The process of job searching is increasingly frustrating and the search during a pandemic brings its own unique challenges. It is important to have a realistic optimism as you navigate the job opportunities available to you at this time. This realistic optimism will help keep you sane. Let’s begin by understanding the job search process and looking at it from all angles.
We have all been there. You spend countless hours updating your resume, cover letter, and references. Then you begin searching for job opportunities on job boards and postings on company websites. You find a job that looks both fits your qualifications and would be engaging. Next, you begin to picture what your life may look like with this job. Do you have a long commute or can you work from home? Will this be a pay cut but with a promising new career path? Are you familiar with the industry? How will this affect your family?
Once you have decided that the job is a good fit for you professionally and personally, then you go back to your resume and cover letter to update once again. Sometimes you have to create an additional account with the company that requires you to fill in the blanks with all of the information perfectly placed in your resume already. At this point, you may be several days or weeks into the process. Now you wait.
Now let’s look at this process for the employer. If it is a small business, they do not have a Human Resource department who is trained and prepared to write job descriptions and post them on job boards or pass along to recruiters. They are often doing these tasks in addition to their normal day-to-day activities. If it is an organization with an HR department, know that there is a process for the job postings to get approval before they can post a job. In both cases, getting to this point may be weeks or months.
Once the job is posted and the applications begin rolling in, the applications are filtered, sorted and reviewed. This number is likely in the hundreds, but could be thousands. Next steps are to vet the candidate, schedule phone and/or in-person introductions, and interviews that work for everyone’s schedules. Now the decision-makers try their best to make the right hire.
Unfortunately, phantom jobs, ghosting and job scams are common. Phantom jobs usually come from larger organizations that have a policy to post a job to the general public for at least a few weeks ensuring they have the best candidate. This can cause a problem if the company is planning on hiring from within. That is why they call it a phantom job, because they are just going through the motions.
Ghosting has become a norm in many facets of life. Giving people the benefit of the doubt, we choose to believe it is because of the overwhelming amount of work the employer must complete. Lastly, let’s not forget about the too-good-to-be-true job scams! If they won’t leave you alone, they might just be a multi-level marketing scheme where you are the customer not the employee.
Now that we have a realistic view of what the job landscape looks like, let’s discuss how we can all approach this optimistically. Focus on what you can control. This will help you stay realistically optimistic.
Up to 85% of jobs are filled via networking and not the traditional application process. It is more advantageous to learn about job opportunities before they are ever posted. Additionally, hiring managers feel more comfortable hiring an applicant who has someone who will vouch for them. Talk to your friends, family and schedule meetings with people they recommend you to meet. People like to help others and you should let them help you.
Reach out to those who you have built strong relationships over the years and ask for a reference. Companies like to see a long list of references for 2 reasons.
1) It shows that you left organizations on good terms.
2) For logistics, they will be able to get a hold of the people much easier to verify when offering a job.
The job search process with inherent rejections and lack of transparency, can make anyone feel vulnerable. But vulnerability doesn’t have to be all bad. Vulnerability can show itself in the form of self-awareness and honesty in an interview. Proudly tell the story of when you made a mistake and what you learned from it. We all make mistakes and the humility to grow from that mistake is priceless. Showing that humility can make a hiring manager more confident in their decision making.
Anticipate the needs of the organization/team you are applying to work with and how stressful this time is on them, as well. Your empathy is important to be able to relay your value to them. Really put yourself in their shoes. Are they doing the work of two or three people right now and can barely focus on the interview? Ask questions about their roles and challenges. You may not have the answers right now but you can show them your interest in making their lives easier and in achieving mutual goals.
Showing that you are learning a new skill (even if it isn’t directly applicable) shows learning agility. Learning agility is necessary in any workplace given the exponential rate of growth of technology. Team members must be prepared with any organization to learn new systems, processes and new technologies. Hobbies count too! Hobbies show that you have a healthy release from work and hobbies often inspire creativity and spark new ideas to bring back to work.
Exude positivity at every chance and with every interaction -even if it is not how you are really feeling. Now is the time to put your best foot forward with all job opportunities. Take a deep breath or a good night’s sleep before you send that email or call that person back. Run through what you are going to say out loud with a friend. Have someone proof your email. People want and deserve to work with people who are enjoyable to be around.
Telehealth therapy is highly encouraged. It is hard for many to separate their self-confidence from a low information process where they are being evaluated. Having a therapist during this process can help you analyze if and how you need to improve for the next opportunity. But the best thing a therapist can give you is that realistic view of the situation. Yes, you did not hear back about the job. But in this ever changing world, did the company have a big change that affected their hiring? Do you think the lack of a job offer had anything to do with you? Timing is everything.
TECKpert understands and we are looking to change the job search experience. As we encourage learning agility and flexibility, we are practicing what we preach. We welcome feedback so we can improve and grow.
For our tech talent, we want to make the application process very easy. You simply create your profile. There is no more customizing for every single role available. As new job opportunities are posted to the platform, you will receive a notification. Just give it a “thumbs-up” – that’s it. We will search through those who have shown interest to see who is the best fit for the newest roles available. We are not a “traditional recruiter.” We will not “sell” you on an opportunity and bother you repeatedly to do something you do not want to do. In the meanwhile, peruse the upskilling section of the app for free courses. When you complete a new training or add a new skill, share with us. Let your profile speak for itself.
For our clients, know that our talent are experts in their fields, ready, and available to complete your projects today. Skip the recruiting, vetting, interviewing… Our technical talent has experience across many industries and diverse skill sets to fill the skills gap at your organization. Whether you need one developer for a 6-month project or you need a whole team of tech experts for a digital transformation in 3-months, we are here for you. Reach out today.