Covid-19 & Record Level Unemployment: How To Get The Job Entering A Fiercely Competitive Job Market

Apr 19, 2020

There is a lot of attention on the numbers when we look at Covid-19 that are shocking and putting fear into a lot of people. Rightfully so, with over 149,024 dead and over 2,196,109 cases worldwide as of Friday, this pandemic has solidified itself into the history books of our species. There is a lot of information floating around, some more credible than others but I think we can all agree that it looks like Covid-19 is going to be a reality for us all for the foreseeable future and perhaps forever in a more manageable way when a vaccine is developed. So once we flatten the curve we are inevitably going to have to get on with life. I mean, what about the other 7.8 billion people on Earth who’s lives have been quite literally derailed by the pandemic?

The longer we keep the global economy on hold the more difficult it becomes for some businesses to keep afloat. The government relief programs are not infinite nor are they profitable, so some businesses will be forced to close permanently as a result. Many people prior to March were gainfully employed, and with the sweeping affects of Covid-19 we saw over 2 million jobs lost in Canada and over 22 million jobs lost in the United States in March alone. If the businesses can’t open before money runs out then many of the people who were laid off are now going to be permanently let go as a result, flooding millions of people into a work status of “Actively Looking” when it comes to career opportunities.

Not only will the job market be flooded with fresh candidates all looking for work at the exact same time, social distancing measures will not just disappear, but likely evolve with the situation. Industries built around travel, tourism, service and entertainment, just to name a few, will be forced to shrink their operations to a point where they will still be forced to reduce staff permanently for the foreseeable future. We will also likely see a second wave of businesses dying out as a result of these reductions where they are not even able to turn a profit and sustain themselves, pushing more people into the job market.

More People Looking for Work is Good For Employers Right?

Well yes, having way more options as an employer when it comes to choosing who you want to join your company and team is a great thing. This will force competition and ensure that you have the opportunity to draw the best talent from a large pool when recruiting for your business. The downside to it all will be the management of all these people, applications, and resumes. So long as the economy does rebound, which many experts think is the likely outcome as we return to a degree of normalcy. Still, with so many people out of work, even if your business or job isn’t adversely impacted by Covid-19 directly, if the overall purchasing power is down, this will still have an impact on surviving businesses and their ability to sell their products and services at a profit in a down economy. This could only further exacerbate the unemployment problem because companies will be cautious with their budgets and hiring if they can’t sell their products in the down economy.

For these reasons, it is not going to be a problem for companies to hand pick their employees, no matter what the industry is. A more affordable option for small and medium business than hiring in house recruiters is to hire an outside recruitment agency. This leaves just one more person off the payroll, off the benefits packages and all the other associated costs with maintaining an employee. With an external recruiting agency you can pay the recruiter for the services that they delivered on and leave it at that. Another benefit is that if you do not even have the intention of hiring an internal person to manage the hiring, then that would mean the manager would be doing it themselves, and with the demand for work, they will be virtually buried alive in resume applications that flow in from job boards like Indeed or Zip Recruiter. So depending on how the hiring process is managed in a down market will determine how efficiently a business will operate with a leaner budget, less supporting staff, and smaller margins.

How to Maximize Your Chances of Getting Hired

Now, for the people out of work and who are actively seeking employment, how are you going to make sure you stand out against the other thousands and millions of other people who will be actively seeking employment? Well, there are a few strategies we can unpack here that will definitely help. Firstly, it is important to start looking now! Even if you are laid off, or there is a commitment from you employer that you will be coming back to work, no one actually knows what the working climate is going to look like and how adversely each individual sector is going to be impacted and for how long.

If companies are forced back into easing into operating again they very well may have to let go of twenty-five percent, fifty percent of staff depending how the economy plays out. Are you actually going to sit idly by and trust that you’re in good shape? You need to plan for multiple scenarios where your employer does not re-open, they fire you with cuts or potentially replace you all together. So my recommendation would be to polish up your resume and get it out there to as many opportunities that suit your skill set as possible. Search the job boards online, get LinkedIn if you don’t have it already and complete or update your profile and change your status to “Seeking New Opportunities” to make yourself more visible to recruiters and employers. For tips on how to write the ideal resume visit my other article I have posted on “Why Your Resume Lost You The Interview.

You should also proactively engage recruiters and recruiting agencies. Some of the best people in my network have connected with me via email and social media to simply keep themselves in my pool of potential candidates if or when they become active in the job seeking again. They also reach out to me when they do, they do not sit by and hope that a recruiter will find them. So I would strongly recommend sending out your resume, or connecting with a recruiter on LinkedIn. We are currently collecting resumes of potential candidates for our clients during the pandemic to help those who are permanently out of work or fearful that they will not be able to return or be invited back to their current employer when this is all said and done. If you would like to connect with me on LinkedIn you can connect with me HERE. Or send your resume to: [email protected].

You also need to be flawless in the execution of your interview and your follow through on the process. Here’s just a few pointers: business professional attire. I don’t care what you are interviewing for, it is better to be overdressed than under-dressed when it comes to showing an employer just how serious you are about the opportunity to work for them. In the event they are conducting online interviews over video the same rule applies. I had a woman show up to an interview with me wearing a Christmas sweater, and although I am easy going, I know my client and she did not move forward in the process as a result of the clothing she elected to wear. Be on time, ahead of time even by about fifteen to twenty minutes. Study the people you will be interviewing and know their backgrounds as well as the companies background and any positive recent news you can uncover during your research. Be diligent in your follow up, send a thank you email following up after each step of the interview process. For more on how to absolutely dominate your interview see my other article on “The 5 Must Dos For Your BIG Interview.

These are just some of the potential employment and economic outcomes as we ride out the global pandemic. Nothing is guaranteed and I am hopeful that we return to a very healthy way of life that doesn’t require physical distancing at all or force businesses to shrink or close permanently. However, we do have to be prepared and proactive about some worst case scenarios. We will keep an eye on how things develop over the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, stay safe and go on the offense when it comes to your job security, you will thank me later.