Author Archives: Dorothy Dalton

make the most of furloughs

6 ways to make the most of furloughs

We are now for some people in a second or even third period of layoffs. Many complain they didn’t maximise their time in the first series and want to do better this time around. So how can you make the most of furloughs in the next round to manage your career in times of uncertainty?  

A furloughs is a temporary leave of absence or layoff, historically associated with the military or missionaries. I had only ever heard the word routinely used by Americans, but now it is part of  every day vocabulary in most geographies during lock down. Furloughs usually result in reduced income which is supplemented by governmental aid until the employee is needed again in the organisation. 

For many, coping with furlough is difficult, particularly parents who find themselves juggling  home schooling and other domestic and family needs. There are others however, especially those without children, who are active and healthy, where they basically find themselves on another period of extended leave. It’s important to make the most of this period because the chance to be so “time rich” many not present itself for a while.

6 ways to make the most of furloughs

1. Prepare strategically

  • Check out your statutory rights

Find out what benefits and state support you are entitled to and make sure you have completed all the necessary paperwork. We are beginning to hear stories of businesses abusing this financial aid.  This abuse of the system includes forcing employees to continue working on a part-time or ad hoc basis for the company, despite declaring them as furloughed. Other cases include those where employees  who were not even told that their employer was claiming reimbursement of their wages and were let go.

  •  Budget carefully

Being on furlough doesn’t give you employment protection and you can still be made redundant. It’s therefore important to monitor your expenses carefully and adjust your budget. Most people say that by physically not going to work they have reduced their expenses considerably. So take a “hope for the best and prepare for the worst” approach now by being strategic. Many young people with no kids have quite frequently (where they can) gone back to the parental home.

2. Work on Your Personal Brand

Most career coaches would suggest you work on your personal brand personal and make sure you have your basic career tools up to date. It can be a good moment to do some inner reflection work, especially if you have worked in a sector which has been hard hit. Make sure your CV and LinkedIn profile are up to date as a bare minimum. Your resume should be ready to send out at a moment’s notice.

This is a perfect opportunity to adapt the Ikigai method and ask yourself these 4 key questions:

  • Knowing what you love (your passion) — Feeling passionate about your life and work.
  • Pursuing what you are good at (your vocation) — Fully utilizing your talents.
  • Engaging in what will pay you  (your profession) — Knowing what others are willing to pay you to do.
  • Understanding what the world (market) needs (your mission) — Understanding what others need.

3. Research other opportunities

If you work in a heavily impacted sector such as entertainment, hospitality, events or travel, start to systematically research other sectors. You may find that there will be opportunities in fields you hadn’t even considered before. Now you have time to pull together all the data you need to make an informed decision.

4. Extend your skill set

For this group there is actually no excuse for not acquiring new skills which has never been more affordable or easier, as many qualifications shift to online offerings. Search on platforms such as LinkedIn to see the type of opportunities available. Make sure you check out the credentials of the provider carefully, as we have seen an uptick of many so called “experts” as a result of this crisis. Their expertise is pretty dodgy.

If you find qualifications or continuous learning possibilities that may support a career pivot investigate seriously. This is your moment  – carpe diem! Continuous learning can no longer be a hobby.

And clearly do something for the sheer joy of it. I have heard reports of people taking cookery D.I.Y. and photography courses.

 5. Network, network and network

In the current climate you have the time to increase your network. Do it. Make sure your networking moves are in line with your career goals where you can. But you can also just reach out to new people to expand your horizons for the sheer pleasure of it. Online networking is a great boon in these times to make useful contacts. Arrange virtual coffees or do what I have started doing  which is “netwalking. ” This is social and socially distanced, outside and healthy.

6. Tap into your existing skills

Let’s not forget that we are defined exclusively by our jobs. We all have different skills that can be used to either generate revenue or save money. They can also be adapted to current market needs.

Mario wrote, illustrated and self-published a children’s book which generated interest in his network and he is now writing a second.  Gemma and Barry remodelled their house with free online tuition from You-Tube. Matthieu a laid-off builder, set up a Virtual Assistant’s business specifically for the construction industry. His inside knowledge is putting him ahead of the game in relation to existing generalist vendors.

Many have skills can be shifted online to offer remote working services. Just take care that any revenue generation doesn’t impact your statutory rights.

The final factor is to take into account, you will be asked how you spent lock down or coped with the pandemic in any upcoming interviews. Make sure you are prepared.

If you need ongoing career support get in touch NOW 

Ikigai and career coaching

Intertwining Ikigai and career coaching

I have always incorporated the concept of Ikigai and career coaching, although when I started doing this many years ago, I didn’t understand at the time that this was what I was actually doing. My approach has always been holistic and to avoid to siloed thinking. Our professional and personal goals not separate and unrelated and long experience has taught me that if someone is unhappy in one area of their lives, it bleeds into another to cause imbalance. At the heart of Ikigai is that everything is connected.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept which is synonymous with “a reason for being.” The word “ikigai” suggests the source of value in your life or the things, that makes your life worthwhile. The English translation would be  “the thing that you live for” or “the reason for which you wake up in the morning.”

Hector Garcia, the co-author with  Francesc Miralles of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life says. “Your ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing,”

This balance is found at the point where your passions and talents converge with the things that the world needs and is willing to pay for.

The book identifies 10 rules for finding your own Ikigai

1. Stay active and don’t retire
2. Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life
3. Only eat until you are 80 per cent full
4. Surround yourself with good friends
5. Get in shape through daily, gentle exercise
6. Smile and acknowledge people around you
7. Reconnect with nature
8. Give thanks to anything that brightens our day and makes us feel alive.
9. Live in the moment
10. Follow your ikigai

Why are Ikigai and career coaching intertwined?

In any career reflection we all need to ask ourselves 4 main questions. When you have answered those questions and your responses are aligned, you will feel most fulfilled. They are:

  • Knowing what you love (your passion) — Feeling passionate about your life and work.
  • Pursuing what you are good at (your vocation) — Fully utilizing your talents.
  • Engaging in what will pay you  (your profession) — Knowing what others are willing to pay you to do.
  • Understanding what the world (market) needs (your mission) — Understanding what others need.

 

 

Question1  – what do I love doing?

One of the most regularly doled out of all career tips is to follow your passion. If it was a movie or a song it would get an award. Of course you should all be advised to do something you love and which satisfies you. Otherwise you will be condemned to a life of frustration and misery. But there are some caveats.

