The art of the perfect fit

Getting Hired Post-Pandemic

Posted by Emma Restall in News · April 2021

The world that we live in has changed dramatically over the last year and so has the way that we work. As part of a series of talks for AWITA last month, the Directors here at DRAW – Nina and Julia, discussed getting hired post-pandemic.

Relevant Skills – most importantly you will still need the correct skills and experience for the role you are applying for – you still need to be qualified for the job. It is a constant source of frustration to people not to be short listed for roles that they feel they have transferable skills for – if you see a job that maybe is not a direct fit to your current role, but you feel you could do, then research beyond the advert and make sure you articulate how your skills are transferable – if you can’t then don’t apply – research shows that women are more likely to apply for jobs if they meet 100% of the criteria and men will apply if they meet 60% of the criteria!

A track record – AWITA members are all experienced with 5 years plus experience in the art world. Solid work experience is something that employers are still looking for post pandemic. By this stage most people are settled into their careers and beyond the interminable multiple intern stage we all go through – employers want to see evidence of progression in your career.

People Skills –  Throughout the pandemic employers still want to employ people who they can get along with and enjoy working with. It may sound obvious but being nice and fitting in to an SME team environment can often transcend any other criteria! Employers want to see evidence of this as well as ‘gut feeling.’  The pandemic has led to employers focusing on this even more – so testing out ‘ niceness !’/ peoples attitudes to team work by using competency based interview questions and being more diligent in referencing.

How do you think employers’ priorities/requirements changed as a result of the pandemic?

We have seen an increased demand for candidates with strong digital experience to cope with the changing nature of how galleries and organisations are operating. Some organisations were already planning to grow their digital side so have just brought forward these plans but for some they have had to make drastic changes otherwise face losing their business if they don’t evolve.

Last March when COVID hit we saw vacancies being pulled and recruitment freezes across the sector but since the Autumn we have seen an increase in new roles coming in and clients seem to be cautiously planning for the future. We have had a few clients taking candidates on for a fixed term contract with a view to the role becoming permanent depending on the COVID situation. With further business able to open this week things are looking up!

What advice can you offer to job seekers as to how to pitch themselves accordingly?

Make sure you tailor your CV to the role you are applying for– you may think that you have all the experience needed for the position but it’s not always obvious to the reader unless clearly stated. We have a document we can send out with regard to the best way to present your CV so we don’t need to discuss this too much here otherwise it could take the whole session!

If you manage to get to interview stage, DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! It’s an even more competitive market now so you need to make sure you are fully prepped on the organisation and any current news associated with the organisation. Make sure you have a couple of well thought out and interesting questions for the interview.

Could you talk about how the impact of blended working will be felt by organisations and their structures?

There are varying opinions on blended working amongst our clients. For some, the pandemic has proven that the culture of presenteeism is not necessary and productivity can be sustained (or even increased!) with working from home. Other clients are counting down the days until everyone is back in the office as they feel this is the best way of getting the most out of their employees and managing the organisational culture.

For most, a mix of wfh and being in the office is the perfect match so hopefully this can continue going forward.

A lot of candidates are now stipulating that they would prefer flexi working in their next role – particularly to fit around childcare needs and to have a better work/life balance.

Looking for a new role while feeling burnt out by lockdown working – is it possible? is it advisable?

Yes, there is never a bad time to start looking. There are fewer roles at the moment and demand exceeds supply unfortunately but I think a lot of people are now shifting their focus on what is important to them, whether they are happy or not in their current role, work/life balance, if there is a future/career development in their current position.  It can be beneficial for you to start focusing on how you would like to develop your career and what you need to do in order to get there. Although be realistic and don’t expect this to happen overnight  – particularly in the current climate. It is a good idea to work towards a plan and work out what you need to do to help you achieve this.

Please do get in touch if you need assistance or advice regarding your job search in the arts.

Notes from DRAW · 20.04.2021

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