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5 COVID Questions To Ask At Your Next Interview

5 COVID Questions To Ask At Your Next Interview

It’s important that you show up to any interview with a few great questions at the ready. However, in today’s day and age, those questions may look a little bit different. There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic is on everybody’s mind. And that doesn’t change just because you’re looking for a new job! If COVID-19 policies and procedures are a priority for you (and they should be), it is perfectly acceptable to ask COVID-related questions during your interview. As always, read the room to gauge which questions would be most appropriate. Here are five possible COVID questions you can ask at your next interview.

How has COVID-19 impacted your company?

No matter what industry they are in, their company’s size, or the role you’re interviewing for, the company has most certainly been impacted by COVID-19. Work may have slowed or stopped altogether, they may have shifted to remote work, or the company may have even implemented layoffs and furloughs. What you’re looking for in the interviewer’s answer here is transparency. You should not expect them to have handled it perfectly; that is unrealistic. However, if they are transparent about the struggles they experienced, that’s a good sign that they’ll be transparent with employees!

Will I be expected to come into the office, or are you offering remote work?

Hopefully, this was covered earlier in the interview. However, if it wasn’t, it’s essential to address it! Additionally, you can gain further clarification into their remote work policies. Is it temporary? How much flexibility do they offer? Are employees expected to secure additional childcare when working from home?

What are your COVID-19 procedures?

This is a great lead-in question to discuss COVID-19 safety measures. If the company requires employees to work in-office, are they following social distancing guidelines, providing hand sanitizer, and adhering to mask requirements? Additionally, you’ll want to understand their procedures if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19. Do they require all employees to quarantine? Is it possible to complete your work while quarantined? The interviewer’s answers to this challenging question will give you a glimpse into how much they prioritize their staff’s health.

How has COVID-19 affected your vacation and sick leave policies?

Prior to the pandemic, it was utterly taboo to ask about paid time off during the interview. However, things have changed in the past year! COVID-19 has forced many companies to rethink their traditional vacation and sick leave policies. With a minimum self-isolation period of 10 days after exposure, you could burn through traditional PTO very quickly if they haven’t made accommodations. Just be sure to frame the question as above rather than the greedy “how many vacation days would I get?”

What have you done to support employees working from home?

Lastly, if the company is allowing employees to work from home, please ask more about it! Starting a new job isn’t easy, and it’s intimidating if you’re in a traditional office setting, not to mention working from home during a global pandemic without having met anyone in person! You will want to hear that they have established a remote onboarding program, prioritize employee development, and make significant efforts to decrease isolation through various communication software.

As we mentioned above, it’s impossible to expect picture-perfect answers to these challenging COVID questions. Instead, look for transparency, organization, and active actions. And remember, it’s okay for you to prioritize your health and safety during an interview! If you want to feel extra prepared for your Coronavirus-era interview, explore our candidate resources for more tips and tricks!

2021 May Be the Biggest Year for Job Growth

2021 May Be the Biggest Year for Job Growth

Last year was challenging, to say the least. Over 22 million U.S. jobs were lost due to the coronavirus crises, and as of December 2020, there are still 10.7 million unemployed Americans. However, with several COVID-19 vaccines rolling out, 2021 is poised for a massive year for job growth and may even be the biggest year for job growth ever recorded.

Largest job growth since 1939

Job market experts and economists project a colossal year for job gains – bigger than any other on records dating back to 1939. According to economic forecasting from Oxford Economics, job growth will climb to 5.8 million in 2021. Economists at the University of Michigan’s economists are predicting gains to reach 5.3 million. Both projections for 2021 will put job gains well above the 4.3 million created in 1946, the start of the post-WWII economic boom.

Hiring is expected to start slowly this year; however, it will pick up steam as vaccines become more accessible and people can resume activities currently under lockdown. So, where will this growth be generated?

What industries will soar?

