SPECIAL EDITION

In the April 28, 2020 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter we take a look at some unusual insights about the job market in the time of coronavirus.

The new job market will be complicated

job marketLast week I published “COVID-19: Does it kill jobs?” in the News I want you to use feature. My short column pointed to an article by Lani Rosales in The American Genius, an entrepreneur’s publication.

Rosales offers great advice I think you can use in the new, post-coronavirus-crisis job market, from a perspective we’re not accustomed to. She also offers surprisingly hum-drum guidance that I believe is counterproductive in the new job market. There are so many good suggestions in her column that deserve explication — and so do the not-so-good ones. I think taking a critical look at both reveals a complicated job market in the COVID-19 economy.

I’d love to know what the rest of our community thinks.

Excellent takeaways

These are the excellent takeaways that I find in Rosales’s article.

In this time where an entire workforce has been sent home to work, some folks are going to shine as they are reliable, communicative, and think creatively. Unfortunately, others are going to struggle and sink.

If you’re still employed, you need to assess your value to the business honestly. I’ve talked with people in the past month who were convinced they were going to get laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis (panic is natural), only to find they were among the few most valued workers their employers wanted to keep.

I think Rosales’s point is, if cuts haven’t happened at your company yet, don’t start believing you’re dispensable. Now is the time to show you’re necessary, and to explain to your managers why. In addition to presenting evidence of  your value, the attitude you project counts for a lot, too. Merely showing that you want to discuss your role in the company reveals the right attitude. It could save your job.

Sinkers open up critical spots on the team that need to be filled to keep operations moving. That could be a spot free[d] up for you! Further, employers are reconsidering their roster right now. They may be trimming some figurative fat.

Rosales is making a somewhat disconcerting suggestion: Look for opportunities that result when other workers get trimmed. They’re definitely out there.

It’s hard for some to believe: Just because a business is laying people off doesn’t mean it’s not also hiring. It may seem heartless to try and get a job someone else just got fired from. But business goes on. Don’t assume that when someone gets fired the job is eliminated. Look closer. Reach out to insiders. That job may get re-filled, and it may be yours next.

Additionally, companies are looking at their future hiring needs for “when this all ends,” and we’re being told that many companies are currently hiring for the summer, which sounds far away, but is about as long as the hiring process often takes anyhow.

Anyone who gets too maudlin about the downturn forgets there will be an upturn. Rosales correctly cautions that you just cannot afford to do that. When the upturn comes, you must have been preparing for it starting now. You’re not going to get a job in three or six months if you wait for the upturn to start looking. The time to identify fundamentally sound companies is now. The time to reach out to your contacts for introductions to these companies is now.

Complicated reality

So should you even bother applying for jobs right now? The answer is: Yes, absolutely, but you’re going to have to change your approach.

I agree with Rosales that people are so attached to the way they normally search for a job, they’re likely to miss the boat. But I disagree with the next part of her advice. The new reality will be more complicated.

Getting a job will not be about buying a new resume, or about hiring a coach to kick you in the butt everyday for thousands of dollars in fees each month, or about keywords, or online applications, or knowing how to get past the applicant tracking systems (ATSes).

Getting a job is about what it’s always been about — except I think even more so now. It is estimated that 40-70% of jobs are found and filled through personal contacts. I think that’s going to change — it’s going to be a lot higher.

As we shift from the new reality of 20% (possibly higher) unemployment to an upturn in hiring, the online fire hose of job applicants will flood HR departments with the pressure of millions more applicants. I believe that the best managers will accelerate hiring by doing their own recruiting.

Recruiting will be more personal

For all her excellent advice, I think Rosales is wrong when she falls back on discredited methods. I think managers are likely to reject HR’s shot gunning the online resume databases. Besides, do you really want to compete with an extra 26 million unemployed people looking for work on Indeed and LinkedIn? Nobody in any HR department — and no algorithm — can filter that fire hose for the best hires.

Recruiting and hiring will get more personal, mainly because the best, most valuable job candidates will not tolerate the rude, dismissive, “scrub ’em up and get ’em ready” style of HR that’s dominated the employment system.

Managers will turn even more to their trusted personal contacts for candidate referrals. They will know that every hire will count because budgets will be tight and hiring mistakes will be costly. I think managers will work harder to attract and hire the best candidates. As a job seeker, knowing how to tap those insider circles will be absolutely critical.

