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Job hunting during furlough

Updated: Apr 4, 2022



An unprecedented time has meant companies have had to deploy unconventional methods of conducting business as usual especially the recruitment process. While some industries have seen a decline in business meaning a lot of people have lost their jobs or have been furloughed. Others have continued to carry out their recruitment activities, but with a twist. Social distance measures have meant the end-to-end recruitment process is done wholly online. Not only that, but you also get inducted and on-boarded online. You start your new job online, build and maintain relationships online. Online is the new world and so we have to adapt accordingly.


11 weeks being on Furlough and having to go back to work, FULL TIME, ONLINE from Day 1! What a process and a journey for sure. In this post I detail my experience of job searching during the furlough period. Shout out to @taa.ashley who suggested I write a post about my experience and so here it is.

Job search process


I started applying for jobs two weeks into my furlough using LinkedIn and Indeed. There are a million other platforms that are out there, but for some reason I just prefer these two. With indeed, it amalgamates all jobs available on the WWW into one platform, and so if the job is advertised somewhere, 95% of the time it’ll also be on Indeed. I like LinkedIn for a number of reasons but above all those is that you will find quality job postings there.


The waiting, for responses, was discouraging because no one was getting back. I started receiving emails about the jobs I applied for 6 weeks later. You know when one company gets back to you offers you a role, it seems everyone then does the same. That was literally it in my case. I had 3 interviews in one week and the following week they all offered me the job. I went from (almost) stressing that why is no one getting back to me, to what do I do now!


If you are applying for a new job during this time, be patient – it is taking a considerably long time for recruiters and hiring managers to get back to people (unless of course it has an immediate start date). The economy is starting to open up, and therefore new roles are emerging so I would urge you keep an eye on the job market and apply as soon as there is a new job opening but then also remember to be patient.

Interviews


I had several interviews during the furlough period, all held online. I found it really strange at first especially on how to conduct yourself because an in-person interview gives you the opportunity to shake hands and you can read the interviewers body language – all things you can’t do online.


90% (out of 6) of the interviews I had focused on the ‘soft skills’ side of the role than technical abilities. One interview even asked me to present on ‘why I need a Project Manager.’

Here are some of the questions I was asked:

  • Give an example of when you had to manage upwards

  • Describe your approach to get buy-in from a senior colleague

  • How do you recognise that a team member needs help or are falling behind deadlines?

  • Describe your communication style

  • What do you think are the challenges you will face starting a new role remotely?

  • Provide an example of when you had to unblock a barrier

  • How do you prioritise your workload?

  • What do you consider the main challenges of working on projects?

  • What are the actions you would take during the start-up phase of a project?


Before you say I do to the job



Well this part hadn’t changed. The organisation’s HR team emails, and if you are lucky, calls to let you know if you were successful or not. I had my eyes on two potential jobs that I really wanted. We all do this I’m sure, you apply for a lot of jobs, but you have a few that you spend more time on making sure your application is perfect because you really want it. Luckily, interviews for both went well and they both offered me the position.


Some tips (and steps I took) before accepting the offer:


Obtain a contract: Read what both organisations are offering and compare with your expectations. There is the obvious money factor which is a subjective topic. For me, the main things that I look at are:

  • What benefits do they offer? I then cost them to see what the overall package looks like

  • Pensions. If you do not consider this as part of your decision, then please start. Given you may be working for most of your adult life, it’s important to understand what your standard of living in retirement looks like

  • Scope for development and training. It is important for me to work for an organisation that support employee development and let’s be real, some professional training courses are not cheap!


Ask lots of questions about the company and their culture if you feel you didn’t get a satisfactory response during your interviews. At this stage you will most likely be talking to the HR team and so in my opinion, I feel they will know more about company policies and so fourth so are best placed to give you all the details you need to support your decision.


Dare to negotiate. Most roles are advertised with a circa figure or a range. Of course, don’t negotiate with no facts. Research what other companies are offering for the same role and negotiate on that premise. Never sell yourself short and it’s important to know that there is always flexibility to what they can offer you. They have already shown that they want you, so what do you lose?



Ask for more time. Don’t always be ready to accept the offer when they call and give you the good news. Always ask for more time so you can really think about your decision, even if it is the job you really wanted! Saying yes to a job is a huge commitment that requires some thought, so be sure to give yourself time.


Starting the job


As I mentioned everything is online, my first day and week was spent on teams – lots of meetings with lots of different people. For someone who had been on furlough for a while, it was a challenge and at times overwhelming because my brain needed retraining and to get back into the rhythm of things.


As always, I hope my experiences will help you as you search for your next adventure; furloughed or not. If you do need some help in tailoring your CV and or any stage of the job-hunting process then be sure to check out www.routetobe.com or purchase their resource drive here (that includes example CV and cover letters that have landed jobs and lots more).


R x


 


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