Throughout the pandemic, some industries are struggling while others are flourishing. Last year, leisure and hospitality, retail, restaurants and bars, and professional and business activities were hit the hardest. In December, employment in construction, transportation and warehousing, manufacturing, and wholesale trade grew despite a cumulative loss of 140,000 jobs. These industries will continue to experience job growth well beyond the virus.

Other industries that are ripe for a strong year of job growth are information technology services. In December, tech companies added more than 20,000 jobs. Furthermore, job postings for core IT positions grew to nearly 207,000 jobs. This trend will continue throughout the year as more Americans continue to work from home permanently.

Consumer habits have shifted during the pandemic, and many of these new routines are here to stay. Ecommerce has skyrocketed during the pandemic, and as a result, transportation and warehousing are surging. For example, Amazon has officially taken over Boeing as Washington state’s largest employer. With this boom in online shopping, employment in couriers and messengers has increased by 222,000 since February 2020. This trend will continue to climb in 2021.

Need help finding talent this year?

If you are one of the many companies preparing your hiring strategy for the new year, JSG is here to help. The market will be competitive, and you may need to seek the aid of a hiring professional. So, partner with JSG today to find the workers your company needs to keep pushing forward.

Jobs with the Most Demand in December

Jobs With the Most Demand in December

It’s the last month of the year, and many of the hottest jobs from the previous month carried on into December. LinkedIn recently released its monthly report of the most in-demand jobs this month. Both tech and customer service jobs are a hot commodity right now, but there is a new trend that we are seeing among employers in today’s challenging market.

Tech talent is still in high demand

Technology-related jobs have taken over the list of jobs with the fastest-growing demand. Tech jobs make up five of the top ten jobs with the largest month-over-month growth, according to LinkedIn job postings in November. Oracle Specialist (+131%), Python Developer (+111%), User Interface Designer (+74%), Java Specialist (+63%), and Application Developer (+49%) are all in great need as we near the end of the year. Cloud Engineer job postings also jumped twelve spots to become the seventh-most populous job posting last month.

With tech companies and IT roles smoothly transitioning into working remotely, the demand for these positions likely will continue to grow into the new year.

Customer service jobs keep climbing during the holiday season

Customer service and retail positions surged over the month. Food Specialists saw the single greatest jump in demand, growing by 575%. Plus, several other in-person customer service roles saw huge bumps last month. Customer Assistant (+84%) and Receptionist (+92%) hit the list of jobs with the most demand for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. This growth is no surprise as companies prepare for holiday shopping sprees that commenced in late November.

However, these spikes may vanish as soon as they appeared, with the holidays approaching and coronavirus cases surging across the country. A new round of state-wide restrictions is in place in many states, affecting the growth of these roles. As a result, roles like Food Delivery Driver will continue to grow. Last month, food drivers were the fifth-most popular job posting on LinkedIn; this role will likely grow into the new year as more consumers utilize food delivery services.

Companies are investing in their employees

An exciting trend that we have seen over the last few months is companies investing in their employees’ learning and development. For some companies, it makes more fiscal sense to invest in their staff instead of pouring money into hiring efforts. This movement is creating a new hiring demand for Training Supervisors. Last month, demand for this role grew by 183%, pushing Training Supervisors as the job with the third fastest-growing demand.

Get the help you need this holiday season

So, these are the jobs with the fastest growing demand in December. If your hiring team exhausted all of its resources, reach out to us today. We are working with thousands of candidates that are ready to make an impact on your organization. Or, if you are a job seeker looking to start the new year with a new career opportunity, check out our job board! We have hundreds of exciting roles across North America that need talented candidates like you.

November 2020 Jobs Report

November 2020 Jobs Report: 245,000 Jobs Added

Job growth in November slowed in the U.S., according to the Labor Department’s monthly Jobs Report. Last month, employers added 245,000 jobs, a stark difference from October’s 610,000 jobs. On a more positive note, the unemployment rate continued to edge down to 6.7% from 6.9% in the month prior. Here is a brief overview of the November 2020 Jobs Report.

