The bottom fell out. That’s the feeling managing director Keith Wolf got when the Houston rodeo was cancelled March 11, 2020 after a case of a novel coronavirus was discovered in a Montgomery County man. Suddenly all the calls at his job recruitment company, Murray Resources, stopped. “We got next to almost zero calls from companies looking to hire. I’ve been in this industry for ten years and this was the scariest time yet,” he tells KTRH News. Jobs disappeared in the blink of an eye as businesses shuttered doors one upon another and a Stay Home Work Safe order was issued.
Things are starting to pick up slowly, virtually. “Things have picked up. There is some hope,” he says. New job orders had dropped to about 8%, and they’ve climbed back up to 40-50%. Jobs in oil and gas haven’t come back yet, and he doesn’t expect they will until the futures market picks up, but in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, essential services, technology, health care, and grocery stores there is an uptick of interest as businesses start looking to hire new employees.
To the technologically savvy, Wolf suggests, goes the worm, as job interviews aren’t what they used to be. Before recommending a prospect for a job, Wolf says, Murray Resources conducts candidate interviews. “Having zoom interviews, we have hundreds of them a week, and our clients are doing the same, so the ones who have adapted most quickly to this new virtual on-boarding really have a step up on their competition.” That goes for businesses and the people they hire.
If you are among those looking for a job, Wolf offers substantive advice, learning to zoom near the top of the list. “Attend webinars, get certifications, take courses online,” Wolf reels off. He says the climate has changed, an empathetic eagerness to help now often displayed by hiring managers. “There are so many more professionals that are open to helping people right now because they do have more time. They want to help.” Avail yourself of it. Call the person highest on the totem pole who will take your calls, he proposes, because someone who didn’t take your call four months ago might at the very least be more receptive to your pitch today.
As to talk that delayed receipt of graduates’ diplomas or degrees could hold a candidate up from getting a job, that’s something he says he hasn’t seen.