Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Some of us are pros at job seeking, some are not. If you asked me before 2020, if I were a pro or not, I would have without a doubt said, I am a pro on both sides of the table regarding job search and interviewing.
I had never interviewed for a role at a new organization in-person and not been offered the role or a role at the organization before 2020. Fast forward to 2020, guess what – it is my turn to take time and learn because it turns out, I may be a pro at recruitment, but job seeking in 2020 is a work in-progress.
I am soaking up the lessons, what these rejections feel like and look like, focused on growing, adjusting my approach as I go, and truly evaluating my mindset in the craft of not only interviewing - but taking it further - assessing how recruitment needs to evolve as a practice and a profession. With the glaring need for many recruitment professionals to evolve, I see clearly that human resources, recruiting, and hiring teams are not showing up the way they need to - to attract and assess talent. On the flip side, talent (job seekers) that has been on the job market for extended periods of time in 2020 can be beaten up, often overwhelmed, and many are battling the self-doubt monster.
In Fall 2020, my interviews are 75% via phone and 25% via virtual platforms like; Teams, Zoom, and Skype. I am landing interviews with little to no feedback from those interviewing me. Truth be told, I am encountering more recruiters that approach recruitment like robots than not. It's no wonder job seeking in a pandemic has led me and many others to feel like we are spinning in circles.
I am not the only job seeker on the planet. After scheduling 20 calls with recruiters seeking employment all over the United States in October 2020, I learned that there is a common thread for job seekers who are at the 60+ day mark of their job search. Job seekers are getting caught in a loom of bad advice from non-recruitment professionals, are experiencing interview burn-out, and many other things not equating to their true value-add. Job seekers often begin to struggle with articulating their value-add proposition after months of rejections and typically without feedback or redirection.
After several months and dozens of interviews, I had an AH-HA moment. While self-reflecting, I asked myself, “what about my energy in-person is so much more engaging vs. my energy virtually or on a call?” I refuse to believe it is surface level. I know my value.
My ability to read a room’s energy coupled with my ability to throw energy around a room has always been something I've felt confidence in. Being able to exude who I am and my objective wasn't always this difficult.
It occurred to me, I have not mastered this on a call or video as a job seeker. What I have done; talked in circles with excitement, radiated nervousness, second guessed myself, gotten off track while trying to share quantifiable examples of my experience, sat through excruciating interviews that I should have walked out of or clicked on “leave meeting”, and assessed what felt like failure and over and over.
Recently, a recruiter did me solid favor by giving me on-the-spot feedback - changing the job seeker game for me. It changed how I approached interviewing going forward as a candidate. This feedback shined a light on my pitfalls. I was not being specific enough in my answers to questions. I needed to pick examples specifically and get great at explaining them.
Was this the first time, I had heard this type of feedback in my life? Nope!
Was this the first time I realized this? No.
Had I gotten off track after several months of interviewing? Absolutely.
Did the feedback hurt or make me upset? Truthfully, the feedback made me feel grateful. I did not allow myself to get upset or begin to beat myself up.
Immediately, I began to make changes. It became abundantly clear what my energy problem was. It was that I was not focused on the task at hand. I was not approaching my interviews like I would recruitment project management. I was trying to share too much without the detail necessary to spotlight my excellence and answer their questions thoroughly. I had forgotten my sizzle.
Recruiter feedback is invaluable. It can instantly snap a job seeker out of a 2020 interviewing trance. It sure did for me.
Like a broken record, we hear that recruitment and hiring in 2020 is like nothing we have experienced before. I have blogged and loudly expressed on social media the importance of making feedback normal and the importance of making it a commonly accepted recruitment practice.
Recruitment and hiring teams need to scoop up the talent that has been on the market for 60+ days. There is a tremendous pool of exceptional talent #readytowork.
As recruiters and hiring teams we need to be willing to peel back the layers with job seekers rather than looking for the job seeker to give us the magic answer. We need to ask more questions. We need to approach recruitment with empathy and remember that we are all one decision away from being job seekers ourselves. We need to stop expecting job seekers to be professional resume writers (unless you are looking to hire a resume writer). Reading the thousands of posted job advertisements, recruiters and hiring teams need to STOP the double standard of expecting perfection.
While I continue to live the life of a recruitment professional and a job seeker, I am evolving.
Evolve with me.