The job search process can be an overwhelming experience in normal times, let alone during a recession. The Israeli tech industry has not been spared from the global financial crisis, with downsizing and layoffs becoming increasingly common. As the trend continues into 2023, Israeli job-seekers are understandably worried.
It’s not just a matter of when job-seekers will find a new career opportunity, but how to keep sane during increasingly grueling processes. The tech industry in Israel is known for its rigorous hiring cycles, including multi-step interviews, home assignments and panel presentations. This contact examination mode can take a toll on a job-seeker’s self-esteem, leading to a downward spiral of frustration and disappointment.But the mind is a powerful tool. Success during a job hunt depends as much on our mindset as our skill set. As a data scientist turned career coach, I’ve helped hundreds of job-seekers in Israeli tech overcome the toughest and most vulnerable periods of their lives.Recently I’ve worked with junior candidates looking to re-skill and break into a new tech career, often without background and experience. They’re often the last to be hired and first to be let go from start-ups, which dominate 85% of the local tech industry. These candidates commonly suffer from self-doubt, making the job search process even more challenging.The data scientist in me is trained to identify patterns, and I’ve seen first-hand how our “internal algorithms” define our behavior and decision-making during stressful situations like job-hunting.Just as regular algorithms are a set of rules designed to perform a specific task, “internal algorithms” are our problem-solving mechanisms, the mental shortcuts used to navigate the world and make sense of it. Unfortunately, many of these algorithms are based on negative assumptions, limiting beliefs, and unrealistic expectations. In stressful periods, such as during a job search, they can sabotage behavior and prevent us from reaching our potential.
Tips for the job search
To succeed and stay sane, we need to challenge these negative patterns. Here’s how.• Identify your internal patterns. Recognize the self-doubts that hold you back. These might include, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not smart enough,” “I’m too old, too young, too inexperienced,” “No one employs juniors,” “It’s impossible to switch from low-tech to hi-tech,” or “No one can succeed in Israeli tech without connections.”• Question the validity of these patterns and understand their impact. Think about the impact these thoughts have on your behavior and emotions during the job-search process, such as argumentative behavior or ignoring the interviewer.• If you’re focusing on the negative – “Why didn’t she connect on time?” “Why did he ask such impossible questions?” “Why is he so unprofessional?” – you can be certain the interviewer will feel this pessimism and reflect it.• Although thoughts may be difficult to control, work backward by reverse-engineering your mindset to create the outcome you want.• Manage your thoughts to bring you the desired results. Reframe your thoughts by putting your situation in perspective, doing something that fills you with energy (exercising or spending time in nature, for example) and seeking support from a colleague, mentor, coach or community of other job-seekers.In the small and connected Israeli tech community where reputation is everything, it’s crucial to rewrite your algorithms and expunge your saboteurs. While I can’t guarantee you’ll land your dream job, I can promise that changing your learned patterns will make your search process more enjoyable. In today’s uncertain climate in Israel and the world, positivity is the only means to job-search sanity.
The writer is a Career Success Coach at Practicum Israel, an international EdTech company that facilitates learning technical professions.