November Jobs Report Overview

November was the seventh month in a row of job gains after the coronavirus wreaked havoc in March. As of last month, the labor market has regained 12 million of the 22 million jobs lost at the beginning of the pandemic. Although encouraging to some, job growth has slowed over the past few months, and with new virus cases surging, the rebirth of the labor market may continue to decline.

“With COVID cases surging again and policies being put in place to try and slow the spread, hiring has slowed down. Also, worker availability is a significant limiting factor as well, with many unable to go to work due to COVID concerns or family care obligations.” — Thomas Simons and Aneta Markowska, economists at Jefferies.”

However, with several vaccines awaiting FDA emergency approval, there is light at the end of the tunnel as we head into the new year.

Job gains by industry

Last month, U.S. employers added 245,000 nonfarm payrolls. Noticeable job gains occurred in transportation and warehousing (+145,000), professional and business services (+60,000), healthcare (+46,000), leisure and hospitality (+31,000), construction (+27,000), manufacturing (+27,000), financial activities (+15,000), and wholesale trade (+10,000). A couple industries saw declines in employment, including government (-99,000) and retail trade (-35,000).

Revisions from the previous jobs report

The Labor Department reported that total nonfarm payroll employment gains have changed in previous months. In September, payrolls were revised up by 39,000, from +672,000 to +711,000, and in October, payrolls were revised down by 28,000, from +638,000 to +610,000. With revisions over the last two months combined, employment was 11,000 more than previously reported.

Need help filling critical roles before the end of the year?

There are only a few weeks left of 2020, and the talent market is getting tighter by the month. If your hiring team needs help sourcing the best talent on the market, reach out to us. At JSG, we can quickly fill those critical roles to help your team focus on all your other year-end activities. Give us a call today, and let’s work together.

How To Offer Sustainable Workplace Perks

How To Offer Sustainable Workplace Perks

“Workplace perks” have been a long-standing topic in the world of hiring. During the candidate-driven market of 2016-2020, they became a last-ditch effort for many companies to secure talent from a limited pool. However, when the Coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020, and the world came to a halt, work perks were turned completely upside down. Suddenly, no one cared about free snacks or foosball tables. This rapid shift has left managers scratching their heads, wondering what they can offer employees to attract top talent and remain sustainable through economic and cultural changes. Here is a quick glimpse into the workplace perks that today’s candidates are looking for.

Flexibility

If the COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility is king. As millions of workers worldwide were thrown into remote-working situations and difficult decisions, a company’s ability to be flexible became invaluable. Company leaders such as Simon Berg, CEO of software company Ceros, understands this new demand better than ever. “I was an everyday-in-office kind of guy, and it felt like that was how I’d build culture and connectivity between myself and the team.” However, now that he can spend more time with his family, his company’s values have shifted. He wants the company culture to hinge on allowing employees more “autonomy, mastery, and freedom in their life.”

To attract top talent moving forward, companies will need to examine the flexibility of their work environments. Can you offer remote working options, even just a couple of days a week? Do you allow your employees to make exceptions for extenuating circumstances (i.e., kids at home sick, doctor’s appointments, etc.)? Most importantly, do your employees feel trusted and empowered to make the right decisions for themselves and your team?

Cash Stipends

Some of the most popular workplace perks of yesteryear revolved around food and beverage options: in-house baristas, extensive cereal bars, unlimited snack options, and even catered lunches. However, with the shift to remote working, these perks were instantly irrelevant and foolishly surface-level. But, everyone loves free food, right?

Instead of focusing on providing an unlimited stream of snacks, consider offering your employees a cash stipend for lunch. It’s still a fun perk, but it gives your employees more freedom with how they use it. Or, seek out a local coffee shop to partner with and coordinate an employee discount. This is a great way to ensure you’re stimulating the local economy while keeping your team caffeinated.

Wellness Reimbursements

The past year has left employees feeling anxious and depressed. Investment in your employee’s mental and physical health is a workplace perk that will pay dividends. Amidst the pandemic, companies are putting the focus on mental health to try and combat feelings of isolation and depression. For example, Starbucks is giving employees and their family members 20 free counseling sessions per year. And Target is offering free access to both mental and physical health-focused apps such as DaylightSleepio, and Wellbeats.

