Let’s be honest — searching for a new job doesn’t usually excite most people. Searching for a job during a recession? It’s no secret some people would rather schedule in a root canal!
Multiply that lack of a good time by throwing in an economic downturn and the pressure rises. Suddenly you’re competing against a much larger pool of people. It’s simple economic theory: when supply outweighs demand, the rules change and remain changed until the balance shifts.
How do you compete when the market conditions are poor and the competition is huge?
At Recruitment Partners, we’ve been helping great people find great jobs for a number of years — here are our best tips for finding a job during a recession:
1. Tell Your Story
Don’t kid yourself. You may have the strongest skill set out there, but if your resume reads like a phone book, you likely will not get a call.
Think about the stack of 50 (100? 200?) resumes sitting on the overworked Hiring Manager’s desk.
How much time can that person possibly have to review them?
If yours doesn’t tell your story (and your story is so much more than your responsibilities and education), — how do you think you’ll stack up?
I’m not talking about fancy fonts and templates, I’m talking about grabbing and holding a reader’s attention.
2. Get Out There
If there’s one classic adage that rings true for job seekers, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Networking is king.
Add a shrinking economy into the mix, and the need to put yourself out there is even greater.
I’m an introvert; trust me, I get it . . . it’s not necessarily fun for everyone.
A little too intimidated to attend a large networking event?
Try taking a baby step. Seek out smaller events, bring along a buddy to stick beside you at the beginning, and position yourself close to the line up for the bar (everyone waiting in line is open to a chat).
3. Focus Your Search
As tempting as it may be to apply to every job you come across when the market is tight, don’t.
I’ve seen time and again where a job seeker has applied to numerous roles within the same company that he’s clearly not suited for.
Often, the resume reviewer will think the person either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about what they really want.
You must have focus in your search.
4. Opt For In-Person Interviews
Phone interviews never flow as well as live interviews. They are clunky and unnatural. Try your best to get in front of the interviewer.
If you’re given the flexibility to choose between an in-person interview and a phone interview, meet the interviewer in person.
While you may be worried that taking time away from your current job might cause tension, keep your sights set on the (brighter) future that you are trying to realize for yourself and make the time for an in-person interview.
There have been a number of times that I’ve seen applicants lose out to another candidate who is willing to invest their time in an in-person interview!
5. Dress The Part
Like it or not, many people will judge you on how you present yourself.
You don’t need a new Armani suit or a sparkly pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, but show up in business attire, clean and pressed.
Shine your shoes, carry a folder, have a shower, go light on perfume.
Make a first impression that will be remembered after all the interviews have been finished.
6. Practice Interviewing
Most of us are not great interviewees.
We simply don’t practice enough.
Take the time to search out the most common interview questions, and practice explaining your answers in a mirror.
Look at the way you’re sitting, how often and how long you maintain eye contact and measure how long you speak for.
There is nothing worse than too short of an answer, except for too long an answer.
Ideally, you want to aim to take 2-3 minutes to answer each question.
7. Build A Connection
I recently found this quote — “there isn’t a person you wouldn’t love, if you could hear their story”.
At Recruitment Partners, we are fortunate to listen to people’s stories every day; it’s one of the best parts of our job.
I’m sure many interviewers will feel the same.
Try and build that connection.
Yes, technical skills will be important, as will your answers to behavioural questions.
But find a way to leave a piece of yourself with the interviewer.
Whether it’s a unique hobby you have, your passion for the company’s product and how you use it, volunteer work, your accomplishments, or your childhood.
Take some to reflect what makes you, you — and do your best to share that.
8. Negotiate Wisely
Now, this one’s a bit of a double-edged sword.
It’s never wise to change your salary expectations during the interview process.
On the flip side, now is the time get the salary you are looking for; once you’ve accepted the position and joined the company, it’s much more difficult to negotiate.
During an economic downturn or recession, however, companies often roll back what they can afford to pay.
Open your expectations to a potentially lower salary, but make certain it is one you can live with.
The last thing you want to do is start looking for another job within a few months because you can’t make the mortgage.
On that note . . .
9. Avoid Job Hopping
Particularly during a downturn, companies are running a tight ship.
The last thing they want to do is invest in the interview process, the on-boarding process, the training process… only to have you leave the next month.
Now more than ever, it’s important you find the right job that you will be happy with for the next few years.
Remember who has the highest vested interest in your search
It’s not your parents or your spouse, although theirs is probably pretty high. It’s not your recruitment consultant, even though helping you find that job is a huge measure of how we define our success. It’s you, of course.
Be smart and be strategic. Form the right alliances with the right people. People you can trust and learn from. Surround yourself with positivity. The search can sometimes feel demotivating.
Remember, if you didn’t get that job, it simply wasn’t meant to be. Particularly during a a recession, you must remain focused on the search. It’s all about being in the right place right time.