Friday, August 15, 2008

"How's the job market?"

The most commonly asked question in any interview is “How’s the Job Market”. I believe the question when asked to me is more or less a question that will provide some assurance or expectation of how I will be able to help the candidate or client locate the right company or person. Regardless of the job market the best people and companies succeed. I have been in search for 16 years and like to comment about what is always in demand and then mention what we currently see in demand for Accountants and Finance people.

Candidates success is largely due to consistently managing career growth, continued development of working knowledge and having the proper career expectations. The better businesses make sound decisions on direction and how they hire to meet their product and service demand. What changes are the number of opportunities available based on current economic conditions. Currently the economic conditions are volatile and so are the number of jobs available. Many of the jobs available today are not open because the company is growing. Why is a company hiring? That is should be your first question to understand if the role is right for you. Finding the right job is a challenge. Because everyone has a different goals and backgrounds it is best to talk with many people including career counselors, friends, mentors, family members and recruiting professionals to help identify the right situation.

What is always in demand are technical abilities that are up to date. In addition companies will always need people to run the basic functions to ensure corporate governance and compliance. Anyone who can do and be capable of managing is also key to job stability and are always attractive to hire. Lastly all of us need to show some individual growth regardless of the growth of the business you work in. Stagnation (doing the same thing year over year) is not attractive to almost all employers. The issue here is accepting change and challenges. This is something that does not need to happen each year but in order to move to a new job or company a track record of improvement and change will be necessary to be attractive to any potential employer.

We have many opportunities for CPA’s who have backgrounds in technical accounting particularly in International Accounting Standards, FAS 123R, in addition to SEC reporting and Revenue Recognition experts. There has been a recent increases in openings in Internal Audit and a sharp decline in the number of Financial Planning and Analysis roles. Overall we have seen a 5 % decline in the number of opportunities from 3 months ago, this is consistent with the economy and capital markets. If you are having a hard time locating a job now, keep the faith and continue to push as August is typically one of the slowest hiring months of the year due to individual travel and business priorities. We believe that we will see an increase in the number of jobs available in September and October based on cyclical activity although there will be few jobs available this September/October than a year ago.

If you have questions about your career path or the market I can be reached in the Pleasanton office 925-227-0700 x203

Happy Hunting!

Bryon McDougall

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Importance of Culture and Context in the Career Transition Process

I recently facilitated a workshop for the leadership team of a small organization where the focus was on understanding how culture and context intersect with the roles people play in their organization. I was reminded that people in job or career transition also need to pay attention to the culture and context of potential employers and to make the connection between their skills, values, and goals with that culture and context

To begin with, when doing research to determine target employers, it is vital that you learn about the nature of their business. It also is important that you are clear as to how each prospect matches who you are and how you work. Paying attention to potential fit as you move through the transition process will enable you to establish a clear sense of priorities as you decide who your future employer will be.

Furthermore, as you go through the interview process and are thinking about potential employers, it is in your best interest to assess what it will be like to work there once you get and accept an offer. Saying yes to an offer just because you need the job or because your skills are a good match is rarely enough to ensure that you will be happy or successful in your new endeavor. You need to think very carefully about what the actual, day to day, experience of working there will be like and I recommend that you talk with potential co-workers and colleagues before accepting an offer.

Finally, once you’ve said yes and started work, you must quickly learn about the culture and how things actually get done in your new environment. Your ability to adapt to and work within the norms of your new culture will have a lot to do with getting off to a great start, and will also determine how your job and career will blossom over the ensuing months and years.

Best wishes.

Mark Guterman