Recruiter Pete Strouse on Making New DFIR Career Moves in 2022

Christa: At the start of a new year, many digital forensics professionals might be thinking about making some changes, to find a more diverse and inclusive environment, to develop and enhance your professional skills and/or to achieve a work-life balance that pays what you’re worth without risking your mental health. Joining the Forensic Focus Podcast to talk about these issues this week is Pete Strouse, CEO and founder at InfoSec Connect, a recruiting business that’s looking to bridge the talent gap, one connection at a time. I’m your podcast host, Christa Miller. Welcome Pete and Happy New Year.

Pete: Thanks Christa. Thanks for having me on.

Christa: So, let’s start with a little bit about you. We connected on LinkedIn, I think, and I’m curious how you got your start in HR and recruiting and from there, why you opted to specialize in digital forensics and incident response?

Pete: Sure. So I got my start in recruiting about eight years ago. I’ve been in the security industry specifically for about seven years. When I first entered the field in recruiting, it was to support technology staffing with Kforce, worked a lot of contract jobs, a lot of high level, very technical types of IT jobs.

Just kind of made sense to me. I think recruiters in general, you can kind of split them down to be… some people are really good at understanding technical roles, others are great at working with people, but not necessarily understanding technology. So I was kind of in the former camp. I worked on some pretty interesting projects, systems architects and Linux admins, that type of thing. Then I wanted a new challenge so I moved on to a company called A-LIGN.

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Their CEO actually reached out to me on LinkedIn and said, “Hey, we’re looking to build this IT audit and compliance consulting firm. Would you be interested in helping us build this?” And it sounded like a really fun challenge for me.

So came on board, I was employee number 15 or so. Basically built a new HR and recruiting department from scratch over there. Taught myself security, taught myself compliance, IT audit terminology, all that good stuff. Hired over a hundred people in two and a half years, started a campus recruiting program from scratch, started an applicant tracking system from scratch, and then a certification tracking system from scratch so we could track all the disparate CPE requirements for everybody’s different certifications. So I got to know certifications pretty intimately when working on that project.

So I think that gives me a pretty unique perspective as a recruiter, understanding these certifications and what hiring managers are looking for, what it takes to maintain these things and why.

So I did that, and then moved on from A-LIGN and started my own recruiting firm called InfoSec Hires. Partnered up with an individual that had worked at a competitor, actually, to A-LIGN, and funny story about how we partnered up: he actually knew of me before we partnered up because I had been stealing all of his people during my A-LIGN days! So a pretty small industry, obviously.

So that was a good ride and my first introduction to entrepreneurship. Since then, started my own firm earlier this year, and been staying really, really busy working on a lot of DFIR jobs, IT audit jobs, security engineer jobs, that type of thing, offensive security. So really anything that falls underneath the umbrella of information security, we’ll handle.

So I don’t know that I necessarily chose DFIR, I guess it kinda chose me. Same thing with tech recruiting. It seems like I kind of just fell into it. I always encourage people to be open to that type of thing in their careers. If you have too stringent of a plan for your future, when that doesn’t happen, sometimes you get disappointed. It’s much easier to kind of just go with the flow and enjoy it as it happens.

But I got my start in DFIR working with a DFIR consultancy or ‘DFIR’, however you want to say it. (I think the camps are pretty split on that.) So worked with a small consultancy, helping them build their DFIR team, mainly breach response and ransomware and business email compromise and stuff like that.

And I guess as time has gone on, the ransomware has become more and more rampant, but had a lot of success in helping them scale up. I think through them, probably hired about 15 people or so DFIR consultants and senior consultants and directors and stuff.

So that was my first foray into the industry, and been working with DFIR firms ever since, mainly consultancies. I will see the occasional internal security position, but most of the clients I work with are consulting firms.

Christa: Your observation about going with the flow instead of having a plan is a lesson I learned the hard way, early on, myself. So very relatable and one that I can get behind for sure. So given all of that experience, do you think that this field in particular lends itself to specialization or could job hunters in all industries benefit from specialized recruiters?

