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2015: The year of the job candidate

January 06, 2015

Home Blog 2015: The year of the job candidate


Good news: The 2015 employment outlook is bright.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal gives advice on how to “surf the wave of good news” for job candidates.

A word of caution: The good news does not apply equally to all situations and all job seekers. Having the right training, skills and capabilities are necessary in the transition from job seeker to employee.

This article inspires us to add two items to the last blog post on the LAC Group website, the Top 3 Staffing Trends for 2015. (Those three trends are Digitization, Distributed Labor and What You Know.)

The WSJ article compels us to add two more: Passive Candidates and Demonstrating What You Can Do/Simulating What the Employer Wants.

The Passive Candidate

A dirty secret was revealed during the 2007-09 recession, when unemployment peaked at 10.0% in October 2009: Companies prefer to hire people who are employed.

When the ratio of job seeker to job was skewed heavily in favor of the employer, companies were shunning candidates because they had been laid off or had a lengthy employment gap. This New York Times article from 2011 includes images of want ads with a stated requirement that applicants be currently employed.

While the outlook is much brighter for job seekers today, it remains a truism that the passive candidate – one who is currently employed in a relevant position, company or industry – is the most attractive.

That truism is why we advise career changers and college students, including those with advanced degrees and credentials, to understand that the first job is a stepping stone and that it may be necessary to set aside ego and let go of your vision of your ‘ideal job’ for a while. It’s far better to take reasonable work; then you, too, can jump into the passive candidate pool. It’s also why we advise people to beef up their LinkedIn profile and participate more actively in that social network, as recruiters are using it actively themselves.

There’s an app for that!

Passive recruiting (and job seeking) will become easier and more compelling with apps like Poachable, Switch and Poacht, all of which are referenced in the WSJ article. Of course they should appeal to Millennials, as well as any savvy employer or candidate who would like to exercise more discretion in the passive recruiting/searching process.

Demonstrating What You Can Do/Simulating What an Employer Wants

The WSJ article also mentions the trend of employers asking candidates for more of a ‘tryout’ or ‘audition’ to assess their skills, capabilities and fit. It’s becoming increasingly popular and routine for employers to incorporate simulations and challenges during the interview process.  As such, candidates should be prepared to participate in any exercise reasonably asked of them.

However, don’t wait for the employer to ask for a demonstration of what you can do. Nearly any person looking for their first job or seeking a career change can bridge the relevant experience gap by creating their own ‘show and tell’ opportunity. Blog on topics that demonstrate your professional knowledge. Create your own samples and simulations.  Volunteer to do a relevant project at a school or nonprofit. The portfolio is no longer just for designers and photographers!

The job outlook for 2015 is bright, which is a welcome relief after years of bleakness. That said, the best opportunities are open to the skilled, as well as the prepared, the proactive and the persistent.

Click here to read the aforementioned Wall Street Journal article.

Check out LAC Group’s current job listings.

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