Passion isn’t static for most people. It’s misleading to suggest it might be and to follow it blindly. I had this perfect reminder in a tweet from Mouneer Rabie quoting Professor Scott Galloway

Your passion can change over the years. So something that you might be passionate about in your 20s, can be the source of unremitting boredom in later life.

You can also develop new passions. It’s not inconceivable that you might find two or even more passions in a working life which is extending all the time.

Passion on its own is not enough!

Question 2:  What am I good at?

The next step involves strategy, which brings us to question 2. Do you have the skills or can you acquire them? What are you good at?

It’s important to constantly assess our skills, strengths and development needs because these are changing or we need to update them. The days of anyone having a fixed retirement date when they kick back and head for the golf course or world travel are probably a thing of the past for all but a few. It’s projected that most people will now be working until they are 70, health permitting.

It’s important that we all recognise our strengths and skills and what we need to work on. If in doubt  – ask for feedback.

Question 3:  What can I do to earn money to pay my bills

At the age of 14, I was passionate about tennis, but there was no way I could make a living at it. Or had the skills. That is something that very often people misunderstand. I know one woman who was an excellent home cook and passionate about food. But she was unable to turn that passion into something that paid her bills. Some things like my tennis, are best kept as hobbies.

In times of crisis many have had to take jobs they are not passionate about to put good on their table and keep a roof over their heads. They should not be judged for that, but eventually they will probably find themselves out of alignment with their core values and other drivers.

This will be the same for someone who earns a high salary but feels unfulfilled. This suggests one or more of their other needs are not being met.

Question 4. What does the world or market need?

This is going to be one of the greatest challenges of the next normal.  As our workplaces reshape we are going to need to keep abreast of new trends to sell our skills in a new employment market place. We need to know more than ever what our workplaces need. This will mean staying in touch and in tune with workplace innovation and making sure we have the right skills to find our place in it.   The pace of change is also so great in our workplaces, that we have no idea what jobs will exist in 10 years that we may become passionate about.

One of the under valued soft skills that contributes to career success is a sense of curiosity. Not only that, it is an age neutral attribute. It can work in every age demographic, from entry-level to seniors, which is always an added bonus. A sense of curiosity can be understood as:

“A state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something.”

Continuous and intuitive learning will be very much part of our career management strategies over the next decades.

Core advice

Core advice around this is to maintain a path of ongoing self-assessment and life-long learning. Be curious and open to possibilities and be sure to do your inner work regularly to find your Ikigai. Assess and prioritize your goals. In our careers we will be passionate about many things at various times. At different stages of our lives we have a range of commitments and constraints which may cause  us to be thrown our of alignment. There is nothing wrong with having to  accept that in the short term and adjust later. The most important element is that you are aware of what is going on.

As life goes on compromises are made as we factor other people’s needs into our planning. The question is do you feel compromised? If you do, then it’s time for a re-evaulation.

This is also why generic career advice doled out with no any real thought to context can miss the mark. We need a holistic and more inclusive approach to career management and recognise that there are a range of cultural, personality and gender differences where a one size fits all style simply won’t work. As working practices change to adapt to the global pandemic finding balance will become even more significant as the line between working from home and living at work becomes blurred.

The most important thing is to make your career management strategy ongoing and not wait until there is an emergency. To quote  Benjamin Franklin “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”

If you need career support for your next steps get on touch NOW!  Don’t wait until you have a crisis.  

back to basics job search tips

10 back to basics job search tips. Job seekers help yourselves!

I have been conducting a European wide search, a region in the throes of an economic depression.  In the middle of a global pandemic unemployment levels are at an all time high, so I anticipated being overwhelmed by significant numbers of on-target job seekers, with difficult selection decisions to make. I was wrong. Despite there being millions of career coaches on the market, plus a mass of free information, elearnings, webinars and podcasts, it seems there is a need for back to basics job search tips

To my astonishment I have found that even the very basics are not being implemented.  As with any activity it’s sometimes necessary to re-visit the fundamental tenets simply to get the basics right. Perhaps they were never there to start with, or perhaps for some they have slipped by the wayside.

 

10 back to basics job search tips

Here are 10 of the most basic tips that seem so obvious that you would think that all job seekers would be doing them. I can assure you they are not!

1.  Be visible

A complete online professional profile is mandatory on one of the main  international networks: LinkedIn, Viadeo, Xing – or any of the more local ones. This is especially relevant if you are unemployed.

2. Don’t apply for a job if you are not reasonably on target

This can be contentious, but if you are missing critical skills, you are wasting everyone’s time and setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration. If you meet 60% of the requirements that’s fine. Ladies take note.

3. Check who has viewed your profile

If it’s a head hunter or recruiter – contact them if you are looking for a job.

4. Be easily contactable

Make yourself easily reachable with as a minimum an email address on your professional profile. If you are afraid of spammers – open up a separate account for job search. If you want to post a phone number so much the better.

5. Check your mails

If you are looking for a job or are unemployed, you should be checking your emails and InMails multiple times a day even at weekends and holidays. This applies also to your professional profile mail box.

6. Respond promptly

To contact requests. Check your phone regularly for messages and missed calls. I came across a LinkedIn profile that said “looking for new challenge” which is job search speak for unemployed. The individual responded to me after three weeks for reasons which are not clear   – but it wasn’t because they had been sick. It was too late.

7. Don’t bench

This is a phrase that has been taken from the dating world which means putting someone on the backburner while you explore other options. It involves giving someone just enough attention to make sure they stay interested in you. Meanwhile, they are dating around and seeing what else is out there.

I engaged with a candidate who sent short messages from time to time, but had no availability to speak. Maybe she had been “benching” me, that is lining up other better options which may have fallen through.  When she finally contacted me the search was finished. When I send a message saying “if I haven’t heard from you by x date I will assume you are not interested”, I do mean it.

8. Have a current CV

Your CV should be instantly available to send immediately to any prospective recruiter. If you have to take time to write a CV and you are unemployed or on furlough you are way behind the curve.

9. Be available for an online interview

Or a telephone call. I mean we are in quarantine for most regions and working remotely so it should be much easier than usual. There is no need to sneak off to find an empty conference room with lame excuses to your manager and colleagues.  If it’s a problem – flag it up.  If you don’t want to be interrupted to engage in a job search process now, you may find that you have even more time to yourself than you would like, or can afford, in the future.

