Has anyone ever told you, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”?

Though unfair, this famous proverb can perfectly be applied to the current state of the remote work situation. 

How so, you ask?

First, the cake. The option for many employees to work from home appears to be staying strong now and into the near future. Too many employees want the home-office opportunity and the hiring demand from companies is high. Given the limited amount of qualified candidates in the labour market, coupled with companies desperately looking to hire, employers will need to continue to offer a remote working option if it gives them the advantage in securing top talent.

In a recent survey conducted by Forge Recruitment, we found that the vast majority of employees (91%) prefer to work from home.  Employers have listened, as we have also found that 73% of companies now offer some form of hybrid work arrangement. Fantastic! We now know that the majority of work-from-home demands are being met- so, what’s the problem?

This leads to our second point, the eating of the cake.  Despite having the opportunity to work remotely, we have found that employees’ levels of engagement with their colleagues have fallen.  In our latest report, Inside the Recruiter's Room, 2023 edition, we found that employees' biggest challenges while working from home were a lack of engagement with their colleagues and the inability to disconnect from work after hours. 

Over one-third (34%) of respondents noted that their job satisfaction and company engagement decreased in the past 12 months.  Nearly half (49%) of employees reported feeling disengaged with their current company and unsatisfied with their current job.

Unfortunately, this lack of engagement is not only being perceived by employees.  We found that 63% of employers also found that remote work's biggest challenge was maintaining their company culture and employee engagement.

So, while the work-from-home cake is being offered, an adverse effect is being felt.  As this lack of engagement negatively impacts employees, the onus shifts to employers to rectify the situation. 

Why is this?  Because as employee engagement falls, so does employee retention.  Those employees feeling less engaged will begin to explore new job opportunities. 

If left unresolved, your employees will ultimately move to companies that have best adapted at providing both the cake, remote work, and the ability to eat it, high levels of employee engagement. 

Therefore, the question to employers becomes, "How do we provide the opportunity to work from home while elevating employee engagement?"

Forge Recruitment has always offered its employees a remote working arrangement.  However, employee engagement has always been top of mind since day one. We have been challenged with the paradox from the beginning, and we have experimented with it, quite a lot. 

To encourage engagement, we are always asking ourselves:

While we are far from perfecting how we operate, after several years, we now have systems, processes, and a culture that we feel allows for remote work, with engaged employees. It is often the “company culture” that our employees stress they love the most about Forge!

Here is what we have implemented to aid with our employee engagement. 

Interactive Onboarding – During onboarding, our new employees meet virtually with each member of our team and receive training sessions from various subject matter experts within our business.

Regular Team Meetings – Regular video meetings, either weekly or bi-weekly, to ensure that each team is on the same page.

End-of-month In-person Office Days – While we are 99% remote, we do meet in-office once per month.  This gives everyone an opportunity to work together and socialize in person.

Monthly Team Workshops – A subject matter expert within our organization will lead an interactive training session for other members of the business. 

Job Shadowing – Provide an opportunity for one of our employees who is considering a role change or nearing a promotion to spend some time and observe a colleague who is currently in that role.

Peer-to-Peer Mentorship – Members who work in similar roles but on different teams meet once per month to discuss wins, challenges, tips, etc. 

Wellness Wednesday – Once per month, we take time out of the day to unplug from work and focus on our mental health.  This ranges from group yoga sessions to smoothie-making to volunteering.

Company Socials – Twice per year Forge holds large company socials where the entire business comes together with their families to celebrate successes.

Much of our focus centers on coming together and learning from one another.  We find this strengthens our team bond while also allowing others to make valuable contributions to the business by helping others. 

The proverb states, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”, but who wants the cake anyways, if you can’t fully enjoy it?  

Therefore, if you offer remote work, it is a wise idea to ensure that you take the necessary steps to address the challenges created by the remote working arrangement. 

Ultimately, in the long run, doing so will give you the advantage in attracting and retaining the top talent you need to help your organization get to where it needs to go. 

For more findings from Forge Recruitment’s annual report, Inside the Recruiter’s Room, 2023 Edition, and our annual Salary Guide, be sure to visit our website, www.forgerecruitment.com, to secure your free copy. 

Author: Joncarlo Bairos

There has been much talk of recession in the media of late and economists are torn as to whether we are already in the midst of a recession, or if there is one impending in the near future. As a specialized legal and accounting and finance recruitment firm, Forge Recruitment has been keeping a pulse on the economy for some time and maintaining regular conversations surrounding potential layoffs and staffing with our client partners and the candidates that we work with.

For the decision-makers within a law firm, making fiscally responsible decisions during uncertain times can be challenging.  Is it time for you to layoff employees? Should you freeze hiring efforts all together? How do you keep up with your existing clients’ demands with no assurance that the economy will not impact their ability to pay for your services? 

