Out of all the experiences that have completely changed during the pandemic, job seeking is the one people can’t stop talking about. You might have heard that you, as a talented job-seeker, hold all the cards after The Great Resignation. This feels good for once, doesn’t it? No shame in that. But along with your newfound power comes, as they say, great responsibility. You have the responsibility to not only choose what’s best for you but also the responsibility to keep in mind the people who are looking to hire you. It’s very easy to let all that power make you feel almost invincible—to ask for the moon, or to grow impatient and walk away—while those who can’t catch a break (Aka recruiters and hiring managers) find their work piling up as they’re looking for a great candidate.
Don't worry, we're not advocating that you minimize your needs or reduce your salary requests. You should always ask for what you're worth and for strong benefits. But there are some actions that you, as the job-seeker, can do to both manage your expectations and make the entire hiring process more pleasant for everyone involved.
- Remember: job-seeking is work, too.
If you’re looking for a job right now on top of all your other responsibilities, take note of that time and remember to take breaks. If you are getting upset, depressed, and anxious too often, take a step back until you feel motivated to come back. Prioritizing your mental health is incredibly important during this time. Ask for help within your network. Seek a therapist until you’re feeling a bit more like yourself. Try not to get burned out on job-seeking because, yes, job search burnout is a thing—and especially during these trying times. Also, be kind to yourself. A bad interview or typo in a thank-you letter does not negate anything about who you truly are, so forgive yourself for mistakes you’ll make along the way. We’re human, after all! Which leads us to our next tip...
- Have compassion and use clear communication
Fact: the hiring process is just as stressful for you as it is for recruiters and hiring managers. Recruiters might even be faced with more challenges due to new hiring practices that their company wants them to implement. While they’re working to magically align interviewing schedules, read resumes, and perform research on multiple candidates, remember that they’re also humans too. Hiring managers also have a day job in addition to all those interviews. They're probably also doing the job of the role they're trying to hire. They will be tired, they might make mistakes, they might not ask you all the “right” questions. If you can have compassion and, where you can, seek out ways to find common ground, it will go a long way, potentially creating a strong connection for your career. If you don’t understand something, get clarification. If you need to know something about the job or company, follow up with questions. Compassion and communication will go a long way when it comes to their behavioral assessment of you, which also works in your favor! So consider what the job posters are dealing with on the daily and get clarity whenever possible.
- Repeat after us: Do. Not. Ghost!
Patience is something you’re going to have to stock up on if you’re looking for a job. Even during this time where talent is in the drivers' seat, the available talent pool is much larger than it was years ago when many were still employed. Plus, you’ll be competing with anyone who is graduating or switching careers. Remember how many people recruiters and hiring managers must speak to—and then that they have to organize calendar invites for virtual interviews, set up questions, ensure all the candidates are set up for success...the list goes on! The process can take weeks. You might be one in a handful of people waiting their turn. So, if the job excites you, chill out and maybe wait a week to follow up if you haven’t heard anything. But if you’re no longer interested, do the recruiter a courtesy and let them know via email. Ghosting is seriously never a good idea. We promise you, that quick follow-up email will help your career juju.
- Be willing to compromise
Picture this: you get the job offer (yay!) but that really big number you asked for…well…the company can’t do it right now. Do you really turn down a great opportunity that’s aligned with your values just because the company is struggling right now? If the offer is much lower than the request, you should absolutely gracefully decline. But what if you really do want the job? Pause and think about some other benefits you could negotiate. There are quite a few valuable benefits that a company could offer that may not cost them quite as much as your salary (think student loan repayment). Find out when the company conducts performance reviews and offers raises. Ask if you can swap the loss in money for more vacation. Ask if the company would consider paying for child or senior care to supplement the loss in wages. See? There are ways to have a better quality of life even if the salary will have to come a little later.
- Don’t forget a thank-you note
Maybe sending thank-you notes was never something you really did or only did casually, but truly it’s more than just a courtesy—it’s a necessity. If there is anything we’ve learned from the last few years it’s that time is precious. If someone is giving you attention, it’s only right to return it with a personal thank-you note. It doesn’t need to be long and you don’t need to be Shakespeare, so don’t overthink it! If you really want to, have a friend read it over before you hit send. But a thank-you note will make the process pleasant for everyone while keeping you top of mind. Should you send a thank-you note if you’re not interested? Again, we’re going to go with yes. It’s the thought that counts.