By Mary Ann Faremouth,
Covid-19 has taken a considerable toll on everyone over the last several months and has made an overwhelming impact on people’s careers, turning them upside down. This has caused an unprecedented upheaval across all industries and job roles. By utilizing the right tools and focused determination, a candidate can still be successful in this market. It’s just a new normal now, but with the right mindset and methodology, success still can be achieved.
I’ve heard it said:
“Success is Simple
Do What’s Right
The Right Way
At the Right Time”
There just might be some truth to the old adage that “Timing is Everything.” I feel that Integrity might also fall into that same category even if the phrase “Integrity is Everything” hasn’t been coined. This past week, I had two candidates approach me about wanting to leave their secure, well-paying jobs for what they thought would be greener pastures. They both happened to be in industries that were in major decline and very few positions available at this time in the areas where their experience and skill sets registered.
I’m not saying there are not any available positions during the pandemic. That’s not what I am suggesting at all. What I am saying is that, from my view on the other side of the desk, talking to my clients and other recruiters, there are challenges present now in the New Work World. Let’s take a look at some areas to be considered using the Faremouth Method, a method I have used for many years in my practice to have a methodical approach to placements for candidates and employers.
Let’s look at a way that might be instrumental in streamlining your job search process that might prove successful for you.
Step 1 – Do a Self Inventory
Let’s examine where you are in your career or job situation right now. IF you are unhappy or not feeling fulfilled in a secure job and do not believe your position is in jeopardy, honestly evaluate what the best course of action is in these uncertain times.
Could you try to expand the job you are currently doing to make it more challenging? Could you work harder at fostering better communication between you and your boss or teammates to make the job more enjoyable? If not, and there is no improvement available, what can you do now to enhance your skill set to be more marketable when the market does turn around? If you have lost your job due to the downturn in the market, are you on a temporary furlough, etc.?
The first place to begin is to evaluate how you are presenting yourself to the world. I am specifically referring to your resume and your LinkedIn profile. These presentations of your skill set right now are crucial. With the innovative technology job search that companies are using these days you must make sure that the key words are highlighted for the algorithms on the search engines to respond to your submitted resume. If you need to work with a professional to present the resume in a form that is more to your advantage in the New Work World, don’t hesitate to do it. There are many online resources available that offer templates that can present your skill set in a more beneficial manner.
There is no harm in taking a “temporary” job to be able to pay the bills and put food on the table. I just had a client the other day respond favorably to a candidate who took a work-from-home online job as a temporary fix while trying to secure a job more in line with his skill set. The employer decided to interview the candidate and he does have a second interview next week. The client told me his steps in taking a job somewhat out of his field demonstrated that he was a proactive candidate and he would bring those skills to their company.
Step 2 – Ask Better Questions
The professionals in the New Work World now find themselves having to fill out applications for positions during one of the most challenging times in history. Some recruiting professionals have equated the current job market to how it was in the Great Depression. There are so many candidates available for the limited open positions, it has become what we call an “employer’s market” where the employer really does have the advantage to choose the pick of the litter. With that being said, candidates must be more assertive, more proactive and creative in finding ways to stand out among the huge competition or they will get passed over and lost in the crowd.
Ask yourself what you can do to make your skill set one that a prospective employer finds interesting. Make sure your resume is honest and true. Keep the integrity factor high in your job search. Your related skill set must stand out on the resume to demonstrate why you should be selected for an interview. For example, if you are applying for an Inside Sales position but the resume reflects more of what you did in the logistics area after the sale was made, the employer more than likely will pass that resume over and go to the next one that is more reflective of the specific job duties required on his posting or open position.
I was on a panel recently at a local college with many HR professionals. They suggested to students trying to find jobs in these tough times that the resume had to be a strong match to what they were seeking. The applicant’s skills had to match the job description immediately at the TOP of the resume or, more than likely with so many resumes to review, it would be passed over. Ask yourself if you are in line with the New Work World requirements to find a job. Be aware that approaching hiring managers and recruiters requires even more thoughtfulness and effort in order to stand out as a viable candidate. Ask yourself who you might know from previous jobs or hiring authorities who know what you can bring to the table of benefit to the employer. Don’t be afraid to make those contacts to investigate who they might know is hiring and if they could possibly recommend you.
Step 3 – Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
According to a March 2020 survey by Handshake, an online career community for college students, 89% of employers are now adopting virtual interviews due to the Covid-19 challenge. That means you may have to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and make sure you up your game on virtual interviews.
You have to be able to bring the same level of enthusiasm, professionalism, and communication that you would present in an in-person interview. The lighting has to be right, your appearance and grooming have to be professional even if the interview takes place virtually in your kitchen. Although people realize technical issues can arise on virtual platforms, struggles with technology may hurt your chances of getting a second interview no matter how much your skill set relates to the position. I had a client pass over a very good candidate last week because she felt he was late getting on the Zoom meeting, the environment where he did the virtual interview was very messy, cluttered and unprofessional. She told me she felt he lacked “attention to detail” and he would bring that quality into the job and, in these tough times with limited staff, she couldn’t have a person on her team who wasn’t able to be on time and lacked concern for details, etc.
If you are not a very technologically-oriented person it may be to your advantage to Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone and do a practice Zoom, or whatever the virtual platform for the interview may be, BEFORE the actual virtual interview takes place to make sure you present yourself in the very best manner possible. Test out all functionality of your video conferencing equipment that may include audio settings, camera access and screen sharing in advance to avoid hiccups and delays proceeding in a streamlined manner.