Pete: I think it’s good to have a plan, and I think as the field continues to evolve, we’re going to see more and more specialization and we’re going to get new specializations or sub-disciplines created all the time.

It’s ever evolving, obviously. From what I’ve seen, it seems like the folks that specialize the most tend to get the highest salaries and be most in demand because there’s just such a limited supply of those folks that demand…I guess by extension is pretty high. So I think specialization is super important for recruiters, for security folks on both sides of the fence, I would say.

I think a good technical recruiter can be a good technical recruiter for basically any discipline as long as they spend the time to research. Whereas I think on the tech side having a specialization, it’s important because it’s impossible to know everything about every subdiscipline in security.

So it’s kind of like they say with the CISSP, that it’s a mile wide and an inch deep. So you kind of gotta determine whether you want to be that person, or if you want to specialize and get really good at one thing. I personally like being that SME that really digs in deep and knows a certain area very well.

So it just kind of depends on what you want to do as a professional. Basically you want to know as much as you possibly can and always be learning, and I think that’s more of a personality trait that folks have, but it makes them better security professionals to always be learning. And it’s good to focus on what you’re passionate about, I would say, and I think the money will come from there. So just find something that you love to do, and really dig deep.

Christa: That’s actually kind of the lead into my next question: on the flip side, whether DFIR can benefit from, kind of as you’re alluding to, well-rounded generalists, or is it pretty much all about deep specialization…or is it there’s this some of both?

Pete: There’s a place for everybody, I think, and again, it depends on what you want to do. So I see a lot more specialization in specific functions within an organization, say a security operations center. You’ll have one person that does forensics, you’ll have another person that looks at the logs, you’ll have another person that does the red teaming.

And so you don’t see as much crossover between those different functions whereas like in a consultancy, a DFIR consultancy specifically, you see that they want everybody to do everything. And so you’ll have one DFIR consultant that’ll do host base forensics, memory forensics, network forensics, as well as some malware analysis. And they want somebody that has experienced doing all those things.

I would argue it’s hard to be really, really good at all of those things if you’re doing all those things. But that’s still kind of the expectation and if I’ve found that consultancies are very specific in what they’re looking for, and it’s usually that person doing that exact same job at a different company, which we can get into later.

Christa: Before that, I think I’d like to talk about some of the big topics in the broader work world. Going into 2022, the Great Resignation, so-called, is top of mind for many. Have you seen it affecting DFIR?

Pete: As long as I’ve been working in DFIR, it’s always been kind of high turnover, and it may just be my anecdotal experience working with consulting firms where there’s so much demand for these folks that you have people switching jobs every 6 or 12 months for more salary. And it’s kind of like a revolving door almost, it seems like. Whereas maybe on the internal side, internal security teams, the turnover might not be quite as bad.

I think in general, you’re seeing a push for remote work overall. I think the pandemic has been positive in that respect and that a lot of companies that weren’t… or that had, say, on site security operations teams, now they’re considering fully remote because they have to, if they don’t adapt, then they lose all their people.

So it’s been a positive change, I think, for candidates out there and employees. But a lot of the consulting firms have been fully remote since the beginning anyway. So it’s… I haven’t anecdotally noticed a huge uptick in an extra turnover myself. But I think that’s only because the field I work in has pretty high turnover already. So maybe that’s the phenomenon I’m seeing.

Christa: Okay. Another major issue is, of course, inclusiveness and diversity. How are you addressing this personally between hiring managers and job hunters, both in terms of race and gender, as well as in terms of disability, neurodiversity and other factors like that?

Pete: I think our biggest constraint as an industry is we just need more people that do the work. As it is, hiring managers are kind of like the old term “beggars can’t be choosers”. Hiring managers right now are essentially beggars. There’s only a certain number of people that have the technical skills to do the work to the point where they can’t really be picky about anything other than, “Does this person know this tool?” or “Can they do this type of forensics?”

