Find­ing the face that fits the job

Hard­times mean­theem­ploy­ment mar­ket is flood­ed­with can­di­dates. Thechal­lenge lies in choos­ing, writes An­tho­nyHar­ring­ton

The Herald Business - - Specialreport: Recruitment -

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

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