As the COVID-19 pandemic tore through the economy last spring, the graduating class of 2020 faced a bleak professional future. With offices shuttered, companies canceled their summer internship programs and scaled back their hiring plans.
Prospects for the class of 2021 are decidedly different. The majority of Americans are at least partially vaccinated, unemployment is falling, and the economy is quickly gaining steam. A report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers said that organizations expected to hire 7.2% more new college graduates than they did last year.
"The job market’s heating back up, and it’s come to a boil really quickly," Miranda Kalinowski, the head of global recruiting at Facebook, said.
Last year’s absence of corporate summer internships — typically a feeder for full-time job offers — has heightened competition for young talent, she said. "Conversion of interns is usually a very big channel for hiring, and without that, many companies are coming into the market fresh off the back."
But while the COVID situation is improving in the US, and hiring for new grads is on the rise, recruitment is still very much in flux. A lot of interviews still take place virtually, and many new employees will start their jobs from home.
Insider recently spoke with Kalinowski about the employment landscape for new grads, how early-career professionals ought to approach flexibility and remote work, and what it takes to get a job at Facebook.
This interview was condensed and edited for clarity.
It’s increasingly clear that many jobs of the future will involve some element of remote work. How has that changed what Facebook looks for in new hires?
From Facebook’s perspective, what we look for is enduring. We hire builders — people who aren’t satisfied with the status quo and are constantly looking to innovate, iterate, and make things better. We’re here to bring the world closer together, and we want people who really understand and connect to our mission.
The skills we focus on are collaboration, communication, listening, and the ability to work asynchronously. These skills can look and feel different whether you’re working in an office or in a remote setting, though. There’ve been some new muscles we’ve had to build over the last year.
Facebook’s culture has long prized in-office face time. How is the company approaching flexibility and employee autonomy in the post-pandemic workplace?
Our approach to flexibility is built to support healthy teams, healthy organizations, and, of course, healthy individuals. When we return to offices, we’ll expect most people to spend at least half of their time there. We want to make sure that our offices remain vibrant, valuable places for relationship and culture building. But we also want people to enjoy some of the flexibility that they’ve had working from home in this past year or so.
Our main principle is to make sure in-office time is designed around work that people need to do. We don’t want it to be rigid. We’re leaving a lot of the decision-making around when and where work gets done to teams and people.
Facebook just announced that workers at all levels — including entry-level employees — can request to work remotely full time after the pandemic. How do you recommend workers make the decision?
People need to weigh up what model is best for them. They need to think about how they learn and where they are driven to do their best work. They also need to think about where they’re at in terms of their life and job.
If face-to-face learning is optimal, they should prioritize more time in the office. But if they prefer more self-paced learning or quieter time to reflect, they might be at home more. It’s important, though, for people to step out of their comfort zones from time to time. Introverts might opt for more face time to develop skills and relationships, for instance.
Some say that people early in their careers ought to spend more time in the office so they can learn, be mentored, and develop a deeper sense of how work gets done in the organization. What’s your take?
If we were having this conversation before the pandemic, I would have a million percent agreed. But we’ve almost surprised ourselves this last year in people’s ability to adapt to working remotely. I’m now not inclined to generalize. We want to put the decision in the hands of individuals.
Facebook ties employee pay to location and adjusts compensation based on the cost of living where employees reside. How do you think people entering the workforce should negotiate with their employers on salary?
At Facebook, our philosophy around compensation is to make sure people are paid competitively for what they do based on the location where they work. Their benefits are designed around what different people need at different stages of their life.
If you want to ask to negotiate, that’s your prerogative. That doesn’t mean there’s going to be room to budge, but you can always ask.
When you’re at the offer stage, you should seek to understand the full picture beyond just the salary. Ask questions to understand if there’s a performance-bonus scheme, how often are bonuses paid, what are the ranges you can expect. Ask about stock options and vesting schedules. And you need to understand and explore the benefits, too.
A lot of interviewing still takes place virtually. How do you recommend candidates stand out from the crowd?
Every interview is an opportunity for you to reflect and think about what’s important to you. Prepare by asking yourself, "When was I able to make a meaningful impact? What did I find particularly challenging?" We don’t expect that someone’s going to have tackled sophisticated, highly complex problems at this point in their lives. So you need to draw parallels to situations through your coursework, teams, internships, or other jobs. Come up with examples that demonstrate your abilities, show how you rallied resources or teams, and highlight how your capabilities helped bring an idea to life.
The pitch very much is about the type of work that you get to do here. Over 3 billion people use our platforms and services. The scale of the problems that we get to deal with and, and have people work on is, is quite unique. Meaningful work is really important to the generation graduating right now. We say, "Come and do your best work here. You get to do meaningful work where, when, and how you work best." I think it is a really compelling offering.
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Rebecca Knight June 15, 2021 at 08:21PM