The ever-shifting job search and digital recruitment landscape has made it more and more difficult for companies and individuals to truly stand out and to forge meaningful connections.
But there are new and unique ways that we can approach Branding and Networking — by finding our own standards and values and bringing them to people in an authentic and honest way. It’s about finding ways to embrace our humanity in our job search.
Mo is the co-founder of Berlin-based talent redistribution platform MoBerries, which uses data to streamline the hiring process. With over 10 years’ experience in sales, selling across different verticals, he specializes in scaling and sales infrastructure. Mo is Palestinian and speaks five languages, and is passionate about sports and analytics. He now calls Berlin, Germany his home.
We’ve all been confronted with overwhelming situations in our lives, especially when looking for a job. And it hasn’t become easier. In times of crisis, many employers have had to look long and hard at their staff, forced to make tough decisions, and as the startup hype turned into fear over the past year, people on the lower end of the earning spectrum have been hit the hardest. This is only one of the major factors contributing to a shift on the job search market.
Mo Moubarak has been closely monitoring these developments for six years as the Co-Founder and Head of Business Development at MoBerries. He explains the tough circumstances many of us are facing today. “What scares me is that the people who lose their jobs are getting pushed into the on-demand economy” Mo says. “They are pretty much getting paid for doing tasks, not jobs. So how do we cover them and protect them? Because society is traditionally built around upward mobility. If you look at the rustbelt in America, you see that a lot of people’s jobs on factory lines have actually been automated. We have founders who say ‚AI is amazing!‘ but there’s a human price to this. Because this is someone that used to depend on this job to feed their family.“
For some of us, change is a soft breeze. For others it can turn into a thunder storm. How we weather that storm is an ongoing process. We have to learn to adapt to the complexities and opportunities of our modern world, both as companies and individuals, and find a way to do it without losing sight of what binds us together.
One important dimension is for the job search platforms to reflect the complexities of the job search process. To offer ways for employers and employees to streamline and diversify their ways of working. „Right now, we’re in the age of data-driven decision-making,” Mo elaborates. “We’re seeing an evolution from shallow job platforms to deep integrated job platforms. Especially in 2020, recruitment is really a standout component of talent acquisition. It’s no longer just about the person that you want but to find them at the most cost effective route. How do I streamline my process? How do I do less work but get more output? This is how employer branding has come to the forefront. Knowing our company’s history, How do we plan on getting people, acquiring them, bringing them in and then keeping them?“
Branding is the name of the game. Not only for employers. On both ends of the spectrum, your brand plays a huge role in getting recognised on job platforms. If you’ve done an internship at Google, for instance, even just the existence of that logo on your CV will make employers lean forward. But it’s not just about these individual external brands. It’s about how they fit into your online identity. Into your own brand. And that starts with what makes you stand out! Your standards and your values.
Mo explains what this entails: “People should do this test a lot of salespeople do, where you just put a line down a piece of paper and do the standards and values test. Under values, you make notes of the people you look up to. And Standards means: just be honest with yourself about what standard of living you are aiming for. It’s about knowing who you are, rather than letting everyone else tell you what they think you are. If you’re able to grasp that, then begin shaping your personal brand. And have the technology work for you rather than you playing catch-up. It’s all about becoming high-tech which allows us to become high-touch. So, spend more time on person-to-person.”
But this is the hardest part.
As great technological advancements have made their way into every aspect of our personal and professional lives, it has become much harder to see the forest for the trees. It has become incredibly easy to get lost in the deluge of new technical innovations. To lose sight of what’s really important. “In today’s world, you’re constantly being bombarded and told you’re not good enough, while looking at everyone else’s success,” Mo says. “I’ve never seen somebody go on Instagram and put a story up or picture about their losses and failures. Everybody wants to show you how much they’re winning and then you might feel like you’re not winning enough. What you perceive to be reality becomes your reality.”
This sort of one-sided, performative type of communication has come to define the way we perceive ourselves and one another. And it has, in many ways, supplanted real and honest human connection. It’s become increasingly difficult to come together in the same reality, to help each other and re-enforce each other. That’s where networking comes in.
Networking is typically associated with a big room in a rundown hotel, small tables and a speed dating style form of social interaction where we rush through meeting after meeting, just to tell some stranger about our fashion startup. We’ve all been there. When all we are trying to get out of networking is filtering other people according to their usefulness to us, all we typically end up with are superficial connections. This is why Mo says that “the best thing I ever learned is: to give is better than to receive. A lot of people, the way they approach networking is that they’re very reactive. They wait until they need something and then they go looking for it. Today, you don’t want to mean everything to everyone. The best way to go in that direction and build your brand is to figure out: Who are my tribe? Who are the people that I will ride or die with? Who are the people who understand what I’m about? Cater to those people. You don’t have to cater to everyone. And those people will hold you up way better than everyone else.“
Naturally, this form of networking is a matter of leaving our comfort zones. As we’ve seen in the polarization of our public discourse over the last couple of years, it has become tougher and tougher to leave our bubbles but forming relationships with people that are diverse and different from us is a huge part of building a sustainable community. “The more people that you can have with heterogenous thinking, that are all from different walks of life, the better,” Mo continues. “My mother taught me that people are like the fingers of your hands. Not every finger can be the same, every finger serves a different purpose. Your job is to understand them and get them to work together.”
The process of finding our tribe and endeavoring to bring people from different backgrounds together greatly enhances both our work environments and our personal growth. What becomes vital to recognize, is that building and maintaining these kinds of professional relationships is done in the same way that friendships are built — by being attentive and nurturing.
“The challenge is that we’re living in this technological world and we can get so overwhelmed. There’s so much noise everywhere. It gives us the sense that we need to return to humanity. The reality of the matter is that we are instinctively human and what makes us great leaders is the ability to show empathy. The best salespeople think like this: ‘Hey, I haven’t heard from you in a while. How are you doing? I just want to tell you I miss you. I’ve seen that picture, I’m glad you’re doing great. I just want to tell you I love you.’ To tell another human that you love them because you’ve had history with them will go such a long way. To consistently tell people that you don’t need something from. It keeps people in your thoughts.”
We all long for human connection and it is the relationships we form with others that will get us through. That’s how we find and embrace our humanity in our job search. And that’s what will get us our next opportunity to grow and strengthen our place in the communities we want to be a part of. It’s up to us to use the technologies we have at our disposal to facilitate these connections. As Mo puts it, “the question is, how do we continue to leverage technology to make our lives easier so that we can focus on what we’re put on this earth to do — to be human, to live and discover what fulfills us? Because technology and buying stuff is not what we were born to do in nature.”
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