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Top 5 tips on handling redundancy

Congratulations on being made redundant. I say this because this might be the making of you - massive disappointments were the making of some of the greatest companies the world has ever seen, including Dyson, Ford and Disney. 

I built a business after being made redundant - I would never have done that unless I'd been pushed, and it is the same for many interim managers. This could be your golden opportunity, a blank canvas to reinvent yourself if you so wish. Very few of us will ever get that chance but you now have it, in this respect you are one lucky individual. Here are my top five tips from almost 20 years in recruitment to help you get off the blocks.

1. Don't say: "I'm going to have a bit of time off"

How many times I have heard this? Too many. By all means have a couple of weeks off to do what you want to do, but believe me you will have a lot of time off before landing your ideal role - it can take weeks or months to get interviews set up (one “interim” job I am handling at the moment has taken three months get to final interview). Once you have landed your next job, ask them if you can start in a month's time. They will be fine with this, then you can have your time off.  Finding a full time job is your new job, so get cracking. 

Remember to ask yourself three critical questions: What do I want to do? What am I good at? What will the world pay me for? All three need to be in alignment. 


2. The climate has changed. Change with it

If you have been working in the "glory years" of boom Britain 1997 onwards then you might not have realised what has happened since the market started to change around 2009. Things have changed considerably. I call this change in the job market "five times" and what I mean is this:

It is generally taking five times longer for anything to happen on the job market, and especially in Consumer (and this is by no means an exhaustive list):

  • Five times longer to get a role signed off by an organisation
  • Five times as many qualified people going for that role
  • Five times longer to get your CV read by the people that matter
  • Five times longer to get an interview agreed
  • Five times longer to get an interview time slot
  • Five times longer to get feedback

Etc, etc, etc... If you have the "I'll find my dream job easily" mentality, you are in for a shock. You need to up your game and quickly understand that things have changed - it's still tough out there.


3. Seek help & go on courses

Spend that redundancy money wisely to stand out from the crowd - now is the time to go on the courses that would help your future career prospects - Prince2 , Lean Manufacturing, Becoming An Interim.  You need to stand out. One of the most successful Interim Managers I know constantly invests in the sort of courses I have outlined above - when it comes to a straight decision between two identical candidates I know I would pick the one who has the string of qualifications - it not only means they are technically more proficient but they are committed to self improvement.

4. Interview well

Never, ever take an interview for granted. This is make or break (no pressure). Seriously, if you are getting interviews then you are already halfway there - most professional recruiters are KPI'd on interviews as this is a good barometer of probable success.

There are two questions you are going to need to answer, even if they were not asked.

  1. Why, if you are so brilliant, were you made redundant?
  2. Why has it taken you this long to find a new role and what have you been doing in the meantime?

These questions will be the elephant in the room, they can't be ignored. Make sure you have something very good to say on both of these points. Rehearse what you are going to say until you can say it in your sleep.

5. Maintain positivity

"If you think you're beaten then you are" Walter Wintle
"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right" Henry Ford
"It's not how many times you hit the canvas, it's how many times you get up" Vince Lombardi

You will survive this - but you need a survivor’s mentality. I've spent my life studying people who have come through the other side - the one thing they had in common was a positive mindset. People who pine back for the old days, the old job, the old life don't last five minutes - life is all about these pivotal moments of change and how you adapt to them. Normal does not exist.

You can do this and you will be better for it. I don't respect anyone who has had a smooth ride in life, where's the fun in that? Call me and I will fire you up - first conversation is free.


Scott Hutchinson is the Principal of UK Food & Drink at Interim Partners.

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