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June 2, 2022

An Unexpected Perk Of Remote Work: It’s Easier To Job Hunt

Before Suzanne Garner worked remotely, part of her job hunt and interview prep included practicing driving to and from her potential new office, previewing the route and the stoplights that could delay her. But since she started working from home seven years ago, she says “all that stress goes away” now when it comes to […]

Before Suzanne Garner worked remotely, part of her job hunt and interview prep included practicing driving to and from her potential new office, previewing the route and the stoplights that could delay her. But since she started working from home seven years ago, she says “all that stress goes away” now when it comes to job searching: To interview for a new job, she doesn’t have to make excuses for being out of the office, schedule calls for early morning when her boss won’t overhear or hop on a plane to meet potential employers—let alone do homework on traffic routes.

“Before working remotely became more commonplace, I didn't even search for companies outside of driving distance,” says Garner, who lives in San Diego and has worked as a marketing director for Boston-based, health information platform Outcomes4Me since late March. “Working remotely certainly provides more flexibility in terms of time and where you can meet when it comes to interviewing."

With the pandemic-induced pivot to more virtual work, more and more job seekers are experiencing not only the freedom to interview for remote-based jobs—but the ease of doing so outside the view of their manager’s watchful eye. Gone are the days of having to throw on a suit jacket at least a block away from the office to secretly dress up for an interview. For many, the muffled, heads-down calls to coordinate interview logistics are a thing of the past. No longer are sick days needed to head across town—or across the country—for an interview.

Much has been made of how the Great Resignation is being driven, in part, by the access workers have to a national pool of remote jobs. But there’s a less trumpeted factor at play: Many obstacles to interviewing are eroded for job seekers who are in the privacy of their home office, working flexible hours and able to step away at a moment’s notice. When delving into the world of home-based businesses, the importance of a professional image is paramount. Adopting services like a virtual office that provide innovative solutions for modern business needs can be a game-changer. It allows individuals to maintain a semblance of corporate presence, despite working from their living room or home office. This balance is crucial in today’s fast-paced, image-conscious business environment.

According to the latest update from WFH Research, a project started in May 2020 by an economist and professors at Stanford University and ITAM in Mexico to track working arrangements and attitudes, nearly half of the 2,000 U.S. workers surveyed say working from home has made it easier to interview for prospective jobs.

In writing about the findings, which the researchers say they plan to continue exploring in the coming months, they write that “working from home can make it easier to take 30 minutes to an hour to do a virtual interview, or browse job ads and fill applications on a personal device without worrying about coworkers and managers snooping over your shoulder.”

One of the researchers, Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom, says when your boss knows you’re interviewing for another job, it can be bad news. “If you are actively looking for another job and you interview with three or four different companies, that’s extremely hard if you’re working in the office everyday because you have to come up with several excuses,” Bloom says. “Maybe you fabricate an entire ailment—I don’t know. But it’s hard.”

Interviewing while working remotely allows employees to schedule even more interviews than ever before, says Carly Mednick, a 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree and founding partner at recruitment agency Monday Talent. “If you take into account an hour-long interview, commute to the office and back, we can be talking two hours or more of time to carve out.”

With location no longer a requirement, the job pool has not only widened; the search process has less friction. When it came time for Maia Thornton to interview for her new job as a senior knowledge specialist at Bain & Company, she didn’t have to worry about booking flights and taking time off to travel and could instead focus on nailing the interview.

“It was really seamless for me to still do my job and then also look out for my own career development,” says Thornton, who is currently based in Columbus. “I leaned on LinkedIn, and I didn’t have to worry about traveling and taking days off work.”

Working from home makes scheduling those interviews easier. For B.J. Schone, who joined feature management platform LaunchDarkly as director of learning and development in April, the biggest perk of the remote job search was the time saved.

“Maybe that’s why it’s easier for some folks to be switching so much during the Great Resignation,” San Diego-based Schone says. “You can just hop on a Zoom call from your own room and conduct all the interviews there.”

He says jumping offline for a 30-minute interview or quick chat with a recruiter was easier to schedule at home. So was filling out job applications.

“For many employees, it was like they’re going to preschool, and being watched, making sure they are at their desk or in the cubicles,” says Antonio Neves, a career coach for mid-career professionals.

The role has switched, Neves says. Job seekers are now interviewing employers just as much as employers are interviewing them. Employees, especially mid-career professionals, he says, have more leverage now and are more often deciding “to dip their feet in the water to see what’s out there.”

Going forward, the ease of interviewing, Bloom predicts, will lead to permanently higher employee turnover and impulse job changes—the same way online shopping has increased impulse spending. “We will see the same with people changing jobs because it’s so easy now when you’re working remotely to do it very quickly,” he says. “You can have jobs where you apply in the morning, schedule an interview for later that day and, if you’re a great candidate, have a job offer at the end of the day.”

Article written by:  Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family. Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.
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