The Pandemic has seriously disrupted the job market on a global scale. Countless staff have been made redundant, millions of employees furloughed, while others have had job offers rescinded or been forced to take pay cuts, creating previously unseen turmoil as businesses battle for survival.

For the job seeker this had a brutal impact on proposed plans and forced them into both re-evaluation and contemplation of their next potential move.  

Overnight the pandemic has turned the market from an employee’s market to an employer’s job market.

But what does this mean?

For job seekers it means a change of tact and a need to be more assertive and creative in finding ways to stand out from the crowd and avoid being lost in the stampede as redundancies bite.

What strategies should job seekers adopt?

Here are 8 top tips that we think are vital in these new circumstances. 


1. Have a Targeted Strategy

Having a positive mindset and resilience within a targeted approach is essential. We would recommend approaching a search from the perspective of quality as opposed to quantity, even though your personal situation at this time may dictate a level of urgency .You may be eager to quickly get your career back on track after setbacks from the pandemic, but don’t be applying to every role.

We recommend setting yourself weekly goals, focusing on them on being clear, as opposed to measuring success on, for example, the number of job interviews you get. This will help you stay focused and keep you moving forward.

Secondly, limit your time on online job boards where research shows, in reality, that only a tiny fraction of jobs are found online. Use the bulk of your dedicated time networking with recruiters, researching, looking for referrals into jobs.

Focus on the type of location, sector, organization, function, role, and salary you would “ideally” find acceptable before job searching, so that you can objectively evaluate opportunities against these criteria, whilst being flexible to a certain extent. 

Remember that more competition now exists for each available role, so try and be even more personal when you approach recruiters and hiring managers about opportunities. Invest time in a customised and fully researched approach on the company and how it is dealing with the crisis.


2. Refine Your Normal Approach

As we all know the world of work has changed rapidly in the last 8 weeks with the working from home culture becoming more prevalent throughout the UK.

What does this mean for your job search?

Well, with social distancing and many organisations being unable to do face-to face interviews, candidates who are stuck in their old ways of simply sending a CV and cover letter or making a phone call may not be “seen through the trees”

Successful candidates need to proactively think beyond the usual CV as the first initial contact. For example, getting around social distancing and unmanned corporate reception switchboards by producing short videos of themselves about who they are, their skillset, career history and what they are looking for. Different? Yes, completely. But invaluable for standing out from the crowd and getting noticed, first by the recruiter and then hopefully by the recruiting organisation.

Pre-pandemic recruiters are used to receiving hundreds of CV’s each day, but now encourage candidates to find more engaging ways to reach out, such as this.


3. Perfect Your Video Interview Skills

As a result of the pandemic, the current hiring process is virtual in 99% of cases, with these predominantly being video interviews. 

Although we all appreciate the inherent difficulties faced with making a positive impression, the need to adapt is essential if you are going to progress within the process.

There are countless 'How to Prepare for Video Interview' blogs, here's one of ours for you to read. We recommend that you practise, practise and practise again, every stage of the process, from introductions to setting up the equipment and finding the best backdrop. Even practise in real time with another family member or friend in a different household and get them to ask you dummy questions and record your responses.

Here's a link to a Youtube Video on the subject as well.



It’s critical you can convey both your message as well as articulate your capabilities, enthusiasm and suitability to the role.


4. Have Realistic Salary Expectations

The change from a candidate driven market to an employer driven market is more than likely accompanied by  an end to salary inflation, and potentially even pay decreases as individuals move roles.

Although of course there’s nothing wrong with aiming high and pushing for a higher salary package during a global pandemic, however with what is predicted to be a deep recession, this may seem a bit naive to recruiters and hiring managers currently.

Certainly understand your worth and what you can bring but be aware of the period we are in and that companies are under extreme pressure to reduce costs, with existing staff on furlough or taking pay cuts in many instances as they target surviving before thriving again.


5. Be Empathetic

The importance of using your Emotional Intelligence to understand the widescale personal and professional suffering of individuals and the devastation caused to businesses is vital during the pandemic.

Every organisation will have their own story about how they have been impacted and it is important to be both mindful and respectful of the widescale disruption at this time.

Being sensitive to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on organisations is one way that you can demonstrate that you’re full aware and understand the exceptional circumstances that we’re currently facing.

To find out more about your own Emotional Intelligence and how to improve it, you may like this article we wrote recently.

So, attempting to secure your next role in these circumstances is a delicate balance. Figuring out which compromises you should and should not make, especially during challenging times, is complicated so don't act with haste. 


6. Be Adaptable and Flexible

As mentioned in Section 4, one of the biggest mistakes that can be made at the moment by job seekers is failing to appreciate the extent to which the business landscape has changed and failing to be flexible on elements of the package or role. Inevitably this could prove short-sighted and is unlikely to lead to your search being successful.

We are suggesting that job seekers be flexible, in terms of locations, hours, salaries and whether it be a permanent, temporary or contract role. 


7. Be Patient

Whilst your own personal circumstances may dictate a wish for a speedy and positive search, try to avoid following up multiple times in quick succession. Being able to balance your interest, desire and pro-activity with a little patience creates a better overall impression at a time when recruiters and hiring organisations may take more time to respond.

Candidates should remember that companies are currently making enormous organizational pivots to remote and virtual hiring processes, which by their nature wont be as smooth as their previous processes were.


8. Remember …. Now Is the Time

While we appreciate that you may be hesitant to apply for a new role in the middle of a pandemic, there are still very good opportunities out there, often within resilient industry sectors and leading companies, which are better equipped to weather “the storm.” Don’t forget that a successful job search can take several months , so why not get the ball rolling sooner rather than later.

Back yourself to make the difference now to your future employer and demonstrate how prepared, focused, and resilient you are in the face of adversity. Demonstrating this at interview and on the job will lead to you being well placed in your future success.


Can We Help You?

Hopefully, we can with our market knowledge even if its simply pointing you in a different direction.

We have placed and filled over 100,000 temp and permanent assignments over the last 30 years so have a range of techniques, ideas and platforms which could help you.

Why not call us on 0113 367 2880 to have a conversation with one of our team. Alternatively drop us an email here or check out our Testimonials and Case Studies.


About the Author: Mark Woffenden

Mark Woffenden is a Director at Lucy Walker Recruitment and has an extensive knowledge of the issues and workings of the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Commercial markets developed over the last 20 years in the Industry

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