… doubt, uncertainty and fear



They all came to roost this week regarding the employment situation and the coronavirus. We have been inundated with professional candidates who have summarily lost their jobs because their companies want to be sure they’re going to survive.

We have been extremely blessed, because this quarter has been one of the best quarters, if not the best in our firm has experienced in three or four years. Remember, though the candidates we placed this month started their process of interviewing, on average, a month or before they got hired.

if we’re in a recession, and I’m not sure yet, it will be the seventh one that I have seen in my experience. I got into this profession in 1973 in the middle of a recession and just didn’t know any better. (I remember billing a $1440 fee and it was the largest the the company had billed in a year.) I came out of higher education and just plain didn’t know any better. I didn’t know that it was a dumb time to get into the, what was then called, “the employment agency business.”

Our profession is always on the tail end of whatever the economy is experiencing. The people we placed this month started interviewing in the latter part of January and the beginning part of February before all of this mess started. Just recalling the last four resessions, 1986, when real estate, banking and oil and gas all went on there butt at the same time in Dallas Texas, the dot bomb, 9/11 and 2008, I realize that kind of hiring we’ve seen up until recently won’t pick up again until companies out there have more confidence in themselves. Expansion and hiring are not things that companies do unless they feel the economy is stable and growing. Let’s face it, we’ve had 10 years of pretty excellent growth in the economy and we all knew that it was bound to get “corrected” somewhere along the line. That’s free enterprise. We just didn’t think something like a virus would cause it. Life is uncertain!

So, this is all nice theory to talk about, but even understanding it doesn’t help the 68-year-old engineer who got laid off today and called us, not having any idea what to do. I don’t know if understanding this helps the administrative assistant that we placed four weeks ago who got laid off yesterday. I know it’s really easy, but rather glib to simply say “well, just hang in there things will get better.” We all know that things are going to get better…we just don’t know when. And that’s the problem.

None of us have any idea if this government stimulus is going to help us or not, especially in the long haul. Ain’t nothing free and somebody’s got to pay for it down the line. But maybe just the idea that the government is trying to do something to help people out will really help them.

Most everyone of the employers that I spoke with this week are in shock, don’t know what to do and are suffering doubt, uncertainty, and fear. That’s the way it’s always happened. The people who were actively looking for a job full-time, are even more afraid than they were before. The people who have been summarily dismissed are in shock and there will be more for sure.

So, if you’re hiring authority and now have to hold off hiring, try this:

Pray, even if you’re not accustomed to doing it…start

Take massive action to do the things you know to do. Please don’t sit around wondering,              “what if this happens… what if that happens”…etc. it will do you no good to do that

Think about Plan A, Plan B and Plan C… Write them out as best you can

Circle all of your employees and tell them exactly where the company stands, especially                economically. How long can the company go if worse comes to worse. Even if it’s ugly, tell            people that it’s ugly. It’s amazing what people will do if they know the truth.

Only lay off people if you absolutely have to and please do it with grace and style. (I had an          excellent candidate call me on Friday to say that she got laid off by an email. I assure you              either now or later she will go to work for a competitor and she is so mad she will do                    whatever she can to get back at her most recent employer when she can.)

If your job is in jeopardy, be honest about it with others as well as yourself.

Do whatever you need to do, but do gracefully without negative emotions.

Realize that the law of karma states that how you deal with the most difficult times will bless       you or curse you in the future.

Keep praying! (The words of Jim Rohn keep playing in my head: “don’t pray for things to               become easier. Pray that you become better.”)

Be nice to people… even when you don’t feel nice. (I got a call from a vice president of the           company that I try to do business with a few years ago. He got fired last week and he needs a     Job. He may or may not remember it, but I called him a few years ago to see if he could use a       good salesperson. He was terribly rude and laughed in a really smug, condescending manner,     said: “you’re a recruiter? I can’t imagine anybody ever needing a recruiter. I know how to hire     through my network and I’ve always gotten jobs from my network. Don’t ever call me again!”       And he hung up on me. He may not remember it, but I do. He called because he needs a job       and was wondering if I would help him. Of course I will, but it’s hard not to remember how           rude he was.He’s been out of work for six months.)

Be grateful!


If you are a candidate that is beginning to look for a job because you just got downsized:

Pray, even if you don’t believe in it… start now

Don’t bemoan the fact that you got laid off and call 10 other people to complain about it.

Make sure you’re going to be able to get a good reference from the people you have most           recently been working for.

Take MASSIVE ACTION… Put a plan together to start looking for a job and really go after it.

Many employers are going to think that they will be able to pick up some great talent that            wasn’t available a month ago.

Make finding a job a job in itself.

Be Grateful

Have faith that this too will pass and we will all be better for it.

One bit of good news… An assistant controller we placed with the company about seven months ago got laid off from that company two or three months ago. The controller called her last week and said that laying her off was one of the biggest mistakes he had ever made and he hired her back! Good things do happen! She’s ecstatic!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *