To put it lightly, the COVID-19 outbreak threw a wrench in a lot of plans. It’s been devastating for many Canadians, and for people around the world, and the long-term effects are yet to be seen.

For those who’ve unexpectedly found themselves unemployed (and in the midst of a pandemic), it’s understandable that you’ve got questions.

What are employers thinking right now? Is anyone hiring? Is my job search a lost cause? Should I even bother?

Luckily, we’re in the unique position of speaking directly with both employers and job seekers every single day, which gives us a pretty darn good idea of what’s going on out there in the job market right now. So, yeah, those questions you’ve got? We’d be happy to help answer them.

Why hasn’t the hiring manager gotten back to me? I’m the perfect candidate!

If you haven’t heard back after a great interview or you applied to a position online a week ago and haven’t been contacted about it, take a deep breath. This likely has nothing to do with you being qualified or unqualified for the job.

It’s been a very overwhelming couple of weeks. Things really did seem to go from zero to sixty, and the rapid implementation of preventative physical distancing measures meant many organizations had to suddenly send their employees home to work remotely, something many of them weren’t set up for. In the absence of work from home policies and without the necessary infrastructure in place, employers and HR teams were left scrambling to get their employees set up with the tools they’d need to perform their roles remotely.

With all hands on deck ensuring employees have not only the equipment they need, like laptops and ergonomic keyboards, but also have access to support and resources to help them through this transition, the priority for employers and HR right now is taking the steps needed to ensure the health and productivity of their employees.

So if you haven’t heard back, it’s not you. It’s that your prospective employer has been busy taking care of their team – implementing remote work policies, employee assistance programs and launching additional resources, such as mental health and wellness programs.

So, seriously, are employers still hiring or not?!

To be truthful, many non-essential roles were put on hold by our clients during the first couple weeks while the focus was on supporting their team during the transition to working from home. That’s to be expected.

But the great news is we’ve seen a big shift in the days following; organizations are learning how to successfully run their businesses remotely and adapting to the ‘new normal’, as it’s being called. It’s been awesome to see our clients adopting practices that allow them to seamlessly onboard new hires remotely, having equipment couriered to their homes and doing virtual training sessions.

With the job market opened up, our clients know that now is a great time to hire, as they’ve got access to talented professionals who may not have been available previously. The great majority of our clients understand that waiting too long to hire will mean losing out on excellent candidates and put them at a disadvantage with their competition. Those who make hiring a priority now will be set up for success, while employers who opted to forgo hiring will undoubtedly encounter staffing issues when things begin to normalize again.

TLDR: Yes – employers are hiring! There are jobs! Great jobs! Your search is not a lost cause! The process will definitely be different (ever done a video interview before?) and with added layers of complexity. Things are moving slower, yes, but they’re moving.

Oh, so now you’re wondering how to navigate the market during this unusual time? Another great question…

What should I be doing?

If there ever was a time to buff up your online presence, it’s now. Your digital brand is more important than ever as events and conferences around the world are cancelled and organizations are moving everything online. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and portrays you as the polished, skilled professional you most certainly are. And hey, update that resume you haven’t looked at since 2009.

Not sure where to start? Check out these helpful one-pagers we put together:

The Art of the Resume: Do’s and Don’ts

Your LinkedIn Profile: Everything you Need to Know 

What do I do if feel like I’m just wasting time?

It can be frustrating when you’re eager to get to work and everything seems to be taking forever. Don’t get discouraged! All this time at home isn’t wasted (well, those hours you spent watching Tiger King might be pushing it), it’s giving you an opportunity to lay the groundwork for success in the future.

• Been meaning to brush up on your Photoshop skills? Great! Take a course or spend an afternoon watching YouTube tutorials. Learn a new skill or build on one you already have.

• There are tons of free webinars available to the public right now, on everything from HR to employment law to property management, and everything in between. Spend some time checking out resources available for people in your industry and sign up for a virtual lunch and learn or panel discussion.

• Connect with professionals in your industry on LinkedIn and for goodness sakes, talk to a recruiter!

When are things going to go back to normal?

Unfortunately, we can’t answer that one. The best thing you can do is to stay informed and up to date on what’s happening currently. When you connect with a recruiter, they’ll be able to give you the facts and help you look at your options realistically. A recruiter is able to update you on the roles their clients are urgently hiring for, and those that might be delayed for a while. It’s good to have someone in your corner who will keep an eye out for your next big opportunity, so you can go bake sourdough bread or whatever.

I only want to work for this ONE company in this ONE role, and they aren’t hiring right now! What do I do?

Right now, try and stay open minded. Remember, your next job doesn’t have to be forever. If your dream job isn’t up for grabs at the moment, you might want to consider what other roles would be suitable for you. Where will you best be able to use your your skills and experience? This is a good opportunity to really think about what you want in both the short term and the long term. If you need to get working immediately, a temporary or contract role might be the way to go. These types of positions are an awesome way to get to work quickly and pay the bills while we wait for things to start to normalize.

I’m frustrated with all of this, what can I do?

It sucks, we know. This whole situation is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, and everyone is feeling frustrated and anxious – so just know that you aren’t alone. Try and be patient with yourself and patient with your job search. Do what you can, but also be sure to prioritize your mental and physical health and wellness. Set up virtual coffee dates with friends, connect with family, go for a walk and be sure to stay in touch – we’ll get through this together (and we’re here if you need to talk!).

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