…The new normal, the shape shifting of today’s job seeker

Last week I discussed how hiring authorities are being “shape shifted” by today’s economy and now it’s important for us to discussThe shape shifting of today’s job seeker’s world. Here is what we’re hearing from candidates:

  • “I never thought I’d ever get laid off… I’ve been here for 15 years. We were told last week that we really didn’t have anything to worry about. And then they lay me off. They tell me it’s because of Covid. But that was two months ago!”
  • “It’s almost impossible to get an interview. I’ve never had this much trouble.”
  • “Now look, I’ve been making $100,000 base salary and I can’t go below that.” (The candidate’s office was closed because of Covid and the profession that he is in is shrinking and on top of that he negotiated that $100,000 salary six months ago when he took the new job. The salary on his previous job was $80,000. Back then [short time ago] the market was hot. Now, he’ll be lucky to get an interview let alone a $100,000 base salary.)
  • “We have no idea what the smart thing to do is. We don’t know if the kids are going to be back in school, what day care is going to look like, whether one of us is going to have to stay home if the kids are home. So I know I need a job but I’m going to have to put off interviewing for another few weeks until we can sort this out.”
  • “They told me they let me know about the offer three weeks ago and I still haven’t heard from them.” (Organizations are just plain scared.)
  • “They checked eight of my references and still can’t decide?”
  • “They said they have interviewed 32 candidates and still aren’t sure of what they’re looking for.”
  • “Well, since my unemployment has run out I guess it’s time for me to look for a job…how hard do you think it’s going to be?” (We wanted to ask, “what planet are you living on? Haven’t you been reading the papers or listening to the news?”)
  • “I knew it was a start up, but they said they had plenty of money. Their definition of plenty of money and my definition of plenty of money was a lot different.”
  • “I like the job, but we have to work from home. We’ve got three little kids and I can’t imagine how I can get anything done working from home.”
  • “Ever since we all started working from home there just plain hasn’t been the camaraderie and culture there was when we were all together. Cliques have started to form and everybody is beginning to mistrust everybody. Frankly, it’s just more lonely working this way and I don’t like it. They told us they were going to continue this way of working till the first of the year, so I want out.”
  •  “If I can’t make at least $70,000, it’s not worth me going to work. I’ll stay home on unemployment.” (Try saying that to a prospective employer!)
  • “I’m sick of zoom meetings.”
  • One of our employers interviewed a candidate via Skype and said, “I’m not going to hire him. What kind of fool would have comic books on his bookshelf. I saw them when I was interviewing him.”
  • “The company you connected me with told me they had a six week interviewing process. Is that true? I like them, but I need to go to work, my company is going broke and I need to go to work faster than six weeks.”
  • “After they offered me the job and I accepted, they called and said that they canceled the job. Can they do that? I’m going to call my attorney and see if I have any legal grounds.” (You don’t. Except under very rare circumstances the resend and of a job offer has no legal consequences.)
  • “After three months of interviewing, they told me they were not going to fill the job.”

We’ve been hearing multiple versions of these kinds of things for two months now. I imagine it’s gonna go on for some time. Every recession we’ve lived through has experienced different aspects of most every statement you’ve heard here. Let’s just face it, life is a mess. It’s a phenomenal series of ups and downs that can come in just about any time in one’s life.

It’s how we deal with these things that is going to make a difference. I’ve always estimated that there are at least 14 negative things that happen in a job search for every positive thing. And people simply have to get used to that. It might be more in this market.

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