Friday, October 2, 2020

Your COVID-19 Job Hunt



How hiring has changed, and what that means for you

The Covid-19 pandemic has altered how employers hire, what jobs their filling, and what they seek in applicants. If you’re job hunting, you’ll face new hurdles, but you also might benefit from new advantages for older applicants. Keep all this in mind as you search.


Now is a great time to network. “It’s much easier to reignite something.” says Barbara Safani, an executive coach and head of Career Solvers in New York City. “This is one of the few moments you can go back to somebody you haven’t talked to in years and say, ‘How are you?’ and be real and authentic about it.” Talk will naturally turn to the other person’s job and how his or her company is doing, she says. “The transition will be almost automatic and won’t be awkward.” People seem to be more responsive to outreach, Safani adds. “They’re craving being with other people, and they can’t do it in the traditional sense.”


A lengthy career can work in your favor …

“Companies that are in trouble need experienced people,” says Emory Mulling, chairman of a career consulting and executive coaching firm in Atlanta. “During the recession, people we worked with did very well because companies needed experience to keep them afloat or turn them around. The same is true now.” Long established, old-lined companies tend to be more open to older applicants, says Marty Nemko, a career consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. And businesses aimed to at older customers may want older sales and marketing staff, he says, to attract their own age as clients.


… and other societal changes may help, too…

At many companies, hiring often comes down to gut decisions. But, says Stefani, the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements will likely push companies toward more structured interview processes that better account for unconscious bias, perhaps benefiting older applicants.


…but age discrimination hasn’t gone away. Companies may be reluctant to hire older workers until there is a COVID-19 vaccine, even if they’d never admit to it, says Nancy Collamer, a career and retirement coach who runs, “Ageism, even without COVID, is a reality of the interview process,” she says. “You always want to be very conscious of trying to appear as fit and energetic as possible.”


You may need to pivot to a different field. “Some jobs are not coming back, or they’re morphing into something else,” Safani says. “You have to think about how your skills can translate to other industries.”


Your search could be really slow … or really quick. Through job searches for older professionals typically take about six to nine months, be prepared to add another three months to that schedule, Safani says. In contrast, hiring has picked up at businesses seeking hands-on hourly workers after temporary closures, or to meet extra demand. Are you comfortable working in person? The government’s July jobs report, though still reflecting one of the highest unemployment rates in decades, showed large job increases at bars and restaurants, clothing stores and temporary help services. Drug stores, delivery services and distribution centers have also been hiring.


Remote working can expand your opportunities. If you can do your job remotely, you’ll now have more options throughout the country, since organizations might now be open to letting you work from home. Remote work also puts the focus on productivity. “Companies consider, ‘Is this someone I want to have lunch or beer with?’” Collamer says. “If you’re working from home, that dynamic is removed.”


By Kimberly Lankford

What is a Search Associate?


What is a Search Associate?

QUESTION: I am doing my hiring plan for the next year and have heard you mention the role of search associate before. Can you explain that a bit more? –Jeffrey


ANSWER: Absolutely. This is a phenomenal role; especially in the economy we are in right now where openings are pretty plentiful. I am not sure if you are planning on hiring from a position of already having other recruiters. Search associate works for both and is actually fantastic for a solo operator who might want just to have a little bit more leverage than him or herself.


I spend a couple hours training on this in our 2-day recruiting intensives and in our Platinum program, do know that I am conscious that I am sharing an edited version of the training.


The role of search associate is basically the springboard into the career of executive recruiting. Because in the old model that most of us were taught and a lot you may have even come out of was having to hire 7 to 10 recruiters to keep 1. I think I was hiring 8 or 9 people in that old model to keep 1. It is so demotivating that most people stop hiring and that is why I think most recruiting firms are either solo operations or they are a matter of 1 or 2 recruiters. When you look at other professional service firms, i.e. accounting, law firms, and consulting companies, that is not the case. There are a large number of boutiques in each one of those, but it seems like those other firms have a lot more ability to scale.


I had given up and abandoned the idea of ever hiring recruiters because I was so horrible at managing back in the early mid 90s. The only reason I ended up hiring was I had a couple of companies wanting to hire in bunches and I just had to throw bodies at the recruit function. I did this completely wrong, but I refined it over the next few years. This role, Search Associate, emerged out of that.


This is how I would bring on a Sales Associate. I would put the person through a training process and the goal of that training process is to recruit candidates for openings I already had fee arrangements. We found out what the candidate was thinking and where they were in their career. I had a very specific set of diagnostic questions, so that the Search Associate, could determine if the person was going to make a move or not. Then we would have some questions based on, which you probably have, how to take a complete assessment.


Do not have them present companies and opportunities because then the dialogue in their 1st week, 2nd week, 3rd week is going to be about the opportunity and they are not going to be qualified to tackle that quickly and thick quickly on their feet. The response when my people did a general recruit call was – I work for our managing director, Mike Gionta. We have a number of assignments in the greater Chicago area. I have no idea what your needs are and what direction you seek is, but if you were ever to change jobs or move careers, what would that look like for you?


In the first 30 or 60 days, if they were good for the assignment, I would do a 5 or 10 minute conversation when I would dot the i’s and cross the t’s with them, listening to m conversation with them, and then I would tell them I am going to submit this person or I am not going to submit this person and why I was or was not.


To summarize the steps, train the Search Associate for a day and day and a half on basic 101 recruiting training. Have the Search Associate probe into what the candidate’s successes were, what their background was, their compensation, and things like that, and then the next day, me and that Search Associate having a dialogue around them. That provides also the opportunity to do really good daily coaching with people. I found that heightened sense of interaction with them increased their success and the retention rate significantly.