How to find a job in 2021 and what to pay attention to when interviewing

We cannot but agree that job search and hiring have changed over the past year and a half. In fact, they are still changing. We understand it's challenging to keep up with all the latest job-hunting trends, so we've put together a handy guide on what to expect if you are looking for a job in 2021.
1. Doing the legwork
With job search engines becoming more advanced and effective than ever, it's a common misconception that finding a job itself is becoming easier, too. So, a few reminders:

Looking for a job is still also a job. Be ready to spend significant time searching for positions, creating suitable resumes, sending resumes, and being interviewed. In this case, it is necessary to allocated additional days for the approval of your candidacy within a company. The larger the company, the more interview steps and the more people who need to talk to you.

Second, no one will do this work for you. You can and should ask for advice from your colleagues, friends and family. But at the end of the day, it's you who will be working the job: so, logically, you'll need to determine your expectations, look for suitable positions, and pass interviews yourself.
2. More remote work opportunities
94% of Fortune 500 companies now offer remote positions. And this is a reason to expand your own horizons, given these most common pros and cons of working outside the office:
the ability to work from anywhere
savings on transportation costs and time
more family or hobby time outside of work
opportunities for part-time work
irregular schedule due to various time zones or colleagues' schedules
home-related distractions
possible technical challenges (slow internet connection, for example)
a less active lifestyle
Assess the significance of these points for yourself. Every person and every job opening needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Depending on your preferences, you may decide to go into the office, search for a remote position in a different city or even find hybrid solutions. And if in the description of your dream position there is no mention of remote or office working, you can always ask about a flexible solution.
3. The interview process is longer and more challenging
Due to the online format of interviews, an employer is more attentive to hiring. They hold several meetings and invite more and more colleagues to agree on a candidate for a position. Don't be afraid of this, it's important to prepare and set aside time to complete all the stages.

Read the story of Skoltech graduate Alina Chernova about her experience in job search and interviewing:
Alina Chernova
PhD, Skoltech Center for Life Sciences.
Agrigenomics Partner Account Specialist in Illumina (market leader in DNA sequencing and genotyping technologies)
My job search case is all about patience. The leisurely job search took me almost a year: from the moment I found the position to the final onboarding call. In total, there were 5 interviews in these 3 months.

For me, the uncertainty and expectation of results were more difficult than the interviews themselves. The lack of feedback can be depressing, so I constantly reminded the employer about myself and asked about the next steps. This is important at least so you understand that everything is fine and that they haven't forgotten about you.

In a large company, everything happens much slower than we would like, and you need to understand that dozens of people are being interviewed for good positions in international companies at the same time, so the company won't tell you their decision before they talk to everyone. What remains is to wait and show yourself to the maximum. I had an interview with an HR rep, two future bosses, then I gave a presentation, and then 2 more interviews with product specialists. They were all people from different countries with different backgrounds.

I prepared very seriously: I did research, studied the company's experience and areas of interest, thought about what to say to stand out, and consulted with the Skoltech Career Center. It seems to have worked. That was the first time I took an interview so seriously because for the first time I realized that this job was exactly what I needed right now.

The main office of my company isn't located in Russia, so now only a remote communication format is possible. Apparently, this and the unstable economic situation in the world makes employers even more careful when it comes to selecting a candidate. In my opinion, the most winning job search strategy is an active one, which means applying wherever possible and practicing your interviewing skills. And during interviews for the most desirable positions, give all your best and purposefully move towards your goal.
3. More caution is needed when choosing an employer
With remote positions becoming so common, more and more companies — big and small, known and unknown — seek employees for all sorts of work. But not meeting your employer or boss in person also comes with a set of risks.

So, here's a rule: don't agree to employment with a company you know little about. Research the employer's behavior in a crisis, take note of how the company looks in the media space. News about financial instability, massive layoffs, and the general mood of employees — all of these aspects characterize the employer better than some loud-sounding benefits. Follow these legal tips if and when you are asked to sign an offer. And when it comes to understanding your own motivation and choose the best company, use this matrix.

Job searching: tips from P&G
We got together with our partners at Procter & Gamble and asked them for some tips on how to go about looking for a job. Here's what they suggest:
Procter & Gamble

  • Identify 1-3 areas of interest to you. Be sure to consider trends - where will your choice lead you in the future? And pay attention to the need for relocation or business trips. You should decide at the start whether they are right for you or not.

  • Think about the type and size of organization best for you: private or public sector, large corporation or small start-up. Or maybe you're dreaming about your own business or scientific research? It is important that the values and culture of the organization, as well as their employees' mindset, coincide with your aspirations and plans for the future.

  • Is your list of organizations ready? Find out more about them on websites, through social networks, look for interviews with management and employees. Often, such a search will provide more insight into the position than just a job description.

  • Ask for advice and assistance. Use the Skoltech network, including the career center, professors, teachers, and classmates. Ask your family members for advice, they will be happy to share experiences and contacts. Write to colleagues from past jobs and internships, for example, those who you were in contact with during your Industrial Immersion practice at Skoltech.

  • Take a broader view of your job search and avoid stereotypes. It's no good making hasty assumptions about the nature of the work and the application of your skills based on one position's description. In recent years, many companies have been starting work in new areas. In 2020-2021 the trends are only getting stronger

Lastly, it's important to determine for yourself the period after which you need to reach a decision. The exact time depends on your plans for the future, financial situation and obligations to loved ones. A job search is a project at the end of which you will go to work. Make a plan, set a deadline and move towards your goal.
What to pay attention to when agreeing to a job offer
Skip a few steps: you've gotten a job offer from a company you've interviewed at. You've studied their profile, media mentions and now need to make a decision on the legal aspects of the job they are offering you: the type of contract you will conclude, the conditions of work.

Make sure to ask how the employer will formalize the relationship with you and what benefits will be listed in the contract. The most common ones are:

  • health insurance coverage, with dental treatment (or not)
  • learning foreign languages or reimbursement of expenses
  • corporate training
  • in-office fitness opportunities or reimbursement of expenses
  • meal expense reimbursements
  • cell phone service expense coverage
  • flexible schedule
  • additional vacation days
  • sabbatical (long vacation)

To avoid being put on the spot and getting stressed over a potential job offer, think about the conditions to which you will agree in advance, and, if necessary, discuss them with your future employer before you get an offer. At the time of signing the contract, be sure to read it completely and attentively. You can ask for it to be sent in advance. You can and should ask questions until the conditions are as clear as possible. Sign the documents only when you are 100% happy with them and understand everything written in them.

Possible formats of formalizing your relationship with the employer are a labor contract, civil contract, contract through an agency (outsourcing), self-employment (IE). Detailed pros and cons are in the presentation.

If possible, do not work without a formal relationship, and with "envelope" salaries. A so-called "gray salary" means you will receive part of the money officially and partially informally, most often in cash. A so-called "black salary" means you will receive your whole salary unofficially, which means that the employer won't pay the necessary taxes for you. Also remember that the payment during the probationary period must not be less than your salary.

Once you have any questions or doubts during discussing your contract or other details, please, contact with Skoltech Career Center.
Make a simple table: choose the industry and list your employers of choice in a line (use a big sample rather than 1-2 employers). Write down the selection criteria in a column:

career expectations (promotion rates, salary, corporate training);
industry expectations (company ratings, employment conditions, social security);
personal expectations (your interest, the balance of work and life).

Now analyse each company using the criteria you find critical and put the scores from 1 to 5 in the cells. This way, you will have a clear view of the company that suits you the best.