Offer your employees reimbursements for the health resources they need. From counseling to gym memberships, that may look different for everyone. Providing a wide array of options shows employees that you care not only about their work but also about them as a person. Can you partner with a local gym to provide discounted memberships for employees? Or offer a reimbursement for virtual memberships while we are all cooped up at home. 

Still unsure of which workplace perks are the best fit for your company? Ask your employees. Conduct a company-wide survey asking people for feedback, or task a small focus group with coming up with innovative ideas. Your perks are only valuable if your employees deem them so!

For more hiring tips, explore our client resources.

jobs with the most demand

Jobs with the Most Demand in November

Another month down, another group of jobs in high demand. Once again, LinkedIn revealed the jobs that are in the fastest-growing demand this month. Although some jobs from the previous month continue to top the list, we see a new job with outrageous demand. Here is a closer look at the jobs with the most demand in November.

COVID-19 impacts tax season

There are two things guaranteed in life, and one of them is taxes. According to LinkedIn’s job posting data, job openings for Tax Specialists skyrocketed 579%. That is no surprise, as this year’s tax filing deadline was pushed back again to October 15th. Previously, the deadline was postponed from April to July, so we saw a similar spike this past summer. Taxes will be challenging for both companies and the American people, so Tax Specialists will be a hot commodity for months to come.

The holidays spur seasonal hiring

Retail positions remain in high demand as brick and mortar and online retailers ramp up their hiring efforts for the holidays. Retail Associates (+426%), Customer Representatives (+406%), and Merchandisers (+191%) were some of the jobs with the fastest-growing demand. This trend will likely continue into next month as holiday shopping picks up. With even more people relying on Ecommerce for their holiday shopping, there is a massive surge in Fulfillment Specialists (+184%) and Drivers (+155%).

Are more people traveling?

A new job cracked the top ten list: Automotive Technicians. In October, the demand for Automotive Techs jumped +177%, the eighth fastest-growing job in the month. This is likely due to more people traveling, a sign that people are feeling a little more optimistic about the pandemic. And while fewer people are commuting for traditional office jobs, food delivery companies experience a massive spike in business. Last month, Food Delivery Drivers were the sixth-most in-demand job. Thus, as more people utilize these services, vehicles will need maintenance. It will be interesting to watch this trend as more states impose stricter lockdown measures with rising coronavirus cases.

Need help sourcing for these roles?

So, these are the jobs with the fastest-growing demand in November. If you are searching for a new career path, consider exploring one of these roles. And if you are an employer that needs some assistance sourcing some talent for one of these positions (or any other role), reach out to us today. We work hard, we work together, and we work for you.

job market turned a new corner

Has the Job Market Turned A New Corner?

Is the job market turning over a new leaf? According to the Labor Department, more Americans voluntarily left their jobs in September than any other month since the pandemic. Despite the number of coronavirus cases skyrocketing, job openings are increasing, and the number of layoffs is declining. So, has the job market turned a new corner? Let’s take a closer look.

3 million voluntary quits

The US Department of Labor reported this week that the number of people who voluntarily quit their jobs increased to 3.0 million in September. That is the most voluntary quits in the last 7+ months. Additionally, the number of available jobs rose to 6.44 million, and layoffs and discharges decreased to 1.3 million (down 0.9%).

So, in what industries are people quitting their jobs? Increases in voluntary quits were noticeable in the accommodation and food services industry, construction, and professional and business services. The confidence with workers in these industries is also reflected in the latest Jobs Report, showing that these industries have the most significant employment rebounds.

A pandemic-low unemployment rate

The unemployment rate also hit a pandemic-era low last month of 6.9%, down 1% from September. The number of job gains also well surpassed economists’ predictions with the addition of 638,000 nonfarm payrolls. “The rebound continues to have strong momentum, more than people were thinking,” said John Briggs, head of strategy at NatWest Markets. “Private payrolls blowout, the participation rate went up 0.3… People are coming back into the economy, and [the unemployment rate] still went down a full percentage point.” The combination of more job openings and lower unemployment levels is a prominent indicator that the labor market is rebounding.

