Great companies and great employees understand that successful hires are made when effective daily habits are combined with strategic long-term plans. When these fundamentals are prioritized, job seekers and employers set themselves up for success -- whether they are breezing through average days or grappling with unprecedented crises. No matter what challenges may come, there are certain strategies for success that companies and individuals can benefit from, especially when it comes to the job search and hiring process. Here are three important ways for hiring managers and candidates alike to navigate difficult times and take advantage of smooth waters.
No one has a crystal ball, and there are plenty of market setbacks that no one can predict. However, both companies and job seekers can keep their long-term goals in mind and have plans in place to seize opportunities when they present themselves. For hiring managers, it can be tempting to think that during a down market, candidates will be grateful for a great opportunity - but even during difficult times, plenty of top candidates are still gainfully employed and will need to be “sold” on a company’s employment opportunity. If an employer believes that a candidate is a great investment, they should be prepared to put in the effort to demonstrate the long-term value of their opportunity.
Employees, whether they are on the market or comfortably employed, should keep their own career goals in mind. When a great opportunity arises, it’s important to give it strong consideration and not let fear or economic uncertainty prevent a candidate from making a strategic career move. While making a change can be scary, especially during times of crisis, missing out on great opportunities that could benefit a candidate’s career in the long run is scarier.
Organization is key when it comes to navigating a crisis. Companies should have a plan in place for who will be involved in hiring decisions. That way, when great candidates become available, the hiring process will not be held up with lengthy scheduling delays to accommodate too many decision makers. Keeping the hiring process streamlined and well thought out is especially important because it communicates to the candidate that their time is valuable and that a company’s interest in them is genuine. In addition, when a hiring manager commits to an interview time, it is critical that they do everything in their power to keep that time slot; rescheduling interviews sends the wrong message to a candidate. When an interview process feels disorganized, an interviewer seems distracted or noncommittal, or scheduling conflicts cause delays, candidates can feel disappointed and their interest in working for a company can decrease.
For candidates, getting organized means keeping their resumes and project lists up to date, practicing remote interview skills, and doing research on prospective employers so they are prepared to best represent themselves during the hiring process.
Often, economic difficulties and other widespread challenges force both employers and job seekers to reevaluate how things are done. For example, as a result of a global pandemic, the vast majority of the workforce shifted to remote work and remote hiring processes. In order to keep things running as efficiently as possible during this period of adjustment, flexibility became critical. Everyone had to learn new technologies to increase their video conferencing capabilities, not to mention adjusting evaluation techniques due to the inherent differences between remote and in-person interviews. Both employers and candidates have had to demonstrate flexibility with their schedules to accommodate interviews before and after work hours or during midday breaks. During a time like this when everyone is learning a “new normal,” patience and persistence are key components of a successful hiring process.
Job seekers can also show flexibility when it comes to evaluating opportunities. For example, if a candidate is interested in working for a particular company but opportunities are limited due to an economic downturn, they may need to think outside the box in terms of how to join the team. This might mean starting as a full-time consultant or contractor with the goal of transitioning to W-2 employment when the dust settles, or it could mean taking a lateral financial move or starting with a different title than their preferred position to get their foot in the door. If a company seems like a great long-term fit for a candidate’s career, the candidate should be willing to explore all potential opportunities to find a solution that may work for both parties.
Here’s the truth: setbacks and bad days happen to everyone, no matter how well prepared they are. The key to success is accepting that setbacks are inevitable and that one bad day does not unravel weeks, months, or years of hard work. Strong companies and candidates embrace each day with new determination and resolve to make it a great day. They learn from their mistakes and the challenges they have faced, but they do not let those struggles drag them down. Optimism and resilience can be difficult during seasons of crisis, but every day is a new opportunity to make a great hire, no matter what the previous day looked like.