The 2020 job market has been a little chaotic. Over the past six months, the job hunting process has undergone a series of whiplash-inducing pivots to adapt to the dramatic health, economic, social and environmental events currently shaping our world. Some changes, such as the switch from in-person to virtual job interviews, as obvious. Others, such as changing communication needs and salary negotiation processes are more subtle but no less significant. The cumulative effect of these changes is a shift in job hunting culture and the etiquette that surrounds it. Let’s discuss three of the key ways the job market has shifted in 2020, and how you should adapt your job hunting etiquette accordingly!
Part-time might be the new full-time:
A noticeable shift that has occurred since businesses have emerged from lockdown is the drop in full-time jobs advertised via industry job boards (B&T, Pedestrian, Jora, Adzuna etc) and the rise in part-time and freelance roles.
Part-time hiring practices are a way for employers to hedge their bets in these uncertain times when businesses are re-establishing themselves and the full economic impact of the pandemic is yet to be fully understood. In many instances, it’s highly likely these part-time hires will transition into a full-time role once their probation period has ended and the company’s expected workload becomes better defined. This is something you can discuss with potential employers at the job interview stage.
How to adapt your etiquette:
Do not apply for an advertised part-time role unless you are prepared to work in a part-time capacity for at least the next three months. Whilst it is perfectly acceptable and encouraged to ask about the possibility of an eventual progression to full-time work, do not attempt to negotiate for full-time work at the interview stage. Doing this is considered both rude and a waste of everyone’s time. Repeat: this is a waste of everyone’s time! It also means that other candidates who are legitimately interested in part-time work may miss out on a job opportunity, which is incredibly unfair.
Recognise that you’re one of many:
With the widely publicised rise in unemployment, it will come as little surprise to learn that Recruiters like Agency Iceberg, as well as employers, are receiving a record number of applications for job opportunities. In the past few weeks, almost every job we’ve posted has produced more than one thousand applications.
Along with this uptick in applications, there has been a noticeable rise in aggressive behaviour and harassment coming from applicants regarding CV feedback.
If you have not heard back from a Recruiter, here are the most likely reasons:
- The Recruiter may have lost their job – yes, Recruiters are also at risk for losing their jobs in this climate!
- The client may have decided to put hiring on hold and save their pennies until they are 100% sure there isn’t a 2nd Covid-19 “wave” or economic downturn
- The Recruiter may have changed their communication policies regarding job applications and is now only contacting shortlisted applicants due to the incredibly high volume of applicants (take a closer look at the position description to see if this is the case)
- The Recruiter may still be sorting through resumes and will get back to you soon!
How to adapt your etiquette:
For the next few months, it’s very likely that Recruiters and employers will only be able to contact applicants who are successful or successfully shortlisted for a role. So unless the job description invites you to call and learn more about a role, keep your expressions of interest simple and only send in the documents requested. Cover Letters are not required, save you time & energy.
Whilst it might be frustrating not to get a decisive answer about the outcome of your application, behaving in an aggressive (or passive-aggressive) manner is not going to help the situation and makes it harder for hiring managers, HR & Recruiters to do their jobs effectively.
Additionally, it is worth keeping in mind that receiving feedback on your CV from a Recruiter or hiring manager is a professional courtesy, not a right. If you don’t understand why your application has been unsuccessful and are seeking feedback, talk to a mentor or better still, engage the services of a career development professional who specialises in career guidance. The Victorian Government’s Skills Gateway is a fantastic online resource which provides links to skills and job centres as well as career counselling services.
Perhaps the biggest, and most obvious change to the job market that has occurred this year is the transition from working in-office to working remotely. If you are a job seeker, that means almost all of the job application and interview process will occur either over the phone or via video conferencing.
This shift has certain perks. For one, you’d be hard-pressed to run late for a phone interview in your own house. However, it also presents a challenge as in order to perform and make a positive impression on a potential employer you need to maintain your professionalism outside of a professional context. Dress appropriate, be prepared, ensure your WIFI works & talk clearly!
Prepare for your virtual or phone interview in exactly the same way you would for one in the office. Shower, get dressed (this includes shoes and pants that aren’t pyjama bottoms) prepare well, ensure your WIFI works & talk clearly! Taking these steps will put you in the right professional mindset and show respect for your prospective employer.
Whilst the 2020 job market presents a unique challenge to job seekers, a lot of the etiquette we’ve talked about here is more or less common sense. If you are respectful, thoughtful, patient and professional you will always make a good impression.