Is working remote here to stay? Q&A with Josh Wand, CEO of recruitment firm ForceBrands
Posted On Jan 04, 2021
Employment today is complicated, for both the job seeker and the employer. Josh Wand, founder and CEO of ForceBrands, an industry-specific recruitment firm, is transforming the business for a post-pandemic world with his focused approach and a people for a ‘hire purpose’ philosophy.
If you’ve experienced the stress of looking for a job you know it can feel dehumanizing at times. Surfing the job boards, completing online applications—the follow-ups, ghosting, and generic email acknowledgements.
Conversely, if you’ve searched for an employee whose skills are perfectly matched to the position you’re trying to fill, you’ve undoubtedly encountered your own frustrations. A shortage of qualified candidates. Resumes and backgrounds that are near misses to total disconnects. Applicants who fall short when presented to hiring managers looking for strong, standout talent.
Add to the challenge staggering unemployment, a job market being reshaped by the Coronavirus Pandemic and the pivot to working from home as the new normal. While Covid-19 has shuttered many businesses including travel and hospitality, it has supercharged others like digital retail, consumer goods, delivery, tech and medical. The opportunities and talent are out there—the next normal is seamlessly matching the two.
Enter Josh Wand,founder and CEO of ForceBrands, whose recruiters are focused on connecting leaders of today with the innovative consumer brands of tomorrow. New You interviewed Josh to get his personal and professional insights into the realities of employment today, how he got started, and his commitment to recruiting through a human lens.
Tell New You readers about yourself.
I’ve always been a people connector. I like to think of myself as an entrepreneur who is in the business of helping people. My entrepreneurial journey began in 2007 when I founded what would become ForceBrands, a specialized recruiting firm for the consumer brand universe. With the understanding that the success of all companies are dependent upon the people who power them, I launched a first-of-its-kind beverage-specific hiring company, BevForce, that offers executive search services, board of director assembly, and a digital job board. Today, ForceBrands has expanded to offer hiring services dedicated to other popular consumer brand sectors: food, beauty, cannabis, and pet care. Simultaneously, in 2016, I launched an enterprise tech platform called PINATA that’s revolutionizing field marketing. Ultimately, both these companies, PINATA and ForceBrands, are dedicated to helping people.
What is ForceBrands?
ForceBrands is the leading recruiting firm for consumer brands. We build the teams that build the brands. We’re unique in that we’re specialized, and we focus solely on the beverage (alc and non-alc), food, beauty, cannabis, and pet care sectors. We help employers connect to world-class talent and help build the most innovative global consumer brands of tomorrow. Our fully remote team is spread across the U.S. in cities that include Los Angeles, New York City, Denver, Boston, and more. We’re experts who know the industry because we come from it. With this unique insider lens and a deep, established network that’s unmatched in the space, we like to think of ourselves as people for a ‘hire purpose.’
You focus on 5 distinct industries. Any new industries on the horizon?
Absolutely. The consumer brand universe is continually evolving, and it’s a really exciting time to be immersed in the space. Regardless of the challenges taking place right now, consumer brands have proven time and time again to be resilient and recession-proof. Even cannabis was deemed an essential business during the pandemic. People will always need to consume things and their needs will evolve. Right now we’re really excited about expanding more into consumer tech and fitness.
Your approach to recruiting is through a human lens. How does that play out?
It’s all about the people. To reference the late Tony Hsieh, the core of what we do is really about delivering happiness. And what I mean by that is that we’re fortunate to have a team that enjoys listening and learning to the changing needs of our clients and the market. From there, we’re able to offer solutions to help grow their businesses in a healthy way with talented people. It’s incredibly rewarding.
What was your first job and how did you get it?
My first job was selling vegetables from my dad’s garden.
How has employee recruitment changed as a result of the Covid19 pandemic?
For us, it’s all about communication flow. We’re committed now more than ever to not just communicate with our team internally, but to communicate with our partners, our clients, and our customers, especially in this new virtual climate. If we’re actively listening to those in our sphere and we understand the challenges and how they’re looking to evolve, then we’ll evolve with them.
What’s happening in regard to direct hire vs. consulting?
We’ve certainly seen an increase in consulting roles this year as companies invest more in efficiency hiring. Ultimately though, the secret is not to hire more people or more part-time roles in place of full-time ones. The secret is to hire more intelligently by making sure you’re reorganizing your company — the structure of your organization — based on its current needs. It’s about being more thoughtful than ever with each new hire.
What are employers looking for in future employees?
This year has taught us as leaders to look more closely at our teams and to truly optimize them for long-term success. Overwhelmingly, I would say that adaptability is one of the most desired skills right now that employers are looking for in prospective candidates.
What are job seekers looking for from future employers?
Flexibility. As more employers lean toward a hybrid remote/in-office work model for their employees, job seekers will begin to not only come to expect more flexible workplaces, they’re going to demand it.
Is working remote here to stay?
Absolutely. We’ve proven it. Any successful modern business will adopt a hybrid work model. This flexible model is also incredibly beneficial when it comes to hiring. It opens up the opportunity to onboard best-in-class individuals around the world. You’re no longer confined to talent within your respective city.
What have we learned from working remote?
I wasn’t completely sold on working remotely before the pandemic. Now, after watching the team come together virtually these past few months and remain laser focused and hyper collaborative, I’m sold. It’s inspiring and exciting.
Any tips on successfully working from home?
It takes discipline, and everyone is different when it comes to what works for them. Ultimately, my best advice is to make sure you’re taking care of yourself first. Go for runs, mediate, ask for more ergonomic office supplies from your company — do whatever it is that you need to do for you to be the happiest and most productive in your role.
Any final words of inspiration for today’s employers and job seekers?
This year has undoubtedly been challenging for everyone, but it’s time to put 2020 in the rearview. Let’s take what we’ve learned from this pandemic and flip the script — let’s celebrate the little wins and big opportunities ahead.