In fact, I just worked with a DFIR consulting firm not long ago, my candidate had gotten an offer and she was ready to accept. And the client had even said, “Hey, we’d like to find a woman if possible, we’re very male heavy.” And she ended up taking a job with another company for $20,000 more just because she was able to, and she had four offers at once. Because there’s such a shortage of folks with this skillset, we just need to get more people in to the industry overall and add capacity to the system before we can start being pickier.

So I’m a huge evangelist for companies training people. We just do not have enough companies training people in this space. Everybody wants to hire the person that’s a 10 out of 10 technical match that has worked at a direct competitor that has done all these exact things and knows all these exact tools.

And when you hire like that, you’re excluding so many other people that, maybe they could get ramped up in two weeks and learn exactly your environment or your tooling. Would you rather search for the perfect candidate for 6 months, or hire somebody in the first 2 weeks and get them trained up in 3 months?

So it’s kind of, pay now with your time or pay later, just depending on how you view it. But I think we need to, as an industry, get more people aware of the different fields within security, help educate the general population, just so we can get more people into the field.

None of my family or friends know that DFIR are really exists until I tell them about it. So you have kids going through school that, if you told them, “You could be a digital investigator and you could look into these huge cyber security breaches that are taking over banks or retail,” it sounds really interesting and fun, and I’m sure it is (I’m not a practitioner myself).

But they’re just… it’s an awareness problem. So I would encourage anybody that’s in the field already to try and donate some of your time. I know you’re very busy and stressed and probably working 70 hour weeks, but if you ever do have a spare moment, volunteer for junior achievement or something like that, and just help educate the next generation, otherwise all these shortages everybody’s talking about, they’re going to continue to get worse. And there’s going to be even more of a crunch in terms of salaries and not having enough people to do the work.

Christa: So you kind of touched on something with your anecdote about the woman candidate that had four offers where the one company mentioned that they were very male heavy, they were looking for a woman. There’s sort of a cultural issue there where I can imagine somebody that’s walking into an environment where they’re a minority might not be necessarily comfortable or feel like they’re able to do their best work if they’re having to do all of this other unspoken social/cultural work on top of that. What kinds of things should companies be doing now to make a more welcoming environment for recruits assuming that they know all the skills that you’re talking about to be able to manage that as well?

Pete: I would just say the main thing is just being open to a variety of backgrounds and not having such a narrow focus on that exact person we need to hire. So for instance, I work with these DFIR consultancies and I have for a few years now, and they never really want to hire anybody from outside DFIR consulting.

So you have every company trying to hire the same hundred people. And it’s probably not a very diverse pool of people, those hundred folks just because there’s only a hundred of them! The greater number of people that you can have access to, the greater likelihood that you’ll be able to hire a more diverse workforce, and through extension of that, make the environment more comfortable for diverse folks.

So aside from that, just making sure that there’s no obvious biases in the interview process, that you’re using language that’s comfortable for all different backgrounds, and just being open to hearing folks with different perspectives and just really making sure that there’s no biases.

For instance, I was reading some research where females are apparently less likely to “sell themselves” in tangible terms on their resume, using numbers, focused accomplishments, like dollars saved or a percent improvement, stuff like that.

So just being cognizant that maybe the best fit isn’t necessarily the best fit on paper, and expanding your ideas a little bit about what a good candidate looks like. Maybe they’re a really good writer and so they’re better at report writing than some of your more technical folks. Maybe you can hire that person and have them do more of a QA function or something like that.

Thinking about the different roles that people could fill that maybe don’t fit that exact mold that you’ve always hired for and move people around to where they’re aligned with what suits them best. So just being a little bit more creative, I would say in general.

Christa: Is that something that you help when you’re consulting for hiring managers, that you help advise them on?

Pete: I try to. In my experience, my hands are kind of tied in a lot of cases. You have to have the right hiring manager that’s open to that sort of thing. So… and I bring up that example specifically because it happened here recently where I was interviewing a gal for… basically [the client] needed a risk assessor to do audits and compliance and stuff like that. They were looking for somebody with NIST experience and maybe PCI or ISO.

