Archive for the Hiring Trends Category

Every Hire Is A Miracle

Posted in Confidence, Hiring Managers, Hiring Trends, Interviewing, Job Search, Motivation, Networking, Recruiter, Rejection, Uncategorized on February 9, 2010 by jcsicareerassist
Your Resume Has To Get Through Here

Your resume is in here

As you can see, it has been a month since our last blog post.  Let this be a sign for those of you on the job market that better days are coming.  We have been working on some hard to fill positions that did not allow me to complete some of the blog posts that I have started.  This post was one of them.  The inspiration for the title came from the fact  that behind the scenes of every job posting, there exists  a complete network that is constantly expanding and contracting, bringing in people and releasing them all in an effort to make the right fit.

Many of you will agree that navigating today’s job market is a mystery. With so many avenues to potentially connect with employers, how can one know which one will bring the results they are looking for? Do you rely on your recruiter, the job boards, and social media or do you stick to your network? And what if you don’t really know how to network? With so much to think about it’s hard to see how anyone gets hired even when the economy is good.

Well the fact is, even if you are the best interviewer in the world and mastered every one of the above mentioned tools and techniques, finding a job is still a miracle when you examine it. Much like the “Butterfly Effect“,  a job opening that ultimately matures into a filled position depends on certain conditions. Most people assume that just because a postion is posted somewhere it means that it will be filled.  This is not always the case.  Unless, the position is open to replace someone who left a mission critical role, many positions are created for other reasons such as anticipated growth, consolidation of functions, or to be solution providers for areas that require some form of process improvement. 

In order to get approval for a requisition, a hiring manager has to make the case that this new role is critical to achieving the goals set forth by the leadership.  Once this is done, they must create a job description to assist them in finding someone that they are not even sure exists. The search ensues using every available resource.  Throughout this time they will receive many resumes.  Some resumes will be close and some will be quite a departure from the criteria.  In the meantime they must interview potential candidates as well as keep the department running.  Each hour that they are interviewing for the right candidate is an hour that they are potentially losing production time or having to work later.

As the process is moving forward there may be several changes made to the requirements, offers can be made and declined, and projections may change based on market fluctuations.  All these behind the scenes situations are directly affecting whether or not a candidate is hired or even interviewed for that matter. Meanwhile many candidates who are unaware that all of this is going on are wondering why they never heard anything back from their online application submission.

Ultimately, most positions are created to keep money and time from being lost or to bring more money in while cutting the time it takes to create the product or service offering.  That means if an organization can figure out a way to get the job done with the resources they have on hand they will hold off on making the hire.  So with that in mind there will always be comparable forces working against a hire as there are working for it.  So do you see why I say every hire is a miracle?

I think this message is important to jobseekers for several reasons, but most importantly, it is for you to have perspective.  One never knows how long a job search will last.  Understanding the process is important to maintaining momentum throughout your search.  There are a lot of moving parts to the recruitment and selection process.  Each of them has to work in concert in order for someone to make it through the entire process.  Multiply this by the number of people applying for the position and you can see that finding the right fit is no easy task for anyone involved.

This is why we encourage candidates to stay the course.  If we thought about all of the people and resources it takes to get eggs to our grocery store, we’d be amazed by every omelette we ever see.  Such is the recruitment process.  The hope is that with this information, you will not let the hiccups of process discourage you in your search, but rather see that when you are called for a phone screen or interview, this dynamic process has come together to give you the opportunity to tip the scales in your favor.  We wish you the best.

Ending The Confusion About Inclusion – Diversity 2071

Posted in Communication, Diversity, Empowerment, Hiring Trends, Inclusion, Job Search, Small Acts of Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized, Web 2.0 with tags , , , , on November 20, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

On this blog, we try to offer a thought-provoking take on all subjects related to job seekers and their experience on the job market.  As I’ve mentioned, we believe that empowered job seekers will have a significant impact on the overall turnaround of the market itself.  So when we decided to write about Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), we wanted to offer an outlook that you might not find anywhere else.  Having a clear unfiltered picture of what a totally inclusive culture would mean to the business world will explain why so much effort is being put into creating it.  As job seekers, it’s important to know that D&I isn’t going anywhere and that it’s in everyone’s best interest to understand why it is essential to their success to have an idea of where it is headed.

In order to envision the future of D&I, I began considering what kinds of careers the next generation would reflect upon having grown up in a digital age driven by technologies that allow us to connect and share information with increasing rapidity.  I even chose the year 2071, to illustrate the year that children born today would be eligible for retirement based on the current government recognized age of 62. Living in a time when anyone can contribute their thoughts any time they want via social media platforms, I wondered if they will laugh at our generation for ever needing Diversity training in the first place? 

