By Hannah Mallorca
Features Writer, The Philippine STAR

As we face an uncertain future, here are ways to stay at the top of your career game in a seemingly overwhelming job search

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected various sectors worldwide. With this, many companies addressed its effects by resorting to salary cuts, furloughs, reducing work hours and bonuses, employee layoffs and freeze hiring.

As a result, unemployment rates have worsened and left millions of people jobless. According to Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III, 2.6 million workers in the Philippines have already lost their jobs due to the temporary closure of businesses affected by the pandemic.

To address how jobseekers can thrive despite COVID-19 woes, The Philippine STAR’s CareerGuide shared tips on how to be hire-ready. The online discussion featured certified HR professional Oliver Requilman, Philippine HR Group founder and president Darwin Rivers and TaskUs VP for Recruitment for SEA Carmela Sais.

Hiring in the new normal 

As the world transitions into the new normal, many companies need to adapt to changes in operations — job hiring is no exception. For Ms. Sais, recruiters are still adjusting to the drastic shift from the traditional hiring process.

“Recruiters will tell you that kami mismo, we need to adjust because a lot of recruitment operations in all companies were on-site,” she admitted. “There are very few who support virtual hiring as all the technology that’s needed to support virtual hiring needs to be planned out.”

With this, Ms. Sais advised recruiters to innovate the hiring process through virtual hiring or conducting interviews through phone calls.

“A really good virtual infrastructure doesn’t even require you to come in the site at all,” she stated. “Companies need to develop virtual hiring processes from start to finish, from application processes to interviews, and even submission of documents.”

Despite the pandemic, Mr. Rivers stressed that there are still industries that are hiring. These include business process outsourcing (BPO), accounting, online teaching, front- and back-end support, government offices and frontline industries such as hospitals and clinics.

“There are dozens of companies that are still hiring because they need the right people to function properly. They need the right talent and the right amount of manpower to support their business,” Mr. Rivers said.

Ideal characteristics of a hire-ready jobseeker

For Mr. Requilman, having the right mindset and adopting a growth mentality are ideal characteristics of a jobseeker.

“It’s easy to say that an applicant has the right attitude, but having the right mindset will become your driver towards success,” he said. “We always look for someone with a ‘self-help’ mindset. If he needs help, he or she can always improve by reading or researching.”

Mr. Requilman shared that recruiters ask about an applicant’s pastime since it reflects his or her mindset in a professional landscape. “Ang importante kasi is that the person has the innate desire to learn and do something to improve,” he added.

During the hiring process, Ms. Sais said that recruiters examine if a jobseeker’s abilities match the requirements of the position. With this, applicants must have the proper soft skills.

“There is always a job for you. You should use this time to upskill and to get better at what you’re doing. The job market is competitive, so you need to have the skill, right mindset and emotional intelligence,” Ms. Sais added.

Applying through virtual hiring 

According to Ms. Sais, the interview process in virtual hiring is audio-driven. Job seekers should prepare by researching necessary information and making sure that they’re camera- and audio-ready.

“Make sure that laging naka-charge at naka-open ang phone mo, make sure that the audio conversation is clear and we have to alert our family members at home,” Ms. Sais added. “Invest in a good Internet or data connection because it’s the only way for us to get a hold of you.”

It’s difficult to predict when the pandemic will end, but we can always choose to develop ourselves. There’s always an advantage in constantly improving yourself — especially in the current job market.

For more information about employment, job openings and advertising options, visit CareerGuide PH on Facebook and LinkedIn.