- Be prepared. If it happens again don’t let it take you by surprise – redundancy is rarely a complete surprise to those affected. Keep abreast of company and industry developments. Look for indicators such as a downturn in company profits, loss of a major customer, wider political and economic issues, etc. Put together an action plan now before the situation becomes pressurised and emotional. Cultivate your personal contacts network; it will become very important in any future job search. Keep your basic CV up-to-date.
- Keep your skills relevant to the job and keep developing them. Be aware of the wider market and trends within your business/profession. If your role is in an area that is likely to be outmoded, for example, by new technology, a cheaper workforce, etc., look around for different roles in which to apply your skills.
- Ensure your performance meets, and preferably exceeds, those standards set in your appraisal/performance objectives. Think with your employer’s “hat” on – if redundancy were looming what would seriously make them want to keep you? (Try to be objective – people commonly believe that the company could not do without them, usually that is not true). Maintain a good record of punctuality, reliability, low sickness rates (where possible), and so on. Be seen as a good, personable employee.
- Keep aware of developments within your industry and stay abreast of current vacancies, salary rates and so on. If you consider that redundancy is on the horizon you may then be better prepared to find a new job before it happens.
- Maintain control and ‘ownership’ over your career, throughout your career. Do not allow that focus, or dependency, to shift to your employer. No one will ever care more about your career than you do.
If you have been affected by redundancy, and particularly if you are now settled into a new job, it is likely that you are keen to put the experience out of your mind and move on. Unfortunately it is not possible to guarantee that redundancy never happens to you again; indeed in modern careers, the experience of redundancy is increasingly expected. However, there are a number of considerations to think through in your next role that may reduce the risk. Here are 5 key steps you can take:
In the fourth and final article in our series on influencing at interviews we look at the psychological features that commonly affect interviewers and may bias them for or against a candidate. Understanding this may help you in your interview preparation.
Warning - Jargon Alert! The following article contains some... But of course you won't be using any at the interview!
Primacy and recency biases: Research indicates that interviewers tend to remember the start and end of the interview but are somewhat vague about the middle, so a strong starting and ending performance is important.
The primacy effect becomes transformed into the expectancy effect where the interviewer forms an expectation of the candidate from their application form and initial verbal and non-verbal behaviour. These early impressions strongly affect the final appointment decision.
The contrast effect indicates that the interviewer's decisions are affected by those whom they have seen before you. They pay particular attention to any information (good or bad) that is unusual or out of the ordinary.
The personal liking bias suggests that interviewers select people they like and they allow their ratings of a candidate’s ability to be affected by such liking. The greater the perceived similarity between yourself and the interviewer, the more they will interpret your behaviour as reflecting attitudes that are similar to their own.
The interviewer’s confirmatory information-seeking bias may lead them to actively look for evidence to support their initial impression and thereby to avoid contradictory evidence.
It is important to give good explanations for any less than positive elements of your career history or CV. This is because people assume that we deserve our status, success, rank, etc. Similarly we assume that others are less fortunate because they deserve to be (“people get what they deserve”). The effect is that unless you use such explanations appropriately you will be blamed for your perceived failures. Remember that negative information about a candidate disproportionately outweighs positive information, particularly if this impression is given early in the interview.
Many employers will seek to overcome these biases in order to be more objective and fair to candidates. They may use structured and competency based interviews, and involve two or more interviewers. This helps to reduce the impact of these biases to some degree although it should be noted that they will still be in operation.