Trying to game the databases and algorithms using Rosales’s suggestions will sink you, mainly because fewer jobs will likely be re-filled than existed two months ago.

While I’m not a big fan of video interviews, I think Rosales is correct that you need to learn how to present yourself in a video interview. Companies are not going to pay to bring candidates in from out of town, and managers will seek to use technology to speed up the process even while they try not to let technology dumb it down. Check her suggestions about this.

The best resources are human, but not HR

Rosales says:

Every application you submit should be refined for that specific employer. Before applying, read the job posting three times in a row. Then, read the company’s Career page, their About page, and see what they tweet. This will all tell you what’s important to them (plus, the keywords you’ll need to use to get past the applicant tracking system robots and into the hands of a humans are IN THE JOB LISTING, so use them).

Rosales is absolutely right about refining your approach to every employer. But studying a company’s Career and About pages, and its tweets, and researching its business in the trade and financial press is just the ante to get into the game.

The serious players will invest their efforts in figuring out the problems and challenges of the companies and departments  they want to work in. They will identify and familiarize themselves with the manager they want to work for. It’s not about reading; it’s about contacting insiders and people who do business with your target company and asking them for insight and advice. It’s about creating shared experiences that build trust. This leads to personal connections that lead to referrals to hiring managers.

With due respect to Rosales, any effort you make that involves direct contact with humans will pay off much better than diddling your keyboard.

Forget about applying for 100 jobs

I think this is Rosales’s best insight and instruction:

Take the time to get to know each company before introducing yourself, it’ll make an immediate difference. This is why you can’t really apply to 100 places in one day, it’s unrealistic and puts you at a disadvantage.

You can’t apply for hundreds of jobs because you can’t do the prep work required to show a manager how you’ll be the profitable hire at all those companies!

Being the profitable hire means preparing a mini business plan for how you’ll do each job in a way that will add to the company’s bottom line. Yup — that’s a boat-load of work! Who does that, wins the job. That’s your competition, not some keyboard pounder worried about keywords and algorithms.

Do it right: take the shortest path

In these desperate times, your only choice is to take a deep breath and approach job hunting the right way, knowing that companies are shuffling the deck right now. It won’t be in fast motion, but there’s a chair for you about to open up, and you should be pushing your hardest to be the one to fill it.

Again, this is why I shared Lani Rosales’s article with you. I agree with her that the stakes today require that you search out and win a job the right way. But the only way to be the one to fill the job is to not be like everybody else swarming the HR department through the ATS — the old way.

Don’t follow the herd into ATS oblivion. In the COVID-19 job market, get off the road. Take the shortest path to the hiring manager — through trusted contacts the manager will turn to for referrals of good people the manager can hire quickly and depend upon to do the job profitably.

How will the job market be different in the wake of COVID-19? Which of Lani Rosales’s suggestions do you think are best? Are you job hunting now? Why or why not?

: :

Share
37 Comments
  1. Well, said!! Love the positive outlook. People who have that will find it helps to find new jobs in upturn

  2. The current situation is a killer blow to those (like myself) who were unemployed before. I was competing in an already very hard labor market, and now I am going against many people who had jobs. This kills any hope I had at getting a professional job. And all the suggestions from this site and others did not work for me. This is end times.

  3. Another great column.
    I bet video interviews are going to much bigger now that people are used to working on video and as you say to save money. They seem to be the thing in Europe long before the current crisis. Plus there will be more video meetings, so screening people on how they do makes sense.
    I’ve worked in lots of post-layoff environments, and a big problem is when the bosses get rid of critical people they didn’t know were critical. It would be good for survivors of the first round to figure out these critical areas and volunteer to take them over along with their regular jobs – at least the critical parts of them. A good way of being indispensable.
    Finally, working from home is a test. Is the person working from home doing the job, or are they sleeping in and slacking off? Lots of resumes say “self-starter” – now is the time management can tell who really is and who only works if someone is looking. People are kind of interviewing for their own jobs using your “do the job” method.

    • Video interviews are great ways of de-selecting older workers or those who do not fit the picture of ‘team players’ in that particular company. I have always been anti-video, but realize that in the current circumstances video is now a must. The trick is to get past the screener on the phone without video and save the video when you get a little further down the road.

      Companies are cutting down, but clueless about what to do. The conundrum is actually finding people in the company who will talk with you, find the open job (need), and show you can do it without giving them a total workplan so that they can do it without you.

