Maybe don’t expect a thank you note—and the new rules of hiring

Looking for a new job is a job in itself.

When Americans who have left the workplace decide to return, a vastly altered landscape awaits them. Getty Images

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Welcome to Worksheet, a newsletter about how people are working smarter in these turbulent times.

In this week’s edition, S. Mitra Kalita takes a look at what it takes to find a new job in a post-pandemic, and speaks with the CEO of a global talent marketplace to learn how companies and potential hires can navigate this new playing field.


A record number of Americans are quitting their jobs. Curiously, they aren’t rushing to find replacement work. 

Among the reasons why: Stay-at-home restrictions and stimulus money have given some workers a financial cushion of the likes they have never seen before. Others do not want to return to in-person work; they prefer telecommuting or have safety concerns. Then there’s still uncertainty over what school will look like, an especially pressing concern for families with children under the age of 12 who can’t yet be vaccinated. 

Truth: Looking for a new job is a job in itself. And when the reams of Americans who have left the workplace decide to return, a vastly altered landscape awaits them. That’s thanks to the same factors that led them to quit in the first place, but also changing norms due to the collision of multiple generations in the workplace (five!) and a reexamination of hiring practices that are not inclusive. Oh, and navigating interviews in this moment of transition: Some still take place entirely on Zoom, while others might be a walk in the park with the CEO (literally). Both of these situations can yield very different dynamics from the same candidate. 

Hana Hassan, founder and CEO of Black Maple.io.
Courtesy of Hassan

I asked Hana Hassan, founder and CEO of Black Maple.io, a global talent marketplace, to take us through the many changes. Edited excerpts of our conversation: 

What should a resume look like now? 

Historically and traditionally a resume was used to showcase your professional experience/accomplishments. As technology was introduced into the recruitment space to optimize resume reviewing, career seekers would redesign their resumes to match keywords in postings so that the technology could identify their resume as a top applicant and give them (career seeker) an opportunity to connect with a human and present themselves holistically. 

A trend I have been watching the last 2 ½ years has been using video to accompany your resume, which subsequently humanizes the application approach. Video resumes are now being tested at scale. I believe Tiktok will help people not only speak to their experiences but be able to do it in a way that is truly reflective of them and be able to share it with a human and not a software. Those early in their careers will be allowed the opportunity to be seen and considered for opportunities that software systems (and in some cases, humans) would have otherwise disqualified them for. This is one trend I am most excited about. Given the career pivots happening due to COVID, (eg. a hospitality person breaking into a customer-facing role in tech) this rethinking of the ways we evaluate someone’s abilities is going to be a game changer. 

What happened to evaluating people based on a firm handshake? Over?

Given our present state, I would say a friendly wave via video or emoji use in email might be more appropriate. Our social norms in the way that we communicate and interact with others is evolving daily as we move from social distancing to physical distancing. Norms are consistently being redesigned and readjusted

It’s very much a candidates market (more jobs than people to fill them) yet employers seemingly still seek perfection. Example: I’ve been reading that some people think thank-you notes are not needed after an interview, and might even perpetuate discrimination because different cultures express gratitude differently. So is there still a need for them?  

Thank you notes after an interview are a must in my opinion for two reasons: 

1. Both parties took the time to have a conversation, so saying thank you is just recognizing that effort and time spent. 

2. It can also help a career seeker see if a company values common courtesy—and can set the tone of how values are demonstrated in an organization’s culture.

I am seeing and hearing about interview panels being more diverse, in terms of age, race, hierarchy within the organization. I am also seeking a reality check on whether between being good in an interview means you will be good at the job, or vice versa. Thoughts? 

Given the call for a more diversified workforce, some organizations are doing the work in setting up frameworks that enable their key stakeholders and decision makers to assess career seekers in a way that removes biases and looks for aptitude (ability to do the job) and culture add (ability to enhance the existing culture). Gone will be the days of “I want someone like me to work here” and “Will I have a beer with this person?” This effectively dismantles homogeneous organizational cultures.

Wow. That’s a lot of change, a lot of it overdue and welcome. How and why did the rules of hiring change so much and so quickly? 

Historically, career fairs helped humanize the application process because organizations and career seekers had to meet in person and pitch one another. COVID has forced us into social distancing, remote work and new social approaches. As a result, technology is now adapting to the ways career seekers are creatively approaching the career search—and the human capital management space is being disrupted and redesigned to meet this new normal.

There is a power shift happening whereby there is a battle for talent and the need to invest in talent development. COVID has forced us to reflect on and redesign the way we look at human capital management, recognizing it as humans first.


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Help me out

I tried to blend work and the beach over the last few weeks, and I think I made a royal mess of it. I was supposed to be off for the first week of it but ended up doing calls so the requests wouldn’t pile up, and then it just wouldn’t stop. So I just asked this question on LinkedIn and welcome you to join the conversation: “Is it better to work remotely the first week or the second? Anyone have a process or secret of turning from one mode to the other?”


What I’m reading

Taco not just on Tuesday

Dream job alert. McCormick is hiring for a director of taco relations. I literally sent this to a ton of my friends looking for purposeful work. Also note that the above trend cited by Hana Hassan rings true: You need to submit a video as a part of your application. (Progressive Grocer)

Burger King’s Subjects No More

Well, that’s many letters of resignation. Nine workers at the franchise in Nebraska gave notice—to everyone. “WE ALL QUIT,” they wrote on the BK display sign outside. Understandable: they have gone through a series of district managers and were working in a kitchen without air-conditioning. (KLKN)

Home Sweet Home

What it means for women to be able to work from home: the kids won’t leave us alone, we still have to cook and clean and homeschool, and our labor at work and home is undervalued. It’s complicated but overwhelming women still want to have the choice to work from home. (Recode)