Now is not a fun time to be engaged in a job search. This may actually be one of the worst times to look for a job in a decade. You’re seeking a job when people are literally not in their offices. It gets worse. Companies don’t want their personnel to meet with people face-to-face. Forget about shaking hands with someone.
The concept of “social distancing” is taking over. We are all trying to cocoon ourselves, hiding from everyone in the hopes that we don’t catch the coronavirus.
It doesn’t help matters that the stock market is crashing. Thursday’s shocking freefall in the prices of stocks put it on par with the 1987 stock market crash. Stocks have entered a bear market territory, loosely defined as being down 20% from the heights, which signals a recession may be in the near distance.
The economy and job market, which were looking strong only one month ago, are now very tenuous. There are talks of hiring freezes and layoffs. The Federal Reserve Bank needed to infuse trillions of dollars into the banking sector to ensure stability. Sectors, such as airlines, resorts, travel and tourism, conventions and conferences, concerts and sporting events, are in trouble. Nobody wants to be where there are crowds. Corporations don’t want to place people in situations where they can either catch or spread COVID-19. They want to both save their employees and also ward off any potential lawsuits asserting that people were put in harm’s way and are now affected by the virus.
Here’s the reality. For the short term, interviewing will be brutal. Companies are afraid to hire as they don’t know what will happen next. Executives will think, “Why should we hire this person when we might actually need to downsize employees?”
Even if an interview could take place, the logistics are difficult. With almost everyone working remotely, it’s not easy to pull everything together. If you are a mid-to-senior-level person, you’ll need to interview with three-to-six-plus individuals. This is hard to do when things are good, let alone when all of the professionals needed to participate are working independently at home. It’s doable, but not without hassles. It’s easier for management to say, “Let’s just hold off for now.”