      Even if you are indispensable and considered ‘valued’, companies will find a way to make you dispensable. I’ve seen it too many times.

      I’m in this situation in my present job. My marketing director job was terminated end of January due to acquisition by a larger company, before COVID terror started. Bad combination of the acquirer desiring to cut headcount in my department and serving a small and unique business unit in the company in not quite a pure marketing job; I 3/4 expected it for months and had my search ready, which got sidelined by COVID. I got a runway of five months plus a salary continuance, overall a decent deal for separating. Not that there’s been a lot of time to slack–I’ve been working hard to sustain the unit (I already telecommute, in a unit that largely does so) because I’m a professional till my teeth hurt, I don’t let down my colleagues, and I’m getting paid for it. Because we’re in healthcare, it’s been emergency mode and the weeks in the past month have been long, just letting up now.

      So now we are two months out from the end. Only now is the unit operating VP focusing on What To Do With My Work, a lot of which has federal compliance implications. Last month, I proposed to the operating VP that they either work out a termination at end of year (which some have), kicking the can down the road, or transfer my reporting line to the operating unit, knowing that similar groups are doing the same. Complicating matters is that the unit head is seriously ill (starting before and not with COVID) and is not and will not be present for some time.

      The answer so far seems to be an effort to transfer the branding part of it to the parent company’s marketing (understandable) and lay off the 100 or so projects and areas I cover (per my inventory!) on to a group of internal comms people outside the unit–who are in a service area, and used to working with marketing managers and directors who serve it to them on a platter. Yesterday was a ‘pin drop’ call–even thought they had the project list for weeks, the ‘HOW’ was quite beyond them. How the operating VP moves forward is going to be interesting.

      • @DeeC: How about suggesting that after your runway runs out they hire you as a consultant so they can “buy” time until they decide what the permanent fix will be? This could help you in the short run and also help them realize they need to re-hire you. Lazy, inept managers usually prefer to avoid making permanent decisions so they love band-aids. You might be able to use this to your advantage.

        “The trick is to get past the screener”

        I think the trick is to avoid the screener!

        • In reverse order: have found that even if you know someone there, you get processed through HR even in a small company because it’s always CYA.

          I doubt they’d take me on as a LLC consultant in this company because of the additional hoops they’d have to jump through and to ensure that I’d have access. Consultants are also being dumped. But I can always suggest.

      • At least you can turn the camera off. “Oh my webcam is broken. I am waiting to get a new one but as you know covid is slowing non essenti5 purchases”

        Try turning the video off in person.

        • I tried that. They had me use my phone. :-( And that was even worse because I looked a whole lot better from a big screen.

  4. This working from home concept may be effective for bean counters, government workers, educators, and computer jockeys, but for tradesmen or workers in manufacturing and construction, or any other more labor intensive industry for that matter, it doesn’t work! And how many of those who work from home are actually “working”? I’ve had more than one business related phone call in my day job from “shelter-in-place” white collar types that are rolling out of the rack at noon, pajama blogging, calling me from the grocery store, calling me from the drive through at Starbucks, watching Netflix, or doing housework (running vacuum cleaner, washing dishes, doing laundry). This isn’t done under wraps either.
    Whether with COVID-19, or any other time, few employers are concerned about ROI with hires, it’s get over the hump, then dump!
    I have a friend who’s 64 and was laid off from his job two weeks ago due to the COVID-19. He’s listed the last 15 years of employment, removed his M.B.A., and has dumbed down his resume significantly. He’s asking for wages @ 60% less than his previous job (he needs insurance until he can go onto Medicare at age 65). He’s had two phone interviews that went nowhere, and will have an actual face-face interview later this week with a third perspective employer (all through networking contacts). Employers are asking for the graduation year for his undergraduate degree. As if ageism can’t be anymore blatant. He’s now considering dropping his undergraduate degree (which has nothing to do with the types of industries he’s applying for) off his resume.

    • Your friend is doing exactly the wrong thing. For starters, he should be reading Nick’s website.

      He’s only started to look (two weeks is nothing) and is acting terrified. I’m gathering he’s light on the savings and resources. But job search is not for the faint of heart. Why after only 2 weeks is he looking at jobs 60% less than what he made, unless he was wildly overpaid?

