The Job Market in COVID-19 Lockdown - Dan Bliss, Lead Consultant USA


According to the Guardian, the unemployment rate in the US in August is 10.2%, which is three times the 3.5% rate in February. This means we are seeing a huge increase in the number of job applications.

Great for employers right? In short, yes. They now have an opportunity to increase their company's branding, network, and talent pipeline for future roles. However, there are several challenges that come with a market like this. 

Now more than ever, hiring managers need to be efficient with their time. Having a high number of applications can seem like a good thing, but it can lead to being complacent and ultimately, time-consuming for all parties involved. Managers may feel they have the pick of the crop, and procrastinate by looking to speak to more of the candidate. This will lead to missing out on candidates to companies with a better recruitment process.  

I can’t speak for all disciplines, but I know from my 6 years experience of recruiting in the DevOps space, the majority of my placements have come from networking and headhunting ‘hard to find candidates’. These candidates are still hard to find, considering you’ll be looking for engineers who have applied the DevOps principles in a similar way and fit the working culture. Plus, they will often only deal with specialist recruiters, who they trust will find them the best opportunities available and manage their applications effectively. 

To maximize my client’s ability to attract the most qualified and suitable candidates in the current climate, the below points have become key.

#1 The importance of Internal Screening

Although it may appear there is an abundance of great candidates on the market at the moment, on further inspection you may find something slightly different. Most companies are restructuring or making changes, which sometimes leads to releasing their C and D players, whilst holding onto their core As and Bs.

This potentially floods the market with lots of candidates on paper, but not quite at the calibre you’re looking for. Screening and qualification have never been so important. The ability to screen quality quickly will enable you to make hiring decisions to bring in candidates who can add value quickly.

The return of hiring someone great, over someone good can be huge. The cost of hiring the wrong person could be astronomical.

#2 - Company Branding

How have you treated your staff during these difficult times? Did you make them feel safe and valued? What changes have you made for the future of your workforce?

These are the questions candidates are asking me about the most at the moment, and are the points you should be talking about on all social media platforms, job specs, and conversations you're having with candidates.

How you've acted in this time, and what you plan to do moving forward, is what will attract better talent. 

#3 - Community

This may be obvious, but what involvement do you have within the industry or tech community that is relevant to your business?

Physical meetups aren't possible at this time, but virtual events are on the rise and the quality is increasing. Your involvement in virtual events will allow you to talk about the exciting work you're doing, build your network, increase direct hiring, and ultimately build talent pipelines. 

For jobseekers... 

#1 - Go above and Beyond

You are now one of many applicants for a role. Simply sending your CV to an advert and hoping you'll get called back may not cut it anymore.  What are you doing to separate yourself from the crowd?

Do your research: Why do you want to work for the company? Of course, you have bills to pay, and it's a job in your field, but what else?
Do you believe in the product? Do you believe in the hiring manager? Are they someone you want to work for?
Did they release an article or blog that you were interested in? Did someone in the business provide an interesting talk?

Giving a specific reason why you want to work for a business will always help you stand out. 

#2 - Share Your New Skills

“I’ve spent the last couple of months upskilling” - I've had so many conversations with candidates who have spent the last few months adding to their skillset, however, they haven't given employers/recruiters any evidence of this effort.

If you've used Github or something similar to study, be sure to add a link to your CV or Linkedin Profile and share your work. It could the difference between a company progressing your application, or not. 

3# Pick a Select Few Recruiters to Work With

Working with fewer recruiters gives your profile a more exclusive feel from an employer's perspective. As a hiring manager, receiving your CV from multiple recruiters isn’t the best look and you also have less control over how you are being represented. 

Typically, harder to find candidates give the impression of being a more exclusive candidate.

Find a recruiter you've had a positive experience with in the past or a specialist in your chosen profession. They will be able to provide expert recruitment advice in your field, and will already have key established relationships with the companies you’ll want to work for - work closely with a trusted recruitment consultant and you’ll find your job searching experience to be much more positive.

If you're looking for work, having trouble hiring and want some solutions, or you’re keen to get involved in the DevOps Exchange community, then please do get in touch! 

This article has been written by Dan Bliss, the newest member of the LinuxRecruit Team. Dan is spearheading our New York launch and is the Organiser of our newest DevOps Exchange meetup community - DOXNYC

With a wealth of experience working in the DevOps sector, get in touch with Dan today for advice on hiring into a growing team, or to hear more about our live vacancies. 
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