And she had had some of that experience and she actually had a DFIR background too, which was kind of crazy. Most people, they don’t have that combination. But they had her in mind for the proactive services department, which is – they’re a DFIR firm, but they also do proactive services.

Well, they thought she’d actually be better for a technical writer job. So they actually created that position for her to get her on board and contribute in a way that they had never really thought that they would have happen, because they didn’t have any plans to add that position. But they found the right person.

So I’m huge on companies being willing to hire people that, again, maybe don’t fit that exact technical mold, but can contribute in some other way. And having that diverse experience and different types of skill sets as you create a more well-rounded team that isn’t just an echo chamber essentially.

Now I know not every company, especially large companies, they’re very focused on salary bands, and having an exact experience, and they’ve got to fit into a very narrow little box. I think that’s where it gets pretty challenging. I tend to work with a lot of smaller companies, consulting firms, that type of thing. And they tend to be a little bit more agile in my experience.

Christa: Yeah, I was thinking that as you were talking about creating a position, I’m like, “I don’t know if that would fly it a lot of companies”, but at the same time, you mentioned a little bit ago about trying to, especially with regards to remote work, but I think that this is another example of that, right? Is being as flexible for hiring as possible, for both recruitment and retention.

Pete: Yup. And you know, if you give somebody a shot that wasn’t necessarily expecting that shot, or they felt that there may be somebody that’s better qualified out there, but you gave them the job anyway, they’re going to be your most loyal employee and they’re gonna slay dragons for you.

And I’ve certainly seen that play out many, many times. Especially with more junior candidates, somebody gives them a shot and then they just go and knock the socks off of everybody and exceed all expectations. Because they’re hungry and they really want it. So that’s another benefit of hiring folks that may not be a 10 out of 10 match.

Christa: So I want to flip over. We’ve been sort of focusing on hiring managers, and I want to flip over to job seekers. When it comes to marketing yourself for the job you want, I want to ask your advice for three key groups: recent college graduates, career changers (especially those coming from law enforcement to the private sector), and hiring managers themselves.

Pete: Yeah. So some of this advice would apply to all groups. So especially networking. As a recruiter I spend 90% of my time on LinkedIn! At least when I’m not on my email. So, just know that that’s going to be the place where you meet potential hiring managers, where you meet networking contacts that can introduce you to a hiring manager, or just people to give you good references.

There’s just a million different ways that you can leverage LinkedIn. And I think it’s the most powerful and underutilized, especially for more junior candidates I’ve noticed. They don’t tend to have that LinkedIn presence cultivated yet. But it’s important to start it up as soon as you possibly can.

So for a few different reasons (and again, this applies to all different levels of folks), but keywords are such a big portion of it. As somebody who was raised on the old ways of recruiting, I put in complex Boolean search strings, and I find people based on keywords in a very complex search string.

But I think a lot of recruiters that are less well-trained, they probably just put in a job title or they may put in just a couple of keywords. And when they’re doing that, it’s only those things that are going to show up. Instead of… I put in a huge search string with ton of different search terms, but if you only include a couple of search terms, you’re only going to find people with those narrow amount of terms in their profile somewhere.

So the more terms that you can include, the easier it is to find you for… on the recruiting side. And the more terms that show up in your profile, or your resume, or whatever it may be (based on a certain search string), the closer to the top of the results you’ll be. So it’s super important to optimize it. It’s kind of like SEO for your LinkedIn profile.

So that’s super important. And then, like I said, leveraging those networks, building relationships that you might not be able to use right away, but may pay off for you in the end. You never know who will say, “Hey, I actually saw that job and I thought of you, so I referred it your way”, or “I can give you a reference to the hiring manager”, stuff like that.

It happens all the time. And I’ve managed to help people get jobs that I don’t even have as a recruiter. Especially entry-level stuff, because I’ve found that hiring managers don’t really want to pay a recruiter for entry level jobs for whatever reason, but I at least run across those through my network and I can parse those out to people.