      DON’T delete the MBA unless it’s totally irrelevant. DON’T give the year for degrees–it’s illegal. If he has to complete a computer form (bad), put in BS years. As to years on the resume, trim those out–go back 10 years and then summarize the rest as ‘Previous Experience of Interest’. List by company and title with NO year.

      I went through that at 50 after 9/11 (no MBA to drop) and my years of experience in advertising and marketing in the travel industry (ha ha) worked against me big time, even in the travel industry (hotel marketing folks are the worst snobs). I got by on consulting and contracts for six years, then after 2008 to 2014. Insurance? I know COBRA is expensive but that can cover him before Medicare. I had YEARS of paying for my own insurance.

      If he needs $ right away, I know the big box stores and supermarkets are hiring. If he can physically manage it, he can try that.

      Your friend needs a drink and a lot of deep breaths.

      • Antonio, I’ve also had a few laughs on my counterparts in the headquarters marketing department who had to get set up to work at home. The department spent an hour on a Zoom call for everyone to show off their videos and pictures of getting set up. Dogs and kids. Working from the sofa. Not what I’d call serious people. Thank God my mic was muted.

        As a consultant and also part time in my position prior to this, I worked from home, so had this drill down pat. I’ve been working FT telecommute in this position for 18 months, use Skype, Webex, etc. My comfortable headset is podcast quality. In a living room corner about 6′ x 8′ are squeezed two computer setups (work and personal), two printers, a wireless keyboard for two mobile phones, supplies, files, and a petite office chair. Most of my colleagues in my unit are not office based either. We work 8 or 8:30 am to well past 5pm, take a break, and work some more. Weekends too. In other words, we are professional remote workers. And yes, over lunch, I might do my wash.

      • “DON’T give the year for degrees–it’s illegal. If he has to complete a computer form (bad), put in BS years.”

        Illegal? That has not been a deterrent for a long time now. Good luck with a lawsuit. As I factually mentioned in my reply to Zoli, blatant age discrimination was rampant during the Great Recession and has returned. WAY too many unemployed Millennials out there now. Within a week of the COVID-19 shutdown start, MILLIONS were unemployed – flooding the streets and creating an instant employers market.

        As far as computer forms – you can’t avoid them in many cases. Too many companies have gotten away with getting an applicants age via multiple illegal avenues and NEVER get sued, much less lose a court battle.

        Zoli’s friend has every valid reason to be concerned. We’ve all seen this movie play out before and it’s a LONG hard road for “older” applicants now matter how great their attitude is.

    • “As if ageism can’t be anymore blatant.”

      Correct. As usual Zoli, you’re right on target.

      I’ve seen plenty of online “behavioral assessments” that companies use third-parties to administer that, on the first page, ask for age and other illegal questions. Worse yet, the companies state right of the bat that refusal to take the 20min + “assessment” is instant cause to ignore the applicant. They simply don’t even care to look at any resume anymore.

      Who remembers how blatant ageism became during the Great Recession?!?

      It’s gonna get worse now that MILLIONS more younger workers have been instantly dumped on the unemployment market AND a recession is clearly gaining steam.

      • Make a note/screenshot and write that state’s DOL. Then write the company president and general counsel/chief legal officer (suss out his or her email) and tell him you’re reporting it. Or just move on.

        • “Or just move on.”

          Unfortunately, that is usually the best option since it is WAY too easy for companies to avoid any legal consequences.

          The average “older” American does NOT have the fortitude, time, or energy to waste time litigating while they have NO job. Didn’t Nick have an article on this a few years ago wherein the premise was simple – what do you think your time is best utilized doing, suing or searching (full time job in and of itself) for work?

          Lip service (report them!; sue them!) is easy. Following through with an actual lawsuit is extremely draining and usually an empty “victory” – even IF you win.

          If companies were losing their collective rear-ends in court AND paying out large age discrimination awards we wouldn’t be seeing such blatant ageism.

          Get over the righteous (social justice warrior) chest pounding and move on…

          • Chris S., there’s no need to flame me three times on the same point.

            As noted above, I’ve been there and done that. Asking for that information is a sure sign of jerkdom, as in ‘never work for jerks’. But sometimes you have to. I never mentioned suing, just if you have the time send a nastygram to management and the DOL. But note I said it’s best to move on. Or go along with it and see what you get. Again, Nick’s advice is the best.

            • “Again, Nick’s advice is the best”. In some cases, if you’re a bean counter, consultant (whatever that is), or computer jockey, I’ll concede this. But in my friend’s case, or what could easily again be my case, or many many others out there like us; males in manufacturing or manufacturing parallel industries, now in their 60’s, and still having to work and survive, these techniques are not always effective.

