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Job Searching During the Pandemic: Your Qs Answered

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And just like that, the job market has transformed. Whether you were already job searching or have suddenly found yourself needing a job unexpectedly, we know you have questions. Below are some of the most frequent questions we’ve been getting lately. We hope they offer you some clarity in these unprecedented times.

Have you considered opportunities to serve as a fractional or interim executive? Companies at every stage—from startup to growth to mature—are finding themselves in a bind without the right leadership right now. Some were already on the hunt for a CEO, CTO, or another executive before the pandemic hit. Others are only seeing critical gaps in their leadership or business processes now that the “tide has gone out,” as Warren Buffet once put it. Yet, in both scenarios, budgets are tight, and fear of commitment is high.

If your expertise lies in technical, operational, or financial areas, take a look at what The HT Group offers our clients for advisory services and contact us if you believe you’re a fit. The opportunity is a win-win for both executives and the employers they assist. You may have the chance to set your own hours, serve several organizations at once, and perhaps even find a fit that becomes permanent. 

These are challenging times, and we know you have more questions keeping you up at night. Contact one of our recruiters if you’re searching for a job right now but aren’t sure how to navigate the current job market.

I NEED A JOB FAST. WHERE CAN I FIND ONE?

It may feel like everyone has lost their job, but some industries are hiring fast and furiously. These jobs run the gamut from professional (like tax managers, actuaries and IT security) to administrative to manufacturing and distribution to childcare and education and, of course, healthcare. Some are temporary, others are contract, and plenty are permanent, full-time positions.

Take a look at the open positions listed on our website and search “Immediately Hiring” on Indeed for ideas on what’s out there. Also, contact your HT Group recruiter to let them know where you are in your job search and what type of positions you’re searching for.

I WAS ALREADY SEARCHING FOR A JOB BEFORE COVID-19 HIT. NOW WHAT?

Stay the course. If you haven’t heard from the recruiters and hiring managers you previously communicated with and you’re unsure what to do next, it’s OK to check-in. It’ll keep you top of mind amid the chaos.

Also, take this time to network. That may sound odd in this time of social distancing, but you might be surprised how many friends and colleagues you can reach now who usually are too busy to help. Be specific yet brief when you contact them. Tell them what type job you’re looking for, what qualifications make you a great candidate (with a link to your LinkedIn profile, online portfolio, etc.), why you’re asking them, specifically, for their help, and how they do that (passing along your email or introducing you to any colleagues they have that come to mind, for instance).  

SHOULD I TAKE THIS TIME TO RESKILL OR UPSKILL?

If you have the time and resources, absolutely. Follow the trends. If you’re in the tech industry and have been meaning to learn a new language or skill to be more marketable, now is the time. Dice points out the following tech jobs are ramping up in the banking and finance sectors: data management and data engineering, cloud computing, liquidity management, user interface engineering, and more. And if you’re nontechnical but know that learning new skills can either help you keep your job longer, be promoted, or catapult you into a better job or new career, go for it. Online resources for learning new skills are endless. Try these tips to close your job skills gap fast.

I’VE BEEN FURLOUGHED. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

Furloughed workers—either fully or with reduced hours—and even contractors may be able to qualify for unemployment under current COVID-19 guidelines. But applying for unemployment is an administrative nightmare right now, and it won’t cover your full paycheck, even with extra compensation added by the federal government.

An alternative is to find other work, which you generally have the right to do while being furloughed. A temporary or contract position may be ideal because it allows you to have the flexibility to return to work at your current job when your furlough is over. However, you may need to weigh how a temporary employment situation affects any current benefits and non-compete agreements you have in place.

CAN I LOOK FOR A JOB IF I’VE TESTED POSITIVE OR ARE PRESUMED TO HAVE COVID-19?

Do not start a job when there is a risk that you are a direct threat to others around you. Currently (as of mid-April), employers can ask about your exposure to COVID-19 or any symptoms you may be having. They can even take your temperature or have other procedures in place to screen the health of their employees during this time.

If you’ve recovered from COVID-19 (whether tested or presumed) and feel ready to start work again, an employer may require a fitness-for-duty test or return-to-work clearance from a physician. Check with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Department of Labor (DOL) for changing guidelines.

WHAT IF I’M IMMUNE-COMPROMISED? DO I NEED TO PUT MYSELF AT RISK FOR A JOB?

There are many essential jobs open right now—in manufacturing, distribution, warehouse, healthcare, and others—that require being onsite with other workers or engaging with the public. If you’re immune-compromised, those jobs may not be right for you right now. It’s a judgment call that only you can make.

Thankfully, there are other options. Depending on your skills are your resources, a remote or work-from-home job could be a great solution. Many of these positions include a fully remote interviewing and hiring process as well. However, be sure that you find these job opportunities through a reputable source like The HT Group. Job scams are increasing right now, and sometimes it’s difficult to spot a legitimate job posting among them

HOW CAN I BALANCE CHILDCARE / TAKING CARE OF MY FAMILY WITH A JOB RIGHT NOW?

It’s an impossible situation: being a fulltime caregiver and a fulltime employee at the same time. Yet, here we are. Childcare centers will be phased back into regular operations over time, but who knows if there will be a resurgence that shuts them down again.

If you’re considering a job that’s front-line or essential, rest assured that there will be daycare options for you. If you’re applying for jobs that are considered nonessential per federal COVID-19 guidelines, there are more uncertainties to consider. Do your research about the employer first. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act directs certain employers (mostly those with 50 to 500 employees) to extend family and medical leave for when you’re caring for a family member for COVID-19 related reasons. That extended family leave may be a critical benefit for you if, say, summer camps or daycares remain shut down, or school doesn’t resume as planned in the fall.

I HAVE PHONE AND VIDEO INTERVIEWS LINED UP. WHAT ARE SOME TIPS?

Many employers right now are conducting their entire interview processes virtually. That means you may never have a chance to make an in-person impression. If you’re not adept at communicating well on the phone or through video chat, now is the time to fix your hang-ups. (Literally. A poor connection that cuts out can destroy an interview.)

During a recent Austin Chamber webinar, local HR experts agreed that one of the top things you can do right now is to “be Zoomable.” That is, set up a spot in your home and get the tech tools you need to create a non-distracting, well-lit, quiet environment to be interviewed virtually. Practice with friends and family members. You need your body language and personality to shine through, which can be very difficult to do. These tips can also help.

I’M A C-SUITE EXECUTIVE ON THE JOB HUNT. WITH SO FEW PROSPECTS AND SO MUCH UNCERTAINTY AT THE MOMENT, WHAT CAN I DO?

Have you considered opportunities to serve as a fractional or interim executive? Companies at every stage—from startup to growth to mature—are finding themselves in a bind without the right leadership right now. Some were already on the hunt for a CEO, CTO, or another executive before the pandemic hit. Others are only seeing critical gaps in their leadership or business processes now that the “tide has gone out,” as Warren Buffet once put it. Yet, in both scenarios, budgets are tight, and fear of commitment is high.

If your expertise lies in technical, operational, or financial areas, take a look at what The HT Group offers our clients for advisory services and contact us if you believe you’re a fit. The opportunity is a win-win for both executives and the employers they assist. You may have the chance to set your own hours, serve several organizations at once, and perhaps even find a fit that becomes permanent. 

These are challenging times, and we know you have more questions keeping you up at night. Contact one of our recruiters if you’re searching for a job right now but aren’t sure how to navigate the current job market.