How to Overcome a Layoff in a Socially Distanced World
This guest post is by Kelly Clark from Naylor Association Solutions.
Have recent events led to your career going off your intended path? You’re far from alone: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in July 2020, 31.3 million Americans were unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the COVID pandemic, and 31% of those were completely unemployed. (55% were still employed and 15% had dropped out of the work force.)
Being in good company doesn’t take away the sting of being let go. But Nicolle Merrill, author of the book Punch Doubt in the Face: How to Upskill, Change Careers, and Beat the Robots, wants those affected by job losses to know that it’s nothing to be afraid or ashamed of.
3 Steps to Take If You’re Laid Off
What should you do if you’ve been laid off? Merrill recommends three steps. First, let yourself grieve, but don’t feel ashamed. Second, get your budget, insurance, and unemployment benefits squared away so you're not worrying about finances or health coverage while also trying to find a new job. At the same time, thoughtfully plan out your next moves. Being laid off isn't fun, but it does present an opportunity to re-evaluate where you are in your career and what you'd like to do next. Consider updating your job skills to match current technology or certification standards. Mentoring, online courses and certification classes are all ways to upskill for relatively little investment. In addition, with so many conferences going online, there's even more opportunity to try something new or brush up on outdated skills.
Third, start looking for your next opportunity. Merrill recommends thinking about where you want to be in just the next 3 to 5 years – not for the rest of your career. Planning for just the next few years causes less paralysis when thinking about reaching your next milestone or working toward a bigger career change.
Listen to the full conversation with Nicolle on The Association Adviser Podcast!
Show Your Best Self via Video Interview
You may be asked to participate in a video interview when submitting your résumé. New teleconferencing technology has led many employers to migrate their interview process online, and the COVID-fueled shift to full-time remote for many staffs has sped up this transition.
There are several benefits to video interviews, says Naylor Association Solutions’ Shanna Mertel: Reduced travel costs for the employer or prospect, more flexible interview times, the ability to keep notes up on the interviewee’s screen (or in a notebook beside you), and the ability to attend an interview from anywhere in the world. Here are a few tips for employers and job seekers about how to make your video interviewing experience a success:
Video Interviewing Tips for Employers
Don’t use prerecorded, one-way interviews. Some companies may be tempted to send candidates a list of questions and have them record their answers. But it’s difficult to get a sense of the candidate’s personality without seeing how they react in the moment. Prerecorded interviews also take away the opportunity for candidates to ask you questions, which may make your company appear less desirable to work for. If you don’t listen to their questions and concerns during an interview, how likely are you to listen to their questions and concerns on the job?
Perform your due diligence. Even though the interview is taking place online, you should still strive to make it as much like an in-person interview as possible. Ensure you thoroughly read the candidate’s resume beforehand, adjust for the schedules of everyone involved, and make sure the candidate has received all the information they need prior to the interview.
Be personable and welcoming. Video interviews don’t allow for initial handshakes, offers of water or whatever else you normally do to make your candidates feel welcome. Make up for this pleasantry gap by telling candidates what they can expect from you during the interview and promptly following through. This is vital to maintaining your organization’s image and leaving the candidate with a good impression.
Video Interviewing Tips for Job Seekers
Ask questions. An interview is a conversation, not an interrogation. Asking questions of your potential employer shows that you’ve researched the company and you want to learn more. Take advantage of the fact that you’re not interviewing in person by having pre-written questions on your screen or in a notebook so you don’t have to remember what you intend to ask.
Look at the camera, not yourself. When on a video call, you may be tempted to look at yourself on the screen continuously to make sure you look okay. However, potential employers may think you’re distracted or not that interested in the position. Stay focused on your computer’s camera or the webcam. Keep any notes on your screen or on paper near the camera so you don’t have to look away.
Test your tech in advance. If this is your first time using a video conference app, test it out before the actual interview. Some interview software may require you to download an application before you can use it. Download it at least several hours before the interview to give yourself time to familiarize yourself with how to get on camera, how to hear audio through your computer’s speakers, and how to ensure you can be heard. Being late to the interview because of technical difficulties will only reflect poorly on you.
In our socially distanced world, interviewing by video can open up a new and exciting career pathway that you might not have considered desirable or possible otherwise. Prepare yourself the same way you would for an in-person interview. Be curious about the potential job and employer. Finally, be confident. You have a lot to offer, especially if you’ve spent some time inventorying your interests and polishing your skill set through online courses, conferences or mentoring. Many people are setting off on a new career path this year. You’re in good company as you look for your next great company to work for!