For employees in a law firm setting, that same uncertainty also rings true. Does my employer have the resources to maintain my employment? Am I a valuable asset to my employer?  Is the area of law I practice in on a downswing due to the economy? 

One common theme has emerged – lack of assurance.  Forge Recruitment recommends the below considerations:

What Employers Should Consider:

As we have witnessed in the past, one of the first reactions when in uncertain economic times is to scale back operations; it makes sense to cut costs and lay off staff.  The challenge, however, is not necessarily the lay off, but replacing those same roles after the economy restabilizes.  Even with a recession looming, there are still practice areas that are on the upswing (civil litigation, corporate law, family law, etc.). It may be a consideration to provide opportunities for staff to upskill and work on the overflow of projects from busier practice areas. Layoffs should only be a last resort. Consider who and how many professionals you lay off; they will need to be replaced in the future.

Strategic planning around your human resources is pivotal in these times and we recommend that hiring managers keep an eye on talent in the market (even when the doom and gloom of a recession is nearing) and ask, ‘is this professional capable of bringing in monies to the firm?’ ‘Is this potential candidate stronger than the bench of employees I have on currently?’ ‘Will this professional work to service my clients’ needs?’ By keeping an ‘ear to ground’ on the talent market, you will be in an advantageous position to bring on highly qualified talent that otherwise, may not have been available to you. 

What Employees Should Consider:

During tough economic times, the assumption is made that employment opportunities become scarce. To some degree, this is true, however, many organizations will take advantage of the economy to upgrade their current talent pool. We recommend always keeping an open mind to the job market (whether through actively applying to jobs, or passively listening to opportunities presented to you by a recruiter).  There is an immense amount of power in not ‘putting all your eggs in one basket.’ Expanding your professional network during these times could be the difference between employment or not.  With tools like LinkedIn, it is extremely easy to make connections with professionals within the space who can support you in a job search or mentorship opportunities.

Look to continuously upskill and assert yourself as a valuable asset to your employer. In many cases, the employees who ask for extra responsibility, volunteer to support with overflow of work, handle client interactions, and proactively keep busy are those that the employer will work harder to keep on board. 

To conclude, recessions happen; this does not mean that all things must come to a halt. With some minor adjustments in the short term, you can steer through upcoming challenges with grace and a sense of assurance.

We have been in quarantine for a while now, and I am very much missing my hairdresser right now. My roots and highlight appointment are needed right now. Obviously, this is all for a good cause. I’m hoping that we can all continue to stay disciplined while working from home and that we can work together to flatten this curve.

At the same time, I am also missing my family, friends and my coworkers, and I’m sure a lot of you are in the same boat. So, today I wanted to talk a bit about some tips that can help us in our emotional state of social isolation while working from home.

I don’t know about you, but lately, my days are filled with feelings of frustration, headaches, anxiety, and tired eyes more than ever, from starring at the computer screen all day. I’m finding that there are few things though, that are helping me get through this time, and are helping me to stay sane during these weeks.

  1. Picking up the phone. Instead of sending lengthy, wordy emails to communicate and get your point across, pick up the phone and call who you need to call. Call your co-worker or call your client, and have a friendly chat. You’d be surprised how much better hearing someone else’s voice makes you feel, rather than reading their words over a computer screen. Especially during this time of isolation. Ask them how their day is, how their family is, make a few jokes and take the time to laugh. Not to mention, by making a phone call, you will save a ton of time, and useless emails back and forth, just to get a few simple points across.
  2. Get some fresh air. It’s as simple as opening up a window while you work. The more fresh air you get, the more oxygen you will breathe, which increases the amount of serotonin we inhale (our happy hormone). Taking a break every few hours to go for a short walk outside, is even better. 
  3. The third tip I have for you is to sing! As silly as this sounds, singing releases endorphins, the feel-good chemical in the brain. Because singing requires deep breathing, it draws more oxygen into the blood and causes better circulation. So, this is a natural stress-reducer! So turn up some tunes and belt out your favourite song.
  4. Video calls- I’m sure the majority of our offices are already on the video call trend right now, whether it’s via Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. I’ve actually already seen a few amazing offices hold virtual bingo or trivia nights, and we ourselves have had a virtual happy hour, where we enjoyed drinks, snacks and played virtual Pictionary! These types of fun activities brighten everyone’s day, as we feel purposeful when getting ready in the morning, brushing our hair, or pulling out our favourite wine glass for the video call!

I hope that these tips help you to stay sane and smile during this difficult time. Remember that all things are temporary, and this too shall pass.

Stay safe Forge Followers!

There are a lot of people looking for work right now.  And unfortunately, while almost every company is not hiring at the moment, there are things you should definitely be doing should you be in the job search phase.