10. Pay it forward

If you are not interested personally share with your network. Do someone else a favour.

If you know any job seekers looking for a new opportunity or unemployed, share this post with them. It might help!

Note: this post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated. Nothing much has changed. 

If you need help with your job search – get in touch!

interview question clichés

Let’s get rid of interview question clichés

Is it time to dump those interview question clichés which constantly crop up and add little value? I would say so! And for once I am not a lone voice!

I was recently involved in an interview process and the hiring manager asked the candidate:

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Poker face

The candidate had a good poker face. Apart from a slight widening of the eyes, he disguised his authentic reaction very well before answering, with the usual culturally accepted “blurb.” What I suspect he really wanted to say was:

“𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘮 𝘐? 𝘈 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘦 𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘳? 2020 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘰𝘧𝘧. 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯’𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 8 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘩𝘴. 𝘔𝘺 𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘭𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘴 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩 𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘬 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘊𝘖𝘝𝘐𝘋. 𝘔𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘧𝘦’𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘭𝘪𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘥𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯. 𝘐 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘣𝘰𝘹 𝘪𝘧 𝘐 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘫𝘰𝘣”

Certainly there is a meme about how 2020 year planners have gone to hell in a hand cart. So it made me think what other questions could (and even should) we let go? There are many standard interview questions that add very little value in today’s climate and should probably be consigned to the interview question trash can. Mark Anthony Dyson, Career Strategist says  these cliché questions “serve as empty calories to an interview, as they do a resume: How do these questions tell the interviewer anything relevant to the candidate’s ability to do the job?”

Interviews are ineffective

But we should also consider the very function of the interview as a reliable element of the hiring process. Currently it is the final hurdle of the hiring process which has been unchanged for decades, or even longer. Multiple unstructured interviews to select the right candidate are the corporate norm. However, research is increasingly exposing flaws in this process, and studies suggest there is no correlation between interview presentation and future performance in a role.

There is also evidence to suggest that our own perceptions of our abilities (intuition) to identify talent is equally poor.  Lazlo Bock former VP of operations at Google says the whole process is:

   “a complete random mess… We found a zero relationship.”

Research from Leadership IQ found that and astounding 46% of all new hires fail within 18 months and only 19% will achieve unequivocal success. So why do we keep going down this path and  continue to ask inane questions  and expecting and even rewarding inauthentic responses?

On the basis that interviews are going to be around for a while I decided to ask my network which interview question clichés would they get rid of.

Which interview question clichés would you dump?

Sara Lesina a Global Marketing Leader in the healthcare sector mentioned the conflict that job seekers face when confronted with questions like the “where do you see yourself” “It’s also a double-edged question: hiring managers want to see whether you’re ambitious enough, but likely hope you are not too much given the role they are interviewing you for… not a question that wins you many points”

Sweta Regmi, Career Consultant has another approach “Answer “You & I might not wake up tomorrow” 😄, could we focus on today?  Or “I will be on your seat doing exactly what you are doing right now to me ” and smile- I have done this, it worked!!

There was no shortage of suggestions!

Hannah Morgan, Career Sherpa, jumped right in. “I love the idea of getting rid of the “where do you see yourself” question! It’s not all that helpful. I would also recommend getting rid of any/all “stress interview questions” where the interviewer attempts to make the candidate uncomfortable on purpose.”

Donna Schilder, Career Coach, echoes Hannah’s thoughts. “Why put the candidate on the spot. Make them feel comfortable so the can show you their best.”

What’s the worst mistake you ever made?” is the one Michael Perry, PixlBoss, suggests binning now.  Shelley Piedmont, Career Coach, and former Recruiter, tosses in “What is your biggest weakness?” No one answers this question honestly.”

And more

Trick questions can also cause confusion says Jillian Knapp, Learning and Development Specialist.  “I had a friend who was asked what her favourite word was. I have no idea how I’d answer that question. Unfortunately she chose a word (craic) that was popular and benign in her country (Ireland) but meant something totally different in North America. She didn’t get the job.”

For the uninitiated, “craic” in Ireland (pronounced crack) means fun or a good time. In the U.S. it has other, less salubrious, connotations.

Monica Marcelis Fochtman, Career Coach, would exile “What would your co-workers say about you?”

Susan P Joyce , Publisher and Editor of Jobhunt. org adds “…who gives an honest answer to “What is your greatest failure?” Seriously? Maybe that measures how prepared/interested the candidate is?”

Sonal Bahl Career Strategist, had a whole list of suggestions involving tennis balls, pencils animals and fruit! “If you were an animal/fruit/insert any other random noun, which one would you be (I’m guffawing like a hyena now.) Or how many tennis balls can fit in an airplane (kill me now)”

Authenticity and other approaches

Then came the question of authenticity. The reality is as Kevin D Turner, LinkedIn Expert mentions “The only way we can expect candidates to be “authentic” is to ask “authentic” interview questions…. So what does an Interviewer really learn about a candidate using these trite questions? They are good at internet search, following guidance, and practicing answers? Ask real questions to discover and listen to really learn”.

Authenticity is definitely the preferred approach of Bernadette Nagy Career Coach, “I would definitely suggest authenticity and transparency for both sides on the table. “

Laura Smith-Proulx, Career Coach, doesn’t favour making candidates uncomfortable and says that even the most confident candidate can get nervous in an interview. “So why not put them at ease? She throws this question in to the mix. “What would you like your future boss to say about your work?”  

Donna Svei, Resumé Writer favours another approach where candidates should be encouraged to ask some different types of questions themselves saying “… if you can stimulate a productive conversation, you can save an unskilled or unprepared interviewer from asking outdated questions.”

Lisa Rangel, Resumé Writer, adds “I also think as much as it would be wishful thinking to rid of many of these tired questions, preparing candidates to answer uniquely and with a sense of humor advances the candidate in many cases—if it’s a job they want!

End of the unstructured interview?

We see interviews as the ultimate defining challenge against which we measure all candidates and cut those that underperform. This means that competent candidates are unsuccessful based on a process which is not data driven,  and frequently involving irrelevant and unhelpful questions. This is prompting many organisations to shift to automated and structured interviews, using more reliable and measurable methodologies.

That will definitely help reduce the problem of interview question clichés and not before time. I have a feeling that some will still cling on to the old ways no matter what.

