Landing My First Job During a Pandemic | GANDT

Post by Stephanie Gerfin

As a recent graduate, and therefore a career starter, the past year was nerve-racking. Shops, restaurants and even schools were closed. Companies were focusing on the essentials and cut all the nice-to-haves. The economy pretty much took a break. And yet life had to go on.


A blessing in disguise

I was one of the lucky ones, I’d say. At least the field I was interested in was benefiting. With all the brick and mortar shops closing, the online market grew – and with it the need for online marketing. So one less thing to worry about, I guess.

I had worked as an intern before I went to university. But this would be different. My first job after my bachelors degree where I could show what I can do. What I was worrying about though were the changes in the recruiting process, and even more so the changes in the onboarding process.

There were many questions on my mind, including:

  • What if I make less of an impression in an online meeting?
  • What if I get nervous and somehow can’t handle the meeting tool correctly?
  • What if I never see the office before starting? Isn’t the working atmosphere important?
  • What if I only meet 1 or 2 people in the recruiting process? Shouldn’t I be able to meet the team even to just say “Hi” to see if I am a good fit?

Everyone knows the what-ifs. When you worry and your thoughts spiral out of control. But that is the inner saboteur. My advice – keep it cool! Everyone is adjusting to the situation and it is new for almost everyone. If you want to meet the team or see the office, just say so! If they don’t agree even though you communicated that you want to, the potential employer might not be a good fit for you.

My recruiting process of my first job at GANDT

I really was lucky with the recruiting process here at GANDT. If you want to read more about what the process is like, my colleague Mike just published a blog post describing what it is like.

After two online interviews I got an email saying they would love for me to be part of their team. I was super excited, but said that I would like to see the office to experience the working atmosphere. They understood completely and immediately set a date.

Unfortunately my manager couldn’t be there but she suggested a lunch meeting so I could get to know her in person. Absolutely brilliant! Both happenings reassured me that this is the right first job for me.

After the in-person meetings took place, I was super excited to sign the contract. As I mentioned before I only had two intern jobs before and I didn’t really know what an employment-contract is supposed to look like. So I decided to show it to someone with experience in HR.

Everything was fine with the contract, but I dared to write an email to include some additional points from my side. Of course, this required a bit of courage, but my worries were completely for nothing, because my points were included in the contract without any objection. When I received the updated contract I happily signed it.

I can therefore only recommend: If you want something specific, you should tell your future employer. In my experience, they are open to adjustments and want both sides to feel comfortable.

Landing My First Job During a Pandemic

My onboarding at GANDT

Almost half a month before my official first day they invited me to the office again, so I could get my work laptop. They made sure everything was set up. While I was there they already showed me the tools they work with and I got all the access to accounts I needed access to.

This means I had time at home to get comfortable with the device, the tools and also the GANDT communication style. The main tool for internal communication is Slack. It reminded me a lot of Whatsapp, and I was surprised to see a company use a tool like this. Completely different from my previous jobs.

Slack makes everything a lot easier. I could see how the team communicates, how everyone shares knowledge, and what their working principles are. There is a file where working principles are listed but I saw it first hand. I experienced it live! I’ve had great company cultures before but this was a whole new level.


My first job, my first day

So when my first day was around the corner I felt a little more prepared than before. It was already agreed upon that I would meet my manager at the office, so she could show me all the projects. She summarized everything so I had a rough overview of the clients and also coworkers.

I was immediately put to work on a project and after two days in the office, I already switched to working from home. Since these two first days I only spent a few more days in the office due to the current pandemic situation. I chose to work from home full time pretty quickly. And this was not because my manager or the company wanted me to. They left that decision completely up to me.


Home office

After experiencing the way the GANDT Team works and understanding the tools they use, it was not hard to switch to home office. Though I have to say that my manager did a great job at balancing throwing me in the deep end and being there if any questions came up. In general I would recommend to not be afraid to ask questions. There might be a higher barrier to write someone if you have a question than just asking them in the office when they are sitting right next to you. But if you get over that initial discomfort you’ll see that most people are happy to help.

So to sum up my little story: Thanks to GANDT, I had great experience starting my first job during a pandemic. The whole experience assured me that I picked the right company to work for – from understanding my requests in the course of the recruiting process, to the early introduction of the tools and to the immediate trust and support. In combination with the transparent and open internal communication it all went as smooth as can be.

All those factors made me feel at home. But I guess it helps that I’m actually working from home. ?