Considering the way the internet is being used today really put D&I in perspective and the more I thought about it the simpler it became.  When you really break down D&I, it’s driven by the fact that–on an individual level–everyone just wants to fit in somewhere and express their creativity freely.  With virtual worlds, online gaming, social technologies, and search engines, being able to experience this is increasingly becoming a cultural norm.  As more and more people engage across digital platforms, it will become more difficult not to engage in other social arenas as well.  So when you eliminate all of the distractions it becomes clear to see that D&I efforts are suited to facilitate the highest level of engagement. Now for many, this may sound too simple and it definitely doesn’t present a clear business case for why time and money should be invested in programs and training to try to get entire organizations on board. So there must be more to it.

Well while companies know that what’s driving the need for D&I is fundamentally simple, it isn’t easy at all.  Transformation never is.  It is uncomfortable and challenges everything we know.  It demands vulnerability in exchange for growth.  And the rewards that come from our efforts will only meet us halfway.  That means we must extend ourselves.  In essence we must put ourselves out there and learn by doing.  For many of us that is too scary.  We’d rather just close our eyes and wait for change to pass us by.  But, that’s not going to happen.  We’ll be pulled in eventually.  Just ask anyone who reluctantly created a Facebook page or people on the job market who are finally accepting the value of a LinkedIn account.  It’s the same process.  And if you still think social media has nothing to do with Diversity, just wait. 

I deleted an earlier version of this post because in the end it was just one more post telling us what we’ve already heard before.  If Affirmative ActionEqual Employment Opportunity, and the idea that diversity breeds innovation were convincing enough, the discussion would have ended long ago and people would be volunteering to learn how they could help the process move forward.  But because in large part, mankind’s fear of loss still generally exceeds their desire for gain, the D&I dialogue will continue until we reach the tipping point where resistance is obviously costing us more than voluntary compliance.  Understanding this is leverage for those willing to take a front seat on this transformational roller coaster. By the year 2071 when the confusion about inclusion is no longer an issue, the retirees will be able to look back on what it took to get to an inclusive culture and simplify it into a definition like the one below.

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) – A systematic process designed to facilitate information transfer through converting a culture from a driving mindset of “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM)  to one of  “What’s In It For Everyone” (WIIFE) .

Now, you might still be asking what this has to do with your job search.  The answer has everything to do with market relevance.  The market is headed this way and if you are not, your POTENTIAL to contribute will be irrelevant since your resistance will represent an information bottleneck. When it is all said and done I believe the retirees of 2071 will demonstrate that the business case for Diversity and Inclusion never had anything to do with the categories that we break ourselves into and everything to do with increasing the flow of ideas and information. 

Google is growing by leaps and bounds because it feeds our need to know and gives us access to information on demand.  Every time we go to a search engine and look up anything, we increase our expectation to find answers quickly. We are in an age where information is currency and anything that gets in the way of our access to information will be minimized and eventually eliminated.  It is inevitable.  We are fast approaching a point where the only hang ups in communication will be individuals withholding information because they are operating on an obsolete paradigm.  So I submit that in the future of business this will not be tolerated from anyone regardless of a person’s race, color, national origin, sexual identification, age, religion, or disability.  The business case for D&I can’t get any clearer than that.

Planting a Resume Garden

Posted in Emotional Investments, Hiring Trends, Job Search, Personal Brand, Recruiter, Resume, Uncategorized on October 6, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

Many candidates are not told this, but how they distribute their resume can contribute greatly to the response they receive from prospective employers.  To demonstrate this I will use the analogy of a garden to show your resume’s relationship to the job market.

In this example you should consider each copy of your resume as a seed with the potential to grow your ideal job.  The soil is represented by the places where your resumes end up, such as companies, organizations, job boards, and applicant tracking systems (ATS).  The sun’s equivalent will be the human eyes that will actually see your resume and determine how far it will go through the cycle.  And lastly, the job market itself will play the role of the weather conditions that can either facilitate or threaten your resume’s chances of fulfilling its potential.

Now, if you’ve ever tried to start a garden,  you know that it is not an easy task.  There are so many things to consider before you even start that the thought alone keeps most of us from ever taking on the task willingly.  It’s not as simple as deciding that you want some pumpkins or tomatoes and then throwing some seeds in a field (job board) and sitting back and waiting for the harvest (plenty of jobs to choose from).  You have to think about the type of soil available and whether or not it can sustain the plant.  You also have to consider the amount of sunlight and water that the plants will need to receive.  Lastly, you must understand the plant’s growth cycle so that you know when to plant them and when you can suspect a harvest.  And all that’s before you even consider dropping the first seed (resume).

