Friday, October 15, 2010

Q3 Job Market Update

Another quarter has ended and it has been two years since the stock market crash of 2008. Since that time the job market has not really recovered. I have interviewed more than 200 candidates since the crash, and the most popular question is "is the market getting better?" This is a loaded question; it is better now then it was in Q4 of 2008 and all of 2009. The problem is, it is better than terrible but not a healthy job market.

This last quarter Alchemy has seen an increase in activities such as candidate interviews, new roles being created, etc. This is a good sign BUT we need to see companies hire people, not just interview them. We have been successful in matching people and companies but it takes a great effort on all parties to make things happen. The bottom line is, activity has increased but hiring hasn't. We believe hiring will increase soon, hopefully Q4 2010 but not at a level we consider healthy, but better than it has been in 2009 and so far this year.

A current trend (more so now than in the past) is commitment to the role or the candidate. Hiring managers need to express strong interest in the candidate from the beginning so the candidate stays focused on them and not move towards another role or continue to shop around for new opportunities in other companies. Additionally, if candidates have multiple interviews in multiple places it is more difficult to attract them and to get the candidates through the interview process. If you are a candidate you need to sell yourself to the hiring manager from the beginning and not come across as if you are unfocused or hard to get. Companies want people who are well qualified and are VERY focused on the role at hand "this is my ideal job" is what needs to be said and must be convincing. There are too many candidates interviewing for a single job, many candidates are equally qualified so you need to separate yourself by being more interested "committed" to the role and company then the your competitor.

Since I was late with this update I will update the blog in two months with a snap shot of Q4 and the upcoming Q1 2011. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or need some help.

Happy Hunting!

Bryon McDougall

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It’s That Time of the Year

As we get approach November, with days getting shorter, the weather changing, and the end of the year just around the corner, there is a temptation to slow down, throttle back, and even think about hibernating. With this kind of mind-set at play, people can lose valuable time, not to mention the momentum they’ve been developing in their search for a new job. I believe that it’s a serious mistake to dial down one’s activity during this time of year.

One of the reasons I feel this way is that, in contrast to the conventional wisdom, this is actually and excellent time to remain active. During the last couple months of the year, many people go low key, saying to anyone who’ll listen, “I’ll get busy again when the New Year starts.” By staying active, your odds naturally improve. This is also a great time to hone your current skills and develop new ones, putting you in a much better position to address the question “What have you been doing the past several months” with honesty and conviction.

Another reason to stay active is to keep any momentum you’ve developed working for you. It’s hard enough to make steady progress in this process and what a shame it would be have to start all over again in the New Year. Sticking to a disciplined approach is one of the keys to the process and I’ve seen time and again that those who stay in the game are those who ultimately get the best results.

Finally, as I’ve said before, there is no time like the present to do networking. This should, of course, be a consistent and year round activity, but many people let up during this time of year. I’d like to suggest that this is an excellent time to become even more active with your networking. If you were attending one professional meeting a month, try going to two, or even three. Not only are those contacts likely to pay off in the New Year, but with the possibility that people are in the “holiday spirit,” you may have an easier time making good connections during these meetings.

I recognize that this time of year, with busy schedules, family commitments, and the like, it can be a real challenge to keep active regarding work and career. It’s also very tempting to say to oneself, “It’s only a couple of months and I’ll hit it hard again in the New Year.” I hope you won’t do that and will stay active and focused during the next couple of months. You might find answers to key questions or make important connections that turn out to be critical in your search for new work.

Best wishes.

Mark Guterman