There is a lot of Coronavirus information coming at us in a very short amount of time. Some is accurate, some is not. A lot of it is sensationalized. Take, for example, a news story I saw last week in which the reporter actually provided some very good information, but then finished his story with a picture of himself in a full-blown HAZMAT suit with helmet and full-face shield. That type of scare tactic really helps no one. In fact, it hurts. If you are looking for accurate information, go to Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization.
We do know the current environment is changing hour by hour. Just one week ago, as I write this, we had March Madness starting, hockey and basketball playoffs just around the corner and baseball opening day in two weeks. Most college students were on Spring break and soon returning to school. A week later, the landscape has changed and with it comes uncertainty, fear, anxiety and a general feeling of “what is next?” If you are in the middle of a job search, what does this mean for you?
The job market, like everything else, is changing rapidly in light of Coronavirus. What we are seeing today in mid-March may not be the same in April. Understanding what is happening may help. Here are some things to be aware of:
1. Do not assume the job market is “on hold.”
Some reports I have read lead me to suspect that companies that committed to hiring for a position may have decided to “pull the trigger” instead of continuing the interview process, which can involve making candidates travel. If you are in the middle stages of the interview process, things may move faster over the next couple of weeks. In fact, doubling down on your efforts is probably more critical now. You should always be planting seeds that will bear fruit later. According to the President of SHRM, “This too shall pass. There will be an end to this. If you take yourself out of the process, someone else may take that job you might have gotten.”
2. Face-to-face interviews are being cancelled in favor of video interviews.
Soon, I will publish another blog post offering tips for video interviews. For now, do your research on how to perform in a video interview.
3. Corporate travel has halted.
The positive side of this is that executives who make hiring decisions are now either in the office or working remotely from home. It should now be easier for “teams” of people to get together and make decisions since fewer people are traveling.
4. The same principles that were effective a month ago still apply today.
Network (perhaps virtually for the time being), expand your social capital, build relationships, grow your expertise, help others, apply for jobs, talk to recruiters.
5. Maintain the “glass is half full” mindset.
Obviously, there are going to be industries which will be negatively impacted by this. Travel, hospitality and entertainment are big ones that immediately come to mind. However, in keeping with “the glass is half full” mindset, there are many industries that may do well in these changing and uncertain times. Healthcare is obvious. Look downstream in the supply chain and you will find many companies or industries that could thrive. Consider the changes in lifestyle this is having on our society. Observe the trends around us and look to those services and industries as markets that will be desperate for talent to help fill the void. Look at this list of companies and industries and think about how you may be able to uncover and tap into opportunities.
6. Don’t assume that we will soon enter a buyer’s market for talent.
External hiring for top talent is about to get much harder. In environments characterized by extreme uncertainty and risk, high performers in stable roles often become unwilling to risk a transition, even when unsatisfied with their current situation. Many forecasters believe that we are heading toward a buyer’s market for talent. We are not. The message here is keep your head up and keep plugging away. Companies still need to hire. Do not assume all the job opportunities are going away.
Times are changing quickly. Disruption can have both positive and negative effects. The job market is no exception. Make no mistake, this is not the time to “pause” in your search. Double down, repackage yourself, go to where the opportunities are and, above all else, remain positive.
If you are looking for help, have questions or want information on what is happening, feel free to contact me.
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