In times of high unemployment and fewer job opportunities, there are some curious trends that develop. As job seekers flood into competition for fewer jobs, some employers seem to develop an attitude that prospective employees must be the “cream of the crop” with very little interest in wasting time on interviewing less qualified candidates. For those who continue to work, an employer’s market seems to add more stress, require higher standards of performance from the work force, and demonstrate less appreciation for existing talent. Though these perceptions may truly apply in some cases, when industries tighten their belts to weather the storm of decreased profits, staffing cut backs, and fewer employees, the focus of many companies turns from growth to survival. Communication and appreciation tends to be reduced during these times.
During times of higher unemployment, those companies that think in terms of becoming more selective about who they hire due to the sudden increase in availability of more qualified candidates soon discover a real problem with adopting this perspective. Even though it is true that more qualified candidates are seeking new jobs, putting these people in touch with potential hiring companies is also much more difficult. Many firms that post job openings receive such an overwhelming response to their postings, it becomes a daunting task to sort through the resumes that come flooding in, to find the qualified candidates they wish to interview.
This problem may also occur in times of lower unemployment, but in hard times, the situation can send companies looking for alternative ways to stem the tide, and clear their vision for a practical approach to finding the talent they seek. The situation results in more companies taking the search for appropriate candidates into the realm of the “hidden” job market.
Availability of “hidden” jobs tends to swell to greater numbers than when fewer people are looking for work. The impact of networking with previous co-workers, friends, family, or other acquaintances is also reduced as companies become more reluctant to announce available openings, and employees become less likely to recommend coming to work for a company that does not seem to appreciate their people. For those who may have been able to network with potential companies by “interviewing” key personnel about a particular need or area of expertise, the doors to establishing these types of contacts are slammed shut.
Finding a job in an employer’s market can be one of the most difficult challenges anyone will ever have to face. Being successful in seeking opportunity requires several key changes in perspective. There are some important things to remember when finding a job becomes increasingly difficult:
1. Regardless of how many people are competing in looking for work, the individual job seeker only has to be concerned with finding one suitable place to hire them. It is very easy to become discouraged when you realize that nearly everyone you know seems to be looking for a job. Your task is not to find a job for everyone else in the world; it is only important that you locate one reasonable opportunity for yourself.
2. Maintain a persistent search for posted opportunities, even when nothing seems to be coming back in response to your inquiries. The law of averages will eventually provide some job opportunities where your resume reaches the top of the pile.
3. Persist in trying to locate any “inside” contacts with companies you can exploit for interest in the talents you bring to the table. You may find yourself able to land a position that is of less interest to other people looking for work, but perfectly suitable for you to ride out the stormy business environment.
4. Force yourself to conduct every interview with an attitude that you are a highly sought after commodity, with much to offer any organization. NEVER let your disappointment or desperation appear to an interviewer. High self confidence, positive attitude, and a “can do” spirit are the number one elements that can generate a good job offer, regardless of how much competition you are facing. Employers have no mercy for negative attitudes. Be prepared to give the performance of a lifetime in every interview. If employers are looking for the “cream of the crop, ” you must be prepared to demonstrate they have found what they are looking for in speaking with you.
5. Increase your visibility to the “hidden” job market by posting your resume on highly visible job boards like Dice, Career Builder, Hot Jobs, and Monster. Focus your attention on the resources that produce the most results in having your resume found on these types of sites. Refresh your resume on your selected job sites regularly by making slight editing changes to your posted information. This will help you to keep your posted resume “fresh, ” and standing at the top of the pile of people who share your qualifications. In times of employer markets, you may find more potential job inquires coming from employers and agencies finding you, rather than hunting through the available listings.
6. Many companies who have become frustrated by the overwhelming responses they receive from posting new positions turn to employment agencies, temporary services, and recruiters to carry out the task of locating qualified candidates to interview. When choosing agencies to represent you in your job search, do not stop with choosing a single firm to locate job opportunities for you. Choose reputable companies that are paid by the employer to find suitable candidates, and do not fall into the trap of paying a recruiter to locate a job for you. In finding employment, you are the commodity, and your services are what brings value to the bargaining table. Refresh your connection with your selected recruiting firms on a regular weekly or monthly basis. These companies are constantly receiving new leads, new applicants, and new information. It is just as easy to get lost in their shuffle as it is to be ignored by a company that has too many candidates to handle.
Persistently communicate with firms that bring you the most job leads, and drop those who take your information and never contact you. Recruiting firms are motivated by the payment they receive for finding well qualified candidates; if they have no leads and no candidates, they will not make money. Try to find out what kinds of jobs are most frequently being filled by these resources, and consider shaping your skill sets to reflect the appropriate experience to fill these needs. Keep in mind that potential employers will be less willing to negotiate salary expectations due to the added fees they are paying to the recruiting firm for locating you as a qualified candidate.
7. Find as many resources as you can to showcase your experience and skill sets that will allow other companies to find you using key word searches or other internet based tools, sites, and resources to seek out candidates. Consider putting together your own web site to showcase your skills and talents.
Recognizing an employer’s market versus a seeker’s market can be as simple as understanding where the most leads for jobs are coming from. Whenever you need to move on to your next opportunity, exploiting as many resources as possible is always the best approach. Though the search may be very difficult at times, reaching your goals will require skill, experience, and persistence in seeking out the best opportunity that is right for you.
Director of Software Concepts
BHO Technologists - LittleTek Center
Teaching computers how to work with people.
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