Many thanks to all who participated in such an engaging discussion. For the full thread – check here 

Remote networking 2

Remote networking tips to thrive and survive COVID19

One of the biggest challenges of the “now normal” is navigating the divide between doing things in person and figuring out a way to do them remotely with the same degree of success. It’s important now to find remote networking workarounds to compensate for the current restrictions, especially around relationship building. This is true whether as an employee, a jobs seeker or a business owner.

The alternative is to stagnate and get left behind. It’s important to COVID proof your career and  personal brand in an “officeless” workplace.

A cautious view is that this pandemic situation could go on for another year, with differing levels of restrictions across many geographies. There is no doubt I am experiencing this pandemic from a position of privilege. I have Wi-Fi and outside space. I am healthy and my business is not bankrupt. So far. I am grateful. As an extravert I am missing human contact. I was threatening to hug my postman back in May, so he now leaves my deliveries inside the door and signs them for me.

But this is how it’s going to be in the foreseeable future. Work and the workplace have changed – but have we?

Relationships are at the heart of career success. What can we do to build and cement relationships in the time of COVID when so many of us are isolated?

Remote networking tips

1. Embrace the reality

Many of us have been resistant thinking this will pass. It will but probably slowly.  A good start will be to hoist on board some of the remote networking tips to be fully effective and to make sure your relationships don’t suffer.

This involves:

📌 Learning the tech

Learning the complexities of some of the online platforms is a must whether Skype for Business, WebEx, Teams, Zoom or other. My Mum told me that Zoom meetings with her Church have been described as like a séance:

“Is anyone there?
“Can you hear me?”
“Raise your hand if you can see me”

Don’t be that person.

📌 Update all profiles

Make sure all your profiles have your name and a recent photo – something semi-professional is always a good idea. You could put your LinkedIn URL or website next to your name.

📌 Dress code

There is a big storm in the social media tea cup about dress code. Definitely, women should not be told to wear makeup and look sexy in online meetings unless men are. If I’m going to an online meeting, I prefer to dress reasonably professionally, otherwise someone might call the emergency services thinking I had COVID. But for me, it also makes a clear personal psychological demarcation between work and life. That is my choice.

If it’s a professional meeting I would recommend at least looking business casual. Others suggest that an online leadership presence is vital

Whatever you decide – clothes are a must.

If I’m paying for an event, I expect the hosts to be professional looking. I know. I’m weird like that.

📌 A quiet space is a nice option

Many of us had to adapt existing space and learn to work with partners or a home school in our kitchens. Not everyone has the possibility to create a home office with floor to ceiling bookshelves. We are all much more tolerant of interruptions from pets, kids, partners and delivery people. If at all possible try and have some dedicated quiet space if you can, however small. It’s not a big deal if you can’t, but it is a nice to have so you can relax.

Eight months in, as a minimum, at least know how to create a virtual background. We have all found the touch up your appearance button on Zoom right?

remote networking tips

2. Reach out

From the start of COVID I made a point of reaching out to three new people every day. Now I meet people either in larger events, at smaller online focus meetings or individually.

📌 Large events

Many of the big conferences are switching online. In the beginning they were not great as companies coped with a rapid transition, but I can see the levels of sophistication are increasing. It’s still a super way to connect with new people, especially if you integrate a few of these remote networking tips. In a large event:

  • Connect with the organisers beforehand on LinkedIn. If you can, find out who else will be attending.
  • One of the things I enjoy as much about a large event as the main speakers or panellists, is the breakout rooms. This is where you can network with smaller groups. Ask delegates if you can connect with them afterwards, so it doesn’t look creepy. Send a personalized note mentioning the event, your interaction, and their contribution.
  • Many participants attend events to listen in only – maybe they can’t speak or are multi-tasking, so jot down the names of the participants, or take a screen shot or photo so you can follow up if you choose to.
  • Put your LinkedIn URL in the chat and invite people to connect with you.
  • Engage actively in the chat, not just with the speakers, but with other participants. Acknowledge someone if they have made a good point.

📌 Smaller groups

  •  Many people wait for someone else to take the initiative to connect or instigate an online meeting. We are all so busy. So why don’t you be the pro-active one? What is the worst thing that can happen? They can say no. Small group discussions can be helpful to gain a better understanding of a new topic as well as forging new relationships.
  •  Keep the session short and focused with an agenda, so everyone knows they are not going into an online vortex with no end in sight. I was invited to a three hour Zoom meeting the other day and almost had a panic attack

📌 One on one networking 1-1.

I now try to set up some 1-1 in person meetings which is hard as COVID restrictions become tougher and cafés and restaurants are closed in many areas. I now invite anyone who lives nearby and who wants to meet on-line to go for a “net-walk” instead. This is under correct socially distanced conditions, keeping 2 metres apart and wearing a mask. I am fortunate, that I have lots of green open space within easy access. This means I can exercise and meet new connections or catch up with old ones. The only downside is the weather!

Here’s a photo from last week’s “net-walking” excursion.

 

Remote networking tips

Otherwise it’s the Zoom coffee or cocktails both of which are better than not meeting anyone at all.

For corporate employees working remotely, Slack and Teams offer random matching. This allows remote workers to replace chance water cooler encounters with short one-to-one meetings with people they may not know. Ask your organisation to sign up for that add on.

New times, new methods

New circumstances call for new thinking. Rethinking the way, we build and cement relations under new and challenging circumstances is going to be an important part of the way we cope and may be the only way we survive this crisis.

This too will pass, so it’s key to prepare the way for a return to the workplace.

Do you need to COVID proof your career? Get in touch NOW

hiring bias

7 hiring biases we have to manage Post COVID19

Our recruitment systems are riddled with hiring biases

They always have been. But we need to manage them more urgently than ever post COVID19.

If anyone had said on January 1, 2020, that within four months most of those who could, would be working from home, would you have believed them? If they went on to say we would have no open shops, cinemas, public sports, events, concerts, restaurants or conference centres – how would that have sounded?  That we couldn’t touch each other and would have to stand 1.5m apart. Surreal? Dystopian?  Could we have anticipated there would be millions unemployed facing a global depression?

We can’t solve new problems with old mindsets and solutions. I see every day people clinging onto the old way of doing things, when it’s clear that we have to totally disrupt our approach. Never has this been more apparent than in the recruitment process, when hiring biases, which were always out of place, stand out like nuns in a whore house, as the saying goes.

