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Stop worrying about the perfect interview answer and don’t send in a ChatGPT cover letter: How to get your next job, according to 3 tech recruiters

Businesswoman shaking hands with client before meeting in start up office.Tech layoffs were particularly brutal for recruiters. Here’s what 3 industry sources say can help you get that new gig.

Thomas Barwick

  • About 333,000 tech workers were laid off in 2022 and 2023, according to data compiled by layoffs.fyi.
  • We asked three tech recruiters to share their best tips for finding a job.
  • Look at recruiting for industries outside of tech and don’t be sticky about salaries, they said.

About 333,000 tech workers got laid off in 2022 and 2023, according to data compiled by layoffs.fyi.

While there is no concrete data on how many of these were recruitment and HR jobs, some big tech companies — including Meta and Amazon — mentioned that these roles, in particular, would be impacted.

Things started unraveling in late 2022 when tech company after tech company started announcing broad layoffs. Julia Pollock, the chief economist at American hiring platform ZipRecruiter, told the Wall Street Journal that in April 2022, there were over 10,000 job openings for tech recruiters. By October, that number was down to about 2,500.

Insider spoke to two laid-off recruiters and an employer in the recruitment space who shared the strategies they’ve used while job-hunting and hiring recruiters, respectively.

Here’s what they say about how to recruit yourself into a job, in their own words.

Tomas Kelly, ex-recruiting manager, cloud customer experience at GoogleTomas KellyTomas Kelly

Tomas Kelly

Location: Zurich, Switzerland 

Years of experience: over 10 years at Google

Thomas Kelly was laid off from Google’s recruitment team in March. 

“I felt sad. I’ve been there for 10 years,” he told Insider.

Kelly’s wife also works for Google in Zurich, and his immediate reaction was to check whether her role had been impacted too — it was not.

Kelly’s top tips for landing yourself a new job:

1. Look at recruiting for industries outside of tech

As the cuts are wider and deeper across the tech sector than previously, you need to look at industries outside of tech, Kelly said. While some companies are still hiring for certain roles, the big companies are not hiring.

2. Build your brand online

LinkedIn is a great avenue to build your brand. When recruiters are looking through these profiles, they’re looking to see how active this person is. How are they known within the industry?

What’s great about LinkedIn is that you can look for people in your network who work in a particular company that you want to apply to — this is when you can approach them for potential referrals.

3. Don’t worry about the perfect interview answer

During the interview, a lot of people focus on the perfect answers to interview questions — but I say focus on the thought process, and explain how you would solve a problem. A lot of people miss that.

Justin Kok, a tech recruiter laid off from Visa in 2020, is now at SplunkJustin KokJustin Kok

Justin Kok

Location: Singapore

Years of experience: 8 years. Two stints at Visa — six months and under two years respectively

Kok signed a 12-month contract in December 2019 with financial services firm Visa. But when the pandemic hit, he was made redundant around May, just six months into his time with the company. 

One of the first things Kok did after he found out he was laid off was hug his dog. He says he had a supportive partner who was able to keep them afloat when it came to expenses.

He then thought about the next stage in his career and to “not be afraid of taking an ego knock in terms of downgrading a role.”

Kok’s tips for landing yourself a new job:

1. Structure your CV to show your impact on your past organization

Leverage your network: the colleagues, ex-colleagues, and clients you’ve had. Make sure you have a very valid story — I just lost my job and I’m unhappy is not very helpful. Structure your CV to show your impact on your past organization.

2. Don’t message your recruiter on Instagram

There’s a difference between being overly pushy, despite being laid off, and being polite about your job search. Don’t badger people and don’t find them on their personal email or Instagram.

Jaya Dass, the regional managing director of permanent recruitment at RandstadJaya DassJaya Dass

Jaya Dass

Location: Singapore

Years of experience: Almost 15 years at Randstad

Dass says that since the widespread layoffs took place, at least three to four laid-off recruiters have reached out to her every week. “It’s one of those instances — they’ll take anything just to come out of that situation.”

This is in stark contrast to last year: “The market was just so hungry and so short in supply to meet their hiring demands that they took anybody who could recruit, to do technical recruitment.”

Dass’ tips for finding a new job:

1. Don’t aim for jobs that you had no success in hiring for

Don’t aim for jobs or industries that you had no run rate, experience, or success in hiring for because you are setting yourself up in the worst way possible to go to an interview. And when those interviews turn you down, you start getting the wrong narrative going in your head, where you tell yourself the markets are really bad. It starts becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

2. Don’t be afraid of taking contract positions

It is very common. It’s more common than people think. If you’re wondering what’s going to happen at the end of the contract term, you are looking too far ahead. The market will evolve and change.

3. Covers letters written by ChatGPT are bland

Think further about which potential employers you are aiming for and write to these companies and say that it’s always been your dream to work there. That sort of passion cannot be underestimated. 

And it cannot be faked — it’s not when people are writing blasé cover letters. No matter how beautifully written it is by ChatGPT, it’s still a bland cover letter. It’s got no flavor, it hasn’t got anything.

Read the original article on Business Insider