Speaking with candidates over the last few weeks from New York to Tokyo, I've noticed that some folks are wondering how to make the most of their job search in the challenging economic climate.
Whether you are motivated by an imminent layoff, recent unemployment, or other reasons entirely, it can be more frustrating than usual to get traction in the job market.
The important thing to remember is that the COVID-19 virus is an event, and events have a beginning and an end. Employers will need hands to cover increased production and logistics demand (see: https://techcrunch.com/2020/03/16/amazon-is-looking-to-hire-100000-employees-to-keep-up-with-demand/) while Small to Medium Enterprise ("SME") organizations may be suffering from recent resignations and require interim support to support critical operations or file timely financial and regulatory reports.
In these times, recruiters can be helpful as facilitators of applications to their clients. Perhaps more importantly, recruiters can be a conduit for information and support, by providing you with timely updates on what is happening in the job market.
Here I'll share tips to maximize your relationship with your recruiter to find a role in the current situation:
The Job Search Mindset, How to Prepare
Patience is a virtue. A side-effect of remote working is that internal conversations (e.g. reviewing an application, checking everyone's schedule for an interview, and getting approval on an offer, etc.) can't be handled by popping into a colleague's office.
Everyone shares the same concern for the safety and well-being of their families during this time, so remaining pleasant and responsive is the best way to collaborate with your agent.
If you're not forced into a job search through a lay off or unemployment, then speak with your family first about making a move. Open communication with those most affected by your move is the best way to avoid being in a situation where you have to choose between your family's wishes and accepting an offer.
Conducting a job search is a full-time job. The more input that goes into your funnel, the more output comes out the other end. You'll need to apply to more roles to get an interview, and have more interviews to get an offer. Video interview count, so be set up to take a call on your PC or mobile device.
At a minimum you should have a spreadsheet to organize this information that covers: Companies and roles applied to, whom you have met or will meet, who owns the next step in the process, will the interview be in-person or by video (if video, which platform).
Video interviews are fast becoming the only interviews companies are willing to host. So what do you do if your laptop doesn't have a microphone or camera built-in? Use your smartphone in lieu of a computer. Most video conferencing software have mobile apps that can be downloaded for free.
With that said, please test your mobile phone setup prior to the interview time to ensure all the bugs are worked out before you speak with the potential employer.
Keeping Up with the Market
Speak with your recruiter to understand how often they are in touch with the hiring manager or when the last person interviewed. Don't be afraid to ask whether or not the employer has budget and headcount, is ready to make an offer, or how long an offer would take to produce.
Information is power and these details will help you manage your own expectations and know where to focus your attention.
Listen for comments like, "I'm still waiting to hear from home office/HR/other third parties…". These statements could be yellow flags that hiring is about to be frozen – manage your expectations that an offer will materialize.
With current market conditions it is important to be alert to changing expectations; ask about turnaround times (e.g. three days) to receive confirmations and replies.
If there are significant delays or changes, this may be an indication of a potential problem in hiring.
Most jobs recruiters work on are either posted online by the recruiter, or by the potential employer. Pay careful attention to the date the job was originally posted. Approach jobs posted more than 30 days past with extreme caution. Instead, focus your time on new and recent postings.
Recruiters are already seeing the coronavirus impact potential start dates. Remaining patient, flexible and open to alternative solutions is a strong approach to giving your recruiter the options they need to find you a solution.
If you interview for a permanent role and the employer counters with a proposal for a temporary arrangement, ask questions to better understand their reasoning and give the offer serious consideration. A little known fact to most is that temporary roles often do not require an open headcount to fill.
Employers often use a temporary hire as a workaround when the company has put a hold, or freeze, on permanent hires.
All of the above should not be taken to mean that we ignore potential employers or recruiters if they are not hiring or flush with open jobs. Regular updates with your recruiter will help you understand when it's best to return to the market if getting a job with the best match fit is your top priority. Regular, courteous interaction, will also help these relationships flourish in ways that regular circumstances rarely allow.
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