Which hiring biases do we need to manage now?

This is of course on top of the other embedded biases. These additional biases are so self-evident that we almost accept them as being OK. Career coaches openly offer work-arounds to manage them. But this places the stress on the job seeker and not on the systems they are forced to use and people who they interact with.

In times of mass unemployment and economic and social upheaval these biases, cut top talent from consideration. It started out as a joke but has more than a grain of truth. Many organisational changes have been brought about by COVID19.  Remote working, digital, flex, results focused cultures. Maybe the pandemic will help us examine our biases.

1. Unemployment bias

I have written about unemployment bias before and the extraordinary way people are being encouraged and coached to disguise the fact that they have lost their jobs, or their company has folded. Job seekers displaying the green LinkedIn circle or showing the #ONO hashtag  are being publicly shamed as being “desperate,” as if they didn’t have enough to deal with. This bias is very prevalent in the US, but less so in other areas and can be misleading for non-American job seekers. Ideally it shouldn’t happen, but at least we need to see more nuanced advice around this.

2. Continuous employment bias

It is highly likely that job seekers will have gaps in their employment history in 2020. This does not mean they are work-shy, but they have been impacted by COVID19. Instead of penalizing them, ask what went on for them. I have found it incredible the challenges people have overcome.

3. Non-linear career bias

Some job seekers are taking any job to support themselves or their families. If someone has taken a lower level role as an interim measure, don’t hold that against them. Rather see it as an indication of work ethic and integrity.  Holding out for your “dream job” is a luxury now that many can’t afford.

4. Non-related experience bias

We also frequently penalise job seekers for having non-related experience in their previous role. In today’s climate this is going to be a more common occurrence.  It’s important to factor circumstances in.

5. Job-hopper bias

If a candidate has multiple jobs in quick succession, this isn’t a sign of being unreliable or feckless. This is how our economies are right now.

6. Goal bias

Our cultures like goals of all kinds. We admire people who achieve their goals, especially in record time. We consider anyone without goals to be unfocused or even sloppy. But never has  the interview question “where do you see yourself in five years time?” been more redundant and inappropriate. Do interviewers think people have crystal balls?

That question needs serious reframing, almost to a coaching question around ideal life or “what do you hope for?” Nine months they were making plans for their futures. Now they can’t leave the house without taking health and safety precautions or even plan a vacation.

The geo-political situations in some areas look like potential scenes from a doomsday movie. It is hard for many to think long-term right now.

7. Happy and confident bias

There is no doubt that the interview process favours certain characteristics. Positive mental attitude, confidence and extraversion are at the top of the list. Today, it is totally OK for any candidate to express uncertainty or concern and to show signs of reflection. Individuals are losing their jobs, or worse family members.

This doesn’t mean that they don’t have the competencies to do a job. Don’t forget that over-confidence has been blamed for some of the worst crises in history. It’s time for measured and managed realism. Interviewers should be looking for it.

Find your humanity

We have always needed to reframe and mange our hiring biases and COVID19 has accelerated that need. Instead interviewers should show empathy and find out what is going on for candidates.

When people talk about bringing humanity to the workplace post pandemic, the hiring process is a good place to start.

If your organisation needs to review your hiring process –  get in touch NOW.

 

 

office-less workplace

Personal branding in an “office-less” workplace

Navigating office politics and making sure you are visible for the right reasons, to the right people has always been a challenge.  But the difficulties have been heightened as we are all working remotely more and travel and meeting restrictions are in force. The notion of intrapreneurship has shifted in the office-less workplace. It is becoming more difficult to make key players aware of our very existence, not just the value of our contribution.

Not a new issue

Raising visibility from afar is not a new issue. It’s a problem that has plagued individuals in a range of situations.  in 2012 The Economist “Working from home: out of sight out of mind,” highlighted the negative impact that a flexible work place culture can have on some individual employee’s promotion prospects, if they are home-based. We also know that expats on overseas assignments removed from the power centre of HQ, or employees in regional offices have also felt “faceless” at different times. Non-P & L  support functions who are treated in some organisations as second class citizens also complain. Being physically present in an office doesn’t always mean you are more visible. But it certainly helps. In a time of remote working in an office-less age for all, those who were close to the centre of the action and power, are also starting to feel removed.

Personal branding and remote working

Personal branding in a time of remote working has taken on a new dimension. Navigating office politics when you are physically in an office can be challenging but still easier. There you can have casual but significant encounters with bosses and colleagues. You can read body language and sub-text at a physical meeting and  knock on someone’s door with quick questions.  It was possible to arrange coffees and lunches and turn up to meetings early, which is when the real networking takes place. With 46% of employees saying they want to work remotely, this disruption to traditional working patterns is likely to be a more permanent feature.

How do you manage your personal brand in an office-less workplace?

1. Intentional communication

It means making a specific effort to communicate with the people who are necessary to your career and networking strategy. This btw means you have to actually one. You should understand their communication preferences and check in with them systematically in a way that they will hear and listen to you. Some people prefer Slack and What’s App. Others email. Voice messaging is also an option.  Remember that online messaging has a 57% chance of mis-communication.  You can also schedule an old-school voice call.

The random encounter is less likely to happen now if you are permanently working from home. So all communication has to be intentional, short and focused. Some channels do have the option to set up random meetings (Slack and Teams.) You can ask your organisation to set that up.

2. Be accessible yourself

One element that engenders trust is availability and responsiveness to queries and issues. This is a fine line to navigate as for many employees it means their work/life boundaries have become blurred. Finding a balance that works for you or blocking off time and publicising that for ad hoc calls or open door online queries is also a good solution.

3. Give credit

By leading the way in giving credit you contribute to a culture of recognition. Acknowledge the contribution of others. When something good happens express gratitude, a small but significant action which highlights the role of others, makes bystanders feel great and also adds to your own political capital.

4. Zoom in – not out

The relentless schedule of Zoom or other online meetings is proving to be a curse in the office-less workplace. How do you make your presence felt in big meetings felt when your colleagues are logging in from their kitchens and guest bedrooms. If they are that lucky. Much has been written about getting the tech right for a virtual presence, camera position, audio and getting the background right. All of that is a given. You should be on top of that by now.

But because virtual interaction is a permanent feature of our lives, there are some key tips which we need to focus on.

