Finding the face that fits the job
Hardtimes meantheemployment market is floodedwith candidates. Thechallenge lies in choosing, writes AnthonyHarrington
ONE of the more solid statistics about recessions is that job losses keep climbing for several months after the recession has technically ended. This makes the post recession job market very difficult from a candidate’s point of view, since even though there are more jobs about, the numbers competing for attractive positions seem to keep on going up.
However, from the employer’s perspective, it means that the pool of talent available on the market at all levels, from graduate and apprenticeship new starts to those with senior management experience, is far richer than in the good times.
Again, from the candidate’s perspective, this can make life tougher, since employers can afford to be a lot “pickier” than when talent rather than jobs, is in scarce supply.
This is the kind of j obs environment where r e c r u i t ment consultants can really add value for both sides, job hunters and employers. As Jamie Newman, managing director of the Scottish office of Michael Page explains, the key to success for both sides, employers and candidates, lies in getting hold of the fact that what Scottish companies need now, as the economy moves into a slow recovery phase, is people who can really drive business forward.
“ In general, companies are recruiting more now than they were a year ago, which is a good thing, and top companies are really focused on finding people at every level who can demonstrably add value,” he says.
From a candidate’s perspective, this means both knowing your own strengths and doing sufficient research on the company and the sector that you are targeting, to be able to make a persuasive case. You need to be able to help the employer to see why you, rather than the next person they will interview that day, are the one for their organisation and you can’t do that just by polishing your own credentials. Understanding your target company’s objectives and how you can contribute to their goals is critical.
“There is no doubt that after the cost disciplines imposed by the recession, companies are running very tight ships and are keeping their head counts down, but there is scope if candidates can show that they really do have something to contribute,” Newman adds.
This is, of course, a lot tougher to do if you are newly qualified or newly graduated and have zero experience to point to. Michael Page, as a recruitment agency, specialises in those going for their second, third and fourth jobs rather than in graduates, but Newman points out that there are always ways to present both a CV and such work experience as you do have (perhaps in voluntary work, for example), so as to help the potential employer see where you could fit in and make a difference.
Again, recruitment consultants will generally be happy to help candidates get their CVs and their interviewing “style” into the right sort of shape.
The skill he emphasises above everything though is great communications capabilities. “These skills are absolutely vital to employers. If you have really strong communications skills then you will have much less difficulty finding good positions,” he says. Strong management skills, the ability to demonstrate that you can motivate and run a team of people, are also key.
In the Financial Services sector, any candidate with any expertise in Solvency II, the new regulatory regime for the insurance sector, is hugely sought after as the industry looks to come to terms with regulatory change, he says.
Neil Campbell, Associate Director, and Stephanie Brown, legal consultant, with Change Recruitment Group, say that companies have begun to move away from the absolute clampdown on head counts that characterised the recession.
“We are finding that companies are now much more positive about hiring again and have moved away from trying to shrink staff numbers through “natural wastage”, where they didn’t replace anyone who left,” Campbell says. There is a clear realisation that if companies