So being able to be found, networking, building those relationships: those are the main ones. And if you are open to new opportunities, definitely turn on that function on LinkedIn, super important. A lot of recruiters will only search… or they’ll start their search by looking for people that are open to new opportunities, because they’re more likely to respond. So that’s another way that you can get a lot more hits.

Some other things. So, for entry-level folks, it’s all about keyword optimization. And if you’re looking to break into the field, it can be more difficult to add a bunch of those keywords because you haven’t had the experience to add all those keywords.

But there are little tricks like, if you go to conferences, or attend courses, or go to meetup groups, there’s just a bunch of different ways that you can include those terms, even if you haven’t worked with that tool; say in a work capacity, if you’ve done it as a hobbyist or you have a home lab, or you attended a conference on X, Y, and Z topic: all of that stuff you can include on your resume and/or LinkedIn profiles. So definitely important to do. And the more things that you go to, the more knowledge you’ll build, the more people that you’ll meet.

Other options would be like, ISACA, (ISC)², ISSA. Those are all good organizations, and you can often get a student membership for pretty cheap. Sometimes your employer will pay for it. Even if you’re working in like a related field like IT, I always recommend that folks go into a help desk role or something before they get into security. So when you’re doing that sort of thing, you can be building your resume the whole time as well.

So for career changers, much of the same advice there. In your case you want… and same thing with the entry-level folks: you want to have that first page of your resume or the summary of your LinkedIn profile, be chock full of security keywords, or DFIR keywords in this case.

So you can say things a bunch of different ways. You want to list all the different tools you’ve used, even if it’s open source stuff, or stuff that you’ve tinkered with, and you haven’t used it on a job, you can still include that. You want to say, in the case of DFIR — there’s a bunch of different ways to say DFIR: you can say incident response and forensics, you could say DFIR, you could say digital forensics, you could say cybersecurity investigations, cyber forensics.

And there’s a bunch of different ways to say that, so get creative with your terminology and that’ll make you easier to find. But that first page of your resume should always be super dedicated to the job that you want, even if you don’t have direct experience in that area.

So that’s why being involved in the community and doing as many different things as you can, watching free courses and videos and stuff like that. Discord servers, there’s a bunch of those out there that you can join, and free training like, there’s, there’s Reddit /netsec, for instance, network security. There’s a bunch of other little subreddits for security and DFIR, and AccessCyber is another good site to go on. If you go to their resources page, there’s a bunch of Discord servers and training sites and all sorts of stuff, so definitely check that one out. So those are some good ones, especially for entry level folks, but really anybody can utilize those.

Career changers: again, network, network, network. LinkedIn is your best friend. Also want to try and get some recommendations on LinkedIn, if you can, just so people are vouching for you, and that’s very obviously seen there. Network with hiring managers and recruiters specifically.

So there’s a few of us recruiters that focus specifically on security. There’s some larger firms, some one-man shops. There’s a bunch of us out there. So some examples would be CyberSN, HuntSource (my buddy, Joe Hudson over at HuntSource is awesome). Kris Rides (with a K: K-R-I-S), he runs Tyro Security on the west coast. You have Hamlyn Williams, Otto May: all of these are great resources where you’ll want to get your resume in their database.

And that way at least get calls for relevant jobs at any level. You can get your resume in there and start getting calls. And then if anybody wants to connect with me on LinkedIn as well, happy to point you in the direction of some more resources along with all the ones that I’ve mentioned here.

Christa: I wanna jump in really quick. When you and I first started talking about coming on the podcast, you mentioned something about law enforcement. So in a lot of cases, law enforcement officers or detectives, investigators who were thinking about retiring may not be that active on social media. What should they be doing if they’ve got either department policy or just personal preference, that’s kind of keeping them from a lot of these activities that you’re talking about?

