I got a call from the HR Manager. Would I be willing to come talk about interviewing skills with a group of salaried employees about to be laid off?
There could be no fee because the company was not providing severance or outplacement to any salaried employees. These folks have an average age of 58 and haven’t looked for a job since they were hired there in their early 20s.
Of course I would come. We found 2 hours in all of our schedules the next day – a miracle actually given schedules these days.
We had a wonderful, stimulating conversation about strategic interviewing. The conversation was completely different from the interview training session from the nice folks at Ohio Means Jobs, not surprising since I have such an unusual take on the subject. But that is not what I want to talk about today.
The HR Manager created her own little outplacement machine to support her team. She cares. The company did not offer salaried employees anything but the HR Manager, also impacted by the shutdown, cared enough to arrange services for her colleagues. She found speakers, arranged workshops and ensured that her colleagues have the tools they need to find another job. I admire her empathy and support.
The next day I had coffee with an HR Director who did the same thing when she shut down a manufacturing operation the prior year. She went a step further. The HR Director held a job fair for the employees. The day after the operation closed only 1 out of 150 employees had not yet found a position. Isn’t that awesome? I did this when I shut down operations in the past.
The day after that I spoke about interviewing at a local job seekers group of high powered, high energy professionals. This was not my typical stump speech. This was a highly sophisticated twist on interviewing for well prepared, very smart senior level folks that any organization would be thrilled to hire.
This week I observed smart leadership in action. An HR Manager who finds inexpensive sources to prepare long service employees for job search. An HR Director who finds creative ways to get long serviced production workers jobs prior to their layoff. Experienced business leaders using their experience and smarts to translate their skills into new positions.
These three situations present an opportunity for hiring managers. Contact job seekers groups and other companies laying off workers to access good workers. Create your own placement service. This requires planning and creativity. Most of all it requires a network. Neither the job seeker nor the hiring manager can sit in their offices plodding away and thing that jobs or candidates will come to them. Both must reach out creatively and with purpose to make something happen.
Seriously, these are some amazing people out there working hard to get picked up! Let me know if you want access. I would love to use my networking connections to help these fine folks.