        • Be better to tweet it. Not with anger just point it out. If they aren’t willing to stand by it in public, Then they should stop doing it.

      • Chris, there seems to be some older workers with disconnect on here that naively believe that because ageism is illegal, that employers will somehow take the higher ethical ground and play nice, and that the older worker can sue at their leisure, that justice will prevail, and we’ll all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. That’s just not reality today. My friend may have agreed with DeeC 2-3 months ago, but after having been unceremoniously laid off from 3 jobs in the last 10 years, and being 64, he’s shaking his death rattle, and he’s now damaged goods being older and out of work. The elephant grave yard for us older workers.

    • Ageism is real and older workers take it between the eyes. Everyone’s experience with this is the same as far as saying, yes, I’ve been hurt by it. But the experience is also different because of each person’s circumstances. Some have the time and inclination to report scofflaw companies (that’s good), some are so frustrated and low on funds that they won’t bother (I get it), and a precious few will actually take legal action (good for them because it’s good for everyone.) But as everyone seems to acknowledge, legal action isn’t going to get you a job asap. I know it’s hard to grit your teeth and walk away from the jerks to pursue something else, but it’s often necessary.

      What I want to emphasize is what someone posted:

      “Within a week of the COVID-19 shutdown start, MILLIONS were unemployed – flooding the streets and creating an instant employers market.”

      Your competition is increased by about 26 million newly unemployed workers. That’s staggering. Someone suggested this makes it an employer’s market. I believe the smartest employers think exactly the opposite. They know that even in good times the jobs/resume databases fail miserably at “matching” people to jobs. Their success rate at filling jobs is horrible.

      What happens when employers get an extra 26 million “potential candidates” via Indeed or ZipRecruiter? If HR thinks it’s good news to have “more candidates in the pipleline,” HR is nuts. It’s just more processing, higher error rates, more time wasted screening and interviewing the wrong people.

      More is not better. Fewer candidates but more of the right candidates is the goal for a smart employer. LinkedIn, Indeed at al. deliver mostly crap; now they can deliver more. The algorithms don’t change. There’s just more garbage keywords going in and producing more garbage “candidates” coming out. Those aren’t candidates. They’re buckets of keywords.

      I really believe that the best companies will turn more toward personal referrals to hire. In spite of the good news from the stock market, the reality is that so much air has gotten sucked out of corporate America that even when things turn back up, corporate American will not be able to afford to fill all the jobs it is cutting right now. That means the jobs companies can fill will be all the more critical — and there’s less room for errors in hiring.

      Our lousy, automated, ATS-driven (applicant tracking system) employment system is not going to perform better when 26 million more job seekers get dumped into it. It’s going to get worse.

      I believe you can dramatically enhance your chances of landing a good job by choosing carefully, making personal contacts, and avoiding the frenzy. I believe what will make this a job-seeker’s market is that because employers will be able to re-fill fewer jobs than existed before this all started, they will want the best they can find. This is your opening and opportunity: If you can position yourself as one of the best workers in your line, and get that information to the hiring manager, you’ll be in a good negotiating position.

      Let’s come back for the post mortem in a few months. Maybe I’m wrong. But I think now more than ever it’s crucial to develop and cultivate personal contacts that will yield referrals and recommendations to hiring managers. While HR is processing keywords and millions are waiting for an “intelligent agent” to e-mail them with good news, you need to be in the hiring manager’s office talking about a job.

    • Antonio. Labour intensive work at home does work. That’s 2here the term cottage industry comes from. It is industrial work you do in your cottage.

      It might not have the same profit margin but that’s the deal.

      • Huh? Really? So companies are going to rush out and set up cottage industries for welders, machinists, pipe fitters, auto workers, millwrights, and plumbers in their homes? Really? Come on man, this isn’t some stuffing envelopes at home or poking on a lap top! Are most people on here that out of touch with reality? I believe they’re.

    • “Employers are asking for the graduation year for his undergraduate degree. As if ageism can’t be anymore blatant. He’s now considering dropping his undergraduate degree (which has nothing to do with the types of industries he’s applying for) off his resume.”

      I had a recruiter for an India-based staffing company call me and, basically, accuse me of lying about the engineering degree that I have listed on my resume when I questioned why he needed to know what year I graduated. It was a short phone call.

