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 Winter Weather Job Search Tips

By Joe Stein

It is here once again (just like every year), the winter season in Western New York. Winter is a time of year that provides a number of challenges, including some especially for those in a job search.
Rather than placing your job search on hold until the warmer weather of spring, there are a number of simple items you can do. Review the list below and apply what works for you, to give yourself an advantage over others when the weather turns nasty.

• Give Yourself Enough Drive Time – Most Hiring Managers will have some degree of understanding if a major snowstorm is blowing into the area. The general rule of thumb, however, is if they could make it in, so should you for your interview. Check on the forecast the day prior to your interview. I know our local meteorologists seem to call for a winter Armageddon every day, so it is sometimes hard to determine when it really will storm. Check your GPS or Map Quest for the estimated drive time to the prospective employer. Depending on the forecast add plenty of time for your drive. Besides just making sure you are there on time, proper planning will also help you make sure that the drive is as free from stress as possible. It is bad enough having to drive through the snow, but when you have to get there to make an interview, the stress level can really go up. You don’t want to show up already stressed out and unable to focus.

• Make Sure the Car Is Ready – You will have to gauge the reliability of your vehicle during the winter. If your car is one that needs extra time to warm up, and then make sure that is built into your plans. You should also add any time needed to brush snow and scrape ice off your vehicle windshield and windows.

• Check the Public Transportation Schedule – If you are planning on taking public transportation, check the schedule to make sure everything is running on time. Plan ahead and have a multiple route or two mapped out that you can turn to.

• Communicate Early If Something Happens – If, for some reason, you are going to be late (or will not be able to make it), then communicate as soon as possible to your Interviewer of your situation. Be sure to apologize and accept the proper level of responsibility. Avoid making excuses for the situation and be sure to close by asking for a rescheduled time/date at that time. If at all possible, make sure you don’t end the conversation without that rescheduled date set; for fear that it will never then happen.

• Don’t Complain – Generally speaking, we all dislike winter weather to some degree (especially during a storm) Do not initiate any complaining regarding the weather, or how hard the drive was for you to make it there. If asked about the weather, try to downplay its impact to the degree you can and maintain credibility. Winter is a way of life in Western New York and you want to show to your employer that you will be reliable in all weather.

• Show Common Courtesy – Show the same courtesy when entering the facility of a prospective employer as you would when entering the house of a friend or family member. Wipe your feet prior to entering and shake any snow off of you while outside.

• Normal Interview Dress Applies – You will be expected to dress appropriately for your interview, regardless of the weather. So, if you are a male and would normally wear a dress shirt, slacks (or a suit), and dress shoes, then that will still apply during the winter. As usual, if you are wondering what the dress code for the interview will be, ask when it is being scheduled.

• Be Flexible – There may be circumstances where the winter weather will cause issues on the side of your prospective employer. It may be a situation where your Interviewer is late coming in due to weather, or (if they have been travelling) may have to cancel due to flight delays. Don’t let them see or hear any frustration on your end due to these obstacles.

One of the best parts of Western New York is the four distinct seasons. While winter weather can bring some challenges to job seekers, there is no reason that it should negatively impact your search. Examine the tips above and apply what works for you to make this winter the best season to find a new job!

As always, best of luck in your job search!

The following has been prepared for the general information-n of readers. It is not meant to provide advice with request to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein • WNY Human Resources Professional • Feel free to e-mail any questions or comments