An unexpected startup boom

Moreover, in a surprising turn of events is a boom in American startups. Business applications crashed when the virus first hit, but the third quarter of 2020 produced the highest number of applications on record. So, as unemployment levels reached an all-time high, thousands of Americans put on their entrepreneurship hats. The largest area for new business formation is online retail, which is interesting because the coronavirus has crushed traditional brick-and-mortar retail.

However, will this spark in startup formations fill our country’s significant unemployment void? As of now, it looks like the job market is turning a new corner. Time will tell, but this boom of optimism is really refreshing as we quickly approach the end of the year.

October 2020 Jobs Report

October 2020 Jobs Report: 638,000 Jobs Added

According to the Labor Department, U.S. employers added 638,000 jobs last month, much than economists projected. This is the sixth month in a row of job gains as the country continues to recover from the pandemic. The unemployment rate also dropped to 6.9%, a whole percentage point lower than September’s rate. The positive results of this month’s report are primarily thanks to the decline in the number of temporary layoffs and a boost in seasonal hiring. Here is an overview of the October 2020 Jobs Report.

October 2020 Jobs Report Overview

U.S. employers are on a six-month streak of adding nonfarm payrolls. And with a massive decline in government workers due to the conclusion of the 2020 census, the Labor Department would have reported over 900,000 nonfarm payroll gains. “The 638,000 rise in nonfarm payrolls in October is stronger than it looks as it included a 147,000 drop in temporary Census employment and, alongside the big fall in the unemployment rate, it suggests that the labor market recovery still has plenty of momentum,” Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics.

This month’s gains are a shock to many economists as the number of positive coronavirus cases continues to surpass daily records. On November 5th, the U.S. reported almost 117,000 new coronavirus cases. And although we have made significant strides in our country’s recovery, there are still 11.1 million unemployed persons (down 1.5 million from last month).

Workers are returning on-site

A noticeable shift in the October Jobs Report was the number of remote workers returning on-site. 21.2% of employees last month worked remotely because of the virus. That is slightly down from September’s rate of 22.7%. This trend will be interesting to watch going forward as the number of positive cases continues to climb. Regardless of this slight decline, millions of people are still working remotely, and hiring managers will have to continue to change their processes to attract them.

Job gains by industry

Last month, U.S. employers added 638,000 nonfarm payrolls. Noticeable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (+271,000), professional and business services (+208,000), retail trade (+104,000), construction (+84,000), healthcare and social assistance (+79,000), transportation and warehousing (+63,000), manufacturing (+38,000), financial activities (+31,000), and other services (+47,000). Employment in government fell by 268,000, mostly due to the loss of 147,000 2020 Census workers.

Revision from the previous jobs report

The Labor Department reported that total nonfarm payroll employment gains have increased in previous months. In August, payrolls were revised up by 4,000, from +1,489,000 to +1,493,000, and in September, payrolls were revised up by 11,000, from +661,000 to +672,000. With revisions over the last two months combined, employment was 15,000 more than previously reported.

Find the talent you need before year’s end

We have less than two months left of 2020 (thankfully); it’s time to start thinking about your hiring needs going into the new year. There are millions of talented workers on the market, and you don’t want to wait to scoop them up, or you will miss out. If your hiring team needs assistance navigating this challenging, ever-changing labor market, reach out to us today. We are here to help you start the new year off on the right foot.

post-pandemic workplace

Must-Have Skills in the Post-Pandemic Workplace

As we inch closer to a new year, many job seekers speculate how the workplace will change in the post-pandemic era. With a shift in working environments and job demands will come a new need for specific skill sets. Some of these soft skills were already on the rise before the crises, but three skills will outshine the rest as we move forward. Here are the must-have skills in the post-pandemic workplace.

