Due to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), employment dynamics have changed in unprecedented speed. Major employers began asking workers to work remotely. And starting this week, there will be significant layoffs. WestJet, one the largest airlines, recently announced it would lay off 50% of its employees as the number of flight cancelations continue to mount. For those who are looking for jobs, does this mean their job search needs to stop? Which industries are the most affected, and which industries have benefited as a result of the pandemic? What can candidates do during this period to maximize their chances of landing a job? If you are currently job seeking, read this article to maximize your chances of landing a job during the coronavirus.
Should I Stop Looking for a Job During Coronavirus?
Finding a job was already difficult and stressful enough. With the coronavirus, many companies have either put a stop in their job search processes or have decided to time their time to process candidates amidst the coronavirus. This means, your job search process might last longer than usual. However, don’t stop your job search, because people still get hired during these slowdowns. For example, last week, several students from Alba landed jobs in Vancouver in accounting, marketing, and video production. Getting a job is definitely possible, but it won’t be easy.
Which industries are most affected by the coronavirus?
According to ZipRecruiter, the number of job openings for retail workers, restaurant staff and hotel employees has sharply declined. Not only are companies in the leisure and hospitality industries not hiring, they are laying off thousands of workers across the country as people are urged to stay indoors and borders have shut down. In Vancouver’s Financial District, the city has become a ghost town with empty offices and empty retail outlets.
Which industries are not affected by the coronavirus?
Coronavirus is mostly spread through respiratory droplets through direct contact, however, the virus can survive on surfaces for over a week in some cases. Companies are responding to the threat by hiring cleaners to disinfect surfaces in public places and in offices, said ZipRecruiter. The number of job openings for cleaners have surged 75% within the last 2 weeks. Staffing and recruiting agencies are still hiring, making up 34% of jobs listed on Glassdoor. Job openings for registered nurses and other hospital-related positions have also increased drastically.
According to Glassdoor, 34% of all jobs in March were posted by the government and healthcare sector. “Jobs in other industries including accounting, marketing, sales, finance and banking are not impossible to come by, but employers will take their time to find the best candidate,” says Ellen Zhang, career advisor based in Vancouver. “Companies are in no rush to fill positions at this time, so you must be very impressive during the interview process and follow up professionally.”
How to Stand Out as a Candidate Amidst the Coronavirus?
1. Learn all Video Calling Applications (Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp).
In the last few weeks, recruiters and hiring managers switch from in-person interviews to online interviews using applications such as Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and Google Hangouts.
“If you have never used Zoom before, don’t wait until 5 minutes before the interview to figure it out,” says Teresa Mei, a job search consultant in Vancouver. “You might start the interview looking panicked, rushed, and unprofessional. Or even worse, you might be late—leaving a poor first impression.”
We recommend you figure out which application the interviewer will likely use (most of the time it will be written in the calendar invite description). Then, make a couple of test calls with your friends or family members to ensure you understand the functionalities of the application.
2. Practice interviewing online
“Online interviews are becoming popular because it saves travelling time and minimizes human contact amidst the Covid-19 outbreak,” said Ellen Zhang at job consulting firm Alba Inc. in Vancouver. “I recommend job-seeking candidates to practice ahead of an online interview because interviewing online and in-person are two completely different experiences.”
Also, try practicing in different areas of your house or coffee shop (depending on where you plan to conduct the interview). Some areas have better internet connection than others. You want to make sure you interview at the optimal location to avoid internet connectivity issues.
3. Process map the organization or department you are interviewing for
Do you know each step every person on the team takes to produce a product or service? This is an important factor because working from home is a highly probable situation for the next couple months. Process mapping allows you to know who is in charge of what, and what your potential day might look like in a remote work setting.
For example, if you work in web development, you could refer to the process-map that shows what a person in the marketing department does to post ads on your site. And how the communication between you and the graphics designer might look like.
Taking the time to think about how your day-to-day might look like amidst the coronavirus outbreak will make you stand out as a top candidate.
4. Understand remote working tools
Working remotely requires that every team member work cohesively in the cloud. At Alba, this is extremely important as our consultants work closely with job candidates to ensure they maximize interview opportunities. We are constantly revising and creating new versions of a candidate’s resume tailored to a specific job position. Some of the most popular productivity software we use include Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Zoom is another popular remote working tool. It is used for video meetings, chats and screen-sharing features. It also has the added bonus of split-screen video conferencing so you can see everyone at once, much like an in-person meeting.
5. Be Active on Social Media
During times like these, it is important to have a voice. You can do this by sharing and commenting on articles of interest within the work community. Join discussion groups and become part of the virtual conversation. This is a great way to connect with others, network and communicate without having to travel or maintain close contact with other people. Start posting your own ideas on Linkedin, as most business professionals will be doing the same. You never know what these ideas can lead to. At the very least you will have something to talk about during the interview.
Changes and opportunities for new industries
Ivy Chen, founder of Alba Inc., said that the outbreak has shifted many businesses to think about social good and not just profits. “Business owners have proven that they care about their employees just as much as their profits and balance sheets.” We’ve seen a spike in online communication and new businesses that have emerged as a result of the coronavirus.
Below are some emerging opportunities for industries:
Many sporting events have cancelled due to the coronavirus. In response, some organization like the UFC, are considering broadcasting the fight online. If the fight can generate high profits, this may become the future.
New generation smart devices are key to the future public agenda. Using smart devices to create a new generation smart city will systematically enhance public management by integrating supply chains, traffic, emergency and disaster warning.
What used to be a buzz word, turned out to be crucial for tracking and monitoring the coronavirus spread. This technology will be more widely used for public wellbeing, especially for monitoring, analyzing, and supporting timely public decision-making.
In the last few weeks, many offline-driven businesses began shifting to online, especially in education, entertainment, and retail. Many real estate agents in Vancouver have transitioned to online meetings and video marketing in attempt to sell houses while reducing human contact.
The value chain of healthcare will shift to emphasizing early detection and preventative procedures. Future application scenarios will include more participants and promote a comprehensive ecosystem for public health agendas.
In Canada, cities like Ottawa and Calgary have enacted the “250+ gathering” rule which restricts any event with large attendees from happening. As a result, many educational institutions have transitioned into online classes. UBC, for example, has cancelled in-person classes and set up strict final exam procedures including limited classroom sizes.
New business models are emerging in every industry. And the most important glue that’s connecting businesses and customers is social media. This remains the most important medium of communication for businesses, particularly for traditional businesses like real estate and banking which require face-to-face interaction. Furthermore, the industry is changing from being the main channel between individuals and business, to a vital link between the public and the government.