Job Searching in lockdown…a Covid challenge

It’s pretty obvious that searching for IT career opportunities in this current climate is going to be a tricky affair. Recruitment is low on the agenda for a lot of companies right now and even those who do need to fill specific roles in their organisation will sometimes have the unenviable task of recruiting whilst making redundancies at the same time. What is clear that there are now and soon to be a horrible equation between numbers of vacancies and numbers of active job seekers. So, if you are either between careers currently or just wanting to take the next step along, what is the best advice.

The game is effectively the same and the rules haven’t changed all that much….the opposition is however going to be tougher than ever. To win, you will need to ensure you keep to the same principles and basics you would normally but hone in on a few key areas.

  • Be consistent
  • Treat getting a job as your new job
  • Be efficient
  • Build relationships
  • Focus don’t generalise
  • Re-skill / Up-Skill
  • Broaden your horizons – location
  • Find help
  • Keep busy
  • Don’t panic

Be-Consistent

There really is no need to try to become something you aren’t just because times are not the same. Have a good story / pitch to relate to employers and agencies alike and stick to it. Ensure you know where you want to go with your career and be clear about your drivers with every audience you garner. It is too easy in these times to pander to the epidemic and just position your objectives as job security. It is important your goals and ambition are still relayed to prospective employers.

Treat getting a job as your new job 

When not working it is too easy to take breaks in the day or evening when you would have usually have been working. If you have any downtime during the usual working day it’s because you’ve not exhausted all the possibilities out there. Actually plan your day and week as you would normally. Give time to task and have a ‘to do’ list.

Be efficient 

Don’t waste time…it will seep away quickly and before you know it you will a few weeks down the process with nothing to show for it. Set a priority chart and focus on where you are likely to get the most interest / success. Get to the point. Set your stall out and have an agenda for every activity you are doing, wether that be a call or an email. Make some email templates that you can use time and time again but personalise them.

Build Relationships

Too many times, a recruitment process can feel just like that. A process you have to go through to get to the endpoint. You have to realise that every opportunity will have a different maturation point and as they say in sales…you need to attempt a sale 7 times before success….this is usually because a relationship is formed over those 7 bits of communication. The process therefore becomes less transactional and more personal for both parties.

Focus – Don’t generalise

Fear drives the ‘scatter gun’ approach. From a recruiters perspective it’s soul destroying watching someone with seemingly saleable skills applying for anything and everything. It shows you have a lack of direction and true belief in your core skills. Focus on what you do best and what you want to develop.

Re-Skill / Up-Skill

Not always the most cost effective way to change careers but it’s important if you have the time and are resourceful enough to find courses / qualifications for free then ensure you firstly enjoy using the skills you are learning and make sure they are relevant in the market. Try the vendor websites first for free courses and qualifications but then try more regional training companies who can guide you on the best route in. Self training is good but also realise that tacit learning is useful so make sure you get onto as many forums as you can to get real world support and help.

Broaden Your Horizons

The world of work is going to look very different in time to come as business has realised what it can and cannot do with a home working employee base. There undoubtedly will be companies now happy to have roles more home based so ensure you have a possibility to do this is possible and get your setup ready so you can demonstrate to a potential employer that you have the resources at home and the mentality to deliver in that environment. However, where there are fewer opportunities you might need to travel further afield and so it’s best now to re-assess your commuting options. You really need to start planning this as employers will ask the question early in the process as to how you will now manage a longer or more challenging commute. Check out childcare options, driving routes and times and run your searches by adding specific towns not just radius searches.

Find Help

It’s more important than ever to garner support, advice and general help from every possible avenue. Use previous working relationships to do this. Go back and connect, if you’ve not already done so, to previous line managers, HR connections, work friends and ask if their companies could need someone with your skills. Ask them the best route to take and importantly follow up on that. Keep a track of all your communications (a simply excel spread sheet will help keep on track of on-going conversations but will also help you to keep communication going with lost contact opportunities. A really good question to ask anyone is “what would you do if you were in my position?”. This encourages empathy and people will hopefully offer some first hand advice rather than generic, broad brush stroke tip bits. Talk to recruitment professionals both agency and client side and of course ensure your goal is to actually speak with contacts as emails can easily be lost in priority lists. Chambers of commerce and business advisory groups can give local knowledge about schemes and companies in growth patterns.