      • Let me guess, “Slum Dog Millionaire” solicited you initially, then accused you of faking your credentials? Lucky you, they just torment me with calls trying to sell Viagra and Cialis!

        • Yes, he contacted me. The thing that ticked me off the most was that he worked for one of the big Indian body shops (you’ve undoubtedly heard of them). Most of my ED scams arrive by email along with the ads for drones, shed plans, and maintenance-free gutters.

  5. My company currently is working with a variety of small and mid-size companies in different parts of the USA assisting each in adjusting to the “new normal” that is changing the business environment. Conversations with these entities are focused on the seemingly daily changing of guidelines stemming from government officials. The vast majority of our clients have stated they are searching for reliable sources for information to use when the nationwide lock-down eases.
    97% of our 1250 client base have stated they will proceed with re-opening on a slower pace and not follow state governor dictated re-opening schedules. 99% of our clientele are concerned of obtaining financial backing to resume regular business activity. 100% are wary of how the consumer will react to the easing of the lock-down; will they resume their normal buying habits or make adjustments that are mid to long term.
    89% have indicated a restructuring of their business they believe is necessary to adjusting to consumers mindset as well as potential government impose new regulation. This percentage also have indicated they will re-hire or call back those employees who are necessary or have ability to switch to a new job description. These companies also stated they will look for new hires only for positions that will allow them to better compete in the new marketplace environment.
    The vast majority of our clientele do not have HR departments, those that do have indicated there will be a change in how their HR will process applicants. This change is fluid and not finalized because of the uncertainty surrounding the impact of COVID-19 on their business.
    Our clientele indicated they want to return to established methods of operation and 88% state they will attempt to do so, at least initially. This can be referred to as the “rope-a-dope” technique of doing what used to be done until circumstances dictate a change is necessary.
    Granted our clientele is a small sample of the over-all business community, yet it represents a mindset that we believe is similar to a larger portion of companies. All indications are there will be many companies that will go out of business, despite being profitable prior to the virus pandemic. The personnel and owners of these companies will probably have an edge in the job market because of their networking ability as well as their experience level.
    One of our clients was established for 18 years in the marketplace, yet they are deeply concerned of declaring bankruptcy within the next 2.5 months should the lock-down or even limited re-opening occur. A total of 37 employees as well as the owners will be competing for tight jobs should this take place. Their respective resumes and experience level is such, they should have little difficulty in securing employment.
    Speculation abounds about what the future holds but the reality is the majority of employers are wary of the unknown aspect of what the re-opening holds, especially if their is a relapse of the virus and another lock-down takes place.

    • 1250 clients is a decent “poll” of the mindset of the overall USA business community. I am semi retired however facilitate middle market merger and acquisitions all over the USA in a specialized segment. Owners of these entities are trying to survive and are not responding to my outreach including many that I have talked to for years.

  6. I am semi-retired, and grateful at this time that my basic monthly expenses are low. Perfectly comfortable, mind you, but not expensive.

    It seems likely that what comes next will be different from what went before – possibly simpler. This epidemic is a reality check, and many may discover they don’t need (or even want) luxuries and indulgences previously considered essential. Some industries may vanish – for example, cruise lines, and “fine dining.” So, one might consider focusing on opportunities in industries that address others’ basic needs for happiness and comfort.

  7. Despite the recommendations given about making applications, the jobseeker should first do a self-evaluation. The main part of this is to identify one’s strengths as well as weaknesses. Having a MBA, 10 years experience, and awards are not strengths. These are the result of one’s strengths. A true strength can include one’s ability of critical thinking, quick processing of facts and data, analysis of data and ability to remain calm in stressful situations just to name a few. Weaknesses may include difficulty in directing people, working alone, not having the ability to perceive the bigger picture, and getting stressed out even in mild situations. There are more strengths and weaknesses then listed here and that’s why a person should determine what their particular strengths and weaknesses.
    Strengths and weaknesses reflect the core of a person and how they will react to a given stimuli. Once one’s strengths and weaknesses are revealed, they become a guideline in determining what companies to apply for a position.
    When the smoke clears and the lock-down eases, it will be a golden opportunity for those whose strengths can assist an employer getting through the hurdles that lie ahead. These individuals will have no difficulty obtaining a job because they separate themselves from the herd and madding crowd. Actually this has always been the case. Companies will make room for that person they deem a cut above the average applicant.
    This has been the case with my company’s clientele. An interesting aspect to how they hire is the principles of the company take their personal strengths/weakness test and use the results in determining the traits they want in a new hire. Of course the bigger the company, the less this becomes viable because of the mindset of the upper management.
    A developing trend now that will continue once the virus situation abates is more people will go the 1099 route. It’s not for everyone but those whose strengths align with this approach won’t have difficulty in securing employment.
    Situations similar to the current virus bring forth innovations that in turn open up new opportunities for those who have the vision to “see” what’s taking place.
    Those who trust themselves will prosper; those who are fearful will flounder.

