Nicole Noll is a PeopleOps professional with over seven years of progressive HR experience in development, performance, engagement, employee relations, policy, benefits, and compliance.
In the third quarter of 2023, her position as HR Business Partner was eliminated, along with the positions of over one-hundred talented colleagues. This happened during the third and largest RIF (reduction in force) at her previous employer, two years following a large acquisition.
“I loved my team.” she shared. “50% of the People Team was impacted along with me. I had been with the acquired company for over seven years.”
After the news of the layoff, Nicole focused on finding a new career opportunity as an HR Manager, HR Business Partner, or People Operations Manager. We caught up with Nicole about her experience as a job seeker in the PeopleOps space.
Nicole’s Job Search Strategy
How did you go about identifying potential job opportunities?
I searched job boards and sites by job title. I reviewed advertised opportunities according to the company’s values and mission, the job description, the job’s compensation range, and the location.
Nicole also pointed out that she was ideally looking for a remote role.
What strategies and resources did you use to search for jobs?
I used LinkedIn job alerts, the PeopleOps Job Seeker Slack Community, and networking with LinkedIn connections.
Can you share some of your most effective networking strategies or experiences during your job search?
I shared my job search and role preferences with my LinkedIn network. They were extremely encouraging and supportive. LinkedIn connections and friends were sending me roles they saw that may be a fit for me. Some were a match for what I was looking for, some weren't, but I really appreciated them thinking of me regardless.
An HR exec and consultant saw my post via a friend who shared it. They reached out to me on LinkedIn to have a conversation about my HR experience and what I was looking for in my next role. Our conversation provided additional clarity to me on my career strengths and unique experience, and gave me a boost of confidence in my job-seeking journey!
Navigating Job Search Challenges
What challenges did you encounter during your job search, and how did you overcome them?
As a busy working mom, I was looking at remote-only jobs. I found some remote roles that looked and sounded great, but when I looked further into them, there were requirements for the candidate to reside in certain states which unfortunately excluded my candidacy.
Did you have a specific timeframe in mind for finding a job?
My goal was to find a role by the end of August, which gave me a little over two months.
Did it end up taking more or less time than you anticipated?
I was grateful to have received my first offer less than three weeks after I started applying for roles, and my second offer a week later. It was much sooner than I expected going into it!
I was so thrilled to receive two job offers within a month of being laid off, from two incredible companies.
Did you have any surprising interview experiences?
One or two days after completing a final interview, which was a presentation and work sample, the recruiter called me and asked how I thought the presentation went. I was a little taken aback by the question.
The call ended with an offer, which I wasn’t expecting based on how the call started!
Job Seeker Support
Did you make use of any career counseling or coaching services to help with your job search?
My company offered career services to the employees impacted by the RIF.
I utilized their service to review my resume but ultimately did not make the changes they suggested. Feedback from my colleagues and friends was most valuable in making my resume updates.
Nicole also found camaraderie among her former colleagues.
A colleague who was also impacted by the RIF created a Slack community for all of us impacted employees to support each other and stay in touch.
Nicole’s Advice for HR Job Seekers
- Know (and be able to speak to) what makes you special. Practice verbalizing what makes your experiences unique and valuable, and the experiences that have shaped you as a professional.
- Be picky about the jobs you apply for. Make sure you’re aligned with the company’s values, that the culture looks like a positive fit for you, that the location makes sense to you (or is remote if that’s what you’re looking for), and that the compensation is right.
- Be yourself in interviews!
- Keep a structured routine. If you are currently not working, create a schedule for yourself every day and stick to it.
- Get organized. Create an Excel sheet of jobs you apply for.
- Get there early. Stay on top of new jobs being posted. If you’re an early applicant, you have more assurance that the recruiter has the capacity to read your application.