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.

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!

Question: Do you send a thank-you email after you have attended an interview?

Sending a thank-you email after an interview can have quite a few benefits – especially if you are very interested in the position you just interviewed for!

When we conduct interviews for our own internal staff, we enjoy receiving thank-you emails.  Not because we like to be thanked, but rather because: a) it re-affirms to us the person's interest in our role and b) it gives us some insight into the person’s writing style. 

So, if you are interviewing for a role you really want to get, sending a thank-you note should be something you consider doing.  HOWEVER, if not done properly, a poorly written or misguided thank-you note can sabotage your chances of getting the job. 

Therefore, if you are going to send a thank-you email after your next interview, keep these tips in mind.

  1. Use a professional subject line.  For example, you can list your name and the title of the position you are applying for.
  2. Include all your interviewers in the email or send separate emails to each person who you interviewed with.  If you do decide to send separate emails, be sure to vary each email. 
  3. Keep it brief. You don’t need to write a novel.  Rather a few short (2-3 line paragraphs) will work.
  4. With regards to the content of the email, you want to reiterate your interest in the role as well as the skills and qualifications you have that make you a strong match for the position.  You will also want to address anything that you think is important about yourself or your experience that may have not been covered during the interview.  You can also clarify any of your responses that you feel like you may have messed up. 
  5. Make sure you proofread your email.  I cannot stress this enough.  When we work with our candidates, I am always a little tentative of them sending a thank-you note without me first reviewing it.  I find a 2nd pair of eyes can really help.  You need to make sure you have no spelling or grammatical errors in your letter.  We have seen a poorly written thank-you note be the reason why someone was once removed from the hiring process with a company.

By sending a “thank-you” email either immediately after your interview or within 24 hours of your interview, you will do a few things – Again, not only will you confirm your interest in the position, but you will also affirm the positive impressions you made during your interview, keep your candidacy fresh and top-of-mind for the interviewer, and demonstrate your professionalism and drive.

Thanks for reading!  I hope you found this helpful.  As always, if you have any questions around this or any other interview or job searching questions, contact us!

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

It’s that time of year again – company holiday party season!  I know it’s not everyone’s favourite thing but attending company events has a lot of benefits.  Not only will they give you a great opportunity to network and socialize with people you may not normally converse with, but they are also a great way to relax and have a little bit of fun.

So, given that many of us will be heading out to our company holiday parties over the next few weeks, there are a few things I wanted to go over to ensure that you are making your best impression. 

  1. Do your best to attend the event.  Unless you have something else already planned, you really don’t want to skip a company event.  It’s a great way to show your support and commitment to the firm and as mentioned already, it will give you the opportunity to network and build stronger relationships with others in the business who you may not speak with regularly.  If you are a newer member to the firm, this is a great way to meet with a ton of people in the company and all in a more relaxed setting. 
  2. Dress appropriately – unless otherwise stated, dress as you would for a regular business event. Definitely don’t underdress.
  3. Be social – engage with as many people as you can, even if you never met them before.  Also, going into the event, have some conversation topics and icebreakers in mind. I find that anything related to current events or travel is a good place to start.  I would avoid controversial topics.  With this, don’t just talk about work.  Don’t be anti-social or look bored.  And definitely, don’t be on your phone all night.
  4. Don’t overdrink.  You don’t have to drink if you don’t want to.  But if you do, don’t overdo it. Setting a limit for yourself ahead of time may be a good idea. 
  5. Be professional and keep your guard up.  Remember, it is still a work event.  While you want to have fun, it is important to remember that your coworkers and bosses are watching. You don’t want to do something to embarrass yourself or cause their opinion of you to change. 

Thanks for reading!  Remember, if you have any questions around this or any other job searching or career topic, be sure to contact us. If there is a specific topic you would like us to cover or if you would like more details on something we have already touched upon, let us know!

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Have you been there before?  Or maybe you are experiencing the situation now.  You have one person in the office who is a challenge to work with.  Maybe they are controlling, maybe they are a bully, or maybe they are always negative.  What do you do?  How do you handle it?

First, you need to ask yourself the following questions. What kind of interactions do you have with this person?  Is there a way that you can limit your interaction with them?  If you can’t, and you unfortunately must deal with them daily (for example if they work in your group), you need to address the issue.  If not addressed, the situation and the effect it has on you, may spiral out of control.  Therefore, the key is addressing the situation early. 

The next step is to objectively assess the situation.  Are you sure that the other person is really the problem and that you're not overreacting? Have you always experienced difficulty with the same type of person or actions?  Are there others in the office who feel like this about that person as well? 

Once you know that the other person is the problem, you need to speak with the individual directly.  When you confront them, do so in private.  Be pleasant and agreeable as you talk with them and let them know of how their actions are affecting you. They may not be aware of the impact that their words or actions have on you. They may be learning about their impact on you for the first time.

During the discussion, attempt to reach an agreement about positive and supportive actions going forward.

If the issue persists, you will need to escalate the situation.

When you speak with your boss, take notes and address the issue itself – let your boss know how this other person and their behaviour is affecting your productivity and work. Tell your boss exactly what the difficult person does. You need to prepare to talk to your boss. Make a plan to address the issues.  A good boss and supervisor should be able to mediate the situation. 

