of friends, allow you gain feedback from industry experts and empower you with access to new and relevant information.

Staying isolated at home is certainly not easy but we’re all in this together.  With a focussed and goal-oriented mindset, you can make the best of it and set yourself up for success once society returns to normal.