Redundancy sucks, there are only a few other occurrences in life which throw you as much. I won’t list them, as many I have not experienced. But redundancy, well that is something I have experienced and it was by my best friend that put me through it.
Now we all know businesses have had to make impossible decisions and many of you will be searching due to redundancy or because your employer wasn’t as engaged as you would have hoped during what has been an incredibly difficult period for us all. I’ve written a few points for you to keep in mind when searching for your next position which is explained further on our Podcast series which can be found via this link – https://anchor.fm/elusiveps
It’s a numbers game, but don’t count
We’ve all seen these posts on LinkedIn – ‘ I made 200 applications, was rejected for 199 and I got 1!’ and they get 15000 likes. Ok, well done, here is your virtual pat on the back. But really, why does this matter. Yes, we all need to come together but there will be just as many people sitting there saying ‘why not me’. I could apply to 1000 jobs, none of which I can do and apply for 2 I can, and be successful in that 1. Then place that comment onto LinkedIn, but the reality is all I am doing is playing to their algorithm to make sure I get noticed moving forward. The truth is, numbers don’t count. Keeping going counts. Hitting that apply button over and over without getting downtrodden or upset can be soul-destroying, but if you don’t hit it, you haven’t even tried. The worst anyone can say is NO. I talk about accurate applications in the podcasts and this is key to your success, but even whilst doing this you still need to hit a volume – as the saying goes: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
When speaking to those in recruitment, ask them about realistic expectations as they are well placed to give this advice. Don’t get frustrated if they respond with a lower amount than you were earning. You will get back there in time and you may actually be pleasantly surprised even in the current circumstances. Don’t rest on what you think you should be earning as this may mean you put yourself forward for positions which don’t suit. Some businesses overpay to price their staff out of the market (not a bad thing but can make it tough to find a new position). If you keep getting rejected based on salary, it will have a negative psychological effect. To the same degree, don’t set your bar low, as at the same time, you want to make sure you are in a position which you enjoy.
Lose the Resentment
As I said, redundancy sucks. Especially if you were made redundant in a period in which you could have been furloughed (yup that’s me!!). The resentment is real, your ex-employer has made it clear they don’t care about your wellbeing and in truth, show their true colours. Unless they are liquidating there really is no excuse. Ok, this is my opinion, and many business owners will disagree, but we all know it would have cost very little to keep us on until this was over and the longer your tenure with the business the more it hurts.
What I suggest, even if financially difficult, is take some time out. Why? Because if you don’t that resentment will be seen by a new employer and could potentially be carried over in some form. It could be that knot in your stomach when you get a sudden call (anxiety) or rushing around when you don’t have to. You need a break to clear your head before getting your cards in order and getting back out there. Resentment is normal, dis-trust is normal, the upset is normal – but all of these things can drastically affect your success in both interviews and a new job.
Cancel Culture – Don’t wimp out
Now being on my side of the fence it is easy to say this – but if you have interviews booked and you need to cancel for several reasons, then call the person who has arranged the interview and tell them. You may have completed some further research, checked Glassdoor and be convincing yourself it isn’t for you, but a call is always worthwhile. The person on the other end may quell some fears or actually agree with your findings (unless they are being targeted on interviews as many recruiters are). I am the first to admit, I have been annoyed at interviews being cancelled but if I get a phone call it’s much easier to accept.
The only time I suggest e-mailing is if the person on the other end has been particularly pushy (which us recruiters can be). All parties need to be professional and forcing you into an interview is not. Communication is key, it’s not about the here and now, but the future and f a recruiter gets upset, just remember, like you, they are doing a job and it’s probably going to hit their pocket – it’s not personal.
Make accurate applications
Don’t apply to everything, be particular. Read the advert and make sure you tick the boxes. You have to remember that the likelihood is that your applications will go to a number of agencies and some will go to the same. If you apply to one role at 20k and another at 40k the automated response is – they don’t know what they want. If you apply to a junior and manager opportunity – again the response is the same. Even if this is deemed unfair the individuals between you and the business are there to make sure the best fit starts in that opportunity. If you are applying to positions which vary hugely, subconsciously the decision will be not to put you forward.