  8. I think it’s fair to say the job market is chaotic..on both sides of the table.

    Per discussion in past posts I think it’s a fair assumption that job hunters and their hiring counterparts will follow habitual ingrained processes. Job hunters will seek the magic resume, send it into the digital shredders of the job application process, except now it will compete with mega millions of others. the companies will continue to follow their mindless drill soliciting applications, having a computer “read” them and be inundated by the numbers.

    It’s really unknown right now as to what’s going to transpire. But remember…all unknowns aren’t negative. Chaos can present opportunities.

    1. Companies have increasing pressure to allow people to work remotely. Resisted strongly to date. And right now you have a lot of small, medium, and large corporations with about zero experience with remote operations, populated by people who have no experience doing it. morphing to large #’s of job hunters who don’t know squat about remote work from home. In those cases neither are equipped to do it.
    If you do have experience at remote work..now is a time to try and leverage that..you have a new strength to market..the art & craft of working remotely. This could level your playing field and perhaps weigh in your favor and offer an attractive counter to weaker qualifications

    2. Video. As some have noted probably will have a stronger role. If you can’t beat it, join it. If remote work is more likely, then consider remote job hunting. Act like Yourself inc. Build yourself Inc.s web site, and put together some videos. sit in front of your camera and create your talking cover letter, resume, some talking “white papers” or mini podcast and talk shop. the beauty of it is you can work on it until you & others whose opinions you value, like it. Tailor it toward that well researched target company and individual and send them a link to it. Think about it..they can listen to it while driving home. ..or at home. You’re doing the work. No need to read it.

    3. If everyone’s going to pile on seeking traditional jobs etc..into a place where making decisions is
    paralyzed. Per the aforementioned set yourself up with an LLC then Offer contract arrangements, gigs
    to help them get through their chaos. You’re offering an alternative to making decisions, they can be delayed. You’re also offering a working remote proof of concept. A chance to try remote work without
    having to make an employment decision.

    4. Location, location, location. You can forget confining yourself to your local venue & applicable commutes.

  9. Ageism. I’ve commented a few times on the topic in the past. Nick is probably weary of my musings on it.

    But I’m qualified, have experienced it, and blew through it..several times.

    Here’s context. Pretty much solidly employed, sometimes changing jobs on my own, not terminated until 56 years old. Found a job in a few months…age 56 business not good. so again at 56 relocating from NC to TX. Laid off at age 63…spent many months job hunting..then while part timing it in retail, at 64…then new job at 65. terminated age 66, started next day new job, terminated at age 69 started new part time job at 69 , working to age 76. Left on my own to move. Would still be there if I’d not moved.
    There’s some points to make based on my experience.

    1. Most important..To Nick’s point…through all of that, but one, got my jobs via networking through personal contacts. The only application I made was for the part time job at age 64. That was just to keep busy while I job hunted. Personal contact is best & most manageable way to go, and now..for reasons Nick outlined THE way to go. Any time spent acquiring, restoring, helping, growing your personal contacts is time not wasted. Remember, when you get an interview, not only do you have a job opportunity, you have a networking opportunity. And that applies to both sides of the table.

    2. Damn right, there’s ageism. The best way to deal with it is to ignore it and work your plan the way you feel you need to, and do it via personal contacts. Personal contacts cut to the chase. They know you’re long in the tooth, & via them so do the person(s) they refer you to. If that doesn’t work for the receiving end, your contacts wouldn’t refer you. They are running interference for you, vetting their contacts. You do have one key thing added to your search criteria. Finding people at the least who don’t give a shit about your age, and at the most, actually value it, recognizing it’s bolted to experience they value.

