4 Ways To View The Difficult Job Market Differently: A Recruiter’s Take On The Recession

By Poon Yi Lin   •   5 min read

With the challenging job market right now, many jobseekers have been going through the motion of applying for jobs only to be rejected repeatedly. A common question looming over everyone’s heads is: What am I doing wrongly?

We speak to Jocelyn Neo, Employer Brand Manager at Revolut, who shares her perspective on the recession, as well as the approach that jobseekers should take as they navigate new challenges in the job market. With years of employer branding experience at companies like Revolut and Shopee, Jocelyn is familiar with the recruitment process for new hires, and what companies are looking out for.

If you would like to read the full transcript with Jocelyn Neo – which includes additional insights and information not included in this article – you can download it here:

If you’re unsure why you’ve not been successful in your job hunt, chances are that you’ve been taking the wrong approach. Jocelyn offers a fresh perspective on the recruitment process. Here are 4 questions about job hunting that you may be asking wrongly:

1. What can I do to make my application stand out from the crowd?


Show proof of what you can do.


Companies are hiring you to get a job done. Compared to normal times, there are more jobseekers they can choose from now. How can you show that you can get the job done, and get it done better than other candidates?

Jocelyn shares two examples of how any jobseeker with or without relevant experience can build your portfolio and demonstrate your skills. 

“If you are a software engineer who really likes music, you can go to Spotify, access their API and try to look at how codes are written. You could also pick another project and try to work backwards to ask yourself how you would approach coding this solution. You can even set up a website and put your solutions online.”

“If you are doing marketing and branding campaigns, you can try your hand at doing a campaign for Christmas, for example. Just be creative! If you want to join a particular company, ask yourself how you can brand this company for a particular audience or time frame.”

2. My dream company went on a hiring freeze. Since they are not surviving well, should I still wait it out and apply for them later?


A good company may actually have less roles now.


A common misconception that jobseekers have is that companies who are reducing their hiring headcount are faring badly in this economy. Jocelyn shares a different perspective on temporary hiring freezes and what they reflect.

“There are definitely some companies that are handling this crisis better than others. When I say better, I mean that they are taking the necessary evaluation measures to see where their budget should go, how they can continue sustaining and growing the business, and how they can continue to pay their existing pool of employees. These are the things that a good company does.”

3. I have been unsuccessful in job hunting for some time now. I feel demoralised and lost. What should I do?


The better thing you can do is to work on yourself.


Jocelyn stresses the importance of cultivating a healthy and positive approach. Instead of focusing on the negative reports, jobseekers can channel their energy into improving and upskilling themselves. 

“The truth is, pandemic or not, there will always be good and bad reports. It doesn’t help to look at the news and try to observe where the wind is blowing. The better thing you can do is to work on yourself no matter what kind of season it is out there. For instance, if you can do some personal branding and take up new skills and courses, then you are going to help yourself overcome the unemployment curve.”


Be careful about what you believe about the job market and yourself.


While this is a pressurising time for many jobseekers, Jocelyn also views this as the best time for them to test their self-confidence and self-worth. 

“If there’s one thing fresh graduates must know, it is that their self-worth is not dependent on how a company treats them. It’s also not dependent on how long it takes to get a job, or the salary that comes with it.”

Related article: Stuck in these job search stages? A recruiter’s advice in today’s challenging job market

4. What are the best courses and skills that I should pick up to help me land a higher-paying job?


What makes someone really employable is when they really have passion.


A telltale sign for recruiters and employers is often how much interest you show when you’re speaking about your skill sets and experiences. While practical concerns like money are important, Jocelyn advises jobseekers to pick up skills that they are actually interested in. 

“It is always very tempting to think about what is practical and what skill you can learn to help you land a job that pays well. I think the best thing that jobseekers can start with is to think about what they are interested in, and just give it a go.”

That is not to say that no hard work is involved. Committing to learning and upskilling in these times will prepare you for opportunities that arrive after things tide over.

“If there are opportunities to take up a Coursera course, do that. If there are opportunities to take up freelance work, do that as well. Eventually, there will be an opportunity. You just have to start preparing now so that when opportunities come, you are equipped and prepared to take them up.”

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Poon Yi Lin

TalentTribe Writer

Not ready to decide on her career path at 19, Yi Lin withdrew from law and business school to pursue a liberal arts education. She is currently having fun exploring her interests in the startup space! If you're also a wandering millennial, she welcomes you on this exciting journey of discovering your purpose :)


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