Once you determine that you can manage the conditions necessary for growing a sustainable crop, you have to go about preparing the land itself.  This takes a lot of work as well.  You have to make sure that there is proper spacing between the vegetation so that each crop can get its fair share of nutrients.  It’s also necessary to separate certain plants from each other because they stifle each other’s growth.  In other words, you cannot rely on having your resume mixed in with a bunch of other resumes and you can’t overload a company with a truckload of resumes hoping one will slip through.  Think of how that will reflect upon your personal brand.

It is not until after you have taken these considerations and made the necessary preparations that you are ready to plant the seeds.  When planting the seeds you must make sure to plant them deep enough in the soil so that they can take root and not get flooded out by rains or picked up by birds or other creatures.  i.e. Try to get a referral or work with a recruiter (professional gardener) to increase your chances of resume survival.  Once all of this is done you have made it to the hardest part of planting a garden–waiting.

Perhaps your ultimate goal with this garden was to be able to make your own salad.  That’s the image you have in your mind and it is what motivated you to do all of the work in the first place.  Now that you’ve planted your seeds, you may find yourself getting a little anxious.  That’s because after all of the work that you’ve done you’ve finally come to the part that you have absolutely no control over.  Depending on the plant’s growth cycle and other conditions, you can spend several weeks maintaining the surrounding area to keep it free from, weeds, rodents, and bad weather and never see a single sign that anything is happening under all that dirt.  All you can rely on is the fact that you did everything that you were supposed to do.  Such is the case with your resume.

The main point that you should take away from this is to value your resume if that’s what you expect others to do.  Consider hiring a professional to review your resume to make sure that the seeds you are planting are good.  And once you’ve done that,  do what you can to give them the conditions they need to make it to harvest time.  That’s the way to plant a resume garden.

Discovering Your Transferable Skills

Posted in Hiring Trends, Interviewing, Job Search, Personal Brand, Recruiter, Resume, Social Media, Transferable Skills, Uncategorized, Web 2.0 on September 30, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

Miyagi taught Daniel the Secret of Transferable Skills One of the most difficult, yet most valuable discoveries one can make on a job search is figuring out how to apply their transferable skills to a new opportunity.  This particular ability is especially helpful for people wanting to make a career change or those looking to enter the job market for the first time.

A transferable skill is any ability–whether it is a natural talent or acquired skill nurtured through employment, schooling, etc.–that can be used in multiple situations.  A perfect example would be the wax on, wax off  technique taught to Daniel-San in the 1980’s movie The Karate Kid. 

Throughout his training, Mr. Miyagi had Daniel performing all sorts of tasks, that to the untrained eye appeared to be focused more on the janitorial arts as opposed to martial arts.  Yet when Daniel left the Karate Championship with trophy in hand, it was very clear that  waxing a car, sanding a floor, and painting a fence had other uses beyond what can be seen on the surface.  That’s the power of understanding transferable skills.

As an empowered job seeker, it is up to you to look at the talents and skills you have developed over the years and determine where they can be used most effectively.  Undoubtedly, you are going to come across positions where you can employ your transferable skills.  However, unless you figure out how to draw attention to those skills, you will likely be passed over by an employer for other candidates whose acronyms match the job description.

Therefore, if you are serious about leveraging your transferable skills in your job search, you are going to have make an investment in marketing them–whether it is with time or money.  Here are a few tips on how you can do that:

  1. Hire a professional resume writer.  When your career path matches the logical progression of a job description connecting the dots is easy.  But if you are trying to get from point A to point B via point D with a short layover in Z then you are going to have to paint a picture that a hiring manager can see. 
  2. Build relationships with recruiters. Every star has an agent.  That should tell you something.  But not every person with an agent is working.  That should tell you something else.  With the obvious exception of having talent for them to market, the relationship you have with good recruiters can make the difference between getting your foot in the door and having it slammed in your face. Plus, their wide array of knowledge about the job market will help them to better see how your skills can be transferred.
  3. Spend time on your online profiles.By building a complete online profile, you are giving employers the opportunity to see you multi-dimensionally.  Sites like Linkedin allow you to attach blog posting, slide presentations, and book lists so that visitors can get a clearer sense of who you are and what you have to offer an organization.
  4. Volunteer to work on projects. You know you can do the work.  You just need your chance to prove it. Well, you can always do it for free.  This way everybody wins.  You get the experience and the person or organization that you  volunteer for gets a product or service that they are in need of for a price that they can afford.  Everyone wins.