    3. If you want social justice and eliminate ageism, bless you. That’s time consuming, expensive and gets strongly in the way of the main objective, getting meaningfully employed. Taking your time to
    battle ageism fits perfectly to one of my favorite mantras “Never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” A really good way to combat it, is to find your niche, and from there,
    help others land. In your new job, you can be a walking example that ignoring age is good business, & ease the way for other “oldies”. (Yes I did this. as a recruiter for a company).

    4. When I was laid off at age 63 (from the hi-tech computer industry), I did some thinking. Hi tech is addicted to youth and I doubted my chances of re-landing in it, at least without intense effort and fighting ageism. I worked 50+ years in that industry and had ample personal contacts, but I knew this would be a grind.
    Had my fill. Was on Social Security etc from 62. I didn’t want to retire retire. So I decided to re-tool myself and turned myself into a recruiter, rather than trying the same old thing again. That worked.
    Again, I did that with the help of personal contacts. This change in direction brought another thing into play….Focus. Once focused, not only did I make better use of my time, but I could help my contacts to better help me. Despite much grumbling about recruiters, just about everyone knows some and the pace picked up. Was this easy? No, but doable. In my case, I’m a 10th degree black belt introvert. In a million years I’d NEVER see myself doing this..but did. I’m not saying be a recruiter. I’m saying you can move out of a rigid habitual comfort zone. If I can, you can.

    5. I not only changed my primary vocation, but eventually I changed industries. And size of employers. From maga Corporations to small/medium businesses, the last being privately owned. Both as a job hunter and a recruiter, I can tell you that, if you are an older worker, give serious thought to focusing on small businesses. In a huge corporation you’re a statistic, in a small company you are a
    person, known by name. And to quote the man who hired me into one..an owner. “I can’t understand the
    concept of “overqualified”. Why would I turn aside someone with a lot of experience to offer?” As that implies, he did not give a hoot about anyone’s age.

    Sorry for pontificating..the gist of it is, age is an issue, if you make it an issue. Stop chasing jobs, and start chasing companies, and look for ones that equate experience with age. Applying to job postings, read by a computer, in competition with hordes or others won’t help you. People who know you can help you. If I can do it, so can you. Persist.

  10. @Don: I never tire of your experience and wisdom. This is a great tutorial on how best to deal with ageism. Thanks!

    “Personal contacts cut to the chase. They know you’re long in the tooth, & via them so do the person(s) they refer you to. If that doesn’t work for the receiving end, your contacts wouldn’t refer you. They are running interference for you, vetting their contacts. You do have one key thing added to your search criteria. Finding people at the least who don’t give a shit about your age, and at the most, actually value it, recognizing it’s bolted to experience they value.”

    There it is in a nutshell for anyone that thinks there’s no way past the HR dept “forcing” you to apply online.

  11. LOL! They call me several times a week. One of them actually had the kahunas to tell me that he’d leave me alone if I bought Viagra from him. The women callers are especially egregious. Much more combative and foul mouthed. I have a friend (a Vietnam War combat veteran who locks horns with them, and loves messing with them). I just don’t answer anymore, and I have dozens of blocked numbers in my I Phone for their call centers. I’ve had a few headhunters and job interviewers accuse me of submitting fraudulent credentials and salary history before. I used to try to reason with these people, and tell them to contact my formers employers to confirm what I’d submitted. This went nowhere. Today, I’d end it then and there, and hang up, or walk out the door.

  12. Thanks Nick. Separated from my company very recently and appreciated the insight. Trying to secure a new position at this time has been an unfortunate eye opener.

  13. Here’s perspective from one small staffing agency that would be bankrupt but for the PPP loan: we are continuing to do placements for essential businesses that are short staffed and need assistance with finding either general or skilled labor (we rarely place professional roles).

    We post these positions on our website and on Facebook and we contact every person who applies. We are straightforward about the requirements, hours, and pay: if they won’t meet the requirements (honestly, it’s often “can you pass a drug screen?”), then we are also clear when we can’t place them. If we can, we present them to employers same day and we can have someone working within days. Everything is handled over the Internet and phone right now, for safety reasons.

    For more skilled positions (machinists, welders, etc), we also have access to Indeed’s database and we proactively reach out to anyone who would likely meet the requirements for our openings. If they are interested, we likewise can have them placed in days.

    • Annette–what geographic area are you in? It would be a service to some here who might need a bridge job–and also you never know who we know!

      • Hi DeeC – we are in the Milwaukee, WI area. Always happy to help!

Leave a Reply