June 26, 2018

What I’m Seeing Out There (Summer 2018 Edition)

Hot months usually mean a slow-down in hiring, right? But that certainly hasn’t been the case the past several years.  Here’s the latest on what I’m seeing out there.

Summer has officially started!  And that means a slow-down in hiring, right??  Not so fast!

With unemployment at record lows (especially in markets like Seattle), companies are not slowing their hiring over the hot months of July, August, and September. In fact, many organizations are increasing their efforts to bring the right candidates in the door.

With summer here, I thought a quick review of the current market would be super-helpful for those individuals (especially recent college graduates) on the pursuit for professional engagement.

Here’s the latest on what I’m seeing out there:

  • It’s (still) a “buyers” market.  As I highlighted in my Graduate’s Guide to Professional Engagement last month, Recruiters & Hiring Managers still have tons of candidates to choose from and are picky in their approach.  It’s tougher today to “get-in” due to the sheer number of applicants for most opportunities.  Candidates today have to go around the traditional career/application portal.  As I tell my clients, don’t waste your time with the blind job application –go through people you know to get that employee referral.
  • The initial screening process is clunky.  I’m hearing from multiple clients how difficult the early interview process is at many companies.  Long delays between emails, missed calls (with no call-backs), and straight-up ghosting from some screeners.  Tons of back-and-forth with sometimes frustrating results.  Bottom line – be patient and take note of experiences that are not right for you. If the experience is bad, move-on.
  • The Professional Story is a differentiator.  Recruiters and Hiring Managers make judgement calls on candidates within the first 1-2 minutes of initial conversations. They want individuals who are clear, quick, smart, and results-orientated. People start to access this through the most commonly asked question: “So tell me about yourself?” — usually the first question asked in a formal or informal interview. Knowing your Professional Story is key to set yourself apart from other candidates.
  • Organizations are interviewing on skill depth.  Because it’s such a “buyers” market, I’m noticing that companies are really pushing individuals to know their stuff. Whether you’re an Engineer, an Account Executive, a Product Manager or a Trainer you need to go deep on your functional expertise. Especially if you are in the technology sector, organizations expect deep knowledge on the latest/greatest offering, product or program. Bottom line – know your field and know your competition.
  • Organizations are interviewing on culture fit.  I’m seeing a ton of depth around culture-fit in candidate interviews. How do you partner with stakeholders? What is your approach to solving conflict? Where do you want to go with your career? Who inspires you? What are you biggest professional wins/failures? Why does the company/organization interest you? These are questions that come up over-and-over and where I’m seeing candidates need the most help.
  • Chivalry (still) isn’t dead.  As I also mentioned in my Graduate’s Guide to Professional Engagement,do what your mother says and send a thank you email.  It takes 2 minutes and will set yourself apart. Enough said.

Your homework this week: Know someone who’s looking for a more engaging professional experience? Know of a recent college grad who’s looking for some quick insight into the current marketplace? Forward them this newsletter as a quick guide! Need an hour or two of dedicated help?  Shoot me an email to chat.

Coming-up next:  I’m putting together my summer reading list for those who are looking to add a few professional (or self-help) books to their lake-side agenda.  You won’t want to miss these recommendations!

Here’s to your Engaged Pursuit!

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