In the March 17, 2020 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter we talk about how everyone’s doing in the time of corona crisis and stock market meltdown.
Nick, what are you hearing from your readers about the effects of the coronavirus and the stock market meltdown? There’s a lot in the news about companies suspending business, schools closing, curfews and people self-quarantining and working from home. (Working from home is going to be interesting since many companies have never been able to accommodate it!) But how is all this affecting jobs, job hunting and hiring, and how bad is it going to get?
I can address this only anecdotally because I don’t have a lot of input yet from readers. I expect we’re going to hear a wide range of unexpected stories, and of course I have no idea how bad it will get.
Here are three personal accounts people have shared with me, in the order I received them. This is of course no indication of what you may experience, but I find it interesting that on the one hand employers are producing good job offers in the middle of the crisis, while on the other hand employers aren’t even telling workers whether they still have a job. On the third hand — it does feel like there are more hands in this than we’d imagine — employers are instituting hiring freezes.
Reader 1 says over the weekend she received a job offer for a senior management position that she’s “happy with” for $150,000 plus bonus, company stock and a good healthcare and retirement package. The interviews took a couple of weeks. She has submitted a few questions that she needs answers to before she accepts.
Reader 2 works for a 400-person professional office in one of the major U.S. cities that have been hit by the coronavirus. She commutes from outside the city and is reluctant to take public transportation to work. As of Sunday night, management has not yet informed employees whether they must report to work or whether they can work from home. She has no idea whether she still has a job and wonders whether she should leave a voicemail for her boss saying she’s not coming into the office on Monday.
Reader 3 has been unemployed for almost a year and is about to enter negotiations for a $95,000 position with a company he’s excited about working for. He has two concerns. First, he’s worried he may have to take a drug test — because he’s been using marijuana to alleviate arthritis pain — but doesn’t know whether he’ll be tested immediately or in a month. Second, he suspects the job may be withdrawn because the coronavirus “has business and investors all cowering.”
All three want to know how I think the corona crisis could affect their respective situations. The best advice I can offer them is: Make no assumptions and wait for the employer to take the next step.
(By the time I finished this column, Reader 3 notified me that the company put in a hiring freeze and went with an internal candidate “because he knows the material.”)
The worst thing to do during this crisis is make assumptions based on what “seems” to be happening in the world. The crisis will quickly separate well-managed companies from poorly managed ones — and responsive companies from indolent ones.
Please consider that you may not know what kind of company you’re dealing with until the pressure of the crisis actually hits it. I’ve seen seemingly inept companies and managers rise to the occasion and blow away all expectations, just as I’ve seen experienced ones crumble.
I think everyone’s best bet is to pause. Stay calm and learn all you can while watching closely before you act.
I don’t know, but you do
I’m not a good person to ask about the myriad impacts and effects of the coronavirus and stock market crisis. I expect things to get worse before they get better — but that’s not telling you anything.
In fact, I hesitate to tell you anything. I’d prefer that members of this community tell one another what they’re experiencing and what they see, and also offer suggestions to help one another deal with the great variety of problems and challenges we will face in the coming weeks and months.
Corona Crisis Questions
I’ve got a hundred questions but will leave it at this short list — and ask you not only to share any answers you may have, but to add more questions you’d like answers and insights about so we can all pile on to discuss.
- Are employers still hiring?
- Are you still working — at your company or at home? (Assuming you were not unemployed when this started.)
- Has anyone lost their job?
- Are employers requiring workers to take unpaid time off?
- Are employers still interviewing and, if so, how?
- If you’re job hunting, will you continue? How?
- Has anyone received a job offer, accepted or started a new job in the past week?
- Have any companies shut down their operations temporarily?
- Have any companies gone out of business entirely?
- What are companies and managers expecting of their employees?
- Does your employer have a real disaster plan? What is it?
- Have you (or someone you know) been diagnosed with coronavirus?
How are you doing?
How you’re all doing matters more to me than knowing exactly what’s happening. I hope you’ll come back to this discussion again and again in the weeks (and months?) to come, to share how how you’re doing is changing, hopefully for the better.
Please share your experiences, questions, concerns, answers, insights, fears, hopes, advice — and lend your ears to one another. This is a big topic because it’s a big crisis. Feel free to vent; there are shoulders here to cry on. Best of all, there are friends that care about one another — and you can get as close as you like while staying back six feet.
All I ask is that we don’t turn this into a political debate or engage in rants about who’s responsible for the crisis and who needs to fix it — please use Facebook for that. Our goal here is to help one another through a very tough, unpredictable time. Our goal is to be with friends who care how you’re doing.
Love and best wishes to you all.