Answering the phone
Ok, you are looking for a new job. You are going to get calls from numbers you don’t know. Don’t answer the phone asking who it is, this will automatically create tension (again psychologically this is not something anyone can control). It comes across as defensive. Answer the phone professionally if your CV is on the job boards or you are making applications. Every time. If it is PPI – hang up.
Have one set up, there is little excuse not to have one set up on a mobile. You may miss out on the position you really wanted because you don’t have a voicemail and couldn’t get to the phone.
The more detail you leave out, the more questions need to be asked
This is key, in a market which is apparently saturated (it’s not quite yet) the more questions someone needs to ask the less likely you are to be contacted. Why, because the other 10 CV’s don’t need these questions answering. This is just psychology, we are always looking to make life easier for ourselves, we’ve been doing it for 70,000 years and it won’t change. So…
Address and Postcode
If you don’t include it, it’s another reason to not be contacted, postcodes are vital as most recruiters will search by key skills and location, even in Central London (i.e. Bromley for positions in Harrow…). If you are relocating put your new postcode, not current.
Don’t just put years, include months. You put 2019 on your CV the reality is you could have worked for one month or 12. 2019 to 2020 you could have worked Dec 2019 to Jan 2020 or Jan 2019 to Dec 2020.
They get to the point quickly and simply
CV’s in the third person can be viewed negatively, your CV is about you, not somebody else
When searching for candidates we search for keywords, think of your job and the nuances of it, and make sure all the words are there (i.e. Software, volumes, sectors)
Two or three key achievements are always worth including for each position
Keep it professional and maybe move away from Hotmail, it has ridiculous security which means many new businesses e-mails will end up in Junk even if they pay for additional security features (from someone who has experienced this three times now).
I go into the above much more on Episode One of our podcast.
Now if you secure an interview…
I heard something recently stating anxiety can actually be a good thing. If you are going to an interview, anxiety is normal. If you don’t have it, ask yourself do you really want the job? It may affect you, but tell the interviewer you are nervous if needs be. If they are good at what they do they will lay your mind at rest and things will flow nicely in time. Use the anxiety to power you through.
If you are on time you are late
But don’t be too early, say 5-8 minutes before the interview. Anything over 10 puts undue pressure on the interviewer.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Make sure you know what the business does, really, this is common sense
Don’t know an answer, then tell them. You’ll get more respect for that longer-term and if it’s a vital part of the role, then at least you tried and won’t get caught out. Maybe ask them if you can answer it hypothetically as you haven’t had the experience yet…
Practice your answers and be clear and concise
Once you answer a question, don’t go back to it and answer it again
Be ready for rubbish questions
- Where do you see yourself in five years? – to be totally honest, drinking cocktails on a beach in Bali, that’s the dream, but otherwise, I don’t even know where I will be in six months due to Covid!
- What’s your greatest weakness? – I make rubbish tea
- Sell me this pen? – oh great someone thinks they are DiCaprio
- Why do you want this job? – Because I want to get paid and not lose my house?
- Why have you had four jobs in the last six years? – because I wanted to progress and last year, well Covid
- Why aren’t you working? – Covid
- Why are you temping? – well at least I am working and…Covid
- What’s your home life like? – that’s none of your business, where is HR? (in all seriousness, unless you have bought homelife up this should not be asked. My old boss asked everyone this, it caused me a lot of problems)
I joke but sometimes I think people sitting on the other side of the fence forget how difficult it can be to sit in your position and there are probably some hiring managers reading this calling me names. Ok, answer the questions seriously but also think about if you want to work for someone who is asking these type of questions. Questions they know the answer to or really should have asked the recruiter prior to inviting you in. If they are testing your personality, you should pick up on this, but they may just not be very good at interviewing which is a worrying prospect if they are to be your manager.
There are a lot of psychological processes that go into a job search. This is because it is an emotional rollercoaster. We are led by emotions and memories and we need to remove ourselves from the process at times. You have to be yourself and you have to think about what you want. What your goals are. Otherwise, we will end up back here at some point.
Good luck, and if you have any questions or additions to the above, please let us know!