Prospects in a Conservative Market

Jobs Offered
Jobs Offered | Source

Good News? Bad News?

According to news broadcasts prospects for certain sectors of business are starting to improve, there is certainly still a great deal troubling news with regards to the monetary outlook for many businesses and job opportunities seem to be permanently hard to come by. By a straw poll of people I have met in the past week it seems like we have a good news/bad news situation at the present time, there are more jobs but they are tougher to get.

Think about the challenges you have faced finding new employment, indeed an increasing percentage have either given up altogether or have started their own business in order to earn an income.

Jobs Poll

How easy is it to find a job today?

  • I have changed jobs in the last 12 months and had no trouble getting employed
  • I have been trying and not found anything
  • Honestly, I have given up
  • I was unable to find anything so started by own business
  • Other...
See results without voting

Tough Choices to Make

From the perspective of the hiring manager the number of candidates showing interest for every available role is almost certainly higher than ever before, one recently told me that he had more than 1600 applicants for a low-level customer services role and more curious he had a former CEO make an application for that role. It is hard to know whether employment prospects are improving or declining and there are many views on this. The groups that are finding it hardest to find work are those who have never previously worked and those who are older than 55.

I have been told that the key issue is identifying superior quality candidates for any positions that become vacant. One of the greatest challenges for the hiring manager is how to gain access to the finest candidates.

Sources of New Employees

  1. The HR department
  2. Traditional recruiters
  3. Unsolicited mail or email
  4. Advertisements in trade press
  5. Free Adverts
  6. Former employees
  7. People the hiring manager knows
  8. Social networks
  9. By recommendation

Best Applicant?

Are you the best applicant for the job?

This question is more than one of having the best resume, it is about standing out and fulfilling the employer's needs.

It all starts with having a Great 'Objective' Statement for your Résumé and showing what you are capable of in three pages or less. One thing that has been clear recently and that is many of the most successful applicants provide a résumé that has been tweaked to the needs of each job they see advertised.

For the candidate there are of course several routes to finding an employer, and let's start with the least likely first.


I know that you are not a sales person, but hey you are job hunting, so guess what YOU'RE A SALESPERSON! Have you tried writing to local business even if thyy don't have the type of work that you are interested in

Talk to Everyone

Talk to your neighbours friends, and even former colleagues. Sometimes even your former boss may be able to help.

Free Classifieds

Many employers have changed their hiring practices over the recent years, budgets are tighter and many prefer not to spend their money on a recruiter. Instead they are turning to Craigslist and other sources of free advertising.

Check these out in your local area and be aware that you local newspaper often has free online advertising these days.

Great Skills to Showcase

In addition to an employer's needs you should showcase other skills:

  • How you work with software
  • Your ability to interact with people
  • Other technical or practical skills
  • Specific knowledge you bring
  • Charity work and volunteering
  • Involvement in community groups

Being Special
Being Special | Source

Standing Out

Truth is there are countless first-class candidates, and often the recruitment consultant simply does not have the skills to sort through the list of applicants and today they are making themselves less and less accessible to applicants. Frequently though the agent is simply wanting to check off a list of essential items before they promote a short-list of applicants to their customer, most often this is checking to see which resumes are the closest match to list of requirements, and frequently good applicants miss the cut-off. The abilities of the modern Recruitment Agent are hardly a glowing testament to their profession.

The truth is the hiring manager will miss out on many of the very best quality candidates available and recruiters seem incapable of offering more than an inferior selection of candidates, but in truth many hiring managers are not helping the recruitment process either, perhaps justifying the approach of sending them an unsolicited letter or email, your ability to make the connection more memorable will increase your chances and this is where making a connection with them through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. or other social networks may improve your chances of success.

Yet it is more important that you STAND OUT but in a good way rather than a bad one and doing this is largely about the skills that you showcase.

The Source of this Advice

This article has been written from my own personal experience both as a hiring manager and when I have also sought employment.

As a hiring manager I have normally favoured recruitment by direct means - historically through on-line advertising, I refuse to give HR any requirements because they are incapable of understanding the technical requirements for the department. Normally I would apologise for short-cutting their process AFTER I have selected the candidate that I wish to employ, only once have they ever rejected my choice. Remember HR has no specialist knowledge about departmental needs, they act as operational support to employees, that is all.

When I have worked with recruitment agents I have tested how they understand my recruitment needs and soon identify those that are capable of responding

The overriding way of finding the best candidates is through using your own personal network of contacts and the people they know. This may be viewed being a variety of nepotism, but asking employees who work in the department if they have any connections who may be interested in working there.

Web based networking brings an important addition over and above your personal network and in some respects has raised the number of people you know to a whole new level.

Comments 2 comments

Haunty profile image

Haunty 6 years ago from Hungary

Great article from the recruiter's perspective. Every job seeker should know these things. Thank you.

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great hub with nice thought-out tips. Well done. Voted up for useful!

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