The data points I witnessed as a job-seeker during the first half of October became a trend. A number of companies went on to tell me their hiring process was on hold, regardless of the interview rounds I had completed or the number of people I had met in their offices.
The economic turmoil has affected the hiring intentions of my entire spectrum of potential employers. It is my sense that this has nothing to do with my profile, but is entirely linked to the negative sentiment in the financial markets. Quite simply, the magnitude of market events has temporarily changed the job market landscape in my field.
As a job seeker, this environment is new to me. I responded by suspending my job search process and follow-up efforts for a week or so, while trying to figure out a creative solution to move the process forward. Sometimes less is more.
There may be a number of catalysts on the horizon that could prompt the job market to resume life in the near future. For example, in October companies were preparing budgets for next year. Once this is done, sentiment might improve - with positive implications for hiring intentions. This is why I sense companies are at the window, waiting to see what happens in the short term.
When I resume my job search activities soon, I will concentrate a bit more on screening job postings and sending applications, and de-emphasize activities such as networking. In this type of environment, a fresh job posting may represent a recently authorized opening - which could be a better investment of my time than pursuing a lead from a networking contact.
I also feel that it will be good to diversify my search. So far my job hunting has been heavily skewed toward networking and developing personal contacts.
Ultimately I am confident that life will resume soon in the job market in my field, and I believe we may be close to a few catalysts that may help that occur.
James Weldon (a pseudonym) is a portfolio manager. This column details his strategy and tactics in searching for a new job after he was let go by the hedge fund group at a bulge bracket investment bank in New York.