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Job application tips during COVID

Job application tips during COVID

27 Apr 14:00 by Matthew Rollinson


Online job application tips during COVID


As we keep saying, these are strange times. And a lot is going on that’s more serious than the state of the recruitment market. However, if you’re on the market then I understand at the moment the job market is a frustrating place for many.


My own observation is a lot of processes are ‘stuck’ they aren’t cancelled, but they aren’t moving forward either. This makes it challenging for all parties. Perfectly polite clients just have a lot on their plate right now, and recruitment simply has to be behind other activities in navigating through this crisis and keeping companies doors open.  


There will be a lot of adverts floating around the internet 4 weeks into Lockdown that people are going for, however the company may be closed down with Furloughed staff etc and so applications may be going into unmanaged inboxes.


In an ideal world, everyone would have prioritised shutting down such adverts for a period. We do not live in an ideal world. We need to therefore adapt and understand that there have always been a % of adverts that didn’t lead to a hire (due to various reasons, hiring speed via network, company strategy changes, internal promotion). The problem perhaps at the moment just feels much more pronounced, when the markets reduced as it has to (in my view) roughly 30% of ‘normal’.


So I want to try and help, by how to spot the most live, active vacancies to try and make this part more efficient.  


1)The advert was posted in the last 3 weeks. This means it’s been written in full-view of Lockdown and all that comes with it. Any company will have a strategy for interviewing compliant with COVID precaution and strategy for onboarding again in line with COVID precautions. Most job boards have a function to search for ‘posted within dates X-Y’ and I suggest using that.   

2)It was posted on a ‘paid for’ job board. No offence to the free job boards as a lot of good content is on there. However we can all agree in this moment, cash is very important for most companies. So, paying even a small amount of £300 for an advert is only something you’d do if very serious about your needs. Reed, Totaljobs, Indeed (if ‘Sponsored’), CV Library and Monster all charge to be on there.

3)Advert Language. As well as searching for skills, words like urgently’critical’immediate’ can all form part of your own search in the search bar. You can come up with more of these yourself I’m sure, however any language that emphasises the immediacy of this need is (at this moment) good to see.

4)Understand that some job boards have expiry dates, some don’t. This means like above, that the most recent adverts are the ones to pursue. If there isn’t a search for dates posted then listing result based on ‘date posted’ can manoeuvre around this issue. Same as you might list product prices when shopping online.

5)Understand nobody writes an advert without meaning it. Advert writing is a quasi-legal process that can land you in a lot of trouble if done wrong. It takes a lot of time and costs money as well. I don’t think anyone ever engages in ad writing without meaning it. So, while circumstances can change in between the publication and application, the will-to-hire is going to still be there. It just may take longer. We call this ‘latent demand’ and it’s similar to the phenomenon in January when we all come back from Christmas/New Years and suddenly the workload spikes. The business leaders I’m speaking to agree the latent demand in this market, will be significant.

6) Finally, if in doubt, call the hiring company. I genuinely like chase-up calls, they show willing and that someone has keen interest. Also occasionally I miss someone and it’s nice to be picked up on that. I’m not perfect , so I’d rather be asked ‘what happened?’, than miss out. Nobody will think less of you that you rang ahead of the application and at least this way you will be sure that the process is still ongoing and worth putting an application into.


I hope that helps and we are all back to normal soon. In the meantime keep well and stay safe x


Matthew Rollinson

April 2020