Will The Pandemic Slow Down Hiring in 2020?

April 2020 IssueCoffee BreakCOVID-19 Resource Center

The coronavirus pandemic has dominated the US news since February 2020.  Since then, our clients have asked two common questions: ”Will the coronavirus slow down an already slow hiring process?  Will there be layoffs and hiring freezes?” My answer? It depends.

 Not every industry slows down in an economic downturn (if that’s ultimately where we end up…we aren’t even certain if that’s the case this year yet). And not every company within an industry slows down.  The bottom line is people get hired during layoffs and hires happen even when things slow down.

 Do you know who gets hired during economic shifts? Those who didn’t stop job searching and, instead, kept going.

 Will the search be harder? Possibly. But no matter what, it’s never a 100% complete halt. It just gets more competitive.  So I think it’s time for job seekers at all levels to remain competitive and consistent.

 Like investing, trying to time the market is futile. Successful investing comes from doing it regularly and consistently. The same is true with job searching. Trying to time when is the best time to get hired is pointless. Just start the search. Don’t stop even in times when you think no one is hiring like the holidays or the summer. Many do that already and that’s not the best way to go. So don’t stop job searching as people get hired during these slowdowns all the time.  And they will get hired during this coronavirus event as well. 

 One added benefit of continuing now is that it provides an edge over those who stopped. By just continuing, you are in front of potential employers where others aren’t. So continue on, but know that the landscape might be different.  You might need to adjust accordingly.

 It’s important to note that the candidate market has always been competitive pre-coronavirus and companies have continued to take their time to process candidates and hire the best person for the job.  That’s not going to change.

Hiring will speed up or slow down within an organization based on their strategic plans for the year…not solely because of a virus.

 That being said, now that companies are asking employees to work from home, not all companies and their employees are equipped to work remotely or from other remote offices where the virus hasn’t spread. 

 A company’s capacity to onboard new employees can shift the hiring manager’s priority of hiring new people for their open job to caring for the employees they already have working for them.  What does that mean for you as the candidate? It could mean another delay – just like any other delay that could happen. Be prepared and anticipate delays so you can reposition yourself, remain optimistic, and keep your pipeline full.

 Showcasing your accomplishments that demonstrate turning around challenging situations into profitable paths can make the potential employer’s decision easier to hire you. Be sure to highlight skills such as your experience working virtually to outline how you will assimilate into the organization faster. 

Your job as the candidate is to follow up consistently.  Be politely persistent. Close by asking for the next steps on the interview. Ask for the job.  Use LinkedIn to get noticed. Leave voicemails and send emails to ask for an update on the interview process.

 Like any prior hiring obstacle you may have experienced, the key is to remain in control over what you can control. So be in control of the steps that you take – virus or no virus.

Lisa Rangel, founder and managing director of Chameleon Resumes (https://chameleonresumes.com/ (a Forbes Top 100 Career Website), is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Job Landing Consultant and 13-year recruiter. 

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