You might have to be reasonable about current reductions in salaries at this time. Whenever there is a surplus of supply, prices go down. In this instance, there is a surplus of employees which make salaries decrease. This challenge might make you Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and not live the lifestyle you have been accustomed to living. This is the time to evaluate what you need versus what you want in purchases online, at the grocery store, in clothing, entertainment, etc. There are many ways you can shave dollars off of your monthly expenses by buying things that are less costly yet still fulfill your needs. Some of the changes in Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone measures might actually serve us in a way that is to our benefit and institute changes that might be better for us even when the market does turn around. Neil Donald Walsh says, “The Only Constant Is Change,” and sometimes doing things differently and not in our comfort zone will foster growth and advancement in many ways.
Step 4 – Take the Time To Do It Right
My clients tell me they are looking for a candidate who communicates with them in a way that demonstrates they are a team player with concern for the wellbeing of others besides themselves. They look for applicants who have researched the company, the industry, the past, present and future challenges, and voice their awareness of the challenging times the client might find themselves in at this moment. An applicant who demonstrates human characteristics like empathy, authentic interest in the company and human qualities stand a much better chance at a first and second interview or being hired for the job.
I had a client pass over a very good candidate a few days ago because he jumped right in asking about the salary structure and when they typically get their first raise. The client spent over 10 minutes telling me how insensitive the candidate was to the current conditions in this industry and how his immediate mention of how important it was that he understand the salary structure was appalling and the interview was immediately cut very short.
My suggestion in these tough times is to spend considerable time before the interview to research the company, their achievements, projects, etc., before the interview. During the interview, demonstrate your research efforts and empathy for what the company may be going through. Salary information should NEVER be brought up in the initial interview. You demonstrate your worth to the company by what you can bring to them and especially in the New Work World, to establish how, by hiring you, it will have an eventual effect on the company’s bottom line.
Taking the time to Do It Right and thoroughly preparing for the interview is a crucial element in this New Work World. Another way to Do It Right is to do a mock interview with someone you trust BEFORE the interview to make sure you can present yourself in the most professional way without a lot of nervous anxiety and hesitation in answering questions. Prepare for the interview and Take the Time To Do It Right for your best results. Make sure within the first 24 hours after the interview takes place to send a “Thank You” email showing your interest in the position and outlining why you would be a good fit for the position in a concise and thoughtful manner.
Step 5 – Be A Hunter
We have to be more of a Hunter these days than the cave man was back in the day. The Gatherers of the world who sit back and wait for things to come to them or who only send out one resume a week are not going to find jobs in this market. Candidates that are being extremely proactive in these challenging and uncertain times are the ones who are getting the job offers.
Presenting yourself in a professional, positive, upbeat manner is what makes employers respond. When you stay focused and positive and present yourself in a prepared, focused determined manner, employers can feel this and are more receptive to those candidates.
You have a unique opportunity to showcase how you handle adversity, which is an especially attractive quality in the forum of the pandemic. One of the employers I met on a university panel recently mentioned to me that she really was not interested in hearing about a candidate’s challenges with the pandemic or how their Aunt Sue had been a virus statistic. She told me attitude right now and empathy for the world at large were qualities she held in highest esteem. A person presenting themselves in a way that showed they “hunted for all the information” they could find on the company and for areas where their transferrable skills would apply will fair far better than those that come in and complain about how many resumes they have sent out and the lack of responses, etc.
While finding your next role may be extremely important to you at this time, many organizations are managing their own challenges in the face of this global crisis. Hunting for that positive attitude and contributing spirit will go much further these days than hunting only with that “what’s in it for me” and “when can I start” attitude.
These are unprecedented times and we have to respond accordingly. The Coronavirus Pandemic has created challenges and uncertainty for us all in our personal and professional lives. Success on many levels can be achieved if we
Do What’s Right
The Right Way
At the Right Time
Give your career search your best efforts and use the established Five Steps of the Faremouth Method to assist you in your journey. There is success in the current job market for those who are willing to take the extra steps and attention necessary in their job search.
Mary Ann Faremouth is the founder and CEO of Faremouth & Company and a highly regarded recruiter, career consultant, speaker and writer. She has been a placement specialist and a leader in the national recruiting community and has placed thousands of employees since 1982. She was the 2016 president of the Houston Independent Personnel Consultant Group and is a board member of the NASPD (National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors) and Authors Marketing Guild. She specializes in recruitment of professional, clerical, and temporary placements, with a variety of industry specific positions in various fields. Her expertise is in matching quality applicants with the right job, serving companies ranging from thriving independents to global conglomerates, tailoring each engagement to the client’s needs.
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, DC, and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations in various other industries, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. She has a keen understanding of the marketplace and its specialized needs and requirements.
Mary Ann brings a wealth of expertise to clients looking for the right individual to maximize and empower their team. As a consultant she is available to assist both the applicant and the client to quickly adapt to the New Work World. She also offers virtual and in-person workshops to guide individuals through personalized self-discovery to find new career paths. She continues to build her affiliations with recognized leadership organizations to best serve her clients and applicants by creating a network of highly professional contacts throughout the world. She utilizes her platform as a writer and speaker through her articles and affiliations to reach those in need of help, offering hands-on guidance to navigate this uncharted territory. (More information on www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 of the Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction by Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books by Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019) by Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018) by Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, teaching them how to tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction as well as the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann also showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.