If all else fails, don’t fret. There is always a chance you may be able to switch groups or departments, to find a more suitable working relationship with others.   

Thanks for reading!  I hope this helped!  If you have any questions about this or any other job searching or career topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Have you ever gone to an interview, answered all of the interviewer’s questions, felt good about how things went, were offered the position, but had no idea what the job was about? 

Yes, you may have read the job description and yes, the interviewer may have told you more about the firm and culture, but you didn’t learn about all the specific details you had hoped to during the interview.   

While you hope that the interviewer will tell you as much as they can about the job, it's important to remember that the onus is on you to get as much information as you can about the position.  You need to ask questions. 

In this market, job offers can come fast.  Interviews tend to be brief.  Often, you are being assessed on your work experience and technical skills.  Many firms may only conduct one interview and if they feel like you can do the job, they will make their hiring decision. 

The last thing you want to do is be in a position of making a career-altering decision, without knowing the details of what you will be doing.  Why does this happen?

Some of the candidates who find themselves in these positions tell us that they felt embarrassed asking the interviewer about the specifics of a role.  They did not want to seem as if they didn’t do their homework.  You need to remember that most job descriptions are quite generic.  You should not feel embarrassed about asking for more information about the role.

Others tell us that they got caught up in the moment, were overcome with excitement and simply forgot to ask.  You need to be self-aware during your interview.  You need to ask yourself, what information do I have about the position and what information do I still need to obtain.  The onus is on you to learn as much as you can about the role in that interview. 

Next time you are in an interview and unsure about the specifics of the position you are interviewing for, ask the interviewer to tell you more about the day-to-day responsibilities of the job. 

When you work with us, not only will we tell you as much as we know about the role, we will also prep you to ask as many questions as you can about the position.  We can also gather more information after your interview and follow up on any questions you may have forgotten to ask. 

Thanks for reading!  I hope this helps.  If you have any questions about this or any other job searching tips, contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

Time-management interview questions may seem simple to answer. However, it’s important when giving your answer, you give the interviewer enough of a response that hits on the things they want to hear! With this, today let’s look at the best way to approach this question.

First, why are you being asked the question?

Some of the reasons an interviewer would ask you a time-management question would be because they want to see how well you can meet deadlines, manage your workload and adapt to stressful situations with multiple demanding tasks.
If they are asking the question, it would indicate that the skill will be required for the role you are interviewing for.

Second, how will the question be asked?

When asked this question, you may simply be asked to “tell me about your time-management skills” or “how do you handle competing priorities and tasks?”. Or the question may be disguised like this: “Have you ever missed a deadline? If so, what happened? If not, how do you make sure you’re not falling behind?” or “Have you ever felt overwhelmed at work? What did you do?” In the end, all of these questions want to gauge your time management skills.

Finally, how do we best answer the question?

Your answer will need to be specific and detailed when discussing how you manage your workload. Talk about your normal process for completing tasks and moving from one priority to the next. You will then want to address what you do when an unexpected change occurs – i.e. something urgent and last minute was dropped on your desk – what do you do? How do you adapt?

You will also want to discuss what process you have for working ahead. Or how you break down larger tasks into smaller tasks and how you impose personal deadlines for these smaller tasks.

It will also be important to address work-life balance. Focus your answer on how you give your full effort at work and are completely present while you are on the clock, and that your efficiency allows you to disconnect when you are at home.

Finally, you will also want to use an example that highlights you doing this in practice.

Overall, points you will want to touch upon will include making a to-do list, taking action or separating the important from the urgent and estimating the time and resources needed to complete each task. You will want to avoid anything which suggests that you procrastinate, inability to complete the tasks by their deadline, suggesting you had a meltdown or a poor attitude while completing the tasks.

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

Happy job hunting and good luck!

This week I wanted to address an interview question that most people struggle to answer – talking about your weakness.   

There is a common misconception that the best way to answer this question is by stating one of your strengths as a weakness.  For example, I cannot tell you how many times we hear “being a perfectionist” or “working too hard” as being the best answer to this question.  Let me tell you – it’s not. 

First off, let’s examine why the interviewer may be asking you this question.  Typically, when asked this question, the interviewer is looking to see how you handle and respond to questions that require you to self-critique.  Further, the interviewer will also ask this question to look for indicators that show that you have been able to learn and handle new challenges.

Therefore, instead of dreading this question, you should see this question as an opportunity to show that you have what it takes to succeed in the job.  How do you do this?  Here is how we suggest you answer the question.

You answer the question by talking about a skill or trait you have improved. You will want to talk about something that you have identified in yourself as a weakness and then proceed to outline the steps you have taken to improve on it. 

For example, I struggled with group presentations and public speaking when I first started in my career.  However, I registered for a public speaking workshop and was able to improve my communication and leadership skills.

You can address a skill that is relevant to the job you are interviewing for, or you can discuss a weakness that is not important to the job you are interviewing for.  Either way, the important part to remember is that you outline the steps you have taken or are taking to improve and upgrade the skill.  In doing this, you are showing that you are self-aware, you take initiative and you are committed to self-improvement.   Finally, you need to remember that when answering this question, it is important to frame your answer as a positive.  In doing so, you will turn your weakness into an accomplishment and ultimately a success. 

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or any other interview questions, contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

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