In the past, and maybe still now there has been an unfair suspicion from many employers towards professionals who have been made redundant. Maybe towards those who have recent gaps in their CV, the self-employed looking for perm roles or those who have had short tenures with a company. Rarely said out loud, but often very clear to see.
Was it poor performance? – Maybe, maybe not ..
Do they have a bad attitude? – Make your own decision. Get references when it’s appropriate to.
Why have they not worked in so long? – Planned break, education, caring, mat or pat leave, health reasons, lack of opportunities?
Why have they moved around so much? – A rise in FTCs and the need to take a job, maybe some interim with some permanent? Redundancy, bullying, harassment or poor leadership?
The last year has been incredibly difficult in the L&D, talent & OD markets and there has been a big uplift in recruitment activity since September. A recent Gartner poll said 68% of HR leaders are prioritising building critical skills and competencies for 2021 – this is welcome reading for the L&D and OD market, but we are not out of the woods yet. Another section showed 50% of HR leaders’ top priorities included optimising costs, with another 46% saying organisation design and change management was high on their list.
The good news for candidates is there seems to be a mindset shift towards the above unspoken questions from hiring managers. Redundancy through Covid has affected leaders, top performers, average performers and even non-starters (those who were offered roles, resigned from their employer, then never started with their new one) I’m pleased to have placed several people who were in between jobs in the last year, and seen alerts of people starting new roles in my network.
The sense of community and willingness to help within the talent world has been awe inspiring. Common empathy and being ‘more human’ I believe have aided the change in thinking. Everyone has shown vulnerability at some stage through the pandemic. Everyone knows someone affected by cuts, or even worse personal losses.
Inclusion is high on corporate agendas now; people are all too aware of the post Brexit fall out and of course the corona virus. It’s been very, very hard for people in the industry. We can all help.
In summary, there are no obvious answers to any of the above questions (there probably never has been) – I encourage hiring managers to look at the skills and experience, not the gaps or assumptions being made.
Be fair in your process – There is a heap of benefits to you:
A bigger candidate pool
A more inclusive approach to recruiting
No notice periods
Improved employer brand & candidate experience
Offering a helping hand to someone who needs it (You will feel great too)
As a candidate looking for work, What can you do to get more interviews?
Make your career achievements shine on your cv – show your capabilities and track record in things like metrics (£, % etc), evidence of ROI, real change or improvement, large and complicated projects you have led or contributed to – not just a list of your responsibilities.
Network with your peers, build your personal brand, reach out to your old boss or colleague, listen to podcasts, read industry articles, ask what is important to employers currently in your field and look for where you can tailor your cv, or include that relevant information.
Be clear on your CV about what was contract/interim, fixed term contract or permanent roles.
There should be no stigma – explain any longer gaps and what you have been doing in between
What else has changed?
VIRTUAL: The virtual world has accelerated interviewing and assessment, as well as decision making. The days of 3-6 month processes can no longer exist, your competitors are moving faster and will continue to do so.
FLEXIBILITY: Work from home, work from anywhere, flexible working hours, increased part time placements. KEEP IT UP!