When you’re a candidate for a new job – by choice or unforeseen circumstance – it’s easy to get lost amidst the competition. And, as if the competition wasn’t enough, candidates have been known to disappear in the vast depths of database systems too.
You’ve been there. You’re willing to do whatever it takes to be given an opportunity to demonstrate the value you can provide to an organization. You jump through hoops, and navigate the company’s interview and hiring process. And then, there is some kind of breakdown.
It goes quiet. No follow up. No feedback. No knowledge of whether you’re even being considered any more.
Companies operate on their own agendas. They make business decisions, not personal decisions. They don’t care if you worked 80 hours last week, or if you’ve been in their process for 2 months. They figure you’ll be interested – if and when – they get around to you. It’s almost as if they think you should feel lucky that they want to talk with you.
These are the remnants of companies long past their prime, and if they continue to treat candidates this way, they will suffer because they won’t be able to attract the best talent, only the best talent available.
This can be a frustrating, yet liberating notion. It’s important to understand what you’re up against, so you can develop the right job search strategy. Your goal is to get noticed – to rise above the minutia.
Sometimes, you must switch it up.
Make a commitment to you. Do more research, more reading, more reflecting, and do it more frequently. Study the industry, technology and innovation, branding and marketing, sales, performance, commitment to the community, training, etc.
Alter your schedule. Visit your social media platforms at a different time to reach another audience. Just last night – between 1am and 6am Eastern Time – I received 17 Facebook Friend requests. People are active on social media when it’s convenient for them. Sometimes, we have friends in different time zones, friends that work different schedules, and friends that are night owls. By using a familiar platform during a different day part, you will encounter new networking prospects, and perhaps, be the first to see a new posting when it automatically appears in the middle of the night (and you can do so without having to learn anything new).
Be flexible. Sometimes, there are scheduling conflicts. Sometimes, communication is slow. Sometimes, you start out exploring one opportunity, and another arises. Sometimes, you discover the job isn’t a fit. Sometimes, the job you never wanted to interview for becomes the best job you ever had.
Change perception. Sometimes, you’re not capturing attention they way you’d like. Maybe your resume doesn’t tell your story. Perhaps you’re approaching your job search without defining clear goals, tactics, or measures of success. Sometimes, other factors affect your search (e.g. the hiring person is on vacation, scheduling conflicts extending processes, the company really isn’t ready to make a hire).
As the market fluctuates, and all indicators are that it is doing so, candidates begin to gain leverage. There are more available jobs, and more opportunities to interview with multiple companies. The result is a more rapid hiring process. Companies that once took 12-16 weeks to fill open positions are now seeing their time to fill drop, dramatically, to 4-6 weeks. Those companies that are slow to adopt to today’s fast-paced hiring processes are losing talent to their competition. Just like candidates in limbo, sometimes, companies too, must switch it up.
For you, start preparing to capitalize on the impending job market. Align yourself with good people, hone your interview skills, establish goals and don’t be afraid to stretch yourself. It’s easy to do the same thing (or nothing), but that’s what everyone else does. Sometimes, you must switch it up.
David Rose is an author, candidate advocate, and the Vice President of Recruiting with YELLOW DOG Recruiting (www.yellowdogrecruiting.com), a national recruiting firm specializing in the placement of leaders in the hospitality industry. Follow David on Twitter @YELLOWDOG_01.