14 January 2010
You know that the time will come when the “employer market” will change back to a “candidate market”. My friends, that day is fast approaching! For those of us who went through this cycle in the 90s (yes, I was there), it was a great time for qualified talent to make a change but not so good for companies who had invested thousands of dollars and years into cultivating the talent. Firms were often in bidding wars over candidates and many times there would be 2-3 offers up for consideration. Sign on bonuses, relocation packages and stock options were commonplace, not the rare exception.
There are some basic steps you can take as an employer to solidify your relationship with your employee so you don’t find yourself looking for help when you didn’t see it coming.
- Make sure your employee knows where they stand in your business. Tell them how you feel about them. Show them they matter in their pay, benefits and involvement in the decisions of the business.
- Be flexible with things like time off, work hours and virtual work when possible. Today’s workplace has changed dramatically and employees are juggling much more in their schedules and the employers who offer the most flexibility will grab more of the top talent.
- Don’t try to play the bidding game with an employee who is already looking on the outside. If they matter to you, counter quickly and decisively if necessary but be willing to let them go their own way. If their decision to leave is all about more money, the desire to get more will continue to be there.
- Promote your best people and give them a clear career path that is set in your firm. People who have been patiently waiting through the Recession for those long ago promises will not be so patient moving forward.
As a candidate looking to make a change there are also key factors for you to keep in consideration.
- Have your resume always up-to-date and references available. Some jobs will appear out of the blue and you don’t want to keep a potential employer waiting.
- Keep your social networks open and always looking for new potential matches. Remember, other people will have the same idea as you.
- Don’t just “kick the tires” to see what is out there. While as a candidate you might have the upper hand, you can burn bridges and get a bad reputation with recruiters and clients that will spread like wildfire.
The bottom line is that things are improving and the market will be much more competitive for the top talent and keeping the people you already have in place.
Now is a good time to do some “soul searching” and make sure you haven’t capitalized too munch on the current market and irreparably strained the staff relationships that your business needs to continue to be successful.
10 April 2009
The old adage holds true – finding a job is like having a full-time job.
Many job seekers do very well at the basics: developing resumes, networking, writing wonderful cover letters and sending interview thank you notes. But one area often overlooked - References.
References can be a key factor in the job search process in three ways:
Starting Point: Potential references are an important networking starting point. These are individuals know your work and believe in your ability. They work in your industry. They can often be the very best lead for opportunities and intros. Also getting them involved in the process early makes them feel a part of the effort and vested in the outcome.
Supporting Evidence: References provide hiring managers the information they need to make the decision on your candidacy. A well prepped reference can advocate for you and set you apart from other candidates. This process can also set the stage for how your manager can best to manage you and what types of projects may be ideal for you.
Intelligence: Your references can provide important insights for the final phases of the interview process. Based on the questions asked, you can gain an understanding of any areas of concern or deficits you may need to address. You can also begin to sense the company’s interest level and what items you may wish to highlight. The reference taker may even tip their hand on how many other candidates are under consideration and timelines.
The following article in the Wall street Journal - Bulletproofing your References in the Hunt for a New Job is a valuable read.
- Prepare your list with a host of potential references.
- Contact each and let them know the details of your job search – what you are targeting in terms of position, industry, culture, role, responsibility etc.
- Confirm that they could provide a positive reference and that you will prep them in advance regarding each role.
- Inquire about opportunities or suggestions.
- Continue to network with them and keep the apprised of your job search results so they remain involved in the process.
- In advance of having a company call them for a reference, prep them:
- The role
- The company
- What elements you are trying to highlight
- How excited and interested you are in the role and why you think you are a good fit
- The culture of the organization and communication style of the interviewer
- Provide a copy of your resume
- Review any accomplishments that are relevant so the reference has them top of mind
- Follow up with the reference after the call.
- Review the questions asked.
- Look for both positive and negative directions the interviewer took during the call.
- Ask what the reference stressed and how the interview reacted to the information.
- Find out any next steps discussed or details of where the company is in the process.
- Find out if there were any “buy signals”.
- Did it sound as though the job is yours.
- Follow up with a thank you (card, email, call, flowers, lunch).
- Keep your references posted on the outcome of the job even if you do not get the position.
- If you receive the offer but decline the position – alert the references and explain your reasons.
- Once you land your new position, communicate the good news to everyone on your reference list and thank them for the role they played.
- Continue to stay in touch with your references throughout your career. You may need them again in the future. And they may need your help as well.
Pay it forward as often as you can.