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 Countless staff have been made redundant, millions of employees furloughed, while others have had job offers rescinded or been forced to take pay cuts creating previously unseen turmoil across Nations and Industries as businesses battle for survival.
For the job seeker this had a brutal impact on their proposed plans and forced them into both re-evaluation and contemplation of their next potential move and for many to continue unabated in their search for work out of economic necessity.
Overnight the pandemic has turned the market from an Employee’s market to an Employer’s job market.
But what does this mean?
Well for Job seekers it means a change of tact and a need to be more assertive and creative in finding ways to help them stand out from the crowd and to avoid being lost in the stampede as redundancies bite.
What strategies should I adopt?
We have identified 8 Key Strategies
- Have a Targeted Strategy
- Refine Your Normal Approach
- Perfect Your Video Interview Skills
- Have Realistic Salary Expectations
- Be Empathetic
- Be Adaptable and Flexible
- Be Patient
- Remember ...Now is the Time
1. Have a Targeted Strategy
A positive mindset and resilience embodied in a targeted approach is essential and we would recommend Job Seekers approach their search from a perspective of quality as opposed to quantity even though your personal situation at this time make dictate a level of urgency .
You may be eager to quickly get your career back on track after any setback caused by the current pandemic, but don’t be applying to every role.
We recommend setting yourself weekly goals, focusing on clear goals, as opposed to measuring success by how others respond,such as 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 what you can control not what you can’t!
Focus on the exact type of location, sector, organization, function, role, and salary you would “ideally” find acceptable before job searching so you can objectively evaluate opportunities against these criteria, although as we discuss later you may need to add an element of flexibility to your search
Remember that more competition now exists for each available role so try and be even more selective and personal when you approach recruiters and hiring managers about opportunities and 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 prevalent throughout the UK.
What does this mean for your Job search?
Well, with social distancing and many organisations unable to do face-to face interviews, candidates 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”
So what I can do?
Successful candidates need to proactively think beyond the usual CV as the first initial contact, getting around social distancing and unmanned corporate reception switchboards by producing short videos , no longer than 2 minutes ,of themselves about who they are , their skill set and career history and what they are looking for. Different? Yes, completely but helping them stand out from the crowd and getting noticed, first by the recruiter and then hopefully and more likely by the recruiting organisation.
Pre-Pandemic recruiters used to receiving hundreds of CV’s each day but are now encouraging 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 hiring process currently being adopted is virtual in 99% of cases.
This means 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 , which we would encourage you to read and then 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, more than likely brings with it an end to salary inflation and potentially even pay decreases being the norm as individuals move roles.
Although of course there’s nothing wrong with aiming high, pushing for a higher salary package during a global pandemic preceeding what is predicted to be a deep recession 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 impact the pandemic has had on an organisation and their people is one way you can demonstrate you’re fully aware and understanding of the exceptional circumstances 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
We outlined the importance of adaptability and flexibility in a recent post you can read here.
As mentioned in Section 4 with Salaries 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 to Job seekers to be Flexible in terms of locations, hours, salaries and whether it be a permanent, temporary or contract role if the opportunity is likely to see them develop their skill set and experience within an organisation where they see future potential to progress in the fullness of time.
7. Be Patient
Whilst your own personal circumstances may dictate a wish for a speedy and positive conclusion searches, try to avoid following up multiple times in quick succession. Being able to balance your interest, desire and pro-activity with a little patience makes a better overall impression at a time when recruiters and hiring organisations may take more time to respond.
Candidates should also remember that companies are making enormous organizational pivots to remote and virtual hiring processes now which by their nature wont be as smooth as their previous processes were.
8. Remember ….Now Is the Time
While we appreciate you may be understandably hesitant to apply for a new role in the middle of a pandemic, there are still opportunities out there and good ones at that, often within resilient industry sectors and leading Companies, better equipped to weather “the storm.” Also 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 you well placed in your future success should you be successful in being hired.
How 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 27 years so have a range of techniques, ideas and platforms which could help you.
These are unprecedented times. The pandemic has created challenges for us all, not only in our personal lives but also our professional lives and if we can help you in any way ... we will.