Self-motivation and direction

With millions of Americans working remotely now (with many making this a permanent transition), managing your motivation and self-direction will be crucial to career success. While working remotely, employees will have to be more self-sufficient with their time management and daily tasks. You may not have the luxury of your manager right around the corner in your office to keep you in check; you must be in control of your career by ensuring your work is done efficiently and within time constraints.

Essentially, workers will have much more independence. This will be a more significant challenge for more entry-level workers and young professionals just starting their careers. Honing self-motivation and direction will be a must-have skill in the post-pandemic workplace.

Communication management

Communication has and always will be an essential soft skill for workers to refine. But with many of us working from home for the foreseeable future, clear communication will be even more critical. It’s much easier to communicate with co-workers and teammates when you are all in the same office. If you have a quick question, you can walk down the hall and receive an immediate answer. However, we may not have that luxury in our current (and future) workplace.

Instead, we will have to adopt more tools and processes to communicate with each other actively. That can be easier said than done with dozens of different tools. For example, you may be chatting with your boss on Microsoft Teams but need to refer to an email or notes on a Google Doc as you work. If you want to continue to be a valuable employee, you must facilitate clear communication management in the post-pandemic workplace.

Adaptability

Adaptability is vital to any successful career in the post-pandemic workplace. Tomorrow may look different than today, and this year will look different than the next. It’s essential that employees can roll with the punches and adapt as needed.

Adaptability comes into play in all facets of work – how we communicate, the tools we utilize, processes, and so much more. Adaptability is about being able to function when you are a little uncomfortable. Taking on new roles as needed or stepping in to solve a problem will set up apart from your co-workers and other candidates when you are searching for new opportunities.

workforce confidence

The Cities With The Highest (and Lowest) Workforce Confidence

The coronavirus has hit cities in waves. Some are thriving, while others are seeing a spike in cases, and as a result, a higher unemployment rate. Over the last eight long months, workers’ confidence in their finances, job stability, and long-term career prospects have fluctuated. LinkedIn’s most recent Workforce Confidence Index surveyed over 33,000 people across the country and examined their confidence in their current and future career outlooks. Here are the cities with the highest (and lowest) workforce confidence.

 The ten most confident cities

The workforce confidence for some cities is strong, with Colorado Springs, CO, Provo, UT, and Tampa, FL leading the way. Many of these top ten cities are in the Sunbelt, which is currently benefiting from steady population growth. These markets are emerging as logistics hubs with new construction, creating thousands of jobs, and attracting both employers and job seekers to these areas. An interesting note is that none of the cities in the top ten are major metro markets, such as New York City, Seattle, or LA.

Here are the top 10 most confident cities, according to LinkedIn:

workforce confidence

The ten least confident cities

On the other side of the coin, workforce confidence in larger, more industrial cities in the Midwest and Westside are feeling much less confident in their career outlooks. Tucson, AZ, Milwaukee, WI, and Las Vegas are cities with notable lower confidence ratings. These are all cities that are lagging behind the rest of the country’s recovery rates.

An intriguing note is that the least confident cities all have unemployment rates above the national average. For example, Nevada’s unemployment rate is 12.4%, which is no surprise given the tourism business generated by Las Vegas.

Here is a list of the least confident cities:

  • Tucson, AZ
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Portland, OR
  • Austin, TX
  • Orlando, FL
  • Sacramento, CA

Some states have a better environment for the pandemic

Naturally, some states were better suited to the social and economic changes that were brought on by the pandemic. One of these is a new trend in outdoor seating for bars and restaurants. Restaurants, pubs, and eateries can have a larger capacity, and therefore, more business with outside seating accommodations. This trend has forced many restaurants to shift their space to allow more outdoor seating. However, with cold weather well on its way, it will be harder for some cities to continue this trend. As a result, this will make it harder for some of these local businesses to survive.

In the end, this list will fluctuate as some cities and states overcome the obstacles caused by the pandemic better than others. It will be interesting to see how these cities adjust in the fourth quarter and into the new year.