The Post-Pandemic Workplace - What is the New “Normal” Interview and Job Experience?

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The Post-Pandemic Workplace – What is the New “Normal” Interview and Job Experience?

  • Posted by: Larry Brantley

Larry Brantley is the president of Chaloner. Chaloner is a national executive search firm specializing in communications, public relations and marketing recruitment.

It is important to always keep a finger on the pulse of the economy. Every day we experience real-time job market fluctuations based on the active roles and interviews we are managing. However, we saw a need to get feedback from others in the market who are not involved in our company’s inner workings. We conducted a pulse survey via LinkedIn, whose target audience attended a seminar in Texas where I spoke, in May 2022. The goal was to get quick feedback on basic questions in the current workplace. We closed the live survey after we had 100 respondents. We looked at:

  • Gender of audience
  • Age ranges
  • Experience Level
  • Job Change status
  • Work Environment preference

Below are the responses.

While we did provide a broad array of gender options, we had no respondents who identified as other than male or female in our 100 replies. We were pleased with the diverse mix of experience levels. This cross section showed a broad general market view. Chaloner typically focuses on roles requiring 5+ years of experience. We had several student/entry level people complete the survey. The pandemic job market for recent graduates entering the workforce is very different from what most of us experienced. In many instances, they have not met their boss in person or entered a company office. Prior to the pandemic we did see a significant number of candidates who identified working from home at least one day a week. Roughly 70% of our respondents currently work at least 1 day a week from home. Salaries have increased. The largest increase we have observed is in the tech, biomedical, and biotech space. That segment has seen an approximate 15-20% increase between June 2021 and February 2022. The agency workplace has been more aggressive in capturing talent by quickly making a competitive offer to avoid counteroffers. 50% of the people who responded have changed jobs during the pandemic timeframe. People saw the potential of making more money as the primary reason for a job change. While we have all used multiple video conference software, Zoom has led the pack by far. “Zoom fatigue” and “Zoom bombing” are new terms that did not exist prior to the pandemic. When we asked respondents who changed jobs during the pandemic if they made a trip to the physical workspace, almost 80% confirmed they did. Below is a graphic that shows the differences between a candidate driven job market and an employer driven job market. For the last 2 years we have seen a very competitive “candidate” market. However, as we inch closer to a potential recession, we are seeing more changes toward an “employer” market. The hiring process has slowed. Salaries are still staying level. As of Q1 2022, we have seen a trend of at least 25% of all job openings now totally remote (as reflected in this diagram from Ladders, Inc). Questions to ask when working or interviewing from home:

  1. Do you have a private space with no interuptions?
  2. Do you have updated video meeting tools? / Can you access a variety of video meeting tools, based on employer preference?
  3. When buying/renting, is there a work space?
  4. Do you have/need printers, scanners, computers, monitors?
  5. Is there appropriate lighting for video call?
  6. Do you have phone support?

Final thoughts:

  1. When interviewing, ask if the firm has a covid vaccination policy. Depending on the market, many firms are mandating all employees be vaccinated and boosted.
  2. If a firm is currently working remotely, ask “what is the return to office policy?” We are now seeing a hybrid model introduced in Summer 2022, with 2-3 days in office for many workplaces.
  3. Be sure to ask about a travel policy if your role depends on travel. Each market you visit may have different guidelines (like mine TX and NYC). Should you test positive for Covid, does the company cover additional lodging and healthcare support when you are away from home.

Things are leveling off but can change quickly. We will all be required to adapt, be flexible and continue to make our safety in the workplace a priority. Chaloner is here as a resource for employers and candidates alike in navigating this job market. To connect with Larry on LinkedIn, click here.