What job searching after 27 years feels like

Maurice

When Maurice* was retrenched from his job in telecommunications, he felt the earth collapse beneath him. Despite the fact that his colleagues had been muttering about the possibility of  the axe for months, Maurice had a watertight performance record: he was liked and respected by everyone he worked with. And more than that, he was an extraordinarily hard worker. Over the years, he’d relocated for the company, worked long hours, come in on weekends to finish projects.

Maurice’s redundancy was such a shock as it seemed to be the antithesis of everything he believed in: work was supposed to be about commitment, from both sides. Maurice’s own father had had a job for life, in fact, as an aircraft engineer, his name and achievements still hung on a wall, somewhere, even though the company he worked for had long collapsed. Maurice had long aspired to follow in his father’s footsteps, perhaps not consciously, but it was certainly how he understood the world. Redundancy, to Maurice, just didn’t make sense: he’d only ever showed the utmost of commitment to his company, to him, it wasn’t just a job, but he was the job. It was his friendship group. His purpose in life. His safety net. Without it, he wasn’t even sure who he was.

The day of the announcement, Maurice felt numb, didn’t know what to say. When his manager asked him if he’d like to go on gardening leave or work out his notice period, he immediately responded: ‘Work,’ without much thought. What would I do otherwise, he thought to himself.

At home, his wife immediately resorted to sheer panic. But what will you do now, she shrieked. You’re in your mid-50s, no-one will want to hire you now, she said, starting to sob. We can’t access your super yet, and besides, we won’t have enough if you don’t keep working, I don’t have any, I haven’t worked since before kids, what are we going to do, what are you going to do, you don’t even have a resume, you’ve never even had to look for work, she continued, spelling out the horror of the situation. And in truth, Maurice had no idea what he was going to do. 27 years ago, his dad had introduced him to a friend; a kind man who would become his boss. He’d been at the same company ever since.

He’d literally never looked for a job before.

The next day at work, Maurice felt a strange type of numbness. His colleagues were solemn but tried to be upbeat, think about the payout, they said. And to be fair, the payout was generous, more than enough to tide him over for a bit. But for Maurice, it wasn’t about that. How does one even look for a job, he fretted. He didn’t even know where to start.

Try LinkedIn? His colleagues helpfully suggested. What’s that, Maurice replied. Make sure you put the right keywords on your resume, a younger colleague advised, otherwise the ATS will automatically reject you. What’s an ATS? Mused Maurice.

It all sounds a bit hard, Maurice thought, as he imagined with trepidation what his next role might look like. I’ll look in the newspaper tonight and see if what’s available.

Sarah

It all seems a bit hard, mused Sarah*, as she begun shortlisting for a telecommunications role that would be perfect for Maurice. None of these candidates have the exact skills I need, she thought, as she very quickly scanned resumes that hadn’t been automatically filtered by her ATS.

Let me find a few people on LinkedIn myself, she thought, then I’ll save on recruitment fees. Not too many years out of university, Sarah was an ambitious HR graduate, keen to impress her boss with her savvy talent searching and digital recruiting skills.

A few hours later, she’d used complex boolean searches to identify a shortlist of candidates who matched the skills, industries and experiences she was looking for. A few more hours later, she’d dispensed attractive invitation messages; invites that few could ignore.

Within less than two weeks, Sarah delivered three great candidates to her hiring manager, two whom were perfect for the role. Great job Sarah, said her boss. Don’t forget to reject everyone in the ATS, he reminded her.

Oh sure, she said. Can I work on a boolean search strategy for us for the future? And for my next role, maybe Facebook?

Yes, said her manager. This is quicker, cheaper, better for us. Digital is the future and everyone’s on LinkedIn, social media. Do what you can to help us secure these better candidates.

Worlds apart

In the real world, Sarah and Maurice may never find each other. This is neither Sarah nor Maurice’s fault, but a symptom of just how much job searching has transformed.

But just how much has changed? Back when Maurice was ‘looking’ for a job, he found one the way most people did: through his network. Prior to anything online, some jobs were advertised in the newspaper, but more often than not, people simply got jobs through people they knew. Around 80 to 85% of all jobs were found through either family, friends or community networks.

This all changed in the early 2000s. It was then that we first became acquainted with job boards, and by 2012, we had Seek, Indeed, Glassdoor, Adzuna and Jora. Then came LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s effect on the job market has been astronomical: there are currently 14 million open jobs advertised on the network (many exclusively so), 90% of all recruiters use it, and a staggering 35.5 million people are hired through the platform every year.

Around the same time that LinkedIn exploded in popularity, digital recruitment also started to take off. Suddenly, candidates were being interviewed via video platforms such as SparkHire. But before they even got there, they would pass through an ATS which would receive and sort applications, and even rank their suitability for the role according to keywords and answers provided.

Yet beyond applications, job searching has become less about searching and more about being found. According to research compiled by the Harvard Business Review, the majority of people who found a new job recently weren’t looking for one. With the plethora of digital information now available on potential candidates, many companies are filling their pipelines with ‘passive candidates’ – those who aren’t looking to move right now but might be open to an opportunity in the future. Using overseas talent scouts (whom are used by up to 40% of companies), potential employees are contacted on LinkedIn and other social media sites.

All of this is great, it’s progress, it has made recruiters and candidates’ lives easier, saved time and a lot of resources. But still, it leaves people behind. Stepping out into the job market that’s changed this much is not just scary, but downright petrifying for many. And we owe it to the Maurices of the world to help them catch up, find Sarah, and discover the opportunities they want and deserve.

Career Money Life has created a Job Search and Job Management platform specifically designed for transitioning employees who might be looking for a role for the first time in a while. 

Using the platform, transitioning employees are able to effortlessly search for roles across multiple job boards, as well as track and manage their applications. They’re also able to access expert guidance and resources to help them navigate the transition, including advice on resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn, ATS systems, and much more. 

Career Money Life can also give all of your transitioning staff the opportunity to access professionals who can provide further expertise. Our platform includes access to 450 + suppliers, who offer everything from resume writing services, to career coaching, to information on how to start their own business, if they so choose. We understand the challenges faced by long-term employees faced with redundancy for the first time. Help them transition with dignity and respect by providing them with the tools and information they need for their next endeavours. 

Contact us or reach out via LinkedIn to learn more.

*Names were changed to protect privacy




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