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Industry Insight: Hiring During a Pandemic

May 4, 2020

Nearly one in four Massachusetts workers have lost their jobs in the weeks since the economy largely shut down, and given the uncertain timeline that surrounds Covid-19, what the national and global impact of the pandemic will be on hiring is largely unknown. Despite these truths, there are reasons for job seekers to keep positive.

Our President Jen Reddy recently connected with Elliott Seaborn, SVP, Global Integrated Marketing at Monster, to learn how Monster is navigating the pandemic and supporting employers and candidates. Read on for some insight and advice from an industry insider:

Jen Reddy: I want to start with the overwhelming amount of people out of work…Where does someone even start when they are in that position? What do you advise to these growing numbers of people struggling?

Elliott Seaborn: We have been talking to a number of companies about their perspective on the market, looking deeply at candidate behavior on our site and have always-on communities going to track sentiment with both candidates and employers. There is a lot of despair and quite frankly boredom that is creating a false impression that there is nothing we can do but wait it out. This perspective has actually stopped people from looking for jobs. As a matter of fact, according to Google’s and our own site metrics, searches are down at a time when we are seeing record unemployment numbers. It’s pretty counterintuitive.

We think it’s just a false impression created by a complex number of voices and messages in media right now. Don’t listen. You need to stay positive and proactive about job searching. Here’s what we know to be true:

  1. There are industries hiring. While areas like air travel and hospitality have slowed, there are other industries that are very much still hiring. Healthcare in general is exploding and many of the jobs right now are entry-level or hourly and require little to no experience. Grocery, Delivery, Pharmaceutical and Loan Officer are examples of others. There are real opportunities to join the front lines and make an impact.
  2. Remember your skills are transferrable. With many non-essential businesses closed temporarily, it is an opportunity to look at those businesses on the front lines and think about the skill sets you have (not necessarily industry specific) and how those skill sets could be applied to a different sector. Be confident when you're reading job postings and remember that you can still get the job even if you don’t meet all of the job qualifications. Use your resume and cover letter to show you have the transferable skill employers are seeking.
  3. Your network wants to help you. People understand that this is a difficult time and they want to help however they can.
  4. You need to adjust your approach by medium. Now that many people are working remotely, job interviews are being done by phone and video. which can be more challenging. We have a lot of tips and tricks on our Career Advice section.
  5. Take on a temp or freelance gig. If you don’t currently have a job, apply to temp and freelance work to pay the bills. It could lead to a full-time job when you impress your co-workers. It's also a great opportunity to gain some in-demand skills.

JR: How has Monster adapted over the past 8 weeks to meet needs of those looking for work?

ES: As a company dedicated to creating happier and more productive workplaces, we are uniquely positioned to help employers and candidates during this time as they struggle to adjust to a new normal. Here are some of the things we have done:

  • Coronavirus resource page: We launched Work in the Time of Coronavirus, Monster’s COVID-19 resource page. We produced content for employers like how to hire urgently needed healthcare workers and how the CARES act impacts small businesses; and candidate-focused content like companies hiring nurses now and healthcare jobs that require no experience.
  • Support for companies hiring frontline workers. We are offering free access to job postings for companies with essential staffing needs as a result of COVID-19. These industries include Frontline healthcare, Crisis response, Warehousing and logistics, Shipping & delivery services and food supply chain.
  • Enabling video interviews. There’s been an increased need for video interviewing. As a result, Monster partnered with video interview platform SparkHire to offer a simple free video interview solution into subscription e-commerce products.
  • Support for graduates. We are conducting a series of virtual events geared towards helping recent grads navigate their search in a new COVID-driven world. 

JR: One of the most heartbreaking situations from this crisis is how the frontline healthcare workers are both overwhelmed and in great demand, especially in the elder care segment. Can you speak to how Monster is addressing that?

ES: So, this one is very personal to me.  My father is in an assisted living home that has been decimated by Covid. They have 50 confirmed cases and over 20 deaths.  He has also tested positive but is mercifully asymptomatic. The staff there is amazing. They are doing their best but they are losing staff as they go out sick with the virus. They, like so many senior care facilities, are faced with severe shortages of workers to take care of people like my dad. We’ve been very involved in helping to staff frontline workers and saw an opportunity to focus in on this segment specifically.

In addition to offering free jobs, we also saw an opportunity to offer assistance specifically in senior care facilities where the need is so dire. We just launched what we are calling our From Home to Help Senior Care Initiative. Here we are partnering with the Massachusetts Senior Care Association and an MIT-based COVID Alliance to staff these critical roles. 1,200 senior living jobs are now posted on our site with many of the openings requiring no prior experience. Competitive salaries are offered for all positions, including resident care assistants, certified nursing aides, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses, along with a $1,000 bonus, funded by the state of Massachusetts.

If you go to monster.com/hometohelp you can see everything available there.  I would also ask that you share this link with your network to help us fill these much needed roles.

JR: Looking ahead to the next 6-12 months, what do you think will evolve as we move through this pandemic? What will remain?

ES: In terms of the job landscape in the next 6-12 months, I think we will slowly see some of these industries that have suffered the most — like restaurants, hospitality and retail — start to rebound, but there is no question it will be a new normal that will last some time. We’ll continue to see availability in healthcare, warehousing, and truck driving—these industries were always essential and are even more so now. As supply chains open up, we anticipate an even greater uptick in demand for truck drivers and delivery personnel. With that, an increase in logistics and some manufacturing should follow.

COVID will also likely impact how businesses operate in the longer-term and that too may spark new job opportunities in areas like remote working. COVID provided us with time to test out different techniques and ways of engaging. Enabling employees to work from home as an example has shown that it can be successful and many companies may start to question what that could mean both in terms of savings, productivity and work satisfaction. In a recent survey we conducted more than half of employers said they will re-evaluate their work from home policies if it proves productive during the pandemic. This will create new opportunities for more products and solutions to address a growing remote workforce. Throughout the pandemic, we also saw a continued demand for software developers and we don’t anticipate that to decline as we come out of this. So there will be opportunity.

It will also be a time of renewed exploration. 66% of candidates told us they believe they can be productive at home – and as more employers continue to adopt more open policies, criteria like that will start to come into play. Many people are enjoying being able to eat dinner together as families and are starting to feel the power of more balance. Now all of this being said, it is a tough time and unemployment is a big issue right now. People need jobs and will be looking at growth industries where they can find the security they need. Like I said previously, many skills are transferable – and there will be a shift to finding those sectors and those companies that are looking for these skills while providing safe environments and family friendly policies. The dimensions of what constitutes the right fit may shift and that’s OK.  It’s about prioritizing what matters to you while applying your skills to a culture that embraces those things.

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