Reno companies discuss: How does one land a job in the COVID economy? | nnbw.com
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Reno companies discuss: How does one land a job in the COVID economy?

The era of virtual interviewing for jobs is in full swing.
Photo: Adobe Stock

RENO, Nev. — During Figure Technologies’ first 18 months in operation, the Reno-headquartered fintech company saw a steady stream of applications for its seven offices scattered across the country.

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in March, Figure has seen its application volume surge.

During the first six months of the COVID crisis, Figure received the same number of applications — 10,000 — it did in the previous 18 months, says Tina McNulty, chief people and communications officer.

After all, millions of Americans are out of work because of the pandemic, resulting in a massive pool of jobseekers and recent college graduates competing to fill positions — across all sectors — that open up during the COVID economic downturn.

An added wrinkle, McNulty points out, is the fact many companies, like Figure, no longer require employees and new hires to work in their physical offices.

“In today’s environment of everyone being remote or in a hybrid situation, you have leveled the playing field for hiring talent across geographies,” McNulty says. “Jobseekers are no longer competing for a job within a 50-mile radius of an office in Reno; (you) could be competing with candidates 3,000 miles away in North Carolina, for example.”

Indeed, high unemployment, shifting industry hiring patterns and fundamental changes to the way we work are harsh realities Americans are facing when looking for jobs. An open position may bring hundreds of applications. Many job interviews are still happening over laptop screens. And a firm’s hiring needs are fluctuating more than ever.

This begs the question: How does one land a job in the COVID economy?

To find out, the NNBW spoke with two Reno-based companies that are actively hiring.

CASTING A NET

An important piece of finding a job, despite being in a social-distancing age, is networking, says Lisa Trujillo, director of talent acquisition at Reno-based Clear Capital.

“Network, network, network,” Trujillo says with a smile during a video interview with the NNBW. “It is vital. I don’t care if you’re a student at the university or you’ve been a very seasoned employee, you really need to network.”

While networking can bring to mind stiff chitchat over coffee or cold emails eternally flagged, the modern age of networking can be largely done — or at least started — online.

“LinkedIn today is still the No. 1 resource,” Trujillo said. “If you don’t see a job posted by a company you’re interested in, find out who works there. You might be surprised that, ‘oh my gosh, one of my friends in my network is connected.’ So, start the engagement there, whether it’s meeting for a cup of coffee — social distancing — or having a phone conversation or video chat.

“Always continue to network, because you never know who or what is searching for your type of career accomplishments.”

A VIRTUAL REALITY

And if that networking leads to a job interview, be prepared for an interview process that is completely virtual. As such, jobseekers need to find ways to stand out in an interview when they’re sitting at home.

Trujillo and McNulty each note that losing the non-verbal communication cues — a handshake, a warm smile — is an added challenge to making a strong impression.

This is why they both recommend candidates practice with family members or friends by performing test video calls to make sure their technology is working and background looks professional.

“I encourage candidates to set up a workspace that doesn’t have a bunch of distractions, so an interviewer can focus on the candidate,” McNulty recommends. “Dress for success, leave the athleisure wear for the weekend.”

Performing a test interview, Trujillo says, might also help a jobseeker figure out whether or not they look authentic or have the right body language during a virtual interview.

HAVE GOALS, BUT BE FLEXIBLE

Those who are unemployed may find it difficult to identify priorities that go beyond bringing in a consistent paycheck. Not having clear goals, however, may slow down the job hunt.

“You need to have a direction,” McNulty says. “Having clear goals around what someone is looking for doesn’t just apply to those who are unemployed. This should be every person seeking a job change or a change within a company.”

In August, the most job openings in the U.S. were in healthcare, professional and business services, government, retail, and food services, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mining and logging, real estate, and arts and entertainment had the least openings.

Trujillo says being flexible and willing to step into a different industry might also help jobseekers land an interview and job. Look at market trends, too, she adds.

“I would advise to open up the sectors and start looking at what companies are going to be able to utilize my strengths more, core competencies, my talents,” she continues. “That might be something in a different industry … Employers, I think, are going to be a little more open as far as what is the talent that’s coming through the door.”

Because more than 12 million Americans remain unemployed, many companies are experiencing an influx of applications, Trujillo says. Meaning, in an especially competitive labor market, there is no room for errors on a resumé.

“Always make sure that its 100% — no typos or grammatical errors — and its really strong,” said Trujillo, who recommends having friends and family look them over. “Always make sure your resume is your selling piece.”