  • Appearance: This isn’t about women looking sexy, but we are 6 months in to this situation it’s important to look together and dare I say it professional. I have also noticed a proliferation of baseball caps on the men as if millions have taken up the sport. I have one question. Why? Time to lose them I would say, especially if you live in Pontypool or Pauillac and there’s probably not a baseball diamond within a 50k radius .
  • Use your camera: Be physically visible just as you would in a real meeting. If there are extenuating circumstances, see the next point. But know if people can’t see you it is a disadvantage. If your organisation has a no camera rule because of pressure on the network, set up smaller, separate meetings which can be held to camera. Out of sight can be out of mind.

office-less workplace

  • Fill out your profile: so your full name appears and if necessary a business picture avatar so people can see your face on your place holder and when you chat or pose questions .
  • Body language:  Restrict hand movements and other little habits such playing with hair, beards and jewellery. They are distracting and look a bit manic. Many men have grown beards in lock down and have developed visible self-soothing habits, which once again seem exaggerated on screen.
  • Use the hand up tool: so you can indicate  a desire to make a contribution
  • Engage in the chat box : to make a comment, recognise or thank a colleague
  • Ask questions in the question box:  when you want to pose a thoughtful question

5. Online networking

Now is a key time to also step up your online networking efforts outside your organisation. Reach out to people on LinkedIn, attend online workshops and conferences and follow-up in the usual way. Working from home doesn’t mean that networking efforts should stop. Engage with connections on social media platforms, offer to be on online panels or contribute to posts and blogs, and try to extend your reach.

Easing of protocols

When safety protocols are finally relaxed, prepare a strategy for engaging with colleagues and network contacts in line with your priorities. If you have the opportunity to physically attend meetings in a safe way, it would be a good idea to let your bosses and team know that you are open to seizing that chance. You don’t want anyone to exclude you based on unqualified assumptions about wanting to stay at home. This is a bias that women are already experiencing.

Women you certainly don’t want your male colleagues to be physically in the office and for you to be off the radar. It seems that more men are returning to offices than women.  If necessary you will need to have a constructive conversation with your partner. If you are a single parent and day care facilities are not open in your area, try to find if you can a solution, even if it’s only for one visit.

The point is, when the office-less workplace is replaced by the next normal,  whatever that might turn out to be, probably some sort of hybrid arrangement, you will be ready and equipped to handle both scenarios.

Need help with your personal branding in an office-les workplace get in touch NOW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post pandemic recruitment trends

Post pandemic recruitment trends

We are in the middle of a tumultuous convergence of three crises: health, economic and social justice. In some areas we need to layer on political upheaval. And we are not talking emerging markets here.

The “Coronacoaster” as it has been named, is creating upheaval and uncertainty in most markets. Some have been decimated. Many organisations started 2020 in a candidate driven market and in less than six months face a global depression. Any talent acquisition planning, when it existed, has been turned on its head. Almost all organisations are evaluating their headcount, even those that are profitable.

Without a crystal ball, it’s impossible to make precise predictions, these are some observations.

Who is ahead of the game?

1. Know your data

With hundreds of millions of jobs are at risk globally and many organisations applying remote working policies, the hiring landscape has changed. Industries in some sectors are shedding headcount (retail, hospitality, airlines, tourism oil and gas) but others are hiring, but for different roles. In some geographies lock down restrictions are even being re-applied as a second wave of the virus hits. Victoria, Australia, has just declared a state of emergency with a new strict lockdown of 6 weeks.

In some ways the pandemic has accelerated trends that were already bubbling under the surface. With a current over-supply of open candidates, organisations should be able to have their pick of top talent, yet many have laid off in-house recruitment teams. Now is the time to be using inhouse skills to map out talent needs for the next maybe three years and creating a meaningful talent plan.  A three year plan is almost long term now. The immediate challenge will be coping with the high volume and sourcing the right type of talent. Pre – COVID19 time was lost attracting talent with some companies reporting being “ghosted” by sought after candidates.    

Businesses that have data and can tie their people strategy into commercial projections, will have an advantage. Being able to link those numbers to skill set shortage forecasts  (or even over- supply) succession plans and upskilling initiatives, will give those companies a critical market edge.   

2. Ongoing focus on the pipeline

During downturns, job seekers are traditionally more conservative and less likely to want to move in case they encounter a “last in first out policy” in their new company. Many businesses only source talent against an open role, so Talent Acquisition teams that have always focused on building up a talent pipeline, rather than simply filling specific openings, will be ahead of the game. For those companies with budget, which are savvy enough, this is the time to make contact with candidates who weren’t open in 2019, to fill that talent funnel. This could be the right moment to develop relationships with previously hard to find talent  Women in tech functions comes immediately to mind.

3. Relationship with Talent Development

Organisations looking at headcount reductions, may also have hiring needs in specific functions. It seems contradictory, but it is frequently the case. They should be looking at inhouse upskilling where TA works closely with L & D to assess who they can retrain. The need to de-silo talent acquisition and talent development is vital. The candidates or employees who are life long learners, able to navigate uncertainty, show flexibility and adapt to new realities are the ones to look for. You need systems in place to identify who they are in your company or pipeline, and assess their strengths. You should be looking for people who can find their way through the fog of ambiguity and not get lost in it.

4. Managing unconscious bias

Companies should always train everyone in the hiring process to manage their biases, with systems in place to support that initiative. You would be surprised how many don’t. We have to factor in a couple of old biases creeping to the top of the list in this new environment. A major one to watch is “unemployment bias” or devaluing those who are unemployed over passive candidates. Another one is attitudes to remote working. Many candidates for different reasons may need to work remotely while the virus is not under control. Organisations which have a tendency towards a presence culture should be mindful of exhibiting a bias against this demographic. You could rule out a high number of competent candidates.

5. Employee or gig worker?

This is going to impact organisations significantly as they try to stay agile and avoid high fixed payroll costs. Agility brings certain advantages, but requires a different type of thinking. Many inhouse TA specialists are not skilled or trained to assess contract workers and identify key competences gained in ways other than a linear corporate career. It raises questions as to who is responsible for skill development and who owns the hiring process. In many organisations contract workers are treated as vendors and are part of the procurement process. This will mean that a key part of the workforce  will no longer come under the remit of talent management and be more of business operations function. Is that what your organisation wants?