Keep Busy

The biggest concern is being out of work for so long that skills diminish and with this prospective employers question why another employer hasn’t snapped you up yet. If you find that you just want to be doing the job you love and need to be actively doing it…maybe offer yourself up on a free trial basis. Do some, literally free, freelance work to keep you hand in and your mind engaged. When companies and literally see the value in you they are more likely to speculate and try to create you a position….if you haven’t already created one for yourself.

Don’t Panic

The worst thing you can do is apply for anything and everything in the hope you’ll at least be working in the sector. If you need to pay the bills and take a short term role out of technology, then do that but ensure your mindset focuses on the fact that this is short term and is a means to an end.

Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA)….can Yorkshire fly into recovery?

Opinions seem divided when you read the comments on every article about the new plans submitted to Leeds City Council this month to build a new terminal at Leeds Bradford Airport. Clearly there are a number of stakeholders who are immediately impacted by the scheme from local residents to LBA employees.

What is clear now, more than ever is that the area needs a world class airport with sustainable, efficient and service oriented platforms which can help drive economic activity into the region. There have been numerous calls to relocate the Airport and there are some good arguments to be made on both remaining and relocating. However, these new plans seem focused on achieving a few key goals in growing passenger numbers, ensuring customer experience is at a premium level and ensuring the environmental impact actually reduces current output levels.

This is seemingly not a new application but an improved application from one that has already been given permission to go ahead. The improvements will stand LBA apart and allow us to leverage more inward investment.

Care of:

https://www.leeds-live.co.uk/news/leeds-news/exclusive-leeds-bradford-airport-chief-18250324

Preparing for an interview…..

Over the years we have had candidates at all levels prepare very differently for an interview…with some taking a minimalist view to their first interview whilst others a very structured and detailed approach. Regardless of success, we always find that the people who impress most have gone the extra mile. Candidates who would usually be someway off the mark with their skills or the depth of their experience have pulled themselves into contention by simply preparing better and in doing so show a higher level of enthusiasm and interest in the opportunity. Below is not an exhaustive list but some good basic principles to start your preparation for interview. The advice is generic and has been used successfully at Graduate to Executive level.

To find our more about how we can specifically help you if you are at Graduate or Senior / Executive please visit

Graduate Recruitment

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Business Research:

  • What do the business do? What are their key products / services?
  • What markets do they operate in?
  • Where are all their offices and what does each office do?
  • When were they formed? What are their milestones?
  • What is their mission statement / corporate values and why do these suit you?
  • What is the IT structure and where does this role sit in? Team Size? Overall IT Size?
  • Write down all names of people you would be working for / alongside, note their backgrounds and any similarities to your background
  • What is the last “latest news” update on their website?
  • What is the top article about them on a Google search?
  • If a public company, what is the share price?

Job Research

  • List all the skills on the specification that you have. Next to it write an example of what you did with this technology.
  • Write a list of all the skills on the specification you do not have. Alongside that list write a list of tech that does a similar job that you do have experience of?
  • What are the key features of the technology that you do not have exposure to?
  • List your 3 main technical strengths and why you feel they are your strengths.
  • List your 3 main non-technical strengths.

Interview Preparation

  • Firstly, gather all the research you have already done and put it into a file with separators so you can turn to each section easily if called upon to do so.
  • Make sure you have printed off some of the research material and made scribbles and notes on the material (a highlighter pen is always good to use for particular areas you would like to refer to in the interview.
  • Make sure you have the address, telephone number and Interface contact details all in the file.
  • Ensure you have planned out your route and know the likely traffic scenarios at for the time of the interview.
  • If you have put together a presentation or need to present some information make sure you have practised your delivery of this at least 5 times and preferably twice in front of someone.
  • Ensure you have prepared a number of good answers to competency questions. A list of these types of questions can be found easily on the interview but there are some obvious ones
  1. Give an example of where you have managed conflict / stress / under performance etc
  2. Tell us about your proudest achievement
  3. Tell us your ‘war story’ where you have battled through adversity and reached your objective
  • Why would you like THIS opportunity? – Remember this needs to be backed with fact. If you read somewhere that they are investing in international development, tell them why you think this is good for your career.
  • They will likely ask you what you know about them. Write down a detailed but concise overview of the company and practice delivering it at least 5 times.
  • Write down a short paragraph, again detailed and concise, as to why you are unique and feel that you are the right person for this role.