This post is courtesy of guest blogger, Joy Poli. What do we do now? That question has come up quite a bit lately. The market is flooded with talent, so how do YOU stand out? How do you move on when so much has changed? COVID-19 has introduced many new unknowns into our business ecosystem, especially in the hiring department.

How can you make the best of your situation? For yourself, for your career, for your lifestyle?

Here are 5 Tips to Get What You Want AND Need Out of Your Next Job:


  • Communicate Clearly – No one knows your your wants (and needs) better than you do. As you move through the interview process, it’s okay to ask questions about COVID-19 precautions the employer has made if they’re asking you to come in the office for an interview. We are hearing a lot of stress around interviewees being asked to come into the office for an interview, and walking in with a mask on only to see ZERO attempts at protecting their staff during a pandemic. That can be a red flag. Red flags matter as they help you firm up your deal breakers. It’s acceptable to ask if it is required for you to be in the office to interview or to work. It’s okay to challenge their response with a “why”  if they say yes. Many people are not ready to go back into the office. Perhaps you have an immuno-compromised family member that you’d rather not take the chance of exposing, or you are dealing with the fear of the what ifs, and just don’t think it’s worth taking the risk, or maybe you have kids and are still dealing with the whole will they/won’t they return to school conundrum…whatever your reason, you have the right to ask. I know there’s a fear of being too honest (no one is saying to tell them your life history), but you have to remember their reaction is also a way for you to see if the company’s values align with your lifestyle/needs. If they do not, it’s better to know now instead of later in the interview process, or even post-hire.


  • Know Your Worth – The market is flooded with talent right now. You may be asking yourself how you stand out among the largest ever unemployment population in history. It can be overwhelming and quite discouraging to be in the job market right now. Are you asking yourself if you should be taking a step back in pay? Title? Perhaps you’re thinking you need to change industries completely…and you may. But there are some things you shouldn’t waver on.Stringing an employer along when you know in your gut that what they have to offer (environment, position, pay, etc.) doesn’t fit your post Covid  lifestyle is unfair to all. Instead, speak your truth and know your worth.


  • Be Flexible, Yet Unwavering – We all have deal-breakers. Know yours. Do not get too far down the rabbit hole of the interview process without asking the questions that are important to you. You’re probably wondering what is the “right time”  to ask questions like remote or in-office requirements, pay, safety precautions, etc. I suggest that once you’ve moved past the first interview hurdle and they start asking you if you have any questions, that’s when you should ask.. Too soon can make you appear overly rigid or presumptuous, but waiting too long can make you seem like your hiding pertinent information. Don’t be afraid to ask, though. After all, you’re trying to make sure that their culture and mission align with yours. How they respond to your needs during a pandemic is indicative of how they’ll behave as your employer.


  • Competitive Job Seeking is Completely Acceptable – It is completely fair to have more than one job offer or company that you’re interviewing with. You have a right to keep looking until you’ve found what’s best for your life, passions, and goals.


Sharpen your negotiation skills and make the ask. I suggest even letting them know you have other offers on the table – no one is going to toot your horn except you. Let them know that you’re a hot commodity. If you’re their top candidate they’ll make you their best offer right out of the gate, so they do not lose out on hiring you. Let them fight for you.

No matter what industry you are in, or which company you work for, just remember that your mental and physical health is the most important thing at this time. If their answers don’t sit well with you, you need to be prepared to walk away. It’s great to have practice interviewing, but you also need to know when to call it so that you’re not wasting your time or theirs. Sometimes the culture/mission/company/position isn’t a right fit for your needs. Know when it’s time to move on to something else.

The COVID-19 virus will leave us at some point, and by then the entire landscape of employee/employer requirements will have changed permanently. Until then, don’t stop – keep moving, applying, and interviewing until you have what you want/need for this point in your life. Tenacity and perseverance alone are how I scored a solid career within 6 weeks of being laid off during the Great Recession. As Dory says, “Just keep swimming.” I know you have it in you – you’ve got this.

Bio: Joy has a background in all things recruitment. Her career has spanned the staffing world, corporate HR and consulting. Joy is the owner of Strategic Talent Resources, a talent acquisition firm, and is the Co-Founder of Inner Circle Network, an exclusive B2B network in Chicagoland focused on bottom-line growth.

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