6. Employer brand matters

Candidates will be looking at the way companies responded to COVID19 and the subsequent lock down. Interestingly, according to a study by Gallup, in May 2020, employee engagement globally picked up during the pandemic, when employee wellness became a focal point. With health and safety as key drivers, employees are generally more satisfied with their employers than before the pandemic. This is despite remote working and being anxious about job security. It’s important to maintain that message in all internal and external communications.

Candidates are smart and can suss out situations where organisations were not transparent. They know when companies protected executive packages and treated lower level employees badly. Job seekers see right through the token 30% salary cut on a pay cheque of $60 million. Transparent communication is critical.

7. Analysts and market intelligence

In these times of uncertainty companies will rely more than ever those who can analyse data, spot trends and make reasonably reliable projections, or as accurate as anyone can. This allow will allow you  to mitigate payroll risk,  buy in outsourced services or engage contractors. Companies that had a crisis team and strategy in place, have been able to manage the pandemic better than those organisations that didn’t. They are probably in a better position to  anticipate any of the post pandemic recruitment trends

Organisations need to put creating a coherent and well thought out people strategy at the top of their agenda to weather the inevitable post pandemic storm.

But will that happen?

If you need support strengthening your talent pipeline  – get in touch now!

 

60 second video CV

Tips for your 60 second video CV

Last week I received nine and a half versions of a 60 second video CV. Why the half? One just simply failed to launch after about 30 seconds. They were set in bathrooms, bedrooms, in cars, on sofas and on bicycle trails. One looked and sounded like a ransom demand. Another like an emergency services call as the person appeared to be in cardiac arrest after a jog.

I was never a fan of video CVs basically because most of them, in the early days, were toe curlingly terrible. Then Amélie Alleman  Founder of Betuned a video recruitment service here in Brussels convinced me to have a well publicised change of heart  She showed me how a professionally crafted 60 second video CV can make a really great impact…. when it is well done.

Uptick the 60 second video CV

Since the global pandemic there has been an uptick in individuals sending out video CVs or video introductions or just plain old videos, of varying degrees of quality. In the very beginning I think everyone was prepared to cut the sender some slack and we all gave encouraging and solid feedback for a “good first effort.” I have done that myself with sincere and genuine intention. I did exactly that with recent graduate job seeker Owen Butcher’s  first Video CV.

But with numbers increasing the quality will need to go up. I wanted to give constructive feedback.

It’s all about the tech

Today, most people have the technology and smart phones are so sophisticated that a video CV can be easily used to create one. You don’t require super-advanced tech skills to produce a reasonable result. You only need a good smart phone, a quiet and well-lit room and you are good to go. In all of these things Amazon is your friend and a stand for making videos on a smart phone, with a remote and even a light are now relatively inexpensive.

The recommended length for a video CV is 50-60 seconds maximum as a supplement to a regular resume when even naysayers like myself can be persuaded to watch for that long. They can also be posted on Instagram. If someone suggests longer don’t listen. You will lose people like me who get dozens. Confidence without skill in this case is not enough and cute will no longer cut it.

Advantages

There are some advantages if they don’t become cliché’d. They help you:

  • Stand out from the crowd – video CVs are definitely more common, but they are still not the norm by any means.
  • Showcase your personality – if you have a relaxed confident and engaging personality this is a good way to demonstrate it. If you don’t it can work against you.
  • Focus on specific skills – for roles that require communication skills or digital smarts this is an ideal medium.

Downsides

  • You stand out but not in a good way – If you feel uncomfortable in front of a camera or don’t have or don’t acquire the necessary skills, it can become a career mistake not a triumph.
  • Give the wrong impression – you may give the wrong, incomplete or misleading information about yourself.
  • You read your script – if your eyes are darting off camera to check your script, you could come over as looking shifty and untrustworthy or simply that you don’t know yourself that well.
  • Distract and detract from your regular CV – if it’s not produced to the right standard, this may lead to the reject pile.

Tips to create strong video CV

1. Research the recipient

When deciding whether to use a 60 second video CV factor in the recipient and  the reason you are sending the video. You may find you will need multiple versions depending on the contact person and the reason for sending the video in the first place. It might be for a specific role or a teaser for the company you hope to join. Research the culture of the organisation to help you decide how your efforts may be received. You would not send the same video CV to me, as you would a peer or a hip 30-something.

One of the opening lines from last week was “Hey mate...” and the sender was filmed with outstretched arm recording a selfie-video, dripping with sweat, coming in from a jog. I don’t know if I got it by mistake. You probably need one for each demographic you are targeting.

2. Compelling, succinct message

This has to be about you and you message in line with the way you think the person can help you. This means creating a compelling UVP (Unique Value Proposition) which has to be in your DNA so you can deliver it comfortably and convincingly to camera. Don’t read your script.  Write and learn your message so that you deliver it authentically and it reflects your personality. Adapt it for each recipient and each role.

3. Target the content

For a general video you can upload it under the media section on your LinkedIn profile, and keep it general and in line with your overall career goals. Mention your key hard skills and achievements in your last role before lockdown. Unless you have been a first-line responder or you want to become a teacher or child minder, your lockdown activities will be of less interest. I would advise not taking up valuable seconds referencing those. Many of us have Mari Condo’d our closets and alphabetised our herbs and spices. We have all been resilient and refrained from killing anyone. Well.. most of us.

4. Structure the content

The rule of three works well in this context. Structure your video into identifiable sections. A beginning middle and end always works well.

  • an intro with your UVP
  • why me? Three good, brief reasons to engage with you
  • a call to action with your contact details.

If you have the skills you may want to consider captioning, especially for your mobile number, email and maybe your LinkedIn profile url. No one, will ever write the details down from a  verbal delivery. It also helps if you have a strong regional accent  – or you are recovering from a jog.

5. Look the part

Generally as for any interview to camera you should be well-groomed and dressed appropriately for the organisation you are hoping to impress. If it’s a generic video CV, select something from your wardrobe that will bridge the gap between formal and informal. At a time when women are being told to dress “sexier online” (yep really) business presentable is totally fine. Guys please wear a shirt and lose the beanie, hoodie or base ball cap… unless you want to join a base ball team. In which case I would be no help to you whatsoever.