 Network Socially

Keep in Touch

Take advantage of the slow time to learn as much as you can or learn something new

Gain market information

These are just a few of our tips to help you stay focused if you are job searching during this pandemic.  Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions about this or any other job searching, or interview topics be sure to contact us!

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

With so much uncertainty out there at the moment and all of our lives being turned upside down, we know that there are many people who are worried about their jobs and whether or not they will even have a job in the coming weeks. 

With this, today I wanted to share with you some tips and things to consider if you are fearing that you may be affected by lay-offs at your work.

Keep focused on your work. 

This is not the time to be going through the motions or embroiling yourself in company gossip. If you have moved to a work from home set-up, make sure you are still being as productive as ever.  Now is not the time to be baking bread in the middle of the day. 

You will want to ensure that you are delivering quality work.  Further, if you see an opportunity to elevate the amount of value you bring to your employers, now is the time to do just that. You need to think, are there any initiatives that you can take, that can help increase revenue for your firm, or any problems you foresee that may come up with a file, which you can possibly get in front of?  If you do take on added work though, MAKE SURE that it does not take away from your main work, and that it will NOT cost your employer extra money. 

In doing all of this, it is also important to make sure that your hard work does not go unnoticed – make sure you mention what you have completed and accomplished.  You may not be the “braggy” type, but in situations like this, now is the time to vocally hammer home your value and your efficiency to your employer. 

Prepare yourself mentally for the worst-case scenario. 

These are challenging times for everyone, and the reality is, you may be affected by a lay-off. Don’t hide from this.  Know that it may be a possibility and prepare accordingly.  Control what you can at work, such as your performance, while also preparing what you can for the worst-case situation.

What does this preparation look like? 

It means updating your LinkedIn profile, re-connecting with other professionals in your line of work – this may be people you previously worked with or people you have never met before, but who work in your industry in your city.  Speak with industry professionals such as recruiters to see what is happening in the market.  What would your plan of attack be? If you have an opportunity to upgrade any of your skills at this time, that will help you in your line of work, do it. 

If you do find yourself in this situation, hopefully these tips will help. Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or any other job searching or interview topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

A lot of us have been forced to learn the ins and outs of video calling over the past couple of weeks!  Whether it be video interviews, video meetings or online video sessions, there are a few things you need to be aware of. 

As some of you may know, we here at Forge Recruitment operate remotely.  So, we do a lot of team meetings, interviews and workshops via video.  Here are some of the important things we think you should keep in mind before your video call.   

First, make sure that you test your equipment in advance.  There is nothing worse than having a video interview scheduled and having your laptop’s camera or sound not working.  Be sure to test all of your equipment in advance.  Make a practice call to a friend if you need to. 

While you're making sure that your video equipment works prepare a back-up plan just in case.  For example, if your computer fails you, can you make your video call on your phone?  Download the video app you are using to your phone and sign in to your account just in case. 

Second, make sure you find the right place for your call.  A quiet, well-lit spot will be the best.  You also want to ensure that you are in a room or place where you will not be distracted.  Further, you want to ensure that you don’t have anything distracting or even controversial behind you.  Be aware of your surroundings when preparing for a video call. 

Third, you will want to dress appropriately.  If you are doing a video interview, dress just as you would for an in-person interview.  Take it seriously and dress professionally. 

Fourth, during the video call, make sure your face is in the center of the camera.  You will want to look the person in the eyes, but depending on your camera lay-out, this may mean looking at your computer’s camera – so be aware.  Be sure to speak clearly, don’t shout, and don’t interrupt the other person.

A few additional points:

These are some of our video interview and meeting tips.  I hope you found this helpful.  Thanks for reading! If you have any questions around this or any other job searching or interview topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Many of us are currently adjusting to working from home.  And while the thought of working from home can seem highly appealing, it definitely comes with its challenges. 

I know when I started Forge Recruitment a few years ago, I remember having to make the adjustment of moving from an office to working from home.  It definitely took some time to get used to it! Now, our entire team operates remotely and it seems second nature to us. 

With this, today I wanted to cover some of the things you can do to ensure that you will successfully adjust to working from home.    

Set up a designated workspace

Follow a schedule

Plan your day

Stay connected with your team

Take breaks

Thanks for reading!  I hope you found some of these tips helpful!  If you have any questions about this or any other job searching or interviewing tips, please do let me know.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Have you ever been in an interview and asked by the interviewer, “How do you handle stress?”.  If you have, how did you answer it?  Did you stumble? Were you happy with your answer?  If not, not to worry!  Today we’ll be talking about the best way to answer the “How do you handle stress?” interview question!

First, understand why you are being asked the question.  When asking this question, the interviewer wants to know a few things.  One, they want to see what you consider to be stressful. Two, they want to see how you react in stressful situations.  Three, if the role you are interviewing for has a higher than normal level of stress, they want to know if you will be able to succeed in the role. 