Pete: Yeah, that one’s tough. I think there’s some things that you can do from a terminology standpoint that you can kind of get around some of that stuff. Like, you may not be able to list what tools you’re using in an investigation or something like that, but you can put in your summary, for instance, on LinkedIn, “I’m passionate about digital forensics, I’m looking for a career change from law enforcement to cybersecurity” or something like that.

And at least that way you get some of those terms in there without being too specific about what you’ve used, or you may be able to say what type of cases you’ve worked on. You may not be able to reference a specific case, but you might be able to, say, “perform digital forensics” or say, for instance, the type of forensics that you’re doing: host based, dead box, (whatever you want to call it), network forensics or scraping memory. You can say those things without referencing a specific investigation.

But a lot of folks do go from law enforcement into the private sector and work at some of these DFIR consultancies, or even sometimes forensics jobs or incident response jobs with larger organizations. Again, it’s just more about making sure that you have some good keywords in there, even if it’s not very, very specific, you just need to have something in there.

And again, networking with folks: as many things as you can do in a face-to-face capacity, that’s what you want to do. People have a hard time turning people down if they’re talking to you face-to-face, more so than just a quick email or just ghosting you (which we can go into too, that’s a rampant problem, I know). But as much as you can get to know people in person and they can see your inflections and your facial expressions and stuff like that, that really helps build rapport very quickly.

Christa: Yeah, let’s do go into ghosting. So how big of a problem is that and what should job hunters do about it?

Pete: It’s one of those things where I don’t think it’s just gonna stop. I think we would almost need a giant cultural shift for that to happen. I think there’s almost like a lack of accountability now with how inundated we are with social media and our whole lives being online. We just don’t have that personal connection to people anymore.

And so I think it’s a societal thing that we’re not going to solve, honestly. And if we do, it’ll be decades in the future. So, all of that to say, I don’t think it’s hopeless. I think the number one thing people can do, because ghosting is going to happen, I mean, it’s unfortunate, but you’d just have to kind of understand that it’s going to happen and try and look for ways around it.

Best ways I found, for instance, for job seekers to get around it, is don’t stick to only going through traditional channels when you’re applying to positions. So don’t just go apply to 200 positions and say, “I got a 1% or 0.5% response rate, I’m giving up”. I see a lot of folks falling into that trap.

It’s better to try and skip ahead of the recruiters or HR people as best you can and go directly to the decision makers that know what they’re looking for, that understand your background and understand how you’re passionate, and how you have your home lab and stuff like that. Recruiters may not always get that. So anything you can do to skip ahead.

And that’s, again, where LinkedIn comes in, or go into these industry meetup groups and stuff like that. Super important so people get to know you, that they can actually make decisions and get you in the door.

Ultimately, I think it’s going to continue to happen. It’s really bad. And I think I can explain, I think, why a lot of it happens. So if somebody posts a job, be it a HR recruiter or whoever they may, post a job and they’ll probably get 500 applicants. Recruiters as a group are not incentivized to get back to people. There’s no metrics around, “okay, so if you get back to 500 people, then we’ll give you a bonus”.

So recruiters are usually incentivized to make placements and that’s all, and they’re constantly tracked on metrics and it’s super stressful, and they may have to make 50 outbound dials a day, for instance. And so they’re tracked on all these different metrics, but getting back to people is not one of those metrics.

So it’s a problem with the way the system is set up. And that’s why I don’t think it’s gonna go away anytime soon. And then, like I said, the societal issue, so it’s going to continue to happen. The best thing you can do is just be as positive as you possibly can, to a fault. I see a lot of folks get very negative on LinkedIn and I cannot stress enough how much that works against you.

It’s super important, because everybody can see every comment or every share, every single thing you’ve done. You have to stay super positive. Hiring managers at the end of the day, they want to hire positive people. If they see somebody as negative or a potential toxic element to their team, they’re not going to hire you, even if that’s not true and you’re just having a bad day, that’s why it’s super important to be positive.