These are just a few ways that you can discover, apply, and market your transferable skills.  Just remember that any action that you have mastered can be repurposed or reapplied to meet other needs.  Your task is to figure out how.  Good luck.

What Goes Around

Posted in Hiring Trends, Job Search, Networking, Small Acts of Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by therooflesschurch

Recruitment Cycle

In a market where 5 people are going after one job and consumer confidence continues to seesaw, achieving stability is going to take a little assistance from a lot of people.  As a result organizations like jobangels have emerged in response to this need.  Their organization has grown tremendously in a very short amount of time because they realize that–like the recruitment cycle shows–what goes around comes around.

Working in the recruitment field we get to see a lot  that people on the job market don’t get to see. And because JCSI’s operational structure is set up differently than most companies in our industry, we very often get to see more of the innerworkings of our client’s recruitment process than some of our contemporaries might.  When we partner with companies on a particular project, there are two things a candidate will know for certain.

  1. The company that hired us is commited to finding someone to join their team within a certain window.
  2. When you speak to someone from JCSI, we are contacting you on the direct authority of the client. (i.e. connecting with us is connecting with the client when we approach you about an opportunity)

This is important information if you are visiting this blog for job search insights because much of the information we provide here, in our webinars,  and other media is not simply an observation of the job market at hand.  Much of what we offer here is based on the continual feedback we receive from the clients we serve.  They tell us what they are looking for and we share that knowledge with the people we speak with and the visitors to our different sites and networks.

When times get tough, we know that small acts can go along way.  You never know when just one sentence, post, or tweet can make the difference in how someone approaches their job search or an interview.  They may not even remember where they picked it up, but it’s great to think that something we offer to the people we connect with may make the difference in whether they land that next position or not.

We consider these Small Acts of Recovery and it’s something everyone can contribute to.  It’s what makes social media the information powerhouse that it is.  People sharing what they know for the benefit of their friends, followers, and connections.  So if you have a Small Act of Recovery you’d like to share, we’d like to hear from you.  Just tweet us at @careerassist and include the tag #smallacts or visit the JCSI facebook page to share your thoughts.

Get Noticed, Get Hired

Posted in Hiring Trends, Job Search, Personal Brand, Social Media, Uncategorized on August 26, 2009 by jcsicareerassist
Has anyone seen a Granny Smith aple around?

Has anyone seen a Granny Smith apple around?

Saying that the job market has changed is an understatement.  Everyday we talk to people who have come up short using the tried and true methods of ten years ago.  Meanwhile success stories continue to emerge about people tweeting their way to their dream job or being discovered on their blog.  Now of course this won’t be everyone’s experience, but there is a reason why this is becoming a growing phenomenon.  These people have figured out that the people who get noticed are the ones who get hired.

Of course, there are lots of ways to get noticed and not all of them will land you a job.  Some of them may land you somewhere else.  But that is not what we are working toward.  So we are going to talk about how to get noticed in the ways that provide positive results and why it’s your job to make yourself known.

Let’s look at the picture of the apples above for example.  You see very clearly that in that whole pile there is only one Granny Smith apple.  Why?  Because it is at the top.  Now imagine if that same Granny Smith was at the bottom of the pile where it could not be seen.  If you were that apple, is that where you would want to be?  Our point exactly.  There are so many people on the job market that have exactly what employers are looking for, but they are hidden.  They are buried beneath so many other applicants, that the recruiters and hiring managers are looking right past them.

Did you know that a poll was taken on the biggest frustration of job seekers and it wasn’t that their weren’t enough jobs?  It was the lack of response they get from employers.  They aren’t getting noticed and it is disappointing.  However, you have to imagine that if there are hundreds of people applying for the same job, it can be very easy to get lost in the crowd if your application looks just like everyone else’s.

So if you want to stand out in this job market you are going to have to learn to:

  • See yourself through the eyes of a hiring manager
  • Overcome limiting beliefs that keep you invisible
  • Integrate your online and real world presence for maximum exposure
  • Add value to those following, friending, or visiting your profile
  • Build a whole person image of what you have to offer

Of course we can’t go over all of these points in one blog posting, so we are offering a free webinar entitled, Get Noticed Get Hired: Presenting Yourself In a Transparent Job Market. In it, we are going to offer information on all of the topics above and explain the philosophy of why making yourself visible helps you begin working with your potential employers before a job is even posted.

As recruiters, we see both sides of the fence very clearly.  Our job is to make it easier for good people and good companies to find each other.  So keep visiting our blog to learn more about how that is done and join us on this and other webinars.  We look forward to your participation.