So, let’s look at the best way to answer the question.  When answering the question, you will want to provide an example that shows you handling and succeeding in a stressful situation. Keep this example work related. Focus on how you managed the stressful situation.   Don’t focus on the emotions you were feeling in the situation.  Rather, address what the situation was and what steps you took to overcome it.  Be sure to highlight the successful result.   For example, you can talk about juggling competing priorities within a specific deadline.  How did you decide what you did first, second, third?  What was the result?

A few additional tips.  When talking about how you handle stressful situations, be sure not to provide an example where you were the one that created the stressful situation.  For example, if you forgot to mail something out or follow up with a client on an important matter. Don’t say you never experience stress – it sounds fake. And, don’t emphasize the level of stress you felt – acknowledge that you felt stressed and then focus on how you addressed it.

So, these are our tips on how to best answer the stress question during an interview.  Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or any other interview or job searching topics, be sure to contact us. 

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Over the past week, we have had a couple of law firms tell us about their frustrations of having someone accept a position at their firm, only to rescind their acceptance a week prior to starting. 

I can understand the firm’s frustration.  There is a lot of preparation that happens before a new hire joins a firm. Computers are set up, training is coordinated, internal conversations take place, schedules are re-arranged, etc.  Not to mention, after you have accepted your offer, your new firm has stopped considering other applicants.  That means that if you then rescind your offer, the firm has lost out on not only time and money, but also all the other candidates they were considering as those ones have most likely moved on and are off the market. 

But, at the same time, I can understand things from the Candidate’s perspective.  Life happens, people change their minds, and new opportunities arise and ultimately you the candidate, needs to make the best long-term decision for yourself. 

However, the legal community is small, people change firms and you do not want to burn a bridge and have it follow you.  So, how you rescind your offer is important!  If the situation arises, you should:

  1. Let the firm know as soon as you have made up your mind. Don’t wait until the last minute. 
  2. Give the firm the courtesy of knowing why you are rescinding the offer.  Now, you don’t need to get into the specifics of your “Why”, but you should give a reason.  They have just invested time and money preparing for your start.  The firm’s initial reaction will be to see if there is anything they can do to change your mind.  Further, the firm will wonder if it was something about them that caused the change of mind.  Is there anything they need to change moving forward, so this doesn’t happen again? They just need some closure. 

While we are on this topic, we also have candidates sometimes ask us why their new employer wants to know if they have handed in their resignation yet.  They tell us, that they have signed the offer letter, indicating they are coming on board, why does it matter when they resign. 

The firm wants to know you are fully committed to making the move.  Yes, you have signed the offer, but you still need to successfully resign. When you are leaving one job for another, a two-step process is involved.  The firm will want to know this for a) peace of mind, but b) they will also want to know that you are fully committed before investing the time and money in preparing for your start.   

So, if you do need to rescind your acceptance, make sure that at the very least you take these 2 steps. 

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions about this or any other job or interview topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Have you ever started a new job and right off the bat felt overwhelmed with how much there was to learn and do? 

Given the competitive landscape of the business world, it is very common for people to start off in a new job and feel that they are in a sink or swim environment.  The work can come fast and furious.  On top of learning your new firm’s software, their procedures, your colleague’s names and how they like to work. 

When you do encounter these sink or swim environments and you most likely will, the question is how do you succeed and thrive in them. 

When you start in a new job that is like this, it is easy to second guess your decision about accepting the job.  But, it’s important to remember that growing pains are common in a new role, and given how competitive the job market is, instead of doubting yourself, it’s best to do everything you can do to not only succeed in this new environment but thrive!

So, here are some things you can do to ensure you thrive during this time:

Dive in

You need to take the initiative and jump right in.  Be a sponge and soak up as much as you can.  Also, putting in a little extra time and effort, in the beginning, will help shorten the learning curve. Further, don’t question how the firm does everything.  First, learn their processes.  Down the road when you are settled and more embedded in the firm, you can offer up suggestions.  But for now, jump in, take initiative and do what you can. 

Ask Questions

Ask for help if you are having a hard time understanding something or struggling to find something or unsure how something is done.  Just make sure you are not asking the same question over and over.  Ask a question, make note of the answer and then put it into practice. Build on it from there.  Remember, the people who hired you, want you to succeed.  So they will want you to have the knowledge you need to do so.  So ask!

Make Friends

Make connections with as many of your teammates as you can.  Introduce yourself, have lunch with them or invite them to have lunch with you in the beginning.  You want to have as many connections in the new firm as possible so that you can turn to different people when you have questions.  You will limit the risk of peppering one person with all of your questions. 

Things are going to be tough in any new job!  But it’s important that your patient, dive in and learn as much as you can in those first few months so that you can build a strong foundation. 

Thanks for reading!  If you have recently started a new job and have questions about how you can better thrive in the sink or swim environment, feel free to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!


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