6. Select a good location

Choose the location for your video to ensure that you have a quiet, light space to film in, free from clutter and any other background distractions. Not your bed, bathroom or bike. (Really.)  Make sure your face is centred, well-lit and the audio reproduction is good. It’s a video CV, not a hostage situation. Once again an external mic could be helpful. If it’s muffled or inconsistent you will be sure to lose people like me. The biggest mistake is on camera position. No one wants to see up your nose.

7. Master the tech

This is something where older candidates may want to pay some attention to master editing software such Unfold, Canva or Over. Be brutal with editing and seek feedback from colleagues or friends. Fumbling around starting and ending don’t look great and takes up important seconds.

8. Upload on-line

Once your masterpiece is complete you can upload to You Tube or Vimeo on private settings or LinkedIn, and send the links to potential contacts or simply diffuse via social media. Use it in your email signature so that it goes out with every mail you send.

As more and more job seekers are going to use this device to grab attention, the ante is going up. Your effort will need to be top of the range.

If you need help with your job search  – get in touch now!  

 

 

unemployment bias

Time to call out unemployment bias

A hot topic in the career sector is whether job seekers should declare on LinkedIn via a hashtag system that they are #ONO (Open for New Opportunities) or saying they are Open to Work. A number of people suggest this is a “sign of desperation” and are discouraging candidates from taking advantage of it. These arguments are rooted in unemployment bias, or hiring bias as it is called in the US, or the stigma of being unemployed. Like any other biases, this is essentially a recruiter and hiring manager bias found in some recruitment processes, which needs to be managed. It’s not OK.

Passive candidates

I find the idea of recruiters having a preference for passive candidates (those already in a job)  to be more of a US thing than European. Over here, unemployment bias shifted quite a lot (although not totally) in 2009 after the financial crisis. We are perhaps more used to and accepting of career gaps especially to avoid burnout and it’s becoming more common place for people to take a break.  I also think that if recruiters are not bias conscious and will not consider someone because they lost their job as a result of CV19 – they shouldn’t be recruiters. It has no correlation to competence.

Dominic Joyce, Lead Recruiter at Alexander Mann Solutions took a more robust approach and on one LinkedIn discussion called it “poppycock,” Brit-speak for nonsense. “when I recruit I look at the CV of the person not their situation. The world isn’t in a great place right now, from a health and financial perspective, the last thing we need is telling people that they’re coming across desperate because they’re trying to do all they can to try and secure themselves a job. Open to new opportunities does NOT scream desperation…”

Hard to hide

Studies from the W.E.F confirms what we already know. The global employment outlook is not positive. Input from the United Nations International Labour Organization projects 1.6 billion informal economy workers could suffer “massive damage” to their livelihoods. In the second quarter of 2020, COVID-19 may cost the equivalent of 305 million full-time jobs. In a global pandemic when whole sectors have been wiped out or badly impacted (travel, aviation, hospitality, events, retail, leisure and fitness, personal healthcare, beauty, education) and companies have gone into liquidation, it will be impossible for job seekers to pretend they are employed. So why put them under that pressure and make them feel even worse than they do already?

Job loss from the pandemic has hit women the hardest. They already struggle with all kinds of other biases in the hiring process without having to contend with unemployment bias as well. If It also begs the question if recruiters openly announce their tendency towards unemployment bias, what other biases do they hold that they are less open about?

Analiese Brown VP, Talent & Culture @CampMinder who I have quoted before for a wise and inclusive approach comments: “Recruiters should realize that there are many outstanding candidates who are unemployed through no fault of their own and treat those candidates with compassion and respect instead of passing judgment. The burden is on the recruiter to recognize the structural factors contributing to the high unemployment rate, correct their biases against people who happen to be unemployed, and leverage the unprecedented number of available candidates in the market to bring great talent into their organizations. This approach is a win for all parties.”

Role of LinkedIn

There are a number of other elements. Pundits suggest that job seekers should flag up to recruiters on LinkedIn via an adjustment to their settings, that they are open for contact. Thus far, they have tended  to be US based, but many European job seekers are influenced by them. However, many recruiters don’t subscribe to LinkedIn Recruiter, as Katrina Collier, author of The Robot-Proof Recruiter and passionate advocate for treating people better in the recruitment process, points out. They won’t have access to that information anyway. Other hiring managers are simply putting ads in their streams, another way of by passing LinkedIn Recruiter.

Those without subscriptions will run Boolean strings, including #ONO or equivalent, through regular LinkedIn using the “People” tab. A hashtag makes it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to find candidates. The fact that LinkedIn is laying off over 900 people because of in part reduced sales across its platforms, one of them being LinkedIn Recruiter subscriptions, supports that theory.

30% of roles are found via network connections and referrals. Hashtag use is a one way of letting your wider network know that you are open for work. Finally, being open for work means that a candidate can start immediately.

Negative Psychological impact

Daniel Naghy, in Talent Acquisition in Barcelona directly pushes back against the notion of unemployment bias on LinkedIn “I have  a different perspective actually. Why do you demonize the phrase “being unemployed”? Of course many of us are and some of us are also desperate. Millions have been affected by the pandemic and some actually struggle to make ends meet. Should we all hide behind our ego and say everything is ok? I value authenticity and honesty when it comes to candidates.”

As a coach I understand the impact of pretence on someone and the need to validate a person’s experience. It doesn’t mean agreeing with their subjective experience but accepting and acknowledging their reality. This could be feelings of grief, confusion, anxiety and anger which are normal. We have all read about COVID Brain and how the world is experiencing a spike in mental health issues.

However, we should all be resisting the urge to encourage people to pretend that everything is fine, when it isn’t. If job seekers are catastrophising their circumstances, then any coach will help them reframe that experience and put it into context. This doesn’t mean homing in on the negative, or not creating a focused career strategy in the usual way. Being open that you are looking for a job is not a sign of desperation. When I see a green circle on a profile in my network and a job opportunity in my stream, I do what I can to connect them.

For me, being able to say that that you are #ONO (or any other hashtag) takes courage, resilience and authenticity. We should be admiring those characteristics, not discouraging them. It is also a good way for organisations to demonstrate that they run an inclusive hiring process. promoting their employer brand in a positive way and highlighting their workplace culture. It’s time for CHROs to deal with any hiring or employment bias embedded within their recruitment processes rather than for job seekers to find fake work-arounds.

If your organisation looks for bias conscious recruitment processes and wants candidates treated with integrity get in touch NOW