So, stick with it. It’s a numbers game. It really is. I always say that about recruiting as well. You know, I may reach out to 200 people to get one person hired. A lot of people don’t realize the true scale that it takes to do recruiting and how much effort is involved.

Same thing with job seeking. There’s a chance that you just haven’t done enough work, as much as that sucks to hear. You may just need to make more contacts, meet more people, it might just take more. But there’s ways to work smarter and not harder.

And like I said, going on LinkedIn and finding hiring managers directly, that’s a great way to work smarter, not harder. If there’s a position, for instance, it’s one click apply. It’s very easy to apply to, but that means more people are applying to it. So you have more competition and you’re less likely to be seen even if it’s easier to apply to. So there’s a trade off there. But all about networking in person, I’d say, and trying to skip to the front of the line.

Christa: Okay. Then it strikes me that (and again, I’m drawing a little bit on personal experience) that that could be challenging for people who have been let go from jobs for whatever reason. Whether it was pandemic layoffs, or some other reason. I mean, if your self-image is tanking, then staying positive and going out and networking and feeling like you’re worth networking can be challenging. What kind of advice do you have for people in that position?

Pete: Well, yeah, that’s tough. And I’ve been there myself, actually. So I graduated college in 2008 in December when the market had crashed, and I couldn’t find any jobs and I was depressed and I didn’t know what to do.

Ultimately you just have to keep striving and eventually something’s going to happen. You have to know that in your heart. Even if you’re barely getting out of bed in the morning, you just have to keep doing it. It certainly takes some discipline. I would say that the more you smile, the more you actually feel, your body releases feel good chemicals when you smile. So try just, you know, smiling.

Talk to your support system, talk to the folks that you love, go outside: that’s a big one. I know when I’m feeling especially stressed about work and things that I can’t control, it helps just to go out in nature and just decompress a little bit. Split up your day with hobbies. If you’re, if you’re in a really dark head space, go do something else. There’s no point in stewing on it, you know?

So I would say break the experience loop and try to do something else and come back to it. Maybe just go to sleep. I mean, sometimes, you have a bad day just go to sleep, you wake up feeling a lot better. So I would say do that kind of thing and really lean on your support system.

Christa: So again, I’m coming back to… it’s the new year, people are looking to make all of these different kinds of changes that we’ve been talking about. What are the trends that you see coming, that in a concrete way the listeners can either look out for, take advantage of, or just in some way be prepared for?

Pete: As a recruiter, who’s kind of a one-man shop, my experience is pretty anecdotal. I’ll see a small cross section of the jobs in the market, for instance. And I tend to work with a similar type of client across the board. But I would say in general, I have noticed that remote work has definitely gone up. I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way. So I would definitely take advantage while you can.

If you’ve ever thought about looking for a job, there’s literally never been a better time. I’ve seen salaries shoot through the roof in the last 6 to 12 months. People are getting four or five offers at a time. People are getting counteroffers, like I’ve never seen, just to hang on to people. It’s really a wild time as a recruiter. I’ve never seen anything like it.

New year, new you: consider making a move, I would say. For every person that I talked to, it seems like most people aren’t actively looking. Just because I know you guys are super in demand, but you never know what better situation could be out there truly until you explore some of those options.

I talk to a lot of people with the same pain points. It’s kind of funny, there seem to be certain things that really bother a lot of folks. I hear a lot of concerns about work-life balance, about lack of remote work, about too much travel. That’s another one, but fortunately I think the pandemic has squashed that a little bit.

I have noticed that as kind of a trend, is that travel has gone down across the board. More companies are open to remote work or enabling that across the board. Salaries have gone up a lot, benefits have gone up a lot. Anything in a market like this, where it’s so short on candidates, it drives a lot of positive changes for the people that would be candidates. So yeah, a great time to be looking, just in general.

Christa: Good to know. Well, Pete, thank you again for joining us on the Forensic Focus Podcast.

Pete: Thanks for having me.

Christa: Thanks also to our listeners. You’ll be able to find this recording and transcription along with more articles, information and forums at Stay safe and well.

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